UPDATE: Circus Malta: Petition Supporting Animal Circuses Gains 5,000 Signatures

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Thursday 9 January 2014

Most animal charities & the public want to see a ban worldwide of wild animals being used in circuses. Now the owner of this circus is circulating his own petition to keep his Malta circus open. So please if you don’t agree with animals performing degrading tricks, kept behind bars & of course the cruelty that has been documented in circuses: PLEASE SIGN THE PETITIONS BELOW. We can’t let this circus continue, if it does through its petition, the flood gates for circuses using wild animals may open again; that would be tragic after all the hard work has been done to stop them!!

Circus promoter says 2013 could be last year for animal circuses in Malta due to the proposed ban.

But circus promoter Silvio Zammit has collected 5,000 signatures as part of a petition to overturn a proposal to ban animal circuses.

The circus has now moved to Ghajnsielem, Gozo, where Zammit hopes to continue collecting more signatures. The petition will then be passed on to the competent authorities.

Zammit, who has been bringing circuses to Malta for the past 16 years, said he could not allow the banning of animal circuses from Malta without taking any action.

“It was a personal initiative after finding out that the government had moved on to publish a White Paper proposing to ban animal circuses,” he said.

See all the animals, such as, Long horn cattle, Donkeys, Lama, Camels, Lions, Tigers, Zebra, Elephant, Giraffe, Baboon, Horses, Ponies, Donkeys performing pitiful & degrading acts; acts they would never do in the wild. The animal acts stop at 12 mins; then the human artists perform!I believe the only thing not seen is the Hippo; but is in a video below!!

Circo Orfei Floriana Malta 1st January 2012

Uploaded on 2 Jan 2012 – By levelone12

He argued that only 390 persons took part in the consultation process initiated by the government, of which 49% said they were against such a circus.

“We know that the majority of these were NGOs, and NGOs do not reflect popular opinion. I am doing this petition on my own. I know that there are many others who would like to sign it, but I have neither the time nor the manpower to go on a nation-wide petition,” Zammit said.

He said he was “very happy” with the number of signatures collected: “This shows that the Maltese do love the circus. They won’t flood the streets of Valletta with placards to support the circus.”

He also said that a number of MPs from both sides of the House visited Circo Orfei this winter. “Some came with their children while others accompanied their grandchildren. They thanked me for the level of the show and all said they had fun,” Zammit said.

He however refused to name them.

The debate as to whether Malta should ban animal circuses for good has been going on for a number of years, with animal rights NGOs insisting that circuses solely operate to maximise profits while completely disregarding the safety of the animals and the adverse effects they may impose.

Animal Rights Coalition said veterinarians only attend to the animal’s physical needs and as a result, the psychological issues brought about by the circuses are not being addressed.

With a number of countries moving to ban animal circuses for good, Zammit said in Italy alone there were 800 circuses. He said the UK was one of the countries which will stop animal circuses as from next year. “But this was the result of many circuses caught mistreating their animals,” he said, adding that the circus he brought to Malta did not see animals performing any tricks and only a minimal part of the show was dedicated to animals.My pic4

Zammit argued that the circus animals were born in captivity “and therefore they do not know otherwise. Their trainers threat them like their pets”.

He said Animal Welfare Department officials and veterinarians made regular checks to verify that the animals were well-kept.

Circo Orfei’s travelling team is made up of 60 people, whose living depends on the shows, Zammit said.

“This is their life. They are a community who live on the road and have been doing so for years on end. This is how they earn a living… their bread and butter,” he said.

The Animal Rights Coalition has also called for a full ban on dolphinaria and aquaria. The coalition has said it was unjust to deny dolphins the right to roam free in their natural habitat and called for the ban on dolphinariums as these restrict the creatures to a mere pool.

The Coalition also said that this should extend to aquaria as in this case, animals are likewise being “confined to cages and restricted from roaming in their natural habitat”.

Protesters outside circus. Image from http://www.timesofmalta.com

But Zammit feels that two weights and two measures were being applied when talking about animal circuses and aquaria.

He also said that circuses gave people the opportunity to see animals which would otherwise require them to travel abroad to zoos or safaris.

He insisted that a proper discussion was required and said he agreed that animals like elephants, pandas and monkeys should be banned. “What we have in our circus are horses, ponies, donkeys and tigers,” he said, adding that tigers in captivity lived for an average of 25 years while those in the wild lived for 12 years.

Circo Orfei also has a hippo and an emu as part of their travelling repertoire. 

