Drought causes more than 100 elephant deaths in Botswana

news.yahoo.com

Gaborone (Botswana) (AFP) – More than 100 elephants have died in two months in Botswana’s Chobe National Park due to drought, which has also affected wildlife in other countries in the region, the government said Tuesday.

Several southern African countries are enduring one of the worst droughts in decades, caused by months of over-average temperatures and erratic rainfall.

The drought has wilted grasslands and dried up water holes, making it increasingly difficult for animals to survive.

Botswana’s environment ministry said it has recorded a spike in the number of elephant and other animal deaths since May.

“More than one hundred elephants are estimated to have died naturally in the past two months,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that 13 deaths were recorded just this week.

In neighbouring Zimbabwe, Its wildlife agency has recorded at least 55 elephant deaths over the past month due to lack of food and water.

Preliminary investigations in Botswana have also suggested some of the elephants may have died from anthrax.

“Due to the severe drought, elephants end up ingesting soil while grazing and get exposed to the anthrax bacteria spore,” the ministry said in a statement.

“The animals are also travelling long distances in search of food which leaves some highly emaciated, ending in death.”

Anthrax is an infectious disease found naturally in soil. It is generally contracted by herbivores and is a common cause of death for both wild and domestic animals around the world.

The environment ministry said it would be burning “anthrax related carcasses” to prevent the disease from spreading to other animals.

It warned the public not to touch any animal carcasses they might find and report them to the authorities.

https://news.yahoo.com/drought-causes-more-100-elephant-deaths-botswana-164006451.html

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How to enable Twitter ‘Lights Out’ dark mode on Android – 9to5Google

Since the unveiling of Android 10, dark mode has been one of the most hotly requested features for almost every app. As of today, Twitter is finally rolling out their AMOLED-black “Lights Out” dark mode on Android, but you might need a trick to enable it. On those platforms, Twitter has long offered a dark mode which replace the blinding white background with a more subdued blue hue. Twitter for Android and iOS even allow this dark mode to be triggered automatically based on sunset.

https://9to5google.com/2019/10/22/twitters-lights-out-dark-mode-rolling-out-on-android-heres-how

-to-manually-enable/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

UVic bows to outside pressure and rescinds my adjunct professor status

polarbearscience

As you may have heard, this summer I lost my status as Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Anthropology Department at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada (UVic), a position I had held for 15 years. This action followed my expulsion from the roster of the university’s volunteer Speakers Bureau in May 2017. However, until April 2017 the university and the Anthropology department proudly promoted my work, including my critical polar bear commentary, which suggests someone with influence (and perhaps political clout) intervened to silence my scientific criticism.

Crockford skull

Journalist Donna LaFramboise has exposed this travesty in the National Post (16 October 2019), which you can read here. I have provided more background below and Donna’s blog post is here.

Losing my adjunct status

An adjunct professorship is an unpaid position with a few responsibilities that in return allow a scholar to operate as a qualified member of…

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8 Takeaways From The Most Important Wildlife Event You’ve Never Heard Of

nationalgeographic.com.au

By DINA FINE MARON AND RACHEL FOBAR 02 September 2019

GENEVA – Nine animals received increased protections from international trade, and more than 130 species won protections for the first time at a two-week summit aimed at managing the multibillion-dollar cross-border wildlife trade while preventing endangered animals and plants from sliding to extinction.

Not every country went home happy. “What I sense in the room, and what I’m concerned about is there’s a bitterness,” says Ivonne Higuero, secretary-general of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES). “There’s a discussion of ‘This is not working for me, it hasn’t been working for me for some time.’”

From August 17 to August 28, 182 countries and the European Union considered proposals for more than 500 species, and their votes often broke down based on political, economic, and geographic lines. Southern African nations, for example, squared off against many other African nations on their differing approaches to elephant conservation and how to fund it.

Until now, CITES decisions about levels of protection for species have been based exclusively on science—knowledge accumulated by biologists and ecologists, for example—but disagreements arose over how much weight CITES should now give to other factors, including the needs and desires of rural communities that live alongside wildlife. Economic and social benefits, for example, such as revenue from hunting and ecotourism to benefit villagers, are increasingly seen as integral to discussions about levels of protection.

Every three years CITES members convene to discuss the treaty, which was enacted in 1975. Eight themes emerged from this year’s conference. (Read more about the major CITES decisions here).

1. Marine animals are gaining a needed safety net.

Decisions to increase protections for mako sharks, wedgefish, and guitarfish came on the heels of a resolution proposed by Antigua and Barbuda to stop all marine species from being listed under CITES until it can be demonstrated that CITES protections do in fact make a difference. The resolution was roundly rejected, but this wasn’t a new notion.

“There’s long been this idea that somehow CITES isn’t a tool for marine species, and that idea to us is absurd,” says Matt Collis, director of international policy at the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

CITES was set up to deal with terrestrial species, leading some to say that marine species should be excluded and that regulation should be left to regional fishery bodies. This idea is a relic from when CITES began in the 1970s, says Luke Warwick, assistant director of the sharks and rays program for the nonprofit Wildlife Conservation Society.

This year, Warwick says it seems that a consensus was finally reached: In a “weird” but “positive anticlimax,” Japan, which opposed the mako shark proposal, surprised conservationists when it didn’t reopen the mako shark debate in the final session. That’s when proposal decisions must be confirmed or rejected and countries have a chance to reopen debates. This shows the idea that CITES is for sharks is becoming mainstream, Warwick says.

“There’s a growing recognition that CITES does marine and it does it well,” he says.

2. The exotic pet trade is putting an increasing strain on dozens of threatened species.

The Indian star tortoise, considered a “vulnerable” species, is one of the world’s heavily trafficked tortoises. CITES members voted to ban it from international commercial trade.

PHOTOGRAPH BY JOEL SARTORE, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC PHOTO ARK

More than a third of the proposals this year related to reptiles and amphibians that are now threatened, largely because of their popularity as exotic pets in the United States, the EU, and elsewhere. Those species include the Indian star tortoise and the tokay gecko. Two otter species—the Asian small-clawed otter and smooth-coated otter—similarly have suffered from their popularity among exotic pet collectors, particularly in Southeast Asia. Collectively, more than 20 of the 56 proposals up for CITES consideration had listings spurred by the pet trade. Almost all mustered enough votes to increase protections. Only one proposal—to list all 104 species of glass frogs—failed to pass.

3. How should countries fund conservation? CITES didn’t provide answers.

The long-standing debate over how to fund conservation efforts came up again this year, notably in the debate over elephant and rhino protections.

Eswatini proposed opening its commercial rhino trade, which would allow it to sell abroad its nearly 332-kilogram stockpile of horn, valued at US $9.9 million. Fears that a legal trade would stimulate demand and smuggling of rhino horn led to the rejection of the proposal, but the question remains unanswered: How will countries such as Eswatini fund conservation?

Some conservationists have suggested ecotourism or donations could help. During the debates, the representative from Eswatini angrily invited opposing countries and nonprofit organizations to step up and pay to protect its rhinos.

“Opinion seems to come not with responsibility,” he said of the opposition. “If the finance is not available to protect them, rhinos will continue to die, and so will people.”

4. Frustrations persist between southern African countries and the more than 30 countries that make up the African Elephant Coalition.

Debate about how to manage the trade in charismatic large animals and products from them, including ivory and rhino horn, was intense. Southern African countries, such as Botswana, Namibia, and Zimbabwe, had very different views from the countries that have come together as the African Elephant Coalition, a consortium of more than 30 countries that seek to preserve African elephant populations and want a world free from trade threats to the animals. Officials from the former said they should have the right to trade their animals and products from them and believe they should be rewarded for their conservation. Coalition members such as Kenya, for example, argued that these species still need to be preserved and shouldn’t be involved in global commerce beyond current levels.

5. The EU, which stands as a 28-vote block, wields the power to make or break proposals.

At the start of the conference, not all 28 EU countries had been fully credentialed. As a result, when a major vote came up about banning the sale of wild African elephants to countries outside where they live, the EU, even though it opposed the proposal, couldn’t vote. Had the EU voted, the proposal would have failed. (The EU later reached a compromise with other countries and, after adding amendments that create certain exceptions for such sales, ultimately supported the proposal.) Yet the EU’s outsize influence enabled it to scuttle a separate effort to protect glass frogs (popular in Europe as exotic pets) from trade, despite impassioned defense of the proposal by Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Honduras—countries where the animals live in nature. Meanwhile, a new level of protection for mako sharks squeaked by. Observers say the vote would have gone the other way if the EU hadn’t signed on as a co-sponsor.

“The 28 EU member states are a powerful force at CITES—and generally a force for conservation,” says Susan Lieberman, of the Wildlife Conservation Society.

6. Is CITES acting quickly enough?

Glass frogs, so named because of their transparent skin, are regularly traded as pets, particularly in the United States and Europe.

PHOTOGRAPH BY JOEL SARTORE, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC PHOTO ARK

A 2019 United Nations report on extinction rates found that about one million species of animals and plants are in danger of disappearing, many within decades, because of humans. The vast majority of animals traded from country to country aren’t protected under CITES.

Neil D’Cruze, global wildlife advisor for the international animal welfare nonprofit World Animal Protection, wonders if CITES decisions come quickly enough to save species. D’Cruze says he’s spent years researching the vulnerable, and declining, Indian star tortoise, one of the world’s most heavily trafficked tortoises. Despite discussions about its trade status at previous CITES meetings, a ban on their international commercial trade wasn’t instituted until now. Similarly, all eight species of pangolins weren’t given the highest level of protection until 2017, although, according to the wildlife trade monitoring group Traffic, an estimated million were trafficked between 2000 and 2013.

“CITES is an important conservation and wildlife protection tool, but given the rapid rate of global biodiversity loss, there is always the wish that CITES, government, and NGOs could move faster,” D’Cruze says.

7. CITES is flawed. A path to fix it remains unclear.

A frequent complaint is the lack of transparency at many of the controversial votes at CITES meetings, including those relating to marine animals and elephants. The convention allows for secret ballot votes, and in such cases, one country can ask for a matter to be voted on by secret ballot. As long as 10 countries second that bid, the public will never know how a given country voted—unless that country asks for its vote to be put on the record. That’s a problem because countries need to be accountable to their public, says Lieberman.

Another common complaint: Now that the treaty has 183 members and scientists have learned a lot more about the dire situation facing a variety of species, the conference agenda has grown dauntingly long. Before this year’s meeting, CITES Secretary-General Ivonne Higuero told National Geographic, “With each Conference of the Parties, we are increasing the number of documents and proposals that are being considered. This one has 20 per cent more than the last, at South Africa. And that [conference] had a larger agenda than the one before.” She added, “A very big concern of mine as the new secretary-general is: Are we going to be as effective in general at CITES?”

