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Endangered Species Friday: Bothriechis marchi


Endangered Species Friday: Bothriechis marchi

This Fridays endangered species watch post (ESP) I focus ones attention on reptilians which I rarely do speak or document about. Awareness surrounding this stunning Pit Viper needs creating rather quickly, before populations go extinct. (Image credits: Dr. Silviu Petrovan B. marchi) 

Endemic to Honduras (mainland) and scientifically identified as Bothriechis marchi the specie is listed as [endangered] of which populations are declining quite extensively throughout its entire range. B. marchi was identified by two environmental scientists that I’ve listed below;

1. Dr Thomas Barbour (August 19, 1884 – January 8, 1946) whom was an American herpetologist. From 1927 until 1946, he was director of the Museum of Comparative Zoology founded in 1859 by Louis Agassiz at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Dr Barbour identified B. marchi back in 1929.

2. Dr Arthur Loveridge (1891-1980) whom was a British biologist and herpetologist who wrote about animals in East Africa, particularly Tanzania, and New Guinea. He gave scientific names to several gecko species in the region. Dr Loveridge identified with Dr Barbour, B. marchi back in 1929.

The species was known to be quite common throughout its entire range from the mid 1980’s right-through to the early millennium. Since last observations took place around 2000 there has been few sightings of the species due to increasing threats on the mainland.

Commonly known to the locals as the Honduran Palm Pit Viper or March’s Palm Pit Viper the species is known to occur within Northern Honduras of which extends into Eastern Guatemala. Range has been reported to be some 500m to 1,500 (m) in elevation however the species is considered rare at anything below 900 (m). There have been few reports of specimens recorded below the 900 (m) elevation in Nicaragua by Villa 1984. Furthermore a few individual specimens have also been recorded at sea level.

While there are an assortment of threats that indeed pose a risk to the species the main primary reason B. marchi qualifies for the endangered listing is due to the very small locations that the species is known to inhabit. From previews records we know the species now only exists at some five to six locations of which any-form of habitat fragmentation or destruction could/would lead to species into extinction.

Even throughout the species very small range habitat loss, collapse of prey populations, and extraction for the pet trade still occurs despite the March’s Palm Pit Viper listed as endangered and, protected. One can normally locate the species next to running streams, water courses or within closed intact rain forest. To date there are no sub-species known and one must also point out the March’s Palm Pit Viper is indeed (venomous). Diet normally consists of frogs, newts, and rodents.


Image: Honduran Palm Pit Viper. (Photographer unknown). 

Listed on Cites Appendix II there remains very little conservation projects in place to actually preserve the species despite Cites stating pet trade must be [regulated]. If anything there should be no pet trade and the Government of Honduras now needs to implement tough policies and regulations to ensure species survival for future generations to come. Cites in my own opinion needs to pull their finger out and restore a little faith back into the public domain as clearly very little if any monetary income is being made from the pet trade that is helping sustain conservation projects within the species range.


One of my own major concerns here on the mainland and Honduras islands is deforestation. Many of you or may not be aware, some months back we ran a conservation project on the Honduras White Bat of which deforestation was primarily to blame for the bats decreasing populations. Unfortunately the same threat also applies to the March’s Palm Pit Viper (which I find very worrying).

Timber extraction and habitat destruction is increasing on the mainland at an alarming rate placing the March’s Palm Pit Viper in danger furthermore. This species is also threatened by extraction for the pet trade. For example the Honduras authorities have issued permits for exportation of hundreds of individuals annually. Furthermore, the crash in amphibian populations threatens this species.

I must also point out that while timber extraction is placing increasing pressure on many species of fauna and flora illegal and unregulated logging remains an ever-increasing threat to sustainable development programs. Who’s to blame for this illegal logging crisis? United States and Europe have been exposed in many environmental investigation projects, timer extraction projects also increase poverty, fuel corruption not forgetting devastating communities throughout the mainland and islands. Although some actions have been taken to decrease illegal logging threats – they still very much remain and as such will push the Honduran Palm Pit Viper into extinction should measures not be implemented to protect wildlife immediately..

Please note that while there has been some-speculation there may well be a new sub-species, Bothriechis guifarroi is not related to B marchi, although near threatened the species is still pretty remarkable.

Sadly we don’t have a video for you to view the Honduran Palm Pit Viper however I’ve included a Viper video that you may enjoy.

– Have a nice day.

Thank you for reading. 


Chief Environmental Officer. (Executive Director) 

Dr Jose C. Depre 

International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa. 



India’s Vultures Poisoned By Drugs – Devastating the Environment And ‘Tower Of Silence’

Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 6.29.34 pmIndian vultures are 99% wiped out because of exposure to the anti-inflammatory drug known as diclofenac, prescribed by Indian vets for farmers, to keep injured animals working. After the animal dies, vultures become exposed to the drug when they scavenge the animal’s body, causing kidney failure and death to the vulture. The Indian government eventually banned the drug in 2006, but the human-diclofenac drug is STILL prescribed by some Indian vets to farmers, consequently killing off the remaining Critically Endangered vultures on the IUCN Red List and CITES; the category for animals closest to extinction.


Captive breeding efforts have been painstakingly slow because vultures take five years to reach reproductive maturity and when they do, they mate only once a year, producing only one egg.  At that rate it will take decades of captive breeding simply to prevent the birds from going completely extinct.

Sadly, scientists do not expect any Indian vulture born today to be able to survive until maturity because of the sporadic presence of diclofenac in its food source

Scientists have estimated that as recently as the early 1990’s, there were more than forty million vultures in India alone. Within a matter of a few years their numbers plummeted to just a few thousand, faster than any other avian collapse in history.

The three species affected are the oriental white-backed, long-billed and slender-billed vultures all faced extinction as researchers pinpointed the cause of the vultures’ demise to kidney failure, but had no idea why it was occurring.  By 1999, the situation became so grave that not one pair of vultures could be seen together.

India's vultures.

India’s vultures.

In late 2001, Dr. J. Lindsay Oaks, Professor of Microbiology at Washington State University, began tests on the deceased birds looking for viruses, bacteria, heavy metal poisoning, pesticides and nutritional deficiencies to find a cause for their kidney failure.  It wasn’t until early 2003 when Oaks decided to look at their food source which was almost entirely domestic livestock, including cattle.

In a shocking discovery, Oaks uncovered the missing link, the drug Diclofenac, which was being widely misused by Indian farmers who were administering large amounts of the drug to their cattle, rather than letting their animal rest and heal. Although India’s main religion, Hinduism, sees cows as sacred and its against Indian law to kill or cause them pain, farmers bent their religious rules to push anti-inflammatory drugs into already injured cattle, easing the conscience of the farmer to work the animal into the ground, until completely crippled or death. When the injured cow would eventually die, they would be sent to “carcass fields” to decompose because they couldn’t be buried or cremated, according to the same Hindu religious reasons.

India's declining vultures.

India’s declining vultures.

After careful dissection of the data, Oaks discovered the vultures were dying of kidney failure from the accumulated Diclofenac in the cows, which vultures were consuming on the carcass fields! Even more shocking was that the Indian government did not bother to act on the information and ban the drug until 2006.

Years later, the drug is STILL used in India for veterinary use, even though a safe alternatives, meloxicam exists. Continued use of diclofenac in India almost certainly guarantees the number of vultures will continue to fall as the birds are killed off through vets prescribing the drug.

July, 2014, a meeting of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) Scientific Council (SCC18) was held in Germany and included the issue of use of diclofenac in Jorbeer, Bikaner causing death of vultures in their preferred habitat.

“Diclofenac is still available on the market in multi-dose vials and a number of veterinary doctors are abusing multi-dose vials of diclofenac sodium, generally of 10 ml to 30 ml meant for human consumption to treat animals illegally. In 2011-12 number of 30 ml vials sold by medical retailers in six [territories], of Bikaner district were 7150,” said Dr Dau Lal Bohra, PhD (Animal Microbiology & Wild Life), Ornithologist and Conservationist who has been working on vultures for the last seven years.

Baby vulture from a captive breeding campaign.

Baby vulture from a captive breeding campaign.

Conservationists have now successfully bred each of the three critically endangered Indian vulture species in captivity,  but it is painstakingly slow. The birds were bred in a conservation partnership consisting of Birdlife International, Bombay Natural History Society, International Center For Birds Of Prey, Royal Society for Protection of Birds, and Zoological Society of London.

