Posts Tagged With: Thailand

The History of Rhino Poaching

To think an animal’s body part is worth its weight in gold is mind-blowing to say the least. So how did this lucrative practice begin? Who decided a rhinoceros horn is the key to solving all ailments?

17th century rhino horn cups

17th century Chinese cups carved from rhino horn

In Greek mythology, rhino horns were said to possess the ability to purify water. The Persians from the 5th century BC used carved vessels from horn to detect poisoned liquids. This belief stuck and existed well into the 18th and 19th centuries among European royalty.

Between  100 BC and 200 AD during the Ming and Ching dynasties, the Chinese thought the same. They used the horn in carvings of plates, bowls and cups. The cups being especially prized to detect alkaloid poisoning, something that was treacherously common at the time.

dagger

Traditional Yemen dagger

Reports of Yemens’ use of the horn dates back to the 8th century. Although their fondness of horn is preferred in decorative use as opposed to medicinal. It is fashioned into ceremonial dagger handles known as jambiyas . This is a status symbol for young men. It epitomizes manhood. The quality of the horn was important because it possesses a translucent quality, that only improves with age.

The use of the horn for medicinal purposes was recorded as early as 1597, in the Chinese “Pen Ts’ao Kang Mu”.  In it there are mentions such as “the best horn is from a freshly killed male” and “pregnant women should not take horn as it will kill the foetus”. It also lists the many uses of horn ranging from stopping nightmares and curing possessions to curing headaches and dissolving phlegm.

rhino horn medicine

Chinese “medicine” made from horn

In earlier time it was not just the horn, but also blood, and urine used for medicine. This was a commonality of the Chinese, Burmese, Thai, and Nepalis.

In the early 1980s, it was even used as an aphrodisiac by the people of India. This myth probably stems from the fact that breeding pairs stay together for two to three days, and sometimes even weeks. Mating takes place several times a day and lasts for an hour or more at a time.

rhinos mating 2The earliest reports of horn trade (in addition to tortoise shell and ivory) were reported as leaving ancient East Africa for Arabia in 50 AD.

Throughout the history of trade, various countries have been involved: Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Yemen, China, Hong Kong, Sumatra, Singapore, Thailand, Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa are the most prominent. Various efforts have been made in these countries to legalize and/or ban the trade as well.

What is the most interesting point in the history of the horn trade is that during times horn could be legally traded, illegal trade still flourished.

Thirty species of rhino once roamed the planet. Now  thousands of years later, there remain just five. Human greed, consumption and ignorance have cost the rhino. They are teetering on the brink of extinction. Will history teach us nothing?

rhino cave painting

Chauvet cave, France- rhino cave painting dating back 30,000 BP (before present time recordings).

Information obtained from TRAFFIC and Richard Ellis: Poaching for Traditional Chinese Medicine

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March On..

4 October 2014

Saturday is THE day. I truly hope you will ALL be marching. It requires a small amount of time and effort, but worth every second and ounce. We owe this to our planet, our future, our animals.

Times, cities, and exact locations are available at march4elephantsandrhinos.org

          “There are two ways of spreading light…to be the candle or be the mirror that reflect it.”

mom and baby white in grass

“The revolution is not the apple that falls when it’s ripe, you have to make it fall”

elephant with baby

 “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetuate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it, is really cooperating with it.”

global march NOW

 

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CITES Recap on Rhino

Another CITES meeting has come and gone. So what does it mean for rhinos?

rhino in grass

In 2013 Vietnam and Mozambique were directed to strengthen their efforts on poaching and the trade of rhino horn.

Vietnam

Vietnam’s report to CITES, indicates they are taking steps to improve the situation, including initiating a rhinoceros horn demand reduction programme and tweaking their laws and regulations.

According to CITES,  “It is evident that Vietnam has managed to set in motion a political momentum to combat illegal wildlife trade, which has significantly contributed to tangible progress in its efforts to implement measures to combat illegal rhinoceros horn trade more effectively.”

Although encouraging, according to Save the Rhino, one area of concern is the limited custodial sentences for trafficking rhino horn, which they have acknowledged is an area for improvement. Heavy sentencing is a crucial deterrent to those involved in rhino horn trafficking.

confiscated horns

In March, Vietnam Deputy Minister Ha Cong Tuan stated they were considering destroying it’s storage of horns.

Mozambique

Mozambique, according to their own reports, had a notable increase in arrests and fines. They have also stated they have provided new equipment to field rangers, resettlement of villages close to the border with the Kruger National Park, established an “Intensive Protection Zone” along the length of the border with the Park, and increased cross border co-operation.

In addition they have signed the MOU (memorandum of understanding) with South Africa.

