After the Taliban surrendered control over Afghanistan last month, many Afghan Christians have gone into hiding in order to avoid persecution and death from the Islamic regime.
Release International, an international organization which monitors and reports on Christians across the world, notes that there are less than 10,000 Christians in the country as many have fled into more remote areas to stay out of sight from the Taliban.
“We’re hearing that Christians are trapped in Afghanistan, we don’t know how many, it was a small church to begin with,” Andrew Boyd of Release International toldPremier Christian News. “Quite a few have left while they could. But there are others who are trapped, they can’t get out.”
While the Taliban have control over the airfields and the country’s borders, Boyd says that some Christians have dispersed from Afghanistan into nearby countries…
Black bears have been spared from violent deaths in New Jersey! The bloody, highly controversial annual hunts will not take place this year, and signs point to non-lethal management techniques moving forward.
The New Jersey Fish and Game Council updated the state’s Comprehensive Black Bear Management Plan (CBBMP), which required a signature of approval from the Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner, Shawn M. LaTourette. Without his signature on the updated plan, the Fish and Game Council could not schedule a bear hunt. The updated CBBMP expired on June 21, 2021, therefore no bear hunts are allowed in the state in 2021.
DEP Commissioner LaTourette was appointed by Gov. Phil Murphy, who has publicly denounced the killing of bears for sport, and has emphasized “developing a new black bear policy that promotes public safety and welfare while protecting important wildlife with a focus on non-lethal management techniques.”
We applaud New Jersey for this shift toward the humane treatment of bears, and hope this decision serves as an example for additional states. Congratulations, New Jersey!
By Jeevan Ravindran, Stephanie Halasz, Allegra Goodwin and Sharon Braithwaite, CNN
Updated 12:49 PM ET, Wed September 15, 2021 The carcasses of white-sided dolphins lie on a beach after being pulled from the blood-stained water on the island of Eysturoy on Sunday, September 12, 2021.
(CNN)More than 1,400 white-sided dolphins were killed Sunday night in the Faroe Islands, in what local authorities said was a traditional whaling hunt. The killing has been denounced by marine conservation group Sea Shepherd as a “brutal and badly mishandled” massacre, and the largest single hunt in the Danish territory’s history. The organization said a super-pod of 1,428 Atlantic white-sided dolphins was corralled by speed boats and jet skis onto Skálabotnur beach on the island of Eysturoy, where they were then killed.
More than 1,400 dolphins were killed in the hunt.The Faroe Islands are an autonomous territory of the Kingdom of Denmark, lying about halfway between Scotland and Iceland in the Atlantic Ocean.
The annual whale hunt, or grindadráp in Faroese, has been a part of local culture for centuries — but it usually involves the hunting of pilot whales. Although it has long been criticized by animal rights groups, locals have defended the practice.
41-year-old Kristian Petersen, who is originally from the Faroese town of Fuglafjørður but now lives in Denmark, said he began participating in whaling at the age of seven — but in his village, dolphins were never targeted. “I have experienced that firsthand and also participated a bit,” Petersen told CNN. “As long as it has been for food only, I have supported it. But this recent catch that was this weekend, I’m against how it went on.
Petersen is one of several whaling supporters who have condemned Sunday’s killing, saying there were “so many errors,” including pursuing a large flock and prolonging the dolphins’ suffering by not having enough people on the beaches to kill them.
By killing whales, is Japan trying to revive a dying industry?In recent decades, the practice has come under strict regulation from the Faroese government, with guidelines for the authorization of hunts and how they should be conducted.Many, including Petersen, have questioned the legality of Sunday’s killing, with allegations that the local foreman, who is involved in regulating whaling in the area alongside the district administrator, was not informed in line with regulations. Sea Shepherd also claimed that several of those involved did not have the required licenses to participate.One foreman, Heri Petersen, has been quoted by local media outlet In.fo calling for accountability and confirming there were too few killers involved, meaning the dolphins struggled for breath on the beach until they were killed.The Faroese Executive Order on Hunting Pilot Whales and Other Small Whales, issued in January 2017, states either the district administrator or foreman must approve any hunts and gives them the responsibility to “ensure that enough people are available on shore to kill the whales.”Bjorg Jacobsen from the Faroe Islands Police told CNN the hunt had been legal, but he declined to comment further.
