8 Endangered Black Rhinos Die in Kenya After Relocation

voanews.com
NAIROBI
Eight critically endangered black rhinos are dead in Kenya following an attempt to move them from the capital to a national park hundreds of kilometers away, the government said Friday, calling the toll “unprecedented” in more than a decade of such transfers.

Preliminary investigations point to salt poisoning as the rhinos tried to adapt to saltier water in their new home, the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife said in a statement. It suspended the ongoing move of other rhinos and said the surviving ones were being closely monitored.

Losing the rhinos is “a complete disaster,” said prominent Kenyan conservationist Paula Kahumbu of WildlifeDirect.

Conservationists in Africa have been working hard to protect the black rhino sub-species from poachers targeting them for their horns to supply an illegal Asian market.

In moving a group of 11 rhinos to the newly created Tsavo East National Park from Nairobi last month, the Kenya Wildlife Service said it hoped to boost the population there. The government agency has not said how the rhinos died. Fourteen of the animals were to be moved in all.

“Disciplinary action will definitely be taken” if an investigation into the deaths indicates negligence by agency staff, the wildlife ministry said.

“Moving rhinos is complicated, akin to moving gold bullion, it requires extremely careful planning and security due to the value of these rare animals,” Kahumbu said in a statement. “Rhino translocations also have major welfare considerations and I dread to think of the suffering that these poor animals endured before they died.”

Transporting wildlife is a strategy used by conservationists to help build up, or even bring back, animal populations. In May, six black rhinos were moved from South Africa to Chad, restoring the species to the country in north-central Africa nearly half a century after it was wiped out there.

Kenya transported 149 rhinos between 2005 and 2017 with eight deaths, the wildlife ministry said.

According to WWF, black rhino populations declined dramatically in the 20th century, mostly at the hands of European hunters and settlers. Between 1960 and 1995, numbers dropped by 98 percent, to fewer than 2,500.

Since then the species has rebounded, although it remains extremely threatened. In addition to poaching, the animals also face habitat loss.

African Parks, a Johannesburg-based conservation group, said earlier this year that there are fewer than 25,000 rhinos in the African wild, of which about 20 percent are black rhinos and the rest white rhinos.

In another major setback for conservation, the last remaining male northern white rhino on the planet died in March in Kenya, leaving conservationists struggling to save that sub-species using in vitro fertilization.

https://www.voanews.com/a/endangered-rhinos-dead-in-kenya-relocation-bid-official/4481300.html

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Breaking! The Big Cat Public Safety Act Is Re-Introduced To U.S. Senate; Bill Prohibits Private Individuals, Breeders & Questionable Exhibitors From Possessing Big Cats – World Animal News

Breaking! The Big Cat Public Safety Act Is Re-Introduced To U.S. Senate; Bill Prohibits Private Individuals, Breeders & Questionable Exhibitors From Possessing Big Cats
By Lauren Lewis –
June 7, 2018

A federal bill that aims to end the private possession of big cats such as tigers, lions, leopards, and pumas as pets, as well as to stop cub petting and limit exhibitors to those who do not repeatedly violate the law, has been re-introduced in the United States Senate.
Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut supported the re-introduction of the latest version of the Big Cat Public Safety Act HR1818, which was originally introduced to the House in March 2017 by Rep. Jeff Denham.
Recent national headlines have documented public outrage at the inhumane display of a tiger at a high school prom in Miami, Florida, alarm as federal agents discovered a tiger cub in a duffel bag at the U.S. Mexico border, and confusion when a young tiger was spotted roaming a Texas neighborhood.
Such examples underscore the public’s growing concern about the treatment of big cats­­ and the sponsors of the Big Cat Public Safety Act have made it clear that they are listening.
By reintroducing the BCPSA, senators from six states across the nation are joining more than 130 bipartisan members of the House of Representatives in calling for an end to the unregulated trade and nationwide abuse of captive big cats.
“This common-sense bill is an urgently needed answer to the problem of big cats kept in unsafe and abusive situations around the country,” Prashant Khetan, CEO and general counsel of Born Free USA, one of the numerous animal welfare organizations that are supporting this bill, said in a statement. “Thousands of big cats are currently owned as pets or maintained in ill-equipped roadside zoos and menageries, which pose a severe risk to the safety of people in surrounding communities, as well as the welfare of the cats themselves. It’s about time that we had a federal law that can serve to stop this inhumane practice around the country.”
The bill, if enacted, would keep dangerous big cats out of the hands of private individuals, breeders and exhibitors with egregious, ongoing Animal Welfare Act citations, and unscrupulous menageries that have historically taken advantage of loopholes to circumvent existing restrictions. The BCPSA would close these loopholes while providing exemptions for qualified wildlife sanctuaries and exhibitors licensed by the US Department of Agriculture that meet basic standards intended to protect the public and animals.
“Relying on accredited sanctuaries to take in unwanted and usually neglected big cats is not a viable solution to the big cat crisis in this country,” said Carole Baskin, founder and CEO of Big Cat Rescue. “When big cats are wrongly kept as pets or cruelly exploited in entertainment businesses, they often endure tremendous suffering for years in deplorable conditions with inadequate nutrition, and little, if any, veterinary care. Then, when the owners no longer want the cats or they are seized by the authorities, the substantial financial burden to house, feed, and provide long-term vet care for these big cats falls upon sanctuaries. The Big Cat Public Safety Act will finally address the inhumane treatment of the vast majority of big cats in America.”
Baskin noted that it costs Big Cat Rescue $10,000.00 per year for food and vet care for one tiger.

https://worldanimalnews.com/breaking-the-big-cat-public-safety-act-is-re-introduced-to-u-s-senate-bill-prohibits-private-individuals-breeders-questionable-exhibitors-from-possessing-big-cats/

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America’s Last Woodland Caribou Herd Is Down to Just Three Animals

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America’s Last Woodland Caribou Herd Is Down to Just Three Animals on Earth
6-7 minutes

By Jason Bittel

Most people associate reindeer with the North Pole. And it’s true, the animals also known as caribou tend to live in remote, wintry landscapes most Americans will never see. But did you know that caribou once roamed as far south as Minnesota, Michigan, Vermont and New York? And that the Selkirk woodland caribou herd still spends part of each year in Idaho and Washington?

Well, three of them do. Because that is all that remains of the Selkirks. By next week, next month or next year, the Lower 48’s last remaining reindeer could be gone forever, making a sad irony of the animal’s nickname, the “gray ghost.”

Several kinds of caribou inhabit the world’s northern stretches (see “Mapping a Future for Boreal Caribou”), but the ones that spend time in the Pacific Northwest belong to an endangered subspecies commonly known as woodland caribou. This spring, aerial surveys confirmed that only three females remain in the Selkirk herd, named for the mountains that span the border between British Columbia and Washington. There were around 12 individuals in 2016, down from 50 in 2009.

Even if each of the Selkirk trio is pregnant—and there’s no evidence to suggest that this is true—the herd is a whisper away from disappearing forever.

Worse still, just two weeks after the approaching demise of the Selkirk herd became public, researchers announced that another group, known as the South Purcells herd, found a bit to the north in British Columbia, are in similar straits. Aerial counts identified just four individuals (three females and a male), where last year there were 16. “When you get in a situation of such small herds, it’s not unusual to expect a dramatic decline at some point,” said Chris Johnson, a wildlife ecologist at the University of Northern British Columbia.

Sadly, this is not the first time a caribou herd has died out. Over the past decade, Johnson, who lives in the city of Prince George, watched this happen with two other caribou herds practically in his own backyard. “We saw it coming,” he said. “They got smaller, smaller, smaller. And then you go and do a survey, and it’s like, ‘Hey, look at that. They’re gone.'”

A similar fate befell the woodland caribou herd in Alberta’s Banff National Park. The herd dwindled to a point where a single avalanche wiped out its last remaining members in 2009. Poof.

The losses aren’t so surprising, said Candace Batycki, a program director for the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, given what the animals face as they travel across their range. Their fate is the culmination of several ecological threats—deforestation, habitat fragmentation, climate change—occurring across Canada. “Here we have an animal that roams around, uses different habitats, is always on the move, doesn’t really do well with roads, needs old growth forests, and is very, very shy,” she said.