These statements beg further explanation. The villages “close to the border” are where the area known as “Poachers Alley” exists. And the protection zone- is it for protection of rhinos or poachers?

CITES is urging Mozambique to develop a national rhino horn action plan, with time-frames and milestones, and submit this to the CITES Secretariat by 8 August 2014.  According to reports, Europe and the US are ready to issue sanctions if necessary.

As the Environmental Investigation Agency has recently indicated in its petition to President Obama,  

“Available evidence indicates that Mozambican nationals constitute the highest number of foreign arrests for poaching in South Africa. Organized crime syndicates based in Mozambique are driving large-scale illegal trade in rhino horn and elephant ivory”

carvalho_muaria_mozambique

Moz Minister of Tourism, Carvalho Muaria, signs the MOU with South Africa.

China

The CITES report does not indicate anything with China regarding rhino horn trade.

But China was allegedly, vehemently complaining about the necessity of reporting its status to CITES.  In addition for the first time, they admitted to using Tiger parts (well only some of them). A Chinese delegate said, “we don’t ban trade in tiger skins but we do ban trade in tiger bones”.

There was also no mention of Thailand or Hong Kong.

For more:  the CITES working group rhino report

 

 

 

 

 

 

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To Market

What happens AFTER a rhino is poached?

rhino horn timetable

via WWF

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Be Wary Animal Lovers

Tourism is helping save wildlife. That’s what we’re told. If this is true, where you spend your next holiday could be the most important decision you make, the world is counting on you.

Cuddling baby lions sound endearing? As cute and cuddly as they seem , you might as well shoot them. This is the first part of the circle of “life” for lions in canned hunts. The cubs are used to entice you there, and ultimately to use your money to help fund the whole operation You feed them, hold and coddle them, sometimes even bottle feed. But ask yourself “Where’s mom?”  (For more on canned hunts, see: Shooting Fish in a Barrel)

lion cubs in cageElephant rides? Not unless you enjoy knowing they are beaten, starved and tortured in order to “train” them to comply. What about the sweet baby elephants rolling on the beach, splashing in the waves? Surely they are enjoying themselves. Sadly no. Once again ask “Where’s mom?” They are torn from their families and enslaved in the name of entertainment. (For more, see: The Dark Side of Thailand Tourism)

elephant trainingA photograph next to a tame tiger in a buddhist temple? Buddhist monks must be peaceful and enlightened. Here tourists unknowingly play into the larger exploitive scheme of the illegal tiger trade. Slight of hand, babies coming and going, tigers seeming drugged, lethargic and often in need of medical help-all part of the famous “Tiger Temple”. Ask yourself “What tiger in the world would willingly let you pet him, let alone get anywhere near him?”  (See: The Tiger Temple…)

chained tiger 2A family trip to Sea World…if you haven’t seen Blackfish, please watch. Psychosis, food depravity, stolen from their families is just a part of the torture the Orcas are subjected to.

Bottom line: please educate yourself on where you’re going. If something doesn’t seem natural for an animal, it’s probably not! Don’t give your hard earned money to people who torture or enslave them.

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Mali: a Symbol of Both Cruelty and Hope

Mali.  She is the lonely elephant who has spent every day for 35 years in a concrete enclosure at the Manila Zoo. (See previous: https://fightforrhinos.wordpress.com/2013/03/12/mali/) Suffering  from severe foot problems, an effect of the constant concrete beneath her, and severe depression, she has a new home available. There has been a place secured for her at a sanctuary in Thailand. So what IS the holdup?mali the ele

Veterinary and wildlife experts have assessed her condition and deemed it necessary and appropriate for her move. Foot problems for elephants is the leading cause for their death in captivity. In addition she exhibits signs of severe stress and mental suffering from her isolation.

The campaign to free Mali has been going on for sometime now. It has picked up momentum, with both celebrities and average citizens alike joining the movement. It seems purely political at this point. The Zoo and Filipino government seem to be digging in their heels by constantly finding ways to stall the move.

Mali’s suffering has brought much-needed attention to the fragile condition of elephants in captivity, and will hopefully set precedence for the lives of the many others who are in the same situation as this gentle soul.

Mali’s Life for the last 35 years: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2267223/Mali-Manila-Zoo-Campaigners-demand-worlds-loneliest-elephant-sent-Thailand-friends.html

Please help Mali and other elephants. Keep the pressure on.
FREE MALI: http://action.petaasiapacific.com/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=110&ea.campaign.id=18057

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The Dark Side of Thailand Tourism

Vacation time! Animal lovers the world over choose their travel destinations to include up-close and personal wildlife experiences. There are plenty of options. Today it is important more than ever to be  educated and vigilant about what our tourism money is funding.

