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Top Five Causes of Species Extinction

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We are losing many species of animals and plants every year at quite a staggering rate never before seen since records began. Goodeid, Baxter’s Toad, Brome des Ardennes, Borrachero, Pele Clermontia, Bastard Gumwood, Hawaiian Crow, Lago Yojoa Palm, La Palma Pupfish, Fuzzyflower Cyrtandra, Père David’s Deer, Blue Cycad, Oahu Deceptor Bush Cricket, Black Soft-shell Turtle and the Scimitar-horned Oryx are just some of the sixty nine species of plant, aquatic mammal and land mammal that have already gone extinct within the wild. Captive breeding programs have been established for some however its unlikely any release back into the wild while habitat destruction, poaching and human over-population continues to increase at a copious rate.

While International Animal Rescue Foundation has recognized the vast decrease of say primates there has been many botanical specimens gone extinct within the wild of which animals and humans depend on. Habitat fragmentation, increased agricultural practices, land loss for ranching, mining or pollution have played pivotal roles killing species of plant and animals off.

Just in Africa alone we have already lost Acalypha rubrinervis, Byttneria ivorensis, Coffea lemblinii, Dryopteris ascensionis, Erythrina Saint Helena Heliotrope – Heliotropium pannifolium, Saint Helena Olive – Nesiota elliptica, Oldenlandia adscensionis, Orchidea eupolyanthis, Pausinystalia brachythyrsum, Sporobolus durus and Saint Helena Ebony – Trochetiopsis melanoxylon all of which are botanical specimens.

Within the Americas we see more extinctions of plants; Roan Mountain False Goat’s-beard, Rio de Janeiro Myrtle, Santa Cruz Bryophyte, Bigleaf Scurfpea and some of the twenty two specimens that have gone extinct within the wild. However its not all just doom and gloom yet. To date we have lost since records began a total of eight hundred and twenty eight species of plant and mammal. Species of plant and mammal that are extinct within the wild stand at sixty nine. International Animal Rescue Foundation notices that many reptiles specifically toads and frogs that are in serious danger of extinction. Tree frogs being the most critically endangered.

Clarke’s Banana Frog, Adelophryne maranguapensis, Tusked Frog, Knysna Banana Frog, Nigeria Banana Frog, Natal Banana Frog and Uluguru Banana Frog are some of the thirty species of frogs known worldwide that a nearing extinction. The vast majority of frogs just listed here are “critically endangered”.

International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa Africa has listed the TOP 5 causes of species extinction;

In at number one

Habitat Fragmentation;

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While International Animal Rescue Foundation is against all hunting within the wild or on private land we cannot lay blame to hunters being the main reason for species extinction. Hunters do not hunt plants do they? more traffickers hunt them and only specific plants of which you can read more within the botanical trafficking section.

While most people immediately think of things like meteors or global warming as major causes of extinction, the main source of modern animal and plant extinctions is far less dramatic. Since the dawn of human industry, the leading cause of extinctions has been loss of habitat — animals finding their homes destroyed to the point at which their survival is no longer possible. Habitat fragmentation will remain the sole cause of species extinction and sadly its increasing at a staggering rate.

Pretty much all species are suffering from a loss of diversity. Amphibians are arguably the hardest hit, but mammals, birds and marine life are also experiencing a share of trouble. Intrusions like habitat loss, pollution and climate change are being felt around the globe at historically unprecedented levels. All of this adds up to what could potentially pan out to be the sixth mass extinction on the planet. And that doesn’t bode well for people, as the human population increasingly depends on fewer and less genetically diverse species to meet our ever-increasing needs.

Amphibian extinction remains the largest threat thus far but how does this threat actually impede on human life too?

In wetlands, a decrease in amphibians can cause an increase in insects, their main prey. Other animals that feed on amphibians or their larvae can face a food shortage when amphibian numbers decline. These include birds, reptiles and mammals.

Even more alarming, some researchers say that the same chemicals that cause sexual abnormalities in amphibians have a link to humans. Some studies in the ’90s said men’s lower sperm counts could be due to endocrine disrupters, but these studies are controversial. Other controversial research linked these chemicals to lower IQ scores. More accepted research showed that ultraviolet radiation, the same radiation that affects amphibians, may also be causing greater incidence of skin cancer and eye disease in humans. Humans learn from other species, particularly in developing new drugs, but can’t do so if the species disappear.

In at number two

Agriculture; 

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Agriculture farming for vegetables and cattle poses quite a significant risk to animals and native wild plants too. While some may believe arable farming is a major threat, it actually poses a lesser threat than that of livestock farming. Livestock farming is also responsible for large greenhouse gas emissions that increases climate change thus having an adverse reaction onto our species of birds and land mammal but more importantly our aquatic life too. Increase in ocean temperatures eventually forces fish and their prey to move to cooler waters, or induces breeding by far more earlier placing young at danger.

The global livestock sector is growing faster than any other agricultural sub-sector. It provides livelihoods to about 1.3 billion people and contributes about 40 percent to global agricultural output. For many poor farmers in developing countries livestock are also a source of renewable energy for draft and an essential source of organic fertilizer for their crops.

But such rapid growth exacts a steep environmental price, according to the FAO report, Livestock’s Long Shadow –Environmental Issues and Options. “The environmental costs per unit of livestock production must be cut by one half, just to avoid the level of damage worsening beyond its present level,” it warns.

When emissions from land use and land use change are included, the livestock sector accounts for 9 percent of CO2 deriving from human-related activities, but produces a much larger share of even more harmful greenhouse gases. It generates 65 percent of human-related nitrous oxide, which has 296 times the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of CO2. Most of this comes from manure.

And it accounts for respectively 37 percent of all human-induced methane (23 times as warming as CO2), which is largely produced by the digestive system of ruminants, and 64 percent of ammonia, which contributes significantly to acid rain. Please do take this point on board with regards to Rhino farming. With such a high demand for Rhino horn we would require a increase in Rhino framing. Rhinos are ruminants and produce large piles of manaure.

Livestock now use 30 percent of the earth’s entire land surface, mostly permanent pasture but also including 33 percent of the global arable land used to producing feed for livestock, the report notes. As forests are cleared to create new pastures, it is a major driver of deforestation, especially in Latin America where, for example, some 70 percent of former forests in the Amazon have been turned over to grazing.

Land and water

At the same time herds cause wide-scale land degradation, with about 20 percent of pastures considered as degraded through overgrazing, compaction and erosion. This figure is even higher in the drylands where inappropriate policies and inadequate livestock management contribute to advancing desertification.

The livestock business is among the most damaging sectors to the earth’s increasingly scarce water resources, contributing among other things to water pollution, euthropication and the degeneration of coral reefs. The major polluting agents are animal wastes, antibiotics and hormones, chemicals from tanneries, fertilizers and the pesticides used to spray feed crops. Widespread overgrazing disturbs water cycles, reducing replenishment of above and below ground water resources. Significant amounts of water are withdrawn for the production of feed.
Livestock are estimated to be the main inland source of phosphorous and nitrogen contamination of the South China Sea, contributing to biodiversity loss in marine ecosystems.

Meat and dairy animals now account for about 20 percent of all terrestrial animal biomass. Livestock’s presence in vast tracts of land and its demand for feed crops also contribute to biodiversity loss; 15 out of 24 important ecosystem services are assessed as in decline, with livestock identified as a culprit.

If we do not start to practice more greener methods of agriculture we will only lose more species of plant and mammals. This in turn will not just affect animals globally but would also have quite an adverse reaction on to humans. Remember we rely on amphibians for instance to keep insect populations down. Bats and birds too. Without them we will suffer.

In at number three

Human Over-population;

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Human growth + need for more natural resources + deforestation for grazing and food = land loss and animal extinction. That’s about as simple as this majorly large problem can be narrowed down into one sentence. But just how bad is human over-population affecting wildlife?

Taking America as our first prime example. There is a total of twelve species of animals affected just by human over population. Figures for the 2012 census placed the number of people living within America at a whooping 313.9 million. From 1991 there were some 219.9 million people within America. From 1991 figures increased dramatically that saw in 2002 212.1 million people within America. Since 2002 figures have shot up and they do not look set to decrease either. This rapid increase of human over population has placed twelve species of native American mammals in danger of nearing extinction.

Florida panther, Atlantic blue fin tuna, Loggerhead sea Turtle, Sandplain gerardia (botanical specimen), Lange’s metalmark butterfly, Mississippi gopher frog, White River spinedace, Polar bear, Gulf sturgeon and the San Joaquin kit fox have all been noted as seriously under threat from mass human growth just within the United States of America alone. As the human population grows and the rich countries continue to consume resources at voracious rates, we are crowding out, poisoning and eating all other species into extinction. With the world population hitting 7 billion. The 10 species represent a range of geography, as well as species diversity — but all are critically threatened by the effects of human population. Some, like the Florida panther and Mississippi gopher frog, are rapidly losing habitat as the human population expands. Others are seeing their habitat dangerously altered — like the small flowering sandplain gerardia in New England — or, like the bluefin tuna, are buckling under the weight of massive overfishing. Still others, like the polar bear, are facing extinction because of fossil fuels driving catastrophic global warming.

Below are some startling facts on human over population released this July on Wold Population Day.

  1. As of 1 January 2014, the world’s population was estimated to be 7,137,661,030, and increases by 2.3 people every second.
  2. The total number of people who have ever lived has been estimated by the Population Bureau to be around 108 billion.
  3. The world population is estimated to have reached one billion in 1804, with two, three and four billion in 1927, 1960 and 1974 respectively.
  4. These figures mean that about one fifteenth of all the people who have ever lived are alive today.
  5. Vatican City (800) and Nauru (9,378) are the states with the lowest populations.
  6. 30% of the world’s population generally eat with chopsticks.
  7. China, India, USA, Indonesia, Pakistan and Brazil account for half the world’s people. More than one in three people are Chinese or Indian.

The human population is now so large that the amount of resources needed to sustain it exceeds what is available at current consumption patterns,” said Mr. Achim Steiner, the executive director of the United Nations Environment Program in 2007. According to the Global Footprint Network (GFN), “Today humanity uses the equivalent of 1.5 planets to provide the resources we use and absorb our waste. This means it now takes the Earth one year and six months to regenerate what we use in a year.

…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.”

According to GFN, this overshoot is having a drastic effect on the world’s flora and fauna: “The threats facing the rich array of plant and animal life on the planet seem greater than at any time in modern history. Problems such as climate change, water shortages, overharvesting and habitat disruption – symptoms of human pressure on the planet’s finite resources – are driving down wildlife populations worldwide.”
Harvard Professor E.O. Wilson estimates that, “…on the land at least and on a worldwide basis, species are vanishing 100 times faster than before the arrival of Homo sapiens.” He adds that, “Today as human populations expand and alter the natural environment, they are reducing biological diversity to its lowest level since the end of the Mesozoic era, 65 million years ago.”

Read AWI’s Human Overpopulation brochure about the impacts of human population and consumption on the natural environment and ways each individual can make a difference by consuming less, consuming differently, and conserving more.

In at number number four

Deforestation;

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Deforestation is clearing Earth’s forests on a massive scale, often resulting in damage to the quality of the land. Forests still cover about 30 percent of the world’s land area, but swaths the size of Panama are lost each and every year. The world’s rain forests could completely vanish in a hundred years at the current rate of deforestation.

Forests are cut down for many reasons, but most of them are related to money or to people’s need to provide for their families.The biggest driver of deforestation is agriculture. Farmers cut forests to provide more room for planting crops or grazing livestock. Often many small farmers will each clear a few acres to feed their families by cutting down trees and burning them in a process known as “slash and burn” agriculture.

Logging operations, which provide the world’s wood and paper products, also cut countless trees each year. Loggers, some of them acting illegally, also build roads to access more and more remote forests—which leads to further deforestation. Forests are also cut as a result of growing urban sprawl. Not all deforestation is intentional. Some is caused by a combination of human and natural factors like wildfires and subsequent overgrazing, which may prevent the growth of young trees.

Deforestation has many negative effects on the environment. The most dramatic impact is a loss of habitat for millions of species. Seventy percent of Earth’s land animals and plants live in forests, and many cannot survive the deforestation that destroys their homes. Deforestation also drives climate change. Forest soils are moist, but without protection from sun-blocking tree cover they quickly dry out. Trees also help perpetuate the water cycle by returning water vapor back into the atmosphere. Without trees to fill these roles, many former forest lands can quickly become barren deserts.

Removing trees deprives the forest of portions of its canopy, which blocks the sun’s rays during the day and holds in heat at night. This disruption leads to more extreme temperatures swings that can be harmful to plants and animals. Trees also play a critical role in absorbing the greenhouse gases that fuel global warming. Fewer forests means larger amounts of greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere—and increased speed and severity of global warming. The quickest solution to deforestation would be to simply stop cutting down trees. Though deforestation rates have slowed a bit in recent years, financial realities make this unlikely to occur.

A more workable solution is to carefully manage forest resources by eliminating clear-cutting to make sure that forest environments remain intact. The cutting that does occur should be balanced by the planting of enough young trees to replace the older ones felled in any given forest. The number of new tree plantations is growing each year, but their total still equals a tiny fraction of the Earth’s forested land.

As one can see here deforestation is related significantly to human over population of which remains the number one threat not just to animals but to ourselves too. Many people forget this key point. Should deforestation continue at such a high rate it will have adverse effects onto human health. We will lose many species of “medicinal plants” that pharmaceutical giants rely on producing many non-synthetic medications for humans, This would mean more animals would be required for pharmacology experimentation’s using synthetic medications.

Even if deforestation was to stop today animals released back into the environment from protective captivity would still not survive. Here’s why below;

Even if deforestation in the Amazon were to miraculously be halted tomorrow, and of course it will not be, a whole legion of creatures that have been scarred by its impacts would go extinct anyway. That’s the finding of a depressing new study that shows how animals who lose their habitats don’t die off immediately, but instead start winding down a multigenerational, often irreversible death spiral.

When species lose their natural habitat to deforestation and other causes, they don’t immediately disappear. Instead, they gradually die off over several generations, racking up an “extinction debt” that must eventually be paid in full. New research shows that the Brazilian Amazon has accrued a heavy vertebrate extinction debt, with more than 80 percent of extinctions expected from historical deforestation still impending.
As such, there are a number of animals still living in the Amazon today that will almost certainly perish in coming years, no matter what we do. Here are some of those not expected to survive: White-cheeked spider monkey, Rio Branco antbird, Tree ocelot. 

Deforestation entwines with habitat fragmentation, agriculture and human over population.. …Sadly there will be no end until the global governments take much harsher steps to control the rate of land loss. Below are some startling facts on deforestation:

Deforestation Facts; 

  • Facts 1: Forests cover 30% of the earth’s land.
  • Facts 2: It is estimated that within 100 years there will be no rainforests.
  • Facts 3: Agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation
  • Facts 4: One and a half acres of forest is cut down every second.
  • Facts 5: Loss of forests contributes between 12 percent and 17 percent of annual global greenhouse gas emissions. (World Resources Institute)
  • Facts 6: If the current rate of deforestation continues, it will take less than 100 years to destroy all the rainforests on the earth.
  • Facts 7: The rate of deforestation equals to loss of 20 football fields every minute.
  • Facts 8: There are more than 121 natural remedies in the rain forest which can be used as medicines.
  • Facts 9: According to Rainforest Action Network, the United States has less than 5% of the world’s population yet consumes more than 30% of the world’s paper.
  • Facts 10: The over exploitation of forests is making it extremely difficult to replant a new ecology.
  • Facts 11: 20% of the world’s oxygen is produced in the Amazon forest.
  • Facts 12: Up to 28,000 species are expected to become extinct by the next quarter of the century due to deforestation.
  • Facts 13: 25% of cancers fighting organisms are found in the amazon.
  • Facts 14: 13 million hectare per year in South America and Africa and south East Asia is converted from a forest to an agriculture land.
  • Facts 15: Deforestation has considerably stopped in places like Europe, Pacific, North America and some parts of Asia due to lack of agricultural land.
  • Facts 16: Half of the world’s tropical forests has already been cleared.
  • Facts 17: 4500 acres of forests are cleared every hour by forest fires, bull dozers, machetes etc.
  • Facts 18: Poverty, over-population and unequal land access are the main causes of man- made deforestation.
  • Facts 19: The total world forest loss till date is 7.3 million hectares per year.
  • Facts 20: 1.6 billion people across the globe depend on forest products for their livelihoods there by adding more to deforestation.
  • Facts 21: Almost half of world’s timber and up to 70% of paper is consumed by Europe, United States and Japan alone.
  • Facts 22: Industrialized countries consume 12 times more wood and its products per person than the non-industrialized countries.
  • Facts 23: The United States has less than 5% of the world’s population but consumes more than 30% of the world’s paper.
  • Facts 24: Fuel wood in sub Saharan African countries is consumed up to 200% times more than the annual growth rates of the trees. This is causing deforestation, lack of timber resources and loss of habitat for the species living in it.
  • Facts 25: Trees are important constituents of the ecosystem by absorbing carbon.
  • Facts 26: Soil erosion, floods, wildlife extinction, increase in global warming, and climate imbalance are few of the effects of deforestation.
  • Facts 27: Worldwide more than 1.6 billion people rely on forests products for all or part of their livelihoods.
  • Facts 28: Tropical forests, where deforestation is most prevalent, hold more than 210 gigatonnes of carbon.
  • Facts 29: According to Forestry Department Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, about half the world’s tropical forests have been cleared or degraded.
  • Facts 30: Tropical rainforests which cover 6-7% of the earth’s surface, contain over half of all the plant and animal species in the world!
  • Facts 31: Deforestation affects water cycle. Trees absorb groundwater and release the same into the atmosphere during transpiration. When deforestation happens, the climate automatically changes to a drier one and also affects the water table.
  • Facts 32: The world’s forests store 283 billion tons of carbon present in the biomass.
    The online business
  • Fact 33: Money to save trees is majorly collected online.
  • Fact 34: One can save up to 20 square feet of forest with online contributions thereby conveniently prevent deforestation.
  • Fact 35: Over 4 million tons of junk is created online by spamming.
  • Fact 36: 41 pounds of these junk mails are sent to almost every adult in the United States.
  • Fact 37: 44% of the junk mail goes unopened.
  • Fact 38: People in America spend more than 275 million dollars to dispose junk mails.
  • Fact 39: The paper industry is fourth largest in producing greenhouse gas thereby majorly contributing to deforestation.
  • Fact 40: On an average, a person in the United States uses more than 700 pounds of paper every year.
    Take the right action
  • Fact 41: A lot of paper and cardboard is used unnecessarily for packing. This means more tree felling.
  • Fact 42: Re- use paper and plastic bags to discourage deforestation.
  • Fact 43: Use canvas or paper bags as another alternative.
  • Fact 44: Pick products which require less packaging.
  • Fact 45: Be creative and mail manufacturers telling them to use eco-friendly products. Show them your deforestation knowledge by highlighting certain important facts using statistics.
  • Fact 46: Sign effective petitions that work and help reduce deforestation.
  • Fact 47: Support eco-friendly companies buy buying their products that promise more durability in an inexpensive way.
  • Fact 48: Be active and plant trees- it can be at your homes, backyards or you can join any organization keen on stopping deforestation.
  • Fact 49: Reduce the consumption of beef to tone down the pressure to clear more forests for the cattle.
  • Fact 50: Boycott companies by supporting organizations that care about the environment at the cost of fighting back for the evergreen trees.
  • Fact 51: Seek knowledge on deforestation and how can you prevent it from happening by reading newspapers, magazines, internet, TV shows. Spread the word and make it go viral.

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To fell or not to fell is not up to the woodcutter, but surely depends on you. Be the change and eliminate the disturbing statistics on deforestation. It takes not guts, but love and compassion for nature to save trees from being felled.

In at number 5

Poaching and Hunting; 

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Hunting while it is permitted and governed by worldwide environmental authorities, ministries and agencies such as the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species Wild Flora and Fauna sees a “controlled and regulated” practice of “sustainable harvesting” or trophy sport killing that is not sustainable harvesting as it is only for the game of sport. Hunting for food is again “controlled” and limits or quotas are implemented as to what animals can be hunted, when and where at what time of the day and night. The “quota” is in place so that hunters do not kill too many species of animals that could see them pushed into extinction. Cites is the main governing body that hunters have to abide too, least forgetting the countries that they hunt within.

For example in South Africa if hunters wanted to slaughter hundreds of Rhinoceros every year and coupled with the poaching crisis we’d not have any Rhino left roaming within South Africa that is custodian to the worlds largest Rhino population at just under 18,800. One white Rhino is hunted per year by one individual hunter. The hunter within that year is not allowed to hunt anymore Rhino when he or she has shot dead the Rhino.

3-4 Black Rhino hunts are permitted by law within their range. South Africa and Namibia are two examples. Limitations on black Rhino hunts are in place due to the species verging extinction. however their populations are now on the increase. Every year a hunter who is able to obtain a permit for black Rhinos can not hunt no more than one and laws govern state that in that year no more than four Rhino are allowed to be hunted. There is no “restriction” with regards to the white Rhino of which one hunter as explained can hunt one white Rhino per year. Permits are freely handed out to hunt white Rhino however as explained only 3-4 permits are handed out per year and no more to hunt black Rhino.

While hunting has been seen to reduce wildlife specimens hunting is not actually the primary cause for wildlife depletion which I have explained above from 1-4.  Poaching is not regulated – they basically take what they want, when they want regardless of whether there are laws in place. Poachers have decimated many African wildlife species such white Rhino, Lion, Elephant, Pangolin and more. So lets split this into two categories.

Hunting; 

As we know it the Dodo, Tasmanian Tiger, Passenger Pigeon, Great Auk, Quagga, Falkland Island Wolf, Zanzibar Leopard, Caribbean Monk Seal, Carolina Parrot, Atlas Bear, Toolache Wallaby, Sea Mink, Bubal Hartebeest and the Stellar’s Sea Cow have all be hunted into extinction. To date the named specimens above no longer remain within the wild or within protective captivity.

Hunting has been around since humans were placed onto Mother Earth. Extinction is not a new danger to animals either. Since the Ice Age humans pushed many animals from extant to extinction.

A new study has revealed that human hunters are responsible for wiping out the population of large animals in Ice Age. Sabre-toothed cats, huge kangaroos, and a leopard-sized marsupial lion are some of the animals that were pushed to extinction by human hunters during the Ice Age. The findings of the study have debunked the belief that climate change led to extinction of many ice age animals.

The study saw examination of the pattern of extinction for 177 species between 132,000 years and 1,000 years ago. Researchers found that most of the animals that time died because of increased human population.

“We consistently find very large rates of extinction in areas where there had been no contact between wildlife and primitive human races, and which were suddenly confronted by fully developed modern humans”, said Jens-Christian Svenning, professor at the Aarhus University in Denmark.

Svenning said at least 30% of the large species of animals was forced to extinction from all such areas. It was during the Pleistocene Epoch, when the last Ice Age occurred. This period is defined as the one that began 1.8 million years ago and lasted until around 11,700 years ago.
During the course of a little more than the last 100,000 years, modern man started to spread from Africa to all parts of the world.
The findings of the study suggested that modern man killed several large species when arrived in the new continents. The reason behind the extinction of many ice age animals could be either their population’s incapability to sustain human hunting or humans might have killed their prey. The researchers have reported their findings in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Had there been some laws or even Cites in the Ice Age it may have stopped such extinction occurring. We are talking about the Ice Age here though and no such governing bodies even existed or would have to be honest.

Scientists from the Universities of Stirling, Oxford, Queensland and the Wildlife Conservation Society warn that current hunting trends in Central African forests could result in complete ecological collapse.

The authors maintain that the current rate of unsustainable hunting of forest elephants, gorillas and other seed-dispersing species threatens the ability of forest ecosystems to regenerate, and that landscape-wide hunting management plans are needed to avoid an environmental catastrophe.

The study appears in the latest version of Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society B. The authors include: K.A. Abernethy of the African Forest Ecology Group of Stirling University; L. Coad of the University of Queensland and the University of Oxford; G. Taylor of the University of Oxford; M. E. Lee of the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit and University of Oxford; and Fiona Maisels of the Wildlife Conservation Society and the African Forest Ecology Group.

“Humans have lived in the forests of Central Africa for thousands of years, until recently practicing subsistence hunting for the needs of their communities,” said Kate Abernethy, lead author of the study. “Over the past few decades, this dynamic has drastically changed. Much of the hunting is now commercially driven, and species that play important ecological functions are being driven to local extinction.”
The researchers conducted a review of more than 160 papers and reports on the region’s wildlife declines, hunting trends, and land-use analyses by humans. The authors found troubling trends that threaten the very fabric of rainforest ecosystems. In particular, mammals such as forest elephants, gorillas, forest antelopes and others play a major role in seed dispersal for most tree species; the removal of these mammals by bushmeat hunters disrupts forest regeneration.