Woodland caribou once enjoyed the protection that dense forestlands provided them from wolves and mountain lions. The subspecies ranges about in much smaller groups than their cousins on the tundra, which roll hundreds of thousands deep on the open plains. This makes snagging a woodland caribou as a snack much more difficult, and the animals’ ability to forage through deep snow dissuades many predators from even bothering with them.

But these days, timber, mining, and oil and gas operations have punched holes in the gray ghosts’ habitat, letting in competitors like moose and deer as well as predators. According to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, as much as 70 percent of Alberta’s oil sands reserves are found within caribou habitats. In 2014, the Canadian government enacted a species recovery plan that set aside more than five million acres of mountainous caribou habitat. Unfortunately, Johnson said, the valleys below these high mountain escapes are “really chopped up” by logging and residential areas. Protecting large expanses of boreal forest, however, is definitely a step in the right direction, especially since other conservation approaches are falling short.

As the habitat degradation continues, some other strategies have tried to help woodland caribou by actively removing predators from their habitat and by capturing and relocating pregnant females into maternity pens, which provide some safety until the offspring are big and strong enough for the wild. Maternity pens, however, are labor- and resource-intensive affairs—and are not sure bets. The whole catch-and-release process can jack up the animals’ stress levels, which may cause low birth weights. In 2014, just two out of nine calves survived their time in a pen in Revelstoke, Canada. In 2016, that number rose to four out of ten. While those odds may still beat the 20 percent to 25 percent survival rate calves experience in the wild, at least one environmental group said the pens cause more harm than good.

Of course, setting up maternity pens for the Selkirk herd at this point would be like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. Sadly, unless the herd is combined with another—an idea that has received a fair amount of talk for years—its three remaining females will be the last woodland caribou to tread below the Canadian border.

But the Selkirks and other lost woodland herds needn’t die out for nothing. Their losses send a message on how to save the rest of their kind, the continent’s remaining 51 woodland caribou herds. Their survival requires intact forests within which to roam, hide, and thrive. The answer, in fact, is quite obvious. Woodland caribou need woodlands.

Reposted with permission from our media associate onEarth.

https://www.ecowatch.com/americas-last-woodland-caribou-2567908795.html?utm_source=EcoWatch+List&utm_campaign=263cdfd6f8-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_49c7d43dc9-263cdfd6f8-86074753

Heartbreaking News! South African Cinematographer Carlos Carvalho Passes Away Following Tragic Incident With Giraffe – World Animal News

Heartbreaking News! South African Cinematographer Carlos Carvalho Passes Away Following Tragic Incident With Giraffe
By Lauren Lewis – May 7, 2018

WAN joins the countless people worldwide who are mourning the passing of award-winning South African cinematographer Carlos Carvalho.
Tragically, Carvalho was attacked by a giraffe while on assignment at the Glen Afric Country Lodge near Pretoria, the capital of South Africa.
“It is with a very sad heart that we have to announce the passing of Carlos Carvalho, one of our favorite DOP’s,” filming company CallaCrew announced on its Facebook page on Thursday, one day after the tragic incident. “Carlos was filming a feature at Glen Afric and had a fatal run-in with a giraffe on set.”
Carvalho had been flown by helicopter to Netcare Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg, where he later succumbed to his head injuries.
The 47-year-old filmmaker was reportedly shooting close-ups of Gerald, the giraffe, when the animal was spooked by the boom swinger and swung his neck hitting Carvalho against his head.

“When Carlos was standing in front of the giraffe, the animal spread its legs, bent its neck and swung its head at Carlos,” Richard Brooker, whose family owns the lodge told Netwerk24. He further explained that Gerald will remain at the property. “He did nothing wrong.”
The British television series “Wild at Heart” was filmed at Glen Afric Country Lodge, which on its website shares that tourists can “get up close and personal to a number of our resident wildlife.
This incident raises the question of whether wild animals should be used for the purpose of filmed entertainment.
“Our thoughts and condolences are with Carlos’ family and friends during this very sad time, CallaCrew concluded. “He will be sorely missed.”
R.I.P. Carlos

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Wildlife Services Killed 1.3 Million Native Animals in 2017, Including Coyotes, Bears, Wolves

ecowatch.com
Wildlife Services Killed 1.3 Million Native Animals in 2017, Including Coyotes, Bears, Wolves
Center for Biological Diversity
3-4 minutes

Coyote at Seedskadee NWR. Tom Koerner / USFWS

The arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture known as Wildlife Services killed more than 1.3 million native animals during 2017, according to new data released by the agency last week.

The multimillion-dollar federal wildlife-killing program targets wolves, coyotes, cougars, birds and other wild animals for destruction—primarily to benefit the agriculture industry. Of the 2.3 million animals killed in total last year, more than 1.3 million were native wildlife species.

“The Department of Agriculture needs to get out of the wildlife-slaughter business,” said Collette Adkins, a biologist and attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “There’s just no scientific basis for continuing to shoot, poison and strangle more than a million animals every year. Even pets and endangered species are being killed by mistake, as collateral damage.”

According to the latest report, the federal program last year killed 357 gray wolves; 69,041 adult coyotes, plus an unknown number of coyote pups in 393 destroyed dens; 624,845 red-winged blackbirds; 552 black bears; 319 mountain lions; 1,001 bobcats; 675 river otters, including 587 killed “unintentionally”; 3,827 foxes, plus an unknown number of fox pups in 128 dens; and 23,646 beavers.

The program also killed 15,933 prairie dogs outright, as well as an unknown number killed in more than 38,452 burrows that were destroyed or fumigated. These figures almost certainly underestimate the actual number of animals killed, as program insiders have revealed that Wildlife Services kills many more animals than it reports.

According to the new data, the wildlife-killing program unintentionally killed nearly 3,000 animals last year, including wolves, badgers, bears, bobcats, foxes, muskrats, otters, porcupines, raccoons and turtles. Its killing of nontarget birds included chickadees, bluebirds, cardinals, ducks, eagles, grouse, hawks, herons, swans and owls. Dozens of domestic animals, including pets and livestock, were also killed. Such data reveals the indiscriminate nature of painful leghold traps, strangulation snares, poisons and other methods used by federal agents.

“The barbaric, outdated tactics Wildlife Services uses to destroy America’s animals need to end,” Adkins added. “Wolves, bears and other carnivores help balance the web of life where they live. Our government needs to end its pointless cycle of violence.

The wildlife-killing program contributed to the decline of gray wolves, Mexican wolves, black-footed ferrets, black-tailed prairie dogs and other imperiled species during the first half of the 1900s and continues to impede their recovery today.

https://www.ecowatch.com/wildlife-services-kills-native-animals-2562879506.html?utm_source=EcoWatch+List&utm_campaign=e12c646d61-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_49c7d43dc9-e12c646d61-86074753

One of World’s Most Endangered Wolf Species Could Go Extinct in 8 Years

ecowatch.com
One of World’s Most Endangered Wolf Species Could Go Extinct in 8 Years
Olivia Rosane
3-4 minutes

A Species Status Assessment (SSA) released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Tuesday revealed that there are only 44 red wolves left in North Carolina, the only place they exist in the wild, and that they could go extinct within eight years.

The SSA was released along with a Five-Year Status Review, which the FWS undertakes for every species offered protections under the Endangered Species Act to determine if they should retain their endangered status. Given the population’s vulnerabilities, the FWS recommended that red wolves remain listed as endangered. According to the FWS website, red wolves are one of the most endangered wolf species in the world.

“Time is running out for red wolves. We need to move fast if we’re going to keep them from disappearing forever,” biologist and senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity Collette Adkins said in a press release. “For starters, we need immediate measures in place to stop people from killing them.”

The 2007 Five-Year Status Review found that there were 114 red wolves in the wild as of 2006. But the most recent status review said those numbers had gone down due to an increase in human-caused deaths from gunshots, car collisions, poisoning and illegal activity.

