‘Easygoing’ Black Bear Tranquilized, Killed After Locals Admitted to Luring Animal for Photos

people.com

Benjamin VanHoose

“You were willing to coexist, but people were not,” wrote the North Shore Black Bear Society about the bear

A wild black bear was killed after becoming accustomed to humans in Canada.

Last Wednesday, the North Shore Black Bear Society reported on Facebook that a bear they’ve encountered on several occasions this summer — whom they affectionately named Huckleberry — was tranquilized and put down by local conservation officers for being too comfortable around humans.

The North Vancouver, British Columbia-based organization wrote that the bear had been lured and allowed to eat food left out by local residents, who wanted to capture the animal on camera.

“On July 31st you were eating berries at the edge of the forest. We headed out to make sure you were not being crowded or chased by dogs. By the time we reached you, you were being followed by residents who wanted a video of you eating organics from an unlocked cart,” read the post. “Due to the crowd of people, it wasn’t safe for us to move you on. When you finished eating, you calmly walked by and left our gaze. That was the last time we saw you.”

“Later that day you were tranquilized by the Conservation Officers and taken away to be killed,” they continued. “You were willing to coexist, but people were not.”

NSBBS added that Huckleberry “showed us every time we met that you were a good-natured bear, we are deeply sorry that we couldn’t save you.” The team added, “We’ll always have a place in our hearts for you, sweet boy.”

RELATED: Colorado Officials Looking to Euthanize Bear After It Entered a Home and Attacked Owner

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NSBBS representatives recalled on Facebook that they first encountered Huckleberry on July 2. During this initial meeting, Huckleberry was quick to get out of the way of humans. Their next interaction would lead to the story behind the bear’s name.

“The next time we met, you were at the roadside eating berries. As we walked you back to the forest, you stood and sniffed a garbage can,” NSBBS shared. “We used a firm tone and told you to leave — you listened. As you walked away, you left a bright pink scat full of huckleberries! We were so proud of you for eating natural foods, despite all the tempting treats residents had left available to you. From that moment, we named you Huckleberry!”

NSBBS remembered that Huckleberry would “roll” his tongue out at them to “smell the air as we walked together back to the forest” — a behavior NSBBS said showed that the bear recognized them.

RELATED VIDEO: Jeff Corwin Warns Sad Moments Are ‘Part of the Story Arc’ on Alaska Animal Rescue

RELATED: Two Bears Brawl in the Middle of a Highway as a Wolf Watches Quietly from a Distance

NSBBS said nearby residents admitted to allowing the “easy-going, calm bear” to pick through their garbage so they could photograph him.

“Reports started coming in of you finding easy rewards from garbage and organics carts. People admitted they allowed you to do that for a video and they neglected to move you on … a death sentence,” they wrote. “If only people had used a firm voice with you, you would have listened. Or respected you enough to not have any garbage or food scraps accessible in the first place. We did you a disservice, Huckleberry.”

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https://people.com/pets/black-bear-killed-after-locals-admit-to-leaving-food-out-to-get-photos/?amp=true&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=social-share-article&__twitter_impression=true

Sign Petition: Baby Kangaroos Are Beaten And Skinned to Make These Shoes!

thepetitionsite.com

Boasting some of the richest biodiversity in the world, Australia is estimated to be home to as many as 300,000 different species of animals. In such company, it takes a truly iconic animal to fill the role of Australia’s national animal — and the kangaroo certainly lives up to the task. Immediately recognizable are their long, powerful legs, allowing them to travel over six feet per leap, and the pouch they sport on their belly for carrying their young. But even their emblem status does not keep them safe from the whims of humans. Kangaroo skin, strong but light, has long been sought after for things like football (or soccer in the U.S.) cleats, baseball mitts, and many types of gloves. California, a U.S. state known for leading the way in animal welfare policy, was ahead of its time when it banned the sale of products made from kangaroo skin all the way back in 1971. But in 2020, an investigation discovered that some huge brands thought they were above the law. Nike and Puma have both been selling kangaroo leather products in California despite the ban!

Sign the petition today if you want Nike and Puma to do the right thing and abide by California law! Tell them to stop selling kangaroo leather products in the state, and commit to phasing out the use of kangaroo leather company-wide!

These kangaroos are ripped from the wild, stolen from their families and lush homes. The Australian government dictates that kangaroo hunting must be done with a firearm, which is cruel enough — but when it comes to the most vulnerable, like babies or adult kangaroos that are already wounded, the cruelty is amplified. These poor animals have their heads severed from their bodies, or they are painfully bludgeoned to death. The officially stated reason for this heinous method is to “destroy the brain,” and apparently any semblance of humanity. California’s law is an indirect attempt to curb this brutality. Companies like Nike and Puma disregarding said law puts pain and profit above compassion and animal welfare.

Ideally, kangaroo leather would be totally banned worldwide. With advanced technology and a wide variety of synthetic materials at our disposal, using the skin from innocent animals for our luxury sport equipment is simply outdated and cruel. But passing laws that keep these products off the shelves is the right step towards making them obsolete, and Californai did that! But statewide laws can be difficult to enforce when these companies sell to states and nations all over the world. That means that it is Nike and Puma’s responsibility to do the right thing and abide by the law! They have the time, money, and resources to do so — any noncompliance is a result of negligence, apathy, and a gross misuse of power.

If we speak out enough, we can really get Nike and Puma where it matters most — in their profits. Let’s make sure that they know we are watching, and until they decide to put animal welfare first, we won’t rest! Sign the petition and demand that Nike and Puma comply with California law, halting the sale of products made with kangaroo skin in the state, and then take it one step further by phasing out all kangaroo leather products!

https://www.thepetitionsite.com/359/582/784/baby-kangaroos-are-beaten-and-skinned-to-make-these-shoes/?TAP=1732

Snow White

End the Taxpayer Funded War on Wildlife Petition

secure.wildearthguardians.org

For far too long the federal government has used our hard-earned tax dollars to slaughter native wildlife on public lands. Tell your representative and senators this all-out war on wildlife and public safety must stop today. Download our advocacy kit to learn more ways you can join us to end the war on wildlife.