Vultures are part of natures clean-up crew and play a vital role within the circle of life, disposing of carcasses. The vultures strong stomach acid and high body temperature destroy corpse pathogens such as rabies and tuberculosis with little to no ill effects unlike any other animal.

Vultures are very patient and never attack anything that is still living. They are not a pretty bird to look at and they eat dead bodies for a living – but they are vital for our planet and we need to start respecting their role in ecology.

Carcasses which would have been cleaned-up by vultures now lay in fields rotting, often seriously contaminating drinking water. While the vulture population has been decimated, the feral dog population has exploded, leaving the dogs strong and healthy as they regularly gorge on cattle carcasses.

India's Carcass Fields where dead animals are taken to decompose and be eaten.

India’s Carcass Fields where dead animals are taken to decompose and be eaten.

A vulture’s metabolism is a true “dead-end” for pathogens, but dogs and rats become carriers of the pathogens, which is a serious health issue because in 2014 India was said to have 30 millions stray dogs. Dogs and rats are not equipped to clean up as efficiently as vultures and their physiology isn’t as well-adapted to scavenging.

Instead of destroying diseases such as rabies, dogs simply transmit them. Dog bites are the number one cause of rabies in India, according to the Indian Journal Of Medical research, 2014. To read more about dog bites and rabies in India: click here.

The loss of vultures has also caused a great increase in leopards invading inhabited areas to prey on feral dogs, which in turn  increases the risk of leopard attacks on children and subsequently, the killing of leopards by frightened home owners.

In a bold move to save vultures, the German pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health GmbH removed their Indian Formulation Patent on their drug meloxicam, which does the exact same job as diclofenac, but is not harmful to vultures. Removing their patent meant the retail price of the drug became compatible with diclofenac. Sadly, some Indian vets are still prescribing diclofenac over the safe alternative, meloxicam.

Vultures: Integral Role In ‘Towers Of Silence’ Burials

Vultures play a vital role in an ancient religious groups burial rituals, which involves laying their dead out for vultures to devour, on top of colossal stone structures called Towers of Silence.

Because the Indian vulture was taken to the brink of extinction by misuse of veterinary drugs, this dramatically affected the Parsis communities burial method. After six years of negotiations between the Indian government and Parsis leaders, it was agreed to build giant aviaries to attempt to revive the two species of vultures nearing extinction, which are fundamental to the Parsis Towers of Silence.

The government would provide the initial population of birds and the cost of building the aviaries and maintaining the vultures was estimated at $5 million spread over 15 years. See below for more on the Towers of Silence.

Parsis People

According to Parsi beliefs, vultures serve as intermediaries between earth and sky for the deceased person to get to heaven. Since 1673, the dead body is placed on a ‘Tower Of Silence’ at Malabar, where vultures consume the body and liberate the deceased one’s soul. Because vulture numbers have dipped critically low, bodies now take six months to a year to disappear, instead of hours.

Parsis see burying or cremating the dead as polluting nature and will not allow it. The tower is similar to a tiered amphitheater that can hold more than 250 bodies at a time.

The Zorastorian faith is the traditional religion of Persia (Iran), before being exterminated by Muslim invasions. A millennia ago a group of Zoroastrians fled persecution in their homeland and settled in India, primarily in what’s now Mumbai.

Back in 2006, ith just a handful of the endangered vultures remaining in the city and with solar panels installed in their Tower of Silence to speed up decomposition working poorly during the monsoon rains, Zoroastrians were not happy.

Pictures of rotting corpses piled at the funeral grounds, secretly snapped by a mourning woman, sparked a furor over the ancient rituals. When Dhun Baria learned her mother’s corpse would take at least a year to decompose, she slipped into the grounds and took secret photographs and video footage that have shocked her community.

“It is a terrible sight, the stench is horrible. It’s as if the bodies have been tortured. The dead have no dignity,” she said.

Dhun Baria of Mumbai, who photographed the Towers of Silence.

Dhun Baria of Mumbai, who photographed the Towers of Silence.

With vultures listed as critically endangered in 2006 and three to four Parsis dying daily in Mumbai, a city of 16 million people, it is clear that there were no enough vultures to consume the corpses, as the smell wafted through the affluent neighborhood.

There are still smaller birds like crows, which also will consume the bodies, but the solar concentrators often keep them away during the day because it’s too hot. They’re also less efficient than vultures. A job that would take hours for a flock of vultures now can take weeks. And as Mumbai has grown into a mega-city, slowly decomposing bodies have made some people squeamish. In 2006 about 82,000 of the world’s 130,000 practicing Parsis lived in India, most in Mumbai.

Parsis Funeral Ceremonies

It is estimated to be over 3,000 years since the religious commandments of the Parsis were first issued. At the core of the way Parsis dispose of their dead lies the one main principle: reserving all possible respect for the dead, the body, after its separation from the immortal soul, should be disposed of in a way the least harmful and the least injurious to the living.

When a person is seen to be on the point of death, preparations are made for the disposal of the body and priests are called in. The dying person is sometimes made to drink a few drops of the consecrated Haoma water and sometimes the juice of a few grains of pomegranate. A short time after death, the body of the deceased is washed with water and a white clean suit of cotton clothes is put over him. The relations of the deceased now meet him for the last time.

Parsis priests.

Parsis priests.

After this time, nobody is allowed to touch or come into contact with the body which is then entrusted to two persons who are trained to this work. The body is lifted from its place by these two persons and put on slabs of stone, placed in a corner of the room. The body is never placed with its head towards the North.

The next process is that of [the seeing of the dog]. This consists of making a dog see the dead body – a dog with two eyes-like-spots just above it’s two eyes. In case a dog is not procurable, flesh-devouring birds like vultures should be allowed, if a flesh-eating bird happens to pass and see the corpse from above.

A priest sits before the fire and recites the Avesta till the time of the removal of the body to the Tower of Silence, which is done any time during the day and never at night. The body must be exposed to the sun.

The corpse-bearers use an iron bier and there must be at least two men, even if the deceased were a mere infant that could be carried by one man. Having pairs in funeral ceremonies is intended to create a view of sympathy and mutual assistance. The bier is lifted up and carried into the Tower, where the body must be exposed and left naked, to entice the vulture’s attention.

The Tower

The Tower is a round massive structure built completely of solid stone. A few steps from the ground lead to an iron gate which opens on a circular platform of solid stone,  about three hundred feet in circumference, with a circular well in the center. First row for corpses of males, second row for females and third row for children.

Before vulture numbers were decimated by the drug diclofenac, a corpse would be completely stripped of its flesh from vultures within an hour or two, and the bones of the denuded skeleton, when perfectly dried up by atmospheric influences and the powerful heat of the tropical sun, thrown into the well where they gradually crumble to dust, chiefly consisting of lime and phosphorus; thus the rich and the poor meet together on one level of equality after death.


It is incomprehensible that Indian veterinarians STILL prescribe diclofenac [in the human-dose], to enable farmers to over-work their cattle and knowingly kill vultures which have already been decimated by this exact same drug. Veterinarians have a clear understanding that every time they prescribe diclofenac to a farmer, they are signing death warrants for more vultures to be killed off. It is beyond disgraceful!

Nesting Indian vultures, which only hatch one egg a year.

Nesting Indian vultures, which only hatch one egg a year.

Veterinarians are also greatly damaging the Parsis community, which in turn hurts the community at large. Indian vultures only breed once a year and only lay one egg. With 99% of their population wiped out, Indian vultures are still in crisis. These amazing birds play an important role on our planet and without them, the ecological balance will be skewed in ways which can potentially affect all of us. Our beautiful planet needs every member of it’s clean up crew – because their role is vital.

Vultures may not be the world’s most beautiful bird, but they are the ones who ensure the planet is kept beautiful – for all of us to enjoy. It is time to put aside prejudices against vultures and embrace them for their amazing role in mother nature.

Diclofenac the Vulture Killing Drug Is Now On The EU Market BAN IT NOW

Thank you for reading,

Michele Brown.
Email: info@international-animalrescue-foundation.org.uk.

Endangered Species Monday: Dasyurus maculatus


Endangered Species Monday: Dasyurus maculatus

This Mondays Endangered Species Watch Post (ESP) I focus a little attention onto the Spotted-tailed Quoll. D. maculatus was identified back in 1792 by Dr Robert Kerr (1755 – 11 October 1813) Dr Kerr was a scientific writer and translator from Scotland. Dr Kerr was born in Roxburghshire as the son of a jeweler. He studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh and practiced at the Edinburgh Foundling Hospital as a surgeon. (Image adult Quoll) 

Dr Kerr translated several scientific works into English, such as Antoine Lavoisier’s work of 1789, In 1792, he published The Animal Kingdom, the first two volumes of a four-tome translation of Professor Linnaeus’ Systema Naturae, which is often cited as the taxonomic authority for a great many species. (He never did start the remaining two volumes.) Please note, the Spotted-tailed Quoll is described as ‘two subspecies’ and will be noted as such during this short article.

