You must have four paws to ride this train… 🐕

IUCN Red List Update Brings Good News, Some Warnings | American Bird Conservancy

abcbirds.org

David Wiedenfeld

David Wiedenfeld

Conservation efforts paid off for species previously considered Critically Endangered, including Peru’s endemic Junin Grebe.

Each year, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) evaluates the status of species on its Red List of Threatened Species, a key listing that ranks most of the worlds’ species by conservation need. This evaluation measures carefully chosen criteria, such as each species’ population size and trend. The 2020 update brought some welcome news: In the Americas, an important group of species that ABC and our partners have worked to protect have lowered threat status. A few others, however, moved to a higher threat category.

First, the good news: Conservation efforts paid off for three species previously considered in the highest threat category, Critically Endangered (CR). Peru’s endemic Junin Grebe and two hummingbirds — Black-breasted Puffleg of Ecuador and Glittering Starfrontlet of Colombia — dropped to the lower threat category of Endangered (EN). ABC partners have protected reserves for the two hummingbirds and worked to reduce nesting area loss around the grebe’s lake habitat.

Junin Grebe by ECOAN

Junin Grebe by Pete Morris

Nine species ABC partners have protected changed from EN to less dire Vulnerable (VU) and Near Threatened (NT) status, indicating that dedicated conservation and careful monitoring have had a positive impact. Two of these, the Long-whiskered Owlet and Yellow-eared Parrot, have benefited from ABC’s flagship conservation programs with our Peruvian partner Asociación Ecosistemas Andinos, in the case of the owlet, and Fundación ProAves in Colombia, for the parrot.

For some ABC focal species, though, ramped-up efforts are needed to turn the tide. Three species with which ABC and partners have recently begun conservation efforts shifted from EN to CR status, indicating they are more threatened than previously thought. For one of these, the Lilacine Amazon parrot in Ecuador, ABC and partner Fundación de Conservación Jocotoco have recently initiated projects with local communities to protect roost areas and reduce poaching. For the other two, the Santa Marta Sabrewing hummingbird and Great Green Macaw, ABC and partners have created reserves, but more work is needed to ensure adequate habitat is protected.

Some species for which ABC has yet to begin conservation efforts jumped to more-threatened categories. These include the Perijá Starfrontlet hummingbird that occurs at the border between Venezuela and Colombia and the Santa Marta Foliage-gleaner of Colombia, as well as these island birds: the Great White Heron, Bahama Warbler, and St. Lucia Oriole. The heron, still considered by some experts to be an all-white Great Blue Heron subspecies, also occurs in southern Florida in the U.S. These species will be priorities for ABC and our partners’ work in the near future.

Great Green Macaws by Evgeniapp_Shutterstock

Great Green Macaws by Evgeniapp/Shutterstock

Parrots in Peril

The 2020 IUCN Red List update has moved four New World parrot species — the Great Green Macaw, Lilacine Amazon, Orange-fronted Parakeet, and Black-billed Amazon — to higher threat categories. All are threatened by habitat loss, direct persecution, or capture for the pet trade. Over half of New World parrots are classified as Near Threatened, globally threatened, or extinct, but thanks to targeted conservation by ABC and partners, 12 of these species, including the Lear’s Macaw, Blue-throated Macaw, and Yellow-eared Parrot, have stabilized or increased their populations.


David Wiedenfeld is ABC’s Senior Conservation Scientist.

https://abcbirds.org/blog21/iucn-red-list-update/

Biodiversity: How has the rise of humans affected wild mammals? | World Economic Forum

A child walks near a sculpture displaying a mammoth during sunset on the outskirts of Khanty-Mansiysk, March 4, 2011.  REUTERS/Tatyana Makeyeva  (RUSSIA - Tags: SOCIETY ANIMALS) - GF2E73716M001
The Quaternary Megafauna Extinction led to the extinction of more than 178 of the world’s large mammals. Image: REUTERS/Tatyana Makeyeva

This article is reposted from Our World in Data 26 Apr 2021

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Explore context Environment and Natural Resource Security

  • A diverse range of mammals once roamed the planet, but this changed quickly and dramatically with the arrival of humans.
  • Since the rise of humans, wild land mammal biomass has declined by 85%, writes Hannah Ritchie for Our World in Data.
  • For the first time in human history, we can produce enough food from a smaller land area, making it possible for wild animals to flourish again.