Furthermore, previously untouched swathes of forest are being penetrated by roads, and subsequently degraded by logging and agriculture. In other areas, forests are cleared and replaced by single-species plantations of oil palm, rubber trees, and crops for biofuels. The authors warn that such plantations greatly reduce areas available for seed dispersing wildlife.

“Another emerging problem for Central Africa’s forests is the migration of large numbers of people into remote forests, around the new plantations and the mining and logging camps,” said WCS Conservationist Fiona Maisels, a co-author on the study. “This population growth creates additional hunting pressures on previously lightly populated areas.”

The authors point out that good hunting management practices and planning must be included in any climate change strategy or land use plan in Central Africa. They add that efficiently managed multiple-use landscapes — combining protected areas alongside logging concessions — can maintain the seed-dispersing species while maintaining game species for hunting needs.

A top priority, the researchers assert, should be the protection of megafauna such as forest elephants and apex predators such as leopards in order to maintain intact ecosystems in Central Africa. Otherwise, the loss of wildlife will result in a disastrous spiral of forest degradation that will reduce the storage of carbon and the resilience of rainforests to climate change.

“Current climate models suggest that Central African rainforests may be more ecologically resilient to the short-term impacts of climate change than those of West and East Africa, or the Amazon,” said co-author Dr. Lauren Coad. “However, severe ecological changes below the forest canopy, driven by hunting, are already occurring. The removal of seed-dispersing megafauna such as elephants and apes could reduce the ability of forests to sequester carbon.”

“The clock is ticking on the future of large mammals in Central Africa’s Congo Basin Rainforest, and with them on the future of the forests themselves and all the people who depend on them,” said Dr. James Deutsch, Executive Director of WCS’s Africa Program. “The people, the forests, and the wildlife need an emergency effort to bring illegal and unsustainable hunting under control.” Much of the data analyzed for this study was collected with the support of the US Fish & Wildlife Service and USAID’s Central Africa Regional Program for the Environment.

So OK that’s more hunting for food but what about trophy hunting? 

Among the most coveted of the “Grand Slam,” or the most prestigious trophy animals, is the Brown Bear. The Kodiak Bear (Ursus arctos middendorffi) of Alaska represents a major trophy for hunters who come from all around the world to kill large males. This bear exceeds other subspecies in size, weight and skull size. These bears have been isolated since the end of the last Ice Age, and the abundant food supply of salmon runs, berry bushes and other edible plants in their habitat has produced this giant bear (Chadwick 1990). Trophy hunters pay $20,000 or more to private hunting guides for the privilege of shooting these bears. A recent study has revealed a potentially disastrous effect on the species of this trophy hunting. According to The Kingdom. Wildlife in North America, by the respected author and National Geographic Society correspondent Douglas Chadwick, “Continued harvesting of the biggest animals by trophy hunters has caused a decline in the average size of Kodiak Bears over the years” (Chadwick 1990). Thus, this record-size animal is gradually becoming smaller and smaller as a result of trophy hunting.

The pressure of hunters on some populations of Alaskan bears is so intense that it has altered the behavior of males, preventing their normal feeding on salmon runs. On Admiralty Island in southeastern Alaska, part of the Tongass National Forest, tourists watch female Brown Bears fishing with their cubs, but rarely see males because they have become so wary of people after years of being hunted; even females without cubs can be hunted on Admiralty Island (Crittenden 1997). The rich salmon rivers on this island are among the world’s most productive, and since clearcutting of timber has been banned, salmon thrive in the clear water. Salmon is an important portion of the diet of male bears, yielding a great deal of protein and helping to fatten them for the winter. By frightening the male bears from the salmon rivers, which they have fished for thousands of years, humans may be affecting the health, survivability and size of these bears. Each year more than 40 Brown Bears are killed on Admiralty, and hunters are lobbying to reopen hunting in areas such as Pack Creek that are now closed to protect the fishing spots (Hanson 1998). This island deserves to be declared a National Park, which would protect these bears from hunting.

Another effect of hunting male bears has recently been documented by Swedish and Norwegian biologists, who found that in areas where resident adult male Brown Bears had been killed to thin the population, bear cubs suffered very high mortality for several years until dominant males reoccupied the territory (O’Neil 1997). Male bears, who have traditionally been considered threats to cubs, may be a danger only to cubs they have not fathered. Thus, the killing of bears by sport and trophy hunters may also result in the deaths of hundreds of bear cubs.
Russian Brown Bears have been hunted heavily in recent years. When a prominent government official, Prime Minister Viktor S. Chernomyrdin, announced early in 1997 that he wanted to trophy hunt a Brown Bear, local guides bulldozed a path to the den of a sleeping female bear (Filipov 1997). Tractors plowed a campsite for a large tent with mobile kitchen and cafeteria, and the Prime Minister flew in by helicopter (Filipov 1997). Chernomyrdin, accompanied by 12 hunters, rode a skimobile to the site, roused the bear and killed her two cubs and the mother. This incident received much adverse publicity in Russia. When the Prime Minister was criticized for his lack of sportsmanship, he replied: “What’s wrong with that? Hunting of bears is not banned; it’s a normal thing . . . I’d like to watch those who are writing about this meet those bears eye to eye to see their reaction” (Filipov 1997).

In Greece and Turkey, where Brown Bears are avidly hunted in spite of their dwindling numbers, cubs orphaned when their mothers are killed are often sold to zoos or to gypsies who treat them abusively. This trade is illegal in both countries, and the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) has saved many of these gypsy bears, who are dragged through the streets with nose rings and made to perform tricks. WSPA has placed several hundred of these abused bears in large wooded compounds, unfettered for the first time in their lives. Some had to be euthanized because of severe infections that had caused them extreme pain and serious physical disabilities that they had endured for many years without veterinary treatment. The majority suffered the effects of malnutrition.

The animals trophy hunters seek–the finest specimens–are the very ones that should be left in the wild to maintain the species. Killing the largest specimens of a species, subspecies or population is likely to diminish it in size and survivability. This would seem elementary, but trophy hunters, state game departments, many in the Fish and Wildlife Service, the World Wildlife Fund and other organizations in favor of trophy hunting do not discuss or acknowledge this fact. Claims are made on behalf of trophy hunters that only old and non-breeding adults are killed, but this contention has been proven wrong in case after case. Brown and Grizzly Bears continue to breed until an advanced age. Other trophy animals have also been shown to be at their prime when shot.

Lions are a prime target of trophy hunters, who select the largest male specimens, especially those with enormous manes. Two filmmakers, Derek and Beverly Joubert, in producing their dramatic series, “Lions of Darkness” for the National Geographic Society, followed three exceptionally large males for a long period. These magnificent Lions spent most of their lives in a national park in Botswana, but made the fatal mistake of leaving the park and entering a wildlife management area where trophy hunting was allowed. All were shot within a short time at the prime of their lives by trophy hunters.

Trophy hunting took a tragic and highly controversial turn when the government of Tanzania sold trophy hunting rights for African Elephants at more than $4,000 per animal in the early 1990s. The 2000 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species classifies this species as Endangered. The government claimed that the largest animals, which for trophy hunters were the most desirable, were not active breeding males, but past the breeding age and, therefore, “excess.” Tanzania issued 50 permits a year for trophy-hunted elephants (Brody 1994). At least four very tame bull elephants that had been studied for decades in Amboseli National Park in southern Kenya by biologist Cynthia Moss, author of two classic books, Echo of the Elephants and Elephant Memories, wandered into Tanzania in 1994, where they were shot at point-blank range by trophy hunters (Moss 1995). The hunters had received CITES permits from the Tanzanian government to export the tusks as hunting trophies (Moss 1995). Northern Hunting Enterprises, which organized the Tanzanian elephant hunt, is run by Rick Trappe, a German Tanzanian; the hunters were two Germans and an American (Brody 1994). One of the bulls killed, called “R.B.G.,” was 47 years old at the time of his death, based on aging of the jaw–not old in elephant years–and so habituated to vehicles that he could be easily approached to within a few feet (Moss 1995). Cynthia Moss said she was “devastated” by the loss of the animals, who had come to trust researchers, tourists and rangers. She stated: “The message they got from us was, ‘It’s OK, we’re not going to hurt you, you can trust us.’ Then one day they walk two kilometers into Tanzania, where they’d been going for most of their lives, and they’re blown away . . . I feel as if was lying to them” (Brody 1994). A spokesperson for the African Wildlife Foundation said: “The ethics of shooting these virtually tame animals is appalling. You can’t call this a hunt of any kind” (Brody 1994). Had R.B.G. not been shot, he would have lived another 18 years, according to Moss (Brody 1994).

These were among a relatively small number of large, old bull elephants left in East Africa, protected through the ivory slaughters of the 1980s by the presence of field researchers and tourists. The assertion that they were non-breeding males was refuted by Moss, who had documented that they were active breeders and, in fact, among the top breeding bulls in the Amboseli population (Brody 1994). This disputes the view that they were not contributing to the gene pool and were “excess,” worthy only of being used as targets. After protests and adverse publicity on television programs that reached the United States and elsewhere, Tanzania announced a ban on trophy hunting of elephants near the Tanzania/Kenya border on December 13, 1994, and initiated an investigation into the granting of permits to shoot the Amboseli bull elephants. It is hereby noted that trophy hunting has led to species decline even if regulated or non-regulated. Furthermore trophy hunting would not have been banned in Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana and Zambia had sufficient evidence proved that hunting was actually benefiting the entire gene pool and species of many animals. We would like to see hunters debate this however never seem too.

Poaching; 

Hunting is no different from poaching in reality. Poaching requires no permit. However it must never be confused with hunting. Poaching has fulled many trades from drug trafficking, people smuggling, arms trade down to prostitution. Poaching has seen many species of animals made extinct and is officially out of control within Africa.

Most rare and precious African fauna and flora species are on the verge of extinction, today more than in the past years following increased illegal trade in the past decade as global demand for these increases on daily basis.

Game poaching has been singled out as the greatest threat that could lead to the extinction of wild animals like elephants, leopards, Rhinoceros, gorillas and buffaloes among other African animals, making these species more endangered like never before.

The demand for lucrative elephant tusks, rhinoceros horns, game meat, skins and hides has been shifted to Africa making illegal poaching more lucrative as traffickers devise new tactics to elude wildlife authorities. Demand for aloe vera, cycads, plant succulents and other rare plant species found on the African continent, in the fast growing global cosmetic, food and beverage industries has doubled, threatening to wipe out these rare plants off the face of the earth if African countries don’t act fast to avert the situation.

Consequently, African states which haven’t acceded to the Lusaka Agreement on Cooperative Enforcement Operations Directed at Illegal Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora have been encouraged to do so if a united front to combat this illegal and criminal practice is to be formed.
This call was made by wildlife conservation experts and policy makers from different African countries during the regional 9th Governing council of the parties to the Lusaka agreement meeting held recently, in Kampala.

The Lusaka Agreement adopted in 1994 by east and southern African countries is a platform for these countries to unite and combat illegal trafficking and trade in wild fauna and flora, though some countries in the region have been adamant as far as acceding to and ratifying the agreement is concerned.

Three of the five east African Community member states, that is Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania have signed this agreement together with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), while Rwanda and Burundi are yet to sign the agreement which has listed, among other animals, Mountain Gorillas as one of those species most endangered and threatened into extinction by illegal poaching activities.

Rwanda, Uganda and the DRC are the only countries in the world with Mountain Gorillas and experts have warned that these tourist attractions could become extinct in the years to come if much more is not done to protect them from the wrath of poachers.
There are only 720 of these Mountain Gorillas, surviving today.

Recent research also reveals that demand for hardwood timber on the world market has led to illegal tree felling and timber logging activities in the equatorial forests which are home to Mountain Gorillas, putting their habitat at risk.

Speaking at the regional meeting the Kenyan minister for Tourism and Wildlife Conservation, Dr. Noah Wekesa blamed the increased poaching activities in the region to the proliferation of small arms accessed by poachers and on weak legislation saying that even if caught, such criminals are able to walk away scot-free since there are no strong laws to punish the culprits.

“We should amend our laws to strongly deal with these individuals harshly and on this we should bring on board as many nations as possible,” noted the Kenyan official.

The Ugandan Minister of state in charge of Tourism and Wildlife, Serapio Rukundo, called upon countries in the Great Lakes Region to dedicate more funds to wildlife conservation towards fighting and eliminating poaching and sensitizing the population on the dangers of poaching.
“There should be total abolition of illegal poaching. For example if Gorillas are killed, a lot of revenue is lost. Gorillas are core to tourism,” Rukundo said.

Rukundo said that the demand for wild animals such as Rhinos and Leopards is increasing yet little is being done to protect them.
Despite many African countries being parties to the Convention in Trade on Endangered Species (CITES), research shows that Africa still faces a bigger challenge in protecting natural resources and endangered species as the figures have remained the same since 1990.

Data from the Lusaka Agreement reveals that over 20.000 elephants are killed in Africa annually and the ivory worth over $20m is exported to China, USA and Japan where it has a lucrative ready market.

There is also a ready market for rhino horns, hippo teeth, primates like Gorillas and African monkeys, skins of leopards, zebras, cheetahs, giraffes, pythons, turtle shells, coral shells, snakes, crocodiles, birds and many other species found in Africa, grossing over $120m in illegal trade.

Participants singled out China’s over ambitious penetration into Africa and demand of raw materials such as minerals to feed its booming industrial sector as the current single threat to African bio-diversity and ecosystem which poses a great danger if not checked soon. China’s activities in Africa have of late been receiving scathing attacks from environmental activists as most of them disregard the environment.
The United Nations Environment Programme pledged support to African States towards enforcing and implementing environment laws and policies in the battle to conserve the environment and meeting global targets and goals such as MDG’s, the message from the UNEP Executive Director Marko Burglund reveals.

While we all focus on the “demand” for animal parts Dr Allmindinger a German Environmentalist stated that this is just the tip of a very large ice berg. “It’s not just demand within Asia that law enforcement teams must focus on, while civil wars rage out of control so will poaching as poaching is funding up to 67% of all illegal arms trades with the remainder government funding”..  Governments like America and Great Britain must remember that when they cease funding of arms to arm rebels its the wildlife that pays for it in the long run”..

Conclusion;

The five main threats above to our wildlife whether it be to animals or plants is increasing and will continue to rage out of control until we have eventually nothing left remaining within the wild. Although this predicted big extinction is by far years away when they are gone they are gone for forever. From mega-fauna to plants and reptiles to birds everything living and breeding is in dire need of protection. Human overpopulation will most certainly be the biggest threat to wildlife. Overpopulation is not going to decrease anytime soon and sadly Planet Earth does not grow any larger. Something eventually has to give. There is no easy answer to stem the vast wildlife hemorrhaging. All we can to do is continue to increase education, awareness, demand bans are implemented on hunting practices, one baby per family rule as seen within China and so on. If it takes drastic measures to reduce wildlife loss then so be it. If we lose we have became a very destructive force. Humans are a menace to themselves and its most likely humans will eventually one day end up killing themselves off due to greed and want.

Thank you for reading

Dr Josa C. Depre 

Environmentalist and Botanical Scientist. 

 

 

 

 

Animals Made to Smoke Cigarettes – Not Funny

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Forcing animals to smoke cigarettes or use drug paraphernalia is not funny. This idiotic behaviour is animal cruelty and should be reported to authorities. A site on Facebook  features animals, from domestic pets through to endangered species being given lit cigarettes, as well as drug pipes to inhale to deliberately overdose them with either nicotine or drugs of various sorts.

The site features many Australian national emblems, including Kangaroos and Emu, which are on the Australian Coat of Arms. Many other protected native species also feature, including the ENDANGERED Hammerhead Shark, Kookaburra birds, White Cockatoos, Ringtail Possums, Water Dragons and many more, all protected species.

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The facebook site happily displays photos of wild animals and domestic pets as their owners hold them in postitoons and blows inhaled smoke from the “bong” they just lit and inhaled. [A bong is a term for drug smoking paraphenalia.] Facebook have clear terms and conditions regarding animal cruelty sites and this site is clearly in breach of those conditions.

Bush Fires Caused By Lighted Cigarette Butts

Bush-fires strike fear into most Australians because of their devastating impact upon people and animals, throughout Australia. Native Eucalyptus trees burn differently in bush-fires to deciduous trees.

The Eucalyptus tree’s crown bursts into flames in bush-fires, set off by embers and fire rapidly travels through surrounding crowns in the tops of the trees, throwing more and more burning embers as they erupt into flames. At the same time ground fires are underway, making things difficult and very dangerous for firefighters.

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It is illegal to throw lit cigarettes from moving vehicles in Australia because cigarette butts have been directly linked to devastating outbreaks of serious bush-fires involving loss of life, livestock and property.

Giving wild animals lit cigarettes places the animal in serious danger of toxic nicotine overdose. Wild animals made to carry lit cigarettes cannot be controlled and when birds fly off or animals such as possums climb up into the crown of gum trees (eucalyptus trees), lit cigarettes drop embers which can easily ignite and quickly turn into yet another bushfire.

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It is moronic behaviour to place animals in direct risk of toxic poisoning and equally moronic to place human life in danger by stupid animal cruelty pranks. If you see or know anyone placing cigarettes in an animal’s moth or beak, please immediately report their actions to local police authorities.

Cigarettes contain at least 4000 chemicals, with about 50 of these being carcinogenic.

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Many of these chemicals are derived from agricultural use in tobacco growing, including herbicides, insecticides, fungicides and rodenticides; humectants may be added to keep tobacco moist. Many are additives used in flavouring and adjusting the burn rate of cigarettes. To quote the National Cancer Institute, “There is no safe tobacco product.”

Nicotine Poisoning In Pets and Wildlife

Almost 700,000 people ‘Like’ the animal cruelty facebook site Animals smoking Durrys which targets defenceless animals whom they either manipulate of force to carry cigarettes in their mouth or beakSecond-hand cigarette smoke is dangerous to pets, wildlife and people.

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All tobacco products contain nicotine, which can cause illness and even death in fairly small amounts. It is important the products are responsibly disposed of and kept away from pets and wildlife. Domestic pets, especially dogs, usually fall ill when owners leave nicotine products like cigarette butts, chewing tobacco, or nicotine gum within reach of the animal.

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Animals like dogs, cats, squirrels, and other small animals are affected not only by second-hand smoke inhalation, but also nicotine poisoning. Cigarette butts contain the cn which is meant to contain tar, particles, and toxins from the cigarette such as ammonia, arsenic, benzene, turpentine and other toxins (VetMedicine.)

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Toxic Cigarette Butts

Cigarette butts reportedly account for 30% of the waste items found on U.S. shorelines, which is a hazard for animals like seagulls and turtles because when placed in large bodies of water like oceans, the toxins of the cigarette butt can be detrimental to marine life. Researchers at San Diego State University claim that filter-tipped cigarette butts are toxic especially for marine and fresh-water fish.

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Even just one cigarette butt alone soaking in water for a day is hazardous enough; Dolphins have the most blubber in the marine life and toxins concentrate there, thus dolphins especially are the most affected by the toxins.

The toxins of the cigarette butt can cause health problems in animals like vomiting, tremors and hypersalivation. Once the signs of nicotine toxicity have developed in an animal, home treatment is not effective and immediate treatment by a veterinarian is encouraged.

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In a Veterinary Medicine Forum: JudiBC writes: “My landscaper chews tobacco when mowing our large dog enclosure and every week our five dogs become ill  for two to three days after the area is mowed. We finally discovered the landscaper was spitting out chunks of his chewing tobacco and our dogs were eating it.  I have since learned that this can be toxic to pets and the symptoms are, vomiting, diarrhea or loose stool.”

Nicotine is toxic for humans too. While our human bodies over time can build up a tolerance to the addictive nature of nicotine, dogs don’t have that ability. One or two cigarette butts can kill a dog.

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The biggest problem with cigarette butts is that much of the nicotine was drawn into the filter when a person smoked that cigarette, so cigarette butts tend to have a high concentration of nicotine [FTG.]

Cigarette butts have been shown to leach out numerous chemicals such as heavy metals, nicotine and ethylphenol in water and may be a continual point source for contamination of aquatic environments after discarding.  Not many people realise that nicotine is sold commercially in the form of a pesticide.

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Exotic Pets and Second-Hand Smoke

Exotic pets, such as birds, rabbits, and rats, have very sensitive respiratory systems, and many are extremely sensitive to any type of pollutants. They also suffer from the harmful effects of second hand smoking and living in a smoking household has been linked to increased risk of lung cancer and pneumonia in exotic pets. The best way to protect your pets from second- hand smoking is to quit smoking.

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Toxic Signs Seen From Tobacco Ingestion

The first thing the body does after ingestion of tobacco/nicotine is to get rid of it, seen as vomiting. The common signs from nicotine toxicity are vomiting,diarrhea, tremors or trembling, drooling, hypersalivation, constricted pupils, excitement, odd behavior, seizures and death.

The toxic dose for nicotine in pets is 1/2-1 mg per pound of pet body weight, while the lethal dose is 4 mg per pound of pet body weight.1

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Animals like dogs, cats, squirrels, and other small animals are affected not only by second-hand smoke inhalation, but also nicotine poisoning. Cigarette butts are meant to contain tar, particles, and toxins from the cigarette such as ammonia, arsenic, benzene, turpentine and other toxins.

Acording to Wendy C. Brooks, DVM, DipABVP: “A 40 LB DOG WOULD GET VERY SICK AFTER EATING ONE CIGARETTE but would need 11 cigarettes to die from nicotine poisoning.”

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Ingestion of nicotine is considered an emergency, and time is of the essence. If possible, have the type of nicotine and the approximate amount of nicotine that your pet ingested ready for your vet for aggressive treatment.

Your veterinarian will want to: induce vomiting if the animal hasn’t already vomited, administer activated charcoal, and start supportive therapy — IV fluids, medications to control seizures and other nervous system effects if indicated. The sooner the body is rid of the nicotine (by vomiting and breakdown in the liver) the better the prognosis.

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It should be noted that stomach absorption of nicotine is poor, but TOBACCO CAN BE CAUSTIC TO THE STOMACH,  ANTACIDS SHOULD “NOT” BE ADMINISTERED however, because stomach acids are primarily what inhibit the nicotine absorption. Nicotine is absorbed well from the small intestines though, so prompt treatment will prevent more of this toxin from getting into the bloodstream.

Electronic Cigarettes Deadly For Pets

Electronic cigarettes are packaged with strong tempting artificial flavors added to ecigarettes like bubble gum and fruits. Pets could also be attracted to the delicious aromas of eliquids. Just the least amount of nicotine in a single piece of cigarette butt could already endanger small animals and pets with gravely serious outcomes (I.P.)

Dogs and Second-Hand Smoke

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The residual from smoking is known as Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) or Second- Hand Smoke. Second-hand smoke comes from two sources: that exhaled by the smoker, and that produced at the end of the burning cigarette, pipe or cigar. It contains over 4,000 chemicals, including carbon monoxide, formaldehyde and arsenic, as well as nicotine, tar and cancer-causing agents known as carcinogens.

Not only do your pets inhale second-hand smoke, but they can also lick up toxic chemicals, nicotine, tar and carcinogens that land on their fur after the smoke in the air settles, all of which can increase their chances of developing cancer.

Furthermore, accidentally eating nicotine containing products, such as cigarette or cigarette butts, can also prove to be very toxic to your pets. Remember: nicotine is often used as an insecticide, says Dr. Dawn Ruben.

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Dogs are also subject to the damaging effects of second-hand smoke. Long-nosed dogs, such as collies, have been shown to be 2.5 times more likely to develop cancers in their nasal cavities as compared to long-nosed dogs in none-smoking households. It is believed that dogs with long noses have more nasal surface area, and carcinogens from the second-hand smoke they inhale deposit here and result in nasal cavity cancers. Dogs that suffer from nasal cancers usually do not survive more than a year.

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In contrast, short- to medium-nosed dogs, such as Bulldogs and Pugs, lack the long nose to help filter out the carcinogens from second-hand smoke. Instead, they respond to the carcinogens from smoke like the smokers themselves – it is more directly inhaled, resulting in an increased risk of lung cancer. Indeed, dogs exposed to second-hand smoke are 1.6 times more likely to develop lung cancer when compared to dogs from none- smoking households.

Dogs constantly exposed to smoke are also more prone to lung diseases and eye irritation, and second-hand smoke has been known to cause wheezing, coughing, and hyperventilating, as well as depression and lethargy. Dogs, like cats, will also lick their fur and are prone to the effects of ingesting carcinogens.

It only takes a little bit of nicotine to cause serious illness or even death of your pet. Your pet may show toxic signs after eating less than 1 cigarette! Even worse, one cigar contains around 40 mg of nicotine, and a nicotine patch can contain up to 114 mg of nicotine.

