|No Animal Poaching||
In case you haven't been reading the updates, we are no longer updating the new postings after July 31st. Our website is deteriorating rapidly, and we simply cannot spend all of our time fixing it; that scenario means we don't have adequate time to post things in a timely manner. For additional information on this devolving situation, please go to the two posts immediately below this notice, starting with THIS LINK. Sorry for the inconvenience this will likely result in for our many visitors and those who receive our RSS feeds, but we're likewise certain that you--like us--are tired of hearing us complain about the state of disrepair if this website. And, without the requiste funds to build a new one, we simply don't see any logical way to proceed. If you have any suggestions to keep us alive, we'd be most interested in hearing them; you can send us an e-mail by GOING HERE. All the very best and thanks for your abiding support!
UPDATE, JUNE 1ST: THE TIME HAS COME. ENOUGH'S ENOUGH. TOO MANY ISSUES TO GO ON IN "BUSINESS AS USUAL" MODE. PLEASE SEE THE POST IMMEDIATELY BELOW FOR SPECIFICS.
For reasons nobody seems to understand, our RSS feeds and our associated e-mail subscriptions (via Feedburner) are all messed up. ONLY words with hypertext mark-up are being picked up, and all other (plain text) words are coming through completely blank. Images seem to be coming through okay, but we use few of them in order to not overtax the storage capacity of the company that hosts this site (Weebly). What this means--and due to additional issues with Weebly's software and "support"--is that all future posts will contain nothing but hypertext (or else you'll have nothing to read in the RSS feeds/e-mail subscriptions), and, by default, that means that all "true" hypertext links--those things that are normally marked-up as a link to some other page/site--will have to be eliminated till this gets resolved (we understand this IS a problem, but it's the only thing we can think to do until this issue is resolved). (When EVERYTHING is in hypertext--like this post is--it'll all link back to our own, NAP "landing page," so there's no reason to click on the words of that text, UNLESS you wish to donate [please see below!\.)
Bottom line--as noted on our "landing page"--we need money for a real website because the issues with Weebly persist and only grow worse and worse every month. That'll require money--money we don't have--so, if you find value in this--and in our related, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter--sites, anything/any amount you can donate would be GREATLY appreciated (and there's a PayPal donation button at the very bottom of that "landing page," which you'll go to if you click anywhere in this all-hypertext post). We estimate it's going to take a minimum of around $2,500 to have a quasi-decent new site built; after that, we'll absorb any ongoing, monthly charges, but we don't have the initial $2,500 to start the process. We really, really, REALLY don't want to generate revenue by including intrusive adds on this site, and we firmly believe our visitors--YOU--feel the same way.
Sorry for the inconvenience of having to generate all-hypertext posts, and sorry even more so for having to beg for money. But, this may mark the beginning of the demise of this site, if we don't, somehow, come up with that $2,500 to get the ball rolling. Many thanks in advance for your understanding and support. Okay, now you click on this text and go to that "landing page" and, ideally donate something! :)
P.S.--This post--originally dated October 31, 2014--will be dated July 31st (or until it's fixed OR I simply shut down the site) so it will stay at the top of this blog page, and not get "buried" beneath news posts.
By Sara Farr
While the public opinion regarding whether fur is cool or cruel has changed in recent years, millions of minks continue to be slaughtered for their pelts to make fur coats and accessories. Although more people are aware of the horrors involved in the fur industry, it seems that fur spiked in popularity this year in the fashion scene.
Fendi recently held a fur-only fashion show during the Paris haute couture shows. Other designers who have recently joined the fur bandwagon are Michael Kors, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Jeremy Scott of Moschino. In fact, 73 percent of the 436 fashion shows in New York, Paris, Milan, and London had fur this year. Fur can be found more and more in the ready to wear sections of stores, making it easily accessible to everyone.
Pandering of the Fur Industry
The fur industry is playing a major role in this popularity through a variety of tactics, all of them less than honest. One is sponsoring fur design competitions for fashion students, as well as providing free samples for use in designs. The British Fur Trade Association even targeted young children with an educational initiative available online for students and teachers called Fur Trails. In addition, the fur industry has even tried to claim it’s sustainable, including campaigns like Fur Council of Canada’s website furisgreen.com. However, when you strip away the glitz and glamour that the industry manufactures for the sake of their sales, we see a much different industry.
Fur Factory Farms
While fur proponents might laud the beauty of real fur garments, the reality of how these items are made is anything but beautiful. The most commonly farmed fur animals are mink and foxes, who are kept in incredibly cruel conditions on fur farms. The biggest producer of mink pelts is China, which produced 35 million pelts in 2014.
In order to produce this high volume of animal pelts to meet consumer demands, fur farms run in a manner very similar to factory farms with the animals living in overcrowded cages and deprived of their basic necessities. In fact, about 85 percent of the fur is raised in a factory farm environment.
The main concern of fur farmers is profit, so the cages they use and methods of slaughter all focus on “efficiency.” Some of the methods of slaughter include poisoning, electrocution, and gassing, which do not harm the pelts but can lead to long painful deaths.
In addition to harming the animals who live in fur farms, this industry also has a rather hearty environmental impact.
Fur garments require about 20 times more energy to be produced than fake fur garments. In addition, the chemicals used on them prevent them from being biodegradable and when these furs are no longer considered in style, they end up buried in a landfill. A life cycle assessment of fur showed that in almost all categories fur is worse for the environment than textiles, including the areas of climate change and toxic emissions.
Hope Is Not Lost
Despite the rise in popularity, there are signs of rebellion. Many designers, such as Stella McCartney (who did an entire faux fur coat show), Calvin Klein, Vivienne Westwood refuse to use fur. One of the biggest signs of progress is Hugo Boss’s commitment to a 100 percent fur free policy. This will start with their 2016 Fall/Winter collection. They are also banning or reducing their use of angora, down, and wool.
There are also many options to take action against the fur industry. One of the easiest is to never purchase fur or even patronize stores that sell it. Instead, check out all of these awesome companies that have chosen to commit to going fur free in their designs. You can also write letters to fashion magazines that continue to glamorize fur and encourage your favorite brands and designers to opt for cruelty-free materials.
The rising popularity of fur makes it imperative to fight back and to celebrate designers and retailers who take a stand against it. The more people know about how fur is produced and its negative impact on both animals and the planet, the less likely they are to support its production.
The 69th session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly today adopted a resolution committing countries to step up their collective efforts to address wildlife crime and put an end to the global poaching crisis.
Resolution A/69/L.80 on Tackling the Illicit Trafficking in Wildlife was co-sponsored by Gabon, Germany and more than 80 other nations and is the culmination of three years of diplomatic efforts.
“This is an historic day—the world has sent an unequivocal and collective signal at the highest-level that ending wildlife crime is a top priority,” said Steven Broad, Executive Director of TRAFFIC.
The UN resolution encourages countries to “adopt effective measures to prevent and counter the serious problem of crimes that have an impact on the environment, such as illicit trafficking in wildlife and wildlife products…as well as poaching.”
