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Ebola – Global Threat? From the Third World to the Whole World

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EBOLA has claimed the lives of some 645 people to-date which is an estimated number, there are still some 1,400 suspected cases (and rising) local to Liberia, Ghana, Sierra Leon and Guinea. One passenger that traveled from Liberia to Nigeria this Friday sadly died from the worlds most dangerous virus, two world health doctors and one nurse have also fallen ill with the highly infectious disease. Unfortunately the nurse that had been treating and helping victims has since died, mocked by her countries minister for having unsafe sex.

Today the British Government announced that one man in Birmingham that is suspected to have traveled from Liberia showed signs of Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever fortunately has since proved negative for mans deadliest virus. Great Britain will today issue its Cobra Meeting of which ministers, military commanders and doctors will be present to discuss and put into plan operations to help combat an Ebola outbreak. Although such a virus outbreak in Europe would be significantly small compared to West Africa the fact British Governmental Ministers have issued the Cobra Meeting of top brass clearly indicates to us that they have something to worry about.

What is Ebola? 

Virus, Ebola: A notoriously deadly virus that causes fearsome symptoms, the most prominent being high fever and massive internal bleeding. Ebola virus kills as many as 90% of the people it infects. It is one of the viruses that is capable of causing hemorrhagic (bloody) fever.

Epidemics of Ebola virus have occurred mainly in African countries including Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo), Gabon, Uganda, the Ivory Coast, and Sudan. Ebola virus is a hazard to laboratory workers and, for that matter, anyone who is exposed to it.
Infection with Ebola virus in humans is incidental — humans do not “carry” the virus. The way in which the virus first appears in a human at the start of an outbreak has not been determined. However, it has been hypothesized that the first patient (the index case) becomes infected through contact with an infected animal.

Ebola virus is transmitted by contact with blood, feces or body fluids from an infected person or by direct contact with the virus, as in a laboratory. People can be exposed to Ebola virus from direct contact with the blood or secretions of an infected person. This is why the virus has often been spread through the families and friends of infected persons: in the course of feeding, holding, or otherwise caring for them, family members and friends would come into close contact with such secretions. People can also be exposed to Ebola virus through contact with objects, such as needles, that have been contaminated with infected secretions.

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The incubation period –the period between contact with the virus and the appearance of symptoms — ranges from 2 to 21 days.
The initial symptoms are usually high fever, headache, muscle aches, stomach pain, and diarrhea. There may also be sore throat, hiccups, and red and itchy eyes. The symptoms that tend to follow include vomiting and rash and bleeding problems with bloody nose (epistaxis), spitting up blood from the lungs (hemoptysis) and vomiting it up from the stomach (hematemesis), and bloody eyes (conjunctival hemorrhages). Then finally come chest pain, shock, and death.

A protein on the surface of the virus has been discovered that is responsible for the severe internal bleeding (the death-dealing feature of the disease). The protein attacks and destroys the endothelial cells lining blood vessels, causing the vessels to leak and bleed.

There is no specific treatment for the disease. Currently, patients receive supportive therapy. This consists of balancing the patient’s fluids and electrolytes, maintaining their oxygen level and blood pressure, and treating them for any complicating infections. Death can occur within 10 days of the onset of symptoms.

The prevention of the spread of Ebola fever involves practical viral hemorrhagic fever isolation precautions, or barrier nursing techniques. These techniques include the wearing of protective clothing, such as masks, gloves, gowns, and goggles; the use of infection-control measures, including complete equipment sterilization; and the isolation of Ebola fever patients from contact with unprotected persons. The aim of all of these techniques is to avoid any person’s contact with the blood or secretions of any patient. If a patient with Ebola fever dies, it is equally important that direct contact with the body of the deceased patient be prevented.
Bioterrorism — There has been concern about Ebola virus as a possible weapon for bioterrorism. However, the General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of the US Congress, in a 1999 report considered Ebola virus to be an “unlikely” biologic threat for terrorism, because the virus is very difficult to obtain and process, unsafe to handle, and relatively unstable.

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International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa and their counterparts in Europe, France have been documenting on Ebola since the first outbreak in West Africa 2014 that is now known as the deadliest outbreak thus far. Hon Philip Hammond UK Foreign Secretary will later today BST time hosting the Cobra Committee that will discuss Ebola and what procedures need to be implemented should such a case of Ebola emerge within Great Britain. Few days ago a male in his mid forties began showing signs of Ebola infection however tests thankfully have proved negative. So we know the threat is real and the threat is there. (Click the link to view our Facebook site or contact us via our main communications site)

Dr Josa Depre stated at the start of 2014 when exposing the full scale of pet meat trade within West and North Africa that should Ebola or any virus emerge from the consumption of pet and bush meat the possibilities of “any” such virus emerging into a “super virus” is extremely high, problem is when will it happen. Depre continued that we do not have time to wait for “when it will happen” we must stop trade of bush and pet meat now before such a virus emerges wiping out a quarter of the worlds population.

BAD news is always interesting, especially when it starts small and threatens to grow large, like the little cloud on the distant horizon, no bigger than “a man’s hand,” that is destined to rise as a thunderhead (1 Kings 18:44). That’s why we read so avidly about the recent outbreaks of Ebola virus disease among villages in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and about West Nile fever in the area around Dallas (where 15 have died of it since July). And that’s why, early this month, heads turned toward Yosemite National Park after the announcement of a third death from hantavirus pulmonary syndrome among recent visitors there.

Humans die in large numbers every day, every hour, from heart failure and automobile crashes and the dreary effects of poverty; but strange new infectious diseases, even when the death tolls are low, call up a more urgent sort of attention. Why?
There’s a tangle of reasons, no doubt, but one is obvious: whenever an outbreak occurs, we all ask ourselves whether it might herald the Next Big One.

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What I mean by the Next Big One is a pandemic of some newly emerging or re-emerging infectious disease, a global health catastrophe in which millions die. The influenza epidemic of 1918-19 was a big one, killing about 50 million people worldwide. The Hong Kong flu of 1968-69 was biggish, causing at least a million deaths. AIDS has killed some 30 million and counting. Scientists who study this subject — virologists, molecular geneticists, epidemiologists, disease ecologists — stress its complexity but tend to agree on a few points.

Yes, there probably will be a Next Big One, they say. It will most likely be caused by a virus, not by a bacterium or some other kind of bug. More specifically, we should expect an RNA virus (specifically, one that bears its genome as a single molecular strand), as distinct from a DNA virus (carrying its info on the reliable double helix, less prone to mutation, therefore less variable and adaptable). Finally, this RNA virus will almost certainly be zoonotic — a pathogen that emerges from some nonhuman animal to infect, and spread among, human beings.

The influenzas are zoonoses. They emerge from wild aquatic birds, sometimes with a pig as an intermediary host on the way to humanity. AIDS is a zoonosis; the pandemic strain of H.I.V. emerged about a century ago from a single Cameroonian chimpanzee. Ebola is a zoonosis. The Ebola viruses (there are five known species) abide inconspicuously in some as yet unidentified creature or creatures native to Central African forests, spilling over occasionally to kill gorillas and chimps and people. SARS is a zoonosis that emerged from a Chinese bat, fanned out of Hong Kong to the wider world, threatened to be the Next Big One, and then was stopped — barely — by fast and excellent medical science.

And the hantaviruses, of which there are many known species (Andes virus, Black Creek Canal virus, Muleshoe virus, Seoul virus, Puumala virus and dozens more), come out of rodents. The species of hantavirus at large in Yosemite is called Sin Nombre — “nameless” — virus, and is the same one that erupted famously, and lethally, at the Four Corners in 1993. Its primary host is the deer mouse, one of the most widely distributed and abundant vertebrates in North America. The virus makes its way from dried mouse urine or feces into airborne dust, and from airborne dust into human lungs. If that happens to you, you’re in trouble. There’s no treatment, and the fatality rate for hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, the infection in severe form, runs at about 40 percent.

You don’t have to go to Yosemite and sleep in a dusty cabin to put yourself close to a hantavirus. Although one expert, recently quoted by Scientific American, called it a “very rare” kind of virus, that view doesn’t square with the studies I’ve read or the testimony of hantavirus researchers I’ve interviewed. The virus seems to be relatively common, at least among deer mice. A 2008 study done at Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite found that 24 percent of local deer mice had the antibody for the virus, signaling a past or current infection. One mouse in four is worryingly high. Among these mouse populations nationwide, the prevalence of the antibody seems to vary from as low as zero to as high as 49 percent, or one in two mice.

The question this raises is: Why aren’t more people dying from Sin Nombre virus? The answer seems to be that, although very dangerous when caught, it’s not easy to catch, despite its presence in mouse-infested sheds and trailers and garages and barns across much of America. This is because it doesn’t pass from person to person — only from mouse to mouse, and from mouse excretions to one unlucky person or another, each of whom represents a dead-end host. (The “dead” of that “dead-end” may be figurative or literal.) It’s not a “very rare” virus; it’s a common virus known only rarely to infect humans, and with no ramifying chains of human contagion. So the Next Big One is not likely to be Sin Nombre.

Nor is it likely to be Ebola, which is transmissible from human to human through direct contact with bodily fluids, but can be stopped by preventing such contact. Furthermore, Ebola burns so hotly in its victims, incapacitating and killing so quickly, that it is poorly adapted to achieve global dispersal. Only one human has ever been known to leave Africa with a rampant Ebola virus infection — and that was a Swiss woman, evacuated in 1994 to a hospital in Basel. If you want to be grateful for something today, be grateful for that: Ebola doesn’t fly.

WE should recognize such blessings, and try to focus our deepest concerns on real global dangers. Too often, we’re distracted from good scientific information by yellow journalism and the frisson of melodrama. Ebola is charismatic, the demon that people love to fear. Other lurid candidates, like hantavirus and SARS, also get their share of headlines. When you mention emerging diseases, people’s responses tend to fall at the two ends of a spectrum. Some folks are mesmerized by the dark possibilities and the garish but unrepresentative cases. Others are dismissive, rolling their eyes at the prospect of having to contemplate still another category of dire monition. They want you to cut to the chase. “Are we all gonna die?” they ask. Or they say: “Fine, so what can we do about these bugs?”

Yes, we are all going to die, though most of us not from a strange disease newly emerged from a mouse or a chimp. And there are things we can do: get a flu vaccination; support calls for research; avoid coughing people on airplanes; apply mosquito repellent; wear a mask when you sweep out your old shed; don’t eat any chimpanzee meat from an animal found dead in the forest. But the concrete measures are limited by time, place and circumstance. The broader response is more basic: learn, absorb, understand. Don’t start trying to apply your knowledge until you have some.

Among the other unsettling disease news this summer, you’ve probably seen mention of influenza, that old familiar zoonosis, quite capable of devastation and melodrama all its own. Yes, there’s a new flu bug, a nasty variant of the H1N2 strain, suspected now to be traveling through pigs at state fairs. The influenzas are protean and explosive. Keep your eyes on that one.

Hantavirus in Yosemite is a little cloud that seems likely to stay little. This doesn’t mean that the great dark thunderhead isn’t coming. It just speaks to the need for a bit of informed judgment about which sector of the horizon we should watch..

Should a super virus mutation emerge from such species of animals then mass loss of life will be lost. Spanish influenza killed thousands and thousands of people. If such a virus can kill in this manner so can new mutations of Ebola.

Whilst International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa is lobbying for new laws to be implemented to ban pet meat trade within West, North and Central Africa it must be noted that pet meat hosts only a small danger to the public simply because bush meat is considered more a staple diet rather than pet meat which is usually eaten by men rather than women.

Ebola may be present in more animals than previously thought, according to researchers studying the deadly virus, which has already been detected in chimpanzees, gorillas, fruit bats, monkeys, antelopes, porcupines, rodents, dogs, pigs and humans. The close evolutionary relationship between humans, chimpanzees and gorillas makes their immune systems very similar which is of some concern to us.

In general, Ebola researchers think that the natural host of Ebola virus are fruit bats, and that the virus is transmitted to non-human primates and then to humans through the bush meat trade. It is possible that there is direct transmission from fruit bats to humans.
Certain cultures in Africa do consume bat meat, such that Guinea earlier this year ordered a ban on consumption of these flying mammals in an effort to halt the epidemic’s spread. As for how non-human primates might become infected, they often feast on fruits that the bats eat. They can also kill and eat bats, or scavenge meat from infected carcasses.
Then the question remains: How did bats get the virus?

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During the deadly Ebola outbreak in Gabon 2001-2002 scientists observed very worrying signs of Ebola virus in dogs too. International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa has documented heavily on the major pet meat consuming countries being that of Liberia, Sierra Leon, Guinea and Ghana. Coincidentally these four African countries are all now experiencing large outbreaks of the Ebola virus. However as explained we must not just blame the pet meat trade here. There are many factors that is not only increasing the virus but spreading too. Poor hygiene, sanitation, denial the virus even exists is common among many West Africans, trading still of bush meat, poverty and handling of the dead that have sadly died from Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever.  These being some of the most common issues that are increasing more cases of Ebola emerging.

Scientists observed that several dogs were highly exposed to Ebola virus by eating infected dead animals. To examine whether these animals became infected with Ebola virus, they sampled 439 dogs and screened them by Ebola virus-specific immunoglobulin (Ig) G assay, antigen detection, and viral polymerase chain reaction amplification. Seven (8.9%) of 79 samples from the 2 main towns, 15 (15.2%) of 99 samples from Mekambo, and 40 (25.2%) of 159 samples from villages in the Ebola virus-epidemic area had detectable Ebola virus-IgG, compared to only 2 (2%) of 102 samples from France. Among dogs from villages with both infected animal carcasses and human cases, seroprevalence was 31.8%. A significant positive direct association existed between seroprevalence and the distances to the Ebola virus-epidemic area. This study suggests that dogs can be infected by Ebola virus and that the putative infection is asymptomatic.

Death from denial – Please view the video below;

Ebola virus antibodies were detected in dogs exposed to the virus during the latest epidemics, which suggests that these animals may well have been infected and can therefore be a new source of transmission to humans. Ebola virus infection in humans provokes a violent haemorrhagic fever. It usually flares up as intense epidemics. These kill 80 % of the people infected. Seven such outbreaks have hit Gabon and the Republic of Congo since 1994, leading to 445 cases resulting in 361 deaths. Ebola virus thus constitutes a grave public health problem in these countries. No medicine or vaccine is currently available, only prevention and rapid control of epidemics by isolation of disease victims can limit its spreading.

Moreover, during the latest epidemics in Gabon and the Republic of Congo, there were many cases where dogs had eaten remains of dead animals infected with the virus, nonetheless without showing visible clinical signs. In order to confirm that these dogs had indeed come into contact with the virus, the scientists looked for the presence of specific Ebola virus antibodies in their blood. The percentage of dogs carrying such antibodies increases linearly and significantly the closer they are found to foci of the outbreaks. From 9 % in the two large cities of Gabon, antibody prevalence goes up to 25 % in the untouched villages of the epidemic area, reaching 32 % in the villages where human cases have been attributed to an infected-animal source. These domestic animals could therefore become infected and excrete virus over a given period, thus becoming a potential source of infection for humans. This could explain certain as yet un-elucidated human infections. It now appears necessary to assess the role of dogs in Ebola fever outbreaks and take this risk into account in epidemic-control measures. These animals could furthermore be used as indicators of the presence of the virus in the regions where, besides the appearance of cases of both animal and human deaths, there is no external sign as to whether or not Ebola virus is present.

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What is most concerning here is that while many animal hosts show signs of “Ebola” dogs do not which poses an ever more larger threat to humans that are trading dogs in countries such as Liberia and Nigeria. Picture below is that of a dog meat meat market in Nigeria. As one can clearly see here there are many ways in which if that dog did have Ebola could quite easily pass the virus onto the slaughter-men. Skin is exposed, dog is being mishandled and could quite easily pass on via saliva through a broken skin wound deadly Ebola virus. Even more concerning blood hemorrhaging from the cut to the dogs throat can very easily “if” infected with Ebola virus could be passed onto both men should there be an open skin wound, or if hands that come into contact with blood then touch mouths or noses. No masks or protective clothing is being worn as one would see in a slaughterhouse – splattering of blood directly into the face also poses an incredibly high risk of secondary cross infection. From there the virus then takes over the body in under 2-21 says being the incubation period. During that time and if the dog was infected both men that “for example” had been infected would have come into contact with others. Poor sanitation, hygiene, non-safe sexual intercourse and not washing hands after using the bathroom are all major factors of viral contamination passed onto other humans.

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Pictured above is also yet another classic sign of a Nigerian dog meat market. Again poor hygiene is seen and not being practiced, the slaughter man is seen holding the dogs mouth of which the dog could harbor both rabies and Ebola. Should saliva from the dog be passed onto the mans hand then “cross contamination” has occurred. Man then touches his mouth or places his fingers into his mouth thus passing on virus. Furthermore as explained above too should the slaughter-man have exposed cuts or abrasions on his feet then splattering of blood again poses a “high risk” of passing on any virus.

How is Ebola passed onto humans from animals? 

The virus is transmitted through direct contact with blood or other body fluids of infected persons or animals, including close contact with deceased Ebola-infected patients.

Ebola a risk to non-African countries? 

PLEASE read the information below carefully and please also undertake your own research.

As of today 30th July 2014 the British Government has since launched the Emergency Cobra Committee of which is one of the highest military, health and ministerial meetings within the country. Contingency plans are now being implemented of which all British and now in the last few minutes all European doctors, nurses and border officers are now on full alert with regards to the dangerous risks Ebola poses. While media and the British government have stated there are no direct flights from the “infected zones” directly into the UK there are flights to and from other countries that travel into the UK of which “suspected sufferers” could travel on. Its very irresponsible for the British media and experts to state that just because there are no direct flights from West Africa into Great Britain then risk is minimal. Please view the photo below that depicts a booking our investigative team made from Ghana to London.

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The pictures above depicts screenshots that clearly shows how easy it is for anyone within the “infected zones” could very easily travel from West Africa into London. Just because there is no flights directly from (Liberia) doesn’t mean for one single minute that passengers travelling over the border from the Liberia into Ghana can then connect to a direct flight to London from Ghana, Ghana is an infected zone.

In a Facebook response to a question about the country’s preparedness for a possible outbreak, Dr Bampoe said “Yes, Ebola is in the sub-region – the worst outbreak ever, but the Ghana Health Service is well prepared to deal with any case that occurs. There is a misconception that every single health facility in every single district in every single region should have a standing isolation ward, etc. that is neither practical nor feasible”.

He explained “The epidemiology of the disease has changed, and so if we’re going to get a case in Ghana, it will likely be someone traveling from the sub-region. What has been done so far, and what needs to be done?”
“The GHS is working with National Security and the Border agencies to screen people from areas in the sub-region with to spot suspected cases 2. Messages from the Health Service are going out with periodic updates to let people know how to spot suspected cases, who to report them to, how to, avoid getting infected, etc. Much more needs to be done and will be done in this area 3. Each region has been given an allocation of protective equipment that can be rapidly deployed when there is a suspected case. Even before that, health workers are being trained to identify suspected cases and apply barrier nursing” methods, even before the protective equipment are sent,” he disclosed.

Oddly the media has only just reported on this case below 27th July 2014, yet in Ghana the case was reported on the 6th then published in the 7th July 2014.

An American (name withheld) has been quarantined at the Nyaho clinic in Accra for a suspected Ebola case.

City News sources at the Health Ministry say the American who reported at the hospital with fever had previously visited Guinea and Sierra Leone. Hundreds of people have been affected and several others killed by the deadly disease in these two countries.

The Health Ministry in a statement said “the suspected fever case recorded at the Nyaho Clinic has not been confirmed yet by Noguchi Memorial Research Centre”. It further stated that: “the Ministry has put in place every precautionary measure at that clinic, including additional support of Public Health staff from the Ministry, directive to quarantine patient and clinical staff, supply of protective gowns for the staff of that hospital”.

It urged the general public to remain calm as it awaits the results from the blood sample taken for test, insisting that it has the situation under control. Last week, health ministers from all West African countries met in Accra to find ways to stop the disease from spreading. (Since reporting the American has sadly since died) we believe this individual to be a health worker however are very suspicious as to why no name has been issued or other details.

The medical director of Public Health England said it was “unlikely but not impossible” that travellers infected in West Africa could develop symptoms on their return. According to Dr Ben Neuman, a virologist at Reading University, the chance of the virus spreading in the UK was “very, very small”.

He said border staff are already trained to deal with illnesses of this kind, and anyone showing signs of fever from an outbreak area would be stopped, quarantined and treated in containment facilities if the infection were confirmed.
He said the virus itself is “delicate and inefficient – you have to pick it up from bodily fluids”. But he said it was sensible to be prepared, given the situation in West Africa.

While the medical director of Public Health England has stated the risk is “very, very, small” the risk is still there. Anyone travelling from West African directly into the UK or America that are not actually showing any signs of Ebola can infect passengers on the place via fecal transmission within toilet cubicles, vomiting on the plane of which passes bodily fluids onto others. International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa has requested the British Border Agency and airway companies that are ferrying passengers from West Africa into Europe to now implement a temporary ban with immediate affect. As explained while there is a small risk the risk is still there and we cannot take any risks or slip up.

Since 1976 there has been no confirmed cases of Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever ever confirmed within Great Britain. Today’s case was fortunately negative but how many cases has there been recorded since the worlds deadliest virus emerged? See information below.

Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever deaths to date are reported below. Why has the number of cases jumped sporadically since 1976 to 2014?

  1. Zaire 1976  = 280 deaths 
  2. Sudan 1976 = 151 deaths 
  3. Zaire 1977 = 1 death 
  4. Sudan 1979 = 22 deaths 
  5. USA 1990 = 4 cases = no deaths 
  6. Philippines 1990 = 3 cases = no deaths
  7. Gabon 1994 = 31 deaths
  8. Ivory Coast = 1 case = no deaths
  9. Democratic Republic of Congo 1995 = 250 deaths
  10. Gabon 1996 = 21 deaths
  11. Gabon 1997 = 45 deaths
  12. South Africa 1996 – 97 = 1 death
  13. Uganda 2001 = 224 deaths
  14. Gabon 2002 = 53 deaths
  15. Republic of Congo 2002 = 43 deaths
  16. Republic of Congo 2003 = 128 deaths
  17. Republic of Congo (Nov-Dec) = 29 deaths
  18. Sudan 2004 = 7 deaths
  19. Democratic Republic of Congo 2007 = 187 deaths
  20. Uganda 2008 = 37 deaths
  21. Philippines 2008 = 6 cases = no deaths
  22. Democratic of Congo 2009 = 14 deaths
  23. Uganda 2012 = 17 deaths   
  24. Democratic Republic of Congo 2012 = 36 deaths 
  25. Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria = estimated total under 670 deaths and rising
  26. Great Britain 2014 = 1 suspected case = negative – no deaths

There has been some speculation as to why the number of cases of Ebola virus has increased from 1970 to 2014; 

  • Human over population is increasing which in turn reduces land mass that can be used for sustainable agriculture.
  • Climate change has affected many African countries of which see’s crop reduction and cattle death due to lack of rain fall and suitable climatic conditions suitable to sustain a healthy non-bush meat diet. 
  • Wildlife has taken a drastic decline within West Africa – one prime example of this is Liberia where many species of old and new primates, mammals and birds are declining. Whilst these species of animals are used in the trade of bush meat with very few species remaining pet meat is the only readily solution to halt starvation and malnutrition. 
  • Civil war in Sierra Leone and Liberia has left the two countries tarnished with many people living in poverty and illiterate. Starvation is common and while many people remain impoverished the only suitable meats to them are cheap pet meat or dead carrion laying on the forest floor. Many people within West Africa are illiterate so simple education and awareness of such unhealthy eating and the dangers surrounding pet and bush meat trade is easier said than understood. 
  • Witchcraft and traditional black medicine is cheap and seen as more healthier alternative to synthetic medications. While many people in West Africa believe such traditions actually decrease highly infectious diseases and virus fact is there is no clinical evidence whatsoever to prove such traditions actually benefit humans. 
  • Denial and lack of education has played quite a pivotal role in allowing Ebola in this case to increase killing over 650 victims. Many West African citizens do not believe Ebola actually exists and that their government are trying to scare monger international agencies into sending more funding to them of which is a myth. With lack of funding there comes lack of education – International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa are now helping to fund school classes in West Africa on the dangers of Ebola, SARS, H1N1 and rabies.
  • Lack of employment has driven many West Africans to trade in pet and bush meat regardless of the dangers it poses.  Liberia and Ghana has banned the bush meat and pet meat trade however locals cannot survive without an income so therefore trade has continued. 
  • Increased handling of infected chimpanzees, gorillas, fruit bats, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines found ill or dead or in the rainforest.

Josa Depre when questioned yesterday stated the following;

AS WE live in an interconnected world–and not just by the internet- we have to come to grips with the fact that hopping on a plane may potentially spread any virus–not just Ebola–to another country. Thus, the importance of enforcing proper infectious screening procedures of those who plan to board an aircraft in an endemic area such as West Africa becomes critical to containing the spread of the Ebola virus. Enforcing a “Do Not Board List” would be critical to preventing any spread of such a virus. Still noo such (DNB) has been issued and for all we know an Ebola carrier could be living next door to us, sitting on the same plane as anyone of us, on the same train as us that has left the infected zone to visit relatives or conduct business.

AND NO this is not a black persons illness. Just because the virus is rife in West Africa doesn’t mean for one minute that white people cannot become infected too. This is a myth that carries with it much racial hatred too. Josa Depre stated “Anyone can catch Ebola, you do not have to consume dog, cat or even eat bush meat, you could accidentally come into contact with an infected persons bodily fluid by any-means”. “That infected person may also not have consumed the later but actually be present at the death of a loved one, tending their bodies, or have accidentally come into contact with a dog from licking of ones face, dogs are known to scavenge on the forest floor for carrion, then travelling back into the community is a death sentence in itself”. “This is the problem we are facing in West Africa and until those over the borders in other countries start pulling their weight and helping in anyway possible were going to see more mass deaths, more infected people, more mass panic we could even see people migrating from the infected zones into Southern Africa where tourists flock in their thousands”, “It may already be happening, we cannot control people from moving out, borders are unmanned, What do we do, we need help” stated the Chief Executive Officer.

WHILE the Ebola virus could potentially be transported by travelers to another country by a plane ride, according to officials at the CDC, the actual chance of this developing into a serious public health risk to those living in the US is small. The reason for this is due to good professional health practices and experience in containing highly contagious infectious diseases. Josa stated though “Public and governments could be caught unaware” “For instance if person A carrying the virus from (day 2-21) traveled to America from Liberia infected person B travelling to Minnesota then person B will then carry while in the incubation period (showing little or no signs of infection) Ebola virus to person C,D,E and F” “While still in the incubation period what if persons C,D,E and more that had contracted the virus then go on to travel further or infect those in the work place” “Could health organisations quickly trace and confine such a disease?” The answer to that question can only be answered when and if the virus hits (which we hope doesn’t).

ONE of the main reasons, officials believe, that the virus has a low public health risk is related to the conditions which would be favorable to allow spread of the virus. Poor and crowded living conditions, along with improper sanitation seem to be an important element that contribute to the spread of the virus. Such are not the living conditions, in general, throughout most modernized countries in the Western world. Health officials seem to be forgetting something though, the poor, elderly, those living in slums, schools and high crowded public areas. “It takes just one person to infect 2 then 4 then 8 then we have major problems, THE manner in which this virus spreads is no different to that of highly contagious virus’s that are spread by direct or indirect contact stated Josa Depre”. Public areas such as schools, bars, work places and more are “high risk”. Good sanitation means nothing when the virus IF the virus has entered then been passed on – We must be vigilant and ready stated Depre.

 

For now the only “real” threat as stated by health officials is that of infected persons travelling on flights to and from Africa. However as explained infected people within the first stages of incubation show signs not even typical of Ebola virus. Minor fever, restlessness, some nausea and diarrhea, headache and tiredness can easily be mistaken as a mere common cold. While travel agencies and flight crew have to keep to strict time schedules and still undertake their daily routine jobs its very easy for anyone to pass by border or cabin crew thus then placing others in danger. We’ve already seen two such cases this month although one in Nigeria was positive in the United Kingdom, Birmingham this proved negative. It clearly shows though how easily these two individuals have passed by on planes, gone unchecked by border and airway crew even though Ebola virus has been ravaging West Africa for the past three months. How many more cases are there out there that we do not know of?

International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa believes now that West Africa must impose a complete travel ban on all citizens within the infected zones and all international countries to now ban those from travelling via West Africa into international waters regardless to whether the risks are very, very small. As soon as we let our guard down we become the victims.

There is no cure for Ebola virus disease, no established drug therapy to treat Ebola infection, and no vaccine that can protect humans against Ebola. Scientists lack sufficient diagnostic tools to rapidly identify Ebola infections. Scientists also need a more thorough understanding about how the virus is transmitted and how it causes disease. Ebola is a threat not only to humans but also to our closest living relatives – the great apes. The western lowland gorilla populations have been decimated by Ebola to such an extent that they are now considered “critically endangered”. About a third of the gorillas in protected areas have died from Ebola in the past 15 years. Scientists are concerned that their numbers may not be able to recover and fear that they could become extinct in as soon as a decade.

In addition to being classified as a potential bioterrorism agent, the risk of continued natural outbreaks or the further emergence of Ebola is a serious concern. As the human population grows, human contact with bats or Ebola-infected non-human primates increases. The discovery of the Reston subtype of Ebola virus in pigs introduces the additional possibility of transfer of Ebola virus to humans from pigs. Although the Reston subtype has not caused illness in humans to date, it is possible that the virus could become more dangerous after passage through pigs because they are ideal hosts in which viruses can mix and mutate.

 

Thank you for reading;

Chief Executive Officer Europe

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Down and Feather Trade.

sayn6

ARE YOU sleeping with or wearing cruelty? Strange question one may ask. The down feather trade is just that, a cruel and nauseating barbaric trade that involves the plucking of fine under feathers leaving birds bleeding in agony, convulsing in pain and walking like zombies after their feathers have been forcefully plucked from their delicate bodies. Them feathers and down are then used in the “down and feather trade” a trade that many people still know little about, purchasing many goods such as pillows, quilts and clothing that have cruelty embedded within them.

Brief History of trade and cruelty;

Down feathers were used by indigenous North Americans for religious ceremonies and as powerful symbols. In the stories of some cultures, the down feathers of an eagle were important gifts given by the bird to the story’s hero. In the Ghost Dance, a religious movement that became particularly widespread among the Plains Indians, each dancer held a painted feather that was tipped with a down feather painted with another color; the feathers were generally those of a crow, which was sacred to the Ghost Dance, or of an eagle, which was sacred to all tribes. Zuni prayer sticks were also made using eagle down. While eagle feathers belonged to the Sun Priest, who planted them to the sun, other priests could use them if rain was needed, as the down is said to suggest “fleecy clouds that gather on the horizon before rain”. The Hopi rubbed eagle down feathers over rattlesnakes being collected for their Snake Dances, in an effort to soothe and calm the reptiles.

For centuries, humans across the globe have used down feathers for insulation. Russian documents from the 1600s list “bird down” among the goods sold to Dutch merchants, and communities in northern Norway began protecting the nests of eider ducks as early as 1890. Eiders are still “farmed” by people in Iceland, Scandinavia and Siberia. The birds are provided with nest sites and protected from predators, and down is collected intermittently during the nesting season without harming the nests or female ducks. The first collection is made roughly halfway through the incubation period, when some 0.75 oz (21 g) of high quality down is removed per nest. When the eggs have hatched and the young have left the area, the remaining down and breast feathers are gathered, typically resulting in another 0.75 oz (21 g) of lower quality feathers per nest. In general, 50–60 nests will produce about one kilo (2.2 pounds) of down feathers.

This means that only a few thousand pounds of eider down is collected from wild nests each year. In Iceland and Scandinavia, colonies of more than 5,000 birds sometimes develop in “farmed” areas, while in some protected areas of the Novaya Zemlya archipelago, nest densities exceed 13,000 per hectare (more than 5,260 per acre). On the other hand, the more nomadic indigenous peoples of Arctic Canada did not see down production as a reasonable source of income and tended to overexploit eider nests with “indifferent” collection of down feathers from the nests. Although the down feathers of various species of wildfowl, gulls and other seabirds have historically been used for insulation, most now come from domestic geese. Some 70 percent of the world’s supply comes from China, typically from birds killed for their meat. Most of the rest comes from Europe and Canada, from birds harvested for meat or pâté.

80down

 

The company above based in Australia sells and produces many feather and down pillows such as the one above. This pillow contains 80% goose down and 20% goose feathers. 

So whilst your sleeping snugly and tight in bed comforting baby, child partner or your husband or wife you may also be sleeping with death and cruelty too or even wearing it. That is of course if you have purchased any product that has non-fake feathers in that have been ripped from the bodies of young geese or ducks. Then of course one must remember that the very products that you have purchased mostly manufactured overseas has also seen ducks and geese then slaughtered and fed back into the human food chain as foie gras. Foie gras is a French delicacy that means (fatty liver). Ducks and geese are force feed leaving them in excruciating pain, their tiny delicate bodies then slaughtered to produce such a sickening dish. The bi-product is mostly feathers (down) that is then fed into the clothing/garment/bedding trade.

A percentage of the world’s supply of down feathers has been plucked from live birds, a practice which is condemned as cruel by animal welfare groups. The precise percentage of down harvested in this manner is uncertain; while some references report that it is only a small fraction of the total (less than 1% in 2011), a 2009 Swedish documentary reported that it might be as much as 50–80% of the total supply, a figure supported by IKEA (a home furnishing chain) and an industry representative. The documentary also shows birds lying on the floor with large flesh wounds from the plucking, after which the wounds were stitched using a needle and thread without anesthetic. Although live-plucking is illegal in the United States and Europe, it is known to occur in two European countries (Poland and Hungary) and in China. Public sentiment against the practice has, in some countries, been strong enough that large retailers such as IKEA and Patagonia (a clothing manufacturer) have been forced to alter product lines to eliminate the use (or possible use) of live-plucked down.

The video below demonstrates one of many “plucker’s” that have been designed to pluck ducks and geese in a short space of time. This contraption is one of many used in the industry that come in all shapes, sizes and designs. The following video may be graphic for some viewers. Most agricultural machines will have a bag fitted to the bottom of the machine thus collecting the feathers then sending them on for down and feather trade. Most downing is actually removed violently by hand. This machine is only used when birds are dead.

What is Down?

Firstly down trade is nothing but (cruelty) that is down to a tea. The trade is more complex though, Down is the “undercoating” of geese, swan or waterfowl that consists of light fluffy filaments growing from a central quill point. From this central quill point pain can be felt that when plucking commences. The pain is that intense it can leave the birds convulsing uncontrollably to the point that they die. Grab a handful of your hair then yank it out. Hurts doesn’t it, now you understand the same pain inflicted to these solitary and friendly birds. Down is harvested and used because it creates a three dimensional structure which traps air and gives down insulating ability.” – Guide to the Labelling of Down and Feathers Enforcement Guidelines, March 2000.

One out of many companies that we investigated was Allied Feather & Down a very well known company that trades locally and internationally. Allied Feather & Down is based in the United States and has pushed its products all over the European Union, United Kingdom, Asia and Australia regardless of the horrifying abuse inflicted to these birds. One would think that even when the company states these bi-products they use “are from poultry the food chain” that the United Kingdom for instance would ban such torture clothing and garments baring in mind that they have come from the “foie gras” trade that is banned in the UK. Lack of awareness though is the key issue here and whilst down continues to be harvested from ducks, swans and waterfowl the abuse and horrifying pain will continue. Birds will suffer and more and more people will buy in to the trade of which if one thinks about it increases other trades such as (foie gras). More demand from customers means more demand from foie gras farmers and the circle of abuse, pain and suffering continues.

Allied Feather and Down Ltd stated the following on their website; 

Warmer than synthetics: Down provides more insulation per ounce than any other material, making it the optimal insulator. Every ounce of quality down has about two million fluffy filaments that interlock and overlap to form a protective layer of non-conducting still air that keeps warmth in and cold out.  Down has the ability to mould itself to the body while synthetics remain rigid. Down also breathes and wicks away perspiration, so the user doesn’t experience the clamminess associated with synthetics.

Body feathers (from ducks, geese and other birds kept for meat or eggs) are also used to stuff pillows, cushions, bedding/clothing and other such items. As ducks and geese are the primary animals used for the production of down. To produce your average comforter 75-80 birds are used. Feathers plucked violently pain is of the norm.

LIFE PLUCKING 2010

Picture above depicts live bird plucking of geese. These birds would suffer immense pain often convulsing in agony or dying from induced shock and massive tissue trauma / haemorrhaging.

Allied Feather and Down Ltd then go on to state; 

100% recyclable and natural: Unlike synthetic fill that relies on natural resources to be produced, Allied down is a sustainable, renewable and all-natural product. Allied buys only from suppliers that grow geese and ducks for the food industry. Down is only a by-product, something left over from the birds after they have been sold for their meat.

A typical Company misleading statement there “something left over from the birds after they have been sold for their meat” so lets take a look at that “something left over from the birds after they have been sold for meat”.

Allied Feather and Down Ltd can you please explain to your customers this “something left over” comment? Better still we’ll explain to them below. Please note the video herein is extremely graphic.

We have challenged Allied Feather and Down Ltd on why they have placed on their website such a misleading statement. Trade in down is colossal so for a professional company to state these feathers “something left over” is a highly incorrect. Birds feathers can fall out we know, but this company is stating in not so many words that this is how the feathers are more or less collected. There are three stages of collection of which is highlighted below for your immediate information.

Three stages of down harvesting; 

  1. Post mortem (plucked after death)
  2. Live plucking (plucked when birds are alive sometimes up to 17 times in their short lifetime
  3. Gathering (gathering the feathers from moulting ducks, geese, swans and waterfowl)

Plucked after death; 

For this method, feathers are removed from the birds’ bodies after they are killed for their flesh and/or internal organs (foie gras). The process usually involves scalding the birds’ bodies in hot water for one to three minutes so the feathers are easier to pull out. The body feathers can then be plucked (often by hand), after which the down is removed by hand or machine.

Live plucking; 

Live plucking is exactly what it sounds like: a goose or duck is held down by their neck or wings as the “targeted feathers” are torn from their skin. When the skin rips during this process it is sewn up with a straight needle (no analgesic or sterilization used) and the bird is left to recover before the next “harvest of feathers.” This process is repeated every 6-7 weeks before the bird’s eventual slaughter (or death from the trauma of the plucking process itself). In videos* I watched of the live plucking process, the ducks and geese struggled against their captors, honking and squawking throughout the plucking. After their chest was stripped of feathers, the birds were simply tossed to the floor where they struggled to stumble away, some with freshly sewn skin. *Plucked Alive: the Torture Behind Down and Goose Down Practices Called Animal Cruelty – CBS5 (There are a number of other videos out there as well.)

Gathering; 

“Gathering feathers from live geese [or ducks] is defined as removing feathers that are ripe due to the phenomenon of molting and would refer to using a brushing or combing action to remove feathers or down which are ready to fall out.”
Scientific Opinion on the practice of harvesting (collecting) feathers from live geese for down production.

EFSA Panel on Animal Health and Welfare (AHAW). European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Parma, Italy

While the term “gathering” sounds nicer, in most operations hundreds of birds have their feathers “collected” at one time. Even if all of the birds are at the same stage of moulting (which is unlikely) feathers mature at different times on different parts of the body, so some feathers are likely to be “live plucked” by “accident” during this process as well. The methods of catching, carrying and restraining birds is also the same no matter whether the feathers are gathered or live plucked. In the EFSA study mentioned above they admitted that during the gathering process bones may be broken or dislocated and, more uncommonly, some birds suffocate. These of course are added to by the potential for torn skin, hanging wings (posture change) and death during “live plucking.”

Allied Feather and Down Ltd are no sweet chicks with regards to this horrifying trade. Whether they gather or imply the feathers are just collected from the ground is quite misleading and the public have every-right to know exactly what they are buying into. If it says down on the label, sustainable down or collected down from gathering – its not what the manufacturer makes the product out to be. Down is cruelty no mater how you sugar coat the label with sustainability down is down abuse is abuse death is death.

pluckf

Scientific research from the European Union on harvesting down and feathers; 

Whilst the EFSA has adamantly stated that gathering feathers would be the the best non-cruel way of harvesting down, European Food Safety Authority has slammed the down industry and being 100% cruel regardless of whether the feathers are plucked, gathered or removed from dead birds. Their statement abstract can be read below for your information (2010). However the EFSA still categorically state that this “method” of harvesting via (collecting) of feathers is the best option. We all know that trade is vast within the down industry so gathering is not really a common practice. If plucking and removal of feathers from dead birds was banned the harvesting of moulted feathers would not be enough to keep up with demand. So therefore our own findings conclude that trade in down no matter how its dressed up should therefore be banned.

The Scientific Opinion on the practice of collecting feathers from live geese for down production concluded that removing feathers from live geese can be carried without causing pain, suffering or injury to the birds, if feathers are gathered. Gathering feathers from live geese is defined as removing feathers that are ripe due to the phenomenon of moulting and would never result in tissue damage. Plucking is the forcible removal of feathers that results in bleeding follicles and possibly other skin damage such as tears and bruising. The possibility that feathers are plucked cannot be excluded and it seems that at least minor suffering from pain and injuries is unavoidable under current commercial conditions. The process of catching, carrying and restraining the bird is the same whether feathers are gathered or plucked. Incorrect handling can include carrying the bird by the neck, legs or by one wing, restraining by sitting on the neck of the bird and throwing or dropping the bird. Bloody feathers, skin injuries, posture changes (e.g. hanging wings), dead birds and broken or dislocated bones are welfare-outcome indicators which could be used to assess the welfare of geese submitted to feather collection. It is recommended that only ripe feathers should be removed from live geese. A control system should be in place to ensure this is carried out in practice. The presence of skin tears and blood or tissue and the presence of non-ripe feathers in the collected feather material should be used to distinguish between plucking and gathering. Operators should be aware of good animal handling methods and the differentiation between ripe and unripe feathers. Further studies should be encouraged to improve the validity and reliability of welfare-outcome indicators. The method to evaluate the maturity of the feathers should be validated and further developed.

© European Food Safety Authority, 2010

  • Whether feathers are collected or not. Acute and chronic stress and fear are relevant aspects of poor welfare when combining magnitude and likelihood, whether feathers were collected or not and especially if there are repeated collections. Skin injuries and inappropriate feather removal only become relevant in terms of likelihood and magnitude when feathers are collected compared with when birds are only handled.

European Food Safety Authority conclude;

The main recommendation is that only ripe feathers should be removed from live geese. A control system should be in place to ensure this is carried out in practice or, alternatively, feathers should be removed by the person using a brushing or combing procedure so that only ripe feathers can be gathered. Grasping of feathers should be avoided. Additionally, as welfare-outcome indicators, the presence of skin tears and blood or tissue on the feathers, and the presence of non-ripe feathers in the collected feather material should be used to distinguish between plucking and gathering. Suffering should be avoided or minimised when catching and handling the geese, and geese should never be carried by the neck, legs or by one wing, be thrown or dropped, or be restrained by sitting on the neck or body of the bird. Operators should be aware of good animal handling methods and the differentiation between ripe and unripe feathers.

The Humane lie; 

Allied Down and Feather Chief Executive Officer Steve Uretsky, President of the approved company states;

Allied Feather & Down is committed to ethical business practices in everything we do. We are transparent in the way we conduct our business and work with our partners to implement safe, clean, humane supply chain solutions.
To demonstrate that commitment, we have instituted the Allied Pledge, a comprehensive program of audits and certifications now applied to every aspect of our business, from the sourcing of our feathers and down to testing, manufacturing and delivery of our finished product, to ensure that our suppliers, partners and manufacturing processes meet a high standard of performance in everything we do.

The Allied Pledge is based on five components:

1. Third Party Testing

2. Supplier Audits and Certifications

3. Traceability

4. Environmental Standards

5. Industry Leadership

International Animal Rescue Foundation France investigated many down and feather traders from 2012-2013 of which the majority of them all stated on their sites or via garment labels that down and feathers were collected humanely. As one can see in the video above there is no way of collecting humanely. Furthermore with trade being so large in feather and down products the (gathering) of feathers would not under any circumstances be suffice to support such astronomical trades within Asia, UK, Europa, South and North America and Africa. For Allied Down and Feather to even imply that their business which is large and spread out merely collected produces garments from “collected feathers” via the ground is not only misleading its also verging the violating many trade descriptions acts in numerous European countries one of which the United Kingdom takes seriously. LASTLY there is no humane way or method of collecting feathers. Allied Down and Feather states they only purchase from farms that rear birds for the food chain. (The food chain being that mostly of the foie gras industry). There is nothing humane about the cruel and completely senseless foie gras trade. birds are reared in vile conditions, are force feed then have their throats slit. Their livers are removed and sold on, and all “bi-products” are then sent to other manufacturers of them Allied Down and Feather is one.

South Africa; 

If you think for one moment that any American or European down and feather traders are being tarnished here and blamed think again as South Africa is host to “one of the largest” down and feather traders which Woolworths buy into. See link here This one product here that Woolworths ZA sells mass quantities of and and cheap prices contains 78% duck feathers and 22$ duck down. That duck down is ripped from the still living and breathing bodies of ducks.

Trade lies and propaganda; 

Many other South African companies such as Boardmans, The Goose Company and Sleep Co are just a handful of traders that all support the brutal trade of down and feather harvesting. The Goose Company a well known family business that was started firstly by a clock company was challenged by one of its customers back in April 2014. The customer who’s name were only stating is Rhona and is not related to our organisation or this article asked;

Please tell me how your down feathers are being collected? I’ve seen videos of geese being tortured, screaming while their feathers are ripped out of their bodies, blood oozing out of their skins!! I always wanted a down duvet, not any-more, poor animals

The Goose Company South Africa replied;

Hello Rhona, Goose Down is a by product of “meat production”. This means that a goose is slaughtered first for its meat and then plucked. The bird therefore doesn’t feel the plucking. We are aware of these videos and condemn any torturous conduct. 

Now, lets go back over that reply and hereto we have picked a small snip of that reply out;

“We are aware of these videos and condemn any torturous conduct”

What the Goose Company should have correctly informed Rhona of was that all geese and ducks in the barbaric and torturous (foie gras) trade as seen in the video below are reared cruelly on farms, are force feed, then are slaughtered. From there their feathers and down is then harvested. Yet the Goose Company venomously “condemn any torturous conduct” that see’s animals suffer in vile pain. A search of the Goose Companies supplier showed that feathers and down are sent on from a goose and duck farm in Johannesburg. Coincidently one such farm that has been selling the foie gras to many traders as listed in our foie gras article two months ago.

It is considered humane and non-cruel if the geese or ducks are plucked when dead. Many traders will inform their customers of this of which take it and leave it. Many customers fail to actually investigate the full process of just where their down or feather product truly originated from. By insinuating the birds never felt any form of cruelty or harm is misleading and tantamount to breach of many trade description laws. Geese and ducks as explained are reared for the food chain and sadly many down suppliers are indeed foie gras traders with the rest combining slaughter house suppliers. Just because ducks and geese have not been harmed “when dead” doesn’t mean for one moment that they didn’t live a life of brutality before its death.

Conclusion;

Hundreds of thousands of tons of down and feathers are produced by many outside organisations all of which confuse many people with statements such as “our down and feathers are obtained from farms that do not pluck from live birds”. International Animal Rescue Foundation France have also noticed many Animal Rights groups also supporting this statement of which the majority of them fail to actually delve deep into the trade. As explained unless all down and feather traders, slaughter houses, hatcheries and farms are monitored then taking this statement on board and believing it is more or less turning ones head and ignoring the issue. One South African organisation has on its website statements from clothing suppliers that quote “we ensure that down and feathers are gathered therefore our garments are cruelty free” or no down and feathers are used which come from animals that are live-plucked or force-fed during their life. We source down and feather exclusively from down and feather suppliers who work with „machine pluck“ or „hand pluck”. So what about factory farming? living conditions of birds? how the birds are kept to welfare and standards in the farming industry. Is this simply to be ignored? Just because the label says cruelty free 9/10 its a commercial misleading non-sustainable lie. If its to good to be true most likely it is. Please do not purchase any “product” that contains any animal bi-product. If your an Animal Rights Organisation or group and state you support vegan rights then laying bare on your sites or within your mission statements any of the above statements then your not only hypocritical and misleading many people – your also supporting barbaric methods of farming and sales of animal bi-products. Simple solution – Go vegan, Wear Vegan, BE VEGAN END OFF!

Thank you for reading

Chief Executive Officer 

Josa Depre

Environmentalist and Botanist 

Please make a small donation to our environmental company here or donate using our secure and friendly Facebook application here that is secure, safe and user friendly. Your donation goes to Operation FAWS our project that has currently to date helped many animals in Nigeria with a total funding of over £1,103 plus over $1000 used to purchase Anti Poaching equipment in South Africa. Further funding and purchasing of school equipment to aide education in the dog meat trade and Ebola awareness has also been utilised and will be sent to Liberia in the next month.  Plus much more. You can donate here and if your a first time user please use the option of “donating as a quest”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Rhino War and Photography

www.Speakupforthevoiceless.wordpress.com

www.Speakupforthevoiceless.wordpress.com

Rhino poaching within Africa has reached yet again an all time new high with a total of some 543 Rhinoceros poached dead for Traditional Chinese Medicine. Even with vast awareness campaigns, increased border patrols, upping Anti Poaching and funding the killing continues. Will it ever end? how long is a piece of string?

From the 30th June 2014 the (DEA) Department Of Environmental Affairs (South Africa) issued their Rhino poaching statistics of which was then 496. Since then a further 50+ have been bludgeoned leaving many people feeling hopeless, let down by their government, and debating on whether it is really a practical choice to support a trade in Rhino horn.

Poaching statistics for 2014 have again beaten records for the years 2010-2011. For both years, poaching statistics for 2010 were 333 poached Rhino and for the year 2011 we saw a total kill rate of 448. Poaching statistics for 2012 look as if they are most likely going to be beaten by this years June-July figures too that saw a total of 668 Rhinoceros poached in cold blood.

On a positive note arrest rates are also allegedly increasing from last year that saw a sky-rocketing 1003 Rhinoceros poached. Increased arrest rates doesn’t necessarily mean we are winning the battle, it merely shows that more and more poachers are encroaching from over the border into South Africa. 2010 saw a total of 165 poachers arrested, 2011 – 232, then in 2012 a total of 267 poachers were arrested, 2013 arrest rates shot up of which a total of 343 Rhino poachers were arrested. For June-July 2014 a total (estimate) arrest rate sees some 141 arrested. So 1148 poachers have been arrested yet we have only seen a handful of these poachers actually charged, brought to justice and convicted.

Its hard to actually believe too that Rhino horn made up of almost the same identical properties as human hair, finger nails, horse hoof, and parrot beak is selling illegally on the black market for a whopping $65,000kg whereas gold sells for a mere $43,000 kg and cocaine illegally trading at some $20,000 kg. Demand is not decreasing and while demand increases so will poaching and as explained there seems to be no end of the onslaught insight.

A powder made from the horns is prescribed in traditional Chinese medicine to cure fever and convulsions, but the substance is now used as a status symbol and a very expensive way for affluent Vietnamese to cure hangovers or, supposedly, to get high—even though the horns are composed of the common material keratin and have about the same psychoactive effects as snorting a fingernail clipping.

By weight, the horns go for anywhere from $60,000 to $100,000 per kilogram—single horns are about 3.5 kg, on average—making the substance significantly more pricey than other ubiquitous status symbols and intoxicants. Indian Rhino horns are still the most sought after and pricer too. International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa spoke with their Indian counterparts of which confirmed Indian Rhino horn is illegally trading for $80,000 kg. The reason for such high price is mainly due to the Indian Rhino’s endangered status. South Africa is home to about 75% of the world’s 29,000 rhinoceroses, but if the country can’t stop the poaching, it may lose that status, said Naomi Doak of the wildlife monitoring network, Traffic. “We are going to reach the tipping point for rhinos,” she told the BBC. “By the end of 2014, we’re starting to be in the negative in terms of deaths and poaching outstripping birth, and the population will start to decline very quickly.”

Trade in Rhino horn is outlawed by the United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, but some argue that the best way to undercut black market horn trade is to give it competition in the form of a well-regulated, cheap and legal market for cultivated horns. Rhino horns can be removed harmlessly and regrow—so legalizing the trade could facilitate horn farming that doesn’t harm the animals. Others argue that such an option would encourage misconceptions about the medicinal properties of ingesting the horn and overwhelm the market with demand, allowing poachers to simply coexist with legal trade.

The South African government acknowledges that something has to change. The country’s minister of environmental affairs, Edna Molewa, said that government officials have been meeting to consider “a proposal for the legalization of commercial international trade” to be brought up at the next Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species meeting in 2016. Whilst many are arguing and debating on whether a legalised trade should be opened International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa and Asia are still venomously against such trade of which will kick all conservation efforts backwards. We’re basically giving into the Asian using community should trade be made legal, we’ve fought for so long and provided evidence that clearly shows Rhino horn has no medicinal active properties.

By giving in and should trade not work there us no going back and we will most certainly lose our ionic species the second largest land mammal. According to government statistics, a great majority of Rhino poaching occurs at Kruger National Park, the largest game reserve in Africa, covering 19,000 square kilometres. At the reserve, hunters and those who are impoverished slip through the park’s borders to kill and de-horn Rhinos, earning the equivalent of a typically monthly wage in a single night. Though Kruger has hired soldiers and dogs to stand watch against poachers, they cannot efficiently patrol all of the park’s land. However, when rangers or soldiers do come into contact with poachers, a shoot-out often occurs, with poachers regularly getting killed in a skirmish with security staff. And were not just talking about any reserve here that to some may sound quite easy and straightforward to patrol. Kruger National Park is the size of Israel covering a massive 19,485 kilometres square.

In Nov. 2011, two rangers spotted poachers who were tracking a white Rhino at Ndumo Game Reserve. When the rangers ordered the men to lower their weapons, the poachers, instead, pointed their guns at the rangers and shot. The shoot-out eventually led to the apprehension of one poacher and the death of another, Erasmo Mazivele. Astonishingly, the magistrate, who ruled over the court case in June 2013, convicted the apprehended poacher, Wawito Mawala, with murdering his accomplice, even though it was the rangers who killed Mazivele. The magistrate stated that Mawala had been the cause of Mazivele’s death because Mawala had knowingly put the Mazivele’s life in danger.

The placement of security at game reserves and the persistence of rangers have been positively helping the fight against Rhino poaching. According to the Game Rangers Association of Africa, within the first four months of 2014, 96 low-level Rhino poachers have been arrested. However, not all law enforcement assigned to protect these Rhinos can always be trusted. There have been numerous cases where rangers assigned to guard reserves have been found aiding poachers. This has always been a major concern to International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa of which is strictly monitoring where they place funding too and where equipment is sent, the risks are high, corruption is rife and where a months wages can be made in a day the urge to cross that line and illegally slaughter or aide poachers is tempting to rangers that are barely paid a weeks salary for a months work.

Though the majority of Rhino poaching occurs at Kruger, smaller reserves have also been affected. Poachers have hunted in a variety of game reserves, leaving behind mutilated carcasses of Rhinos, with their horns hacked out of their heads, their eyes gouged out, and their genitalia and ears cut off. To make matters worse, new hunting methods and high-calibre weapons have been developed to make the poaching of these 900 kg animals easier. Helicopters, high-powered rifles, tranquillizer guns, veterinary drugs and night vision goggles have all been used. Since Edna Molewa ordered a “restriction” of Entorphine (M99) back in 2012 there has been quite a large reduction of Rhinos being poached using tranquillizer guns and M99.