Passive Cigarette Smoke At Least Doubles The Risk Of Cancer In Cats

Feline lymphoma is the most common cancer in cats, and often involves their intestinal tracts. Cats that contract lymphoma are usually about 10-years-old. The typical treatment protocol involves chemotherapy and possibly radiation therapy for a course of about six months. The cost of treatment is $2,000 to $3,000. Approximately 65 percent of cats that receive treatment go into remission, and about 25 percent of them survive more for more than two years.

Cats living in homes where people smoke cigarettes are more than twice as likely as other cats to acquire a deadly form of cancer known as feline lymphoma, according to the American Journal of Epidemiology, in a study in cats conducted by scientists at Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine.

The study concludes that these findings offer a compelling reason for further study of the relationship between passive smoke and non-Hodgkins lymphoma in humans, which is similar to lymphoma in cats.

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“It has long been believed that the major cause of feline lymphoma was feline leukemia virus,” explained Antony S. Moore, VMSc, a board-certified veterinary oncologist and director of Tufts’ Harrington Oncology Program. “The results of our study clearly indicate that exposure to environmental factors such as SECOND-HAND TOBACCO SMOKE HAS DEVASTATING CONSEQUENCES FOR CATS  because it significantly increases their likelihood of contracting lymphoma.”

Several recent studies in humans have suggested that people who smoke tobacco may have an increased risk of contracting non-Hodgkins lymphoma. In addition, other studies have suggested that children of parents who smoke may have an increased risk of developing lymphoma. The results of these studies, however, are often hard to prove due to the myriad of other risk factors that people face.

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In sharing their living environments with humans, cats are exposed to many of the same environmental contaminants as their owners, including tobacco smoke. Exposure levels in cats continuously kept indoors may actually be higher than those of human household members, who often spend extended periods of time outside their homes. Cats may become exposed by inhaling the smoke or by ingesting it when they groom themselves and lick particulate matter off of their fur.

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“We believe that feline exposure patterns to environmental tobacco smoke may mimic those of young children living in households where adults smoke and where the children inhale tobacco smoke or ingest particulate matter by mouthing contaminated objects,” said Elizabeth R. Bertone, ScD, Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

An epidemiologist and lead author of this study, Bertone added: “Our findings offer another reason for smokers living with pets and children to try to ‘kick the habit.’ Quitting smoking will not only reduce their risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes, but may reduce the risk of cancer in their children and pets as well.”

To evaluate whether exposure to household environmental tobacco smoke may increase the risk of feline lymphoma, the authors conducted a case-control study of this relationship in 180 cats who were treated at Tufts Veterinary School’s Foster Hospital for Small Animals between 1993 and 2000. Eighty of the cats were treated for lymphoma and 100 were treated for renal failure.

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After adjusting for age and other factors, the relative risk of lymphoma for cats exposed to any household environmental tobacco smoke was more than double (2.4) that of cats not exposed to tobacco smoke. The risk of cats acquiring cancer increased with both their duration and quantity of tobacco smoke exposure. Cats that were exposed for five or more years had a risk of more than triple (3.2) that of other cats.

Risk of lymphoma also appeared to be related to the number of smokers living in the home, with nearly a double relative risk (1.9) for cats living with one smoker, and a four-fold increase in risk (4.1) for cats living with two or more smokers. In addition, cats living in households where humans smoked a pack or more of cigarettes per day had a significant three-fold (3.3) increase in risk compared to cats living in homes where people did not smoke.

Previous studies have not addressed the association between environmental tobacco smoke and lymphoma in pets. While no clear mechanism has been proposed to explain an association between active or passive smoking and the development of non-Hodgkins lymphoma in humans, the new study indicates several components of tobacco smoke may be carcinogenic to lymphoid tissue and may cause mutation in certain tissues.

What You Can Do

Whenever you witness animal cruelty immediately report it to your local authorities. Do not turn away and expect someone else to report it. The animal being abused does snot have a voice and it is your opportunity to be hero for an animal in need.  You can report social media animal cruelty sites to Facebook or twitter, via your settings. You may be saving the animal’s life!

Thank you for reading,

Michele Brown.

Adapostul de caini din Baia Mare – Please Help.

YESTERDAY we was made aware of Adapostul de caini din Baia Mare a stray dog facility that has been established as a non-profit in Romania. We were somewhat annoyed when reading that this incredibly underfunded organisation was promised so many things by UK Charity World Protection for Dogs and Cats in the Meat Trade formally known as No To Dog Meat that is headed by Ms Decadent

Promises of blankets, financial grants that would span the year to help purchase building materials and more was not kept too. In a cruel twist of ego-driven minds World Protection appeared to use Adapostul de caini din Baia Mare to promote their own charity. The three ladies from Adapostul de caini din Baia Mare were asked to don T-Shirts and say good words about the charity. Although a e300 donation was provided after their New Year Raffle that was it. Adapostul de caini din Baia Mare had written a good reference and wore the No To Dog Meat merchandise very excited in the hope they would then be receiving help much needed from this British Charity.

Adapostul de caini din Baia Mare were indeed a bit disappointed about the No To Dog Meat situation but in a weird way, and this is because of the general attitude towards dogs in Romania, they didn’t expect anything too amazing to come out of it. So its down to others to now repair this damage and loss of faith. Just think had the Adapostul de caini din Baia Mare exhausted all their funding in the hope they were going to receive six down payments and blankets plus a visit also promised that never materialized what would have happened to the dogs and cats? This is why many organisations take a very dim view on this very unprofessional behavior.

An investigation started with No To Dog Meat because they promised 6 months of rent, 250 euros x 6 months, which they asked people to donate to them, and money Adapostul de caini din Baia Mare never received. Plus they said on their page that they sent us many blankets in the past winter, and again those we never received nor did anyone from NTDM ask us if we need them or where to send them. Adapostul de caini din Baia Mare did receive the three hundred euros. They were also thankful of this however again what if with promises such as this would have hapepend had Adapostul de caini din Baia Mare spent the reminder of their funding on other organisation needs. Such as food but not blankets, Can you see where we are coming from? Please never promise something and use an impoverished organisation to better your own as that is immoral and bordering corrupt.

So as the news trickled in we decided to provide Adapostul de caini din Baia Mare with a $300 grant from our non-public private fund and so did the amazing Animal Buddy. Animal Buddy granted a $200 grant from their own back pockets.

The Chief Environmental Officer has as of today granted permission for International Animal Rescue Foundation to help the Adapostul de caini din Baia Mare organisation. This permission was granted after the Board of Directors witnessed with their own eyes the many ill, diseased and dying dogs that this wonderful Romanian organisation is working to help. Problem is Adapostul de caini din Baia Mare receive little if any public funding. To be precise they receive probably no more than ten to twenty euros if that a week. We hope our readers now understand why we and our Chief Environmental Officer and advocates at Animal Buddy were frustrated, saddened and angry that a British Charity had pledged to help them with blankets and funding to help with building materials that was never seen.

We are thankful that World Protection had granted a three hundred euro grant. However we will not tolerate “any” charity, or “organisation” that makes promises goodwill to very impoverished European organisations getting their hopes up to then see later on that it really was just a ploy to “promote No To Dog Meat” and to write a few good words for them in the hope No To Dog Meat would be chosen as a “Leading UK (political) charity registered with the Charities Commission. Political organisations are also in violation of the Charities Commissions as stated in the Terms and Conditions of registration.

Picture – 1 10.11.2013

Dog with distemper taken from the Costanza dog pound – he was just a baby. He died a month after Adapostul de caini din Baia Mare removed it. I’ve done a complete analysis Adapostul de caini din Baia Mare quoted, he didn’t gain more weight no matter what he was fed. In recent days, could no longer stand his feet. Sadly this poor pup had to be humanely euthanized.

plea

So we hope our readers can understand our frustrations and that of International Animal Rescue Foundation and Animal Buddy of which are not related or affiliated to the Icelandic Registered Company (2010).

International Animal Rescue Foundation has a strict code of mission and conduct. International Animal Rescue Foundation works primarily in conservation preservation. However and as explained on our last blog roll the organisation established its private grant mission when founded. This is to ensure the organisation continues to run effectively yet professionally. Investigations and welfare demands are met when needed and to fund all work carried out by the organisation. INTERNATIONAL ANIMAL RESCUE FOUNDATION WILL ONLY TAKE PUBLIC FUNDING in dire need of emergencies. See update on Funding African Wildlife Survival.

IN A MEETING today within France the organisation has decided that more help must be granted to the Adapostul de caini din Baia Mare. A few donations here and there is just not good enough. Have you ever visited Romania in the Winter? (click link)

International Animal Rescue Foundation France from its private non-public trust fund will be providing help to Adapostul de caini din Baia Mare to help purchase;

  • Bedding and blankets for strays taken of the streets 
  • Building materials to help construct the shelters and keep dogs and cats safe and secure warm and disease free 
  • Food to help fight infection, reduce malnutrition and increase overall health of dogs and cats rescued of the harsh streets of Romania
  • Medications to alleviate infectious disease and help with veterinary care 

Picture 2 – 1/11/2013 Dog taken of streets of Romania Adapostul de caini din Baia Mare helped. This poor little pooch had a serious eye infection of which the eye had to be removed. Thankfully and with the only three women that run Adapostul de caini din Baia Mare this dog was saved from a very near death.

infection

Winter is only just around the corner in Europe and from forcasts and model data we are set for a rather harsh one. Please be most kind to place a donation the Adapostul de caini din Baia Mare here;

PAYPAL: adapostuldecainibaiamare@yahoo.com
RON: RO 49 BTRL RONC RT02 4689 8501
EUR: RO 96 BTRL EURC RT02 4689 8501
SWIFT EUR: BTRL RO 22

Your donation will help dogs like this below;

rescued

 

Find a loving and ever happy home. Plus your always kept up to date with news here via their Facebook page

 

Thanks for reading everyone. Please share this article and please donate what you can.

 

Editor

Francis Mayel

Environmental News and Media.  

Can hunting lead to Species Extinction?

extinction-is-forever

Its a topic that we see spoken about within many animal rights and conservation debate forums, can hunting lead to species extinction? The answer is yes hunting can if not monitored lead directly to species extinction.

The many arguments that quote Cites can help stop species from extinction is not really valid. Cites – Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species does not cover the entire globe.

To date there are a total of one hundred and sixty member states (2013) that are bound by the Cites agreement. So in not so many words hunting can be (restricted) however this doesn’t mean that the member states have to agree with what Cites and other member states call for.  Cites was established back in the early 1970’s of which has seen many species of animals and plants preserved. One must remember though that hunting is not the real threat to animals, humans are via over populating that leads to mass habitat fragmentation in many ways. Increased farming, urbanization and depletion of natural resources such as wood have had quite a profound affect to many species of plant and animal.

Case Study #1 

Identified in 1826 by Cretzschmar – Oryx dammah.

(Extinct within the wild)..

O. dammah

scimitar_horned_oryx___igf_guillaume_roquesrogery

The Oryx dammah is only extinct within the wild. However, 14,636 km away the Oryx dammah is not extinct on US ranches?, 14,636 km on a private farm in Texas these adorable mammals are trophy hunted. One would think that the farm would actually create a captive breeding program to reintroduce species of O. dammah back in the wild of Northern Africa.

Back in the 1960’s a global captive breeding program was launched when it was finally documented that hunters had literally over hunted the species into extinction. At the same time the African black and white Rhino was bordering extinction however won a reprieve, sadly even they are no longer safe bordering tipping point.

In 2005 a captive breeding assessment showed around some 1,500 individuals of O. dammah within captivity. From 2000-2007 the species was formally identified as completely extinct within the wild. In Chad and Niger it was estimated that a mere five hundred individuals were known to still be living within the wild from 1985. Scimitar horned oryx (common name) is regionally extinct within Algeria, Burkina Faso, Chad, Egypt, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan, Tunisia and the Western Sahara.

Hunters can agree or disagree. The evidence is clear today as it was back in the mid-1980’s when the species was formally assessed as (critically endangered).. Hunters are responsible for pushing species of mammal whether it be the Lion or the O. dammah into extinction. What really concerns International Animal Rescue Foundation’s conservation team is that environmental departments and enforcement agencies were fully aware many species of animals are threatened from human selfishness. Cites was not aware as the treaty was only drawn into practice back in the early 1970’s. Had the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species that hosts some 160 member states been made aware of the plight of the O. dammah its quite possible they’d still be living within the wild.

Environmental departments on the African continent knew the O. dammah populations were being seriously depleted. So did international agencies. The O. dammah could have been taken into a secure captive breeding program way sooner than the 1960’s and/or protective secure parks established and manned to secure the species within the wild.

Over-hunting and habitat loss, including competition with domestic livestock, have been reported as the main reasons for the extinction of the wild population of Scimitar-horned oryx. Hunters still to this very day propagate unproven data stating the O. dammah is still pretty much alive within the wild. You’ll find that most of these hunters are either cattle ranchers that have never visited our Mama Africa or keyboard hunters that take facts from various sources outdated or unproven.

International Animal Rescue Foundation – Africa located seven ranches inside of the United States that allows tropical hunting of the O. dammah. One ranch we contacted we asked if they would be willing to ship out to Africa a dozen O. dammah for breeding yet we was informed the cattle were only hunted for trophies. Even with money talking not one ranch was willing to comply. (Please note we do not own a captive breeding facility)…

Cattle Ranches in Texas sell for hunting O. dammah Yearling Heifer/Bull priced at $800.00USD, cows as $1,100.00USD and bulls up to 36 inches at $1,300.00USD.. All included – to hunt sets you back a staggering $3,250.00.

Regardless of what hunters state there has been no definite evidence of the survival of this species in the wild for more than 15 years. Yet speak to a few Texan hunters and they’ll inform you otherwise. Sporadic reports of animals sighted in Niger and Chad have never been substantiated, despite extensive surveys dedicated to detection of Sahelo-Saharan antelopes carried out in Chad and Niger in 2001-2004.

It is sadly a fact that hunting whether it be trophy hunting or hunting for bush-meat has contributed to the extinction of this species within the wild. Any hunter that states no species of animal has ever been pushed to extinction within the past twenty years other than the Dodo and Tasmanian Tiger are bare faced uneducated liars that lack any form of conservationism education as their only type of conservation is keeping numbers down commonly known as “hunting” – Its hardly conserving any form of animal.

Case Study #2 

Identified in 1866 by Milne and Edwards – Elaphurus davidianus

(Extinct within the wild)

 E. davidianus

pere's david

This species is listed as Extinct in the Wild, as all populations are still under captive management. The captive population in China has increased in recent years, and the possibility remains that free-ranging populations can be established some time in the near future. When that happens, its Red List status will need to be reassessed.

So here is that hunters (propaganda again) within many debates that we read within Animal Rights and conservation forums. The average hunter still argues that no animal has been pushed to extinction via hunting within the past two decades or less. Back in 1990 the Pere David’s Deer as it is commonly known was listed as (endangered). Cites that was well established back then knew this species of deer was facing extinction so did all member states as well as enforcement agencies and Department of Environments yet done nothing to preserve its status until now.

From 1994 the Pere David’s Deer was re-listed as endangered. From 1996 the species was listed again as (critically endangered). Sometime from 1980-1990 the species was re-listed as completely extinct within the wild of which prompted conservation agencies (only when we’d lost the species in the wild) to then begin a captive breeding program. Thankfully and after much success captive bred numbers have increased to over two thousand individuals. What was the main cause for their extinction within the wild?

The species became extinct in the wild due to habitat loss and hunting. The size of the reintroduced population was only 120 in 1993, although has increased to over 2,000 since that time. Low genetic diversity has been identified as a long-term threat by Zeng et al. (2007) and Yang et al. (2008). It is unclear how much native habitat remains on which E. davidianus can exist in a free-ranging state. Is it possible that the species can be reinstated to live freely within the wild? We believe so however to what extent they can remain (wild) within the (wild) is another story.

Would a reintroduction program of the Pere’s David Deer work though? I the Chief Environmental Officer Dr Josa Depre question this time again regarding many species of “horned” mammal that are currently threatened. So, we take a look at why the species E. davidianus was threatened? Firstly blaming US or any overseas hunters is not primarily to blame here. One only has to look at why the species was pushed into extinction to ascertain whether it is actually practical or even professional to reintroduce the species back into the wild of China from which it is endemic too.

Firstly I do not believe in the current climate of poaching and black market wildlife trade that reintroduction of the Pere’s David Deer is practical. E. davidianus was hunted mainly by Asian hunters legally and illegally. Hunted to extinction within the wild mainly for its fur, skeletons, meat, glands and derivatives. if one researches you’ll locate evidence of the Pere’s David Deer used in (TCM) commonly known as Traditional Chinese Medicine. This particular deer was hunted mostly for its glands and skeleton. Musk is wildly used within the far east as a Traditional Medicine and for the use of perfumes (internationally) that sell for hundreds of dollars. However and as shocking as this may read the Pere’s David Deer was hunted for its skeleton for the production of bone wines that is said to enhance sexual pleasure in both men and women.

However we cannot just lay blame here all on the Traditional Chinese Medicine trade. Hunters from all over the globe hunted the Pere’s David Deer mainly for its large and well formed antlers. Furthermore locals and Asians outside of China also hunted the deer for its meat known to be aromatic and tender.

Populations of the Pere’s David Deer are now increasing within (captivity).. Currently, there are a total of 53 herds of E. davidianus in China. Nine herds have fewer than 25 deer, 75.5% have fewer than 10 deer (Yang et al., 2003). Such a small herd size raise question about the effective population size and health of population genetics, since those herds are isolated and there is no gene exchange. The artificially dispersed E. davidianus herds are similar to a meta-population. The viability of the meta-population depends on the man-made gene exchange process by the managers.

Concerns via the International Union for the Conservation of Nature 2009:

A quarter of all antelope species are threatened with extinction.

The results, compiled by the Antelope Specialist Group of IUCN’s Species Survival Commission, show that out of 91 species of antelope, 25 are threatened with extinction. The status of several species has become worse since the last complete assessment of all antelopes in 1996.
“Unsustainable harvesting, whether for food or traditional medicine, and human encroachment on their habitat are the main threats facing antelopes,” says Dr Philippe Chardonnet, Co-Chair of the IUCN Antelope Specialist Group. “Most antelopes are found in developing countries which is why it’s critically important that we collaborate with local communities there since it is in their own interest to help preserve these animals.”

Five species of antelope are in the highest category of threat, Critically Endangered, including the Dama Gazelle (Nanger dama), Aders’ Duiker (Cephalophus adersi), the Saiga Antelope (Saiga tatarica), Hirola (Beatragus hunteri) and Addax (Addax nasomaculatus). The Scimitar Horned Oryx (Oryx dammah) is already Extinct in the Wild, but there are ongoing efforts to reintroduce it. The Dama Gazelle and Addax are both reduced to tiny remnant populations and highlight the dire situation for wildlife in the Sahelo-Saharan region.
A further nine species are in the next category of threat, Endangered, and another nine are classified as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Nearly 70 percent of antelope species are not threatened with extinction and some areas of the world are doing better than others in terms of antelope populations. India, for example, is home to four species of antelope and only one of them is currently regarded as threatened.
“Despite the pressure of living alongside 1.2 billion people, antelopes are doing well in India,” says Dr David Mallon, Co-Chair of the IUCN Antelope Specialist Group. “It is no coincidence that there is very little tradition of hunting in India and gun ownership is rare.”
Overall, populations are stable in 31 percent of antelope species and decreasing in 62 percent of antelope species. The Springbok (Antidorcas marsupialis) a native of southern Africa is the only antelope species with a long-term increasing trend, mainly as a result of the game ranching industry.

Conclusion; 

Today I have written this article for the many hundreds of Animal Rights Activists and Conservationists in training that are constantly put down by hunters for being “thick” knowing little about what they are actually debating about. Frankly I could go on and submit here another twelve species of mammal and several species of plants that have gone extinct within the wild caused primarily by human hunters and traffickers. Whether it be hunting for food, hunting illegally for the animal parts trade or trophy hunting the answer to the title Can hunting lead to species extinction even with Cites established is quite rightfully yes. My main beef here is that Cites and Governmental Environmental Agencies are fully aware of the many species of land and aquatic mammal that are facing extinction or seriously threatened within the wild. Yet have done little or nothing at all to conserve threatened species. Hunting does and has lead to many species of plant and animals going extinct. The Lion, Rhinoceros, Pangolin, Cheetah, many species of bird and Sharks even trees are all facing extinction within the wild and its hunters, poachers and traffickers that are all to blame. Whether hunting is legal or not without adequate and professional monitoring “any species of mammal or plant” can quite quickly vanish from under our noses.

While the two species above and some sixty nine species are formally extinct within the wild they are at the moment the very lucky ones. Conservation programs are at their very best helping to conserve the known sixty nine species of animal and plant. However there are a total of eight hundred and twenty eight recognized species of animal, fish and plants that are already extinct.

Extinction Means Forever..

If you would like you a fact a sheet on this article or wish to know more please contact myself or my Senior Environmental Officer at – info@international-animalrescue-foundation.org.uk.

Dr Josa C. Depre 

Environmentalist and Botanical Scientist 

 

 

 

 

Proposal to Ban Lion Trophy Imports – Australia.

playingcubs

This year alone to date September 2014 we have seen a vast increase of Lions legally hunted for a trophy on some American, Canadian, European or Americas wall, not forgetting those poached illegally. Even with harsh lobbying from International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa and External Affairs Dan Ashe – USFWS Director still debates on whether it is in the best interests of Africa and its current environmental situation to ban Lion trophy imports from Africa into America. (Please click the (USFWS Director link to view the open letter to Dan Ashe)..

So while the United States and the European Union continue to debate on whether it is within the best interests of the African economy to ban importation of Lion trophy parts into the United States and the European Union, Australia is continuing to take the lead that could by the end of 22nd September see Lion trophy imports banned from import from Africa.

Please read the following (in full) and submit your proposals in full in detail to the listed environmental department no later than 22nd September 2014 at the earliest.

International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa has now completed their own proposal and will make this public in due course. By listing the Panthera leo as threatened by extinction we have more chance of preserving the species within Africa.

South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe and other African countries where Lions are still present are not prepared to ban hunting of Lions. So if they are not prepared to ban hunting then we’ll continue to disrupt the trade in any country possible thus making it harder for hunters to move their trophies from Africa. Eventually we will see this disgusting sport banned.

Please do research before submitting ones proposal. While we do see that “some” eco-tourism business’s may be affected by any change of Appendix those that are, are helping to kill the Lion off directly or indirectly.

Read more here please;

The Australian Department of the Environment is considering whether its definition of the status of the African lion should be amended to a species threatened with extinction.

This would be the equivalent of listing it on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which would affect the regulation of the import and export of lion specimens, including hunting trophies.

Species are listed under CITES based on how threatened they have become through trade:

Appendix I includes species that are currently threatened with extinction (trade can only occur in limited circumstances i.e. conservation breeding, vintage specimens).

Move to tighten import code

Appendix II includes species that are not threatened with extinction now but could become so if trade is not regulated. (Trade in Appendix II species requires a CITES permit, issued only where it can be scientifically proven that trade is sustainable). Find out more here on the differences between each appendices.

Appendix III includes species that are threatened only in one country (trade requires CITES permits or certificates).

Lions are currently listed on Appendix II and are protected under Australia’s national environmental law, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

The Department said the proposal to introduce a stricter domestic measure for trade in African lions was in response to concerns about trade in lion specimens, including hunting trophies.

It said that if introduced, the proposal would restrict trade in lion specimens to those specimens that meet one of the following criteria:

  • The specimen was obtained prior to the listing of African lion on CITES; the specimen is being traded as part of an exchange of scientific specimens or for research purposes; or as part of a Cooperative Conservation Breeding Program (for live specimens).
  • Lion trophies could only be traded if they could be proven to be pre-Convention specimens (specimens obtained prior to 1976).

The Department said the proposal might have implications for businesses involved in wildlife trade and tourism, other industries and individuals.

It invited submission to help it identify the potential impacts of treating the African lion as an Appendix I species under Australian legislation.

Submissions must be received by 22 September 2014.

Please submit your proposals in full here no later than the above date. 

Please provide your written comments by AEST 5pm 22 September 2014 to:
The Director
Wildlife Trade Regulation
Department of the Environment
GPO Box 787
CANBERRA ACT 2601
wildlifetrade@environment.gov.au

News in Brief. 

It was alarming to read new research which suggests that the West African Lion may be on the verge of extinction, with just 645 members of the sub-species left in western and central Africa. The study, carried out by conservation group LionAid, finds there are no lions at all in 25 of the region’s countries, and the animal is virtually extinct in 10 others. In Nigeria, once home to a huge community of West African Lions, just 34 remain.

In total, the researchers believe no more than 15,000 wild lions remain across the whole of Africa. A study in 2004 estimated that up to 850 West African Lions remained in the wild. If LionAid’s new figures are correct, about a quarter of the population has been wiped out in less than a decade.