News Link:http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/en/newsdetails/news/national/Petition-supporting-animal-circuses-gains-5-000-signatures-20140108

Petitions to ban wild animals in circuses:-We must get the ban in place before this circus succeeds with their petition to continue

Published on 7 Jan 2013 – This video shows the hippo in the ring, but its towards the end of the video, after the trapeze act! What the hell is a hippo doing in a circus? Bloody outrageous!! Search Circo Orfei on You Tube to see all the animals when not entertaining  :-http://youtu.be/GEMx3YVIRmg 

Published on 10 Jan 2013 – Tiger & Lion Act:-http://youtu.be/aHeMPaW_d20

Published on 6 Sep 2013 – This is about the lions & tigers in the outside enclosure plus RARE WHITE LIONS & TIGERS?? Are they interbreeding??:-http://youtu.be/K40RjOFsX4c

My previous posts on circus in Malta etc.:

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GRAPHIC MEDIA: Auction of Black Rhino by Dallas Safari Club

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By Omemee  |  Posted January 4, 2014  |  Omemee CNN PRODUCER NOTE     CNN is currently investigating this iReport. It has not been verified.  – Jareen, CNN iReport producer

The Dallas Safari Club has seen its organization in the cross-hairs of a worldwide debate since first announcing its plans for the execution of a highly endangered rhinoceros.

THIS IS NOT CONSERVATION IT IS JUST BLOODY MURDER

On January 11, 2014 at the Dallas Convention Center in Dallas, Texas, they will be auctioning the rights to kill an endangered Black Rhinoceros and are declaring this hunt a “heroic conservation” effort, the Dallas Safari Club and its supporters are attempting to deceive a gullible public into believing this hunt isn’t simply the slaughter of a rare species of rhino.

The club’s actions and rhetoric dares to make palatable what most would deem unjustifiable—killing an animal facing extinction. Some ‘lucky’ hunter-with a fist full of cash, gets to kill an endangered Black Rhino.

“Black rhinos tend to have a fairly high mortality rate,” Executive Director of DSC Ben Carter says. “Generally speaking, out of a population of 2,000, harvesting three rhinos over a couple or three years has no impact on the health of the rhino herd at all.”

“It’s going to generate a sum of money large enough to be enormously meaningful in Namibia’s fight to ensure the future of its Black Rhino populations,” Carter says.

ENDANGERED SPECIES

IMAGE FROM:-http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2477873/Texas-Save-rhino-fundraiser-auctions-chance-shoot-endangered-black-rhino-dead.html

The money, in reality, may go to an already corrupt government, one that is willing to turn a blind eye to the destruction of its own resources for money. At the time of this writing, there is no clear indication who will get the money and for what conservation purposes.  Government corruption In Southern Africa is a well-known issue and regularly documented by various media sources. 

 In a second interview Ben Carter states “Namibia has an annual quota to kill five black rhinos and has ‘selected’ the club to auction one of them.” He then continues, “That said, if someone wants to cough up almost seven figures and use the permit to go shoot the rhinos with a camera, they are more than welcome to do so.” These statements are a direct contradiction of what they are claiming as “advanced, state-of-the-art wildlife conservation and management techniques”

“Conservation,” is the organization’s only argument to garner support, even within its own community. This is simply a selfish attempt to ensure its members can continue hunting rhinoceros and other species years from now.

This auction to hunt a Black Rhino is NOT conservation of a species. There is nothing ethical or heroic about it. It is a deliberate attempt to mislead the general public and disguise the true motives of the Dallas Safari Club and its members.

Exposing a Rhino Hunt By HSUS

According to Louisiana conservation attorney John J. Jackson, who said he’s been working on the auction project with federal wildlife officials, the hunt will involve one of five black rhinos selected by a committee and approved by the Namibian government. The five are to be older males, incapable of reproducing and likely “troublemakers … bad guys that are killing other rhinos,” he said.

These animals are farm-raised around humans and cared for by humans only to be killed by rich hunters in what has been coined as “canned hunts.” This is simply a method that allows them to farm more for harvesting later.

This auction is nothing more than abuse of Africa’s natural resources to the highest bidder. No ethical or moral motive drives the hunt club’s actions. What DSC touts as conservation, we label destruction of a nation.

Rhino poaching: After the killing: Farmers Rhino poached (Viewer Discretion)

Published on 30 May 2013

Three rhinos were poached during our recent visit to a rhino farm. Is trading their horns the only way to save them? WARNING: contains graphic images.

The DSC lawyer’s statements are shockingly arrogant and factually incorrect. “This is advanced, state-of-the-art wildlife conservation and management techniques,” Jackson, a Metairie, La.-based international wildlife attorney, said Wednesday. “It’s not something the layman understands, but they should. This is the most sophisticated management strategy devised,” he said. “The conservation hunt is a hero in the hunting community.”

