Posts Tagged With: Endangered species

Quirky Companions

TBILISI, Georgia (AP) — Animals in the zoo in Georgia’s capital are not allowed to be lonely, even if it means they end up with rather unusual companions.

A female rhinoceros called Manuela has made friends with donkeys, after failing to hit it off with either zebras or goats, while a lion cub neglected by his mother has bonded with a puppy.

Tbilisi Zoo spokeswoman Mzia Sharashidze said Manuela got depressed after the death of her mate and became aggressive toward her caretakers. They tried putting zebras in her enclosure, but they only returned the aggression. Then they tried goats, which ran away.

But the donkeys had an instant calming effect.

Misha Dzhindzhikhashvili Associated Press

rhino donkey 1

rhino donkey 2

 

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Status Quo of the Rhino

Rhino bought,rhino sold
with promise of cure
to the wealthy and old.
Rhino hunted,poached rhino in kruger
rhino displayed
for trophies on walls,
for tour operators to be paid.
Poisoned, tagged,
stripped of horn
Under surveillance and guard
from the moment they’re born.
To trade, to hunt,
to farm, to breed
Oh the shame of it all
humanity’s greed.
Ranger vs poacher,
politican vs NGO-
fighting in the bush,
fighting the status quo.
Drones and poison,
armies, shoot-to-kill;
Is this enough
to fight a government with no political will?
By: Tisha Wardlow

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Be Their Voice!

help me

Please take a couple minutes to peruse the following petitions. Sign and share, and share and share…our rhinos are counting on us. If you already have, THANK YOU, please share again.

Save the White Rhino by listing them on the CITES Appendix I

IUCN-Change the status of the White Rhino from threatened to endangered

rhino sunset goddbye

 

Petition to the Environmental authorities of AUSTRIA

Petition to the Environmental authorities of BELGIUM

Petition to the Environmental authorities of the UNITED STATES

Petition to the Environmental authorities of the UNITED KINGDOM

Petition to the Environmental authorities of GERMANY

Petition to the Environmental authorities of ITALY

Grace Mandela- help us save the rhino of South Africa

Saving rhinos is a global responsibility, please be sure to sign them all, even if it is not your own country.

Ban Endangered african animal trophy imports from Namibia

No coal mine near our Rhinos

makes a difference!

 

 

 

 

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Candle in the Dark: Hope in China

China – the mere mention of the country sets animal lovers on edge. It’s no secret they bear a huge responsibility for the demand of horn and ivory, paving the destruction of rhinos and elephants, among other animals.

But there is reason to hope. The animal welfare movement is alive and well in China. The younger generation is aware, and becoming less tolerant of cruelty toward animals. With increasing attention from social media, animal protection issues are pushing to the public forefront.

chinese activists

Activists protest dog and cat meat industry.

The past couple of years, Chinese animal welfare advocates have

* banned the U.S. rodeo from entering Beijing
*demonstrated against the import of seal parts from Canada *
*ended barbaric live animal feeding in zoos
*prevented the construction of a foie gras factory
*rescued thousands of dogs and cats from the meat trade
*made stricter terms on harming endangered species(anyone who eats endangered species, or buys them for other purposes, is punishable by up to 10 years in jail)

In addition China is home to 50 million vegetarians and vegans, according to Peta.

Social media was responsible for alerting volunteers to intercept this truck filled with dogs bound for slaughter.

Social media was responsible for alerting volunteers to intercept this truck filled with dogs bound for slaughter.

The New York Times reports that revulsion at animal abuse is growing, and citizens have been taking matters into their own hands, rescuing dogs and cats from slaughter, and  banding together to lobby government for animal protection laws.

China has some laws protecting endangered species of wild animals, but no protection for other animals within the country.

A proposed draft of China’s first comprehensive animal welfare law, the China Animal Protection Law, was issued in September 2009, according to Xinhua, the state news agency. It has yet to become law.

Some of the organizations currently working in China, and with the government trying to change current laws are Animals Asia, Peta Asia, and Chinese Animal Protection Network.

According to Animals Asia, “After more than 20 years working in China, we know how fast things can change – and we know already from working with various government departments in Beijing and Sichuan Province, that there is definitely a growing recognition and sympathy towards the issue of animal welfare generally which did not exist 10 years ago.”

Yao Ming's shark protection campaign helped reduce fin demand by 90%

Yao Ming’s shark protection campaign helped reduce fin demand by 90%

No doubt that social media and celebrity endorsements are helping the movement along. Jackie Chan, Yao Ming, and pop singer Yu Kewei, artist Ai Weiwei, and actress Sun Li are actively campaigning against bear bile farms, rhino horn and elephant tusk use, and other endangered species slaughter.

China has lagged behind the most progressive nations in animal protection legislation for more than 180 years. But their time is coming. Realistically it has been and will continue to be slow, as younger generations push back against the older generation, more set in their ways.