Analysis by Duke University used satellite imaging to confirm nearly 75 percent of Africa’s savannah has been destroyed for lion and wildlife populations, having been converted into farmlands or otherwise encroached on by humanity. The study suggested that there are now just 67 “lion areas” left, and only 10 of these are, in any sense, stable.

The Duke researchers offered a more optimistic estimation of the lion’s survival in Africa, suggesting the population numbers 32,000. However 6,000 of these are believed to be living in areas with a very high risk of local extinction, automatically reducing the estimate by about 19 percent.

Lions and Conservation

The overall picture suggests the inexorable decrease in lion population has been accelerated by a catastrophic rate of habitat loss and increasing human population. Evidence suggests the lion is a growing part of the illegal trade of wild animals and wild animal parts, and this could seal the species’ extinction unless immediate action is taken.

Global Financial Integrity’s (GFI’s) 2011 report on transnational crime in the developing world estimates the total value of the illegal animal trade market at $10bn (approximately £6.2bn). The primary recipients of illegally traded animal parts are the Chinese (who use them in traditional medicine), as well as Americans and countries in the European Union.

Born Free USA, an animal advocacy nonprofit organisation, believes the United States is the largest importer of African lion parts and specifically lion hunting trophies. Speaking to IBTimes UK, Adam Roberts, the executive vice president and co-founder of Born Free, stressed the need to increase protection for the African lion.

Lions and CITES

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an international agreement between governments to ensure ill-advised and ruthless international trade in wild animals and plants does not lead to their extinction.
As part of its protective cover, CITES groups the traffic of animals and plants into three categories – Appendix I, Appendix II and Appendix III – with the first denoting the highest category of protection.

The African lion, Panthera leo, is listed in Appendix II, despite the evidence and the consensus of conservationists across the world, who believe pre-emptive action, taken now by uplisting the African lion to Appendix I, could make saving the species a much easier proposition.
A listing in Appendix I will not, unfortunately, eliminate all legal trade in lions. It will only serve to increase the regulations surrounding such trade.

“Trade will be more strictly controlled. In order to engage in trade of a species in Appendix I, there would have to be an export permit from the country of origin but also an import permit from the destination nation. That is different from an Appendix II listing that only requires an export permit. A nation could refuse an import permit for lion trophies from west Africa if they know trade in lion trophies from that region is detrimental to species population,” Roberts explains.

It isn’t just trade to the US that is the problem. In an email exchange with IBTimes UK, TRAFFIC, an organisation that monitors wildlife trade, confirms an increase in trade of lion parts, which they believe are being pushed as a substitute for goods such as tiger bones.
All species of tiger are now listed in Appendix I, making illegal trade in them harder. That possibly is why lions are now being targeted. However, a lack of any in-depth study in this space makes policy work difficult.

International Animal Rescue Foundation has been lobbying the US, EU and Americas for over three years now demanding an end to trophy hunting. I.A.R.F.A. changed their tactics although have not stopped lobbying and meeting environmental ministries within Africa in the hope the will soon with evidence on the table ban Lion trophy hunting. Its pictures such as these below which is a clear indication that no trophy hunter that travels to Africa is traveling to aide conservation. This amazing beast a young Lion was shot with a revolver – a hand gun. It would have taken at least 2-3 shots or more for this Lion to be taken out.

wildwestafrica

 Trophy hunters takes pride killing a Lion in Africa with a hand type gun.  

Trends

In addition to the trade of lion parts for Chinese medicine, as a substitute for tiger parts, research undertaken in Nigeria’s Yankari Game Reserve also suggested lions are being used in traditional African medicine – lion skins are used for back and joint pain, lion skin and lungs for the treatment of whooping cough, and lion veins for erectile dysfunction.

There is also the problem of quotas within CITES regulations. The agreement between participatory nations for legal trade in endangered species limits the transportation of such species to pre-set numbers. In 2011, for example, no more than 10 lions captured in the wild could be legally exported from Ethiopia.

On the face of it, this sounds a good solution to try and limit pressure on wild populations. However, the increase in quotas in recent years is a bad sign. According to information on the CITES Web site, in recent years only Ethiopia has allowed export. In 2012 however, Mozambique suddenly allowed the export of 50 lions captured in the wild per year.

And Roberts reveals an even more shocking new consumer fad – lion burgers. In an investigative study in 2010, Born Free revealed a “proliferation of lion meat advertised on menus in upscale restaurants and burger shops”.

Captive Breeding

Roberts also spoke against the possibility of captive breeding; the idea lions be bred like chickens or cattle, as they are in South Africa, for hunting and slaughter.

“The reason is two-fold. First, there is not an illegal trade in chicken meat or cow meat, the way there is in lion parts. And once you open legal trade in lion parts there is going to be illegal trade or laundering. This is not acceptable.

“Secondly, if you look at the history… where animals have been bred, presumably to reduce pressure on wild populations, it has failed miserably. Chinese tiger farms have not stopped the poaching in India. And the same goes for Asiatic black bears.

“The farming for bears started in Korea in the 1980s and spread to China, to provide Asian markets with bear gall bladders and bear bile. However, the wild population continues to be attacked, either to fill demand or re-stock farms.”

Lions and the Endgame

The lion, African or Asian, is an important part of mankind’s culture, whether or not we choose to believe that fact. The lion’s existence is interwoven into the very fabric of African folklore and daily life and the iconic images of a lion stalking the savannah, the rasping echo of its roar and the bloodcurdling chill of the animal in full flight are sights and sounds that are, in every sense of the word, irreplaceable.

A Jurassic Park-style reincarnation is not a solution. There can be no second chance. We cannot bring the lion back to life after having hunted and butchered every last animal. These are the days that will decide if the lion lives or dies.

Facts about Lions

  1. A century ago there were some 200,000 Lions roaming all over the African continent. Now there are no fewer than a mere 30,000 if that with the lowest estimated figure pointing to a possible 15,000.
  2. Over the last ten years a staggering two thirds of all Lions hunted for sport were imported from Africa into – United States of America. Americans are the largest hunting force within the world standing at a sky-rocketing 16.6 million over the age of 16 and growing yearly.
  3. African Lions have vanished from a whopping 80% of their range of which hunting, habitat fragmentation, human species conflict and unsustainable agriculture are primary causes for Lion depletion’s.
  4. Lions have become extinct in 26 countries. Only seven countries – Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe – are believed to contain more than 1,000 lions each.
  5. Between 1999 and 2008, 64% of the 5,663 Lions that were killed in the African wild for sport ended up being shipped to America, it must also be noted numbers had risen sharply in those 10 years, with more than twice as many Lions taken as trophies by US hunters in 2008 than in 1999. In addition to personal trophies, Americans are also the world’s biggest buyers of Lion carcasses and body parts, including claws, skulls, bones and penises. In the same years, the US imported 63% of the 2,715 Lion specimens put up for sale.
  6. From 1996 – 2008 species populations of Panthera leo has not increased but decreased furthermore seeing few localised extinctions. The African Lion is still listed as vulnerable on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species yet the US Fish and Wildlife Service continue to allow importations of Lion trophies into America.
  7. The main threats to Lions are indiscriminate killing (primarily as a result of retaliatory or pre-emptive killing to protect life and livestock) and prey base depletion. Habitat loss and conversion has led to a number of populations becoming small and isolated.
  8. Demand from the Far East is also driving profits for Lions breeders. In 2001, two Lions were exported as “trophies” to China, Laos and Vietnam; in 2011, 70 Lion trophies were exported to those nations. While the trade in Tiger parts is now illegal, demand for Lion parts for traditional Asian medicine is soaring. In 2009, five Lion skeletons were exported from South Africa to Laos; in 2011, it was 496. The legal export of Lion bones and whole carcasses has also soared.

 

Thank you for reading – Please submit your proposal to ban the importation of Lion trophies and parts from Africa into Australia no later than the 22nd September 2014 17:00 AEST to the address below; 

Please provide your written comments by AEST 5pm 22 September 2014 to:
The Director
Wildlife Trade Regulation
Department of the Environment
GPO Box 787
CANBERRA ACT 2601
wildlifetrade@environment.gov.au

 

Dr Josa C. Depre 

Chief Environmental Officer. 

International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa 

Environmental and Botanical Conservationist 

Dairy Trade – Cruelty Free Milk?

iarfct

Milk makes up quite a large part of the human diet for many of us. Milk can be purchased from major hypermarkets, markets and farms to local grocery stores in a wide variety of shiny white, blue or purple plastic, cardboard or glass containers. Pictures of children and families smiling happily with cows and farm animals or just comical cow drawings encouraging you to drink your milk is part and parcel of government advertising.

International Animal Rescue Foundation documents mostly on animal welfare and conservation issues locally and internationally of which we debated long and hard about publishing quite an extreme article that depicts just how the milk process works and the cruelty inflicted to cows just to provide a tasty white drink that is high in calcium, minerals and Melatonin a naturally sourced property. Synthetic and natural Melatonin aides sleep, relaxation and in synthetic pill form helps to reduce many childhood neurological and behavioral disorders such as Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder and Gilles de la Tourette syndrome being some of the common disorders that practitioners prescribe this medicine for and encourage children to drink more milk for.

For many years Animal Rights Activists have been battling dairy farmers, supermarkets, and slaughterhouses in vain to try and stop the cruelty that is inflicted to dairy cows. This can range from forced insemination straight after the female cow has given birth, the removal of calf after birth for the veal trade, transportation locally and globally down to the grotesque manners in which dairy cows are housed. Dairy trade may well look appealing to you the general public but what if we showed you the real side of the dairy trade. The horror inflicted daily just to provide you with a few liters of milk?

History; 

Dairy farming is a class of agricultural enterprise for long-term production of milk, which is processed (on-site or at a dairy plant) for eventual sale of a dairy product. Dairy farming has been part of agriculture for thousands of years. Historically it has been one part of small, diverse farms. In the last century or so larger farms doing only dairy production have emerged. Large scale dairy farming is only viable where either a large amount of milk is required for production of more durable dairy products such as cheese, butter, etc. or there is a substantial market of people with cash to buy milk, but no cows of their own.

There are many different forms of dairy collection that range from hand milking, vacuum bucket milking, milking from pipelines, milking parlors, herringbone and parallel parlors, rotary parlors, automatic milker takeoff that can be very cruel to the milking herd and lastly fully automated robotic milking. All forms of milking are undertaken in a conveyor belt fashion that see’s hundreds of thousands of liters of milk produced a year every for the consumer.

Whilst this Wednesday’s article is focusing on “milk trade” we must also highlight the other practices that see’s many milking cows abused then later slaughtered for the human food chain. Butter – Butter’s origins go back about 10,000 years to the time when our ancestors first began domesticating animals. Today, butter in its many flavorful forms is the world’s most popular fat. As a versatile spread, a delicious enhancer for so many foods, and the essential ingredient for baking, butter’s simple goodness has no equal…
The first reference to butter in our written history was found on a 4,500-year-old limestone tablet illustrating how butter was made. It is generally believed the word butter originates from the bou-tyron, Greek for “cow cheese”, however it may have come from the language of cattle-herding Scythians.

Butter was used as food by ancient tribes of Asiatic India, as well as for burning in primitive lamps and smeared on skin to protect from the cold. In early times, unlike today, butter was so costly it was used in religious ceremonies. It still is today in India and Tibet.
In ancient Rome, butter was valued cosmetically. Not only was it used as a cream to make skin smooth, but Greeks and Romans massaged it into their hair to make it shine. Much esteemed for its perceived healing properties, butter was also used in poultices to fight skin infections and burns. The ancient Egyptians even valued it as a cure for eye problems.

During the T’ang Dynasty in China, clarified butter represented the ultimate development of the Buddha spirit. The ancient Irish, Scots, Norsemen and Finns loved and valued butter so much they were buried with barrels of it.

Christian missionaries travelling in central Siberia in 1253 mentioned a traditional fermented drink, kumyss, which was served with generous lumps of butter floating in it. In Northern Europe, in centuries past, butter was credited with helping to prevent kidney and bladder stones as well as eye maladies. (This was probably thanks to butter’s vitamin A content.)

Sailors in Elizabethan times were guaranteed 1/4 lb of butter a day in their rations, and it was an old English custom to present newlyweds with a pot of this creamy delight as a wish for fertility and prosperity.

It must also be noted that cows are not the only animal that produces milk. Humans, goat, sheep, Indian buffalo, camel, llama and even horses have and still are used for the production of milk. In the modern world most humans will consume mainly milk from cows and goats whereas in the still developing world sheep, goat, camel, buffalo and llama milk are used for milk production mainly due to price, difference in taste, allergies that derive from “cows milk”. Its not uncommon to see small or large families in Asia, Africa or even Great Britain with individual cows or goats that are milked to feed the family.

Cruelty; 

The practice of dairy production in a factory farm environment has been criticized by animal welfare activists. Some of the ethical complaints regarding dairy production cited include how often the dairy cattle must remain pregnant, the separation of calves from their mothers, how dairy cattle are housed and environmental concerns regarding dairy production.

The production of milk requires that the cow be in lactation, which is a result of the cow having given birth to a calf. The cycle of insemination, pregnancy, parturition, and lactation, followed by a “dry” period of about two months of forty-five to fifty days, before calving which allows udder tissue to regenerate. A dry period that falls outside this time frames can result in decreased milk production in subsequent lactation. Dairy operations therefore include both the production of milk and the production of calves. Bull calves are either castrated and raised as steers for beef production or veal.

An important part of the dairy industry is the removal of the calves off the mother’s milk after the three days of needed colostrum, allowing for the collection of the milk produced. In order for this to take place, the calves are fed milk replacer, a substitute for the whole milk produced by the cow. Milk replacer is generally a powder, which comes in large bags, and is added to precise amounts of water, and then fed to the calf via bucket or bottle.

Milk replacers are classified by three categories: protein source, protein/fat (energy) levels, and medication or additives (e.g. vitamins and minerals). Proteins for the milk replacer come from different sources; the more favorable and more expensive all milk protein (e.g. whey protein- a bi product of the cheese industry) and alternative proteins including soy, animal plasma and wheat gluten. The ideal levels for fat and protein in milk replacer are 10-28% and 18-30%, respectively. The higher the energy levels (fat and protein), the less starter feed (feed which is given to young animals) the animal will consume. Weaning can take place when a calf is consuming at least two pounds of starter feed a day and has been on starter for at least three weeks. Milk replacer has climbed in cost US$15–20 a bag in recent years, so early weaning is economically crucial to effective calf management.

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Rotary milking parlour. Spaces standings for 60 cows. capable of milking 350 cows in one hour.

Because of the danger of infection to humans, it is important to maintain the health of milk-producing cattle. Common ailments affecting dairy cows include infectious disease (e.g. mastitis, endometritis and digital dermatitis), metabolic disease (e.g. milk fever and ketosis) and injuries caused by their environment (e.g. hoof and hock lesions).

Lameness is commonly considered one of the most significant animal welfare issues for dairy cattle, and is best defined as any abnormality that causes an animal to change its gait. It can be caused by a number of sources, including infections of the hoof tissue (e.g. fungal infections that cause dermatitis) and physical damage causing bruising or lesions (e.g. ulcers or hemorrhage of the hoof). Housing and management features common in modern dairy farms (such as concrete barn floors, limited access to pasture and suboptimal bed-stall design) have been identified as contributing risk factors to infections and injuries.

Exposed abuse; 

Over the past decade farmers have been complaining that animal and welfare activists have accounted for mass loss of farm production through direct and indirect actions against cattle farmers. Farmers have had to resort to drastic security measures to secure their farms thus ensuring what happens on the inside is not portrayed on the outside. Ag-Gag laws within the United States have been drafted up by government that is aimed at “prosecuting those that expose abuse on farms”. Ag Gag was devised in a way to protect American interests.

Anti-whistleblower bills (“ag-gag” bills) seek to criminalize whistleblowing on factory farms, keeping Americans in the dark about where their food is coming from. Whistleblowing employees have played a vital role in exposing animal abuse, unsafe working conditions, and environmental problems on industrial farms.

Instead of working to prevent these abuses from occuring, the agribusiness industry has been working to prevent people from finding out about such problems by supporting anti-whistleblower bills.

Anti-whistleblower bills effectively block anyone (within US states) from exposing animal cruelty, food-safety issues, poor working conditions, and more in factory farms. These bills can also suppress investigations into cruel horse soring, mistreatment of animals in laboratories, and other abuses. These bills could do this by:

  • Banning taking a photo or video of a factory farm without permission,
  • Essentially making it a crime for an investigator to get work at a factory farm, or
  • Requiring mandatory reporting with impossibly short timelines so that no pattern of abuse can be documented.

What is Big Ag’s big secret?

These anti-whistleblower bills raise the question, “What does animal agriculture have to hide?” By criminalizing whistleblowing, these bills would make important undercover investigations impossible—investigations like:

  • The HSUS exposé of calf abuse at a Vermont slaughter plant that led to the plant’s closure and a felony criminal conviction
  • The HSUS investigation of a cow slaughter plant in California, which prompted the largest meat recall in U.S. history and criminal convictions, too
  • The HSUS investigation of Wyoming Premium Farms, which documented rampant animal abuse and brought charges of criminal animal cruelty for nine workers

Within the United States covert welfare officers have already fallen foul of such Ag-Gagging laws. While the United States believes this is to protect the interests of America and the overall economy such cruelty practices (see video below) must continue to be exposed so that you the consumer are aware of what you are buying, placing your money into, and consuming. Regardless of whether one is damaging the economy by highlighting such abuses one must continue to ask yourself, would you allow a human to be treated in this manner? Cow, horse, pig, duck, or any animal (we are all living-beings) we all feel pain and suffering so no animal no living being should be subjected to such abuses and no enforcement officers should ever be silenced.

There is a great deal of variation in the pattern of dairy production worldwide. Many countries which are large producers consume most of this internally, while others (in particular New Zealand), export a large percentage of their production. Internal consumption is often in the form of liquid milk, while the bulk of international trade is in processed dairy products such as milk powder.

Injury and Illness within the Dairy trade;

There are many injuries and illness that have been documented within the dairy agricultural trade whether it be deliberate or from poor animal husbandry disease and poor husbandry is rife throughout the entire farming industry. the more people fund this trade the longer these abuses continue.

Mastitis is the inflammation of the mammary gland and udder tissue, and is a major endemic disease of dairy cattle. It usually occurs as an immune response to bacterial invasion of the teat canal by variety of bacterial sources present on the farm, and can also occur as a result of chemical, mechanical, or thermal injury to the cow’s udder.

Milk-secreting tissues and various ducts throughout the udder can be damaged by bacterial toxins, and sometimes permanent damage to the udder occurs. Severe acute cases can be fatal, but even in cows that recover there may be consequences for the rest of the lactation and subsequent lactations.

The illness is in most respects a very complex disease, affected by a variety of factors: it can be present in a herd subclinically, where few, if any, symptoms are present in most cows. Practices such as close attention to milking hygiene, the culling of chronically-infected cows, good housing management and effective dairy cattle nutrition to promote good cow health are essential in helping to control herd mastitis levels.

Mastitis is most often transmitted by contact with the milking machine, and through contaminated hands or other materials, in housing, bedding and other equipment. During the 1960s, a five-point plan was devised by the National Institute for Research into Dairying, aimed at providing a strategy for the reduction and control of mastitis at farm level, which in adapted form is still followed today.

Mastitis treatment and control is one of the largest costs to the dairy industry in the UK, and is also a significant factor in dairy cow welfare. Mastitis can seen in the picture below.

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You may or may not have seen the many videos of dairy cows that are hoisted up by large four by four forklifts that have gone lame. Sadly this is an all to common site within the the Agricultural trade. Cows that are pushed beyond their limitations can acquire some of the most sickening of diseases and injuries. Even with these injuries and illness present “some” of these cows are then fed back into the human and animal food chain. The steak that you ate last night that said “farm assured” or “100% welfare” could very well have come from any farm locally sourced or internationally that has allowed diseased stock into the food chain. Can you honestly be sure that the beef stew you have eaten was not a lame diseased cow? The glass of milk you are drinking has not come from a cow that has suffered repeated mastitis infectious? The answer is no , unless of course you farm, kill, and slaughter yourself.

The most common injuries to dairy cows are bruising or ulcers on the soles of their hooves and sores on their legs caused by rubbing against concrete bed stalls. These injuries cause animals to become “lame,” which means they have difficulty walking. Pasture or other soft, dry surfaces can help reduce the risk of these injuries. Lameness is one of the most serious welfare concerns for dairy cows because it is painful, and unfortunately it is also very common. Research demonstrates that about 25% of dairy cows at peak lactation in BC are clinically lame – on some farms this number can escalate to over 50%. Animal welfare scientists are working hard to find ways to detect lame cows early so that they can be treated. They are also working with farmers, veterinarians and other professionals to find new ways to design and manage dairy barns to prevent cows from becoming lame in the first place.

Transition Period Diseases; 

Dairy cows give birth every year in order to continue producing milk. The transition from pregnancy through giving birth to producing milk is full of changes and challenges, and has been aptly named “the transition period”. Not surprisingly, some dairy cows cannot cope with all of these challenges and illness is common during the transition period. This vulnerability to disease is largely due to the incredible energy demand that lactation places on their bodies. As much as 30-50% of cows become sick with metabolic or infectious disease during this period. For this reason, it is critical to ensure that cows have good access to high-quality feed at this time. Canada’s Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Dairy Cattle recommends that 2 feet of space be provided per cow at the feeder, and ideally an entire group of cows should be able to eat at the same time.

Tail docking is also a very cruel and painful process within dairy cow farming. Farmers will often tell you that docking does not take place or if it does cows will not feel a thing. This is yet another lie and myth of the agricultural business. Dairy cows give birth every year in order to continue producing milk. The transition from pregnancy through giving birth to producing milk is full of changes and challenges, and has been aptly named “the transition period”. Not surprisingly, some dairy cows cannot cope with all of these challenges and illness is common during the transition period. This vulnerability to disease is largely due to the incredible energy demand that lactation places on their bodies. As much as 30-50% of cows become sick with metabolic or infectious disease during this period. For this reason, it is critical to ensure that cows have good access to high-quality feed at this time. Canada’s Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Dairy Cattle recommends that 2 feet of space be provided per cow at the feeder, and ideally an entire group of cows should be able to eat at the same time.

Female dairy calves are dehorned in order to prevent injury to each other or to people later in life. Using a procedure called “disbudding,” the small emerging horn bud is prevented from growing by burning the tissue with a hot iron or a caustic chemical paste. Research has shown that pain caused by these procedures can be eliminated by giving calves a combination of a sedative, local anesthetic, and analgesic. In Canada, it is now required that at least some kind of pain control is used when dehorning or disbudding according to the Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Dairy Cattle.

While “Code of Practices” may at times be adhered too it is unfortunate that many cows will suffer from serious pain and infections caused by de-horning, docking. Picture below shows a typical de-horning practice.

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Veal industry; 

Veal is a by-product of the very cruel dairy industry that still many people are none-the-wiser-about. Many dairy consumers still do not understand that for a cow to produce milk she has to gestate. Once mother has produced her calf the veal the calf is cruelly removed and then held in a veal crate (pictured below)..

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Cows produce milk for the same reason why humans and other mammals do: to nourish their young. But the millions of cows who live on U.S. dairy farms are forced into a vicious cycle of continuous pregnancy so that they will produce milk for human consumption. Their female calves are slaughtered immediately or used to replace their mothers in the dairy herd, and many male calves end up in veal crates―a fate characterized by confinement, darkness, malnutrition, and slaughter.

Without human intervention, calves suckle from their mothers for nearly a year. One veterinary study revealed that “during natural weaning there is never complete and abrupt abandonment of the calf by the cow. In fact, the … cow and calf will maintain a lifelong relationship of social contact and companionship ….” Another study found that a cow and her calf can develop a “strong maternal bond” in as little as five minutes. But calves born on dairy farms are taken from their mothers on the same day that they are born and fed milk replacers, including cattle blood, so that humans can have the milk instead. This forced separation causes cows and calves great distress, and cows have been known to escape enclosures and travel for miles to reunite with their young.

Calves raised for veal are forced to spend their short lives in individual crates that are no more than 30 inches wide and 72 inches long. These crates are designed to prohibit exercise and normal muscle growth in order to produce tender “gourmet” veal. The calves are fed a milk substitute that is purposely low in iron so that they will become anemic and their flesh will stay pale.

Because of these extremely unhealthy living conditions, calves raised for veal are susceptible to a long list of diseases, including chronic pneumonia and diarrhea. A study published in the Journal of Animal Science found that calves who were kept in “smaller housing units” had difficulty keeping themselves clean and had trouble “extending their front legs and changing from a lying to a standing position,” which resulted in joint swelling. It was also determined that stereotypical forms of stress behaviors, such as tongue rolling and “sham-chewing” (the act of chewing without food in the mouth), increase when smaller pens were used and as calves got older.

