Atlantic City casinos will look very different once they reopen. Here’s their new plan.

nj.com

By Jonathan D. Salant | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com 4-5 minutes


Atlantic City - coronavirus
Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, left, and The Water Club Hotel, right, are dark after Gov. Phil Murphy ordered the casinos to close Monday to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.Lori M. Nichols | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

No eating on the casino floor. Contactless check-ins for hotel rooms. And wear a mask unless you’re drinking while gambling.

MGM Resorts, owner of the Borgata, released the health and safety plan its casino properties will follow once state officials allow them to reopen during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Our properties will not look the way they used to for a while, and that’s not only okay, it’s critically important,” said Bill Hornbuckle, acting president and chief executive.

Gov. Phil Murphy ordered Atlantic City’s casinos closed in March. He said Monday that he hoped to provide “hard dates” as early as this week on when the state’s economy could begin reopening.

CORONAVIRUS RESOURCES: Live map tracker | Newsletter | Homepage

The MGM plan released Tuesday offered a first look at how Atlantic City casinos plan to operate to protect both employees and guests from the coronavirus.

The new rules include:

— Daily temperature checks for all employees, as well as screening measures to determine whether they have infection symptoms and where they are in contact with those who have been infected, such as someone in their household or someone they care for.

— Guests who think they may have been exposed will be “strongly encouraged” to stay at home and not travel.

— All employees must wear masks, and all guests will be encouraged to do so in public areas. The casino will hand out free masks to guests.

— Workers will be trained on proper cleaning procedures and other steps to protect against the virus.

— Employees who handle food, clean public areas and enter guest rooms must wear gloves. Other workers also may required to wear personal protective equipment.

— Guests still will be able to order beverages but not food on the casino floor, and can remove their masks to drink.

— Frequent cleaning and disinfecting of slot machines, tables and kiosks.

— Stations for handwashing and hand sanitizing in high-traffic areas.

— A six-foot social distancing policy will be followed whenever possible, with signs and floor guides to help separate patrons. In areas where the distancing policy cannot be followed, plexiglass barriers will be installed or employees will be given eye protection.

— Poker rooms may not reopen when the rest of the casino does, depending on guidance from state officials and medical experts.

— Plexiglass barriers throughout the casino and lobbies.

— Medical personnel on staff to respond in case a guest or employee tests positive for COVID-19. Exposed areas will be sanitized and efforts will be made for contact tracing, notifying those who may have been in contact with the individual.

— Limits on how many people can share an elevator cab.

— Allowing guests to check in to their hotel rooms digitally without having contact with anyone at the front desk.

— Digital menus and text notifications when tables are ready, eliminating the need to wait in line.

It remains to be seen if the steps are sufficient to win the approval of Unite Here, the union that represents 10,600 Atlantic City workers. Their plan called for having the state gaming commission ensure that the casinos were taking the necessary steps to protect employees and guests.

The union said that the six-foot distance between customers needed to be followed at slot machines and table games, dice and chips needed to be frequently sanitized, buffets needed to be suspended and spas and pools needed to close temporarily.

“It’s good that the company is talking about it, but we need them to work in partnership with frontline workers to come up with a full plan to protect guest and workers,” said Mayra Gonzalez, a line server at Borgata and a member of Unite Here.

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Jonathan D. Salant may be reached at jsalant@njadvancemedia.com.

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https://www.nj.com/coronavirus/2020/05/atlantic-city-casinos-will-look-very-different-once-they-reopen-heres-their-new-plan.html

Sign Petition: Ban the Use of Asbestos in Cosmetics!

thepetitionsite.com

by: Care2 Team recipient: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Update: Yet another U.S. cosmetics manufacturer, Beauty Plus Global (BPG), has had to recall its products bcause they were contaminated with toxic asbestos. In fact, this is actually the second time in five months that BPG has had to recall its products due to lethal contaminants. It’s time the U.S. FDA gets its act together, takes health seriously, and ban the use of asbestos in cosmetics now! Recently, jewelry and makeup retailer Claire’s Accessories recalled several cosmetic products after a customer raised concerns that they may contain asbestos. Thankfully, Claire’s Accessories was committed to taking the allegations seriously and having an independent lab test the products for asbestos, but how would asbestos get into the cosmetics in the first place? Well, it turns out that, despite its many known health risks, asbestos is not banned from use in cosmetic products. Please sign this petition to change that now. While it is against the law to use any ingredient in a cosmetic that makes the product harmful to consumers when used as directed, asbestos is not specifically included in the list of ingredients prohibited from use in cosmetics. But it absolutely should be. Once asbestos fibers enter the body, they never dissolve and can cause inflammation and permanent changes to the body’s cells. Prolonged exposure to asbestos can cause life-threatening diseases including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer, and mesothelioma. The U.S. is far behind when it comes to restricting the use of harmful chemicals in personal care products. Whereas the E.U. has banned 1,400 chemicals and Canada has banned 600, the U.S. has banned just 30 harmful chemicals. We need to catch up.

Last day to sign this petition

In major ruling for right whales, federal judge rules that regulators violated Endangered Species Act – The Boston Globe

A North Atlantic right whale swims in Cape Cod Bay.

Peter Flood In a ruling that could have a major impact on the region’s lobster fishery, a federal judge ruled Thursday that the National Marine Fishery Service violated the Endangered Species Act by failing to reduce the risk of North Atlantic right whales becoming entangled in millions of lobster lines. The lines, which extend from traps on the seafloor to buoys on the surface, have in recent years been the leading cause of death for the whales, whose numbers have declined by about 20 percent over the past decade to a population of just 400. Without significant changes to the lobster fishery, right whales could go extinct within two decades, scientists say. The ruling by Judge James Boasberg of the US District Court in Washington, D.C., found that the agency’s failure to follow the law, after its scientists found that the lobster fishery was threatening the viability of right whales, was “about as straightforward a violation of the [Endangered Species Act] as they come.”