Travel back 100,000 years and the planet was rich with a wide array of wild mammals. Mammoths roamed across North America; lions across Europe; 200-kilogram wombats in Australasia; and the ground sloth lounged around South America.

They’re now gone. Since the rise of humans, several hundred of the world’s largest mammals have gone extinct.

Have you read?

While we often think of ecological damage as a modern problem our impacts date back millennia to the times in which humans lived as hunter-gatherers. Our history with wild animals has been a zero-sum game: either we hunted them to extinction, or we destroyed their habitats with agricultural land. Without these natural habitats to expand into and produce food on, the rise of humans would have been impossible. Humans could only thrive at the expense of wild mammals.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. This century marks a pivotal moment: for the first time in human history there is the opportunity for us to thrive alongside, rather than compete with, the other mammals that we share this planet with.

In this article I want to take a look at how the world’s mammals have changed in the past, and how we can pave a better way forward.

As we’ll see, our long history with the other mammals is really a story about meat. Humans have always, and continue to have, a strong drive to eat meat. For our hunter-gatherer ancestors life was about plotting a hunt against the giant 200-kilogram wombat. This later became a story of how to produce the equivalent of a giant wombat in the field. Now we’re focused on how we can produce this in the lab.

The decline of wild mammals has a long history

To understand how the richness of the mammal kingdom has changed we need a metric that captures a range of different animals and is comparable over time. We could look at their abundance – the number of individuals we have – but this is not ideal. We would be counting every species equally, from a mouse to an elephant and this metric would therefore an ecosystem taken over by the smallest mammals look much richer than one in which bigger mammals roam: if the world’s mouse populations multiplied and multiplied – maybe even to the detriment of other animals – then this abundance metric might suggest that these ecosystems were thriving.

Instead, ecologists often use the metric biomass. This means that each animal is measured in tonnes of carbon, the fundamental building block of life.1 Biomass gives us a measure of the total biological productivity of an ecosystem. It also gives more weight to larger animals at higher levels of the ecological ‘pyramid’: these rely on well-functioning bases below them.

I have reconstructed the long-term estimates of mammal terrestrial biomass from 100,000 BC through to today from various scientific sources.2 This means biomass from marine mammals – mainly whales – is not included. The story of whaling is an important one that I cover separately here. This change in wild land mammals is shown in the chart. When I say ‘wild mammals’ from this point, I’m talking about our metric of biomass.

If we go back to around 100,000 years ago – a time when there were very few early humans and only in Africa – all of the wild land mammals on Earth summed up to around 20 million tonnes of carbon. This is shown as the first column in the chart. The mammoths, and European lions, and ground sloths were all part of this.

By around 10,000 years ago we see a huge decline of wild mammals. This is shown in the second column. It’s hard to give a precise estimate of the size of these losses millennia ago, but they were large: likely in the range of 25% to 50%.3

It wasn’t just that we lost a lot of mammals. It was almost exclusively the world’s largest mammals that vanished. This big decline of mammals is referred to as the Quaternary Megafauna Extinction (QME). The QME led to the extinction of more than 178 of the world’s large mammals (‘megafauna’).

Many researchers have grappled with the question of what caused the QME. Most evidence now points towards humans as the primary driver.4 I look at this evidence in much more detail in a related article. Most of this human impact came through hunting. There might also have been smaller local impacts through fire and other changes to natural landscapes. You can trace the timing of mammal extinctions by following human expansion across the world’s continents. When our ancestors arrived in Europe the European megafauna went extinct; when they arrived in North America the mammoths went extinct; then down to South America, the same.

What’s most shocking is how few humans were responsible for this large-scale destruction of wildlife. There were likely fewer than 5 million people in the world. 5 Around half the population of London today.6

A global population half the size of London helped drive tens to hundreds of the world’s largest mammals to extinction. The per capita impact of our hunter-gatherer ancestors was huge.

The romantic idea that our hunter-gatherer ancestors lived in harmony with nature is deeply flawed. Humans have never been ‘in balance’ with nature. Trace the footsteps of these tiny populations of the past and you will find extinction after extinction after extinction.

Hunting to farming: how human populations now compete with wild mammals

We’re now going to fast-forward to our more recent past. By the year 1900, wild mammals had seen another large decline.