The SSA further explained how human-caused mortality was interacting with the spread of coyotes in North Carolina to threaten the population. When half of a breeding pair of wolves dies or is killed, the wolf left behind has to scramble for a mate and sometimes ends up breeding with a coyote, producing offspring that are no longer counted as red wolves. While there were four times the number of red wolf litters compared to mixed litters produced from 2001 to 2013, more than half of the hybrid litters came about because a red wolf lost its mate.

The SSA further pointed out that the habitat of red wolves on North Carolina’s Albemarle Peninsula is at risk of shrinking from sea level rise due to climate change.

In a sad twist, the status review also revealed that the red wolf’s range was historically more extensive than previously thought, extending from Edwards Plateau in Texas in the west, to the southern Midwest in the north, to southern Pennsylvania and southeastern New York in the east.

The historic range of the red wolf compared with its current habitat.Jose Barrios / USFWS

According to the FWS website, the red wolf was first listed as endangered in 1967 and declared extinct in the wild in 1980 due to habitat loss and predator control. The FWS found a surviving population along the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana in the 1970s and captured many to start a captive breeding program. Red wolves were reintroduced into the wild in North Carolina in 1986. There is debate as to whether the red wolf is actually a separate species or a hybrid, something the FWS is working to determine within the year.

According to an FWS press release, there are currently more than 200 red wolves in captivity. The FWS will release new proposed rules for managing the wild population by the summer.

https://www.ecowatch.com/red-wolf-endangered-2563600067.html?utm_source=EcoWatch+List&utm_campaign=e12c646d61-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_49c7d43dc9-e12c646d61-86074753

Baby Elephant Takes The Quick Route Downhill

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Updates

https://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org/updates/updates.asp?Rhino=&ID=1071

sheldrickwildlifetrust.org
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Updates
Elehost Web Design Inc. WWW.ELEHOST.COM (877) ELE- HOST

After months of hard work, we are delighted to announce the completion of the Meru Rhino Sanctuary extension and upgrade. The project, which we undertook in partnership with the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), was funded entirely through donations from supporters and offers Kenya’s rhinos a brighter future in a larger and more viable Sanctuary within the beautiful Meru National Park.

Meru National Park Meru Rhino Sanctuary

Meru Rhino Sanctuary Meru Rhino Sanctuary Fenceline

To celebrate the completion of the upgrade, on 5th of April, the DSWT and KWS held a handover ceremony attended by Robert Carr-Hartley from the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, the Principle Secretary of Tourism Dr. Margaret Mwakima, and KWS Mr. Julius Kimani along with senior management from Meru National Park. During the ceremony, the DSWT also donated to KWS Meru National Park a fully customized land cruiser, to be used to further boost security within the Park.

Handover of donated landcruiser

The Meru Rhino Sanctuary is an important stronghold for Kenya’s rhino population and one that at the request of KWS DSWT has been able to extend and upgrade to better accommodate the rhinos that call it home, and hopefully see the existing population increase substantially in the future. Through the support of DSWT donors, we have been able to expand the Sanctuary from 48km² to 83.5km², providing more space for the growing resident rhino population that live within the sanctuary’s protected boundaries, which according to a KWS report in 2017, stood at 61 white rhinos and 28 black rhinos.

As part of the upgrade, we have also built two security bases which house KWS Security rangers and DSWT funded fence maintenance teams. This brand new perimeter electric fence line has been redesigned to be unobstrusive and has been extended a further 25.6 km, we have also incorporated 20 strategically located wildlife corridors with a design that allows the free movement of elephants and other wildlife in and out of the Sanctuary, with the exception of rhinos. These simple but effective corridors consist of thick, short posts spaced across a gap in the fence and prevent rhinos from moving beyond the Sanctuary since they are unable to climb over, or squeeze between, the posts.

Part of the Fenceline

The DSWT has a long and rich history of rhino conservation in Kenya and was involved in establishing the country’s first fenced special rhino sanctuaries in both Lake Nakuru National Park and later in Tsavo West National Park in conjunction with the Eden Wildlife Trust and African Wildlife Foundation. Moreover, in the early 1960s, our Founder Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldrick pioneered the milk formula and the husbandry necessary to hand rear orphaned black rhino calves and, over the years, Daphne and DSWT have hand-raised 16 orphaned black rhinos and rehabilitated them successfully in Solio Ranch, Tsavo East National Park and Nairobi National Park.

As we strive to help KWS protect these iconic creatures from the threat of poaching, fuelled by the demand for rhino horn, The DSWT will continue to support KWS in Meru National Park with a second phase being the redoing of the boundary fence lines for Meru National Park, rebuilding them into a 14 strand unshortable barrier electical fence along with the ongoing operations of DSWT/KWS Veterinary and De-snaring Teams based there, and these two teams have already been active in this area now for six years.

In particular, since its launch in 2013, the DSWT/KWS Meru Mobile Veterinary Unit, headed by KWS Veterinary Officer Dr Bernard Rono, has directly supported Meru’s rhino population attending to 165 rhino related veterinary incidents in the greater Meru ecosystem, comprising of ear notching excercises to ensure that individuals are easy to identify and to treat wounds brought about due to fighting and wounds made from the filarial fly, and a further 529 cases of other wildlife species in total have been treated by this Unit. Additionally, since its inception in 2014, the DSWT/ KWS Meru De-Snaring Unit (comprising of graduates from KWS Field Training School in Manyani) has confiscated 5,236 illegally lain snares and significantly contributed to deterring illegal activities due to regular patrols along the vulnerable boundaries of the National Park.

Some members of the DSWT funded Meru De-snaring team DSWT/KWS Meru Desnaring Team

DSWT KWS Mobile Veterinary Unit

Given the suitability of habitat for rhinos in Meru National Park, the Meru Rhino Sanctuary offers them a secure sanctuary and a place for sustainable growth, and it is our hope that in the coming years, it will house one of the largest rhino populations in Kenya. Our sincere thanks to everyone who donated towards this vital initiative to protect and preserve Kenya’s black rhino population, and special thanks goes to our conservation partner the Kenya Wildlife Service.

EAGLES CAN CARRY HOW MUCH WEIGHT?

A LITTLE BIRD TRIVIA AROUND THE DINING TABLE

Bald Eagles weigh 6.6 to 13.9 lb and can carry about 3 to 4 lbs. Typical Wingspand (adult) is between 5.9 and 7.5 ft. females are about 25% larger than males averaging 12 lbs. against the male’s average weight of 9 lbs. Lifespan in the wild is 20 to 25 years. Scientific name: Haliaeetus leucocephalus.

Dr. David M. Bird

Imagine being out on the edge of a soggy field in early morning intently peering into some shrubbery for a closer peek at a small songbird. Suddenly you hear a very loud thump only a few feet away and you see a large branch weighing over ten pounds with its heavy end embedded into the soil. Curious as to its origin, you gaze upward to see an adult bald eagle veering away high in the sky. And your first thought might be…..”wow…..what if that log had hit me in the head?!”

Bald Eagle

A bald eagle lands in a tree above Brooks Falls, Katmai National Park

It turns out that such an event actually happened! In the early morning light on November 4, 2015, Alex Lamine was filming Mom Berry, one of the adult bald eagles nesting on the campus of Berry College, an educational institution begun in 1902 in Rome, Georgia. The college is home to several pairs of nesting bald eagles and an army of eagle voyeurs who watch the eagles’ nesting activities on a web cam. The first eagle pair showed up on the main campus in the spring of 2012, nesting in the top of a tall pine tree right near the main entrance. Two eaglets were successfully fledged in 2013, one in 2014, and two this past summer. A second nest on a more remote campus fledged three young in 2014, but was not active this year. A bald eagle carrying a 12-pound branch?! Sounds almost impossible, doesn’t it, but it not only happened but it was captured on film as well. This observation immediately raised three questions about bald eagles and eagles in general, and set off a flurry of emails among eagle experts, including yours truly. First, did the bird actually ‘carry’ an object weighing 12 pounds? Second, how much can eagles carry in the air? And third, do bald eagles actually gnaw off limbs from trees?