Environmental advocates who filed the lawsuit said they hoped the decision would lead to greater protections for right whales. “This decision confirms that even the federal government is not above the law,” said Erica Fuller, a senior attorney at the Boston-based Conservation Law Foundation, one of four groups that filed the lawsuit. “We must do whatever it takes to ensure right whales are here for future generations, and that starts with obeying the Endangered Species Act.” Scientists at the agency have said that the species can’t sustain more than one unnatural death a year. Over the past three years, 30 right whales have been found dead, and when a cause of death was determined, all of them were found to have died as a result of entanglements or vessel strikes.

In a 20-page ruling, Boasberg called the agency’s failure to produce what is known as an incidental take statement — a requirement of the Endangered Species Act when the government finds that an industry or other actor has been threatening the sustainability of an endangered species — a “signal omission.” Buoy lines pose “an especially grave danger to the species,” he added. The judge noted that in 2014 the agency estimated that lobster lines would lead to more than three whale deaths a year, on average. “The figure was well over the … maximum number of animals, not including natural mortalities, that may be removed from a marine mammal stock, while allowing that stock to reach or maintain its optimum sustainable population,” he wrote.

Boasberg called the agency’s arguments for why they failed to comply with the requirements of the Endangered Species Act “a novel interpretation of the law.” “Defendants cannot rewrite the statute just because they do not agree with its consequences,” he said. Agency officials declined to comment on the potential impact of the judge’s ruling. “NOAA Fisheries is currently reviewing the court’s decision,” said Allison Ferreira, a spokeswoman for the fisheries service. Beth Casoni, executive director of the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association, said she was “carefully” reviewing the ruling.

“The MLA expects to submit a briefing to the court during the remedy phase of this proceeding to protect the rights and livelihood of the lobstermen it represents,” she said. Jane Davenport, a senior attorney at Defenders of Wildlife, a Washington-based advocacy group and another plaintiff, called the ruling “timely,” noting that just 10 calves were born this year, about a third of the number needed to prevent the species from going extinct. “Low calving rates are directly linked to the chronic stress of fishing gear entanglements,” she said. In his decision, Boasberg didn’t say what the agency must do now. But he said he would seek briefings about potential remedies soon. Kristen Monsell, oceans legal director at the Center for Biological Diversity, another plaintiff, said the decision “should send a clear signal that federal officials must take immediate action to protect these amazing animals from suffering more deadly, painful entanglements, before it’s too late.”

Researchers at the New England Aquarium also welcomed the ruling. “We have seen firsthand the trauma this species has suffered from fishing gear entanglements,” they said in a statement. “It has been incredibly challenging to witness their suffering and decline while also getting pushback from fishing industry representatives who remain resistant to considering changes to how they presently fish.”

https://www.bostonglobe.com/2020/04/09/metro/major-ruling-right-whales-federal-judge-rules-that-regulators-violated-endangered-species-act/?outputType=amp&__twitter_impression=true

How to SEW a REUSABLE FACE MASK with FILTER POCKET// Medical Mask

This is my favorite one, easy to make and for extra protection use a 3M air filter cut to fit.

In our state non-essential stores are closed, but Dollar tree is open and they sell small fabric swatches in their craft section the rest you can purchase at your local hardware store.

Take care.

White House Warns Against Grocery Shopping, Leaving Home As Coronavirus Hits Peak

gettyimages-1209150492-scaled1759324398.jpghttps://www.dailywire.com/news/white-house-warns-against-grocery-shopping-leaving-home-as-coronavirus-hits-peak?utm_source=americantruth&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=spark7


 In a Saturday afternoon press conference, the White House coronavirus task force warned that Americans should consider avoiding leaving their homes this week as the deadly outbreak, which has so far infected more than 300,000 and killed nearly 9,000, is expected to reach its peak.

“The next two weeks are extraordinarily important,” White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said Saturday. “This is the moment to not be going to the grocery store, not going to the pharmacy, but doing everything you can to keep your family and your friends safe.”

Although the White House coronavirus team was reticent to put a timeline on the virus itself, at least three regions of the United States — the midwest, the northeast, and the areas surrounding New Orleans, Louisiana — are projected to reach peak infections within the next seven days, according to the New York Post. Other areas of the United States, like the south and west, are expected to see their numbers rise until they hit a peak within the next fourteen days.

“Asked when the worst day of the outbreak will be, Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, talked about the three hotspots being watched most closely: Detroit, Louisiana and New York. She said each are on the upside of their curve of mortality, and that officials anticipate them hitting their peaks in the next six to seven days,” per NPR.

“This will probably be the toughest week – between this week and next week,” President Donald Trump told the press conference, grimly. “There will be a lot of death, unfortunately…there will be death.”

“We are coming up to a time that is going to be very horrendous,” Trump added. “We probably have never seen anything like these kind of numbers. Maybe during the war, during a World War One or Two or something.”

New York governor Andrew Cuomo expressed similar sentiments during his own press conference Saturday, noting that the peak appears to be approaching in his state: “We’re not yet at the apex, we’re getting closer … Our reading of the projections is we’re somewhere in the seven-day range.”

Sunday morning, administration officials were no more rosy. The Surgeon General, appearing on Fox News Sunday, compared the coming seven days to a terrorist attack.