By this point, the pressures on wild mammals had shifted. The human population had increased to 1.7 billion people. But the most important change was the introduction of farming and livestock. We see this in the top panel of the chart. This shows the per capita agricultural land use over these millennia – a reflection of how humans got their food.7 Before the agricultural revolution around 10,000 years ago, our food came from hunting and gathering. Agricultural land use was minimal although as we’ve already seen, per capita impacts were still high through hunting. We then see a clear transition point, where agricultural land use begins to rise.

The rise of agriculture had both upsides and downsides for wild mammals. On the one hand, it alleviated some of the direct pressure. Rather than hunting wild mammals we raised our own for meat, milk, or textiles. In this way, the rise of livestock saved wildlife. Crop farming also played a large role in this. The more food humans could produce for themselves, the less they needed to rely on wild meat.

But the rise of agriculture also had a massive downside: the need for agricultural land meant the loss of wild habitats.

The expansion of agriculture over millennia has completely reshaped the global landscape from one of wild habitats, to one dominated by farms. Over the last 10,000 years, we’ve lost one-third of the world’s forests and many grasslands and other wild habitats have been lost too. This obviously came at a large ecological cost: rather than competing with wild mammals directly, our ancestors took over the land that they needed to survive.

We see this change clearly in the bottom panel of the chart: there was a first stage of wild mammal loss through hunting; then another decline through the loss of habitats to farmland.

This shift in the distribution has continued through to today. We see this in the final column, which gives the breakdown in 2015. Wild mammals saw another large decline in the last century. At the same time the human population increased, and our livestock even more so. This because incomes across the world have increased, meaning more people can afford the meat products that were previously unavailable to them. We dig a bit deeper into this distribution of mammals in a related article.

The past was a zero-sum game; the future doesn’t have to be

Since the rise of humans, wild land mammals have declined by 85%.

As we just saw, this history can be divided into two stages. The pre-agriculture phase where our ancestors were in direct competition with wild mammals. They killed them for their meat. And the post-agriculture phase where the biggest impact was indirect: habitat loss through the expansion of farmland. Our past relationship with wild animals has been a zero-sum game: in one way or another, human success has come at the cost of wild animals.

How do we move forward?

Some people suggest a return to wild hunting as an alternative to modern, intensive farming. A return to our primal roots. This might be sustainable for a few local communities. But we only need to do a simple calculation to see how unfeasible this is at any larger scale. In 2018 the world consumed 210 million tonnes of livestock meat from mammals [we’re only looking at mammals here so I’ve excluded chicken, turkey, goose, and duck meat]. In biomass terms, that’s 31 million tonnes of carbon.8 From our chart above we saw that there are only 3 million tonnes of wild land mammal biomass left in the world. If we relied on this for food, all of the world’s wild mammals would be eaten within a month.9

We cannot go back to this hunter-gatherer way of living. Even a tiny number of people living this lifestyle had a massive negative impact on wildlife. For a population of almost 8 billion it’s simply not an option.

But the alternative of continued growth in livestock consumption is also not sustainable. In the short term, it is saving some wild mammals from hunting. But its environmental costs are high: the expansion of agricultural land is the leading driver of deforestation, it emits large amounts of greenhouse gases, and needs lots of resource inputs.

Thankfully we have options to build a better future. If we can reduce agricultural land – and primarily land use for livestock – we can free up land for wild mammals to return. There are already positive signs that this is possible. In the chart we see the change in per capita agricultural land use from 5,000 years ago to today.10 Land use per person has fallen four-fold. The most dramatic decline has happened in the last 50 years: the amount of agricultural land per person has more than halved since 1960. This was the result of increased crop yields and livestock productivity. Of course, the world population also increased over that time, meaning total agricultural land use continued to grow. But, there might be positive signs: the world may have already passed ‘peak agricultural land’. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization reports a decline in global agricultural land since 2000: falling from 4.9 to 4.8 billion hectares. A very small decline, but signs that we could be at a turning point.

I’ve tried to capture what the future could look like in this final chart. It shows the rise in global agricultural land use over these millennia and the decline in wild biomass that we’ve already seen. But looking to the future, a decline in agricultural land alongside a rise in wild mammals is possible. How can we achieve this?

What’s the World Economic Forum doing about deforestation?

Halting deforestation is essential to avoiding the worst effects of global climate change.

The destruction of forests creates almost as much greenhouse gas emissions as global road travel, and yet it continues at an alarming rate.

