by Kathleen Stahowski April 21, 2014
One woman (sporting a Safari Club International cap), one gun, one dead giraffe. One pump-my-ego photo posted and then shared hundreds of times on animal rights Facebook pages, generating thousands of sad or angry comments.
Many–distressingly many–of the responses to these vile, celebratory trophy photos are vile and violent themselves. When the killer is a woman, the comments can also be terribly misogynistic: ”Stupid brainless b*tch!” “This fat ugly b*tch should be shot!” “Shoot this b*tch!”
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Taiwan, whose fishery is infamous for its indiscriminant use of gillnets, some miles long, on the high seas, wreaking havoc on all species of marine animals, has established a marine wildlife sanctuary off the west coast of the island to protect a dwindling population of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins.
Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins are coastal animals, venturing into estuaries and mangroves. Due to their preference for nearshore waters they are especially at risk from human activities.
The most immediate danger are the thousands of gillnets strung along the west coast of the island which are designed to catch fish by their gills but also kill dolphins and other cetaceans.
Trawling, another kind of fishing that can cause Sousa bycatch, has been banned in much of the dolphins’ near-shore habitat, but continues illegally, often in plain sight.
Normal fishing in the area will be unaffected, as the government said a total ban was not feasible as the success of the sanctuary depends on the cooperation of local fishermen, but guidelines have been tightened for operators in the region and there will be tough punishments for illegal fishing of the endangered species. Dredge fishing has also been banned.
Shout out: Wildlife Extra.
He didn’t sign his name but I think this lament was written by Jerry Finch, whose posts never fail to impress.
There are times when I have to restrain myself, when it takes everything I have to stay within the limits of the law.
Pulling up to a pasture this morning, we saw four horribly skinny horses. A walk through the mud led us to a three year-old in the final stages of starvation, unable to lift his head. A few hours later the warrant was signed, the seizure completed and our part was finished. I shook hands with the officers, our friends at the SPCA, and drove off through the fog and drizzle.
It was those few hours between the first walk and the loading of the horses that got to me. Kneeling in the rain, trying to wash thick mud off the face of a dying horse, praying for his life, I tried to ignore the owners. Listening to them talk about how much they care for the horses was upsetting enough. Seeing the results of their lies, which they refused to see, is what angers me.
These horses had no grass in the pasture. None. There was a round bale of moldy cow hay, not a bit of feed anywhere. When I asked them about feeding, he said he was scared to feed them because, “They always run toward me so fast.”
He had put a dog collar on the horse that was down, tied a rope to it, tied the other end to his new pickup and pulled the horse a good 10 yards, “To see if I could get him up.”
The horse was packed in mud. Unlike them, who slept in a warm bed and had a good breakfast, they left the horse out there for days.
The excuses went on and on. I looked at their new pickup, their cell phone, their nice clothes and looked back at the dying horse that weighed half of what it should. Two bags of feed a week and a round bale of hay would have kept this horse alive and the other four halfway healthy. Less than $80 a month. His truck payments must have been five times that.
“How can people do that?” is a question I am often asked. “Why do they even bother to get a horse if they don’t care?” The questions are rhetorical, of course. There are a million answers but there are no real answers, none that would ever make sense to those of us who love these horses.
The man who taught me about the legal aspects of seizures once told me, “Don’t ever show emotion on the scene. You have a job to do, just get in there and do it. If you need to bang on the dashboard when you drive off, fine, but the crime scene is not the place to explode.”
This evening, as I’m writing this, I can’t remember what the faces of the owners looked like but I’ll never forget the face of that horse, the mud packed eyes, the skin stretched tight over the bones. That’s what nightmares are made of.
I see people at the vet’s office with their sick horse, willing to spend thousands and to do whatever it takes to bring their loved one back to health. I’ve seen a tough old cowboy break down in tears when his horse hurt her leg. We have volunteers who think nothing of walking a horse with colic at three AM, in the cold and rain, sloshing through mud. They all treat a horse like they would their own child.
Then there are the others.
A wise man once said that you have to know your enemy before you can change him. Tomorrow I might feel differently, but tonight I have no desire to know the enemy. I could not fathom that type of mind, nor do I even want to try. And I’m not going to bang on the dashboard.
Instead I’m going to go out to the barn, find the closest horse and give him a hug. I won’t tell him anything about seeing one of his kind die today or anything about one of my kind causing the death. Such things happen many times over in our world. The horse doesn’t understand why, and I certainly don’t. I will tell him that I love him, and then I’ll look into his eyes.
In that moment there is no anger. There is only deep, forgiving love. It’s there for anyone, for each of us, at any time. It comes not only from horses, but from dogs, cats, little children, big adults, all sorts of living things. But you have to care to feel it.
You have to care enough not to starve your horse to death.
A state-owned horticulture and landscaping company in southern China, Flower World farm, has agreed to give the 130 bears used in its bear bile operation into the custody of the Animals Asia Foundation.