Iceland to let more than 2,000 whales be killed within the next five yearsIn a written statement, Faroese government spokesperson Páll Nolsøe told CNN the “notification about the sighting of the whales was given to the district administrator, and the district administrator, in consultation with the whaling foremen, designated the authorised whaling bay the whales should be driven into.” He said it “was organised and carried out in accordance with Faroese legislation” and “there were no breaches of law and regulations,” adding that this had been confirmed by the Faroese Ministry of Fisheries. Nolsøe added that everyone involved in killing must complete a pilot whaling course, and said hunting white-sided dolphins was a sustainable practice, with a yearly number of around 250, although it “fluctuates greatly” — making Sunday’s catch almost six times as large. “The meat from each whale drive provides a large amount of valuable food, which is distributed free in the local communities where the whale drives take place… the meat of the 1,400 dolphins caught on Sunday has likewise been distributed among the participants in the catch and the local community,” he added.However, Sea Shepherd alleged locals had said there was too much meat from Sunday’s hunt and there were fears it would have to be discarded, pointing to interviews published in Danish outlet Ekstra Bladet.
Striking new underwater traffic circle opening in the Faroe IslandsThis claim was contradicted by Steintór, a 61-year-old lobster fisherman from the village of Oyri, who did not wish to give his last name for fear of being targeted by anti-whaling activists. He said the meat from the dolphins would equal roughly 200 whales, and so was “not too much.””I think it’s very necessary to kill whales,” he said, arguing it was a sustainable practice favorable to the importing of beef. “And we do it in a very humane way, using veterinarian-certified tools … The problem in the Faroe Islands is that we have a public slaughterhouse. So everyone can see what is going on.”Although he said some locals were frustrated by the “not so well organized” hunt, and he was “surprised by the sheer number of the dolphins,” the killing itself was a “normal thing” and did not come as a shock, he said.Sea Shepherd further alleged that several dolphins had been run over by motor boats and “hacked by propellers,” resulting in reports to local police. The Faroe Islands Police did not respond to a CNN request for comment on the allegations.
“Considering the times we are in, with a global pandemic and the world coming to a halt, it’s absolutely appalling to see an attack on nature of this scale in the Faroe Islands,” Sea Shepherd Global’s CEO, Alex Cornelissen, said in a statement.The Faroe Islands Whales and Whaling body has continued to stand by the practice in recent years, stating on its website, “the average catch of around 800 whales a year is not considered to have a significant impact on the abundance of pilot whales, which are estimated at around 778,000.”
In 2019 UK Government finalised a free trade agreement (FTA) with Faroe Islands which allows for £100 million of exports of wild caught and farmed fish to Britain per annum (20% of the Faroe Islands global trade). This FTA should be suspended until all whale & dolphin hunts on Faroe Islands end More details
The Free Trade Agreement with the Faroe Islands gives the UK Government significant leverage when it comes to ending the mass slaughter of pilot whales and dolphins on the Faroe Islands which causes huge anger and revulsion around the world. If the UK is to be considered a world leader in the protection of marine mammals it must use this leverage nowSign this petition
Created by Dominic Dyer
Deadline 21 March 2022 All petitions run for 6 months
MISSOULA, MONTANA—Today, as the wolf hunting season begins in Montana—and Idaho continues its year-round slaughter of up to 90% of the states’ roughly 1,500 wolves—the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced positive initial findings on two petitions filed seeking Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections for gray wolves in the western U.S.
According to a press release from the agency, USFWS determined that “the petitions present substantial, credible information indicating that a listing action may be warranted and will initiate a comprehensive status review of the gray wolf in the western U.S.” A copy of the two petitions are here and here.
“We are encouraged that the relentless pressure of the conservation community and the public has resulted in a response from USFWS on petitions to relist wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains and beyond,” said John Horning, Executive Director of WildEarth Guardians. “It’s tragic—and perhaps not coincidental—that this finding comes on the same day that the state of Montana has unleashed hunters to kill hundreds of wolves throughout the state, including on the edge of Yellowstone National Park.”
“We now need USFWS to not just issue this statement of intention, but to take swift action in moving forward with the relisting process in order to prevent wolves from being pushed back to the brink of extinction,” explained Horning.
Last month, Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission finalized rules to expand hunting season, eliminate a cap on the number of wolves that can be killed in hunting and trapping zones bordering Yellowstone National Park and Glacier National Park and allow individuals to kill up to 10 wolves per season. In July, Idaho’s Fish and Game Commission implemented new hunting regulations – in line with state legislation – to allow a new year-round wolf hunting season, which would enable 90% of the states’ population to be slaughtered through various cruel methods such as traps, snares and even with snowmobiles.
“On the day that Montana opened rifle hunting season on wolves, the USFWS has finally taken their head out of the sand and recognized the tremendous threats to wolves across the West,” said Sarah McMillan, Montana-based Conservation Director at WildEarth Guardians. “Unfortunately, it’s unconscionable that the USFWS thinks a commitment to make a decision in 12 months—when the agency is on full notice that up to 1,800 wolves will be killed in Montana and Idaho in the next few months alone—is an adequate response to what is clearly an emergency situation.”