In 2012, we brought together more than 150 partners working in Latin America, West Africa, Central Africa and South-East Asia – to establish the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020: a global public-private partnership to facilitate investment in systemic change.

The Alliance, made up of businesses, governments, civil society, indigenous people, communities and international organizations, helps producers, traders and buyers of commodities often blamed for causing deforestation to achieve deforestation-free supply chains. null

The Commodities and Forests Agenda 2020, summarizes the areas in which the most urgent action is needed to eliminate deforestation from global agricultural supply chains.

The Tropical Forest Alliance 2020is gaining ground on tackling deforestation linked to the production of four commodities: palm oil, beef, soy, and pulp and paper.

Get in touch to join our mission to halt to deforestation.

Some people are in favor of a switch to traditional plant-based diets: cereals, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. Because the land use of plant-based diets is smaller than meat-based diets this is definitely a sustainable option; those who adopt such diets have a low environmental footprint. But many people in the world just really like meat and for those that can afford it, it’s a central part of their diet. For many of those who can’t aspire to be able to do so; we see this when we look at how meat consumption rises with income.

With new technologies it’s possible to enjoy meat or meat-like products without raising or consuming any animals at all. We can have our cake and eat it; or rather, we can have our meat and keep our animals too. Food production is entering a new phase where we can move meat production from the farm to the lab. The prospects for cultured meat are growing. In 2020, Singapore was the first country to bring lab-grown chicken to the market. And it’s not just lab-grown meat that’s on the rise. A range of alternative products using other technologies such as fermentation or plant-based substitutes are moving forward: Beyond Meat, Quorn and Impossible Foods are a few examples.

The biggest barriers – as with all technologies in their infancy – is going to be scale and affordability. If these products are to make a difference at a global scale we need to be able to produce them in large volumes and at low cost. This is especially true if we want to offer an alternative to the standard ‘wild animal to livestock’ transition for lower-income countries. They have to be cheaper than meat.

It’s going to be a challenge. But it’s an incredibly exciting one. For the first time in human history we could decouple human progress from ecological degradation. The game between humans and wild animals no longer needs to be zero-sum. We can reduce poaching and restore old habitats to allow wild mammals to flourish. Doing so does not have to come at the cost of human wellbeing. We can thrive alongside, rather than compete with, the other mammals that we share this planet with. null Share License and Republishing

World Economic Forum Type may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use. Written by

Hannah Ritchie, Researcher, Our World in Data

More on Environment and Natural Resource Security View all

This small change to farming could reduce agriculture’s climate impact by 30%New research suggests that removing tilling from the farming process produces up to 30% lower emissions, helping to reduce agriculture’s carbon footprint. Sacha Mooney, Hannah Victoria Cooper, and Sofie Sjogersten · The Conversation 30 Apr 20215 sustainable farming methods assessedEnvironmental journalist Lizzy Rosenberg explores whether agriculture can be sustainable by evaluating regenerative, organic, vertical, and vegan farming. Lizzy Rosenberg · Green Matters 30 Apr 20218 quotes from the Agenda Dialogues on tackling the climate crisisJoe Myers 30 Apr 2021From Superior to Eerie – how big are the Great Lakes?Iman Ghosh · Visual Capitalist 28 Apr 2021Wild mammals have declined by 85%, but there is a possible future where they flourishHannah Ritchie · Our World in Data 26 Apr 2021Panama’s plan to go green and reforest 1 million hectares by 2050Anastasia Moloney · Thomson Reuters Foundation trust.org 26 Apr 2021

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/04/mammals-human-agriculture-charts/

From Bullets To Bones

Got to be sweet smellin…

Millionaire trophy hunter is caught boasting how he helped to shoot 13,000 doves

www.dailymail.co.uk

Michael Powell

By Michael Powell for The Mail on Sunday 01:55 02 May 2021, updated 02:12 02 May 2021

  • In phone call with undercover investigator, businessman Rob Weir recounted a £2,800 hunting trip
  • Mr Weir said: ‘There were five of us – one of them was a lady – and we shot 13,000 doves over four days’
  • Mr Weir owns H. J. Weir Engineering, one of world’s largest manufacturers of industrial laundry machines
  • He also said: ‘The very first time I went out there I wanted to shoot a baboon. I had a thing about shooting a baboon, I don’t know why but I did’

A millionaire trophy hunter has been caught boasting about helping to kill 13,000 doves and blasting a baboon.