Yes he is correct–the hunt may be a hero in the hunting community. But it has no conservation value other than the additional killing of rhinoceros and other species by rich Americans. This guise of “conservation” is not new but seems to be the only justification the group has.

The individuals who participate in these hunts are rich Americans and Germans-typically millionaires who could very simply donate towards the care and keeping of endangered species rather than killing them. If this club wants to be seen as ‘heroes,’ and it has such a concern for conservation, it could easily petition its rich members to save these animals by donating money, to be used towards conserving the species.

So we continue to ask–how is handing over a sum of money for the rights to kill an animal that is nearly extinct the most sophisticated management strategy, when most South African countries are banning Trophy Hunting?

These countries have found that it just does not work. There is a comprehensive list of researched and confirmed reasons that clearly explain why trophy hunting is not a good conservation method, even if cash is generated in the process. And, in fact, the numbers of threatened species have rapidly declined since the Hunting Lobby groups won the fight to continue “their conservation efforts”.

The real motive for this auction and hunt is not for the survival of the rhino species, and protection of the species’ inherent majesty and ecological importance, but rather for the expensive blood-lust thrill of killing. This opportunity is available only to an elite group of power hungry wealthy people to “conserve” a commodity for the continued planned, organized, and highly profitable execution of wildlife for fun!

News Link:-http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-1072625

This has been done before, Facebook page of Hunter:-https://www.facebook.com/JohanCalitzSafaris

Jose Belismelis and Louis Pansegrouw did it again. Jose bought an auction elephant in NG35 and took this beauty. Heaviest tusk measured 19.5″x48″ and weighed 84lbs. The smaller one measured 19.25″x46″ and weighed an equally impressive 80lbs — in Botswana. Image of hunted Elephant:

MURDERER

Just a few of many petitions against this auction:-

Earlier News Item:

The rhino hunt is reportedly going to take place at Mangetti National Park, which is located in northern Namibia.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) has granted Namibia an annual export quota of up to five hunter-taken black rhinos, South Africa Tourism Update reported. The Namibia government approved the permit in accordance with CITES provisions to generate funding for rhino conservation initiatives, including anti-poaching efforts.  BY NELSON ALCANTARA, ETN EDITOR-IN-CHIEF | NOV 02, 2013

Quotes from the above website!

“Jeff Flocken, North American director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, believes that this auction sends the wrong message, implying that the black rhino is worth more dead than it’s worth alive. “Killing animals to save them is not only counterintuitive but ludicrous,” Flocken told National Geographic. “We’re talking a highly endangered species, and generating a furor to kill them in the name of conservation is not going to do anything to help them in the long run.”

“Every single rhino is under the threat of poaching at the moment,” said Director of the World Wildlife Fund’s Species Conservation Program, Barney Long, to Antara News. However, the WWF also sent a letter to the FWS in 2009, advocating for the removal of non-breeding males.

British conservation charity Save the Rhino has advocated for proactive hunting while still acknowledging the minor details in play. Save the Rhino has also argued positively for the auction being held in America rather than remaining within Namibian boundaries.

“Couldn’t they get $750,000 without having to suffer an animal being shot? Well, yes,” Save the Rhino said in a statement on the official website, savetherhino.org. “It would be nice if donors gave enough money to cover the spiralling costs of protecting rhinos from poachers. Or if enough photographic tourists visited parks and reserves to cover all the costs of community outreach and education programmes. But that just doesn’t happen.”

Quotes from above website

Facebook page:-https://www.facebook.com/pages/STOP-Trophy-Hunting-NOW/136918922995288

Save The Rhino:-http://www.savetherhino.org/latest_news/news/filter/trophy+hunting

WARNING VERY GRAPHIC – Rhino Wars- The Silent Slaughter

Published on 1 Nov 2012 – Gavrielle Kirk-Cohen

Rhino Wars- The Silent Slaughter is a short documentary about rhino poaching in South Africa, which has become a pandemic. If rhino poaching continues at its current rate, all rhinos will soon be extinct. It is imperative that more awareness needs to be created about rhino poaching, so that governments will act with greater resolve and political will to combat poaching. This documentary was filmed in South Africa in June 2012 in partial fulfilment of my Masters dissertation and is dedicated to Lawrence Anthony for his wonderful work in conservation and for doing everything in his power and beyond to save the rhinos.

South Africa Considers Rhino Farming, Horn-Trading on Bourse (1)

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South Africa, which hosts about 90 percent of the world’s rhinoceros population, should consider lifting a domestic ban on trade in the animals’ horns, authorizing commercial farming and trading the horn on the Johannesburg bourse, a Department of Environmental Affairs report showed.