WildEarth Guardians issued a separate press release earlier today regarding the start of the general wolf hunting season in Montana, which is available here.
Gray wolf in winter in Yellowstone National Park. Photo by Sam Parks.
Despite @POTUS saying he is NOT going to protect wolves, the USFWS are considering it seeing the petitions, etc they’ve received & because Idaho & Montana’s new horrific regulations & planned hunts, threaten their populations. 🙏🏼 @USFWS protect them. https://t.co/3FCKLfoGEy
We need your help to protect ALL big cats in South Africa!
Minister Barbara Creecy has recently released a draft Policy Position on the conservation and ecologically sustainable use of elephant, lion, leopard and rhinoceros. We are encouraged by the Department’s decisions, but there is no doubt that more needs to be done in South Africa to end the farming and commercial trade in all big cat species.
This change in legislation is more important than ever. The exploitation of big cats in South Africa continues to grow and includes not only indigenous species like lions, but also exotic species such as tigers and jaguars. All big cats deserve protection.
How can you make a difference?
We’re asking you to voice your support of the Government’s decision to close the captive lion industry and furthermore ban ALL breeding and commercial trade of big cats. This is your chance to speak up for the welfare of all captive big cats. You can help with only a few clicks, which will submit a letter to government supporting our recommendations – which you can review in the message to government window..
Every year, 17 billion pounds of plastic enter the marine environment. Despite efforts to promote recycling, less than nine percent of plastics in the U.S. are actually recycled.
Birds are particularly vulnerable to plastic pollution. Many seabirds, like Laysan Albatross, are seriously injured or killed when they ingest or become entangled with plastic trash.
To address the plastic pollution crisis, Congress has introduced the Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act of 2021 (S.984/H.R.2238). This bill would put the onus on manufacturers to take care of the plastic waste that they produce, ultimately reducing the amount of plastic that gets into our oceans and the toll it takes on birds.
Take action today: Contact your U.S. Representative and Senators and ask them to pass the Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act. Read More
Tell the Senate: Follow the House Lead and Protect Wild Horses!
As you know, the American Wild Horse Campaign has spent the last several months diligently working with our partners on Capitol Hill to ensure that the interests of wild horses and burros are represented during the FY 2022 Appropriations process. We are happy to announce that the House Interior Appropriations Committee has released a draft bill that includes important language championed by AWHC and U.S. Representatives Steve Cohen (D-TN), Dina Titus (D-NV), and over 40 other House members.
If passed, the legislation will require the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to:
Implement a substantial humane reversible immunocontraceptive fertility control program to manage wild horse and burro populations in the wild.
Evaluate relocating wild horses and burros to other Herd Management Areas (HMAs) to avoid removals and keep these animals on the range where they belong, and create a task force within the Interior Department to address wild horse and burro management.
Review the “Adoption Incentive Program,” (AIP) which was recently exposed by AWHC and the New York Times as a pipeline to slaughter for hundreds of these federally-protected animals.
Maintain the ban that is intended to protect wild horses and burros from slaughter.
It’s an important step toward ending the current costly and cruel practice of rounding these animals up with helicopters and incarcerating them in holding pens for life. And now our focus is on the Senate to adopt the same language.
So please, contact your Senators right now and urge them to support this important language.
1. Call the Capitol Hill Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected to your Senators. You will likely be asked to leave a message. Simply say:
“I’m a constituent, and I’m calling to ask that you please support and do all you can to ensure passage of language in Interior Appropriations that was offered by Senator Booker to promote humane, cost-effective management of wild horses and burros in the wild where they belong. This language would allocate $11 million of the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program budget to fertility control.”
Agrizzly bear nicknamed Felicia and her two cubs could be killed just for living near a highway in Jackson Hole, Wyo., according to USA Today.
Wildlife Advocate Savannah Rose Burgess said the bear family has no record of acting aggressively, charging, or taking food from humans who have been spotted approaching them. Felicia also caught the attention of award-winning photographer Thomas Mangelsen, who has documented her for more than six years and said she has always been calm and collected.
But wildlife officials are saying that “human-conditioned behavior” — through no fault of Felicia’s or her family’s– could lead to human-wildlife conflict. They propose relocating or killing the bear family as the only possible solutions.
If park rangers fail to scare the bears off with “targeted hazing operations” — which could include loud noise or rubber bullets — these innocent wild animals could pay with their lives, according to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) statement.
Killing an entire family of bears who have no history of acting aggressively must not be allowed. Felicia and her cubs must be protected.
Sign this petition urging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to find an alternative solution for Felicia and her cubs that does not involve killing them.