Another criticism of the treaty is that the emphasis now is too heavily on restricting trade. Moreover, many observers say that CITES doesn’t treat poorer nations on par with richer ones—disproportionately sanctioning the former for failing to comply with or enforce the treaty. “It’s also fair to say that countries with well established and well staffed CITES authorities are much better versed at defending themselves,” says John Scanlon, who served as secretary-general from 2010 to 2018.

CITES meetings generally happen every three years, although they’re meant to occur biannually. More frequent meetings would drive up the costs of managing the treaty but could shorten agendas, streamlining the process. Still, the three-year cadence seems unlikely to change: At the conclusion of this meeting, the next Conference of the Parties was announced for 2022, to be hosted by Costa Rica.

8. New elephant protections underscore evolution in thinking about these intelligent, sensitive creatures.

Although public attention is drawn toward charismatic creatures such as elephants and rhinos, most illegal wildlife trade actually involves timber, plants, and marine life. Still, the most contentious debates at this summit, as in previous ones, swirled around elephants—with proposals about opening up ivory trade, closing down domestic ivory markets, and loosening the restrictions limiting Zambia’s elephant sales. All three failed to pass, leaving the status of elephants largely unchanged.

But one elephant measure was approved: a near-complete ban on capturing and sending African elephants from some countries to zoos and other captive facilities abroad. The issue, which stemmed largely from concerns about recent sales of young elephants to China and the U.S., preoccupied the concluding discussion. Zimbabwe, in particular, has recently sought to sell some of its elephants.

Lead Image: Glass frogs were among the more than 500 species considered for protections at this year’s CITES international wildlife trade meeting in Geneva.
PHOTOGRAPH BY JOEL SARTORE, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC PHOTO ARK

Or more on this related story click here.

https://www.nationalgeographic.com.au/animals/8-takeaways-from-the-most-important-wildlife-event-youve-never-heard-of.aspx

“Hurricane Dorian hammers the Bahamas for more than 24 hours l ABC News”

 

Conservation Scientists and Specialists Oppose Ban on Hunting Trophy Imports

africasustainableconservation.comTrophy hunting is under pressure: There are high-profile campaigns to ban it, and several governments have legislated against it (1). In the United States, the CECIL Act (2) would prohibit lion and elephant trophy imports from Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe and restrict imports of species listed as threatened or endangered on the Endangered Species Act. Australia, the Netherlands, and France have also restricted trophy imports (1), and the United Kingdom is under pressure to follow. Calls for hunting bans usually cite conservation concerns. However, there is compelling evidence that banning trophy hunting would negatively affect conservation.In African trophy hunting countries, more land has been conserved under trophy hunting than under national parks (3), and ending trophy hunting risks land conversion and biodiversity loss (4). Poorly managed trophy hunting can cause local population declines (5), but unless better land-use alternatives exist, hunting reforms—which have proved effective (6)—should be prioritized over bans (7). Positive population impacts of well-regulated hunting have been demonstrated for many species, including rhinos, markhor, argali, bighorn sheep, and many African ungulates (7).Embedded ImageBanning trophy hunting can have unintended consequences for species such as lions.”PHOTO: KEN SILLS”Trophy hunting can also provide income for marginalized and impoverished rural communities (7). Viable alternatives are often lacking; opponents of hunting promote the substitution of photo-tourism, but many hunting areas are too remote or unappealing to attract sufficient visitors (8). Species such as lions fare worst in areas without photo-tourism or trophy hunting (9), where unregulated killing can be far more prevalent than in hunting zones, with serious repercussions for conservation and animal welfare (10). Focusing on trophy hunting also distracts attention from the major threats to wildlife.The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a global conservation authority, clearly concludes that “with effective governance and management trophy hunting can and does have positive impacts” on conservation and local livelihoods (7). Although there is considerable room for improvement, including in governance, management, and transparency of funding flows and community benefits (11), the IUCN calls for multiple steps to be taken before decisions are made that restrict or end trophy hunting programs (7). Crucially, as African countries call for a “New Deal” for rural communities (12) that allows them to achieve the self-determination to sustainably manage wildlife and reduce poverty, it is incumbent on the international community not to undermine that. Some people find trophy hunting repugnant (including many of us), but conservation policy that is not based on science threatens habitat and biodiversity and risks disempowering and impoverishing rural communities.Supplementary Materials for
Trophy hunting bans imperil biodiversity
Amy Dickman, Rosie Cooney, Paul J. Johnson*, Maxi Pia Louis, Dilys Roe,
and 128 signatories
*Corresponding author. Email: paul.johnson@zoo.ox.ac.uk
Published 30 August 2019, Science 365, 874 (2019)
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaz0735Full list of signatories for “Trophy hunting bans imperil biodiversity” by Amy Dickman, Rosie
Cooney, Paul J. Johnson, Maxi Pia Louis, Dilys Roe
1. Aaron Nicholas, Wildlife Conservation Society, Tanzania
2. Adam G. Hart, University of Gloucestershire, UK
3. Agostinho Jorge, Niassa Carnivore Project, Mozambique
4. Alayne Cotterill, Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University of
Oxford, UK
5. Alexandra Zimmerman, Chair, IUCN SSC Human-Wildlife Conflict Task Force
6. Amy Hinks, Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford
7. Amy Hinsley, Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University of
Oxford, UK
8. Ana Grau, Ruaha Carnivore Project, Tanzania
9. Andrew Jacobson, Catawba College Salisbury, NC 28144 USA.
10. Andrew James Hearn, Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University
of Oxford, UK
11. Andrew Parker, Vice President of Strategy & Programs, Africa Division, Conservation
International
12. Angus Middleton, Executive Director, Namibia Nature Foundation, Namibia
13. Arash Ghoddousi, Humboldt-University Berlin, Germany
14. Asser Ndjiteuza, %Khaodi//Hoas Conservancy Chairperson, Namibia
15. Axel Moehrenschlager, Chair, IUCN Species Survival Commission Conservation Translocation
Specialist Group, and Centre for Conservation Research, Calgary Zoological Society, Calgary,
Alberta, Canada
16. BenJee Cascio, Ruaha Carnivore Project, Tanzania
17. Brian Child, Associate Professor, Department of Geography, Center for Africa Studies,
University of Florida, USA
18. Byron Du Preez, Jesus College, University of Oxford, UK
19. Catherine E. Semcer, Research Fellow, Property and Environment Research Center, USA
20. Charles Jones Nsonkali, OKANI, Cameroon
21. Charles Jonga, Director, CAMPFIRE Association, Zimbabwe
22. Charlotte Searle, Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University of
Oxford, UK
23. Chris Brown, Namibian Chamber of Environment, representing a membership of 65 Namibian
environmental NGOs
24. Colleen Begg, Director, Niassa Carnivore Project, Mozambique
25. Cory Whitney, Center for Development Research, University of Bonn, Germany
26. Craig Packer, Director, Lion Research Center, University of Minnesota, USA
27. Damian Bell, Honeyguide, Tanzania
28. Dan Challender, Oxford Martin Fellow, Oxford Martin Programme on the Illegal Wildlife Trade,
Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, UK
29. David Mallon, Co-Chair, IUCN Species Survival Commission, Antelope Specialist Group;
Manchester Metropolitan University, UK30. Debbie Peake, Botswana Coalition for Conservation, Ngamiland Council of Non-Governmental
Organisations and Botswana Wildlife Producers Association
31. Diogo Veríssimo, Department of Zoology and Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford, UK
& Institue for Conservation and Research, San Diego Zoo, USA
32. Dominik T. Bauer, Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University of
Oxford, UK
33. Duan Biggs, Griffith University, Queensland, Australia
34. Ed Sayer, Country Director & Programme Manager, Frankfurt Zoological Society Zambia
35. Edson Gandiwa, School of Wildlife, Ecology and Conservation, Chinhoyi University of
Technology, Zimbabwe
36. EJ Milner-Gulland, Director, Interdisciplinary Centre for Conservation Science, Department of
Zoology, University of Oxford, UK
37. Elizabeth L. Bennett, Vice President, Species Conservation, Wildlife Conservation Society, USA
38. Enrico Di Minin, Department of Geosciences and Geography, University of Helsinki, Finland
39. Eric Xaweb, Tsiseb Conservancy Manager, Namibia
40. Gail Potgieter, Felines Communication and Conservation Consultants, Namibia
41. George Wambura, CEO – Community Wildlife Management Areas Consortium (CWMAC),
Tanzania
42. Gerhard R Damm, Conservation Frontlines Foundation
43. Ghulam Mohd Malikyar, Environmental Analyst, Afghanistan
44. Haibin Wang, Ph.D., China Wildlife Conservation Association
45. Hans de Iongh, Leo Foundation
46. Harriet T. Davies-Mostert, Endangered Wildlife Trust, South Africa and Mammal Research
Institute, University of Pretoria, South Africa
47. Himla Angula, NACSO Institutional Support Coordinator, Namibia
48. Hollie Booth, University of Oxford, UK
49. Holly Dublin, Member, IUCN Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group
50. Hongjie Wang, Vice President, China Wildlife Conservation Association
51. Hugo van der Westhuizen, Gonarezhou Conservation Trust, Zimbabwe
52. Isla Duporge, Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University of
Oxford, UK
53. James Stevens, Member, IUCN SSC Human-Wildlife Conflict Task Force
54. Janet Matoka, Assistant Director, Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation,
Namibia
55. Janusz Sielicki, Vicepresident, International Association for Falconry and Conservation of Birds
of Prey
56. Jenny Anne Glikman, Member, IUCN SSC Human-Wildlife Conflict Task Force
57. Jeremy Cusack, Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Stirling, UK
58. John Kasaona, Executive Director, Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation,
Namibia
59. Juan Herrero, Co-chair, IUCN SSC Caprinae Specialist Group; and Technical School, University
of Saragossa, Spain
60. Judie Melikie, Huab Conservancy Chairperson, Namibia
61. Julia Jones, University of Bangor, UK62. Julian Fennessy, Director, Giraffe Conservation Foundation, Namibia
63. Juliette Claire Young, NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, UK
64. Julius G. Bright Ross, Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University
of Oxford, UK
65. Justin Brashares, Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, UC Berkeley,
USA
66. Justin Seymour-Smith, Trans-Kalahari Predator Programme, Wildlife Conservation Research
Unit, University of Oxford, UK
67. Karen Laurenson, Interim Director, Africa Department, Frankfurt Zoological Society
68. Keith Somerville, Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology, University of Kent, UK
69. Khalil Karimov, Tajikistan Snow Leopard Programme Field Scientist; Central Asia Regional
Chair, IUCN Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group
70. Kim S Jacobsen, Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University of
Oxford, UK
71. Korsh Ararat, Nature Iraq/University of Sulaimani, Iraq
72. Laura Perry, Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford,
UK
73. Lisanne Petracca, Conservation Scientist, Panthera, USA
74. Liz Rihoy, Director, Resource Africa UK
75. Lovemore Sibanda, Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University of
Oxford, UK
76. Luke Dollar, Department of Environment & Sustainability, Catawba College Salisbury, NC
28144 USA
77. Luke Hunter, Executive Director, Big Cats Program, Wildlife Conservation Society, USA
78. Marco Festa-Bianchet, Département de biologie, Université de Sherbrooke, Canada
79. Marco Pani, Member, IUCN Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group
80. Marion Valeix, Laboratoire de Biométrie et Biologie Evolutive, Centre National de la Recherche
Scientifique (CNRS), Université de Lyon, France
81. Mark Stanley-Price, Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University of
Oxford, UK
82. Mathew Bukhi Mabele, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of
Dodoma, Tanzania
83. Matthew Becker, CEO, Zambian Carnivore Programme, Zambia
84. Matthew Wijers, Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University of
Oxford, UK
85. Michael Archer, PANGEA Research Center, School of Biological, Earth & Environmental
Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
86. Michael ‘t Sas-Rolfes, School of Geography and the Environment and Oxford Martin School,
University of Oxford, UK
87. Mike Hoffmann, Head, Global Conservation Programmes, Zoological Society of London, UK
88. Mike Knight, Chair, IUCN SSC African Rhino Specialist Group
89. Mohammad Farhadinia, Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford, UK
90. Moses Selebatso, Wildlife Ecologist, Kalahari Research and Conservation, Botswana
91. Munavvar Alidodov, President, Association of Nature Conservation Organisations of Tajikistan92. Nafeesa Esmail, Oxford Martin School & Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, UK
93. Niall Hammond, Griffith University, Queensland, Australia
94. Niki Rust, School of Natural & Environmental Sciences, Newcastle University, UK
95. Nils Bunnefeld, Professor in Conservation Science, Biological and Environmental Sciences,
University of Stirling, UK
96. Nyambe Nyambe, Executive Director, Kavango–Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area
97. Paolo Strampelli, Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University of
Oxford, UK
98. Paolo Wilfred, Department of Life Sciences, Open University of Tanzania
99. Peadar Brehony, University of Cambridge, UK
100. Pete Coppolillo, Executive Director, Working Dogs for Conservation, USA
101. Peter Coals, Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University of
Oxford, UK; School of Animal, Plant & Environmental Science, University of the Witwatersrand,
Johannesburg, South Africa
102. Peter Tyrrell, Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University
of Oxford, UK
103. Peyton West, Executive Director, Frankfurt Zoological Society U.S.
104. Philippe Chardonnet, Co-Chair, IUCN Species Survival Commission, Antelope Specialist
Group
105. Rebecca Klein, Cheetah Conservation Botswana
106. Richard W. S. Fynn, Okavango Research Institute, University of Botswana
107. Rob Morley, Flora Fauna & Man
108. Robert Kenward, Chair for Sustainable Use and Management of Ecosystems in IUCN
Commission on Ecosystem Management
109. Robert Thomson, Felines Communication and Conservation Consultants, Namibia
110. Robin Sharp, retired Director of Wildlife and Countryside, UK Department of
Environment
111. Rodgers Lubilo, Chairperson, Zambia Community-Based Natural Resources
Management (CBNRM) Forum
112. Rosalie Iileka, Namibia Nature Foundation
113. Ruth Feber, Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University of
Oxford, UK
114. Sándor Csányi, Institute for Wildlife Conservation, Szent István University, Hungary
115. Sandro Lovari, Co-Chair, IUCN Caprinae Specialist Group; and Maremma Natural
History Museum, Grosseto, Italy
116. Sarah Durant, Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London, UK
117. Shadrach Mwaba, Zambian Carnivore Programme and Wildlife Conservation Research
Unit, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, UK
118. Simon Hedges, Asian Arks; Lao PDR; IUCN SSC Human-Wildlife Conflict Task Force
119. Simon Pooley, Department of Geography, Birkbeck University of London, UK
120. Stefan Michel, IUCN Caprinae Specialist Group, IUCN Sustainable Use and Livelihoods
Specialist Group
121. Stein Katupa, Kunene Conservancy Regional Association Secretary, Namibia
122. Stephen Redpath, University of Aberdeen, UK123. Sugoto Roy, Member, IUCN SSC Human-Wildlife Conflict Task Force
124. Teo Ntinda, Namibia Development Trust, Namibia
125. Tim Tear, Executive Director, Africa Program, Wildlife Conservation Society, USA
126. Vanessa M Adams, Discipline of Geography and Spatial Sciences, University of
Tasmania, Australia
127. Vernon Booth, Member, IUCN Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group
128. Wei Jl, Member, IUCN Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Grouphttps://africasustainableconservation.com/2019/08/30/conservation-scientists-and-specialists-oppose-ban-on-hunting-trophy-imports/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