Amy Ries, who writes a blog for the Raptor Resource Project raptorresource.blogspot.ca/2015/11/how-much-can-bald-eagle-carry was quite impressed with the herculean feat and to learn more about it, she passed on the observation to a number of bald eagle experts. She was inclined to think that the branch was already in a falling motion from the tree and thus, does not support an assertion that bald eagles can fly for any distance carrying a 12-pound object, especially a branch heavy at one end and light at the other, in just one foot.

James Grier, a retired professor at North Dakota State University in Fargo, was the first eagle expert to respond. Growing up in the world of raptor research with Jim throughout all of my life, I am well aware of his decades of climbing to bald eagle nests in the Lake-of-the-Woods region of Ontario to band eaglets in order to learn more about their movements and fidelity to nesting sites. He said that unlike ospreys which carry fish with both feet while also orienting it with the air flow to reduce drag, bald eagles usually just grab either prey or nest materials with one or both feet and carry it dangling and swinging, and yes, sometimes dropping it. Flight conditions are also important, the best ones being high air pressure with a steady wind, and equally critical, lots of room for a good take-off and an ability to stay airborne. Even under such conditions, Jim said that it can still be a lot of work and effort for the eagles to carry large items. He added that sometimes if eagles can get a large item into the air but not all the way back to the nest, they will stop somewhere along the way such as on higher ground, a low tree branch, or an open tree, to get rid of dead weight such as the entrails, further disassemble it, and/or even eat some of it.

Bald Eagle Hunting“I remember being at blinds and hearing the heavy, labored wing-beats from eagles carrying large items into the nest. I could sometimes hear the flapping from a long distance out where it almost sounded like someone beating on the side of a boat it was so loud!” Jim explained, “One of the more interesting items I remember, it wasn’t a big item but a duck that was still alive when the eagle brought it into the nest. The eagle had a hold of the duck by the back and was carrying it in one foot. The duck was looking around and its feet were paddling the air like mad when the eagle landed on the nest with it!”

On the weight-carrying question, Chuck Sindelar, also a long-time bald eagle expert in Wisconsin, was the next to weigh in (sorry… couldn’t help myself!). He believes that an eagle can seldom fly with any more than half of its body weight.

Jon Gerrard concurs with this feeling. He studied bald eagles in Saskatchewan with Gary Bortolotti (R.I.P.) for many years and he quotes a story from their wonderful co-authored book entitled “The Bald Eagle: Haunts and Habits of a Wilderness Monarch”. A female of a pair of bald eagles nesting on the Gulf Coast of Louisiana in the 1890s caught and carried snow geese weighing from 4.5 to 6 pounds for up to a mile and a half to their nest. But here is the key point — the eagle was actually flying downhill! This means that the goose was caught high in the air and the eagle basically glided downward to its nest with its prey. And this was not a one-time occurrence — more than 35 snow goose heads were found in that particular nest at one time. Since the female weighed between 8 to 11 pounds, this suggests a weight-carrying capacity of half its body weight, but for “downhill” flights only.

With all due respect to all of the aforementioned bald eagle experts, I honestly know of no one who has accumulated as many hours of watching these magnificent birds as David Hancock, the founder of the Hancock Wildlife Foundation based in Surrey, British Columbia. He basically lives and breathes ‘bald eagles’! From his late teenage days to today, David has been an avid student of these birds and he is famous for helping to pioneer the web cameras on many of their nests much to the delight of millions of eagle enthusiasts all over the world. Surely he would have some comment on this observation.

And so he did. A number of years ago, he and some assistants were three miles offshore from the Queen Charlotte Islands. They watched a male bald eagle swoop down, catch a large red snapper, and then carry it in its talons at a speed of 25 to 30 miles per hour toward an island. After about three-quarters of a mile, the eagle dropped the fish but then immediately flew down and grabbed it again. Two hundred yards later and about a half-mile from shore, it repeated this scenario, once again relinquishing the fish to the water’s surface. Not to give up on its prize though, this stubborn bird next landed on the fish and used its wings to row it to shore! All bald eagle experts will tell you that these large birds are quite good at swimming with their wings.

Bald Eagle Catching A Fish

There’s more to this story though. Wanting to know more about the fish’s weight, David flushed the eagle off the snapper and weighed it in at one and a half pounds. He also added that the fish “tasted marvelous”!

The whole incident drove David to undertake some weight-carrying tests with some captive bald eagles. He found that for 100 yards, males could carry objects weighing two pounds, and females about three pounds. Upon hearing about this latest “branch” incident, he too felt that the bird was likely carrying it “downhill” or the branch was in a falling motion from the tree, as Amy postulated.

On a related note, I contacted Sergej Postpalsky, a raptor expert in Michigan, and I asked him what was the largest prey he had seen carried by ospreys in his 40 years of studying this species in the Great Lakes. About two pounds, he replied, and on more than once occasion. Not bad for a bird that weighs less than half of a female bald eagle!

The other aspect of the original observation focused on the ‘gnawing” behavior whereupon the eagle apparently was seen chewing on the limb to remove it from the tree. Jim Grier confessed to knowing that bald eagles do engage in that activity, but knew little else about it.

Adult Bald Eagle with two chicks in a nest in a tree on the side of a cliff.

Chuck Sindelar has seen both bald and golden eagles break sticks off standing trees by hitting them with their feet with enough force to snap them off, but did not mention any observations of them actually gnawing on them to facilitate breaking them from the tree. Jon Gerrard has often seen bald eagles at Besnard Lake, Manitoba breaking off limbs in this manner, but none as big as the one collected by the Berry College eagle. He added that they are usually dead limbs. Jon also wondered whether the eagle in question actually did some gnawing at the thick end of the branch before breaking it off because this would not fit with the fact that the eagle was clutching the thin or outer end of the limb before dropping it. He suggested that perhaps the bird gnawed the limb part way through at the thick end, and then flew to grab the thin end and then using its momentum, broke it off at the thick end. Years ago, I watched a video of ospreys in Scotland wherein the birds would dive at a tree with some speed and use their feet to snap off dead branches from trees for nesting material, but there was never any prior gnawing involved.

All in all, it was a very interesting anecdote which sparked some very healthy debate among several eagle experts. As Jim Grier points out, “With today’s technologies including the eagle nest cams, more eagles around, and a lot more people watching and taking/recording pics and videos, I think we’re going to get more anecdotes like this, insights into the eagles’ lives that we’ve never seen before, and learn a lot more than we did in the past.”

I could not agree more.
The latest from Dr. Bird

https://www.askprofessorbird.com/single-post/2017/04/20/Watching-Bird-Behavior

‘Very Angry Badger’ Seizes Part Of 500-Year-Old Scottish Castle

huffingtonpost.com

It’s like something from a Monty Python sketch: Portions of a 16th-century Scottish castle were recently closed to the public due to a “very angry badger.”

The tunnel at Craignethan Castle was closed last week because of the animal, said Historic Scotland, which manages the property. The badger apparently wandered in from the nearby forest, per the BBC.

It’s not clear what the animal did to leave the impression that it was “very angry”:

Observers on Twitter suggested feeding mushrooms, peanuts and peanut butter to the badger, but cameras sent in on Saturday revealed that Historic Scotland’s cat food plot may have worked, as the creature appeared to have fled the scene.

However, the badger dug through loose soil and stonework, leaving behind a mess, the Scotsman reported. Although the tunnel will stay shuttered while it’s cleaned, the rest of the castle will be open to tourists.

Built in 1530, Craignethan is noted for its fortifications, which were built to protect it from artillery and considered ahead of their time. Although a rampart was demolished in 1579, its ruins remain on the grounds.

Badgers are Scotland’s largest wild carnivores. While they are generally not aggressive toward humans, a wounded or cornered animal may attack ― and in a tunnel such as the one at Craignethan, a badger encountering a human could indeed feel cornered.

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/badger-castle-scotland_us_5ad559e6e4b0edca2cbd196c?utm_source=zergnet.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=zergnet_2791504&ncid=txtlnkusaolp00001382

Hear the Otherworldly Screams of Canada Lynx in Battle

Please do not listen with headphones on!!🙃  You’re welcome

Weird & WildVideo
Hear the Otherworldly Screams of Lynx in Battle
Male Canada lynx only have limited opportunity to mate with a female, making their rivalries especially intense.