After enduring 12 to 23 weeks in these conditions, these young animals—many of whom can barely walk because of sickness or muscle atrophy—are crowded into metal trucks for transport to the slaughterhouse. On these trucks, they are trampled and suffer from temperature extremes and lack of food, water, and veterinary care. A glimpse into the shocking veal trade can be seen here in video below that may be upsetting to some and disturbing to others.

Transportation;

Every year millions of cows are transported worldwide just for the dairy and beef trade. There have been many occasions when cows have been poorly mistreated, left on the back of long wagons in freezing temperatures or within heatwaves that it sends the cows insane to the point they collapse form either heat exhaustion, dehydration or hypothermia. One shocking image that was captured within Australia this month saw a cow that appears to be a dairy cow trying to escape from the back of a long wagon. The image caused outrage yet has done little to increase welfare standards within the farming, slaughter and transportation trade of livestock. (Picture can be seen below).

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Livestock are transported by land (road or rail), sea and air. Livestock are most often transported to achieve translocation immediately prior to harvest but also to move them to sources of less expensive or more abundant feed supplies (for growth or fattening), because of changes in ownership, for breeding purposes, to enter intensive production units or for exhibition in shows or contests. Tarrant and Grandin (2000) characterized the transport process as: (a) Beginning with assembly and including loading, confinement with and without motion, unloading, and penning in a new and unfamiliar environment. (b) During transport, animals are exposed to environmental stresses including heat, cold, humidity, noise, motion and social regrouping., (c) Transportation by its nature is an unfamiliar and threatening event in the life of an animal. (d) Transportation involves a series of handling and confinement situations which are unavoidably stressful and can lead to distress, injury or even death of the animal unless properly planned and carried out. (e) Transportation often coincides with a change in ownership whereby responsibility for the animal’s welfare may be compromised.

Concluding; 

An article published by the British cattle Veterinary Association reveals that 150.000 000 cattle are pregnant when sent to The slaughterhouse every year. At least 40.000 of these cattle have been found in the last stages of pregnancy. 90 percent of cows are dairy cows and the majority of the farmers do not they realize that they are pregnant. In the survey avc, 50,9 % of farmers thought the cow was not pregnant, and 27,3 % said that they did not know. This kind of shows just how unprofessional farmers are and the lack of expertise too that is failing many dairy cows and other farm animals.

The infertility is quoted as the reason most common to the slaughter of an animal, followed by the mastitis (an inflammation painful of the ubres very common in The dairy cows) and then the old age. Some cows, they are sending to the slaughterhouse thinking that they are infertile, when in reality they are pregnant. Animals are sent to the market one farmer stated are heavy before I kill them. The farmer is compensated per kilo if the animal is found to be pregnant. You can see just what we mean by poor husbandry, lack of knowledge, and failings within the picture below. The cow and many more sent to slaughter was in fact pregnant yet the farmer nor the slaughter-man knew until the cow was finally slaughtered.

Gabriele Meurer MRCVS, an ex surgeon vet officer in abattoirs in the UK, says: “Sometimes, when these creatures are hanging in the line to be slaughtered you can see the calves kicking inside of their mothers. I, like a vet, I just had to look at it, do not do nothing and stay silent. It broke my heart and I felt like a criminal, after witnessing this so many times I then left the practice horrified and moved by what I witnessed on a daily basis”.

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If this article has somewhat concerned you and you wish to try an alternative to milk then do not be afraid there are other milks out there that are more healthy, contain few if any agricultural medicines used in the farming industry and are much kinder to ones tummy too. We’ve listed them below for your information.

High in fat and with a carbon footprint to match, cow’s milk is neither the greenest or healthiest milk available. So what are the alternatives? Here are some of the best From greenhouse gas emissions to antibiotics, the problems associated with cow’s milk are legion. According to Tim Lang, Food Commissioner at the Sustainable Development Commission (SDC): ‘The heavy footprint of the meat and dairy industry means it’s right to prioritise exploring how, not just whether, over-consuming societies like the UK can reduce their meat and dairy consumption.’ Then there are the health issues associated with the white stuff, which range from dairy intolerance through to high cholesterol. Loaded with calories and heavy on the saturated fat, cow’s milk certainly isn’t the diet conscious choice for putting in your cuppa. Milk does have some health benefits though – calcium for example – but that mineral aside, there are better choices that are both low in fat and good for the planet. Here’s our pick of the best alternatives to cow’s milk.

Soya Milk – we rate this a 7/10

Packed with protein and fibre, benefits of soya milk include the presence of cancer-fighting isoflavones, minimal saturated fat and the absence of galactose, which means that it can replace breast milk for galactosaemic children. It’s also safe for the lactose intolerant and anyone with a milk allergy. Because it comes from plants, there are no animal welfare issues associated with it and the growing soya plants absorb rather emit carbon – the direct opposite of dairy cows. There are some downsides though, chiefly that its sugar content can be high, particularly in the flavoured versions. Other issues include the increasing amount of land being used to farm it, which is leading to deforestation in some countries. However, its overall impact is still much less than that of cow’s milk, particularly when you choose an organic version.

Almond Milk – we rate this a 9/10

Almond milk is good source of magnesium, which helps to break down food can help with the function of the parathyroid glands, thus helping improve the health of your bones. It’s also loaded with manganese, selenium and Vitamin E. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects the cell membranes. Selenium is good for our immune system; it helps in reproduction, and in the metabolism of thyroid. It also prevents cell damage and tissue damage. Almond milk is also a good source of unsaturated fat, protein, flavonoids and potassium, and has less sugar than soya milk. Like soya milk though, it has a smaller carbon footprint by virtue of being derived from a plant source rather than a methane producing animal one. However, it doesn’t taste like cows milk by any stretch of the imagination, so it takes some getting used to if you’re looking for a true milk substitute. It’s also significantly more expensive as almonds, a hard-to-grow crop, are the main ingredient.

Rice Milk –  we rate this a 9/10

Rice milk is the most hypoallergenic of all the milk substitutes and is extremely nutritious. It’s also the least fattening of all the milk alternatives with only one gram of unsaturated fat per cup. There are also plenty of heart healthy nutrients in rice milk. The unsaturated fat comes from rice bran oil, which can help lower your blood cholesterol. Niacin and vitamin B6 are also good for this while the high magnesium content helps to control your blood pressure. Iron and copper increases your red blood cell production, giving you better oxygenated blood and more vitality. On the downside, since rice is highly starchy, so is rice milk. One cup of rice milk contains 33 grams of sugary carbohydrates, three to four times the amount in milk or soya milk. If you have diabetes, rice milk can cause a sudden sugar overload. It also has a very low protein count compared to cow’s milk and soya, and the calcium content is also minimal, so choose the fortified product instead.

Oat Milk – we rate this a 10/10

Like many plant milks, oat milk is cholesterol and lactose free, and also contains high levels of antioxidant vitamin E. It also contains folic acid, which is essential for most bodily functions and is needed to synthesise and repair DNA, produce healthy red blood cells and prevent anaemia. Thanks to its plant source, oat milk is usually tolerated by people with multiple allergies, and is also a good source of phytochemicals; naturally occurring chemicals in plants that help fight diseases such as cancer, heart disease and stroke. The main argument against oat milk is that it, like rice milk, is high in sugar and doesn’t have the calcium and protein content of cow’s milk. Since it’s derived from a cereal crop, it’s also no good for people who are allergic to gluten, and has a distinctive, oaty flavour, which doesn’t appeal to everyone. It’s also fairly difficult to source and is usually only available in health food shops.

Hemp Milk – we rate this a 7/10 

A good alternative for anyone with soya and nut allergies, hemp milk is also cholesterol and lactose free, low in saturated fats and rich in healthy omega fatty acids. It’s also an excellent source of protein and tastes creamier and nuttier than soya milk or rice milk, and also tends to be a bit thicker than other plant-based milks. Like other plant milks though, it lacks calcium and isn’t as widely available as soya, rice and goat’s milk.

Cashew Nut Milk – we rate this a 8/10

According to the George Mateijan Foundation, a quarter of a cup of cashews supplies almost 38 percent of the recommended daily intake copper, which is involved in many important bodily functions such as developing bone and connective tissue, producing melanin, and iron absorbtion. Cashews are a great source of magnesium like calcium, magnesium is also extremely important in keeping our bones strong and healthy, and, compared to other nuts, cashews have a lower overall fat content. As with the other nut-based milks you can also make cashew milk at home

Coconut Milk – we rate this a 10/10 

Coconut milk is a very creamy, dairy-free alternative for those who are lactose intolerant or allergic to animal milk. Those who subscribe to the low-carb lifestyle often prize coconut milk for it’s minimal starch content. A vegan drink, it is also soya-free, gluten-free, cholesterol-free and nut-free while its fat content is considered to a ‘good fat’, easily metabolised by the body and quickly turned into energy rather than being stored as fat. Coconut milk is also rich in lauric acid, a substance also found in human milk, which researchers have shown have anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. Unlike other nut or plant milks, the saturated fat content of coconut milk is significant at five grams per serving, so drink it in moderation. It can solidify and separate when refrigerated, depending on the brand, so if you like a cold glass of milk, it’s an inconvenient choice since you have to stir it and let it warm up to room temperature in order to drink it. Some brands also have a strong flavour that can be a bit overpowering.

If ever you are unsure please contact our vegan and vegetarian society here.

You can also watch the film Earthlings here and educate yourself on the horrors of all farming and animal abuse. Not suitable for people under the age of 12 years.

 

 

 

 

 

Honduran White and Northern White Bat.

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Some have stated they resemble the appearance of Furbies while others sate they look like cute little Gremlins. Well actually they are indeed Honduran Ghost Bats, commonly named as the (Honduran White Bat) that we featured on our main International Animal Rescue Foundation Endangered Species Article few days ago that we release every Monday and Friday.

The Honduran White Bat just one of two unique species of white bat that inhabits planet Earth featured this week on our Endangered Species Post as they are currently listed as (near threatened). Scientifically named as Ectophylla alba populations of this very small (pygmy) style bat are on the decline. To what extent we are still unaware. Data on diet, population trend and behavior is limited.

White bats like all bats fall into the order of Chiroptera. Chiroptera is an ancient order of mammalia dating to the early Eocene, including the bats. They are nocturnal mouselike mammals having four toes of each of the anterior limbs elongated and connected by a web, so that they form membranous wings that can be used in flying. They also have anatomical adaptations, including large ears, for echolocation, by which they navigate and in some cases find insects. The order includes the suborders Megachiroptera (the fruit bats) and Microchiroptera (insectivorous bats). See Bat. Previously spelled cheiroptera.

Identified back in 1892 by Dr Joel Asaph Allen (July 19, 1838 – August 29, 1921) was an American zoologist and ornithologist. Dr Allen was one of worlds leading and most professionally sound experts in zoology and ornithology of which his work is still spoken about to this very day at many universities globally.

Allen was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He studied at Harvard University under Louis Agassiz, and took part in Agassiz’s 1865 expedition to Brazil in search of evidence of an ice age there, which Agassiz later claimed to have found, and in others within the United States. Allen later crossed into Honduras and Panama in search of the elusive Honduras white bat.

Native to Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama the Honduras White Bat has very few major threats. This doesn’t though for one minute mean its very few threats are indeed large to the species of Honduras White Bat. Populations are rapidly declining like many bat species internationally. The Honduras White Bat have habitat preference. In Costa Rica the population declined, food preference and habitat restriction is known.

Habitat fragmentation, forest clearance, poaching and trade are known “threats” to both species of white bat found exclusively within this area of the world. However little documentation has been compiled to indicate just how bigger threats these pose. International Animal Rescue Foundation World Action Brazil did back in 2012 monitored the Ectophylla alba of which noted land clearance and deforestation, timber trade posing as a significantly increased threat to “some fruit trees that the bat feeds from (again little data was compiled). The primary food source of the Honduran White Bat is fruit of which some food sources are being threatened with intense agriculture and land clearance to cope with human population inclines.

The Honduran White Bat is unique among most bats (but not many tropical bats) in that it will modify its immediate surroundings for its own benefit. Unlike the misconception that all bats live in caves, this bat will use the leave of the large Heliconia plant to form a tent.

It does so by cutting the side veins of the plant that extend out from the midrib; this causes the leaf to droop along the stem, making a tent. The little white bats then cling to the inner plant upside-down in small colonies of around six, although larger groupings have been reported. Unlike most bats that do make tents – the Honduran White Bat will not flee if disturbed lightly by looking under the leaf – they will only flee when the stem itself is disturbed causing a brief flurry of activity.

The advantage of having their white fur is postulated to be the reason – as when sunlight filters through the leaf they look green, and so by not moving they will go un-noticed by possible predators from below. We do not know of any other species of bat or bird that (mimics) its surroundings to protect itself from predation as the Honduran White Bat species does.
Within the last ten years there has been a decline of some thirty per cent of Honduran White Bat populations of which falls under the classification of (near threatened). Ectophylla alba is not known to be common.
Roosting in groups of 4 to 8 in tents and found mainly in (protected areas) the Honduran White Bats are also known to inhabit the Caribbean low lands too at a level of 700m.

Little did we know when publishing the article (Monday 1st September 2014) on the white bat did some 100,000 people and counting not even realize this bat existed, even among some high profile bat enthusiasts which is of some concern to us because the species is listed as near threatened. with a population decline still ongoing its articles such as these that need further exposure in the hope of encouraging others to document on the species and increase awareness in the hope that it will furthermore halt declines and preserve the Honduran White Bat for many hundreds of years to come.

Honduran White Bats are uncommon but local of which threats to the species are listed only in brief. Both males and females construct the tent by biting the leaf veins and pulling the leaf into shape. At the end it always looks like an upside-down boat. They only use seven types of plants for their shelters, and most tents are built in two different kinds of Heliconia species. A good tent- leaf has to be less than 2 m (6 feet) high. Probably to avoid high temperatures in the roost during the day, tents are built where the canopy is nice and thick, although the plant species used for tent building grow under thick as well as under more open canopy. Another important characteristic of useful leaves is that there are only few plants underneath, which is the bats’ way to avoid having predators sneak up to their roost. Honduran white bats only use fresh, new leaves to build their tents, probably because they are undamaged and still softer and therefore easier to bite. After all, these bats are tiny; the body is barely bigger than a nice juicy cherry. Thus the leaves cannot be too tough for the bats to be able to modify them. (see picture below).

whitebattent

Because of these preferences for roosts, Honduran white bats live primarily in mature secondary forests. Very young forests are unsuitable for the bats because they have a very thick understory and an open canopy, whereas mature forests have very few suitable tent plants. But even though secondary forests are common where Honduran white bats occur, the bats are vulnerable to habitat loss because they have very specific needs with respect to roosts. Therefore, continued conversion of forests to agricultural areas will decrease the options for Honduran white bats. (see video below for further information)…

Major threats to our Honduran White Bat is known to be (habitat restriction) that can be anything from deforestation, habitat loss from unsustainable agricultural practices and legal timber trade. Slash and burn techniques although not documented would most likely be a factor that would/could see the species placed in danger furthermore too.

So what do we know about threats associated with the Honduran White Bat? Lets take a look.

Deforestation is a primary threat to many species of wildlife within Costa Rica, secondary threats to white bats could well be the decline of its own roosting plant the Heliconia from which the Honduran bat uses as a safe roost making a well woven tent to keep up to twenty bats a time safe from predators.

Deforestation; 

Deforestation is a major threat to biodiversity and ecosystems in Costa Rica. The country has a rich biodiversity with some 12,000 species of plants, 1,239 species of butterflies, 838 species of birds, 440 species of reptiles and amphibians, and 232 species of mammals, which have been under threat from deforestation. Costa Rica is home to the majority of white bast species.

Deforestation in Costa Rica has a serious impact on the environment and therefore may directly or indirectly contribute to flooding, desertification, sedimentation in rivers, loss of wildlife diversity, and the obvious sheer loss of timber. Since the end of World War II, approximately 80% of the forests of Costa Rica have disappeared. Approximately 20,000 acres (8,100 ha) of land are deforested annually; in the 1990s the country had one of the worst deforestation rates in Central America.

As the population grew, the people of Costa Rica cut down the forests to provide for pastureland for cattle ranching to produce beef for the world market to raise revenue. Since the 1950s, approximately 60% of Costa Rica has been cleared to make room for cattle ranching. The problem was worsened because during the 1960s, the United States offered Costa Rican cattle ranchers millions of dollars in loans to produce beef. The deforestation of Costa Rica’s tropical rain forests as in other countries is a threat to life worldwide with a profound effect on the global climate. Soil erosion has increased with deforestation with the topsoil washed away from the hills into the streams and out into the oceans, year after year.

Over half of Costa Rica’s existing forest cover today is under the protection of national parks, biological reserves, or wildlife refuges. However, the major problem in regards to deforestation is the privately owned plots which occupy the other half. Lenient laws on land and amendments to forestry law makes it easy to obtain logging concessions as owners exploit the land to maximise income.
As logging companies enter these forests to exploit them, they require access roads to transport the timber. While cattle ranching is by far the primary cause of deforestation in Costa Rica, banana plantations have also significantly contributed to the problem. Lowland rainforest has been most affected where 130,000 acres (530 km2) of previously forested land (primarily in the Atlantic and Northern regions) have been removed.

Such industries have been synonymous with health risks, notably the high levels of toxic pesticides which affected thousands of plantation workers throughout Central America in the 1970s. Pesticides used to grow bananas and other fruits such as mangoes and citrus fruit may enter the hydrological systems and contaminate the water. The removal of the forest to make way for these fruit planatations may also disrupt the nutrient balance in the soil and through monoculture exhaust the soils and render them unsustainable.

Although most of the larger plantations in Costa Rica are owned by large companies, often multinationals, population pressure in Costa Rica has increased the demand for land among farmers who are forced to venture out onto new land to deforest and farm and compete over scraps of land. While certain conservation laws have been passed in Costa Rica, the government lacks the resources to enforce them.

Light Pollution; 

Light pollution could affect the regeneration of tropical rainforests because it disrupts the behaviour of seed dispersing bats, a study suggests. Researchers found that a species of fruit-eating bats in Costa Rica avoided foraging in artificial light. The team warned the findings suggested light pollution could have a negative impacts on ecosystems, and called for light-free refuges to be established. The findings have been published in the Journal of Applied Ecology.

Each year, large swaths of rainforest are cleared and converted to agricultural land. The team says the land is often abandoned when the soil fertility falls, making it uneconomic to grow crops. The team observed: “Natural succession of abandoned land could counter the loss of biodiversity, but the rate of natural reforestation is slow.” They added that fruit-eating bats help rainforest plants re-colonize the land because the mammals seemed to “tolerate habitat disturbance when dispersing seeds”.

“Under naturally dark conditions, bats produce a copious seed rain – even in deforested habitats and connect distant forest fragments,” they wrote.

“Yet, artificial light at night may compromise bat-mediated seed dispersal if bats avoided lit areas.”

Light sensitive;

In order to test the idea, the researchers studied the feeding behaviour of Sowell’s short-tailed bats (Carollia sowelli) – which feed on the fruits of pepper plants. The impact of light pollution could be reduced by… setting up dark refuges connected by dark corridors for light-sensitive species” Initially, they carried out an experiment using captive bats to demonstrate that food was often left unexplored or consumed when a compartment was dimly lit in comparison with dark compartments.

They said this indicated that “artificial light altered the foraging behaviour of fruit-eating bats”. In order to see if this behaviour was replicated in the wild, the researchers observed wild bats’ response to light emitted from a street lamp.
“We found that [fruits] were less likely to be harvested when plants were illuminated by a street lamp than under natural darkness,” they said.

Although previous research has shown that insect-eating bats’ foraging behaviour was adversely affected by artificial light, this was the first study to indicate that fruit-eating bat species also avoided lit areas. The findings suggested that light pollution could have adverse consequences for forest regeneration in the tropics, explained co-author Daniel Lewanzik from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, Berlin. “In tropical habitats, bat-mediated seed dispersal is necessary for the rapid succession of deforested land because few other animals than bats disperse seeds into open habitats,” he said. In their paper, the team warned: “Policymakers of tropical countries should become aware of the potential detrimental effects of artificial lighting on wildlife and ecosystem functioning.” Mr Lewanzik added: “The impact of light pollution could be reduced by changes in lighting design and by setting up dark refuges connected by dark corridors for light-sensitive species like bats.”

honwb

Food Declines and Climatic Change; 

Bats seem to have evolved as moderately long-lived (e.g., 5-30 years), intelligent creatures that are acutely in synchrony with global climates. Worldwide, bats are known to depend on a variety of natural resources. Many tropical species are dependent on nectar, pollen, and flowers and fruits of plants and are known to “track” the development of the plant resources upon which they depend. Not surprisingly, bats are frequent and important pollinators of plants, especially in tropical areas and on island ecosystems in the Pacific. Additionally, many bats rely on plants (especially trees) as roosting sites for varying periods of time. Disturbances to climate that interrupt or alter the phenology of plants, or greatly alter plant species occurrence or distribution, can be expected to affect bats. For example, a mean global warming of 3 C will change climates sufficiently so that 7-11% of vascular plants in North America will no longer occur within the appropriate climate “envelope.” This will require that such plants will have to adapt to the change, move to stay within the appropriate climate, or become extirpated. Such disruptions will likely affect bats.

Other species of bats, especially in temperate zones, are insectivorous and collectively consume large quantities of insects. Just as pollinating activities of bats are important to plant ecology, the insectivorous food habits of bats play an important role in maintaining a balance among insect populations. Although studies of bats have demonstrated some flexibility in food habits over time, most species appear to be specialized to pursue and capture selected kinds or categories of insects. Furthermore, bats are dependent upon a reliable and consistent “supply” of prey, even though specific insect populations grow and disappear over the course of a summer season. Changes in worldwide insect population occurrence or distribution can be expected to affect numbers and species diversity of bats.

In temperate latitudes, both northern and southern, bats avoid seasonal food shortages by either hibernating, often in caves or mines, or by migrating to regions where food is still available. We suspect that nearly all attributes of hibernation or migration are mediated by combinations of changes in ambient light regimes, temperature, and food resources. The dependence of temperate-zone bats on the interplay of these factors ultimately revolves around the bats’ ability to acquire sufficient energy (in the form of food) to either last them through a hibernation sequence or through the rigors of (sometimes) long-distance migration. Temperature changes that would affect the supply of food to bats or otherwise upset an energy balance that has evolved over millenia should have significant consequences for bats. Also, climate changes that would lead to changes in the internal temperatures of roosts that have been used by bats for decades will force bats to locate and use new or different roosts.

While the Honduran White Bat may seem cute and adorable it must be stated that removal of the bat from its natural habitat to domestic it for pet purposes is something we frown down upon. These bats like any other species must not be removed nor feed into the pet trade industry. When releasing our article on Monday this week we were a little concerned at the amount of comments from the public that quoted they “wanted one” “where can I purchase a white bat from” down to one comment “Going to take a few for my collection of bats”. Honduran White Bat is listed as (near threaded) so by reducing the species within the wild for domesticated purposes one is only adding to the further decline of the species.

While we documented on the Honduran White Bat we did state that a further write up on the second only known white bat would come later on during the week. The Northern “Ghost” bat commonly known as the (Northern White Bat) is related to the Honduran White Bat. Whilst listed as (least concern) and at lower risk, the Northern Ghost Bat is said to be the worlds rarest bat on planet Earth. Please view the picture below of the Northern Ghost Bat scientifically identified as Diclidurus albus.

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Northern Ghost Bat Diclidurus albus rare

This species occurs from Nayarit (Mexico) to eastern Brazil and Trinidad.

Native to;

Belize, Bolivia, Plurinational States of Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela.
D. albus prefer humid habitats like riparian and tropical rainforests but have been found in human-disturbed areas like plantations, clearings, and over villages. They are solitary, and like all members of the family are insectivorous.

Like the Honduran White Bat they too roost in plantations. Roosts can be found in caves, deep rock crevices, and old mines. Although ghost bats prefer to roost in colonies, they currently only roost in small groups at best due to a lack of roosting sites that support larger colonies. It is unusual for there to be a colony of more than 100 bats in one location. It often roosts singly under palm leaves. Whereas the later species will only roost under Heliconia plantation leaves.

Please do not confuse these two species of “white bats” “ghost bats” with the very rare Australian Ghost bat that is much larger in size and believed to be only endemic to Australia.

Conclusion; 

Since Honduran white bats live mainly under heliconia leaves, rainforest destruction is a serious threat. For this species to survive, rainforests in the Central American lowlands that have heliconia must remain standing. Natural predators may include opossums, snakes and other carnivorous animals. During the day, Honduran white bats roost under their tents. At night, they emerge to search for food. However, these creatures are not looking to suck your blood — they only eat fruit or vegetation.

Josa C Depre

Environmental and Botanical Director

International Animal Rescue Foundation

 

Rhino Poaching – Tipping Point.

tipp

Rhinoceros poaching began to kick off at the very start of the millennium, back in 2002 we lost a total of around twenty five Rhinoceros. Never did we fathom Rhino poaching would be the ultimate new trend for Traditional Chinese Medicine or used as a status symbol to show wealth and prosperity.