The resolution also recognizes the broader impacts of wildlife crime, including the undermining of good governance, the rule of law and the well-being of local communities.
Action along the entire trade chain is encouraged, with Member States urged to treat wildlife trafficking involving organized criminal groups as a serious crime, implement anti-money laundering measures, establish national-level inter-agency wildlife crime task forces, strengthen judicial processes and law enforcement efforts, prevent and counter corruption, and reduce the demand for threatened wildlife products “using targeted strategies in order to influence consumer behaviour”.
In Africa, up to 30,000 elephants are killed each year for their ivory tusks. Rhino poaching in South Africa last year hit a record high, when 1,215 were killed for their horns. In Asian range States, parts of at least 1,425 Tigers were seized between 2000 and 2012. Orchestrating much of the trafficking of these and other wildlife products are highly organized criminal syndicates.
“The tables are being turned on the organized criminal gangs whose activities undermine national security and sustainable development efforts, threaten some of the world’s iconic wildlife species and put the lives of rangers and many others at risk,” said Broad.
The UN resolution also urges countries to “develop sustainable and alternative livelihoods for communities affected by illicit trafficking of wildlife”, encouraging the “full engagement of the communities in and adjacent to wildlife habitats as active partners in conservation and sustainable use.”
From 2016 onwards, the UN secretary general has been tasked with presenting an annual report on global wildlife crime and countries’ implementation of the resolution, together with recommendations for further action.
“TRAFFIC has helped draw the world’s attention to the scale of the wildlife poaching crisis and formulate solutions to address it: we now stand by ready to assist countries implement the actions outlined here today,” said Broad.
By Fred Koontz, Gary Geddes
With each passing day, some of our planet’s most rare and iconic animal species are being pushed closer to the brink of extinction. Poachers, acting on behalf of sophisticated international criminal networks, slaughter these animals by the hundreds for one purpose — to fuel a highly lucrative and destructive black market trade for products such as elephant ivory and rhinoceros horn.
As thousands of Washington state residents already know, there is no time to waste in this race against extinction — nearly 350,000 people signed Initiative 1401 to put it on the Nov. 3 ballot. The initiative would strengthen state laws against trafficking in products made from animals threatened with extinction.
Passage of Initiative 1401 is crucial. In 2012 alone, 30,000 African elephants were illegally slaughtered for their tusks. Fewer than 3,500 rhinos are left in the wild in Asia; only 25,000 remain in Africa. Fully 97 percent of the world’s tiger population has disappeared over the last century. Yet despite these shocking statistics, the kill rate for these species and many others continues to rise. Illegal poaching and wildlife trafficking is the world’s fourth largest transnational crime.
As animal conservation experts who work daily to save precious animal species, we know this is not just a problem in Africa or Asia — this is a problem in our own backyard.
The United States is one of the largest markets for illegal wildlife products in the world, and port cities like Tacoma and Seattle unknowingly serve as thoroughfares for illegal wildlife trafficking. Since 2010, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service has seized more than 50 elephant products making their way into Washington state, as well as products from other endangered animals. Yet none of those actions have resulted in any jail time or criminal fines for the traffickers.
Though the public strongly opposes this illegal trade, special interest groups continue to successfully lobby at the Congressional and state levels to halt efforts to strengthen laws and penalties. Just this year our own Washington Legislature failed to move forward a bill that would have established firmer protections for elephants and rhinos.
We cannot let our home state be an accomplice to the extinction of these majestic animals. Initiative 1401 will extend and strengthen penalties for the sale, purchase and distribution of products derived from a carefully developed list of 10 of the most threatened and exploited species in the world: elephants, rhinos, lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, marine turtles, pangolins, sharks and rays.
I-1401 is supported by leading organizations, including Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, Woodland Park Zoo, The Humane Society of the United States, WildAid, Washington Conservation Voters, the Sierra Club, the Seattle Aquarium and many others. The initiative was crafted in close collaboration with leading animal conservation experts to ensure it is maximally effective in protecting threatened animals while also avoiding any unintended harmful consequences to ordinary citizens. I-1401 is just plain common sense.
These at-risk animals are at a tipping point. We have an opportunity to disrupt that trajectory. Passing this important ballot measure will help to close our borders to the unconscionable trade in endangered animal products. And, a measure passed by popular vote will send a clear message nationally and internationally that we must do our part to save these animals from extinction
The time is now to do our part to battle animal exploitation and extinction. Ensuring that these animals survive and thrive in the wild is crucial to our generation — and to future generations.
By Maddie Stone
Craiglist's infamous "missed connections" section is a great place to write a love ballad to that special someone you made fleeting eye contact with at the grocery store. Or, you know, that African elephant that was slaughtered by poachers last week.
If you've been seeking a human on Craigslist recently, you might have noticed a surprising number of charismatic megafauna cropping up in your search results. That's because online activism network Avaaz recently launched a campaign to pressure Craigslist into enforcing the website's own ban on the sale of ivory. After signing up for Avaaz's campaign, you'll be directed to a page prompting you to post the following picture to your local Craigslist missed connections section, along with a personalized message:
Those who frequent Craigslist to find computers and futons may not be aware that the site also hosts a flourishing black market ivory trade. In April, a study conducted by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) found that during a one-month period, over 615 ivory items were posted for sale in 28 US cities, with a total estimated value of $1.4 million dollars. Many of these items were listed as antiques, which could make them acceptable under international regulations, but the vast majority came with no documentation whatsoever. It's hard to imagine that all of this ivory is truly antique, given that an estimated 96 elephants are poached every day for their tusks.
After the study was published, Craigslist immediately agreed to add ivory to the site's list of prohibited items. But the website has taken no apparent measures to enforce the ban, and a quick search still turns up many ivory items.
"When the study was being put together, it was heartening to see they'd [Craigslist\ moved on the ivory issue," John Calvelli, WCS's Executive Vice President of public affairs told me over the phone. "I think they were trying to be responsible at that point. Having said that, there are many other things they could be doing."
According to Calvelli, WCS has seen no signs of further movement from Craigslist since April. Joseph Huff-Hannon, a campaign manager at Avaaz, tells me the site has stopped returning the WCS's phone calls and "hasn't given any indication that they plan on doing anything more about the problem."
"We think Craigslist can still play a constructive role, but they clearly need a little more nudging and direct communication from people who use Craigslist," Huff-Hannon told me over the phone.
Hence the recent deluge of missed connections ads asking where all the elephants have gone. This, at least, Craigslist seems to have noticed. The campaign began last week, and the fake ads are now being taken down almost immediately after they're posted.
"They've been very aggressive about taking down these ads," Huff-Hannon told me. "They're not so aggressive about taking down real ivory ads, which we find more than a little ironic."
I've reached out to Craigslist for comment and will update if I hear back. More....
By Brooks Hays
The discovery is a reminder that even settled science is ripe for surprises.
"Golden jackal" was the name given to a doglike species thought to populate much of East Africa and Eurasia, but it turns out the species is actually two. Although the "golden jackals" of East Africa and Eurasia look quite similar, the African animals are actually wolves -- not jackals.
