Dogs could be heard barking from the rows of cages that lines the farm. On the other side of the yard, more exotic animals like civets, racoon dogs and minks were also locked up in tiny containers.
Men used a broom-shaped tool with two probes at the front to electrocute a dog with white fur, immediately sending it falling paralysed to the ground. It struggled to get up and its body twitched. The procedure was repeated several times to more of the dogs, pushing them against the cage before stunning them.
As the animals lay unconscious, they were placed on a stone platform, an apparent signal they were ready to be butchered. In other photos, dead animals were piled up on the ground, with their furs peeled from their bodies.
The bloodied remains of these animals were left on the ground. It is not clear how much protection the men who killed these animals were wearing, but it is clear from the images that there were no attempts to cover up the bloodied remains with anything. It is likely that they may just be left on the ground while more animals would be killed.
These are details from a fur farm investigation in China conducted by the Humane Society International (HSI), which is calling on the British government to ban import of furs following the publication of a World Health Organisation (WHO) report, suggesting wildlife farming could be a potential breeding ground for Covid-19.
It is hard to estimate the actual number of animals at the fur farm visited by HSI, but there appeared to be dozens if not hundreds kept at the site. According to HSI’s estimation, China is home to the largest fur producing industry worldwide, rearing 14 million foxes, 13.5 million raccoon dogs and 11.6 million mink in 2019.
Conservationists have been calling for a more complete ban on wildlife farming around the world, including China. “The WHO’s investigation of the origin of the Covid-19 pandemic was a hugely important step to zero in on the likely sources of the pandemic and the source of future zoonotic spillovers,” said Peter Li, China policy specialist at Humane Society International and associate professor of East Asian politics at the University of Houston-Downtown.
Stop The Illegal Wildlife Trade
We are working with conservation charities Space for Giants and Freeland to protect wildlife at risk from poachers due to the conservation funding crisis caused by Covid-19. Help is desperately needed to support wildlife rangers, local communities and law enforcement personnel to prevent wildlife crime. Donate to help Stop the Illegal Wildlife Trade HERE
Experts from WHO found in their report wildlife farming played a crucial role in introducing the coronavirus to humans. While Chinese experts claimed that the report’s findings vindicate Beijing’s decision to ban trade of wild animals for human consumption, the WHO report found wildlife farms are still allowed to legally operate for the purpose of fulfilling demands from traditional Chinese medicine and fur trade.
“China’s wildlife operation has four other components that are still operating: farming for fur, for traditional Chinese medicine, for display and pets, and for laboratory use,” Prof Li told the Independent. “These four remaining operations are gigantic in scale, holding tens of millions of animals in crowded and intensive farms. This is a mode of production that is an ideal breeding ground for animal epidemics and potentially for zoonotic spillovers.”
Another loophole that Prof Li points out is the inclusion of 12 wild animals in China’s latest National Catalogue of Livestock and Poultry Genetic Resources, which allows these animals to be farmed and processed for food.
“[While] the Chinese government took one of the boldest steps by shutting down the wildlife breeding for the exotic food market, it can do more to shut down all remaining commercial wildlife operations,” he said.
In the report, WHO experts suggest further checks into farms as a possible source of the virus. They named minks and rabbits as animals that are at risk of becoming infected with Covid.
“The increasing number of animals shown to be susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 includes animals that are farmed in sufficient densities to allow potential for enzootic circulation,” the report said.
“High-density farming is common in many places across the world and includes many livestock species as well as farmed wildlife. There was a large network of domesticated wild animal farms, supplying farmed wildlife,” the report added.
The Independent’s Stop the Illegal Wildlife Trade campaign, which was launched last year, seeks an international effort to clamp down on poaching and the illegal trade of wild animals, which remains one of the greatest threats to biodiversity in the future.
The Independent is working with conservation charities including Space for Giants and Freeland to protect wildlife at risk due to the conservation funding crisis caused by Covid-19. As China began some efforts to curb wildlife consumption in the country following the coronavirus outbreak, the Independent works with its partners to gain more insights about the impact of Beijing’s efforts.
(The Independent )
For Pei Su, the founder of ACTAsia, a nonprofit organisation that works to bring about sustainable social change in China, as some of the wild animals have been re-categorised as “livestock” in China, wildlife trade continues across the country, with many of these trading activities being conducted across different provinces in China.
“It doesn’t matter where the wildlife markets are or where the virus comes from, because the more pressing thing is that China still allows wildlife trade even though the coronavirus pandemic is still happening,” Ms Su told the Independent. “I think that’s where the next zoonotic disease spillover could happen.”
Prof Li pointed out that while there is growing willingness among some lawmakers in China to further restrict the remaining wildlife farming operations, there is still strong resistance from the wildlife business in China.
“The country’s national wildlife management agency is not motivated to shut down the operation, while China’s wildlife protection law, which has long been criticised as ‘a law for the management of wildlife resources’ is yet to be revised,” he said. “The law in its current shape supports wildlife farming. If this is not changed, the Chinese government is unlikely to impose more restrictions on wildlife farming.”
To both Prof Li and Ms Su, the international community should realise that wildlife farming isn’t just a problem in China, but a problem that has been recurring around the world. “Wildlife farming is an unsustainable practice but the whole world still thinks wildlife trade is acceptable,” Ms Su added.
Prof Li believes that while the whole world is asking China to close its massive wildlife animal farming and trade, they need to acknowledge and proactively address the same intensive animal farming of other species around the world. “The international community should encourage China to phase out all the remaining commercial wildlife farming operations,” he said.
“The way to do it’s not to vilify or demonise China, or place unfounded charges at its doorstep. It is time that the international community and all governments recognise the fact that the modern mode of animal exploitation is an ideal environment for the spread, cross infection and mutation of viruses.”
Prof Li says it’s important for the international community to stop politicizing a public health crisis and let scientists reduce zoonotic spillover in the future. “Let’s put short-term political gains of partisan politics behind, and let scientists remove future zoonotic spillovers,” he added.
