ALDF; A Truck Stop is No Place for a Tiger! Why We Won’t Stop Fighting for Tony

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April 21, 2017

At this moment a 16-year-old Siberian-Bengal tiger named Tony is caged at a gas station truck stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana, 20 miles outside of Baton Rouge. Confined to a cramped metal cage, Tony breathes in diesel fumes daily while passersby tease and harass him. Tony has lived this way for nearly his entire life, and his circumstances are often a shock to the average person, who feels innately that this is not the right place for a tiger, especially an ageing one with neglected veterinary needs. People ask, “how can this be legal?” and the Animal Legal Defense Fund believes firmly that it’s not. In fact, we’ve been fighting for over six years to have Tony relocated to a sanctuary that can meet his complex needs and give him the veterinary care he is entitled to. Our campaign to save Tony is now even more dire after reports raising concerns about Tony’s health.

Let Tony Live the Rest of His Days in Comfort

Tony

All across the world, people follow Tony’s story. Recently, we’ve received many reports from worried citizens stating that Tony appears lethargic and is experiencing diarrhoea and a decreased appetite. The Animal Legal Defense Fund obtained photo and video evidence and enlisted the help of a veterinarian with experience treating exotic animals to review it. In the vet’s expert opinion, Tony is likely suffering from kyphosis of the spine and an injury or other condition that is causing him to limp. This isn’t run-of-the-mill ageing; Tony needs help. Living at a truck stop is, at the least, exacerbating Tony’s poor health. While no animal is suited to living at a truck stop, tigers are particularly ill-equipped because of their sharp sense of smell and sensitive hearing. Independent of all our pending legal work to free Tony, the Animal Legal Defense Fund just submitted a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which licenses the Truck Stop under the federal Animal Welfare Act, urging that Tony be inspected by a licensed specialist and given any necessary veterinary care.

The Legal Battle for Tony’s Safety

We believe that Tony, and all big cats held in captivity, deserve to live in environments that meet their psychological and physical needs. Our campaign to remove Tony from his particularly grim captivity at Tiger Truck Stop has been lengthy and determined. Michael Sandlin, the owner of the truck stop, however, has pulled out all the stops to keep Tony in captivity.  He has spent over $750,000 fighting our efforts and has also manipulated the legislative system by successfully lobbying the Louisiana legislature to pass a special exemption designed solely to benefit Sandlin and allow him to keep Tony. It’s no surprise that Sandlin puts up such a fight; he’s been exploiting tigers like Tony for decades, using them as a gimmick to lure customers to his gas station. The USDA has cited Sandlin numerous times for violations ranging from failure to provide veterinary care to lack of clean drinking water. In 2003, Sandlin relinquished three tigers amid public outrage over his treatment of the big cats. Only Tony remains.

Inspired in part by Tony’s plight, then Representative Warren Triche, Jr. introduced legislation in 2006 to ban private possession of big cats in Louisiana. The law passed, and while it was a tremendous win for the big cats saved from being the next Tony, Sandlin continued to hold Tony in violation of the law. The Animal Legal Defense Fund sued the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries for unlawfully issuing Sandlin a permit to exhibit Tony. We were joined in the suit by former Rep. Triche, Jr. and several other Louisiana taxpayers. Both the trial court and the Louisiana Court of Appeal held that Sandlin and the Tiger Truck Stop were ineligible for a big cat permit and could no longer keep Tony captive. In October 2013, the Louisiana Supreme Court let that decision stand. Still, Tony remained at the truck stop.

Despite the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s victory, which should have freed Tony and allowed him to be moved to a sanctuary, Sandlin has been able to keep Tony in captivity because of two legal tactics that he has pursued relentlessly.

First, after the trial court ruled against Sandlin and while his appeal was pending, he filed a separate lawsuit challenging the big cat ban as unconstitutional.  The Animal Legal Defense Fund, along with concerned Louisiana citizens, promptly filed a petition to intervene in that action to defend the constitutionality of the big cat ban.  Both the State of Louisiana and the Animal Legal Defense Fund argued Sandlin’s claims were barred because he failed to raise them in the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s prior action.  Those arguments are still pending today, nearly five years later.