The finding, detailed in the journal Current Biology, offers a boost to the biodiversity of the family Canidae, which includes dogs, wolves, foxes and jackals -- from 35 living species to 36.
"This represents the first discovery of a 'new' canid species in Africa in over 150 years," Klaus-Peter Koepfli, a researcher with the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, in Washington, D.C., said in a press release.
Koepfli and Robert Wayne of the University of California, Los Angeles became interested in the possible classification error after a few studies looking at the species' mitochondrial DNA in East Africa suggested the animal might, in fact, be an odd subspecies of the gray wolf.
The two researchers took the DNA analysis a step further, combining a genome-wide survey with anatomical observations. The results confirmed the researchers' suspicions and improved upon the findings of earlier studies.
"To our surprise, the small, golden-like jackal from eastern Africa was actually a small variety of a new species, distinct from the gray wolf, that has a distribution across North and East Africa," Wayne said.
DNA analysis and the reoriented Canidae family tree revealed the African and Eurasian species to be quite dissimilar, genetically speaking -- despite their likeness. The newly named African golden wolf (Canis anthus) is more closely related to gray wolves and coyotes than jackals.
The discovery is a reminder that even settled science is ripe for surprises.
"Even among well-known and widespread species such as golden jackals," said Koepfli, "there is the potential to discover hidden biodiversity."
Well...if you're a frequent visitor to this site, you're well aware that we woefully need a new website...and the time has finally come to say the proverbial handwriting is on the wall. WE DESPERATELY NEED MONEY--$US3,500 to be precise--in order to build a more functional, updated, stable, useful website. Without it, this site is toast after the end of June; and, without this site, that means our Twitter accout and our Google+ account will likewise close down, too (as both feed directly into the blog page postings on this site); we previously closed down our Facebook account on January 1st, due to FB's insidious quest to make money rather than to support its clients, so that account is already a non-issue.
We put a great deal of time and effort into building NoAnimalPoaching.org, but, it cannot exist without a reliable, functioning website, and the current host does nothing to help--indeed, it does more to hinder our existence than anything else--and we simply don't have the money to build a new site and move to a new, better host. We CAN afford to--and we gladly would--spend whatever is needed every month thereafter, once a new site is built, and a new host is identified; but we do not have the initial money necessary (roughly $US3,500) to get to that stage.
So, here's the cold, hard facts of the matter. If you can, and are willing, to contribute toward keeping this site/organization alive, here's a link to our PayPal donation button, which we would be ever grateful for; we have roughly 7,200 followers on our Twitter & Google+ accounts alone, and many other, additional followers visit this site daily. If everyone of those followers were able to donate only a $1, we'd have far more than--about double--what we need. However, we realize that not everyone would be inclined or able to donate even $US1, so, more likely, the bottom line is that, more realistically, it's going to necessitate, for example, that a 100 or so individuals donate around $US35 each (or some similar combination of people and donation amounts) to equal what's needed to build the site and get it hosted elsewhere. And, as mentioned, then we can thereafter pay the required monthly fees to maintain it.
I am not good at asking for money/donations, so, I'll merely leave it at that. If you feel so inclined, and if you see value in what we've done the past few years (without ever resorting to those nauseating ads as a means to raise some money and thereby keep the site alive), that'd be terrific, and we thank you sincerely ahead of time. If you happen to know anyone of like mind who might also be willing to keep us alive, please let them know, too, but KEEP IN MIND THAT THERE'S NOT MUCH TIME BETWEEN NOW AND THE END OF JULY; so, remind them to DONATE ASAP RATHER THAN TO WAIT. If we are indeed able to raise the $US3,500, we'll then take this message down and move forward. In short, the sooner the better. Thank you in advance for the time you took to read this, and for your very generous decision to keep this site alive. All the very best!
Kolkata: Nepali officials are holding talks with the famed Corbett Tiger Reserve (CTR) in Uttarakhand to adopt its 'electronic I' (EI) surveillance system as an anti-poaching measure, its director said here on Wednesday.
"Nepal officials have been talking to us for the last one year. In the EI technology, cameras are connected by wireless through a series of nine towers. Sitting here, I can monitor my area. It's like a live telecast," CTR director Samir Sinha told IANS here.
"Any human intervention or activity triggers an alarm which officials have to respond to," he said.
The cameras are essentially thermal cameras and the nine cameras cover an area of 200 sq km.
"West Bengal has also talked about using that system. We are looking at a new anti-poaching strategy and for streamlining tourism. The essence of anti-poaching strategy will be a mixture of technology and human intervention," Sinha added.
He said the technology has been a success given that in the last two-and-a-half years since its introduction, there have been no mishaps.
He was talking on the sidelines of a panel discussion organised by the Society for Heritage and Ecological Researches (SHER) and Association for Conservation and Tourism at the Indian Museum here on the occasion of 'Global Tiger Day'.
Quizzed on the challenges faced by tiger reserves in conservation, Sinha said poaching is a "constant threat".
"By and large, the challenges are similar to any tiger-bearing area. There is a constant threat in terms of poaching... so you have to be on the alert all the time," Sinha said.
He also voiced concern about the promises of eco-tourism.
"There are a lot of promises but the deliverables are not happening in most places.
By Monica Engebretson
If you live in the United States you probably don’t know that there is a tropical island paradise called Mauritius somewhere in the Indian Ocean between Australia and Africa. Likewise, you probably don’t know that the Unites States is the primary destination of monkeys exported from Mauritius to be used in cruel experiments.
If that is your reaction, I’m not surprised. It’s not easy to get your head around the idea of ripping thousands of monkeys away from an idyllic island paradise, confining them in wooden crates and sending them halfway around the world as cargo in the holds of airplanes only to be used in cruel experiments in the United States. Now consider that most of the exported monkeys are likely to be youngsters around two years old and that the number imported to the U.S. is increasing. Sorry. It’s true.
In 2014, the number of primates exported to the US from Mauritius increased by 61 percent to 4,190 (from 2, 608 in 2013) and included hundreds who were caught in the wild while others are the offspring of monkeys who have been taken from the wild and imprisoned behind bars on concrete in large breeding farms across Mauritius.
From Breeding Farms to Labs
Once they reach U.S. laboratories their exact fate is uncertain due to the secretive nature of animal experiments. However, it is known monkeys are often used in toxicological (poisoning) research. Such testing can last for months during which the animals are dosed with chemicals or drugs through injection or forced ingestion. Others are used in neurological research which involves the implantation of electrodes and/or brain damage. This can also involve animals being subjected to severe water deprivation and physical coercion held rigid by their heads, for hours in ‘primate chairs’ inside testing chambers to carry out repetitive cognitive and behavioral tasks.
Changing the Fate for Monkeys
Cruelty Free International, the organization campaigning to end the trade in monkeys from Mauritius, believes that not only is there a strong scientific case against the use of primates in research but that also, due to recent advances in technology, there is a wide range of more human-relevant approaches to studying, understanding and ultimately contributing to the cure of many diseases.