Thailand- Tourists come to Thailand for the opportunity of close encounters with the elephants. Cute baby elephants on the beach, riding baby ele on beachelephants through the trees, getting photos taken with them for vacation memories to display on the mantel at home. Yet this image of the gentle giants is cruelly deceptive. Some places even hide behind the guise of being sanctuaries or conservancies leaving people with the impression they are in fact helping the animals.

The Thai tourism industry is actually fueling the illegal trade in baby elephants and is responsible for the death and diminishing numbers of their species. Taken from the wild in Burma, they are beaten, starved and tortured with the intention of breaking their spirits in order to remain docile for the tourists.riding eles

At least 50-100 babies are ripped away from their families every year. It is estimated that for every calf taken, there are 5 adult females and adolescent elephants from the baby’s immediate family who are slaughtered-gunned down in cold blood-so the baby can be easily taken.

They are “trained” to “play” with the tourists on the beach or in the water, provide rides, perform tricks, and are even dressed in ridiculous outfits to humanize them. This takes place in resorts. One resort “The Golden Triangle Elephant Camp and Resort” who claims to help with elephant conservation,  advertises the opportunity to learn to “drive” an elephant or for a little extra you can learn how to be a mahout trainee and command them. Then there’s always elephant yoga.street ele

It’s not just the resorts. Babies are also being used by individuals in the city. They are forced by their owners to live and work in an urban environment, roaming the streets begging tourists for money. They teach the babies tricks, give photo opportunities, and even sell over priced fruit to passers-by so they may feed the animals.

Elephants are not designed for concrete jungles. This is why in zoos and in the situation of city living, they suffer from foot problems, sunstroke, dehydration, gastric and respiratory problems. In addition, there is always the complication of traffic; at one point there were up to 20 elephants a month being involved in traffic accidents. There are many who simply collapse on the street, and one even fell into a manhole.

So how do you know if  a resort is safe or animal friendly? Bottom line-if what the elephants are doing is not something they do in the wild, it’s wrong. They do not provide rides for anyone, or paint or do tricks or pose for photos. By giving these people your money, you might as well be holding the bullhook that beats the animals into submission. Please be aware of where you go and keep the elephants safe.

elephant training

Typical elephant training to break their spirits and “tame” them.

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Imagine Being Hunted for Your Fingernails!

FACT: Rhino horn is made of keratin-the same as our fingernails and toenails.

FACT: Rhino horn does NOT cure cancer, headaches, fever, or any other  disease or condition.

FACT: 377 rhinos have been killed this year alone for their horns.

FACT: Rhinos are critically endangered and at the current rate may be extinct by 2016.

To greatly urge CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) to toughen up their stance on poaching, and to enact trade sanctions on countries responsible for international wildlife crimes  ( i.e Vietnam, Cameroon, China, Thailand), we are making a statement.

A campaign has begun to save your nail clippings and send them in to be transformed into a giant horn to present to CITES at their next convention. It may seem a bit outrageous, but no more outrageous than killing rhino for the very same thing! It costs nothing but a stamp, but the impact will be great. Strength in numbers!

Here is the information available on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/232190370252981/

You have until the end of August-start saving them up. Ask your friends to do the same. Raise awareness for the rhinos! Please take a stand!

rhino with horn

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The Tiger Temple: a Disgrace to Buddha

*”Phayru was a very gracious Tiger. He would chuff and lovingly greet most people in spite of his obvious suffering. I watched this tiger try so hard to be exceptionally well behaved for the TSW, and just as I smiled with adoration at his behavior, the remorseless pain of shock and horror gripped my heart again as another violent scene began to play out before my eyes.
Phayru chuffed to the TSW and was doing everything that he was supposed to do when people are near. He showed no sign or display of aggression or negative behavior towards the TSW, just chuffs and obedience. Despite this good behavior, the TSW began yelling and raising his stick, Phayru backed off showing fear and confusion. This visual change of the expression on Phayru’s face was mortifying. The TSW hit Phayru’s genitals hard and yelled at him to move while pointing to a much smaller cell not much bigger then Phayru himself. As Phayru cowered and turned to the small cage I saw his genital and anus area was abnormal and swollen with excretions of blood and pus oozing from everywhere. He was moaning and trying to move quickly to the small cage while the TSW continued to hit him on his genitals. He continued to moan and flinched so much with every hit and was looking up at the TSW with such confusion and with what I can only describe as desperate pleading expression as if to say “Why”?……

The Buddhist religion has long been known for enlightenment and peace. The “live and let live” mentality, never killing or hurting another sentient being, the theme of reincarnation and karma is familiar.  Of course like most religions, there is contradiction.