“This is going to be hardest and the saddest week of most American’s lives, quite frankly. This is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment,” Vice Admiral Jerome Adams said.

The president was, at least, bullish on the idea of the country reopening within the foreseeable future, suggesting on Saturday that he is pursuing the possibility of bringing together a second coronavirus team, this one tasked with laying the groundwork for an economic recovery, and plotting how to slowly return Americans to the workforce, while balancing the threat of a second outbreak.

“At a certain point,” the president said, “some hard decisions are going to have to be made,” referencing the idea that risk management efforts, designed to contain the virus, are having an unprecedented impact on American businesses. “Social distancing” policies and state-mandated lockdowns have created an unemployment crisis; millions of Americans have now applied for unemployment and millions more are facing slowdowns and pay reductions.

 

How to Make Your own Face Covering in 45 second’s

This Is Just The Start… Please Wear Your Face Masks

Protecting Yourself and Others

Sign Petition: This Fishing Tactic is Killing Dolphins by the Tens of Thousands

Tuna is delicious, but it often comes at a terrible price. In many parts of the world, fishermen use gillnets to catch the valuable fish, but those nets don’t just entangle tuna. Other nontarget animals are also caught in their webs. The unwanted catch is called “bycatch.” From sea turtles, sharks and other nontarget fish to cetaceans, the “wicked web” does not differentiate – they all die. The number of creatures from dolphins to sharks to other cetaceans that get caught and die in gillnets is astronomical! It is time for a complete ban on the use of gillnets in the Indian Ocean. According to a recent study, as many as 100,000 cetaceans were killed by commercial fishing in 2006. That number has dropped to 80,000 this year, but that 20% decline in deaths doesn’t have conservationists celebrating. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Researchers believe the number of dolphin casualties hasn’t declined, rather the actual number of dolphins has. The lower number just indicates that there are fewer dolphins in the Indian Ocean to become bycatch in the first place. In fact, they believe the death toll for cetacean deaths over the past 70 years in Indian Ocean fisheries is a whopping 4 million. Gillnet fishing is virtually unmanaged in the Indian Ocean and some of the biggest commercial fishing nations are the worst offenders when it comes to dolphin bycatch. One study estimates that for every 1,000 tons of tuna caught, around 175 cetaceans are snagged. For context, Iran averages around 214,262 tons of tuna every year. That means their bycatch is more than 30,000 dead nontarget marine mammals annually! And that number doesn’t include Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan’s catches which, along with Iran, make up the five nations that catch the most tuna using gillnets. Please join Care2 in asking the nations of Iran, Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan and the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) to ban gillnetting and to step up their efforts to protect Indian Ocean cetaceans.

https://www.thepetitionsite.com/958/995/551/?TAP=1732

Amtrak suspends Keystone Service, Pennsylvanian train lines due t

fox43.com

Keystone Service will be suspended starting Wednesday, while Pennsylvanian trains will stop on Thursday due to low demand, Amtrak said

Amtrak announced it is suspending all Keystone Service beginning Wednesday, and all Pennsylvanian trains on Thursday as part of the adjustment of services due to COVID-19.

The Keystone Service line travels from Harrisburg to New York City by way of Philadelphia.

The Pennsylvania trains travel from New York City to Pittsburgh.

“While Amtrak continues to operate across the nation, we have adjusted some services due to significantly reduced demand in key markets,” Amtrak said on its website.

Amtrak is also adjusting service on its Northeast Corridor, Hartford, Valley Flyer, New York State, Cascades, Amtrak Downeaster, and Winter Park Express service lines.

Other services may also be impacted as circumstances change, Amtrak said. Café service will be suspended on some trains operating between Washington DC and New York City.

Customers with reservations on trains that are being modified will be contacted and typically be accommodated on trains with similar departure times or another day, according to Amtrak.

Amtrak is waiving change fees on all existing or new reservations made before April 30, 2020.

https://www.fox43.com/amp/article/news/health/coronavirus/amtrak-suspends-keystone-service-pennsylvanian-train-lines-due-to-covid-19/521-9c64a0d3-c30c-4705-9966-f089a891a800?__twitter_impression=true

COVID-19/Coronavirus Real Time Updates With Credible Sources in US and Canada | 1Point3Acres

https://coronavirus.1point3acres.com/en

Tell Congress to protect ocean life from extinction

Sign Petition: Join me in speaking up for the law that protects marine mammals!

wdc.good.do

NEPA: the most important law you’ve never heard of.

We often ask you, our extended whamily, to join us in speaking up whale and dolphin protections. Those opportunities for the public voice (your voice!) to be heard are usually part of a review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) – one of our most important environmental laws. NEPA is a vital tool in our policy toolbox to make sure whales, dolphins, and their environments are not harmed by human actions, but this doesn’t only apply to whales and dolphins! This law is important for wildlife, the environment.

We often ask you, our extended whamily, to join us in speaking up whale and dolphin protections. Those opportunities for the public voice (your voice!) to be heard are usually part of a review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) – one of our most important environmental laws. NEPA is a vital tool in our policy toolbox to make sure whales, dolphins, and their environments are not harmed by human actions, but this doesn’t only apply to whales and dolphins! This law is important for wildlife, the environment, and making sure that the public continue to have a voice.

If you’ve ever joined us in calling for ships to reduce their speed in right whale habitat, or even weighed in on a new highway or wastewater treatment plant built in your community – you’ve participated in NEPA.