Cruelty Free International is exposing this trade and working to end it by appealing to the island’s economic interests via its tourism industry. Indeed, Mauritius is a popular vacation destination for many Europeans and the country is seeking to expand its tourist industry. Given that less than two percent of Mauritian export income involves monkeys, which is a small fraction compared to tourism, it makes little sense for the island to tarnish its international reputation as a holiday paradise with this hellish trade.
Recently, internationally renowned musician and singer-songwriter Moby joined the campaign to help cast a spotlight on Mauritius. Moby stated:
“Mauritius is famous for its beautiful landscapes and its blend of cultures, so I was shocked to discover the truth about this idyllic island’s horrific trade and export of monkeys for experiments. Please support Save Our Monkeys and call upon Mauritius to end this cruel trade. Monkeys deserve the right to a free and happy life too.”
How You Can Act
United States residents can join Moby and Cruelty Free International by adding their voice to the international petition targeting Mauritius tourism officials in solidarity with concerned individuals worldwide. Further international attention can be applied by writing to the Mauritius embassy in the United States (mail:mauritius.embassy[at\ verizon.net) a sample message is provided on the Cruelty Free International campaign page.
The increasing threat from tusk thieves has left mahouts of a national park in Vietnam with no way to protect their tamed elephants except by watching them permanently, even sleeping with the animals at night.
In Yok Don National Park in the Central Highlands Province of Dak Lak, mahouts have raised the theft warning level after an elephant named Thoong Ngan had one of its tusks severed by thieves early this month.
Thoong Ngan had been released into the wild forests to find food at night when the mammal was attacked.
Thieves tied the animal to a big tree to saw its tusk, with one of its legs bound with a chain. The elephant resisted fiercely when the saw blade cut into the marrow in the middle of its tusk, forcing the thieves to run away.
However, doctors and animal health experts later decided to cut off the injured tusk to prevent it from being further infected.
Thoong Ngan and another elephant named Thoong Kham have the most beautiful tusks in Vietnam and have become the iconic elephants of Dak Lak, which is the home of elephant hunting and taming activities in the nation.
Y Mut, who lives in Krong Na Commune in Dak Lak’s Buon Don District and is Thoong Kham mahout, said Thoong Ngan and Thoong Kham previously lived in the wild forest in Suoi Kiet Commune, Tanh Linh District, Binh Thuan Province in the south-central region.
They were caught in 2002 by six experienced mahouts and taken to Yok Don, Y Mut said.
The one with yellowish hair was then named Thoong Ngan, while that with silver hair was named Thoong Kham.
While Thoong Ngan is obedient, Thoong Kham is stubborn and unruly.
“Once I was riding Thoong Kham, he went straight into the deep water of the Serepok River to soak me,” the mahout said.
“When he emerged on the water’s surface, I was nearly suffocated and pale.”
The elephants have recently been targeted by thieves because of their precious tusks, which are getting longer and more handsome.
Sleeping with elephants
While Y Mut takes care of Thoong Kham, Y Vi Xien has been assigned to take care of Thoong Ngan.
“I lead Thoong Ngan into the forest of Yok Don and watch him eat in the morning till lunchtime,” Xien said.
“When I go out for lunch, he is watched by another mahout.
“In the late afternoon, he leads the elephant to the river to bathe. On the way home, I chop down some banana trees and sugar canes as gifts for Thoong Ngan.
“In the evening, I tie up my hammock to sleep by the side of the animal.”
Before, the tamed elephants were released into the wild forests to find food without any care and returned home the following morning to carry tourists during the day.
Xien confessed that he was previously proud of leading a big and handsome elephant like Thoong Ngan when its tusk was not cut.
Both Thoong Ngan and Thoong Kham are healthy elephants because “all experienced mahouts know that a healthy one has tears rolling down and sweat on its legs,” Xien revealed.
“The elephants are now national-level assets, and we must be responsible for protecting them,” a mahout in Yok Don said.
“Before, we worried about elephants falling into traps in forests. Now, we fear they may have their tusks cut off by thieves.”
The areas where tamed elephants work and wander around to find food in the forest are vast, so it would be expensive to install cameras.
Do Quang Tung, the director of Yok Don National Park, said he has taken “all measures to protect elephants,” including adding more guards and putting together a quick response team to coordinate with rangers for the protection of the animals.
“I know that our mahouts have been permanently watching the elephants, and thieves have been watching our mahouts regularly as well,” Tung added.
“They will take action if we are reckless.”
Nguyen Cong Chung, vice director of the center for the conservation of elephants in Dak Lak, said the province has 43 tamed elephants left.
The center has sent staff to study in Sri Lanka, Thailand and India for the conservation of elephants.
It will also build facilities to take care of elephants and help tamed elephants give birth.
Abu Dhabi Customs and International Fund For Animal Welfare to educate travellers at airport
Abu Dhabi: In an effort to educate travellers about ivory trafficking, Abu Dhabi Customs and the International Fund For Animal Welfare (IFAW) will conduct an awareness campaign titled the ‘Illegal Trading of Ivory’ at the Abu Dhabi International Airport from August 2 to August 13.
Announcing the campaign on Wednesday, the Ministry of Environment and Water said the drive will inform travellers about the law regarding trade in ivory.
The UAE seized more than 474 pieces of ivory between 2012 and 2013. In April this year, the ministry destroyed more than 10 tonnes of raw and wrought ivory confiscated over the years as part of the UAE’s efforts to combat illicit trade in endangered wildlife species.
The latest campaign is being held in response to the increasing seizures and confiscation of products, including animals, plants, ivory, leather, wood and sandalwood, among others. It will help the UAE to achieve its goals of providing vital security and protection from diseases and pests while fulfilling its commitment to international conventions.
Samples of ivory that were confiscated previously will also be displayed as part of the drive. Educational leaflets prepared by the ministry in cooperation with the IFAW will be distributed to travellers.
In February 2014, the UAE, joined 45 other countries in signing the London Declaration to eliminate illegal trade of wildlife. The resolution focuses on obligations and measures required to put an end to the illegal trade of wild animals, including rhinoceros, tigers and elephants. The value of these illicit activities exceed $19 billion annually.
The London Declaration seeks to end demand for wildlife products, strengthen law enforcement and develop sustainable livelihoods for affected communities.
By Paul Watson
For everyone who cares about the lives of pilot whales and dolphins, I am happy to say that Sea Shepherd’s Operation Sleppid Grindini campaign is being well received by the international media and has gone viral on social media. On Monday, I did a national news interview in France and later spoke to Russian television. Over the last few days, the story of the slaughter of the pilot whales has been carried throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and North and South America. There is increasing global awareness and we have no intention of allowing the world to forget the horror of the Grind.
We need to keep the pressure on. More Sea Shepherd volunteers may be arrested, more boats may be seized, but what is at stake here are the lives of intelligent, self-aware, beautiful, socially complex, living, feeling and sentient beings.
They deserve the risks we must take and the sacrifices we must endure to stop this carnage.