Second, Sandlin manipulated the legislative system by successfully lobbying the Louisiana legislature to pass Act 697, a special law designed to exempt Sandlin – and only Sandlin – from the big cat ban. It was signed into law by then Governor Jindal. The Animal Legal Defense Fund again immediately went to work, suing the state of Louisiana and arguing Act 697 violated the Louisiana Constitution because it was a “special law” designed to benefit one individual from existing state public safety and animal welfare laws. We were again joined in the suit by former Rep. Triche Jr. and other concerned Louisiana citizens.

We’re Not Giving Up

The Animal Legal Defense Fund recently combined its challenges to both of Sandlin’s legal tactics into the same action, filing an amended petition in intervention in Sandlin’s lawsuit that challenged the constitutionality of the big cat ban.  This will allow the Animal Legal Defense Fund — in one motion — to raise arguments both challenging the constitutionality of Act 697’s exemption for Tony and explain why Sandlin’s challenges to the big cat ban itself should fail.  A ruling in favour of the Animal Legal Defense Fund on such a motion should finally put an end to Sandlin’s legal tactics and provide a final resolution allowing Tony to be relocated to a sanctuary.

As the world watches the ups and downs of the fight to save Tony, the tiger’s life remains essentially the same. He doesn’t know his story inspired a former Representative to come out of retirement to fight for him, or that the big cat ban will help others of his kind. All he knows is life in a cramped cage off the highway. Tony deserves the veterinary care he needs and to live out the rest of his life in peace. He doesn’t just deserve it, we believe he’s guaranteed it under the law. We won’t stop until Tony is safe

News source:http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/we-wont-stop-fighting-for-tony-the-truck-stop-tiger/

 

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Thai Monk Caught Feeing Temple With Tiger Skins

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Thai wildlife officers load a tiger on to a truck outside the temple in Kanchanaburi province. Photograph: Dario Pignatelli/Getty

Wildlife authorities in Thailand have found adult tiger skins and fangs during a raid on the “tiger temple” tourist attraction and intercepted a monk who was trying to leave in a car that was carrying skins. Separately, officials said they would press charges against the Buddhist temple after 40 tiger cubs were found in a freezer on Wednesday.

The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) moved in this week to relocate 137 tigers to government-run sanctuaries after repeated allegations of animal trafficking. The temple claims the tigers will be worse off.

“Today we found tigers skins and amulets in a car which was trying to leave a temple,” said Adisorn Noochdumrong, the deputy director of the DNP. He said a search of several monks’ quarters yielded further body parts, bringing Thursday’s haul to two full-body tiger skins, about 10 fangs and dozens of pieces of tiger fur.

Volunteers, staff and monks at Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua temple complex have long denied trafficking allegations. But international animal rights groups including WWF and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals applauded the raid. Police Col Bandith Meungsukhum told AFP the dead cubs would have been one or two days old. He said their DNA would be tested to see if they were related to tigers at the temple.

The temple claims it decided in 2010 to stop cremating the cubs and preserve them to “keep as proof against the allegations of selling cubs”.

Thailand is a central route for the illegal wildlife trade through south-east Asia, including for ivory, rhino horn and live animals. Tiger parts, including bones and penises, are used in traditional Chinese medicine.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species banned the trade in tiger parts and products in 2007. The raid is the culmination of a battle that has been going on for years between the government and the temple. Thailand has an estimated 1,200-1,300 captive tigers.

News Link & Video:-https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jun/02/thai-monk-caught-temple-tiger-skins-fangs

What’s Behind The Monastery; with over 100 tigers?

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June 5, 2016 1:00 am

Find out what’s behind the monastery with over 100 tigers? Find out more about the controversy…

Official name: Wat Pa Luangta Maha Bua Yannasampanno

Location: Moo 5, Tambon Sing, Sai Yok district, Kanchanaburi province

Allegations: It is accused of illegal possession of wild animals and illegal trade in wildlife.