“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.”-buddhism teaching

In Kanchanaburi, Thailand is the Buddhist temple better known as the “Tiger Temple”. Here the monks “bread and butter” comes from there supposedly peaceful relationship with the tigers. For twenty bucks, the  tourists can have their picture children on tigertaken next to a “tame” tiger. For a little extra, you can sit on the tiger’s back for the photo.

Are they “tame”? Of course not. They are chained up, and although not proven, suspicion is they are drugged. They are seemingly very sedate, low energy, and depressed. Even if drugs were not used, their care is questionable.

“Buddhism regards all living creatures as being endowed with the Buddha nature and the potential to become Buddhas. That’s why Buddhism teaches us to refrain from killing and to liberate creatures instead.”~ Venerable Master Hsuan Hua

The Temple claims to be there for the rehabilitation and repopulation of the species. To the temple’s critics, however, that population growth is a problem, chiefly because they say the temple is employing tactics which are illegal. A controversial report released in 2008 by Care for the Wild International (CWI) concluded:

Although the Tiger Temple may have begun as a rescue centre for tigers, it has become a breeding centre to produce and keep tigers solely for the tourists and therefore the Temple’s benefit. Illegal international trafficking helps to maintain the Temples’ captive tiger population. There is no possibility of the Temples’ breeding programme contributing to the conservation of the species in the wild..

The report also writes the tigers are at risk of malnourishment and are routinely handled too roughly by staff. The temple has denied wrongdoing or mistreatment of the animals.

“One is not a great one because one defeats or harms other living beings. One is so called because one refrains from defeating or harming other living beings.”-Buddha

chained tigerIt’s estimated that a century ago there were over 100,000 tigers in the world. Today the population has dwindled to between 3,000 and 3,500 – a decline of over 95 per cent. The Tiger trade is a lucrative business and the Temple is a part of it.

Be aware when you travel. Educate yourself, and if you are visiting an area where animals are present, question how they’re treated. Your tourist dollars could well be the difference between their benefit and detriment.

Read more: http://science.time.com/2010/09/21/too-close-for-comfort-thailands-tiger-temple/#ixzz2PoXnciPb

For more information on Pharyu and the Temple Tigers please see: https://www.facebook.com/BehindtheCloakBuddha

 

 

 

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Mali

Elephants are extremely social creatures. They form groups, and sometimes join up with other herds. The females stay together, raising each others young and communicate constantly with one another. Female asian elephants are never alone in the wild.

Mali reaching out for companionship.

Mali reaching out for companionship.

Manilla Zoo, Philippines  Mali is the only Asian Elephant in the zoo. In fact she is the only elephant in captivity in the Philippines. The 38-year-old gentle giant has been an occupant of the zoo since she was taken from her mother at the age of 3,  spending all of her life in a concrete enclosure.

After capturing the attention of concerned citizens, an animal rights group was contacted and Dr. Mel Richardson, a veterinarian and expert on elephants,  was sent to evaluate Mali. His findings expressed concerns both for her physical and mental health.

Mali’s feet (which have only known the feel of concrete) are showing ailments including cracked nails, overgrown cuticles, and cracked pads. Such foot problems are the leading cause of death in captive elephants. The zoos veterinarians admit they do not have the means to properly care for her feet.

Perhaps even more importantly, Dr. Richardson expressed extreme concern for her profound loneliness. ” Mali’s social and psychological needs are being neglected at the Manila Zoo. Even the best intentions … cannot replace these needs, which can only be met by the companionship of other elephants.” He concludes, “In my experience, even elephants who have been alone for more than 20 years integrate well with other elephants when moved to a sanctuary.”

Mali's "home" for the last 30 years.

Mali’s “home” for the last 30 years.

There is a place available for Mali at an elephant sanctuary in Thailand. She could feel the grass beneath her tired feet, wrap her trunk around other trunks, greeting other elephants for the first time in her life. After a lifetime of solitary confinement, isn’t it time she lived as she was meant to?

There has been an outpouring of support for this magnificent lady. Everyone from PETA to Dame Daphne Sheldrick has lent a voice to the effort to move her. Yet the officials of the Manilla Zoo have resisted, saying she is home and they are her family.

There is a place available for Mali at an elephant sanctuary in Thailand.  After a lifetime of solitary confinement, Mali could finally feel the grass beneath her feet, wrap her trunk around other trunks, and greet a family for the first time in her life. Please join in the fight to give Mali the life she deserves.  Go to Free Mali on facebook.

Mali holding tail

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