Our enemies, the whale killers, have absolutely no comprehension of the empathy we hold in our hearts for these pilot whales and dolphins. They have no understanding of the risks we have taken and why we have taken such risks to defend life in the sea. They dismiss us, they laugh at us and they seek to hobble us with discriminatory laws and to hamstring us with arrest and seizures.
They simply have no idea of the passion that motivates our actions and our commitment to the aggressive non-violent defense of life and diversity.
Their lack of understanding is seen in their constant accusations that Sea Shepherd opposes the Grind for profit—a ludicrous charge, but understandable because people who do not comprehend compassion tend to place value only on money. Sea Shepherd volunteers do not do what they do for money, but this is a concept alien to people whose hearts are gilded with the lust for gold. They see value only in the things they understand.
Does Sea Shepherd raise money from the public? Of course, how else could ships and campaigns be financed? However the money received is given voluntarily by compassionate people, unlike the subsidies given to the Faroese by European taxpayers who have no say in where their tax dollars go and most of whom are angry that they are unwillingly helping to support a cruel slaughter of whales that is illegal under the regulations of the European Union.
The Faroese try to cast themselves as the victims, constantly saying they kill the whales for meat and thus implying that they depend upon this slaughter for survival when nothing could be further from the truth. The Faroese enjoy one of the highest standards of living in the world. They have one of the highest per capita incomes in the world. They have an industrialized fishing fleet, salmon farms and sheep and they trade these commodities for all the benefits of a materialistic society. They want for absolutely nothing, except for their insatiable lust for blood.
They kill whales because they like to kill whales and they want the support of Danish subsidies and the Danish Navy to back up something that is illegal under the laws of Denmark—and the Danes are doing exactly that.
And that is the reason that Sea Shepherd has decided to focus on Denmark.
For the Danes to say this has nothing to do with Denmark is untrue.
Danish warships are defending the hunt with two warships including a frigate, helicopters, small boats and hundreds of sailors, at an enormous cost to Danish and European taxpayers. The Danish Prime Minister has a Faroese wife. The Royal Family says nothing. And not one word of criticism from a single Danish Member of Parliament. These facts speak for themselves.
The Grind is just as much a Danish issue as it is a Faroese issue.
Danish complicity is something new. There was no Danish intervention in the years prior to 2014. They did not send their warships in the past. They are doing so now.
This translation from a Faroese newspaper yesterday demonstrates that the Faroese and the Danes are concerned about Sea Shepherd’s focus on Denmark:
“Sea Shepherd moves the grindadráp to Denmark. According to parliament member Sjúrdur Skaale (he is one of the two Faroese seats in the Danish parliament), Sea Shepherd has put great pressure on parliament members to stand up against the Faroese. Sea Shepherd has been very visible during all the pilot whale kills, which have recently occurred in the Faroe Islands, whilst Sea Shepherd has been there this year. But it’s not just on land, that Sea Shepherd are visible. Their plan to stop the grindadráp is so big, that they go up against Danish politicians, because these days all the Danish members of parliament, are receiving hundreds of emails from Sea Shepherd supporters, asking the parliament members to stop the grindadráp. According to parliament member Sjúrdur Skaale of Javnadarflokkinum, Sea Shepherd is attempting to put the Faroese and the Danish up against each other. Before Sea Shepherd turned against the Faroese. But now they have changed their tactics, and are also leading their attention towards Denmark.
"‘It is Denmark who is evil. Denmark should be boycotted. The logic is: Denmark has responsibility over the Faroese. It is Danish police. It is Danish authorities. The police are financed by Danish tax money. Because of this it’s the Danish, who should stop what’s happening,’ says Sjúrdur Skaale about the message from Sea Shepherd. Sjúrdur Skaale says, that the email accounts of parliament members, has a very strong spam filter, which makes sure, that the parliament members don’t receive unwanted emails. So he is surprised about all the emails which are now sent. Sjúrdur Skaale says, that neither him, nor the parliament members he has spoken to, has ever experienced such aggressive storms of emails ever before.”
We need to keep the pressure on Denmark and the message must be that the civilized world will not tolerate this horrifically cruel and ecologically destructive slaughter.
When the beaches of the Faroes run red with blood, the world must respond with the red-hot passionate anger of outrage and disgust.
With this obscene abomination they call the Grindadráp (the murder of whales), the Faroese whalers disgrace not only Denmark, but all of humanity.
By Vijay Pinjarkar
NAGPUR: From a lakh tigers in 1913 to a mere 3,000 now, global wild tiger population has been decimated over the last century. India, which had the maximum tigers, now has only 2,226 in the wild, and despite strong global support for conservation, survival of the species continues to be threatened due to fragmented habitat, largely due to missing links (corridors) in their habitat.
Even as the country celebrates International Tiger Day on Wednesday, substantial conservation effort is concentrated on a few, relatively large protected areas (PAs). It is high time the government focuses on forests outside the PA network, especially in Central India, say experts.
"India supports a large proportion of global tiger population in less than 7% of the global tiger habitat, most of which is fragmented. Tigers once occupied over 90% of the Indian subcontinent but now their range has been reduced by nearly 76%," says a recent study by Wildlife Trust of India (WTI).
The Central India landscape with 688 tigers (one-fourth of the population) has fine forests and maximum protected areas (PAs). However, corridors to and between these source populations are virtually under siege from projects like rail lines through Melghat and Kanha, NH-7 and NH-6 road widening, irrigation canals from dams like Gosikhurd, mines etc.
Even Rajesh Gopal, secretary general of Global Tiger Forum (GTF), admits tiger is a species of metapopulations and cannot be viewed in isolation from its landscape, which, beyond the source area, is beset with a multitude of ecologically unsustainable land uses.
"Therefore, to keep the corridor alive for tiger gene porosity, an aggressive 'co-occurrence' agenda of various stakeholders (people, business groups, developmental agencies, various sectors) is required in areas having corridor value," said Gopal.
This would involve mainstreaming tiger concerns in sectors where tiger is not the goal, besides taking steps for smart green infrastructure (avoidance, mitigation, revival and offsets). This could include providing ecologically sustainable livelihood options to local people, complemented by payment for ecosystem services (PES) to them along with ongoing tiger monitoring, and promptly taking care of human-tiger conflicts. Such active management can keep the corridors alive.
For example, Maharashtra, which has the highest number of PAs and is know as the best tiger state, notified at least 10 sanctuaries in the last five years in Vidarbha, but is doing little to protect linkage of source tiger populations. The government has cleared several projects in the tiger corridors. The worst part is that it has allotted over 200 sq km rich forest land to FDCM in Bhandara for tree felling in the Nagzira-Pench corridor.
"The biggest threat Tadoba is facing today is the 91km Gosikhurd canal network, most of which is in Brahmapuri, which has 27 tigers. The canals have destroyed linkages to Gadchiroli and Navegaon-Nagzira. Tiger migration has been hit and man-animal conflict is flaring up. Though such projects may fulfil development aspirations, the sad part is mitigation measures are not being taken," said Bandu Dhotre of Eco Pro, Chandrapur.