Unfortunately the poachers are fighting back. The eyes and and ears of the African skies the Vulture has been targeted viciously by both Rhino and Elephant poachers using cyanide or diclofenac a NSAID anti-inflammatory that is normally used within human and veterinary medicine to reduce skeletal inflammation. Vultures would normally be the first alerting sign to law enforcement on the ground of a dead carcass or seriously injured Rhino that is haemorrhaging profusely.

Have we lost the battle though>? it seems not, nor are we going too. This month has seen more people such as high ranking celebrities and wildlife photographers taking up awareness campaigns or helping to reduce Rhino poaching through whatever means they can. Rhino horn smuggling and selling is transnational and worth millions of dollars, causing the rise in Rhino poaching to only increase throughout the years.

However, in response, in 2012, South African and Vietnamese governments signed a treaty increasing enforcement of hunting bans to deal with Rhino poaching and other conservation issues. The two governments have since been sharing information to clampdown on offenders. Their goal is to disrupt Rhino smuggling transit routes from Africa to Asia.

Celebrities have also played a huge part in Rhino horn awareness, Prince William, David Beckham and Yao Ming teamed up with WildAid to create a series of public service announcements (PSAs), aimed at China and Vietnam, urging people to not support the trading of illegal wildlife. In the first video, the trio focused solely on the ever decreasing population of rhinos due to poaching.

WHEN THE BUYING STOPS THE KILLING CAN TOO!

PLEASE TELL YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS NOT TO BUY RHINO HORN, IVORY OR SHARK FIN!

David Beckham and the Duke of Cambridge Prince William team up to protect our mega fauna;

Back in June Prince William and soccer legend David Beckham teamed up to launch a campaign that aims to protect animals from illegal poaching. The Duke of Cambridge, who is also the president of United For Wildlife, promoted the new hashtag #WhoseSideAreYouOn while flanked by Beckham and other star athletes at Google Town Hall in Central London.

“The illegal wildlife trade is responsible for the slaughter of tens of thousands of animals a year, pushing some of our most beloved species to the brink of extinction,” William said. “Our children should not live in a world without elephants, tigers, lions and rhinos. Enough is enough. It is time to choose between critically endangered species and the criminals who kill them for money.”

The #WhoseSideAreYouOn campaign aims to reach people via Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and You Tube. Supporters will also be urged to participate in or watch United For Wildlife sports events. In anticipation of the launch, William posed alongside his brother Prince Harry for a photo posted to United For Wildlife’s Twitter account. The brothers held a sign that bore the campaign start date of June 9, as well as their royal signatures that can be seen below along with Tennis Champion Andy Murray.

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While there are many celebrities now taking up the fight to protect our critically endangered wildlife species there are also the likes of Hilary O’Leary a Zimbabwean wildlife photographer that has been creating awareness of the Rhino poaching epidemic. Miss O’Leary entered a stunning picture of a baby Rhino calf into the Wildlife Photographer of the Year award back in June 2014. Entered into the Natural History Museum (WPY) Award Hilary O’Leary explains in her own words to Dr Josa Depre what inspired her to enter this particular photograph into the award – The interview can be seen below;

Picture Hilary O’Leary

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An interview with Hilary O’Leary – Hilary O’Leary has entered one of her stills into the Natural History Museum – Wildlife Photography of the Year Award that has since we published seen an unprecedented amount of support from the public voting in their droves. Please scroll down to view the image, click on the picture and please vote.

Josa – When did you become interested in photography?

Hilary O’Leary – I am fortunate to live in a place which has the most magical things to see and about 3 years ago I realized there was so much more to see when you change the way you view things.. I would say my first interested in photography was about 5 months after I started taking wildlife pictures.. when all of a sudden I felt that wonderful feeling of capturing a great
image. Only then could I see the difference between taking pictures and
photography.

Josa – What’s been your most worked on project and what obstacles did you have to overcome in concluding that particular project?

Hilary O’Leary – My photography is purely a hobby and the only project I could assign to have had has been two or three Photography competitions. So no obstacles yet.

Josa – Whom inspired you to become such a professionally outstanding photographer? I state outstanding as I have viewed some of your past work and you have a great eye for detail.

Hilary O’Leary – I would say I know what I like and have admired and recognized styles throughout all Wildlife Photographers work I have witnessed. I would say the feeling you get when you look at some pictures is what inspires me most.

Josa – I can see you have quite a fondness for African Rhino, do you intend on using your work to fund Rhino projects such as anti-poaching or funding orphanages?

Hilary O’Leary – Yes I love Rhino, only when you have a chance to spend time with them to you realize how innocent and gentle they are. I want to help in anyway I can.

Josa – Rhino poaching has for this year drastically overtaken previous records from 2010, 2011 and 2012 with a near 600 Rhinos slaughtered for fake medicine. How does this make you feel knowing that we could soon see the second largest land mammal banished from the face of the earth and do you have any projects to help sustain Rhino preservation?

Hilary O’Leary – The feeling is – desperate. I can’t help but think the next generation will spend all its resources repairing the damage… But I believe we can make a difference and we will win.

Josa – Can you please explain to our readers what inspired you to take this particular photograph and what sentimental value it has to you?

Hilary O’Leary – The picture was quite incidental as I was driving past and saw a scene.. I only saw what I had captured when I downloaded the images… and the message was so strong. I felt it fitted ” a picture says a thousand words” connotation perfectly.

Josa – Environmental News and Media, Speak up for the Voiceless and International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa have been hosting a youth photography group on-line for the past two years. Do you have any advice, skills or information you’d like to provide to our younger readers that are currently actively involved within youth photography and wildlife preservation?

Hilary O’Leary – I can only say the world is in our hands and there are enough of us to make a difference. I love a quote a read in a different context about training but would like to re-use it here in the war against anti-poaching – its like fighting with a lion… you don’t stop when your tired you stop when the lions tired. We all respond to an image and a single flash of one can stay in our minds
forever… capturing the right images keep the moment real forever and that can change lives!

Josa – What camera and exposure did you use to take this photo pictured above and how long did you have to wait to obtain that pure brilliant shot?

Hilary O’Leary – I use Canon, and it was early morning so light was a little low… 1/200, f2.8

Josa – You have entered this particular piece into the wildlife photography of the year award and since we have published this onto our pages and now ENM site it has generated hundreds of votes and many thousands of shares and likes. Will you be planning on furthering your career outside of your home country Zimbabwe and if so what areas do you plan on working on?

Hilary O’Leary – I have not thought about it… will see what opportunities arrive.

Josa – What’s been your proudest moment in life during this career of photography and why?

Hilary O’Leary – Well it would have to be the current situation, a picture that has created such a wonderful, strong response and a message that has been received correctly.

Josa – On viewing your work past and present I can see that a great deal of patience has gone into perfecting that best shot that has won the hearts and minds of many. Can you describe to our readers just how long it takes you to obtain such outstanding stills, the work that goes into obtaining that perfect still, and how many days and nights have you worked on just one single project?

Hilary O’Leary – I think the time has been spent in recognizing, out of the thousands of images I have taken, which one had the special message. Hours of editing, deleting and searching for a great image..

Josa – What’s been your worst downfall within your career of photography?

Hilary O’Leary – Can’t think right now… I hope its not yet to come either!

Josa – Where do you see oneself in ten years time and do you plan on keeping this amazing work up?

Hilary O’Leary – I hope I will have managed to make, support or assist in the changes we are desperate to see. I hope the success can be measured over years and decades to come. . I hope in 10 years we still have the animals that are so critically endangered.

End of interview.

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Hilary O’Leary met this little black Rhino whilst spending time at the Malilangwe Conservation Trust in Zimbabwe. The Rhino’s story, however, is not as sad as it might seem. His mother is alive and they are protected by the trust. This image is part of our first ever People’s Choice Award. Since publishing the Hilary O’Leary’s still via our Facebook, Environmental News and Media sites there has been a whopping amount of public support.

People in their thousands have liked and hundreds more have set about voting too. Please don’t forget to vote by clicking on the photo above or by clicking the link here please remember that the closing date for voting is 5th September 2014. Please share this article and ask your friends and family to vote too. The more awareness created of our endangered species the more support can be generated hopefully securing their future furthermore.

Meanwhile in Zimbabwe it has been alleged that Rhino poaching has decreased and Zimbabwe’s Black Rhinoceros population has increased too. The Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate has revealed that there has been a significant drop in Rhino poaching between 2010 and 2013. The African rhino has continued to attract the world’s attention with fears the species might become extinct due to poaching.

In an effort to raise awareness on the need to protect the Rhino species, the country has carried several awareness campaigns. In a speech read on his behalf during the launch of a 500km Rhino Awareness Walk, Minister Saviour Kasukuwere said 52 Rhino were killed in 2010, but the number went down to 38 in 2011 before further decreasing to 22 in 2012.

In 2013, only 16 Rhino were killed.

The black Rhino population has also been steadily increasing from 429 in 2011 to 457 in 2013. The white Rhino species has also increased from 279 in 2011 to 296 in 2013. A professional guide, Sam Nkomo will carry out a 500 kilometre walk from the Matobo National Park to Victoria Falls from the 14th to the 18th of September in a bid to educate communities on the need to preserve the country’s wildlife.

Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief executive Karikoga Kaseke pledged $1000 towards Nkomo’s walk and urged the corporate sector to contribute towards wildlife conservation awareness programmes. Rhino are classified as endangered on the red list database of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as their numbers are critically low. Zimbabwe developed a National Rhino Policy and Management Framework for the period 2011 to 2016 in March 2011 in an effort to increase the Black and White Rhino population.

Whilst Rhino poaching has been slowly decreasing in Zimbabwe President Barack Obama United States President has been lobbied by environmentalists to now place sanctions against Mozambique in an effort to curb Rhino and Elephant poaching in other African countries where poaching of both Elephants and Rhino is spiralling out of control. Investigators say substantial evidence exists of Mozambique’s failure to abide by international conventions against wildlife trafficking, including to back up allegations of state complicity.

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While President Obama last year mounted a new initiative by the U.S. government to tackle international wildlife trafficking, with a particular focus on ivory, some say Mozambique’s actions are undermining those efforts – and threatening these species worldwide. A new petition, publicly announced that Wednesday, now provides evidence on the issue and urges the president to make use of legal authorities to encourage Mozambique to crack down on poachers.

“Mozambique continues to play an ever-growing and uncontained role in Rhinoceros and Elephant poaching,” Susie Ellis, executive director of the International Rhino Foundation, one of the petitioners, told IPS.

“Although they have been given direction by the international community to enact certain controls, those have been only superficial and have had no meaningful effect. If you look at the large-scale poaching and illegal trade in Rhino horn and Elephant ivory out of Mozambique, it’s directly undercut President Obama’s [efforts] on wildlife trafficking.”

Increasingly working hand in hand with organised crime, poachers over the past three years have killed record numbers of Elephants and Rhinoceroses, particularly in Africa. Some 50,000 Elephants are being killed each year in Africa, alongside 1,000 Rhinos, leaving perhaps as few as 250,000 Elephants in the wild globally.

Driving this illicit market is increased consumer demand in Asia, particularly in China and Vietnam. According to a U.N. report from last year, large seizures of ivory bound for Asia have more than doubled since 2009. The new petition focuses on the central international agreement around wildlife trafficking, known as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), and warns that Mozambique’s outsized role in African ivory poaching is diluting the convention’s effectiveness. The CITES standing committee is meeting next week in Switzerland.

“Available evidence indicates that Mozambican nationals constitute the highest number of foreign arrests for poaching in South Africa. Organized crime syndicates based in Mozambique are driving large scale illegal trade in Rhino horn and Elephant ivory,” the petition states. (Please sign the petition by clicking the link to your left highlighted)….

“Given the scope and depth of the illegal killing and trade in Rhino and Elephant products by Mozambican nationals, we urge the United States to … enact substantial trade sanctions.”

High-level complicity

Supporters say that strong action by the Mozambican authorities would have a significant and immediate impact on the global supply of illicit ivory.

Officials reportedly estimate that 80 to 90 percent of all poachers in South Africa’s massive Kruger National Park are Mozambican nationals. Local groups say that on most nights more than a dozen separate poaching parties can be prowling the park, most from well-documented “poaching villages” located across the border in Mozambique.

Meanwhile, enforcement of wildlife-related legislation in Mozambique is said to be essentially non-existent, with penalties for poaching and trafficking thus far not effective. Yet changing that situation has been complicated by what appears to be state collusion.

“It’s impossible for that level of illegal activity to be going on without high-level complicity,” Allan Thornton, president of the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), a watchdog group based here and in London that co-authored the new petition, told IPS.

“We believe that there are ex-military officials who are providing political protection to the [trafficking] syndicates who are arming and funding these poaching teams. There is substantial evidence implicating both the police and military.”

Mozambique keeps strict control over the types of weapons used by the country’s poachers, Thornton notes, yet such weapons are available to the military. Similarly, police and military uniforms have repeatedly been found in poaching camps.

Thornton says that putting together the new petition took several months, due to the mass of evidence available.

“If all Mozambican citizens were prevented from illicitly crossing over the border, poaching would drop significantly. But there has been no enforcement on the Mozambique side, despite legal obligations under CITES,” he says.

“We believe that the Mozambique government should be held accountable for their activities and act rapidly against these poachers, criminal syndicates and those protecting them. They could close this trade literally in a week.

Unparalleled scope

Thornton says his office is not yet clear on whether the Obama administration has exerted diplomatic pressure on the Mozambique government over the issue of wildlife trafficking. But in filing the new petition, these groups are highlighting the fact that the president does indeed have the legal backing to act on the issue.

Under U.S. legislation known as the Pelly Amendment, the president is allowed to impose trade sanctions if a country is certified to be “diminishing the effectiveness” of an international conservation programme. (U.S. officials could not be reached for comment for this story.)

Further, there is notable precedent under which past determinations – set in motion by EIA petitions – have met with particular success. Two decades ago, for instance, a similar petition was lodged around the trafficking of rhinoceros and tiger parts through Taiwan into China.

That effort resulted in U.S. trade sanctions. Over the following two years, both the Taiwanese and Chinese governments engaged in a broad crackdown on these trades.

“This had a huge impact on reducing demand [for ivory] and reducing the poaching of Rhinos virtually around the world,” Thornton says.

“We saw Rhino populations stabilise worldwide, because two of the biggest markets had closed for demand. This is the same thing we’re now looking for in Mozambique.”

He continues: “And we’re hoping for a particularly prompt response, because the scope of illegal activities we’re currently seeing – where one country is sending hundreds of poachers into another country – is almost unparalleled.”

ALL OUT WAR!

International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa and many hundred more organisations are desperately trying to reduce the Scrooge of Rhino and Elephant poaching that is considered now a war. This war doesn’t just affect Africans or their wildlife. Black market trade of both ivory and Rhino horn is fuelling the trade in firearms and terrorism abroad and within the continent of Africa of which has to be tackled at top governmental level. International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa have been lobbying the United Nations and sent to all (CITES) signatories communications to now support an immediate call for sanctions against Mozambique, Vietnam and China for their failure to reduce both poaching and black market trade. Regardless of what many have stated would actually harm an already impoverished country something has to be done (sanctions must be implemented). While we know poaching and black market trade would decrease sanctions wouldn’t necessarily be spread out over a course of time. So in reality finical harm would be of the lowest. One has to look at it like this. If we lose the Rhino and Elephant, tourism that is a huge money generator would be significantly impacted of which would increase unemployment, crime and anti-social behaviour and leave South Africa that is a modernising country in turmoil financially. We cannot any longer continue to treat the symptoms we have to cure the illness full stop.

Since 2012 the Environmental and Animal Welfare Organisation have sent countless emails and met with a dozen ministers within countries assigned to the (CITES) agreement. Furthermore the Environmental Organisation has been lobbying the United Nations and the British Government to push for sanctions, and to increase military presence from British soldiers not on active service or from the territorial army. Kruger National Park as explained is massive in size and there is simply not enough troops on the ground to fight this war. Training is also needed to now combat the new wave of poachers that are heavily armed and ex-military special forces. South Africa’s ranger units are not equipped or trained in such warfare so training and funding to provide equipment is essential. SNARE the video below was released in 2012 and depicts true real life events, those that comment on Social Media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Myspace do not always grasp just how serious this war is. An insight into a rangers life can be seen in last years video release below.

Rangers in the thick of it;

Since the war on poaching began many African ranger and Anti Poaching Units have come under heavy from psychotic rangers. Poachers have also been actively involved in terrorising farmers and individual security services employed to secure our Rhino species. Wildlife rangers endure similar ordeals to soldiers in combat. They routinely face death, injury, or torture from poachers, and the wild animals they protect can kill them too. In the DRC, which has been riven by almost two decades of civil war and political instability, about 150 rangers have been killed in Virunga alone since 2004.

Rangers are exposed to deeply disturbing scenes, with each poached carcass a frustrating and grisly reminder of failure, and they operate in the bush under harsh physical conditions, often with inadequate equipment, pay, and support. International Animal Rescue Foundation this year began phase II of Funding African Wildlife Survival – Operation Equip. This July IARFA have successfully donated $1,111USD to Fund a Ranger – Save a Rhino and donated a further $100USD to the Virunga National Park of which will see a seven man team in combat for a total of one week. F.A.W.S has proven successful since phase II and has already began its phase III Anti Dog Meat Education Operation focusing attention on Liberia the largest African dog meat eating country on the continent.

“Worldwide, about two rangers are killed every week,” says Sean Willmore, president of the International Ranger Federation and founder of the Thin Green Line Foundation, a charity that trains rangers and supports the widows of those killed in the line of duty. “But that’s only partial data,” he adds. “It could be double that amount.” Should Elephant poaching take off in South Africa of which has seen one Elephant poached for its ivory in the Kruger this year we could very well see more rangers shot dead or fatally wounded. Were dealing with heavily armed, well trained and fearless African poachers that will not stop at nothing, especially when a months wages can be earned in a single day.

However its not all doom and gloom. Whilst we all continue to chip in to help those that require more help than IARFA then this war can be won. Rangers are fighting back harder than before. At the start of the year Eleven suspected poachers were killed alone in the flagship national park by SA National Parks (SANParks) rangers and members of the SA Defence Force. Most of the gun battles happened at night after poaching gangs crossed the border from Mozambique. The killing to some may be seen as a godsend however is unfortunately not stopping the bandits from continuing to enter the parks.

Poachers operate in groups of four to six. They are aggressive and engage and shoot at the rangers on sight, creating a daily, life-threatening situation. SANParks said in a statement it was “appealing to the South African public to support efforts by rangers to stop the mass killing on both sides.

Concluding;

International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa has been actively involved in helping to reduce poaching in many ways. Investigating corrupt professional hunters then passing the evidence on, engaging small Rhino ranches pushing funding and equipment to staff on the ground that have literally nothing to defend themselves. Lobbying (CITES) signatories, the United Nations and British Government to now impose and support an immediate temporary sanctions against Mozambique, Vietnam and China. Furthermore we are supporting a no trade in Rhino horn and are venomously pushing and succeeding to now ban Rhino hunting across Africa where Rhino populations are still extant. When the demand stops the poaching will too.

Thank you for reading and please do not forget to vote for Hilary O’Leary Wildlife Photographer.

Dr Josa C. Depre

www.speakupforthevoiceless.org

Chief Environmental Officer


Iran: Dog’s Brutalised and Buried Alive

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Stray dogs are shot to death in residential streets by city workers while others are buried alive after being thrown into deeply dug grave-pits, which they are unable to jump out of. The dogs sense they are in imminent danger and cling to each other in  terror.

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Government worker randomly shoots into pit, at helpless dogs.

Using semi-auomatice weapons, government workers either fire rounds of bullets into the grave, indiscriminately hitting and missing the panicking trapped dogs, which leave many injured, or they simply start back-filling the mass grave with rubble as the panicked dogs desperately try to leap to safety, which they are unable to do. Howling and whimpering the dogs are buried alive.

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Being randomly shot at kills some dogs but leaves many injured, howling and whimpering.

Covered in rubble, whimpering can still be heard so to shut the dying dogs up, government workers fire their semi-automatic weapons into the freshly back-filled grave, spraying bullets into the just re-filled dirt and rubble. When the noise of whimpering dogs shut up, they stop firing bullets (BZB.) In sharp contrast, the Prophet Muhammad commanded: “Every animal or bird that is killed unjustly, the day will conflict with his killer” (PBUH)

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Government workers congratulate each other, as the surviving but injured dogs whimper and howl.

In 2010 Iran banned all advertisements  for pets, pet food and pet products after powerful cleric Grand Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi issued the fatwa and stressed that, in line with the Islamic tradition, dogs are unclean animals.

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Buried alive, Government workers keep firing into the covered over mass grave of dogs, until the whimpering shuts up.

The ban on pet ads and products came about because Ayatollah couldn’t accept and come to terms with the Iranian people’s love for “unclean animals.” Ayatolla Shirazi said dog owners were “blindly imitating the West” and their devotion to animals would result in “evil outcomes” (AAM)

Dog owners used to be able to keep their pets safe by regularly paying fines but Tehran police announced police would capture every dog they encountered [which is possibly code for kill.] The official reason given is said to be religious: Iran’s Islamic law forbids the possession of dogs, considered to be “impure” animals. In the past, several politicians as well as state media outlets had already condemned this practice.

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Iranian lady with her loved pet dog.

Although it is forbidden to keep dogs at home, it is not forbidden to sell puppies alongside express-ways, where its reported that puppies are treated very badly and those which are not sold by the end of the day are killed and thrown away as trash.

A 70-year-old man was caught walking his pet dog on the street and he was arrested, sentenced to four months in jail and  given 30 lashes [Shahr Rey, a suburb of Tehran.] An Islamic judge charged the man for “disturbing the public order.”   Domestic animals are forbidden from being taken on to the streets because Islam considers dogs to be impure (Fox News.)

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Iranian man publicly receiving lashes.

The association of the dog with the devil may have motivated several attempts at eradicating the animal. The Prophet Mohammad (and later Yusof b. Hajjaj) was said to have ordered all dogs to be put to death but to have modified his order to only apply to black dogs, especially those with two spots (noqtatayn) over their eyes.

The black dog figures prominently in magic. Its satanic connections mean that harming it may bring injury or misfortune to the perpetrator. In Khorassan, it is believed that he who kills a dog will lose a child or seven years of bad luck. Such beliefs may at least partly reflect Pre-Islamic taboos against harming dogs, reinterpreted to conform to the Islamic association of the animal with evil, says Ardeshir Mohassess in Life In Iran.

The following video was filmed by an Iranian dog lover who videoed the aftermath of dogs which had been shot:

This next account took place in a residential street in Tehran at 8am on a Wednesday morning:  a stray dog was quietly sitting near the wall of a house when a bullet ripped into the dog’s stomach in a hail of bullets as other bullets hit the house. The woman of the house ran outside to escape and saw the stricken dog which she had been feeding for some time.

Bleeding heavily, the dog saw her and staggered toward her, with it’s eyes filled with terror. As the woman dropped to her knees, more bullet hits the dog’s front legs. Terrified, the woman got up and ran into a  neighbour’s house. The dog died of it’s injuries and the woman’s house was left badly damaged with bullet holes.

This incident took place in a residential street in Tehran where children played, against a harmless dog whom the woman had been quietly feeding over a period of time. Residents of the street confirmed the dog’s blood was not removed for three days after the incident.

Another neighbour of the woman, an old man, was so terrified by the gunfire that he suffered a heart attack and was hospitalised for two days. Because of the overwhelming hatred of dogs by some people, residents are terrorised with gunfire resulting in their deprivation of peace. Residents who witnessed the brutal attack on the dog are still troubled by the harrowing scene of the injured dog staggering toward the kind woman, as she fell to her knees in grief.

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Confiscated Iranian pet dogs in the equivalent of a dog-jail.

Dog killings were already under way when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad imported four puppies from Germany, for himself for his own protection. His behaviour  justifies to the Iranian general public, who were assured that because the puppies were German and they would be trained by Iran dog trainers, it was acceptable for the President to have dogs, but not members of the public, whose pet dogs were and still are being systematically butchered (FoxNews.)

Pet dogs being walked on leashes are being ripped from their owners and placed in compounds, the equivalent of dog-jail, where owners are unable to pay and reclaim their dog. Many of the pets in the video are still wearing walking harnesses and some are even still wearing outdoor coats and decoratively beaded walk-wear.

Iran’s history is closely flanked by it’s Pre-Islamic use of dogs in herding, hunting, war and dog-fights, known as sag-e-kazari which refers to canine warriors or dogs trained for dog fights. Ancient Persian myth says one third of a dogs’ essence is human and that dog was created to protect man’s possessions against wolves, and that a dog can repel evil by it’s mere gaze. Many Persian myths revolves around around dogs being created by God, ultimately to teach man humility (LinA)

The Prophet of Islam showed kindness toward all animals, including dogs, yet the Iranian government have a vendetta to murder all stray dogs and encourage members of the public to join in their killing spree, by paying dog killers with rewards. The hate spree against dogs has resulted in countless dogs being shot but not killed outright. Injured dogs run and take days, sometimes even longer to die painful, drawn-out deaths.

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Slaughtered Iranian dogs.

Mistreating animals is considered a sin in Islam. A Muslim is responsible for the care of animals, so much so that an ill-treated animal will testify against the one who abused it on the Day of Judgment. Islam forbids branding animals and killing them in vain, such as for sport. The Prophet Muhammad forbade people to capture birds, burn anthills or whip animals. Even slaughtering animals for food, Islam (requires that the slaughtering be done according to Islamic procedure), which is “humane” and aims to cause the animals as little suffering as possible.  To read more: Open Email to the Muslim Council from Saynotodogmeat.Net.

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Iranian dog, targeted by dog killers.

While Iran blames dogs for being unclean, the Iranian government doesn’t seem to have a problem with a general lack of hygiene in and around towns and cities, in areas such as food safety, clinical and hospital waste, road safety, air pollution and contamination of rivers and reservoirs that feed into waters which are used for public consumption, and so on.

It is time the Iranian government show the merci that was shown to them by the Prophet of Islam. Their on-going actions of butchering dogs is no longer a secret and people worldwide are appalled and horrified at the cruelty being perpetrated against companion animals and the Iranian people who defend them.

Thank you for reading,

Michele Brown.

 


Open Letter To Mr Dan Ashe – Time to Ban US Lion Trophy Exports/Imports

timetoendDate; 11th July 2014

Dan Ashe
Director
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Washington, D.C. 20240
Dan_Ashe@fws.gov

Open and Sent Letter to Director Mr Dan Ashe US Fish and Wildlife Service.

From Dr Josa C. Depre; Director International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa.

To Daniel Ashe; Director of US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Re: Suspend importations of Lion trophies hunted in Africa into the United States or via other countries from Africa into the USA.

Dear Dan Ashe;

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. Within the Lions existing ranges there are no more than 1,000 Lions within each of its African habituated countries of which there are more Lions within canned hunting farms and ranches than in some wild populated areas. Those Lions within canned hunting farms and ranches pose a disease and genetic risk to other species of fauna and wild Lion populations that live around these facilities.

Over the last ten years a staggering two thirds of all Lions hunted for sport were imported from Africa into your country – 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.

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 depletions. It is now time these destructive forces must end with hunting the top of ours and many others agendas with regards to the Lion.

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.

Although the single biggest threat by far to the animals survival is humans, though not necessarily western hunters. It is just the very, very widespread killing of Lions, mostly in a conflict situation, by anyone who is trying to farm livestock in Africa and finds it very difficult to co-exist with Lions. Hunting of Lions though is still playing a great role of which is seeing many Lions wild and captured depleted. Furthermore the black market trade in Lion bone wine threatens our Lion species greatly.

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.

I must also bring to ones immediate attention although you may have already noticed that American hunting organisations and individual hunters are purchasing Lion bones legally then shipping these out to Asia for the trade in pseudo Lion bone wine. While the trade continues of such Lion carcases so does the demand and while the demand continues so does unfortunately the ruthless and indiscriminate legal and illegal killings.

Burger Oelofsen proprietor of Etosha View and custodian of a herd of Black Rhino, Burgers 10000 hectare farm extends into the Etosha pan and boasts some of the largest Kudu and Gemsbok in the region. Burger is known to many already following the attack by his ostriches, but Burger is an accomplished hunter in his own right as this picture clearly shows.

For some countries, including Tanzania, Zambia, Namibia and Mozambique, hunting for sport was the main threat to the Lions’ existence. But even in countries which did not attract large numbers of tourists on hunting trips, the practice was taking a growing toll.

I bring to your attention not only the killing of male Lions but the fact killing such Male Lions is now becoming an all to common sight within my continent. By wiping out major male pride leaders we are also killing and decreasing large wild prides that will later on in life lead to localised then regional extinctions. This I nor will my organisations supporters ranging into hundreds of thousands tolerate any more. Enough is enough.

Hunters such as Mr Aaron Neilson, Mrs Melissa Bachman, Mrs Adele Jensen Van Rensberg, Mrs Olivia Nalos Opre, Mrs Mindy Arthurs, Miss Kendal Jones and the US and British Mr Rupert Ellis being high profile Lion hunters are setting a very bad example to our younger generations as too overseas tourists that flock to Africa just to sport hunt the King of the Jungle. Mr Aaron Neilson has yet again taken his fourteenth Lion for this year within Africa. Whilst Mr Rupert Ellis that owns Big Game Hunting Ltd Business” within the United Kingdom is organising large scale Lion hunting trips from the United Kingdom into Africa.

Lion and other big game hunters are continuously bragging about their kills on-line, creating awareness of such a nauseating sport but most concerning being part and parcel to species decline under the guise of pseudo conservation. Surely if hunters such as the named above were actually contributing to our Mama Africa’s conservation efforts then why is the Panthera leo still listed as vulnerable of which its species populations are declining astronomically? We cannot place all the blame here Mr Ashe down to human species conflict or habitat destruction. Hunting is out of control. Please view Mr Aaron Neilson’s Facebook profile here and see just how many Lions this man has slaughtered https://www.facebook.com/aaronneilson.globalhunter?fref=ts

UK and US Hunter (PH) - Rupert (Roo) Ellis - Roo is the proprietor of The Hunting Agency. Widely travelled and experienced, Roo has personally visited and hunted with numerous outfitters in Southern Africa and is able to give first-hand advice regarding travelling with firearms, personal expectations and pre-departure preparation, plus he loves to tell a story or two as well!

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.

While it is evident that hunting is not primarily the major number one destructive force reducing Lion populations it must be noted as still playing a significantly high role in (reducing) wild species. So I put it to you Mr Ashe that while we are not seeing an increase in Lion populations but more a decrease and “hunting” being named as one factor killing species off then why have you as yet not banned African Lion trophy imports into the United States?

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.

Trophy hunting is carried out in a number of sub-Saharan African countries and is “considered” an important management tool for providing financial resource for Lion conservation for both governments and local communities. However, there is concern that current management regimes can lead to unsustainable off-takes.

These off-takes are being seen with many US hunters of which must come to an immediate end whilst other environmental threats remain at large and somewhat uncontrollable. Disease has also been a threat to Lion populations subsequently reducing species furthermore. Americans are responsible for a staggering 60% of all hunted Lion trophies being exported from Africa back home. Whilst European Hunters are almost topping this trend.

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.

Mr Ashe while you are still conducting your twelve month survey I must also bring to ones attention Environment Minister Greg Hunt’s ban implemented this month against Australian Rhino hunters of which he is now considering banning Lion trophy exports from Africa to Australia which I and my environmental company fully support.

I call on you Mr Ashe to now implement an immediate ban against all US hunters exporting Lion trophies from Africa or “any imported-exported” country with immediate effect. Failing this we will most certainly lose our entire Lion species within Africa.

Sincerely yours

Dr Josa C. Depre
Environmentalist and Botanist
info@international-animalrescue-foundation.org.uk

 


Exposing Children to Violence – Informal Investigation.

Child abuse 2

Children exposed to any from of violence can enact that violence out onto others which is not uncommon knowledge. Scientists, neurologists, child behavioural experts, psychologists and psychiatrists have all used various forms of analysis that have shown children exposed to “continued” violent acts can then copy their abuser or abuser[s] traits. It must also be noted though, not all children or adults turn out to be abusers of which should never be used in debate.

We wish to make it clear now that this article documents on true factual information based on hunting and exposing children to violence. This article is not in anyway supportive of “responsible hunting or trophy hunting” nor are its authors or organisation[s]. We also wish to state clearly now this article is informal and based on whether any hunting exposure or “human on human violence” can later lead to murder or animal abuse.

This week’s article we focus on “trophy hunting”, “responsible hunting” and “children exposed to violence”. International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa has since 2011 been lobbying all African country ministries to implement restrictions and/or bans on trophy hunting for various reasons listed below;

  • Hunting blocks purchased by hunting organisations reduces land mass for “wild animals”.
  • Trophy hunting has been linked directly to poaching of which evidence has clearly shown many hunters dabbling in the black market wildlife trade.
  • Sport hunting is linked to serious declines of many African and non-African native species decline as stated in various on-line journals written by ourselves, non-related wildlife organisations and the IUCN.
  • Child abuse – sport hunting and “responsible hunting”. Children exposed directly to uncontrolled sport hunting have shown more “abusive traits” and mental illnesses compared to those that are taught “responsible hunting”. However this article should not in any way be used as debate to prove that “any hunting” can later lead to children killing. Concluding we have clearly shown that “exposing children to ANY violence can directly lead to more narcissistic and/or psychopathic violent behaviours.

Today we focus on sport hunting, trophy hunting and “abuse”.

  • Sustainability of hunting means that the use of these natural resources must be assured not only in the present but also to future generations.
  • Trophy hunting is the selective hunting of wild game animals. Although parts of the slain animal may be kept as a hunting trophy or memorial (usually the skin, antlers and/or head), the carcass itself is sometimes used as food.
  • Abuse can be noted as cruel and violent treatment of a person or animal that can lead to the “abused” then showing direct similar traits carried on from their “abuser[s]” of abuse to others late on in life.

International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa welfare experts are become increasingly concerned with regards to the increased exposure of sport hunting to minors within South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe. Pictures and videos of children as young as “seven” years old have emerged on-line and off depicting them sat with a sport hunted lion, giraffe, elephant, leopards and even crocodiles being some of the most commonly seen photographs.  Our concerns are with regards to minors being exposed to such violent acts of animal killing whilst child is still within the developing stage and not fully understanding rights and wrongs from piers.

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Please note this article does not change our perspective on “trophy hunting or responsible hunting.

Sport/Trophy Hunting -

Trophy hunting is the selective hunting of wild game animals. Although parts of the slain animal may be kept as a hunting trophy or memorial (usually the skin, antlers and/or head), the carcass itself is sometimes used as food. Trophy hunting has firm supporters and opponents. Public debate about trophy hunting often centres on the question of the morality of sport hunting and the question of the extent to which the money paid by trophy hunters benefits the population of game animals and the local economy. Trophy hunting should not be confused with poaching, the practice of taking game illegally.

Educative responsible hunting -

  1. Safe – bottom line you must follow the safety rules for gun handling and hunting. If you endanger yourself, others or property you are not a responsible hunter.
  2. Lawful – Game laws can be complicated and tempting to bend or break. But they have a vital purpose and must be followed to the letter and spirit.
  3. Clean Kill – Responsible hunters only shoot at game they know they can kill, not to see if they can hit it. Accidents happen, but we do everything we can to make one-shot kills. Excuses like I didn’t have time to sight in, or practice or check my pattern are just not tolerable by “responsible hunters”.
  4. Full Utilization – If you kill it you eat it. If you don’t like mergansers and don’t know anyone who does – don’t shoot them. For game like moose it takes planning ahead to be sure you can get it out of the woods and cool it down before it spoils, not as easy as you might think. The exception to this rule is damage or cull shooting. But that is different than hunting and I still think the critter should be used if at all possible, even if it is just cleaning the coyote skull for the local Boy Scout troop.
  5. Fair Chase – If it is a 100% guaranteed kill or the animal can’t get away it is not an ethical hunt. The outcome of the hunt must be in doubt up to the second the trigger is pulled. Anything else is just shooting or slaughtering. Within this definition is lots of room and it will vary between hunters and even the same hunter. There is inherent conflict between fair chase and clean kill. If you erect to high a barrier to harvest, say using a homemade stick bow, you could, without a lot of discipline, set your self up for wounding animals because your skill level is not high enough to be successful under reasonable conditions.
  6. Support Conservation – This applies primarily to more experienced hunters. I don’t think you can call yourself a responsible hunter unless you are actively supporting wildlife conservation beyond buying licenses and paying tax on equipment and ammo. We need to be in the arena supporting scientific management and environmentally sound policies- politically, physically and monetarily. I also don’t think paying dues to a hunting club or conservation organization is enough. It is a great start but not enough. We need to be actively engaged with that club, doing things like habitat work on the ground and making those phone calls to legislators.

As one can clearly see trophy hunting and responsible hunting are not in any way shape or form the same. The only identical similarities are that of killing, harvesting and permits. Whilst we are completely against all hunting it must be noted that there is by far more control within “responsible hunting” and that of “trophy hunting”.. Responsible hunters educate their children on “killing humanely, quick kills, slaughter and preparation, ensuring wildlife disruption” is kept to a bare minimal. The trophy/sport hunter does not “kill for the meat, lacks education on the animal[s] they are to shoot, many are very poor hunters with hardly any firearms training, funding generated within the trophy hunting business rarely supports wildlife preservation. Our own evidence plus that of law enforcements clearly shows that an educated hunter is less likely to commit violent crime to an animal. However it must be made clear now that regardless of whether the child has been educated on the rights and wrongs of animal killing the fact stands at this; Any child exposed to any form of violence is more susceptible to become abusive or to enact violent crime[s]/anti social behaviour.

Brain development and exposure to violence;

At birth, the human brain is undeveloped. Not all of the brain’s areas are organized and fully functional. It is during childhood that the brain matures and the whole set of brain-related capabilities develop in a sequential fashion. We crawl before we walk, we babble before we talk. The development of the brain during infancy and childhood follows the bottom-up structure. The most regulatory, bottom regions of the brain develop first; followed, in sequence, by adjacent but higher, more complex regions.

The process of sequential development of the brain and, of course, the sequential development of function, is guided by experience. The brain develops and modifies itself in response to experience. Neurons and neuronal connections (synapses) change in an activity-dependent fashion. This “use-dependent” development is the key to understanding the impact of neglect, exposure to violence and trauma on children.

These areas organize during development and change in the mature brain in a “use-dependent” fashion. The more a certain neural system is activated, the more it will “build-in” this neural state: what occurs in this process is the creation of an “internal representation” of the experience corresponding to the neural activation. This “use-dependent” capacity to make an “internal representation” of the external or internal world is the basis for learning and memory. The simple and unavoidable result of this sequential neurodevelopment is that the organizing, “sensitive” brain of an infant or young child is more malleable to experience than a mature brain.

While experience may alter and change the functioning of an adult, experience literally provides the organizing framework for an infant and child. The brain is most plastic (receptive to environmental input) in early childhood. The consequence of sequential development is that as different regions are organizing, they require specific kinds of experience targeting the region’s specific function (e.g., visual input while the visual system is organizing) in order to develop normally. These times during development are called critical or sensitive periods. Whilst these times are developing, exposure to environmental abuse, animal abuse or both can alter the way in which the child brain later functions in life. (E.g) exposing a child within the developing times acts of animal slaughter and abuse can lead the child to believe that what their pier/parent or sibling is enacting is completely normal behaviour. After all child is “developing” and will not know right from wrong. Another concern raised is when the child’s brain is fully developed between the ages of 20-25. Prolonged exposure “violent acts” is again seen as normal of which crime then becomes a concern.

 

With optimal experiences, the brain develops healthy, flexible and diverse capabilities. When there is disruption of the timing, intensity, quality or quantity of normal developmental experiences, however, there may be devastating impact on neurodevelopment — and, thereby, function. For millions of abused and neglected children, the nature of their experiences adversely influences the development of their brains. During the traumatic experience, these children’s brains are in a state of fear-related activation. This activation of key neural systems in the brain leads to adaptive changes in emotional, behavioral and cognitive functioning to promote survival. Yet, persisting or chronic activation of this adaptive fear response can result in the maladaptive persistence of a fear state. This activation causes hypervigilance, increased muscle tone, a focus on threat-related cues (typically non-verbal), anxiety, behavioral impulsivity — all of which are adaptive during a threatening event yet become maladaptive when the immediate threat has passed.

This is the dilemma that traumatic abuse brings to the child’s developing brain. The very process of using the proper adaptive neural response during a threat will also be the process that underlies the neural pathology, which causes so much distress and pain through the child’s life. The chronically traumatized child will develop a host of physical signs (e.g., altered cardiovascular regulation) and symptoms (e.g., attentional, sleep and mood problems) which make their lives difficult.

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There is hope, however. The brain is very “plastic” — meaning it is capable of changing in response to experiences, especially repetitive and patterned experiences. Furthermore, the brain is most plastic during early childhood. Aggressive early identification and intervention with abused and neglected children has the capacity to modify and influence development in many positive ways.

The elements of successful intervention must be guided by the core principles of brain development. The brain changes in a use-dependent fashion. Therapeutic interventions that restore a sense of safety and control are very important for the acutely traumatized child. In cases of chronic abuse and neglect, however, the very act of intervening can contribute to the child’s catalogue of fearful situation. Investigation, court, removal, placement, re-location, and re-unification all contribute to the unknown, uncontrollable and, often, frightening experiences of the abused child. Our systems, placements and therapeutic activities can diminish the fearful nature of these children’s lives by providing consistency, repetition (familiarity), nurturance, predictability and control (returned to the child). Yet the poorly coordinated, over-burdened and reactive systems mandated to help these children rarely can provide those key elements.

Hunting;

Surveys conducted over a period of five years by ourselves and third parties have  shown that responsible hunters that teach their children to hunt are less likely to see their children enact violence onto others. The responsible hunter will during the process of educating their child ensure child is tutored correctly, understands the correct protocol of humane quick kill, importance of killing, preparing and feeding family all meat from the slaughtered animal. Father and/or mother will teach child that what is taken from the land must be given back, to aid conservation to ensure that no animal that they kill is “left suffering”. Whilst we are totally against hunting it must be noted that whilst the teacher is constantly with their child teaching wrongs from rights abuse in the later years is kept to a bare minimal. This “type” hunting may reduce future abuse because father and mother has “educated” their child. There is little education within the trophy hunting sector and as explained many animals are left to suffer from inexperienced hunters that can barely hold or shoot a rifle professionally.

Occasionally we view and hear debates with regards to hunters turning out to be abusers or even killers based on the fact their mother, father or family relative have taught them to kill animals. There are also cases where many people have stated if you have been abused as a child whether it be exposure to abuse or physical abuse you’ll later on turn out to become an abuser. We would like to dispel this theory as its not entirely factual. Not all children or adults even exposed to violence then become an abuser. Cognitive therapy, counselling or medication has helped to alive-ate many children and young adults exposed to violence within their early years. In many cases some children are not even affected by such violent exposure however it must be noted that the “victim” will never entirely forget their past.

Below is the story of a man that was never exposed to “any hunting” – he taught himself. Please do note though the “early abuses” inflicted down to him of which he was bullied at school and didn’t have an entirely good relationship with his father. Hansen later went on a killing spree hunting his victims down in the same way a trophy hunter or responsible hunter would stalk and kill an animal.

Robert Hansen;

A.K.A.: “The Alaska’s Serial Killer”
Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Rape – Flew his victims into the Alaskan wilderness and hunted them down like wild game
Number of victims: 17 – 21
Date of murders: 1973 – 1983
Date of arrest: June 1983
Date of birth: February 15, 1939
Victims profile: Women (prostitutes, topless dancers, or topless barmaids)
Method of murder: Shooting (.223-caliber Ruger Mini-14 rifle)
Location: Anchorage, Alaska, USA
Status: Sentenced to a term of life imprisonment plus 461 years on February 28, 1984

Hansen was married in 1961 and divorced within the year, following his first arrest, on charges of arson. Six years later, he wed another Pocahontas native and she followed him to Anchorage, Alaska, where he opened his own bakery and prospered in a new land, safely removed from the painful memories of childhood and adolescence. Hansen took flying lessons and purchased his own private plane, earning a reputation as an outdoors man and hunter who stalked Dahl sheep, wolves, and bear with a rifle or bow and arrow.

In 1972, Hansen was arrested twice more, charged with the abduction and attempted rape of a housewife (who escaped his clutches) and the rape of a prostitute (who did not). Serving less than six months on a reduced charge, he was picked up again, for shoplifting a chain saw, in 1976. Convicted of larceny, he was sentenced to five years in prison, but the verdict was overturned on appeal, the Alaska Supreme Court regarding his sentence as “too harsh.”
Unknown to local authorities, Hansen’s visible activities were only the tip of a very lethal iceberg. According to his subsequent confession, Hansen preyed consistently on women in the decade between 1973 and 1983, murdering 17 and raping another 30 who survived.

As targets, he selected prostitutes, “exotic” dancers and the like, abducting them by airplane to the wilderness outside of Anchorage, where they were forced to act out Hansen’s private fantasies. “If they came across with what I wanted,” he explained, “we’d come back to town. I’d tell them if they made any trouble for me, I had connections and would have them put in jail for being prostitutes.” Resistance — or demands for payment after sex — resulted in assorted victims being murdered, sometimes with the ghoulish touch of Hansen stripping them and stalking them like animals, making the kill with a hunting knife or his favorite big-game rifle.

The first indication of a killer at large came in 1980, when construction workers unearthed a woman’s remains near Eklutna Road. Stabbed to death in 1979, she was never identified, dubbed “Eklutna Annie” by police assigned to work the case. Later that year, the corpse of Joanna Messina was found in a gravel pit near Seward, and a special task force was organized to probe the killings. Topless dancer Sherry Morrow had been dead ten months when hunters found her body in a shallow grave beside the Knik River, but the discovery brought authorities no closer to a solution in their case.
In 1983, Hansen decided to save time and energy by bringing his victims home. He called it his “summer project,” laying the groundwork by packing his wife and two children off on a European vacation. Next, he began running ads in a local singles newspaper, seeking women to “join me in finding what’s around the next bend, over the next hill.”

On June 13, 1983, a 17-year-old captive escaped from Hansen en route to his airplane hangar, handcuffs still dangling from one wrist as she ran for help. Her charges brought Hansen to the attention of task force detectives, and he ultimately confessed to a series of 17 murders, including that of Paula Golding, found by hunters in September 1983.
On a flying tour of the wilderness, Hansen began pointing out graves to state troopers, and they recovered eleven bodies over the next eight months. Several victims remained anonymous, their names unknown even to Hansen, but others were identified as Rox Easland, Lisa Futrell, Andera Altiery, Angela Fetter, Tersa Watson, and Delynn Frey — all reported missing from the Anchorage area during Hansen’s reign of terror.

On February 18, 1984, Robert Hansen pled guilty on four counts of first-degree murder, in the cases of “Eklutna Annie,” Joanna Messina, Sherry Morrow, and Paula Golding. Charges were dismissed in the other cases, but it scarcely mattered, as Hansen was sentenced to-a term of life imprisonment plus 461 years.
Michael Newton – An Encyclopedia of Modern Serial Killers – Hunting Humans..

Case study – Abused child turns into a serial killer  – Exposing children to violence whether it be hunting, human on human abuse has now led experts to conclude that no matter what the “type” of violence or exposure to violence is inflicted can seriously affect a child’s thinking and thought process later on in life. Many crimes committed by young men and women have been carried out by both sexes just after complete brain maturity. 

This case is rather interesting as it depicts many traits that have been explained within our own past journals and that of others. The young Richard Trenton Chase was a healthy child when born that showed no signs of mental illness or wanting to maim animals or humans. However as Richard developed on into childhood his father an abusive man dished out strict punishment for the most petty of things. Please read more below.

A.K.A.: “The Vampire of Sacramento”
Classification: Spree killer
Characteristics: Mental illness – Necrophilia – Cannibalism – Mutilation
Number of victims: 6
Date of murders: December 1977 – January 1978
Date of arrest: January 1978
Date of birth: May 23, 1950
Victims profile: Ambrose Griffin, a 51 / Teresa Wallin, 22 (three months pregnant) / Evelyn Miroth, 38; her son, Jason, 6; her nephew, David, 22-month-old; and her friend, Dan Meredith, 51
Method of murder: Shooting (.22 handgun)
Location: Sacramento, California, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on May 8, 1979. Committed suicide with an overdose of prison doctor-prescribed antidepressants that he had been saving up for the last few weeks on December 26, 1980

Richard Trenton Chase (May 23, 1950 – December 26, 1980) was an American serial killer who killed six people in the span of a month in California. He earned the nickname The Vampire of Sacramento because he drank the blood of his victims and ate their internal organs. He did this as part of a delusion that he needed to prevent Nazis from turning his blood into powder via poison they had planted beneath his soap dish.

Early years/first signs of mental illness

Born in 1950, he was raised in a strict household and was beaten often by his father. In his teens he became an alcoholic and also developed a penchant for killing and mutilating animals and firestarting, all common traits amongst serial killers in their youth.

In high school, Chase had a handful of girlfriends, none of whom he was able to maintain a steady relationship with, partly due to his inability to achieve or maintain an erection, and because of an inability to become aroused in the presence of females. Upon consulting a psychiatrist, Chase was told that the root of his problems was either repressed rage or mental illness. Chase did not seek any further treatment after this diagnosis; it would later be determined that Chase had an aversion to conventional sex and could only achieve arousal and orgasm through violent or disturbed acts, such as killing animals and necrophilia.

Early adulthood

As an adult, Chase moved back in with his mother, where he began to accuse her of attempting to murder him via poison. Chase’s father purchased an apartment for him and forced him to move out of the house.

Alone in his new apartment, Chase began to capture, kill, and disembowel various animals, which he would then devour raw. He then began to put the entrails of the animals he had killed into a blender in order to make smoothies. Chase reasoned that by drinking these smoothies he was preventing his heart from shrinking; he feared that if it shrank too much it would disappear and then he would die.

Institutionalization

In 1975, Chase was involuntarily committed to a mental institution after being taken to a hospital for blood poisoning, which he contracted after injecting rabbit’s blood into his veins

Chase escaped from the hospital and went home to his mother; he was apprehended and sent to an institution for the criminally insane, where he often shared with the staff fantasies about killing rabbits. He was once found with blood smeared around his mouth; hospital staff discovered that he had captured two birds through the bars on his bedroom windows, snapped their necks, and sucked their blood out. Among themselves, the staff began referring to him as “Dracula.”

After undergoing a battery of treatments involving psychotropic drugs, Chase was deemed no longer a danger to society, and in 1976, he was released into the recognizance of his parents; his mother, deciding that her son did not need to be on the antischizophrenic medication that he had been prescribed, weaned him off it.

Post-institutionalization/worsening behavior

His parents put him up in an apartment, where he began to capture, torture to death, and then drink the blood of rabbits, dogs, and cats; on occasion, he killed and ate neighbor’s pets, and at least once contacted the neighbor by telephone to explain what he had done. At the same time, he developed a fascination for firearms and purchased several handguns, with which he practiced obsessively. He became fascinated by the crimes of the Hillside Strangler; he believed the Strangler was also the victim of the Nazi/UFO conspiracy that he believed he was the victim of.

Chase also began to lose interest in caring for himself; he neglected personal hygiene such as bathing, grooming, and brushing his teeth. He stopped eating and dropped to the fairly meager weight of 145 lb.
One day in 1977, Chase rang his mother’s doorbell and greeted her by thrusting a dead cat in her face. He then threw the cat to the ground, knelt down, ripped its stomach open with his bare hands, and stuck his hands inside the cat, smearing its blood all over his face while screaming. His mother calmly returned inside the house and did not report the incident to anyone.

On August 3, 1977, Nevada state police discovered Chase’s Ford Ranchero lodged in a sand drift near Pyramid Lake, Nevada; inside were two rifles, a pile of clothes, a bucket full of blood and a cow’s liver. The officers tracked down Chase, who was naked and screaming in the sand, soaked from head to toe in blood. When questioned, he claimed that the blood was his own, and that it had leaked out of him through his flesh.

On December 27, 1977, Chase fired a .22 handgun into the home of a Sacramento woman. A police search of the woman’s home found the slug in her kitchen; no one was harmed.

The first murder

On December 29, 1977, Chase killed his first victim in a drive-by shooting, in an apparent “warm up” for the crimes he planned on committing. The victim was Ambrose Griffin, a 51-year-old engineer and father of two, who was helping his wife bring groceries into their home. One of Griffin’s sons reported seeing a neighbor walking around their East Sacramento neighborhood with a .22 rifle earlier that week; the neighbor’s rifle was seized, but ballistics tests determined that it was not the murder weapon; however, it was determined that the .22 used to kill Ambrose Griffin was the same one used to fire the bullet into the kitchen of the Sacramento woman two days before.

The second murder

On January 11, 1978, Chase asked his neighbor for a cigarette and then forcibly restrained her until she gave him an entire pack.

Two weeks later, he attempted to enter the home of another woman but, finding that her doors were locked, went into her backyard and walked away; Chase later told detectives that he took locked doors as a sign that he was not welcome, but that unlocked doors were an invitation to come inside. While wandering around, he encountered a girl named Nancy Holden, with whom he attended high school. He attempted to get a ride from her, but frightened by his appearance, she refused.

He went down the street where he broke into the home of a young married couple, stole some of their valuables, urinated into a drawer of their infant’s clothing, and defecated on their son’s bed. The couple came home while Chase was still in the house; the husband attacked him, but Chase escaped.

Chase continued to attempt to enter homes until he came across the home of David and Teresa Wallin. David was at work; Teresa, three months pregnant, was in the middle of taking out the garbage and thus had left her front door unlocked. Chase surprised her in the home and shot her three times, once in the hand (a defensive wound) and twice in the head, killing her; it was the same gun used to kill Ambrose Griffin.

Chase then dragged her body to her bedroom and raped it post-mortem while repeatedly stabbing it with a butcher knife. When he had finished, he carved the corpse open and removed several of her internal organs, using a bucket to collect the blood and then taking it in the bathroom to bathe in it. He then sliced off her nipple and drank her blood, using an empty yogurt container as a drinking glass; before leaving, he went into the yard, found a pile of dog feces, and returned to stuff it into the corpse’s mouth and throat.

The third murder/mass murder

On January 23, 1978, two days after killing Teresa Wallin, Chase purchased two puppies from a neighbor, which he then killed and drank the blood of, leaving the bodies on the neighbor’s front lawn.

On January 27, Chase committed his final murder, which also qualifies as a mass murder. He entered the home of 38-year-old Evelyn Miroth, who was babysitting her 22-month-old nephew, David; also present in the home was Eveyln’s six-year-old son Jason, and Dan Meredith, a neighbor who had come over to check on Evelyn. Evelyn was in the bath while Dan watched the children; he went into the front hallway when Chase entered the home, and was shot in the head at point-blank range with Chase’s .22 handgun, killing him (again, this was the same gun used in the Griffin and Wallin murders).

Chase then turned the corpse over and stole Dan’s wallet and car keys. Jason ran to his mother’s bedroom, where Chase fatally shot him twice in the head at point-blank range; on the way to killing Jason, Chase also shot David in the head.