Poaching statistics fluctuated between the years of 2003-2007 which saw a total of eighty two Rhinoceros, gunned down or poisoned with entorphine, faces hacked off and left for dead. The fluctuation between 2003-2007 we believe is due to new trends in the way Rhino horn is processed and used, least forgetting between this year there was much civil tension and wars ongoing of which the illegal wildlife trade funds astronomically.

International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa has already provided evidence to Interpol and Department of Environmental Affairs of Rhino and ivory parts workshops thriving in northern Africa where civil wars have been the spot light for media tension. Trade is not necessarily an issue here in Egypt, Algeria, Mali (north) and Tunisia but more a trafficking/pick up route. Money is parted that is then used to fuel terrorism and purchase firearms. This is an Act of Terror that all governments around the world affected by terrorism must now stand up too.

From 2007-2008 a colossal upsurge of Rhino poaching was seen with the Kruger National Park (KNP)  baring yet again the brunt of poaching attacks that has since prompted SANParks and Edna Molewa Environmental Minster head of the Department of Environmental Affairs to order the evacuation of some five hundred Rhinoceros from the Kruger National Park situated next to Kabuk. Kabuk is known as the village that thrives on Rhino horn and is one of many small villages within the Mozambique Transfrontier range. No borders provides easy access for poachers to simply cross into the parks taking out many Rhino.

2008-2010 saw a staggering increase in Rhino horn poaching. From 2008-2010 South Africa lost (not including Rhinos poached over the border) a whopping 500+ Rhinoceros. One would have thought that with such a high security presence, increase in South African National Defense Force and intelligence teams working locally and internationally that poachers would have given up. Unfortunately this is not the case. Millions upon millions of dollars have been donated to various South African organisations and the South African Government yet the poaching continues. International Animal Rescue Foundation’s Chief Environmental Officer Dr Josa Depre quoted in a brief interview yesterday;

“Rhino poaching has reached unprecedented levels, with so much funding being pushed into South Africa to try and stem the flow of poaching one would have believed some improvement would have been seen”.. “The transfrontier fence has still yet to be erected, until this fence is erected poachers from Mozambique, Zimbabwe and north African poachers will continue to walk freely into South Africa slaughtering our mega-fauna”..

“Trans-locating some five hundred Rhino is a positive step in preserving some Kruger Rhino however should not be seen as a simple fix or solution. “All one is doing is moving danger out of Kruger elsewhere that could potentially see people’s lives placed in harms way”..

“Poachers will not stop just because a mere five hundred Rhinoceros have been moved, by moving them one is merely inviting poachers to travel further inland”.. “We have noticed within the past few months that heavily armed poachers are operating and living within Massingir that were not present over several months ago”.. It’s quite likely that by moving these Rhino the opportunistic native Mozambican and Zimbabwean will turn to these heavily armed and well trained military style poachers that could or may place human lives in danger”.. We are all aware that rangers and Anti Poaching Units have been attacked by the modest poachers, what’s to say north African poachers that are special forces trained will kill”… “

“We are now at the tipping point for both Rhino and Elephant, Rhino and Elephant populations have been heavily depleted over the border of Southern Africa so it’s quite evident that we will see in the next five months heavily armed, well trained north African poachers hitting the Kruger hard”. 

Poaching is only the tip of a very large stinking iceberg though. Demand within Asia is still continuing whether it be for a pseudo medicine or used as a status symbol to show wealth. Online sales within Hanoi and Saigon are still continuing despite a complete trade ban. See picture below. International Animal Rescue Foundation’s (OTH) team Operation Trojan Horse monitors trade online of all animal parts banned under the Cites agreement. The trader below known as Vun-habo (login name) has been peddling Rhino horn parts since 2012. One only has to search Vietnamese classified advertisements and you’ll locate hundreds if not thousands of antique sellers and non-antique traders specializing in many medicines from facial creams, head ache cures down to rheumatic fever.

longhu

 

 

From 2011 to 2012 we lost just under one thousand Rhinoceros. Figures for 2011 end stood at 448 with 232 arrests. The following year 2012 end we lost a further 668 Rhinoceros which saw a combined arrest rate of some 267 poachers apprehended. For August 2014 poachers have already exceeded both statistical records from 2010-2012 of which we are now looking at staggering 708 Rhinoceros killed. By the end of the year International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa using model data puts the final statistics at a nauseating 1400 Rhinoceros poached. 

Female Rhino cows reach sexual maturity at around 6-7 years old, males at between 10-12 years old. White Rhino have a gestation period of approximately 16 months. Females usually give birth for the first time at the age of 6.5-7 years. The interval between calving is 3-4 years. Pregnant females will leave their crash shortly before the parturition and stay apart for several days afterwards. Calves stand up within one hour, immediately attempting to suckle. Mother and calf become inseparable; the calf usually moves in front of its mother and immediately responds to the mother’s behavior. The calf begins grazing at two months, weaning occurs at around one year of age. The calf stays with mother for around three years.

Female cows cannot produce enough Rhino to keep up with the onslaught of poaching, we are finally at the tipping point which would probably give some inclination as to why Hon Edna Molewa and SANParks have decided to trans-locate some 500+ Rhinoceros, this movement though that has angered Animal Rights Activists has since been delayed. When going to press it was stated that Rhino to be moved where going to hunting lodges however this is not actually factual and no data has been released on where these Rhino will be re-located too. What we can state is and this is based on the very words from the Department of Environmental Affairs that it is possible these Rhino “may” be moved to areas where “sustainable utilization” will be practiced. I.e hunting. This brings us to our next concern. Many African Rhino farmers have stated publicly they hold to many Rhino. So if this is the case then why are these Rhino not re-located to provide monetary funding for sustainable utilization? Or is it the case that to many Rhino have been dehorned and hunters will only wish to hunt a Rhinoceros that hasn’t been disfigured?

Since 2012 reports have emerged that fake Rhino horns have been flooding the market within China and Vietnam. This has led to some concerns that it could well be increasing the poaching more. Please view pictures below.

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t7

Counterfeit Rhino horn trade is big business within Africa and Asia of which poses a significant threat to any proposed legal Rhinoceros horn trade, regardless of what the pro trade lobby has suggested within online forums and meetings with governmental environmental agencies.

Sophisticated syndicated and highly organised gangs are now making very high quality fake horns, allowing unscrupulous hunters to sell the real horns at a huge mark-up to black market dealers for traditional medicine and status symbols. The fake horns are made with top quality resins and look so authentic that they are almost impossible to distinguish from the real thing, a report presented July 2012 to members of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) says. The report, presented to the convention’s standing committee in Geneva, says Cites officials have been alerted to the increasing involvement of “professional hunters in the illegal Rhino horn trade”. Yet hunters deny having any involvement within the trade whatsoever.

Cites did not specify in which country the fake horns were being made and sold, but details in the report point to the possible involvement of either American or European hunters in the fake horn scam. In 2012, wildlife investigators in the US arrested several American and Vietnamese nationals in a major bust in several cities across the US following the seizure of numerous Rhino horns, some of which were suspected to have originated from legal Rhino hunts in SA and other parts of the continent. Since 2012 there have been countless people apprehend involved in the peddling of counterfeit Rhino horn. The possibility that this “may” be increasing poaching within Africa is all to real.

Concluding;

Rhino poaching has reached record levels in South Africa, having escalated for five years in a row. On current trends, deaths have now pushed the Rhino to tipping point and unless something majorly drastic is not seen we will begin to see localized extinctions occurring within South Africa.

South Africa WAS home to 80 per cent of Africa’s Rhinos, but 1004 animals were killed there last year, compared with 668 in 2012, according to the South African Department of Environmental Affairs. No more than 36 were killed each year between 1990 and 2007, but poaching has increased exponentially since 2008. Other countries with Rhinos have seen similar increases.

The poaching escalation has sadly brought South Africa’s white Rhino population to a tipping point where deaths are now outnumbering births. It is no longer a fact of if but more when will we see extinctions occur. Cites signatories must now act and enforce sanctions on user nations, demand the transfrontier fence is erected, implement a Rhino hunting moratorium as evidence has shown hunters and the very people paid to preserve our Rhino have also been involved in killing them too.

The trade has mushroomed despite the introduction of tougher anti-poaching measures in South Africa, including more rangers and drone aircraft.

Supply and demand

Conservationists blame soaring demand in China and especially Vietnam, where Rhino horn has become a highly prized status symbol and valued gift, as revealed in a recent TRAFFIC report. South Africa’s tough stance is also being undermined by lax enforcement in neighboring Mozambique, which serves as a conduit for illegal Rhino material to the Far East. In Mozambique, people who steal chickens receive worse penalties than poachers caught with illegal Rhino horn, according to Mike Knight of the African Rhino Specialist Group of the International Union for Conservation of Nature in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

South Africa and Mozambique must decisively up their game if they hope to stop this blatant robbery of southern Africa’s natural heritage. As well as tougher enforcement, reducing demand is crucial. We must put pressure on the countries that are creating demand, especially Vietnam and China. This year $350,000 was raised for Rhino conservation by auctioning off the right to kill a specific Rhino. It was alleged that if conservation groups hadn’t complained about the auction, it would have raised $1 million. No matter how many Rhino are being killed legally its not going to save them. Many farmers are now under the illusion that by 2016 the next Cites conference will see trade Rhino horn trade legalized. South Africa doesn’t stand a chance so as long as the killing continues coupled with demand and trade in Asia.

We are losing our Rhinoceros. The death toll to date stands at a staggering 700+.

Thank you for reading

Dr Josa Depre.

info@international-animalrescue-foundation.org.uk

Please view the video below and share this article. The video depicts children that are creating awareness of the current Rhino poaching trend. The more children we educate the possibility that future poaching crazes will decrease is quite possible. Education starts here and can have quite an impact.

Notice a typo? Please contact us above and we’ll correct it as soon as possible. 

 

 

 

A World Apart – Madagascar Paradise in Peril.

IARFLEMUR

Reports released this June 2014 show a very dark future for Madagascan wildlife, most concerning of all are 80% of temperate slipper orchids and over 90% of lemurs that are threatened with extinction, according to the latest update of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa have been documenting and researching heavily on the grim future that faces our Madagascan wildlife for several years and nothing seems to be really improving if anything habitat fragmentation is drastically increasing, lemur and fauna species habitat is being overrun by farms and herders. It is most likely that the very first mass extinctions are going to occur within Madagascar yet little debate and concern of this issue is being made within the public domain. Only this June did the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) show more concern for threatened species within Madagascar. And when one thought it could not gert any worse did we hear that the worlds rarest bird the Madagascan pochard is likely to be extinct by the end of the 2015 unless drastic action is taken now to preserve the species.

History of Madagascar; 

Madagascar a small tropical island situated on the east side of the continent of Africa compromises around 22,005,222  people as seen in the (2012) census, 1994 census showed around 12,238,914 living on the island of which the island host some ten ethnic minority groups. As one can clearly see the problem Madagascar is having like many countries locally and internationally is human over-population that threatens the wildlife and will eventually push many species of animals into extinction due to habitat destructiveness.

Until the late 18th century, the island of Madagascar was ruled by a fragmented assortment of shifting socio-political alliances. Beginning in the early 19th century, most of the island was united and ruled as the Kingdom of Madagascar by a series of Merina nobles. The monarchy collapsed in 1897 when the island was absorbed into the French colonial empire, from which the island gained independence in 1960. The autonomous state of Madagascar has since undergone four major constitutional periods, termed Republics. Since 1992 the nation has officially been governed as a constitutional democracy from its capital at Antananarivo. However, in a popular uprising in 2009 president Marc Ravalomanana was made to resign and presidential power was transferred in March 2009 to Andry Rajoelina in a move widely viewed by the international community as a coup d’état. Constitutional governance was restored in January 2014 when Hery Rajaonarimampianina was named president following a 2013 election deemed fair and transparent by the international community.

In 2012, the population of Madagascar was estimated at just over 22 million, 90 percent of whom live on less than two dollars per day. Malagasy and French are both official languages of the state. The majority of the population adheres to traditional beliefs, Christianity, or an amalgamation of both. Ecotourism and agriculture, paired with greater investments in education, health and private enterprise, are key elements of Madagascar’s development strategy. Under Ravalomanana these investments produced substantial economic growth but the benefits were not evenly spread throughout the population, producing tensions over the increasing cost of living and declining living standards among the poor and some segments of the middle class. As of 2014, the economy has been weakened by the recently concluded political crisis and quality of life remains low for the majority of the Malagasy population.

Again poverty, human overpopulation and increasing cost of living is playing quite a destructive role reducing wildlife on this vast tropical island once filled with an abundant of fauna and flora. While this may be quite a substantial problem so too is poaching on the island. Bush meat trade is thriving that see’s lemurs and critically endangered reptiles killed out of sheer starvation rather than “traditional beliefs”. Vanilla farming that has increased within Madagascar is also hampering conservation efforts with regards to Lemurs. At the beginning of the millennium did we really start seeing environmental destruction regarding the palm oil trade within Asia and Africa. Now we have the vanilla trade that is causing some rather large concerns among conservation groups which was highlighted in full by International Animal Rescue Foundation’s Endangered Species Watch Project.

Human overpopulation though remains the main critical factor here that is endangering all of the worlds wildlife. Human overpopulation has increased at at almost exponential rate. With this growth comes an increase in demand for food, water, land, energy and other resources. As human numbers grow within Madagascar so does wildlife diminishes.  Biodiversity is the variety of all forms of life throughout an (ecosystem). High rates of extinction are quickly reducing biodiversity especially in areas of the world with high human population and density. As one can clearly see here Madagascar is one prime example. The direct and indirect effect that humans have had on biodiversity can be seen in the graph below.

biodiversity-and-human-population-growth-4-728

Madagascar’s natural resources include a variety of unprocessed agricultural and mineral resources. Agriculture, including raffia, fishing and forestry, is a mainstay of the economy. Madagascar is the world’s principal supplier of vanilla, cloves and ylang-ylang. Other key agricultural resources include coffee, lychees and shrimp. Key mineral resources include various types of precious and semi-precious stones, and Madagascar currently provides half of the world’s supply of sapphires, which were discovered near Ilakaka in the late 1990s. The island also holds one of the world’s largest reserves of ilmenite (titanium ore), as well as important reserves of chromite, coal, iron, cobalt, copper and nickel. Several major projects are underway in the mining, oil and gas sectors that are anticipated to give a significant boost to the Malagasy economy.

These include such projects as ilmenite and zircon mining from heavy mineral sands near Tôlanaro by Rio Tinto, extraction of nickel near Moramanga and its processing near Toamasina by Sherritt International, and the development of the giant onshore heavy oil deposits at Tsimiroro and Bemolanga by Madagascar Oil.

Exports formed 28 percent of GDP in 2009. Most of the country’s export revenue is derived from the textiles industry, fish and shellfish, vanilla, cloves and other foodstuffs. France is Madagascar’s main trading partner, although the United States, Japan and Germany also have strong economic ties to the country. The Madagascar-U.S. Business Council was formed in May 2003, as a collaboration between USAID and Malagasy artisan producers to support the export of local handicrafts to foreign markets. Imports of such items as foodstuffs, fuel, capital goods, vehicles, consumer goods and electronics consume an estimated 52 percent of GDP. The main sources of Madagascar’s imports include France, China, Iran, Mauritius and Hong Kong.

Paradise in Peril; 

Evidence suggests the first human encounter with Madagascar’s amazing biodiveristy occurred only two thousand years ago. The original settlers probably came by boat from the Polynesian islands or from Africa, bringing with them a farming technique known as “tavy.” In tavy, a farmer cuts a portion of the forest and then burns it, planting rice that is irrigated by rainfall alone. After harvesting the rice, the farmer and his family leave the forest fallow, sometimes for up to 20 years. Once the forest has grown back, many nutrients are again stored in the trunks and foliage, and these are released in the next slash and burn cycle of farming, providing fertilizer for the crop.

This farming practice works well and does not permanently destroy the forest as long as field sizes are small and farmers leave adequate time for re-growth. However, if farmers return to the fallow fields too quickly, as they do when human population densities increase, the soils become exhausted. And if little forest is left in between fields, then there are no parent trees to provide seeds and seedlings to restore the forest. Eventually large areas of forest are transformed into wastelands, upon which nothing can grow—neither rice nor forest. On these areas, farmers pasture a few cattle and continue to burn the grasslands each year, to provide “greener grass” for the cattle.

Sadly, much of Madagascar has been destroyed, by the gradual action of small farmers and herdsmen. Human populations have grown long beyond the point at which these activities can be practiced without permanent destruction. As the forest is destroyed, so is the habitat for Madagascar’s unique plant and animal species. The loss of habitat due to deforestation is the biggest single threat to Madagascar’s wildlife. Although the exact extent of forest loss is not known with certainty, only 10 percent of Madagascar’s forests remain. Also, recent estimates suggest that 1-2 percent of Madagascar’s remaining forests are destroyed each year, and that a staggering 80-90 percent of Madagascar’s land area burns each year.

IARFA

Although much of the forest destruction may have come about at the hand of the small farmer or herdsman, the causes of environmental degradation are deeply rooted in social, economic, political and historical factors. Madagascar is one of the world’s poorest nations, with a per capita income of approximately $240 per year. About 80 percent of the population are subsistence farmers, many of whom depend entirely on “natural capital” to support their way of life. Yet this way of life is time-limited: as the forest is destroyed so tavy must also end. At the moment, however, many farmers continue to practice traditional slash and burn agriculture because it is their culture, and because they know no other way and have no other means to survive.

Rural people depend on the forest in other ways, and in so doing, pose other threats to this tremendously important resource. In the rainforest, nearby dwellers may use several hundred species of plants and animals for food, shelter, firewood, medicines, fiber, resin, construction, household implements and clothing. Sometimes, as in the case of the most sought-after species, over-collection or over-hunting is now leading to depletion and local extinction of precious biological and natural resources. Indeed, the extinction of several large-bodied lemur species and of the elephant bird (a member of the ostrich family that weighed up to half a ton) within the past several thousand years may have been due at least in part to over-hunting by the early human inhabitants of Madagascar.

Conservation actions under way; 

Even with sound conservation projects under way its quite likely that we will lose a staggering seventy to eighty percent of fauna and flora in the years to come. International Animal Rescue Foundation’s External Affairs Conservation Unit has estimated that by the year 2020 its quite likely the majority of Lemur species will have been pushed into extinction this also includes birds and reptilians that depend on the forest as a source of food, refuge and safe haven. External Affairs Unit evaluated forests in the Moramanga region over a period of two years during the seven year research program. They found that deforestation is not only killing off species of both flora and fauna but is opening roads and pathways up to poachers that can gain easy access to once very secluded and non-accessible species of primate and reptilian.

Since the beginning of Madagascar’s Environmental Action Plan, Madagascar has established eight new protected areas totaling 6,809 square kilometers. The country’s new National Association for Protected Area Management has taken over the management of several of the key National Parks for ecotourism (Ranomafana, Isalo, Montagne d’Ambre). As Lisa Dean of CARE International Madagascar said upon the inauguration of the park at Masoala, “The approval of the Masoala National Park … represents a huge commitment by the Madagascar government, done against all odds.” Indeed, for Masoala and many of its other protected areas, Madagascar can be proud of its often path-breaking efforts to develop a plausible, well-founded approach to “parks for wildlife and for people.” Of course, much work remains to ensure that the existing parks and reserves will continue far into the future to provide habitat for Madagascar’s fabulous biodiversity, and the resources for a sustainable future for Madagascar’s people.

Timber mafia and corrupt politicians threaten Madagascar’s wildlife; 

While many activists are fighting to stop the slaughter of animals both wild and farmed its now time to focus one’s attention too on the Timber Mafia that is threatening some one hundred species of Lemur and thousands of exotic wildlife specimens endemic to Madagascar. Just how big the timber trade is we will never know. We are aware though that timber is being exported from Madagascar to the mainland continent on the back of large forty four foot wagons through national parks.

Back in 2009 $100m worth of hardwood had been cut down and sold, mostly to China to be turned into furniture. It is believed the same mafia that is ordering such large amounts of hardwood is responsible for the sandalwood trade in India too. The government, which levies a 40% export tax, is accused of not only failing to stop the trade but actively encouraging it. It issued an order back in 2009 authorising the export of raw and semi-processed hardwood. This supposedly related to trees already felled in cyclones, but environmental activists say it has only provided an incentive for more illegal logging.

illegal shipment

And yet again China is seen as being the main Mr Big involved in the mass habitat destruction within Madagascar. The EIA – Environmental Investigation Agency stated below;

Voluntary guidelines established by the Chinese government won’t be enough to curb rampant timber smuggling by Chinese companies, putting ‘responsible’ actors at risk of having their reputations tarnished, argues a new campaign by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA).

Citing a series of recent investigations into illegal logging and timber smuggling involving Chinese enterprises, EIA warned that new guidelines from China’s State Forestry Administration focus too little on timber imports.
“The guidelines are skewed to the operations of Chinese enterprises overseas, and do not regulate importers of illegally-logged timber into China,” said a statement issued by the group.

Jago Wadley, EIA Forest Campaigner, added that the government should establish binding and enforceable laws, rather than voluntary standards.

“As the world’s biggest importer of illegal wood, and in light of extensive irrefutable evidence that Chinese companies are complicit in driving destructive illegal logging and timber smuggling, China needs to move beyond unenforceable voluntary guidelines and take unequivocal actions to prohibit illegal timber,” Wadley said.

Failure to do so could hurt the credibility of Chinese firms trying to sell wood products in markets that have banned imports of illegally sourced timber.

“The guidelines do not offer any reassurances to importers in the US and EU carrying out due diligence that timber products imported from China can be proven to be legal,” said EIA.

“The perpetuation of voluntary approaches to promote legal timber trade maintains an uneven and uncompetitive playing field for the increasing number of responsible companies in China already working to exclude illegal timber from their supply chains. Such companies will find it increasingly difficult to compete with companies trading products made with illegal timber, in ways that structurally penalize legal timber traders. A prohibition on trade in illegal timber is in the interests of those responsible Chinese businesses.”

Species in decline; 

There are hundreds of species of plant and animals now verging extinction, nearing endangerment or are listed as vulnerable on the island of Madagascar. The sheer number of lemurs below all of which are listed as (endangered) (critically endangered) or (extinct) just shows how big a problem we have within Madagascar. We ourselves find it quite odd that some African conservation groups are stating that lemur population declines are not as bad as once thought. However if one does there research you’ll locate that out of the listed “endangered” lemurs below you’ll find no more than twelve that are actually of least concern or near threatened. All of the species listed below are verging complete species wipe out in the next ten years unless conservation efforts improve and the Madagascan government do not tackle the timber mafia that is threatening lemur populations all over the island.

Lemurs that could be pushed into complete extinction in under ten years;

Avahi betsileo, Avahi cleesei, Avahi meridionalis, Avahi mooreorum, Avahi occidentalis, Cheirogaleus sibreei, Eulemur albifrons, Eulemur cinereiceps, Eulemur collaris, Eulemur coronatus, Eulemur flavifrons, Eulemur mongoz, Eulemur sanfordi, Hapalemur alaotrensis, Hapalemur aureus, Lemur catta, Lepilemur ahmansonorum, Lepilemur ankaranensis, Lepilemur betsileo, Lepilemur edwardsi, Lepilemur fleuretae, Lepilemur grewcockorum, Lepilemur hollandorum, Lepilemur hubbardorum, Lepilemur jamesorum, Lepilemur leucopus, Lepilemur microdon, Lepilemur milanoii, Lepilemur mittermeieri, Lepilemur otto, Lepilemur randrianasoloi, Lepilemur sahamalazensis, Lepilemur scottorum, Lepilemur septentrionalis, Lepilemur tymerlachsoni, Lepilemur wrightae, Microcebus arnholdi, Microcebus berthae, Microcebus bongolavensis, Microcebus danfossi, Microcebus gerpi, Microcebus jollyae, Microcebus macarthurii, Microcebus mamiratra , Microcebus margotmarshae, Microcebus marohita, Microcebus mittermeieri, Microcebus ravelobensis , Microcebus sambiranensis, Microcebus simmonsi , Mirza coquereli , Mirza zaza, Large Sloth Lemur – Palaeopropithecus ingens (extinct), Phaner electromontis, Phaner pallescens, Phaner parienti, Pristimantis lemur, Prolemur simus, Varecia rubra, Varecia variegata

Out of the listed lemur species above only several species thus far has gone extinct – The extinction of Palaeopropithecus ingens and other related (genera) commonly known as the sloth lemur should be quite a clear message to environmental groups and advocates helping lemurs and other animals of what to expect in the near future when seeing vast declines of wildlife. Again it is believed that “human overpopulation” was to blame for several of the Palaeopropithecus going extinct. 