 As a  Korean animal rights activist Sung Su Kim puts it:

“Culture has often been used as an excuse to turn away from suffering, and people in both Asia and the West often use cultural relativism to soothe their conscience for doing nothing”.

“Surely we want to regard various practices in our history (such as slavery and cannibalism) as something to be rid of rather than treat them as ‘culture’ and demand respect accordingly.”

jacki rhino ad

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There is No Right Way to Do the Wrong Thing

 

 

Karen Trendler’s lecture at the OSCAP (Outraged South Africa Citizens Against Poaching) conference

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Which is Your Favorite Rhino?

rhino sizes 45 species of rhinos used to exist in the world, dating back 50 million years. Today there are 5 remaining species. They are all endangered.

Indian Rhino

Indian or Greater one-horned Rhino

The largest is the Indian or Greater one-horned Rhino.  Living in India and Nepal, they are the “big guys”  in the Asian group, rivaling only the White Rhino for size; about 2 meters high and weighing in at 1800 to 2700 kg. They live near bodies of water, and are actually very good swimmers and can run up to 40mph (64 km) Both species of Asian rhinos use their incisors, not their horns, to defend themselves.

Javan Rhino

Javan Rhino

The Javan (or lesser one-horned rhino) is the “little brother” of the Asian rhinos. They are 1.4-1.7 meters high, weighing in at 900-2300kg, similar in size to the Black Rhinos of Africa. There are only approximately 37-44 left in Indonesia. They are the least vocal of the 5 species, and highly dependent on the forests for their survival.

black rhino 3

Black Rhino

Black rhinos are one of two species found in Africa, they are the slighter smaller, shyer and more aggressive than the White Rhinos. They are approximately 1.6 meters tall, the males weigh in at 1350 kg, while the females are about 900kg. They can be quick- running up to 34mph (55km) an hour. Like their White cousin, they are often seen with Oxpeckers on them; the birds remove ticks and parasites, helping keep them clean.

White Rhino

White Rhino

White Rhinos are the “big guys” on the African savanna, 1.5-1.8 meters high, they weigh in at 1800-3000 kg. They are distinct from the black rhinos, as they have a square head, which is lower to the ground. Unlike  other rhino species, they do not have a prehensile hooked lip for browsing and picking at bushes and branches,  instead they are built for grazing. They are the more docile of the two African species.

Sumatran Rhino

Sumatran Rhino (by: Johannes Pfleiderer)

Sumatrans have been on earth longer than any living mammal, but sadly there are less than 100 left. Living in parts of Borneo and Sumatra, they are the smallest of all the rhino species (1-1.5 meters high, weighing just 600-950kg). They have a unique reddish-brown coloring, with bristly hair. They are the most vocal of all rhinos, and quite agile, able to climb mountains and maneuver steep riverbanks.

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When the Buying Stops…

 

The Killing Will Too!!!

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The Writing on the Wall

“There is another menacing storm heading south through Africa and the first ominous drops of blood fell on SA soil this week. ” -Will Fowlds

With poaching taking its toll  on 383 rhinos so far this year, South Africa is not new to the epidemic. But with rhino horn worth twenty times more than ivory, elephants haven’t been poached in the country for a decade… until now.
elephant with sun

In 2012 there were 16,700 elephants in Kruger National Park.

On Thursday, rangers found the dead bull elephant with missing tusks. They noted four sets of footprints leaving the park headed toward Mozambique.
Unfortunately this would be just “one more elephant” if it were Zimbabwe or Mozambique. But with the start of it in SA, this is devastating news. Proof of things to come.
“We have been alarmed about the elephant poaching happening in Central Africa and its more recent spread and escalation into East Africa and then Southern Africa. This latest news from Kruger National Park seems to prove that nowhere is safe and we need to respond strongly.”  -Jo Shaw, rhino program manager at WWF in Cape Town.
It is time for South Africa to strengthen its political will toward poaching of its wildlife. A no tolerance position is the only way to save Africa’s elephants and rhinos.
william fowlds

Dr. WIlliam Fowlds

 As Will Fowlds stated,
“If we don’t do more, the inevitable is coming our way. And they won’t stop at elephant either. With so many great initiatives growing in SA, we do have the ability to reverse this crisis. More protection, more education & demand reduction, more rescue & more political will.”
Please sign and share: STOP RHINO POACHING IN SOUTH AFRICA

 

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Breeding in a War Zone

Each day, 3 rhinos and 100 elephants lose their lives to poaching. It’s a tragedy of global proportion, threatening the future of both species. But poaching is also having dire effects on the living populations.

Rhinos

*Female rhinos reach sexual maturity at 6-7 years old, and males at 10-12 years old.
*Gestation is 16 months
*Babies stay with mom for 2-4 years

So any given rhino then needs minimally 10 years to successfully reproduce another rhino.

rhino courtship

During courtship, the female chases the male, vocalizing, the pair can become quite aggressive fighting and wrestling before copulation.