“The Dark Side of Tourism Clearing Everest’s Trash” National Geographic”

“Born Free Podcast | Episode #1| Wild animals as exotic pets”

Drone footage shows hundreds of dogs kept in extreme stress for research

latestreadings.com

Spending so much time on the Internet and being there all the time these days, reading everything that is served to us – good or bad – sadly enough, often are the times we hear or read stories of dogs being used for experiments.

And, truth be told, it breaks my heart every time.
Image result for Drone footage shows hundreds of dogs kept in extreme stress for research

What took the internet by storm this time, is this video taken by a drone of hundreds of dogs being kept in horrible conditions and living the life no one would want. The video was uploaded on YouTube by Shark, and according to its caption, the dogs are there for experiments.

In a Covance Research facility, in Cumberland, Virginia you can see hundreds of Beagles in extremely stressful conditions.

Keeping them trapped and in such horrible conditions according to experts is developing them ‘very toxic and aggressive behavior patterns.’ In the video, you can hear the poor creatures barking and crying at all time.

Another thing noticed there, is the so-called ‘repetitive behavior’ of the dogs which is caused by stress, seeing many of them pacing in circles. This is an indicator of a serious problem with the mental state of an animal or person. It really breaks your heart!

The cages that the Beagles are being kept, are over-filled and you can clearly see they are under so much stress, where fighting and other signs of dominance occur. Who even blames them?

It is heartbreaking knowing that these lovely dogs are going under so much stress. While the barking and the crying of the Beagles – is the new sound of the Covance research facility.

Turns out that the Covance research facility has been blamed for illegal treatment in the past as well. They were accused by PETA for immoral practices in a monkey laboratory.

To help these loving creatures who are suffering from living a stressful life being trapped in cages, living a life they do not deserve, people have created a petition to shut down the Covance research facility and rescue the poor dogs.

https://latestreadings.com/drone-footage-shows-hundreds-of-dogs-kept-in-extreme-stress-for-research/

Let’s hope the best for the life of these lovely Beagles.

Trade in giraffes to be regulated for first time: CITES

reuters.com
Stephanie Nebehay
Thu Aug 22,2019

GENEVAGENEVA (Reuters) – Countries voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to regulate international trade in giraffes, an endangered species, and in their skins and other parts, overcoming objections by southern African states and drawing praise from conservationists.

The provisional decision, taken in a key committee of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), is expected to be endorsed at a plenary next week, officials said. The requirements would come into force 30 days later.

“The giraffe is in the wild much rarer than African elephants, much rarer,” Tom De Meulenaer, CITES’ scientific services chief, told a news briefing before the vote.

“We are talking about a few tens of thousands of giraffes, and we talk about a few hundreds of thousands of African elephants. So we need to be careful,” he said.

After heated debate, countries easily defeated a proposal by four southern African states – Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe – to allow controlled sales of their ivory stocks.

But in recognition of conservation efforts, countries rejected a motion that would have transferred southern African elephants to appendix I banning trade. The European Union was among those saying the move did not meet ‘biological criteria’.

“The decisions today … mean it’s status quo for elephants: No international commercial ivory trade is permitted and that is what needs to happen,” said Susan Lieberman of the Wildlife Conservation Society.

Some 106 parties to the U.N.-backed treaty voted in favor of the giraffe motion, 21 voted against, with 7 abstentions.

Wildlife activists welcomed the move to list nine species of giraffes on CITES Appendix II that regulates trade. It came after the defeat of a motion by southern African countries to exclude their giraffe populations from any regulation.

Giraffes face “silent extinction”, the Natural Resources Defense Council, a conservation group, said in a statement.

“Thanks to today’s decision, the international trade in giraffe parts – which includes rugs and bone carvings – will be tracked in a manner that allows us to focus on problem trends in destructive trade, and fight for additional protections if necessary,” said Elly Pepper of the U.S.-based group.

Adam Peyman of Humane Society International said that it was a “huge win” for giraffes whose herds have shrunk.

“They have declined about 40 percent over the last 30 years and there are only about 68,000 mature individuals remaining in the world and they are really in trouble,” he told Reuters Television at the triennial talks.

Cassandra Koenen of World Animal Protection said: “This message is loud and clear: people care about wild animals and believe they should belong in the wild, not as a trophy in your office.”

https://mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSKCN1VC1JZ?__twitter_impression=true

(additional reporting by Cecile Mantovani in Geneva; Editing by Gareth Jones)

CITES, the world’s biggest conference on wildlife trade, is happening. Get the details.

relay.nationalgeographic.com
By Dina Fine Maron By Rachel Fobar

Every three years, there’s a global meeting to talk about the international wildlife trade—worth billions of dollars annually. At issue is an overarching question: How to balance this international commerce—which includes exotic pets, furs, and timber—without driving species to extinction.

The meetings are convened by the members of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), a treaty enacted in 1975. (Learn more about the treaty here: CITES, explained.)

Among the matters the 183 members will address at the latest meeting—which runs from August 17 through August 28 in Geneva, Switzerland—are the future of the ivory trade, illegal killings of rhinos and the rhino horn trade, management of African elephant populations, and the booming exotic pet business.

Wildlife Watch will be closely tracking the conference. Find our stories from CITES here and read briefs below on this regularly updated news ticker. You can also follow our tweets at @Dina_Maron and @rfobarand @Rachael_Bale.