When Palaeopropithecus went extinct is not exactly clear, however scientists have suggested that it could be as recent as about five hundred years ago (anywhere from 1300 to 1620AD). The reason behind the extinction of the several species of Palaeopropithecus has been attributed to the presence of humans to the island of Madagascar, the earliest evidence of which dates back to 2325±43 yr BP.

IUCN-LEMURS
Scientists have found fossils of Palaeopropithecus that appeared to have cut marks in them, suggesting flesh removal with a sharp object, indicating that the species was hunted by the earliest colonists to the island of Madagascar as a source for food. The first evidence of the early human butchery to Palaeopropithecus was found by Hon. Paul Ayshford Methuen, in 1911, who traveled to Madagascar expressly to collect bones of the extinct lemurs for the Oxford Museum.

The slow locomotion habits of Palaeopropithecus likely made them an easy target for their human predators, who would consume them for food, as well as use the bones for tools. The introduction of humans to Madagascar brought change to an island that had yet to experience the lifestyles of human beings.

Introduction of man-made charcoal and fire to the island caused considerable damage to the forests where Palaeopropithecus lived and bred. In addition the slow reproductive habits of Palaeopropithecus probably attributed to their swift and sudden extinction.

Hunters often state on in our public forums that hunt only for food that they are disgusted by trophy hunters that place species in danger and rarely benefit any conservation project. However it should be stated now that all hunting even for food can endanger any species of which the proof is quite clear above.

 Picture drawing of the Palaeopropithecus ingens can be seen below for your information;

640px-Palaeopropithecus_ingens

Palaeopropithecus ingens – Officially Extinct

The main principal threat that is associated with the majority of lemurs can be viewed below;

The principal threats are habitat loss and hunting. Due to their large size and evident need for tall primary forest, these animals are particularly susceptible to human encroachment and, sadly, hunting and trapping for food still takes place. Furthermore, because remaining populations are concentrated, they may be threatened by the frequent cyclones (hurricanes) however this threat is mainly to the lemur species that live on the coastal ridges of Madagascar and high exposed mountainous ranges. The range of lemur species has also recently been heavily impacted on by the very rapid upsurge of illegal logging after the political events of early 2009, in addition to fires.

Poaching; 

Poaching seems to be the second largest thereat to all African animals as we know it. If its not the Rhinoceros or Elephant on the continent of Africa we now see many new and old world species of primate poached for bush meat trade, traditional medicine, garments or witch-craft. We must also remember too that animals are not the only species under threat from poachers. Tropical plants are being ripped from their natural habitat then sold on at very high prices on the black market. International Animal Rescue Foundation France located over a dozen sites online that are peddling threatened species of flora.

Poachers are threatening the survival of the northern Madagascar spider tortoise, which only lives along a narrow strip of the island’s coast. The animal has disappeared from swathes of its habitat, taken by collectors to supply the exotic pet trade.
Wild numbers of the tortoise may have already fallen by 90%, say scientists who have just surveyed its population. The problem continues to worsen due to political instability in the country, which makes it easier for smugglers.

The Madagascar spider tortoise is one of the smaller species of tortoise, and is distinguished by the intricate spider web patterning on the shells of adults. Hence its scientific name Pyxis arachnoides. It occurs as three distinct subspecies, each of which has a slightly different shell shape and lives in a different part of the coastal spiny forests within southwest Madagascar.
However, the tortoise’s appearance is also its downfall.

A new survey suggests that the northern Madagascar spiny tortoise (P. a. brygooi) is now extinct across 50% of its former historical range, with huge numbers being collected to supply the international trade in exotic pets.

Trade in the species is banned, but thousands of the animals are still being smuggled out of the country illegally, says Ryan Walker, a senior wildlife biologist at Nautilus Ecology based in Greetham, Rutland, UK. Walker, who is also a member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group, conducted a survey in March covering all the whole range where the tortoise was once thought to live.

Together with biologists from the Open University in the UK, the IUCN specialist group and the University of Antananarivo in Madagascar, Walker searched 60 sites in detail for wild spider tortoises, recording their occurrence and population density.
He presented the results this month to the Turtle Survival Alliance Meeting in St Louis, US and is also submitting them to the journal Herpetologica. The reports have since been submitted.

“The most striking aspect of the survey was that huge areas of suitable habitat were completely devoid of tortoises. A sure sign that the collectors had been in to collect them for either local consumption as food or collection for black market to supply the pet trade,” says Walker.

He estimates that two million wild northern spider tortoises remain.

“That sounds quite a lot. But 35% occur in a very small area of forest and are susceptible to being wiped out pretty quickly by collectors.”

“The remaining animals are in very isolated and fragmented populations with very low numbers of tortoises, which are unlikely to recover into healthy populations,” Walker says.

“As an educated and conservative guess I would say that the global population of northern tortoises have probably decreased by greater than 90% since human induced pressure has been placed on the animals.”

Some local communities hunt the tortoise for food. But the greatest threat comes from organised gangs visiting the area and collecting spider tortoises for illegal export. A single spider tortoise can reach US$1000 each on the pet and exotic reptile market, prices that drive the unsustainable trade. The northern subspecies is probably facing greater threats than the other two subspecies from poaching, by local populations as a food source and also by gangs for export to support the illegal pet trade in the animal.

poachers

Picture above shows tortoises poached on the southern side of Madagascar. 

The other two subspecies don’t tend to end up as readily on the pet market and the tribes further south won’t eat them, however they are suffering from an alarming rate of habitat destruction, says Walker. He also says the threat to the tortoises from poaching is currently greater due to the current political turmoil in Madagascar brought about by the political coup in January.

Disorganisation at government level has meant that it is easier to get endangered species out of the country with false paperwork or blank permits that are easier to get hold of, he explains. Its quite clear to say that within the government of Madagascar there are some heavy and very keen most likely ruthless and dangerous wildlife syndicates or Don’s that are orchestrating the illegal wildlife trade within Madagascar while safe and practically untouchable within their “roles” as country leaders, advisers and ambassadors. To be honest the entire affairs stink and trade sanctions should be considered against the Madagascan government to preserve our species before anymore losses are seen.

poachers_camp_lavavolo

Poachers camp located in Madagascar shows tools of the trade used to kill and protect the poachers from law enforcement agencies and for easy travelling among the dense forestland. Spider tortoises and young can be clearly seen in the back ground too. 

Bush-meat trade; 

Patterns of bush-meat consumption has revealed extensive exploitation of protected species in eastern Madagascar and from looking at the facts present it doesn’t look set to end in the near future which is yet another factor placing our species of wildlife in Madagascar under immense threat. Even more concerning and on such a small island is the threat of Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever. Currently as yet there are no confirmed cases however as we have explained and warned many times its only a matter of time that more virus are going to emerge within Africa and Asia. Fruit bats that are quite commonly killed and consumed all over Africa including Madagascar do pose a significantly high threat of spreading Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever to the locals. If such a virus did hit this island containing it would prove to be more of a headache than it currently is within Western Africa.

Using interviews with 1154 households in 12 communes in eastern Madagascar, as well as local monitoring data, conservationists investigated the importance of socio-economic variables, taste preference and traditional taboos on consumption of 50 wild and domestic species. The majority of meals contain no animal protein. However, respondents consume a wide range of wild species and 95% of respondents have eaten at least one protected species (and nearly 45% have eaten more than 10). The rural/urban divide and wealth are important predictors of bush-meat consumption, but the magnitude and direction of the effect varies between species. Bush-meat species are not preferred and are considered inferior to fish and domestic animals. Taboos have provided protection to some species, particularly the Endangered Indri, but evidence now shows that this taboo is rapidly eroding. The Indri is facing danger.

By considering a variety of potential influences on consumption in a single study conservation teams have improved understanding of who is eating bush-meat and why. Evidence that bush-meat species are not generally preferred meats suggest that projects which increase the availability of domestic meat and fish may have success at reducing demand. We also suggest that enforcement of existing wildlife and firearm laws should be a priority, particularly in areas undergoing rapid social change. The issue of hunting as an important threat to biodiversity in Madagascar is only now being fully recognised. Urgent action is required to ensure that heavily hunted species are adequately protected.

journal.pone.0027570.g006

Boy carrying a recently killed Indri (the largest remaining lemur in Madagascar).

Recent analysis results shows a mixed diet of both protected species, and non-protected species consumed within the bush-meat trade on Madagascar. The results can be seen below;

The 1,154 households with which we carried out interviews were split 11.4% urban and 88.6% rural. The majority of people in our rural sample classify themselves as farmers (more than 70% in all wealth categories), while more than 60% of urban people in all wealth categories say their livelihood is based in salaried work. There were slightly higher numbers of migrants in the urban than the rural samples (36.2% and 27.4% respectively).

Of 3425 meals sampled in our dataset, the majority (74.5%) contained no animal protein, 11.8% contained protein from domestic animals and 13.7% contained protein from wild-caught animals. Of the 469 meals containing wild meat, the majority were fish and aquatic invertebrates, with only 9.6% from terrestrial wild animals (1.3% of all meals). The proportion of meals reported to contain meat from legally protected species (i.e., those categorised as strictly protected or protected) was very small (18 meals, or 0.5%).
There was strong support for the model which included all three predictor variables. Predictions generated from the fitted model show the influence of the modelled predictors on the consumption of animal protein in Malagasy households.

Urban households consume approximately twice as many meals containing meat as rural households on average (52.8% and 25.8% respectively), and migrants consume nearly twice as many meals containing meat than residents (41.9% and 29.4% respectively). Similarly, the proportion of meals containing meat is higher in households with a greater number of rooms, with households having three or more rooms consuming on average 60% more meals containing meat than single-room households (41.4% and 25.8% respectively). The size of the effect of each of the three variables was greater for domestic meat that for wild meat.

Within reports highlighted a few days ago by the IUCN and scholarships, conservationists “could” be correct in stating the bush-meat trade is not as bad as it has been portrayed. However while these researchers have questioned those consuming meat both domestic and wild it only relates to a small minority and not the millions of people that inhabit Madagascar.

5 sifaka prepared for sale

 Picture above depicts five prepared Lemur Sifaka’s.

Despite the low proportion of meals containing meat from wild-caught animals, and the small percentage of meals reported to include meat from legally protected species, many individuals report having eaten protected species at some point in their lives. From the raw data, 95% admit to having eaten a protected or strictly protected species, and 44.5% have eaten 10 or more protected or strictly protected species. 96 percent have eaten game species.

Should bush-meat trade continue at the rate it is of which see’s many species of lemur poached for wild food then extinctions could possibly occur sooner than expected. However while bush-meat trade, poaching, hunting, mining and timber trade pose major risks to the wildlife of Madagascar human over-population is quite likely going to see a mass change in biodiversity on the island. To what extent we do not fully know.

Other unsustainable practices threatening Madagascan wildlife;

Madagascar is among the world’s poorest countries. As such, people’s day-to-day survival is dependent upon natural resource use. Most Malagasy never have an option to become doctors, sports stars, factory workers, or secretaries; they must live off the land that surrounds them, making use of whatever resources they can find. Their poverty costs the country and the world through the loss of the island’s endemic biodiversity.

Recap;

Madagascar’s major environmental problems include, deforestation and habitat destruction, agricultural fires, erosion and soil degradation, overexploitation of living resources including hunting and over-collection of species from the wild, Introduction of alien species.

Erosion;

With its rivers running blood red and staining the surrounding Indian Ocean, astronauts have remarked that it looks like Madagascar is bleeding to death. This insightful observation highlights one of Madagascar’s greatest environmental problems—soil erosion. Deforestation of Madagascar’s central highlands, plus weathering from natural geologic and soil conditions, has resulted in widespread soil erosion, which in some areas may top 400 tons/ha per year. For Madagascar, a country that relies on agricultural production for the foundation of its economy, the loss of this soil is especially costly.

soil

Picture above depicts just how bad soil erosion is within Madagascar. The photo may seem quite a pretty site however its environmental carnage for aquatic species that cannot see, breath or even hunt adequately. Soils on the island are being brushed up by the winds then lain into the local and big rivers. This leads to sludge and other deposits contaminating the rest of the land effecting both land and aquatic wildlife. 

Overexploitation of living resources;

Madagascar’s native species have been aggressively hunted and collected by people desperately seeking to provide for their families. While it has been illegal to kill or keep lemurs as pets since 1964, lemurs are hunted today in areas where they are not protected by local taboos (fady). Tenrecs and carnivores are also widely hunted as a source of protein.  Reptiles and amphibians are enthusiastically collected for the international pet trade. Chameleons, geckos, snakes, and tortoises are the most targeted.

The waters around Madagascar serve as a rich fishery and are an important source of income for villagers. Unfortunately, fishing is poorly regulated. Foreign fishing boats encroach on artisanal fishing areas to the detriment of locals and the marine fauna. Sharks, sea cucumbers, and lobster may be harvested at increasingly unsustainable rates.

Introduction of alien species; 

The introduction of alien species has doomed many of Madagascar’s endemic species. The best example of damage wrought by introduced species can be found in the island’s rivers and lakes. Adaptable and aggressive tilapia, introduced as a food fish, have displaced the native cichlids.

chil

Picture depicts cichlids that are one of Madagascar local endemic species now under threat from alien species not native to the island. The introduction of alien species seems to be quite a large problem on the continent of Africa too. South Africa is one prime example where some 39 species of flora and under threat from alien species. 

There is really little use bemoaning past environmental degradation in Madagascar. Now the concern should be how to slow this ecological decline and how to best utilize lands already degraded so they support productive activities today and for future generations. Without improving the well-being of the average Malagasy, we cannot expect Madagascar’s wildlands to persist as fully functional systems and continue to cater to the needs of their people and that is sadly the main problem we have within Madagascar and much if not all of Africa. When we see people attack Africans for eating bush meat, pet meat, or poaching its sometimes hard to explain why these individuals are behaving the way they do. Civil tensions and war has really not helped too.

In part two I will include a more detailed look of over-population and how it “could” eventually lead to the islands tipping point of wildlife.

Conclusion; 

Madagascar is one of the planets most impoverished islands off the African continent. Human over-population has played a catastrophic role in depleting vast areas of land, reducing many species of native flora and fauna and has created many problems that conservationists around the world are fighting in vain to end. There is no quick fix to Madagascar and it is saddening to know that even with the most professional conservation efforts underway as I type we will most certainly see 70-80% of species pushed into extinction on the island of Madagascar. Areas of forestry and land that lay bare must be worked on, immigration must be tightened, corruption at government level must be removed, ecotourism MUST be increased that will increase employment, decrease wildlife degradation, and habitat fragmentation. Conservation efforts must increase in all areas where wildlife is deemed “threatened” and species of wildlife that are verging borderline extinction must be trans-located into safer areas and secured to secure their future. Madagascar is not a wealthy island so while many lands lay bare introducing new tourism hot spots would be beneficial for the people of Madagascar and her wildlife. Failing all of this we will unfortunately be witnessing mass extinctions occurring in under twenty years. It must also be noted that nearly 11 million people in Madagascar have no access to clean and safe water. The effects are huge both to humans that are ripping the land to pieces in search of water and to wildlife suffering because of it.

We MUST help and do more… Before its to late. To find out more on how you can help the people of Madagascar suffering form poverty please click >here<

You can also donate to International Animal Rescue Foundation F.A.W.S project here that helps to reduce poaching, equips anti poaching teams in need, reduces bush meat and pet meat trade and helps secure the lives of many orphaned mammals all over the continent of Africa. Please donate >here< or alternatively if your using Facebook and wish to use our secure and safe application to donate you can donate >hereto<

Thank you for reading

Dr Josa C. Depre

Conservationist and Botanical Scientist

Malagasy government and environmental non-profits must do more to stem the flow of wildlife loss before its to late.

Notice a typing error? contact us today and we’ll fix it as soon as possible. Contact International Animal Rescue Foundation here

Rhino Poaching – Who’s Involved?

Stamp Victims

POACHING has been around for hundreds of years but has not really caught the media and press spotlight until our ionic million year old species of Rhinoceros and Elephant began declining in size from Africa to Asia. Every day in Africa alone some ninety six Elephants a day are poached for their ivory while Rhinoceros’s are hacked to death daily for their horn to be used in Traditional Chinese Medicine at a rate of four to five Rhinoceros a day.

It wasn’t until the late Middle Ages that poaching became a punishable offense. During this time, the right to hunt was limited to landowners and nobility. Peasants usually did not have weapons, skills or the extra time to hunt, so in order to provide food for their families they devised another way to bring meat to their tables. While this is not necessarily the case in Africa regarding the Rhinoceros and Elephant other big game animals are hunted too for the sole purpose of bringing food to the tables of impoverished African communities. Animals poached can range from Kudu, Impala, Giraffe, Lion being just some of the most sought after species of animals illegally poached.

While hunting was reserved for the privileged, it was illegal to buy and sell wild animals. It remained illegal to do so until the mid-1800s. Gangs of poachers formed outlaw bands and sold animals through the black market. Buyers of black-market food even included wealthy people, who could not or chose not to hunt on their own. As rural poverty was prevalent in the 1700s, many people turned to poaching just to survive. Commoners protected poachers as an act of rebellion, because food was so scarce. Though poaching gangs did provide food to the poor, they were also violent and often greedy, poaching to feed the black market more so than hungry peasants. It was from this period of the 1700’s that the black market trade in animal parts and meat began to increase however there was little poaching of Elephants and Rhinoceros.

Because authorities could not depend on citizens to turn in poachers, they created traps and spring-guns that would maim or kill poachers. In the 1830s, traps and spring guns were deemed illegal, and in 1883, peasants were allowed to kill small game, such as hares and rabbits, on their own farms. Have poaching issues changed since the Middle Ages? Indeed, they have.

So what’s changed? Quite a lot to be honest. Poaching back in the early 1700’s although more a misdemeanor offence and localized problem was never really deemed a “threat to national security”. When Taliban and al-Qaeda war lord Osama Bin Laden ordered the attacks on the World Trade Centers September 11th 2001 evidence emerged of wildlife black market trade increasing soon after. One can see such evidence in the graph below that depicts ivory trade and poaching of elephants alone increasing at a staggering rate within the first two years after the attacks on the World Trade Centers in America.

IARF1

Poaching for necessity is not much of an issue today. Though­ there are people who hunt or fish for food, they comprise a small fraction of the larger problem. In fact, Pennsylvania Game Commission Bureau of Wildlife Protection Director Richard Palmer stated in a testimony for House Bill 2205, “The causes of poaching vary, but the myth that most poachers are committing their offenses to provide food is in reality not even a fraction of a percentage of all cases prosecuted. Often, modern poaching is done by criminals driving $30,000 vehicles, using expensive night-vision technology, illegal silencers on the firearms, and often military-style rifles”

Nearly every country faces modern poaching issues. In North America poachers illegally kill large numbers of deer, elk, black bear, turkey, moose, antelope, cougar, big horn sheep, mountain goat, pheasants, as well as various species of fish such as walleye, sturgeon and salmon, and even the ginseng plant. In Africa, as well as other continents, poaching is a major problem, with animals being killed solely for body parts. The African Elephant is a more recent victim of poachers, with its tusks being valued at more than $350 per pound ($700 per kilogram). Poachers cut the elephant’s face off, leaving the body to rot in the dense jungles. This makes it very challenging for law enforcement officials to locate the remains to in order to qualify the kills.

International Animal Rescue Foundation’s Ead (External Affairs) unit agrees with the majority of international Non-Profit’s that poaching is now considered a threat to local and national security and as explained above is no longer seen as a necessity for food but rather a source of funding to purchase firearms, heavy artillery, ammunition down to explosives. Furthermore poaching for animal parts is funding people trafficking and narcotic trades worldwide.  A few days ago we printed on our Facebook page a brief look into whom the main players were within the poaching industry. Penalties for poaching and wildlife trafficking seem not to bother criminals that continue the demand of wildlife parts.

In the 1500s, killing deer meant death to anyone but royalty

Between the mid- 1700s and the first half of the 1800s poachers were hanged or sent to Australia, especially if guns were used or a gamekeeper wa­s injured in the crime.
It used to be that poachers were able to keep their licenses as long as they paid their fines, and in most states, jail time was unheard of. Today, as poaching problems grow and more species are becoming threatened or endangered, laws are getting tougher and citizens are getting angrier. Law-abiding hunters view poachers as villains who ruin the good name of legal hunting. Currently, poaching laws vary by state. In Pennsylvania, while poaching is considered a summary offense with no chance of imprisonment, lawmakers are actively pursuing stiffer penalties and fines. West Virginia has lower fines but imposes stiff jail terms for poaching offenses. A third offense gets you a felony conviction, with up to a $10,000 fine, one to five years in prison and a lifetime hunting license revocation

Ohio toughened its laws recently to include restitution values based on true-market value, fines and revocation of hunting licenses not only in Ohio but also in neighboring states

In Minnesota, the Department of Natural Resources cannot only confiscate a poacher’s hunting and fishing licenses but also his boat and gear as soon as the value of whatever was poached hits $500

Canada is battling its own poaching wars, but you might be surprised to learn that it’s for fish. Using large drift nets, poachers target salmon, sturgeon, rockfish and shellfish. Canada does not only punish the poacher but also whoever purchased the poached fish. The effects of poaching probably have a wider range than you might think.

So who are the main instigators and players in the poaching triangle? 

Don or Kingpin’s

At the very top of the illegal wildlife trade or any illegal trade to be precise is the Don or kingpin whom is a person in charge of a criminal organization. The Kingpin as he or she is more commonly known is the main leader that calls the shots on what is hunted illegally, the prices that are incurred, who sells what and where. Kingpins lead a very lucrative and high-powered lifestyle lavishing in hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars. Taking the wildlife trade in Africa as an example with both Elephant and Rhinos most if not all Don’s or kingpins will originate within Asia. These criminal warlords are mostly untouchable and lead a very private life bribing police and governmental ministers to ensure their rather luxury lifestyle continues regardless of whether both species of Rhino and Elephant are pushed from extant to extinction. Please note there will always be two warlords within the poaching trade. The main Don will be number one in Asia that runs and overseas entire operations under his command. Whilst the second Don or kingpin will be of African origin that organizes poaching hits and settles prices with the Asian courier via the Asian kingpin. Both Asian and African kingpins will be in constant communication with one-another either via the world wide web or telephone of which trade routes will be discussed on a routine basis.

One Mr Big as he is known in Asia and also untouchable is Vixay Keosavang (pictured below) one of the most ruthless and prolific wildlife criminals operating in South-East Asia today. Some call him the “Pablo Escobar of animal trafficking”. Others describe him as the “Mr Big” of wildlife crime in Laos, the tiny one-party communist state bordered by Myanmar, China, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam that continues to harbor him. Vixay Keosavang has ordered many hits on Elephants, Rhinos, Tigers, Pangolins and many more endangered animals all over Africa and Asia. Vixay Keosavang is untouchable due to the fact he uses his wealth from African and Asian animal parts to bribe police and Asian governmental ministers. Vixay Keosavang if taken out would see quite a significant decrease in demand and trade and send a clear message to the world that poaching will not be tolerated and no matter where you hide you will be apprehended and convicted.

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There are many more Vixay Keosavang’s out there too that once believed their wealth in Asian animal parts could buy them immunity from the arm of the law. Nicknamed the “Lizard King”, “Pablo Escobar of the wildlife trade” and “Asian wildlife kingpin”, Anson Wong (pictured below) began his foray into the wildlife trade by exhibiting reptiles at the now-defunct Bukit Jambul Reptile Sanctuary, a registered company that he and his wife owned. Little did he know that his reign of terror was about to come to an abrupt end. Anson Wong was lured in via an undercover operation code-named Operation Chameleon to Mexico by agents from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. On arriving and handling the deal was he then arrested.

Undercover agents infiltrated Wong’s network, which imported and exported more than 300 protected species via Penang by concealing them in express delivery packages, airline baggage and large commercial shipments of legally declared animals. He was arrested but fought a US order for his extradition for two years. He failed in the end and was prosecuted in the United States on June 7, 2001, when he was handed a 71-month jail term and fined US$60,000 (S$80646). Wong was also banned from selling animals to anybody in the United States for three years after his jail term. Wong has since left prison and as is still continuing his trade of illegal wildlife parts internationally and locally. International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa has been lobbying the USFWS and governments throughout the African continent to alter and increase their punishment convictions as small mandatory jail terms and fines are simply not working. The longer these king pins continue their luxury life style more species of animals will become extinct. It is near impossible to document on just how many of these ruthless king pins there actually are operating all over the world. Files we hold show as many as sixteen in operation from Great Britain, United States, Australia, Ireland Nepal, Vietnam, Russia, Poland being just few of the known Don’s that have organised raids on museums, killing of Rhino in zoological gardens, trafficking of animal parts down to hit men being paid to take down head rangers and African farmers that have helped disrupt illegal trade.