Elephants

*Female elephants reach sexual maturity at 12-16 years old, and males at 10 years old.
*Gestation is 2 years
*Babies stay with mom for 3 years

Any given elephant needs a minimum of 17 years to successfully reproduce another elephant.

elephants courting

Elephants do not choose one mate for life. Their courtships are brief, but affectionate, using gentle nuzzles and gestures.

Breeding During the Poaching Crisis

This means in the midst of widespread poaching, we must assume there ARE rhinos and elephants left  of appropriate age to mate; and that the mother is not killed before giving birth or while nursing.

In rhinos and elephants,  the females mate only after a baby is independent of them (avg of 3 years), but in areas with more prevalent poaching, the animals are stressed. This stress causes them to mate even less often.

Genetic Diversity (Survival of the Fittest)

With tusks and horns worth their weight in gold, a poacher’s goal is the largest tusks and horns he can get his greedy hands on.

The issue with this, is that generally the animals with the largest horns/tusks are also the most genetically strong within their species. Nature has a way of assuring a species’ survival.  When the strongest members of a species are removed, the remaining species will procreate, BUT with “lesser”, substandard genes.

It is too early to be sure of the exact effect this will have on the surviving rhinos and elephants, but surely there will be a consequence.

elephant group in Addo Elephant National Park

Elephant herd in Addo Elephant National Park.

Current Effect

The social hierarchy in elephants is complex and intricate. In a herd, the matriarchs (the oldest adult females) are the glue that hold the group together. They are the leaders, and the backbone. They are also the ones with the largest tusks. Without them, the youngest elephants are vulnerable, and the overall direction and cohesion of the group is lost.

In Secrets of the Savanna, Mark and Delia Owens noted in the Luangwa area, before the onslaught of poaching, elephants did not ovulate until 16 years of age.  Yet after the poaching crisis, females were reproducing at half that age.

In addition, their research indicated that elephants in normal, unstressed populations partook in  allomothering (care given by female relatives other than the mother) which greatly enhanced calf survival, and taught the adolescent females mothering skills. In fractured groups with lesser experienced females, this is not the case.

Nature has an uncanny way of handling adaptation. In high-frequency poaching areas, some groups were also being born tuskless.

Unlike elephants, rhinos don’t have the complex social structure. Therefore, when poaching occurs of a mother, the baby is immediately orphaned, and unless humans step-in, has no chance of survival.

A mother and child rhino pause briefly before crossing the track.

Rhino mother & baby in Leopard Hills Reserve.

Our majestic pachyderms don’t breed like dogs and cats. With only one birth every few years, and multiple deaths on a daily basis, the odds are stacked against them. So while our fight to stop poaching is to prevent death, it is mutually to encourage life.

 

o reconnect elephants’ natural migratory routes links protected areas together by creating habitat corridors,

 

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Pay to Play

There are two sides to every story, and two sides to the lives of animals in the tourism industry. Many of the baby animals we find so irresistibly adorable and pettable, live a life or torment.

petting lion cub 2

This is the canned hunting industry.

The opportunity to pet, hold, bottle feed, and play with cute orphan lion cubs sounds irresistible to animal lovers.

Captive lion cub 2

Farmed cubs often show signs of stress like hair falling out and diarrhea.

Well-meaning visitors pay big bucks for the privilege of “helping rear motherless cubs.”  Many of these people are led to believe they are playing a part in conservation efforts, that these little tykes will live to be returned to the savanna one day.

But the reality is much darker. Shortly after birth, the babies are taken from their mothers, causing extreme stress to the cubs and the mother alike. This is done to facilitate immediate breeding again for the mother.

Unlike in the wild when lionesses produce a litter every 2-3 years, in the lion “industry”, they are forced to produce 2-3 litters a year!

Once the “cute factor” has worn off and they become a bit larger, they either move on to the next stage of the tourism industry-walking with tourists, or go straight to the breeding stage to perpetuate the cycle.

canned hunting overcrowded

Overcrowded enclosure on captive lion farm.

Finally, the females are used for continuous breeding (no different from puppy mills). The males are catalogued-their photos taken and displayed in a brochure or in an online list for hunters to choose from. They spend their final moments in small, crowded enclosures awaiting their death.

Is this conservation? Is this how the most majestic creature in Africa meant to live?

With lion numbers in severe decline from habitat loss, disease, and hunting, they should be afforded protection, not treated as a commodity.

Please note, there ARE genuine sanctuaries dedicated to the protection and conservation of the species. NONE of them allow the perpetuating of the species for human entertainment (i.e. petting, picture-taking, hunting).

Please read, sign and share the following petition: President Zuma: Banned Canned Hunting

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