The Sonoran desert tortoise is found south and east of the Colorado River, in the central and western parts of Arizona, and into northwestern Mexico. The habitat of this rare reptile is threatened by invasive species, livestock grazing, increased fire risk, housing developments, off-road vehicles, and increased predation facilitated by human activities.
In 2015, WildEarth Guardians and allies challenged the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services’ (USFWS) decision not to protect the Sonoran desert tortoise under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). As a result of that lawsuit, in August 2020 USFWS agreed to reconsider the tortoise for ESA protection.
USFWS must now go back and take a new look at the imperiled animal’s status in Arizona and has 18 months to make a new determination about the status of the species. Sonoran desert tortoise are known for moving slowly, but without full federal ESA protections, they will continue racing toward extinction. Please raise your voice today!
Skydog Sanctuary started this petition to Animal lovers and wildlife rescuers
Skydog is a Wild Horse Sanctuary with ranches in California and Oregon for the rescue, rehabilitation and re-wilding of mustangs who have been rounded up from public lands across the American West. One year ago the Government Agency charged with managing and protecting these wild horses introduced an incentive plan offering people one thousand dollars for each horse or donkey they adopted.
One year later as the Bureau of Land Management heralds this program a success in press releases, we are seeing the same wild horses they paid people to take away, being dumped in Kill Pens in record numbers. These mostly young horses are being shipped to slaughter in Mexico and Canada one year after being rounded up from America’s public lands. This wild horse and burro program is broken and is complicit in sending wild horses to their deaths. The BLM is not doing any real tracking or follow-up to ensure the safety of our wild horses. This is one failure of their mandate under the law.
Please sign our petition urging the Bureau of Land Management to disband this terrible ADOPTION INCENTIVE PROGRAM – which is paying people to dump wild, untrained, young horses in Kill Pens. These horses and burros are federally protected and they need to be PROPERLY AND SCIENTIFICALLY managed on public lands by the BLM and the Department of the Interior. Current wild horse roundups should be halted until there is a successful program in place to adopt out the 50,000 horses already sitting in holding pens. Having lost their freedom and families they should not now also lose their lives.
STOP THE BLM ADOPTION INCENTIVE PROGRAM BEFORE ONE MORE HORSE SHIPS TO SLAUGHTER.
NOTE – Please do not donate on this page – the donation goes to Change.org not to help us fight this cause.
The plight of elephants in Africa is widely recognised, but far less is known of the even more desperate threats facing Asian (or Asiatic) elephants, whose surviving population is barely 5% that of African elephants, with numbers of Asian elephants declining from estimates of a million or more in the late 19th Century to scarcely 40,000 today.
Save The Asian Elephants (STAE) is a not for profit association which aims to raise awareness of the plight of the Asian Elephants; working to end the terrible cruelty and brutal conditions suffered by this wondrous and ancient species. Young elephants are snatched from their forest homes to supply tourist attractions, temples and festivals. Capture from the wild often entails slaughtering the mothers and other herd members who attempt to protect their young.
PAJAN – THE BRUTAL ‘BREAKING IN’ PROCESS The captured calves are isolated and then forced into a pen and tied with ropes to prevent them moving. They are deprived of water, food and sleep. Terrified, they are brutally, often fatally, beaten with rods, chains or bullhooks (a rod with sharp metal hooks at the striking end) and stabbed with knives and nails. This practice – “pajan” – is designed to break their spirits and brutalise them into submission.
We respectfully urge:
1. Prime Minister Narendra Modi to end pajan and ensure the proper treatment of captive elephants. These magnificent creatures should either be released into the forests or kept in genuine sanctuaries.
2. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Former Prime Minister David Cameron to urgently fulfil their Government’s Manifesto commitment to “support the Indian Government in its efforts to protect the Asian elephant”.
3. The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) to press its members including Virgin Holidays, to remove elephant attractions from their itinerary in India and the rest of Asia. Only visits to genuine sanctuaries and wildlife reserves where tourists observe elephants at a respectful distance (and do not ride them) should be permitted.
Save The Asian Elephants now before it’s too late by signing our petition.
Photo Credit: Mother Manatee and Calf (c) Sam Farkas/NOAA
Over 670 manatee deaths has shocked scientists and wildlife lovers alike – we must act immediately to save Florida’s state marine mammal!
This has been one of the deadliest winters ever recorded for threatened manatees. Pollution is destroying the seagrass they depend on for survival, causing hundreds of manatees to turn up dead across the central and south Atlantic coast of Florida, many with signs of starvation.
This crisis needs an immediate and powerful response. We’re calling on the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to protect manatees and their habitat to save manatees right now and to prevent similar crises from happening in the future.
Urge the FWS to protect and restore manatee habitat – click here to add your signature!