What NEPA does:

Reviews how proposed actions could affect the environment
Allows the public to provide input
Creates transparency in government actions
Relies on robust scientific reviews

Thanks so much for helping us protect NEPA, the law that protects the environment and the voice of the public! Without strong environmental review under NEPA, based on the best available science, it’s much harder to make sure that human actions don’t harm wildlife and our environment. If you breathe air and drink water, you need this law, so please share this with your family and friends!

https://wdc.good.do/nepa/protect/

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“Local Doctor On What To Buy To Be Prepared For Coronavirus”

If you live in the UK please call

Laws for Animals

Be safe and protected by your guardian angel

Petition: Save Globally Important Arctic Habitat | Audubon

Yellow-billed Loons nest in the wetlands around Teshekpuk Lake.

In 2013, Audubon and supporters like you submitted comments to help protect 11 million acres of globally important Arctic bird habitat within the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. The resulting land management plan safeguarded one of the world’s most important Arctic wetlands, Teshekpuk Lake—the home for hundreds of thousands of shorebirds, nesting loons, and vulnerable molting geese—while allowing for energy development in less-sensitive areas. It also recognized the importance of areas along the Colville River where raptors nest, such as Rough-legged Hawks, Arctic Peregrine Falcons, Golden Eagles, and Gyrfalcons.

But now, the Bureau of Land Management is rewriting this plan, seeking to overturn protections for these irreplaceable wetlands and making them available for sale to the oil industry. In a place experiencing the effects of climate change at an accelerated rate, opening additional areas to oil production is irresponsible. Please send public comments to oppose drilling in the special Teshekpuk Lake wetlands and maintain recognition of the Colville River.

Note: Your name, city, state, and comment will become part of the public record.

Photo: Tom Wilberding/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

To Bureau of Land Management:

Personalize your message
I oppose increasing oil and gas development in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A). The NPR-A contains world-class wilderness areas and wildlife habitat, including the globally-significant Teshekpuk Lake wetlands complex. For the past forty years, Teshekpuk Lake and its surrounding wetlands have been recognized and protected for its extraordinary wildlife values. A new land management plan in the NPR-A should continue to exclude oil and gas development in and around Teshekpuk Lake and consider the additional effects development would have on a changing landscape that is already feeling the impacts from climate change.

The Teshekpuk Lake wetlands comprise one of the premiere habitats in the entire circumpolar Arctic. The wetlands are a haven for molting geese. The coastline north of the lake provides denning habitat for polar bears. More than half a million shorebirds nest around Teshekpuk Lake. South of the lake, loons and ducks find optimal breeding conditions. The Teshekpuk Caribou Herd gives birth to calves, forages, and winters in habitat around the lake. The sheer number of so many birds and wildlife make Teshekpuk a place that merits stronger, not weaker, protections.

The cliffs along the Colville River provide important nesting habitat for several species of raptors, including Rough-legged Hawks, Arctic Peregrine Falcons, Golden Eagles, and Gyrfalcons. In an otherwise flat tundra landscape, the relatively tall cliffs provide both safety and better vantage points for hunting for these predators.

The oil industry is already undertaking a program of exploration and development in areas nearby at an accelerated rate. Rapid climate change in the Arctic means that oil and gas development should be curtailed, not expanded, in the NPR-A. Maintaining the decades-long protections to the Teshekpuk Lake wetlands and the recognition of the Colville River Special Area demonstrates a core principle of responsible Arctic management for this and future administrations.
Sincerely,

https://act.audubon.org/onlineactions/UoQuuwIkVkyJpcqUiqpDNg2?ms=policy-adv-email-ea-x-advocacy_20200115_npra_alert&utm_source=ea&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=advocacy_20200115_npra_alert&emci=0e479e6b-a137-ea11-a1cc-2818784d084f&emdi=920d910c-d137-ea11-a1cc-2818784d084f&ceid=89005&contactdata=Lg5I5eGYk6bmD%2fXotf2jjBhqklw1L0ssVR8%2fBLafjOHa5oqGSOb0L15a37JeaW1LY4O%2bVh%2f83bfRma%2bFNAQNyaa76mCghUB%2fsj%2fT9iqxdeEffwOrDjaZ1Kjke3jHVZBL7bsuITvd7zkmCIv59bbrhDyOIG70gIAHEWalkzbSZvU%3d

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Stolen from the wild

Reminder from police: As holidays approach, beware of ‘porch pirates’

fox43.com
LANCASTER COUNTY — The Manheim Township Police Department is reminding Central Pennsylvania residents to beware: with the approaching holidays, Porch Pirate Season is upon us once again.

As holiday shoppers begin having online purchases shipped to their homes, this time of year is traditionally when police departments see an increase in activity from “porch pirates” — nefarious suspects who troll neighborhoods looking for unattended packages left on front porches. They then steal the items, leaving the victims with no gifts.

Manheim Township Police have created the following tips for residents to protect themselves from porch pirates:

Have packages delivered to where you are, not to where you aren’t. Consider having packages delivered to your place of employment instead of your home.
Use tracking numbers and delivery notifications. Most major shipping companies offer this service for free, and may also send you a text or email when your package arrives.
Ask family members, trusted neighbors, and/or friends to accept deliveries on your behalf or ask them to pick up your packages for you.
Request packages to be placed in a less conspicuous spot, such as a side door, or behind a planter or garbage can.
Many shipping companies now allow you to request a delivery time or time-frame. Schedule packages for when someone is home.
Install a smart security camera or doorbell camera, like Ring® or Nest®, at your front door. Our police agency has solved numerous residential property crimes using these systems and collaborating with our citizens.
Request signature on delivery of packages, if possible. Some companies and shippers offer locker services for packages to be held at the distribution center for pick up by the customer. Similarly, you can have an item shipped directly to an area store where you can safely pick it up.
Keep an eye out for suspicious vehicles and people in your neighborhood. Be sure to report suspicious activity to your local police department as it is occurring. Calling after the fact makes it much harder to thwart potential criminal activity.