The steps were proposed as part of an effort to halt poaching that is threatening eventual extinction for the animals. At least 514 out of a national population, that stood at 20,711 in 2010, have been poached this year, the department said in the report, which was released by e-mail today. Most of rest of the global population is spread across sub-Saharan Africa with the next biggest concentration being in Namibia.

“Some viewed the lifting of the ban on trade in rhino horn as the panacea that would end poaching and save the rhino from otherwise inevitable extinction,” the department said, referring to consultation on the measures. “This view was supported by market theorists who argued that in a market where rhino horn could be traded freely, market forces would automatically drive horn prices down, obviating the need for syndicates to face risks associated with poaching.”

A similar argument has been mounted about elephant ivory with Southern African nations including South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana advocating legal trade in the product while Kenya and other countries oppose it.

South Africa should “consider opening a rhino horn trading bourse possibly linked to the JSE,” the department said, referring to Africa’s biggest stock and bond exchange.

Horn Stockpiles

The surge in poaching comes even after the government deployed the army in the Kruger National Park, its biggest protected wildlife area, and has stepped up arrests of poachers. They target South Africa for the horns, which sell for more than gold by weight in Asia where they are believed to cure cancer and boost sexual prowess.

The government department also recommends asking for permission for auctions this year of rhino-horn stockpiles to help pay for anti-poaching initiatives, and to upgrade South Africa’s border with Mozambique along Kruger National Park.

Wildlife Trafficking

Czech Republic authorities seized 24 white-rhino horns and arrested 16 people yesterday in connection with wildlife trafficking, according to the International Fund for Animal Welfare. The gang posed as hunters and then applied for export-import trophies that allowed them to export the horns as personal mementos, the group said in a statement today.

“Illegal trade alone is nudging rhinos to extinction,” Kelvin Alie, director of IFAW’s Wildlife Crime and Consumer Aware Programme, said in the statement. “Only international cooperation between law enforcement authorities will end illegal wildlife trafficking.”

Most rhinos, which weigh as much as 4.5 metric tons, are killed in the Kruger National Park, an area nearly as big as Israel that borders Mozambique, with a porous border that is easily crossed by poachers wielding assault rifles. Mozambique is the world’s 20th poorest nation, according to the International Monetary Fund.

“We remain unconvinced that legal international trade in rhino horn is a feasible approach for rhino conservation,” Jo Shaw, WWF South Africa Rhino Programme Coordinator, said in an e-mailed statement. “Uncertainty about how legal trade may in turn influence demand adds to the challenging complexity of the proposition.”

News Link:http://www.businessweek.com/news/2013-07-24/south-africa-considers-rhino-farming-horn-trading-on-bourse-1

Related Link Stop Rhino Poaching:-http://www.stoprhinopoaching.com/

Rhino: No Horn Of Plenty

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“This is a long post, but if you are interested in Rhino, this is a must read & well worth the time needed to read it!!”

More rhinos will be killed in the next two years than will be born, so those charged with saving the endangered animal are considering radical and previously unimaginable solutions.

Twenty-four-hour watch: An anti-poaching team guards a de-horned northern white rhinoceros in Kenya in 2011. Photo: Brent Stirton

The battle to save the African rhinoceros has all the ingredients for a Hollywood thriller. There are armed baddies with good guys in hot pursuit. There is a hint of glamour. And the drama is played out against a backdrop of a beautiful, bloodstained landscape.

It is a story that begins, perhaps improbably, in Vietnam soon after the turn of the 21st century. A Vietnamese official of some influence, so the story goes, lets it be known that he, or perhaps it is his wife (for the sake of the story it matters little), has been cured of cancer. The miracle cure? Rhino horn powder.

With disconcerting speed, the story shifts to southern Africa, where a series of gunshots ring out across the African plains. This is followed by the hacking sound of machetes – it takes little time to dehorn a rhino because its horn consists not of bone but of keratin fibres with the density of tightly compressed hair or fingernails.

The getaway begins, armed rangers give chase. Once the horn leaves the flimsy protection of the national park or game reserve, where its former owner lies bleeding to death, it may never be found.

White Rhinoceros with a calf at Lake Nakuru national Park in Kenya. Photo: Martin Harvey/WWF

Its new owners never brought to justice. Sometimes they are caught. Sometimes they get away. Either way, another rhino is dead in a war that the bad guys seem to be winning.

The story shifts again, back to Vietnam where even the prime minister is rumoured to have survived a life-threatening illness after ingesting rhino horn. More than a cure for the country’s rich and powerful, however, rhino horn has by now crossed into the mainstream. Young Vietnamese mothers have taken to keeping at hand a supply of rhino horn to treat high fevers and other childhood ailments.

It is also the drug of choice for minor complaints associated more with the affluent lifestyle to which increasing numbers of Vietnamese have access; rhino horn has become a cure-all pick-me-up, a tonic, an elixir for hangovers.