Listed as near threatened, D. maculatus has been wrongly named by some writers as the ‘Tiger Quoll’. The species shows no resemblance to that of a Tiger nor shows any familiar behavioral traits too. There is no mention of a ‘Tiger Quoll’ within conservation literature too. So I wish to put that name to bed now.

From 1996 the species [and sub-species] was listed as vulnerable, a further 2008 evaluation of the carnivorous marsupial saw conservation NGO’s submit data to the Red List of which the Spotted-tailed Quoll now qualifies for the criteria of (near threatened). Endemic to the island of Australia the species exists as explained as two sub-species.

Sub species (1) Dasyurus maculatus maculatus was formerly distributed in south-eastern Queensland (as far north as Bundaberg and as far west as Chinchilla), eastern New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania (including some of the Bass Strait Islands. Maxwell et al. (1996) reported that in south-east Queensland this particular sub-species has undergone a range contraction indicated to be in excess of 30% over the last 25 years and is now rare in most areas.

Sub species (2) D. m. gracilis formerly occurred throughout the latitudinal range of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area of north Queensland. It is now apparently extinct from the Atherton and Evelyn Tablelands, and there are few sightings south of 17o45’S. This represents a decline in extent of occurrence of approximately 20%.

Populations are decreasing of which there remains an estimated ‘20,000’ mature individuals. Populations in south-east Queensland, western Victoria (Otways and far south-west of Victoria), and coastal areas of southern New South Wales are known to be declining too. Populations in north-eastern Queensland are small, fragmented, and are <1,000 individuals. Tasmanian population numbers appear to be stable.

There is some evidence of a decline in distribution or in numbers in remaining suitable habitat (e.g., in the Otway Range), and the species is mostly uncommon (although it is present in good numbers in some areas, such as the Marengo and Chaelundi Forests).


Image: Spotted-tailed Quoll (juvenile) 


The reasons for decline of D. m. maculatus are a combination of habitat loss and fragmentation, possible disease at the beginning of the 20th century, competition with foxes and feral cats, predation by foxes and dogs, and impact of widespread strychnine baiting for dingoes.

Most recently threats include non-target mortality from trapping and poisoning (there is a long-standing concern that Quolls are being killed by the use of 1080 poisoning, but this has not been confirmed and is currently the focus of a number of investigative trials).

Direct persecution is significant as they are attracted to caged birds and do not necessarily take flight when discovered. Estimated forest loss as a result of clearing within its former range in south-east Queensland is over 70%, with the majority of loss occurring over the last 20 years.

The species uses a large number of den sites throughout the year and activities that reduce the number of den logs are likely to be significant. In Tasmania this taxon is naturally rare, possibly as a result of competition with D. viverrinus, Sarcophilus harrisii, and feral cats. Road mortality could be a significant factor where high speed roads and good habitat coincide, as Quolls are attracted to feed on the carcasses of road-killed animals.

D. m. gracilis is susceptible to factors which increase juvenile and/or adult mortality, or which otherwise decrease breeding success. Such factors may include habitat clearance, logging, introduced species including cane toad, and direct killing at chicken pens, at houses, and on roads.

Conservation actions are underway with more planned soon that will work to evaluate the current species size, habitat loss, food sources and protective areas needed Etc.

Spotted-tailed Quolls are generally nocturnal and rest during the day in dens. However, juveniles and females with young in the den can be seen during the day and may leave their dens when it is light out. Quoll dens take the form of underground burrows, caves, rock crevices, tree hollows, hollow logs, or under houses or sheds. Quolls move by walking and bounding gaits. Trails are not particularly important for Quoll, although they forage and scent mark along runways and roads.


Size of the Quoll depends on the species. They can reach 14 to 29.5 inches in length and 3 to 15.4 pounds of weight.
Quoll is covered with coarse coat that can be grey, brown or black in color. Basic color of the fur is enriched with prominent white spots. Quoll has pointed snout and pink nose. Its powerful jaw is equipped with sharp teeth. Tail is long and bushy. Quoll has sharp claws on the front and hind feet that are used for holding the food, climbing and digging underground burrows.

Quolls are nocturnal animals (active during the night). Even though Quolls are agile climbers, they spend majority of their life on the ground. Quolls can consume both animals and plants. Diet is mainly based on small mammals (such as rabbits), small birds, snakes and insects. They occasionally eat fruit and nuts.
Main predators of Quolls are crocodiles and snakes. Quolls live in the underground burrows, inside the hollow trees or caves. Quoll is territorial animal.

Male’s territory overlaps with territories of several nearby females. They share communal latrines. Quoll is solitary creature which gathers with other Quolls only during the mating season.
Mating season of Quolls takes place during the winter. Pregnancy lasts only couple of weeks and ends with up to 30 miniature babies (they weigh less than one gram).

Babies spend first 8 weeks of their life inside the mother’s pouch. After that period, babies are big enough to leave the pouch and ride on the mother’s back. Young Quolls are ready for independent life at the age of 6 months. Female’ pouch is not a true pouch. It forms out of the fold of skin on the stomach after successful mating. Pouch contains only 6 teats, which means that only 6 babies out of 30 will be able to survive and complete their development. Quolls reach sexual maturity at the age of one year. Quolls have short lifespan. They can survive from 2 to 5 years in the wild, depending on the species.

Contrary to popular belief Quolls or as some people refer to this documented species as the ‘Tiger Quoll’ are not rare. The species and entire genera are in fact nocturnal, so while your asleep they’ll most likely be happily wondering through your garden or local parks and nature reserves. However the species is threatened and decreasing with a population size of some 20,000.

Thank you for reading.  

Dr Jose Depre. 

Don’t forget to check out the upcoming Embassy Day hosted by SAYNOTODOGMEAT.NET please click the link here below further information > http://saynotodogmeatevents.info/2015/07/26/embassy-day-september-17th-2015/

Endangered Species Friday: Anas melleri.


Endangered Species Friday: Anas melleri

This Fridays Endangered Species watch Post (ESP) focuses on a very undocumented bird known scientifically as Anas melleri and commonly known as the Meller’s Duck.

The Meller’s Duck was identified back in 1865 by lawyer and Doctor Philip Lutley Sclater FRS FRGS FZS FLS (4 November 1829 – 27 June 1913) was an English lawyer and zoologist. In zoology, he was an expert ornithologist, and identified the main zoogeographic regions of the world. He was Secretary of the Zoological Society of London for 42 years, from 1860–1902.

Listed as endangered, populations are on the decline quite extensively throughout the birds entire range. A. melleri qualified for (endangered status) back in 2012. Endemic to Madagascar the species can be located on the eastern and northern high plateau. Populations are isolated on massifs on the western edges of the plateau. Documented reports from the west of the island most probably refer to vagrant or most likely wandering birds.

Its been alleged that at some time from 2012 re-introduced populations on the island of Mauritius are now extinct – however there remains no hard hitting evidence to back this claim up, conservationists have stated that a ‘probable extinction’ occurred on the island.

The Meller’s Duck was once described as common on the Africans island of Madagascar, unfortunately there is no evidence to back this claim up either. Conservationists that visit the island regularly from International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa and have documented on the Meller’s Duck previously have been informed by locals that the species is rarely seen, however huntsmen will peddle the meat of ducks into local villages.

International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa stated the species had been documented by explorers as ‘densely populated’ on the island from the 1500’s to 1800’s. Sadly since human colonization increased on the island after the French protectorate from the mid 1800’s human population growth on the island has attributed to current decline of the species. Over the last twenty years human population has skyrocketed significantly which unfortunately has led to vast swathes of habitat destroyed and illegal poaching to occur.

“All birds seem to be within a single subpopulation which is probably continuing to decline rapidly. Extinctions are likely to occur in under a few years, five years max”…


Conservation teams like the local communities have confirmed that the species is sadly no longer common ‘anywhere’ other than forested areas of the northwest and in the wetlands around Lake Alaotra where there are some breeding pairs, but where many non-breeders collect, with up to 500 birds present. All birds seem to be within a single subpopulation which is probably continuing to decline rapidly. Extinctions are likely to occur in under a few years, five years max!.