Additionally, residents should be aware of a secondary scam where thieves will order items and have them shipped to unaware third parties and use their front door as a drop location. If you received a package you did not order, please call the shipping company and your local police department to file a report.

https://fox43.com/2019/11/19/reminder-from-police-as-holidays-approach-beware-of-porch-pirates/

Rep. Lowey Reintroduces Bill To Ban Traps In Refuges

Exposing the Big Game

  NOV 17, 2019

New York Congresswoman Nita Lowey has reintroduced a bill that would prohibit body-gripping traps in the National Wildlife Refuge system.

Lowey, Democratic chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, reintroduced the Refuge From Cruel Trapping Act Friday, that would ban from public land traps where animal endure hours or even days of pain. Lowey says that, each year, thousands of bobcats, otters, foxes, beavers and other wild animals are trapped in this manner across the nation’s refuges. She says more than 50 percent of the 566 refuges allow trapping. Steel-jaw leghold traps; conibear traps: and neck snares would be banned if the measure is enacted. Lowey says it’s time to restore the true meaning of “refuge” to the National Wildlife Refuge system

https://www.wamc.org/post/rep-lowey-reintroduces-bill-ban-traps-refuges

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Honor and Protect Heroic Service Animals Who Risk Their Lives – ForceChange

They are shot, stabbed, beaten, and sometimes killed for doing their jobs. Law enforcement service animals endure a dangerous existence and little reward for their sacrifices. Ensure justice for these brave animals harmed or felled in the line of duty.

Source: Honor and Protect Heroic Service Animals Who Risk Their Lives – ForceChange

Photography collective takes a stand against wildlife crime

theartnewspaper.com
Tom Seymour

Neil Aldridge’s image of a blindfolded young white rhino, which was sedated for transport to preserve it from poachers, features in the book. The price of rhino horn on the black market is more valuable by weight than gold, diamonds or cocaine, according to a study NEIL ALDRIDGE/photographersagainstwildlifecrime.com

At the beginning of the 20th century, half a million rhinos roamed Africa. Today, there are fewer than 5,000. In 2007, 13 rhinos were poached; since 2013, more than 1,000 have been killed each year. Overwhelmingly, their horns end up on the Chinese and Vietnamese market, where a burgeoning elite views rhino products as an elixir for all manner of ills, or as an ornamental trinket—the ultimate status symbol.

Rhinos are the most iconic of a host of endangered species driven to extinction by such rampant black markets. Pangolins, the only mammal with scales, are frequently found roasted and served in restaurants across East Asia. Black bears are farmed for their bile, which is extracted for use in traditional medicines, while shark fins and turtles are turned into soup. More than 6,000 tigers are held in captivity in China today—before their skeletons are soaked in rice wine and sold to the elite.

This has posed a challenge to some of the world’s most celebrated wildlife photographers. Should their practice and livelihood change as the animals they spend their careers capturing teeter on the brink of extinction?

“Magazines shy away from publishing such imagery. It doesn’t sell well”

Bigeye Thresher Shark Caught in Net by Brian Skerry (2012) © Brian Skerry

A new collective, Photographers Against Wildlife Crime, has formed to address this question and to confront the nation primarily connected to this horrific rise in poaching: China. Co-founded by the award-winning photographer Britta Jaschinski, the group includes some of the most renowned wildlife photographers in the world, including Adrian Steirn, Brent Stirton and Brian Skerry. It was formed in part due to wildlife crime’s lack of visibility in Western publications, Jaschinski says.

“Millions of animals are caught and harvested from the wild and sold in China as food, pets, tourist curios, trophies and for use in traditional Chinese medicine,” she says, adding that the issue doesn’t get the column inches it deserves. “The subject is so upsetting for a lot of people that magazines shy away from publishing such imagery,” Jaschinski adds. “It doesn’t sell well.”
Reaching the target audience

Together, Jaschinski and her colleagues crowdfunded and self-published a collection of their photographs alongside contemporary reporting on the issues behind wildlife crime. The book was initially published in English and quickly sold out. “But we realised we weren’t reaching the target audience that really mattered,” Jaschinski says.

Working in conjunction with a Chinese printer based in London, Jaschinski and her team have translated the book into Mandarin. After months of negotiating with the authorities, they are now in the process of distributing the book across the Chinese mainland.

The book is the first of its kind to be created specifically for a Chinese audience, and explicitly sets out to end the demand for wildlife products in China. It will be launched across the country in July and August, actively targeting the Chinese wildlife consumer market, the trading nucleus for one of the biggest black markets in the world.

Frozen pangolins by Paul Hilton © Paul Hilton

The illegal wildlife trade is the world’s fourth biggest criminal trade after drug smuggling, illegal firearms trade and human trafficking. The price of rhino horn on the black market, Jaschinski points out, is more valuable by weight than gold, diamonds or cocaine, according to a study by Science Advances. Rhino horn is estimated to fetch up to $60,000 per pound on the black market, and the illicit industry as a whole is estimated to be worth $20bn. Andrea Crosta, the director of the Elephant Action League, has called ivory the “white gold of jihad”, pointing out that al-Shabaab, an Islamic terrorist organisation, is funded directly by the illicit ivory and rhino horn trade in China.
Ban is barely enforced

In 2017, the Chinese authorities announced that all trade in ivory and its products would be made illegal. But the ban was barely enforced, Jaschinki says. The trade in rhino and tiger has been prohibited since 1993, but in October 2018, China alarmed conservationists by announcing that products from captive animals are authorised “for scientific, medical and cultural use”.

