Posts Tagged With: tiger

A tragedy larger than Harambe

harambe zinci zoo

Harambe, Cincinnati Zoo

A silverback gorilla, a toddler, and a decision to be made. The untimely demise of Harambe is stirring debate across the country.

Forced to act quickly, the zoo’s response team was in an unenviable position. Animal behavior is unpredictable, they’re wild. But so are people.

In 1996 at the Brookfield Zoo a toddler fell into the gorilla exhibit, in 1999 a man was found dead with a killer whale at Sea World, in 2009 a woman jumped into the polar bear enclosure at the Berlin Zoo, in 2012 a toddler fell into an African Wild Dog enclosure; the list goes on.

It makes you wonder, should enclosures be made to keep animals in? Or to keep people out?

Since 1990, animals died during escapes or attacks 42 times in U.S. zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, 15 zoo incidents resulted in the loss of human life, and 110 resulted in injury according to Born Free, USA.

gugu panda

Gugu the Panda @Beijing Zoo

People entering enclosures range from “accidental” like the toddler in the Brookfield Zoo and the current case with Harambe, to suicidal, and downright deranged. The Beijing Zoo has had multiple occasions of people entering  Gugu the Panda’s exhibit to “hug” him. He’s bitten them every time, but it hasn’t seemed to stop the incidents.

So what is the point in zoos? Do they contribute to conservation? Spark appreciation? Or are they outdated and unnecessary?

When bringing my son to the zoo, we would meander from one exhibit to another, observing the animals; discussing each one, explaining their habits, their likes and quirks. We bonded over our love for animals. He learned appreciation, respect, and the connections all of us as living beings have in the world.

In the age of cell phones, selfies, and convenience, are zoos an insignificant place where the awe and wonder of animals are taken for granted? Is conservation just a trend on twitter? What is more endangered, the animals or our empathy and connection with our world?

phily zoo 1874

The oldest zoo in America is the Philadelphia zoo, opened in 1874. The first animal was a raven.

 

 

 

 

Categories: Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Nepal: What’s Their Secret?

What do conservationists dream of? What would non-profit groups like more than anything? To find a new line of work because poaching is no longer a threat.

Nepal has claimed to have accomplished just that. For 365 days, there has not been one tiger, rhino or elephant killed via poaching. In 2012 only one rhino was lost, and in 2011 there were no animals lost.  It seems almost too good to be true.

The Tiger population has increased over the last four years from 121 to 198; and in a 2011 census rhinos have increased from 425 to 534. 

You can’t argue with the numbers. So what is Nepal doing differently?

Conservation Ethic 

Nepal youth gather to support anti-poaching. (WWF)

Nepal youth gather to support anti-poaching. (WWF)

There has been collaboration on all fronts.

Through community education and incentives, the people have learned to appreciate and value the wildlife. 50 cents per dollar of tourism actually goes straight to the people. This financial benefit makes the rhino, tiger and elephant more valuable ALIVE.

In addition, it gives the people a sense of pride and ownership over their wildlife, which in itself serves as a deterrent to poaching within the community. No man wants to be known as the one who took away money from his village by poaching.

Zero Tolerance

Nepal has put more rangers on the ground. Today, according to BBC, at least a thousand Nepalese soldiers patrol Chitwan from more than 40 posts. But perhaps most importantly the government has empowered those rangers.

Nepalese wildlife rangers track a radio-collared rhino. (Nat Geographic)

Nepalese wildlife rangers track a radio-collared rhino. (Nat Geographic)

According to John Sellar, an organized crime consultant,

“Nepal’s forest law empowers district forest officers and chief wildlife wardens to deal with offenders and impose prison sentences of up to 14 or 15 years.

“Whilst this scenario might seem at odds with other judicial systems,” Sellar says, “probably its greatest advantage is that it means that any poacher who is caught can expect to be dealt with much quicker than in other countries suffering high levels of poaching, where court systems regularly have lengthy backlogs and where, currently, insufficient deterrence is present.”

Strong Leadership and Cooperation

Nepal’s prime minister chairs the national wildlife crime control bureau. The government also has positive partnerships with WWF, National Trust for Nature Conservation, and has been supportive of the Global Tiger Initiative.

Nepal is the poster country for what’s working. Being sandwiched between wildlife trafficking giants China and India, this is no small feat. Surely South Africa and other countries can learn from them.

“We all do better when we work together. Our differences do matter, but our common humanity matters more.” -Bill Clinton

tiger rhino

 

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Prince William: Poaching Gets Attention from the Royals

Prince William has been throwing his royal weight behind endangered species. He’s pleading with the public to put an end to illegal trade. He has warned that his generation will be the first to regard elephants, rhinos and tigers as “historical creatures in the same category as the dodo”.

Taking part in The End WIldlife Crime Conference, which consisted of conservationists and politicians, he emphasized to the group the seriousness of international illegal trade. They discussed ways to tackle smuggling, and worked to generate ideas to be discussed at a future meeting this autumn.  The autumn meeting will be attended by heads of state from across the world.

Grant Miller, of the UK Border Force, said that in the past year more than 675 items had been seized, including a Rolls Royce with alligator skin upholstery, 1.6 tonnes of tortoise jelly, books bound in elephant hide, phials of bear bile used in traditional medicines, a bottle of whiskey containing a whole snake and numerous rhino horns concealed in china dolls  and a live Geoffroy’s Cat.

Prince WIlliam is the royal patron of the wildlife charity, The Tusk Trust. He , just as his father, seems invested in the future of the world’s wildlife. Will his influence be able to help save the rhinos, tigers and elephants to share with his son?

prince william with rhino

Prince William feeds a five-year-old black rhino called Zawadi during a visit to Port Lympne Wild Animal Park in Kentearlier He has called people involved in the illegal trade of rhino horn ‘extremely ignorant, selfish and utterly wrong.

Categories: Making a Difference, Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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

 

 

 

Categories: Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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