August 20—Black rhino trophy hunting in South Africa

Parties have voted to allow South Africa to increase its annual export quota for black rhino hunting trophies. The current quota allows for five adult male trophies, but the new quota will allow a number not exceeding half a percent of the country’s total black rhino population—a maximum of about 10 animals. Adult males will be targeted to protect breeding females.

South Africa argued that the money raised from trophy hunting helps support conservation. Black rhinos are threatened by poaching, but according to the conservation nonprofit Save the Rhino, populations in the country increased from about 800 in 1992 to more than 2,000 by the end of 2017.

Botswana, Zimbabwe, eSwatini (formerly Swaziland), the EU, and Canada also supported the measure.

This matter must now be confirmed or rejected at the plenary, at the end of the Conference of the Parties, when all appendix change proposals, resolutions, and decisions passed in committee are officially adopted.

-Rachel Fobar

August 18—Export of live, wild-caught elephants

In a surprise early vote, parties voted in committee to amend a resolution to limit the trade in live, wild-caught African elephants to range countries only. This issue has received international attention following the shipment of young elephants from Zimbabwe to China in 2015 and from eSwatini (formerly Swaziland) to U.S. zoos in 2016.

Zimbabwe, the U.S., and the European Union spoke against the move. “Live sales are part of our management tools,” the Zimbabwe delegate said, and those sales raise funds for conservation.

Kenya, Niger, and Burkina Faso spoke in support of it. “We all agree these are intelligent creatures with complex social links,” the Burkina Faso delegate said of elephants, arguing that they cannot thrive in captivity.

The European Union, which acts as a bloc but has 28 individual votes, asked for the vote to be postponed, but the chair rejected the call.

There were 46 yes votes and 18 no votes, with the European Union neither voting nor abstaining. Had they voted no, the resolution would not have passed. The proposal must now be confirmed or rejected at the plenary, which comes at the end of the Conference of the Parties and is where all appendix change proposals, resolutions, and decisions passed in committee are officially adopted. While many elephant campaigners were pleased at the show of support, they are concerned that the debate could be reopened at the plenary and that the EU parties would vote no, reversing today’s approval.
-Rachael Bale

August 16—Setting the scene

-Dina Fine Maron

Wildlife Watch is an investigative reporting project between National Geographic Society and National Geographic Partners focusing on wildlife crime and exploitation. Read more Wildlife Watch stories here, and learn more about National Geographic Society’s nonprofit mission at nationalgeographic.org. Send tips, feedback, and story ideas to ngwildlife@natgeo.com.

PUBLISHED August 17, 2019

https://relay.nationalgeographic.com/proxy/distribution/public/amp/animals/2019/08/breaking-news-from-cites?__twitter_impression=true

Four wolves killed by Washington state agents — hours before court hearing to protect them

The fate of the last wolf from that pack will be determined at trial.

A King County Superior Court judge ordered state officials on Friday morning to temporarily stop killing members of a wolf pack in the Colville National Forest, in northeastern Washington — but their fate had already been decided.

Hours earlier, state officials had already killed most of the pack, known as the Old Profanity Territory pack.

They had killed four of them early Friday morning — before the 9:30 a.m. court hearing started. And they’d already killed four others between July 31 and August 13.

That left only one wolf still alive when the restraining order was issued. That animal’s fate will be decided at a trial.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife was killing the wolves because the pack had killed or injured 14 cattle over the past 10 months.

“Lethal removal” of wolves that attack livestock is part of the state’s strategy for managing wolves in the eastern third of the state, where the animals are not federally listed as an endangered species.

It costs the state about $20,000 to kill one wolf.

Before the state kills wolves, ranchers have to prove they took reasonable steps to protect their livestock, such as employing cowboys known as range riders, using light and noise to scare wolves away from cattle, and removing sick and injured animals from the range.

The Center for a Humane Economy, the organization that sued the state to stop killing the wolf pack, said the rancher did not take adequate steps.

In fact, the rancher asked those state range riders – meant to scare the wolves – to leave his range on July 8. Nine of the 14 wolf attacks on cattle occurred that day and in the following month.

The judge ruled that there was enough of a question about whether or not the rancher had taken adequate preventative steps to allow the case to go to trial.

By killing four of the wolves in the early morning hours the day of the hearing, the state was acting in “tremendously bad faith,” said Wayne Pacelle, president of the Center for a Humane Economy.

“It’s like, ‘Okay, we’ve got to get these wolves now, in case the judge stops us,’” he said.

Staci Lehman, a spokesperson for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, said it was just a matter of “unfortunate timing.”

“It’s always unfortunate whenever we have to remove wolves,” Lehman said. “It’s never taken lightly by anybody at the department.”

This is the second wolf pack state officials have eliminated from the same territory in less than three years. State agents killed seven members of the pack that previously occupied the area, known as the Profanity Peak pack, in 2016.

The area has lots of elk and deer and potential den sites, so both environmentalists and the state agree that a new pack is likely to form there soon.

But, Lehman said, a new pack wouldn’t necessarily attack livestock.

“If we start off with a new pack using preventative measures” that teach wolves not to prey on livestock, she says — measures such as range riders and light and noise — “then hopefully we can prevent that.”

But Pacelle said he’d rather that the Forest Service end grazing allotments in wolf habitat such as this. He says that would be the best way to minimize conflict between wolves and livestock.

The eight wolves from the Old Profanity Territory pack are unlikely to be the last ones state wildlife officials kill this year.

State agents have a current lethal removal order for one to two members of the Togo Pack, another northeast Washington wolf pack accused of attacking livestock.

That would bring the number of wolves killed by state agents this year to nine or 10 — seven to eight percent of Washington’s total wolf population.

https://www.kuow.org/stories/four-wolves-killed-by-washington-state-agents-hours-before-court-hearing-to-protect-them

BREAKING: Popular Lion Killed by Hunters on World Lion Day, in Zimbabwe

sapeople.com
Jenni Baxter

A popular male lion, which had been photographed frequently by hundreds of visitors to Hwange National Park in west Zimbabwe, was shot dead by hunters this last weekend on World Lion Day (10 August).
Male lion Seduli has been shot dead by hunters in Zimbabwe. Photo: Drew Abrahamson

In a heartbreaking message on social media on Wednesday evening, Captured in Africa (CIA) Foundation founder Drew Abrahamson announced the devastating news, which she had found out today.

The lion was apparently on the outskirts of the park. CIA had regularly published posts about Seduli and another male lion, Mopane, who had been photographed together by many international safari visitors over the past few years.

Abrahamson said: “Despite our previous attempts as a community online to prevent these two males from being hunted, Seduli has unnecessarily lost his life at the hands of hunters and Mopani now roams the wilds without his companion.”

She posted two photos – one of Seduli, and another showing other Hwange male lions who have been killed in this region over the past decade. One of the most famous lions to be killed was one named Cecil in 2015.

Other Hwange male lions killed by hunters in the past decade. Photo: Drew Abrahamson

“Does this number of male lions shot over 10 years in one region appear sustainable to you given that lion populations have declined across Africa by 43% in the last 25 years?

“Add to this that with each of these males taken out of a pride, came the loss of either lionesses and cubs dying in the change-over or conflict it caused.

“Dispersal of youngsters fleeing into external areas creating potential human-wildlife conflict issues with communities living on the borders of the park is not uncommon and is proven in some cases to be as a direct result of these pride males being taken out by hunters,” said Abrahamson.

Supporters of hunting claim that the sport’s focus is on sustainability, and that the areas in which hunting takes place are not suitable for photographic safaris and therefore by using them for hunting it generates revenue to maintain these wild habitats.

“But how are you protecting the wildlife if you are taking out males from prides who frequent the National Park?” asks Abrahamson.

It’s time, she says, for an independent scientific study on the sustainability of the numbers taken from this region, and the impact these losses are having on the lion pride dynamics, as well as the knock-on affect to communities in these areas.

According to Abrahamson, these are healthy lions being taken out of the gene pool, and lions which are still breeding and actively part of a healthy pride. These lions traverse the park and viable protected photographic areas. She says their loss contradicts the hunters’ philosophies.

Abrahamson asked that readers “share this far and wide to raise awareness of the continued unsustainable hunting taking place on the outskirts of Hwange, and to raise a call for the photographic operators and stakeholders in dialogue with Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority to address the issue of continued losses of lions known to and photographed by the hundreds of visitors who pay to visit Zimbabwe annually.”

https://www.sapeople.com/2019/08/14/breaking-popular-lion-seduli-killed-by-hunters-on-world-lion-day-in-zimbabwe/amp/

Scientists catch ‘ancient’ shark believed to be up to 512 years old

amp.news.com.au
Neal Bakernews.com.au
August 13, 2019 11:44am

Scientists from the Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University of Newfoundland filmed the rare Greenland shark recently in the Canadian Arctic. Slow swimmers and effectively blind, the Greenland shark is one of the Arctic’s top predators. Scientist Brynn Devine says: The observation and monitoring of marine species can be challenging under the best of circumstances. But sampling at extreme depths and in seasonally ice-covered waters is especially difficult. The videos were recorded during summer sessions in 2017, and the scientists published results of their study of the sharks in the journal Nature in January 2018. Credit: Brynn Devine/Marine Institute via Storyful

Scientists believe they may have discovered the world’s oldest living vertebrate.

A shark believed to be the oldest living vertebrate has been discovered — and it could be older than Shakespeare.

The massive Greenland shark was found in the North Atlantic Ocean by scientists who estimated it is up to 512 years old.

Greenland sharks, which only grow 1cm a year, have been known to live for hundreds of years.

The scientists used the shark’s size to suggest its year of birth as early as 1505.

This was the year the future British King Henry VIII ended his engagement to Catherine of Aragon.

Experts used the length — a staggering 5.5 metres — and radiocarbon dating to determine its age as somewhere between 272 and 512 years old, according to a study in journal Science.

It was the oldest of a group of 28 Greenland sharks analysed for the study.

The shark would have been alive during major world events like the founding of the United States, the Napoleonic Wars and the sinking of the Titanic.

Greenland sharks mostly eat fish but they have never been observed hunting. Surprisingly, they have been found to have remains of reindeer and even horses in their stomachs.

Their flesh is considered a delicacy in Iceland, but the meat is toxic if not correctly treated.

A separate study of the ancient shark’s bones and tissues by the Arctic University of Norway may also provide clues about the effects of climate change and pollution over a long time span.

Already the researchers have mapped out all the shark’s mitochondrial DNA — genetic material held in tiny battery-like bodies in cells that supply energy.An ‘ancient’ Greenland shark is caught by fishermen. Picture: @JUNIEL85 Source: InstagramThe 5.5 metre Greenland shark was estimated to be up to 512 years old. Picture: @JUNIEL85 Source: Instagram

Now they are working on DNA from the cell nucleus, which contains the bulk of the animal’s genes.