However, an RTI reply received by him claims that Rs 9 crore will be spent by VIDC to construct 60 passes for wildlife on existing and proposed Gosikhurd canals in the next three years.
The BJP government is also pushing the Human dam in Sindewahi adjoining Tadoba. This too will stop migration of tigers. "On one hand the government is planning to make Tadoba world-class and on the other it is pushing detrimental projects in its buffer," said Dhotre.
"The four-laning of NH-7 between Mansar-Khawasa and NH-6 between Sakoli-Deori is one of the biggest threats to Pench-Kanha-Indravati-Tadoba. However, NHAI wants to go ahead without strong wildlife mitigation measures. The NHAI widened NH-6 by violating provisions of FCA but no action was taken against. This has emboldened NHAI further," said wildlife expert Prafulla Bhamburkar.
Conservationist Kishor Rithe says, "Corridors between tiger reserves are important for genetic exchange and long-term survival of tigers and other carnivores. Corridors of Satpuda landscape in Central India are listed as one of the priority tiger conservation areas in India. These corridors incorporate Kanha, Pench, Satpuda, Melghat, Navegaon-Nagzira, Bor and Tadoba."
In Melghat, the Dharni-Amravati interstate highway poses a big threat to wildlife. Another emerging threat is the conversion of metre gauge track passing through Wan sanctuary, Rithe added.
What is International Tiger Day?
International Tiger Day is on July 29 every year, to give worldwide attention to the conservation of tigers. It is both an awareness day as well as a celebration. It was founded at the Saint Petersburg Tiger Summit in 2010. This was done because at that moment wild tigers were too close to extinction. The goal of tiger day is to promote protection and expansion of wild tiger habitats and to gain support through awareness for conservation.
THREATS TO TIGER CORRIDOR
* Thinning & degradation: Major, but highly underestimated threat to corridors is the thinning of the forests, which leads to degradation
* Fuel-wood extraction: Main cause of forest thinning. Local communities are highly dependent on forests for fuel wood
* Bamboo extraction: It leads to forest thinning. Large quantities of bamboo are extracted to make bamboo mats
* Setting Fires: Man-made fire leads to immense destruction and wipes out undergrowth. These fires are set in the summer, which makes it difficult for wildlife to survive
* Monoculture: Several reserve forests have been given out on lease to FDCM, which is involved in commercial farming and extraction of timber
* Roads, Railways & Mines: With several villages being connected with metalled road, there is increase in vehicular traffic even in remote forest areas leading to regular wild animal deaths. Coal mines have blocked corridors in Chandrapur
* Dams & Canals: Human river is one of the tributaries of the Wainganga passing through TATR-Brahmapuri corridor. Human dam will wipe out tiger corridor. Gosikhurd has already cut tiger corridor
* Hunting: Killing herbivores poses a continuous threat. Snares are set regularly to catch hare and nets are used to catch wild pigs. These activities go unnoticed
TIMES VIEW: Forest dept needs to do better
It is regrettable that even after decades of efforts, India's forest and wildlife remain as threatened as ever. In fact, in some cases, they are more threatened than before. We may pat our backs on rising tiger numbers but that is one part of the story. The future of tigers or other wildlife is not secure unless we can also protect their migration routes. There is no vision to preserve these from the assault of new roads, railway lines, canals, and power lines coming up as India plans a big push to the economy. Unfortunately, concerns about forest and wildlife are seen as anti-development and regressive. The fact is that without good environment we would only end up compromising everybody's quality of life, instead of improving it. It also does not cost much to protect sustainable corridors and still have development if things are planned well. The Ministry of Forests and Environment at the centre and forest department in the state need to try a bit harder to convince other agencies to see the merits of this approach.
By Willem Daniel Lubbe
Poaching has been at the forefront of conservation concerns in recent years. One initiative to try and deal with the scourge in southern Africa has been to manage natural resources collaboratively through the creation of transfrontier parks.
First mooted nearly two decades ago, three transnational parks have been created between South Africa and its neighbours. To create the parks, countries committed to taking down fences that previously marked national boundaries. Not all have done this.
But an escalation in poaching over recent years has led to transfrontier parks being questioned.
The rise in poaching is most marked among rhinos. Rhino poaching is of particular concern because of the perceived medicinal and status value of horns in the eastern market. There are only about 4 800 black rhinos left in the wild, down from 16 000 in 1970. Poaching is particularly rife in South Africa especially with black rhino as they’re endangered.
Dropping fences provides easy access The benefit of Transfrontier Conservation Areas is that fences which have been put up for political purposes - that is to mark national boundaries - can be removed for the benefit of wild animals. On the downside, removing fences potentially provides easy access for poachers. Some argue this to be the case at the eastern border of the Kruger National Park. This is where the Limpopo National Park and Mozambique meet the Kruger Park.
But can transfrontier parks be blamed for the exponential rise in poaching? The answer is probably not. The main reason for this is that the fence between Mozambique and South Africa has remained largely intact. When the Great Limpopo National Park comprising South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe was declared in 2002, the fence between the Kruger Park and the Limpopo Park was partially cut down.
But the free movement of animals never materialised. This is party due to the movement patterns of some animals. Some stay in the Kruger area as the habitat is more favourable for them. Animals like the Kudu for example have the ability to jump the fences erected. In fact, a large part of the eastern fence remains intact and has been re-erected recently because of anti-poaching efforts.
The people matter Are there steps that can be taken to make transfrontier parks more effective?
From a legal perspective, arrangements seem to be in place to fight poaching from a cooperative perspective. In 2014 a memorandum of understanding between South Africa and Mozambique was concluded to aid the fight against poaching. Also in 2014, an agreement between South Africa and Mozambique to allow hot pursuit by authorities chasing down poachers in the Limpopo Park was concluded.
But making frontier parks work in the way they were intended requires more than this. Crucially, all interested and affected parties must be engaged and involved.
The recent Southern African Development Community and Transfrontier Conservation Areas guidelines reiterate the importance of a buy-in from, and the building of legitimacy within, local communities.
Many people in communities bordering national parks live in poverty. This makes them susceptible to poach to sustain their livelihoods and also makes them ‘soft targets’ as recruits for poaching syndicates. This is important in the Limpopo park as large communities bear the consequences of the new conservation efforts because they have been relocated. This created tension as the people were disregarded for the sake of the animals. This led to people helping poachers for the sake of livelihood and income.
This created a setback in current efforts for co-operation in anti-poaching operations. Ecologist Kevan Zunckel explains:
"This tension was felt acutely in the early stages of the Great Limpopo TFP where substantial political pressure was brought to bear on the process resulting in the premature implementation of a number of significant actions, such as the dropping of fences and the relocation of wildlife. While these actions may have served to secure buy-in at the political level, they may well have resulted in the loss of legitimacy at the local level."