In a phone call with an undercover investigator, businessman Rob Weir recounted a £2,800 hunting trip to Argentina, saying: ‘There were five of us – one of them was a lady – and we shot 13,000 doves over four days.’

He said he had limited himself to 1,500 shells a day, adding: ‘I tell you what, I’d love to go back. What an experience.’ BOASTS: Rob Weir (left), who boasted about helping to kill 13,000 doves and blasting a baboon, poses with a dead buffalo in 2017

Mr Weir, who owns H. J. Weir Engineering, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of industrial laundry machines, said he had also made repeated hunting trips to South Africa over the past seven or eight years.

Click here to resize this module

‘The very first time I went out there I wanted to shoot a baboon. I had a thing about shooting a baboon, I don’t know why but I did,’ he said.

‘I’ve shot buffalo out there, I’ve shot impala out there, I’ve shot warthogs out there, I’ve shot different gazelle-type animals out there.’ The 68-year-old businessman, who also owns the Weir Rallying motorsports team, made his comments to Eduardo Goncalves (above, at the Mirror Animal Hero awards in 2019) – the author and founder of the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting

Approached for a comment, Mr Weir, who has not broken any laws with his hunting activities, said: ‘I’ve got nothing further to say.’

The 68-year-old businessman, who also owns the Weir Rallying motorsports team, made his comments to Eduardo Goncalves, the author and founder of the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting.

Mr Goncalves has spent the past year posing as a trophy hunter in order to uncover the industry’s secrets for a forthcoming book.

It comes as pressure grows on the Government to implement its long-promised ban on trophy hunting, a pledge first made in the Queen’s Speech in October 2019 and repeated in the Tory Election manifesto two months later.

Despite an estimated 200 animals being killed by British trophy hunters every year, there is still no official date for introducing the ban, although it is thought it will be mentioned again in next month’s Queen’s Speech.

Campaigners are worried, however, that civil servants may try to water down legislation by including a clause allowing hunters to import trophies if they pay a ‘blood money’ fee to conservation projects.

Last night, a Government spokesman said: ‘The Government takes the conservation of endangered species in the UK and internationally very seriously, which is why we have committed to banning the import of hunting trophies from endangered species – as set out in the Government’s manifesto.’

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9533103/amp/Millionaire-trophy-hunter-caught-boasting-helped-shoot-13-000-doves.html?__twitter_impression=true

Prepare your dogs for Life after lockdown

Here we go…. I was waiting for this to happen!

Wildlife WIN as Minister Takes Bold Steps to End Captive Bred Lion Industry in South Africa – SAPeople – Worldwide South African News

www.sapeople.com

SAPeople

May 2, 2021

It’s great news for wildlife as Minister Barbara Creecy of the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) today announced crucial and long-awaited steps towards changing the status quo of the commercial captive lion breeding industry in South Africa.

Speaking at a stakeholder’s feedback meeting in Pretoria, Minister Creecy said that South Africa will no longer breed captive lions, keep lions in captivity, or use captive lions or their derivatives commercially.

Minister Creecy has instructed her Department to put processes in place to:

  • halt the sale of captive lion derivatives (including the appropriate disposal of existing lion bone stockpiles and lion bone from euthanised lions);
  • halt the hunting of captive bred lions;
  • halt tourist interactions with captive lions (including, so-called voluntourism, cub petting, etc).

“The [High-Level] Panel identified that the captive lion breeding industry poses risks to the sustainability of wild lion conservation resulting from the negative impact on ecotourism, which funds lion conservation and conservation more broadly, the negative impact on the authentic wild hunting industry, and the risk that trade in lion parts poses to stimulating poaching and illegal trade”, said Minister Creecy in her announcement today.

The Department will be initiating processes to implement these majority recommendations by the High-Level Panel (HLP), established by the Minister in October 2019, in order to mitigate these risks and shift away from this abhorrent industry.

“We commend the Minister in her decisive leadership” – Dr Louise de Waal, Blood Lions

“Blood Lions has campaigned against this cruel and unethical industry and its spin-off activities for many years, and we are extremely happy by the Minister’s decision to bring an end to the commercial captive lion breeding industry”, says Dr Louise de Waal (Director and Campaign Manager of Blood Lions).