Chase then entered the bathroom and fatally shot Evelyn once in the head. He dragged her corpse onto the bed, where he simultaneously sodomized it and drank its blood from a series of slices to the back of the neck. Medical examiners reported an inordinate amount of semen in the corpse’s rectum, indicating an “unusual amount” of ejaculations.

When Chase had finished, he stabbed her “at least half a dozen times” in the anus, the knife penetrating her uterus. He stabbed her in a series of vital points on the body, which caused blood from her internal organs to pool into her abdomen, which he then sliced open and drained into a bucket; he then consumed all of the blood. Chase then went to retrieve David’s corpse; he took it to the bathroom and split its skull open in the bathtub, and consumed some of the brain matter.

Outside, a six-year-old girl with whom Jason Miroth had a playdate knocked on the door, startling Chase; he fled the residence, stealing Dan Meredith’s car; the girl alerted a neighbor. The neighbor broke into the Miroth home where he discovered the bodies and contacted the authorities. Upon entering the home, police discovered that Chase had left perfect handprints and perfect imprints of the soles of his shoes in Evelyn’s blood.

Chase, meanwhile, took David’s corpse home with him, where he chopped off his penis and used it as a straw through which he sucked the blood out of the body. He then sliced the corpse open and consumed several internal organs and made smoothies out of others, finally disposing of the corpse at a nearby church.

Exposing violence to children within the “developing times” can lead to deep emotional trauma. Whether it be trophy hunting, responsible hunting or just human on human abuse. Criminology reports have shown that children whom are “taught” rights from wrongs are less likely to pursue criminal activities themselves. Evidence clearly shows although “small” that good parenting decreases adolescent violent tendencies.

Acts of cruelty to animals are not mere indications of a minor personality flaw in the abuser; they are symptomatic of a deep mental disturbance. Research in psychology and criminology shows that people who commit acts of cruelty to animals don’t stop there—many of them move on to their fellow humans. “Murderers … very often start out by killing and torturing animals as kids,” says Robert K. Ressler, who developed profiles of serial killers for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Studies have shown that violent and aggressive criminals are more likely to have abused animals as children than criminals who are considered non-aggressive. A survey of psychiatric patients who had repeatedly tortured dogs and cats found that all of them had high levels of aggression toward people as well. According to a New South Wales newspaper, a police study in Australia revealed that “100 percent of sexual homicide offenders examined had a history of animal cruelty.” To researchers, a fascination with cruelty to animals is a red flag in the backgrounds of serial killers and rapists. According to the FBI’s Ressler, “These are the kids who never learned it’s wrong to poke out a puppy’s eyes.”

Concluding;

These are the kids who never learned its wrong to poke out a puppy’s eyes. So is it correct to state that children whom are taught “responsible hunting” are less likely to kill or abuse other living beings? Based on surveys and other third party information we have shown that responsible hunters are less likely to abuse, what if though them responsible hunters were physically and emotionally abused by their parents or other family members/friends?. Based on criminology reports and forensic adolescent psychiatry its quite evident that regardless of whether you’ve been educated on how to kill animals responsibly or humanely or have little or no educating in hunting whatsoever there is little evidence to actually conclude that responsible hunters are less likely to abuse than those of “trophy hunters”. The real issue here is when a child is exposed to ANY form of abuse within the developing stages of mental maturity. Abuse is abuse no matter how much you sugar coat it, make it look like education its abuse full stop. And whilst our children are within the developing stages of mental maturity it would deeded as “abusive” to educate your child on animal killing whether it be for sport or sustainably. Children learn from a young age fast, they pick up very bad habits from their piers. Just because child is not showing no signs of mental disorders or conduct disorder doesn’t mean for one minute that the child you educated to kill an animal hasn’t been deeply traumatised, and that is a FACT.

 

Thank you taking the time to read this informal article;

Author – Dr Josa C. Depre

International Animal Rescue Foundation  

 


Vietnam – Hanoi Connection – Thit Cho – Thit Meo.

IARFTHIT Hoang Giang, Hanoi, Vietnam. Two years ago I found myself on an assignment investigating the wildlife trade deep within Vietnam within the cites of Saigon and Hanoi. Dog meat (thit cho) and cat meat (thit meo) eaten as a prime delicacy within Vietnam is located just about on every street corner within many restaurants and street vendors. Trade is large and smuggling is big business from Thailand into Vietnam from Laos. The stench of rotting flesh and unhygienic premises is enough to turn anyone of food forever, however the true exposure of this trade must be exposed continuously and those without a voice must be heard. Welcome to Vietnam a dog and cats true nightmare a tale of barbaric, gross animal abuse and mis-justice, No animal is safe here, even the locals that do not consume the “delicacy” that own pets dare not allow their dog or cat to venture out into the streets in fear they too could be snatched by smuggling gangs thus ending up on some diners plate the next day.

Please sign the petition lower down in the photo link or here. Please sign Say No To Dog Meat.Net’s second petition here.

The true horror of the Vietnamese pet meat trade is being attacked at every angle by Animal Rights Activists, Conservationists and overseas petitions calling the President of Vietnam Tru’o’ng Tan Sang to ban the trade immediately and end this horrific non-medicinal practice.

Trade History; 

Every year hundreds of thousands of dogs and cats are snatched in Thailand then smuggled into Vietnam. The demand is so lucrative that stopping this trade is going to take “years” rather than months to stop. Down the leafy streets of north Hanoi’s Cau Giay district, not far from Nguyen’s family business, sits one of the city’s most famous restaurants, Quan Thit Cho Chieu Hoa, which has only one thing on the menu. There’s dog stew, served warm in a soup of blood; barbecued dog with lemongrass and ginger; steamed dog with shrimp-paste sauce; dog entrails sliced thin like sausage; and skewered dog, marinated in chilli and coriander. This is just one of a number of dogmeat restaurants in Cau Giay, but it is arguably the most revered, offering traditional dishes in a quiet setting along a canal. “I know it seems weird for me to eat here when I have my own dogs at home and would never consider eating them,” says Duc Cuong, a 29-year-old doctor, as he wraps a sliver of entrails in a basil leaf and takes a bite. “But I don’t mind eating other people’s dogs.” He swallows and clears his throat. “Dog tastes good and it’s good for you.” No one knows exactly when the Vietnamese started eating dog, but its consumption – primarily in the north – underlines a long tradition. And it is increasingly popular: activists claim up to 5 million of the animals are now eaten every year. Dog is the go-to dish for drinking parties, family reunions and special occasions. It is said to increase a man’s virility, warm the blood on cold winter nights and help provide medicinal cures, and is considered a widely available, protein-rich, healthy alternative to the pork, chicken and beef that the Vietnamese consume every day. everyyearIARF

PLEASE SUPPORT SOI DOGS BY PROMOTING THE SHADOW TRADE ABOVE AND ENCOURAGING ALL MEDIA SPECIALISTS TO NOW PROMOTE – WE CANNOT SAVE EVERY SINGLE DOG BUT WE’LL DAMN WELL TRY.

As with the Rhino horn trade there is to date no proven medical literature to prove dog or cat meat holds any form of medical active properties yet people still continue to eat the meat of dog and cat. Dog and cat meat is normally consumed in the north rather than the south of Vietnam. International Animal Rescue Foundation’s Malaysian Environmental and Animal Welfare officer Arissa Lan Li questioned a trade dealer this year of which stated cats were used to protect their rice harvests from rodents. The trader then explained that cats seen then as a more good luck pet then multiplied thus causing hygiene and over populations concerns. “Cats were becoming quite an issue within the city the trader stated, so many locals then went back to dog ownership of which they used the dogs to chase feral cats away”.

 

Whether this is actually true we ourselves do not know, however in the north there are more paddy fields and harvests than in the south of which rice harvests are colossal and form part of Asia’s staple diet. Rice fields in Vietnam (ruộng or cánh đồng in Vietnamese) are the predominant land use in the valley of the Red River and the Mekong Delta. Dogs then became problematic in the north of which it is believed the trade in dog and cat meat then took off to control both overpopulations. Rodents adversely affect rural families in three main ways: they eat agricultural crops in the field; they eat, spoil and contaminate stored food; and they carry diseases of humans and their livestock. In the Asia–Pacific region, rodents are one of the most important constraints to agricultural production.

Management of rodent pests in agricultural regions is a high priority for reducing poverty. Arissa Lan Li  questioned a dozen Vietnamese farmers of which explained more or less the same stories with regards to cats being used as rodent control. Many farmers questioned confirmed that cats then became more an issue thus seeing the introduction of dogs. Both dog and cats then became (cuisine) whilst Vietnamese locals fought hard to control over populations of both dogs, cats and rodents. According to statistics released by Binh Dinh’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, more than 1,000 ha of the winter-spring crops have been destroyed by rats. Evidence dating back to roughly 1969 shows that rodent control although problematic was under control however with cat meat consumption now on the rise rodents are now again taking over rice paddy fields again. FAQcgfs1 Picture above shows a Vietnam paddy farmer killing a rodent.

Since the reduction of cats now used in the meat trade rodent infestation has risen considerably. AFVN estimates that stray cats in rice fields kill approximately 400 mice per cat, each year and that cats do not have an adverse effect on the environment.  As well as mice, rats have been infesting rice fields too. For a nation who dislikes cats, maybe cats are heaping back some revenge by in rice fields becoming overrun by rodents. Unlike western farmers that used high residual chemical rodent control – in Vietnam this was not an option due to high scale farming and harvests and the cost that surrounds “chemical” pest control. As explained we still do not know whether this is true and if a true date can actually be placed into the domain as to when the pet meat trade actually took of in Vietnam. From looking at all evidence though it appears that the pet trade within “Vietnam” being a prime example (may) have began as early as the 1950’s.

Abuse; 

Some diners believe the more an animal suffers before it dies, the tastier its meat, which may explain the brutal way dogs are killed in Vietnam – usually by being bludgeoned to death with a heavy metal pipe (this can take 10 to 12 blows), having their throats slit, being stabbed in the chest with a large knife, or being burned alive. “I’ve got footage of dogs being force-fed when they get to Vietnam, a bit like foie gras,” says John Dalley, a British retire who heads the Thailand-based Soi Dog Foundation, which works to stop the dog meat trade in south-east Asia. “They shove a tube into their stomach and pump solid rice and water in them to increase their weight for sale.” Nguyen has a simpler method for bumping profits: “When we want to increase the weight, we just put a stone in the dog’s mouth.” He shrugs, before opening up his cage for another kill. IARFABUSETM Its estimated that some 200,000 dogs are smuggled over the border from north-east Thailand into Vietnam. Its no pretty sight too, as much as 5-10 dogs can be crammed in tight wire mesh cages that then endure a hellish trip by road then river. The pain inflicted is horrific with countless dogs and cats suffering broken limbs or dying from over exposure or dehydration. When visiting Vietnam myself investigating the illegal wildlife trade seeing such sights in real life are by far more emotionally heart breaking than viewing on-line. One can shout and scream as much as one likes on-line or in the safe confines of their own home. Within dog meat markets though your emotions must be kept in tact.

Dog meat traders that get a whiff of whom you are can and have attacked many investigative officers leaving them with serious injuries. When the dogs or cats arrive in Vietnam, the suffering doesn’t end there. A common belief is that stress and fear releases hormones that improve the taste of the meat, so the dogs are placed in stress cages that restrict their movement. Eventually, the dogs are either bludgeoned to death or have their throats cut in front of other dogs who are awaiting the same fate. In some cases, they’ve been known to be skinned alive. “Dogs are highly intelligent animals so if you kill a dog and you have a whole cage of dogs next to the one that’s being killed, those dogs that are going to be killed next know what’s going on,” Bendixsen said. According to animal rights groups, dog smugglers round up everything from family pets to Thailand’s ubiquitous strays — known as soi dogs — to sell the animals in Vietnam, or even as far away as China where a pedigree dog can fetch a premium price.

 

John Dalley of the Phuket-based Soi Dog Foundation estimates 98% of the dogs are domesticated and that some are even still wearing collars and have been trained and respond to commands. “You can see all types of pedigree animals in these captured Thai shipments — golden retrievers, long-haired terriers, you name it,” says Dalley. “Some are bought. Others are snatched from streets, temples, and even people’s gardens. “In the past, batches of stray dogs were traded for plastic buckets, but these days with demand soaring — especially in the winter months when dog meat is regarded as a “warming” food — a dog in Thailand can fetch up to $10. This figure jumps to around $60 once they are served up in restaurants in Vietnam. Dalley says pet dogs, in particular, are targeted because they are friendlier and easier to catch. Animal rights activists estimate that more than one million dogs are eaten each year in Vietnam; for the dog smugglers of the Mekong, business is booming. ljR73gD The following picture above was not taken in Vietnam but South Korea and depicts what John Dalley manager of Soi Dogs confirms with regards to pedigree dogs used in the meat trade.

These two dogs are Golden Retrievers highly prized for the meat they were both a family pet. These pedigree dogs sell more than your non-pedigree of which smugglers search for on the streets in Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, South and North Korea. Pet “meat” trade may be booming in Vietnam and China however so is the bi-products of dogs. Daily Mail UK reported how dogs are also captured then killed to make GOLF GLOVES. Canine testicles are used to make these repulsive sports gloves of which demand is said to be high. ‘The skins would be bleached – some are then sent (by smugglers) to other countries to be made into gloves for playing golf,’ Lamai Sakolpitak, from a special police unit to suppress smuggling and the trade in animal parts, told AFP. But stopping what Capt Teerakiet calls a “billion-baht industry” is close to impossible under existing Thai law. It is illegal to steal domestic pets but not to round up stray dogs and pack them into cages. Animal cruelty is not banned, so a law is only actually broken when an attempt is made to smuggle the dogs out of Thailand. “On the scale of one to 10, I would say it’s a minus-one as far as the government’s concern for animal welfare goes,” said Roger Lohanan from the Thai Animal Guardians Association. As explained stopping this disgusting trade is going to take years rather than months. Pet meat consumption within Vietnam is “one” of the largest trades of non-legalised meat trade within Asia to date. Traditionalists will eat dog meat only on the lunar months while non-traditionalists will consume pet meat as a staple part of their diet. Just to give you some idea of how large this trade is I have included just a handful of (dog meat recipes) collated from authors around the globe.

Recipes include the following; 

  • Rựa Mận – Steamed dog meat with shrimp paste, rice flour, and lemongrass
  • Giềng Me Mắm Tôm – Steamed dog in shrimp paste, galangal, and rice vinegar
  • Thịt Chó Hấp – Steamed dog meat
  • Thịt Chó Nướng – Grilled dog meat
  • Dồi Chó – Dog sausage
  • Chó Xào Sả Ớt – Fried dog in lemongrass and chili
  • Canh Xáo Măng Chó – Bamboo and dog meat soup

Pet meat trade is vastly different to that of the legalised cattle meat trade. Dogs and cats are shown no mercy and as explained above are put through a brief hellish cycle of abuse, confinement and then slaughter of the most barbaric. Below is just one example of how a dog meat dish is prepared. Under no circumstances is this “food preparation” or “slaughter” even identical to that of the cattle meat trade and meat preparation. Dog_Trade016-1

Trader and consumer; 

Below is the sick – deprived and twisted method of dog slaughter and meat preparation Vietnam style straight from a street trader himself.

1. Strangle the dog from behind by surprise. Do this swiftly to prevent the dog from biting. Gag its mouth. Throw the dog in a waiting jeepney, tricycle or van. Drive as fast to avoid apprehension. When accosted though, bribe the barangay tanod or police with your crispy Php 500 bill. Should you bought the dog from a nearby area from an owner who is in dire need of money, put the dog in a sack. Carry the sack on your back.

2. Remove the dog from the sack. Tie the dog in a post. Do not hear its barks, cries and howls for dear life. Hit its head with a two-by-two inch piece of lumber with a nail at the end. Do this several times until it is dead.

3. Hang the lifeless dog on a tree branch or post upside down. Slit its throat. Place a basin underneath to catch blood. Sprinkle rice and salt on blood until it solidifies. (Blood of black dogs is a potent medicine against tuberculosis, says a folk belief in Africa.)

4. Burn the dog coat with a flame thrower. Release the lifeless dog from the post. Shave until its smooth white skin shows.

5. Slice to pieces. Wash.

6. Put the dog meat in a kawa or a big pan. Boil in vinegar for an hour.

7. Add a little water and sprinkle salt. Do not mix yet. Let it stand for a few more minutes.

8. Cook again in low, cooking fire. Add potatoes, soy sauce and sprinkle with black pepper.

9. Pour tomato sauce, tomato paste, yellow and green peas and garnish with plenty of laurel leaves.

10. Serve with plenty of ice-cold beers or gin.

Any activist that honestly believes the pet meat trade is completely identical to that of the “cattle meat trade” are very wrong. The only identical trait is that of death and even that is not quick nor clean. Below depicts what is called a “style” Michelin restaurant that is within China. Restaurants such as these are a common site all over Northern Vietnam and within Laos too. yona4 While the trade is illegal in Thailand, and authorities have made a number of raids involving thousands of dogs, dog traders claim the laws are unclear and have even mounted counter protests against a series of crackdowns. Smugglers are normally prosecuted under laws that prohibit the illegal trade and transportation of animals and, with no direct animal cruelty laws in Thailand, prosecutors attempt to charge smugglers with cruelty under Criminal Code laws. The Soi Dog Foundation and the Thai Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals are fighting to change that and are currently working through the Department of Livestock Development to get an Animal Welfare Draft Law through the Thai Parliament. The reality, however, is that smugglers often receive light sentences of just a few months in jail. Animal activists also say thousands of impounded dogs — rescued from smugglers — that end up in quarantine centres sometimes find their way back onto the streets and in the dog meat circle again. “This is not about whether it is right or wrong to eat dog meat,” Dalley says. “It is about an illegal trade worth millions of dollars per year organized by criminals. The way in which these dogs are transported and, if they survive, killed, is horrific. “Some of the footage we receive is so horrific it’s too strong even for the media to run. It’s so inhumane … it’s quite literally hell on earth.”

Cat meat horror – Vietnam;  cat4h Picture above depicts a typical cat meat diner within Vietnam of which some 100,000 cats are annually butchered. Back in 2011 many Vietnamese indulged on cat meat being “year of the cat” cats really did suffer a horrific amount of abuse. Like eating dog meat, cat meat is considered a part of the country’s traditional cuisine.

 

Groups of men (more so than women), seated on mats spend their evenings sharing plates of dog/cat meat and drinking alcohol since the meat is believed to raise libido. It is also said to bring luck and good fortune. Some restaurants in Hai Phong and Ha Long Bay even advertise cat meat hot pot as “little tiger”, and cats in cages can be seen meowing away in their cramped and filthy cages. However, Vietnamese aren’t the only ones eating man’s best friend or furry feline, some visitors to the country also enjoy the novelty of tasting and saying, Say No To Dog Meat.Net have documented on many Americans, Canadians, Aussies and Europeans not only liking the food torture but creating on-line cook books and media showing promoting the trade whilst activists and conservationists are trying to end this grisly food delicacy (please see video below).

Please feel free to “educate these irresponsible tourists here

The good news is that recent Vietnamese opinion polls (2011 – 2012)– where animal welfare is a relatively new concept – suggest that the consumption of dogs and cats is losing popularity, especially with the younger generation. Although the consumption of cats increased from 2012, the big picture suggests that eating dogs and cats is slowly beginning to decline as Vietnam clamours to become an international country and aspires to rise to first-world standards. Cats are considered “little tigers” so eating them in Vietnam is supposed to give you the strength of a tiger. Again there is no evidence to even back such claims/beliefs up. CLICK THE PICTURE AND SIGN THE PETITION TODAY Say No To Dog Meat.Net quoted;  By the time smuggled cats or dogs arrive in Vietnam, many have already died and almost all the barely surviving animals are covered in faeces and urine, as well as riddled with diseases, such as rabies. Dog and cat meat trade workers have high incidents of rabies, as they man-handle the animals, loading, unloading and brutally slaughtering them. In the northern province of Quang Ninh, Vietnam, authorities seized over 4,000 kilograms of live cats and cat meat last year, which had been smuggled into Vietnam. Provincial authorities said once the animals are smuggled in by boat at night, they are divided into smaller batches and delivered to restaurants and markets. To avoid detection, cat smugglers have begun killing cats before sneaking 50 kilogram packages of dead cats onto Vietnamese land. Nguyen Dang Truong, chief market manager of Quang Ninh Province, said cat smuggling from China is not new, but the illegal practice has never been carried out on such a large scale. The following is an excerpt from the Vietnamese Labourer News which details dog and cat parasitic worms that are a serious health threat to people who eat cats and dogs: “While both cats and dogs carry ascaris, a parasitic nematode worm that can grow in the human brain, liver and other internal organs, cats are the primary hosts of Toxoplasmosis gondii, a parasitic organism that can cause encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and other neurological diseases.” “It can also affect the heart, liver, inner ears, and eyes. It can be fatal for people with weakened immune systems such as AIDS patients and pregnant women” “Cats also carry agents that can cause fungal skin diseases, typhoid fever, diarrhoea, and potentially fatal blood poisoning, they said, noting that infections are caused during digestion or through open wounds exposed to the slaughtering process.” Asiacatcruelty BACK IN MARCH 2014 – Thai police intercepted a pickup truck with six plastic cages filled with 90 cats in Nakhon Phanom Province in Thailand, on their way to Laos. The cats were ultimately destined for the tables of Vietnam, although the same trade exists even to a greater extent in China. The driver said he was paid approximately $65 to deliver the cats to a middleman on the Mekong River which marks the border between Thailand and Laos, and the middleman would transport them  to Vietnam where they fetch high prices for their meat. The driver was charged with cruelty to animals and transporting livestock without a proper health check or permit, and the cats were sent to a quarantine station. Thai police believe this first case relating to cat smuggling for meat, is almost certainly linked to a local gang involved in smuggling dogs to Vietnam. Usually the perpetrators are lightly fined, released and try again another day.

Public Fight Back; 2010-2014 we have seen quite a rise in public backlash both in China and Vietnam of which dog meat thief’s have been caught red handed of which subsequently were either beaten black and blue by angry baying crowds or recently within Vietnam three dog thief’s were beaten to death by angry locals. Whilst we do not support mob justice or violence we will copy the story here for you to read. International Animal Rescue Foundation, Say No To Dog Meat.Net and Speak Up for the Voiceless denounces all forms of violence. We ask all members of the public not to take the law into your own hands like those did (2010) within Vietnam. Sadly the mob that beat the dog meat traders to death were sentenced to three years in prison.  This matter could have been handled differently however clearly shows the sheer frustration and anger that is now brewing within Asia. publicfightbackIARF

The story can be read hereto;

On June 10, Colonel Le Xuan Diep – Yen Thanh district police chief – said the incident occurred at around 5:30 am the same day in Village 3 of Tan Thanh commune, Yen Thanh district, Nghe An province. At the time, two dog thieves from Dien Lam commune, Dien Chau district drove a motorcycle to Village 3 of Tan Thanh commune to catch dogs. Several villagers detected the thieves after they caught a dog and put the animal into a sack. These people shouted to alarm others and chased after the thieves. Thousands of people flocked to the road to catch the thieves. The thieves were blocked and caught on the village road. After catching the thieves, hundreds of people beat them. Local police tried to rescue the thieves from angry people but they were prevented by extremists. It took them a long time to take the thieves to the hospital. Their motorcycle was burnt down. A thief died at 12.30pm in hospital while the remaining was seriously injured, said Colonel Le Xuan Diep. The case is being investigated by Yen Thanh district police. This is not the first time a dog thief was beaten to death. – Police later confirmed that ten people were sentenced to three years incarceration. Back in April 2014 the same more or less mob justice was inflicted in dog meat traders by baying angry crowds, this time in China. Two Chinese men were brutally beaten by villagers near Guilin city, after being caught stealing dogs for meat, reports The Daily Mail. The pair were caught stealing pets to sell for meat in restaurants. A villager caught the men in the act as they were stealing his dog–shortly after the thieves were bloodily beaten by the villager and his neighbors. The pair were dragged out of their car, beaten with bricks and bats. The car was heavily damaged by rocks as well. The thieves’ car contained three more dead, drugged dogs in the back of their trunk, which caused an even angrier and larger group of attackers, reports Jianxi Daily. Even though the two men were heavily injured, the Sanjiang villagers refused to give-up the dog thieves to the police officers. Instead, they continued to parade them through the streets and demanded a guarantee that they would get compensation for their dead animals. They demanded 50,000 RMB. Picture below depicts Chinese dog killers/traders handed down some rough justice from baying mobs;

Video below shows just how mob justice is dished out in Vietnam. Dog meat thief was in their eyes “taught a lesson”. Please note we do not support acts of violence against anyone or any living being.

 

chinadogkillers According to the Guilin City police report, the thieves would drive into small villages, listening for dogs barking and looking for unattended pets. After finding a decent sized animal, they would throw a peace of pre-drugged meat to the dog, after the drug took hold they would pick up the dog, hit it over the head in order to kill it, and put the carcass in the back of their car. Later they would sell the meat to restaurants and cafes. The situation was resolved only after the families of the two brutally beaten men turned up offering apologies, and promised to pay the compensation for the pets as requested.

Pain; 

Dogs and cats in pain often are quieter and attempt to hide and avoid contact with other dogs, cats and people. This behaviour can also include agitation and fear biting. These types of behaviours are general indicators of pain. The myth that dogs and cats do not feel pain is false. Viewing some of the animals on my trips to Vietnam crying and barking loudly, others sitting in sheer shock or depressed is surely a unique sign that the Vietnamese government must now put a bloody end to this gruesome and unethical food torture trade. Vocalization, if it is not a normal behaviour for the dog, can be a sign of pain. The sounds from the dog for example can be more subtle such as whining or even moaning. Injuries or pain to the legs can cause the dog to limp or have an altered way of walking. The dog will often react if the point of the injury is touched. In some cases the reaction can be violent. Many dogs transported in such small cramped cages often end up with broken limbs however are left to suffer. dogsfeelpainIARF This is a violation of International law yet the trade still continues, dogs and cats suffer no matter what pain is inflicted to them during the process of capture and transportation. All the trader wants is money and while the consumer buys the demand increases. Many dogs within the meat trade will exhibit a lack of appetite while in pain. Even dogs in pain need nutrition however there is no such treatment given – after all there lives are not really important and are killed within hours or days. Any nutrition provided is forced using a steel or plastic tube rammed down the dogs throat of which the dog is then force fed to fatten the animal up. Hardly caring is it? Dogs in pain will show an increase in both breathing and heart rate. A normal heart rate for small dogs or puppies is between 120 and 160 beats per minute. The larger the dog the slower the heart rate, with some large dogs having a pulse of about 60 beats per minute. Normal respiration for a dog at rest is between 10 and 30 breaths per minute. Whilst we know this then we must continue to fight to ban the pet meat trade within Vietnam. Laws must be adopted, traders and traffickers arrested and farms closed down. There is no if’s nor buts the trade must end while there is vast evidence in the domain to prove there is no such medicinal properties within the meat of both dogs and cats, and pain is no myth either.

Dogs are routinely snatched within Vietnam by traffickers or opportunistic snatchers. Please view the video below.

 

Concluding;

The pet meat trade whether in Asia or Africa must come to an end. The only identical trait to both the cattle meat trade and the pet meat trade is that of death. However the brutal deaths, trafficking and abuse is non-identical to that of cattle within the “regulated meat industry”. Evidence past and present clearly shows there is potential for diseases and new virus’s to emerge of which talking Africa for example has already began. Ebola Haemorrhagic Fever although not directly related to dogs, evidence from the World Health Organisation and Scientific Bodies have shown the Ebola virus can be passed from dog to human. Dogs act as a host animal. Within West Africa dogs are mainly strays that wander the dense forest and rural communities in search of foods. When coming in to contact with carrion that is infested with Ebola the animal can then carry this directly into a community. Dogs that then come into contact with humans of which have blood on their fur, noses or mouths can then easily pass the virus on resulting in a very short but extremely painful death with only 10% of Ebola victims actually surviving. There is no treatment nor any cure and should for example any Ebola victim  travel out of Africa into Europe or America within the incubation period the possible for disease outbreak is worrying. Fortunately this has yet to happen.

Please read more here for further information. http://speakupforthevoiceless.org/2014/04/02/dog-meat-trade-ebola/ and here http://saynotodogmeat.net/food-hygiene-disease/

International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa and Asia, Speak Up for the Voiceless and Say No To Dog Meat.Net are currently lobbying the Vietnamese and Thailand Government calling for the pet meat trade to be firmly banned. You can join us in our’s and others quests to kill the trade by signing and sharing the petitions below. We politely ask too that you lobby any film production companies that you know to highlight and show in full the Soi Dog Shadow Trade of which the film is listed above.

Thank you for taking the time to read.

Chief Environmental Officer Malaysia

Chief Environmental and Botanical Officer Africa

Chief Executive Officer

International Animal Rescue Foundation is not a charity however will from time based on animal and environmental needs lobby the public for both verbal and finical support of which is 100% regulated and legitimate. Speak Up for the Voiceless our main Animal and Environmental News Column and Environmental News and Media are part and parcel to our legitimate environmental company that undertake ground investigations and publish news within the Animal Rights and Environmental Activism domain. Say No To Dog Meat.Net is run by our Environmental Officer and that of Donna Armes and Ms Brown. Say No To Dog Meat.Net has no affiliation with the British Charity World Protection for Cats and Dogs in the Meat Trade or its campaign No To Dog Meat. For further information on how you can help us or just to speak to one of our team or if you have any concerns you’d like to submit or raise please feel free to email us here at – info@international-animalrescue-foundation.org.uk or contact@saynotodogmeat.info We do exactly what it says on the tin and take great pride in our work both at ground level or on-line.


Green Hunting – Good or Bad?

ethics

In the 19th century, southern and central European sport hunters often pursued game only for a trophy, usually the head or pelt of an animal, which was then displayed as a sign of prowess. The rest of the animal was typically discarded. Some cultures, however, disapprove of such waste. In Nordic countries, hunting for trophies was—and still is—frowned upon. Hunting in North America in the 19th century was done primarily as a way to supplement food supplies, although it is now undertaken mainly for sport. The safari method of hunting was a development of sport hunting that saw elaborate travel in Africa, India and other places in pursuit of trophies. In modern times, trophy hunting persists and is a significant industry in some areas. We -International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa disagree with this theory of which we have seen many species of animal within Africa almost hunted into extinction.

Controversy;

Trophy hunting is most often criticised when it involves rare or endangered animals. Opponents may also see trophy hunting as an issue of morality or animal cruelty, criticising the killing of living creatures for recreation. Victorian era dramatist W. S. Gilbert remarked, “Deer-stalking would be a very fine sport if only the deer had guns.”

There is also debate about the extent to which trophy hunting benefits the local economy. Hunters argue that fees paid contribute to the local economy and provide value to animals that would otherwise be seen as competition for grazing, livestock, and crops. This analysis is disputed by opponents of trophy hunting. Some argue that the animals are worth more to the community for ecotourism than hunting.

The issue;

Trophy hunting is cruel and barbaric of which many species of animals that are hunted are hardly ever shot dead outright meaning most times not all, the (PH) has to finish the animal off. The pain inflicted doesn’t seem to bother both professional nor amateur hunter. There is no pretty sight in hunting and what financial gain there is to communities is minimal. International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa approached a well known hunter and rancher within Africa last year of which he was (still is) allowing the indiscriminate hunting of Rhinoceros. Tom Hancock an individual that came under fire within the local press with regards to allowing Rhino hunting within the Timbavati region of South Africa situated next to the Kruger National Park (KNP). Many detailed communications were sent back and forth to Mr Hancock of which we showed and demonstrated alternative methods to hunting that would generate more income and show his company to be more professional by all people including conservationists and animal rights activists. Mr Hancock though disagreed and like all hunters attacked us outright. Just to remind you of how cruel trophy hunting is you only have to look at this huntress that takes pride in not only shooting dead a perfectly healthy lioness but has to pose cave man style in some fashion as to prove her sexuality and feminine strength. This type of hunting “trophy hunting” is just bloody barbaric.

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Mr Hancock argued many points within his communications to our main Africans team of which still to this very day show little if any proof that hunting actually generates the income stated to be in the billions of Rands. IFAW – International Fund for Animal Welfare and many leading conservationists have debunked this myth (please see pic below).. whatrevenue

Many animals endure prolonged, painful deaths when they are injured but not killed by hunters. A study of 80 radio-collared white-tailed deer found that of the 22 deer who had been shot with “traditional archery equipment,” 11 were wounded but not recovered by hunters. Twenty percent of foxes who have been wounded by hunters are shot again. Just 10 percent manage to escape, but “starvation is a likely fate” for them, according to one veterinarian. A South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks biologist estimates that more than 3 million wounded ducks go “unretrieved” every year. A British study of deer hunting found that 11 percent of deer who’d been killed by hunters died only after being shot two or more times and that some wounded deer suffered for more than 15 minutes before dying.

Hunting disrupts migration and hibernation patterns and destroys families. For animals such as wolves, who mate for life and live in close-knit family units, hunting can devastate entire communities. The stress that hunted animals suffer—caused by fear and the inescapable loud noises and other commotion that hunters create—also severely compromises their normal eating habits, making it hard for them to store the fat and energy that they need in order to survive the winter. – PETA

Green hunting;

International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa have been debating some time on writing this article due to the “negativity” that surrounds hunting as a whole. Although green hunting is seen to some as a professional method of animal husbandry of which the animal is darted using a combination of veterinary medications to form a tranquilising effect, evidence shows that many African countries are not wiling to take this practice up. Whilst they refuse or in some cases (have banned) green hunting animals will suffer furthermore. We ourselves are at a very large debate here surrounding green hunting and have noticed since we printed on an American huntress that green hunted a Rhino many animal rights activists now believing that green hunting is the best method of non-kill trophy hunting. Is it though? Imagine yourself a Rhino that every month is darted in the region of a dozen times. Would you call this ethical or just abusive? Furthermore how would you feel if you was happily grazing away with calf next to you then for the seventh time that month you found yourself again waking up groggy, baby calf missing, confused and scared? Green hunting doesn’t kill the animal however it can be quite traumatising for the animal and its immediate family.

NSPCA on green hunting;

With so much attention on canned hunting, it is not surprising that “green” hunting may seem like a viable and responsible alternative. Not surprising either that media and public attention haven’t been on green hunting when the spotlight is well and truly on the dreadful, despicable and unethical practice of canned hunting. Even the TV drama series CSI has aired an episode on canned hunting. As the most-watched television series in the world, you can’t do better than that.

Green hunting is being promoted as “the thrill without the kill” or the big-game hunting experience without killing an animal. It has been promoted internationally, included on web sites: – “Imagine the thrill of tracking, spotting, stalking and hunting the world’s greatest game animals at close range in Africa – lion, buffalo, leopard, elephant and rhinoceros – without killing any of them.”

“Catch-and-release hunting is now possible by converting a high-powered rifle to a tranquiliser dart gun.”

A list of reasons are given (San Francisco Chronicle web site http://www.sfgate.com/) why green hunting “solves many problems.” This includes the fact that an animal is not killed, no trophy-kill fee (i.e. cheaper), inspiration for the travel industry, providing income for habitat protection, world-wide in scope, relatively low cost and a “full experience without a downside.”

At first sight perhaps argues the NSPCA’s Wildlife Unit. Just about anything can be promoted as inspiring the travel industry or that income can be ploughed into good causes. But an activity without a downside. Not so.

The Chairperson of the Game Ranger Association of South Africa stated to the NSPCA in 1999 that “I am not sure if you people are aware of green hunting and what it entails. It basically has to do where animals are to be immobilised it is then done by an outsider paying big money for the privilege. Surely this can create an opportunity for the misuse of animals for the sake of money and should be a concern of yours. It has come to my notice that there has already been a case where one white rhino bull is apparently subjected to monthly immobilisations.”

Concerns have already arisen about green hunting and there are incidents to prove it. An elephant was “green” hunted near Tandatula Lodge in late 1999 and the elephant was killed when it charged the “hunters.” A letter to the NSPCA from the South African National Parks’ Dr Douw Grobler stated: “It was decided that one collared animal (elephant) would be selected for the eco-hunt purpose. Whilst they (the “hunters”) were approaching a termite mound, the elephant became aware of our presence (in my opinion, the movement of the eco-hunter) and moved closer towards us in a typical head-up fashion.” Dr Grobler describes how the hunters backed up, the elephant charges and was shot and killed.

Three shots at close range and a further three once the elephant was down to make sure it was dead. This elephant was one of the elephants collared as part of the satellite tracking programme. This was green hunting or eco-hunting.

A member of the public wrote to the NSPCA: “I find the practice of green hunting absolutely abhorrent. It would seem that some of the conservation tourist bodies go to any lengths to appease the American dollar or any other foreign currency. Our wild animals, like our natural environment, are becoming victims of greed and expediency.”

AFRICAN ENVIRONMENT AND WILDLIFE magazine reported in January 2000 that prices of up to R300 000 can be paid for the opportunity to dart an endangered animal, that numbers of animals being darted in this way are increasing annually and that now more rhino, to give but one example, are darted for sport than lethally hunted. But although this same report heralds the sport as “catch-and-release”, dart safaris, chemical hunting or non-consumptive hunting – it lists multiple dangers. It notes one instance when a man was charged and knocked down by a rhino whilst chasing after his wife’s first dart victim. He required surgery and was considered lucky to be alive.

What about the animals? The late Dr Andrew McKenzie wrote a definitive text on darting wild animals and he warned that some unscrupulous game ranchers are repeatedly darting a single rhino because “It is a great way to make a dung-heap full of money from one animal.” The South African Veterinary Association recommended that no animal should be darted more than twice a year and preferably only once, to minimise stress. Yet, it has been reported that the same rhino has been darted three times in eight months.

The NSPCA concurs that darting for the sake of darting is not only wrong but totally unnecessary and that even when a dart safari is done for the right reasons, there are risks for the animals. It is hazardous.

Professional capture teams almost always dart from a helicopter. Amateurs on safari do not do that. They are on the ground which raises the likelihood that a dart may be off-target when it hits the animal. This would result in a partial dose of the drug being given. One documented example is when the shot from the eco-hunter deflected off a twig and hit the rhino in the rib cage. The semi-conscious animal then fled, ending up trapped between two boulders.

Lloyds of London has insured 35 rhinos for dart safaris. That’s how big it is and how seriously it is being taken – including the risks to the animals.

The NSPCA recently received a communication entitled BUSINESS PLAN GREENHUNT COMPETITION which involved “hunting” big game on foot with a paintball gun. R1 000 000.00 is up for grabs in prize money, R1 000 000.00 to be donated to nature conservation and R3 000 000.00 to be earned by game farms participating. That is a lot of money for grabs. It would be a brave person or organisation to stand and oppose but the NSPCA is brave and proud of its moral stance – and opposes.

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Take a look at the rules and see for yourself: “Each game farm will be allocated points for habitat, type and gameness of game. It will be up to teams to develop a strategy that will benefit them as a team. Points will be allocated for accuracy of mortal shot or shot that will disable the game. Points will be deducted for headshots and wounded shots.”

We reiterate a comment written by former NSPCA Wildlife Coordinator, Rozanne Savory which sums it up: “I must admit to having been somewhat naïve in believing that green hunting was only conducted on animals that were the subject of research or needed to be immobilised for veterinary reasons. To repeatedly immobilise an animal for no purpose other than for that animal to be the target of green hunting – in other words for commercial purposes – is opposed by the National Council of SPCAs on welfare grounds and would be deemed to be causing unnecessary suffering to that animal. In addition, there could be some build-up of the immobilising drug in the body of the animal over a period which could be detrimental to its health.” Ms Savory is an avid animal welfare and animal activist of which we support her views.

Little wonder that the ANIMAL TALK article on the issue carried the headline “Darting Safaris – Brilliant Concept or Another Scam?”

It might seem ironic that the Professional Hunters Association of South Africa came out in opposition to green hunting, stating to the NSPCA that, “After careful consideration and consultation with top authorities on the question of the dart hunting of animals, and in consideration of the trauma and stress caused to the animals involved, the Professional Hunters Association of South Africa has come to the conclusion that it cannot presently support the green hunting of any species as a form of sport hunting.”

The Game rangers Association of Africa advised the NSPCA that, “The effect of repeated tranquilising on any animal is unknown in that the levels of trauma and effect on social behaviour cannot be effectively measured. The possibility of the animal killing or injuring itself during the period in which the drugs are taking effect are real as the animal cannot effectively be moved away from danger. The position in which the animal goes down can also cause death by asphyxiation or damage to internal organs. The threat of injury or death is therefore significant. The practice of green hunting can only be considered abhorrent by members of the Game Rangers Association of Africa who spend their lives protecting these animals for posterity. The ethics of clients who participate in this practice must be questioned as much as those of the people who offer the service.”

The NSPCA has written to the Department of Nature Conservation stating that there is no doubt that repeated immobilisation of an animal takes place and that there are exempted game farms when Nature Conservation is not present during green hunts – and therefore where green hunting has been abused and exploited to the detriment of animals. In one week, the NSPCA received two reports alleging that specific trophy white rhino bulls were being immobilised for green hunts as often as once a fortnight. This clearly has welfare implications. Investigations continue and we wonder if, as may have been predicted, the original justification for green hunting has fallen by the wayside in the quest for the dollar. Please note that there is NO or little evidence that states the repeated immobilization of large mega fauna has untold effects to health and the fact the NSPCA has only received a handful of complaints coupled with the many hundreds of satisfied green hunters that actually helped to conserve the Rhino species. We must state though that as professional conservationists repeated immobilization of any Rhino constantly over such a small time frame is detrimental to health and can impeded complications should a Rhino that for instance has been darted then falls prey to an accident, illness or is poached. This is an area of concern to us should we lobby for the green darting to be brought back. Measures to immediately stop exploitation of the system would need to be addressed and those found abusing the system banned from keeping animals for life.

End of report – -

South African Veterinary Council, Cape Nature and Department of Environmental Affairs back in 2011 declared that green Rhino hunting is unethical of which they listed no such hunter is allowed to dart the Rhino then later on formally banning any veterinary officer from darting “any Rhino” for the purpose of (green hunting). International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa personally believes that green hunting was banned for other reasons that we have yet to fully document on. The fact stands at this though. Veterinary officers are required to check Rhino health on a monthly basis, administer medications, vitamins and to check the overall health of the said mammalian. Darting if practiced correctly and under the watchful eye of both veterinary officer, land owner/welfare officers we believe should be practiced so as long as the “sport” is not under any circumstances exploited. Question yourself this can you in a ranch walk directly up to a Rhino considered a dangerous animal and effectively administer medications or survey its health? I am a veterinary officer and have taught veterinary science for over 12 years and yet have been able to walk directly up to any animal within captivity such as a Rhino or Elephant and administered any such medication without the need for sedation. Anyone person that states publically that they can do such things have 1. either brought the animal up from birth or 2. are point blank liars.

South African Veterinary Council list that green hunting is unethical as it has been noted many Rhinos are darted more than twice in any one given month and that (green) hunters have been seriously injured in the process of darting.  International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa have located no evidence of which any (green) hunter has been killed, and what evidence that was located on animals killed during the practice of (green hunting) is small and not worth mentioning compared to the range of animals slaughtered during (non-green) hunts.

It seems too that its not just South Africa that has banned green hunting – back in 2011 – According to a press release by the Veterinary Council of Namibia (VCN), poachers were increasingly using drugs during illegal hunts. Particularly, the council pointed out that the worrying increase of Rhino poaching in South Africa, which is often done with drugs obtained illegally from veterinarians. (VCN) formally banned the process and later back in 2012 the South African (DEA) Department of Environmental Affairs banned the use of M99 a very powerful large mammal veterinary tranquiliser of for commercial use by farmers and ranchers of which only veterinarians are allowed to administer the agent 1000 times more powerful that Dihydrocodeine (DHC).

Whilst many veterinary associations within Africa list green hunting as an “unethical practice” then we can only herby list few points out of many that are not only “unethical” but have been highlighted widely within the trophy hunting industry of which is supported by many welfare and wildlife organisations as “sustainable utilization”..

  • Professional hunter Peter Thormahlen was hit with a “token fine” in 2006 for illegally hunting a Rhino (on behalf of a Vietnamese client), before he was brought to court again two years later on identical charges. It is worth noting that Thormahlen’s Rhino hunts have frequently taken place on Mauricedale Game Reserve.Professional hunter Christaan van Wyk had already been twice convicted of Rhino horn offenses when he was found guilty of illegally hunting a Rhino (also on behalf of his Vietnamese client) in 2010.Prior to the 2011 arrest of professional hunter and game farmer Hugo Ras for unlawful possession of scheduled veterinary drugs and an unlicensed firearm, he had thrice been fined for assault and “crimen injuria” convictions, as well as for contravening conservation and customs laws.Suspected syndicate mastermind Dawie Groenewald’s criminal history is remarkably extensive — including a long list of international complaints, lawsuits, and criminal allegations and convictions — and far pre-dates his 2010 Rhino-related arrest. Among other things, he was terminated from his job as a police officer for involvement in an organized crime ring that was smuggling stolen cars into Zimbabwe and also has a felony conviction in the US for unlawfully importing a leopard trophy (a violation of the Lacey Act).

    Let’s not forget to mention the “Boere Mafia” — an unsavoury gang of safari operators, hunters, game farm and lodge owners (allegedly) masterminded by Saaiman Hunting Safaris owner, Gert Saaiman, and Sandhurst Safaris owner, George Fletcher, along with Frans van Deventer. Despite (allegedly) organizing the killing of at least 19 Rhinos in national parks and on private game reserves, and facing multiple charges (including racketeering, money laundering, various counts of theft, malicious damage to property and contraventions of the various provincial Conservation Acts and the Aviation Act), they walked free in 2010, when their case was “struck from the roll”. (See pic below and click for more information)..

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Whilst were on the subject of alleged misconduct and abuses within the “green hunting practice” we need to bring to your attention the number of people injured during trophy hunting operations too.

  • Canadian outfitter Bob Fontana being killed by a buffalo. Well, there has been another buffalo mishap. This one is in Zimbabwe, and it involves PH Howard Hunter of HHK Safaris. Seems Hunter and an unnamed client were following up on a wounded buffalo on the Lemco Concession this past Sunday when the animal burst out of thick brush in front of them. Hunter fired and hit the buffalo, we are told, but the animal was so close Hunter had to grab it by the horns with both hands in an attempt to keep it from goring him. As he wrestled with the animal, a bullet fired either by an HHK tracker or the client penetrated the buffalo and struck Hunter in the arm.
  • Back in 2007 over in Botswana we have news of a PH being killed in the field. South African PH Christo Andre Kaiser, owner of Unico Hunting Safaris, was killed by an elephant on May 11. He was in the field with Spanish clients in NG42 in northern Botswana, on an elephant safari booked through Johan Calitz Safaris, when the fatal accident occurred. It seems Kaiser and his tracker left the safari vehicle to look over some elephants in a pan when a cow elephant they had not seen charged without warning. Kaiser, who for some reason was unarmed, and the tracker ran back to the vehicle for cover, but the elephant overtook Kaiser, mortally wounding him.
  • Some our readers may have seen this video before but to those that haven’t and yet call (green hunting) unethical and dangerous for both animal and human then surely a male Lion charging four hunters wounding one seriously is of course not unethical. The Lion was shot a number of times (pain would have been prolonged) then hunter wounded too (pain and insurance claim would have been quite significant)..

Above we have shown all arguments of which trophy hunting accidents, abuses of permits, corruption, poaching, pain and suffering heavily outweighs that of (green hunting) which brings us to the conclusion that green hunting may be generating more profit than has originally be portrayed. Furthermore we have also made evident the need for veterinarians and ranch owners to undertake animal husbandry which is an essential part of species survival and good health.

Ethical practices – Green Hunting is no different to that of a veterinary officer undertaking mammalian husbandry;

Rhino poaching for the year 2014 has thus far beaten statistics for 2010, 2011 and 2012 with a total number of Rhino poached for 2014 – June standing at a skyrocketing 501 Rhino dead. Asia continues to drive the demand and as yet there seems to be no end in sight to protect the second largest land mammal – Africa’s heritage. Since poaching has increased more security measures have been implemented to protect the Rhino and other large mammalians. Micro-chipping, horn dying and poisoning, DNA extraction, shaving of horns to de-horning and Rhino ear notching too.

Rhino ear notching (pictured below) is a method of security that helps security services, veterinary officers and ranchers identify a single Rhino live or dead. The notching process is required and also helps Anti Poaching Units and SAPS (South African Police Service) identify a poached Rhino by the markings taken from the notching process. No notching is identical and because all Rhinos like humans do not appear identical notching is seen as a valuable method of herd identification and protection that can also be used in green dart hunting too.

Whilst we at International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa agree with some aspects documented on by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) and Veterinary Councils regarding green hunting such as that of green hunting exploitation, Rhinos darted more than once in one week and green hunters injured as too “some” animals that have been shot dead to protect clientele, we disagree with the Veterinary Council and that of the NSPCA with regards to the majority of their concerns. Whilst the Veterinary Council both in South Africa and Namibia stated M99 (Entorphine) and other veterinary tranquilisers were being supplied to hunters and poachers to poach Rhino and other big game allegedly (within the green hunting industry) the arguments that were put forward stating green hunting is “unethical” is totally ridiculous for reasons we have shown above. In a way more or less both the NSPCA and Veterinary Councils seem to be forgetting that there are by far more abuses within trophy hunting operations compared to that of green hunting of which the animal survives. Yes we do consider “continued animal darting” for just sheer fun completely unethical however if the mammal is in need of medical assessments and income can be processed that would be ploughed directly back into anti poaching measures then why should green hunting not be allowed? South Africa holds an abundance of White Rhino of which the last assessment of species has placed them in a non-threatened status with species in the increase rather than decreasing.

For those who are not familiar with the green hunting concept, it entails the challenge of hunting the animal as you usually would, but instead of using a rifle as your weapon, you back yourself with a dart gun. Instead of taking home a trophy, you take home your pictures and memories of the experience of reviving the animal to see it stand up and walk away. All green hunts “did” take place in accordance with the Nature Conservation and “was then” supervised under the watchful eye of a wildlife veterinarian ensuring the safety of the animal at all times with ranch owners and dangerous game specialists ensuring health and safety to clientele is paramount.

Back in 2010 Wendell Harsanyi joined JohnxSafaris Green Hunt for a White Rhino and Elephant to complete his Big 5 and help us in the management and conservation of these species on our reserve. Wendell got lucky on the first day of his safari, taking the opportunity when it presented itself. A good Elephant bull crossed his path. No animal was harmed within this hunt and when the tranquilised animals were finally sedated vitamins were administered, medications too plus measurements and other clinical studies were also observed. Finally the pictures were taken of green hunter and animal, the hunter left knowing he has not killed the animal but HAD aided a conservation project that is normally undertaken monthly by ranchers, veterinarians and conservationists. The animals lived and everyone is happy. Money generated from the green hunt was utilised for ranch and mammal management too. Most importantly a green hunter does not require thousands to take down a Rhino, Elephant or any animal and least forgetting this type of hunt which in theory is no different to that of a veterinary scientist going into the field undertaking his or her daily work is seen as an attractive conservation practice by many members of the public wanting to learn more about the animal they have just darted. Lastly the money generated helps to decrease poaching so why has this practice has been banned we do not know. Maybe it was actually decreasing poaching. Although there is no evidence that can be placed into the public domain that clearly indicates green hunting has helped to decrease poaching what we can state now is that when green hunting was banned coincidentally poaching from 2010 began to skyrocket steadily out of control.

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The picture below is of Mr Wendel that green hunted this elephant. Looks dead doesn’t it? Actually its alive and well and under the influence of Entorphine (M99) which was used in the practice of green hunting within South Africa (now banned). The picture depicts what an everyday veterinary specialist would do in the field with other mammals. Rhinos, lions, buffalo are just a handful of large wild and ranch animals that are surveyed by conservationists and veterinary specialists. This large bull will feel no pain, will only be under the effects of Entorphine for no fewer than 15 minutes due to its sheer size and the dangers that come with tranquilising large mega-fauna.

Measurements, skin surveys, growth checks, investigative clinical analysis and tusk growth would all be checked as well as medications administered should a disease be present both internally or externally. How can one do this to any Rhino or Elephant may we dare ask when their still conscious? So why the need to ban green hunting within some African countries when in theory it could quite easily be utilised to protect and monitor herds as too train and educate potentially new conservationists and trainee veterinarians is beyond us.  There is little evidence within the filed to suggest that green hunting is just as “unethical” to that of trophy hunting which makes us somewhat very suspicious. The South African government and environmental welfare agencies must take more responsibility in keeping a watchful eye over then such practices. They are only at blame themselves for any such exploitations occurring and abuses of the system. Not those that want to learn more about wildlife without the need for killing it. We personally believe that photographic tourism and green dart hunting (if practiced accordingly and within the law) would bring more revenue into South Africa (example) than that of hunting alone. Unfortunately for now its either hunting or photographic tourism – Department of Environmental Affairs refused to comment back to us when questioned via phone.

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Green hunting if practiced safely and is not under any circumstances exploited with careful eyes watching over the entire process ensuring that no veterinary medications go a stray could reduce poaching as more Rhino are chipped and cared for on a wider scale. As you can see in the film below the Rhino is not just tranquilised for a mere picture. Rhino is micro chipped and as explained in other practices ears are notched, DNA samples are taken from the horn too. Using signage and other anti poaching communications that poachers can read in many languages poachers would think twice about entering ranches or fields.  By restricting such practices of which was (helping to secure) the Rhino then our suspicions are raised even more as to what extent the South African government and other agencies for example are actually involved with the poaching of the Rhino or money making scams.

Conclusion;

The brainchild of green dart hunting Dr Paul Bartels, head of the Wildlife Biological Resource Centre of the National Zoological Gardens stated, green hunting requires more skill and precision than hunting with a rifle. Not only must the animal be shot from close range, but darted animals are also highly unpredictable – sometimes charging or bolting. Code of ethics Importantly, animals are only earmarked for darting for specific scientific or research purposes, never for commercial reasons alone. Purposes can include the translocation of animals to a new environment, ear notching or fitting microchips for identification, blood and tissue collection, radio collaring for tracking animal movement, and operating or treating wounds. White Rhino are most frequently darted, but lion, elephant, buffalo and leopard are also regularly hunted. Black Rhino were not then open for darting probably due to high poaching, intelligence relating to the exploitation of the system and the fact they were on the verge of extinction.

Most green hunters are traditionalists who “then” saw dating as a new challenge and to aid conservation. Green safaris were then available to both individual clients and groups. Careful planning was done before each dart safari, taking note of the species, terrain and time of year. Green darting was done early in the morning, when it’s cooler for animals. “At the end of the day,” says Bartels, “we want the animal to jump up and run into the sunset, with the hunter having experienced the thrill of the hunt while also having played an important role in conservation. “So from an ethics point of view, it’s important that the hunter has the same goals.” Before the actual hunt, clients practise with the dart gun until they are proficient and confident, because the dynamics of the gun are somewhat different to those of a traditional rifle.

Darts are heavier than bullets, so the hunter has to be very close to the animal before firing, while anticipating where and how the dart is going to fly. It’s something of a combination of archery and shooting. Green hunters were also able dart Rhino using a bow – with the dart attached to the end of an arrow (see picture below). For this, client hunters are sent the dart a few weeks before the hunt, and use water instead of the immobilisation drug to practise shooting. The type of bow to be used is also stipulated, so that the dart injects the drug and the arrow falls off the animal.