An unusual process took place in Vienna on Monday. A woman ex-zookeeper at a mouse breeding laboratory at MedUni Vienna was accused of cruelty to animals.
Around 100 mice died. The woman is acquitted.
Online today at 1:54 p.m.
The prosecution had accused the woman of neglecting around 100 breeding mice that had died. “In any case, it was hygienic grievances,” judge Stefan Erdeistated after extensive evidence proceedings.
According to her statements, the zookeeper was de facto responsible for a total of 6,000 mice in 1,900 cages at the Center for Biomedical Research.
She was overwhelmed “at least for months”, the judge found.
It would have been the task of the institute management to “organize it differently”.
The fact that the defendant accepted with her actions or omissions that the mice were tortured can “not necessarily be deduced from the external circumstances”. In the opinion of the…
Once again, every now and then you find a stand alone post that needs to be shared. This is such a post by Kanekoa the Great. Please Enjoy. You can find him on Telegram and Gab.
Imagine you worked your way up the corporate ladder to become the CEO of the world’s largest cyber security company. You’ve gone from making a few hundred thousand a year to a few million a year.
Now, the CEO of the world’s second largest cyber security company, is a very savvy businessman, and he sees an opportunity. He decides to offer your son $1.5 billion and a private equity fund. This makes you, your son, and your entire family wealthy beyond your wildest dreams far eclipsing your salary as CEO.
Fast forward and your company suffers a massive cyber attack – a virus shuts down your entire network. Your company is forced to close…
Daniel Glor started this petition to President, Board of Education Michael Fuchs and 6 others
Honoring Major Andrew D. Byers
Proposal: We propose to name the Clarence High School pool after Major Andrew D. Byers, a distinguished Clarence Swimming Alumnus. Doing so will honor and commemorate how he lived and the example he set through his bravery, character, and the ultimate sacrifice he made in defense of our nation.
Clarence alumni swimmers and divers often return to the pool to visit the team and share stories, provide advice, and enjoy the camaraderie. The students gain insight and inspiration from these alumni visits. Andy will never be able to share his brave story and rich insights with current and future swimmers, so we propose doing so on his behalf by memorializing him in a noted place in his life: The Clarence High School pool. Naming the pool after this beloved husband, son, brother, dear friend, distinguished student athlete and selfless guardian of our nation’s freedom will provide an example for future generations of Clarence swimmers and students.
Andy’s Story: Major Andrew Byers (US Army Special Forces) was killed in action in Kunduz, Afghanistan on November 3, 2016 while conducting a ‘Train, Advise, and Assist’ mission with Afghan special operations forces. Byers was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for selflessly running into a kill zone to retrieve a fallen Afghan comrade, for maintaining positive control of a 59-man force during a seemingly hopeless situation, and for sacrificing his life by leading from the front to rescue his men.
By putting himself in harm’s way to selflessly save his comrades, Andy died in a manner consistent with the way he lived. Those that knew Andy best were not surprised by the accounts of the selfless valor he displayed that day. Andy’s strength of character was apparent to those he interacted with throughout his life. His peers and friends would often tell others how he served as a shining example of the very best that Clarence High School has to offer.
Andy especially shined in the pool as a four-time All-American Swimmer and team captain. As detailed by his swim coach Eric McClaren, “It was Andy’s distinct ability to lead and to motivate the people around him that set him apart from others. He was a role model from the first day he walked into the pool. Even the upperclassmen would tell you that Andy was the driving force behind our team. It is no coincidence that Andy’s class never lost a dual meet in his entire high school career.”
Andy was known to have the strongest work ethic on the team and an unmatched drive to not only be his best, but to help others around him realize their true potential. While Andy was a formidable example of strength, he also possessed genuine kindness and compassion when interacting with those who needed some encouragement. Andy was welcoming to all. Andy excelled in academics at Clarence and participated in student council and the yearbook committee. Despite his many achievements, Andy remained the same modest person his peers came to know.
After graduating from Clarence, Andy attended The United States Military Academy at West Point, where he graduated 12th in his class of 972. Following graduation, Andy joined the Green Berets, successfully completed Jump School, and became a ranking officer of a High Altitude Low Opening (HALO) Parachutist team. Andy had a distinguished military career, highlighted by a posthumous award of the Silver Star, the United States’ third highest decoration for valor in combat.
In addition to receiving the Silver Star, throughout his distinguished career, Andy was awarded the Purple Heart, three Army Commendation Medals, Army Achievement Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Iraq Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Overseas Service Ribbon, Combat Infantryman Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge, Parachutist and Military Free Fall Parachutist badges, the Ranger tab, and the Special Forces tab.
The fellow alumni of Clarence High School are honored to have Andy as an alumnus. There are no words to properly encapsulate the quality of Andy’s character, but Coach McClaren comes closest with “exceptional.” Andy was a beloved husband, son and brother, a dear friend, distinguished student -athlete, and a selfless guardian of our nation. Naming the Clarence High School pool after Andy is a permanent and tangible way to honor him, recognize the way he lived his life, and enables his story to serve as an example for future generations of Clarence students.
Be thou at peace Andy. May we forever honor your bravery and sacrifice.
Apparently, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) under Joe Biden agrees with my conclusion that oil company activities in Alaska pose minimal risk to polar bears (Crockford 2019, 2020, 2021). Although this ruling is not yet final, they have proposed that oil exploration and extraction activities on the North Slope of Alaska can proceed over the next five years.
After noting that no major offshore oil spills have ever taken place in the Alaskan portion of the Beaufort Sea (see map below) and that all spills to date have been on land with no impact on polar bears, the proposed rule in the 200+ page assessment states:
A growing number of scientists now recognize that the increased consumption of processed foods and food additives like synthetic food dyes in the human diet in recent years correlate with an increase in the incidence of illnesses–including inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Now one team of scientists have examined the role that synthetic food dyes in particular may play in illnesses like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The results from recent scientific research from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai suggest that certain artificial food dyes can cause inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)* when the immune system has become dysregulated. More specifically, the study found that mice with dysregulated expression of the immune system cytokine IL-23 developed colitis when they consumed food with the artificial food colorantsRed 40 and Yellow 6**. Development of colitis in the animals also required the presence of commensal bacteria that could metabolize the…
So, who’s the psychopath? Trump, who tried to stop this dangerous crap? Or, those who are plotting more? Clearly those spending money to grab poor bats from their caves, test their feces, and risk spreading around diseases that might have stayed in caves are either cruel idiots or psychopaths. Alternatively, they may be pretending that they tested the bats, when the viruses are really bioengineered and they are just bat virus laundering. The second appears easier, and more probable.