Please note: In order to send this form to your senators and representative, all fields must be completed, including title and phone number. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and thank you for your support on this issue.

Photo Credit: USFWS

Recipients

  • Your Senators
  • Your Representative

https://secure.wildearthguardians.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=1095

The Giant African Millipede (Archispirostreptus gigas)

These sparrows are singing a new song, in a rapid, unprecedented shift

api.nationalgeographic.com

By Corryn Wetzel

A white-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis) singing in Manitoba, Canada, where a new distinctive call has replaced an old one.Photograph by Glenn Bartley, Minden Pictures

Most birds have distinct calls that tend to stay the same. It’s how birders can recognize a species without seeing it. But new research shows these tunes can change.

Over the course of two decades, white-throated sparrows across western and central Canada have changed one of their songs, replacing a three-note call with a two-note one. The new tune started in British Columbia and spread east—now, most of Canada’s birds are singing it. And it’s still spreading in Quebec, more than 2,000 miles from where it originated.

Although some bird calls undergo slow evolutions, this rapid shift in a bird’s song has never been observed before, says Ken Otter, lead author of the study, published July 2 in the journal Current Biology.

“There is nothing that we know of that’s spread like this,” Otter says.

As the song sweeps west to east, ornithologists wonder what makes the song so catchy—and if the trend will continue. The finding was made possible by crowd-sourced birdsong recordings, which are uncovering patterns that may have previously gone unnoticed.

A song is born

Birdsongs are not just pleasant to listen to, they’re also rich with information, such as the health and fitness of the speaker. Like other birds, male sparrows sing to establish territory and to entice females. It’s only the males that sing certain tunes, and they learn them during a critical window early in their development.

Otter, who studies bird behavior and communication at the University of Northern British Columbia, first noticed that something was up with sparrow calls in the late 1990s. He was doing fieldwork in British Columbia, just west of the Rocky Mountains, with a colleague who usually studies eastern populations of the species.

“We were walking around… and he suddenly said, ‘Your sparrows sound weird.’” Otter hadn’t noticed it before but agreed—they did sound different.

“White-throated sparrows have this classic song that’s supposed to sound like it goes, ‘Oh, my sweet Canada, Canada, Canada,’” he explains. “And our birds sound like they’re going, ‘Oh, my sweet Cana– Cana– Cana– Canada.’”

The new song trend emerged by the 1990s in northern British Columbia, where Otter and his colleague first heard the “weird” call. From there, it crept east, moving across Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.

In 2004, about half the sparrows in Alberta were singing the new doublet ending, but by 2014, every sparrow in the area had made the shift. By 2015, every sparrow west of central Ontario was singing the doublet ending. It didn’t stop there. In western Quebec, nearly 2,000 miles from where the song began, it’s still spreading.

Knowing that bird songs must be learned from others, Otter and his colleges suspected that eastern and western sparrows may be crossing paths.

In 2013 and 2016, they strapped geolocators to 50 male sparrows breeding in Prince George, British Columbia, to track their seasonal migration path and areas where they winter.

Otter says he expected the western sparrow populations to travel directly south to their overwintering areas in California. Instead, the birds crossed the Rocky Mountains, meeting up with eastern populations in the southern Great Plains of the United States, in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Kansas. This convergence of western and eastern sparrows may act as a tutoring ground for young males, which could learn the new song before returning to their respective breeding ranges.

Using two decades of citizen-recorded data, including more than 1,785 recordings, Otter and his team were able to map the song’s spread. Charting the new song in blue and the old song in red, Otter’s maps show a cascade of blue dots crashing east from 2000 to 2019. Only a thin ribbon of red dots—birds singing the old song—still clings to the eastern edge of the country.

“It’s cool to realize that this sort of happenstance pattern of migration allowed [some sparrows] to then hear birds singing the other form of song”—and then spread—“like a viral contagion,” says Jeffrey Podos, who studies birdsong at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was not involved in the study.

Podos isn’t surprised the birds are learning from each other, but he admits that the pace at which the new song spread is “somewhat surprising.”

“It’s like a blue wave,” he says.

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New variations of songs crop up constantly, but the vast majority of these aren’t picked up by other birds.

“For some reason, some birds just went deviant,” says Podos, describing the advent of the new doublet-ending song. “You figure it would have just died on the vine, but somehow other birds must have found it interesting.”

Otter and his team didn’t find that birds singing new doublet-ending songs were better at wooing mates or defending territories, so it doesn’t appear to be advantageous or deleterious. This just adds to the mystery of the song’s virality.

“The only thing that we can think of is that the females might have a preference for something that’s slightly novel,” Otter says.

It’s possible that sweeping evolutions in songs like this have happened before but went undetected. Otter’s work relied on recordings from eBird and Xeno-Canto, databases which contain birdsongs recorded and uploaded by people around the world.

Bob Planqué, a cofounder of Xeno-Canto and mathematics professor at Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, says this crowd-sourced information is “a tremendous boon to academia.” One reason this model lends itself so well to studying birds, says Planqué, is that recording songs is easy and accessible. Planqué says hundreds of papers a year rely on Xeno-Canto data, which includes over half a million recordings.

Crowd-sourced science is “like having thousands of research assistants spread out across the continent,” Otter says. “It’s allowing researchers to tap into a totally different avenue of research [and] to look at this on a very big scale that was never there before.”

https://api.nationalgeographic.com/distribution/public/amp/animals/2020/07/new-sparrow-birdsong-replaces-old-tune?__twitter_impression=true

Democrats push environmental policies in $259.5B budget package

thehill.com

By Rebecca Beitsch

The House added a number of environmental measures to the budget Friday, voting to block the Trump administration from drilling in the arctic or rejecting grants for projects and studies tied to climate change. 

The measures were included in a $259.5 billion spending package that passed with a 224-189 vote.

Lawmakers voted on a series of amendments to the budgets for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of the Interior on Thursday and Friday, seeking to block funding from being used to implement a number of Trump administration rollbacks.