On the hunt In the cool of early morning, trackers locate the animal to be darted. The decision to dart or not is then finally taken, based on the ambient temperature, terrain and safety of all concerned. If the hunt is on, the vet fires the dart in a group dart safari, or in an individual safari the client and professional hunter stalk the animal on foot to get as close as possible. After the dart is fired by the client, the vet mobilises the rest of the ground team and everyone waits quietly for the animal to go down. This can take from three to 15 minutes, and if the animal bolts a helicopter tracks it until it drops. The immobilised animal’s ears and eyes are covered to reduce the stress of external stimuli. If necessary, the animal is moved into a safe resting position where it can breathe freely.

Then the vet takes tissue, blood and hair samples for genetic and disease studies, while constantly monitoring the animal’s health. Sometimes radio collars are fitted or, in the case of Rhino, horns are microchipped or ears notched for identification purposes. At the same time, the professional hunter takes the required trophy measurements and photographs for the client, as Safari Club International accepts darted animals for entry into their record book and hunting competitions. Immobilisation drugs and antidotes When all procedures and measurements are done, equipment and people are moved to safety and the vet injects the antidote to reverse the effect of the immobilisation drug.

Different immobilisation drugs are used for different species. Elephant, antelope and Rhino make a quick and complete recovery, sometimes within 30 seconds. But for cat species there isn’t a complete antidote (This is considered risky). The drug has to leave their system for complete recovery, so cats are guarded for 24 hours until fully awake and aware. In an individual hunt the client pulls the trigger him- or herself, a professional hunter and a game capture vet must be in attendance, and the hunt has to be booked and organised through a registered hunting outfitter, just as for a trophy hunt.

The outfitter had to acquire the darting rights to the animal before it’s marketed, and must have in place an experienced and professional team to carry out the hunt. Sometimes a commercial game capture helicopter pilot is also required. The client hunter must have had training and practice in the use of the dart gun, and must be briefed on all aspects of the darting safari and the course of events – the safety of both people and animals is paramount.

Team building and training Group dart safaris are for team building and training, and for nature lovers who want to help with conservation research. Here the vet fires the dart into an animal that needs to be ear-notched, medicated or moved and so trophy quality is not a consideration. Those in the group are there purely to witness the event and give assistance where necessary. Each group safari has a ranger in charge, and there’s also usually a photo opportunity to record the event. Bartels says a downside of dart safaris is that you can’t just “pick up a gun and go hunting”. There is more planning, many people and precise coordination needed for a dart safari. Still, it (was then) growing in popularity among conservation-conscious hunters, who (then) green-hunted in KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and North West province. According to Bartels, there was initially a negative reaction from the traditional hunting community, but they have since seen that there is a place for dart safaris and that nothing is taken away from professional hunters, as one is always required to be present at individual client dart safaris. Along with hunting associations, the South African Veterinary Society DID ensure strict ethics and controls on dart safaris to ensure the well being of wildlife at all times. However the SAVS has since banned the practice which has left us somewhat puzzled as like explained green dart hunting is no different to a vet traveling into the field sedating the animal, medicating, and ensuring survival – just the vet has a few more people present.

Pictured below is Joella Bates an avid hunter that did not shoot this Rhino dead. Must be the only animal that she never killed. Joella green hunted this Rhino using a dart and arrow. The arrow is used just to propel the dart at the Rhino of which is not like your usual arrow. Once hitting the Rhino or other said animal the arrow falls from the animal without any harm. The only arrow penetrating the skin is that of the dart that is laced with Entorphine.

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There will always be critics and opponents that are for and against many conservation projects that are actually helpful – green dart hunting within South Africa was indeed seen as a professional method of animal husbandry as too education for those that wanted to learn more about wildlife yet without slaughtering them.

We as a professional land based conservation and environmental company fully understand and recognise the issues that surrounded the “then exploitation of green dart hunting. However there is as explained by far more illegal activities with regards to trophy hunting than what has ever been seen within the then legal dart green hunting industry. So our next question is why is trophy hunting still legal?

International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa are still open on this subject and do not agree nor disagree with the then legal green dart hunting. We have to though use everything at ones disposal to ensure that maximum safety of our species. Should that mean siding with Professional Hunters or hunting organisations then so be it, should we lose supporters or be seen as “supportive of hunting practices” that do not harm nor kill animals but have been by few condemned then so be it. We are losing every nine hours 1-2 Rhino – something has to give. WE personally believe that green hunting was banned because it 1. generated much income and was seen as a more lucrative yet cheaper safer alternative to that of hunting and 2. Hunting outfitters recognised that green hunting was taking off quite rapidly thus placing their own hunting projects in danger of going bankrupt. SHOULD this ever be proven to be true then the few well known and trusted animal welfare organisations that state they are 100% against trophy hunting have a lot of answering to do.

For now we will leave this debate as an open one – we will be investigating though what the real reasons were for banning green dart hunting in South Africa that is custodian to the worlds largest Rhino population.

Thank you for reading – For further information or to place a comment to us on this subject please email our main Europa office here at;

info@international-animalrescue-foundation.org.uk

International Animal Rescue Foundation does not support any form of hunting to kill nor do we recognise green hunting as a sport. We do though see Rhino green dart hunting as a lucrative method to raise funds for conservation and to preserve our beloved natural heritage. Every effort has to be seen to stop the indiscriminate and senseless killing of our species or should we fail we will lose the entire Rhino species in under five to ten years.

International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa also recognises the “exploitation” of such green hunting that led to its complete ban within South Africa. Immobilising a Rhino or any species just to gain more funds is totally unacceptable however to immobilise for research, to preserve the species, and protect ensuring that the same species of Rhino for example is not taken down more than once in any six months we do agree with or should the Rhino need emergency or life preserving treatment.

Green hunting also needs a new name. Hunting is seen by many as killing – Whilst we do not agree nor disagree with such green hunting based on the facts presented as explained we are losing our Rhino on a truly high level now. EVERY SAFE and non-abused strategy needs exploring and working on. Until this is seen we will lose more Rhino.

Please-Credit-Max-Drummond

 

 

 

 

 


Indonesia’s Water Buffalo Races

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Indonesia’s Water Buffalo Races

Thousands of tourists flock to Indonesia to see animal cruelty in action, clapping and cheering the blood soaked water buffalo as they gallop past whilst being bludgeoned with a rod of wood that’s studded with dozens of bloodied nail spikes.Welcome to Bali’s Water Buffalo Races.

To give the buffalo extra zing for the two kilometre race, hot chilli paste is rubbed into into each animal’s anus and into their wounds just prior to the start of the race. As reported in the Jakarta Globe, Indonesia has a history of rubbing hot chilli into captive soldiers wounds, recorded  under “war crimes.”

The races look to be a festive occasion on the surface but that’s a cover for the heavy gambling thats at the core of the day’s event. Mainly men, they gamble on buffalo teams, jockeys, who will win, who will fall and so on. Some people gamble to the point of selling their possessions in order to keep gambling on the buffalo races. The wining buffalos are used for stud and can be sold at handsome prices, sometimes even twice the market price.

Before the race there is usually a “sandro” (shaman) who puts a spell on the jockey’s “magic stick” , a wooden rod heavily spiked with protruding nails, to beat the bulls to go faster. The spell is to give the “magic stick” extra power and it is also (falsely) believed to give the jockey extra power to be able to beat the buffalo enough to make them win. The races are very dangerous for buffalo and jockeys. If the jockey falls he will be trampled by the team bearing down upon him, from behind.

The buffalo are divided into two teams: east and west. Pairs of buffalo from the two teams are released once every two minutes continually, until all of the buffalo have raced. Both buffalo chariots race on the same track but start in different positions. Because they start in a different position on the same line, they have their own finish position. The winner is the pair of buffalo that get to their finish line first.

Jockey using his "magic stick" nail spiked rod to beat the buffalo. to run faster.

Jockey using his “magic stick” nail spiked rod to beat the buffalo. to run faster.

Buffalo owners take the normally docile water buffalo, decorate it in colourful costumes, strap harness to them and force them to gallop as fast as they can, as they beat the buffalo mercilessly with nail-studded rods of wood. Because of so much interest from tourists, races can be held upon request, any time of the year. Travel packages are even offered which include transportation, lunch, festival entry, insurance and a guide.

Blood gushes down the rump of buffalo after buffalo, as the exhausted animals pass the finish line and are met with a wall of yelling men, screaming at the buffalo to stop. Deep wounds of ripped flesh, caused each time the jockey’s “magic stick” leave  open wounds that run with blood, as shown in the photographs.

Sometimes exhaustion or injury causes one of the buffalo team to stop running, which in turn means the other buffalo also has to stop. When this happens the jockey uses all his powers bludgeoning the buffalo to persuade the animal to resume racing, as crowds roar with laughter. Buffalo who suffer exhaustion are considered “cursed.”

Note the fresh wounds on the racing bulls neck.

Note the fresh wounds on the racing bulls neck.

The races are known as Makepung and are a major draw card for tourists. Not only are tourists yelling and cheering, tourists now demand to join in and race the water buffalo as well. An example of tourists demanding to race are three young Australian men who attended the festival and were filmed by an Australian film crew.

The film crew captured footage of buffalo drivers bludgeoning their buffalo with nail-spiked wooden rods, as the buffalo galloped at full capacity, heaving and straining to go faster, beyond what their body could bare.  The three young men stopped and spent a few minutes looking at blood soaked buffalo and justified it by saying “Oh well, it’s cultural.”

Within minutes the three men demanded to be allowed to “have a go” at racing. Buffalo owners laughed at them and called them crazy, but the three men insisted. They were not allowed to race in the main part of the festival (because they didn’t have a clue what they were doing), but they were given buffalo and told not to go faster than a walk.

Tourist "having a go" with a blood soaked buffalo.

Tourist “having a go” with a blood soaked buffalo.

The buffalo which the three men were given to “have a go” with, had already raced and were standing haggard in exhaustion, in pain and covered in blood. Unbelievably, the three tourists had no regard for the state of the animals (water buffalo) and had the audacity to be angered that they were only allowed to walk. After the television show was aired, the behaviour of the three Australian men caused outrage amongst animal lovers in Australia who were appalled at what they saw.

The three young men are only one example of tourists at the buffalo races, footage is available of American and British tourists too. While it is terrible to see animal cruelty taking place, it is equally terrible to witness tourists turning a blind eye and choosing to participate in it.

Indonesian racing water buffalo and jockey.

Indonesian racing water buffalo and jockey.

The Makepung races usually commence at 7.30am and the events last for five hours. Another hundred or so buffalo take part in the fashion exhibition for bovine outfits.. There’s usually several heats from July to November, held at different circuit locations. The night before the finals, there is a huge party for all the people involved in the final teams.

“The sound of the cow bells tied to the buffaloes’ necks is magical,” says Abdurrahman, a local who claims to have been to every single Malean Sampi event in Narmada, Lombok. “The buffalo’s bells are like the sound of spirits ensuring the grounds remain fertile. They are like prayers to God.” Welcome to Indonesia.

Thank you for reading.

Michele Brown.


Angora Fur Trade On Its Way Out?

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Since the exposure of the angora rabbit trade many retailers across the UK, Europa and America have decided to ditch the trade of angora fur. PETA (People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals) exposed the horrifying trade late last year and the start of this year all investigations detailing the most extreme abuse you could imagine. Yet still even after this trade was exposed the trade continues in many countries, least forgetting the trade in “alternative animals”.

There are many breeds of angora rabbits being that French, German, English Giant and Satin the main recognised breed’s, all breeds are considered safe and not in any threat of extinction. Bred exclusively for its long beautiful fur, the angora rabbit is one of the oldest “domestic” rabbit breeds known originating from Ankara (Angora) (Turkey). Out of the four angora rabbits there are also many individual breeds of angora rabbits too. Other breeds include Chinese, Korean, Swiss, Finnish and St Lucian. Only the four main breeds being English, German, French and Satin are formally recognised by the American Rabbit Breeders Association. Warning video below may be upsetting to some viewers.

Brief History;

Angora rabbits are bred mainly for their fur which sells for thousands of euros worldwide. Controversy brewed when undercover investigative animal rights and welfare organisations infiltrated farms within China, Asia exposing how angora fur was harvested. China is host to 90% of all angora fur farms where laws to protect animals are scarce. Combing, plucking and sheering whilst the rabbits shake in fear, scream in agony is common practice within these fur farms of which the purchaser on the high street is completely oblivious too. If only they knew their angora hat, jumper or garment was yanked of a rabbit screaming in agony would they still wear the product?

At only 11 microns in diameter angora wool is finer and softer than cashmere. Angora rabbits have a humorous appearance, as they oddly resemble a fur ball with a face although some species do appear just like the average domestic rabbit. Asian, American and European breeders will normally use the French, German or Giant angora rabbit of which its fur is seen as a more suitable and easy to weave material. The giant angora rabbit is the most sought after though often seen on farms in Asia these docile rabbits are put through a life of hell just to provide the consumer with a garment, hat, gloves jumper and more.

The Giant Angora is the largest of the ARBA accepted Angora breeds, having been created by Louise Walsh, of Taunton, Massachusetts to be an efficient wool-producing rabbit sustained with 16-18% alfalfa based rabbit feed and hay, and living in the standard size all wire cages used for commercial breeds. The ARBA wouldn’t allow German angoras to be shown because their body type was too similar to other breeds, so Louise Walsh made a new breed from German angoras, French lops, and Flemish giants to create a completely different body type. After several years the ARBA accepted it as a breed and it is now showable. Its coat contains three types of wool: soft under wool, awn fluff, and awn hair; the awn type wool exists only on the Giant and German Angora. This breed should have furnishings on the face and ears. Many people confuse German with Giant Angora, but they are not the same. Technically one could show a German angora as a Giant angora since they have German angoras in their pedigrees, however they are unlikely to score well due to the lack of desired body shape.

Abuse;

Every three months angora rabbits bred mostly in Asia (90%) endure a hellish cycle of abuse. Ripped from their tight, cramped enclosures the rabbits are strung up of which the farmers then proceed to rip the fur from the screaming shaking delicate bodies. After the fur has been harvested the angora rabbit is then returned back to its cage, naked, freezing and in shock the rabbit will sit still quivering in fear in a trance like comatose state. Death is common yet still the trade continues.

Sometimes the rabbits are sheared which (can) be as traumatic as having ones fur ripped clean out commonly known as (plucking). However some farmers will suspend the rabbits from a block of wood fixed to a beam in the fur room then proceed to pluck the fur from rabbits delicate body or tie the rabbit to a board thus ripping the fur clean out. Bleeding and shaking in shock the process is not fast. Taking on average around ten to fifteen minutes the pain inflicted is gruesome and barbaric. Just imagine yourself tied to a board having your hair pulled out from your head or pubic region. Painful? You bet it is.

After two hellish years incarcerated within a stinking hell hole fur farm 90% of the angora rabbits used within this trade die after two years from the abuse brought on by the farmer and the demand for trade from the public. Sadly within Asia there are no penalties for the abuse inflicted to these lovable fluff balls.

Only female angora rabbits are used within the fur trade as they grow much larger than the males and produce more fur too. Males bred for breeding are picked then caged for the fur trade of which those not required for (breeding) are killed automatically at birth in a more similar fashion as male chicks are killed within the egg/hatchery business although the process does not involve crushing and grinding. PETA stated that the male rabbits are considered the most (lucky) rabbits as their life and death is quick and virtually painless. However as explained chosen males are needed for breeding purposes only. Those not required are slaughtered in the most grotesque manners.

Angora rabbits are quite large in size weighing 12lbs to 5.5kg or larger their wire mesh cells are almost identical in size to that of their bodies. Two years confined to a cell no bigger than your actual body size is enough to turn any living species completely insane yet in China for example this is considered (non-abusive).

At just eight weeks old angora rabbits are plucked and sheared for their fur, then after two to five years (if the rabbits have survived) their traumatic hellish abuse they are then strung up, their throats are slit and fed back into the human food chain. Rabbits are considered very delicate and sensitive animals of which suffer more or less the same stress and loneliness feelings as we humans do. Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, The Royal Veterinary College, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom proved rabbits suffer from loneliness which has been highlighted below for your information. Picture below depicts rabbits used in the fur trade now a part of the meat trade. What a hellish life they live.

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Although various welfare associations suggest rabbits housed on their own are more stressed than rabbits housed in pairs there has been little published data to substantiate this.

In an attempt to obtain objective data to examine this assertion, endogenous stress levels as indicated by faecal corticosterone levels measured by an enzyme immunoassay (EIA) were determined in two groups of rabbits – one group housed singly and the other in pairs. All rabbits were housed in a single establishment and apart from shared or unshared housing all other husbandry conditions were comparable. The study group consisted of 39 rabbits, comprising nine single females and ten single males and ten each of males and females from mixed sex pairs. The EIA was validated for rabbit faecal corticosterone by demonstrating dilutional parallelism to known corticosterone standards.

Statistical analysis was carried out on two variables, housing and sex, by a two-way ANOVA after first log transforming the data to ensure that this was normally distributed (SPSS 16.0 for Windows). Faecal corticosterone concentrations were found to be significantly higher in rabbits housed alone compared to those in pairs (p <0.001) and there was no significant difference (p=0.918) between the sexes. There was no significant relationship between sex and housing (p=0.309).

Since faecal glucocorticoids have been related to chronic stress levels in animals, these results suggest that rabbits housed alone are more stressed than those housed in pairs and that this occurs independently of sex.

The brief outlined study above clearly indicates that any rabbit housed alone suffers immense “emotional loneliness” which is more similar to feelings of home sick or loneliness that we humans suffer. Angora rabbits housed in appalling conditions in single cells one can only imagine their mental state is quite high. Furthermore the pain inflicted is another matter of concern to ourselves.

Stress in Rabbits;

Rabbits suffer from untold immense stress if not cared for correctly or put through a life of grotesque abuse. Stress in the fur trade as explained kills ninety per-cent of all rabbits. Stress is not the only factor though that can lead to a rabbits death. Heat stress is also commonly known to kill many rabbits and whilst much of the breeding is actually undertaken in Asia environmental changes within Asian breeding countries can account for a high number of deaths. Loud noises, irrational human behaviour, confusion or inconsistent mishandling can lead to the deaths of many angora fur farm rabbits, unusual odours too which such as high levels of ammonia common on rabbit fur farms can most certainly being on rapid death too. Inappropriate or excessive feeding, humans ‘anthropomorphizing‘ animal behaviour thus causing behaviour problems or being (crowded) can bring on stress levels to such a high level that rabbits subsequently perish. All the above stresses are commonly seen within (all fur farms) however the most commonly viewed is that of blood loss, mishandling during the fur harvest predominantly on angora farms, and emotional induced stress that eventually sends the rabbit over the top thus leading to cardiac arrest.

The killing of rabbits for their fur is the fastest growing part of the global fur trade, yet little is known about it. 50 million animals are slaughtered worldwide each year for their fur but this figure does not even include rabbits as accurate figures are hard to come by. Around the world most systems of animal factory farming – such as battery hen cages, foie gras production, mink fur farming – have been the subject of detailed scientific studies, campaigns by animal rights groups and even government bans. Meanwhile, the factory farming of rabbits for their fur and flesh has received little attention. Until now.

Rabbits are bred in bare wire cages, creating both physical and behavioural problems. The mesh flooring of the cages causes damage to the feet of the rabbit and this can result in sore hocks (ulcerative pododermatitis), leading to infections and abscesses. Research carried out in 2004 found that up to 15% of does (female rabbits) suffered from sore hocks and up to 40% had paw injuries that were sufficiently serious for them to show signs of discomfort. As explained does are exclusively farmed for their fur and meat whilst the vast majority of male rabbits (bucks or jacks) are bred to continue the breeding of female rabbits thus then slaughtered soon after, or are bred just for their meat.

The stench of ammonia from the urine soaked floors, which tends to overpower any other odour in a commercial rabbit unit, can irritate the eyes of the rabbits and lead to painful infections.

The housing of the rabbits, both separately and as a group, causes problems. Since rabbits are social animals, being separated from another rabbit causes immense stress and this social deprivation leads to stereotyped behaviour such as gnawing on cage bars (a common behaviour exhibited by caged animals) and over-grooming (repetitively plucking one’s own fur is a form of self-mutilation). Even group housing of adolescent sibling rabbits is no better. The overcrowding of the cages leads to increased aggression and fighting. Fur-plucking and ear-biting are behavioural manifestations attributed to overcrowding.

Bare cages means boredom, which again leads to stereotyped behaviour. Most research carried out on whether rabbits benefit from cage enrichment proved that any kind of enrichment, such as gnawing sticks or even just hay, was a positive step in reducing boredom, cage gnawing and fighting. Even though this is widely accepted, none of the farms visited by activists had any enrichment.

Angora Trade;

There is a consensus within the rabbit farming industry that the increased use of rabbit fur is due to the cheap production which allows them to experiment freely with processes such as dying that would be less likely with more expensive fur. Being able to experiment with rabbit furs has meant that designers feel more confident to do this now with other furs.

High quality rabbit fur comes from those animals bred primarily for their fur. Although cheaper fur products may come from those rabbits bred primarily for their meat, this is by no means a by-product. The additional profits from the sale of the pelt is the only thing keeping some farms in business.

Whether a rabbit killed for her flesh also has her fur used to trim a jacket or make a pair of gloves is irrelevant. Anyone consuming rabbit meat is still funding the barbaric and unnecessary caging, deprivation and slaughter of animals.

The rabbit mother who has her babies taken away from her at four weeks is not concerned about why all this happens to her and her young, only that it does happen. She is not concerned about whether her babies are turned into a pair of gloves or somebody’s dinner; she is just concerned that her babies are taken away from her and that she is imprisoned in a cage that doesn’t allow her to do all that comes naturally to a rabbit – to feel the sun on her back, to run and hop.

Since PETA Asia exposed the gruesome angora fur trade many retailers within the United Kingdom, Europa, America and Canada have expressed their outrage and concern with regards to the manner in which the angora rabbit is abused and then slaughtered thus ditching the abuse garments once and for all. However as explained many retailers, fashion designers and clothing manufactures still to this day continue the demand thus seeing more rabbits bred for this barbaric and senseless bloody trade. Highlighted below are some retailers and manufactures that continue to sell and produce angora fur despite communications sent to them with regards to this trade they have ignored our own advice, concerns raised with regards to the manner in which angora rabbits are reared and slaughtered to the pain inflicted upon the does and bucks.

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Retailers and manufacturers still active in the angora fur trade;

Zhongshan still continues to peddle angora fur products mainly sweaters and gloves to trims and garments. My Theresa a very well known German clothing retailer online and off continue the trade in angora fur despite being informed by us the heinous abuse angora rabbits have to endure before death. Shop Style an online retailing advertising site continues to peddle garments despite reams of evidence pointing to the abuse angora rabbits endure. Even with such intense controversy and facts surrounding the angora fur trade Browns of London still continue to sell and produce angora clothing. Despite much anger regarding sales of illegal wildlife products Ebay continues to allow cruelty to be sold online much of which can be traced back to the United States. Kangol one of the worlds leading clothing and foot ware producers continue to sell online and throughout their UK and US stores Furgora (items with angora fur) entwined within them. Kangol have still failed to acknowledge our concerns. Manufacturers within Asia mainly India and China continue trading angora by the ship load despite being informed of the abusive regime angora rabbits are put thorough.

Trade prices plummet after exposure hits the headlines;

Many leading brand names, stockists and suppliers still continue to sell an array of angora products. However since the start of 2014 trade in angora has plummeted quite significantly.

The price of angora has dived as shoppers and stores continue to ditch the wool over the way in which the wool is farmed. Topshop became the latest big name retailer to ban it after the Mirror published footage of rabbits being “live plucked” in China to supply the clothing trade.

Reports from Beijing claim the price of angora has plummeted from £26 per 500g to £15 as shops stocking it faced an angry consumer backlash. Charity People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said suppliers may now stop producing angora altogether.

Mimi Bekhechi said: “The rapid fall in the demand for angora and its plummeting price is a testament to the value that British consumers place on ethical fashion. “Shoppers now associate products made from angora with the images of rabbits having the hair violently ripped from their sensitive skin as they scream in agony.

“Any retailers still buying angora wool should take heed and join the growing list of responsible retailers that have said no to this cruelty.

“Otherwise, they should be prepared to lose customers to their more ethical competitors.”

C&A and Oasis also announced an angora ban. M&S, H&M and Next are among a host of stores that have axed it. Gap, Old Navy and New Look have also joined the list of responsible retailers saying no to angora wool. Others, such as Zara, only suspended orders indefinitely.

Spanish retail group Inditex, owner of the Zara fashion brand have also since 2013 ditched angora fur of which many more retailers are following suite. International Animal Rescue Foundation Asia are somewhat concerned that whilst the trade is slowly dissolving will traders and manufacturers use an alternative species of animal or just go completely fur free?

For now based on market evidence and surveys from third parties we believe the angora fur trade within the European Union, Great Britain and America is slowly diminishing of which its highly unlikely we’ll ever see an increase in such practices. However angora is a luxury fur wanted and craved for by millions of people worldwide. Whilst the angora fur trade is in some form of economical turmoil other barbaric fur trades just as bad are thriving in the wake of the decreased angora trade.

In the wake of the angora fur trade exposure we must remember that some fifty million animals a year (estimate) are used and abused in the fur trade just to supply the consumer with a fur trim, jacket, a novelty hat or some other blood stained garment. Please note this number does NOT include (rabbits) of which the number could be much higher.

Each Year, approximately 50 million animals raised on fur farms around the world, which account for the majority of the world’s fur production, will be killed for their pelts. This number does not include rabbits as accurate figures on the number of rabbits slaughtered annually are hard to come by, but it is estimated that yearly more than a billion rabbits are killed for their pelts. In France alone, 70 million rabbits are killed every year for their fur. In 2009, there were approximately 300 fur farms in the United States. Wisconsin has the most farms (71), followed by Utah (65), Oregon, Minnesota, and Idaho. In 2011 over 3 million mink were killed for their pelts in the U.S, all in the name of fashion. In Wisconsin, farmers killed and skinned 1,050,580 mink, while Utah murdered 698,960, up 9% from 2010. FACT.

Sheering can be just as traumatic to angora rabbits too. Here in the video below depicts how Chinese fur farm workers sheer the rabbits fur off. Notice how calm the rabbits are, much of the time this is shock. Many rabbits endure a range of injuries from sheering that results in massive loss of blood to death too.

Mink and foxes are naturally wild animals and do not adapt to life in captivity. Wild mink instinctively range a territory of approximately 741 acres in size. In contrast, ranch-raised mink are confined to a 12″ by 18″ cage. This type of intensive confinement can result in self-mutilation, cannibalism, and high-level stress that weakens the immune system and makes animals more susceptible to disease.

Approximately 30% of mink herds raised on Utah fur farms carry Aleutian disease (AD). Currently there is no treatment, vaccine or cure for this highly infectious disease, resulting in the mortality of about 20% of the herd annually.

Another risk to life in captivity includes farmers selectively cross-breeding mink with naturally-occurring mutations, which results in fur colours never seen in nature. This has led to genetic defects resulting in deaf white mink and pastel mink with nervous disorders.

Farmed foxes are raised in small outdoor cages, exposed to the harsh elements of winter and summer. Many foxes develop psychotic behaviour, literally bouncing off the walls of their cages as they pace furiously back and forth. Many develop foot problems from standing on wire for months on end. In the end, they are electrocuted through the anus in order to preserve the fur.

Mink, which in the wild are very active animals, are raised in tiny cages, each about the length of the animal’s own body. The typical mink farm is comprised of units, each with dozens of rows of individual cages with open sides that expose the animals to harsh weather. Conditions are deplorable and filthy. Farmed mink are killed by gassing, violent neck breaking or poisoning; all slow gruelling deaths. Approximately 10% of animals die every year due to stress and illness.

Concluding;

The fur, pelt and skin trade is gruesome and barbarically unjust. Trade will continue to increase as retailers advertise more cheaper, finer and colourful furs on the backs of super models of which the majority of consumers internationally and locally look up too. Whilst we are all tackling the main manufacturers and farms we must not forget those that flaunt blood stained abuse on the cat walks, on our television’s, radios, the internet and within magazine articles.

Back in the late 1990’s many super models such as that of Naomi Campbell worked with charities such as PETA clearly denouncing the fur trade as repulsive and not for their backs. Unfortunately many of those models, men, women and teenagers have since returned back to the trade highlighting it as a cool thing to wear. Children today look up to models and whilst these high profile individuals state “abuse is ok” our children will demand it too.

You yourself can wage your anti fur campaign by simply lobbying your countries model industry that actively promote this bloody disgust asking them to go fur free. For more information on how you can help please contact us below.

The angora fur trade is on its way out, retailers are standing firm and these are the main people that we must tackle. Please take action by looking up retailers that sell angora fur and sites that promote it demanding politely they ban remove and cease this despicable trade now.

Thank you for reading and please take ten minutes of your time to sign the petitions below.

info@international-animalrescue-foundation.org.uk

East Asia Director Saline Wakid Saudi Arabia.

Please donate here to Funding African Wildlife Survival here via our Facebook safe application here..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Extinction of Lions Looming – In Depth Analysis.

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Nearly a century ago there were some two hundred thousand lions inhabiting the vast majority of Africa from north to south east to west. Today there are a mere thirty thousand if that. Many lions are bred in captivity (I.e. canned hunting farms) which poses a serious disease and virus risk to non-captive animals least forgetting to the genetic risk as we have explained in previous documentations.

Hunters can agree or disagree with us. Whether you like it or not the Panthera leo is on the decline and still the United States Fish and Wildlife Service have yet to take this matter seriously. International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa has been lobbying the USFWS (United States Fish and Wildlife Service) for over two years to ban exports of trophy lions from Africa into the United States, but still today to no avail. We do believe though that progress is being made and exports will be banned eventually.

Identified in 1758 by Dr Carl von Linnaeus the Panthera leo has declined over much of its range which is now raising concerns. Hunting is no more a problem than poaching or “increased farming” to supply Asia with lion bones for pseudo medicine (lion/tiger bone wine).

Evidence has clearly shown (2010-2012 -2012-2013) professional hunters, ranchers and farmers have been advertising lion trophy hunting at decreased package prices, plus pushing lion hunting as the main attraction for their (hunting organisation) at cheap prices for longer stays. Evidence has also indicated to us that the majority of these lion farmers are trading bones from Africa into Asia of which they obtain quite a significant profit return. Farmers and ranchers, hunters too are making quite a profit yet continuing to feed a demand for fake medicine.

International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa identified that from 1996-2011 the majority of lion population declines were quite rampant, almost identical to that of the increase of Rhinoceros poaching. 2000 saw populations declining over much of the Lions range exactly when poaching for Rhino horn skyrocketed. Is there a link between the two? we believe so.

The Lion formerly ranged from northern Africa through southwest Asia (where it disappeared from most countries within the last 150 years), west into Europe, where it apparently became extinct almost 2,000 years ago, and east into India. Today, the only remainder of this once widespread population is a single isolated population of the Asiatic Lion P. leo persica in the 1,400 km² Gir Forest National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary. Lions are extinct in North Africa, having perhaps survived in the High Atlas Mountains up to the 1940s.

To date the “only” Africans lion extinction has occurred in Gabon however some evidence still required on this, however regionally extinctions have occurred in Afghanistan, Algeria, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Gambia, Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lesotho (small country within South Africa) Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Syrian Arab Republic of Tunisia, Turkey and the Western Sahara. The only lion species you will see within the “extinction zones” are captive bred lions or lions bred for tropical pet trade.

Lion populations still remain although prides are decreasing in Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, India, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, United Republic of Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

In 1950 Myers wrote that lion numbers could have been cut in half to as low as 200,000 remaining throughout the African continent. Later, Myers (1986) wrote, “In light of evidence from all the main countries of its range, the Lion has been undergoing decline in both range and numbers, often an accelerating decline, during the past two decades”. In the early 1990s, IUCN SSC Cat Specialist Group members made educated “guesstimates” of 30,000 to 100,000 for the African Lion population.

The most quantitative historical estimate of the African Lion population in the recent past was made by Ferreras and Cousins (1996), who developed a GIS-based model to predict African Lion range and numbers, calibrated by surveying experts about the factors affecting Lion populations. First they correlated vegetation (Leaf Area Index) with Lion densities, using known values from 37 studies in 19 African protected areas, and mapped potential Lion range. Then the reduction effect of human activities on Lion range and numbers were estimated.

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Lion experts were surveyed in order to develop and rank a set of factors which would lead to lower Lion densities as well as Lion absence. These included agriculture, human population density, cattle grazing, and distance from a protected area, and were derived from GIS databases of varying age. For example, in areas identified as main cattle grazing areas Lion density was reduced by 90%, and in areas identified as having widespread agricultural cultivation or high human population density (> 2.5 people/km²) Lions were considered absent. Lion density was reduced by 50% in areas with low human population density (1-2.5 people/km²). Because of the age of their data sources on extent of agriculture and pastoralism, Ferreras and Cousins (1996) selected 1980 as the base year for their predicted African Lion population of 75,800. They emphasized the need for ground-truthing their estimate by censuring Lions, particularly outside protected areas.

What we know now is that The ALWG African Lion population estimate is 23,000; with a range of 16,500-30,000 more shockingly Philippe Chardonnet sponsored by the International Foundation for the Conservation of Wildlife and Conservation Force has provided a more realistic number of lion populations being some 39,000 Lions in Africa, with a range of 29,000-47,000. Now digest that number (39,000) with the overall population size only a century ago at some (200,000). Lions are in danger just as much as the Rhinoceros and the Elephant all three species are heavily exploited, hunted and poached plus used within Asia for fake medicinal purposes demand and trade for wildlife products.

Least forgetting too habitat fragmentation, unsustainable agriculture, increased aquaculture, grazing, industrialization and increased land destruction to provide homes for the humans of which human population is intensively increasing within Africa. Hunting and poaching is not the only problem that threatens our lion species within the African continent and under no circumstances should this ever be stated as the main number one problem – trophy hunting does rank second though and whilst we can take action against this – human over population and increased human refuges coming travelling into Africa due to conflict is not a problem treated easily.

Approximately 30% of the individual population estimates compiled by the African Lion Working Group were based on scientific surveys. Techniques for these surveys included total count based on individually identified body features, sampling by use of calling stations playing recordings of hyena and/or Lion prey, and mark-recapture methods including radio telemetry, photo databases, and spoor counts (Bauer and Van Der Merwe 2004). Seventy percent of their population figures were derived from expert opinion or guesstimate. In the other survey, 63% of Chardonnet’s (2002) individual population estimates were based on expert opinions or guesstimates. Twelve percent of Chardonnet’s (2002) estimates were based on scientific surveys, and a further 25% were derived from extrapolation of variables from nearby populations and catch-per-unit effort-estimates based on Lion trophy hunting.

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Estimating the size of the African Lion population is an ambitious exercise involving many uncertainties. The three main efforts (Ferreras and Cousins 1996; Chardonnet 2002; Bauer and Van Der Merwe 2004) all use different methods. The African Lion Working Group compiled individual population estimates primarily from protected areas (23,000 Lions: Bauer and Van Der Merwe 2004). In 1980, Ferreras and Cousins (1996) predicted 18,600 Lions to occur in protected areas. This was probably an underestimate as not all protected areas inhabited by Lions at that time were included. Still, the comparison suggests that the number of Lions in African protected areas has remained stable or possibly increased over time. But Ferreras and Cousins (1996) predicted that most Lions in 1980 were found outside protected areas. Chardonnet (2002) finds that unprotected areas still comprise a significant portion (half) of the Lion’s current African range.

Comparison of Ferreras and Cousin’s (1996) prediction of 75,800 Lions in 1980 (roughly three Lion generations ago) to Chardonnet’s (2002) estimate of 39,000 Lions yields a suspected decline of 48.5%. This calculation suggests a substantial decline in Lions outside protected areas over the past two decades, other surveys in detail can be located herein. Ferreras and Cousins (1996) may have over-estimated the African Lion population in 1980, as their number was derived from a model rather than actual Lion counts, and so it is possible that the rate of decline of the African Lion population may be lower. A group exercise led by WCS and the IUCN SSC Cat Specialist Group estimated that 42% of major Lion populations were declining (Bauer 2008). The rate of decline is most unlikely to have been as high as 90%, as reported in a series of news reports in 2003 (Kirby 2003, Frank and Parker 2003).

Genetic population models indicate that large populations (50-100 Lion prides) are necessary to conserve genetic diversity and avoid inbreeding, which increases significantly when populations fall below 10 prides. Male dispersal is also an important factor in conserving genetic variation. These conditions are met in few wild Lion populations, although there are at least 17 Lion “strongholds” >50,000 km² in extent.

Unfortunately lion populations within Africa are decreasing sporadically and little effort to stop such diminishing species decline is being made or seen within Africa and abroad. Only in March of this year (2014) Activists globally, raised awareness of the plight facing our lion species within Africa with regards to canned hunting however as explained in various articles these activists voices seem to have fallen upon deaf ears which is disheartening to know.

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. Studies have shown that lion hunting is not “just” a problem.

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The economic impact of stock raiding can be significant: It was estimated that each Lion cost ranchers in Kenya living alongside Tsavo East National Park US$290 per year in livestock losses. Likewise, annual losses of cattle to Lions in areas adjacent to Waza National Park in Cameroon comprised only about 3.1% of all livestock losses, but were estimated to represent more than 22% of financial losses amounting to about US$370 per owner. Consequently, Lions are persecuted intensely in livestock areas across Africa; their scavenging behaviour makes them particularly vulnerable to poisoned carcasses put out to eliminate predators. Little actual information exists on the number of Lions killed as problem animals by local people, even though this is considered the primary threat to their survival outside protected areas. Implementation of appropriate livestock management measures, coupled with problem animal control measures and mechanisms for compensating livestock losses, are some of the primary responses to resolving human-Lion conflict.

Trophy hunting is carried out in a number of sub-Saharan African countries and is considered an important management tool for providing financial resource for Lion conservation for both governments and local communities. However, there is concern that current management regimes can lead to unsustainable offtakes. Disease has also been a threat to Lion populations of which much evidence has been collated to show that lion farming for the canned hunting industry has been responsible for few zoological diseases being spread onto non-captive lions.

In parts of south-eastern Tanzania there have been alarmingly high incidences of people killed by Lions, with up to 400 human Lion-related fatalities recorded from 1997-2007.

Time and time again we witness many farmers and professional hunters trying to confuse the public into believing that canned hunting of Lions is effectively controlling their populations in the name of conservation. And as stated above hunting has been considered an important management tool (IUCN 2012).

Breeding lions for the gun is not conserving their species within the wild and that is a fact. Lion breeders will often confuse many people by stating to the tourist or “veterinary student” that “their” hand reared lions are being released back into the wild or are moved to other reserves or sanctuaries. Fact is no “human bred lion” bred on farms in Africa or outside of Africa that has been in direct contact with humans can ever be released back into the wild. There are few reports of captive bred lions released back into the wild however this has its dangers and more set backs for the lion than the release owner. Fact is when lions are bred in captivity have their natural behaviors removed the chances of them ever being able to live any form of normal life within the wild is extremely slim mostly occurring in the death of the lion soon after. 

One such farm that continues to spout such clap trap is that of African Dankbaar Lion Breeders in South Africa of which they state are “anti hunting”. On investigating their farm and sites they are heavily related to hunters (Thembalethu Safaris) and advertise such hunting practices too – . The manner in which they handle the lions too is not considered “professional” (please see pics below) and no zoologist would support this practice. The farm defends itself though of which the owner quoted in February 2013 –

African Dankbaar Lion Breeders South Africa – Hi Linda, now after you have seen this photo, do you really think I will be able to sell these animals for hunting? We are trying something good here and just for your interest we are (with some other breeders) trying to bring back the old Cape Lion back to life not actually help destroys it! Why is it that humans first want to see the bad in people? Do you know without looking it up, how many lions are left in the world? We are trying to help these animals, I could have called ourselves a Lion Sanctuary or registered an article 21 company and lived off donations of the public, but we did not. So with all respect keep your silly comments to yourself or even better came and visit us please.

Please note before reading on. African Dankbaar Lion Breeders South Africa is not under any circumstances breeding lions to increase the Cape Lion species or to bring back the Cape Lion. There are no Cape Lions within South Africa and all are now extinct. If you are a tourist reading this please ask yourself these questions. Why are these cubs not with mother and father? Why are the cubs in many pictures including that of a Forest Duiker being hand reared by humans. Why are human and cub sleeping. What would you a MOTHER be doing now if your child was taken from you by another human that then took the baby to bed? This is not rocket science please think before ever contributing to such companies and if EVER in doubt please contact us below at. 

info@international-animalrescue-foundation.org.uk addressing your email to the African External Affairs Department. 

The owner of the so called rehabilitation park stated the following last February when challenged. 

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3rd February this comment was sourced and just to show you what an uneducated man this breeder is he states that some Cape Lions were located in a zoo 20 years ago which is partially correct (not 20 years ago though) we are only in 2014 do the mathematics please (2000-2001 is when John Spence, director of the Tygerberg Zoo, brought back some Cape Lion species). The Cape Lion was never given to the Dankbaar Breeders Farm but to the Tygerberg Zoo (now closed) due to lack of funding.

Read more here http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2001/07/0726_capelion.html The man that owns this breeding farm confusing the public into actually believing Cape Lions are being freed back into the wild is known as Mynhardt Loubser of which is not the respected Mr John Spence ex director of Tygerberg Zoo. Does Loubser’s family care about animals? Just look at his daughter below how charming. The same daughter that cuddles and sleeps with the  (supposedly extant) “Cape Lions”.

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where is mum

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One only has to ask oneself where do the remaining surplus stock of lions end up, the fact the owner states “do you really think I will be able to sell these lions for hunting” is quite astonishing as this practice of hand rearing lions via petting farms for example is an ongoing issue in South Africa of which leads directly to “hunting”. Another lie that has been stated here too is that of where the owner states were trying to bring back the old cape lion. Basically he seems to be forgetting that the way in which he allows people to interact with the lion[s] taking all hunting and natural behaviors away leads to no “wild rehabilitation”.

Dankbaar Lion Breeders are also supportive of hunting and if ever you do visit them please ask as many questions as possible and seek evidence of such “cape lion” rehabilitations or any lion rehabilitation into the wild. The cape lion generically identified as Panthera leo melanochaitus is “extinct”. As with the Barbary lion, several people and institutions claim to have Cape lions. In 2000, possible specimens were found in captivity in Russia and brought to South Africa for breeding. There is much confusion between Cape lions and other dark-coloured long-manned captive lions. Lions in captivity today have been bred and cross-bred from lions captured in Africa long ago, with examples from all of these ‘subspecies’. Mixed together, hybridized, most of today’s captive lions have a ‘soup’ of alleles from many different lions. Yes there are many Black Manned Lions within this “breeding farm” there are though no true Cape Lions. The sad reality here and looking at the photographs plus the way in which the “cubs are handled and not seen with mother” quite confidentially informs us that this is nothing but an unhygienic lion breeder supplying lions and other game for the gun.

Whilst breeding of lions continues and whilst human bred lions cannot be rehabilitated back into the wild the demand from Asia for “lion bone wine” will continue, Whilst the demand continues so will poaching as prices change, more similar to that of the Rhino horn trade there is a unique identical connection between the two. Back in 2013 (July) an environmental team from the International Animal Rescue Foundation EaD unit traveled to Thailand and China in search of wildlife products of which located bottles of Tiger bone wine priced from $100 to $1,500 a bottle. The majority of these bottles were new and priced at just under $40USD.

Some were priced even higher – prices depend on how long the carcass was brewed within the vat of rice wine and other chemicals. On questioning the peddlers they remained quite silent and gave no real information as to where the bones originated from. However knowing there is literally some 1,500 tigers within the wild and seeing the majority of bone wine on sale at a mere $30-60 a bottle indicates to us “lion bone trade” is significantly high from Africa to Asia. We know the vast majority of “newly packaged” bottles of wine were not from Tigers. Based on poaching reports and statistics to that of Tiger farms within Asia we can confidentially state that many bottles were not that of true Tiger bone wine which again raises concerns with regards to the depletion of lions within the canned hunting business and poaching.

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Lion bones are a sought-after ingredient used to make lion bone wine, a substitute for the traditional Asian cure-all, tiger bone wine, which fetches up to R250 000 a case at illicit auctions.

Conservationists have warned that captive breeding and canned hunting programmes in South Africa are providing a source for the lion bone trade. Canned lion hunting is legal in South Africa, as is the exporting of lion carcasses. Lion populations across Africa have been reduced by 90% over the past 50 years, but lion breeders say their operations have nothing to do with the continent’s wild populations.

The price of trophies

Breeders can benefit financially a number of times from the same lion. Cubs are often rented as tourist attractions and visitors pay to pet and interact with them. The fee paid by visitors is then fed back into captive breeding programmes. As adults, the lions are sold to hunters in canned hunting arrangements.

Farmers and hunting operators charge in the region of about $20 000 (R160 000) as a “trophy price” and hunters can expect to pay around $18 000 (R145 000) for other services, excluding taxidermy. But the hunters are only interested in the head and skin of the lion, and often leave the bones with the breeder, who can then sell the bones, with a government permit, to Asian buyers for use in making lion bone wine.

It’s estimated that a complete lion skeleton can sell for as much as R80 000. Evidence emerged that over 1 400 lion and leopard trophies were exported from the country in 2009 and 2010.  According to the environmental affairs minister, in 2010, 153 live lions were exported as well as 46 lion skins, 235 carcasses, 592 trophies, 43 bodies and 41 skulls. It was noted that these figures were incomplete as the provinces had not yet captured all their data. Yet there was a 150% growth in exports of lion products from 2009 and 2010.

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Pieter Kat, director of the UK-based conservation organisation LionAid, said a lot could be achieved simply by placing a ban on the export of lion bones. Lions are listed on appendix two of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, which means that a government permit is needed to export any lion products. “It will take a position of responsibility by South Africa to say, ‘No more, we will not allow this,'” he said.

“South Africa is within its rights [to] say no more export permits,” said Kat.

Kat said that while one could argue about the ethics of breeding lions just to be shot, it was important to bear in mind that whatever South Africa did in terms of its legal trade in lion bones would affect wild lion populations all over the continent.

Kat pointed out that there are only about 20 000 lions left on the entire continent – down from about 200 000 in the 1970s. In the past few years Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and the Republic of Congo-Brazzaville have lost all their lions, while countries like Nigeria, Malawi and Senegal have only a few dozen lions left.

“We’re dealing with a species that is rapidly going extinct but because we are not really focused on lions – we’re talking about elephants and rhinos – it’s a silent extinction,” he said.

He warned that allowing the trade in lion bones to proliferate would stimulate a demand for the product. “Soon someone will [realise] it’s cheaper for to poach than to pay the owner of a captive animal to get the bones,” he said.

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Breeding for exploitation is only human

But Professor Pieter Potgieter, chairperson of the South African Predator Breeders’ Association, defended the industry saying there is little difference between breeding lions and any other mammal. “Chickens are killed by humans. How are lions different from them?” he asked.

“In principle a lion is not more or less than a crocodile, an ostrich or a butterfly. It’s a form of life. Breeding animals for human exploitation is a natural human process,” he said.

Potgieter said that breeding and hunting lions was only deplorable in the eyes of the public because a “sympathetic myth has been created about the lion as the king of the animals”.

He justified the practice, saying the export of lion bones is a legal trade authorised by the department of environmental affairs and denied that South Africa’s approach to captive breeding and canned lion hunting was feeding into the Asian demand for lion bones. “I don’t think that market is being created by the South African situation. That would happen anyhow and the more the Asian tiger gets extinct, the more people will try to get hold of lion bones as a substitute,” he said.

In 2007 former environmental affairs minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk attempted to put the brakes on canned lion hunting. It was widely reported that the activity had been banned in the country but this is not the case.

Some changes to legislation were made but the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled in favour of the Predator Breeders’ Association and overturned an attempt to enforce a two-year waiting period during which a captive-bred lion would be allowed to roam freely in an extensive wildlife system before being hunted, which conservationists had labelled an attempt to “pretend that the lion is wild”.

Captive breeding of lions is not the answer to saving Africa’s lions, nor is translocation, or indeed any one of the current solutions proposed.  A variety of responses is needed.  ALERT believes, as a result of vigorous analysis of the chances of success of current conservation solutions, the increasing threats to lions, and that translocation on its own is not sufficient, that captive breeding is a necessary addition to the armoury in our fight to ensure lions remain in viable numbers on this continent.

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Human overpopulation;

The most comprehensive assessment of lion (Panthera leo) numbers to date determined that Africa’s once-thriving savannahs are undergoing massive land-use conversion and burgeoning human population growth. The decline has had a significant impact on the lions that make their home in these savannahs; their numbers have dropped to as low as 32,000, down from hundreds of thousands estimated just 50 years ago.

The study, funded in part by the National Geographic Big Cats Initiative, was published online in this June 2012 by the Journal of Biodiversity and Conservation.

Some 24,000 of the continent’s remaining lions are primarily in 10 strongholds: 4 in East Africa and 6 in southern Africa, the researchers determined. Over 6,000 of the remaining lions are in populations of doubtful long-term viability. Lion populations in West and central Africa are the most acutely threatened, with many recent local extinctions, even in nominally protected areas.

“These research results confirm the drastic loss of African savannah and the severe decline in the number of remaining lions,” said Big Cats Initiative (BCI) Grants Committee Chair Thomas E. Lovejoy, University Professor for Environmental Science & Public Policy at George Mason University and Biodiversity Chair of The Heinz Center. “Immediate and major action is required to save lion populations in Africa.”

“Immediate and major action is required to save lion populations in Africa.”

African savannahs are defined by the researchers as those areas that receive between 300 and 1500 mm (approximately 11 to 59 inches) of rain annually. “These savannahs conjure up visions of vast open plains,” said Stuart Pimm, co-author of the paper who holds the Chair of conservation at Duke University. “The reality is that from an original area a third larger than the continental United States, only 25 percent remains.” In comparison, 30 percent of the world’s original rain forests remain.

Lions in West Africa are at highest level of risk, Pimm and the other researchers found. “The lions in West Africa are essentially gone,” said Pimm. “Only a radical effort can save them at this stage.”

Stuart Pimm is also a member of the Big Cats Initiative Grants Committee and a regular blogger for National Geographic News Watch. We interview him here about the research released this week.

Your study found that the population of wild lions in Africa plunged by two-thirds in 50 years. What’s the methodology to determine the populations then and now?

Scientists estimated that 50 years ago, approximately 100,000 lions made their home in Africa’s iconic savannahs. This estimate was made using rough calculations of the size of remaining habitat and lion density. Our research suggests that lion populations have experienced a dramatic decline, and numbers have dropped to as low as 32,000 individuals. We compiled all of the most current available estimates of lion numbers and distribution – continent-wide reports, country-specific lion conservation strategies and action plans, and newly published lion population surveys. To fill in any gaps, we drew from the knowledge of the co-authors and colleagues working across Africa to conserve lions.

Counting carnivores is a tricky business. Individual identification is a tremendous challenge and requires high-resolution cameras or good, unobstructed views in person. They are often shy and cover large distances. Lions are difficult to count even though they are social and sleep most of the day. Only a very few lion populations are known at the individual level, such as Liuwa Plains National Park, Zambia. Individual recognition of every lion in an area requires intense study, significant resources, and low numbers of individuals. Therefore, researchers use a variety of other imperfect techniques to estimate lion population size in all other lion areas. Some more common estimation techniques include spoor tracking or call-up surveys.

What are the main causes of lion decline?

There is a variety of factors leading to lion decline across their range. One of the most important things we identified was habitat loss. People usually think of savannah Africa as being comprised of wilderness, vast open grasslands stretching to the horizon in all directions. However, our analysis showed that from an original area a third larger than the United States, only 25% remains. In comparison, 30% of the world’s original tropical rainforest remain. Most of this reduction has come in the last 50 years due to massive land-use conversion and burgeoning human population growth. Besides habitat loss, another major driver of decline is human-caused mortality. This includes poaching, retaliatory killing, and trophy hunting.

How many of the remaining 32,000 wild lions in Africa are in stable populations in viable habitat? Where are the strongholds?

Our analysis identified only 67 largely isolated areas across the entire African continent where lions might survive. Of these 67 areas, only 10 qualified as strongholds where lions have an excellent chance of survival. These strongholds are located across East and Southern Africa, but importantly no areas in West or Central Africa qualify. Unfortunately this means that for the remaining 32,000 wild lions in Africa, only approximately 24,000 are in populations that can be considered at all secure.  More than 5,000 lions are located in small, isolated populations, putting their immediate survival in doubt.

What’s the prognosis for wild lions? Extinction?

The drastic reduction in lion numbers and habitat highlighted by our research is certainly alarming from a conservation standpoint. Yet, African lions are not in immediate danger of extinction. Substantial lion populations exist in large, well-protected areas such as the Serengeti or Kruger ecosystem. Many of the remaining lion populations in East or Southern Africa are in well-protected areas such as national parks and game reserves (although some of these allow hunting). Nevertheless, this should not be used as a blanket statement; there are populations and even countries in these regions that have few or no lions remaining. Overall, lions in West and Central Africa are in the gravest danger of extinction. More than half of the populations vital to lion conservation in these regions (as noted by the IUCN) have been extirpated in the past five years, with several countries losing their lions entirely. According to our research, fewer than 500 lions remain in West Africa, scattered across eight isolated sites. This is of serious concern as these populations contain the most genetically unique lions in all of Africa and are most closely related to the Asiatic lion.

Why is it important that we try to sustain the survival of wild lions in Africa?

Large carnivores play valuable ecological roles in “top-down” structuring of the ecosystem. For instance, removal of lions may allow populations of mid-sized carnivores to explode which would have cascading impacts on other flora and fauna. From an ecological perspective, large carnivores are crucial for balanced, resilient systems. However, the lion is so much more than just the largest carnivore in Africa. It is a powerful cultural and political symbol. Attempting to list all the uses of lions in African proverbs, symbols, names etc. would be a nearly impossible task. Finally, lions are vital to the tourism trade, which in turn is economically critical for many African nations.

How does your study help conservation of the big cats?

You cannot protect what you do not know you have. This is a simple but true adage. Our compilation needed to occur in order to prioritize areas for conservation action. With a good map, numbers, and some understanding of connectivity between the lion areas, we now know which populations are threatened with extinction or conversely, which are well connected and well protected.

How is the National Geographic Big Cats Initiative helping the situation for lions?

The Big Cats Initiative has quickly become a major player in lion conservation. We have sent nearly U.S.$800,000 into the field of which nearly all is in Africa and over half is dedicated directly for lion conservation. However, we are not doing this alone. Other international organizations like Panthera also contribute. We have developed collaborations with these types of groups to identify and execute important work, and many BCI grantees have contributing funds from other organizations.

However, because we focus on actual conservation efforts and not research, we fund many projects that do not have a chance elsewhere. We identify innovative projects that halt lion decline, bring them to global attention, and help them to increase in size. This stepwise process of giving start-up money and then escalating funds to increase scale is unique and the only way to meaningfully contribute to halting lion decline across large swaths of Africa.

We have two excellent examples of this process. The Anne Kent Taylor Fund operates in the Masai Mara region of Kenya. This program collaborates with locals to strengthen livestock corrals, or bomas. The boma fortification is so successful that demand is outstripping supply of chain link fencing and many locals are copycatting and experimenting with their own designs. This is the hallmark of a successful program.  Another fantastic operation is the African People & Wildlife Fund that works on the border of Tarangire National Park, in northern Tanzania. Their flagship activity is building stronger bomas, but they employ a large variety of tools and methods to interrupt the circle of retaliatory killing of cats. They work at all levels of the community from the schoolchildren to the leaders. Their long-term commitment is helping build a community that sees tangible benefits from preserving big cats, and a culture where retaliatory killing or poaching is unacceptable.