“I’ve worked on wildlife crime for 25 years—and I don’t distinguish between legal and illegal wildlife crime,” Jaschinski says. “China is becoming the economic leader of the world; I wanted to look at the horrendous treatment of animals and nature in the country, and especially at the link between poaching and trade in the country, and the mistreatment of animals in captivity in China.”

Bruno D’Amicis’s image of a Fennec fox pup offered for sale to a tourist after being caught in the desert in Tunisia. (Kebili Governorate, Tunisia, May 2012) © Bruno D’Amicis

While the images are often appalling, they have artistic merit, for each photographer involved has approached the subject from a different perspective, and by employing a different style. In the introduction to the book, Roz Kidman Cox, the chair of the Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year jury, writes: “Some set out to highlight injustice through statement art, creating images that are unforgettable through their power—fury expressed beautifully. Others take dismembered beauty and reincarnate it in a haunting arrangement, turning evidence into art. Or they use the iconography of classical art to give their compositions human resonance, echoing a crucifixion, a deathbed repose or the spoils of war.”

https://www.theartnewspaper.com/amp/news/photography-collective-takes-a-stand-against-wildlife-crime?__twitter_impression=true

Feinstein Calls for Enhanced Safety Reviews at All California Horse Racing Tracks

santaanitabettingtweet

feinstein.senate.gov
Feinstein Calls for Enhanced Safety Reviews at All California Horse Racing Tracks
2-3 minutes

Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) this week sent letters to California Governor Gavin Newsom and the owners of the Del Mar and Los Alamitos horse racing tracks urging an expansion of the enhanced safety review the governor implemented at Santa Anita Park.

“The extra layer of review you established to examine each horse’s medical records and racing history is a prudent step to ensure racehorse safety. I urge you to implement it at racetracks throughout California for the remainder of the year,” Senator Feinstein wrote.

Full text of letter to Governor Newsom is below.

June 18, 2019

The Honorable Gavin Newsom
Governor
State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814

Dear Governor Newsom,

I write in support of your agreement with The Stronach Group to require an enhanced safety review of horses before they race at Santa Anita Park. While this policy is currently limited to Santa Anita, I ask that you extend the protocol to all horse races and tracks in California for the remainder of 2019.

The 29 fatalities experienced at Santa Anita this year have brought into focus the danger horses face when competing at a high level. Statistics show that most horses who suffer a fatal injury while racing are found to have had a preexisting condition that may have contributed to their breakdown. We should pursue any reasonable measures to detect those preexisting conditions and prevent horses from racing when they are at-risk of catastrophic injury.

The extra layer of review you established to examine each horse’s medical records and racing history is a prudent step to ensure racehorse safety. I urge you to implement it at racetracks throughout California for the remainder of the year.

Sincerely,

Dianne Feinstein
United State Senator

https://www.feinstein.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/press-releases?id=AD64E56D-F1F4-49FF-94AD-120D744E8269

Save Endangered Parrot Species From Extinction

The beloved kākāpō parrot faces possible extinction as several die from a fungal disease, leaving only 142 adults left. Help prevent future deaths by ensuring the protection of these parrots from the disease.

Source: Save Endangered Parrot Species From Extinction

Sign Petition: This Company Is Destroying an Island

thepetitionsite.com
by: Care2 Team
recipient: Manasseh Sogavare P.M. of the Solomon Islands, Xiang Lin

To most people, the Solomon Islands may seem like small specks of land in the huge expanse of the South Pacific. But to its more than 600,000 residents, it’s home. And they will do anything to protect it. The nation’s forests face the very real threat of disappearing in the coming years due to overexploitation spawned by the voracious demand for timber in Asia.

Since 1990, for example, Solomon Islanders have seen more than 20% of their forest disappear, putting both their livelihoods and their native species’ existence at risk. Now some residents are fighting back, but if the government has their way, they will spend years in jail for their resistance.

Sign to demand justice for the Nende Five.

There are many logging concerns now toppling old-growth forests throughout the archipelago, but according to activists, one company’s operations — Malaysia-based Xiang Lin SI Ltd — showed up on their southern island of Nende and started their operations illegally. But even though it is Xiang Lin Si Ltd that is accused of breaking the law, the government has decided to prosecute the brave activists that are trying to stop them.

According to villagers, Xiang Lin didn’t go through the proper steps and channels in order to acquire a license. They didn’t consult the locals, they didn’t give them the obligatory 30 day period to raise any grievances and — perhaps most troubling of all — there are signs that the previous provincial premier, Baddley Tau had accepted bribes that might have allowed logging companies like Xiang Lin to start operations without going through the correct channels.

With all the uncertainty into the illegality of the Xiang Lin’s practices, it’s no wonder that so many Nende Islanders have started fighting back. Some of them, now known as the “Nende Five” have been arrested and face serious jail time if they are found guilty.

Xiang Lin has encroached on the livelihood of an entire island of people, their culture, their ecosystem and their way of life. They have bulldozed and destroyed. And now, after all that, they are about to be the cause of unfair incarceration of people who were just want to protect their lands.

