Posts Tagged With: United states

Big Five Bill

To combat the rapid scourge of wildlife trafficking, the United States has responded with swift action. Twenty of the fifty states have taken the step toward a nationwide ban on ivory trade. An enormous step, considering the US was the second largest ivory market in the world.

Ivory bans March 2015

 

Now New York is seeking to take it a step further. Bill s.4686, better known as the “Africa Big Five” bill, would ban the import, possession, sale or transportation of any of the Big Five (elephant, rhino, lion, leopard, and cape buffalo) in the state. This bill would amend a current law by classifying the Big Five as “foreign game”.

Senator Tony Avella said “The ban eliminates much of the incentive to continue hunting these animals overseas and shipping their remains off to buyers in New York with a high price tag. It is high time New York take a stand against this horrible practice. By passing this legislation we can ensure that New York, which is one of the largest hubs for importation and transport of these animal carcasses, does not become just another contributor to the inhumane trade of the bodies and parts of these animals.”

protect big 5

Senator Avella with Edita Birnkrant, of Friends of Animals.

New York was among the first states to pass the ivory ban. If the Big Five Bill passes, this could lead the way for not just other states, but the world. Stricter laws could give Africa’s big game, as well as other endangered species a fighting chance at a comeback.

YOU can help! Send a quick note to your local representatives and ask them to support Senator Avella and take action in YOUR state! Look up your state senators and representatives here: State senators and representatives.

 

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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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Corey Who?

Ever since the Dallas Safari Clubs auction to hunt a black rhino in Namibia, one man has become the face of this tragedy. His lust for the hunt has earned him both contempt from conservation advocates, and defense from hunters. Although he bears disdain for his action, he is one of many “thrill of the kill” hunters, who deserves no further mention.

Blaming Knowlton is like blaming a single roach for an infestation. They only come because the conditions are right. And they will continue animal trophiesto come unless the environment is changed.

We mustn’t lose focus on the big picture. Namibia offered this rhino up to be hunted, the US has no qualms of the trophy being brought back, and the Dallas Safari Club encourages it. This is  barbaric, unsettling, but legal.

The big concern and goal is to stop the practice of trophy hunting altogether. How?

In some ways this seems as grand and daunting as saying “I want world peace”. There is not a one step answer.  But it’s something that is necessary if our endangered species are to survive. It requires cooperation from all countries, one law at a time.

United States

Here in the US, it is LEGAL to buy and sell ivory within the country, AND to import ivory and horn via hunting trophies But the tide may be changing.

June 2013 President Obama gave an executive order to combat wildlife poaching. Recognizing the international importance on not only the effects on wildlife, but on national security, as illegal wildlife trafficking is within the top five world crime.

November 2013 The US Fish and Wildlife Service destroyed 6 tons of it’s ivory stockpile. 25 years worth of illegal seizures were pulverized in order to send a message of zero tolerance to poachers. As the second largest ivory market (behind China), this is an important step in the countries’ stance on wildlife conservation.

crushed ivory

US Fish and Wildlife Service involved in Denver, Colarado’s ivory crush.

January 2014 The state of New York held a meeting to discuss banning ivory within the state. Assemblyman Bob Sweeney wrote a letter imploring the Department of Conservation to prohibit the sale of ivory in New York.

“New York state must close the market that is driving the elephant to extinction and helping finance terrorism,” Sweeney said.

February 2014 The state of Hawaii just announced the House Committee unanimously advanced a bill to outlaw the sale of all ivory products in the state.

If this country is indeed on it’s way to a full ban of ivory, trophy hunting WILL be affected. As there would be no elephant trophies allowed into the country. And in this matter,  ivory is no different than horn. The same notion applies: preservation of wildlife and the poaching connection to international terrorism.

If the great thrill hunters cannot boast of their hunt with trophies on their walls, perhaps they will be less inclined to do it at all.

Sign and share this petition by the International Fund for Animal Welfare to urge the US Fish and Wildlife Service to stop allowing permits to import endangered species. Protect Black Rhinos from Trophy Hunting & the petition by Animal Advocates to the Secretary of the Interior Prevent Dallas Safari Club from Importing Rhino Trophies

rhino and baby at watering hole

 

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Poaching: Its Killing More Than “Just Animals”

A reason to be concerned about the poaching crisis in Africa, besides the danger of extinction to elephants and rhinos, is the effect on people. At $19 billion per year, the illegal wildlife trade is a lucrative international crime.

EarthThe wildlife trade includes not only the slaughter of the elephant and rhino for their ivory and horns, but the slaughter of great apes and tigers for meat and pelts, as well as the smuggling of exotic birds and other animals for pet sales.

tusksPeople worldwide have turned to poaching as the desired moneymaker over other options, because the payoff is tremendous and the penalty is minimal; a criminal’s dream.  Rhino horns are worth more than cocaine or gold. Whereas the penalty is generally a fine and little or no jail time. Arrests often don’t even lead to convictions.

It is most often the average citizen poaching to support his family (not the organized higher-ups/kingpins) who gets caught.

Although poaching, which is part of the illegal wildlife trade, is ranked fifth in the world, it is used as a means to fund other criminal agendas, such as the top three (see above graphic).