“We commend the Minister in her decisive leadership, and we would welcome the chance to play a role in assisting her, the various Departments and entities in the phasing out process to come.”A subadult male lion with possible mange, kept in captivity. Photo: Blood Lions

Currently, 8,000-12,000 lions and thousands of other big cats, including tigers and cheetahs, are bred and kept in captivity in more than 350 facilities in mostly the Free State, North West, Limpopo and Eastern Cape provinces. These predators are bred for commercial purposes, including interactive tourism, “canned” hunting, lion bone trade and live exports.

Blood Lions and the World Animal Protection together with many other stakeholders in the animal welfare and conservation sectors made a wealth of compelling science-based evidence available to the HLP in written and oral submissions in 2020.

Reasons provided to phase out the commercial captive lion breeding industry in South Africa included among others:

  • the risk of zoonosis,
  • animal welfare concerns,
  • the unregulated nature of the industry,
  • the fragmented policies pertaining this sector, as well as
  • damage to South Africa’s tourism and conservation reputation and
  • threats to the wild lion population from poaching.

“By working together, we can ensure that lions remain where they belong – in the wild. We stand ready to offer our expertise, working collaboratively with governments, NGOs and the tourism industry to find practical solutions”, says Edith Kabesiime (Wildlife Campaign Manager (Africa) for World Animal Protection.

DFFE taking lead towards a greener, more responsible South Africa

By implementing a ban on the use of captive lions and their derivatives, in conjunction with a breeding ban and an immediate end to all activities involving captive bred lions, DFFE will effectively take the lead towards a greener and more responsible South Africa.

These are the first steps in shifting away from commodifying SA’s wildlife, while moving towards a true “ecologically sustainable…use of natural resources”, as described in Section 24 in the Bill of Rights of our Constitution.

“Opposing this brutal industry has been a long journey. Our ultimate objective has always been to end the captive lion breeding industry, and after so many setbacks, we sense an important change in attitude. We applaud the Minister, her department and the HLP. Going forward, we hope to be of assistance to them in closing down the industry”, say Ian Michler and Pippa Hankinson (Directors of Blood Lions).

Given the considerable scale of farming and trade of captive lions in South Africa, the recommendations that came out of the HLP consultations concur with the views held amongst the global conservation community, welfare organisations, hunting bodies and the general public, who all condemn the industry.8,000 to 12,000 lions are kept in captivity in South Africa. Tourist interactions with captive lions are to be stopped. Photo: Blood Lions

“The only effective way to safeguard both people and animals throughout this industry is to conduct a phased shift away from commercial captive predator breeding operations”, de Waal states. “These steps will not only ensure improved welfare conditions for captive lions and other big cats, health and safety of the public at large, but also the protection of wild lions and the safeguarding of Brand South Africa from reputational damage, as the Minister acknowledged in her statement this morning.”

“Thousands of farmed lions are born into a life of misery in South Africa…”

Kabesiime adds: “Thousands of farmed lions are born into a life of misery in South Africa every year in cruel commercial breeding facilities. This latest move by the Government of South Africa is courageous – taking the first steps in a commitment to long-lasting and meaningful change. This is a win for wildlife.”An emaciated lion, in captivity. The risk of zoonosis is one of the compelling reasons to phase out commercial captive lion breeding in SA. Photo: Blood Lions

Blood Lions and World Animal Protection say they congratulate the Minister on these bold steps and offer their full support in developing and implementing a responsible phase-out plan in order to ensure that the commercial predator breeding industry is successfully closed down in South Africa, once and for all.

https://www.sapeople.com/2021/05/02/wildlife-win-as-minister-takes-bold-steps-to-end-captive-bred-lion-industry-in-south-africa/amp/

“Stairway to Heaven “

“Adorable bird talking just like a human”😂

Petition · Mr. Anthony Klopfer: Director VA of Eastern Kansas: Support Eastern/Central Kansas Veterans · Change.org

www.change.org

Dear Veterans and Community,

As the daughter of a Kansas veteran, I would like to inform veterans, their family and friends and the rest of the community of some proposed changes that I believe will negatively impact veterans who utilize services at the Topeka Veteran Affairs Medical Center and what we can do to stop it.