Excerpt from the new grant proposal talking about the previous grants. (Yeah, that worked out really well for people wanted more grant monies and for bio-tech pharma but not for the rest of the world): “Established the “proof of principle” that countries can carry out safe capture and sampling of wildlife followed by conventional PCR testing of blood, urine, feces, or oral/nasal swabs for up to 28 families of zoonotic…
Beach-nesting bird populations in the Gulf Coast have seen a steady decline since the days John James Audubon fell in love with its abundant birdlife. For the Fab Four of beach nesting birds, the Wilson’s Plover, Least Tern, Black Skimmer and Snowy Plover, nesting on the beach can be a huge challenge. Coastal development, off-road vehicles, beachgoers, and pets equal a perfect storm of threats and endanger their very existence. But, you can help beach-nesting birds.
Help Beach-Nesting Birds
Every year, these birds are the first to arrive at the beach and lay claim to a spot with the purpose of hatching their young safely. Natural and unnatural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, set back beach-nesting bird populations dramatically. It takes years for population recovery and as competition for space on the beach increases, they can’t do it without our help.
Snowy Plover with chick by Michael Wharton
These coastal birds will be setting up camp at popular beaches such as East Beach, Bryan Beach and Port Aransas Nature Preserve at Charlie’s Pasture in Texas, Holly Beach, Rutherford Beach, Grand Isle State Park and public beaches in Louisiana, St. Pete Beach and Treasure Island in Florida and Bon Secour in Alabama. The time to help beach-nesting birds is now. Spring and fall represents a critical time for these birds and together we can help them thrive.
A sign raising awareness and protecting a Least Tern nest by Kacy Ray
“Fish, Swim, and Play from 50 Yards Away” has proven to be a successful approach to protect beach-nesting birds. This educational campaign raises awareness among beach-goers of the recreational impacts on beach-nesting birds. Educational, media-based campaigns such as this, are a major strategy identified in most conservation plans to recover shorebird populations in decline. To date, the only Gulf program for beach-nesting birds that combines the use of media marketing with protection, monitoring, and on-the-ground outreach is the Fish, Swim and Play from 50 Yards Away campaign.
Funds from this campaign will help ABC and our partners increase nest and fledging success and further the stewardship of Wilson’s Plovers, Least Terns, Snowy Plovers, Black Skimmers and other species of concern across the Gulf Coast. If we do not protect their nests, their numbers will continue to decline. Please make a gift today to protect beach-nesting birds.
American Bird Conservancy is the Western Hemisphere’s bird conservation specialist—the only organization with a single and steadfast commitment to achieving conservation results for native birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. With a focus on efficiency and working in partnership, we take on the toughest problems facing birds today, innovating and building on sound science to halt extinctions, protect habitats, eliminate threats, and build capacity for bird conservation.
Audubon Louisiana mission is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity.
Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program mission is to involve a representation of a broad base of people to support the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program (BTNEP). This includes supporting the mission of stewardship of the cultural, economic and ecological resources of the Barataria and Terrebonne Basins.
Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program (CBBEP) is dedicated to protecting, researching and restoring the bays and estuaries in the 12-county region of the Texas Coastal Bend. As part of the National Estuary Program, CBBEP works with local governments, conservation groups, teachers, students and the public to raise awareness of our natural surroundings through research, restoration and recreation projects.
Eckerd College mission is to challenge students to embark on a journey of development through the coordination of service to the college, to the Church, and to the community.
Florida Shorebird Alliance is a statewide partnership of government and non-government organizations committed to advancing shorebird and seabird conservation in Florida through coordinated and collaborative work that helps identify and address important needs with regard to research, management, education, outreach, and public policy.
Gulf Coast Bird Observatory mission is to protect the birds and their habitats around the Gulf of Mexico. They are recognized as an innovative organization, which has designed and conducted a significant number of large conservation projects, including migration studies, habitat enhancement, land acquisition, regional habitat mapping, and others.
Houston Audubon is dedicated to the creation of a healthier natural environment and more beautiful place to live by leading and nurturing a community that values and supports birds. Their mission is to advance the conservation of birds and positively impact their supporting environments. They own 17 sanctuaries in five counties, including the internationally known High Island and Bolivar Flats sanctuaries.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department mission is to manage and conserve the natural and cultural resources of Texas and to provide hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation opportunities for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) mission is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.
Canada lynx are one of the endangered species of concern in the Flathead National Forest plan.
A Missoula federal district judge will decide if the new Flathead National Forest plan must be changed to better protect endangered species, including grizzly bears, Canada lynx and bull trout.
On Thursday afternoon, Judge Donald Molloy heard limited arguments on whether the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service properly considered the effect of the new Flathead National Forest plan on the three threatened species and, if not, whether the Flathead National Forest needed to put its forest plan on hold while the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service returned to the drawing board.
Earthjustice attorney Tim Preso, representing the Swan View Coalition and Friends of the Wild Swan, argued that the new Flathead forest plan, published in 2018, changed how the forest would manage its roads and road culverts.
The result could make things worse for threatened species. And yet, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had failed to flag anything as wrong in its Biological Opinion of the plan. Wildlife advocates sued in 2019.
“If all you have to do to make a road not count against limits is pile debris over the first 50 feet, it’s a lot easier and cheaper to build roads than it is if you have to rehabilitate an entire roadway under Amendment 19,” Preso told Molloy. “(The Flathead National Forest has) about 70 miles of road construction and reconstruction planned for the first two years of this plan. Under the past 15 years of Amendment 19, they accomplished a little over 2 miles of road construction. So they’re at a pace of 20 times the amount of road building under Amendment 19.”