Poaching is a complex issue and many role-players have a say in the success of anti-poaching efforts. This doesn’t mean that they actively feature in laws against poaching. All stakeholders should be involved in anti-poaching efforts. There is a need to involve the public as well in conservation efforts. Transfrontier Conservation Areas cannot be blamed for the exponential rise in poaching. Fences in reserves as vast as the Limpopo Park, are unlikely to keep potential poachers out.
Education, consulting and engaging with local communities and teaching them of the benefits of wildlife and sharing its benefits with them can contribute to a more sustainable solution.
The Malayan Tiger has little to celebrate this Global Tiger Day. As of 23rd June, it was officially listed as Critically Endangered in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the world’s most comprehensive source of information on wild animals and plants and the levels of threat they face.
However, there was positive news from Bhutan on Global Tiger Day, where an increase in the national Tiger population from 75 to 103 was announced. The figures were obtained through a nationwide Tiger survey carried out by Bhutanese nationals as part of the nation's efforts to achieve an international commitment made by Tiger range States to achieve Tx2—a doubling of the wild Tiger population by 2022.
The Tigers of Peninsular Malaysia were once estimated to number around 500. But the best available evidence indicates there are likely to be fewer than 250 mature individuals and their number is likely to have declined by more than 25% in one generation (seven years). Furthermore, there are no pockets of forest in Malaysia with an estimated population of 50 or more mature tigers.
The decline was first brought to national attention by Perhilitan and the Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers (MYCAT) in September 2014 after studies across three major Tiger landscapes in Peninsular Malaysia between 2010 and 2013 suggested there may only be 250-340 wild Tigers left.
“This acknowledgement of our research is sadly a tacit recognition that our Tigers face a bleak future,” said MYCAT General Manager, Dr Kae Kawanishi. Aside from the announcement of a national survey to produce a more accurate population estimate of the Malayan Tiger, little has changed since last September.
“We cannot carry on with this level of official inaction and disinterest,” said Kanitha Krishnasamy, Programme Manager for TRAFFIC in Southeast Asia.
From 2000–2012, parts of more than 1,400 Tigers have been seized in 12 Tiger range States—an average of 110 Tigers killed per year, or just over two per week.
The situation is dire for the Malaysian icon too – parts of close to 100 tigers have been seized by the authorities in Malaysia over the past decade. One man in Kedah was convicted after he was found in possession of the skin and bones of 22 Tigers.
“Intelligence-led law enforcement is paramount to eliminating those behind the hunting and trade of Tigers,” said Krishnasamy.
“Malaysian authorities have made recent arrests in connection with trafficking of other species, the challenge is to extend this enforcement action to protect our Tigers too.”
“The concerted efforts of all parties are crucial, from governmental bodies to NGOs to members of the public. All of us need to acknowledge the seriousness of this issue and act fast as the Tiger’s extinction is not an option for Malaysia,” said WWF-Malaysia Executive Director/CEO Dato’ Dr. Dionysius Sharma.
The Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers (MYCAT) is reiterating calls for a high-level national task force to plan and manage the recovery of wild Tigers and is stressing the urgency for new Tiger patrol units to strengthen protection against poachers. An honest and thorough review of the National Tiger Conservation Action Plan and the determined implementation of the Central Forest Spine Master Plan must take place soon.
MYCAT is also calling on the Malaysian public to voice their concern, show their support for their wild Tigers, to say no to the use of tigers as medicine, exotic meat or pets, to report wildlife crime to the Wildlife Crime Hotline (019-356 4194), and to let their elected representatives know that this is a problem they want to see action on.
MYCAT is an alliance of the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS), TRAFFIC, Wildlife Conservation Society-Malaysia Programme and WWF-Malaysia, supported by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks Peninsular Malaysia, for joint implementation of the National Tiger Conservation Action Plan for Malaysia.
By Mark Joseph Stern
A four-word fix would do it.
Outrage continues to spread over Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer’s alleged killing of a lion in Zimbabwe, with new evidence emerging that Palmer may have also hunted several endangered species—including a leopard and white rhinoceros. Wounding or killing endangered species is illegal in the United States under the Endangered Species Act. But right now, Americans are free under U.S. law to travel overseas and slaughter as many endangered species as they want.
This loophole arises from the way courts have read the Endangered Species Act. Federal statutes are interpreted with something called the presumption against extraterritoriality—laws are assumed to apply exclusively within the United States unless Congress says otherwise. Although the Endangered Species Act was written quite broadly, it never declares that the law covers actions taken outside U.S. borders. In lieu of that explicit statement, most courts have found that the act bars maiming and killing endangered species only within America. And though the Supreme Court has never resolved the ambiguity directly, Justice John Paul Stevens wrote an influential concurring opinion holding that the law has no extraterritorial reach.
Luckily, the act does penalize the international shipment or transportation of animals that are threatened or endangered species under U.S. law. That means a poacher could be prosecuted in America for sending a “trophy” of his prey—a rhino head, for instance—back home, so long as the animal is threatened or endangered. (The government has proposed listing the African lion as threatened, but the rule won't be finalized until October—so Palmer could legally ship the lion he allegedly killed back to Minnesota.)
But if a hunter merely enjoys killing for sport, he can travel overseas, hunt down as many endangered species as he wants, and return to America without risking prosecution here. (He could still be prosecuted by the country in which he killed the animals if he broke any local laws—Palmer allegedly hunted without a proper license—but many countries lack the will or resources to punish foreign poachers.)
This rift in enforcement goes against the spirit, if not the text, of the Endangered Species Act, which evinces a serious concern for the global population of threatened and endangered animals. It also creates a perverse incentive whereby poachers leave America—where they may be caught by the authorities—for places like Africa, where enforcement is laxer. Congress could fix that. Under the Foreign Commerce Clause, Congress has the power to punish Americans for some illegal actions taken overseas. To add harming endangered animals to that category, Congress need only pass a four-word amendment to the Endangered Species Act: This law applies extraterritorially. It wouldn’t resolve the dire problem of poaching overnight. But it would ensure that Americans who kill endangered animals elsewhere face real accountability when they return home.
By Emily Leslie
Criminals keep finding different ways to break the laws, and the District of Columbia’s Crime and Punishment Museum continues to find ways to educate the public about it. Accordingly, the museum in Northwest Washington is offering two exhibits that draw attention to a range of issues including the nation’s hate crimes and the continued battle against wildlife poachers abroad.
Taking visitors on an “emotional journey,” the “Attack on America: The Fight Against Terrorism & Hate Crimes” exhibit highlights the history of domestic terrorism, including the Unabomber’s 20 years of terrorizing, the 9/11 attacks, the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013 and many more.
“Hate crimes and domestic terrorism are things that all of us see in the news daily, and we all feel the impact — whether we have been a victim, know a victim or have been impacted through legislation,” said Janine Vaccarello, chief operating officer of the museum. “Being able to learn more about this type of crime, which happens here on our own soil, is powerful for everyone.”
“Ivory, Tortoise Shell & Fur: The Ugly Truth of Wildlife Trafficking” is open until February. The exhibit calls on viewers to recognize the injustices animals face when they are killed inhumanely for their fur or tusks.