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The Poacher’s

Many commentators on our main African Conservation Facebook page have been led to believe that “Asian” citizens involved in “poaching” are taking down our African Elephant and Rhinoceros. This is not true at all. While we was aware that pseudo hunting via Asian gangs linked to Vixay Keosavang’ and his now imprisoned right hand lieutenant Chumlong Lemtongthai were actively involved in “permitted pseudo hunting” this was more an isolated case that saw the (DEA) Department of Environmental Affairs later ban Vietnamese hunting permits back in 2012. However since then it has been noted that since the ban was implemented hunting permits increased to some 200% from China and Eastern Europe. CITES and the DEA are fully aware of this and it has been placed in writing that it is most likely permits obtained to pseudo hunt. Yet nothing has been done to stem the flow of possible illegal activities. One must also remember not to confuse the “pseudo hunter” that has obtained a legal permit with non-permitted hunters (poachers). Although there is no difference in reality it has been documented on lower down the page.

African poachers will be in communication with their own Don or king pin within Mozambique (example). From there spotters or scouts will be on the hunt for Rhinoceros and Elephants laying traps or poisoning water holes with cyanide or other agricultural chemicals. Poachers use a range of military equipment such as high powered hunting rifles, night vision goggles and will most likely be ex-special forces. Poachers are not as unintelligent as they may look. Before going into the field they also search online and use software to that can pinpoint where a Rhino or Elephant is located by examining pictures uploaded from tourists. Information on how this is done has been withheld. Poachers that are well organized normally operate in groups of two. One group will be the search and reconnaissance team looking out for large mammals, rangers and anti poachers. The second team will be a group of no more than two to three mostly men that communicate back to the first team that can stay in the field for days if not a week at a time.  These poachers are what we call “highly organised” that use stealth and military skills to search and butcher Rhinoceros and Elephants. However there are also “individual opportunistic” poachers that normally on the off chance of spotting a Rhino or Elephant will then track the animal then kill. Regardless of the organised and opportunistic poachers they all communicate back to the main African king-pin that then orders the courier. A price will be placed on the table then deal is done. Pictured below is one poacher from Mozambique that was charged with the manslaughter of his fellow accomplice whom was shot dead by Rangers this year. This case was the first of its kind that can be read more about here.

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When vast sums of money can be made in a single day it sadly doesn’t deter anyone that wants to take down our beloved 22 million year old species of Rhino or Elephant. Pictured below are two African farmers that were involved in poaching of Rhino and other game species. The farmer believed to be behind a poaching syndicate in Northern KwaZulu-Natal, was said to be a dangerous criminal who told a police agent he wanted to shoot someone in the head to see what it looked like. So said Warrant Officer Jean-Pierre van Zyl-Roux, testifying in the Magudu Magistrate’s Court in a bail application. He said alleged syndicate leader Evert Potgieter, 34, also had links to corrupt cops. He asked the court not to grant bail to Potgieter and three of his four alleged accomplices. The five are faced charges of conspiracy to hunt 10 Rhino and attempting to hunt Rhino. Potgieter and his co-accused Riaan Vermaak, 32, a Newcastle farmer, face additional charges of possessing unlicensed firearms and ammunition and stolen property. Potgieter and Vermaak, together with their alleged accomplices, Philomon Mbatha, 42 and brothers Dumisane, 30, and Nkosinathi Sithole, 32 – both security guards at the Mkuze Falls Private Game Reserve – were arrested in 2012 during a sting operation when undercover police agents were taken to the reserve to poach TEN Rhino. The two farmers can be seen pictured below;

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Potgieter and his co-accused Riaan Vermaak, 32 farmers and family arrested and charged for conspiring to kill ten Rhino

International Animal Rescue Foundation regularly investigates farmers, hunters and rangers that may be cashing in on the thousands that can be made from hunting Rhino or Elephant. Had the two and their accomplices succeeded in poaching the ten Rhino then sold onto Asia they would have generated over $3.5 million between them. The true scale of just whom is involved in poaching is more complicated and complex than you could possibly imagine. Those whom believe that poachers derive from Mozambique think again. And it doesn’t just stop at farmers or hunters neither. The very people that are paid to STOP poachers and secure the life of our mega-fauna have also been arrested and charged with Rhino poaching or conspiring to poach. Again this year we see the SANparks and SAPs law enforcement officers arrested this May 2014. Back in 2012-2013 SANparks and the South African Police Force came under fire of which (members) of some staff had been arrested and charged for conspiring to poach or had been caught poaching and dealing in Rhino horn. Early in 2013 International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa offered SANparks two polygraph’s and a month’s worth of training on using the system. SANparks declined our offer. It is quite clear that there are some corrupt individuals within SANparks and as of this May 2014 we will not continue to just shrug this off that SANparks is dealing with the problem as its quite evident they are not. SANparks must now clean their act up as it is setting a very bad example to the public and other rangers that are honestly genuine.  SANparks this May quoted the following; PLEASE take note of the Chinese (couriers) that were caught red handed in South Africa.

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SANparks statement is seen below;

The Minister of Environmental Affairs, Mrs Edna Molewa, the Hawks and SANParks have welcomed the arrest of a former SANParks field ranger and two SAPS members by South African National Parks (SANParks).

The arrest that Tuesday of the former SANParks field Sergeant and two police constables based at the Skukuza police station in the Kruger National Park was the results of a joint intelligence-driven operation between the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (the Hawks) and officials of the Kruger National Park. Park rangers and the Endangered Species team of the Hawks were on their routine duties when they came across a black rhinoceros carcass in the Kruger National Park on Tuesday morning.

The team pulled a marked Skukuza police van over after receiving information. On searching the van, a person suspected of being a poacher, who was armed with a .375 hunting rifle and rounds of ammunition, was found. When the constables were asked about the man and the rifle, they could not give a satisfactory explanation and were arrested.

During the operation the rifle, ammunition, a silencer and poaching equipment was seized.

“The SANParks and SAPS officials who performed the arrests are congratulated for their outstanding work. The arrest sends a strong message that officials alleged to be involved in poaching will be arrested and face the full might of the law,” said Minister Molewa. The Head of the Hawks in Mpumalanga, Major General Simon Mapyane, applauded the team under the stewardship of Colonel Johan Brits for work well done.

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“Colonel Brits went on pension that Friday, 30 May 2014, after serving the police for 39 years and eight days. He is leaving a mark and has handed the mantle to the team,” said General Mapyane.

“The suspects were tasked with the responsibility to patrol the streets around the park and to confront suspicious vehicles. It is clear that these members were doing the opposite,” added General Mapyane. Both members are now facing charges of corruption and the person suspected of being a poacher is facing charges of being in the possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition. They will appear in the Skukuza Magistrates’ Court soon. In another operation in the early hours of the 27 May 2014, rangers at Pretoriuskop made contact with a group of suspected poachers. During the incident, one of the suspects was fatally wounded and the remaining two managed to escape under the cover of darkness. Poaching equipment, a .458 hunting rifle and ammunition were recovered during the operation.

The Officer Commanding of the SANParks Rangers Corps, Major General (RET) Johan Jooste commended all the units that were involved in the arrests of the suspects. He added that the war was intensifying but the men and women in uniform were certainly up to the task.

“The incursions are now relentless and taking their toll on our resources, but we have men and women that are dedicated and fully committed to the cause, they are determined to win this war,” said Maj Gen (ret) Jooste.

These successes follow shortly after a very successful week of SANParks / SAPS operations both inside and outside the Kruger. Three foreign Chinese nationals were arrested in Gauteng on the 22nd May for possession and dealing in rhino horn, whilst six suspected poachers were arrested in the surrounding areas just outside the KNP and a further two arrested and two fatally wounded inside the KNP.

The Park has been under tremendous pressure from poachers, as it is home to over eighty percent of the global population of both white and black rhino that still roam in the wild. The animals are being illegally hunted for their horn, driven mainly by demand from South East Asia. Crime syndicates have been identified as the main culprits in recruiting those that kill the animals.
Since January 1, 2014, the Kruger National Park has lost 290 animals to poachers and 52 individuals have been arrested. A total of 419 rhinos have been poached in South Africa so far this year.

Of the total number of rhinos poached, 48 rhinos have been killed in Limpopo, 41 in KwaZulu-Natal and 26 in North West. A total of 119+ people have been arrested in connection with rhino poaching. Maj Gen (ret) Jooste reminded South Africans that the battle will be won outside the reserves, when the kingpins are brought to book.

Poaching may be seen to some as just a one sided issue and that all poachers involved are just black Africans. Sadly this is not the case and even as we document tonight there are white and black African farmers and hunters, rangers and members of the public conspiring to poach Rhino or Elephant. As we have said the vast sums of money that can be made heavily outweighs the conviction and or being shot dead by police or rangers trying to stop poachers. So as one can see “poaching” is not actually undertaken by Asian citizens but more African farmers, hunters and some members of the security forces that are paid to stop poachers.

The Courier

Couriers are all part of the “organised syndicated ring” of wildlife traffickers. They mainly derive from Asia and will only travel into Rhino territory when a deal is on the table due to fear of being captured by Police or enforcement teams. Once a Rhino or Elephant is poached the Don or king-pin in Africa will then set up a line of communication with the Mr Big in Asia. The courier is then sent to Africa to pick the horns or tusks up then a trade route is established via smuggling through shipping lanes, or cargo planes. As Rhino horn is quite expensive and easy to cut down and conceal the majority of Rhino horn is illegally trafficked from Africa into Asia in under 24-48 hours via plane.

Whereas Elephant tusks that can be quite large and are rarely cut down to size being least expensive too are normally trafficked illegally from African sea ports. Loading on to ships is discreet and when the mostly “African or Asian” vessel enters Asian ports from Africa the cargo will be fixed to the underside of the ship before entering port. A deal will be made by the corrupt ship captain and Asian customs. From there the cargo is hauled up from a concealed hold under the ship then transported to factories across China mostly. 90% of all ivory in China has no permits – meaning that all 90% has been illegally trafficked into China. That just shows how lack enforcement is with regards to sea trafficking routes and airways too. Couriers are what keeps the demand going. No courier no demand = no poaching. These individuals and traffickers from both sea and airports must be stopped. The picture below shows one courier that was arrested illegally trafficking Rhino horn from Mozambique into Asia. Unfortunately for every poacher or courier that is arrested, charged and sent to prison a further two to three are born. At the end of the day when money can be made no one is going to say no. Couriers are paid a months wages in a single day too by the main Mr Big’s.

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Couriers or traffickers as they are normally known continue the huge demand in wildlife parts. Back in 2010 two Vietnamese men were convicted for smuggling Rhino horn, Phi Hung Nguyeng, also arrested at O.R. Tambo Airport in June 2010, was found guilty of illegal possession of six Rhino horns and was sentenced to eight years in prison: one year for each horn he possessed, plus an additional two years for fraud. Both men were arrested 30 minutes before the Opening Ceremony of the World Cup that South Africa hosted in 2010. During sentencing, Magistrate Manyathi warned Rhino poachers and Rhino horn couriers that it made no difference whether you killed the Rhino or carried the horns, the same penalty would be handed down. If you have information on surrounding the illegal peddling of Rhino horn or Ivory you are asked to contact Interpol or any good Environmental Organisation that will investigate.

The Corrupt 

Mentioned in past and present articles we have compiled many lists of corrupt individuals that are all cashing in on the thousands made peddling Rhino horn and ivory to Asia. Hunters, veterinary officers, pilots, rangers, anti-poaching personnel down to governmental ministers inside of Africa and Asia. Corruption is one the largest obstacles to actually restrain simply because there are so many people involved and many people are high powered ministers that abuse their position thus slipping the arm of the law.

Back in 2012 It emerged that on the same day US President Barack Obama was in Tanzania to announce increased aid to combat wildlife trafficking, a former US government official was arraigned after being caught with nearly two pounds of ivory he meant to smuggle out of Kenya. American national David McNevin, who once served as a defense attaché at the American embassy in Kenya, was arraigned on July 1, just as Obama committed an additional $10 million in anti-wildlife trafficking aid in neighboring Tanzania. Hilary Clinton in 2012 stated that America was the second largest country in the world that is heavily involved in the trade of illegal animal parts. Although many arrests are being made buy the FBI, CIA and United States Fish and Wildlife Service enforcement officers its still not deterring the hundreds of people that want to line their pockets with blood gold.

McNevin was found with “five ivory bangles, seven ivory finger rings, seven ivory pendants and two pieces of worked ivory” weighing a total of 1.8 pounds (0.8 kg), the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) reported.

McNevin was arrested at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport while trying to board a flight to Amsterdam on night of June 29.
According to The New York Times, McNevin pleaded guilty and paid a fine of 30,000 shillings (about $350 USD). Paul Udoto, a spokesman for KWS, said McNevin was dealt with in “the way we deal with any criminal trying to commit a crime,” adding that McNevin did not invoke diplomatic status and that the American embassy did not reach out to KWS.

“He was in a hurry to finish the case and get on his way,” Udoto said, according to The Times. The illegal trade of animals or animal parts has seen all-time financial highs in recent years. The illicit industry is believed to generate as much as $10 billion a year, placing it among the ranks of human trafficking, the drug trade, counterfeiting and the illegal arms trade, according to a Washington Post report.

Ivory is being smuggled out of Africa at unprecedented rates, leaving the fate of elephants on the continent in peril. Elephants could become extinct in Africa within a decade if the problem of poaching elephants for their tusks is not stopped, The Times reported, citing non-profit group Wildlife Direct.

The group called for the US to do more to stop the trade of ivory within its borders. “We know that the US has thriving ivory markets, and 30 percent of the ivory is illegal,” said Paula Kahumbu, executive director of Wildlife Direct. “We are calling for a US ban on domestic trade.” Trade of ivory has been linked to enabling the spread of weapons and promoting regional instability in parts of Africa, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in a recent report to the UN Security Council, the highest international security body.
“Illegal ivory trade may currently constitute an important source of funding for armed groups,” the report stated. “Also of concern is that poachers are using more and more sophisticated and powerful weapons, some of which, it is believed, might be originating from the fallout in Libya.”

While US Kenyan Defense Attache Kevin McNevin was brought to justice – Back in 2008 pictured herein in South Africa Vu Moc Anh a Vietnamese Embassy First Secretary was caught red-handed with Rhino horn on film. She denied the incident ever took place despite proof on tape. Vu Moc Anh escaped any form of police conviction and remained protected at the embassy. South African Police Force did not intervene nor have they made any attempt to arrest her when she LEFT the embassy on many occasions travelling to Vietnam and back to Africa. Vu Moc Anh is pictured below.

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Head Kruger Vet Arrested

Two veterinarians and a professional hunter have been arrested in connection with the wrongful possession and distribution of veterinary drugs commonly used in Rhino poaching. The accused Dr Douw Grobler, formerly head of the Kruger National Park’s wildlife capturing and veterinary services unit, private vet Dr Johannes Gerhardus Kruger, and professional hunter Hugo Ras are accused of supplying a Rhino-poaching syndicate with tranquillisers.

In March 2012, Christoffel Jacobus Lombard, Eugine Petrus van der Merwe and William Theuns Jooste were arrested and charged with possession of M99; Illegal entry upon land with a weapon; conspiracy to commit a restricted activity and fraud.
Corrupt vets, game farmers and hunters

According to Rhino Conservation; Instead of joining South Africa’s battle to protect its Rhinos, a corrupt minority of game farmers, professional hunters, and wildlife veterinarians have chosen to exchange their ethics for ill-gotten financial rewards. Indeed, this cesspool of deceit has catapulted South Africa into the unfortunate position of being the lead supplier of illegal Rhino horn for the rapacious black market.

Although hundreds of arrests have been made, South Africa’s conviction rates for Rhino crimes remain deplorably low across the board – consistently less than five percent and even as low as 2.6% in 2010.

And despite indications unethical members of the conservation field are contributing to the carnage, only five percent of the summed 397 rhino-related arrests made in South Africa between 2010 and 2011 (as reported by the World Wildlife Fund) were white and not black Africans. The belief that black Africans are again all to blame for poaching of which see’s many racist comments on our articles must stop now. The evidence is clear today as it was two years ago.

The User

Many surveys have been carried out in China, Laos and Vietnam focusing on who exactly is using Rhino horn. Today we can state that Rhino horn is not necessarily used as a fake medicine anymore for male libido problems. Back in 2013 we visited Saigon of which Rhino horn was seen to be crushed down with Viagra added to the horn. This obviously creates a false sense of belief that Rhino horn does indeed cure libido problems. If this was of course so true then we question why Pfizer still has yet to produce Rhino horn as medication?

Once the Rhino is poached in Africa the courier will illegally traffic the horn from Africa into Asia. Once inside of Asia the horn is then cut into medium size pieces or is left intact for individual buyers that purchase Rhino horn token to show his or her family and friends how wealthy they are.

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According to traditional Chinese texts, such as Li Shih-chen’s 1597 medical text “Pen Ts’ ao Kang Mu”, Rhino horn has been used in Chinese medicine for more than 2000 years and is used to treat fever, rheumatism, gout, and other disorders. It also states that the horn could also cure snakebites, hallucinations, typhoid, headaches, carbuncles, vomiting, food poisoning, and “devil possession.” (However, it is not, as commonly believed, prescribed as an aphrodisiac). Rhino horn, is shaved or ground into a powder and dissolved in boiling water and consumed by the patient.

Rhino horn doesn’t have any medicinal benefit whatsoever, but it is a testimony to the power of tradition that millions of people believe that it does. Of course, if people want to believe in prayer, acupuncture or voodoo as a cure for what ails them, there is no reason why they shouldn’t, but if animals are being killed to provide nostrums that have been shown to be useless, then there is a very good reason to curtail the use of Rhino horn.

Aphrodisiac

There is a belief in the West that Rhino horn is used as an aphrodisiac and sexual stimulant but this is not correct and seems to have been misunderstood or misinterpreted by Western media. However, research has shown that people in Vietnam are starting to believe this rumor as they are consuming it for new reasons.

Even without aphrodisiacal properties, however, Rhino horn is one of the mainstays of TCM, and its collection has been responsible for the death of tens of thousands of Rhinos around the world.

Make no mistake: those people who use Rhino horn to cure medical ailments really believe it works. That’s what drives up the demand on which the poachers thrive. As Ann and Steve Toon commented in 2002, “For practitioners of traditional Asian medicine, Rhino horn is not perceived as a frivolous love potion, but as an irreplaceable pharmaceutical necessity.”

VietNam – new uses for rhino horn

There has been a recent surge in demand for Rhino horn in Viet Nam, where it is being touted as a hangover cure and treatment for terminal illnesses plus many more uses. A survey carried out by TRAFFIC in 2013 identified that the motivation for consumers buying Rhino horn is the emotional benefits rather than medicinal, as it reaffirms their social status among their peers. Image and status is important to these consumers, they tend to be highly educated and successful people who have a powerful social network and no affinity to wildlife. Rhino horns are sometimes bought for the sole purpose of being gifted to others; to family members, business colleagues or people in positions of authority.

When the courier or if the courier successfully makes it back to anyone of the named Asian counties highly organised traders then cut the horn the distribute selling at high prices. Normally a Rhino horn can sell for as much as $70,000USD per KILO! Once sold the user as seen in picture three will use the Rhino horn for many reasons. Hospitals/Medical Practitioners also use Rhino horn although to what extent is really not known.

Counterfeit traders

As strange it may read-Rhino-horn can and still is being produced using high quality resins of which originate from Eastern Europe. The Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species wild flora and fauna and law enforcement are investigating the production of such resins and where they are originating from. Problem is whom is producing them and making “very high quality fake plastic looking horns” that have increased the trade in “real Rhino horn” via the loss of thousands from the main buyers that believe the horn they are purchasing is the real deal.

International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa and Environmental News and Medias investigative journalists and environmental team have been searching in vain the producers of these quality resins in an attempt to arrest and convict these criminals. While the trade in Rhino horn is banned so too is the trade in “counterfeit horn production”. The reasons behind this is because fake trade can heavily impact Rhino poaching more. If a buyer purchases from a peddler what they believe is “real Rhino horn” at the price of say $60,000 a kilogram that then finds out they have been ripped off the buyer will want compensating and sadly this is yet another dark area that is continuing the demand for the real Rhino horn that unfortunately sees more Rhino poached. Read more below via press reports.

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Rhino horn Scam – Professional Hunters and Eastern European Gangs;

Rhino horn smugglers are now making very high quality fake horns, allowing unscrupulous hunters to sell the real horns at a huge mark-up to black market dealers for traditional medicine and status symbols. The fake horns are made with top quality resins and look so authentic that they are almost impossible to distinguish from the real thing, a report presented back in 2012 to members of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) says.

The report, presented to the convention’s standing committee in Geneva, says Cites officials have been alerted to the increasing involvement of professional hunters in the illegal Rhino horn trade.

“Trophies are exported to hunters after a legal hunt, but once the hunters have received the trophies in their home countries, the original Rhino horns are removed from the trophies and replaced with fake horns.”

Cites did not specify in which country the fake horns were being made and sold, but details in the report point to the possible involvement of either American or European hunters in the fake horn scam.

Earlier that year in 2012, wildlife investigators in the US arrested several American and Vietnamese nationals in a major bust in several cities across the US following the seizure of numerous Rhino horns, some of which were suspected to have originated from legal rhino hunts in SA and other parts of the continent.

There have also been a series of robberies from museums and private collections across Europe over the past two years in which the horns were stolen from mounted Rhino head trophies.

“The fake horns were initially made with a mould and were relatively easy to identify, but recent reports from authorities indicate that fake horns encountered lately are made in high-quality resin with a density even higher than that of a real horn.

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Can you tell the real Rhino horn from the Fake? 

“This makes visual identification, once fully mounted, extremely difficult.”

But Cites officials have now found a way to smoke out the culprits. “Fake horns can, however, be identified relatively easily by collecting and burning a small quantity of dust from the horn, which will deliver a distinctive smell indicating that it is not Rhinoceros horn.

“In the light of this new trend, it is of extreme importance that Cites parties should have adequate legislation and enforcement controls in place, to prevent horns that are part of legal exported trophies from being used for purposes other than hunting trophies, and to ensure that the trophies remain in possession of their owners.”

Another possible source of the fake horns could be in Vietnam, which has been implicated as the end destination of dozens of SA Rhinos shot legally by Vietnamese poachers posing as bona fide trophy hunters. (Hunting permits issued to Vietnamese hunters have since been banned) however as explained above legal pseudo hunting is continuing and the DEA is doing little if anything to prevent it even though they know whom is travelling to South Africa with a permit.

The report notes that Vietnamese authorities had pledged to conduct a stock-taking exercise to check whether SA Rhino trophy horns were still in the possession of Vietnamese hunters. (The Vietnamese government and law enforcement has still not kept to this agreement and only checked a mere handful of hunters that had hunted Rhino within South Africa)…

“It is vital for the authorities in Vietnam to conclude this activity as a matter of urgency and to investigate fully all incidents where trophies are no longer in possession of the hunters. Such follow-up investigations can provide important information on the identity of the driving force behind the trafficking of Rhino horn.” People who no longer had their horn trophies should be able to tell investigators who the horns had be sold to.

Conclusion

The information above is one of International Animal Rescue Foundation’s most detailed reports on poaching, demand, trade corruption and end users to scamming networks too. The report above compiled by ourselves and some third parties really does show the seriousness of Rhino or any poaching. When we read many people commenting stating such things as “why have you not stopped the poaching yet” then please do understand that poaching is just the tip of a very large ice-burg. There are many people from all walks of life involved in poaching and trafficking of which stopping them is proving to be more of a headache than the public could possibly ever imagine. When we say trade and poaching is big business we mean it. The cobweb trade as we call it spans many countries involving people that could be living next door to you or just a few blocks away. This is how serious the trade is.

From legal hunters to rangers to traffickers and even British and Irish travelling gypsies we have more than a brick wall to break down here and while we are all fighting to brake this wall down we are sadly losing our Rhino at an unprecedented rate. We have predicted that by the end of September the Rhino poaching death toll could be as high as 900+. No more can we say that 2-3 Rhino a day are being poached. Unfortunately we now see both Rhino and Elephants at “tipping point” meaning that both species cannot any longer produce enough young to keep up with high poaching levels. Coupled with this and the many different people involved we ourselves cannot any longer state that our Rhino is safe. It is with a deep heart that with the vast evidence we hold on file and poaching figures set to rise by over 200% the next year it is highly possible that we will lose the Rhino. International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa has been for the past three years proposing a complete ban on all Rhino hunting in Africa with immediate effect, sanctions to be implemented against user countries, poaching to be classed as a domestic terrorist threat and finally the White Rhino to be re-categorized as “endangered”. Failing this we are certain that the Rhino will be extinct within under ten years.

Thank you for reading.

 

Dr Josa C. Depre

Environmental Scientist and Botanist

info@international-animalrescue-foundation.org.uk

The video below depicts how our African and Asian Rhinos are left after a poaching incident.

 

 

 

 

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