Under the previous forest plan with a 1995 amendment – Amendment 19 – a policy of 19% -19% -68% required the agency to ensure that 68% of each grizzly bear management unit was secure habitat, that is free of roads.
Research has shown that adding more roads increases the chance of human-bear conflict, which often results in dead bears. Plus bears avoid roads so they can’t use roaded habitat.
The roads in the remainder of each grizzly management unit can’t exist above certain densities, even if they were closed, because bears, especially females, avoid roads. To meet those standards, the agency had not just closed but reclaimed 730 miles of roads.
However, the new Flathead policy allows the agency to build more miles of roads while doing less with closed roads, because it’s done away with Amendment 19 restrictions so the agency doesn’t have to reclaim roads. A grizzly bear with a cub.
Preso said the Flathead Forest plan allows the agency to block off just the first 50 to 100 feet of a road to count it as “closed” and then remove it from the road-density statistics. However, surveys carried out by nonprofit groups have documented that vehicles still illegally use a percentage of the closed roads. Roads that aren’t fully reclaimed still have an effect on wildlife, so the agency should have to count them.
Finally, under Amendment 19, the agency was supposed to remove all culverts from beneath closed roads, because blocked or damaged culverts increase road erosion. The resulting sediment spilling into forest streams can damage bull trout spawning grounds and habitat.
U.S. Department of Justice attorney Frederick Turner argued that the new plan provides “as much if not more protection” for endangered species, even though the 19-19-68 standard is gone. The Flathead Forest would use a standard of “no net increase” in roads past what existed in 2011.
The Flathead National Forest chose the year 2011 because the grizzly bear population in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem had grown at that point, so the agency argued that the roads that existed at that time must have been okay.
Preso argued that the bears had done okay because Amendment 19 was in effect so the agency was meeting higher standards to help the bear.
Turner also argued that the Amendment 19 requirement for culverts wasn’t needed because the new forest plan has a culvert-monitoring plan, which requires Forest Service employees to ensure all culverts on all roads are operating during a six-year cycle.
Turner said the US Fish and Wildlife Service Biological Opinion was sufficient because the Endangered Species Act doesn’t require the service to do side-by-side comparisons of the protections in each plan. It just requires a determination of whether species are in jeopardy and the Service decided the new plan didn’t put species in jeopardy.
However, WildEarth Guardians attorney Marla Fox said the Biological Opinion failed to consider three issues.
Similar to the attempted delisting of the Yellowstone subpopulation, the agency failed to consider what the ramifications would be for bear populations outside the NCDE. Other populations have very low numbers and won’t survive without NCDE bears having the ability to migrate to other populations. The road building planned for some logging projects could limit or stop dispersal into the Cabinet-Yaak and down into the Bitterroot.
Second, Fox said, the 2011 road conditions are based on an assumption that the population was growing and didn’t consider the best science, even though they’re included in the NCDE grizzly bear conservation strategy.
Finally, the US Fish and Wildlife Service approved a certain level of grizzly bear deaths under the new plan but didn’t set a point where the decision needed to be reconsidered if the number of dead bears started increasing.
Molloy kept the attorneys on a tight schedule, limiting each side to 30 minutes, and often interrupted to ask questions. Notably, he asked both sides what they thought the remedy should be, but with the federal attorneys, he prefaced his question with “If the plaintiffs are right…” Bull Trout
The federal attorneys want Molloy to decide that the Flathead National Forest can keep its plan the way it is. But “if the plaintiffs are right,” Turner asked that Molloy send the Biological Opinion and Forest Plan back to the agencies for reconsideration but keep the new Forest Plan in effect.
The Flathead National Forest has six projects already approved with four under analysis so they want those to go ahead. Federal attorney John Tustin said some projects might not even include road building so they wouldn’t be affected either way.
Preso argued that two projects – the Mid-Swan and Frozen Moose projects – together plan to build 70 miles of road. So the wildlife groups want Molloy keep most of the new forest plan in place but put the road and culvert parts of the new forest plan on hold while the agencies reconsider the biological opinion.
Outside the courthouse, Preso said the Flathead National Forest has been moving forward as rapidly as possible with road building since the plan was published.
“They’ve never wrestled with the impact of that,” Preso said. “They pretended it wasn’t going to happen and told everyone that the conditions that existed during the last 20 years are going to continue. Well, we can see already they’re not going to continue.”
The federal attorneys argued it has to be all or nothing – rewrite the entire plan or keep the entire plan. Preso said previous court rulings have allowed for the invalidation of parts of policies and procedures. Molloy asked Preso why his ruling should limit only the parts of the Forest Plan the wildlife groups don’t like.
“I would say the part that’s lawful and poses no threat should stay and the part that’s unlawful and poses a clear threat should go,” Preso said.
(JustPatriots.com)- For the first time in months, several states have reported zero cases of COVID-19 and zero deaths from the virus, marking a milestone for the nation’s recovery from the disastrous COVID-19 lockdown.
Last weekend, Texas reported that there were zero deaths from COVID-19 for the first time since March of last year. And, the states of Minnesota, Arizona, and Massachusetts also announced a day free of COVID-19-related deaths for the first time in several months.
Reuters also revealed how Maryland reported the lowest new daily cases of COVID-19 since March of last year, and that Virginia saw the lowest rate of new COVID cases since the beginning of the pandemic.
It means that as more Americans get vaccinated, and with more people having recovered from the virus and achieved natural immunity, the virus is becoming less of a threat by the day.
But President Biden is still wearing a mask during indoor and outdoor events despite being vaccinated…
The good news for Texas coincides with a decision by the state’s Governor Greg Abbott to reject further federal government funding for unemployment in a bid to get people leaving their homes and going back to work. The decision means that unemployment benefits will go down by $300 and allow those on unemployment benefits to start filling the huge number of vacancies in the state.
Data even showed that the number of job vacancies in Texas is roughly the same as the number of people on unemployment benefits.