The language includes measures to block a new policy allowing hunting tactics that make it easier to kill bear cubs and wolf pups in Alaska.

Another measure would block the administration from implementing its changes to the National Environmental Policy Act, a bedrock environmental law that green groups have said President Trump is gutting. Trump rolled back the law last week, calling the act, which requires a thorough environmental review of major projects, the “single biggest obstacle” to construction.

The legislation passed by Democrats also blocks drilling in both the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPRA).

The Trump administration has sought to open more than 80 percent of the NPRA to drilling, while the wildlife refuge was opened for drilling through the 2017 tax cut legislation.

House Democrats have repeatedly worked to block drilling in the ANWR, passing legislation in September that was never taken up by the Senate. 

The legislation includes other measures with a more bipartisan agenda, including an increase in funding to replace lead pipes and language to ensure the EPA will continue with its plans to regulate cancer-linked PFAS chemicals in drinking water.

Lawmakers also voted down a Republican effort to allow importation of elephant or lion hunting trophies taken in Tanzania, Zimbabwe or Zambia. 

https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/508915-dems-push-environmental-policies-in-2595b-budget-package?amp&__twitter_impression=true

The BIG LIE about lion trophy hunting – Africa Geographic

africageographic.com

About Simon Espley

lion skin, trophy hunting

So often we hear from the pro-hunting lobby that by killing free roaming lions, trophy hunters are actually saving lions.

Well, if my aunt had balls she’d be my uncle.

That term “sustainable offtake” often creeps into the justification. The trophy hunting of free roaming lions is about as sustainable as putting ice cubes in a mug of steaming coffee. Let’s dig deeper into this issue of sustainable, shall we? A lion skin as a trophy from a hunt in Namibia ©Ton Koene/Alamy

Consider the following six examples of why the trophy hunting of free-roaming lions is NOT sustainable – from the very countries held high by the trophy hunting industry itself as being paragons of sustainable hunting practices:

1. The Namibian government does not know how many breeding-age desert-adapted lions are left, how many territory/pride males there are, or even how many of each sex are killed during human-lion conflict. They told me so – see this article written by me. And yet each year they set trophy hunting quotas for large male desert-adapted lions. The awarding of trophy hunting quotas off the back of no relevant statistics is NOT sustainable.

2. Namibian laws permit rural livestock owners to request for the lethal removal of predators targeting their livestock – so-called ‘problem animals’. Fair enough. BUT trophy hunters are often used to perform the execution, and we know that trophy hunters want to shoot big male lions. And communities benefit financially when ‘problem animals’ are identified and taken down by hunters. Is it coincidence then that there is a large bias towards male lions amongst those lions reported as being ‘problem animals’, and consequently executed by trophy hunters?

In the last scientific research report on Namibia’s desert-adapted lions, published in 2010, the author states, when referring to six collared male lions killed by trophy hunters as ‘problem animals’: “In all six cases, however, it is arguable whether the adult males that were shot, were in fact the lions responsible for the killing of livestock.”

This gap in legislation – empowering the two beneficiaries of ‘problem animal’ execution to act as witness, jury, judge and executioner – is NOT sustainable.

3. The above report concluded: “The long-term viability of the desert lion population has been compromised by the excessive killing of adult and sub-adult males. There is an urgent need to adapt the management and utilisation strategies relating to lions, if the long-term conservation of the species in the Kunene were to be secured.”

Since then the situation has worsened as regards male lion offtake, with some areas now almost devoid of male lions. Even the last known adult male lion in the Sesfontein Conservancy was earmarked to be shot – again conveniently classified as a ‘problem animal’ – until international pressure forced the Minister to change his mind. A rapidly reducing male/female lion ratio is NOT sustainable.

4. Craig Packer, director of the Lion Research Center at the University of Minnesota, has led a series of studies identifying over-hunting as the major reason for the steep decline in lion populations in Tanzania, the lion hunting mecca. Packer was banned from entering Tanzania for exposing corruption with regard to lion trophy hunting.

Being tagged as the cause of crashing lion populations makes trophy hunting of lions in Tanzania NOT sustainable, and the widespread use of fraud and corruption as a business tool suggests a morally bankrupt industry.

5. When 13-year-old Cecil the lion was shot in Zimbabwe, the over-riding justification was that he was ‘too old’ to breed or to successfully hold a territory (as if those are the only uses of a mature lion). Then, Cecil’s son, Xanda, was also shot by a hunter, at the age of six – and the professional hunter Richard Cooke knew that Xanda was a pride male with cubs, and lied about the situation. In fact, Cooke also led the hunt that killed Xanda’s other son – at the age of four.

So, lions of all ages are being shot, and the trophy hunting industry lies and re-invents the justifications each time to suit their need to keep the business model rolling. That is NOT sustainable.

6. Rural communities living amongst wild lions have to see meaningful and sustainable benefit from having lions in the area. Lions are often a threat to lives and livelihoods and these people have the right to expect to be compensated to behave differently. After all, the rest of the world has mostly sanitised itself of large predators.

Surely for trophy hunting to be truly sustainable, these communities must receive a significant portion of the trophy fee? A 2013 study by Economists at Large, an Australian organisation of conservation-minded economists, found that on average only 3% of money generated by trophy hunting winds up in the hands of local people.

During research for my article referred to in point one above, Namibian government officials told me that the relevant community only receives about 12.5% of the trophy hunting fee for a quota lion (US$10,000 of the ± US$80,000 fee) – and only about 1% in the case of a ‘problem animal’ hunt. The rest goes to the professional hunting operator. This is NOT fair or sustainable.

This is what we do know about lions: Populations have crashed from about 450,000 in the 1940’s to about 20,000 today – mostly due to human-wildlife conflict, habitat loss, prey base loss and trophy hunting (US Fish and Wildlife Services).

The remaining pockets of lions are increasingly isolated from other populations, and no longer able to disperse and so maintain population genetic diversity and stability. When young males flee from dominant pride males, and seek out other lions, they leave protected areas and are picked off by hunters and livestock farmers – thus preventing the vital dispersal of young lions to other areas.