With this new popularity has come the essential paraphernalia common to lifestyle drugs the world over, including bowls with specially designed serrated edges for grinding rhino horn into powder. In a short space of time, rhino horn has become the latest must-have accessory for the nouveau riche.

The sudden spike in Vietnamese demand, the miraculous fame of a saved official or his wife, and rhino horn’s emergence as a symbol of status all came at a time when legal stockpiles of rhino horn were at an all-time low. Demand and supply. This is the irrefutable law of economics.

Or, as one expert in the illegal trade in rhino horn put it: ”It was a perfect storm of deadly consumption.”

The rhinoceros is one of the oldest creatures on earth, one of just two survivors – the other is the elephant – of the megaherbivores that once counted dinosaurs among their number. Scientists believe rhinos have changed little in 40 million years.

The rhino’s unmistakable echo of the prehistoric and the mystery that surrounds such ancient creatures – this is the animal that Marco Polo mistook for a unicorn, describing it as having the feet of an elephant, the head of a wild boar and hair like a buffalo – have always been its nemesis.

As early as the first century AD, Greek traders travelled to the east, where the rhino horn powder they carried was prized as an aphrodisiac. But the rhino survived and, by the beginning of the 20th century, rhino numbers ran into the hundreds of thousands.

They were certainly plentiful in 1915 when the Roosevelts travelled to Africa to hunt. Kermit, the son, observed a rhinoceros ”standing there in the middle of the African plain, deep in prehistoric thought”, to which Theodore the father is quoted as replying: ”Indeed, the rhinoceros does seem like a survival from the elder world that has vanished.”

The Roosevelts then proceeded to shoot them.

Rhinos are epic creatures, gunmetal grey and the second-largest land animal on earth. Up to five metres long and weighing as much as 2700 kilograms, the white rhino, the largest of all rhino species, can live up to 50 years if left to grow old in the wild. In an example of advanced evolutionary adaptability, the black rhino will happily choose from about 220 plant species, eating more than 70 kilograms of plants a day.

These impressive numbers, combined with some of the rhino’s more limiting characteristics – it has very poor eyesight – have added to the myth that surrounds it.

”A slight movement may bring on a rhino charge,” reported nature writer Peter Matthiessen in the 1960s. ”Its poor vision cannot make out what’s moving and its nerves cannot tolerate suspense.”

Thus it was that the rhinoceros became a permanent member of the ”big five”, the roll-call of the most dangerous animals in Africa as defined by professional hunters.

But respect has always been tinged with derision. ”I do not see how the rhinoceros can be permanently preserved,” Theodore Roosevelt is reported as wondering, ”save in very out-of-the-way places or in regular game reserves … the beast’s stupidity, curiosity and truculence make up a combination of qualities which inevitably tend to ensure its destruction.”

In the 1960s, one eminent scientist described the rhinoceros as ”a very pathetic prehistoric creature, quite unable to adapt itself to modern times. It is our duty to save and preserve this short-tempered, prehistorically stupid but nevertheless so immensely lovable creature.”

Such disparaging remarks aside, they were, of course, right to be worried.

We have been here before when it comes to saving the rhino. In 1960, an estimated 100,000 black rhinos roamed across Africa, absent only from tropical rainforests and the Sahara. By 1981, 15,000 remained. In 1995, there were just 2410 left on the continent. In 2006, the western black rhino was declared extinct.

In Kenya, the numbers of black rhino fell from 20,000 at the beginning of the 1970s to 300 within a decade. This catastrophic fall in rhino numbers was the consequence of a poaching slaughter that consumed the country’s wildlife as lucrative ivory and rhino horn was consumed to meet the growing demand in Asia; rhino horn also made its way to the Arabian Peninsula, where it was used to fashion the handles of traditional Yemeni daggers.

It was in Kenya’s south, in the Tsavo National Park, that the war against rhinos reached its nadir – the park’s rhino population fell from 9000 in 1969 to less than 100 in 1980.

Since then, rhino numbers have rebounded thanks to a combination of legal protection – the trade in rhino horn was declared illegal under the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in 1975 – and beefed-up security.

When I visited the Tsavo West Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary three decades after the massacre, I was met by guards in full military fatigues and armed with machineguns. ”These rhinos in here,” one guard told me, ”they receive more protection than many African presidents.”

Kenya’s population of black rhinos grew to about 600, with the continent-wide figure thought to be 10 times that number. Efforts to save the white rhino proved even more successful, with more than 20,000 in South Africa alone. A corner had been turned, it seemed, and the battle to save the rhino was counted among the great conservation success stories of our time.

And then Vietnam acquired a taste for rhino horn.