President Joe Biden previously labeled Texas’ plans to completely reopen its economy “neanderthal thinking. The president expressed his disappointment with states that plan to completely reopen and said that the goal was for every single American to receive a vaccination before gatherings restarted and people went back to their normal life.
But achieving total vaccination across the country isn’t possible, and President Biden has since lowered his aim to achieve 70% of American adults vaccinated by July 4.
But it looks like we’re reaching the end of the pandemic even as things stand.
(JustPatriots.com)- While President Joe Biden immediately ended the construction of a pipeline in the U.S., his administration is apparently on the verge of waiving sanctions on a company that’s headed by one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s allies.
This week, the Biden administration may waive sanctions on a company that is in charge of building a gas pipeline from Russia to Germany. It is known as the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.
In order for the pipeline to go forward, the Biden administration will be invoking a waiver for national security for any penalties that would target the company as well as Matthias Warnig, who heads up the company. The State Department plans to this week deliver a report on sanctions on Russia to Congress, which apparently will include this waiver.
In April, Politico reported the Biden administration reversed a previous Department of Justice decision that allowed for sanctions to be placed on Warnig. That DOJ decision happened as debate was raging internally over which entities could have sanctions placed on them.
In addition to heading up the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, Warnig is the deputy chair of Rosneft, an oil company based in Russia. Gazprom, another Russian gas company, owns Warnig’s company.
Many lawmakers have argued that both Warnig and the Nord Stream 2 AG could be subject to sanctions under what’s known as PEESA, or the Protecting Europe’s Energy Security Act of 2019.
Four ships and four companies that are supporting the construction of the pipeline are to be put on the State Department’s list of entities that should be sanctioned.
A spokesperson for the State Department wouldn’t comment on the waivers but did say:
“The Biden Administration has been clear that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline is a Russian geopolitical project that threatens European energy security and that of Ukraine and eastern flank NATO Allies and partners. We continue to examine entities involved in potentially sanctionable activity and have made it clear that companies risk sanctions if they are involved in Nord Stream 2.”
The pipeline is being built to transport natural gas from Russia to Germany. Placing sanctions on firms that are either contributing to the construction or are financing the gas pipeline has bipartisan support in Congress.
At the same time, the Biden administration is trying to weigh its support with the German government, which has expressed its support for the pipeline.
Republicans in Congress have pushed the president to place financial sanctions on companies so that the pipeline will stop before it’s started.
Texas Representative Michael McCaul, for example, released a statement through his office that said:
“If the Putin regime is allowed to finish this pipeline, it will be because the Biden Administration chose to let it happen. I want to be clear: This pipeline is not a simple commercial project that could frustrate our relationship with Berlin. It is a Russian malign influence project that threatens to deepen Europe’s energy dependence on Moscow, render Ukraine more vulnerable to Russian aggression and provide billions of dollars to Putin’s coffers.”
A hunter in his late fifties was killed in Gabon when he was ambushed by an elephant and trampled to death.
The drama unfolded last week in Roungassa village, in the province of Ogooue Lolo, Gabon Media Time reported.
The website reported that the victim was a resident of the village and was “known to all.”
The remains of the man, whose identity has not been revealed, were found lying in the forest by members of the Central Brigade of the capital of Ogooué Lolo, residents told the website.
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This kind of hunting accident has been occurring more frequently in Gabon in recent months. More and more animals, especially elephants, are staying closer to the villages because of deforestation, which destroys the habitat and the trees whose fruits the animals feed on, the website reported.
Similar tragedies have been recorded in the provinces of Ngounié and Woleu-Ntem in recent months, according to the news website.
Gabon is home to a large colony of forest elephants, which can be dangerous when close to humans.
A similar incident took place in Northern Namibia on March 13, when a farmer was killed after being trampled on by an African savanna elephant. Abner Petrus, 46, lost his life after one of the animals attacked him from behind in Okatha-Kiikombo, a village in the Omusati region.
African forest elephants, which are smaller than the African savanna elephants, occupy most of the tropical forests in West and Central Africa, with the largest populations found in Gabon and the Republic of Congo.
Increased threats of poaching and loss of habitat have made Africa’s elephant more endangered, according to a report released in March by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Both the African forest elephant and the African savanna elephant are considered endangered.
The number of African forest elephants has fallen by more than 86 percent over a 31-year period, the report said, while the population of savanna elephants dropped by more than 60 percent over a 50-year period. The International Union for Conservation of Nature rates the global extinction risks to the world’s animals.
Africa currently has 415,000 elephants, counting the forest and savanna elephants together, according to the agency.
The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has predicted that the African elephant could be extinct by 2040, with poaching and human-wildlife conflict as a result of habitat loss and fragmentation the main threats to the survival of the species.Forest elephants are seen at Langoue Bai in the Ivindo national park, Gabon, on April 26, 2019. A man in his late fifties killed at a hunting party in Gabon after being ambushed and trampled upon by an elephant.Amaury Hauchard/Getty
New Zealand’s Far Out Ocean Research Collective spotted a bottlenose dolphin caring for a young pilot whale, and this isn’t the first time the species has stepped in as a surrogate mom.
On May 17, the Far Out Ocean Research Collective, based in Paihia, New Zealand, shared that they observed a female bottlenose dolphin interacting with a pilot whale calf like the newborn was her own offspring. Researchers believe that the dolphin adopted the young whale over a month ago and has been caring for the little creature.
“An interesting observation of an adult oceanic bottlenose dolphin with a newborn long-finned pilot whale off north-eastern New Zealand. Earlier in the day, the dolphin was part of a mixed-species group of false killer whales, pilot whales, and oceanic bottlenose dolphins,” the organization announced on Facebook.
Far Out Ocean also noted that this is not the first time a bottlenose dolphin has been observed caring for the young of another ocean mammal. It is unclear why this species seems comfortable stepping in as a surrogate parent, but researchers have theories.
“It could be a misguided motherly instinct, or she lost her own calf,” said Far Out Ocean Jochen Zaeschmar, marine researcher, 1 News reports. “Pilot whales spend seven years with their calves. There is a good chance it will eventually join another pod of pilot whales as they often cross paths.”