Recently, Anthony Rudy Klopfer, Director of the Eastern Kansas VA System, which includes both the Topeka and Leavenworth campuses, communicated with KSNT news about his proposal of changes to the Eastern Kansas VA System. This consists of consolidating services to Leavenworth and downsizing the Topeka VA Medical Center. These changes are supposed to benefit Kansas veterans. He states the changes better meet the needs of veterans by reaching out and providing more services. You can view his brief outline video here (VA Eastern Kansas 2021 Strategic Plan-Video 2-Goals, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p17uFDPMaHM on YouTube.

On November 25, 2019, KSNT reported the Topeka VA having the best patient satisfaction rate of any VA in the country. Currently, approximately 65% of the 35,000 veterans of the Eastern Kansas VA System use services at the Topeka VA. This leaves the remaining approximate 35% of Eastern Kansas veterans using services at the Leavenworth VA. Topeka has a population of ~126,000 while Leavenworth has a population of ~36,000 and is also a part of the Kansas City metropolitan area, which already has a large VA. The Leavenworth VA is only 36 miles from the KC VA. The Kansas City VA includes an Emergency Department, ICU, and Surgery Services, has more specialists available, and is able to see a wide complexity of patients. If the Topeka VA is downsized, veterans would have to travel either an additional 63 miles to Leavenworth or 72 miles to the KC VA for care.

Despite these facts, Director Klopfer plans to consolidate and move many resources and services from the Topeka VA to the Leavenworth VA. What benefit is there to Kansas veterans for consolidating and moving services from Topeka to the NE corner of KS, which already has these services through the KC VA? This consolidation would force all the veterans who utilize the Topeka VA to travel even further for their services.

The proposal also discusses closing down the Topeka VA Emergency Department, which is currently open 24/7, and replacing it with an Urgent Care that will not be open 24/7 and will not accept ambulances. Instead, it will be a walk-in clinic, open M-F 8am-8pm and 8am-4:30pm on weekends. For any medical emergency in the future, a veteran will have to drive to the Leavenworth, KC or Wichita VA’s or downtown Topeka to Stormont Vail or St Francis. Additionally, the proposal also discusses consolidating the Topeka VA ICU and General Surgery to Leavenworth.

At one time, the Topeka VA had the best PTSD Program in the country. That program has recently been closed. In the proposal, there is consideration for not reopening this program. In the video mentioned above, Director Klopfer discussed the possibility of keeping the Fresh Start Program at Topeka, moving it to the Leavenworth VA or closing it down completely. The proposal also discusses improving services and veteran care at the CBOCs by consolidating all of the Southeast Kansas CBOCs into one clinic. At this time, the Community-Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) in Emporia has already been closed.

When the consolidation is complete, there will be 2 ICU’s, 2 Surgical Centers and 2 Emergency Departments in close proximity in the northeast corner of the state (Leavenworth and KC). This leaves the veterans in the greater Topeka area, including those from Sabetha to Emporia, Lawrence to Salina, and the surrounding areas that currently utilize the Topeka VA, without an Emergency Department, General Surgery and ICU, and possibly will lose the Fresh Start Program and PTSD Program, as well. All of these services will no longer be offered through the Topeka VA. If these changes occur, those services will be lost permanently.

Director Klopfer wants to take away these services from the Topeka VA, that veterans in both Topeka and rural areas utilize. If services were increased at the Topeka VA vs the Leavenworth VA, it would benefit a higher number of veterans in the state of Kansas. In the video, Director Klopfer states: “I’ll tell you why we really need this. Because if we don’t, someone else will come here and say what Eastern Kansas is going to be like.” We believe services should stay where the veterans need them the most.

We still have a chance for our voices to be heard but we need your help. It is urgent that everyone: veterans, family, friends, coworkers, neighbors and local businesses consider signing and sharing this petition. If you would like to know more ways to help, please consider either writing, emailing and/or calling the Kansas Senators and Congressman plus Kansas VA officials and inform them of how important the Topeka Veteran Affairs Medical Center is for Kansas Veterans. Please help us keep these life-saving services, that Kansas Veterans have earned and deserve, at the Topeka VA.

Thank you,

https://www.change.org/p/mr-anthony-klopfer-director-va-of-eastern-kansas-support-eastern-central-kansas-veterans?source_location=petition_footer&algorithm=promoted&original_footer_petition_id=28660090&grid_position=8&pt=AVBldGl0aW9uAOSdsQEAAAAAYI4hILbyY5phODNiNWUxMA%3D%3D