Two Lynx Cats Scream at Each Other—Can You Stand It? WATCH: Lynx are largely solitary animals, but if two males do meet during mating season, a screaming match can result.
By Jason Bittel

PUBLISHED March 28, 2018

When it comes to courtship in the animal kingdom, frogs peep, crickets chirp, and cicadas click.

But nothing on Earth compares to the ruckus rendered by a male Canada lynx defending his mate.

Amos Wiebe, a photographer in Grande Prairie, Canada, personally experienced this otherworldly racket last week when he stumbled upon a trio of lynx while driving down a remote logging road. (Read about the lynx’s return to Canada.)

These Wild Cats Make the Weirdest Sound
Out of the Shadows, the Wildcats You’ve Never Seen
Which of These Animals is Tougher?

Wiebe was searching for northern pygmy owls to photograph when a flurry of movement caught his eye.

“All of a sudden, I saw a commotion,” he says. “These two lynx were just flying around up in the trees.”

Wiebe managed to park his truck and wade through deep snow to capture the wildcats’ effortless acrobatics on video.

“I’ve never seen a lynx do that. It’s like it was just suctioned to the tree,” says Wiebe. “They just climb up like it’s nothing.”
A Lynx Love Triangle

It may look like a fit of screaming cat chaos, but according to Shannon Crowley, a wildlife ecologist at the John Prince Research Forest in British Columbia, the scene provides a rare glimpse into the predators’ breeding behavior.

Based on the cats’ sizes and tufts of facial fur, called ruffs, Crowley says both lynx in the tree are likely males. And while he can’t be sure, the third lynx, which is not shown in the video, is likely female.

“To see that kind of aggression, there must be a female somewhere in the near vicinity,” says Crowley. (See photos of some of our favorite felines.)

New Video Reveals Lynx Mom and Kittens Frolicking in Snow Watch a lynx mother and her kittens scamper and play on a deck in Anchorage, Alaska.

Female lynx are thought to mate with just one male a year, says Crowley, so the bigger—and dominant—male had probably run the other cat up the tree to protect his breeding opportunity.

These battle cries are not the only spooky noises lynx make. During the breeding season, Crowley says he’s heard males following females through the trees while making a short, repetitive moan.
All Banshee, No Bite

Though they put on a fierce show, a fully grown, an adult male Canada lynx usually weighs no more than about 40 pounds, so it’s unlikely Wiebe was ever in any real danger, Crowley notes.

“Even when we would document litters at the den site, the female would generally run off,” he says. Though the little-seen cats are not dangerous to people, it’s important to give lynx—and any wildlife—a healthy distance. (Here are seven cats you never knew existed.)

Still, the photographer says he felt pretty vulnerable standing hip-deep in snow. At one point, Wiebe even pulled out a canister of bear spray, lest all that yowling were to attract a mountain lion.

And those unholy vocalizations didn’t help either.

“It certainly is an eerie sound to hear in the forest,” says Crowley.

https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/03/animals-lynx-mating-fighting-conflict/

Jason Bittel is a natural history writer and frequent contributor to National Geographic.
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Copyright © 2015-2018 National Geographic Partners, LLC. All rights reserved

Reality Stars, Trophy Hunters, and Gun Boosters: Meet the Trump Administration’s Wildlife Conservation Council – Mother Jones

motherjones.com

Cecil the lion gained fame after he was killed by Safari Club International member Walter Palmer during a hunt in Zimbabwe. Paula French/ZUMA

The Trump administration has launched a commission at the Interior Department to promote big-game trophy hunting and the “economic benefits that result from US citizens traveling to foreign nations to engage in hunting.” The council, which will cost taxpayers $250,000 a year, is charged with making recommendations to Secretary Ryan Zinke about removing barriers to importing trophy hunting animals—such as the recently overturned ban on elephant and lion trophies from some countries—and relaxing legal restrictions on hunting and importing endangered species.

The members of the International Wildlife Conservation Council, which is holding its first meeting Friday, include a reality-TV safari hunting guide, a former beauty queen, gun industry representatives, members and affiliates of a controversial trophy hunting group, and a veterinarian associated with an exotic animal breeding facility in Florida that sells endangered animals to roadside zoos.

“It’s really embarrassing,” says Masha Kalinina, the international trade policy specialist for the wildlife department at the Humane Society International. “I just question the qualifications of each and every one of these people. Notably missing from this trophy hunting council are legitimate representatives of the conservation community with proper scientific credentials and a record of successful conservation programs, along with wildlife law enforcement experts and biologists who have no financial stake in promoting trophy hunting.”

The council’s charter calls hunting “an enhancement to foreign wildlife conservation and survival.” Along with pushing to relax imports of trophy animals, it will also review the way the US complies with an international treaty designed to protect endangered plants and animals that guides regulation of the exotic animal trade. But the membership of the council seems heavily weighted toward people who think the best way to conserve wildlife is to kill it.

Indeed, the country’s largest trophy-hunting lobby seems to have an outsized role on the council. Of the 16 IWCC members, at least 10 have an affiliation with Safari Club International, which represents wealthy big-game hunters who often tangle with the Fish and Wildlife Service over permits to import of game trophies from overseas, particularly for endangered species. The advocacy group, with 50,000 members, frequently lobbies Congress and federal agencies to fight environmental regulations. It sued to overturn the Obama-era ban on importing elephant and lion trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia. The Trump administration ended the ban earlier this month, despite the president’s earlier objections and comments that elephant hunting is a “horror show.”

Perhaps SCI’s most famous member is Walter Palmer, the Minnesota dentist who got into hot water in 2015 for killing a lion named Cecil who lived in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park and was being studied by scientists at Oxford University. Palmer was never charged with any crimes, but the killing helped drive public opinion even further against trophy hunting. A Marist poll that year showed that nearly 90 percent of Americans are opposed to big-game hunting, and more than 60 percent believed it should be banned.
The membership of the council seems heavily weighted toward people who think the best way to conserve wildlife is to kill it.

SCI’s political action committee supported President Donald Trump’s election and Zinke’s US House campaigns in Montana. The principal deputy director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Greg Sheehan, who is effectively running the agency in the absence of a congressionally confirmed director, oversees the IWCC. He is an SCI member and attended the group’s convention in Las Vegas last month when it awarded its “professional hunter of the year” honors to a South African man who has been fined for leading hunts of endangered black rhinos.

SCI’s president, Paul Babaz, is now a member of the IWCC. Another SCI-affiliated member, Mike Ingram, was a co-founder of a short-lived nonprofit set up in 2016 by Trump’s sons Eric and Don Jr. that was accused of selling access to the president. The Trump brothers themselves are well-known trophy hunters who caused a stir when photos surfaced of them in Zimbabwe with the carcasses of dead trophy animals, including a leopard and an elephant.

Don Jr. appears to be keeping tabs on the new wildlife council. When Cameron Hanes, a professional bow hunter, announced his appointment to the IWCC on Instagram in January, Don Jr. congratulated him, writing, “well done and well deserved. As I’ve spoken about numerous times @realdonaldtrump has always given opportunities to those who deserve it not just those whose turn it is.”

Other members of the council are affiliated with the gun industry, including Peter Horn, a vice president of Beretta and former president of SCI, and Erica Rhoad, the director of hunting at the National Rifle Association.

Befitting the Trump administration, the Interior Department has appointed a number of reality TV stars to the wildlife council. Among them is Ivan Carter, a safari hunting guide and regular speaker at SCI events who’s frequently identified in press accounts as having been born in “Southern Rhodesia,” the former British colony that became Zimbabwe. Carter, who bears a faint resemblance to Crocodile Dundee, has hosted the Dallas Safari Club’s Tracks Across Africa TV show on the Outdoor Channel and his own Outdoor Channel show, Carter’s W.A.R.