In 2007, 13 rhinos were killed in South Africa. In the years that followed, the rate of killing grew steadily. From 2007 to 2009, one quarter of Zimbabwe’s 800 rhinos were killed, and Botswana’s rhino population has fallen to just 38. In South Africa, home to 90 per cent of the world’s white rhinos, armed guards patrol the parks.

Even so, 448 rhinos were killed in 2011. The following year, the number rose to 668. In the first 65 days of 2013, poachers killed 146 rhinos. At current rates the figure for this year will be close to 830.

As a result, rhino populations could soon reach a tipping point that may prove difficult to reverse. The rhino death rate will exceed its birth rate within two years on current trends, according to Dr Mike Knight, chairman of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s African Rhino Specialist Group. ”We would then be eating into rhino capital.”

Chief scientist of South Africa’s National Parks Hector Magome agrees: ”If poaching continues, the rhino population will decline significantly by 2016.”

The importance of saving Africa’s black and white rhinos is given added weight by the negligible numbers for the world’s other three surviving rhino species – the almost 3000 Indian rhinos live in highly fragmented populations, while just 220 Sumatran and fewer than 45 Javan rhinos survive. Vietnam’s last population of Javan rhinos was declared extinct in October 2011.

It is proving far easier to quantify the threats faced by Africa’s rhinos than it is to arrest the decline for one simple reason: what worked in the past no longer holds.

The recent upsurge in poaching has taken place in spite of the CITES regime of international legal protection. Security is also tighter than it has ever been.

In South Africa’s Kruger National Park, home to almost half the world’s white rhinos, 650 rangers patrol an area the size of Israel or Wales. This falls well short of the one-ranger-per-10-square-kilometres ratio recommended by international experts, and more than 100 rhinos have already been killed in Kruger this year.

Thus, those charged with saving the rhino are considering radical and hitherto unimaginable solutions. One such approach gaining traction is the controversial plan to legalise the trade in rhino horn, dehorn thousands of rhinos and flood the market with newly legal horns.

Were this to happen, supporters of the proposal say, the price of rhino horn – which reached $65,000 a kilogram in 2012 – would fall, and the incentive for poaching would diminish.

Dehorning has long been opposed by conservationists – rhinos use their horns to defend themselves and while feeding. But the failure of all other methods has convinced some that the time has come to contemplate the unthinkable.

”The current situation is failing,” Dr Duan Biggs, of the University of Queensland and one of the leading advocates for legalising the trade in horns, said recently. ”The longer we wait to put in place a legal trade, the more rhinos we lose.”

Dr Biggs and others point to the legalisation of the trade in crocodile products as an example of how such a plan could work.

Critics counter that any legalisation of the trade in rhino horns is unenforceable. They also argue that lax or ineffective legal controls in Vietnam – where trading in rhino horn is already illegal – and elsewhere ensure that it will be impossible to separate legally obtained rhino horns from those supplied by poachers.

”We don’t think it would stop the poaching crisis,” says Dr Colman O’Criodain, of the World Wildlife Fund. ”We think the legal trade could make it worse.’

The debate about saving rhinos is riddled with apparent contradictions: that we must consider disfiguring rhinos if we are to save them; that rhino numbers have not been this high in half a century but the risk of their extinction has never been greater.

And so it is that the story of the rhinoceros has reached a crossroads. It is a story that pits, on one side, a creature that has adapted to everything millions of years of evolution have thrown at it, against, on the other, the humans that will either drive the species to extinction or take the difficult decisions necessary to save it.

News Link-http://www.theage.com.au/world/no-horn-of-plenty-20130514-2jknt.html#ixzz2TKNlQary

Detroit’s Tiger Cub Photo Represents The Opposite Of Hope For Big Cats

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UPDATE: Since this posting, the Detroit Tigers organization has taken these photos down from its website and Facebook page….

Today is the official opening day for Major League Baseball in America.

For many, the day signifies hope – a new season, a fresh start, a promise of a good year. Millions of fans from all over the nation flock to stadiums to cheer on their favorite baseball heroes. Many of these fans are children who look up to the athletes as role models and emulate their behaviors.

This is why we were especially disappointed to hear that, last Friday (March 29), the Detroit Tigers organization posted photos on its Facebook page of its star players handling a tiger cub at a spring training game.

The photos got so much attention that they were subsequently posted on USA Today’s website.

Undoubtedly, the Tigers, like so many other animal enthusiasts in the U.S., did not realize that cub photo ops represent the very opposite of “hope”.