Far Out Ocean has taken photos documenting the special relationship between the bottlenose dolphin and the young pilot whale they spotted this spring. The organization plans to continue watching the pair’s journey and sharing their findings with their social media followers.
“The individual is a well-known member of the north-eastern New Zealand offshore bottlenose dolphin population and regularly associates with pilot whales and false killer whales. We are hoping to re-encounter her to monitor this interesting phenomenon,” Far Out Ocean said on social media of the interspecies duo.
His callsign is Tango 5, or Tango for short. Tango is an undercover investigator in one of the most dangerous jobs in the world – taking on the elephant and rhino poachers of Africa’s organized crime syndicates.
It is too dangerous for Tango, and his family, to reveal his name, face, or current location.
Crime syndicates are responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of elephants, rhinos, and other animals each year. Their business is worth a staggering $20 billion annually in illicit profits.
But they can be stopped. And Tango is one of the best at stopping them. He works for the International Anti-Poaching Foundation (IAPF) based in Zimbabwe.
The IAPF protects more than 1.5 million hectares of African wilderness. Where the IAPF operates, poaching is reduced by over 80 percent.
The IAPF is the conversation group behind ‘Akashinga’- the all-women vegan anti-poaching team featured in the National Geographic film of the same name.
But anti-poaching work remains incredibly dangerous. Two rangers, investigators or wildlife protectors are killed every week trying to save the wild animals of the forests and savannah.
Which makes Tango luckier than some.
Earlier this month, Tango was returning home to be with his family after a successful undercover operation involving IAPF and government agencies, which saw the arrest of two suspects involved with rhino poaching.
It was a Sunday evening. He was driving from Beitbridge to the capital Harare when he was allegedly forced off the road by two vehicles and assaulted. The assailants poured petrol over both Tango and his car and set it alight while he was inside, blindfolded with his jacket and tied with his own shoelaces to the steering wheel. Tango’s Car Was Totally Obliterated by Fire. Credit: IAPF
The fire engulfed the car and the windows began to explode. However, Tango managed to get one hand free and then extricate himself from the burning car. That was not before suffering serious burns to around 30 percent of his face, neck, arms, chest, and stomach.
He was in desperate need of help on the side of the road by a burning vehicle. He attempted to wave vehicles down for help, but they drove past.
Eventually, a good Samaritan stopped and took him to Beitbridge hospital, a remote border town in southern Zimbabwe. The public medical system there struggles with basic needs, strained even further with COVID-19 cases. Left there, he would have died.
They were only able to offer limited primary care. But they kept him alive overnight. The next morning he was evacuated by air to a private hospital where a medical team was on standby.
That’s where Tango remains today. His whereabouts are a secret, and his room is being guarded by the investigation team to guarantee his survival.
Tango is 28 years old. His injuries – both physical and psychological – mean he’s likely never to work again as an undercover investigator, but will be redeployed within IAPF.
Tango is currently in intensive care. Credit: IAPF
“He’s a silent warrior,” says Iraq War veteran Damien Mander, who founded IAPF in 2009. “It’s no understatement to say he moves amongst the shadows of night in the fight against wildlife crime. And he is one of the best, as part of a region-wide team operating across borders.”
The crime syndicates specialize in rhino horn and ivory poaching, as well as other illicit trades such as weapons and human trafficking.
“Tango has been one of our most fearless and committed wildlife crime fighters for a long time,” added Mander.mil
The attack appeared to be in direct retaliation for arrests made earlier on that Sunday, involving those suspected rhino poachers.
Tango and others like him are the last line of defense for African wildlife, animals under serious threat of being poached and hunted to extinction.
According to the IUCN, populations of African forest elephants have fallen by more than 86 percent over 31 years, while African savanna elephants have decreased by 60 percent over the last 50 years.
For some African rhinos, the situation is worse. In 1970 there were 70,000 black rhinos, but just 2,410 in 1995 – a dramatic decline of 96 percent.
Thanks to the efforts of conservation by organizations such as the IAPF, black rhino numbers have risen to a population of between 5,366 and 5,627 individuals. But that is still over 85 percent down from 1970.
Globally the combined pressures of animal agriculture, wildlife trafficking, and poaching mean only four percent of the total mass of mammals on the planet are free-living wild animals. More than 60 percent of all living mammals are now animals farmed for agriculture such as cows, pigs, and sheep. Humans make up the other 36 percent.
That makes it critical to protect those animals who are left – and support those on the frontline of protecting them.
Every year it gets harder. It is a perverse law of market economics that the more endangered the animals become, the more valuable they are. This attracts even more attention from the organized crime syndicates. Rhino horn is currently selling for around $65,000 per kilogram on the black market.
And that makes the job of protecting them even more dangerous.
The IAPF, and Tango, knew that something like this could happen. As the crime syndicates get more involved, the costs – and the risks – to protect wildlife increase.
Tango will stay with the IAPF on full pay throughout his recovery. He’ll be retrained for another role within the company. But, his loss to the Special Investigations Unit is a big blow.
“He’s been involved in hundreds of arrests,” says Mander. “It’s a huge loss for us and the animals.
“We’ll need to replace him too, and that requires us to retrain a new operator over a minimum of 12 months. And provide additional training and protective resources for all investigation officers.”
The IAPF will be covering the ongoing costs and compensation with the help of donors until Tango returns.
But that may not be for a while. Right now, he’s in a sealed-off room specifically set aside for serious burns. His screams of pain can be heard throughout the hospital when his bandages are changed daily.
“He’ll be severely scarred both mentally and physically for life,” explains Mander. “He’s having flashbacks. He’s in and out of consciousness and is in a serious but stable condition.
The IAPF does plan financially for emergencies, but Tango’s is an extreme case. There are no “victims of crime” compensation payment systems in Zimbabwe.
“The best way the international community can help right now is to donate to Tango’s recovery fund,” says Mander. “We’ve already raised $21,000 for him.