Another member, Denise Welker, killed an elephant in Botswana on one of Carter’s safari hunts. She received an award last year from SCI underwritten by the NRA, and her husband is the co-chair of SCI’s Africa record-keeping committee. Then there’s Olivia Nalos Opre, a former Mrs. Nebraska who judges the televised Extreme Huntress competition for female trophy hunters, hosts other hunting shows, and does trainings for the Dallas SCI. Keith Mark, also on the council, co-hosted a hunting show with former professional wrestler Shawn Michaels.

One of the only members of the council who appears to have any scientific expertise is Jenifer Chatfield, a veterinarian who specializes in zoo medicine. But she, too, is not without a business interest in the animal trade. Chatfield is the staff veterinarian and vice president of the 4J Conservation Center in Florida. The private, for-profit center is run by Chatfield’s father, John Chatfield, an exotic animal breeder whose outfit previously sold animals to Texas hunting parks known as “canned ranches,” where people pay large sums to kill endangered animals within the fenced confines of the ranch.

John Chatfield is a co-founder of the Zoological Association of America, a group that offers accreditation to roadside and other private zoos that can’t meet the animal welfare standards of the more rigorous Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Animal welfare advocates have criticized the ZAA for protecting shady exotic animal breeders. The 4J Conservation Center holds a permit from the Fish and Wildlife Service that allows it to trade in captive-born endangered species within the United States. The Department of Agriculture has cited 4J for unsafe and unsanitary conditions that violate the Animal Welfare Act.

“It’s like a puppy mill for lemurs,” says Delcianna Winders, a vice president at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

In 2013, a red kangaroo escaped from the 4J center and had to be chased down by state wildlife officials, who shot it with tranquilizer darts. The kangaroo died two hours later. Later, an inventory showed that Chatfield had more than 60 kangaroos in pens on the compound.

The 4J center has loaned lemurs to a Tampa zoo, where Jenifer Chatfield experimented on them. In 2006, she published the results of a study in the Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine in which the lemurs were anesthetized and given as many as 50 shock treatments to force them to “electroejaculate” for artificial insemination collections. The procedure causes the animals to suffer from a “urethral plug” that can be fatal; these plugs were removed with forceps. Chatfield was testing a technique to prevent the blocks. Two years after the study, the zoo lost its accreditation for, among other things, trading animals with unaccredited facilities.

Reached by phone, Jenifer Chatfield referred questions about her appointment to the council to the Interior Department, which did not respond to a request for comment. John Chatfield could not be reached for comment.

Wildlife conservation and animal welfare groups and more than 60 scientists and economists have written to the Fish and Wildlife Service to protest the council and its membership. They argue that the way it was created violates federal law because of the lack of a balance of perspectives, its potential for capture by special interests, and the absence of public benefits. PETA’s Winders says the council’s creation is “openly defiant of the Federal Advisory Act, which requires a host of things, one of which is balanced representation, and this reads like a who’s who of hunting interests. I think we will see some legal challenges to this committee before long.” Indeed, on Wednesday, the wildlife conservation group Born Free sued the Fish and Wildlife Service for refusing to release documents related to the council’s creation.

Correction: An earlier version of the photo caption in this story stated that Cecil the lion was killed in an illegal hunt. In fact, the hunt has not been found to have broken any laws.

https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2018/03/reality-stars-trophy-hunters-and-gun-boosters-meet-the-trump-administrations-wildlife-conservation-council/

Coyotes get a bad rap

Exposing the Big Game

expert tells Parry Sound Nature Club Coyote Watch Canada hopes to change perception through education COMMUNITY Apr 02, 2018 by Cathy Novak Parry Sound North Star

Coyote watch <https://dynamicmedia.zuza.com/zz/m/original_/1/5/15d75dc9-737c-48e1-9c55-d12c72068e26/EDT_PS_Nature_club_Super_Portrait.jpg>

Coyotes get a bad reputation according to an official from Coyote Watch Canada. April 2, 2018. – Coyote Watch Canada

PARRY SOUND — The Parry Sound Nature Club was privileged to host a presentation by Lesley Sampson of Coyote Watch Canada at their meeting on March 21 at the West Parry Sound District Museum.

The meeting room was filled to capacity — seems coyotes and the chance to learn about coexisting peacefully with them is something many are interested in. Sampson opened her presentation with a beautiful photo of a coyote and the quote, “How you see me is but a mere reflection of you.” Coyotes have caught a bad rap in the past, and one of Lesley’s missions…

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Breaking News! Taiwan Announces Plans To End Its Domestic Ivory Market By 2020! – World Animal News

BREAKING NEWS
By Lauren Lewis –
April 4, 2018

On the heels of yesterday’s announcement that the UK will introduce a ban on ivory sales to help protect elephants, comes more good news!
This morning, WAN learned that Taiwan has become the latest territory to announce plans to close its domestic ivory market.
According to TRAFFIC, the Council of Agriculture presented amendments to the Wildlife Conservation Act yesterday that would result in the phase-out of Taiwan’s remaining domestic ivory market by 2020, while recommending stiff penalties for anyone found to be involved in illegal trade.
“This announcement is another step forward for the conservation of African Elephants,” Joyce Wu, Senior Programme Officer for TRAFFIC in Taiwan said in a statement. “In addition to ivory from existing stockpiles, steps should be taken to address illegal ivory imports into Taiwan so as not to undermine the market closure.”
The import and re-export of ivory have been banned in Taiwan since 1989, with domestic trade permitted only in stocks registered in 1995.
Recent cases, however, have highlighted a continuing problem with illegal ivory trade in the region. One such incident occurred on the March 4th when an individual was caught on suspicion of attempting to smuggle concealed ivory carvings into Taipei from Osaka, Japan.

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Elephant Ivory,Ivory ban,Taiwan

http://worldanimalnews.com/breaking-news-taiwan-announces-plans-to-end-its-domestic-ivory-market-by-2020/

World’s last male northern white rhino dies

msn.com
World’s last male northern white rhino dies
By Joshua Berlinger, CNN 8 hrs ago
5-6 minutes
TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY NICOLAS DELAUNAYA caregiver calms Sudan, the last known male of the northern white rhinoceros subspecies, on December 5, 2016, at the Ol Pejeta conservancy in Laikipia County — at the foot of Mount Kenya — that is home to the planet’s last-three northern white rhinoceros.As 2016 draws to an end, awareness of the devastation of poaching is greater than ever and countries have turned to high-tech warfare — drones, night-goggles and automatic weapons — to stop increasingly armed poachers. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), at the African Black market, rhino horn sells for up to 60,000 USD (57,000 euros) per kilogram — more than gold or cocaine — and in the last eight years alone roughly a quarter of the world population has been killed in South Africa, home to 80 percent of the remaining animals. / AFP / Tony KARUMBA (Photo credit should read TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images): A caregiver calms Sudan — the last known male of the northern white rhinoceros subspecies — in 2016 at the Ol Pejeta conservancy in Laikipia County, at the foot of Mount Kenya. © TONY KARUMBA/AFP/AFP/Getty Images A caregiver calms Sudan — the last known male of the northern white rhinoceros subspecies — in 2016 at the Ol Pejeta conservancy in Laikipia County, at the foot of Mount Kenya.
FILE PHOTO: The last surviving male northern white rhino named ‘Sudan’ is seen at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Laikipia: The last surviving male northern white rhino named ‘Sudan’ is seen at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Laikipia, Kenya, June 2017. The world�s last male northern white rhino has died, leaving only two females of its subspecies alive in the world. World’s last male northern white rhino dies.

Gallery by Reuters

The world’s last male northern white rhino has died, leaving only two females left to save the subspecies from extinction.

The 45-year-old rhino named Sudan had been in poor health in recent days and was being treated for age-related issues and multiple infections.

A veterinary team made the decision to euthanize Sudan after his condition deteriorated significantly, the conservation group WildAid announced Tuesday.

Sudan lived in the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, surrounded by armed guards in the days leading up to his death to protect him from poachers.

“He was a gentle giant, his personality was just amazing and given his size, a lot of people were afraid of him. But there was nothing mean about him,” said Elodie Sampere, a representative for Ol Pejeta.

Researchers were able to save some of Sudan’s genetic material in the hopes of successfully artificially inseminating one of the two females left, Sampere said.