Sources – IUCN, National Geo Graphic, Big Cats Foundation, Born Free.

Hunting Lions for Sport;

ALERT states;

Recent studies have shown that areas in which trophy hunting has been permitted by government authorities, lion populations have severely declined even in the absence of other threats.

Commercial utilization of wild lion populations is a highly political issue with many proponents and dissenters, but is largely allowed by governments as a venture to deliver capital.  Despite some scientific efforts to ameliorate rates of offtake and (doubtful) guidelines for hunters to identify “post reproductive” males, trophy hunting has never been shown to be a sustainable venture, and is known to have many abuses. These include luring lions out of protected areas, exceeding and influencing quota systems, ignoring consequences on reproduction of lion populations by destroying pride males, and taking young males out of the future reproductive pool.

If we assume a continent-wide lion population of 25,000, this means that there are about 3,000 adult trophy males in Africa.  If we estimate that 40% occur in strictly protected areas, this leaves a “huntable” total of around 1,800 male lions.  Trophy harvests have averaged 665 exports per year, an unsustainable off take.

Proponents of trophy hunting have used three main arguments to continue the practice:

By giving “value” to lions, of which African rural communities receive a share, they will be more amendable to conserve them;

By generating revenues trophy hunting makes the maintenance of large tracts of land for wildlife viable;

Considerable revenues are generated for African nations and as such, consumptive use of lions is part of an overall conservation strategy for wildlife.

Various analyses have shown that these arguments are largely fictitious in practice.  African rural communities receive a pittance from turning over their land to hunting operators.  In Zimbabwe, a community household (average 10 people) will intermittently receive $1 to $3 per annum.  In Tanzania communities receive $4 per annum per square kilometre whilst the hunting operators receive $110.  The average contribution to GDP from hunting is 0.06% for 11 Africa nations that participate in trophy hunting, whilst 15% of their land is set aside for the practice.

Of seven countries that engage in trophy hunting, 696,708 km2 of land is set aside for the practice but employs a total of just 9,703 people, and most of them for six months only.  Given such weak returns for communities the incentive to stop poaching is little. The bushmeat trade in Ghana alone is estimated at $250 million per annum.

Source confirmed.

Dr Kat wrote a rather interesting article listed herein;

In a nutshell, the concept of “canned hunting” of lions means that the “trophy” shot by the hunter has been raised through a captive breeding program similar to the African Dankbaar Lion Breeders South Africa. There are many of these in South Africa, for example, where breeding populations of lions are kept in enclosures, and their offspring offered to sale for “hunters” who arrive at the game ranch/breeding facility.

The hunters get taken to a pre-arranged area where the captive bred lion has been conveniently installed; often times drugged and baited, where they level their high-powered rifles, and take home their wall-hanging, eventually artfully rendered by a taxidermist.

Secondary “canned hunting” schemes have been devised by clever operators who lure wild lions from protected areas into their hunting concessions by providing carcasses and playing calls over loudspeakers to attract them over the boundary.

This secondary activity should be identified for the criminal act it is, and perpetrators prosecuted.

But basically, the “canned hunting” operators working from captive bred animals are providing a desired product for the national (in this case, let’s say South African) and international markets. This needs to be accepted as a fact. Whether the eventual trophy room is located in Spain, Germany, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, or Houston, and whether the contact with the client is by internet or phone or by word of mouth or by international hunting meetings held yearly in Las Vegas, the demand for lion trophies is there.

How much do you have to pay for that trophy on your wall? Well, let’s say you wanted to hunt a wild male lion in Botswana. Probably you would have to debit your bank account for well over $150,000 before you could proudly introduce friends to your latest wall decoration. Of course, if you shopped around, maybe attended auctions by hunting companies, and did not mind travelling to African destinations identified with civil strife, corrupt wildlife departments & politicians, your trophy lion could be hanging there for a bit less.

But your best bet in terms of economy remains the “canned lion”.

Captive bred, staked out, you are taken there by vehicle, you are back at your camp for lunch, and the stories about the trophy on the wall are yours to invent and embellish. In terms of skill, prowess, proficiency and expertise on the part of the hunter, this probably ranks right up there with shooting fish in a barrel or a cow in a field.

Canned lion hunts have been revealed, regaled, and reviled on television and in print.  The practice of “canned hunting” of lions came under recent review in South Africa – the former Minister of Environment took a bit of a stance against it, the breeders complained, it went to court. The initial case was upheld by the courts, but was subsequently overturned by a court of appeals. So the practice will continue for now, perhaps with a few, a very few, controls.

There are powerful lobbies at work there, and pragmatists know that ethical principles usually bow to commerce.

Controversial as the activity is in terms of public opinion, there are aspects of canned lion hunting that are defensible. First, these animals are actually the property of the breeder, as much so as the impalas, kudu, wildebeest and blesbok on the game ranch. There are probably over 10,000 game ranches in South Africa alone, established to provide wildlife trophies and game meat for a hungry demand by consumers. Restaurants and upscale supermarkets as far away as London and Copenhagen serve meat from African species. Crocodile and ostrich farms sell meat and skins on the national and international markets.

Game ranching and game farming is a well-established business all over the world (you can buy kangaroo and American buffalo (bison) meat as well), so given that all these animals are raised in captivity for the sole purpose of their eventual demise (like cows, pigs, chinchillas, minks, foxes, chickens, ducks, geese, salmon etc involved in more traditional farming), can we actually say that a captive-raised lion destined for an eventual demise is any different philosophically from a lamb led to slaughter?

Continuing to play Devil’s Advocate, is it not better to equip the trophy rooms of the world with whole mounts, skins, and glass-eyed heads of lions bred in captivity rather than “collecting” them from the ever-diminishing wild populations? From 100,000 lions in the wild in the 1960’s, we are now left with perhaps 20,000 on the entire continent. You could put the entire African wild lion population into a single stadium where people come to watch the Yankees, Manchester United, or the Dallas Cowboys.  Oh, and there would still be plenty of empty seats – many Kenyan and Nigerian lions who booked their tickets a few years ago, for example, are no longer able to attend as they are now dead.

I decided to do a bit of further research on the subject. CITES, the international regulatory organization that is “supposed” to regulate international trade in endangered (and vulnerable) species by issuing permits for export and then tracking where those exports go, has provided figures that make up this next graph of exported trophies from wild lions shot as trophies in South Africa versus “canned” lions.

Unfortunately, published numbers are only available until 2005. The CITES record keepers need a wakeup call maybe? Anyway, you will see that “canned” lion hunting trophy exports started in 1994 (year 12 on the graph), and have gained in popularity since. This is probably because “canned” lions

are made available to the trophy hunter at a much reduced cost compared to the expense involved in embarking on a wild lion hunt. A “canned” lion, if you are a canny hunter, can probably be supplied for roughly $20,000 versus a wild lion costing at least three or four times that. Of course a female lion goes for a real bargain price, you are forbidden to shoot a wild one these days.

For more information please read more here http://lionalert.org/page/article-canned-hunting

Dr Kat is a rather experienced conservationist that speaks very truthfully and provides positive factual evidence of which many hunters will never show. The IUCN and Cites rarely touch up on just how bad hunting is taking its toll on the African lions. For example the IUCN merely state that some populations are in decline yet actually bother to go into great detail as do the supposedly protective Cites convention.

Lion Poaching to feed the fake Tiger bone wine trade;

In South Africa, Vietnamese and Thai nationals have been arrested at O.R. Tambo International Airport with illegal lion bones in their luggage, but levels of the illegal trade are considered much higher than such occasional seizures suggest. With authorities concentrating on illegal ivory and rhino horn shipments, bones could well be smuggled out undetected.

The extent to which poaching of lions occurs is difficult to estimate. Since poached lion carcasses are much smaller than those of elephants and a rhino, their detection is more difficult. Even when found, lion remains are likely to be seen as natural mortality and subsequent carcass destruction by scavengers.

In India, all carcasses of tigers are considered poaching incidents until other reasons for mortality can be supported. Perhaps lion carcasses should now be treated with the same degree of suspicion.

FACT

From 2009-2011 Cites (Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species wild flora and fauna states the following with regards to lion carcass/bone imports from Africa into Asia.

  • China – 16 imports of lion bodies from 2011
  • Laos – 80 imports of lion bodies from 2009
  • Laos – 250 imports of lion bones/bodies (That’s 250 separate imports as listed above too and below)
  • China – 48 imports of lion bones from 2009
  • Laos – from 2010 a total of 586 imports and in 2011 1573 imports of just (lion bones)
  • Vietnam – from 2009 a total of 62 imports 2010 saw a total of 26 imports and 2011 saw a total of 32 imports (all lion bones)
  • China – a total of 2 imports in the year of 2011 being that of (lion skeletons)
  • Laos – a total of 5 imports from 2009, 29 in 2010 and a total of 496 imports of lion skeletons in 2011
  • Vietnam – a total of 72 imports of lion skeletons from 2010 were recorded

Highlighted above are figures that range only from 2009-2011 all listed on the Cites website of which clearly indicates proof that while trophy hunting and canned hunting of lions continues and there is no laws implemented to cease trade in lion bones from Africa then unfortunately we have a “demand beginning” and to date we do not even know the true figure for 2012, 2013, and 2014 as yet. Hunters that continue to spread the lie they are conserving the species of lion are actually no better than those demanding a trade and the evidence is as clear today as it was in 2009.

The South African trade involves lion breeders/canned lion hunters and taxidermists at least, and it is reported that lion bones are selling for about $165 per kilo in South Africa and about $300-$500 at destination. The value of a lion skeleton could therefore be in excess of $10,000. In China, lion bones are soaked for a variable period in rice wine, whereas in Laos and Vietnam the bones are made into a “paste” with added ingredients like herbs (some reports say opium is also mixed in). The paste is then also dissolved in rice wine. Such bone tonics are used to treat a variety of ailments.

While this trade is continuing and global governments doing nothing we are set to lose our lion species as we will the Rhino should more stringent actions not be met sooner rather than later. Removal of the trophy from Africa to America we fully understand is “not necessarily” the issue here. It’s the actual collection of bones after the hunt, the peddling of bones which increases demand and poaching too. Ban hunting and we remove the trade in lion bones. Would it increase poaching of lions though within Africa as we are seeing this moment with regards to the Rhino and Elephant? International Animal Rescue Foundation believes not however this is an area for law enforcement, environmental agencies, permit controls and locals to work together.

Most at risk is the Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica), a subspecies of the African lion (Panthera leo) found only in the Gir Forest of India. The Asiatic lion is classified as Endangered by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, and has a current population of just 350 individuals. Being such a rareity means the price of such bones increases which is more identical to that of the Indian One Horned Rhino.

Although the population is considered stable, a single event, such as disease or forest fire, could result in extinction of this species. And, as we are witnessing with wild tiger and rhino, if poaching increases, this small population is not likely to survive. There are indications of poaching incidents in recent years (there are reports that organised gangs have switched their attention from tigers to these lions).

The Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI), warned back in 2007 that a new phase in wildlife poaching to meet Chinese demands could wipe out the world’s only Asiatic lion population.

This serious new development points to the fact that since tigers are so scarce in the wild, poachers are now targeting the last remaining population of Asiatic Lions. Gir’s lions are an easy target, since they are comparatively used to people and live in open scrub forest. Their bones are also virtually indistinguishable from those of tigers. There is no market for big cat parts in India and their poaching and the trade is entirely driven by demand from outside India’s borders for use in traditional Chinese medicine.

Leopards and lions used as substitutes for tiger bones

Also in 2007, environmental photojournalist Debby Ng wrote in Asia! Magazine that both leopards and lions are now used as common substitutes for tiger bones. Ng has worked with TRAFFIC, WWF, WSPA, and EIA.

Ng stated in her article that according to Valmik Thapar, conservationist and one of the world’s leading experts in Indian tigers, 12 to 14 Asiatic lions were poached within six months in Gir National Park. Thapar said that poaching for the Chinese tiger trade was confirmed by the fact that only the bones were removed from the dead lions – just as in the case of tigers killed for Chinese “potions”.

Even earlier, Dr. A.J.T. Johnsingh, a wildlife biologist with the Nature Conservation Foundation, Mysore, and WWF-India, reported in 2004 that Gir’s Asiatic lions were being killed by villagers working in conjunction with poachers.

In April 2004, a lion was found in the Dedakadi forest range near the Gir headquarters at Sasan, with its right paw nearly ripped off – a sure sign of the use of a leg-hold jaw trap, which is commonly used to kill tigers. Soon officials detected organised poaching of lions, and there were reports of bones being removed from carcasses. It came to light that tribal poachers from Madhya Pradesh disguised as agricultural labourers were killing the lions. Suspicion pointed persistently to the traditional Chinese medicine business as it is difficult to differentiate bones of lions from those of tigers.

While the main threat to African lions at this point is human encroachment (especially poisoning by farmers), Dereck Joubert, a National Geographic filmmaker and writer focusing on big cats, has said in an article in Washington Post earlier this year that African lions are also at risk of becoming commodities in China.

Big cats are in trouble everywhere. The number of tigers has dipped below 3 000. Tiger bones are used extensively in the East for medicines and mythological cures for ailments or limp libidos, and the demand is increasing. A growing demand and a disappearing supply is a formula for disaster.

The solution playing out is a switch from tiger bones to lion bones, which can be easily sold off as tiger bones.

Heed the warning – before it is too late for lions

Sadly, one only need to look at the decline in wild tiger and rhinoceros populations to see that CITES protections are not enough to deter poachers. Commercial poaching has become big business – thanks to the boom in population and the “new wealth” in China. And despite being a CITES signatory, Chinese consumption of products derived from endangered species – especially tigers – is flourishing.

There is no doubt that If China does succeed in wiping out our planet’s wild tigers, commercial poaching operations – funded by Chinese demand and affluence – will also push lions to extinction.

Conclusion from the Chief Environmental Officer;

It is beyond a doubt that we are losing many species of animals within Africa and Asia to fund the booming Traditional Wildlife Trade that exceeds that of the illegal arms trade by millions. Hunting of lions must be banned without a doubt or trade and demand for a fake medicine that has no health benefits whatsoever will most certainly skyrocket thus leading to the extinction of our lion prides. We simply cannot any longer sit back and do nothing. Cites signatories must now ban all imports of lion trophies into their countries. Furthermore all lion stronghold African and Asian countries must ban trophy hunting full stop. Failing this extinction will be on the cards before anyone really takes notice.

Tour operators locally and internationally must warn their customers travelling to African petting farms of the dangers in which customers are placing lion populations in. Petting a lion may seem rather cute to some, however has a detrimental effect not only to the lion’s behaviour, health of other lions and game but money raised from the petting business travels directly into breeding more lions, killing more lions thus funding the bone wine trade.

Time for this practice to stop starts today. International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa and Europa has as of last month sent emails to many hundreds of tour operators informing them of the dangers. Should we locate ANY tour guide that openly allows such practices we will expose them as a national threat to our lion species.

Africa must tackle not only its poaching crisis on a governmental level but also its human over-population explosion too. Lions are losing their habitat every day to provide roads, infrastructure and housing to Africans of which many from 2011-2013 were illegal immigrants from Zimbabwe. Influxes of immigrants from over the borders in to South Africa has increased to gastronomical levels and yet little is being done to secure the borders.

Habitat destruction, land conversion, hunting, breeding un-sustainable agriculture, persecution, poisoning and poaching needs addressing on a much larger and wider level. We can all write about the problems and cry out too, this “emotion and thought drive” now needs processing into positive actions by each and every person concerned about the welfare of our countries lions and other mega fauna before it’s too late.

sham3

Dr Jose C. Depre

info@international-animalrescue-foundation.org.uk

Please donate here today >> Funding African Wildlife Survival

 


Species in the Line of Fire – Virunga National Park Part II – Endangered Species.

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This Fridays endangered species article focuses on avian species that could be under threat in the next decade should deforestation increase, habitat fragmenting and oil explorations increase within the Democratic Republic of Congo and Virunga National Park.

Today we focus on three species listed herein as;

  1. Ross’s Turaco. (Musophaga rossae)
  2. Red Throated Bea Eater. (Merops bulocki)
  3. Red Head Blue Bill. (Spermophaga ruficapilla)

Why single out just these three bird species though?

International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa has singled these three species out not because they are threatened but more the opposite, because they are “for now” listed as least concern – for – how long though is another story. Seismic surveys in the Virunga National Park could interfere with the breeding patterns, life cycle and behaviour thus forcing them out of their original habitat encroaching onto others.

So think of it like this, you live next door to a noisy neighbour that has affected your sleep, and behaviour, caused you unimaginable physical and psychological stress that you are literally forced out of your home into new pastures that may or may not be suitable for you and your children. Humans can up and move rather easy although it’s the most stressful event within a life time we manage ok. Birds and other mammals though cannot just up and move that easy. Habitat is shrinking and the human populations are growing, and growing with no end in sight.

Birds need to ensure that the correct trees, fruits (Eg) are within a new territory, that predators are minimal in size; they are not over exposed and can nest freely. If for instance a bird population has nowhere to move to and is forced to live within a (oil drilling zone block [exampled]) then how long do you think them populations will continue to live for?  I am sure that you can answer that question yourself.

So let’s take a look at these three stunning birds today.

Lady Ross Turaco;

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Musophaga rossae is commonly known as the Ross’s Turaco or Lady Ross Turaco identified in 1852 the current population trend is stable and there is no reason as yet to be overly concerned. Please note “as yet” as this could soon change to “concerned”.

Native to Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, The Democratic Republic Congo Republic of Gabon, Congo Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, United Republic of Uganda and Zambia. Lady Ross is also a vagrant visitor to the Africans country of Botswana too with little evidence of populations within Namibia.

For now population size of this most beautiful bird categorised in the order of cuculiformes is currently stable and present throughout much of its range. Turacos are frugivous, which means they mainly consume fruit, such as grapes, apples, bananas, melons, papaya, squash, pears, etc.  At least five different types of fruit are consumed a day by Turacos of which is essential for their diet and living. However should big rig oil and gas companies begin ripping up forests within “parts of their range” of which many fruit trees are present within the Virunga then sadly the Turaco’s habitat is placed in danger thus forcing the Turaco to either up and move or die of malnutrition. Moving to Cameroon the Tauraco bannermani that is related to the Lady Ross Turaco is listed as (endangered) since 2012. Their population size is currently on the decline and the possibility of extinction occurring are very real within the next five years.

I have picked this species related to the Lady Ross as an example to show my concerns to you of which the main threat to the Bannerman’s Turaco (common name) is that of habitat fragmentation. The same threat that is now facing many species of bird and mammal life within the Virunga National Park should oil expansion be given the go ahead by the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Government.

Threats that could face the Lady Ross are listed hereto;

The greatest threat to this species is habitat loss: the Kilum-Ijim forest halved in area between 1963 and 1986. Following changes to a major long-term conservation project in 2004, it is reported that the threats of habitat loss and degradation at Kilum-Ijim have increased. Forest fires are responsible for the greatest proportion of habitat loss, for example c.500 ha of forest burnt around Lake Oku in March 2000. It is also under serious threat from forest clearance for agriculture, grazing, firewood and timber, with birds surviving in forest fragments in imminent danger of extinction, particularly due to their reluctance to cross open habitats. The species is hunted for its feathers, which are given as awards in local ceremonies.

Another species related to the Lady Ross is that of the Tauraco fischeri identified in 1878 its native to Tanzania, Kenya and Somalia. Current threats are or less the same as its distant cousin the Bannerman’s Turaco listed below; please note the words (forest clearance, habitat fragmentation, and pet trade). Many Turaco’s are still being traded as pets however the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species Wild Flora and Fauna (Cites) has limited some species importations and exportations to preserve their current wild populations.

Tauraco fischeri threats are;

It is threatened primarily by trapping and the clearance of coastal forests. During the 1980s and early 1990s, hundreds of birds were exported from Tanzania for the cage bird trade, with many more perishing en route, and this had a serious impact on numbers in the Usambaras. Trade in live birds from Tanzania is still a significant threat, although a recently imposed quota system is helping to limit its impact. On Zanzibar, there is a high rate of habitat degradation, with only 16% of the habitat occupied by the species showing signs of low, rather than high, human impact. Its habitat on Zanzibar is threatened mainly by firewood collection, but also by charcoal production, timber extraction and extensive clearing of land for agriculture. Please note the words (charcoal production) which are a serious threat still to Virunga National Park species. Should oil drilling get the go ahead charcoal production is most certainly going to increase within parts of the Lady Ross’s range.

Red Throated Bea Eater;

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Identified in 1817 Merops bulocki scientifically known as the Red Throated Bea Eater is currently listed as least concern of which its populations are currently stable. Again as explained above please note the words “currently stable” which could change over a decade or less to “threatened”.

Native to Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, The Democratic Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia; Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, South Sudan, Sudan, Togo Uganda and the (DRC) Democratic Republic of Congo. The Red Throated Bea Eater is also known to be a vagrant within Sierra Leone.

International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa are concerned that Bea Eaters could be placed in danger via deforestation, land clearance for agriculture, oil and gas drilling, charcoal trade and the tropical pet trade. The Bea Eaters diet is unique of which I have listed below. Again remember that Bea Eaters do mainly eat insects and insects need flora to survive. Should big rig oil companies then move in, rip up forest and land for roads and rigs then unfortunately we will see a reduction in food required for the survival of the Bea Eater thus placing the species in “danger”.

Bea Eater’s Diet;

The Bee-Eaters are almost exclusively aerial hunters of insect prey. Prey is caught either while in continuous flight or more commonly from an exposed perch where the Bee-Eater watches for prey. Smaller, rounder-winged Bee-Eater typically hunts from branches and twigs closer to the ground, whereas the larger species hunt from tree tops or telegraph wires.

One unusual technique often used by carmine Bee-Eater is to ride the back of bustards. Prey can be spotted from a distance; European Bee-Eaters are able to spot a bee 60 m away, and Blue-cheeked Bee-Eaters have been observed flying out 100 m to catch large wasps. Prey is approached directly or from behind. Prey that lands on the ground or on plants is usually not pursued. Small prey may be eaten on the wing, but larger prey is returned to the perch to be beaten against the perch to kill them and break them up. Insects with poisonous stings are first smacked on the branch, then, with the eyes closed, rubbed to discharge the venom. This behaviour is innate, as demonstrated by a juvenile bird in captivity, which performed the task when first presented with wild bees. This bird was stung on the first five tries, but by ten bees, it was as adept at handling bees as adult birds.

Bee-Eaters consume a wide range of insects; beyond a few distasteful butterflies they consume almost any insect from tiny Drosophila flies to large beetles and dragonflies. At some point Bee-Eaters have been recorded eating beetles, mayflies, stoneflies, cicadas, termites, crickets and grasshoppers, mantises, true flies and moths.

For many species the dominant prey item are stinging members of the order Hymenoptera, namely wasps and bees. In a survey of 20 studies the proportion of the diet made up by bees and wasps varied from 20% to 96%, with the average being 70%. Of these honeybees can comprise a large part of the diet – as much as 89% of the overall diet.

Pollinator Decline could place bird species in danger;

The term pollinator decline refers to the reduction in abundance of insect and other animal pollinators in many ecosystems worldwide during the end of the twentieth century. Pollinators participate in sexual reproduction of many plants, by ensuring cross-pollination, essential for some species, or a major factor in ensuring genetic diversity for others. Since plants are the primary food source for animals, the reduction of one of the primary pollination agents, or even their possible disappearance, has raised concern, and the conservation of pollinators has become part of biodiversity conservation efforts.

Over the past decade we have seen a slight decline of Africans Honey Beas and other pollinators of which birds such as the Red Throated Bea Eater require to eat and survive.

Honey Beas do make up quite a significant proportion of the Bea Eaters diet, last year I raised my concerns with regards to the vast decline of bees within America, Europe and Asia. Take Asia for instance in some areas Honey Beas have vanished of which has left fruit farmers to pollinate their crops by hand. Honey Bea decline within Asia, Europe and America is still ongoing and should it continue we would need African Honey Beas to help pollinate our crops. However the African Honey Bea has also seen some rather small and large declines within its range.

As the crucial role of bees as pollinators of the world’s food supply is increasingly becoming common knowledge, reports about the serious decline of Honey Bee populations in Europe and the USA have alarmed governments, the private sector and the general public. A similar decline in Africa and Asia has the potential to further threaten the world’s biodiversity, in addition to compromising the food security and livelihoods of millions of rural resource-poor farmers, as well as having negative impacts on the agricultural income of commercial farmers. The simple fact is here – should we lose the honey bee we’ll most certainly lose a vast majority of Avian and Mammal species too. Think about it, mammals and birds even humans require vegetables and fruits to live, these plants require the honey bee and other pollinating insects to produce cropage. No crop no food = major problems.

DID YOU KNOW – Beas are responsible for one in three bites of food that we and land mammals eat?

Apart from the honey they produce, bees are vitally important pollinators of fruit and vegetable crops. It is estimated that pollinators, especially bees, are responsible for about one in three bites of the food we eat.

For much of the last ten years, beekeepers, primarily in the United States and Europe, have been reporting annual hive losses of 30 percent or higher, which is substantially more than is considered normal or sustainable. Many bee species and other pollinating insects have experienced a sharp decline in numbers, raising major concerns about the impacts on food supplies and environmental health.

Listed as least concern the Merops bulocki (one step away from near threatened) the Red Throated Bea Eater’s populations are as explained currently stable. But what about other Bea Eaters?

For now the vast majority of Bea Eaters are currently listed as (least concern) however that could soon change as it has for the Merops mentalis, scientifically identified as Blue-moustached Bee-eater and located in 1889 the species  is currently listed as (near threatened). Native to Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone its populations are currently decreasing rapidly.

Again major threats are mostly deforestation of which should SOCO Plc or other oil and gas companies decide on ripping forests up to build rigs, lay pipes, and construct roads inbound and outbound we will most certainly see the Red Throated Bea Eater reduced within its range in the Virunga National Park. Threats to the Red Throated Bea Eater’s cousin the Merops mentalis are listed herein below;

This species occurs in a region known for rapid and on-going deforestation. Large remnant tracts of forest in Liberia are under intense and increasing pressure from commercial logging and a consequent increase in settlement and small-holder agriculture. Elsewhere in the Upper Guinea region, forest survives in fragments that are under intense pressure for logging and conversion to agriculture. Forest in some reserves is being destroyed for teak plantations and cultivation, as well as through illegal logging. The species’ tolerance of some forest degradation and fragmentation implies that it is not undergoing a severe decline as yet. However take a few hundred kilometres of forest away for roads, add a 50,000 square meter oil and gas rigging company, plus vehicles and we soon see problems occurring “very rapidly”. Read more here on how oil platforms work http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/energy/oil-drilling4.htm

Red Head Blue Bill;

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Located in 1888 the Red Head-Blue Bill species a stunningly beautiful avian bird is formally listed as (least concern). All three species listed above are categorised as least concern of which (near threatened) status is their categorisation.

Population size is currently stable of which is populated quite extensively throughout its range. Native too Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo The Democratic Republic of Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and the United Republic of Uganda.

Red Head Blue Bill is one of only a dozen or so that’s cousins is listed as “non-threatened”. Grants Blue Bill and the Western Blue Bill are currently for now listed as (least concern). The global population size has not been quantified, but it is believed to be large as the species is described as ‘frequent’ in at least parts of its range (Fry and Keith 2004). Global population trends have not been quantified, but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations).

Read Head – Blue Bills diet consists mainly of incest’s making up 90% of its overall diet with earth worms, mealy bugs and beetles. Although listed as least concern we must not be fooled for one minute that this species is safe as it is not. Taking the Congo as again another prime example of habitat fragmentation the DRC and Congo is currently losing vast swathes of forestry legal and illegal. Many species of animal are on the decline as you can see pictured below in diagram one.

Congo – (CAR) Deforestation;

Central Africa’s deforestation rate since 1990 has been the lowest of any major forest region in the world. However there are still a number of threats to the health of the Congo rainforest and its residents.

The biggest drivers of deforestation in the Congo rainforest over the past 20 years have been small-scale subsistence agriculture, clearing for charcoal and fuel wood, urban expansion, and mining. Industrial logging has been the biggest driver of forest degradation. However it’s important not to understate the impact of logging in the region. Logging roads have opened up vast areas of the Congo to commercial hunting, leading to a poaching epidemic in some areas and a more than 60 percent drop in the region’s forest elephant population in less than a decade. Furthermore, logging roads have provided access to speculators and small-holders that clear land for agriculture.

Looking forward, the biggest threats to the Congo rainforest come from industrial logging and conversion for large-scale agriculture. Some environmentalists fear that the Congo could be on the verge of a massive increase in deforestation for palm oil, rubber, and sugar production.

NOTE; when contacting SOCO International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa made it quite clear that opening up roads in an area that has rampant poaching and tropical animal trade. Our exact words where;

“Opening up forest land to commercial oil and gas drilling will not only lead to opportunistic illegal logging but also vast scale poaching, leading to a poaching epidemic that could spiral out of control”.

We have yet to date since contacting the CEO and her husband Roger to receive a reply on how they would deal with such a problematic issue that could see Gorilla species wiped out and primates and more tropical birds abducted from their natural habitat and sold into the witchcraft, voodoo or the tropical pet trade.

All three species of bird above that are endemic to the Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda face many daunting man made problems listed below. Should these and a suspected oil and gas trade open up within the Virunga National Park (1925) then we will most certainly lose these species and many more too.

Logging

Logging in the Congo Basin has increased significantly as peace has returned to the region. In 2004, encouraged by the World Bank, Congo announced its plans to step up the commercial logging of its rainforest. The timber industry is a major employer in Congo countries and thousands of workers rely on logging companies for basic healthcare and other services. Illegal logging is a significant problem as underpaid bureaucrats look to supplement their incomes by opening restricted areas to cutting.

Since the end of the war in Congo DR, concessions have been granted and the pace of logging in Africa’s largest remaining rain forest is picking up

Subsistence Agriculture

Most of the deforestation in the Congo is caused by local subsistence activities by poor farmers and villagers who rely on forest lands for agriculture and fuel wood collection. Slash-and-burn is commonly used for clearing forest.

Typically, poor farmers and colonists gains access to forest lands by following logging roads, although in the past few years civil strife has driven many Central Africans deep into the rainforest to escape the widespread violence.

Civil Strife

Central Africa has been plagued with violence since the mid-90s. Hundreds of thousands of refugees have moved through the forests of the Congo, stripping vegetation and devastating wildlife populations. National parks like Virunga — home to the endangered mountain gorilla — were looted and park staffers slaughtered. Refugee camps bordering parks added to the pressure on parklands. For now the M23 rebels have agreed on a cease fire lasting well over a year now however this could change, and the last thing we want is to see an oil refinery abandoned and in the hands of crazed lunatics that could wipe the park clean of the planet.

Mining

The Congo Basin has some of the world richest mineral deposits. Mining operations are poorly monitored and financial returns are prioritized over social impacts and the long-term health effects — much less to the environmental impact.

The Bush meat Trade

Today visitors too many Central African cities can purchase the meat of virtually any forest animal. Demand for bush meat is driven by the desire for protein, not necessarily the animal source of the protein, the demand for which varies from market to market. In Gabon, McRae reports that annual per capita consumption of bush meat may reach eight pounds annually.

The availability of bush meat is made possible by the logging industry whose road construction opens rainforest to hunters and settlers. Hunters make a living by selling bush meat to passing loggers, traders, and local villagers. The majority of bush meat is brought to city markets by loggers. Since 2012 we have informed SOCO that this is a major problem within Africa should an oil refinery be constructed it would see more deforestation occur.

DRCV

Above is details bird species endemic to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Virunga.

Regional bush meat hunting is expected to “increase as commercial logging” expands in the Congo Basin.

Conclusion;

Within this article part II of the Virunga National Park Crisis I have not listed “endangered species” as a concern. Instead I have provided you with sound evidence that should an oil refinery be constructed, roads and transportation built plus more it will see all three species above, Ross’s Turaco (Musophaga rossae), Red Throated Bea Eater (Merops bulocki), and the Red Head Blue Bill, (Spermophaga ruficapilla) (as an example) plus many more species of bird and mammalian placed in dire danger.

Virunga National Park’s species of land mammal, aquatic and avian populations have been declining rapidly over the past decade. Mining, deforestation, illegal logging, and the bush meat trade have been responsible for some rather prolific animal declines, and now a possible oil refinery will most certainly be the nail in the coffin.

Thank you for reading;

For further information please email our Environmental Public Relations unit below;

info@international-animalrescue-foundation.org.uk

Chief Environmental Officer

Dr Josa C. Depre

Chief Environmental Registrar

J. Williamson

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Thank you.

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www.international-animalrescue-foundation.org.uk

www.saynotodogmeat.net

 


Virunga National Park – Under Threat Part I

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Virunga National Park, Africa’s first natural wildlife park is once again under threat from SOCO plc a British Oil Company that is threatening the lives of hundreds of thousands of species of mammal and fauna and indigenous tribes that depend on the parks surroundings to survive.

The problem doesn’t just stop there, M23 rebels and “oil” don’t mix especially when the cease fire there over a year old now is still bubbling, frustrations are mounting, conservationists are coming under attack. Tensions are high and the only hope for this park and its inhabitants now is us and you pushing SOCO out. Preserving the park for years to come. Failure is simply not an option.

Brief History Thus Far;

International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa came under cyber-attack on the 1st and 2nd of June 2014 some days after exposing the details of SOCO’s new exploratory maps, home addresses of the Directors and for speaking out against the corrupt regime within the Democratic Republic of Congo. Our Africans site was hacked into, our articles removed, our communications site shut down for no more than 3-4 hours until it was assessed what was going on.

Who were the attackers? We believe the opportunist that got lucky was of Asian origin that was able to locate sites not advertised by us, and information and the know-how of how to navigate complex admin panels. The individual[s] bypassed every important door that would have terminated all sites, every panel that would have hemorrhaged funds from our banks.

Only after well published and shared Virunga articles the perpetrators we believe are the same individuals that have recently been waging cyber-warfare on critics that have spoken out about the current drilling within Africa’s oldest National Park.

Laws as set out in the Democratic Republic of Congo clearly state that oil drilling is “an illegal activity” within the Virunga of which has seen many speak out against the drilling. Those that are speaking out are now being threatened by local thugs, rebels, and cyber warriors.

According to the laws of Democratic Republic of the Congo, activities harmful to the environment are prohibited in all protected areas, including national parks.

Major oil exploitation could involve disruptive seismic tests, forest clearing, deep underground drilling, or the laying of vulnerable oil pipelines. The additional human presence required for these activities could also be damaging to the park’s ecosystems.

As a signatory to the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, Democratic Republic of the Congo has agreed to respect the treaty’s requirements for the protection World Heritage Sites.

Oil and mineral extraction have been found by UNESCO to be incompatible with the spirit of the convention. Alarmed by the allocation of oil concessions within Virunga National Park, UNESCO’s Director General has called for the Congolese government to “abandon all plans for oil extraction.” Similarly, the World Heritage Committee has urged that all oil permits be cancelled. International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa has called on SOCO to pull out of Virunga and for the British Government to now intervene before we see damage and loss occur.

SOCO back in April 2014 released this statement below with regards to its “seismic surveys” that are ongoing in large blocks within the Virunga National Park established in 1925.

SOCO’s April 2014 statement can be read below;

Tuesday 29 April 2014

SOCO International plc (“SOCO” or “the Company”)

SOCO Comments on Unfounded Allegations and Inaccuracies on the Company’s Current Activities in Virunga National Park SOCO is aware of the inaccuracies concerning its activities in the Democratic Republic of Congo currently being circulated in the media by the Company’s detractors.

SOCO would like to make clear, as consistent with previous statements, that the only commitment at this point in time is to conduct seismic survey on Lake Edward, alongside environmental and social studies and social investment programmes. No drilling has been planned or is even warranted at this stage.

This is the preliminary block evaluation phase of the work programme agreed with the DRC Government, and is the only phase to which SOCO has committed.

SEISMIC SURVEY

A seismic survey is a scientific study to gather data about subsurface rock formations. SOCO commissioned a seismic survey on Lake Edward in DRC waters, which has a surface area of approx. 1,630 sq km. This survey, beginning late April, is not the first seismic survey on Lake Edward: a seismic survey was previously carried out on the same lake in Ugandan waters (which covers a surface area of approx. 695 sq km).

The seismic survey will take approx. 6 weeks to complete and will progress across the lake, one area at a time. SOCO is using the same specialist contractors that carried out a similar survey on Lake Albert, another of the East Africa Great Lakes, this time using an even more environmentally sensitive technique. Moreover, although the survey technique is harmless to aquatic flora and fauna, as an extra precautionary measure the delicate fish spawning areas of the lake will be excluded.

The seismic survey involves placing a line of hydrophones, extremely sensitive sound equipment, onto the lake floor to record sound waves produced from releases of compressed air. The survey will take place in daylight and will utilise approximately 1% of the lake, on the DRC side, at any one time (approx. 16 sq km).

LICENCE AND PERMITS

The Government of the DRC awarded the Block V licence to SOCO in June 2006 and ratified this by Presidential Decree in 2010. In 2011, the DRC Environment Ministry approved SOCO’s environmental and social impact assessment (often referred to as the ‘PAR’) and in 2011 and 2013 issued Environmental Acceptability Certificates authorising respective aerial and seismic surveys. The aerial survey was not carried out due to the security status in the region; the seismic survey is described above.

Within Block V, SOCO’s specific area of interest is Lake Edward (approx 1,630 km2) and the adjacent lowland savannah, which are both within the Virunga National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The park wardens’ organisation, ICCN, which manages the Virunga National Park, is a DRC Government body. In May 2011, ICCN and SOCO made an agreement, which was signed by ICCN’s Chairman of the Board and its Director General. Under the terms of this agreement, ICCN permits SOCO to enter the Virunga National Park for the purposes of carrying out scientific studies, and SOCO pays ICCN a fee for access to the Park and for monitoring SOCO’s activities whilst inside the Park.

The lines of working relationship and accountability to ICCN were strengthened further in September 2011 when an Environmental Monitoring Committee was established to monitor SOCO’s activities whilst in the Park. ICCN has two representatives on this committee and ICCN’s Director General holds the position of Committee Chairman. SOCO’s agreement with ICCN was renewed in 2013.

The DRC Environment Ministry addressed the legal position concerning oil exploration in the Virunga National Park in its letter to UNESCO, announced on 8 August 2012 and available on its website (also available on SOCO’s website). The DRC Environment Ministry has recently stated its continued commitment to promoting the country’s research, exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons in full compliance with its national and international commitments to nature and the environment. The DRC Environment Ministry noted that despite some concerns, it was determined to combine sound economic management with sustainable management of natural resources whilst ensuring environmental protection.

virungas_oil_map_blockv_updated

HELP FOR THE PARK

The Virunga National Park was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger by the World Heritage Committee twenty years ago in 1994 in the wake of war and an influx of refugees which led to widescale deforestation and poaching at the site. The human population in the fishing village near Lake Edward has increased several fold, posing a serious threat to the integrity of the Park.

Responsible commercial investment has the potential to transform a region. We are committed to support conservation by ensuring that our operations are managed responsibly and sustainably. Responsibly conducted commercial activities can provide important measures of stability to a region. Enhancement of local and regional economies can help raise living standards for local communities and thus alleviate the pressure and negative impacts on the protected area. We are committed to continuing the dialogue with all stakeholders who have an interest in our operations in Virunga in order to better understand their concerns, correct inaccuracies and reassure local communities.

During 2013, SOCO committed over US $0.9 million towards social projects for local communities around Lake Edward, including:

The rehabilitation of a dilapidated road between Nyakakoma and Ishasha,
The installation of a communications mast at Nyakakoma
The provision of medical aid programmes (including a mobile hospital and a disease mapping campaign to combat neglected tropical diseases).

RESPONSIBLE OPERATING

SOCO is extremely sensitive to the environmental significance of the Virunga National Park. This is reflected in the strict step-wise process that is uniquely characteristic of the Block V project. Unlike standard oil exploration licence projects, the approval of the DRC authorities is required for each phase of the project and emphasis is placed on environmental monitoring studies and social investment during the early phases.
Engaging with the local community to hear and understand their needs, along with carefully managed social investment is an important part of responsible management. SOCO’s social investment is starting to have a positive impact that we believe will be long-term.

It is emphasised that SOCO operates under a strict Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, which it takes extremely seriously. Any reported breach will always be investigated to the furthest extent possible.

SOCO fully appreciates and supports a public debate on the compatibility of conservation and economic development. However, the benefit of such debate becomes limited when one side of the debate presents false allegations, and when there has been little or no opportunity for balance to be included by allowing SOCO to put across its side of the story with facts concerning its location and activities in Block V.

SOCO’s approach continues to be one of openness and transparency, and SOCO welcomes dialogue with all its stakeholders.

End of statement;

Lake Edward featured within the heavily criticised film “Virunga” is the main area of interest that SOCO are currently focusing on, strangely SOCO also state that they were given “permission” to conduct (seismic surveys) and not (drilling as yet) by Virunga’s rangers, Democratic Republic of Congo Government and local communities. From our own experiences and knowing to well whom are located around the area of Lake Edward and within the Virunga itself we personally believe rangers and local communities have been threatened by “unforeseen forces” most likely M23 rebels that have since a year ago issued a cease fire within the park.
SOCO states;

SOCO stresses that all of the Company’s activities within the Virunga National Park, taking place between 2012 and 2014 to date, have been authorised by ICCN – the Virunga Park rangers /warden’s organisation which manages the Virunga National Park. The park authorities are authorised under national Congolese law to perm it certain activities, including a seismic survey. Copies of the permits are provided on www.socointernational.com

Are seismic surveys detrimental to the environment?

The direct impacts of seismic activities are not extensive because they are generally confined to the width of the seismic lines (usually 4–5 m) and should not extend into the surrounding landscape. As the seismic activities are not laterally extensive, they have very minor potential for significant cumulative and hence ecological effects.
However, some issues such as 3D seismic surveys, which may directly impact up to 2% of the survey area, are being studied for significance in terms of ecological impact. In addition, all seismic lines have the potential to facilitate access to areas by third parties and exotic species.

The actual impacts on wildlife within SOCO’s exploratory seismic zones are more visual rather than ecological – however it must be noted that conducting such research within aquatic areas being that Lake Edward can if not monitored cause loss of aquatic life or force species to move on.

What are seismic surveys?

Firstly let us just REMIND you that SOCO is only conducting seismic surveys of which we know will only lead to one thing should the surveys prove positive. SOCO know there is oil within this region and stand to lose quite a lot of money if they pull out now. We must also stress that tensions are currently high within the area. Knowing what is at stake and knowing too that we and other environmental organisations want no drilling of its kind in the park could potentially start another conflict especially within one of Africa’s poorest countries. Money speaks volumes within the Congo and Democratic Republic of Congo.

Drilling for oil is an expensive gamble: With project costs rising every year, an oil company can stand to lose an incredible amount of money exploring or developing a property that fails to yield hydrocarbons in commercial rates. When faced with these risks, company’s do all they can to hedge their bets, to be as sure as possible that their investment has a good chance of making money. Companies want to know as much as possible about the potential profitability of a property before they begin developing it, and seismic surveys are one of the primary ways they learn about a prospect’s production potential.

In essence, seismic surveys are a way to probe beneath the surface to “see” underlying features that make up the underground structure of a prospect. Such features can give companies a more astute indication if a prospect contains hydrocarbons.

“In addition to delineating subsurface structures, seismic data can be computer processed for ‘attributes’ such as Amplitude Versus Offset, or AVO, which can serve as a Direct Hydrocarbon Indicator (DHI). AVO shows the lithology and fluid content variations in rocks, allowing geologists to model other fluid contents. “Such DHIs are as close to directly identifying oil or gas in the subsurface as geophysicists can get.”

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As the name suggests, seismic examines surface-induced seismic pulses to image subsurface formations. Basically, a seismic wave is generated underneath the earth’s surface, and then picked up by sensors called “geophones” as the waves bounce off subsurface formations – that is, layers of rock beneath the surface. There are two primary means of generating these waves: with dynamite and with a process called vibroseis.

Dynamite is the simpler and generally preferred source, but for several reason it is limited to open areas, such as fieldsand farmlands. Dynamite is also the only practical energy source in swampy areas, such as much of Southern Louisiana. Quite simply, dynamite is buried and then set off. The resulting explosions generate the requisite underground reverberation, which is then relayed via geophones to a special recording truck.

The other common method, more frequently seen in populous areas or places in which dynamite is impractical, is vibroseis. Vibroseis uses large, purpose-built trucks as the source of the seismic waves. Five or six trucks are commonly used to create enough energy for the procedure. Simultaneously, these trucks then begin to generate energy of increasing frequency over the period of several seconds. Like with the dynamite method, the resulting reverberations are measured by geophones, with the data being sent to a recording truck.
The rough signal is then filtered and processed to edit out background noise and produce a clean, sharp final signal.

Land seismic surveys are not really a “danger” to wildlife however as explained when conducting such surveys in aquatic areas of high ecological interest they can be detrimental to aquatic fauna. SOCO have stated (areas) of Lake Edward that host vast spawning grounds have been “excluded” from oil research. So there is evidence that seismic surveys can be “dangerous” to aquatic life which brings us to our next and most worrying concern. Drilling for oil in Africa’s most pristine and oldest Natural Park.

SOCO for the time being have clearly stated that drilling is not “part of their activities” within the park. Please read below.

Block V encompasses an area of the Virunga National Park, a World Heritage Site, which includes part of Lake Edward. SOCO’s area of interest is the lowland savannah area around Lake Edward and the lake itself.
It is emphasised that Block V is not located within the mountainous Mikeno Sector, home to the famous Mountain Gorillas. This has been subject to much inaccurate media speculation. Furthermore, SOCO has stated it will never seek to have operations in the Mountain Gorilla habitat, the Virunga Volcanoes or the Virunga equatorial rainforest.

The only planned activity continues to be the scientific studies involving a seismic survey of Lake Edward, environmental baseline studies and social investment projects. No drilling has been planned or is warranted at this stage.

Oil drilling in Virunga could be potentially catastrophic for mammal life, fauna and birds right down to local indigenous tribes that depend on the parks surroundings for their survival. Lake Edward, Rutanzige or Edward Nyanza is the smallest of the African Great Lakes. It is located in the Albertine Rift, the western branch of the East African Rift, on the border between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda, with its northern shore a few kilometres south of the Equator. So, what drilling that may occur would most likely if seismic surveys prove positive be within the lake itself of which poses a “significantly high threat” to aquatic, avian and land mammals.

Lake Edward lies at an elevation of 920 metres, is 77 km long by 40 km wide at its maximum points, and covers a total surface area of 2,325 km2 (898 sq mi), making it the 15th-largest on the continent. The lake is fed by the Nyamugasani River, the Ishasha River, the Rutshuru River, the Ntungwe River and the Rwindi River. It empties to the north via the Semliki River into Lake Albert. Lake George to the northeast empties into Lake Edward via the Kazinga Channel.

The western escarpment of the Great Rift Valley towers up to 2000 m above the western shore of the lake. The southern and eastern shores are flat lava plains. The Ruwenzori Mountains lie 20 km north of the lake. Should a pipe burst within this region (if drilling is give the go ahead) would not only be disastrous to the lake but also to the Nyamugasani River, the Ishasha River, the Rutshuru River, the Ntungwe River and the Rwindi River. Least forgetting, Semliki River into Lake Albert, Lake George to the northeast empties into Lake Edward via the Kazinga Channel. Due to the area being very remote too clean-up operations would prove difficult, time consuming and potentially dangerous to human life should the civil war begin again.

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Lake Edward lies completely within the Virunga National Park (Congo) and the Queen Elizabeth National Park (Uganda) and does not have extensive human habitation on its shores, except at Ishango (DRC) in the north, home to a park ranger training facility. About two-thirds of its waters are in the DR Congo and one third in Uganda. Apart from Ishango, the main Congolese settlement in the south is Vitshumbi, while the Ugandan settlements are Mweya and Katwe in the north-east, near the crater lake of that name, which is the chief producer of salt for Uganda. The Mweya Safari Lodge is the main tourist facility, serving both Lake Edward and Lake Katwe. The nearest cities are Kasese in Uganda to the north-east and Butembo in DR Congo, to the north-west, which are respectively about 50 km and 150 km distant by road.

Although communities within the area are sparsely dotted all around Lake Edward oil drilling and a potential pipe line rupture would harm the already poor and unhealthy surrounding communities that depend on the lake for its abundance of food, land mammals and flora surrounding Lake Edward too. Can we really take this risk of which should not have been authorised by the government or allegedly rangers and wildlife wardens.
Lake Edward is home to many species of fish, including populations of Bagrus docmac, Sarotherodon niloticus, Sarotherodon leucostictus, and over 50 species of Haplochromis and other haplochromine species, of which only 25 are formally described. Fishing is an important activity among local residents. Fauna living on the banks of the lake – including chimpanzees, elephants, crocodiles, and lions – are protected by the national parks. The area is also home to many perennial and migratory bird species.

Fast Facts on animal species and environment within the Virunga National Park;

1. A single 100-acre block of forest in the Ituri National Park was found to contain 700 species of trees and liana vines.
2. Bonobos (along with the common chimpanzee) are the primate most closely related to humans, yet are the least well known of the African great apes. Discovered in 1935 and found only in DR Congo, some populations remain relatively isolated within the low-lying forests south of the Congo River.
3. Virunga National Park is Africa’s oldest, having been established in 1925, and includes landscapes ranging from glaciers to lowland forests and active volcanoes.
4. Virunga harbors more types of birds (706) and mammals (196) species than any other national park in Africa. It also contains 109 reptile, 78 amphibian, and more than 2,000 plant species.
5. The rare okapi, known as the “rainforest giraffe” because of its long neck, the shape of its ears, and its long tongue, is native to the Ituri Forest of DR Congo.

History of oil pipe line accidents within Africa!

Back in 2004 Lagos saw one colossal pipe line burst of which since 1990 to present the Africans country, Nigeria has been in the spotlight regarding numerous oil pipe line bursts.

Press reports stated;

Lagos – A pipeline carrying crude oil across the unruly Niger delta region to Nigeria’s main export terminal has burst and is on fire, the Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell and a local leader said on Tuesday The Trans-Niger pipeline carrying crude from wells in southern Nigeria to Shell’s Bonny oil export terminal was reported to be leaking on Monday, company officials said.

Shell said that it had already moved in to control the fire and the leak. But a local ethnic leader insisted that the firm’s engineers had not yet arrived, but simply flown over the area in a helicopter.

“We sent a team of experts to cap the leak but were prevented by youths in the community,” a Shell spokesman said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Community leaders intervened but, before we could access the area, some unknown persons had set fire on the leak, causing a spill into a nearby fish pond,” he continued. “Our men are there right now, working. We have contained the fire and the leak will be capped today. We have also launched an inquiry into the incident.” The village where the fire broke out is in the traditional homeland of the Ogoni people, who have a long-standing dispute with Shell. The firm halted oil production in Ogoniland, a minority enclave north of the oil city of Port Harcourt, in 1993 after protests and bad international publicity over the environmental damage its operations were causing.

But important pipelines still run through Ogoni territory and community leaders still accuse the oil giant of polluting and exploiting their land without being prepared to pay for community development. “The villagers say that the fire started early yesterday, after the spill had been seen the night before,” said Ledum Mitee, president of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (Mosop. “Up until the time I am speaking to you nothing has been done about it. Containment measures have not been taken,” he said, denying there had been any local protest to prevent Shell gaining access to the site.

Mitee said that oil from the burst pipeline was leaking into a tidal creek and threatening a large stretch of farmland. “The leak is barely an hour’s drive from Port Harcourt, I can’t see why they don’t come,” he added. The latest incident came as concerns over the security of world oil supplies mounted and the price of a barrel of crude on the London market passed $54 (about R350) for the first time.

Nigeria is in the second day of a four-day general strike and, despite an admission by unions that they do not plan to disrupt exports, oil traders are anxiously monitoring the country’s daily supply of around 2,5 million barrels.

NOPROB

Back in 2011 some 100 people died when an oil well ruptured.

Scores dead in Kenyan pipeline inferno;

As many as 100 people are feared dead in a fire caused by a leaking fuel pipeline in a densely populated area of Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, according to police. The explosion took place on Monday in the Lunga Lunga industrial area, which is surrounded by a sprawling urban slum.

Flames leapt out from the pipeline in a radius of some 300 meters, setting shacks ablaze and incinerating scores of people, the Associated Press reported. Reporters later saw clusters of charred bodies and blackened bones at the site. Some burned bodies floated in a nearby river filled with sewage, according to the AP. Homes had been built right up to the pipeline, the residents said.

“We are putting the number of dead at over 100, we are waiting for body bags to put the victims into,” said Thomas Atuti, a local police commander. “There had been a leak in the fuel pipeline earlier, and people were going to collect the fuel that was coming out,” said Joseph Mwego, a resident.

“Then there was a loud bang, a big explosion, and smoke and fire burst up high.” Francis Muendo, another resident, told the AFP news agency: “I have never seen this in my life. I have seen women and children burnt like firewood. The very worst was a woman burned with her baby on her back.” Local television channels aired images of smouldering skeletons as the fire raged through the slum covering an area police said was about one acre.

Children in school uniform ran in all directions, crying. Badly burnt slum dwellers staggered in a daze, skin peeling off their faces and arms, according to the Reuters news agency. Raila Odinga, Kenya’s prime minister visited the scene of the inferno and promised help for the victims. “The government will do everything possible to ensure the injured will be treated and the families who have lost their loved ones will be compensated,” said Odinga, who spoke through the sun-roof of his 4×4 vehicle at the scene of the fire.

Mwai Kibaki, the Kenyan president, also visited patients with severe burns at the country’s largest public hospital. “People were trying to scoop fuel from the pipeline,” a Red Cross official told AFP by telephone, adding that the organisation had sent a team to the scene. Firefighters sprayed chemical foam to try to contain the fire, while both police and soldiers roped off the area and pushed people back from the area.

Al Jazeera’s Mohammed Adow, reporting from Nairobi, said it is common for poor Kenyans to rush to burst pipelines and fuel tankers invloved in road accidents to collect fuel. In 2009, at least 50 people were killed when a fire erupted while they were drawing fuel from an overturned tanker in western Kenya.
Could history repeat itself with regards to the 2010 Democratic Republic of Congo’s fuel blast that killed a staggering 220 people and damaged vast swathes of environment?
2010 DRC fuel explosion;

At least 220 people are reported to have been killed in the Democratic Republic of Congo after a lorry loaded with oil exploded, setting fire to a village in the east of the country.

Marcellin Cisamvo, the governor of South Kivu province, where the accident took place late on Friday, said children were among those killed. “Some people were killed trying to steal the fuel, but most of the dead were people who were indoors watching the [World Cup] match,” Cisamvo said on Saturday.

Vincent Kabanga, a spokesperson for the South Kivu provincial government, said the tanker, which was coming from Tanzania, overturned in the village of Sange. “There was a crush [of people] and a petrol leak, [then] there was an explosion of fuel oil which spread throughout the village,” he said.

‘Completely destroyed’

Al Jazeera’s Malcolm Webb, reporting from the scene of the tragedy in Sange, said: “It is a large area of devastation. A [cinema] was crammed with people watching a World Cup match. The whole thing is now completely destroyed. “Behind it, another cinema and a couple of houses have been completely burnt to ashes.

“I am now two kilometres up the road from the scene where the UN and local Red Cross brought a lot of the bodies and are now burying them in mass graves. “There are two large holes and then about three or four houses.
“It was a big fuel tank with a very large amount of fuel.