Dear U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: As a member of Defenders of Wildlife and an advocate for imperiled species, I’m asking the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to prioritize safeguarding and securing manatee habitat to prevent further unprecedented loss of manatees. The past few months have been some of the deadliest on record for manatees. In just three months, over 670 manatees have died, with many showing signs of starvation as the seagrass habitats they depend on for survival have disappeared, leaving them with nothing to eat. I urge you to work with the state of Florida to address excessive runoff from various sources, including agricultural,residential and industrial uses, that is polluting our waterways and leading to widespread manatee deaths. Runoff into our precious waterways is fueling algal blooms that have shaded out and killed tens of thousands of acres of seagrasses. Sediment washing into the water from agriculture and land development can also damage seagrass beds by smothering the seagrass and blocking sunlight. Waterbodies around the state, including Indian River Lagoon, the St. Lucie River estuary, Biscayne Bay, Florida Bay, Charlotte Harbor and Tampa Bay, are all experiencing devastating impacts from pollution generated by agriculture, development and industry. In addition to comprising a primary food source for manatees, seagrass meadows are one of the most productive ecosystems in Florida. They provide food and shelter to a biologically diverse community of species, from seahorses and commercially important fish, to sea turtles, marine mammals, and birds. The greatest long-term threat to the manatee is lack of warm-water habitat that they need to survive. Coastal development continues to degrade natural habitat, like rivers and springs. Manatees become susceptible to cold stress, which is often lethal, at water temperatures below ~68F. Due to habitat loss, more than 60% of the manatee population depends on warm-water outfalls at electric power plants to survive cold winter days — an unsustainable situation. Restoring natural warm water winter habitat, such as the Great Florida Riverway, is essential to ensuring the long-term recovery of the species. FWS must coordinate with Florida Power & Light to convene a meeting that focuses on establishing and securing regional networks of natural warm water where manatees can take refuge in cold weather that have healthy, adequate food sources nearby. As the number of manatee deaths continues to rise, FWS must ensure that all protections for manatees remain in place and are expanded as necessary. I’m asking you to please take urgent steps to protect manatees and their habitat before the future of this species is once again in jeopardy. Sincerely,
About 3,000 elegant tern eggs were abandoned at a southern California nesting island after a drone crashed and scared off the birds, a newspaper reported Friday.
Two drones were flown illegally over the Bolsa Chica ecological reserve in Huntington Beach in May and one of them went down in the wetlands, the Orange County Register said.
Fearing an attack from a predator, several thousand terns abandoned their ground nests, according to the state department of fish and wildlife.
Now, during the month when the birds would be overseeing their eggs as they begin to hatch, the sand is littered with egg shells.
It’s one of the largest-scale abandonments of eggs ever at the coastal site about 100 miles (160 km) north of San Diego, according to the reserve manager, Melissa Loebl.
With the pandemic driving more and more people to outdoor spaces, last year saw about 100,000 visitors to the Bolsa Chica reserve – up from about 60,000 the previous year, Loebl said told the newspaper.
That’s contributed not only to increased drone activity, but also to more dogs and bicycles on the trails – all of which are prohibited.
“We’ve seen a significant increase in dogs, particularly off-leash,” Loebl said. “That’s devastating for wildlife and this is prime nesting season. The dogs chase the birds and the birds abandon their nests.”
Another problem is the development of multimillion-dollar homes on the hillside at the north end of the reserve overlooking the wetlands, said Nick Molsberry, a fish and wildlife warden. While most residents respect the sensitive nature of the estuary, there are a few scofflaws, he said.
“It’s residents that sometimes feel entitled, that feel they should be able to use the land as they like,” Molsberry said. Authorities are ramping up enforcement and citing people who break the rules.
At nearly 1,500 acres, the reserve is the largest saltwater marsh between Monterey Bay, just south of San Francisco, and the Tijuana River Estuary in Mexico. About 800 species of plants and animals live at or migrate to Bolsa Chica.
… we have a small favour to ask. Tens of millions have placed their trust in the Guardian’s high-impact journalism since we started publishing 200 years ago, turning to us in moments of crisis, uncertainty, solidarity and hope. More than 1.5 million readers, from 180 countries, have recently taken the step to support us financially – keeping us open to all, and fiercely independent.
With no shareholders or billionaire owner, we can set our own agenda and provide trustworthy journalism that’s free from commercial and political influence, offering a counterweight to the spread of misinformation. When it’s never mattered more, we can investigate and challenge without fear or favour.
Unlike many others, Guardian journalism is available for everyone to read, regardless of what they can afford to pay. We do this because we believe in information equality. Greater numbers of people can keep track of global events, understand their impact on people and communities, and become inspired to take meaningful action.