Population sizes are incredibly depressed. We now know the species numbers at 2,000 to 5,000 individuals which equates to exactly 1,300 to 3,300 mature individuals. Should pet collection, poaching, habitat destruction Etc continue at the rate it is extinctions will as explained occur in roughly (730 days). That’s how serious the problem is.

Conservation projects are underway of which the IARF have contributed funding towards the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust. The species occurs in at least seven protected areas, and is known from 14 Important Bird Areas (78% of eastern Malagasy wetland IBAs) (ZICOMA 1999). No regular breeding sites are known. In 2007, there was a drive to increase the number of institutions that keep the species in captivity, and as such the bird is a nationally protected species.

Conservation actions planned: Protect remaining areas of least-modified wetlands at Lake Alaotra. Conduct wide-scale status surveys of eastern wetlands. Study its ecology to identify all causes of its decline and promote development of captive breeding programmes.

(Please note all new monetary and equipment grants provided by IARFA from August of last year to present has yet to be updated into the main transparency register onsite)

Meller’s duck breeds apparently during most of the year except May–June on Madagascar, dependent on local conditions; the Mauritian population has been recorded to breed in October and November (however as explained is likely to now be extinct). Unlike most of their closer relatives—with the exception of the African black duck—they are fiercely territorial during the breeding season; furthermore, pairs remain mated until the young are.


A. melleri is still classed as the largest species of wildfowl found in Madagascar and is widely hunted and trapped for subsistence (and for sport). Interviews with hunters at Lake Alaotra suggest c.450 individuals are taken each year, constituting 18% of the global population.

Long term deforestation of the central plateau, conversion of marshes to rice-paddies and degradation of water quality in rivers and streams, as a result of deforestation and soil erosion, have probably contributed to its decline too. Widespread exotic carnivorous fishes, notably Micropterus salmoides (although this may now be extinct) and Channa spp., may threaten young and cause desertion of otherwise suitable habitat.

Its decline on Mauritius has been attributed to hunting, pollution and introduced rats and mongooses as well as possible displacement by introduced Common Mallard Anas platyrhynchos. Pairs are very territorial and susceptible to human disturbance.

Extinction is likely to occur of which continued protective captivity projects must increase for the birds future survival and re-introduction elsewhere.

The video below depicts a Meller’s Duck captivity project in Germany.

Thank you for reading. 

Dr Jose C. Depre 



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Endangered Species Monday: Alouatta belzebul.


Endangered Species Monday: Alouatta belzebul

This Monday’s endangered species article from the (Endangered Species Watch Post) focuses on the Red Handed Howler Monkey of which is listing near to endangerment. (Image Red Handed Howler Monkey) 

Generically identified as Alouatta belzebul back in 1766 by Professor Carl von Linnaeus (1707 – 10 January 1778), also known after his ennoblement as Carl von Linné was a Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist, who laid the foundations for the modern biological naming scheme of binomial nomenclature.

Listed as vulnerable the species is endemic to Brazil (Alagoas, Maranhão, Pará, Paraíba, Pernambuco, Rio Grande do Norte, Sergipe and Tocantins). Populations are currently on the decline of which its very likely the species will be re-categorized as endangered within the next five years, if not sooner.

A. belzebul is said to be extremely common in some areas such as Marajó however is noted as rare within the Atlantic Forest portion of the range known as; Rio Grande do Norte, Alagoas, Paraíba and Pernambuco. Last survey census’s reported the species to be inhabiting at least ten isolated locations of which two hundred individuals remain in each plot.

International Animal Rescue Foundation Brazil have for the past three years been conducting surveys within the area will be submitted to the (IUCN). Furthermore the Environmental Protection Unit now re-based in Londrina are working with local communities, hunters and farmers within the A. belzebul range to preserve commonly known species of monkey, birds, amphibians and flora within the region.

IARFB are also currently conducting investigations to locate where sugar cane is being exported too and used within from the A. belzebul’s region. Its believed that America, Mexico, South America, and Europe are purchasing large sugarcane exports from the region. Tesco, J.S Sainsbury’s, Cooperative Food Group, Asda, Walmart, Woolworths and Spar have all been noted on suppliers exports from the regions. Aldi, Lidl, Quick-Save, Budgens have been ruled out. We are least impressed though with J.S Sainsbury’s name written on export documents of sugar cane from the region.

Within the ten isolated locations six populations are known to reside in Paraiba, two in Rio Grande de Norte, one in Pernambuco, and one in Alagoas. The largest population in the Atlantic Forest is in Pacatuba in Paraiba with about 80 animals. There have been five registered local extirpations from forest fragments in the last 50 years.

Little known conservation actions are under way within their endemic region and as explained populations are decreasing and nearing endangerment. A. belzebul is listed within the family of Atelidae which is one of the very first five of new recognized ‘new world monkeys’. Its quite likely that new sub-species of the Red Handed Howler Monkey may be located as well as newer species of ‘new world monkeys’ too within the coming years. Only five years ago did scientists locate over 100,000 new species within the Yasuni National Park, Ecuador so in reality anything is possible.

The Atelidae family host howler, spider, woolly and woolly spider monkeys (the latter being the largest of the New World monkeys). They are found throughout the forested regions of Central and South America, from Mexico to northern Argentina.

When the species is not foraging on the ground floor they can normally be found resting in the canopies of trees at a height of some sixty feet. Social groups normally consist of seven to twenty members that will host mature males, females juveniles and infants. Males normally take lead of the pack or (troop).

These large and slow-moving monkeys are the only folivores of the New World monkeys. Howlers eat mainly top canopy leaves, together with fruit, buds, flowers, and nuts. They need to be careful not to eat too many leaves of certain species in one sitting, as some contain toxins that can poison them.  Howler monkeys are also known to occasionally raid birds’ nests and chicken coops and consume the eggs.


Image: Adult Red Handed Howler Monkey. 

Howlers are the only New World primates which regularly include mature leaves in their diet, although softer, less fibrous, young leaves are preferred when they are available. Their folivory and ability to eat mature leaves is undoubtedly one of the keys to their wide distribution and the wide variety of vegetation types they inhabit.

Mature fruit is the other important food item, especially wild figs (Ficus) in many regions, but they also eat leaf petioles, buds, flowers (sometimes seasonally very important), seeds, moss, stems and twigs, and termitaria. The diet of two A. belzebul groups in the Caxiuanã National Forest was studied by Souza et al. (2002). They were largely folivorous but would switch to fruits whenever available, especially during the wet season.

Adult male weight 7.27 kg (n=27),
Adult female weight 5.52 kg (n=26)
Adult male weight 6.5-8.0 kg (mean 7.3 kg, n=27),
Adult female weight 4.85-6.2 kg (mean 5.5 kg, n=26) .


Listed on Cites Appendix II there are few threats associated with the species. Nevertheless they still remain and if left unchecked can rapidly increase placing the new world monkey in danger of extinction.

In the Amazon, the species is widespread, although they are hunted. The Amazon populations have suffered severely from forest loss throughout their range in southern Pará over the last decade. In the Atlantic Forest population, the major threat is the fragility of the remaining small forest patches to stochastic and demographic affects (habitat loss and fragmentation has been mainly due to sugar-cane plantations).

Please share and make aware the Red Handed Howler Monkey’s plight. Tip: Check sugar products from local shops and hypermarkets to ensure your not aiding the destruction of their natural habitat via your sugar purchase. Check your local candy and other shopping supplies. If necessary contact companies politely asking where they are obtaining the sugar products from. Never give up.

Thank you for reading. 

Dr Jose C. Depre. 

Environmental and Botanical Scientist. 

Chief Executive Officer 


Endangered Species Friday: Ammospermophilus nelsoni


Endangered Species Friday: Ammospermophilus nelsoni

This Friday’s Endangered Species Watch Post (ESP) we focus a little attention on a species of squirrel that’s rarely mentioned within the conservation or animal rights arena. A. nelsoni was identified by Dr Clinton Hart Merriam (December 5, 1855 – March 19, 1942). Dr Merrian was an American zoologist, ornithologist, entomologist, ethnographer, and naturalist. (Image; Archive, A. nelsoni)

Year of identification was back in 1893 of which the species remains endemic and extant to the United States, State of California. Environmentalists undertook two census’s of the species’s current population size, known threats and any new threats to the species back in 1996 and, 2000. Both census’s revealed few changes with regards to current status, of which the species was listed as endangered from 1996 and again in 2000.