A probe will soon be launched on whether it legitimately acquired its 2,000 rai block of land.

Background: In 2001, it had seven tigers.

: In 2015, officials found 147 tigers in its compound and embedded these big cats with microchips so they could be tracked.

: In 2016, officials started moving tigers out of the temple.

Shocking Discoveries: During the operation to search and catch tigers for relocation, officials found the bodies of 40 tiger cubs in jars, plus frozen tiger carcasses, tiger skins, tiger amulets, engraved tiger fangs and stickers about antler herbs and food supplements made of tiger bodies. The body of a binturong, antlers and parts of various other animals were also found in the compound.

News Link:http://www.nationmultimedia.com/national/Whats-behind-the-monastery-with-over-100-tigers-30287353.html

Animal Defenders International; Stars Set To Attend Lion Ark Gala Screening

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“I would love see this documentary, but live too far away, I hope it will be shown around England, as I think everyone, not just animal lovers should see it!! Especially those who aren’t aware of the miserable, repetitive & poor conditions, performing animals endure in circuses!!” I am totally ashamed of the English Government, for not fighting & implementing the ban on wild animals in circuses; as they promised. So many other countries have managed to do it, I can’t see any problem, as to  why it has not been in effect sooner; like the British people were promised!!”

December 1, 2014

Bill Oddie: Profile

Special guests including Bill Oddie, Alexei Sayle, Gillian McKeith, Celia Hammond and Bollywood actress Sofia Hayat are set to attend a glitzy gala screening and celebrity fundraiser in Leicester Square on Saturday December 6th for LION ARK, the multi-award winning critically-acclaimed documentary about the rescue of 25 lions from Bolivian circuses.

WHEN: Saturday December 6th, 6pm
WHERE: Prince Charles Cinema, 7 Leicester Place, London, WC2H 7BY
TICKET INFORMATION: Click here

Following sell out screenings at film festivals around the world, LION ARK is now screening in cinemas across the UK.

More action adventure style than traditional documentary, feel-good movie LIONARK charts one of the world’s most ambitious and daring animal rescues, as a team from Britain’s Animal Defenders International (ADI) swoops on eight illegal circuses spread across Bolivia following a ban.

The story begins when ADI secures a ban on animal circuses in Bolivia following a two-year undercover investigation across South America. The shocking findings lead to public outrage and calls for action across the continent. Bolivia is the first to act. Now ADI must help the government enforce the law. The team journey across a vast, hostile terrain to track down the illegal circuses defying the new law, save the animals and bring them to safety, and a joyous finale sees 25 lions airlifted to freedom in the US.

LION ARK Producer and rescue leader Jan Creamer said: “People have been gripped by the way Lion Ark covers a serious issue about saving animals from circuses, but in a uniquely exciting and enjoyable way. The British public can be very proud that the seeds of this historic operation were sown at Animal Defenders International’s headquarters in London, which makes Lion Ark’s West End gala screening a very special event indeed.”

A smash hit on the international film festival circuit, LION ARK is told through live action interviews, in the moment, as events unfold. This is up close and personal, in the thick of the action; you are as close as you can get to these animals and to understanding their life in the circus and feel the fear and joy of the rescuers as they journey through their incredible mission.

LION ARK Director Tim Phillips said: “The response to Lion Ark has been fantastic, receiving standing ovations, armfuls of awards and sell-out shows around the world and we are looking forward to welcoming so many celebrity supporters at the gala screening. This special event is open to the public so that everyone has a chance to enjoy the uplifting animal magic of Lion Ark on the big screen in London’s Leicester Square, and meet the rescue team directly from their latest mission in Peru.”

A similarly ambitious rescue operation – Spirit of Freedom – is now underway in Peru, where ADI is once again assisting authorities to enforce an animal circus ban, having successfully secured legislation. ADI currently has 30 lions, 9 primates and several other animals in its care, and audiences will hear the very latest news from rescue team leaders LION ARK Director Tim Phillips and Producer Jan Creamer, who have come straight from their latest mission to hold Q&A sessions following each screening across the UK.