The surgical removal of big male lions by trophy hunters within the context of the above is NOT sustainable in any way, shape or form – regardless of what the other causes of lion population reductions are. The trophy hunting industry claim of sustainable practises is nothing but a lie. It’s a fiercely protected justification to continue the senseless and outdated fetish for killing off Africa’s big male lions for fun and ego. The fantasies of a few rich people are taking precedence over the survival of an African icon, over the proper functioning of Africa’s wild places and over the tourism industry which brings in many times more revenue, jobs, skills enhancement and societal benefits.

The trophy hunting of Africa’s wild, free roaming lions is NOT sustainable and has to stop.

https://africageographic.com/stories/trophy-hunting-wild-lions-big-lie-sustainability/

Two Norwegian Forest Cats

 

Norwegian Forest cat is a breed of domestic cat originating in northern Europe. This natural breed is adapted to a very cold climate, with a top coat of glossy, long, water shedding hair and a wooly undercoat for insulation.

Assam floods: 96 animals die at Kaziranga National Park


Rhinos

1 of 20 One-Horned Rhinos take shelter at the higher places at the flood-hit Kaziranga National Park in Nagaonon. A total of 96 animals have died in the Kaziranga National Park in Golaghat district of Assam due to floods, the state government informed. Image Credit: ANI

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2 of 20 A a wild elephant and a calf cross a National Highway at the flood affected Kaziranga National Park. “So far, 96 animals have died in the park including eight rhinos, seven wild boars, two swamp deers, 74 hog deer and two porcupines,” park officials said. Image Credit: AFP

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3 of 20 A Rhino sits along the roadside as he strayed out of the Kaziranga National Park. A report from the government of Assam stated that a total of 132 animals had been rescued from the Kaziranga National Park. The park is currently 85 per cent submerged under floodwaters. Image Credit: ANI

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4 of 20 “Water level at Pasighar and Dibrugarh are below the prescribed danger level. The floodwater in Numaligarh, Dhansirimukh and Tezpur are still above danger level,” the report stated. Above: A forest guard on a boat takes away the carcass of a wild buffalo calf through flood water at the Pobitora wildlife sanctuary in Pobitora. Image Credit: AP

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5 of 20 A herd of wild elephants takes shelter on highland inside the flooded Burapahar range of Kaziranga National Park. At least 79 people have died and nearly 3.6 million people have been affected in 30 districts of Assam due to floods caused by the monsoon rains and the rise in water levels of the Brahmaputra river, informed the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA). Image Credit: PTI

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6 of 20 Water buffaloes stand in flood water at the Pobitora wildlife sanctuary in Pobitora, Morigaon district. Image Credit: AP

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7 of 20 Tiger in search of safer place at the flood-affected area at Bagmari village near Kaziranga in Nagaon district. Image Credit: ANI

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8 of 20 Deers wade through floodwaters in a submerged area of the Kaziranga National Park, in Kanchanjuri. Image Credit: ANI

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9 of 20 A one-horned rhinoceros along with her baby stands in floodwater inside Kaziranga National Park, in Golaghat district. Image Credit: PTI

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10 of 20 A female rhino calf about 1-year-old, who got separated from mother was rescued from Difaloo pathar, Sukani village by the Staffs of Eastern Range, Agoratoli, Kaziranga National Park. Image Credit: ANI

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11 of 20 A wild water buffalo eats tree branches standing in flood water at the Pobitora wildlife sanctuary in Pobitora, Morigaon district. Image Credit: AP

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12 of 20 A wild elephant moves towards the higher ground after the flood hits Kaziranga National Park, in Nagaon. Image Credit: ANI

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13 of 20 Wild deer cross the National Highway-37 in search for safer places at the flood-affected area of Kaziranga National Park, in Nagaon District. Image Credit: ANI

elephants

14 of 20 A group of wild elephants cross the road to move towards the higher land, following the flooding in the low-lying areas of Kaziranga National Park, in Nagaon. Image Credit: ANI

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15 of 20 A forest employee cuts branches of a tree for rhinoceros as a forest guard keeps vigil near one horned rhinoceros taking shelter from floods on a highland at the Pobitora wildlife sanctuary in Pobitora. Image Credit: AP

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16 of 20 A forest guard on a boat takes away the carcass of a wild buffalo calf through flood water at the Pobitora wildlife sanctuary in Pobitora, Morigaon district. Image Credit: AP

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17 of 20 A one horned rhinoceros and a calf wades through flood water at the Pobitora wildlife sanctuary in Pobitora. Image Credit: AP

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18 of 20 A herd of wild elephants takes shelter on a higher place at flooded Kaziranga National Park, in Nagaon. Image Credit: ANI

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19 of 20 Forest guards patrol as one horned rhinoceros take shelter on a highland as flood water rises at the Pobitora wildlife sanctuary in Pobitora. Image Credit: AP

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20 of 20 WTI official tries to feed a rhino who is taking shelter near NH 37 in the flood-affected area of Kaziranga National park at Kanchanjuri in Nagaon. Image Credit: ANI Remaining Time -50:21

https://gulfnews.com/photos/news/assam-floods-96-animals-die-at-kaziranga-national-park-1.1595135583306?slide=1

Image

Today is World Snake Day

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The Extraordinary Sea Wolves – PANTHALASSA

panthalassa.org

The coastal wolves have an extraordinary ability to swim across miles between islands.

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Sea wolves are a unique breed of wolf found in the Great Bear Rainforest along the Pacific Coast of Canada. Swimming between islands like fish, they are genetically distinct from their inland cousins, or from wolves in any other part of the world. 

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British Columbia has a relatively low human population where sea wolves enjoy an isolated wilderness – an area of 21-million acres, often described as a “bastion of biodiversity”. There are 25 native species of conifers and grizzly bears, black bears and spirit bears living together.

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In the water, whales, sea lions, seals, seabirds and salmon make the sea extraordinarily richer than anywhere else along the coast.

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For thousands of years, wolves have lived in peace. They had a unique relationship with the coastal First Nations peoples, for whom the wolf was considered as a revered animal treated with admiration and respect.