The “long life” genes could shed light on why most vertebrates have such a limited life span and what determines life expectancy in different species, including humans.

Professor Kim Praebel, who is leading the research, said the sharks were “living time capsules” that could help shed light on human impact on the oceans.

Many were so old they predated the industrial revolution and the introduction of large-scale commercial fishing.

“The longest living vertebrate species on the planet has formed several populations in the Atlantic Ocean,” said Prof Praebel, who was speaking at the University of Exeter at a symposium organised by the Fisheries Society of the British Isles.

“This is important to know, so we can develop appropriate conservation actions for this important species.”Greenland sharks are known for their longevity, living for hundreds of years. Picture: @JUNIEL85 Source: Instagram

ANCIENT BEASTS: SOME OF THE WORLD’S LONGEST-LIVING THINGS

• Aldabra giant tortoise — Species has been known to live to up to 255 years old, making it the oldest terrestrial animal in the world.

• Glass sponges — Found in the East China Sea and Southern Ocean, examples have been found that are more than 10,000 years old.

• Great Basin bristlecone pine — One tree is the oldest in North America at 5067 years old.

• Endolith — A microscopic organism that lives inside rock. In August 2013, researchers found evidence of endoliths on the ocean floor perhaps being millions of years old.

• Hydra — an ocean species that does not age, making it technically immortal.

• Creme Puff — The oldest known domestic cat, who died in Austin Texas in 2005 aged 38 years and three days.

• Jeanne Calment — French great grandmother who died at 122 years and 164 days in 1997. She outlived both her daughter and grandson by several decades.

https://amp.news.com.au/technology/science/animals/scientists-claim-ancient-shark-is-worlds-oldest-living-vertebrate/news-story/733152b852a783cbbbee03703c6d700f?__twitter_impression=true

This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission

No, ICE’s Mississippi Raids Are Not an Outrage

Earlier this week, ICE conducted a sweep of illegal immigrants in Mississippi, arresting nearly 700 individuals. This development has been cover as a tragic, outraged, anguish-causing, “secretive” affront by many in the press — with images of tearful children, who were temporarily separated from their parents, driving much of the coverage. This appeal to emotion sidesteps any serious discussion of whether the”textbook” raid was appropriate or not.

Please continue reading here.

https://townhall.com/tipsheet/guybenson/2019/08/09/why-are-the-mississippi-ice-raids-being-treated-as-an-outrage-n2551455

See the Elusive Planet Mercury in the Dawn Sky This August | Space

See Mercury above the east-northeast horizon before sunrise this month.

Continue reading here for more information and view the video.

https://www.space.com/planet-mercury-skywatching-august-2019.html?utm_source=sdc-newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20190806-sdc

Caravans of Illegals Have Brought Deadly “Assassin Bug” and Chagas Disease to the U.S.

Absolute Truth from the Word of God

Many of us have been wondering about diseases brought into the U.S. by illegal immigrants.  Little did we know that deadly bugs never seen in our country have now invaded half of our States.  These bugs come from Mexico, Central America and South America.

The bug goes by various names.  One of these names has a rather endearing sound to it:  the Kissing Bug.  But don’t be fooled. When you see why it was named this, you will be alarmed.

The Kissing Bug name came about because when these insects enter your home, they wait till the middle of the night and bite around the mouth area and also around the eyes.

Here is a map of States where the Assassin bug has been spotted:

Picture of Kissing or “Assassin” Bug from the Internet. This bug was found in Maryland where we live:

Kissing Bug found on the screen of…

View original post 1,436 more words

Scientists scramble to learn why monarch butterflies are dying so quickly

EVANSVILLE, Ind., July 22 (UPI) — Scientists across the country are scrambling to understand why monarch butterflies are disappearing at such an alarming rate as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service considers listing the butterfly as endangered.

North America’s largest population of monarchs, which migrate between Mexico and the Midwest, has fallen 80 percent, from a billion in the 1990s to 200 million in 2018.

A smaller monarch population in the western United States that migrates between California and the Pacific Northwest is disappearing even faster, dropping from 1.2 million in the 1990s to just 30,000 last year — a 98 percent drop.

“That is a catastrophic decline,” said Tierra Curry, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity, which is based in Arizona. “They might not be able to bounce back.”

Faced with those numbers, the Fish and Wildlife Service is several years into a massive review of North America’s butterflies to determine if they qualify for federal protection under the Endangered Species Act.

“We have a species status assessment team that is modeling threat evaluations,” said Georgia Parham, a spokeswoman for the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Midwest office, which is leading the review.

“We’re are also soliciting evaluations from monarch experts, and we’ve also launched a monarch database that anyone can enter information into,” Parham said.

The agency plans to announce its findings in December 2020.

But many scientists say conservation efforts cannot wait that long. Groups like the Center for Biological Diversity, which petitioned the service to list the monarchs as endangered in 2014, and the Monarch Joint Venture are spearheading conservation programs based on the latest available science.

That science, they are quick to admit, is incomplete.

Scientists cannot say for certain why monarchs are dying. Several unrelated phenomena could be killing them.

“There are several hypotheses for the decline, all of which are probably contributing to some degree,” said Andrew Myers, a doctoral student at Michigan State University’s Department of Entomology who studies monarchs.

Finding precise causes are difficult, in part because monarchs are migratory insects.

They clump together on tree branches in the mountains of Mexico to hibernate during the winter — turning those forests orange. When it warms, they fly north to lay their eggs on milkweed plants growing throughout the Midwest.

They can then travel as far north as Canada in search of the nectar from flowering plants. And when the weather turns cold, they return to Mexico.

Climate change might be disrupting their long migrations, Meyers said. Urban sprawl could be choking out flowering plants. And the Mexican forests in which the insects overwinter are being logged, which undoubtedly is a threat to their survival.

“Any one of those things is enough to wipe out the monarch population,” Curry said.

But the timing of the eastern population’s decline could be the most telling, she said, because it seemed to begin around the same time as the first herbicide-resistant crops were introduced to U.S. agriculture.

These crops were genetically engineered to survive the application of certain herbicides, allowing farmers to spray those chemicals on their fields and kill off other plants without harming their crops.

One of the plants these herbicides are especially effective at killing is milkweed — the sole food monarch butterfly larvae can eat.

“What happens to milkweed in the Midwest is incredibly important to the monarch population,” said Ian Kaplan, a professor of entomology at Purdue University.

Researchers at Iowa State University and the University of Minnesota in 2013 estimated nearly 60 percent of the milkweed had disappeared from the Midwest landscape since 1999. That decline coincides with an increase in herbicide resistant crops.

Monsanto introduced the first herbicide-resistant soybean plant, called RoundUp Ready soybean, in 1996, followed by a RoundUp Ready corn in 1998. Today, about 90 percent of the corn and 94 percent of the soybeans grown in the U.S. are herbicide resistant, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“The monarch butterfly did fine in croplands before RoundUp Ready crops,” Curry said. “That allowed more RoundUp to be sprayed, and that killed more milkweed in agricultural fields.”

Many of the monarch conservation efforts revolve around planting more native milkweed in public spaces, parks, private lands and on the edges of agricultural fields in hopes those plants replace those lost to agriculture.

But it is unclear how big of an impact that is having because scientists still don’t understand how other factors — like pesticide use — contribute to the insects’ decline.

With that in mind, entomologists like Kaplan are devising new studies every year to obtain a more detailed picture of what is happening to monarch larvae in their shrinking habitat.

Kaplan recently conducted a study at Purdue that measured the volume of pesticides present on wild milkweed growing near Midwestern agricultural fields.

“In Indiana, it’s hard to get very far from a corn field,” Kaplan said.

His study found pesticides on wild milkweed throughout Indiana, and although the amount tended to decline the farther from an agricultural field the researchers got, they still found pesticides on milkweed plants more than a mile away.

“Some of these pesticides are very hard to escape from,” Kaplan said.

Kaplan is now studying the impact the various pesticides he found on native plants have on the monarch larvae. He hopes to complete that study sometime this fall.

Elsewhere, researchers at Michigan State University are looking at monarch larvae predators, like lady beetles, ants and spiders.

“Since monarchs have lost their milkweed host plants in agricultural fields, they are now relegated to milkweed growing in grasslands in places like roadsides, fallow fields and agricultural field edges,” Meyers said.

“These areas have more diverse and abundant communities of predators, which results in naturally low survival of monarch eggs and caterpillars to adulthood. I am trying to determine which predators contribute most to monarch egg and caterpillar mortality and specific ways that these interactions take place,” he said.

“The work could eventually lead to grassland management practices that reduce predation pressure on monarchs.”

More work needs to be done, scientists say, but it is possible early conservation efforts are yielding results.

Last year, for this first time since scientists started tracking the butterfly more than 20 years ago, the eastern Monarch’s population increased.

It is impossible to know if that was because of efforts to plant more milkweed in the Midwest, or if other unrelated conditions helped the insect.

“We’re waiting to see if it is a trend, or a one-year thing,” the Fish and Wildlife Services’ Parham said.

But researchers and conservationists are pushing ahead.

“People can help right now by planting native milkweed,” Curry said. “That’s only one of the problems. It’s milkweed loss, it’s urban sprawl, it’s climate change, it’s insecticide use. It sounds really big and overwhelming, but we have to start somewhere.”

https://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2019/07/22/Scientists-scramble-to-learn-why-monarch-butterflies-are-dying-so-quickly/6961563481223/

This List Of The Dirtiest Beaches In America Shows There’s Fecal Bacteria In Many Public Swimming Areas

Summer is all fun and games until you find out there’s fecal bacteria contaminating your local beach.

That’s exactly what’s happening at public swimming areas around the country according to John Rumpler, the clean water program director at the Environment America Research and Policy Center.

The center released a study in July that examined dangerous bacteria levels at beaches in 29 coastal and Great Lakes states. The study shows the number of days in 2018 that the water had fecal bacteria counts exceeding Environmental Protection Agency standards, which can put swimmers at risk of getting sick.

“It’s hard to believe that 47 years after we passed the Clean Water Act that we are still concerned with poop in the water when people want to go swimming,” Rumpler told USA Today.

Nearly 60 percent of the 4,523 beaches tested nationwide had dangerously high contamination levels in the water on at least one occasion.

South Carolina, Myrtle Beach, Atlantic ocean, Myrtle Beach State Park, sunbather and fishing pier.Don’t be fooled by the view: Part of Myrtle Beach made the list!