“We’ve got medical bills, the air evacuation and paramedic treatment, the secure room in a private hospital, a burns specialist, and trauma counseling. The costs will get closer to $100,000.”
The special investigations team works across Zimbabwe and other regions alongside and as part of Akashinga, the world’s only armed all-female teams of wildlife rangers, the plant-based project that protects much of Zimbabwe’s wildlife in the Zambezi Valley. Donors to the campaign have the option to be kept regularly updated with Tango’s recovery.
Luckily, no other IAPF rangers or staff were involved in the assault. It does at least mean they can continue normal operations in protecting Zimbabwe’s environment, communities, and wildlife.
Tango is still in intensive care, although Mander points out their priority is to get him back to good health, and he’s responding well.
“He’s there until at least the end of the month,” he says, “but Tango is fighting strong. He’s started to speak now, and wiggle his fingers.”
IAPF is focused on driving the investigation and bringing those responsible for this attempted murder to justice. It’s essential – a strong message that the culprits are held responsible will protect other investigators. And as such, more animals.
“The reason investigators like Tango are so effective is that they go precisely where the problem is,” explains Mander. “We use limited resources in a focused way.
“Only three percent of crimes are solved by catching someone in the act. The other 97 percent is through investigation,and then getting law enforcement to take action.
“This is the only way to continue to crush these and similar organized crime syndicates.
“We condemn the use of violence against those who attempt to uphold the laws of Zimbabwe and protect its wildlife against poaching. We are working with the appropriate authorities and will leave no stone unturned in efforts to bring the perpetrators of this horrific crime to justice.”
International Anti-Poaching Foundation is a USA-registered 501c(3) charity. IAPF has the Platinum Seal of approval from independent charity evaluator GuideStar. This is the highest level that GuideStar recognizes and less than 0.5 percent of nonprofits in the USA earn it.
Help Mexican gray wolves by showing your support for translocating the Negrito Mexican gray wolf family to Ladder Ranch, where they can be safe and free! The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USWFS) plans to move the bonded wolf family (M1693, F1728, and their young pups) onto the excellent habitat – away livestock grazing – that Ladder Ranch offers.
Currently, Mexican gray wolves within the wild population are as related to one another as full siblings. The captive population, however, is more genetically diverse. So, to address the genetic bottleneck facing the wild wolf population, the Mexican wolf Recovery Team selects captive wolves for release to capitalize on the remaining genetic potential available in that population.
Since 2016, USFWS excessively reliant on just a single strategy to release captive wolves to the wild – their cross-foster initiative. Cross-fostering is a coordinated event where captive-born pups are introduced into a similar-aged wild litter to be raised by surrogate parents. But cross-fostered pups can only eventually spread their genes to the greater population if they survive to adulthood and have wild pups of their own.
With the translocation of the Negrito pack, USFWS is allowing this family to establish a territory where there will be fewer threats presented by livestock grazing. They are also giving Mexican gray wolf M1693, a cross-foster wolf himself (from 2018) who has unique genetics, a chance to fulfill his potential in aiding in the genetic rescue of endangered subspecies!
Please join us in thanking the USFWS for doing the right thing for this wolf family and ensuring they have a chance to raise their pups in the wild where they belong!
Anyone can submit a comment to USFWS Mexican Wolf Recovery Coordinator Brady McGee, regardless of geographic location! The deadline for public comments is May 24, 2021.
Tell USFWS you support the Ladder Ranch Reserve 2021 Wolf Translocation Plan for the Negrito Pack (M1693, F1728, and their young pups)
Thank them for helping this wolf family return to the wild where they belong! Tell them you support the release of bonded family groups to aid in the genetic rescue of endangered Mexican gray wolves.
Tell them this wolf pack will make a positive genetic contribution to the wild population.
Tell them the Ladder Ranch offers excellent habitat for wolves and will ensure that this young wolf family can thrive in the wild away from human activities and livestock grazing.
Please personalize your message. Nothing is as effective as speaking from the heart!
Support for the Ladder Ranch Translocation Proposal
Dear [Decision Maker], As a lifelong supporter of Endangered Species Act (ESA) and someone who cares deeply for our nation’s wolves, including endangered Mexican gray wolves, I am writing to express my support for the Ladder Ranch Reserve 2021 Wolf Translocation Plan for the Negrito wolf family (M1693, F1728, and their young pups). * Personalize your message
I applaud USFWS for taking these steps, and look forward to cheering USFWS on as you proceed with your full authority to translocate this wolf family onto the excellent habitat – away from livestock grazing – that Ladder Ranch offers.
Agreement with USDA’s Wildlife Services curbs killing of cougars, bears, and other native species
SANTA FE, NM—In a major win for New Mexico’s wildlife, WildEarth Guardians settled its lawsuit against USDA’s Wildlife Services after the federal program agreed to stop its reckless slaughter of native carnivores such as black bears, cougars, and foxes on all federal public lands; cease killing all carnivores on specific protected federal lands; and end the use of cruel traps, snares, and poisons on public lands.
The settlement additionally requires public reporting of Wildlife Services’ activities in the state, including documenting non-lethal preventative measures employed by the program. These protections will remain in place pending the program’s completion of a detailed and public environmental review of its work.
The settlement agreement comes after WildEarth Guardians sued Wildlife Services in October 2020 over the program’s reliance on severely outdated environmental reviews of its work. The agreement, filed with the federal district court of New Mexico, ensures that Wildlife Services will no longer conduct any wildlife killing in New Mexico’s specially protected areas such as designated Wilderness, Areas of Critical Environmental Concern, and Wild & Scenic River corridors. The program will cease using sodium cyanide bombs (M44s) and other poisons on all public lands within the state. Additionally, the program will no longer kill beavers, which are increasingly seen as critical to mitigating the effects of widespread drought.
Notably, the agreement also mandates that a program district supervisor reviews all wolf depredation investigation reports before a livestock depredation determination is made in an effort to ensure appropriate safeguards for the endangered Mexican gray wolves that inhabit southwestern New Mexico.