Today the San Joaquin Antelope Squirrel as the rodent is commonly know remains at [critically endangered] level. Populations are continuing to decline within a country that one would expect to see good conservation measures increasing population sizes and, eliminating any new and past threats.

To date the current population size remains unknown which “may-well be why the species has qualified for listing on the [critically endangered] list”. Scientists undertook a rather crude population survey on three to ten squirrels per hectare on 41,300 hectares of the best and known remaining habitat. The survey then provided a rough estimate of which stated population sizes could be standing at [124,000 – 413,000]. However as the true population size is currently unknown one must not take this survey into consideration when documenting or teaching students. The following estimates were based on more in-depth multiple crude evaluations back in [1980].

Current “trend” evaluations from 1979 have confirmed that many San Joaquin Antelope Squirrel populations have unfortunately decreased throughout their known range although, even these surveys are still pretty much sketchy. A further trend evaluation survey back in 1980 revealed more-or-less the same findings from (1979) of which the species has decreased through much of its small (clustered range) manly within, San Joaquin Valley, California.

Recent protection efforts in the southwestern San Joaquin Valley likely have to some degree slowed the rate of decline and, the species remains common in [some protected areas]. Probably the rate of decline is less than 30% over the past 10 years. Nevertheless the species is still in decline over much of its range and, despite conservation efforts the San Joaquin Antelope Squirrel is sadly nearing extinction (within the wild).

Data proves for now the species has declined throughout much of its former range by some twenty percent. Back in 1979, extant, uncultivated habitat (but including land occupied by towns, roads, canals, pipelines, strip mines, airports, oil wells, and other developments) for the species was estimated at 275,200 hectares (680,000 acres, 2,752. None of the best historical habitat remained.

One study indicated that densities in open Ephedra plots and shrubless plots ranged from 0.8 to 8.0 squirrels per hectare, but all but two sites had densities of four or less per hectare. Densities on shrubless, grassy dominated sites were equal to or higher than those on shrubby sites.

The San Joaquin antelope squirrel is dull yellowish-brown or buffy-clay in color on upper body and outer surfaces of the legs with a white belly and a white streak down each side of its body in the fashion of other antelope squirrels. The underside of the tail is a buffy white with black edges. Males are approximately 9.8 inches and females are approximately 9.4 inches in length

Breeding normally takes place during late winter to early spring of which young will normally be born from the beginning of March. Female gestation normally lasts no longer than one single month. Young do not normally emerge from the den until around the first or second weeks of April. The San Joaquin antelope squirrel has only one breeding cycle during the entire year of which this is timed just right so that when young are born there is much vegetation and food for young to feed and hide within after weening. Weening of young is believed to start before the young even emerge from the den.

A. nelsoni is omnivorous, feeding mostly on green plants during the winter and insects and carrion when these are available. It occasionally caches food. The squirrels live in small underground familial colonies on sandy, easily excavated grasslands in isolated locations in San Luis Obispo and Kern Counties.


Image: A. nelsoni. Credit (Mark Chappell). 

Half of the remaining habitat supports fewer than one animal per hectare, 15% of the remaining habitat supports 3-10 animals per hectare (generally four or fewer per hectare, California Department of Fish and Game 1990). The species Spermophilus beecheyi reportedly may restrict the range of A. nelsoni. Among several predators, badger is most important, and lives in small groups.


The decline is a result of loss of habitat due to agricultural and urban development as well as oil and gas exploration practices. Primary existing threats include loss of habitat due to agricultural development, urbanization, and petroleum extraction, and the use of rodenticides for ground squirrel control. Overgrazing and associated loss of shrub cover is a concern in some areas. These threats will be alleviated by the implementation of the San Joaquin Endangered Species Recovery Plan. There are some discussions that the current drought within the region “may” have a profound effect onto the species however, this concern remains just that and, no proven data surveys have shown drought to be of a threat as yet.

Thank you for reading and, have a nice weekend from all the team at International Animal Rescue Foundation.

Dr. Jose C. Depre 

Environmental and Botanical Scientist. 




Bearded Vultures: Magnificent Bone Eaters Of The Clean Up Crew

BeardedVulture1Bearded Vultures: Magnificent Bone Eaters Of The Clean Up Crew

Bearded Vultures are the bone crushers of the clean-up crew that fly in and remove all traces of dead bodies, either animal or human. Adult birds dye their feathers blood red, giving them the reputation of one of the most metal birds in the animal kingdom. These magnificent large birds which can live to 48 years old, once soared over much of the Eurasian landmass and Africa but they are now in crisis.

Bearded Vultures have no natural predators except man. Vultures are being poisoned by illegal poachers who do not want the vultures to alert Park Rangers to poached elephant and rhino carcasses, by their circling overhead as sentinels. Bearded Vultures are also being killed by farmers who lay out illegally poisoned carcasses or set steel-jawed “gin traps” which snap onto the bird’s leg. Both methods leave the vulture (and any other animal), to die very painfully.

In southern Africa the Maloti-Drakensberg mountain range is home to the only remaining population of southern African Bearded Vultures. Due to ongoing threats causing high death tolls, the 2014 population has been depleted to a critical level of just 350 birds.

Bearded Vulture trying to fly with one leg caught in a "gin trap."

Bearded Vulture trying to fly with one leg caught in a “gin trap.”

Probably no other raptor, [Lammergeier] has made such a deep impression on people, as evidenced  by the numerous fables and legends concerning it. Enormous wings enable it to soar with characteristic ease above the mountain slopes, while the outline of its long, diamond-shaped tail is unmistakeable in flight. The bristles at the base of the beak form the distinctive appearance of a beard.

The Bone Diet

80% of the Bearded Vulture’s diet consists of bone and bone marrow and eating bones is the raptor’s favorite food above everything else, but it takes seven years for the bird to learn how to smash the bones effectively, from a great height. Its stomach acid has a pH of about 1, so the dense material can be digested in under 24 hours, consequently the Bearded Vulture has access to a food source that is mostly untapped by the other scavengers.

Eating bones also allows the vulture to have a food source even in a period of food scarcity. When a carcass is seemingly so decomposed that there is nothing edible left, the bones remain. In both summer and winter, there are more bones available than there is meat. They can carry bones as heavy as their own body weight.

Bearded vulture flying away with a bone in his beak and claws

Bearded vulture flying away with a bone in his beak and claws

f]]cThe bones contain nutritious marrow, which provides especially good benefits during the colder months when food is even harder to find. It has been observed Bearded Vultures sometimes adopt a wider variety of prey items during the summer, but rely on the bones during the winter.\

The Bearded Vulture is a scavenger, so after finding a picked-over carcass, they will sometimes carry the remains up in the air 50-80 (165-265 ft.) and drop it from a tremendous height to shatter it into swallow-able pieces. They even have favorite breaking spots that are ominously called ossuaries. Besides bones, they also eat small lizards and turtles; usually only in the summer months.

Bearded Vultures sometimes carry the remains up in the air 50-80 (165-265 ft.) and drops them on hard surfaces to get to the bone marrow which is highly nutritious.

Bearded Vulture arriving to feed.

Bearded Vulture arriving to feed.

They rely mostly on sight rather than smell, as they glide at high altitudes toward their target. They can grow up to 1.2 meters (4 foot) tall and usually weigh between 5 – 7 kg (10 and 15 lb.) They are rarely sen to flap their enormous wings, which span 2.7 meters (8.9 ft.) They are mostly a carrion bird, hunting or scavenging over large areas and generally waits for other scavengers to finish their feast and once gone, swops down and collects the much desired prize.

The majority of the population, between 1,300 to 6,700 individuals live in the Himalayas, Turkey and India with some smaller populations in the Middle East and Eastern Africa with only rare sightings in Bulgaria, Serbia, Romania and the Czech Republic. Because they mate in pairs, control a large territory and are not willing to share it with other mature individuals of the species, adding here the disappearance of food resources, the distribution and contact between mating partners is sparse and the population is in slow decline.

Although Bearded Vultures can live up to 45 years old in captivity, the average lifespan of a wild bird is 21.4 years.

Status Symbol: How To Look More Intimidating

Bearded vultures come in various shades, from pure white to orange-red. Soils stained with iron oxide give the birds their fiery appearance. Bearded Vultures apply the dirt with their claws and then preen for about an hour to ensure a bright orange glow. They are also attracted to other red things, like leaves and red wood. Captive birds also partake in this behavior, which suggests the activity is instinctual, not learned.