“We can only hope that the world learns from the sad loss of Sudan and takes every measure to end all trade in rhino horn. While prices of rhino horn are falling in China and Vietnam, poaching for horn still threatens all rhino species,” said WildAid CEO Peter Knights.

Rhinos are targeted by poachers, fueled by the belief in Asia that their horns cure various ailments. Experts say the rhino horn is becoming more lucrative than drugs.

In addition to round-the-clock security, the Ol Pejeta Conservancy also put radio transmitters on the animals and dispatched incognito rangers into neighboring communities to gather intelligence on poaching.
Old and frail

At 45, Sudan was elderly in rhino years and suffered from problems associated with age.

During his final years, he was not able to naturally mount a female and suffered from a low sperm count, which made his ability to procreate difficult.

His daughter Najin, 28 and granddaughter, Fatu, considered young by comparison. Najin could conceive, but her hind legs are so weak she may be unable to support a mounted male.

Sudan made headlines last year when the Tinder dating app named him the “most eligible bachelor in the world” in a campaign to raise funds to save the subspecies.

The western black rhino was declared extinct seven years ago as a result of poaching. All five remaining rhino species worldwide are considered threatened, according to the conservation group Save the Rhino.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/worlds-last-white-rhino-dies/ar-BBKs7Ej?OCID=ansmsnnews11

Wyoming Pushes For Grizzly Bear Hunt After Trump Administration Removes Their Endangered Species Protection – World Animal News

f52ef5df-e474-483c-a55a-a18c53b0ab94774278598.jpeg

Wyoming Pushes For Grizzly Bear Hunt After Trump Administration Removes Their Endangered Species Protection – World Animal News

BREAKING NEWS

By WAN –
March 12, 2018

Less than one year after Yellowstone’s famed grizzly bears were stripped of Endangered Species Act protection, on Friday, the state of Wyoming started advocating to hunt grizzly bears beginning this fall. Under the regulations, the state will sell tags for 24 grizzlies in areas outside of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.
“Wyoming’s reckless hunt ignores the fact that grizzly bears remain endangered in Yellowstone and across the West,” Andrea Santarsiere, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity said in a statement. “It’s tragic that these imperiled animals will be shot and killed so trophy hunters can stick heads on their walls.”
Although grizzly bear numbers in the greater Yellowstone area increased with endangered species protection granted in 1975, the bears continue to be threatened by isolation from other Grizzly populations, loss of key food sources and human-caused mortalities including hunting. Overall grizzly bears occupy less than 4% of their historic range in the United States.
“Yellowstone’s amazing grizzly bears are loved by people around the world and they deserve a real shot at survival,” continued Santarsiere. “It’s horrific that Wyoming doesn’t see the intrinsic value that these bears bring to the state’s landscape.”
Millions of tourists from all over the world come to Yellowstone National Park and Grand Taton National Park every year in anticipation of seeing a grizzly bear and other rare wildlife. The tourism industry is a major economic drive for many towns in Wyoming and Montana. But the new regulations would provide no protection for Yellowstone’s famed bears, which could be shot if they leave the park boundaries.
Just last month, Montana State game agency took the opposite approach, recommending no grizzly bear hunt this year. The Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission adopted the recommendation on February 15th.
“Montana made the right decision to not allow grizzly bear hunting this year and hopefully in future years,” said Santarsiere. “Wyoming’s failure to follow suit is deeply disappointing.”
The appeal to allow hunting comes as key grizzly food sources in the heart of the Yellowstone ecosystem have been collapsing and grizzly mortality rates have been increasing. The dramatic decline of whitebark pine and Yellowstone cutthroat trout has prompted bears to eat more meat, such as big-game debt piles and livestock, resulting in increased grizzly bear mortality. Drought and climate change are likely to worsen these problems.
Yellowstone bears have long been isolated from other bear populations forcing the government to keep them on permanent life-support by trucking bears in to avoid inbreeding. This fact further argues the need for recovering grizzly populations in the U.S.

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Elephant trophy hunting, and Trump’s confusing positions on it, explained

Exposing the Big Game

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

Here’s a seemingly simple question: Is it legal to bring elephant body parts collected in hunting exhibitions in Africa back to the United States?

During the Obama administration, the answer became a clear “no” — the import of elephant trophies was banned outright under the Endangered Species Act. But in November, President Trump’s US Fish and Wildlife Service announced it was set to lift the ban. Hunting groups like the National Rifle Association and the Safari Club International Foundation, which had opposed the ban, were thrilled by the news.

But after a flood of criticism (including from conservatives), Trump himself suddenly was not.

In a tweet, Trump announced that the lifting of the ban was on hold, pending further review. In a follow-up tweet, he went on to say he’d “be very hard pressed to change my mind that…

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Why Is This Northern Cardinal Yellow? | Audubon

Why Is This Northern Cardinal Yellow?

Yes, that is a cardinal. We asked experts how this redbird might have gotten its golden feathers.

By Purbita Saha
February 22, 2018

The bombshell yellow Northern Cardinal from Alabama (left) compared to a regular old Northern Cardinal (right). Photos: Jeremy Black Photography; Diane Wurzer/Audubon Photography Awards

“If you see one cardinal, you’ve seen them all,” said no one ever. As common as they are, Northern Cardinals rank among the most-loved birds in the eastern United States (unless you’re a Chicago Cubs fan). The National Audubon Society should know: Our Facebook followers can’t seem to get enough of them.

So, it’s no surprise when a cardinal turns heads—except in Charlie Stephenson’s case, where that double take may have resulted in some whiplash. Back in January, she found an impossibly bright male in her backyard in Alabaster, Alabama. But instead of the typical ruby-red color scheme, this Northern Cardinal looked like it had been dipped in a bucket of turmeric.

After hosting the oddball for weeks, Stephenson invited fellow Alabaman Jeremy Black over to photograph it. The resulting images hit the internet last weekend, and boy, were people psyched . . . and confused.

Thankfully, Stephenson had already consulted Geoffrey Hill, an ornithologist and coloration expert at Auburn University. He told her that the bird probably had a genetic mutation that renders the pigments it draws from foods yellow rather than red. The condition he cited, xanthochroism, has been seen in other cardinals, along with eastern House Finches and maybe Evening Grosbeaks.

But that’s just one theory behind the bird’s wardrobe malfunction. As Geoff LeBaron, Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count director, points out, the cardinal’s crest and wing feathers look frayed in photos. While wear and tear is a natural part of a bird’s life, it can be exacerbated by a poor diet or environmental stressors. These health issues could also lead to changes in how carotenoids—plant-based pigments that turn feathers red, orange, and yellow—are expressed.

Although this alternative theory is plausible, ultimately, LeBaron agrees that genetics could be the sole factor. But the only way to solve the case is to wait for the cardinal to swap its feathers. “Time will tell with this bird,” LeBaron says. If it sticks around Alabaster and is still yellow next winter, a mutation is the likeliest culprit. But if it comes out red after another molt, it means the bird somehow recalibrated its pigments.

As birds have shown over and over, there are always new plumage puzzles to investigate. Remember the half-female, half-male cardinal that made the news a few years ago? That turned out to be a an obscure type of hermaphroditism—a phenomenon that affects many types of animals.