Sign the petition and ask the Solomon Islands to drop the charges against the Nende Five and tell Xiang Lin to cease operations on Nende immediately.

https://www.thepetitionsite.com/562/724/087/?z00m=31710688&redirectID=2891548854

5 Things to Know About the State of Our Oceans for World Oceans Day

ecowatch.com
Tropical fish and turtle swim in the Red Sea, Egypt, an inlet of the Indian Ocean. vlad61 / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Saturday, June 8 is World Oceans Day, a chance to honor and celebrate our blue planet. Ocean lovers around the world will attend beach cleanings and other events or join a March for the Ocean to call for an end to activities that harm marine life, like offshore oil drilling and plastic pollution.

The oceans generate most of the oxygen we breathe, provide food and medicine and help keep our climate stable, according to the day’s organizers. They are also home to amazing animals and ecosystems, like whales and coral reefs, that make the earth a more wondrous place to live. But the world’s marine environments face unprecedented threats. Here are five things to know about the state of our oceans in 2019.

1. Ocean Plastics Are on the Rise

It’s well-known that eight million metric tons of plastics enter the world’s oceans every year. But a study published in April gave new insight into how plastic pollution has proliferated in the past six decades. Researchers found that equipment used to collect plankton had increasingly been disrupted by plastic since it first got entangled with fishing gear in 1957.

“The message is that marine plastic has increased significantly and we are seeing it all over the world, even in places where you would not want to, like the Northwest Passage and other parts of the Arctic,” Marine Biological Association in Plymouth, England researcher Clare Ostle told The Guardian.

2. Plastic Pollution Threatens Marine Oxygen Production

All that plastic floating in the ocean kills one million birds and more than 100,000 marine mammals every year, according to the UK government. But a study published in May found it could have a disturbing impact on some of the ocean’s smallest life forms as well. Scientists exposed the ocean’s most abundant photosynthetic bacteria to chemicals that leach from plastic bags. The chemicals made it harder for the bacteria to grow and produce oxygen. This is scary because these bacteria are responsible for 10 percent of the oxygen we breathe.

“This study revealed a new and unanticipated danger of plastic pollution,” paper co-author and Macquarie University research fellow Lisa Moore told The Independent.

3. Global Warming Is Already Putting Fish in Hot Water

The oceans and the creatures in them are also threatened by climate change, and a groundbreaking study published in March found that rising ocean temperatures are already shrinking fish populations. A University of Rutgers-led team discovered that sustainable fish populations had declined by an average of 4.1 percent over 80 years. That might not sound like a lot, but it actually amounts to 1.4 million metric tons of fish lost between 1930 and 2010. And in some regions the decline was more extreme: sustainable fish populations fell by 34 percent in the northeast Atlantic and 35 percent in the Sea of Japan.

“We were stunned to find that fisheries around the world have already responded to ocean warming,” study co-author and Rutgers’ Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources associate professor Malin Pinsky told Rutgers Today. “These aren’t hypothetical changes sometime in the future.”

4. Marine Heatwaves Act Like Underwater Wildfires

Ocean warming doesn’t just damage individual species. It devastates entire ecosystems. A first-of-its-kind study published in March found that the number of ocean heat wave days per year is surging: The number has increased by more than 50 percent between two 29-year time chunks compared by the scientists. This has particularly harmed coral reefs in the Caribbean, Australian sea-grass beds and California’s kelp forests.

“You have heatwave-induced wildfires that take out huge areas of forest, but this is happening underwater as well,” lead author Dan Smale at the Marine Biological Association in Plymouth, UK told The Guardian. “You see the kelp and seagrasses dying in front of you. Within weeks or months they are just gone, along hundreds of kilometres of coastline.”

5. Ocean Acidification Makes Life Even Harder for Coral Reefs

Marine heat waves threaten coral reefs by causing coral bleaching, in which corals expel the algae that give them color and nutrients. But the greenhouse gasses we are pumping into the atmosphere also endanger coral in another way. They cause ocean acidification, which is what happens when carbon dioxide dissolves in seawater and changes its chemical makeup. This reduces the amount of calcium carbonate that animals like corals use to repair themselves after stressful events like bleachings. In research published just last week, scientists found that some corals and algae they studied were not able to adapt to more acidic waters. This could alter the composition and function of reefs.

“We found that corals and coralline algae weren’t able to acclimatize to ocean acidification,” study author Malcolm McCulloch said.

 

https://www.ecowatch.com/world-oceans-day-facts-2638711550.html?rebelltitem=1#rebelltitem1

Rep. Cunningham Introduces Bill Banning Offshore Drilling on the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts

cunningham.house.gov

The Coastal and Marine Economies Protection Act would permanently ban oil and gas leasing off the coast of the Pacific and Atlantic

Washington, D.C. – Keeping his promise to make sure there is never offshore drilling on South Carolina’s coastline, today Rep. Joe Cunningham introduced the Coastal and Marine Economies Protection Act. This bipartisan legislation would permanently ban oil and gas leasing off the coast of the Pacific and Atlantic.

“I’ve been clear from the very beginning that our beaches, businesses, and way of life should not be for sale. South Carolinians want nothing to do with offshore drilling and the devastating threat it poses to our vibrant natural resources,” said Congressman Joe Cunningham. “I am proud to have the support of a bipartisan group of lawmakers, advocates, and organizations up and down South Carolina and across both the Atlantic and Pacific coastlines. It’s an honor to have the opportunity to lead this bipartisan bill across the finish line to ban offshore drilling off our coast once and for all.”