Scientists have noticed that the birds’ age and size are directly correlated to the intensity of color. It is theorized that the orange hue is a status symbol. More soiled feathers indicates that the Bearded Vulture had the time and resources to find an adequate place to bathe; the brightest-colored vultures should have the most territory and knowledge of their surroundings. Interestingly, these baths are done in secret, so most of the information gathered has been through spying on captive birds.

Dazzling Courtship Displays and Breeding

Bearded Vultures are most commonly monogamous, with each pair commanding a large territory within which a nest is built on an accessible crag, a rocky ledge, or in a smallish cave. During the breeding season, which is once a year but varies in timing geographically, courting pairs perform spectacular displays, swooping and soaring together, and occasionally interlocking their talons and spiraling downwards almost to the ground.

Pair of Bearded Vultures.

Pair of Bearded Vultures.

The nest is made from a massive pile of branches lined with wool, dung, dried skin and sometimes even rubbish. One to two eggs are normally laid in each clutch and incubated for around 53 to 60 days before hatching. The chicks fledge after 100 to 130 days but remain dependent on the parent birds for up to a year. Young birds are known to wander widely, but adults are normally resident within huge home ranges.

The Bearded Vulture is mostly found above 1,000 meters, where they defend huge territories in which the pair feeds and breeds. The territory size is about 200-400 km2 and therefore the distribution of the species is rather sparse. Some individuals on Mount Everest have been recorded at an impressive 7,500 meters above sea level.

 Bearded Vultures As ‘Pets’ – Not For The Inexperienced!

Some people describe Bearded Vultures or Lammergeiers, as the closest thing to an actual dragon they have ever seen. In a relationship which requires an enormous amount of mutual respect, the following man has a close bond with raptors, which would be envied by many. Prior to taking on a Bearded Vulture, he already had close bonds with a Golden Eagle and a Bald Faced Eagle.

In other words, he knew what he was doing to ensure the safety and well being of the birds, both physically and mentally. He flies his birds in freedom every day, making sure they retain being a raptor first and above everything else.

Even for an experienced raptor handler, the Bearded Vulture tested this man’s nerve, as can be seen in the video. Fortunately, the Bearded Vulture and the man went on to develop a mutual-bond relationship that was successful, as can be seen as the raptor preens the man. But this is an exception. The Bearded Vulture is not recommended as “pet.”

Threats Which Have Put The Bearded Vulture In Crisis

With the southern African population of Bearded Vultures depleted to a critical level of just 350 birds in 2014, Maloti-Drakensberg Vulture project instigated an extensive Bearded Vulture monitoring program, continually tracking  individual birds via satellite transmitter units. Sadly, the impact of the ongoing threats facing the vulture species of Southern Africa has been reflected in the results of the Bearded Vulture satellite monitoring program.

Since the beginning of the program in 2006, there have been 25 Bearded Vultures fitted with satellite monitoring units. 10 of these birds have been killed by poisoning or collisions. That’s a shocking 40% of the birds included in the project!

This Bearded Vulture was in the study program but died of poisoning after a farmer illegally laced a goat with poison.

This Bearded Vulture was in the study program but died of poisoning after a farmer illegally laced a goat with poison.

Poisoning accounted for the death of 1440 of the project’s vultures in southern Africa in 2013. When you consider that one of those species has a population of just 350 birds, the crisis is urgent.

Because Bearded Vultures are solitary animals and prefer not to feed alongside other scavengers, but rather carry meat away and eat it in safe privacy, it is easy for farmers to illegally lace dead animal carcasses with poison to deliberately kill off scavenger animals, included vultures. The poisons induce a painful death as paralysis sets into the breathing muscles resulting in suffocation.

Historically, the bearded vulture was feared and it was believed they attacked lambs and even young children. Concerned parents hunted the birds and the vultures were completely eradicated  As a result, they were hunted and eventually eradicated in the Alps. Bearded Vultures were also completely eradicated from most areas in Eastern Europe by the 1990s.

Bearded Vulture flying with a trap attached to its leg.

Bearded Vulture flying with a trap attached to its leg.

The main threats for the species today include lack of food, illegal use of poisoned baits set for “vermin” such as wolves, foxes, jackals and crows, habitat destruction and degradation, and illegal persecution. Other reasons for the decrease of the population were lack of food due to habitat degradation or loss because of changes in the land use. Disturbance may be another significant factor.

Today the Bearded Vulture occurs in low densities and is considered to be uncommon or rare across significant parts of its range. Furthermore, most populations appear to be declining due to a range of factors including hunting, poisoning, habitat degradation and disturbance.

Bearded Vulture Conservation

At the global level, the Bearded Vulture’s rate of decline is not currently thought to be sufficiently rapid, or the population size sufficiently small, for this species to warrant classification under a threatened category on the IUCN Red List. However, because the lammergeier is extremely vulnerable in some regions such as Europe and Southern Africa, there are a several conservation projects being undertaken for this species.

People hunted the Beaderd Vultures almost to extinction.

People hunted the Beaderd Vultures almost to extinction.

in 2008 the first hand rearing of a Bearded Vulture in human isolation took place, with the goal of releasing the eventually fully reared raptor into the wild. This technique has been used before with success in species with similar ecology such as the Californian Condor and the Andean Condor in Argentina, but never with the Bearded Vulture.To read more: click here.

Sky Burials

In a separate article I will look at the role vultures play in what is known as sky burials, which are not physical burials, but rather the act of leaving a corpse to the elements. Only a few different cultures do it, and for different reasons and in different ways.

 In Conclusion

The majestic lammergeier, known as the Bearded Vulture, is too precious to let slip from our planet. It plays an important part in the ecological system where it resides in the harsh mountainous regions. I have flown over the Himalayas in a small plane and flown to the summit of Mount Everest and   although it is utterly breathtaking, it would take a special animal to survive such uninhabitable conditions, yet the Bearded Vulture is able to do it.

Satellite tracker on the Bearded Vulture's back, in Southern Africa.

Satellite tracker on the Bearded Vulture’s back, in Southern Africa.

With no other predators to destroy the bird, it is pitiful that we as a human race decimate such important animals because we “misunderstand” their role and their way of living. Pushed to the brink of extirmination in Europe and parts of the Alps, we must do all we can to build up the Bearded Vultures numbers before it is too late to reverse the damage. As we have stated so many times: “once they are gone they are gone forever.”

 You can help by raising awareness for the Bearded Vulture through sharing this article on social networking services and supporting organisations such as Project Vulture, located in southern Africa.
To read more: http://projectvulture.org.za/

Thank you for reading,

Michele Brown.

Email: info@international-animalrescue-foundation.org.uk

No To Dog Meat: Public Deception and Disputes.


“I hope to start my own rescue and vegetarian shop for the people of Yulin, Mrs Yang 2014-2015″

Back in June of this year a one day dog and cat meat festival that’s hosted annually kicked of within the province of Yulin, China. The single day event was to mark the Summer Soloist of which members of the public dine on dog, cat and lychee’s.

A British Charity which goes under the guise of No To Dog Meat, operating as “World Protection for Dogs and Cats in the Meat Trade” (WPDCMT), on behalf of all the dogs and cats slaughtered during the festival, then kindly set about to raise money via a Total Giving fund to aide an adorable young lady by the name of Yang Xiaoyun. It has been alleged the charity raised a total of some £81.000.

Weeks before the 21st June, from which the annual single day pet meat trade event kicked off, Mrs Yang Xiaoyun allegedly raised a total of some £5,000 from her own money to cover her own travel costs from her home town to Yulin. Last year (2014) Mrs Yang Xiaoyun allegedly rescued some 350 dogs and, some cats from the market before making the long and tedious journey back home to Tianjin.

1.Image: The charity addressing donators concerns.

Mrs Xiaoyun is well known throughout the community of Chinese animal lovers and has in the past few years been projected into the western public domain as a heroine and in a way, Mother Teresa type figure for dogs and cats in the horrific meat trade.  So it came as a blessing this year to see many people helping Mrs Yang Xiaoyun, from which its now believed this remarkable lady faces eviction from her premises that holds around 10,000 dogs and numerous felines.

British Charity – World Protection for Dogs and Cats in the Meat Trade (WPDCMT), then set about to raise money for Mrs Xiaoyun. UK registered charity (1154524) kicked off a fundraiser on the Total Giving platform with an estimated total to be raised of exactly £5.000. There was in theory no plan set in stone of which, should the event I.e the fundraiser exceed its maximum goal the money must help Mrs Xiaoyun with what she desperately required, that being an established and permanent dog and cat rescue within Yulin.

2Image: Charity stating their own donators are dog killers!