Not only do the photos send the wrong message that handling a wild big cat and treating it like a “pet” is an acceptable thing to do, and frighteningly, despite the fact that 17 adults and 5 children in the U.S. have been killed and nearly 300 other people have been injured by captive big cats within recent years, many people added comments to the Facebook posting that express enthusiasm for owning a tiger, but these photo op’s also represent less than a hopeful situation for the poor cub.

After all, he was brought to the ballpark by Dade City‘s Wild Things Zoo, a private zoo that shamefully allows the public to swim, bottle feed and cuddle with tiger cubs and has repeatedly been cited by the USDA due to poor veterinary care, improper cub handling, and unacceptable fencing, among other disturbing issues.  

Dozens of U.S. traveling zoos and roadside exhibitors profit from charging the public a fee to pet and pose with tiger cubs and other large big cats.

People don’t realize when they patronize these facilities that they are contributing to a huge public safety and animal welfare problem that exists in the U.S. today.

After the cubs grow too big and dangerous for handling, all too often they could be kept in someone’s backyard; sent to a roadside zoo; bred incessantly to further fuel the cub handling trade, or could even be killed.  

In one notorious incident of severe cruelty, investigators found more than 90 dead tigers, including 58 cubs stuffed into freezers, on the property a self-professed animal “rescuer” who charged admission for people to visit the tigers.

This is why passing the Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act – a nationwide ban on private big cat ownership and breeding that will soon been reintroduced in Congress-is so important.

The Detroit tigers now have a key opportunity to use their national voice to turn this around and pledge that they will, in the future, choose not to pose with tiger cubs because they would never knowingly want to support an industry that thrives off the exploitation of big cats.

This would be a most appropriate way to kick off a season of hope. -TC

For more information about our efforts to protect big cats in captivity, visit our campaign page.

Petition link:-http://www.ifaw.org/united-states/get-involved/support-big-cat-and-public-safety-protection-act

News Link:http://www.ifaw.org/united-states/news/detroits-tiger-cub-photo-represents-opposite-hope-big-cats

“Please note I have the required permission from f IFAW to post news stories.”

CITES Partner Spotlight: INTERPOL’s Project WEB combats online wildlife crime

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“As the CITIES conference comes to the end of its first week, I thought I would just add the video in along with this post. Born Free’s CEO Will Travis, talks about some of the issues raised. Although I can’t believe the bid to halt the polar bear trade, was just swept under the table…WTF… Russia, Canada & the US…really have left the polar bears out in the cold…literally! I’m disgusted with their decision; same goes for the poor manatee!! I can’t wait to see what rubbish they come up with next week, for protecting species round the world; who are just about hanging on with their teeth!! Do the delegates from their respective country, actually know the danger some species are in?? I have my doubts given the first weeks bungles, honestly some of them are about as much use as a chocolate fire guard. Take about 30 of us animal advocates from face book, stick us round a table; & I’m sure we could come up with plans to help those in need!!”

Today saw the launch of the first ever internationally coordinated enforcement investigation into the online ivory trade.

Following the International Fund for Animal Welfare’s (IFAW’s) recommendation and with our support INTERPOL undertook Project WEB, an investigation into the online ivory trade within the EU.

Summing up week one at the CITES meeting in Bangkok

Published on 8 Mar 2013

Will Travers, CEO of Born Free, sums up week one at CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) meeting, covering secret ballots, elephants, rhino, polar bears, manatees and turtles.

The report revealed that there were hundreds of ivory items conservatively valued at approximately EUR 1,450,000 for sale during a two-week period on Internet auction sites in nine European countries.

During this survey of sites by enforcers, more than 660 advertisements for ivory on 61 different auction sites were analysed and as a result of the surveillance, six national and three international investigations were launched in cases where ivory was described as new or where ivory was being traded from abroad.

Project WEB by the numbers:

Estimated €1.45 million worth of ivory

Found in 9 Countries

Across 61 auction websites

In 660 online advertisements

Containing 100s of items made from ivory

Over a 2 week period

Leading to 6 national investigations

And 3 international investigations

This week sees the 16th meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)

The 177 countries that are Party to CITES have already agreed, thanks in part to IFAW’s lobbying efforts, to investigate and prosecute wildlife criminals trading online as well as evaluate or develop their domestic measures to ensure they are sufficient to fight online wildlife crime.

While at least one country has strengthened their legislation to specifically target online wildlife crime and a small number of countries have started to develop strategies for tackling illegal wildlife sales on the internet, many more countries need to deliver on their promise and stamp out online wildlife crime.

Since 2004 IFAW has been highlighting the growing global threat posed by online wildlife crime to endangered wildlife.  A series of IFAW investigations have repeatedly shown that there are thousands of wild animals and wildlife ‘products’, such as ivory, available for sale on the internet all over the world.