We aim to offer readers a comprehensive, international perspective on critical events shaping our world – from the Black Lives Matter movement, to the new American administration, Brexit, and the world’s slow emergence from a global pandemic. We are committed to upholding our reputation for urgent, powerful reporting on the climate emergency, and made the decision to reject advertising from fossil fuel companies, divest from the oil and gas industries, and set a course to achieve net zero emissions by 2030.
If there were ever a time to join us, it is now. Every contribution, however big or small, powers our journalism and sustains our future. Support the Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you.
Pieter Kat started this petition to Conservative Party Leader Boris Johnson and 6 others
In 2019, Barbara Creecy – South Africa’s Minister of Environmental Affairs – set up a High Level Panel to review the policies, legislation and management regarding the breeding, hunting, trade and general handling of elephants, lions, rhinos and leopards. The Panel recently came back with their decision – recommending that Cabinet endorse a report calling for the end of lion farming, captive lion hunting, cub-petting and the commercial farming of rhinos.
Also in 2019, the UK government made some promises to halt the import of trophies collected by British hunters abroad. This promise was repeated in the most recent Queen’s Speech on 11th May – “Legislation will also be brought forward to ensure the United Kingdom has, and promotes, the highest standards of animal welfare [Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill, Kept Animals Bill, Animals Abroad Bill].”
The highest standards of animal welfare? Well there ARE some very good things listed as government intentions in the Queen’s Speech. For example the entire of issue of animal sentience. The UK was a pioneer with their Protections of Animals Act 1911, which basically said animals can feel pain. Slowly, slowly other animal protections emerged.
If Animal Sentience is going to be discussed in a Bill, does that same Bill not also have to take into account the sentience of the animals being snuffed out by trophy hunters? This Bill risks being remembered for its shortcomings in terms of lion conservation.
The UK government has prevaricated on the issue of trophy hunting imports for more than a decade. Unlike the High Level Panel conclusions in South Africa and an inevitable need for a clear government response there, the UK government continues to sit on its hands with their own consultations.
1. A public consultation on the issue organized by the government itself. Submissions of various detail had a submission deadline of January 25th, 2020. The government decided to extend the submission deadline to February 25th – saying that some people might have not been able to submit their views because of the Christmas and New Year holidays. The government promised to publish results 12 weeks later. That would be May 2020. We are now a year overdue.
2. Our many requests to government about the delayed publication of the public consultation results have been met with recalcitrance and delaying tactics. Ministers contacted have latterly claimed the COVID situation as a reason for the many delays.
3. We are approaching 700,500 signatures, counting upward per day, in our LionAid petition to end lion trophy imports into the UK. At Change.org, this level of response is the highest recorded petition for ANY animal issue to date. The UK government does not acknowledge results of the petition to date.
The UK government promotes the weak position that they will “bring forward legislation to ensure UK imports and exports of hunting trophies are not threatening the conservation status of species abroad”. Who is going to determine whether UK imports of hunting trophies threaten their species conservation status?
The UK seems to be adopting an anaemic version of the USA import restrictions. The USA decided to place lions on their own ”threatened” list of species. Took many years, and public consultations, but eventually the decision was made. The USA made also the consequential decision that as captive bred lions were in no way important to the conservation of the species, that all hunting trophy imports of captive bred lions would cease.
The UK government really needs to step up to the plate. Hiding behind “sustainable” use as a reason to allow trophy hunting imports in the future slaps the faces of all in the voting public who have long since made up their minds about such trophy hunting imports.
So — let’s have the results provided by the UK Ministers, unredacted, of the public consultation to start? And decisively, a ban on the import of all trophies, whether from wild or captive bred lions.
Target: Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada
Goal: Shut down businesses that willfully kill endangered species for profit.
The Kiu Yick Trading Company, based in Victoria, Canada, has been found guilty of importing shark fins from endangered species. As a penalty for importing 434 kilograms of illegal shark products, this company has been fined a measly $60,000. This fine is a pathetic amount for a company that generates over $2 million in annual sales, and which contributed to the extermination of threatened species.
Most of the fins came from silky sharks, which is considered to be near-threatened. This shark has a long gestation and gives birth to only a few young that are slow to mature, making it particularly susceptible to illegal hunting.
Such businesses should not be allowed to continue to operate. Sign this petition to urge the government to take stricter actions against such willful disregard for the natural world, and shut down these reproachable companies.
Dear Honourable Wilkinson,
Despite national and international bans, companies are still bringing illegal animal products into Canada. Recently, the Kiu Yick Trading Company from British Columbia was found guilty of importing shark fins from “near threatened” species of sharks. In response, your government has fined this company only $60,000. This is a pathetic penalty for a company that draws over $2 million dollars of revenue every year.
I urge you to consider the devastating environmental impact that illegal acts of this nature have upon the whole world. Companies that willfully commit such criminal acts should be severely penalized.