Cecil, the much-revered and recently slain lion of Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park, is a recent case of the illegal poaching for which the exhibit draws attention and demands justice.
Crimes similar to Cecil’s tragic death are more common than one might think. Tigers are often trapped and starved to death so as to not sully the fur — all for the sake of having a luxurious tiger skin rug.
A tiger rug, ivory jewelry, photos of poached animals and more are on display within the exhibit.
“Illegal wildlife trafficking is an issue that we should all be concerned with,” Ms. Vaccarello said. “The manner in which these poached animals are killed is horrific. If we educate the public on this cruelty, maybe consumers will stop purchasing goods like ivory earrings or tortoiseshell necklaces.”
The museum also offers a solution to stopping the wildlife traffickers. Buying the “Save Vanishing Species” U.S. postal stamp raises money for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service conservation fund.
“Many people are unaware of how critical the situation has become, yet the statistics are alarming,” Ms. Vaccarello said.
In the past century, 97 percent of the world’s tigers have been lost. In the past 13 years alone, 76 percent of elephants also were lost, Ms. Vaccarello said, to meet black market demand for luxury, illegal items such as ivory jewelry.
“We are excited to be bringing this information to the masses,” Ms. Vaccarello said. “This is truly a big step in the right direction when it comes to curbing the illegal wildlife trafficking industry. The more the public learns about it, the more empowered they will be to help end it.” Video.
By Judy Putnam
Nick Saade said he doesn’t kill animals for his projects. Instead he uses road kill, trapped nuisance animals and leftover parts from hunting and fishing trophies.
LANSING – Nick Saade’s latest creative work is a doozy. You might even call it a little nutty.
Saade, owner of Taxidermy by Nick Saade in Lansing, has recreated the gridiron rivalry between Michigan State University and the University of Michigan using 22 stuffed chipmunks with tiny Spartan and Wolverine football helmets.
“MSU is just about to score the winning touchdown,” he explains when asked about his tableau that will soon be completed when outfits for four referees are finished.
UM players look “kind of cool but everybody knows MSU is better — even the chipmunks.”
A full-time taxidermist for 18 years, Saade has more serious work — mounted animal heads and fish — on display at local sporting good stores.
The chipmunks are what he does after work. “Every once in a while we do something cute,” he said.
“I’m going to have as much fun as I possibly can, then sooner or later it will end up for sale.”
The asking price? $1,500.
Each mounted chipmunk takes five to six hours to skin, stuff (using Styrofoam figures) and sew up. Putty and wires are used in the legs to put the chipmunks into realistic passing, throwing, catching and tackling positions.
Saade’s son, Eddie, is a football coach at Sexton High School. He helped plan the layout and plays. Another relative, Jill Cullimore, a dollmaker, is creating referee uniforms.
Saade said he doesn’t kill animals for his projects. Instead he uses road kill, trapped nuisance animals and leftover parts from hunting and fishing trophies.
“You want to watch them dead on the road? Have fun, go for it. If you want to watch them doing something more creative and fun....” he said.
The chipmunks were trapped by several friends who wanted to rid their cabins of the animals. “They are destructive. Like little Tasmanian devils,” Saade said. He put donated chipmunks in the freezer and waited until he got enough to field two teams for his football game.
Other whimsical pieces he’s created include a table of black jack players, complete with lit cigarettes. The players are a raccoon, squirrel, possum and groundhog.
A stuffed upright white-tailed doe holding a cocktail tray is called Doe-riss. He tried to sell it to a restaurant and sporting goods store but “they said it would scare the kids.”
Two black squirrels cross swords in fencing position. (“It must be about a girl,” Saade quips.)
A muskrat sits in a lounge chair complete with a tiny remote control and bear slippers. “He’s having a brewski,” Saade points out.
Saade said his self-taught taxidermy has given him a good living without punching a time clock. Years ago, he worked midnights in food service at Sparrow Hospital. He works in a garage behind his home near the hospital.
“I basically do this because I love to do it, and I don’t like to see any parts of animals wasted,” he said about his more whimsical pieces.
As for the chipmunk football game: “I don’t even care if it sells or not. It’s just a cute thing.”
But if anyone wants the Wolverines to win, “they’re going to have to buy it and change the helmets.” Photos. Video.
By Kevin Sieff
NAIROBI — While the world mourned Cecil, the 13-year-old lion that was allegedly shot by an American hunter in Zimbabwe, an even more devastating poaching incident was quietly carried out in Kenya.
Poachers killed five elephants in Tsavo West National Park on Monday night. The carcasses were recovered by rangers on Tuesday morning — what appeared to be an adult female and her four offspring, their tusks hacked off.
While the killing of the lion in Zimbabwe has attracted the world’s attention, the death of the five elephants has received almost no coverage, even though elephants are under a far greater threat from poachers than lions. Their tusks can be sold in Asia for more than $1,000 per pound.
“It’s just devastating,” said Paul Gathitu, a spokesman for Kenya Wildlife Service. “It took us completely by surprise.”
Kenyan investigators say the poachers crossed the border from neighboring Tanzania, slaughtered the elephants and then quickly returned to their base, making them difficult to track. Tsavo stretches along the border for more than 50 miles.
Rangers heard gunshots ring out on Monday evening. They searched all night through the vast park and discovered the carnage the next morning. There was blood and loose skin where the tusks were cut off. Kenyan authorities say the poachers escaped on motorcycles, carrying their loot.
In recent years, the poaching of elephants has increased exponentially because of the demand for ivory in Asia, where it's used for unproven medicinal purposes. Between 2010 and 2012, poachers killed more than 100,000 African elephants — a level of destruction that put the species on the road to extinction. Unlike many other animals, elephants mourn the death of their brethren, wrapping their trunks around the bones or carcasses of the deceased.
While the African lion population is also under threat, it is largely because their habitats are being destroyed by farmers and developers, not because the animals are hunted.
Kenyan authorities say they were making progress in the fight against poachers before the recent killing at Tsavo. Last year, the government deployed 550 new rangers. Advances in technology have allowed researchers to monitor herds using GPS trackers, gauging when they might be under threat based on their movement and speed.
“We’ve increased our intelligence and our operations. We were having success,” Gathitu said. “That’s why we’re so surprised.”
In Tsavo, investigators are searching for the men who killed the five elephants. Two suspects have been arrested. Security officials found a bloodstained ax and a hacksaw in one of their homes.
It’s not just Kenya where mass elephant killings occur. In Congo, 30 elephants were killed in 15 days earlier this year in Garamba National Park. The illegal wildlife trade is valued at $7 billion to $10 billion annually.
“We are in an elephant crisis right now,” Iain Douglas-Hamilton, the founder of Save the Elephants, a nongovernmental organization, told The Post recently.
Just two days before the Tsavo elephants were killed, President Obama announced during a visit to Kenya that he would introduce more restrictions in the United States to diminish the market for ivory there. The regulation would prevent the sale of ivory from African elephants across state lines.
But the United States makes up only a fraction of the international ivory market, and regulations in Asia remain loosely enforced. Video.
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