“It’s past time for Wildlife Services to start grappling with 21st century science showing killing wildlife in hopes of preventing livestock losses doesn’t work, is often counterproductive, horribly inhumane, and robs native ecosystems of critically important apex carnivores,” said Jennifer Schwartz, staff attorney at WildEarth Guardians. “We’re glad our settlement kickstarts this process, while affording New Mexico’s wildlife some reprieve from the government’s archaic and cruel killing practices.”
The settlement agreement, finalized on March 11, 2021, includes multiple temporary provisions that will soon become permanent parts of New Mexico law as the result of the enactment of the Wildlife Conservation and Public Safety Act (“Roxy’s Law”) earlier this month. Roxy’s Law—championed by WildEarth Guardians and its allies in the TrapFree New Mexico coalition—bans the use of traps, snares, and poisons, on all public lands in the state of New Mexico. While Roxy’s Law is set to go into effect on April 1, 2022, the settlement agreement ensures that Wildlife Services refrains from using these devices on public lands immediately.
“The past several weeks have seen incredible wins for New Mexico’s native wildlife,” said Chris Smith, southern Rockies wildlife advocate for WildEarth Guardians. “With the climate crisis, drought, and human expansion all taking a toll on our state’s biodiversity, it’s time we stop seeing wildlife as something that needs to be killed and culled and instead see it as something that deserves protection and respect.”
Wildlife Services is culpable of killing thousands of animals in New Mexico each year including coyotes, cougars, prairie dogs, several varieties of fox, and even endangered Mexican gray wolves. Per federal law, Wildlife Services must use up-to-date studies and the best available science to analyze the environmental impact of their animal damage control program on New Mexico’s wildlife and native ecosystems. Under the agreement, Wildlife Services must provide an environmental analysis of the effects and risks of its wildlife-killing program in New Mexico by December 31, 2021.
The settlement agreement also requires Wildlife Services to significantly increase its overall transparency with the public by documenting and releasing—via its state website—detailed yearly reports of its wildlife “damage control” practices. This includes the number and type of animals captured and by which method, the number of requests for assistance and the reason given (livestock protection, health and safety, nuisance, etc.), and types of non-lethal preventative measures employed by Wildlife Services or the party requesting lethal control. This type of detailed information has previously only been available through formal Freedom of Information Act requests, which typically take many months, if not years, for USDA to fulfill.
“A public reporting requirement will compel Wildlife Services to be held accountable to the general public for its actions,” said Schwartz. “We hope that this motivates Wildlife Services to employ practices in line with the values of the public and embrace the use of scientifically verified non-lethal conflict prevention.”
BackgroundWildlife Services is a multimillion-dollar federal program that uses painful leghold traps, strangulation snares, poisons and aerial gunning to kill wolves, coyotes, cougars, birds, and other wild animals. Most of the killing responds to requests from the agriculture industry.
The program reported killing more than 433,000 native animals nationwide in 2020. Nontarget animals, including pets and protected wildlife like wolves, grizzlies and eagles, are also at risk from the program’s indiscriminate methods.
Over the last five years, litigation by WildEarth Guardians and partners against Wildlife Services has resulted in settlement agreements and legal victories in Idaho, Montana, California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and New Mexico, all curbing the program’s slaughter of native wildlife and making the program accountable for its activities.
SAFE says since January, nine dogs have been killed and 395 dogs have been injured, including 54 with broken bones.
“Even one death is one too many. Between the deaths, injuries, and the recent doping scandal involving methamphetamine, we’re seriously concerned about the welfare of dogs in the racing industry,” Appelbe said.
“Grant Robertson needs to act now. Suspend racing and protect these dogs until the review is complete.”
In a statement, CEO of Greyhound Racing New Zealand Glenda Hughes says Sunday’s race “appears to be an outlier”.
“We continue to work on all aspects of our racing to ensure the safety of our dogs. We will be assessing all angles of the race day at Manukau to ascertain if there is any identifiable cause for Sunday as this appears to be an outlier.
“Over the last 4 months, we have had two euthanisations (one of which was Paris End in the Sunday Race) due to race day injuries in over 14873 starts. This is the equivalent of 10 starts per dog.”
A young tiger relaxes in his open enclosures at the Wild Animal Sanctuary on April 1, 2020 in Kennesburg, Colorado. These tigers are among 45 animals the sanctuary rescued from Joe Exotic’s Greater Wynnewood Animal Park in Florida. (Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post)
The majority of the exotic animals seized this year by federal agents from a park made infamous by the “Tiger King” docu-series now reside in Colorado.
Pat Craig, executive director of the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, said that since January, his facility has taken in 50 animals from the Tiger King Park in Thackerville, Okla. That includes 10 tiger cubs with four mothers that were seized in January, and 36 adult lions, tigers and liligers — a hybrid lion and liger — that were seized this month.
Tiger King Park is owned by Jeff and Lauren Lowe, who were featured in the namesake documentary. Jeff Lowe was put in charge of Maldonado-Passage’s exotic animal park after the owner was sentenced to 22 years in prison for his role in a murder-for-hire plot. The park was eventually closed — under disputed circumstances, according to Men’s Health — and Lowe announced plans for a new one in Thackerville, near the border of Oklahoma and Texas.
According to NPR, the Justice Department sued the Lowes in November for allegedly violating the Endangered Species Act and the Animal Welfare Act. The couple is accused of exhibiting the animals without a license and failing to adequately care for them.
An affidavit said, “inspectors found that the animals were receiving a nutritionally deficient diet, inadequate and untimely veterinary care, and insufficient shelter from the weather” during welfare checks conducted since December of 2020, NPR reported.
Located on a 789-acre tract of land in Weld County, the Wild Animal Sanctuary is a nonprofit organization that began housing animals rescued from Maldonado-Passage’s Oklahoma compound as early as 2017. The company also operates the Wild Animal Refuge on more than 9,600 acres in Springfield, Colo. and a Wild Animal Sanctuary on 41 acres in Boyd, Texas.
The company currently cares for more than 650 lions, tigers, bears and wolves, according to its website.
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