The LION ARK rescue mission was backed by legendary and Emmy award-winning US TV ‘Price is Right’ game show host Bob Barker and CSI actress Jorja Fox (‘Sara Sidle’), whose company Seafox Productions is an Associate Producer and both appear in the film. Bob Barker’s support enabled the rescue team to empty Bolivia of its suffering circus animals and build new homes for them in the US.

LION ARK has recently been signed into distribution for television, video on demand,DVD / Blu Ray and in-flight entertainment with ITV Studios Global Entertainment, one of the world’s leading distribution companies which has its own channels in Europe, Asia, Africa and Middle East, including flagship ITV broadcasting in 40 countries.

Since opening at Raindance, London and Mill Valley Film Festival, California, LIONARK has taken the film festival circuit by storm with sell out shows, six awards, official selections for 14 prestigious film festivals, and an NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding International Motion Picture.

Tickets for LION ARK screenings at UK cinemas including the West End gala and celebrity fundraiser are on sale now. Tickets for the gala start at just £11: click here for more.

Please share this page:http://www.looktothestars.org/news/12956-stars-set-to-attend-lion-ark-gala-screening

CM orders inquiry in tiger count decline in Pilibhit

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“Something like this would ring alarm bells to me, what or who is causing such a decrease in the number of tigers? If there was only 23 last year, what is the current number & where have these tigers gone. Is it poachers or hunters, the numbers are declining too fast for it to be of a natural death!! Something has to be done to find out why there is a decline in numbers & get onto it ASAP before these majestic tigers have gone for good!!!”

Keshav Agarwal,TNN | Nov 26, 2014, 10.05 PM IST

PILIBHIT: Taking cognizance of the matter related to rapid decrease in number of tigers in Pilibhit Tiger Reserve in three years, chief minister Akhilesh Yadav has decided to set up an enquiry in the matter.

Special secretary to the chief minister, GS Naveen Kumar, has referred the matter to the principal secretary of the forest department for taking further steps, MLA Hemraj Verma told TOI.

The issue was raised by the SP MLA from district Pilibhit, who had written to the chief minister in the third week of November. He had said that the forest department had counted more than 40 tigers in the forest area of Pilibhit district in 2010 and the figure had dwindled to 30 in 2012. The count had further declined to 23 in 2013, he had pointed out.

Tigers are thriving in and around India’s Nagarhole National Park, with a regional population of 250. “If we do everything right, we can have 500,” says big-cat biologist Ullas Karanth.  Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/The-Fight-to-Save-the-Tiger.html#ixzz1qG95oEf7
Retired chief wildlife warden Mohammad Ahsan welcomed the move and said special emphasis should be placed on the counting of tigers also in the adjoining Surai forest range of Uttarakhand and parts of Shahjahanpur district. This would help in determining whether the tigers of Pilibhit Tiger Reserve, especially the mother big cats, have not migrated to other forest regions to find safe habitats for their cubs or in search of easy prey.

An environmentalist from Pilibhit, Parvez Hanif, said that the investigation of missing tigers in PTR would not be complete if the process of capturing foot-prints of tigers was not applied simultaneously with picture capturing method through cameras.

He observed that the method of collecting footprints of tigers, which he claimed was applicable till 2007, , can assist the investigation team reach more exact conclusions.

The vice president of Wildlife Biodiversity Conservation Society Amitabh Agnihotri said that the investigation team should find out the effects of human encroachment on the tiger population and devise ways to reduce such interference.