Big step forward in WildEarth Guardians’ decades-long battle to protect imperiled species
WASHINGTON—Yesterday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (the “Service”) announced its proposal to provide Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections to the lesser prairie-chicken, a charismatic grassland bird that now occupies approximately 15% of its historic range. The Service’s proposed rule was submitted as the result of a settlement agreement between the federal government and WildEarth Guardians and partner organizations finalized in 2019, following failure to act on a 2016 listing petition.
The proposed rule includes listing the lesser prairie-chicken in two distinct population segments (“DPS”), with the Northern DPS—encompassing Kansas, Texas, Colorado, and Oklahoma—proposed to be listed as “threatened” and the Southern DPS—consisting of birds in New Mexico and Texas—proposed to be listed as “endangered.” All populations face severe threats of habitat loss and fragmentation caused by oil and gas development, cropland conversion, livestock grazing, roads, and power lines.
“WildEarth Guardians has been fighting for more than two decades to get ESA protections for the lesser prairie-chicken and we are encouraged that the Service has finally recognized the need for federal listing status,” said Lindsay Larris, wildlife program director at WildEarth Guardians. “For far too long, this iconic dancing bird has seen its numbers dwindling towards extinction and we are hopeful this is the first step towards rebuilding populations and preserving habitat.”
Federal listing petitions for the lesser prairie-chicken date back to the mid 1990s. For two decades, voluntary state agreements were relied upon to protect the species in lieu of federal government protections. In 2014, the Fish and Wildlife Service listed the lesser prairie-chicken as threatened. But protection was overturned on procedural grounds after a lawsuit from the Permian Basin Petroleum Association and four counties.
“The lesser prairie-chicken and its habitat have been absolutely trashed by unchecked oil and gas extraction,” said Jeremy Nichols, climate and energy program director at WildEarth Guardians. “This proposed rule means that the ESA finally stands to provide the safety net desperately needed to protect the lesser prairie-chicken in the face of rampant fracking in the Permian Basin of southeast New Mexico and west Texas.”
The lesser prairie chicken—an icon of the Southern Plains—once numbered in the millions but has declined to just roughly 38,000 birds across less than 17 percent of its original range. Experts estimate the population of lesser prairie chickens at 3 million birds before the beginning of Euro-American settlement on the Great Plains.
The Service will be accepting comments on the proposed rule for 60 days once the proposal is published in the Federal Register before issuing a final decision.
Tell House Appropriations: Protect Wild Horses & Burros!
Appropriations season is officially upon us, when Congress begins the process of deciding what will be included in the budget bills that fund agencies and federal programs like the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Wild Horse and Burro Program.
AWHC has worked with several members of Congress on language that would ensure that a significant portion of funding for the Wild Horse and Burro Program would go to the implementation of humane birth control, the prioritization of public private partnerships with nonprofit organizations, a permanent ban on barbaric mare surgical sterilization, and a requirement that the BLM evaluate and report on formerly zeroed out wild horse areas for relocating horses as an alternative to holding facilities. It’s a big deal.
It’s an important step toward ending the current costly and cruel practice of rounding these animals up with helicopters and incarcerating them in holding pens for life. So please, contact your federal legislators right now, and urge them to support important language.
Please Contact Your Two Senators and One Representative Today
1. Call the Capitol Hill Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected to your Representative. You will likely be asked to leave a message. Simply say:
“I’m a constituent, and I’m calling to ask that you please support and do all you can to ensure passage of language in Interior Appropriations that was offered by Reps. Titus and Cohen to promote humane, cost-effective management of wild horses and burros in the wild where they belong. This language would allocate $11 million of the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program budget to fertility control.”
2. Personalize and send the email below to your Representative:
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.
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.
Marine scientists are calling on the EU to adopt a comprehensive plan to protect dolphins and porpoises from fisheries bycatch in European waters. To help address the bycatch issue, which is the primary global threat to dolphins and porpoises, the researchers put forward a framework to reduce bycatch levels.
The scientists have outlined a two-step approach that involves establishing a quantitative management objective for each population and implementing monitoring programs:
To ensure an accurate estimation of bycatch levels, the experts recommend using electronic monitoring systems that allow a more comprehensive and representative sampling of the fleets.
The scientists also recommend regular formal assessments of small cetacean populations, including generation of estimates of abundance and bycatch mortality. If total bycatch has been estimated to exceed the calculated biological reference point, then a mitigation strategy needs to be put in place while monitoring is continued until levels are below the reference points.
