Posts Tagged With: USA
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Trump’s opinion on the Environmental Protection Agency:
TRUMP: Environmental Protection, what they do is a disgrace. Every week they come out with new regulations.
Q: Who’s going to protect the environment?
TRUMP: We’ll be fine with the environment. We can leave a little bit, but you can’t destroy businesses.
Source: Fox News Sunday 2015 Coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Oct 18, 2015–
On the governmental budgeting and handling of public lands, Trump eludes to leaning on his sons (avid trophy hunters and defenders of the killing of Cecil the Lion) for advice:
“..the good thing is, I’m in a family where I have—I mean, I’m a member of the NRA, but I have two longtime members of the NRA. They’ve been hunting from the time they were five years old and probably maybe even less than that. And they really understand it. And I like the fact that, you know, I can sort of use them in terms of—they know so much about every single element about every question that you’re asking. And one of the things they’ve complained about for years is how badly the federal lands are maintained, so we’ll get that changed.”
During the same interview, his son Donald Trump Jr commented: “It’s really all about access. I mean, I feel like the side that’s the anti-hunting crowd, they’re trying to eliminate that access—make it that much more difficult for people to get the next generation in.”
On his sons’ trophy hunting:
“My sons love to hunt. They are members of the NRA, very proudly. I am a big believer in the Second Amendment. Eric is a hunter and I would say he puts it on a par with golf, if not ahead of golf.”
Source: Daily Mail
On the building of the “wall” separating the US and Mexico:
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service predicts that a solid barrier running along the entire U.S.-Mexico land border, like the “great, great wall” that Donald Trump wants to build, would affect 111 endangered species, 108 migratory bird species, and four wildlife refuges and fish hatcheries. That would be an ecological disaster..
Trump on Circus elephants:
Trump on climate change:
Throughout the campaign Trump has challenged the urgency of addressing climate change using a variety of explanations from saying that the issue was “created by and for the Chinese” and that he believes climate change is merely weather. His energy policy proposals—to the extent that he has any—suggest a similar view. He has promised to “cancel” the Paris Agreement to address climate change and to expand the use of coal.
Rhinos horns have been coveted as a use in traditional Chinese medicine for over 2000 years.
Over the last few years, rhino horn powder has trended as a status symbol in Vietnam. It is used as a “party drug” for the elite.
Now, rhino horn, along with pangolin scales, tiger bones, and ivory are being kept as collectibles.
China’s social elite is stockpiling the products in anticipation of their extinction. They prefer wild “products” over farm-raised,as they see more worth in them. Wild animals are thought to be more potent as well.
Endangered species have become the new collectible. According to John R Platt, as more collectors have entered the market, killing endangered species has grown increasingly profitable. Ivory wholesale prices, for example, have shot up from $564 per kilogram in 2006 to at least $2,100 today.
Just one rhino horn nets about $100,000. Helmeted Hornbill beak can fetch over $6,000 per kg, and a tiger skin rug is worth $124,000.
Investing in the death of our world’s wildlife is a greedy, unforgivable endeavor. The faster the rich wipe out our animals, the poorer we all become.
I spoke to Chinese visitors who were astounded to see these mountains of ivory. After explaining where the tusks come from and the burn they agreed to pose with a tusk. It’s raw form is not beautiful or shiny; it is smelly, dirty and has hack marks on it. I explained why. At first she had no words. she just stared at the stacks. Then she called her friend and said, “I will tell Chinese people not to buy ivory”.
This was the experience of Paula Kahumbu, conservationist and CEO of Wildlife Direct, discussing Kenya’s upcoming ivory burn.
The largest burn in history: 106 tonnes of ivory, 10,000 dead elephants (or to put in in perspective a 30 mile train of elephants trunk to tail) will be destroyed April 30th in Kenya
More than a “display”, the burn will transpire after a much larger event, the Giant’s Club Summit. African leaders, corporate leaders, members of the UN, USFWS (US Fish and Wildlife Service), and conservationists are among some of the approximate 200 invitees.