News Link:-http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bareilly/articleshow/45288095.cms?intenttarget=no

29 Arrested In Arson Attack After Tiger kills Teacher In Madhya Pradesh

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“I totally understand the loss of a loved one & the fear factor that big cats are prowling around; but I hardly think burning Forest Official vehicles, is going to help the matter. If anything it will have hindered the Forest Officials from tracking the tiger!  The problem is obvious, the big cats are losing their forests & the animals they would normally pray on. I don’t think a tiger can be called a man-eater, he isn’t biased about what he eats…he just has to eat to survive! Granted humans shouldn’t be on the menu, but if there is no meat left to hunt in the wild, of course they are going to stalk areas where they see food; i.e humans! Their habitat is being cut down for wood & to grow crops or build houses; so the tigers have no way to survive…they will kill anything when hungry. I’m sure they would rather stick to their own diet of forest animals but if there are none, due to lack of habitat, what do you expect? They can’t survive on fresh air!!”

“I’m sure the Forest officers were just as shaken by the latest tragedy’s & intend on trying to find & relocate the tiger! I hope & pray they get hold of that tiger before the villagers do, because once they get into mob mode, it’s a free for all, who knows what they will do to the tiger. Perhaps burn & torture it like they did when they caught a leopard poaching on human land! However, even if the tiger is caught & relocated, I’ll bet there is another tiger, just waiting to take its place! Something radical has to be done to save both human & animals from being killed…They must stop cutting down the tigers habitat, which includes the tigers natural pray. Or use the land to build more houses & grow more crops to fulfill India’s growing population. The attacks on humans won’t stop, until humans stop poaching the tigers habitat & food supply!! “

,TNN | Oct 25, 2014, 06.06 PM IST

BHOPAL: Madhya Pradesh police on Saturday arrested 29 people over an arson attack after a school teacher was mauled to death a tiger in near Bandhavgarh National Park in Katni district on Friday.

The mob had attacked forest personnel, including local forest range officer while keeping some of them hostage, besides policemen and local journalists.

They said forest officers were overlooking the fact that some tigers had turned into man-eaters. tiger2

Two motorized vessels and a dozen vehicles owned by the department were also set on fire, said officials. Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC were issued to bring situation under control. Amod Lakda (55), posted at Karchulia village’s government middle school, was attacked by the tiger in the buffer area near a water tank inside Khitouli range. He was a native of Chhattisgarh‘s Jashpur area.

Villagers claim this was the fourth incident of an attack by a big cat. Forest officers had been ignoring their pleas to shift the tiger. They say the matter was taken with chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, but in vain.

“Extensive damage has been caused to forest department property. The death of a teacher following tiger attack provoked people to go berserk,” said Narendra Kumar, chief wildlife warden.

Meanwhile forest officers have launched a hunt for the tiger for shifting it to a safe location.

News Link:http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhopal/29-arrested-in-arson-attack-after-tiger-kills-teacher-in-Madhya-Pradesh/articleshow/44933010.cms?intenttarget=no&utm_source=TOI_AShow_OBWidget&utm_medium=Int_Ref&utm_campaign=TOI_AShow

Tiger Kills Tribal Woman In Kanha Buffer Zone

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TNN | Oct 28, 2014, 04.32 PM IST

BHOPAL: Three days after a tiger mauled a teacher to death in Katni district, another tiger killed a 22-year-old at Manjhipur village of Mandla district in buffer zone of Kanha National Park.

The woman went missing on Saturday and the body was found in a jungle the next day.

Rambai Dhurve, 22, a resident of Manjhipur village, went into jungle to collect wood along with other villagers, but she did not return, sources said. Next day, when villagers went to look for her into the forest, the body was found there.tiger

“It is an unfortunate incident and a natural accident. Incidents like these have rarely been reported here. The girl went to collect wood and the carnivore was in the trench. The animal attacked her. It is nothing like animal specifically attacked a human being,” Kanha National Park director J S Chauhan told TOI.

“The entire area was searched using elephants on Monday to spot animal, but the big cat could not be trapped. Pugmarks were seen near river and it was quite possible that animal had escaped into the jungle. However, the area will be searched again on Tuesday,” he said.

News Link:-http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/environment/flora-fauna/Tiger-kills-tribal-woman-in-Kanha-buffer-zone/articleshow/44959639.cms?

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