JeffGreenbergGetty Images

While most states prioritize shutting down public swimming areas and posting warning signs to beachgoers when pollution levels are high, you should check water quality reports before hitting the sand.

Did your favorite summer hangout make the list of the dirtiest beaches? See below to find out.

Alabama

• Fairhope Public Beach, Baldwin

• Dog River, Alba Club, Mobile

• Camp Beckwith, Baldwin

• Volanta Avenue, Baldwin

• Orange Street Pier, Baldwin

California

• Inner Cabrillo Beach, Los Angeles

• Coronado Ave. Beach, Los Angeles

• Salt Creek Beach, Orange

• Molino Avenue Beach, Los Angeles

• 5th Place Beach, Los Angeles

Connecticut

• Byram Beach (South), Fairfield

• Byram Beach (North), Fairfield

• Seaside Park Beach (Southernmost), Fairfield

• Seaside Park Beach (South), Fairfield

• Seaside Park Beach (Mid), Fairfield

Delaware

• Slaughter Beach, Sussex

• Fenwick Island State Park Beach, Sussex

• Rehoboth Beach, Sussex

• Broadkill Beach, Sussex

• Lewes Beach North, Sussex

Florida

• Bayou Texar, Escambia

• Sanders Beach, Escambia

• Crandon Park on Key Biscayne, Miami-Dade

• Bird Key Park, Sarasota

• Venice Fishing Pier, Sarasota

Georgia

• St. Simons Island Lighthouse, Glynn

• Skidaway Narrows, Chatham

• Kings Ferry, Chatham

• Tybee Island, Polk St., Chatham

• Jekyll Driftwood Beach, Glynn

Hawaii

• Keehi Lagoon (North), Honolulu

• Keehi Lagoon (South), Honolulu

• Punaluu Beach Park, Honolulu

• MS2 (Kapoho Point), Honolulu

• Kalihi Channel, Honolulu

Illinois

• South Shore Beach, Cook

• Calumet South Beach, Cook

• 63rd Street Beach, Cook

• Rogers Avenue Park Beach, Cook

• Howard Street Park Beach, Cook

Indiana

• Jeorse Park Beach I, Lake

• Jeorse Park Beach II, Lake

• Buffington Harbor Beach, Lake

• Indiana Dunes State Park East Beach, Porter

• Washington Park Beach, LaPorte

Louisiana

• North Beach, Calcasieu

• Cypremort Point State Park, St. Mary

• Fontainebleau State Park, St. Tammany

• Rutherford Beach, Cameron

• Holly Beach 4, Cameron

Maine

• Goose Rocks Beach – Site 5, York

• Goose Rocks Beach – Site 1, York

• Willard Beach, Cumberland

• Ogunquit Beach, York

• Kennebunk Beach, York

Maryland

• Camp Pecometh, Kent

• Public Landing Beach near Snow Hill, Worcester

• Ocean City Beach 1, Worcester

• Purse State Park, Charles

• Ferry Park, Kent

Massachusetts

• Nahant Bay at Eastern Ave, Essex

• Tenean Beach, Suffolk

• Nahant Bay at Pierce Road, Essex

• Nahant Bay at Kimball Road, Essex

• Quincy Shore at Channing Street, Norfolk

Michigan

• St. Clair Shores Memorial Park Beach, Macomb

• Pier Park, Wayne

• HCMA/Lake St. Clair Metropark Beach, Macomb

• New Baltimore Park Beach, Macomb

• Singing Bridge Beach, Arenac

Minnesota

• New Duluth Boat Club landing, St. Louis

• Near Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge, St. Louis

• Agate Bay, Lake

• Twin Points Public Access, Lake

• Flood Bay, Lake

Mississippi

• Gulfport East Beach, Harrison

• Shearwater Beach, Jackson

• Long Beach, Harrison

• Gulfport Central Beach, Harrison

• Courthouse Road Beach, Harrison
New Hampshire

• State Beach-Left, Rockingham

• State Beach-Center, Rockingham

• New Castle Island-Right, Rockingham

• State Beach-Right, Rockingham

• Sawyer Beach-Right, Rockingham

New Jersey

• Berkeley Township/Beachwood Beach West, Ocean

• Belmar Borough at L Street Beach, Monmouth

• Berkeley Township at West Beach Avon Road, Ocean

• Brick Township at Windward Beach, Ocean

• Highlands Borough at Highlands Recreation Center, Monmouth

New York

• Tanner Park, Suffolk

• Woodlawn Beach State Park, Erie

• Shirley Beach, Suffolk

• Venetian Shores, Suffolk

• Valley Grove Beach, Suffolk

North Carolina

• Sound access at the intersection of E. Main Street/Tooley Street, Belhaven, Beaufort

• NC Maritime Museum Sailing Camp, Carteret

• Pamlico River – City Park, Beaufort

• End of Shore Line Drive, Pender

• Pamlico River-Washington-Trestle, Beaufort

Ohio

• Bay View West, Erie

• Maumee Bay State Park (Inland), Lucas

• Villa Angela State Park, Cuyahoga

• Lakeview Beach, Lorain

• Euclid State Park, Cuyahoga

Oregon

• Sunset Bay State Park Beach/Big Creek, Coos

• Nye Beach turnaround/discharge pipe, Lincoln

• Harris Beach State Park at Harris Creek, Curry

• Sunset Bay, Seep Creek, Coos

• Sunset Bay State Park Beach/North Beach, Coos

Pennsylvania

• Beach 11 West in Thompson Bay, Erie

• Beach 11 East in Thompson Bay, Erie

• Beach 11 Center in Thompson Bay, Erie

• Barracks Beach West, Erie

• Barracks Beach East, Erie

Rhode Island

• Easton’s Beach, Newport

• Conimicut Point Beach – West, Kent

• Goddard Memorial State Park Center, Kent

• Sandy Point Beach – South, Newport

• Oakland Beach Center, Kent

South Carolina

• Withers Swash, Horry

• Myrtle Beach at 24th Avenue N, Horry

• White Point Swash, Horry

• Bear Branch Swash, Horry

• Cane Patch Swash, Horry

Texas

• Cole Park – Site 3, Nueces

• Ropes Park – Site 2, Nueces

• Cole Park – Site 4, Nueces

• Cole Park – Site 2, Nueces

• Poenisch Park, Nueces

Virginia

• North Community Beach, Norfolk city

• Captains Quarters, Norfolk city

• 10th View, Behind Quality Inn, Norfolk city

• 15th Street, Virginia Beach city

• 13th View, North End, Norfolk city

Washington

• Sooes Beach, Clallam

• Lummi Bay, adjacent to second tidegate, Whatcom

• Dakwas Park Beach, Neah Bay, Clallam

• Little Squalicum Park, Whatcom

•Cline Spit County Park, Clallam

Wisconsin

• Cupertino Park, Milwaukee

• McKinley Marina Roundhouse, Milwaukee

• Wolfenbuttel Park, Kenosha

• North Nicolet Bay Campground, Door

• Memorial Park in Chequamegon Bay, Ashland County

https://www.delish.com/just-for-fun/a28527611/dirtiest-beaches-in-america/

(h/t USA Today)

Content Strategy Editor Kelly O’Sullivan is the content strategy editor for CountryLiving.com and also covers entertainment news, from standout moments on “The Voice” to the latest drama on “Chicago Fire.”

Current rules on commercial international trade in elephant ivory under CITES and Proposals to CITES CoP17 | CITES

https://www.cites.org/eng/news/Current_rules_commercial_international_trade_elephant_ivory_under_CITES_Proposals_CITES_CoP17_200716

Supermarket Owners Lose Their Store After Vile Trophy Hunting Photos Go Viral

ladyfreethinker.org
Image Credit: Facebook

A French couple who posed with the dead animals they’d slaughtered during a trophy hunt in Africa have lost their jobs after the grotesque pictures were posted on social media, causing public outrage.

Jacques and Martine Alboud (pictured above, left and right), who ran a branch of the Super U co-operative supermarket in L’Arbresle, eastern France, were pictured standing over the bodies of a number of lifeless animals — including a zebra, lion, leopard and hippopotamus — that they had ruthlessly killed during safaris in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa and Tanzania in 2014 and 2015.

After the images went viral on Twitter and there were calls on Facebook for customers to boycott the store, last week the supermarket group announced that the couple had given up their franchise with immediate effect.

“In the face of condemnation provoked by these actions at the heart of the co-operative and the legitimate public feeling, the store managers have decided to quit immediately the brand and their l’Arbresle store,” Super U said in a statement, adding that it did not condone safari hunting and that the couple’s actions were “in total opposition with the values defended by us.”

The French animal rights organization 30 Millions d’Amis commented that this story was reminiscent of the death of Cecil the lion — who was murdered in Zimbabwe in 2015 by an American dentist and hunter, Walter Palmer — that sparked widespread condemnation. It says that around 8,000 lions have been reared specifically to be hunted down and killed in the last decade in South Africa, and that there has been a 90% fall in the lion population over a century. “The species could disappear by 2050,” it adds.

The couple have so far declined to comment on their actions.

https://ladyfreethinker.org/supermarket-owners-lose-their-store-after-vile-trophy-hunting-photos-go-viral/

Kids ask McDonalds to ditch plastic Happy Meal toys

treehugger.com

Katherine Martinko feistyredhair July 12, 2019

Their hugely successful petition has even gotten a response – and a promise – from the fast food giant.

The children aren’t happy with their Happy Meals. Concerned about the amount of plastic in the cheap hard toys handed out by McDonalds, and the short length of time that they’re typically played with by kids, two little girls from Southampton, England, have launched a petition, asking fast food restaurants to reconsider what they hand out. Caitlin and Ella, ages 7 and 9, wrote on their Change.org page:

“We like to go to eat at Burger King and McDonald’s, but children only play with the plastic toys they give us for a few minutes before they get thrown away and harm animals and pollute the sea. We want anything they give to us to be sustainable so we can protect the planet for us and for future generations… It’s not enough to make recyclable plastic toys – big, rich companies shouldn’t be making toys out of plastic at all.”

The petition coincided with the launch of BBC One’s series, ‘War on Plastic.’ The first episode, according to Environmental Leader, featured a trip to a recycling facility that revealed how impossible toys are to recycle and even showed brand new toys from McDonalds at the facility, still wrapped in plastic.

So far the petition has gathered an impressive 370,200 signatures (at time of publishing), and McDonalds has noticed. It issued a statement saying it agrees with the girls’ petition: “We are committed to reducing plastic across our business, including Happy Meal toys.”