However, they’re being threatened on all sides by hunting, trapping and industry. Road building and clear cut logging have appeared to be harmful to wolves, not only destroying the forests they live in but making it easier for hunters to gain access to coast wolves.

The Northern Gateway Pipelines project is a new threat. Huge oil tankers will transport oil in this pristine region with the potential for devastating consequences. If an oil tanker ran aground, spilling its content or sinking, it will have long-term harmful impacts on the environment similar as the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska. 

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Chris Darimont from the Raincoast Conservation Foundation, developed the Rainforest Wolf Project in order to show these wolves as fragile symbols and gain scientific understanding about coastal wolves called “Canada’s newest marine mammal”. 

In the early 2000s, devoted nature photographer and conservationist Ian McAllister, and Canadian wolf biologist Paul Paquet started to conduct research about these coast mainland wolves eating salmon from the wild grey Pacific Ocean. They discovered a remarkable fact that locals already knew: 25 percent of the wolves’ diet was made of fish. Most extraordinary is the coastal wolves’ swimming ability, often swimming across miles between islands.

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These photos are part of a magnificent series from a book entitled “The Sea Wolves, Living Wild in the Great Bear Rainforest”, created by authors Ian Mc Allister and Nicholas Read. The book reveals the importance of preserving the Great Bear Rainforest for every unique creature that lives on the British Columbia’s remote coast.

All photos ©Ian Mc Allister / Pacific Wild

http://www.panthalassa.org/the-sea-wolves/

This frog’s babies erupt out of its back—and other surprising ways animals give birth

api.nationalgeographic.com

By Jake Buehler 9-12 minutes

PUBLISHED June 8, 2020

A Suriname toad, Pipa pipa, at the Saint Louis Zoo. Females of this species birth their young from holes in their backs.Photograph by Joel Sartore, National Geographic Photo Ark

Of the many ways to be born, live birth may be the most familiar to humans. We mammals deliver live, squirming babies, and we think of many other animals as laying eggs—but in reality, animals have found a variety of ways to bring their young into the world.

Live birth, also known as viviparity, is common throughout the animal world, and not just among mammals. It has emerged in fish, amphibians, insects, and arachnids, to name a few.

In fact, viviparity has evolved independently about 150 times in various animal species, including at least 115 times in living reptiles, a number three times higher than in all other vertebrates combined, says Henrique Braz, a herpetologist at the Butantan Institute in São Paulo, Brazil.

There are benefits—and drawbacks—to laying eggs and live-bearing, but these modes of reproduction aren’t an either/or proposition. Egg-laying and live-bearing are two points on a continuum, with many species straddling the middle. (Read about a lizard evolving from egg-laying to live birth.)

Halfway there

All mothers need to do one thing for their offspring: provide nourishment. That’s either as yolk in an egg or, for live-bearing animals, often directly from the mother’s body. (In the unique case of seahorses, it’s the father’s body that feeds the young.)

This frog’s babies erupt out of its back

Some species manage to give birth to live young, yet the mother contributes little to no food in utero. They do this by retaining the babies in eggs inside the mothers’ bodies, letting the young grow and develop using the yolk as a food source. Then, when the young are fully formed and ready to get out into the world, they hatch inside their mother as they’re being born.

This kind of reproduction, called ovoviviparity, is common among venomous snakescalled vipers, though not in most other snakes which lay clutches of eggs. There are also a number of fish—such as mollies and guppies—that reproduce this way. (Read more about how various animal groups give birth.)

One of the more surreal examples is the Suriname toad (Pipa pipa), an exceptionally flat, leaf-like amphibian from South American rainforests. During mating, the male deposits dozens of fertilized eggs onto the female’s back, and then her skin grows around the eggs, creating a surface like inverted bubble wrap. The offspring develop in these small wombs for months. Eventually they erupt from mom’s backand head into the water as little froglets, skipping the tadpole stage entirely.

Why such a strange system? Like other ovoviviparous species, the Suriname toad can give her eggs some protection by carrying them around—useful in a world full of hungry egg predators.

Dining in

Most live-bearing animals provide their babies with some form of sustenance directly.

In mammals, this is common. But West Africa’s critically endangered Nimba toad (Nimbaphrynoides occidentalis) is the only frog fed entirely from its mother’s resources in utero. Female Nimba toads have a nine-month pregnancy, feeding fetal toadlets with a nutritious “uterine milk.”

There are even some viviparous moms that get creative with feeding their young during pregnancy. African tsetse flies (Glossina morsitans) carry a single larva around in their uterus, and it’s fed with a kind of “milk” secreted from a special gland. The Pacific beetle cockroach (Diploptera punctata) gives birth to fully formed, miniaturized young, after fueling them with a similar uterine elixir.

The phenomenon of fetuses dining within the womb can get even stranger. Some live-bearing caecilians—worm-like amphibians that live almost entirely underground or in stream bottoms—actually feed on their mother from the inside. There, they scrape and eat the thickened lining of her oviduct, the passageway that carries eggs from her ovary.

And it can get even more gruesome. A number of shark species host an embryonic battle in the womb, with the babies killing and consuming their siblings for sustenance.

A deeper bond

Some animals take live-bearing even further, interlacing their own circulatory system with that of their developing young, nourishing them and eliminating waste through this linkage. This can take the form of a specialized, temporary organ, like a placenta. Though placentas are typically associated with “placental” mammals such as humans, cats, dogs, and whales, these groups don’t have a monopoly on the organ.

“The organ is not actually just composed of mom’s tissues or baby’s tissues,” says Camilla Whittington, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Sydney. Technically, any organ comprised of both maternal and fetal tissues which exchanges nutrients counts as a placenta. Even marsupials, mammals that carry their young in pouches, have rudimentary placentas. And placentas also have evolved in some unexpected groups.

For example, that sharpnose sharks (Rhizoprionodon) nourish fetuses with an organ that looks precisely like a scaled-down version of a human placenta, Whittington says. There are also some lizard species that develop a placental link with their young, though the African skink Trachylepis ivensi is the only reptile species whose embryos can actually burrow into the wall of the oviduct, approaching the degree of implantation seen in mammal pregnancy.