Bile is obtained by cutting a hole in a bear’s stomach so fluid can drip from the gall bladder. The holes are left open, leading to infection and disease.
Their health issues include blindness, dental problems and untreated wounds. In early May, 28 of the sickest bears will be transported to Animals Asia’s facility in the city of Chengdu for urgent medical treatment.
Under the terms of the deal, Animals Asia will rehab the farm facility where the bears have been kept and turn it into a sanctuary.
There are around 10,000 bears in farms in China.
A tribute to Dian Fossey.
Up close and personal with Critically Endangered mountain gorillas and the people who protect them.
Live 24/7 from the neighborhood of Hays, about five miles outside of downtown Pittsburgh along the Monongahela River.
The parents feed the eaglets bits of fish and squirrel torn into tiny pieces.
The female laid her eggs on Feb. 19, Feb. 22 and Feb. 25. The sex of the newly hatched eaglets is unclear. It takes about 35 days for a bald eagle egg to hatch. The last egg hatched yesterday afternoon.
During the first few weeks one parent, usually the female, stays always at the nest.
Photo: Jaymi Heimbuch
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Unfettered capitalism caught between a rock and a hard place.
The announcement coincided with an article in Bloomberg Businessweek proposing a tax on meat for health and environmental reasons.
By: John Platt
A dolphin caught in a fishing net. (Photo: Oceana)
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Thanks to Miles Becker for this summary of an article that touches on a theme we have highlighted in the past–sourced from Bush, E.R. et al. 2014. Global trade in exotic pets 2006-2012. Conservation Biology doi: 10.1111/cobi.12240— at Conservation Magazine‘s website:
Pet stores are filled with colorful critters originating from the wilds of other continents. All the cages and terrariums stay well stocked while many prized species decline in their native habitat. Does the global fascination with exotic pet species hasten their extinction?
One way to find out is to compare the list of traded species with a list of species in trouble. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) maintains records of reported legal exports from its 180 member countries. The conservation status of species are listed on the red list curated by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources…
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Lake Nakuru National Park has been a protected rhino sanctuary since 1986. Rhinos from Solio Ranch, Nairobi National Park, Lewa Downs and South Africa were translocated to the area in an attempt to give them safety to roam and breed. There is a reinforced high power solar fence enclosing the area, as well as guards/rangers within the park.
Why is Nakuru seeing an increase in rhino poaching?
According to KWS (Kenya Wildlife Service), poachers not only use sophisticated weaponry, they are now using silent poaching methods that are difficult for rangers on patrol to detect.
In parks such as Lake Nakuru, rising water levels have shrunken grazing land for rhinos forcing them to move to park periphery. This makes them an easy target…
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The first ever live-action footage of the critically endangered Myanmar snub-nosed monkey has been captured on video in Kachin state, Myanmar.
It’s hard to tell from the footage the number of individuals in the troupe, but judging from the bodies seen hurling themselves between trees it looks to be at least twenty, which means the video shows perhaps 10% of the world’s population of the species in one spot.
The footage was taken by a team from Fauna & Flora International while checking on camera traps.
Source: Wildlife Extra.com
Dismissing animals as sentient without having the faintest idea what consciousness is.
Amidst the greatest mass extinction of species since the dinosaurs disappeared 65 million years ago, there is one smallish success
The latest update to the IUCN red list added more than 1,000 species, to bring total assessments to 71,500 species, including all mammals, birds and amphibians. More than a third of the species are considered under threat. About half of known reptiles have been assessed and a third of fish, but only a fraction of invertebrates, plants and fungi.
source: Damian Carrington.
Rhino horn, ground into powder, is in strong demand in Vietnam.
It is believed to be a cancer cure and an aphrodisiac for men. Businessmen buy it as a “tribute” to bribe their superiors and “lubricate” business affairs.
Openly advertised in the streets of downtown Hanoi it can be purchased at shops selling traditional medicines at prices approaching $70,000 per kg.
70 % of rhino horn specimens in Vietnam are fake.
The United Nations’ highest court for resolving disputes between nations, the International Court of Justice, has ordered a temporary halt to Japanese whaling in the Antarctic in a lawsuit brought by Australia.
“In light of the fact the [research program] has been going on since 2005, and has involved the killing of about 3,600 minke whales, the scientific output to date appears limited,” said presiding judge Tomka.
The decision will not mean the end of whaling. Japan has another whaling program in the northern Pacific and Iceland and Norway, who rejected a 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling imposed by the International Whaling Commission, continue the practice. Norway set a quota of 1,286 north Atlantic minke whales last year, saying stocks are plentiful.
Iceland and Norway do not claim to be carrying out research, so the ICJ’s ruling has no immediate consequences for them.
The ICJ’s ruling is final and there will be no appeal. Japan issued a statement that it would comply with the decision. Fingers crossed…