This event demonstrates not only the commitment of the Kenyan government to protecting its wildlife, but also gives hope and encouragement to neighboring countries, and the world.
Kahumbu believes Kenya has “turned the corner” in its ongoing struggle with poaching. Elephant poaching has decreased by a whopping 80%, and rhino poaching by 90% in the country. Although the battle is far from over, conservationists are finally beginning to even the playing field.
Rampant corruption, low employment and high poverty are the unfortunate circumstances surrounding South Africa, the primary home of Earth’s last rhinos. Add to that a high Asian demand for their horns, and it equates to the perfect storm for their demise.
South Africa has lost approximately 1600 black and white rhinos in 2015 (unconfirmed by the government at this point). With poaching spreading like a plague, the death toll has risen dramatically each year, with this year topping all previous ones.
In a world where an animal’s horn is worth more than cocaine or gold, the solution to their survival is not an easy one. The answer is a multi-faceted effort of anti-poaching strategies to combat the “here and now”, legal change to make the consequence more dire than the greed, and education and awareness to secure the future.
For our group here in the United States, we support those “on the ground” making a difference in these areas. As an entity, it takes raising not just dollars, but consciousness to do that. We are the facilitators of change, quietly meandering through social media making the desperate plea for the plight of the rhino, and the effects on the communities surrounding them. Trying to educate a population of people lost in reality television and “selfies” is a daunting obstacle all unto itself. Yet, once we do break through – low and behold people DO care!
But how much will awareness help?
Through our blog we told the story of the “Last Male Standing”, focusing on the desperate and solemn life of Sudan, one of the three very last Northern White Rhinos on the Earth. It was circulated by the Dodo, then CNN and the Washington Post; resulting in much-needed donations to Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya; the home of the Northern Whites, as well as the largest black rhino sanctuary in east Africa.
As a result, we were also able to successfully raise funding for them for a rhino audit of ALL rhinos on the conservancy, as well as providing half a dozen GPS devices.
Since then, there have been funds raised to pour into research to perpetuate the last of their genes. Looking ahead, some Southern White Rhinos were sent from South Africa to California where scientists hope to successfully implant Northern White Rhinos embryos into their Southern counterparts.
Another case where “awareness” played an integral role is that of Cecil the lion. The wave of concern and outrage over the lion’s shady demise prompted the world to take notice, in fact it was the top most searched topic on the internet in all of 2015.
The public outcry created pressure on politicians and corporations that was impossible to ignore. The results?
- France has banned lion trophy imports and Britain will do so in 2017
- 40 airlines have taken a stand to stop the transport of animal trophies.
- In November, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Global Anti-Poaching Act to enhance and support protection to combat wildlife trafficking.
- Five months after his death, the U.S. has finally listed lions on the Endangered Species list, protecting them and making it more difficult to bring lion trophies back to the country.
The ripple effect is still being felt. There have been petitions to shipping giants FedEx and UPS to stop the transport of wildlife trophies. The hometown of the hunter who killed Cecil, even run ads on the sides of their buses in memory of the lion.
Conservation groups saw a welcomed increase in donations to their projects for endangered big cats. Even groups like ours saw a surge of interest and activity, which reflects not just concern in the trophy hunting controversy or big cats, but in wildlife preservation in general.
How far will it go, how long will Cecil’s memory last? Are people still following the story and life of Sudan? And when is reality too much “doom and gloom” for the world to handle?
We exist in a time when evidence points toward the “sixth mass extinction” on Earth. With 50% of all our wildlife wiped out in the last forty years, and currently 150-200 species of plants and animals going extinct EVERY day, we are facing the largest decimation of species since the dinosaurs were wiped out 65 million years ago. So it seems impossible to ever feel like we’re doing enough, let alone too much.
In September of 2015, our organization, Fight for Rhinos, made the rounds from Hoedspruit in the northeastern part of South Africa to Kruger National Park in the east, and down to the south on the Eastern Cape. Throughout our time spent with field guides, trackers, veterinary staff, reserve managers, anti-poaching units, and ecologists we left no stone unturned in our quest for answers from those with firsthand experience of the poaching crisis; always searching for that “holy grail” solution.