“The Administration is trying to further oil and gas interests at an alarming rate, including major expansions of offshore drilling in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. This is nothing more than a hand-out to the oil and gas industries and runs counter to health, safety, and environmental safeguards we know must be in place to protect our coastlines. These actions also run counter to the will of the citizens in these coastal communities. I am proud to join with my colleagues in making it perfectly clear to this Administration – there will be no new drilling off our coasts,” said Rep. Alan Lowenthal.

“The Trump administration’s drill-everywhere plan has run into a wave of public opposition. Americans from coast to coast have made it very clear that they do not want to see more oil rigs in their oceans,” said Rep. Jared Huffman. “The Coastal and Marine Economies Protection Act will halt Trump’s oil and gas drilling spree in its tracks, protecting coastal communities and fragile ecosystems from environmental catastrophe. In California, we know that our coastal economies would be placed at unacceptable risk by offshore oil and gas drilling, which threatens the tourism, recreation, and fishing industries. I’m glad to work together with Joe Cunningham on this ongoing effort to block offshore drilling on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, and to shield both of our coastlines from dangerous exploitation.”

“From Congress to the Governor’s mansion to City Council chambers, bipartisan leaders across South Carolina have said time and time again they oppose drilling off our coast. Now Congressman Cunningham is leading the charge in Congress to ensure this threat never comes to be,” said John Tynan, Executive Director of Conservation Voters of South Carolina. “Voters in the Palmetto State have told their elected leaders to prevent drilling off our coast, and we’re proud to stand beside Congressman Cunningham as he leads the way in the fight to protect our coastline, tourism economy, and quality of life.”

“This smart measure responds to communities and leaders all along our Atlantic and Pacific coasts who strongly oppose offshore drilling. It would protect those coastal waters and wildlife from the risks of another BP-style disaster, as well as industrial ruin and ongoing harm. This bill deserves the support of everyone who cares about healthy oceans, marine life, our coastal economies and all they support”, said Alexandra Adams, Legislative Director, Nature Program, Natural Resources Defense Council.

https://cunningham.house.gov/media/press-releases/rep-cunningham-introduces-bill-banning-offshore-drilling-atlantic-and-pacific

Center For Biological Diversity & Defenders Of Wildlife File Intent to Sue Trump Administration to Protect Atlantic Sharks & Giant Manta Rays From Lethal Longlines & Gillnets – World Animal News

By WAN –
April 3, 2019

On behalf of the Center for Biological Diversity and Defenders of Wildlife, today Earthjustice filed a notice of intent to sue the Trump administration for failing to protect oceanic whitetip sharks and giant manta rays from being killed by longlines and huge nets used by U.S. fishermen in Atlantic fisheries.
Defenders petitioned the National Marine Fisheries Service to list the oceanic whitetip shark and giant manta ray under the Endangered Species Act in 2015. The agency listed the shark and ray as threatened last year, triggering the agency’s obligation to consider conservation measures to protect the species from federal actions when authorizing U.S. fisheries.
Today’s notice letter to the Fisheries Service says officials have not completed required consultations when authorizing fisheries managed under the Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan. The Endangered Species Act requires consultations to ensure that federal actions do not unduly harm protected species.
The agency has not completed these consultations on the pelagic longline (which targets tuna, swordfish and other species), shark drift gillnet or shark bottom longline fisheries — all of which harm oceanic whitetip sharks and giant manta rays and have contributed to the species’ declines.
“These sharks and rays won federal protection, but they’re still being slaughtered by reckless fishing practices,” said Catherine Kilduff, a Center attorney in a statement. “The Trump administration has to follow through by regulating the deadly Atlantic longline and gillnet fisheries. Giant manta rays and oceanic whitetip sharks will keep declining if our government doesn’t do its moral and legal duty to protect them.”
The giant manta ray, with a wingspan that can reach 29 feet, has suffered population declines of up to 95% in some places due to commercial fishing. Similarly, scientists have estimated substantial declines in oceanic whitetip sharks in the Atlantic Ocean, including an 88% decline in the Gulf of Mexico due to commercial fishing. Reducing the primary threat to these species, commercial fishing, is key to their survival and recovery.
Giant manta rays and oceanic whitetip sharks are intentionally hunted in other countries — the sharks for their large fins and the manta rays for their gills, both prized for Asian medicines and cuisine — and are often swept up as bycatch by U.S. fisheries. Gillnets have been called “walls of death” for the harm they do to a variety of marine species. Atlantic longlines can be up to 45 miles long, with hundreds of baited hooks.
“These horrific fishing practices are outdated,” Jane Davenport, a Defenders attorney, said. “We can’t keep fishing indiscriminately while sharks, manta rays and other accidental victims move toward extinction. As the agency charged with both conserving these imperiled species and managing U.S. fisheries, the National Marine Fisheries Service is under a double obligation to comply with the Endangered Species Act’s mandate to ensure the survival and recovery of the oceanic whitetip shark and giant manta ray.”
“The law requires these species to be given meaningful protections in the water, not just on paper,” said Earthjustice attorney Chris Eaton. “NMFS can’t allow these fisheries to continue harming the oceanic whitetip and giant manta ray unchecked. It needs to put some safeguards into place.”
A peer-reviewed study by Center scientists released in January found most marine species listed under the Endangered Species Act are recovering. Listed species with critical habitat protections and those listed for more than 20 years are most likely to be rebounding. In February 2019, Defenders and the Center also sent a detailed technical letter to the agency urging it to designate critical habitat for the giant manta ray in U.S. waters.

https://worldanimalnews.com/center-for-biological-diversity-defenders-of-wildlife-file-intent-to-sue-trump-administration-to-protect-atlantic-sharks-giant-manta-rays-from-lethal-longlines-gillnets/

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