“People were apparently trying to get some of the fuel. Fuel is a valuable commodity here.
“This is one of the poorest parts [of the DRC], so people scrambled to try and get some. And then, 20 minutes or so after the truck tipped over, something triggered the explosion.

“By that point petrol had flown into both cinemas and to the houses behind.”

‘Trap already laid’

Earlier, Katrina Manson, a journalist with the Reuters news agency in the DRC, told Al Jazeera that once the fuel started leaking “it ran absolutely everywhere. Once it caught fire, the trap was already set”. Dozens of homes, mostly constructed with earth and straw, were engulfed in the blaze.

A police officer based in Bukavu, the provincial capital, said the accident had been caused by the lorry’s “excessive speed”. Leonard Zigade, an official of the local Red Cross, said that the organisation had people on the spot and the search for victims was continuing.

The UN, for its part, made three helicopters available to evacuate residents and alerted hospitals at Bukavu and Uvira, a source said. Madnodge Mounoubai, a spokesperson for the UN Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the DRC (Monusco), told Al Jazeera that about 35 people had been air-lifted to Bukavu for treatment.
Survivors “in the village need water, food and maybe psychological assistance”, he said. “We have one helicopter on the ground ferrying the most injured people to Kivu. We also have a couple of ambulances transporting the injured to nearby hospitals.

“Bukavu is about 100 kilometres from Sange while Uvira is about 33 kilometres. “But in either place we don’t have any special hospital to treat the injured. “We are trying to get the best possible medical care that we can, but unfortunately there is no special unit for burned people.” Monusco initially said that five peacekeepers were killed in the blaze, but later said there were no deaths.

Noise Pollution and its Damaging Effects to Wildlife Species;

Case Studies; 

Noise pollution may not seem like a big deal when compared to land clearing or climate change, but birds rely heavily on singing to communicate. Birdsong is used to attract mates, defend territory from rivals, and even warn for predators. This means that a bird’s ability to be heard plays a direct role in its reproductive interactions and survival. Birdsong is particularly noticeable in the early hours of the morning, a phenomenon known as the “dawn chorus.” Scientists aren’t precisely sure why birds select this time of day for their vocal exertions, but it may have something to do with the quiet, calm surroundings – sound travels well when there’s little wind and excess racket.

It’s the excess racket part that humans are contributing to, prompting some species to sing at different times and in different ways. In Mexico, researchers found that house finches raised the pitch of their lowest song notes in response to road noise, and also held them for longer. A study published in Current Biology examined song changes in the great tit across ten European cities – including Paris, London, and Amsterdam – finding that in each location the birds omitted the low-frequency portion of their call. (source) For the great tit, this makes plenty of adaptive sense, since most urban noise is low-frequency. Why expend the energy to belt out your alto if no one else can hear it?

Several studies have shown that urban and non-urban noise can have adverse effects on bird populations, causing them to change their songs and otherwise alter their behavior.

Wildlife have different reactions to noise exposure, and African species are no different. The wildlife has varying degrees of sensitivity to disturbance [Vanthomme et al. 2013]. Some species, such as the white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) and the African elephant (Loxodonta africana), will avoid areas of high human disturbance such as roads and highways [Buk & Knight 2012]. Animals with a greater tolerance to disturbance, such as the lion (Panthera leo) and cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), may become habituated to roads and use them to their advantage in order to move from point A to point B in an effective manner [Coffin 2007] .

Picture Below – Endangered Okapi could be wiped out!

Okapi among plants_OCP

 

All four species rely heavily on their hearing in order to survive, either for hunting or to avoid danger. As development continues to expand throughout Africa, and especially South Africa, wildlife in small, protected areas are becoming surrounded by roads, and these roads are becoming more frequently used. Animals with less space to utilize within the reserve are having constant, forced exposure to chronic noise from commuting vehicles. Imagine relying on your hearing in order to find your food, but you are constantly listening to honking horns and the hustle and bustle outside of your house. It’s going to make it harder to find that food, don’t you think? Other wildlife populations exposed to noise pollution have had such effects such as hearing loss, hypertension and elevated stress hormone levels.

Conservationists Come Under Attack for Speaking Out against SOCO;

Several rangers and activists have been arbitrarily detained by the authorities and threatened or assaulted by unidentified people after criticizing plans for oil exploration in Virunga, a UNESCO world heritage site that is home to many of the last surviving mountain gorillas. On April 15, 2014, armed men shot and seriously wounded the park’s director, Emmanuel de Mérode, a Belgian national. Congolese military justice officials and police have opened an investigation into the attack.

“The attack on the national park’s director was a painful and shocking reminder that people working to protect Africa’s oldest park – its habitat, wildlife, and local communities – do so at enormous risk,” said Ida Sawyer, senior Congo researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Congolese authorities need to make sure that those responsible for this attack and others are arrested and prosecuted.”

The Belgian federal prosecutor should also consider opening an investigation into the attack on the basis that de Mérode is a Belgian national. The Belgian and Congolese judicial authorities could join efforts to strengthen the investigation.

De Mérode and other park rangers, activists, and local community members have long criticized proposed oil exploration and drilling in the park, which they contend will have a negative impact on the park, its wildlife, and local communities. SOCO International signed a production-sharing contract with the Congolese government in 2006 to explore for oil within and near Virunga Park. In

October 2011, SOCO received a permit to explore for oil in Block V, a vast area in eastern Congo, of which 52 percent lies within Virunga Park, next to the endangered gorilla habitat.

De Mérode and other rangers have asserted that SOCO’s activities in the park violate Congolese and international law, which, as government officials, the rangers say they have a duty to uphold. Other Congolese government officials in Kinshasa and eastern Congo support SOCO’s plans, given the potentially large financial gains oil would bring. SOCO has denied any role in threats, violence, or bribery, but has said it will look into allegations of bribery, and condemned the use of violence and intimidation.

In the week following the attack on de Mérode, at least three human rights and environmental activists received threatening text messages from unidentified numbers, Human Rights Watch said. One message said:

“You are playing with fire [name of activist], you are going to burn your second leg, it’s useless to change your car because we know all the cars and we’re everywhere you go with your team. Don’t believe that just because we failed to get your director that we are going to fail to get you”

Another message said: “You think that by writing you’re going to prevent us from extracting oil. You are going to die for nothing like de Mérode.”

On May 3, 2014, an environmental activist in Goma received three calls from an unknown number. The caller threatened the activist, saying that they “wanted the head” of a staff member of the organization who, the caller said, had bad-mouthed their interests. The caller said: “We failed to get de Mérode, but we won’t fail to get [name of staff].” They told the employee that if he told anyone about the calls, he would be “dealt with.”

“Park rangers and activists should be able to oppose oil exploration in Virunga Park without risking their lives,” Sawyer said. “Congolese authorities need to take steps immediately to make sure that people are safe when they try to uphold the law, protect the park, and peacefully express their views.”

Victims of abuses and witnesses to these incidents allege that Congolese government, military, and intelligence officials who support oil exploration in the park were responsible for previous threats and acts of violence against activists and park staff.

Activists and park rangers alleged that SOCO representatives and security contractors attempted to bribe them to gain their support or to discourage them from speaking out against oil exploration in the park and to facilitate the company’s activities in the park. One environmental activist alleged that SOCO representatives offered him US$20,000 and told him he would be able to hire five people to work for him if he accepted the money.

An investigation by park authorities found that a SOCO representative paid a senior park official several thousand dollars over several months to support SOCO’s activities. The official participated in meetings with park rangers at which they were told that they would be fired if they did not support SOCO. Findings from this investigation, which lasted over three years, were submitted to a Congolese prosecutor in Goma on April 15, hours before the attack on de Mérode.

In a meeting with Human Rights Watch on May 23, North Kivu Governor Julien Paluku acknowledged that certain government and security officials seem to have been “manipulated.” He said that he did not know who was manipulating them, but that it appeared they had been paid and “instrumentalized” to support oil exploration. He said there had been numerous allegations about threats and assaults against activists and park rangers opposed to oil exploration, and that he had asked the police and military justice officials to investigate.

In a May 30 response to a letter from Human Rights Watch regarding allegations that SOCO representatives were involved in bribery, SOCO’s Deputy Chief Executive Roger Cagle wrote:

There have been a substantial number of false and inaccurate allegations levelled against SOCO International plc in recent years and particularly in the last month. Sadly, a number of these allegations have arisen as a result of inaccurate, false, distorted and/or exaggerated accounts of our activities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (the ‘DRC’). It also increasingly seems to be the case that anyone engaging in alleged questionable and unethical conduct are immediately branded ‘SOCO representatives’ and ‘SOCO supporters’ even when they simply are not and have nothing to do with our company. …

We operate on a strict Code of Business Conduct and Ethics (our “Code”). …We are fully committed to conducting our business in an honest and ethical manner and we expect and require that our contractors, suppliers and agents will conduct themselves in the same manner. Moreover, the Company operates in accordance with the UK Bribery Act 2010 and as part of our required Bribery Risk Governance, we have a formal process to mitigate risks of corruption.

Regarding the specific allegations of bribery raised by Human Rights Watch, Cagle wrote that company officials “have no information as to whether or not the incidents actually took place, and if so, what happened. However, based on the information available, we have instigated the procedures in our code.”

SOCO should act in accordance with the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, international guidelines that place responsibilities on companies to take specific steps to safeguard rights whenever they rely on public or private security forces to guard their operations, Human Rights Watch said. In addition, the company should adhere to the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, which call on all companies to identify any possible human rights risks in their operations and address any problems that might occur.

Human Rights Watch urged the British government to investigate SOCO’s activities in eastern Congo under the United Kingdom’s Bribery Act. Any inquiry should examine alleged acts of corruption or bribery that may have led to attacks and threats against park rangers and activists at Virunga Park.

“The allegations that SOCO representatives offered bribes in the volatile climate in Virunga Park should be taken seriously,” Sawyer said. “SOCO should investigate their representatives, agents, and contractors and make sure that none are involved in harassment of activists and park personnel.”

Attack on Park Director de Mérode

Emmanuel de Mérode was driving alone in the park about 10 kilometers from the Virunga Park headquarters in Rumangabo in an area that is controlled by the Congolese army, when at least three men in military uniform fired at him. He was in a staff vehicle of the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature (Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature, ICCN), a Congolese government institution that oversees national parks. A civilian on a motorcycle later found de Mérode on the road and drove him toward Goma. He was then transferred to two Congolese army vehicles and an ICCN vehicle before reaching the hospital in Goma, where he was treated for bullet wounds to his chest and abdomen.

The Congolese army has a position 500 meters off the main road from where de Mérode was attacked and usually has soldiers posted along the road. The Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (Forces Démocratiques pour la Libération du Rwanda, FDLR), a largely Rwandan Hutu armed group, some of whose members participated in the genocide in Rwanda in 1994, have also operated in this area in the past. The FDLR are active across eastern Congo and are involved in lucrative, illegal charcoal trading in Virunga Park – a practice that de Mérode and other park rangers have sought to stop.

Arrest and Intimidation of Virunga Park Central Sector Chief

On September 19, 2013, army soldiers and intelligence officials arrested the warden of Virunga Park’s central sector, Rodrigue Mugaruka Katembo. He had attempted to stop the construction of a telephone antenna in the park because, he said, the SOCO officials who financed the construction did not have the authorization required by Congolese law to build in the park.

Katembo told Human Rights Watch that on September 3, Dr. Guy Mbayma Atalia, the technical and scientific director for the ICCN and the agency’s focal point with SOCO at the time, had warned him that if he continued to oppose SOCO’s activities in the park, he would be killed. In an interview with Human Rights Watch on April 23, 2014, Mbayma denied this allegation and said he had nothing to do with Katembo’s arrest.

Katembo said that soldiers arrested him in Kanyabayonga, North Kivu, where he had been visiting family, and severely beat him and his younger brother. They told Katembo he was against the government because he did not want SOCO in the park.

“What hurt me the most was how they tortured my young brother in front of me,” Katembo told Human Rights Watch. “I said, ‘What did he do? He’s not even in the ICCN.’ I was crying, and they had tied me up so I couldn’t do anything.”

The soldiers took Katembo to Rwindi, where they further humiliated him, paraded him in front of his home, and burned cigarettes on his head. He was then detained at the provincial headquarters of the National Intelligence Agency (Agence Nationale de Renseignements, ANR) in Goma and released on October 7, 2013, after international pressure.

Katembo told Human Rights Watch that officials involved in his arrest and ill-treatment told him that they had been promised money to kill him, rather than arrest him. Katembo said he also learned that intelligence officials had told prisoners that they would pay them if they beat him to death while he was in detention. Officials privately informed Katembo and his family about other plans to ambush or kill him.

After his release, Katembo was told to report to the intelligence agency daily and pay 5,000 Congolese francs (about US$5.50) every day. Several months later, a sympathetic intelligence agent warned him that there were plans to kill him in Goma, and he was advised to leave the city.

The North Kivu provincial director of the intelligence agency at the time, Jean-Marc Banza, told Human Rights Watch on April 17, 2014, that Katembo was “detained legally” because he had insulted the country’s president, Joseph Kabila. Banza denied allegations of mistreatment by the security forces.

Threats Against Activists

In many of the cases Human Rights Watch documented, Congolese government, military, and intelligence officials were implicated in the threats and attacks on human rights and environmental activists and other community leaders. Some had allegedly received money from SOCO.

On January 31, 2014, a local farmers’ cooperative in Rutshuru organized a march of over 300 people opposing SOCO’s activities. The cooperative had informed local authorities about the demonstration in advance, as Congolese law requires. Soon after the march began, policemen went to the cooperative’s office, confiscated a computer and other materials, and tore down a banner that said: “No exploitation of oil in our fields and our lake.” The police detained and beat some of the demonstrators and later released them.

During a public meeting on February 19 in Nyakakoma, a fishing village on Lake Edward in Rutshuru territory, SOCO representatives told residents that exploration work could cause parts of the lake to be closed to fishing for up to three months. The closure could affect 80,000 people whose livelihoods depend on the lake, according to community leaders. A local fisherman and environmental activist voiced his concern at the meeting, questioning how residents would support themselves during this time.

On February 26, the activist received a letter from the National Intelligence Agency (Agence Nationale de Renseignements, ANR), asking him to come to their office in Rutshuru. He told Human Rights Watch that when he went to their office on March 3, “They told me I was behaving badly, and they said it was a matter of the state. I shouldn’t act like a hero, and I risk having my head cut off.” The activist was released after paying the intelligence official $20.

On April 2, another public meeting was held in Nyakakoma, with SOCO representatives, government officials, and residents. After residents protested SOCO’s plans to close parts of the lake during seismic testing, people who were at the meeting later told Human Rights Watch that the Rutshuru territorial administrator, Justin Mukanya, had said that SOCO’s plans for oil exploration would go forward: “The train has already left,” he said. “Whoever wants to try to stop the train will be crushed.”

Several human rights activists who opposed SOCO’s activities in the park told Human Rights Watch that, for the past three years, they had received threatening text messages and phone calls. Following are some examples of these messages, in addition to the more recent cases mentioned above:

On February 26, 2011, two human rights activists received the following text message: “Leave our oil alone. If you continue, you will suffer the same fate as the park.” On the same night, three unidentified men went to the home of one of the activists in Goma; he was not home at the time. Two days later, the activist received the following message: “If you continue to talk about oil, you will see. Watch out.”

On April 24, 2011, three activists received calls from an unidentified person who asked them to come to the executive provincial government office. When they arrived, they were asked to sign a document saying that they had attended a meeting with SOCO on August 13, 2010. The three activists refused to sign. Three days later, one of them received the following message: “You refused to sign. You are arrogant. We’ve already identified your residence.”

On May 7, 2011, another activist received a phone call as he was leaving an Internet café in Goma. The caller, who did not identify himself, said: “You think you are hidden, but we can see you. You just stopped a bus. You thought that we didn’t know you but we’re following you.”

On February 27, 2012, three intelligence agents went to the same activist’s house in Goma and told his wife he was “inciting the population about things the head of state has already decided. If he continues, he will lose his life.” The activist had already been threatened multiple times by phone and had been summoned to court after he sent a letter to government authorities detailing the behavior of a government security agent in Nyakakoma who claimed he was in charge of “security and mobilization for SOCO.”

In December 2013, a fisherman told Human Rights Watch that he had been harassed by the Naval Force after rowing his boat in front of the SOCO office. He was summoned to the office of a major in the Naval Force. There he was accused of spying and taking pictures of the SOCO office. The fisherman asked the major, “On what legal basis are you accusing me of this?” The major allegedly replied: “You come here with your human rights. Here, we don’t do the law. We do the army.” The major seized the fisherman’s camera but did not find any pictures of the SOCO office, and released him after two hours.

After several human rights activists publicly denounced threats and intimidation by agents working on behalf of SOCO, Mbayma, the ICCN’s focal point with SOCO at the time, wrote a letter, seen by Human Rights Watch, to the ICCN director general in early 2014, in which he accused the activists of inciting the population against the government:

From the moment that these structures pride themselves with the freedom to stand up against the sovereign State that is the DRC and to call the peaceful population to civil disobedience, there is good reason for the Director General of the ICCN to take adequate preventative measures. These should take the path of suspending all collaboration, be it direct or indirect, with these NGOs. Otherwise, the ICCN risks being qualified as an accomplice to these NGOs in their proven attempt to break up the authority of the state for the purposes, perhaps, of creating new armed groups.

In a letter to the president of North Kivu’s Provincial Assembly, dated May 13, 2014, and on file at Human Rights Watch, the ICCN director general said that Mbayma had been removed from his position as technical and scientific director, that he was no longer the ICCN focal point with SOCO, and that he no was no longer authorized to speak on behalf of the ICCN.

Allegations Against SOCO International

In December 2010, a Congolese court in Goma authorized park authorities to investigate allegations of illegal activities by SOCO International, including unauthorized entry into the park by vehicle and plane, unauthorized construction in the park, and attempts to bribe and harass park staff and members of the Congolese security forces.

As part of the investigation, a park warden secretly filmed a security officer linked to SOCO and the Congolese army’s liaison officer with SOCO as they offered the warden money. The warden told Human Rights Watch that he refused an offer of “a large stack of cash” to allow SOCO representatives to move freely within the park. Several months later, the same warden said he was offered $50 up front and then $3,000 at the end of every month if he agreed to give SOCO information about the zone where they wanted to enter the park, and to allow them free movement in the park without informing the warden’s supervisor, de Mérode.

Another park warden told Human Rights Watch that Mbayma had instructed him to come to Nyakakoma village with five park guards to work with him at SOCO’s camp. “We were each paid $20 a day for 35 days,” the warden said. “Their objective was for us to go with them to meetings with the population in order to convince the population to support SOCO’s activities and to try to show they had the full support of the ICCN.” The warden said they were paid by Mbayma in the presence of a SOCO agent. He said that Mbayma warned him that if he informed his direct supervisor about what they were doing, “it will fall on your head, and you will be arrested.”

When the warden eventually refused to work with Mbayma and returned to his base, he received at least four threatening calls from Mbayma between November 2013 and February 2014, trying to convince him to work with them again. Mbayma warned him that if he refused to join, he would lose his career with the ICCN and be arrested.

Authors Conclusion;

Virunga National Park established in 1925 is Africa’s first and oldest Natural Park which contains more species of bird, aquatic and mammal life than America and Great Britain put together. Gorilla, Bush Elephant, Chimpanzees, Okapi, Lion and rare black Rhino and countless species of bird, aquatic fauna and flora have been under threat since the past decade. Civil war has ravished the entire area. A cease fire is that has been in place for over a year could potentially restart, we “could” see M23 rebels take over an oil depot thus placing the entire park in dire danger from thugs and militia of Joseph Kony’s Army.

SOCO Plc regardless of whether they are only conducting seismic surveys knows too well that oil is within the area. Today we researched on a further oil company within the Virunga Total a French owned company of which reassured its supporters and the public back in 2013 that they will not be drilling within the park. Today and from reliable park sources we are already aware that Total has been drilling within the Virunga. On the 18th May 2013 WWF announced that Total would not look into further oil explorations. However a Mweya insider has informed otherwise. Virunga National Park is now under threat. We have explained above the damages that can occur to our Mama Africa, past oil and petroleum disatsers that have killed hundreds, down to brief evidence of how noise pollution can displace wildlife species leading them into danger.

Should SOCO plc be given the go ahead to drill new roads would need to be opened up that would destroy many scientifically important species of plant and tree, displace monkeys and birds, alter land migration routes of elephant’s and rhinos too.

International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa will NOT stand by and allow another – oil and gas company to ruin our natural heritage. We are prepared to go to prison to defend our natural wildlife rights and will use exhaust every law in the book to protect our flora and fauna.

We have to Act Now and Not Later… Failure is Not an Option. Please contact the British Government Today and demand SOCO are now removed from the Virunga National Park.

WE ARE VIRUNGA

 

Thank you for reading;

 

Dr Josa Depre

info@international-animalrescue-foundation.org.uk

Donate here today and help us Fund African Wildlife Survival or alternatively click on the right hand side donate option hereto.

 

 

 

 


Kangaroos: Hundreds Of Thousands Annually Slaughtered

www.SpeakupForTheVoiceless.com

www.SpeakupForTheVoiceless.com

Kangaroos: Hundreds Of Thousands Annually Slaughtered

Kangaroos are one of Australia’s national emblems and treasured native animals, yet they have been betrayed by their own government, SLAUGHTERED BY THE MILLIONS and treated appallingly in Australia and overseas. 

IT TAKES TEN YEARS FOR MALE KANGAROOS TO REACH ALPHA STATUS and they are being continually massacred for their SKINS for sports shoes and their carcasses sent overseas as EXOTIC MEAT. We are witnessing a carnage of unsustainable proportions for commercial gain.

Video footage included in this article shows kangaroos hanging from truck meat hooks and the Kangaroos are moving  because they are dying and not actually dead.  Despite some shooters claiming “every shot they shoot is a clean head shot” facts reveal that many kangaroos are NOT killed with one clean shot that results in immediate death. Not to mention the outcome of “pouch-joeys” who cannot survive without their mother and “recently ex-pouch-joeys” who are also still reliant on their mother for another year, who flee in terror, only to die because of the loss of their mother.

Every Night

Every night of the week “roo shooters” fuel up their trucks, stock their ammunition and meat hooks, check their spotlights and drive into the chilled night air, to their killing fields. Being nocturnal, Kangaroo families, known as “mobs” graze peacefully, until the first shot is fired. As the Kangaroo is hit, it’s head ricochets backward and the force of the impact spins the animal off balance and it goes down, kicking violently  and struggling against the pain of it’s ripped and bleeding flesh, it cries out “stress calls” to it’s family members (the mob), for help.

Terrified and confused, it’s family members in the mob don’t know which direction to run to and they flee in blind panic. Another shot rips through the cold night air and a female Kangaroo drops to the ground, screaming “stress calls” to her distraught family (the mob), who are running in terror. The baby joey in her pouch crawls forward , onto the ground and into her blood.

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Mother Kangaroo and her baby Joey.

The little joey stands up and screams “stress calls” again and again and again, pleading for it’s mother to do something. Kangaroos have a large vocabulary and only scream “stress calls” in acute emergency. The female mother Kangaroo is dying as she hears her baby joey, who she has devoted her life to, crying for her to comfort him.

The baby joey doesn’t see the man approach from behind, as he seizes the baby by it’s hind legs and swings it through the air, over his head and slams it’s little body into the side of his truck. The Joey screams a stress call as his little legs break. The man repeats this action several times before throwing the broken body of the baby Joey into the night air. If  the Joey is not already dead, he will die at some point over the next 24 hours, from injury, shock, predator or exposure. The man picks up the female and hangs her on a meat hook on the side of his truck, next to her mate who was shot just before her.

In her last dying breaths, hanging upside down on a meat hook, pain rips through her body as she drowns in her own blood, staring at her dead mate. As she dies, another shot rings out in the night and men laugh in the darkness, as they scan their searchlight across the horizon, searching for innocent eyes, to kill. When will enough people speak up on behalf of Kangaroos and halt the barbaric cruelty against them?

www.SpeakupForTheVoiceless.com

Magnificent “Big Red” Kangaroo

 Red Kangaroos Are a Threatened Species (Macropus rufus)

“Red kangaroos are now being killed at a rate three times higher than they are reproducing. In the 1960′s their average age was 12 years old; today it is 2 years old. Commercial killing has put insupportable pressure on Red Kangaroos which now threatens the species” said Dr. Gunn, the Australian Wildlife Protection Council.

The Australian scientific community is ignoring the most basic premise of sound objective science by turning a blind eye to the killing of the biggest and best kangaroos, designed by nature to maintain a healthy gene pool and their biological fitness.

We need to know the effect of the slaughter of large male kangaroos on the future viability of the population, especially as the industry is now calling for the right to slaughter smaller and smaller animals all the time.

Take a protected species under the protection of the Department of the Environment, call it a resource, increase the killing  and you have the largest land-based wildlife massacre in the world.

Government Sanctioned Cruelty

The Code of Practice says baby Kangaroos, known as JOEYS CAN BE RIPPED FROM THEIR MOTHER’S SLAIN POUCH AND HIT ON THE HEAD WITH A WATER PIPE OR IRON BAR UNTIL DEAD; SHOOTERS EVEN BASH JOEYS AGAINST THEIR VEHICLE OR A TREE TRUNK.

Joeys live in their mother’s pouch for one year and then shadow her for a further year, totally two years with their mother before being old enough to become independent.

Joeys which are recently out of the pouch and still dependent on their mother for another year, flee in terror when their mothers are killed. Not old enough to live without her, they slowly die from cold, starvation, predation and maternal depravation. A MILLION OR MORE JOEYS DIE IN THIS WAY EVERY YEAR.

As stated by the AWPC: The Code of Practice is not linked to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and is legally un-enforcable. Contrary to public perception, the RSPCA does NOT monitor or police cruelty to commercially killed kangaroos.

The nature and method of slaughter cannot be ignored. It is barbaric and inhumane. Each night thousands of animals are butchered, many are maimed, the young in pouch are cruelly done away with and the young at foot are left to fend for themselves, resulting in a slow lingering death.

Researching kill ‘quota’ numbers for the amount of kangaroos permitted to be killed: in 2009 the kill quota was just under 4 million kangaroos. In addition, many kangaroos and wallabies are killed under State non-commercial ‘permit’ systems. Due to the remote locations where the commercial kangaroo shoot takes place there is no effective monitoring of animal welfare. No statistics are available for the animals that are wounded and escape only to endure a long painful death (RSPCA Report 2002.)

Kangaroos are shot in the Australian outback by spotlighting at night. One million joeys die alone. The AWPC say three aspects cause great cruelty:

1) Because head shots are attempted, these may not strike the brain, but rather seriously injure the head, including the mouth. These kangaroos escape into the scrub outside the spotlight’s beam and will take several days to die from their horrific injuries and starvation.

2) In-pouch joeys are killed by STOMPING ON THEM or BASHING THEM with a stick or AGAINST A VEHICLE. Several blows may be necessary.

3) Ex-pouch joeys are still RELIANT ON THEIR MOTHER’s milk for protein, warmth in the cold winter s nights, protection from predators, and they are dependent on their mothers for psychological support. They spend time in and out of the pouch and when their mothers are killed, they are left to fend for themselves, which they are unable to do.

The kangaroo killing and game meat lobby can no longer conceal the extreme BRUTALITY of their trade. For years we have been calling for an end to this industry which causes the lingering death of 1,000,000 joeys.

Skin Only Shooting

Aside from the cruelty which is inherent in the commercial kangaroo killing industry, one land holder in Western NSW has described pitting which is the digging of pits to bury kangaroos that have been killed illegally. These same land holders want to legally increase their income by skin only shooting which is more cruel than the carcass trade. They can shoot the kangaroos inhumanely as long as the skin itself is not damaged for the export markets and it is not detected (impossible to police).

Skin only shooting is not only more cruel but it is also open to many illegal abuses. Kangaroos are killed primarily for their leather and skins. Many millions of kangaroos are killed for the shoe leather trade to Italy and the USA.

The kangaroo killing industry supplies leather for soccer cleats, handbags and baseball mitts, which is fueling the slaughter of millions of kangaroos and their babies every year. 6.9 million kangaroos will be shot this year – it is the biggest wildlife massacre in the world and it must be stopped, say AWPC.

Adidas is far and away the leader in ‘premier’ soccer cleats, with 70 percent of the market worldwide and by heavily marketing its highly-priced, kangaroo-skin, Predator football boots around the world. Headline stars such as David Beckham encourage the brutality by wearing and promoting Predator boots.

www.SpeakupForTheVoiceless.com

Slaughtered Kangaroos, decapitated and their tails chopped off.

It is vital to the survival of kangaroos that we stop the trade in their skins, especially for the manufacturing of soccer cleats. According to Australia’s leading tanners of kangaroo leather, Parker Tanning, manufacturers prefer to use the largest skins to make athletic footwear. These skins come from the large red males who take TEN YEARS TO REACH ALPHA STATUS and are being continually massacred so few survive to pass on their superior genes to the next generation.

This means that smaller, weaker and younger males are left to breed with the females, producing offspring who are less likely to survive a major drought or other natural disasters.

We must reverse this trend before a major disaster strikes and Australian kangaroos are wiped out! It is frightening that leather suppliers are complaining that there are few large red males left in Australia. Skins are getting smaller and smaller as they now shoot juveniles. Kangaroos are  fugitives in their own country and are relentlessly pursued.

Kangaroos As Exotic Meat

Diseases In Kangaroo Meat

“Kangaroos and wallabies can harbour a wide range of parasitic, bacterial, fungal and viral diseases and the majority of infections are unapparent (i.e. animals appear normal). Even meat inspection procedures are unlikely to detect some infections unless gross lesions are detected or routine samples are taken for microbiological and pathological testing,”  says Dr. Obendorf, BVSc (Hons), B(An)Sc, PhD, Wildlife Pathologist with over 20 years experience in the parasites & diseases of Australian native fauna.

“Worldwide, it is recognised that so-called ‘game meats’ are a source of these infections for hunters, processors and consumers, especially when care is not taken while eviscerating and handling the carcasses or when the meat from these animals is served undercooked or raw. Trichinosis, cysticercosis and toxoplasmosis are examples of parasitic zoonoses (i.e. diseases transmissible from animals to humans).”

“In Australia, Toxoplasmosis and the bacterial disease, Salmonellosis are two infections with public health significance directly related to the handling, processing and consumption of kangaroo meat.”

“A recent scientific report of the International Health Organisation, the Office Internationale des Epizootes warns that wild animal meats which are raw, undercooked, dried or cold-smoked are potentially infectious to animal or humans that consume them.”

“The incidence of Toxoplasma abortions and infertility is amongst the highest in Australia. Free ranging wallabies, pademelons, bandicoots and wombats are regularly killed by this infection and surveys show a high percentage of wallabies harbour this infection.”

“The concern is that chefs and food raconteurs recommend cooking methods which would not kill this parasite.” Statistics show less than 15% of Australians eat Kangaroo meat and most Australians refuse to eat kangaroo on ehtical grounds, whereas others refuse to eat the country’s Coat of Arms, which the Kangaroo shares with the Emu.

www.SpeakupForTheVoiceless.com

Slaughtered baby Kangaroo Joey: shot in the neck.

A newly identified WORM thought to be derived from marsupials was found to be responsible for acute illness in two humans. Like Trichinella they invade muscles. The worms are thought to belong to a class of nematodes known as Muscpiceoids. In wallabies and possums these nematodes live in several tissues of the body and can invade muscles.”

“People who eat undercooked wallaby or kangaroo meat could be at risk of infection by a newly-discovered animal parasite,” Australian doctors have warned. The parasite was found in a Tasmanian man who suffered from inexplicable and severe muscle weakness over a number of years. He was known to consume large quantities of game.

“Laboratory tests suggests that the parasite is a new species of microscopic worm. It may also have been responsible for a similar infection in a New Zealand woman who had eaten wallaby meat while visiting Tasmania.”

“The cases highlight the risks of eating wild game, the parasites of which are poorly understood compared with those of livestock. More studies are needed to identify disease agents in these animals and to elucidate the role of native animal species in the transmission of diseases to humans” (end of report.)

www.SpeakupForTheVoiceless.com

“Big Red” Kangaroo resting.

Kangaroo Rescuer

It is illegal to have Australian native animals as domestic pets in Australia. I have been a first responder animal rescuer for over 30 years and work closely with Kangaroos. I have hand-reared them, which includes four hour bottle feeds around the clock for ONE YEAR, as well as carrying the joey everywhere I went, which included travelling in the car. A baby joey lives in it’s mother’s pouch for one year, then shadows it’s mother for a second year, so the joey’s carer has to reproduce that relationship.

Approximately eighty percent of hand reared joeys die because all Australian marsupials have very delicate flora systems. I’ve spent blocks of months when my hand reared joeys have become ill and instead of feeding every four hours, it becomes a fight for their life and feeding and changing all pouch bedding is every hour around the clock, sometimes for months. I’ve come perilously close to losing joeys but so far I’ve managed to pull them through and they have survived; but you cannot begin to imagine the fight that’s taken place to ensure their survival.

Australian marsupials such as Kangaroos, suffer from Myopothy, which is often referred to as “stress disease” because its  bought on after a stressful event, such as being chased by a dog. In recent years Kangaroo Specialists ascertained they only have a window of one hour to inject the Kangaroo with a vitamin to avoid the onset of Myopothy. After one hour, it is too late for the vitamin to have any effect. Myopothy leaves the animal’s affected muscles in a frozen-like state, like an ice statue that refuses to thaw. Myopothy usually brings on severe depression in Kangaroos and they can take up to twelve months to eventually die.

As an experienced Kangaroo rescuer and handler, it’s appalling that kangaroos are sold as cheap pets in some countries. I have seen newspaper ads in America for Joeys, for $200. When I called the ads and pretended that I was a customer with no experience with kangaroos, they assured me it would be “no problem because the joey would arrive with a video.” Shocking!

The following videos show a few instances of what Australian animal lovers call animal cruelty toward our Kangaroos, who are not a circus act. Nor are they a “thing” to amuse people. Kangaroos are native animals to Australia who are generally sweet natured and shy. When Kangaroos reach sexual maturity their personality often changes and they become less predictable around humans. They are a wild animal, not a domestic pet.

Kangaroos are extremely powerful and if threatened for their life, they have the capacity to disembowel people and other animals, using their massive claw on their hind feet. They have also been known to deliberately drown dogs in water, when dogs threaten them. Kangaroos are incredibly strong and can seize a dog around it’s throat and hold it underwater until drowned.

In fights between two dominating male Kangaroos, if one gets the other one off balance, the dominant one has been known to grab the opponents throat and squeeze it’s neck until it loses consciousness. That alone shows the strength of Kangaroos, when angry.

KANGAROO AS AN AMERICAN PET, HANGING OFF A HORSE and FORCED TO  BALANCE IN THE AIR:

The Australian people are told that kangaroos need to be killed for damage mitigation. This is a total misrepresentation of the truth. Australia’s national treasure, the Kangaroo, urgently needs help because they are being brutally slaughtered faster than they can reproduce. Buying kangaroo products is simply supporting a cruel industry and contributing to the largest land-based wildlife massacre in the world. 

www.SpeakupForTheVoiceless.com

Slaughtered Kangaroo.

Thank you for reading,

Michele Brown.

Australian Kangaroo Rescuer.

 

 


Bird Nest Soup Mafia – China & Thai Connection

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The history of Chinese cuisine is marked by both variety and change. The archaeologist and scholar K.C. Chang says “Chinese people are especially preoccupied with food” and “food is at the centre of, or at least it accompanies or symbolizes, many social interactions.” Over the course of history, he says, “continuity vastly outweighs change.” He explains basic organizing principles which go back to earliest times and give a continuity to the food tradition, principally that a normal meal is made up of fan (grains and other starches) and cai (vegetable or meat dishes).

History;

Is Chinese cuisine culture going too far though? That is the moral question I asked myself some eight years back when visiting China and their lavish cultural food stalls and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) markets. This week we look into China’s most lavish and expensive dish commonly referred to as yàn wō (燕窝), which translates literally as “swifflet nest” or (swallow nest). Yan wo is not only killing our swallows off it also accounts to numerous deaths per year of those whom dare risk their lives just to harvest a nest deep within caves, money is big business within China and these nests don’t come cheap neither.

The most famous use of edible birds nest is bird’s nest soup, a delicacy in Chinese cuisine. When dissolved in water, the birds’ nests have a gelatinous texture used for soup or sweet tong sui. It is mostly referred to as “yan wo” unless references are made to the salty or sweet soup in Chinese cuisine.

In addition to its use in soup, edible birds nest can be used as an ingredient in many other dishes, it can be cooked with rice to produce bird’s nest congee or bird’s nest boiled rice, or it can be added to egg tarts and other desserts. A bird’s nest jelly can be made by placing the bird’s nest in a ceramic container with minimal water and sugar (or salt) and double steamed. Ready to eat bird’s nest jelly is available in jars as a commercial product.

Harvesting the birds nest is no easy task too, attached or glued high up in caves Asian collectors go to great lengths to harvest these nests regardless of whether the nests have new young within them or if the mother swift is about to lay her eggs. The nests themselves are tiny translucent cups about the size of a small egg. They are made by the male swiftlet from glutinous threads of its own saliva, which it weaves into a cup that dries to become thin and translucent like fine porcelain.

Chinese parents feed bird’s nest soup, cooked with chicken broth or coconut milk, to their children in the belief that it will improve their complexions, promote growth and generally act as a tonic. Recent research has indeed shown that the nests, which taste rather like noodles, contain a water-soluble glycoprotein that may promote cell division in the immune system. However there are no real scientific studies that actually pin points any form of “medicinal properties” within birds nest that actually increase human health although this is being debated heavily at the moment.

Nest collecting is skilled and dangerous work, high up on the ceilings of the caves the intrepid collector shins barefoot up rickety trellises of bamboo scaffolding, ropes and bridges, tapping as he goes (see pic below – shadow hunters) to make sure the bamboo is sound. He lights his way in the black caves with a torch of bark soaked in resin held between his teeth and uses a special three-pronged tool called a rada to harvest the nests. To use bare hands to pick a nest displeases and angers the gods. (If interested please do purchase the book shadow hunters of which is a really inspiring good read – click on the link shadow hunters above).

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If a nest is too old it cannot be made into top quality soup, but can be made into second rate soup. A nest needs to be made from fresh saliva, with no feathers or dirt. A fresh nest is white, an old one is black. A bird’s nest is made of nothing but saliva: no twigs, nothing else. It is made in a similar way to fibreglass, with the bird laying lots of threads on top of each other.

A sustainable supply of birds’ nests is ensured and the survival of the species is allegedly protected because nests are collected only when empty. The most productive island for nests is Koh Petra, from which over 100 kg of nests are collected 3 times in a good year. Koh Lao Liang supplies about 30 kg of nests 3 times a year. After the chicks have flown away the mother will eat the nest in order to replenish her energy supply. The collectors, of whom there are 60 in the Koh Petra Marine Park, must find the nest before the mother eats it.

Threats;

International Animal Rescue Foundation Asia argue this alleged sustainable use as evidence has pinpointed the collection of bird nests within China and Thailand is actually placing both Aerodramus fuciphagus and Aerodramus maximus (White Nest and Black Nest Swiflet) in danger. I must also point out that there is also a significantly high risk of contracting Avian Influenza (CDC) from the illegal importation of bird nest soup and it’s selling on the streets and in high classed restaurants throughout Asia.

Nothing that a Chinese host can put on a table has more cachet than a bowl of viscous bird’s nest soup. For centuries, it has been a delicacy throughout the Chinese world, a dish famed for its ability to keep people young and healthy. But bird nests are becoming increasingly scarce. While the shortage is not yet a crisis, Chinese connoisseurs are obliged to pay more each time they bargain for nests – up to $1,000 a pound for top-quality nests.

”The price will definitely continue to increase,” Stephen Tam, owner of the Cheong Loong Swallow’s Nest store, said as he sorted the dozens of varieties of nests in his small shop here. ”Most places the birds live have been developed into farmland or towns, and that reduces the number of birds that are left.” In addition to the encroachment of humans on the birds’ habitat, pollution is eroding some of the cliffs where they live and build their nests. Meanwhile, rising prices are leading the ”harvesters” of nests to become more aggressive, sometimes snatching nests as soon as they are built, or grabbing nests that have eggs in them which is quite the opposite to what has been alleged by few American supporters of this trade that stated;

“A nest needs to be made from fresh saliva, with no feathers or dirt. A fresh nest is white, an old one is black. A bird’s nest is made of nothing but saliva: no twigs, nothing else. It is made in a similar way to fibreglass, with the bird laying lots of threads on top of each other”…

The nests used to make the soup belong to a kind of swallow, which builds on rocky cliffs or inside caves in several countries in Southeast Asia. Most of the nests today come from Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam or China.

The nests are not, as most Americans assume, a thatch of twigs and grass such as a robin might manufacture. Rather, they are made of the birds’ saliva, which hardens into cement-like threads. When collected, the nests contain liberal amounts of feathers and even droppings, but are carefully washed and cleaned until they are white strips that look more like sponges than nests. While swallow saliva soup may not send tingles across a Western palate, the Chinese rave over it. It is usually cooked with crab meat, shrimp or ham to make a gelatinous soup that is renowned principally for its healthfulness.

”The taste of the nests is nothing great,” said Fok Kam Tong, head chef at the Man Wah Restaurant in Hong Kong’s Mandarin Hotel, where a bowl of bird’s nest soup ranges in price from $14 to $38. That is why crab and other embellishments are added, he said. But bird’s nest soup has virtues other than mere taste. ”It’s very good for you, very nourishing,” Mr. Fok added. ”It’s good for women, for their skin, so they don’t look old. But it’s not just for women; it’s good for everybody.”

Mr. Fok disputes the pessimists who say that bird’s nest soup could eventually disappear. While scarcity of the proper nests is a concern, he and many Chinese food experts say, the resulting price increase would make it even more prized as a delicacy.

”If it becomes more expensive, it will be even more popular in Hong Kong,” said Sunny Lan Kun Ying, a salesman at Yuen Wo Bird’s Nest store near Hong Kong’s business district.

Not according to the owners of the small Hong Kong shops that sell bird nests, who say most people are being priced out of the market. The cost of bird’s nests has more than doubled in the last few years, they say, making it more difficult to afford a nest for a daughter with a skin blemish or a son who is about to take an important examination. Some kinds of nests are becoming particularly rare, such as the red ones called ”blood nests.” These have a reddish tinge that chefs say derives from blood in the birds’ saliva. It is even better for one’s health than regular bird nests, they say.

So, while regular bird nests sell for about $500 for a catty – a Chinese unit of weight amounting to just over a pound – the best-quality blood nests sell for nearly $1,300 a catty at the most exclusive shop. Meanwhile, the swallows are seeking more and more remote locations to build their nests in places where humans will not intrude. They must avoid not only youths who scamper along the cliffs or climb bamboo scaffolding to cave ceilings, but also monkeys that have been trained to climb the rock walls and retrieve nests. However as the nest price increases so does the demand and the more demand increases the greater threat of looming extinction arises with regards to these birds.

”The swallows are very careful,” said Mr. Fok, the chef. ”They will never build a nest where it is easy to get to, hence why there are so many human fatalities at every year”.

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Picture by Eric-Valli – depicting a cave in which bird nest hunters climb to obtain this very expensive delicacy. Please click on the picture above to view more of Eric Valli’s work – Shadow Hunters.

Bird Nest Soup – Pushing species into decline;

Threatened status is only a step away.

Identified by Thunberg, 1812 the Aerodramus fuciphagus commonly known as the Edible-nest Swiftlet is currently listed as (least concern) however does not mean for one minute that their moving to endangered level. Population size is now on the decrease with regards to both species and to date there has been no collated date to prove populations are increasing since last surveyed back in 2012. Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Back in 1878 Collocalia maxima known to as (Aerodramus maximus) was identified by Hume. Again as with Aerodramus fuciphagus this species is also on the decline of which is listed as least concern. Least concern may not seem significantly worrying, however its one step away from (near threatened) so as long as bird nest harvesting continues and prices increase nests and their young will be placed in furthermore danger. Black nest swiflet – Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Medicinal properties;

Please note before reading on – there has been no real scientific studies that have ever proven bird nest soup can cure; Cancer, HIV, AIDS, Pancreatic Cancer, Avian Flu, Human Influenza, Diabetes, or improve human complexion. All studies that I myself a veterinarian and environmentalist have researched indicated that research around bird nest soup still remains to this very day “mysterious”.

On my travel to China of which I was investigating the wildlife parts trade me and my colleagues uncovered quite a significant find. Many animal parts that were being sold under the guise of “healing foods and traditional medicine” had been soaked in synthetic pharmaceutical medicines. Read more here – http://www.cites.org/eng/com/sc/62/E62-47-02-A.pdf

This find not a rare find but an important one informs us that demand will continue to rise due to this practice. People buying animal parts such as Rhino horn powder, Tiger bone wine even sea horses are being fooled into believing that the animal parts they are digesting are “naturally” healing them. However in reality the only properties that are healing, reducing pain, inflammation or influenza are animal parts laced with antibiotics, NSAIDS, and neurological antidepressants and sexual performance prescription medications. Whilst this practice continues and in the eyes of the law demand will continue of which individuals that buy into this trade actually believe animal parts are curing them. The fault lays not with the peddlers as such but more the manufactures of pharmaceuticals that must take responsibility.

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Picture above – Indonesia, Java hundreds of thousands of bird nests are allegedly harvested then replaced with a synthetic nest that the harvester quoted “sustains the species”.

In some documents provided by the distribution of bird nest, the nest is said to have many nutritional rare, typically some kind of protein and amino acid amide, humin, arginine, cystine, histidine, and lysine. In addition, oats also contain minerals such as calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus and magnesium. Effects of oats, some documents that oats aid in the lungs, strengthen the body, boost the immune system, accelerate cell regeneration, help with rapid recovery, and even support disease against HIV AIDS. (There is NO scientific data that proves bird nest soup has ever had any impact on individual suffering from human immunodeficiency virus and (acquired immune deficiency syndrome.

Science cannot yet explain the healing powers attributed to the soup, they conclude. Birds’ nests “bioactivities and medicinal value are still open to question as there (is) not much scientific research on the medicinal properties,” Fucui Ma and Daicheng Liu of Shandong Normal University in China wrote in a review article published October 2011 issue of the Journal Food Research International.

Swiftlets live in limestone caves around the Indian Ocean, in South and South East Asia, North Australia and the Pacific Islands. Males primarily build the nests, attaching them to the vertical walls of the caves. Removing them can be dangerous and painstaking work, and, depending on the type of nest, it can take one person eight hours to clean 10 nests, the researchers write.

For possibly 1,200 years, the Chinese have prepared and eaten the nests as a soup. The nests are considered to have a high nutritional and medicinal value, believed to have everything from anti-aging and anti-cancer properties to the ability to improve concentration and raise libido. Protein is the most abundant constituent of the nests, which contain all of the essential amino acids, the building blocks out of which proteins are made. They also contain six hormones, including testosterone and estradiol, the researchers write.

The nests also contain carbohydrates, ash and a small quantity of lipids (naturally occurring molecules that include fats). Previous research has indicated that the nests contain substances that can stimulate cell division and growth, enhance tissue growth and regeneration, and that it can inhibit influenza infections. But not everyone reacts well to them. Birds’ nests are known to cause anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction.

Little research has been carried out on their biological function so far, and more is needed to better understand the qualities attributed to them, they conclude.

China and Thailand – Bird Nest Connection;

About a half-dozen companies, which have been granted concessions by local governments to gather swiftlet nests for the lucrative bird’s nest soup market, are protecting their fiefdoms with private armies that shoot at “unauthorized” visitors. They also bribe authorities to look the other way, charge tourist operators protection money and keep locals suspected of being poachers from their traditional fishing grounds on the coast of the scenic Andaman Sea.

These concessionaires are so secretive about their operations on about 140 cave-ridden limestone islands that few Thai officials have any idea what they are up to or are willing to provide much information.

“The bird’s nest companies are big and influential,” said a bureaucrat from the tax revenue department in Bangkok who spoke off the record. “We can’t give out information (about their activities) to just anyone.” But it is no secret that swiftlet colonies are being depleted to supply Chinese restaurants with edible nests from glutinous globs of dried bird saliva that are cooked in a broth. The soup is popular because it is believed to help growth, skin complexion and sex drive, prevent lung disease and stave off aging. (As explained there is NO evidence to back these claims up that bird nest soup has medical properties or is advantageous to humans).

When a swiftlet’s cup-shaped nest is taken before it can lay eggs, the bird is forced to build another one. In the caves, collectors shimmy up bamboo poles lashed together with liana vines. Death and injury from falls are not uncommon.

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Picture above – Black Nest Swiflet

The climbers typically take two nests from each bird, allowing the bird to rear its young in a third so the population can regenerate. But high demand has increasingly caused gatherers to take that nest as well, and baby birds are thrown away. A local source familiar with the bird’s nest industry said there are only one-third as many nests as there were a decade ago, and the swiftlets have abandoned many caves.

“When the resources are of such high value, the temptation is to take as much as you can get hold of,” said Charli Evans, representative in Thailand for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), an international group that monitors commerce in endangered species. Many people interviewed for this story were afraid to speak on the record. A resident of the town of Puhuket who has spoken out against a nest company’s violent tactics has moved his residence four times because of death threats. “It is a dark business,” he said.

The Chinese began eating bird’s nest soup about 1,500 years ago. Today, millions of nests are sent to Chinese communities around the world. Hong Kong is the world’s largest market, followed by the United States, mainland China and Taiwan. International Animal Rescue Foundation Asia / America will begin lobbying for birds nest soup to be abolished from the United States menu of Asian cuisines based on evidence of now depleting swiflet populations. We are supportive of a “sustainable trade” that will not harm the birds, or see populations depleted however based on our own investigations and that of third parties “sustainable trade” is just not working nor is governmental quotas that are in place to protect the birds from being pushed into near extinction.

Some call it “white gold,” because a kilo (2.2 pounds) sells for almost $2,000. A bowl of bird’s nest soup at a good Hong Kong restaurant can go for as much as $60. Thailand exports about 19,800 pounds annually, which generates $23.8 million in taxes. A push by CITES to protect swiftlets has failed, mostly because of opposition by Southeast Asian countries where so much money is at stake.

In Thailand’s southern Trang province, a company called Satun Trang Bird’s Nest recently obtained a five-year concession on swiftlet nests. Fishermen on Muk say company speedboats have chased them away and armed men have shot at them if they sailed too close to company operations. In the early 1990s, clashes between licensed collectors and locals who poached on nest concession areas resulted in the deaths of 29 villagers in a nearby area called Pattalung.

“I was standing at the head of my boat looking for schools of fish,” said San Khang-Nam, who, along with his son and nephew, was recently wounded by guards shooting at them when their boat approached company operations. “I didn’t have any idea what had happened (until) I felt the heat of the blood running down my leg.” Daraeb Meun-Phakdee, an elderly resident who has fished on Muk since childhood, says the island has become too dangerous. “I can’t even feed my family anymore,” he said.

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Picture above – White Nest Swiflet

Area fishermen have filed police reports after each attack, but their complaints typically have been ignored. Fear of trigger-happy security guards is so great that a Muk fisherman recently sailed into a typhoon rather than risk waiting out the storm near a concession area. His boat sank, and he drowned. His daughter clung to a piece of Styrofoam and managed to drag her father’s body ashore. Apichit Angsutrangkul, who runs Satun Trang Bird’s Nest, did not return calls seeking comment.

Until 1997, the bird’s nest industry was governed by a 61-year-old law. Then new legislation decentralized control, giving local governments the power to grant five-year concessions to the highest bidder in exchange for tax payments of $252 per kilo collected. This new system is riddled with corruption, most observers agree.

The companies avoid paying higher taxes by reporting fewer kilos. “If they get 600 kilos, they report 200. I should know. I used to count them,” said a former manager of Satun Trang Bird’s Nest, who asked to remain anonymous. A committee headed by the local governor is supposed to oversee the tax collection. “There are no real checks,” said Issama-el Bensaard, a committee member and industry critic. “The checks take place in hotel restaurants over red wine and meals hosted by Satun Trang Bird’s Nest. They even serve us bird’s nest.”

Ironically, many islands are part of national parks and should be protected by the Royal Forestry Department. Yet concessionaires often have refused access to forestry officials. “We are not getting the full cooperation of the companies,” said Schwann Tunhikorn, director of the Royal Forestry Department’s Wildlife Conservation Department.

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Picture above – Peddler states “One of the best quality EBN produce and process in Malaysia. I was told this grade can fetch a very high price up to RM30,000 per kg in China retail market”

But Somsak Kittidhrakul, president of P.P. Cabana, owner of the nation’s largest bird’s nest concession of almost 100 islands, says he is taking the necessary precautions to preserve the swiftlet. “To conserve the bird population is the first tenet of our business,” he said. “We wouldn’t kill our own livelihood now, would we?”

On the island of Java, Indonesia we recently located a supplier online that uses old houses for swallows to inhabit. Mr Tasik states “this is a prudent way to obtain kite nests from undisturbed habitat by providing an empty house to where they make nests. WHAT Mr Tasik fails to realize is that he is still disturbing the nests of which all birds are very sensitive to human interference. Pictured above is Mr Tasik of which sells these nests for US$1350 / kg. Mr Tasik also offers free delivery.

No matter how well-meaning, human interference can reduce a young bird’s chances of survival. Handling can cause extreme stress and being fed an inappropriate diet can cause development problems. Unless a baby bird is clearly a nestling, or is a fledgling that is injured or in immediate danger it is best to leave them alone. Under no circumstances should bird nests be interfered with as this can cause mother and father to bolt leaving fledglings abounded that will unfortunately perish.

Concluding;

The bird nest soup industry is a multi-million dollar industry that makes a staggering $29 million every year. Birds nest soup can sell for as little as $40 a bowl to $2,000 a bowl. Evidence has clearly indicated that both species of swallow are currently on the decline which poses concerns with regards to other species. SHOULD the trade not be banned or severely restricted, for instance banning trade in the United States and restricting concessions then we will most certainly see both species of Aerodramus fuciphagus and Aerodramus maximus (White Nest and Black Nest Swiflet) plummet to very worrying levels that could in the next ten to fifteen years see the species pushed furthermore into the realms of endangerment. We must act now and not in the next ten years when we realize the problem is out of control. 

International Animal Rescue Foundation Asia is supportive of a regulated sustainable trade if it works, meaning that areas of habitat are located, built on, and the Asiatic swallow nests are harvested without the need to interfere with the breeding nest, or damaging the current cycle of living. However based on evidence gathered over the past two years it is clearly evident that this sustainable trade is not going to work. Buyers of birds nest soup want the real deal. They wish to pay for a nest that comes from the wild. Evidence has also shown that birds nests are not being harvested as they should or under laws implemented by the Asian governments. So therefore whilst both a sustainable trade is not working, and both species of Asiatic swallow are now decreasing rapidly we have to as a professional animal and environmental organisation, take action before it is to late. Ignoring this matter will just see extinctions occur before our eyes. 

Should extinction occur will other species of birds be placed in danger furthermore? We already know from investigating the Rhino horn trade in China and Vietnam that “other ungulate horned” species are being sold as a fake Rhino horn medicine. Asian peddlers will be out of pocket by some thousands should extinction occur.