Worth the effort

Viviparity is clearly not all-or-nothing, but a condition in which there’s flexibility. For example some lizards and snakes are egg-laying in one part of their geographic range, but live-bearers in another. Scientists even observed one lizard lay eggs and give birth to live young in the same clutch.

But why evolve live birth in the first place? There are definitely some drawbacks.

“If you ask any pregnant woman when she’s about two weeks away from giving birth, it’s pretty hard to locomote,” says Whittington. “And you can imagine if you’re a pregnant lizard and you’re very large, it might be hard to escape predators.” (These animals spawn the most offspring in one go.)

Carrying developing young internally also raises the stakes if a mother does get eaten. At least if you’ve deposited your eggs elsewhere, there’s a chance your genetic line may survive even if you perish.

Keeping young inside longer can help protect them, though, and it allows more direct control over their developmental conditions such as temperature. That may be why cold regions host a higher proportion of viviparous species than warmer locations.

“If you live in a cold or variable climate and you just leave your eggs in the nest and walk away, there might be a risk that it’s too cold,” says Whittington.

Whatever advantages viviparous mothers gain from going through pregnancy and live birth, the ability has evolved scores of times throughout the animal kingdom—and that suggests that it must be worth the extra effort.

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Horned screamer, facts and photos

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By Jason Bittel 5-6 minutes

PUBLISHED May 28, 2020

A horned screamer (Anhima cornuta) at the National Aviary of Colombia.Photograph by Joel Sartore, National Geographic Photo Ark

Common Name: Horned screamers

Scientific Name: Anhima cornuta

Type: Birds

Diet: Herbivore

Size: About the size of a turkey

Weight: Up to seven pounds

Current Population Trend: 

Unknown


What is a horned screamer?

Horned screamers are the unicorns of the bird world.

Over the course of their lives, these birds grow long, white spines of cartilage in the middle of their foreheads. Some birds possess horns approaching six inches in length. No other birds on earth have anything like it.

Unlike with rams and rhinos, the screamer’s horn doesn’t seem to be a weapon, because it is only loosely attached to the skull and known to snap offonce it grows too long. In time, broken horns even grow back. This leads scientists to believe the horns serve an ornamental purpose rather than a functional one.

While the horns are harmless, the screamers are not. Each bird sports a pair of sharpened bone spurs on its wings. These are used to defend territory and battle with each other for mates. After particularly nasty encounters, scientists have even found pieces of spur broken off and lodged in other birds’ chest like shrapnel.

Aside from their strange horns, these birds also possess some interesting anatomy below the surface. Inside their bones and skin are tons of tiny air sacs that reduce the weight of these large birds, which is thought to help them soar long distances without using muscle energy. These air sacs sometimes collapse simultaneously when the horned screamer takes off, creating a loud crackling noise.

As its name suggests, this bird is also known for the loud calls it creates. The main one is described as sounding like, “mo-coo-ca,” leading some indigenous peoples to call the birds “mahooka.” This call sounds a bit like a goose, a close relative of horned screamers.

Habitat and diet

Horned screamers can be found from Colombia and Ecuador down to south-central Brazil. Like their close cousins, ducks, geese, and swans, these birds prefer wet habitats, such as freshwater lagoons, tropical wet savannas, and lakes.

As herbivores, horned screamers spend much of the day grazing on grasses found in and around water. The birds have also been observed nibbling leaves, stems, flowers, and vines, as well as digging in mud.

Reproduction

While it can take some fighting to win a mate, a horned screamer partnership can last a lifetime. The male and female spend all year together, constantly preening each other to maintain the pair bond. They also take turns incubating the eggs they create, with females tending to sit on the brood during the day and males taking the night shift. Once the chicks hatch, both parents also provide food for their young.

Relatives and conservation

Horned screamers (Anhima cornuta) are one of three species of screamers, all of which reside in the wetlands of South America. Horned screamers and southern screamers (Chauna torquata) are not considered to be in danger of extinction, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. However, the northern screamer (C. chavaria) is listed as near threatened, which is thought to be due to loss of habitat in its geographic range at the northwestern tip of the continent.

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Why did a loon stab a bald eagle through the heart?

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By Jason Bittel 7-9 minutes

PUBLISHED May 27, 2020

Though common loons may look harmless, the territorial birds will fiercely attack any interlopers to their freshwater habitat.Photograph by Charlie Hamilton James, Nat Geo Image Collection

In July 2019 a game warden in Bridgton, Maine, got an unusual call: A bald eagle was floating lifeless in a lake. At the time, biologists suspected the animal might have been shot or poisoned by lead fishing tackle—all too common causes of death for wild birds.

Now, tests have revealed the bird’s bizarre demise: A stab wound directly to the heart. The murder weapon? The dagger-like beak of a common loon. (See a photo of the dead eagle.)

It’s the first time a loon killing an eagle has ever been documented, says Danielle D’Auria, a wildlife biologist with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

According to D’Auria, a dead loon chick was found nearby, suggesting a defensive loon parent gored the eagle as it attacked the loon’s nest. This phenomenon is on the rise in New England, as bald eagles continue to bounce back from near extinction in the 1970s, she says. (Learn how a national symbol bounced back.)

Loons and eagles are also top predators in Highland Lake, competing for valuable territory.

While loons appear serene and peaceful, the waterbirds can be savage, attacking everything from Canada geese to redhead ducks to, most often, other loons.

“It’s been going on for millennia,” says John Cooley, senior biologist with The Loon Preservation Committee in New Hampshire. “It’s survival of the fittest happening on our lakes.”

The catch is that until very recently there probably just weren’t enough bald eagles left for scientists to witness such battles. Since being removed from the Endangered Species List in 2007, the U.S. symbol now numbers in the hundreds of thousandsnationwide; there are more than 700 nesting pairs in Maine.

The incident shows how much we have to learn about the natural behaviors of formerly endangered species, experts say.