Rebel and militia groups, criminal syndicates, and even terrorist organizations are using the lucrative black market  to finance their operations,

One example is The Lord’s Resistance Army, which has kidnapped hundreds of boys and girls across central Africa to be fighters and sex slaves, are participating in this illegal trade. Another is thought to be Janjaweed militia from Sudan, who allegedly killed 86 elephants (including pregnant females) in one week.

At one of the highest levels of the rhino horn trade chain, are the leaders of Asian run syndicates that monopolize the flow hornsof horn from South Africa to Asian markets. These individuals are the “kingpins” of the trade, often using different people to front as bogus hunters in rhino trophy hunts.

For a clearer picture of the process and the far-reaching implications of poaching and illegal wildlife trade, see the following IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) graphic:

IFAW: The Implications of the Illegal Wildlife Trade

In addition to funding the sex trade, drug cartels and terrorist groups,  poaching activity puts wildlife officials and their families in mortal danger as well. There have been at least 1,000 park rangers killed in 35 different countries over the last decade alone.

Every 15 minutes an elephant is killed.

Each day, 2-3 rhino are slaughtered.

At least 1 tiger a day is butchered.

Of course there’s no way to tell how many people die as a result from the poaching and trade, directly or indirectly through funding of the other lucrative crime it supports.

With far-reaching consequences to human and animal life, as well as the environment, we as individuals need to demand our governments bring an end to the organizations behind this tragedy. Once our animals go extinct, it won’t be long until it is our turn.

ele and rhino friends“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.”
Chief Seattle

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What is Overshoot Day?

Worried about our national debt? How about our wildlife debt? We’re living on borrowed time, using resources at an unsustainable rate. It will catch up to us.

This week WWF celebrated Earth Overshoot Day, a.k.a. Ecological Debt Day. Turning resources into waste faster than waste can be turned back into resources puts us in global ecological overshoot, depleting the very resources on which human life and biodiversity depend. Celebrating this day marks the exhaustion of nature’s budget for the year.

The Ecological Debt is calculated by dividing the amount of natural resources produced by Earth annually (world biocapacity) by humanity’s consumption of Earth’s natural resources annually (world ecological footprint) multiplied by 365 or (world biocapacity/ world Ecological Footprint) X 365.

The following countries have already exceeded their biological capacity:

china footprint

CHINA’S Ecological Footprint

south africa

SOUTH AFRICA’S Ecological Footprint

united states footprint

The UNITED STATES Ecological Footprint

UK footprint

The UK’S Ecological Footprint

(For other countries ecological footprints go to Footprints by Nation.)

What does this mean? We’re living on borrowed time.

*African elephants could be gone by 2020.

*Rhinos will be gone by 2026.

*Tigers could be extinct in 12 years.

*9 out of 10 predatory fish in our oceans are almost gone.

*Population growth is expected to cause an energy crisis by 2030.

*Half of the world’s population could face severe food shortages by the end of this century.

*Our rainforests may be gone in 100 years.

Overshoot Day is not just about doom and gloom, it’s a wake-up call. Not all damage can be undone, but we can stop do what you canit here. We can’t afford to be infinite consumers anymore. It’s not a luxury to recycle, and it’s not a “hippie” attitude to go green. Our survival depends on it.

There IS hope! Since 2009, countries representing 80% of global emissions have made economy-wide pledges of action. Economically,  global investment in renewable energies  outstripped fossil fuels for the first time last year. There are programs like REDD ( ‘reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation’) being implemented across the globe.

Overshoot day originally began on December 19. This year it was August 20.  If we don’t stop devouring our resources, Overshoot Day will continue to come earlier and earlier every year. Whatever your cause, your purpose, your “thing” –  it’s imperative we ALL work together to keep our planet, to save ourselves.

Unless

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Miss USA Lends Her Voice to South Africa’s Rhino

by Dianne Tipping-Woods

Miss USA

Nana Meriwether launching the Rhino Revolution/Blue Canyon Conservancy Black Rhino Relocation Project

Having opted to come to South Africa on her homecoming tour – a tour that each Miss USA makes, usually to the state from which they come – South Africa-born Nana Meriwether will leave with a new cause to speak to when she gets back to the United States.

rhino miss usa

Miss USA Nana Meriwether got to spend some time with four white rhino at Thornybush, a reserve adjacent to the Kruger National Park

‘I was born into a humanitarian way of life and have always focused on the human side of philanthropy. This trip has really introduced me to the plight of the rhino, and it’s hit me hard,” she explains.

Nana and her mother, Nomvimbi, are frequent visitors to South Africa, which both still refer to as ‘home’. The Meriwether Foundation, which Nana co-founded in 2005, supports a number of projects to improve the health and sustainability of communities in South Africa and other African countries.

In between visiting Tintswalo in Mpumalanga over the weekend, the hospital where she was born during her father’s eight years of service as a missionary medical doctor, and various other projects in the area, Nana was able to spend some time watching four relaxed rhino at the Thornybush Game Lodge.