Based on our own surveillance and investigations of the illegal and legal wildlife trade we have STRONG reason to believe that should extinctions occur of both Aerodramus fuciphagus and Aerodramus maximus (White Nest and Black Nest Swiflet) then other species of bird nest will be poached, hunted or harvested thus supplying a constant income for peddlers and dealers.

A very worrying trend is emerging within the Asian wildlife trade market, something we knew would happen. One has to look at it like this. If for instance you was making quite a large income from selling high value wildlife parts that then went extinct, what would YOU do to keep your income flowing in knowing you have been living a lavish lifestyle. Humans are greedy, when quick money can be made and is supporting other trades and living its clearly evident that selfish humans will go to any extremes to continue their lavish lifestyle regardless of whether it kills the entire planet. 

Thank you for reading;

Dr Josa C. Depre

Environmental-Botanical- Zoological and Veterinary Science

info@international-animalrescue-foundation.org.uk

www.speakupforthevoiceless.org

www.saynotodogmeat.net

www.international-animalrescue-foundation.org.uk (Communications site only)

Please Donate > here < and help Fund African Wildlife Survival.

 

 


Trainee Vet & Hunting – Hypocritical Behavior.

Vet and Hunter?

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YESTERDAY we received a rather interesting email from a concerned member of the public that teaches veterinary science a VERY well respected lady with regards to a so called “animal lover” that is within her third year training to be a veterinary student.

The email was polite, did not under any circumstances ask us to engage this hunter but wanted an opinion on whether trophy hunting was (conservation) of which its not!. We answered the respected lady of which voiced her concern at rubbing shoulders with a hunter, one that rubs shoulders with Rhino hunters too.

Sustainable utilization is seen by some as a methodical practice of controlling species over population – however fails to understand and demonstrate that human over population is and will always (be the major issue here).

Hunting is not conservation but according to Chloe Brandon now Chloe Charlton; originally from NYC, Arizona, (pictured) it is, now studying at Oklahoma State University College of Veterinary Medicine in Stillwater hunting is of coarse conservation to her. “Spoilt Brat” Chloe has been causing quite a stir within the veterinary world of which WE are concerned that she (has) may still be practicing hunting within Africa in her spare time.

Hunting Kudu may be seen to some as OK, they are not exactly endangered BUT the lesser Kudu is now classified as (near threatened) and the Greater Kudu is classified as (least concern) one step away from near threatened. In reality both species – Tragelaphus strepsiceros and Tragelaphus imberbis are bordering endangerment.

So is it ethically correct for this (brat) to be hunting soon to be threatened species – more to the point is her behavior seen as (professional) within the veterinary theater of which students are taught to care, bond, make better and not to mix animal cruelty with animal welfare? I personally would not want anyone of my children rubbing shoulders with a hunter – its kind of hypocritical and sets a rather BAD example to other students!

Mrs B (the teacher whom passed us her concerns) passed legislation banning primates as pets last session of which Chloe stated “was “absurd” among other things. Chloe is a so called (veterinary student) that believes keeping (primates as pets is completely OK too) because to her its “absurd that banning them as pets is absurd”

WHEN the respected teacher questioned Chloe as seen within the second picture below Chloe stated she would defend her hunting rights even though both species are verging (threatened status).

Chloe has been quite a busy hunter – at age 8. She started hunting birds, then mule deer, javelina, wild boar and elk in Arizona and
other states. In 2006, she hunted in Namibia with Ken and Lynda Morris of Byseewah, taking kudu (at 222 metres), a gold medal gemsbok, numerous guinea fowl and sandgrouse. At sunset in thick bush on the last day of her safari, she led a ‘clean-up hunt’ for an animal with broken horns that she felt important to take. This article is based on her high school graduation speech! Must have been rather (intriguing)…

Chloe featured within a local media article recently – See here http://www.lifewithcats.tv/2014/05/20/arkansas-tornado-cat-is-reunited-with-her-family/

Hunting is NOT conservation;

Dear Chloe if your reading maybe you need to read up on what your so called (conservation) is doing!

Lets take a real professional look into this >>

African lions are one step away from becoming an endangered species, and a measure designed to preserve them is to blame. A new study suggests that hunters who pay to shoot the animals are killing too many of the big cats.

Seventy years ago, the kings of the jungle numbered 450,000. Now the lion population has dwindled to less than a tenth of that. In the 1980s and 1990s, African nations started to think an old practice might hold the solution to saving the lion: trophy hunting. They hoped that by allowing rich game-chasers to shoot a few animals, landowners would have an incentive to conserve lion habitats and keep the species alive while boosting their local economies. In the meantime, it became conventional wisdom to blame the decline on factors such as conversion of lion habitat for agriculture, disease, and killings by locals upset over lion attacks on people or livestock. But the newest research, to be published in an upcoming issue of Conservation Biology, shows that at least in Tanzania—home to more lions than any other country—that isn’t the case.

Led by Craig Packer of the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, a team of biologists took a closer look at the diminishing lion populations in Tanzania over the last decade. The researchers analyzed the amount of game brought back by hunters from 21-day safaris, the only legal way to hunt lions in the East African nation. They discovered that from 1996 to 2008, the number of lions hunters bagged in Tanzania decreased by half. It’s not that hunters are scarce: Sales of the wilderness treks have risen by 60% since 1998. And the hunters probably aren’t deliberately shooting fewer animals either, according to geographer Brian Child of the University of Florida, Gainesville, who was not part of the study. “In general, if they’re paying a lot of money, they’re going to be hunting as hard as they can,” Child says.

This leaves only one reason the hunters are bringing in less game: There’s less game out there to shoot.

Packer’s team looked at several explanations for the decline. Expanding agriculture, disease, and retaliatory killings might all play a role, but those threats paled in comparison to recreational hunting, according to the team’s analysis. Shooting for sport was responsible for 92% of hunters’ reduced success.

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“I would not have guessed that 92% of the population trend would be explained by trophy hunting, and these other factors would be so weak,” says Scott Creel, an ecologist at Montana State University, Bozeman, who was also not part of Packer’s team.

The numbers are falling in areas where hunting is banned as well. Populations decreased in three out of five protected areas analyzed, including two national parks. Although the reduction in one region (Ngorongoro Conservation Area) could be chalked up to an epidemic and some unfortunate confrontations with herders, those problems also existed in the few areas that saw their lion numbers rise or stay the same. That rules out sickness or retaliatory killing as reasons for the downward trend. According to Packer, trophy hunting can even harm lions that live in places where it’s forbidden, because lions don’t stay put. “These parks are not fenced, and so the lions can pass freely inside and outside the park,” he says. “And if they are outside the park during hunting season, they may be shot.”

Packer suspects that hunters have been overexploiting the lions. Although he acknowledges that the idea of hunting for conservation may work in theory, “there’s no point in providing the animal with economic value and then over-hunting them.”

“But there’s a silver lining here, which is that trophy hunting is something we control very directly. … We can decide how many we’re going to shoot,” Creel says. On the other hand, “telling people who live in poverty that they can’t convert their land to agriculture, that’s suddenly a very difficult thing to accomplish.”

Tanzania allows trophy hunters to shoot only male lions that are at least 6 years old. Theoretically, this is better for the species as a whole than shooting lionesses, but Packer and Child agree that even killing just the adult males poses a serious threat. The country tries to cap the number of yearly kills at 500 in a 300,000-square-kilometer range. Packer thinks even a third of that is dangerous.

However, eliminating the hunt entirely could be even more dangerous. “If you make hunting too difficult, then people are going to switch back to cattle,” says Child. “And then you’ll have no wildlife.”

Hunting is NOT conservation;

Trophy hunting is a specific type of hunting where a portion of the animal is kept as a souvenir to memorialize the experience. It is not illegal, as poaching is, but there is certainly a debate that surrounds the practice.

When photos surfaced of Melissa Bachman posing with a lion she killed, the outrage was immense (for perhaps more complex reasons than solely hunting). In a story on this topic, OGP’s Kristina Pepelko said, “The backlash to her photo is certainly warranted as big game hunting is a poor excuse for conservation, especially when 75 percent of wild lions have been killed in the last 20 years, and this number is likely to accelerate in the next decade if nothing is done, as reported by ABC News.”

Killing animals in the name of conservation is surprisingly something that many groups have claimed. The Dallas Safari Club is proposing to auction off a “special permit” from the government of Namibia to hunt one of Namibia’s 1,800 remaining black rhinos. All in the name of conservation.

While trophy hunting often brings in money to certain parks or locations, it’s counterproductive to the overall idea of conservation. Why shoot something you supposedly want to protect?

1. Trophy hunting can hurt the overall population of a species
Though hunting groups often claim that a small amount of controlled trophy hunting does not harm populations, the opposite appears to be true. In the case of African lions, “Approximately 600 lions are killed every year on trophy hunts, including lions in populations that are already declining from other threats…The adult male lion is the most sought-after trophy by wealthy foreign hunters. And when an adult male lion is killed, the destabilization of that lion’s pride can lead to more lion deaths as outside males compete to take over the pride,” reports Jeff Flocken for National Geographic.

The recent Michigan wolf hunt has been filled with controversy – wolves were recently removed from the endangered species list, and soon after, hunted for trophies. The Toledo Blade reports, “People who understand conservation were appalled [about the hunt]. Michigan Technological University Professor John Vucetich, a conservation biologist, said, ‘There is no scientific evidence wolves need to be hunted.’ He added: ‘It’s not common sense to spend decades bringing the wolf back from the brink of extinction, only to begin killing the animal.’”

Con in Conservation

It seems that there would be less destructive ways to conserve a species, specifically, one that doesn’t involve putting a price on their head.

2. Does it really bring in money to help the animals and local communities?
A study on the economic benefit behind lion hunting in Africa concluded, “The suggestion that trophy hunting plays a significant role in African economic development is misguided…Revenues constitute only a fraction of a percent of GDP and almost none of that ever reaches rural communities.”

Dr. Naomi Rose agrees as stated on the HSUS blog, “Regarding the statement that trophy hunters do a lot for conservation, it’s true that some portion of some hunters’ fees goes to conservation in some countries, but it’s rarely the major source of conservation funding. Usually middlemen—commercial outfitters—take the lion’s share of sport hunting proceeds and local communities and conservation and management agencies get the dregs.”

3. Trophy hunting is elitist
Since trophy hunting for “big game” usually takes place in more remote locations in which people need to fly into, or charter transportation, it’s not really an activity that’s open to anyone. Not that having it open to more people would make it any better, but trophy hunting tends to be richer people going out for the thrill of the chase – under the guise of conservation. For example, the Trump brothers came under fire after photographs of them with animals they had killed in Africa surfaced. Mother Nature News reported that there are many other ways the brothers could have helped the people of Zimbabwe, rather than hunting and killing animals.

True conservation activities should involve the local community in a way that is sustainable, and trophy hunting does not accomplish this ideal.

4. Trophy hunting can be linked to poaching
If trophy hunting were to ever hope to be known as “conservation,” there would have to be extremely close monitoring by scientific and state bodies regarding the health and legality of the hunt.

While a certain amount of regulation does take place, it is not enough to prevent the possibility of trophy hunts being used as cover for poaching. According to a report “The Myth of Trophy Hunting” by Save African Animals, “Opening up even a limited legal trade creates a smokescreen for poachers which is almost impossible to police. Prior to 1986, when the whaling moratorium was introduced, legal quotas were widely used as cover for poaching, driving some species near to extinction. The same is happening with trophy hunting of endangered species.”

The hunting of animals for trophies, especially large game animals, can lead to a slippery slope in which the animals are the victims. The report also includes more information on the many issues behind trophy hunting.

5. Financial incentives can hurt the population of a species
Monitoring the population of a species takes a lot of resources for conservation groups and governments. It is possible that misinformation can lead to incorrect reporting of numbers to encourage hunting, or the financial benefits of continued hunting lead groups to inflate their reported numbers.

Dr. Naomi Rose, a marine mammal biologist, explains “…Sport hunters’ fees put economic pressure on managers to inflate hunting quotas beyond sustainable levels…Despite what science and common sense said, the quotas were increased and the [population of] bears declined.”

The infamous Canadian seal hunt is the largest slaughter of marine mammals per year, and the seals are used for their fur and other body parts. Sea Shepherd reports that, “There is no scientific justification for these quotas as the seal counting techniques used amount to little more than guesswork. Further, Canadian author and naturalist…Farley Mowat, estimates that for every seal landed, another is shot and lost under the ice, not to be included in the count. According to the Canadian government, the hunt will not harm seal populations, however, the facts dispute their unfounded claim.”

Some humane ways that you can help protect animals include:
Simple eco-tourism – instead of going to shoot big game, why not take a trip to simply appreciate these animals in their natural state?
Habitat protection – Visit national and international protected parks or contribute to these organizations.
Support organizations like the World Society for the Protection of Animals and the World Wildlife Fund that are working towards conservation that doesn’t include killing.

Chloe can be seen here —> http://www.africanhuntinginfo.com/Archives/magazines/AHG_v13-2/ASG_v13-2_(Low-Res).pdf Page 117

If you see Chloe in Africa please let email us know below; We will NOT tolerate this unprofessional behavior !

http://www.international-animalrescue-foundation.org.uk/investigations-and-formal-contact/

Tell Chloe what you think here https://m.facebook.com/profile.php?id=624452


African Dog Meat Traditions and Disease – Graphic

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Recently my visit to Africa have become quite intense over the past few years travelling mostly north west and east to Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia, Somalia and Angola I have been investigating the pet meat and bush meat trade that receives very little mention within the animal rights theatre and world of conservation.

Pet meat trade within Africa was fairly unheard of and still is to this day, most trades are either in villages remotely cut off from much larger cities or from what I myself I have investigated and researched seen only a small minority of pet meat consumption within “indigenous” tribal lands. One cannot just enter these small remote villages and begin photographing markets that host a wide range of animal and human parts too. Yes I did state human body parts mainly within the regions of Ghana on the Voodoo markets. I state you cannot just enter these markets and begin photographing unless of course you wish to become a “part of the bench stall”.

Why did I begin investigating the pet meat trade deep within the north and Central African Republic? Within the past decade there has been quite a significant increase in disease and deaths within the visited Africans zones that host “pet meat trade”. I am also somewhat frustrated that the World Health Organisation (WHO) either seems completely oblivious to this truth or are deliberately concealing information in some way to try and play down increasing deaths from Rabies, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome and Coronavirus all of which are increasing within Africa and pose a significantly high bio-hazard threat to the world population.

International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa and Say No To Dog Meat.Net an Australian and Africans/European registered organisation and Environmental Company are now working on specific missions to now decrease pet meat consumption trade mainly within the north and Central African Republic thus creating awareness, educations and implementing sustainable agriculture practices as well as helping to establish water safe zones that shall be spoken more about in next week’s article.

International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa mission’s within Africa with regards to the pet meat trade I have highlighted below for your information;

  1. Reduction of Rabies, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, and Coronavirus cases via promoting sound and professional education, awareness, vaccination and meat alternatives.
  2. Pet care – Trap Neuter and Return – to reduce stray populations thus decreasing pet meat consumption.
  3. Food safety – Professional food and hygiene education and awareness of which is aimed at reducing “food borne viruses” entering the food chain from contaminated pet meat thus decreasing illness, death and contagious cross infection. I.A.R.F Europa is also working on implementing plans to educate mainly the male population that use dogs to hunt. It has been noted that dogs used to hunt within Liberia for example have brought back to the local communities Ebola virus. Strategies on reducing this danger are being worked on rapidly to reduce death and disease. To help please send a donation to us hereto that will help immensely. Alternatively you can donate via our main communications site here
  4. Water preservation – education and awareness of greener arable agricultural practices that we hope will reduce the need to hunt and kill pets within local remote communities that are under great strain from the effects of climate change. Climate change has ravished the African continent leaving many without water to farm or care for cattle. Working with Africans communities and engineers we hope to eradicate this problem within pet meat consumption villages. Turkana within Kenya is one prime example of which has seen climate change ravish the entire area forcing people to eat dog and cat meat. Local communities are as of April 2014 now receiving some help from international organisations. 

International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa mission is aimed at the following countries within the continent of Africa; Please note we have not included Madagascar of which is still under scrutiny from ground operatives detailing the bush meat trade. 

  1. Angola
  2. Ghana
  3. Niger
  4. Benin
  5. Cameroon
  6. Liberia
  7. Somalia
  8. Democratic Republic of Congo
  9. Chad
  10. Mali

Recently I have been working just over the border of Benin in Togo where dog meat and bush meat trade is rampant of which is threatening the world’s population should any form of the above mentioned viruses find their way to Europe, America or Asia. Research is still being hampered by the lack of education and awareness in the country of which rabies cases are increasing. It appears even if the infected victim is showing signs of rabies they’ll still be consumed regardless of what the after effects will be onto the human consumer[s].

Bongo;

The increase in consumption of dog heads in the Bongo District is said to be hampering research efforts into rabies cases reported at the district hospital in the area. Dogs suspected to carry rabies, popularly known as “mad dogs” among the people, are killed and eaten, including the heads that are usually the part that is examined to determine the presence of rabies. The consumption of the dog meat has gone up in recent times in the district, with residents now desiring it during their leisure times. Dog meat is usually not used in preparing meals at home because of the belief that not everyone takes the meat.

This was made known on Monday [5 Apr 2010], when Dr Vivian Brusset Cisneros, a Cuban doctor, presented a paper on the epidemiology of rabies in the Bongo Hospital at the 11th Regional Scientific Workshop between Ghanaian doctors and their Cuban counterparts in the Upper East Region. She said the practice hindered effective research into arriving at conclusive decisions on suspected rabies-related deaths. She said so far the hospital has recorded about 101 suspected rabies cases, of which 47 have been treated and discharged with 5 people losing their lives.

Dr Cisneros indicated that in December last year [2009], 19 dog bites were recorded and said that the majority of the reported cases came from Namoo, a frontier with Burkina Faso and Bongo central. She said that a dog census conducted put the number in the Bongo District at 8217, with only 1843 of them vaccinated against rabies. Dr Cisneros said that if the rabies scare in the area is to be contained, then dog owners should vaccinate their dogs.

The Regional Director of Health Service, Dr John Koku Awoonor Williams, called for a strong surveillance system at the district level to check outbreaks of all kinds of diseases. He said the idea about sending data to the Regional Directorate from the district level, without analyzing them, slowed down the alarm system [for] disease outbreaks. [Previously in 2009, it was reported that: “The people of Bongo are living in fear now with every passing moment and demand the immediate supply of anti-rabies vaccines for the treatment of infected persons. They are also calling on the veterinary division of the Ministry of Agriculture to, as a matter of urgency, take steps to vaccinate all dogs and possibly cats to prevent further spread of the disease.”

It is difficult from the present report to estimate the extent of the problem, but there appears to have been human cases (5 fatalities out of a possible 47 cases presenting for post-exposure prophylaxis). It is similarly difficult to estimate the extent of the diagnostic problem. Perhaps the dearth of canine heads is no more than an original bureaucratic excuse for inactivity. Please note these figures are only for the period of 2009 of which will be updated within the next few months from our field veterinarians.

Nigeria;

Stray dog meat and the risk of rabies in Nigeria is becoming quite a concern for us. While rabies is a preventable zoonosis with very high mortality, dog meat remains a delicacy among some communities if not (all communities) in southern Nigeria. Thus far there have been a reported 10 cases of rabies following consumption of dog meat this year (2014). All the 10 patients died. Authors of Rabies research have called for culling of stray dogs, control of trade in dog meat, and provision of post exposure prophylaxis (PEP). This is by far more easily said than practiced when people’s livelihoods depend on pet trade regardless of whether the meat is infected with rabies, sars, or Ebola virus.

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About  55,000 people worldwide die of rabies every year, 44% of them in Africa and yet the (World Health Organisation) still fail to make public the immense risks of consuming dog meat in Nigeria even though International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa has shown evidence year after year.

Togo – A tourists account of the Togolese’s Dog Meat Trade

The Evela wrestling ceremony or just Evela ceremony takes place every summer in Kabye villages around Togo. The Kabye people are an ethnic group from the North, known to eat dog. In the morning, the young men douse themselves in talcum powder and wrestle in a giant circle. On the outside of the circle, and in trees scattered around the village, hang dead dogs. Strung up by their necks, the dogs dangle lifelessly with their tongues hanging out of their mouths.  I watch the men go through the same routines they do with goats. Light a fire. Burn off the hair. Cut off the head. Place burnt head on stake. Make dog-kebabs. International Animal Rescue Foundation is formulating a petition against this cruel and barbaric ceremony.

I enter a straw hut with my friends and two other PC volunteers who have already made the decision not to try dog meat. But I have been talking for weeks about how I was going to try dog at this festival, so I couldn’t back out at this point. As I take my first bite, my friends note how I am noticeably shaking. I struggle to keep a steady hand as I pop the gristly morsel into my mouth. While I chewed my mind was bombarded with visions of all the dogs I have ever had. Kacy chasing the tennis ball. Abby fogging up the glass on our front door. As I take a second and third piece, and chew through the fat and the pieces of skin with fur still attached, I try to pinpoint the flavor. Not quite chicken but not quite beef. Then I realize, and maybe this is my mind playing tricks on me, the meat tastes exactly how a dog’s breath smells. I gag on the fourth piece. I take two shots of Sodabe (palm wine) and decide I’m done here.

History of Evela wrestling and Dog Meat Consumption

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Picture above depicts the Kabye young boys wrestling as part of the ceremonial ritual. The event will again take place this July 2014 of which will see dogs and cats brutalised for traditional beliefs. Picture below depicts the same tribe of which the dog is supposedly seen as (sacred). Please view video below.

Boys – well 18, 19, 20 year old “boys” can’t consider themselves men or taste dog meat until they fight in Evala, a coming of age intra-village wrestling match. One-on-one, contenders from Kabye villages (Kabye is one of the major ethnic groups in Togo) take on opponents attempting to outmanoeuvre or outman them until their opponent’s butt hits the sand.  Weeding out the finest wrestlers from the village stock, the dozen or so best represent their village clad in Rocky-style gym shorts in front of a crowd of cheering Kabye citizens, out of place European tourists, the odd peace corps volunteer and on occasion President Faure (who comes from a Kabye village and took down a few wrestlers in his day). The annual rite of passage comes with some benefits. Aside from eating dog meat for the first time, which is strictly a man’s delicacy in Kabye culture (Ça donne la force!), the wrestlers can marry after fighting in Evala for three years.

A male Kabye friend told me, “You aren’t considered anything if you didn’t fight. And men who placed high are respected in their villages.” He said if two boys were going after the same girl, and one of them was a champion the other boy would step down respecting the other’s rank.

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And the ultimate fighter, the one left standing at the end of the week, gets to choose any Kabye girl, taken or not, as his wife or companion.  That last spoil has repelled some progressive Kabye citizens from celebrating Evala. The prefet explained that the traditional ceremony stands as a test and proof of the stamina and power of the Kabye people who are always ready to defend their communities.

“They pass from adolescents to adults taking a step in the school of life,” the prefet wrote. Akpema, the younger, less noticed sister of Evala, is the female version of the boys’ rite of passage. For the next few weeks during Akpema, girls – well 16 – 20 year old girls will walk around village in their underwear or barely clothed– traditionally they do this nude.  They perform ceremonial rites in order to be accepted by their family as a “good woman”.

 

The consumption of dog meat is an important aspect in the course of the three-year initiation process, the dog being considered cunning, enduring, courageous, smart and faithful, all of which qualities the evalon needs to be able to defeat his opponents during the fights. During the week preceding the competition, the evala get ready by going in isolation and by stuffing themselves with dog meat. They refrain from shaking hands with girls and from having sex, in an effort to keep their physical and psychological potentials to the maximum. After the three-year initiation, the evala must never eat dog meat again. Which is quite surprising as dog meat is noted as being consumed in Togo on a regular daily basis.

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Rabies;

Rabies cases still remain the highest within Africa of which Southern Africa we have yet to locate “any evidence” on dog and cat meat consumption and trade, however rabies cases within impoverished “South African zones” has been noted to be on the increase of which we are still currently investigating. Nigeria still remains the continents highest rabid infectious areas of which is being tackled however not as quickly as one would like it to be. The myth that dog meat is only consumed in the south of Nigeria we can officially debunk. Dog meat we have witnessed not only being sold on the streets in the north but also consumed within market stalls in strict Muslim populated areas of which dog meat is strictly prohibited under Islamic law. Slaughter of any animal under Islamic law must also be “humane” which brings one to ask are the pictures above and below considered humane. The dog took over 4.7 minutes to perish, even after having its throat slit with a rusty panger the animal was still withering in pain, still moving, still yelping. Wagging its tail too which was somewhat quite emotionally upsetting for myself to view being a dog lover.

Rabies, though a vaccine preventable disease, still accounts for the death of over 50,000 people worldwide; 95% of these fatalities were apportioned to Africa and Asia while 98% of the cases were caused by rabies infected dog bite. Worldwide, lines of evidence abound supporting the fact that dogs shed rabies virus in their saliva (Nottidge, 1994). Fekadu et al. have established that rabies infected dogs that recovered shed rabies virus in their saliva intermittently, and this shedding continued for about 7 months while the dog remained apparently healthy; this represents a carrier status which was previously described in Nigeria. Inapparent infection and recovery from clinical disease with resultant persistent or intermittent shedding of rabies virus have affected the overall effort in rabies eradication and control in most parts of the world. The most dangerous aspect of carrier dogs is that bites from such dogs are usually not recognized as an exposure that will stimulate appropriate postexposure treatment. Consequently human deaths occur from exposure buried in an erratic incubation period where dogs show no sign suggestive of rabies.

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Abia State shares border with Cross River State. Recently, 8 people died and the cause was traced to dog bite. Those dogs were disposed of before reports got to Veterinary authorities, and it has been suggested that those suspected dogs must have been consumed before the onset of clinical signs thereby precluding confirmatory diagnosis.

Work on rabies in apparently healthy dogs has been carried out in different parts of the country. However, information on rabies in Abia State is wanting despite rabies outbreak in neighbouring states. There still exists an eclipse of information on rabies epidemiology in Abia state; there is therefore a need to find out the status of rabies in the state, especially carrier status. This study was undertaken to find out the presence of rabies antigen in the saliva and brain of apparently healthy dogs slaughtered for human consumption in Abia State and to find out the practices of dog meat slaughtering by butchers who fall within the high risk group.

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome;

Amazingly, we are repeatedly reminded about bioterrorists and bioweapons, yet with SARS not a word about biowarfare. Certainly proof the media are controlled by powerful forces that refuse to recognise what many citizens are thinking privately, and posting on the Internet.

The earliest April 2003 media reports detailed a mysterious lung disease (acute respiratory syndrome or ARS) that broke out in Guangdong province in mainland China, close to the island of Hong Kong. Shortly thereafter, I received an email describing similar epidemics of ARS with many deaths in the Congo and on the island of Madagascar, off the coast of Eastern Africa, in the summer of 2002. In the beginning of the epidemic, the Chinese scientists claimed the lung disease was caused by a bacterium (a chlamydia); Western scientists and the World Health Organisation (WHO) suspected a coronavirus. Please note while International Animal Rescue Foundation knows pet meat trade is ongoing in Madagascar evidence of such virus’s associated with pet meat trade has yet to be put forward.

For anyone doing research, an Internet “search-engine” like google.com is invaluable. I typed-in “acute respiratory syndrome African cases 2002”, and quickly discovered WHO reports of ARS in the summer and fall of 2002. In civil war-torn Congo, there were 4000 cases of ARS reported in October 2002, with 500 deaths, making the death rate 12%. In contrast, the Chinese mortality rate from SARS was initially (and erroneously) reported as 3-4%. Even though the African ARS death rate was four times higher, the WHO added the letter “S” and termed the epidemic in China “severe” ARS (SARS). In Madagascar, another country torn by civil strife, the ARS epidemic affected 22,646 people, with 153 deaths. Both epidemics were believed to be caused by influenza A virus, although none of the cases were tested for unusual coronavirus infection. None of these African pre-SARS epidemics were reported by the Western media. Do you see now why we International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa and Europa are becoming rather concerned and frustrated at this lack of public awareness? For instance this month of May there have been a further cluster of Ebola cases (see pic) within Liberia – all cases have not been reported in the media nor has the media reported “potential cases” emerging in Europe via Africans traveling abroad.  Media and press we believe have been warned not to create a mass panic even though Ebola has not been eradicated from the African country of Liberia in West Africa.

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Within days of the first April reports, WHO investigators claimed Chinese health officials were lying by covering-up the first cases of SARS that occurred in mid-November 2002. It is possible the ARS epidemics in Africa had nothing to do with SARS in China. However, it is well known that Sub-Saharan Africa is a testing place for new vaccines and drugs, and presumably for biowarfare agents as well. By April 17, WHO officially recognised the new coronavirus as the cause of SARS, and named it the SARS virus. Could the new coronavirus/SARS virus be biological warfare? No one in the media was asking that question.

Meanwhile pet meat consumption is increasing and with thanks to countries such as China, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand dog meat traditions within Asia are seen as ethically correct practices by African pet meat consumers within the Continent of Africa. What’s good for one is good for the other as they say.

Ghana;

Dog meat, a delicacy in some parts of the Northern and Eastern regions but frowned upon in most parts of the country, has now become a delicacy in some suburbs of the Greater Accra Region, especially Bukom, Korle Gonno, Chorkor and Nungua. Worshippers of the Tigare fetish, which originated from the Northern Region, are known to eat dogs, which are the principal animals used for their rituals.

Auntie Adjeley Doku of Mamprobi whose late father, Nii Adjei is reputed to have brought the Tigare fetish from the north to Accra, explained that instead of the use of sheep in rituals at the shrine, dogs are used.

“Of course, when it is thus used it is cooked and we all eat the meat in either a soup or a stew,” she explained.

“Anyone who eats dog meat (cannot be harmed spiritually by any evil doer). This is because just as the dog protects its owner in real life, so does it do so spiritually, and no witch or evil doer can harm you if you eat the meat of a dog”, she added. Auntie Adjeley also believes that more people are beginning to enjoy the meat because they now know its spiritual value; moreover it is very delicious, just like other meat.

It is also known that some people in the Greater Accra Region, apart from the Tigare worshipers, use the dog instead of sheep for their customary rites. At funerals, outdooring’s, engagements and other social events, especially in Chorkor, dog meat is served as part of the meals eaten. The youth also come together at weekends to prepare and consume soup and stews made with dog meat along with banku, gari or fufu.

At Korle-Bu Sempe, a young woman who wanted to remain anonymous narrated how she joined her brother and friends to eat a delicious meal of gari and stew, only to be told later that the wonderful meat she had was dog meat.

She explained that even though she would not have eaten it if she had known it was dog meat, she realised after the meal that, it was no different from mutton. The brother said he was introduced to the meat by his friends with whom he enjoys cat meat.

According to him, it is really good and recommends it to everybody. It is funny the way people behave over the eating of dog meat. I ate it because I knew other people eat it elsewhere, and once it’s good, I have no qualms about it as long as it’s neatly prepared? , he emphasised.

Another lady, Esi, who stays at Chorkor said the first time she ate the meat was at Atibie Kwahu in the Eastern Region. According to her, she and her friend went to a chop bar and her friend requested for it. After she tasted it, she realised it was good and she enjoyed it very much. Nicknames given to the meat at Chorkor are “me you” and “ogele” and those who enjoy it refer to the meat as such.

This reporter was told the story of some ladies who went to a funeral at Chorkor and were given seats in a friend’s room. While they were being served with drinks they saw a pan full of meat and so they took a few chunks to go with their drinks.

“It was so delicious, so when our friend served us kenkey and fish, we requested for some of the mutton in the pan, her reply of Oh! Do you like the dog meat?” was enough to kill our appetites. At Nungua, behind the Ravico Hotel, is a joint where Brukutu, a popular local drink, is served with dog meat, either as spicy khebab or in soup for those who request for it.

Emmanuel Okwei-Addo of Korle Gonno believes that more people are taking to dog meat these days because they are easy to come by and also people are discarding their revulsion for the meat because they have realised that eating it does not cause any harm.

Meanwhile, it is common knowledge that the mere mention of “dog meat” makes many people spit and turn away. To these people, the dog has always been man’s closest pet and companion and so they cannot conceive the idea of killing it, let alone eating its meat. Others too are put off by the fact that they see the dog in all kinds of “compromising” situations and so they find it difficult to consume its meat.

But this notwithstanding, it appears that dog meat is attracting more “adherents” who, rightly or wrongly, may be telling those who find it repulsive:  “You don’t know what you are missing”?

Concluding

Cultures, traditions or just religious beliefs that span around the consumption of dog and cat meat within Africa must stop sooner rather than later. Researchers from International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa are working in remote regions of Africa studying the trade and understanding ways in which we can halt the trade without disrupting livelihoods. Please do not get ones hopes up to much. Whilst there are uneducated tourists travelling from America and Europe (please view video below) promoting the trade as “ethically correct” without understanding the sheer dangers of what their promoting pose to the entire planets populations then unfortunately we will be fighting a very harsh battle. Will it take mass death for international governmental leaders to take notice? Who knows. For now I leave you with a culture a tradition a food myth that has potential to wipe out thousands if not millions should a bio-disease epidemic occur.

 

Thank you for reading

Dr Josa Depre – Botanist and Environmentalist

info@international-animalrescue-foundation.org.uk

www.speakupforthevoiceless.org

View more here on pet meat consumption at Say No To Dog Meat.Net

Please Donate here to help International Animal Rescue Foundation Fund African Wildlife Survival

“Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring–it was peace.”

 

 


Working Donkeys – Abuse in Brief.

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The donkey or ass, Equus africanus asinus, is a domesticated member of the horse family, Equidae. The wild ancestor of the donkey is the African wild ass, E. africanus. The donkey has been used as a working animal for at least 5000 years. There are more than 40 million donkeys in the world, mostly in underdeveloped countries, where they are used principally as draught or pack animals. Working donkeys are often associated with those living at or below subsistence levels. Small numbers of donkeys are kept for breeding or as pets in developed countries.

Donkeys have been used as working machines since 3000 BC of which they are still used today within developing countries and non-developing countries. The brick kiln donkeys of Nepal is one prime example of animal exploitation that sees donkeys pushed to their limits all for consumer power.

Typically brick kilns only operate in the dry season and shut down during the rains. Most animals return with their owners to their original homes but the cost of transportation is high – as much as £14 each. Back in 2013 Dr. Bodh Prasad Parajuli, Chief of Central Animal Quarantine Office stated ‘This is awful.” That was the reaction of Dr. Bodh Prasad Parajuli, Chief of Central Animal Quarantine Office, when he saw the conditions of working equines in brick factories on April 29, 2013. The government chief visited Santaneshwor Brick Factory, among Lalitpur’s worst fourteen brick factories employing equines.

Dr Parajuli warned the equine owners that equine abuse cannot be accepted by his Department. He also realized the owners do not possess the required health cards. Animal Nepal has urged government authorities such as Department of Livestock Services, Animal Health and Quarantine to address the issue of equine abuse in brick factories.

Dr Parajuli agreed to promote detailed monitoring in quarantine check posts and is to activate the Veterinary Council of Nepal and Nepal Veterinary Association to stop the distribution of health certificates for unhealthy equines. It is agreed that a joint meeting with the various government agencies will be held to address the problems in an effective and lasting manner. Animal Nepal requested Dr Parajuli to strictly follow existing regulations, especially when equines are imported from India, and to improve conditions during the transportation of equines from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj and vice versa.

Asses were first domesticated around 3000 BC, probably in Egypt or Mesopotamia, and have spread around the world. They continue to fill important roles in many places today. While domesticated species are increasing in numbers, the African wild ass and another relative, the onager, are endangered. As beasts of burden and companions, asses and donkeys have worked together with humans for millennia.

Back in 2009 a campaign was successfully launched in Nepal to improve the lives of working donkeys, many left to scavenge on the streets during the off-season or when their working lives are over. Animal Nepal said there were reports of scavenging donkeys giving birth on town intersections while trying to avoid being hit by vehicles.

Animal Nepal released a report entitled “Beasts of Burden” a campaign document it says delivers shocking findings of abuse at Nepal’s largest equine market, in Nepalgunj. In June 2009, Animal Nepal’s staff members Sudeep Koirala and Krishna Singh conducted a 10-day monitoring visit to the Nepal-India border area. “They were shocked to find hundreds of abandoned working donkeys living as scavengers on the streets of Nepalgunj. Many of them are on the verge of death,” the charity reported.

Donkeys sustain some pretty horrific injuries throughout their working career that range from literally being worked to the bones, starvation, malnutrition, dehydration and on a regular basis are open to serious skin infections from open wounds caused by carrying the sheer weight of bricks from the kilns.

In 1997 the number of donkeys in the world was reported to be continuing to grow, as it had steadily done throughout most of history; factors cited as contributing to this were increasing human population, progress in economic development and social stability in some poorer nations, conversion of forests to farm and range land, rising prices of motor vehicles and fuel, and the popularity of donkeys as pets. Since then, the world population of donkeys is reported to be rapidly shrinking, falling from 43.7 million to 43.5 million between 1995 and 2000, and to only 41 million in 2006. The fall in population is pronounced in developed countries; in Europe, the total number of donkeys fell from 3 million in 1944 to just over 1 million in 1994.

The Domestic Animal Diversity Information System (DAD-IS) of the FAO listed 189 breeds of ass in June 2011. In 2000 the number of breeds of donkey recorded worldwide was 97, and in 1995 it was 77. The rapid increase is attributed to attention paid to identification and recognition of donkey breeds by the FAO’s Animal Genetic Resources project. The rate of recognition of new breeds has been particularly high in some developed countries. In France, for example, only one breed, the Baudet de Poitou, was recognised prior to the early 1990s; by 2005, a further six donkey breeds had official recognition.

In prosperous countries, the welfare of donkeys both at home and abroad has become a concern, and a number of sanctuaries for retired and rescued donkeys have been set up. The largest is the Donkey Sanctuary of England, which also supports donkey welfare projects in Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Kenya, and Mexico.

As human population continues to increase within developing countries so will the use of animals that also include elephants too.  You can help by donating to your local charity or overseas charity today. More on this topic will follow in the next few weeks of which we take a look at the Morocco abuse of animals.

www.speakupforthevoiceless.org


Shark Net – The Cruel Practice of Shark Population Control.

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SHARK NETS are causing quite a stir lately around the globe of which threatens the 350 species of shark globally. To date there are an (estimated) 300,000,000 sharks of which population declines have been rampant since the 1960’s. Fortunately Cites commonly known as the (Convention on International trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna) have implemented fishing bans on certain species of shark with regards to the copious levels of shark finning that has raged out of control this past two decades. Sharks and other marine life though are still evermore in danger, this time from negligent humans.

Shark populations have reduced from 70% in some species to up to 95% in other species in the last 15 years and one cannot place all blame on the finning trade though that is seen within Asia mostly used for fake medicine’s and broths.

1995 I witnessed sharks nets similar to the one pictured below around the beaches of Perth, Australia of which have been constructed in a way more or less to protect humans from being attacked by sharks coming to far inland, shark nets were placed into Australian oceans back in 1937. Problem is more sharks and endangered aquatic marine life are succumbing to death from human kindness and we are not talking a few hundred every year here. Many people believe that shark nets create an entire protective barrier thus keeping sharks away from humans. This is untrue, which leads bathers and surfers into a false sense of security. Sharks can swim over and under the nets which many people still to this very day seem completely oblivious too.

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A shark net is a submerged net placed around beaches to reduce shark attacks on swimmers. Shark nets do not offer complete protection but work on the principle of “fewer sharks, fewer attacks“. They reduce occurrence via shark mortality. Reducing the local shark populations is believed to reduce the chance of an attack. The large mesh size of the nets is designed specifically to capture sharks and prevent their escape until eventually, they drown. Due to boating activity, the nets also float 4 metres or more below the surface and do not connect with the shoreline (excluding Hong Kong’s shark barrier nets) thus allowing sharks the opportunity to swim over and around nets.

Sadly it’s not just sharks that fall prey to shark nets, endangered species like sea turtles, dugongs, dolphins and whales have been pulled from shark nets around the world noted as (by-catch) of which reduces the aquatic populations furthermore. From 2011-2012 in Queensland there were some 700+ dead sharks pulled from nets, an estimated 200 of them were pulled two meters above in shark nets and drum lines.

Hong Kong-Australia and South Africa sees the vast majority of shark nets placed around the majority of public beaches. Australia has some 50+, Hong Kong in the region of 36 nets and South Africa (KwaZulu-Natal) it is estimated a further 38 public protection shark nets have been constructed. Florida, America has around 32 estimated shark nets situated around her shores of which(this is an estimated account).

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Shark nets are not the only threat to sharks and marine life, drum lines are also causing quite a controversy within the conservation and animal welfare world and could be considered as the most cruel method of “keeping shark populations down”. Prior to 2014, drum lines were only utilised on Australia’s eastern coast and in South Africa where the numbers of shark attacks reduced dramatically. In 2014, the Western Australian government reacted to the loss of seven human lives in the years 2010-2013 and installed drum lines along around 200 km of its 20,000 km long coastline (around 1%). The policy has been the subject of national and international protests, coming under fire from marine conservationists and animal welfare advocates and their supporters. The policy is commonly referred to as the Western Australian shark cull. (Picture below depicts a dolphin caught in a shark net).

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Shark attacks themselves are extremely rare compared to other types of deaths; between 2004 and 2008 there was an average of 4 fatal shark attacks recorded per year. Depending on their size, a minority of sharks survive being caught on a drum line. The combination of drum lines and shark nets do not directly lead to extinction, but they also may not give the population room to recover from being endangered of extinction. Drum lines are also responsible for by-catch, possibly including dolphins and sea turtles, both of which are fully protected in Australian waters. There is evidence of dolphins stealing bait on numerous occasions, thus rendering the drum lines useless.

Shark nets do not form a complete barrier and sharks can swim over, under or around the ends of the nets. Neither, of course, do drumlines form a physical barrier, so whilst we know this as do the African and Australian Environmental Agencies then why the need to implement such destructive nets is beyond rational thinking. Both shark nets and drumlines function by reducing shark numbers in the vicinity of protected beaches, thereby lowering the probability of encounters between sharks and people at those beaches.

The nets may have a limited physical barrier effect as well, but the fact that about 1/3 of the catch is caught on the shoreward side of the nets is evidence that such an effect is only partial. Drumlines are a recent introduction on the KwaZulu-Natal coast, but their so called successful use in Queensland, Australia, indicates that the fishing effect of the equipment is of primary importance.

It was recognised before shark netting was introduced in Sydney, Australia, in 1937 that only a complete enclosure would provide complete protection from shark attacks. Despite this, the safety record of shark nets off the coasts of New South Wales, Queensland (Australia) and KwaZulu-Natal has been very good. At Durban, from 1943 until the installation of nets in 1952, there were seven fatal attacks. Since the installation of nets there have been no fatalities at Durban and no incidents resulting in serious injury. At KwaZulu-Natal’s other protected beaches.

Picture depicts a baited hook drumline with great white hooked.

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Shark attacks on swimming bathers are extremely rare, and its fact that you actually have more chance of being killed or seriously maimed sitting on the WC than one does of swimming within waters infested with sharks. There are of course many outspoken critics that will deny shark attacks are rare thus calling or supporting a nationwide cull.

Shark attack facts;                                                                                        

  • 93% of shark attacks from 1580 to 2010 worldwide were on males.
  • In 2010, North American Waters had 42% of all confirmed unprovoked attacks worldwide (32 attacks).
  • Surfers accounted for 50.8% of all attacks in 2010.
  • Swimmers and Waders accounted for 38% of all attacks in 2010.
  • Snorkelers and divers accounted for 8% of all attacks in 2010.
  • Inflatable rafts/inner tubes accounted for 3% of attacks in 2010.
  • 2010 was the most dangerous year for unprovoked shark attacks in a decade with 79.
  • Over the last half-century, there have been more unprovoked shark attacks in Florida (27 out of a total 139) between 2-3 pm than any other time of the day.
  • New Smyrna Beach in Florida is the shark attack capital of the world according to ISAF. It is estimated that anyone who has swam there has been within 10ft of a shark.
  • September is the month with the most Shark attacks in Florida (93) 1920-2010.
  • Since 1907 201 out 220 Great White Attacks have occurred when the human was less than 6ft from the surface.
  • You have a 1 in 63 chance of dying from the flu and a 1 in 3,700,000 chance of being killed by a shark during your lifetime.
  • Over 17,000 people die from falls each year. That’s a 1 in 218 chance over your lifetime, compared to a 1 in 3,700,000 chance of being killed by a shark.
  • In 1996, toilets injured 43,000 Americans a year. Sharks injured 13.
  • In 1996, buckets and pails injured almost 11,000 Americans. Sharks injured 13.
  • In 1996, 2600 Americans were injured by room fresheners. Sharks injured 13.
  • The US averages just 19 shark attacks each year and one shark-attack fatality every two years. Meanwhile, in the coastal U.S. states alone, lightning strikes and kills more than 37 people each year.
  • Since 1959, Florida has had more shark attacks (603) than lightning fatalities (459).
  • Since 1959, California has had more shark attacks than lightning fatalities (89/30).
  • Since 1959, Hawaii has had 97 Shark attacks but no lightning fatalities.
  • Only 5 people die from shark attacks yearly, while millions of people die from starvation.
  • For SAEL: Since 1905, Natal (where Durban is) has had 89 shark attacks and 27 fatalities.
  • For every human killed by a shark, humans kill approximately two million sharks.
  • Most shark attacks occur less than 100 feet from the shore mainly around popular beaches in North America (especially Florida and Hawaii), Australia, and South Africa.
  • In 2008 a Polar bear Jaw was found in a Greenland Shark’s stomach.
  • A whale shark can filter 1.5 million litres (400,000 gallons) of water an hour when feeding. That’s enough to supply 1,000 US homes for a day.
  • Mathematicians figure you have about a one in a million chance of being bitten by a shark while swimming along the Florida beaches. (You probably have a better chance of being pooped on by a pelican.)

Since the 1930’s’s when shark nets were introduced to protect public bathers we have lost many hundreds of sharks, turtles, dugongs, and even dolphins and whales too. The time has come for these nets to be removed. Evidence has proved shark nets have “not stopped” human species conflict because sharks can swim around or under them. With such a vast decline of shark, turtle, and other endangered species then the time must come to get back to basics.

Declining species;

Shark control programs, as they are officially known, aim to reduce populations of great white sharks, tiger sharks and bull sharks, which are the species which pose the most threat to humans. In Queensland alone between 1975 and 2001, 11,899 great white sharks, tiger sharks and bull sharks were killed in shark nets and drum lines.

But shark nets are indiscriminate killers of other marine wildlife too as explained above. Some 53,098 other marine animals were also killed in nets and drumlines in Queensland, and the picture in NSW (New South Wales) is not much better. These animals included turtles, dugongs, whales, dolphins, rays and other harmless species of sharks such as the critically endangered grey nurse shark (pictured below the dugong). The NSW Government has even acknowledged this threat, recognising shark netting as a “key threatening process” under their environment law in 2003, following a scientific submission to Government by Humane Society International (HSI). Please donate to this wonderful organisation that is currently working to ban the pet meat trade in Thailand.

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In Queensland the shark nets deployed in the water are 186 meters long and about 6 meters in height. They are not barriers to sharks, but designed to kill sharks of more than two meters in length (2009 study). They can therefore be likened to huge tennis nets — sharks can swim around or over the nets easily, but when swimming at pace are likely to not see them so get trapped and drown when they are no longer able to move and keep water flowing over their gills. Many people falsely believe that these nets stop sharks from swimming near beaches, giving beach-goers a false sense of security. Education is instead a key element of any protective strategy against shark encounters.

Most important to bear in mind is that the risk of shark encounters is extremely low risk. According to the Australian Shark Attack File in the last 50 years there have been 50 unprovoked shark attacks in Australia, averaging just one per year. In contrast 121 people drown each year at Australian beaches, harbours and rivers, and 60 people per year die from bee stings.

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HSI has argued for many years that there is a better way. Shark nets were a solution implemented in the 1950s when our coastal waters were dirty and often contaminated with offal and blood from meatworks disposed of in our waterways. The situation is now much different and it is time to modernise our approach.

Since the 1950s our water quality has not only improved, but we have also amassed much more information about shark biology and their habits which can help inform our behaviour. For example, we know that when a school of bait fish are in an area they are likely to be followed by sharks who are feeding on those bait fish. At these times, it is wise to avoid swimming in the ocean as these sharks will be in a feeding frenzy. Many will also be familiar with the advice to avoid swimming at dusk and dawn when sharks are most likely to be feeding. Similarly, avoiding murky water, or areas known to be places frequented by large sharks, which may be breeding areas, is also good advice.

HSI is therefore urging the NSW and Queensland Governments to modernise their approach to protecting ocean users from the low risk of shark encounters, by removing shark nets and instead investing funds on educational awareness programs and further research on how best we can help avoid encounters with sharks.

South African Conservationists below practice a new safer alternative of shark netting. Will it reduce deaths though?

Non-shark species killed by shark nets;

Dolphins;

This month just gone (April 2014) sadly saw yet another dolphin indiscriminately killed when it swam into a shark net. A KAYAKER who witnessed a trapped baby dolphin dying in shark nets off Mooloolaba that Sunday morning has questioned the true value of the nets. Chris Finch admitted he was no expert on shark net operations, but seeing a baby dolphin dying virtually before his eyes has got him thinking.

“If they get stuck in the nets, they pretty much drown and die in their own environment,” he said.

Mr Finch was out for a morning paddle off the beach near the Loo with View, when he noticed what looked like an adult dolphin splashing near the nets. When he came closer, it swam away, but he realised the juvenile dolphin was trapped. “I pulled the net up to see if it could get out, by the time I got closer I saw it was not moving and it was dead,” he said.

Turtles;

Back in April 2013 turtles sparked the debate again on whether shark nets were really beneficial and exactly what use do they have preserving human life? Being cruel to be kind cannot any longer be seen as a “method” of conservation.

A TURTLE found dead in netting off Newcastle beach has sparked fresh concerns about shark prevention measures used along Hunter beaches. Linda Hall was entertaining friends and family on her boat just off the Bogey Hole that Sunday when the group came across what they thought was marine life in its natural environment.

However instead they were confronted with the distorted figure of a dead turtle that had been trapped in what Mrs Hall believes was shark netting. ‘‘We often sail round Broughton Island and we see turtles around there all the time but this was the first time I’d seen one tied in shark netting,’’ she said.

‘‘It was horrific; everyone on board was absolutely disgusted. To see such a beautiful creature in such a state was tragic.’ Surfrider Foundation of Australia Hunter branch president Chris Tola said from looking at the photo it appeared the turtle had been caught in shark netting. ‘‘Our stance is that there needs to be more research into shark nets,’’ he said.

A NSW Department of Primary Industries spokeswoman said it conducted its last check of shark nets on Monday and there were no reports of turtles caught in netting. She said while state government was committed to netting it was looking for ways to reduce the impact on other marine life.

Whale and dolphin alarms have been fitted to all nets to alert the animals and deter them.

Whales;

Back in October 2013 a hump back whale became yet another statistic of human negligence surrounding shark nets.

A spokeswoman from marine rescue group ORRCA said the group was called to Mona Vale beach around 7am (AEDT) on Tuesday. ORRCA vice-president Shona Lorigan said the whale was dead when NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service officers arrived around 10am (AEDT).

The parks and wildlife service will now determine how to remove the whale.The calf’s mother had been swimming nearby, responding to the baby’s distress calls.

Humane Society International spokeswoman Alexia Wellbelove said shark nets were “indiscriminate killers” of marine life and provided no real protection for humans. She said it was the first whale entanglement in NSW this year but urged more research into other possible shark deterrence methods. “This is a tragedy that we don’t want to see repeated,” she said. “We’re getting a growing number of entanglements each year.” Lorigan said dolphins and turtles also became entangled in shark nets.

Endangered species –

Back in October 2009 – a threatened species of the Dugong family was found dead in yet another shark net fatality.

An adult female dugong has been found dead in shark nets off a Sydney beach, leading to calls for the netting to be removed across the state.

NSW Industry and Investment said the mammal, more common in northern waters, was retrieved off Coogee Beach on Wednesday by the boat that checks nets after being spotted by a member of the public on Tuesday. The Nature Conservation Council of NSW said it was an adult female and its death would be significant to the slow reproducing species.

The dugong has now been taken to Sydney’s Taronga Zoo where an autopsy will be carried out to determine how it died. Greens MP Ian Cohen said the dugong had “drowned in the shark nets” and questioned why NSW persisted with netting beaches when it’s doing more harm than good.

“The announcement of a rare visit by a dugong to Sydney’s waters should be a happy occasion,” Mr Cohen said. “Dugongs were once thought by sailors to be mermaids.”These gentle herbivorous giants are on the brink of extinction and it is heart breaking to think that they ventured too close to foolish human activity and died,” he said.

A spokesperson from NSW Industry and Investment said the shark net program was about “striking a balance” that helps “minimise the risk of shark attacks, while at the same time reducing impacts on the environment.” But Mr Cohen said shark nets were even failing to provide adequate protection to swimmers, saying two shark attacks on NSW beaches last year occurred on meshed beaches.

He said shark nets killed 1,485 marine animals between 1995 and 2004. A Scientific Committee Report in 2003 also found at least six categories of vulnerable marine species were being caught in shark nets each year.

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Seals;

Back on the 21st June 2012 seals became the next victim of shark nets;

Several calls were made to National Parks after walkers along Narooma’s Bar Beach and the break wall noticed a seal struggling in the shark net. Nearby was another dead seal that apparently drowned after becoming trapped in the shark net at least a day earlier. National Parks now says they were notified of the dead seal 24 hours prior to the calls about the live trapped seal on Thursday morning, and perhaps the live one became trapped while checking out the dead one.

National Parks rangers then boarded the Marine Rescue Narooma vessel to travel the short distance from its mooring down to the shark net at the entrance to Wagonga Inlet. Ranger in charge of Montague Island Ross Constable assisted by fellow ranger Andy Young leaned over the side of the boat and used a towel to cover the head of the distressed sub-adult fur seal while they cut it free. “It was on its last legs an exhausted,” Mr Constable said.

The animal once free was able to swim out the channel back out to sea and possibly the large colony on Montague Island. The rangers then moved on to the dead animal, which was also cut free and allowed to float away with the tide.

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The rangers thanked the Marine Rescue unit for their assistance in the operation.

The Narooma News has reported on the growing numbers of seals at Montague Island this year, and seals hauling up and sunning themselves on the break wall rocks has become a more common sight in recent years. Eurobodalla Shire Council is in charge of maintaining the barrier net, known locally as the “shark net”, but there have been previous incidents of wildlife entrapment. Another seal had to be cut free by rangers when it became trapped in August 2009. The body of a seal was found in the shark net last winter, while a few years ago a large bronze whaler shark was also found dead inside the net.

The Narooma News has asked the council if the net’s maintenance program needs to be reviewed as a result of these latest entrapments, which seem more likely to happen when the net has been bunched up due to big seas and tides. A taut net seems less likely to trap wildlife.

Council’s manager of infrastructure Warren Sharpe said council inspected and maintained the net every three months using a diver. Works are also carried out when required, usually as a result of damage occurring from large seas and heavy swells. The incident relating to the whaler shark resulted from an already dead shark being placed within the netted area by persons unknown.

Mr Sharpe said council was only aware of two previous occasions when a seal became entangled in the shark net and both of these seals were dead, one already badly damaged and likely to have died at sea and been washed in. On those occasions the net was taught and in good order.Picture below depicts that of a seal being removed from shark netting.