The only plan witnessed on the Total Giving platform back then was to provide in real time public donations to Mrs Xiaoyun to purchase dogs and cats from the meat traders. Mrs Yang did this but, with then her own money of which has been explained below.

World Protection for Dogs and Cats in the Meat Trade in under thirteen days raised over their maximum total of £5,000 a total of some £60,000 and counting. On viewing the Total Giving platform of which is still taking money for a festival that is no longer running has raised now (14.07.15) a whopping £80,000+.

0Image: Donators told that they caused the death of dogs at Yulin.

The Charity stated that they had no idea the Total Giving platform fundraiser established we believe by Ms Ling or Ms De Cadenet had heavily exceeded its then amount of £5,000. Furthermore and, allegedly under immense strain from the public the charity stated the pressure from the questioning public was too much (yet kept the fundraiser open – which is still open today). Obviously it wasn’t that pressurizing and its more than obvious the British Charity knew exactly how much was coming in day by day.

Rumors began arising a few days after the Yulin Festival that public funding was not being sent to Mrs Xiaoyun. These rumors and suspicions were viewed on the Charities Facebook page known as “No To Dog Meat” (please note that No To Dog Meat is not related in anyway shape or form to the organisation Say No To Dog Meat). Many members of the public were witnessed complaining that no real evidence was being placed into the public domain to prove No To Dog Meat had provided public monetary donations direct to Mrs Xiaoyun.

Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 9.11.34 amImage: Donator being spoken down to for asking a legitimate polite question.

Environmental News and Media witnessed “back then” no receipts, no evidence or, even a trustee from the UK registered charity (1154524) with Mrs Yang Xiaoyun in Yulin, China. We’d have expected at least to view a trustee working alongside Mrs Yang.

As suspicions grew and, increased to some worrying levels the Charities (CEO) Ms Julia De Cadenet made public various receipts that she stated “proved” some funding from the amount raised had been sent to Mrs Yang. Now please do forgive us if we have made some mistakes here (we’re only going by what the Charity has quoted and, its blogger Ms Mary Robbins). The amounts were; [25,000 (no currency); £775.10; 25,000CNY; 5,050.00]. The amounts you see here are the amounts that have been quoted by the Charity and the No To Dog Meat blogger Ms Mary Robbins, Ms Alice Harding, Mr Rae Castina and various other No To Dog Meat spokes-people.

Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 8.39.20 amImage: Charity addressing concerned donators.

Last week it emerged that Mrs Yang hadn’t received a single penny from the Charity. We thought that was somewhat strange, after all the UK registered charity (1154524) would have ensured all communications, addresses, banking details, names, even a telephone number was in place to establish that Mrs Yang had received the relevant funding. Unfortunately for Mrs Yang and the the UK registered charity (1154524) the banking details were in the wrong name. Mrs Yang could not recover any funding from the Charity as they had incorrectly inputted the wrong name on the Western Union banking documents.

The Charity soon realized this after the organisation “Bored Panda” published the correct banking details. How on Earth anyone Charity that is supposedly professional not holding the correct details is beyond us. More to the point why was the donating public not informed of such innacurices. After all they could have helped?

Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 8.44.50 amImage: Charity: “What do you mean please give her the money?”

The following screenshots are from the the UK registered charity (1154524) Facebook page of which someone from the charity have since deleted those comments [from the public who donated]. Some comments have been hidden along with those whom donated hundreds if not thousands, banned from the Facebook page for asking genuine and legitimate questions.

Please note that the following two screen shots are from a member of a group which donated and a member of the public who donated, asked questions and have subsequently then been banned by the Charity World Protection for Dogs and Cats in the Meat Trade.

Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 8.51.00 am 2

Image: Member of a group which donated is abused and insulted.


Image: Member of a group which donated is hurled abuse at and then banned.


Image: Member of the public asking questions is referred to as a rude person and stupid. 

During the past few weeks there has been an explosion of debate, suspicions and rumors sprawled onto the social media platform known as Facebook. On the 12th July famous actor Mr Peter Egan showed his genuine concern in relation to Mrs Yang and, the current £80,000 raised on the Total Giving platform.

Mr Egan a respectable character and Ambassador for renowned Animals Asia, is a British actor known for his TV roles, including the Hogarth in Big Breadwinner Hog, the future King George IV of the United Kingdom in Prince Regent, and smooth neighbour Paul Ryman in the sitcom Ever Decreasing Circles. Mr Egan’s polite comment can be read below of which didn’t name or slander any charity or organisation in relation to Mrs Yang.


Within hours of Mr Egan releasing this comment trolls aligned with the World Protection for Dogs and Cats in the Meat Trade propagated a frenzy and barrage of insulting and derogatory remarks defending the Charity World Protection for Dogs and Cats in the Meat trade, whom operate under the guise of No To Dog Meat. Please view the image below of which an Alice Susan Harding (devout Christian) sets about to assassinate Mr Egans Character.


Ms Harding (No To Dog Meat spokeswoman) states on many occasions she never trolls and, has been dealing with trolls for the past six to several weeks. The image below clearly shows her trolling a very well known Rhino welfare organisation of which she states is run by scammers and thieves. One Fight Unite is like Animals Asia a renowned organisation that is supported by many celebrities.


During the past two weeks the UK Charity World Protection for Dogs and Cats in the Meat Trade have been focusing their attention on Boknal or the Malbok Festival of which is a twenty-one day event hosted throughout South Korea and North Korea. The charity has mentioned very little in relation to the still open and increasing Total Giving fund that stands currently at just over £80,000+. Furthermore we have also noticed the charity donning more campaign equipment such as large banners, posters and clothing.

Back in April 2015 the British Charity placed an article on their Facebook page asking their then “9,000” supporters to support Sophie Ling’s trip to China in relation to a cat rescue. From April to 14th July 2015 these 9,000 Facebook supporters have skyrocketed to now 19,000+ supporters. No guessing what some of these donations for Mrs Yang have “allegedly” been used on. One only has to view past performance and activity from the British Charity to confirm some funds “may” have been siphoned off for No To Dog Meat’s own agenda. Which brings us to our other more larger concern.

Why did Trustee Sophie Ling of No To Dog Meat aka World Protection for Dogs and Cats in the Meat Trade (charity 1154524), decide on quitting of which, after being harassed by No To Dog Meats followers and most likely alleged Barrister and Immigration Lawyer hastily make a comeback? Please view the screenshot below.


Soon after writing this very moving post Sophie Ling that has actually traveled to China (without the CEO) was in our eyes bullied into coming back to the No To Dog Meat –  World Protection for Dogs and Cats in the Meat Trade Charity. We are not sure as to why she made a hasty comeback or if she is still with the Charity. Did the CEO send her a legal letter demanding that she has an obligation to fulfill her duties or, face the legal consequences?

Back in May of 2015 an investigative officer conducted various searches within the United States, France and, the United Kingdom in relation to this alleged barrister, immigration lawyer or any lawyer to be precise named as Ms De Cadenet. The officer contacted the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the OIC that monitors regulated and unregulated “qualified lawyers”.

The screenshot below depicts the beginning of that investigation, an investigation that has proved no such lady by the name of Julia De Cadenet, Julia Carter De Cadenet, Julia Cadenet or Julia de Cadnet is either registered as a barrister, immigration lawyer or, any lawyer to be precise.


Was the wonderful Sophie Ling bullied with a fake legal demand or, was she informed that should she not help No To Dog Meat, information would be leaked into the public domain to show even more discrepancies in relation to Yangs donation amount that stands at some £80.000? We’ll never know. Either way if anyone has been sent any such letter from anyone stating from this charity that they are a barrister or lawyer they are to contact the OISC or SRA with immediate effect. A further trace via the image below inputting the name of the CEO will also confirm no such lawyer exists within the United Kingdom. Furthermore I must state that it is a criminal offence to act as a lawyer regulated or unregulated without being registered to either the SRA, OIC or Home Office as stipulated under the 2007 Criminal Code Act that monitors such persons.


So were back to Mrs Yang a lovely and adorable Chinese lady that speaks not a word of English in need of financial support. We’re unable as yet to confirm if Mrs Yang is facing eviction – if she is then Mrs Yang and the many hundreds of dogs and cats require help immediately. Like many of us in the twenty first century we all have banking accounts.

Why has no such money in full been presented to Mrs Yang by the World Protection for Dogs and Cats in the Meat Trade. Why is Mrs Yang being sent small amounts instead of a direct transfer of monies in full? No To Dog Meat state that the large amount could very well be stolen or, Mrs Yang’s account could be emptied by corrupt officials.

Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 9.47.23 amImage: Charity spokesperson Mary Robbins arguing and threatening donators.

Back in 2014 Mrs Yang spent a total of 150,000 Yan which equates to exactly £15,178. surely she’d have been in danger then from corrupt officials and thieves? £15,000 is indeed a lot of money in China, especially within this district. There have been no reports of her falling prey to thieves or corrupt Police officers now so what’s going on here?

Meanwhile since all this fuss and palaver has been increasing kind members of the public have taken matters into their own hands. A kind lady named as Karene West has sent money to Mrs Yang of which a further transaction has been received within the past few hours. Please view the receipt below, time and date of screenshot too. Please also note that Karene West and many members of her dog and cat rescue group donated to the No To Dog Meat Total Giving Fund – just to be banned on asking questions. The receiver on the receipt is that of Mrs Yang’s friend.


So why can’t World Protection for Dogs and Cats in the Meat Trade registered with the Charities Commission do this? Its quite simple and straightforward that will lay suspicions and complaints to rest. Karene acted quickly and was able to locate the correct details. Karene has also stated that Mrs Yang’s helper has only received partial sums (now) of public donations from No To Dog Meat as like explained they held the wrong banking details I.e name.

British Charity WPDCTM have stated though, they’ll be sending vets and medicines to the region. Please view the screenshot below, dated 1st July 2015, (16:17), were now at 14th July 2015 and yet still no update, no images or videos of vets (no nothing). Any updates that are published by the British Charity seem to derive from third parties. Which we suspect may have something to do with – No To Dog Meat’s Sophie Ling resigning from the Charity leaving them to fend for themselves in-light of suspicious fundraising behavior.


British fundraising laws state that under no circumstances must [a] Charity change the title of fundraising events as to mislead the public. The law applies to all Charities from Scotland, Wales and Great Britain. Doing so is considered a violation of the Fundraising Act. No To Dog Meat changed the title of their fundraising Total Giving platform at least three times. The British Charity stated that due to the high amount of monies being raised they’d like to use the money to provide grants to other peoples charities or causes.

There is of course no harm in that. All seems very trustworthy – the problem is the members of the public all over the globe donated FOR Mrs Yang and Mrs Yang only. Some members of the public have stated that they would like their money to go to other causes “should the raised £80,000 be too much for Mrs Yang to contend with”. This is of course criminal though and misleading the public which in turn will eventually give a bad name to other charities and organisations working within animal and environmental welfare.

The law:


  1. There have been to date some reports of receipts shown – however as explained the money did not reach Mrs Yang as the details were incorrect. So in fairness up to date receipts must be made public if and when spent and received.

The law:


  1. No To Dog Meat has taken over £10,000 from last year and this year have heavily exceeded their £100,000 in relation to other Total Givings, charitable events, street collections, Gift Aid and, donations directly to the Charity. Yet very few receipts have been shown. Last year no receipts were shown (although they are not required to show “records” its advised that receipts are indeed shown to calm public tension).

The law:


  1. There does not seem to be any complaints procedure in place relating to World Protection for Dogs and Cats in the Meat Trade. One is advised to make a phone call but then its not exactly filing a complaint. Lastly anyone that dares question the Charity is as explained above [banned from their Facebook page] or ridiculed.

Read more here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/charities-and-fundraising-cc20/charities-and-fundraising#fundraising-and-the-law

So from the 21st June 2015 until now 14th July 2015 there has in reality been very little funding sent to Mrs Yang, there has been no thank you or anything to be precise from Mrs Yang or her friend. A few images have surfaced that is about it. Furthermore 90% of all data that is published on the No To Dog Meat Facebook page seems to derive from third parties rather than the organisation itself.

At the end of this we have a 65 year old lady that was “abused” as a “Much to old woman who could not cope with such amount of money” (that’ comment is actually considered ageist and, that comment was made by a No To Dog Meat administrator which we find disrespectful). Whom made this comment? Moreover who abused countless members of the public in very poor drunken type pigeon English? Are we seeing a dejavu here from the last time when Mr Egan was viciously attacked allegedly by Ms De Cadenet?

screen-shot-2015-07-15-at-7-48-17-amImage: Charity insinuates Mrs Yang is too old to handle her own money.

Meanwhile Mrs Yang who rightfully states (please see screenshot) “I hope to start my own rescue and vegetarian shop for the people of Yulin”.. has not the full balance of £80,000. I myself am pretty sure a 65 year old lady that took on dog meat traders and has lived in squalor all this time, is quite able minded to handle money. After all she has been doing this job for years.


No To Dog Meat – Please do the right thing and provide all monies as requested to this wonderful lady today. She is in desperate need of funding now and not small amounts.

Thank you

Chief Executive Officer



Endangered Species Monday: Eos histrio


Endangered Species Monday: Eos histrio

This Monday’s endangered species watch post I speak about an all time favorite bird of mine commonly known as the red and blue Lory. Generically identified back in 1776 as the Eos histrio, the species of bird is unfortunately listed as endangered. (Image: Eos histrio) 

Identified by Professor Philipp Ludwig Statius Muller (April 25, 1725 – January 5, 1776) Dr P.L.S Muller was a German zoologist. Statius Muller was born in Esens, and was a professor of natural science at Erlangen. Between 1773 and 1776, he published a German translation of Linnaeus’s Natursystem.

The supplement in 1776 contained the first scientific classification for a number of species, including the dugong, guanaco, potto, tricolored heron, umbrella cockatoo, red-vented cockatoo, and the enigmatic hoatzin. He was also an entomologist.

Endemic to Indonesia populations are decreasing like many birds of its kind now within the country. The red and blue Lory was listed as endangered back in 2012 of which population sizes haven’t really increased since this time-frame. Back in 1999 a rather crude evaluation was undertaken by scientists that estimated the population to be standing at roughly 8,500 to 21,400 birds. This evaluation would then place the number of “mature individuals” at a rather depressing 5,400 to 14,000, hence its qualification for the listing of [endangered].

Red and blue Lory can be mostly found on the Talaud Islands (almost exclusively on Karakelang) off northern Sulawesi, Indonesia although, it was previously known to be abundant. Populations have declined fiercely on Karakelang of which its population sizes as explained stand at around 8,500 to 21,400 birds. The nominate subspecies, known from the Sangihe Islands, is probably now “extinct” however, further scientific evaluations around have still to confirm a sub-species extinction.

Diet will normally consist of fruit and insects of which the red and blue Lory will normally collect said foods in dense forest and woodland. Coconut nectar and cultivated fruits from agricultural land have been documented to be part of the red and blue Lory’s diet too.


Image: Suspected extinct sub-species; Extinct subspecies E. h. histrio and E. h. challengeri. 

Red and blue Lory’s are recorded at high densities in primary rain-forests rather than low densities. The species will at times tolerate some secondary rain-forest however, it must be noted high density primary rain-forest remains the – birds preferred habitat. E. histrio are not known to commonly build nests like some species of forest dwelling bird do within the family of Psittaculidae. Normally the species can be witnessed nesting within holes in trees which at times is rather comical if you’ve ever seen the species in the wild as I have.


Image: Red and blue Lory – mates forever. 

Breeding time is quite typical from May through to June however, some reports have suggested that the species may nest through to June and/or  January. Red and blue Lory’s are not known to be a migratory species however will at times locally migrate to local islands out of Indonesia to roost. These movements though must not be considered or documented as migratory.

Listed on appendix I of the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species wild flora and fauna (Cites) the species faces many threats highlighted below for your attention;


Trade represents a significant and on-going threat to the species. It was widely trapped as early as the 19th century. In 1999, research suggested that as many as 1,000-2,000 birds were being taken from Karakelang each year, 80% (illegally) to the Philippines. This is compounded by the extensive loss of forest, perhaps the main factor underlying its disappearance from Sangihe. The reasons behind habitat loss are small-holder agricultural encroachment into primary forest and (illegal) commercial logging. Furthermore, in 2003 there were plans to develop a commercial banana plantation on Karakelang. The use of insecticides and the transmission of disease via escaped cage-birds to wild populations, have been identified as a further potential hazards.

While conservation actions are underway the species continues to decline at astronomical rates. I doubt that the species will still be around by the time I hang up my gloves and retire. Extinction is sadly looming, occurring all over Asia at alarming rates, its highly unlikely the red and blue Lory will pull through.


Thank you for reading. 

Dr Jose C. Depre

Environmental and Botanical Scientist. 




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