It was a rare moment of peace during an otherwise busy programme. While Nana watched the rhino grazing, they began to nudge each other and seemed to play, moving their massive bulk with surprising ease and gentleness as the light slowly faded from the sky.

The sharp contrast between the rhinos’ peaceful, even playful, demeanour and the constant threat of a cruel and unnecessary death was highlighted as new incidents of poaching were reported from elsewhere in South Africa during the course of Nana’s visit.

‘We don’t hear much about the plight of the rhino back in the United States and I didn’t know just how threatened they are until now,’ she says.

I am so glad for the opportunity to adopt the rhino revolution message and spread it; we can’t take the threat of extinction lightly.

Her title means she has a voice in the US, though, and she plans to use it: ‘I am so glad for the opportunity to adopt the Rhino Revolution message and spread it; we can’t take the threat of extinction lightly.’

Hosted by Rhino Revolution, Khaya Ndlovu Manor House and Leadwood Big Game Estate, Nana also had the opportunity to track some white rhino on foot and meet the men and women involved in the daily protection of South Africa’s rhino.

‘We were walking and looking for rhino and our guides were telling us about how the poachers operate; that they are so well armed, so good at covering their tracks and so ruthless in the way that they kill these animals for their horns. It is a war.’

The statistics confirm this  – so far this year, South Africa is losing more than two rhino per day to poaching.

nanas mother

Nana Meriwether’s South African mother, Nomvimbi

Not only Nana was moved by the plight of the rhino in South Africa, but her head of security, Nelson Feliciano, donated some much-needed radio equipment to the anti-poaching team to assist it in its daily fight.

On the final day of her visit to the Hoedspruit area, Nana officially launched the Rhino Revolution/Blue Canyon Conservancy Black Rhino Relocation Project. The first female rhino to be released through the project has been named after her, a fact that delights her and her family.

Nana was joined at the launch by Mrs South Africa Lynne de Jager, who is also hoping to do her bit for the rhino by taking a strong message with her to China, where she will be competing in the Mrs World competition in September of this year.

‘We’re grateful to Miss USA and Mrs South Africa for putting their voices behind the rhino of Africa to raise awareness and funds to assist with the protection of this iconic species,’ says Patrick Jordan, who, with his father Trevor, Josh Whyte, Jozua Scheepers and Eugene Potgieter, has been instrumental in getting the black rhino project in the Blue Canyon Conservancy off the ground. For more information on this project, contact info@jordanprops.co.za.

Mrs South Africa

Mrs South Africa Lynne de Jager with some of the rangers involved in protecting South Africa’s rhino

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Shooting Fish in a Barrel

So proud of himself!

So proud of himself!

Nothing says “home” quite like a dead rhino head mounted on the wall, or a lovely bear hide under your feet. You too can redecorate to your liking. For $2,000 you can shoot a zebra, or for $20,000 a lion. Cost isn’t an issue? Well then for $40,000 how about an elephant?

The trophy hunting industry is alive and well in Africa. But with today’s modern hunters, if price is not an issue, neither is convenience. That’s where “canned hunts” or “captive hunts” come in. Shooters pay enormous fees for the guaranteed kill of an animal, some of them endangered species.

Although canned hunts are advertised as rugged, outdoor adventures, in reality they are conducted in an atmosphere of comfort and convenience. The area is usually a fenced enclosure from which there is no escape, ranging from a few square yards to several hundred acres, depending on how “strenuous” you want your hunt to be.

The animals are either bred by the private land owner just for this purpose or are purchased as “retired” zoo or circus animals. They are all accustomed to people.  Whether someone drives up in a jeep to feed them or shoot them, they know no different and have no fear of humans. At times a rhino or elephant have had to be woken up in order to be shot!

A family vacation for most involves baseball games, museums, amusement parks, or camping. But apparantly the for the elite it means shooting endangered animals.

A family vacation for most involves baseball games, museums, amusement parks, or camping. But apparently the for the elite it means shooting endangered animals.

The essentials are always the same regardless of the cost of the trip: an animal who is either fenced in, lured to feeding stations, or habituate to humans, and odds so heavily in the hunter’s favor that there is little risk of leaving without a trophy. Most canned hunts even have taxidermists on site or on call to mount the trophy (a.k.a the animal whose fate was sealed the moment you called for a reservation.)

The United States is the largest importer of exotic and endangered animals from Africa. The trophy hunting industry from Africa alone brings in $91 billion annually based on a study by the Professional Hunters Association of S.A.

This man didn't even have to leave the jeep to shoot this unforuntate lion.

This man didn’t even have to leave the jeep to shoot this unforuntate lion.

As if it weren’t bad enough, the U.S has its own hand in the business. The Humane Society of the United States estimates there are over a thousand captive hunts in America, operating in at least 28 states, most commonly in Texas. There are however no federal laws governing canned hunts in America nor does the Animal Welfare Act regulate game preserves or canned hunts. The Endangered Species Act actually ALLOWS the hunting of endangered animals with the appropriate permit!

Canned hunts are brutal and one-sided. They are a mockery to hunters who abide by the “fair chase” regulations and ideals; and they are a shameful “luxury” our endangered species cannot afford.

troph hunt lions

This is a ranch where lions are bred to be killed.


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