We interviewed and spoke casually with taxi drivers, airport employees, and housekeeping staff to gain better understanding on the feelings and attitude of poaching within their country.
The conclusion? They’re burnt out. With a giant ad in the Johannesburg airport, anti-poaching signs on fences, and almost daily mentions of poaching incidents in the news; people are becoming desensitized to it all.
In the midst of a corrupt government, racial and social tensions, and with an unemployment rate at a staggering 26%; the country seems to be tapped out of sympathy for its dwindling pachyderms.
So being a conservationist, trying to save a species from the brink of extinction in 2016, suddenly one is faced with more than just biology and ecology as the stumbling blocks. Politics, poverty, economics and apathy are daunting obstacles in this race against time.
Can we save South Africa from their “conservation fatigue”? Does what the rest of us do in our own corners of the world have effect on them? Applying public pressure can and does effect change. It strengthens laws and perhaps most importantly, changes attitudes. Only time will tell if it’s all fast enough to have the necessary impact on our planet’s wildlife.
Either way, we’re left with no choice but to try. After all, who among us is willing to live with that regret if we don’t?
This article was posted in the recent online magazine Live Encounters
It is with a heavy heart we announce the passing of Jello. He was humanely euthanized on Monday after a decline in health relating to his seizures and neurological issues. He will always hold a special place in our hearts, as the first black rhino we were privileged to meet.
Our thoughts and sympathies are with his caretakers at the Potter Park Zoo. He will be missed.
RIP big guy.
They say you never forget your first love. Mine’s about 5 feet tall, has a bit of an attitude and a very dirty nose. The moment was magical; I called to him, he ignored me, looked up briefly, then turned away obviously unimpressed. But for me, I was in love.
Jello’s the first rhino I’ve officially met. Originally from Miami, he lives at the Potter Park Zoo in Lansing MI. The 9-year-old black rhino is handsome (as rhinos go), and laid back. He is well cared for, and knows it. With an attitude remarkably similar to a cat, he comes to you in his own sweet time, but loves the attention once he gets it.
Watching his giant prehensile lip grab for treats, feeling his smooth wrinkled face, and…
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Fight for Rhinos spends all monetary donations on our conservation projects. But there is a definite need for other items and services:
- a new color printer
- printing services (flyers, posters, etc.)
- t-shirt donations (for printing)
- US screenprinting services
- US volunteer grant-writers
If you are able to assist us in any way with our wishlist, or have any questions, please email us directly at email@example.com
Remember we are a registered non-profit and items donated may be tax-deductible.
The killing of Cecil the Lion demonstrated the reality of “Big Five” trophy hunting, and struck a chord with the world’s conscious.
The fact is that trophy hunting is not only legal, but encouraged in countries as a means of making money. As the adage goes “Money Talks”.
With public criticism and disdain for the hunts, money is undoubtedly the bottom line with the recent decisions of seven major airlines, who declared they will no longer transport animal parts on their flights. No airline wants to be seen as complicit in the practice.
This is an example of how public opinion and pressure can fuel change. YOUR voice, YOUR choices do have an impact.
This is a major victory, and we commend the following airlines for taking a stand:
Andalas is not just any rhino dad. What makes him special is the fact he was the first Sumatran rhino born in captivity in 112 years! At 6 years of age he was moved to the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary (SRS) in south Sumatra.
His transition from zoo to jungle presented some challenges. He didn’t know how to wallow in mud holes, wasn’t used to browsing for his own food, or having such a variety of it. It took time for his caregivers to teach him these vital skills.
He was also initially scared of other rhinos and ran when they came near. Not quite a lady’s man, he was overly aggressive to the females. After guidance and socialization skills from the staff, he was gradually introduced to two female rhinos.
He chose Ratu. In 2012 he and Ratu became parents to Andatu, the first rhino ever born at SRS.
It is hopeful he will be able to duplicate that success with other females.