This problem isn’t limited to McDonalds, or even to fast food restaurants. It’s a problem with our kid culture these days. Cheap plastic toys are given out to children everywhere – in party loot bags, birthday presents, prizes at fairs and school events, the treasure box after an appointment at the dentist or optometrist. These toys are low quality, break almost immediately, are impossible to repair, and must go to landfill.

Parents can try their best to talk to kids about the problems with plastic, but it would be great to have some additional support from businesses and event organizers that understand we don’t want more plastic gimmicks. Cutting it off at the source is always more effective than dealing with it once it’s already in a kid’s hands.

McDonalds says it will focus more on books, stuffed animals (also a form of plastic, but usually longer lasting), and board games. Environmental Leader reports that “that change alone will reduce the number of hard plastic toys given away by 60 percent compared to the first half of the year.”

Way to go, Caitlin and Ella! We need more kid activists like you. You can sign their petition here.

Their hugely successful petition has even gotten a response – and a promise – from the fast food giant.

https://www.treehugger.com/corporate-responsibility/kids-ask-mcdonalds-ditch-plastic-happy-meal-toys.html?utm_source=TreeHugger+Newsletters&utm_campaign=e31828afab-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_11_16_2018_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_32de41485d-e31828afab-243719061

GOVE explains why he is launching drive to stamp out big-game hunters

dailymail.com

By Michael Gove, Secretary Of State For Environment, Food And Rural Affairs For The Daily Mail 21:04 14 Jul 2019, updated 22:01 14 Jul 2019

During the passionate debates inspired by Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species, one churchman sceptical of evolution asked his contemporaries, ‘are we the relatives of apes or angels?’

We know now, of course, that we are indeed related genetically to our primate cousins. Indeed, more than that, we are connected by the process of evolution to all the other species with which we share this planet.

That knowledge should incline us to treat animals with thought and care. Not least because we know they are, like us, sentient beings who can experience fear and pain alongside contentment and comfort. If we abuse and mistreat animals we are diminishing our own humanity. To accord them the dignity they deserve is to be true to what Abraham Lincoln called ‘the better angels of our nature’.

One of the practices we must look to tackle is the phenomenon called trophy hunting – whereby tourists pay huge sums to kill some of our planet’s most iconic species and then bring home parts of the animal’s corpse to decorate their homes. Pictured: Michael Gove with Tusk Trust rhino art statues outside the Foreign Office

Improving the welfare of animals, both domestic pets and farm livestock, has been one of the missions of this Government. And we have also been determined to do all in our power to protect wildlife from exploitation and cruelty.

That is why we have taken steps to end puppy farming, ban wild animals in circuses, increase sentences for those who abuse animals, protect service animals, invested in higher standards of animal welfare in our farms, installed CCTV in abattoirs to eliminate cruel practices, and will restrict the live export of animals for slaughter when we leave the EU.

We have also introduced one of the toughest bans on ivory sales in the world. But there is still more to do. And one of the practices we must look to tackle is the phenomenon called trophy hunting – whereby tourists pay huge sums to kill some of our planet’s most iconic species and then bring home parts of the animal’s corpse to decorate their homes.

This practice raises profound ethical concerns for me. Trophy hunting involves pursuing another animal in conditions which cause it stress, fear and pain. Trophy hunters do not kill for food, to control pests or to protect other species. For them it is a form of entertainment.

This practice raises profound ethical concerns for me. Trophy hunting involves pursuing another animal in conditions which cause it stress, fear and pain. Trophy hunters do not kill for food, to control pests or to protect other species. For them it is a form of entertainment. Pictured: Outrage – Hunter Larysa Switlyk (far right) posted this picture after shooting an alligator

And what often makes this practice worse is when these hunters glory in the animal’s death with pictures of its slaughtered body by their side on social media. But we must ensure we proceed on the basis of evidence and respect for others. There are thoughtful voices and concerned organisations who do make the case for some measure of ‘conservation hunting’ as a way of bringing income into countries with rich wildlife populations but poor economies.

They argue that commercial hunting provides a strong incentive for those nations to manage and safeguard their wildlife populations. It is said that without income from hunting, the countries would be under pressure to replace wildlife-rich habitats with farmland or other economically productive land uses – which would mean the precious species were without a home. And many say the money raised can be used to safeguard other valuable natural resources from exploitation.

I appreciate the sincerity with which those arguments are made. And I recognise that there must always be, from time to time, the culling of some species to keep nature in balance and the control of predators to protect other species.

And what often makes this practice worse is when these hunters glory in the animal’s death with pictures of its slaughtered body by their side on social media. But we must ensure we proceed on the basis of evidence and respect for others. Pictured: Gove (right) and Zac Goldsmith with Tusk Trust rhino art statues outside the Foreign Office

But I find it hard to see how those justifications can be used to defend those who ‘hunt’ animals which have been bred in captivity for the specific purpose of dying for others’ entertainment. We need to act to stop this sort of exploitation, and because we need to establish just how defensible the arguments for ‘conservation hunting’ are, I plan to issue a call for evidence on trophy hunting overall.

I want to know whether countries with rich wildlife populations couldn’t make just as much, if not more, income from wildlife tourism than from hunting. I want to establish what we can learn from other nations, such as Australia and the Netherlands, which have much tighter restrictions on importing these ‘trophies’.

I hope that as we gather the evidence, we also gather the momentum for action.

And we ensure that this Parliament is remembered for what we did for nature.

Michael Gove aims to crackdown on big-game hunters by banning them from bringing trophies from their kills back to the UK

by Claire Ellicott and Jack Doyle

Michael Gove will take the first steps towards banning imports from trophy hunting, he tells the Mail today.

The Environment Secretary will issue a call for evidence to decide whether to outlaw hunters bringing the souvenirs into the country.

He will also consult on what the UK can do to end its role in the rearing of animals in fenced reserves where they are shot by trophy hunters.

Trophy hunting is the shooting of certain animals – usually big game such as rhinos, elephants, lions, pumas and bears – for pleasure.

The trophy is any part of the animal – its head, skin or any other body part – that the hunter keeps as a souvenir.

Mr Gove said there was an important debate about whether trophy hunting in poorer countries could be used to enhance their economies.

But he added that it was important to explore whether these countries would not benefit more from wildlife tourism.

He also criticised the practice of ‘lion canning’ which involves thousands of lions in South Africa being bred and kept in fenced areas to be shot by wealthy travellers.

He said: ‘I find it hard to see how those justifications can be used to defend those who ‘hunt’ animals, who have been bred in captivity for the specific purpose of dying for others’ entertainment.’

Trophy hunting is rife in certain parts of the world, with 1.7 million trophies legally traded between 2004 and 2014. About 200,000 were from threatened species.

Of those, 2,500 were brought home by British hunters, including hundreds of heads, feet, tails, hides, tusks and horns from some of the most endangered species, including rhinos and elephants.

Lions were hit with the biggest increase in trophy hunting among the big five – despite their numbers decreasing by 43 per cent between 1993 and 2014.

Quite often, hunters cause outrage by showing off their prizes in pictures on social media.

And not all have to travel to far-flung plains to satisfy their blood lust.

Last year, a self-styled ‘Hardcore Huntress’ proudly posted pictures of herself beside the carcasses of sheep and goats she had shot on a trip to Scotland.

American television host Larysa Switlyk had been on a two-week hunting trip to Islay, a remote Scottish island, when she tweeted the images.

The 33-year-old labelled one picture of a dead goat ‘such fun’, prompting a furious online backlash.

Mr Gove has already banned ivory to prevent its trade in the UK and protect threatened species.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7246745/amp/MICHAEL-GOVE-explains-launching-drive-stamp-big-game-hunters.html?__twitter_impression=true

Help needed to get Protect All Wildlife up and running again after original account was suspended by Twitter

img_20190707_1322382011019963.jpg

Xpose Trophy Hunting (@XposeTrophyHunt) tweeted at 0:50 PM on Sun, Jul 07, 2019:
Please RT

Help needed to get Protect All Wildlife up and running again after original account was suspended by Twitter. Can everyone please spread the word to help me do what I love doing best – helping to fight #AnimalAbuse. New account at @PR0TECT_WLDLIFE.

Thanks, Paul 🐾. https://t.co/ismoZpKPYb
(https://twitter.com/XposeTrophyHunt/status/1147910817519734784?s=03)

Get the official Twitter app at https://twitter.com/download?s=13

 

July 4th Quake Centered at Skytop Rocket Propulsion Test Facility; Quake Swarm Appears Mostly Centered in Low Risk Area-Away from Faults

Mining Awareness +


This area of the US Naval Air Warfare Center, China Lake dates from the Manhattan Project. Common sense, as well as eye-witness testimony, indicate that there are underground facilities, as well as above ground ones. We can only speculate as to the extent of the underground network. There are likely old mines in the area, as well. Most likely old mines were expanded and turned into underground tunnel-test facilities. The original M 6.4 earthquake was centered in the area of the Skytop Rocket Propulsion Test Facility, described further below. The quakes appear to be apart from known earthquake faults, or at least apart from any major ones. They are almost entirely within the Naval Air Warfare Center, China Lake. CalTech estimated that the original M 6.4 earthquake in the area of Skytop was at a depth of 8.7 km (more shallow the USGS). An article written by Dr. Jennifer Andrews…

View original post 2,355 more words

Protect your furry, four-legged companions on the 4th of July! 🎇

Fireworks are a staple for the 4th of July; however, the loud sounds can be incredibly terrifying and stressful for your companion animals.

In fact, July 5th is the busiest day of the year for animal shelters because the scary noises often cause animals to run away out of fear. Here are five ways you can help keep your companion animal safe during July 4th celebrations.

1. Make sure your companion animals are properly identified.

In the unfortunate event your companion animal does run away, ensure he/she is wearing a collar with an ID tag that displays your name, phone number, and address. It’s also a good idea to get him/her microchipped and registered (if they aren’t already) to better help identify them if they do run away.

2. Avoid noisy areas.

If you plan on partaking in the 4th of July festivities, avoid bringing your companion animal to crowded, noisy events—especially if they include firework displays.

3. Don’t leave your companion animals outside.

This one may seem like a no-brainer, but even if you think your backyard is secure, do not leave your companion animals outside during the hectic festivities. Keep them safe and help alleviate their stress by bringing them inside.

4. Make your companion animals comfortable.

If you do plan on going out for the 4th of July celebrations, make sure your companion animal is comfortable, and ensure your home is escape-proof. Make sure all of the windows are closed, lower the blinds/close the curtains, and give them a cozy bed or crate to help them feel safe throughout the night.