“Bycatch of small cetaceans in European fisheries is widespread, including very large numbers of common dolphins in trawl fisheries and bycatch of the critically endangered population of harbor porpoise in the Baltic Sea…The failure to effectively conserve Europe’s dolphins and porpoises is not a result of a lack of scientific knowledge or difficulties in monitoring fisheries and bycatch. Instead, it reflects a lack of political will to ensure that these iconic animals are protected from unsustainable mortality in commercial fisheries throughout European waters. We can and must do better.”
-Professor Andrew Read, Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment
Journal reference: Emer Rogan, Andrew J Read, Per Berggren. Empty promises: The European Union is failing to protect dolphins and porpoises from fisheries by‐catch. Fish and Fisheries, 2021; DOI: 10.1111/faf.12556
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.
Indonesian officials are facing a new wave of criticism following their decision to relocate the dolphins rescued from the banned Dolphin Lodge in Sanur to Bali Exotic Marine Park in Benoa, which animal welfare organizations describe as a “setback.”
Despite some objections, the Natural Resources Conservation Center (BKSDA) in Bali defended their decision and said that it was made with various considerations.
Meruanto, BKSDA Bali’s head of administration, explained those considerations to Coconuts this morning, noting how the marine park is a legal conservation center and was chosen because BKSDA currently does not have a shelter for aquatic animals. In addition, the park is deemed the closest facility for rescue efforts.
“For us, the most important thing is that the animals survive while waiting for the next step,” Meruanto said.
Seven dolphins were recently rescued from the Dolphin Lodge, a swim-with-dolphins attraction operated by PT Piayu Samudra Loka, that has been banned by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry since April 2020. The facility remained operational until at least earlier this month despite official orders to shut.
A viral video featuring dangdut singer Lucinta Luna swimming with a dolphin there sparked widespread calls for authorities to step up their efforts in protecting animals, leading to the Dolphin Lodge’s closure.
The rescued dolphins, an Indo-Pacific species also known as tursiops aduncus, have since been moved to the Bali Exotic Marine Park, Meruanto said. They have been deemed healthy while still being under close supervision, and are set for rehabilitation and eventual return to the ocean.
However, some animal welfare organizations have raised concerns over the latest developments, as they see the Bali Exotic Marine Park as a “commercial captivity center.”
A conservation foundation called Rare Aquatic Species of Indonesia (RASI) noted in a statement issued yesterday that the marine park does not have a sea pen for the dolphins, which means the sea mammals will have to rehabilitate in a chlorinated pool.
“I hope there is sympathy for these dolphins so they can be freed from commercial exploitation. Because dolphins belong in the open sea, not in a manmade pool,” Danielle Kreb, a scientific program advisor at the foundation, said.
Scientists Can Now Watch Whales Feed Underwater (Photo credit: Mike Baird)
NGOs, animal welfare charities and a host of other stakeholders have urged Mattilsynet, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority, to reverse its approval of an experiment on captured minke whales that they claim amounts to nothing more than torture.
The experiment is designed to see how whales’ brains respond to ocean noise. During the experiment, juvenile migrating minke whales will be trapped using a net and herded into a small enclosure. Once inside, they will be subjected to a host of noises, from naval sonar to the sounds emanating from oil and gas exploration. The experiment will last for up to four days, and up to 12 whales will be subjected to this.
According to Dr. Siri Martinsen, a veterinarian with NOAH, Norway’s largest NGO for animals:
“This research project is alarming for several reasons. We are very concerned for the welfare of the involved whales, as these circumstances are very likely to cause them stress and may even impact their health. There is a significant risk that the whales will panic once they are trapped, causing them to thrash or flail about, which could lead to serious injuries as they attempt to flee.”
You can help the whales by contacting the Norwegian government with your objection here.
Sam Helmyhttps://www.deeperblue.comSam Helmy is a TDI/SDI Instructor Trainer, and PADI Staff and Trimix Instructor. Diving for 28 years, a dive pro for 14, I have traveled extensively chasing my passion for diving. I am passionate about everything diving, with a keen interest in exploration, Sharks and big stuff, Photography and Decompression theory. Diving is definitely the one and only passion that has stayed with me my whole life!
“He that takes truth for his guide, and duty for his end, may safely trust to God’s providence to lead him aright.” - Blaise Pascal. "There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily" – George Washington letter to Edmund Randolph — 1795. We live in a “post-truth” world. According to the dictionary, “post-truth” means, “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” Simply put, we now live in a culture that seems to value experience and emotion more than truth. Truth will never go away no matter how hard one might wish. Going beyond the MSM idealogical opinion/bias and their low information tabloid reality show news with a distractional superficial focus on entertainment, sensationalism, emotionalism and activist reporting – this blogs goal is to, in some small way, put a plug in the broken dam of truth and save as many as possible from the consequences—temporal and eternal. "The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it." – George Orwell “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” ― Soren Kierkegaard