Stop The Ivory trade

IFAW has found live primates, big cats, birds and reptiles advertised online while animal parts from rhino’s, elephants, sharks, Tibetan antelopes and sturgeon have also been available to purchase on the internet.

In January 2012, IFAW’s online monitoring found 17,847 ivory products listed on 13 Chinese websites, even though none of these products had the necessary Government approval.

Meanwhile, a four-week investigation in the United Arab Emirates and some neighbouring Arab countries in the same year found 796 adverts featuring live wildlife over 11 websites. None of the adverts had any documentary proof to demonstrate that the sales complied with the law.

In Europe an IFAW investigation in 2011 found a thriving trade in ivory items. The investigation tracked 43 sites in the UK, France, Portugal, Spain and Germany for a two-week period and found 669 advertisements for ivory.

The statistics are disturbing but can be hard to comprehend so let me give you one example that shows the horrors of this illegal trade.

In 2010 a British couple admitted 12 counts of illegally exporting, three of illegally importing, seven of illegally selling and two of illegally possessing specimens under the Customs and Excise Management Act.

The couple in question had been selling animal body parts from owls, a baboon, macaque monkeys, a python, an African penguin, an African lion cub and a Malaysian flying fox.

These items were kept in a store room full of skulls and other animal body parts which, when I saw the pictures, made me think it as a room of death for wildlife.

Highlighting the problem of this trade is an important first step but IFAW has been going one stage further and engaging website companies, law enforcers and Governments in our campaign to stamp out online wildlife crime.

After our 2008 Killing with Keystrokes investigation, where we found ivory was the number one wildlife product being traded online, we encouraged eBay to ban the sale of ivory on their websites and IFAW was very pleased to see them announce this ban in January 2009.

Meanwhile other websites have since followed suit including Alibaba (www.taobao.com) in China, the world’s largest business-to-business and outsource portal site for traders.

However, while banning the sale of wildlife products on websites does restrict unscrupulous traders’ ability to easily profit from these products, there is clearly a need for enforcers to ramp up their efforts.

We have seen traders time and again attempting to disguise their wildlife products to avoid detection by police, customs or website companies such as eBay.

In addition to working with INTERPOL IFAW is working with enforcement agencies across the world to catch online wildlife criminals by sharing the findings of our online investigations, facilitating international enforcement operations and by bringing together website companies and enforcement agencies in order that they can work in partnership in their fight against illegal wildlife sales on the internet.

–TM

Please sign petition:- Take action to help end the trafficking of wildlife online now, click here. 

News Link:-http://www.ifaw.org/united-kingdom/news/cites-partner-spotlight-interpol%E2%80%99s-project-web-combats-online-wildlife-crime

Crackdown Against Poachers In Kaziranga

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Jorhat: A crackdown against poachers is underway by a joint team of Assam police, IRBN and forest guards in Burpahar range of Kaziranga National Park

One Horned Rhino

Armed with sophisticated weapons, the security forces launched the operation at 2 AM today at Kukurakota area of the range, forest department sources said.

A battalion each from the India Reserve Battalion (IRBN) and state police, with 100 personnel of the forest department, including guards, have fanned out in the interior areas of the rhino habitat to net poachers.

Security measures have also been tightened inside and along the park’s boundary to prevent entry and attacks by poachers in the 430 sq kms World Heritage Site situated in Golaghat district of upper Assam, the sources said.

The crackdown was launched in the wake of poaching of eight rhinos in KNP since January this year. Rhino horn is prized for its aphrodisiac properties.

The state government has decided to divide KNP into four divisions under separate divisional forest officers to strengthen the management system and boost operational efficiency.

Shoot-at-sight orders could be considered in the Park to prevent poaching of rhinos and other wild animals, state Minister for Environment and Forest Rockybul Hussain has said.

News Link:-http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/crackdown-against-poachers-in-kaziranga-328936

Rhino reintroduction project

Published on 5 Jul 2012

Kaziranga National Park largely falls within the Brahmaputra River flood plains and gets inundated annually in the rainy season. The floods take a heavy toll on wildlife including rhinos. In addition to death by drowning and displacement on being washed away, increased rhino poaching has also been associated with these floods as the escaping animals are highly vulnerable when they move out of the park in search of higher ground.

WTI-IFAW‘s Rhino Rehabilitation Project aims to gradually repopulate rhinos in Manas, by relocating and rehabilitating orphaned or displaced hand-raised rhinos from Kaziranga National Park. This effort is supported by the Bodoland Territorial Council and the Assam Forest Department.This clip documents the process of the reintroduction of the displaced rhinos. 

For more details please visit:
http://www.wti.org.in/project-in-focu…
and go to:
http://www.wildlifetrustofindia.org/p… 
for update on flood that has hit Kaziranga this year as well

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