Thanks to conservation efforts, hundreds of thousands of bald eagles now soar through U.S. skies.Photograph by George Grall, Nat Geo Image Collection

Violence of the loons

Rather than duke it out at the surface, D’Auria says a loon will dive underwater and then rocket out “like a torpedo” to stab its opponent, which is usually a rival loon.

“It’s a common part of their contesting territories with each other,” she says. ”Sometimes the injured loon can recover from it, and occasionally they don’t.”

In fact, Cooley says he’s seen a loon chest bone riddled with holes. “Over half of the loon mortalities that we examine show healed puncture wounds like this eagle sustained,” he says. (Read about a bald eagle rescued on the Fourth of July.)

Loons can also be extremely long-lived, with one banded bird in New Hampshire defending the same territory for at least 26 years.

For this reason, “they’re invested in their lake. It’s their little kingdom,” says Cooley.

A bird-eat-bird world

At over 10 pounds, adult loons are generally too large for a bald eagle to kill and wing back to its nest.

However, loon chicks are perfect prey for bald eagles, and scientists are only recently beginning to document how the return of eagles might be affecting loon populations in New England.

One study led by Cooley found that loon nests seemed to fail more often when they were located near bald eagles.

Though that’s not necessarily a bad thing, says Eric Hanson, a loon biologist at the Vermont Center for Ecostudies.

“There’s a balance,” he says, by email. “Eagles need to eat, and loons will defend their chicks as best they can.”

Bald Eagles’ Food Fight Captured In Slow-Motion

The good news is Vermont’s loon populations have been increasing or remained steady for the last 20 years. Loons are also doing well in Maine, home to about 70 percent of the population in the U.S. Northeast, says D’Auria.

However, the species is listed as threatened in New Hampshire and of special concern in Massachusetts,due to threats such as shoreline development, fishing tackle, and climate change.

Natural problems

So while neither loon nor bald eagles seem to be in danger of driving the other to extinction, it does seem as if the two species are recalibrating back to how things used to be, Cooley says.

There are plenty of other examples: When conservation efforts enabled gray seals to return to their native territory in Cape Cod, great white sharks followed closely behind. And in the mid-90s, when the National Park Service reintroduced wolves to Yellowstone, it set off a cascade of ecosystem changes for everything from elk and coyotes to aspen and willow trees—changes scientists continue to puzzle over. (Read more about the impact predators make in Yellowstone National Park.)

It’s just that this time, the loon killed a bird that most Americans feel strongly about protecting.

But Cooley says this event, sad though it was for the eagle, is the goal of species recovery.

“We want natural problems like this to replace the human-caused problems, like lead fishing tackle as a source of mortality,” he says.

“You know, we’re living for the day when eagles are the worst thing that loons have to deal with.”

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Check out Yosemite National Park Live on Facebook 3p.m. (PDT) April 22

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Now this is feeding the birds! 🦅

Ruby-throated hummingbirds will arrive soon, what you can do now to help their migration

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Eric Manges 2-3 minutes

SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN — Wisconsin’s only native hummingbird will be here soon! As the Ruby-throated hummingbird migrates north from the tropics, it follows the spring bloom until it can settle in its breeding range.

screen-shot-2020-04-08-at-1.05.07-pm

Zoomed in picture of a Ruby-throated Hummingbird

According to hummingbirdcentral. com, the approximate time they arrive in Wisconsin is the end of April and the start of May. Typically by then, flower producing plants and other insects, which it eats, are prevalent enough for it to head to our neck of the woods.screen-shot-2020-04-08-at-1.03.54-pm

Approximate timing of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird arrival

Based on satellite data collected by the National Phenology Network, we can see that plants have really started to leaf out as far north as Chicago.

Long term forecasts continue to keep temps cool for the mid part of April, but it’s safe to say you need to get ready for these tiny visitors soon!screen-shot-2020-04-08-at-1.17.17-pm

Spring vegetation across the United States as of April 8th

One way you can help attract these birds is by putting out a hummingbird feeder. These come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. An important detail is that you can make the nectar yourself! By heating up water and mixing in white sugar, you’re producing a perfect blend that can provide vital energy for these calorie-burning mini machines.

Avoid nectar that contains food coloring, as this could be harmful to hummingbirds. Change the nectar at least once a week in early spring and increase the frequency as temperatures start to increase.

hummingbird-feeder

An example of a hummingbird feeder just we don’t recommend having a cat close by

If you’re looking to replant a garden, another great way to attract these birds is to plant native flowering perennials that require little maintenance. Some examples include Wild Bergamot, Butterfly Weed, and Cardinal Flower.

Good luck spotting these awesome little birds!

“See the World From an Eagle Eye’s View | Super-powered Eagles | BBC Earth”

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Photographer captures beautiful images of polar bears playing in flower fields

When we think of polar bears, we automatically picture them in the Arctic, surrounded by snowy and icy landscapes. This image has been deeply ingrained in our minds that it’s hard to imagine these furry giants in any other environment.

Dennis Fast

The North experiences changing seasons, too. And as summer arrives, polar bears come out and start having their fun. Luckily, wildlife and nature photographer Dennis Fast captured these beautiful moments for the world to see. He was staying in the lodges operated by Churchill Wild in Manitoba, Canada, when he took the incredibly rare images.

In the pictures, the polar bears in Northern Canada’s Hudson Bay are seen rolling around the brightly colored fields of fireweed. When they’re not in the mood for play, the bears are content just lounging and napping in the pink fields, as if they, too, were savoring the warmth of the summer. Some of the most adorable shots feature one polar bear with his head poking out a sea of pink flowers!

Dennis Fast

It’s amazing to see the silly antics they get themselves into once the sun comes out. Their cute appearance almost makes us forget that they can attack humans when they’re approached the wrong way!

In an interview with Modern Met, Dennis shared why polar bears are his most beloved subjects.

“[I] t’s not just their color that makes them a favorite target of my camera,” he said. “They have a slow, ambling gait as they drift about looking for anything that moves. It looks like they don’t have a care in the world and that there is nothing they are afraid of. It’s not arrogance, exactly, but a quiet confidence that we often respect in humans, and that translates well to the polar bear.”