5. After the celebrations, make sure your yard is clear of fireworks debris.

Even if you didn’t set off fireworks, debris from your neighbors’ 4th of July festivities can make their way onto your property and into the mouths of your beloved companion animals. Before you let them outside to play, ensure your yard is clear of any items that could be dangerous to your pets.

For the Animals,

Campaigns Department
Last Chance for Animals
310-271-6096 x27
http://www.LCAnimal.org

Copyright © 2019 Last Chance for Animals, All rights reserved.

NC animal rescue group wants your old bra to help save injured turtles

Exposing the Big Game

By Amanda Foster  |

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – It sounds bizarre, but it’s also true. The clips on the backs of bras can save a turtle.

It sounds bizarre, but it’s also true. The clips on the backs of bras can save a turtle. (Carolina Waterfowl Rescue)

“It acts like a little fixator, it’s the eyelets that we need,” Keenan Freitas at the Carolina Waterfowl Rescue says.

The group, you could say, is after your unused unmentionables. These are the same people who spend most of their time among a team of injured turtles.

“80 percent of them are hit by cars,” Freitas says. “The other five percent are hit by boats, the remaining are environmental.”

When these sometimes shattered shells come in, they’re not in good shape, and in the summer, there are quite a bit more of them.

“It’s when it…

View original post 204 more words

Iconic desert-adapted elephant ‘Voortrekker’ killed by trophy hunter in Namibia – Africa Geographic

africageographic.com

Voortrekker the desert-adapted elephant before his tusks snapped off © Ingrid Mandt

In yet another blow to big elephant genes, the iconic desert-adapted elephant bull known by millions of fans worldwide as ‘Voortrekker’ was killed by a trophy hunter after being declared a ‘problem-animal’ by Namibian authorities. The surgical removal of Africa’s big-gene animals by trophy hunters continues, and Namibia’s desert-adapted elephants now rely on a small population of mature bulls after two were killed in 2016.

In their announcement on Facebook, Namibia’s Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) said “the elephant bull concerned was put down after it was declared a problem. The animal alongside others have been destroying properties and infrastructure in the area of Omatjete.” On the issue of whether this bull was the legendary Voortrekker, MET responded to Facebook questions by refusing to name the hunted elephant. Several conservation charities have confirmed that the bull in question is indeed Voortrekker. ‘Voortrekker’ is Afrikaans for ‘pioneer’.

MET spokesperson Romeo Muyunda Lee advised that the price paid was N$120,000 (+/- US$ 8,500), but it is unclear at this stage whether this was the total price paid or the portion paid to communities.

A study published in Ecology and Evolution in 2016 found not only that the Namibian desert-adapted elephants were different from their savannah cousins, but that their adaptations are also not genetically transferred to the next generation, rather through the passing on of knowledge by mature individuals. Morphological differences, like the adapted elephants’ thinner bodies and wider feet, also distinguish them from typical savannah elephants.

Voortrekker the desert-adapted elephant before his tusks snapped off © Ingrid Mandt

WAS THE WRONG ELEPHANT KILLED?

A Facebook post, written by Informante reporter Niël Terblanché, asks whether it was in fact Voortrekker who was causing problems for inhabitants of the Omatjete area.

Terblanché reports that an urgent letter addressed to MET official Christoph Munwela by management of conservancies neighbouring the Ohungo Conservancy in the area of Omatjete to prevent the killing of Voortrekker, suggests that a flagrant error was made when the hunting license was issued. The letter points out that Voortrekker is in fact not part of the herd that has been bothering the community of the Ohungu Conservancy in the area of Omatjete.

MET responded publically that “The communities who objected to the hunt were not affected by the elephants as the elephants were mainly causing problems in the Omatjete area.”

Prior to the hunt, the management committees of the Otjimboyo, Sorris Sorris and Tsiseb conservancies asked Munwela for a meeting to discuss ways to avoid the killing of Voortrekker, one of the oldest living bull elephants in Namibia. Their letter said: “Our people are in general accepting of the elephants’ presence and want them to remain in the area … it is our belief that the shooting of elephants does not solve the problem. In fact, this only makes it worse. We want to keep our communities safe and to do this we need to ensure that our elephants are calm and relaxed when entering villages. It is our belief that the shooting of elephants or scaring them off with gunshots, screaming or chasing them off results in aggressive animals and this cannot be tolerated.”

ELEPHANT DAMAGE

MET published photographs that they feel illustrates damage caused to property and infrastructure by Voortrekker, to justify the issue of the hunting license. Some of the images appear to show poorly neglected fences and other infrastructure, but some easily-replaced water pipes and tanks do appear to reflect damage.

Damage to infrastructure by Voortrekker the desert-adapted elephant, as per MET © MET

VOORTREKKER WAS PREVIOUSLY SAVED FROM TROPHY HUNTERS

In 2008 Voortrekker fans donated US$12 000 to MET in an effort to save him from professional hunters who had their eyes on his trophy tusks. At the time, six hunting permits were issued and only Voortrekker was saved from trophy hunter guns – the remaining five elephants were killed.

According to Johannes Haasbroek of Elephant Human Relations Aid, in the period since then, “the hunting outfitters and their sick clients conspired to get this gentle giant declared a problem to justify a hunt”. He went on to say: “We remember Voortrekker as an incredibly gentle, peaceful and magnificent elephant. His presence has often calmed other inexperienced elephants around him. He was known locally as the ‘Old Man’, that was always welcome because he never caused any problems or induced fear.”

Voortrekker the desert-adapted elephant after his tusks snapped off. This photo was taken 7 weeks before his death © Aschi Widmer

VOORTREKKER’S STORY

According to respected safari guide Alan McSmith, Voortrekker was a pioneer elephant for the desert-adapted elephant population in the Ugab and Huab rivers region. This giant elephant was one of the first to venture back to the region after populations were decimated during the turbulent warfare years in southern Africa. A small group of these uniquely desert-adapted elephants took refuge during the war in the remote and desolate gorges of Kaokaland in the north.

Says McSmith: “Voortrekker, one of the bulls to trek north during the conflict years, returned home in the early 2000’s, commencing a relay of south-bound expeditions, penetrating deeper and deeper into the dry and uncertain landscape before commencing with an epic traverse through to the relative bounty of the Ugab River. It was a marathon across arid plains and ancient craters that would ultimately redefine what we know of elephant endurance, intuition and behaviour. Just how he navigated, or knew where to find water, is anyone’s guess. For over two successive summer seasons he returned north to Kaokaland, returning each time to the Ugab with a small family unit in tow. An elephant patriarch. These elephants are still resident in the region and have formed the nucleus of three distinct breeding herds, making the Ugab/Huab Rivers perhaps the most viable desert elephant habitats in the world. Voortrekker continues as the Godfather, a true legend of the Ugab. His ancestral knowledge has been passed down to a new generation of desert dwellers. What a legacy! For me, all of this addresses one of the most crucial fallacies of elephant conservation, trophy hunting, and the notion of sustainable consumption: that older bulls have no value to an elephant community and can be hunted under the banner of ecological benefit.”

A Facebook page has been set up to ‘actively pursue the truth behind the killing of Voortrekker, the Iconic Desert Elephant, and then decide on appropriate action’

https://africageographic.com/blog/iconic-desert-adapted-elephant-voortrekker-killed-by-trophy-hunter-in-namibia/

Digital Exclusive: Dr. Patrick Moore TEARS APART The Green New Deal | Huckabee

Breaking! Golden Eagle Chicks Found In Southern California Mountains For The 1st Time In 30 Years – World Animal News

By WAN –
June 27, 2019
Photos By National Park Service
A pair of golden eagle chicks, a fully protected species in the state of California, have been found in a nest in a remote area of Southern California.
As per the National Park Service (NPS), the last time a nest was confirmed in this remote area of Southern California was in the late 1980s.

The chicks, a 12-week-old male and female, were located several weeks ago when a consultant conducting bird surveys on private property identified the golden eagle pair and notified park biologists. NPS biologists working with biologists from the U.S. Geological Survey and Bloom Biological Inc., confirmed the nest location and activity and tagged them in early May.
Each chick received two bands; one colored and one numbered. The bands are part of the USGS Bird Banding Laboratory to help scientists monitor the status, trends and ecology of resident and migratory bird populations. Biologists also took blood from the chicks for genetic testing.
Loss of habitat for nesting and hunting has reduced their range in much of the state, according to Katy Delaney, an ecologist with the National Park Service.
Delaney is worried about these majestic raptors.
“Humans are the greatest threat to golden eagles,” Delaney said in a statement. “In the past, they were trapped and shot throughout their range, and today, they are vulnerable to habitat loss. Like their mammalian carnivore counterparts, they can die from eating poisoned prey, as well as from lead poisoning, electrocution on power lines and collisions with wind turbines.”
“We haven’t seen them in so many years, though they could have been around and staying away from people.” continued Delaney. “We just went through a huge fire and drought, and we are also not going to experience a decrease in urban development. We not only have mountain lions here, but we have golden eagles, as well.”
Although the chicks recently left the nest, their parents are not total empty nesters, yet. For the next several months, they will continue to rely on the more experienced birds until they learn to successfully hunt on their own, which may be around late fall.
These birds of prey typically feed on rabbits and squirrels, but also take a diverse array of prey species from small birds and snakes, up to mule deer fawns and coyote pups. Carrion is also an important component of their diet. In the case of this family, western gulls were the prey item of choice at the time of banding. There were seven gull wings found in the nest located in a large cave.
Interestingly, golden eagles are thought to form strong pair bonds and exhibit high mate and territory fidelity, meaning they will likely stay with the same partner and return to the same nest each breeding season. Some Southern California adult golden eagles remain on or close to their nest territory throughout the year while others move great distances several counties away. After gaining independence, young eagles generally disperse out of their parents breeding territory traveling between 20 to 1,200 miles away, but usually return when they are four to five years of age to establish their own area for nesting.
The golden eagle, one of the largest birds in North America, is a cousin of the bald eagle. Sightings are extremely rare and both are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. Biologists believe the population may be declining in the United States, especially in California.
The golden eagle is one of 11 raptors, birds that hunt and feed on other animals. The most common raptor in the mountains is the western screech owl but red-tailed hawks are seen more often. Dark-colored red-tailed hawks are often mistaken for golden eagles by inexperienced observers.
According to the Chumash Indians, golden eagles had a deep historical connection to Boney Mountain but the last known confirmed nesting there occurred in the early 1800s.
You can help all animals by choosing compassion on your plate. #GoVeg

https://worldanimalnews.com/breaking-golden-eagle-chicks-found-in-the-santa-monica-mountains-for-the-1st-time-in-30-years/

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