For Stephenson’s yellow cardinal (not to be confused with a Yellow Cardinal), we’ll have to see if its look is permanent. Regardless, at least it wore its golden feathers boldly. “If I fly or if I fall, at least I can say I gave it all.” That one’s from RuPaul.

http://www.audubon.org/news/why-northern-cardinal-yellow?=&utm_source=ea&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20180305_engagement&utm_content=medium

WORLD WILDLIFE DAY TODAY!

huggers.ca

Today, March 3, is World Wildlife Day. Since 2013, the United Nations has set this day aside to celebrate Earth’s incredible biodiversity – and to call attention to the ongoing mass extinction (Ceballos, Ehrlich, & Dirzo, 2017). This year’s World Wildlife Day is all about big cats. As such, I have prepared a special post […]

via World Wildlife Day Spotlight: The Mountain Lion Foundation — The Jaguar

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Yesterday, On National Horse Protection Day, 60 Wild Horses’ Lives Were Spared From Being Hunted At Navajo Nation In AZ – World Animal News

http://worldanimalnews.com/yesterday-national-horse-protection-day-60-wild-horses-lives-spared-hunter-navajo-nation-az/

By Lauren Lewis –
March 2, 2018
Last week, the lives of up to 60 wild horses in Arizona were threatened by a hunt to kill the “excess” feral animals in a local trophy hunting area.
Fortunately, on March 1st, which was National Horse Protection Day, the planned massacre was canceled and the horses are safe for now.
Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye acknowledged on Tuesday that while the growing population of feral horses on the Navajo Nation is a problem that has to be addressed, he determined it would not be resolved with a wild horse hunt.
“We understand the concerns of the people,” President Begaye said in a statement that was in part a response to the outrage expressed by animal advocates. “We know the issue of horses is an emotional one with strong feelings on all sides. My administration will not condone a horse hunt for controlling the overpopulation of feral horses. But we do need to implement a management plan to preserve and protect Navajo land for future generations.”
The president’s statement comes on the heels of a 2018 Horse Hunt Proclamation issued last week by the Navajo Department of Fish and Wildlife (DNR). Since that proclamation has been rescinded and the hunt will no longer take place, Fish and Wildlife now are working to pursue alternate methods of feral horse management.
Sadly, some of their alternative approaches such as trapping, castration and birth control, sill equate to inhumane methods to many animal advocates. Adoptions of the feral horses is a much more welcome plan.
“All of these methods, together, will address the problem of overpopulation that is causing extensive damage to our ecosystems,” President Begaye said. “If we don’t take action now, the overgrazing will have major impacts on drought conditions that we anticipate in both the short and long-term.”
The Navajo Nation Commission on Emergency Management on Monday approved a new State of Emergency Drought Declaration. The commission is anticipating large-scale drought conditions this summer, which will create a critical shortage of water and range feed for livestock, resulting in the poor physical condition of livestock and an increase in disease.

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TAGS: Horses,Navajo Nation,Wild Horses

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First Lady of Kenya, Margaret Kenyatta, Calls For New Ways To Combat Poaching & The Illegal Wildlife Trade by Utilizing Technology & Innovation – World Animal News

http://worldanimalnews.com/first-lady-kenya-margaret-kenyatta-calls-new-ways-combat-posching-wildlife-trade-utilizing-technology-innovation/

By WAN –
March 2, 2018

The First Lady of Kenya, Margaret Kenyatta, noted that one of the greatest challenges facing wildlife conservation was the sophistication of the methods used by wildlife traffickers around the world.
“These have impeded the gains we have made in breaking through this illegal industry,” the first lady said while speaking at the Kenya Airways Pride Centre at Embakasi in Nairobi yesterday. “We can no longer consider traditional or conservative solutions, we must look at new ways in this new age of technology and innovation.”

According to a statement posted on her office’s official Facebook page, the First Lady was also at the event to officially open an ‘awareness workshop on combating illegal wildlife trafficking’. The workshop was aimed at offering training to airport and airline staff on the perils of wildlife trafficking.
Acknowledging that wildlife conservation is becoming an increasingly prominent global issue, the First Lady stated that focused leadership, political goodwill, policies, and the imposition of bans have helped Kenya gain significant progress in combating the illegal wildlife trade.
Still, she emphasized the need for a collective approach that would harness the complementary capabilities of diverse sectors and groups, saying better intelligence and new methods must be applied because the pressure is building and countries continue to suffer huge losses.
“We must accelerate our efforts and increase our investments because our wildlife heritage and invaluable resource is under threat,” the First Lady said while noting that better and stronger networks must also be nurtured to seal the loopholes that have allowed the growth of the illegal trade.
“From my work in Hands Off Our Elephants, I have learned that wildlife populations of elephant, rhino, buffalo, giraffe, and zebra have been decreasing over the years due to illegal wildlife trafficking and trade,” she stated before expressing confidence that innovative measures including global transportation systems could help break the illegal chains of unlawful transport of endangered species. “We must ensure that we secure our heritage for our future and for our children’s future.”
Pledging her commitment to support all those who strive to secure the future of Kenya’s wildlife heritage, the First Lady commended Kenya Airways for being among the airlines that have signed the United for Wildlife International Transportation Taskforce, a declaration committing to zero tolerance against wildlife trade.

She appealed to other organizations and agencies to join the conservation effort by signing the declaration to halt illegal wildlife trading.
The U.S. Ambassador emphasized his government’s commitment to working closely with Kenya in tackling wildlife crimes.

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TAGS:Animal News,Animal Protection,Animal Welfare,Animal Welfare Organizations,Illegal Wildlife Trade,Kenya,Wildlife Trafficking

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These Birds Build Big Nests It Doesn’t End Well National Geographic

Nearly 150,000 Orangutans Lost to Logging, Palm Oil, and Human Conflict National Geographic

What’s Driving Tigers Toward Extinction? National Geographic

Deer from Lancaster County farm found in Wisconsin tests positive for Chronic Wasting Disease | WPMT FOX43

Deer from Lancaster County farm found in Wisconsin tests positive for Chronic Wasting Disease
Posted 11:29 AM, February 15, 2018, by Keith Schweigert, Updated at 11:32AM, February 15, 2018

ChronicWaste

HARRISBURG — A deer that originated from a Lancaster County breeding farm now under quarantine tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease after being harvested in a Wisconsin hunting preserve, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

DNA testing conducted Tuesday confirmed that the deer was born and raised at a West Cocalico Township breeding farm. Another deer from the same farm tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease earlier this month, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture says. Neither deer showed signs of the disease prior to its death, the department says.

The farm has been quarantined since Dec. 15, 2017, when Wisconsin’s stae veterinarian notified the PA Dept. of Agriculture of a potential traceback. The deer’s identity was confirmed via DNA testing due to the absence of official identification tags for the deer.

The department, along with the United States Department of Agriculture, is currently evaluating the farm in cooperation with the herd owner to establish a Herd Management Plan to mitigate the threat of this disease spreading.

The plan, which all three parties sign, may include indemnification of the herd by the USDA or a continuous quarantine with mandatory testing. A quarantine would be extended five years every time a positive is detected.

CWD attacks the brain of infected deer, elk and moose, producing small lesions that eventually result in death. Animals can get the disease through direct contact with saliva, feces and urine from an infected animal or contaminated environment.

Clinical signs include weight loss, excessive salivation, increased drinking and urination, and abnormal behavior like stumbling, trembling, and depression. Infected deer and elk may also allow unusually close approach by humans or natural predators. The disease is fatal and there is no known treatment or vaccine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report no strong evidence that humans or livestock can contract CWD.

Deer from Lancaster County farm found in Wisconsin tests positive for Chronic Wasting Disease

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A Federal Court Could Save Yellowstone’s Grizzlies From the Trump Administration

Exposing the Big Game

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/43181-a-federal-court-could-save-yellowstone-s-grizzlies-from-the-trump-administration

Wednesday, January 10, 2018    By Mike Ludwig

A grizzly bear and cubs play in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, on June 3, 2017. (Photo: Wolverine 9 5)A grizzly bear and cubs play in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, on June 3, 2017. (Photo: Wolverine 9 5)

The Northern Cheyenne Tribe and a coalition of environmental groups are asking a federal court in Montana to throw out the Trump administration’s decision to remove grizzly bears in and around Yellowstone National Park from the endangered species list — a move that has paved the way for trophy hunts of the iconic animals.

Delisting the Yellowstone bears opened the door for Montana, Idaho and Wyoming to allow grizzly bear hunting on vast areas of land.

Grizzly bears in the lower 48 states are endangered and qualify for special federal protection. However…

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The world’s oldest known wild bird is about to become a Mum at 67, baffling scientists (Midway atoll, USA)

The ocean update

January 8th, 2018. One Laysan albatross is brazenly defying the norms for her species. Wisdom, the world’s oldest known wild bird, has returned to home port and laid an egg – at the magnificent age of 67 years old.

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“Hundreds of Tiny Frogs Released on a Mission to Save Their Species” National Geographic