Dennis Fast

Once early autumn arrives, the polar bears will wait for the ice to reform in the bay so they can go back to their winter hunting grounds. In the meantime, they get the chance to enjoy the warmth of the sunshine and these blossoming fields!

Scroll through the gallery below to see more of this Canadian photographer’s rare shots of polar bears enjoying the summer.

Dennis Fast

Dennis Fast

Dennis Fast

Dennis Fast

Dennis Fast

Dennis Fast
Check out Dennis Fast’s books Princess: A Special Polar Bear, Touch the Arctic, Wapusk: White Bear of the North, and The Land Where the Sky Begins to see more of his brilliant work.

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Sign Petition: Illegal Tiger Trade Must End

thepetitionsite.com

by: Clara Lars
recipient: World Wildlife Federation

Illegal Tiger Trade Must End

Tigers may soon disappear from the wild unless more effective efforts are made to halt illegal trade. Tiger numbers have decreased dramatically in recent decades due to poaching to supply the illegal trade in tiger parts.

Tiger bones and other parts are used in traditional medicines to treat arthritis and other conditions. And the animals’ skins are used as clothing for certain cultural ceremonies and even as decorative objects such as rugs and wall hangings.

Fewer than 3,500-4,000 tigers are estimated to remain in the wild in Asia, the only region of the world where they exist. About 100 years ago, there were an estimated 100,000 tigers in the wild. The five existing tiger subspecies—the Amur, Bengal, Indochinese, South China, and Sumatran—all are critically endangered or endangered throughout their ranges. The Caspian tiger of southwest Asia, the Bali tiger and the Javan tiger all became extinct in the last 50 years of the 20th century.

Today, most wild tigers live in India; smaller populations exist in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russian Federation, Thailand and Viet Nam. Tigers have become extinct in at least 10 other countries. At an International Tiger Symposium held in Kathmandu, Nepal, in April 2007, experts from around the world reported that tiger populations remain in decline nearly everywhere.

A Neverending Battle Wildlife officers in countries where tigers live fight a daily battle against poachers.

Recently in Nepal, a wildlife smuggler was sentenced to 15 years in prison and a fine of 100,000 Nepalese Rupees (US$ 1,591)—the maximum fine allowed for a wildlife crime in that country—after being caught in 2005 with five tiger skins, 36 leopard skins, 238 otter skins, and 123 kilograms of tiger bones.

The seizure, the largest of its kind ever made in Nepal, occurred thanks to the hard work and cooperation of two non-governmental organizations—Wildlife Conservation Nepal and the Wildlife Trust of India—and the wildlife authorities at Langtang National Park, Nepal, where the smuggler and his loot were found.

India, home to most of the world’s wild tigers, recorded 130 tigers poached between 1999 and 2004 (as compared to 82 known natural deaths), according to the Ministry of Environment and Forests.

Sign Petition

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Zimbabwe, Botswana vow to push for rights to trade in wildlife products

zimbabwevoice.com

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa and his Botswana counterpart Mokgweetsi Masisi have declared they will continue pushing for the right to trade in wildlife products, saying communities that have done well in conserving wildlife must be allowed to enjoy the benefits of such efforts.

Several Sadc countries have voiced their concern over the restrictive Convention of Trade in Endangered Species’ (CITES) provisions concerning live elephant and rhino trade, ivory and rhino horn trade bans and the contentious listing of the unthreatened giraffe population.

Speaking during the just ended Botswana-Zimbabwe Bi-National Commission (BNC), leaders from the two countries said environmental conservation efforts, including wildlife, would not be fully realised given the restrictive conditions governing global trade in wildlife related products.

President Mnangagwa said wildlife resource rich countries like Zimbabwe and Botswana must be allowed to trade and realise benefits of their conservation efforts.

He commended Botswana and regional sister countries on the preservation and defence of the wildlife economy, whose full dividend has not been realised because of restrictions in wildlife trade.

“Let those who co-exist and help in the preservation of our wildlife enjoy benefits accruing from the effective wildlife management strategies they have adopted. We reiterated our common position of this very sensitive and emotive matter to have exclusive rights to trade in our wildlife products.”

Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi said the regional leadership was on the right direction in terms of environmental conservation and that such efforts need to be supported by enabling wildlife trade rules and regulations.

Last year in May, Botswana hosted the historic Elephant Summit in the Kasane area, which was followed by the Africa Wildlife Economy Summit in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, in June 2019.

“These will indeed go a long way in improving regional advancement for the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation area (Kaza). It will also contribute significantly towards sustainable economic and ecological benefit for local communities and Africa as a whole,” said President Masisi.

Speaking on the same issue, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister, Dr Sibusiso Moyo, said CITES “has done more harm than good” in terms of assisting developing nations on the conservation front.

“In 2019 that fraternal spirit was demonstrated as our two countries joined hands towards a common position at the CITES Cop 18 meeting where our two countries once again called for the review of the 1989 CITES ban on global ivory trade, which has done more harm than good to our elephant conservation efforts,” he said.

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Dog-Fighting Allowed in Nation’s Largest Coyote Killing Contest in Pennsylvania

Wolf Patrol

The Mosquito Creek Sportsman’s Club will be hosting its 29th Coyote Hunt on February 21-23rd in Frenchville, Pennsylvania. The annual coyote killing contest is the largest in the nation, not only because of the number of participants, but also because of the tens of thousands of dollars paid out for literally every coyote killed with hounds, guns or traps.

CHECK IN Check-in time at the Mosquito Creek Coyote Hunt in 2019.

Last year, over 4,800 hunters were registered in the two day contest, with 225 coyotes tallied at the weigh-in. The largest cash prize of $9,624 was awarded to a hunter from Erie for the heaviest coyote killed during the contest. Each coyote killed gained the hunter $86, with a total of $48,120 being paid out to contest participants during the 2019 hunt.

MOSQUITO CREEK HUNT 2019 Not only the nation’s largest coyote hunt, but in the entire world?

Many of the participant’s in this year’s…

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Experts say hunters are killing eagles

“Southwest Florida Eagle Cam” started on February 15,2020