But Mr Constable said National Parks rangers had been called in to release live seals as well as a live turtle. “From our point of view there will be increased instances of marine mammals and reptiles being caught in the net but it’s up to the council what happens to the net,” he said.

There had been a 2 to 3 per cent increase in fur seal numbers at Montague Island in recent years, according to seal expert Dr Peter Shaughnessy, however while the population was recovering from being hunted almost to extinction, the current numbers were still only one third to a half of the population prior to European settlement. National Parks was aware of increased interactions between humans and in particular fishers and the seals, and Mr Constable said an overt act to harm seals would not be tolerated and those caught could face fines worth thousands of dollars.

Alternatives to shark nets and drumlines;

Australia, United States of America, Japan and South Africa are now looking into alternatives that may see the original shark net replaced with a more eco-friendly barrier that has been developed in South Africa this past year.

Shark Safe was devised by Stellenbosch University scientists back in 2013 within South Africa. South African scientists, have developed an eco-friendly shark barrier which can be used as an alternative to a shark net. Positive results have been emerging of which needs to be taken on board by environmental departments around the globe sooner rather than later.

Professor Conrad Matthee, head of the Department of Botany and Zoology head of Shark Safe voiced concerns at the rapid decline in shark numbers of which he states some 90% declines have been seen in the past twenty years-of-which the majority of sharks seen in decline are that of the great white that’s known for its attacks on humans although rare.

The shark friendly barrier was developed primarily because we need to keep sharks and other apex predators within our delicate eco-system. Such extinctions of aquatic mega-fauna would be catastrophic which will no doubt disrupt the entire marine eco-system spelling furthermore species extinction and vast over-populations of others. The last thing needed right now is marine habitat fragmentation caused by altering humans.

The barrier is made of rigid upright pipes which resemble kelp when it floats in the water. The structure also contains magnets to make it effective for various shark species. The pipes are anchored to the seabed and stand upright to the height of the water level during high tide. A magnetic barrier that resembled kelp had been chosen because certain shark species, such as the Zambezi shark found in KwaZulu-Natal, were sensitive to strong permanent magnetic fields, while others, like the great white shark, did not like kelp at all.

Stellenbosch scientists stated “We, for instance, saw how seals chased by sharks swam into kelp and how the sharks, time and time again, turned away, not entering the kelp areas,” Matthee said. During research, the team put bait behind the barrier to attract sharks, but no sharks swam through the barrier. The sharks were also deterred by the magnetic fields, he said.

Concluding; 

Just in New South Wales (NSW) some 4000 aquatic marine species have become entangled in shark nets in the past twenty years alone. Within the past twenty years it has been estimated that over 50,000 marine aquatic species have succumbed to shark nets and drumlines, the majority of these animals have all died from suffocation. Sharks, turtles, dugongs and other endangered sea creatures are already under threat from poaching, over fishing, habitat destruction, pollution, climate change and military sea operations. Least forgetting “shark nets and drumlines”.

Of the official count in (NSW) of 3944 creatures trapped, about 60 per cent were sharks and less than 4 per cent were considered ”target” species (or those particularly harmful to humans) – that is, 100 great whites and 49 tiger sharks. Among them were 15 grey nurses, a harmless species considered critically endangered. Also on the list were stingrays (1269), dolphins (52), turtles (47), whales (six), seals (four), a penguin and a dugong.

As environmentalists and animal welfare specialists we must now do more to push the governments concerned to take drastic action thus securing our marine life for the better. Failing this we will lose the majority of our 3000+ species of shark, one species of vulnerable dugong, eleven critically endangered species of turtle, Africans sea penguin, and countless other aquatic marine life.

Please contact your local environmental ministry, government president, marine environmental agencies and demand shark nets and drumlines are removed immediately with alternative tried and tested methods such as “Shark Safe” implemented today.

Thank you for reading;

Dr Josa Depre & J. Williamson

Chief Environmental Officer & Chief Environmental Officer Europa.

Environmental – Botanical – Zoological Sciences.

International Animal Rescue Foundation

Donate here today via our secure donate application or hereto via our main communications site. 

 


Auschwitz begins wherever someone looks at a slaughterhouse and thinks: they’re only animals.

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“Could a being create the fifty billion galaxies, each with two hundred billion stars, then rejoice in the smell of burning goat flesh?”

Sacrificial animal slaughter for religious reasons and beliefs is cruel and barbarically outdated. Back in 2012 in Sri Lanka I was disgusted to see a mass killing ritual involving hundreds of mainly men and young boys decapitating goats and other small mammals to the sheer delight of the baying crowds. Since my visit a Sri Lankan court has allegedly banned any sacrificial killings for religious purposes as of 29 August 2013. The cruel and inhumane practice still goes on though.

A complete list of religions across the world that involve animal sacrifice would be impossible to compile, as it is still a part of a variety of indigenous practices. However, in the West, very few religions involve animal sacrifice.  Animal sacrificial killings take place all over the world and documenting on them all would take a life time.

Back in 2009 in Benin I was somewhat shocked to see a practice of animal sacrifice known as Santeria, shocking and nauseating Santeria is a syncretic faith that blends traditional West African magic and practice with Caribbean tradition and Roman Catholicism. There are more than 250,000 practitioners of Santería in the world but only two Santeria temples, neither of which is in the continental United States. Thus, home sacrifice is not only the norm, but a crucial aspect of Santería, without which Santería would effectively cease to exist.

Nothing is more grotesque though than the Hindu Gadhimai animal sacrificial festival. The world’s largest practice of animal slaughter of which only four legged animals are allowed to be slaughtered under religious practice of which some 500,000 animals ranging from pigs, buffalo (being the most common), goats, chickens and even dogs are barbarically slaughtered to please the o-holy great  Gadhimai. Gadhima is the name of one of the Hindu goddesses of power, though the term usually refers to the world’s biggest animal sacrifice conducted at the Gadhimai temple area in central Terai of Nepal.

Animals are sacrificed as part of the Hindu festival, with the hope that the sacrifice will lead to the fulfillment of wishes by the goddess.  It is estimated that more than 250,000 animals were killed during the period of sacrifice in 2009 while 5 million people visited Gadhimai during the festival. This centuries-old tradition is observed every five years in Gadhimai premises located in the village of Bariyapur of Bara District of Nepal near the border with India.

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Male domestic Asian water buffaloes (Bubalus bubalis) (locally called “PaaDa”) are the preferred species to offer to the goddess. Several other species including male goats (Boka), chickens (Kukhura), Pigeons (Parewa), Ducks (Hansh) and some rats (Moosa), are also killed.

Several animal-rights activists protest against this event before and during every Gadhimai festival. The 2009 event drew the attention of celebrities like Maneka Gandhi and Brigitte Bardot, who raised their voices against the killings. Nepal government officials say they cannot stop the centuries-old tradition, despite opposition from animal-rights activists from Nepal and India. Animal rights activists say they are not looking for the practice to end overnight.

Is Gadhimai the worst festival though known to exist? I have viewed some “cultural traditions” that are by far more barbaric and gut wrenching than the Gadhimai. For instance we have Qurbani which in Islam is the sacrifice of a livestock animal during Eid-ul-Adha. The word is related to the Hebrew qorbān “offering” and Syriac qurbānā “sacrifice”, etymologised through the cognate Arabic trilateral as “a way or means of approaching someone” or “nearness”. In Shariah Udhiyya would refer to the sacrifice of a specific animal, offered by a specific person, on specific days to seek Allah’s pleasure and reward. The word qurban appears thrice in the Quran and in once in Sura Al-Ma’ida in reference to animal sacrifice. In the other two places the Quran speaks of sacrifice in the general sense, referring to any act which may bring one closer to Allah. Other appropriate terms are Dhabihah, Udhiyah and Nahar. A fifth term Zabah refers to normal Islamic slaughter outside the days of Udhiyah.

WARNING THE FOLLOWING VIDEO MAY UPSETTING VIEWERS – 18+ IS ADVISED.

Moving back to Africa a rather unpleasant traditional sacrifice occurs every year known as Ukushwama ritual. I was invited to this festival back in 2007 by a Zulu family that I had been talking to that previous week. On seeing the actual abuse and torture the bull went through I was almost brought to throwing up my previous meal I had that night. The Ukushwama ritual is performed by the Zulu’s of which has been outright condemned by many African animal rights groups. The festival was almost banned back in 2009 however to the dismay of those that fought hard to ban this repulsive tradition it still goes on to this very day.

Back in 2009 Animal Rights Africa tried to sue Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini on the grounds that the Ukweshwama ceremony in which a bull is killed is cruel. Activists apparently met with Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini on the chance that the ceremony would be banned. President Jacob Zuma known for his rather unpleasant public activities that involve the wearing of animal skins to killing magnificent fauna species has also been known to attend Ukweshwama ceremony.

It is alleged the history of sacrifice begins with Adam (sws). According to the Qur’an, when two of his sons, Abel and Cain, presented their offerings to the Almighty, one of them was accepted and the other was not (27:5):‘إذْ قَرَّبَا قُرْبَاً فَتُقُبِّلَ مِنْ اَحَدِهِمَا وَ لَمْ يُتَقَبَّلْ مِنَ الَآخَر.

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It is explicitly mentioned in the Bible that Able on this occasion had offered the sacrifice of the first born of his goats.

Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, ‘With the help of the LORD I have brought forth a man’. Later she gave birth to his brother Abel. Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favour. (Genesis 4:1-5).

Objective of sacrifice;

The objective of sacrifice is to express gratitude to the Almighty. When we offer our life symbolically to the Almighty by offering the sacrifice of an animal, we are in fact expressing our gratitude on the guidance of submission which was expressed by Abraham (sws) by sacrificing his only son. On this occasion, the words uttered to declare the exaltedness and oneness of the Almighty are done so for this very objective. The Qur’an has explained this directive in the following words:

لَن يَنَالَ اللَّهَ لُحُومُهَا وَلَا دِمَاؤُهَا وَلَكِن يَنَالُهُ التَّقْوَى مِنكُمْ كَذَلِكَ سَخَّرَهَا لَكُمْ لِتُكَبِّرُوا اللَّهَ عَلَى مَا هَدَاكُمْ وَبَشِّرِ الْمُحْسِنِينَ (37:22)

The flesh and blood [of your sacrificed animals] does not reach God; it is only your piety that reaches Him. Thus has He subjected them to your service so that you may give glory to God for guiding you. [This is the way of the righteous] and [O Prophet!] give glad tidings to these righteous. (22:37).

WARNING THE FOLLOWING VIDEO DEPICTS HORRIFIC LEGAL ANIMAL ABUSE – VIEWERS ARE ADVISED TO PROCEED WITH CAUTION – FOOTAGE MAY BE UPSETTING.

The Shari‘ah regarding Animal Sacrifice;

The Shari‘ah regarding animal sacrifice that has reached us through the consensus and perpetual practice of the Ummah can be stated thus;

All four legged animals which are cattle can be sacrificed.

Sacrificed animals should not be flawed and should be of appropriate age.

The time of animal sacrifice begins after offering the ‘Id prayer on the 10th of Dhu Al-Hajj (Yawm Al-Nahr)

The days fixed for animal sacrifice are the same as have been appointed for the stay at Mina once the pilgrims return from Muzdalifah. In Surah Hajj, the words ‘أَيَّامٍ مَّعْلُومَاتٍ  (some appointed days (22:28)) allude to these very days. In religious parlance, they are called ‘The Days of Tashriq’. Besides animal sacrifice in these days, one is also required to declare the ‘Takbir’ at the end of each congregational prayer. Being an absolute directive, the words of the ‘Takbir’ have not been fixed.

The meat of sacrificed animals can also be eaten without any hesitation by those have had them slaughtered and can also be used to feed others. The words: ‘فَكُلُوا مِنْهَا وَأَطْعِمُوا الْقَانِعَ الْمُعْتَرَّ’ (So eat from it your selves and also feed those who are content and those who ask (22:37)) explicitly point to this conclusion.

Picture depicts Russian Muslims sacrificing cattle.

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This is the Shari‘ah of animal sacrifice. The Prophet (sws) has also explained some of its aspects:

i. Animals should be sacrificed in all circumstances after the ‘Id prayer. It will not be regarded as the sacrifice of ‘Id if it is offered before the ‘Id prayer; it will be a mere animal sacrifice that one may offer to eat meet.

ii. The appropriate age for a sacrificed sheep or goat is at least one year, for that of a cow, it is at least two years and for camels, male or female, it is at least five years. If these animals are not available, a ram can be sacrificed. It will suffice even if it is six months old.

iii. More than one people can share the sacrifice of camels and cows. These shareholders can even go up to seven. There are some narratives which mention that at one instance in the presence of the Prophet (sws), ten people shared one camel for sacrifice and he did not stop them.

iv. Animal sacrifice can also be offered as an optional act of worship other than on ‘Id. Consequently, when people asked about the ‘Aqiqah, the Prophet (sws) replied: ‘Anyone who wants to offer an animal for sacrifice on the birth of a child can do so.

So just because the Holy Qur’an and Bible state that animal sacrifice is accepted does it give one the right to then brutally slaughter any four legged animals? No it doesn’t, and this brutal practice must end as the torture involved in such culturally accepted traditions is out dated, extreme, abusive and totally immoral. Least forgetting the pain these animals go through is no different to that of any human abusing illegally any animal within the western world. Such abuse would see the perpetrators thrown into prison or given a hefty fine. Abuse is abuse no matter what you call it or how it’s practiced.

WARNING THE FOLLOWING DOCUMENTARY DEPICTS LEGAL ANIMAL ABUSE – VIEWERS MAY FIND DISTURBING.

Recently within the Animal Rights Community camels have been displayed brutalised in Islamic traditional practices. There are 21 references to camels in the first books of the Bible, and now we know they are all made up. So if they are all made up – meaning such practices are indeed nothing more than a hoax then surely governments locally and internationally that allow such slaughter to continue must now begin to end such horrific animal torture.

Some of them are quite startlingly verisimilitudinous, such as the story of Abraham’s servant finding a wife for Isaac in Genesis 24: “Then the servant left, taking with him 10 of his master’s camels loaded with all kinds of good things from his master. He set out for Aram Naharaim and made his way to the town of Nahor. He made the camels kneel down near the well outside the town; it was towards evening, the time the women go out to draw water.”

But these camels are made up, all 10 of them. Two Israeli archaeozoologists have sifted through a site just north of modern Eilat looking for camel bones, which can be dated by radio carbon.

None of the domesticated camel bones they found date from earlier than around 930BC – about 1,500 years after the stories of the patriarchs in Genesis are supposed to have taken place. Whoever put the camels into the story of Abraham and Isaac might as well have improved the story of Little Red Riding Hood by having her ride up to Granny’s in an SUV.

How can you tell whether a camel skeleton is from a wild or tamed animal? You look at the leg bones, and if they are thickened this shows they have been carrying unnaturally heavy loads, so they must have been domesticated. If you have a graveyard of camels, you can also see what proportion are males, and which are preferred for human uses because they can carry more.

All these considerations make it clear that camels were not domesticated anywhere in the region before 1000BC. The entire “cultural tradition is based upon a mocked lie”. So now we know this tradition is most certainly complete rancid nonsense of which has been scientifically proven is it right to state that God in both Christianity, Islamic and other faiths is not real? I will leave you to agree or disagree.

Lidar Sapir-Hen and Erez Ben-Yosef, the scientists who carried out the research, point out that the domestication of camels was hugely important economically, because they made trade possible over much larger regions of the Arabian Peninsula. But that is not what has provoked excitement about their claim.

Obviously it has upset fundamentalists. Everyone else has known for decades that there is even less evidence for the historical truth of the Old Testament than there is for that of the Qur’an. But the peculiarly mealy-mouthed nature of the quotes they gave the New York Times (which is not much concerned with the feelings of Christian fundamentalists) shows where the real problem is.

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The history recounted in the Bible is a huge part of the mythology of modern Zionism. The idea of a promised land is based on narratives that assert with complete confidence stories that never actually happened. There are of course other ways to argue for the Zionist project, and still further arguments about the right of Israelis to live within secure boundaries now that the country exists. But although those stand logically independent of the histories invented – as far as we can tell – in Babylonian captivity during the sixth century BC, they make little emotional sense without the history. And it is emotions that drive politics.

FACT – Sacrifice, commonly known as Qurbani, means slaughter of an animal in the name of Allah on the 10th, 11th or 12th of the Islamic month of Zil Hijjah. FALSE – In the name of Allah (God) all religious stories surrounding such animal sacrificial events are non-factual. 

Animals used and not preferred for sacrifice -

Animals NOT to be used in sacrificial rituals. 

  1. Castrated four legged animals are the most preferred for animal sacrifice.
  2. Sheep aged six months to a year, but do not resemble a year old sheep
  3. Sheep a day under six months are not allowed
  4. Goat that is a day under one year. Cow, ox or buffalo a day under two years. Camel a day under five years
  5. Undomesticated, wild animals e.g. wild bull
  6. Any other animal beside domesticated goat, sheep, cattle and camel is not allowed for sacrifice?
  7. A blind animal or a sunken eye or an animal with its eye sticking out
  8. A cross eyed animal
  9. A frail weak emaciated animal
  10. An animal born without ears
  11. An animal with more than one-third of its ear cut off
  12. An animal that does not have any teeth and is unable to graze. However if it is able to graze it will suffice for sacrifice.
  13. An animal with the horns broken at the root and the brain is visible
  14. An animal that walks on three legs and does not take support from the lame leg. However if it takes support from the lame leg, it will suffice for sacrifice
  15. An animal with skin disease such as scabies or mange
  16. An animal that is deeply wounded
  17. An animal with cut teats or dried teats
  18. A cut-nosed animal
  19. An animal that is hermaphrodite (both sexual organs exist)
  20. An animal with damaged udders
  21. More than one-third of the tail is cut off

Animals acceptable for sacrifice

  1. An animal which has two-third vision
  2. An animal with a slit ear
  3. An animal born with no horns, or its horns are broken at any point above the skin/ wool
  4. A barren animal
  5. An animals that gets injured during the actual slaughter process is acceptable for sacrifice. It is important to ensure that an injured animal be slaughtered very quickly since the injury can cause infection rendering the animal not fit for consumption
  6. An animal with two-third of the tail intact

Animal abuse; 

Back in 2009 a study challenged whether animals suffered more pain within sacrificial slaughter practices to that of (animals killed in slaughter houses). There has long been tension between animal activists and religious adherents over the sacrificing of live animals. Jewish and Muslim leaders have long argued that the sacrifices are not any more painful than what occurs in slaughter houses.

WARNING THE FOLLOWING VIDEO known as Qurbani, means slaughter of an animal in the name of Allah. THE VIDEO DEPICTS LEGAL ANIMAL SLAUGHTER/ABUSE – PROCEED WITH CAUTION. 

Animal protection laws in the UK required the stunning of animals before slaughter but exempt live religious sacrifices. Both Islamic halal and Jewish kashrut law require that animals are slaughtered by having their throats cut. The animal must be alive to allow blood to drain freely — a relatively slow death for the animal. Conversely, the Sikh ritual – chatka – is a fast death caused by a sword. It has been alleged that the Jewish slaughter of animals via sacrificial killing has been stopped. This is not as factual as made out to be though.

WARNING THE FOLLOWING VIDEO DEPICTS GRAPHIC LEGAL ANIMAL CRUELTY.

UK law requires that all livestock be stunned prior to slaughter – with the exception of those animals intended for consumption by members of certain religions. Islamic halal and Jewish kashrut law require that animals are slaughtered by having their throat cut – a relatively slow means of death. The Sikh ritual – chatka – is much quicker when done correctly, involving a clean sword strike to the neck. A practitioner of ritual slaughter say the animal must be alive to facilitate the draining of blood – and that throat slitting is humane.

But the new research suggests otherwise. Dr Craig Johnson and his colleagues at New Zealand’s Massey University reproduced the Jewish and Islamic methods of slaughter in calves. The calves were first anaesthetised so although their pain responses could be detected, they wouldn’t actually feel anything. They were then subjected to a neck incision. A pain response was detected for up to two minutes following the cut, although calves normally fall unconscious after 10 to 30 seconds.

Johnson told the New Scientist he thought this work was “the best evidence yet that [ritual slaughter] is painful”. However, he observed that the religious community “is adamant animals don’t experience any pain so the results might surprise them”.

The findings have earned Johnson the inaugural Humane Slaughter Award from the Humane Slaughter Association. Dr James Kirkwood, the charity’s chief executive, said: “This work provides significant support for the value of stunning animals prior to slaughter to prevent pain and distress.”

Adam Rutherford, an editor of Nature, wrote on the Guardian website: “It suggests that the anachronism of slaughter without stunning has no place in the modern world and should be outlawed. This special indulgence to religious practices should be replaced with the evidence-based approaches to which the rest of us are subject.”

Some European countries, such as Sweden, require all animals to be stunned before slaughter with no exception for religions. But such a ban in Britain would be hugely controversial – and would draw inevitable comparisons with the ban on kashrut enacted by Nazi Germany in 1933.

Sacrificial slaughter elsewhere in the world;

Before (anyone) starts condemning the Far East we must also look at ourselves. Back in 2011 in the United States of America (USA) Massachusetts William Camacho was arrested and charged under the animal welfare act for practicing sacrificial animal killings. He stated that the closure of his shop by city officials and police was a “violation of his Afro-Caribbean” belief surrounding the sacrificial slaughter practice known to the “Palo religion”.

Chickens, pigeons and roosters – including one dead bird – were found in the basement of Bad Boyz Cutz, surrounded by religious paraphernalia.The owner of the barbershop, William Camacho, told officials that the birds were for animal sacrifices and claims that closing his shop amounted to religious discrimination.

The animals were found in an inspection of the building by New Bedford Animal Control following an anonymous tip complaining of loud poultry-type sounds coming from the building. The birds — three chickens, two pigeons and four roosters — were penned in wire cages and a cardboard box. They were found in a room with an ornate alter with candles and statues near a wall illustrated with hand-drawn religious symbols.

No cutting implements or evidence of violence was found in the room, Scott Langley, mayor of New Bedford, told ABCNews.com Officials initially thought the animals were being kept as a cock fighting ring, but Camacho, 41, said they were being to be used for animal sacrifice as part of his religion, which incorporates elements of Afro-Caribbean rituals.

“It’s called Palo Mayombe . It’s actually working with the dead and working with the spirits. We use the roosters to sacrifice so that the spirits can eat. That’s the way they eat. It’s a tradition,” he told ABC affiliate WLNE.

Concluding; 

Animal sacrifice within the religious community must now come to an abrupt end. Inhumane slaughter must be abolished and replaced with “humane slaughter”. Although we do not recognize “inhumane slaughter” as a form of animal kindness we have to adopt some form of approach that will eventually see all animals globally given some form of “non-painful” death. As much as we despise all forms of animal slaughter within the meat industry and sacrificial slaughter community we will never see an end to such meat eating practices. So we must therefore continue challenging these communities and countries that fail to adopt such (inhumane slaughter and sacrificial) laws to now impose them based on scientific research tried and tested.

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Take action today – share this document – create awareness – sign the petitions. 

http://www.change.org/petitions/end-animal-sacrifice-in-nepal

http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-animal-sacrifice-gadhimai-festival-nepal-mass-animal-sacrifice

https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/indonesian-embassy-in-the-uk-stop-animal-sacrifice

http://www.change.org/petitions/city-of-los-angeles-enforce-the-code-banning-kapparot-ritual-animal-abuse

http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-west-bengal-officials-from-promoting-cow-slaughter-violating-supreme-court-judgement-suppressing-durga-puja-festival

http://www.petitiononline.com/ifa646b/petition.html

http://forcechange.com/63001/ban-torture-of-bulls-in-south-african-festival/

Thank you for reading; 

Environmental and Botanical African and Asia Director

Dr Jose Calos Depre PhD, EnVstu, Ba, D.V.M 

“Auschwitz begins wherever someone looks at a slaughterhouse and thinks: they’re only animals.”

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Save a Life – Kill a Life – Only in America.

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Being asked about the terms “attachment” or “bonding”, parents usually mention things like “relationship”, “love”, “affection” or “care”. It soon becomes clear that there are only few people in our life to whom we are really attached. The strong, emotional bond between child and parents represents one of these most valuable relationships. But what does the term “attachment” or “bonding” really mean?

Daily care and playful, loving interactions build strong bonds between parents and child. By providing consistent, loving care from early infancy, parents strengthen their relationship with their child and build a healthy attachment. A baby feels familiar and safe with his/her parents. Attachment could therefore be compared with a safe and emotional bond between parent and child, tying together these invisible links across space and time.

This “bond” becomes even more powerful when the parents children become ill, terminally ill or have unfortunately been born into the world disabled. I have children myself and know too well how we “as parents” feel towards our young that are disadvantaged from others. Strenuous and mentally draining we try our utmost hardest to provide what we can to less fortunate children.

I have been contemplating writing this short article for some time now, the sheer thought of showing to the world how selfish we are as human (parents) within a different “bonding spectrum” when it involves life and death of both human and animal somewhat frustrates me. Am I right documenting on this? For now even I cannot answer that question. When we as humans are given the chance of survival or a relief from (pain and illness) is it ethically correct to then take another life? Anyone that knows me would know the answer to that question.

Many parents feel they are alone when it comes to children with terminal illness or those with disabilities. They meet little understanding from people who are not involved and cannot imagine what it is like living with a sick child in the family. Many have little support from people around them, who do not see how hard going day to day life is. The child may need forms of treatment that are very trying for the parents, treatment which requires a high level of expertise shared by a small number of hands. It may, therefore, also be difficult for parents to get the information and support they need to help them through the critical phases of their child’s illness.

Children with disabilities can also have a profound psychological and physical effect onto mother and father, siblings too. Its challenging and tough work being a parent to any child that is terminally sick or disadvantaged from others. Relationships are strained; both mother and father feel untold stress and pressure. Parents are pushed to great limitations to provide some form of “normality to their sick or disabled child”. A sick and disabled child that cannot undertake the same playful activities as those whom are not ill again has an emotional and psychological effect to both parents. Parents want what is best for the child, to provide what they can “in such a short living time frame”.

Back in 2012 I read an article within America that showed terminally ill and disabled children hunting bears, impala, wolfs and exotic mammals. Please read more below;

An 11-year-old girl, waiting for a heart and liver transplant, had her dream come true when she killed a 335 pound black bear with a single shot to the heart. The United Special Sportsman Alliance (USSA) organized hunting trips in Junction City, Wis. for children with disabilities. The non-profit charity is dedicated to helping disabled and critically-ill children experience the “outdoor adventure of their dreams!” In this instance, the dream was bagging a black bear. Kaitlynn, 11, from Stetsonville, Wisc., was born with tricuspid atresia, a type of heart disease. She expected to return from the hunt empty handed but managed to shoot the 335 pound black bear, which her family intends to mount on the wall.

“When I looked through that scope I didn’t see it as a bear, I saw it as like a 300 pound lion that’s about to like attack you, so I held the gun as steady as I could, I turned my head and then I shot,” Kaitlynn told ABC News affiliate WAOW-TV. Little Savannah, pictured above, has had trouble feeling “normal” because of her constant battle with illness, her mother explained. On the trip Savannah managed to capture a 121 pound bear. “USSA has made her life feel normal in her not so normal world,” Savannah’s mother said. “She can’t stop talking about how much fun she had!” Another child on the trip, Wil, harvested a 281 pound bear. His family said that the trip allowed for great bonding time between father and son.

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The charity sent out over 1,600 letters to hunters whose names won bear hunting licenses in a drawing for the 2012 Wisconsin hunting season, said Brigid O’Donoghue, CEO and founder of the USSA.

“The bear hunters who donated their licenses waited 5-to-10 years to get drawn in the lottery, yet chose to donate to give these kids a once in a lifetime opportunity,” O’Donoghue told the Daily News. Hunter Bob Drextor, for instance, donated his bear tag to Tyler, a young boy who has always wanted to hunt.  Tyler and his mother visited Bob’s house after the hunt to thank him in person and share Tyler’s experience.

“Words can’t express how grateful we are to have gotten the opportunity to go on this trip,” Tyler’s mother said. A total of 37 children are attending the hunt — September 5 to October 9 — from all over the United States. They are fighting many life illnesses and disabilities, including leukaemia, Hodgkin’s disease and spinal muscular atrophy.

“These children battling life-threatening illness inspire us by their drive and determination to survive and how they cope with their daily challenges and never give up their will to live,” O’Donoghue said.

So far children have harvested 24 bears, which are on their way to taxidermists. Because of costly medical bills, many families would not be able to participate in such an expensive endeavour if not for the charity, said O’Donoghue.

Hunter Bob Drextor donated his license to The United Special Sportsman Alliance so that Tyler could hunt big game — a rare opportunity. O’Donoghue said that the USSA has granted over 8,100 free hunting, fishing and other outdoor trips.

“Bear hunting for a special child has a huge impact with all who take part in the event; not only those who contribute, but everyone who hears about it,” O’Donoghue said. “The look on the child’s face after a successful hunt is worth every minute that the volunteers put into the hunt.”

What I myself find frustrating about this entire article above is that parents whom know their child is/could be dying to then allow them to pursue a lust for killing an innocent mammal is grossly unethical. This is backwards. To all those parents that pray to god, asking god to save their loved ones from discomfort, debilitating diseases and death to then allow their child to hunt is beyond me.

I have no more to add to this article. Frankly I’m somewhat shocked to see such a betrayal. Killing a life to save another is one thing, saving a life or temporary reliving from discomfort to then kill a life unethically incorrect and immoral. Sadly its not just children with terminal illness or life threatening disabilities that hunt. Adults in the same predicament also hunt.

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Anonymous Author.


Whats Happening to Africa’s Giraffe Species?

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ON MY LAST VISIT to Africa January 2014 I was somewhat shocked and bemused at the high number of trophy hunted giraffes and outfitters supporting such “conservation practices”. I was more shocked though knowing that we now face a race against time to preserve our giraffe species before its to late. Hunting is not the the giraffes biggest enemy here, WE are. Please share this document far and wide – we have to work harder to save our natural heritage.

Standing at some sixteen to twenty feet tall giraffes are quite docile and can cause some form of damage to floral specimens such as trees as some other giant land mammals do such as the African bush elephant that has been reported and documented in conservation projects and documentaries.

Giraffes live in dry arid regions ranging from open wooded forests to semi-desert areas. They can inhabit grasslands, or open woodlands but prefer areas rich with prickly acacia plants. During periods of drought giraffes can cause major environmental damage by over browsing many different types of shrubs and trees.

Giraffes are generally timid animals that are easily disturbed by human activity. They will avoid most situations where possible but if confronted will defend itself by kicking out with their large heavy hooves. The type of damage a giraffe may cause to public property is unknown and damage caused by giraffes to plants and tree specimens to just wandering onto (unsecured) farmland is quite slim. Elephants, lions, cheetah and hyena can cause more damage to ranch cattle and farmland than most mammals within the African continent. Why the giraffe is being singled out here is somewhat unknown.

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Is Non-migrating the problem?

Giraffes do not migrate and that could be causing a problem to land owners, farmers and ranchers, does it warrant hunting them though? International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa thinks not regardless of what hunting supporter’s state. Yes we have a human overpopulation problem standing at some 7.9 billion; however hunting animals is not going to counteract that problem. International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa believe in “curing the illness” not treating the symptoms. The United Nations and African congressmen and women must tackle “human overpopulation” and not support such hunting practices.

African Giraffes are under (threat) within Africa. Western African giraffe being the most threatened of them all. Giraffes were provisionally listed as least concern as the species remains widespread, with a total population numbering more than 100,000 individuals. However, a recent preliminary population estimate suggests a decline in the total population has taken place which, if substantiated, could mean that the species will warrant listing in a higher category of threat categorized as (near threatened). Some populations remain stable or are even increasing, but others are clearly in a more precarious position (and may well be threatened). Ongoing efforts to census the continent’s giraffe populations will allow more accurate assessment of the species’ overall conservation status, as well as described subspecies in future.

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Population decline concerns;

Back in August 2013 experts met to discuss the erratic population decline of the African giraffe species based on census reports ongoing and complete from 2010-2012. They warned, and I quote them “giraffes the world’s tallest animal would become extinct in the next few decades if the trend is not checked”.

Back in 1998 estimates placed the total number of giraffe species at some 140,000 however the species has since declined to some 80,000 and still falling (IUCN-2010). Some non-governmental environmental organisations and activists have stated hunting of the giraffe is the “main reason for population decline” however this is not as accurate as made out. Giraffes are facing increasing pressures that have impacted on their numbers and distribution in Kenya and elsewhere across the continent. Human encroachment, agriculture and land purchases have pushed some giraffe species out of their natural habitat of which then poses concerns to farmland, ranch and other human populated areas of which giraffes are then forced to co-inhabit. Hence this is why “hunting then commences” and then (becomes a concern).  The longer we continue to encroach onto wildlife pastures the more species population decline will occur.

The experts identified agriculture, settlement and destruction of giraffe habitats by pastoralists as some of the major factors reducing giraffe populations.

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Pastoralists and the effects onto wildlife habitats;

Pastoralists have been noted as the most worrying issue with regards to species decline and encroachment locally and internationally. I would be lying if I stated such a problem was only confined to Africa. International Animal Rescue Foundation has seen from 2010 to present more pastoralists encroaching on to wildlife eco-systems but has also contributed to displacing native indigenous tribes of Africa. Conservation practices has also contributed to displacing tribes too.

Taking Kenya as an example there are some twenty four million people living within the country of Kenya of which 15% of the land is used for agriculture. Sudan is home to some 25.2 million people of which land used for agriculture is growing way past the 14% mark, Ethiopia holds some fifty million people of which land used for agriculture is now growing past the 10% mark. Pastoralism is the branch of agriculture concerned with the raising of livestock. It is animal husbandry: the care, tending and use of animals such as camels, goats, cattle, yaks, llamas, and sheep. “Pastoralism” generally has a mobile aspect, moving the herds in search of fresh pasture and water (in contrast to pastoral farming, in which non-nomadic farmers grow crops and improve pastures for their livestock).

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Agriculture and its effects onto wildlife habitats;

Agricultural development alters the natural landscape and affects how species interact with their environment. Explaining patters in wildlife assemblages on altered landscapes allows scientists to better understand and assess risk of agricultural practices to native organisms.

Unsustainable agricultural and aquaculture practices present the (greatest immediate threat) to species and ecosystems around the world. (Please view here a case study in Laos). Farmed areas – both on land and in the water – provide important habitats for many wild plants and animals. When farming operations are sustainably managed, they can help preserve and restore critical habitats, protect watersheds, and improve soil health and water quality. But when practiced without care, farming presents the greatest threat to species and ecosystems.

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Negative environmental impacts from unsustainable farming practices include land conversion & habitat loss, wasteful water consumption, soil erosion and degradation, pollution, climate change and genetic erosion.  So to put it bluntly the “primary” threat to our giraffe species is competition (direct, indirect or latent) for resources – humans and livestock. During the last thirty years the habitat of the giraffe, in particular the “tiger bush“, has undergone severe reduction and fragmentation. The recent increased mobility of giraffe is most likely a result of this competition and degradation. Hunting is of course the “secondary” risk factor to the giraffe species. Regrettably should “unsustainable agriculture” coupled with the vast increase of humans within Africa continue then hunting will most certainly increase. Room is running out for our “tallest” land mammal and because they do not migrate then we will see trophy hunting increase. On must note though – trophy hunting is not nor ever will contribute to the decimation of our giraffe species within its natural habitat.

Niger/Nigeria and the Western African Giraffe;

The “giraffe zone” is one of the most densely populated areas in Niger: 35 people/km2 in the Koure plateau, and 70 people/km2 in the Dallol Bosso. The majority of the Zarma people in the Koure plateau are sedentary farmers (millet, sorghum, beans and maize), whilst livestock and crops predominate the livelihoods of those living in the Dallol Bosso. As a result of the high human population, the area of land under cultivation is increasing to the detriment of the giraffe habitat. Additionally, increased grazing pressure by livestock has and continues to threaten forage availability for giraffe as resources are limited. Coupled with this is the need of the local people to support their subsistence livelihood and increasing detrimental activities such as wood-cutting, which yield an extra income after it is sold in Niamey, are devastating. Giraffe species within western Africa are most certainly going to be the first species pushed into extinction of which their numbers don’t even hit the thousand thresholds. Good news thus far though, the western African giraffe is slowly making a comeback with “some” evidence now showing a small increase in population sizes.

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Giraffa camelopardalis peralta is a sub species of the African giraffe that today numbers in the hundreds. Estimates state the current population size to be near 350 individuals of which this species is currently listed as “critically endangered”.  Back in the early 1920’s giraffes within western Africa were in their thousands however as explained above “Population growth, intensive farming and illegal hunting has seen the species practically pushed from extant into almost complete extinction. Climate change and drought has also been blamed for depletion of giraffe populations, no more though than that of invasive farming, population growth and illegal hunting. Within the continent of Africa, the country of Nigeria is home to some 122-140 million people and with a growing population not expected to slow down within the next few decades unfortunately will see more species of giraffe habitat destroyed.

Masai Mara – steep decline in giraffe numbers;

The giraffe population of Kenya’s Masai Mara reserve has declined by up to 95% because of increased human settlement around the unfenced park, according to new studies.

Scientists at the Nairobi-based International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) found that the numbers of giraffes, hartebeest, impala, warthogs, topis and waterbuck all fell “markedly and persistently” throughout the 1,500 sq km reserve between 1989 and 2003. Their sample counts were backed by government population estimates that showed actual losses as high as 95% for giraffes, 80% for wart­hogs and 76% for hartebeest for the period dating back to 1979.

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The authors of the study, which was funded by the WWF and was published in the British Journal of Zoology in May 2009, say it presents the most detailed evidence yet of the rapid decline of ungulate, or hoofed, animals in the Mara, in south-western Kenya. Species decline is set to become ever more problematic too with regards to the “thousands” of tourists that visit this pristine ecosystem every year. We are looking at a possible “environmental disaster”. With Kenya’s economy heavily dependent on tourism the sad reality of many large species being killed off is quite worrying to say the least. The Masai Mara represents the northern quarter of the Serengeti ecosystem that stretches down into Tanzania. The wild animals that remain here require vast and various dispersal areas to survive drought, predators and human pressure. These safe havens are disappearing. Lodges surrounding the park have erected kilometres of electric fencing; lions have been known to use them to trap their prey. Shanty towns are developing fast, and some may soon be on the national grid. There are too many cows for not enough land, and wheat fields are advancing (wheat has become a swearword among conservationists).

Human waste is being buried or dumped. The environment is displaying symptoms of its mismanagement. Algae are emerging in rivers upstream, a consequence of fertiliser use. The Mara River, where wildebeest cross from Tanzania, dried up completely in 2009 and more environmental damage is set to follow over the course of a decade.  Every year scores of minibuses are seen queuing to watch wildebeest splash through the water. But there was “just dust”. Inside the treasured reserve, monkeys play with crisps packets. Even the predators’ behaviour is changing. Guides that take tourists on excursions are also misbehaving and not acting in a “responsible fashion” as to not increase species human relations. Allowing tourists to hand feed mammal from the roofs of their minibuses is tantamount to murder.

The main reason for the population decrease of many species within the park was the rapid expansion of human settlements on the land next to the reserve. The area was traditionally used by wild animals for seasonal grazing but is increasingly being turned over to livestock and crop production.

The situation paints a bleak picture and requires urgent and decisive action. If nothing is done, these declines will not just continue but accelerate as the human populations around the reserve increase. Giraffes, lions, rhino wildebeest monkeys and birds of prey are now all under immense threat and Kenya’s government seems arrogant of the situation unfolding. Kenya’s government are more interested in the money flowing in rather than “sustaining wildlife” and securing ecosystems.

WARNING THE FOLLOWING VIDEO MAY BE UPSETTING TO SOME VIEWERS

Giraffe hunting/poaching – meat and hide;

Concluding this document hunting becomes the secondary cause of concern that “may” contribute to the giraffe’s species decline. As explained above human settlement, unsustainable agriculture, aquaculture and human over population impacts all have undesirable effects to giraffe’s habitat and pristine ecosystems of which are the most destructive – more – than hunting. Farming and human over population displace giraffe’s of which then go in search of foods elsewhere. This then sees the “problem” arising of human species conflict. Hunting as explained is more a “cull” in our eyes. Farmers and ranchers are frustrated with giraffe encroaching onto their land so therefore “hunting” has to be the only way to keep species numbers down. International Animal Rescue Foundation completely digress with this vile sport of which culling or killing however one wishes to call it will not keep specie intact or halt habitat degradation.

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Native to fifteen African countries the species is struggling to find places to live which is a sad fact with regards to many wildlife species. Hunters from all over the planet being mainly South America, America, Canada, Europe and non-EU registered states hunt giraffe mainly for sport even British hunters travel to kill giraffe. Giraffes are also hunted (poached) for their hides and their meat.  Giraffe tails are highly prized by many African cultures. The desires for good-luck bracelets, fly whisks, and thread for sewing or stringing beads have led people to kill the giraffe for its “tail alone”. Giraffes are easily killed, and poaching (now more often for their meat and hide) continues today. Historically, the coexistence of giraffes and humans has been rather peaceful. However, a growing concern about the damage that giraffe cause to the peoples crops is increasing. The toleration of the giraffe can only continue for so long unless other alternative incentives for the community can be developed, such as eco-tourism to supplement livelihoods. And as expected, poaching remains a serious potential threat with cases reported each year. Poaching is more rampant within western Africa of which the western African giraffe is protected by law. Anyone caught illegally face a hefty penalty.

Hunters pay up to £10,000 for the giraffe-hunting expeditions, which target the larger males.Safari clubs and game reserves ask for a £1,500 trophy fee and add £1,000 a day for guides and trackers. Dr Julian Fennessey, of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, said some hunters came from Britain but most were from North America, Germany, Russia and Scandinavia. “Some hunters just like to have photos taken next to the dead giraffe”, he said. “But others pay taxidermists to mount the head so they can take them home as a souvenir. Or they might want to take the skin.”

Joe Duckworth, of The League Against Cruel Sports, said: “It is immensely selfish to kill these animals.

Giraffes are now thought to be extinct in African countries such as Angola, Mali and Nigeria. But in South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe it is still legal to hunt them. One hunter whom wished to remain anonymous stated “These are legal hunts, by professionals on private land. There will always be emotion from people who are not hunters when they see dead animals, but these are much regulated practices. “Rhino and other animals have been saved through conservation and the most money for conservation is generated from hunting.”

Dr Fennessy has controversially argued in favour of hunting. He said: “In the countries where you can hunt legally, the populations are increasing but across Africa the numbers are dropping. “It shows that if properly managed, the hunting can be sustainable.” International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa disagrees. Some 190 million a year is supposedly made from hunting practices yet species decline within permitted hunting zones and non-hunting zones still continues.

Although legal hunting of giraffes is a cowardly and repulsive act, legal hunting is not actually contributing to the giraffe’s population decline as such. Yes we have some vast decline from 100,000 to 80,000 individuals however giraffe’s are “illegally hunted” more intensely for their meat, fur, hide and as explained just for their (tails).  Back in March 2011 in Nairobi Park Several incidents of giraffe poaching have been reported recently. Two dead giraffe were recently witnessed just outside of the National Park. The carcasses were stripped of meat and the skins neatly folded beside them! The giraffe may have been killed by a lion but the carcass then stolen by opportunists to make some cash selling the meat and hide.

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Within the area of Kipeto, the third triangle of the Kigengela giraffe poaching has increased drastically. Within Kiserian town giraffe meat is sold to local butchers despite the fact poaching is illegal. Agencies seem non-to-bothered by the fact butchers are doing dealings with local community poachers. Concerning – What nobody is saying is that if poachers can get away with killing the Nairobi Park giraffes so easily, then what about Rhino’s? This disturbing trend of increasing boldness of the poachers means that the park and all its animals are at grave risk. KWS and anti-poaching units know whom the vast majority of the poachers are that operate within the local villages yet do little to apprehend them. If little is done then poaching will increase and of course poachers will become more brazen, bold. Worryingly this behaviour then has a knock on effect to other local community dwellers. If one is seen to get away with murder then I too shall kill as the saying goes what’s good for one is good for the other. Kibuchi urged public health officers to carry out regular inspection of meat in city butcheries however illegally poached giraffe meat and other meat still continues to flood the meat markets. Dog AND cat meat has also been noted as being sold to butcheries within Kenya passed off as “goat meat”.

The police and the tourism industry of Kenya have talked about the increase of poaching of giraffes and zebras in Narok County because of the reducing meat market in the country. The activity has increased in the last four years killing the zebras and giraffes for meat just like the elephants.

Poachers have introduced new ways of trafficking game meat and wildlife like packing the meat in gunny bags and naming them as containing foodstuffs, cereals, and Mutumba clothes.The Kenya Tour drivers and Guides Operators Vice-Chairman Andrew Mungatana will affect negatively the business since Kenya is known as a wildlife destination worldwide.

A new wildlife bill should be introduced and the government should highly fight poaching since it has become a real threat to the survival of wildlife.

In the meantime giraffe’s are on the road to extinction and the main African Giraffe Camelopardalis populations are not increasing, more decreasing. Experts have warned that giraffes are facing extinction due to increased poaching and habitat invasion. Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Director William Kiprono noted (2013) that much focus is not being directed towards giraffes yet they face increased danger.

Kenya currently hosts three giraffe subspecies that have drastically declined in the last 15 years.

“Giraffes are facing increased pressures impacting on their numbers and distribution in Kenya and Africa as a whole,” said Kiprono in a statement. National Conservation Task Force has established a Giraffe Conservation Strategy draft focusing on six key areas to save the animals. The interventions were identified as enhancing security of giraffes to stem declining numbers and arresting and reversing the current decline in their habitats through appropriate conservation and management.

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Additionally, there will be an effective management of confined populations to secure long-term conservation, education and public awareness and mobilizing of community to be involved in conservation. The stakeholders will also ensure that infrastructural developments in giraffe ranges are compatible with conservation by closely working with concerned agencies.

“The guidelines will define the roles the Government, conservation partners and other stakeholders will play while it raises awareness about the plight of giraffes,” said the KWS director.

He said through the guidelines, the country seeks to mitigate threats and reverse declining trends in giraffe numbers while ensuring benefits to local communities.

While also recognising the enormous task ahead of them, he said KWS was committed to the existence of giraffes. Speaking at the same forum dubbed second International Conference on Giraffes at Nairobi National Park yesterday, KWS senior scientist Charles Musyoki praised the draft, saying it will save giraffes.

Conservation scientist with Giraffe Conservation Foundation Julian Fennessy said they are looking at different ways of conservation. He identified ‘introduction’ and ‘translocation’ as some of the moves they are considering. Statistics show that giraffes have dropped from over 140,000 (1988) to less than 80,000 (2012). Giraffes largely contribute to the economy in terms of tourist attraction. They are a must-see on safari-goers wish-list.

They also act as agents of change in habitats and landscapes by opening new areas and promoting growth of new forage.

Concluding;

While we see hunting within Africa a repulsive cowardly act of “legal animal abuse” for fun hunting is not going to contribute to the extinction of giraffe species.  Land loss, habitat fragmentation, human over-population, unsustainable agriculture and aquaculture as too the illegal poaching for hide, fur, meat and (giraffe tails) will be the most critical destructive factor that (could) push giraffes into extinction within the next decade or two.

An increase from African and overseas environmental agencies must be seen within Africa, poaching must be tackled harder and human over-population looked into. Unsustainable agricultural practices from the worst offenders must be stopped with the aggressors banned from farming – repeat offenders jailed and/or fined immensely.

Relocations of smaller giraffe species must also be looked into within “poaching hotspots” to preserve the future species for generations to come. Whilst some may agree or disagree International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa believes a temporary moratorium on hunting must be drafted with regards to “threatened or moving into threatened species categories”.

Tourism whilst seen as a goof income within African countries such as Kenya must also be restricted. One cannot any longer see hundreds of mini-buses, cars and other automobiles packed within our parks. Tourism whilst playing a positive impact in some parks is having a detrimentally negative impact in others.

Thank you for reading Dr Josa Depre and Chief Environmental Registrar Europa – J Williamson.

Chief Environmental Director Africa and Eastern Europe

International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa

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Avahi cleesei – Extinction looming.

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Known only to Tsingy de Bemaraha region of western Madagascar, north of the Manambolo River this stunning small primate is classified as endangered soon to be re-categorized as critically endangered. We humans should be damned ashamed ourselves regarding the Africa’s declining mammal life. Africa and Madagascar once held an abundance of wildlife. Walk through the bush today and one may not even view a single large mammal for some days.

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Identified and named in “2005” its actually quite hard to fathom that this species is already classified as endangered with species population size on the vast decease. PD Dr. Thomas Geissmann and Dr. Urs Thalmann whom is a Biologist are two of the most intelligent and unique Biologists and Primatologists alive today. Specializing in old and new world species studies their work has been published in many science journals detailing their current and past finds.

Named after John Cleese the British actor famed for his comedy drama (Faulty towers, Monty Pythons Flying Circus and an award winning film 1989 A Fish Called Wanda) the Avahi cleesei species is commonly refereed to as Bemaraha Woolly Lemur or John Cleese’s Avahi. Dr. Thomas Geissmann and Dr. Urs Thalmann named the species in 1995 after John Cleese mainly because of Cleese’s fondness for lemurs, as shown in Operation Lemur With John Cleese and Fierce Creatures, and his efforts at protecting and preserving them. (Please view the film above post).

Populations are decreasing on the African island of Madagascar of which the species was discovered in 1990 via scientists from Zurich University. The species was formally then named in 2005. Strangely populations seem to be more densely populated within disturbed habitats giving reason to believe that the species is or has become quite adapted to humans. Evidence clearly indicates that (some) lemurs of certain genera seem quite “fond” to a degree of human invaders. This however must not be seen as a positive thing.

The northern limit of its range is unclear and there is no evidence of its occurrence between the Sambao and Mahavavy Rivers or between the Mahavavy and Betsiboka Rivers. Currently, it is known only from within Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park, where it has been sighted in two localities, in the forest of Ankindrodro a forest 3 – 4 km east-northeast of the village of Ambalarano at the base of the western Tsingy precipice.

The species was previously outside the reserve’s boundaries in 1994, in the heavily disturbed forest in the surroundings of the village of Ankinajao. However, the forest was completely destroyed since these sightings at Ankinajao, and no woolly lemurs have been found there since 2003 – grid references have been removed for mammal security and to remove temptation via poachers for bush-meat.

Dr Thalman and Dr Geissmann noted that the disturbed forest close to the village of Ankinajao (outside the park), which supported a substantial number of individuals in 1994, had been cut completely by 2003. The subhumid forest at the base of the escarpment of the Tsingy de Bemaraha is under continuous pressure from bush fires that reduce it in many places every year–in some places to only a few meters in width. Such subhumid forests are the only habitat in which Avahi cleesei is known to occur so far. Although bush-meat trade has not been formally recorded with regards to “this particular species” the erosion of traditional cultural taboos in Madagascar has led to an unsustainable number of lemurs being killed for bush-meat.

Locals revered the primates, believing that the animals were family ancestors, but the influx of outside influences has seen a breakdown in these views. Some species do not reach maturity for up to nine years and produce offspring once every two or three years. A survey of locals’ eating habits by researchers from Bangor University in Wales, and the Malagasy NGO Madagasikara Voakajy showed that hunting of protected species in eastern Madagascar was increasing. They suggested the rise in illegal hunting was the result of rapid social change, an increase in demand for meat and a decline in traditional taboos.

What seems to be happening in some of the remote areas around the nation’s eastern rainforests is that a lot of legal gold mining is springing up, so people from outside are moving into the area thus increasing poaching and furthermore habitat degradation. Taboos play an important part in Malagasy culture, lemurs, especially indris, have been associated with very strong taboos that traditionally ensured that the primates were not hunted.

For example, one story tells of a man who was looking for honey in the forest when he fell from a tree. Before he hit the ground, he was caught by an indri. He was so grateful that he went back to the village and said from that moment on, no lemur was to be harmed. One can view the indri lemur here – First picture downhttp://www.npr.org/2013/02/02/170849125/did-you-hear-that-i-think-it-was-the-sound-of-a-walrus

Another belief is that the creatures are ancestors that became lost in the rainforests and turned themselves into lemurs in order to survive. However, Dr Jones said that although people did not prefer to eat bush-meat, it was often the only meat available. If they want meat to eat, there is very poor availability of domestic meat in these rural areas, which is a common fact even on the continent of Mama Africa.

Chickens suffer terribly from disease in rain-forest areas, so do not survive that well – so there is not much protein from domestic animals around. Dr Jones explained that the influx of people, attracted by job opportunities at the mines, had led to an increase in demand for meat and because people had wages from the mines, small bars that sold bush-meat were opening.

When Interviewed the results were quite shocking!

1. The survey of 1,154 households showed that the majority of meals eaten over a three-day period did not contain any meat at all.

2. Among the meals that did contain meat, the preference was for fish or domestic animals rather than bush-meat.

3. Just under 10% of meals consisted of wild-caught animals, and just 0.5% contained meat from protected species.

SHOCKING EVEN MORE – when respondents were asked if they had ever eaten a protected species, 95% said that they had. They know the species is “endangered” yet “still continue” to place it at risk from bush-meat trade.. International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa has been documenting in the vast scale of the bush-meat crisis however we are very concerned with regards to these findings. Either attitudes have to change within the trade of bush-meat, increased overseas conservation projects seen, or we are sadly going to lose the vast majority of our primate and non-primate species by 2040. Avahi cleesei sadly may not even be around then.

WORRYING

When the team monitored villages to see how much bush-meat was being brought in, they recorded 233 carcasses of Endangered indri, the largest species of lemur. Species like the indri, for example, mature at seven to nine years and then only have one young once every two or three years. Primates, in general, are known to be extremely vulnerable to over-exploitation. Should conservation efforts now not reduce the bush-meat trade, awareness and education from local environmental companies, and non-profit organisations/charities then regrettably were going to lose the majority of our lemur species within the next decade regardless of whether they are consumed on rare occasions.

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Located west of the island of Madagascar Avahi cleesei weighs about 5–6 kilograms (11–13 lb), has brown skin with white regions on the rear and inside of the thighs and has a short damp nose, large plate eyes, and ears which hardly stand out from the skin. It typically has a strictly vegetarian diet of leaves and buds, living together in small families. The local population calls the species dadintsifaky, which means “Grandfather of the Sifaka”, because it is similarly sized to sifakas, but more ponderous, heavyset and has ample greyish-brown fur.

***End of Report***

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Harpy Eagle – Road to Extinction.

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Known as the fifth most formidable bird of prey on the planet the Harpy Eagle or American Harpy Eagle was identified by Professor Carl Von Linnaeus. Swedish botanist and zoologist Linnaeus was on e of the most influential botanists and zoologists of all time identifying in is his life time hundreds of species of mammal, plant and tree specimens.

Harpia harpyja as its generically known was first identified and named back in 1758 of which its population size wasn’t under threat then as it is today. Regrettably the Harpy Eagle is now near threatened with populations now in the decrease.

Harpy Eagles are not endemic to Africa. Native to Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Plurinational States of Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico; Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela reports state the species is locally or regionally extinct in large parts of its former range, notably most of central and north Central America and possibly Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. Even within its most extensive range Harpy Eagles are actually a rare sight.

Although still reasonably common in the Amazonian forests of Brazil and Peru, it will only survive in the long term if the escalating rate of forest destruction in the region is brought under control and a network of inviolate reserves established (Please view the information below with regards to deforestation). Low overall population densities and slow reproductive rates make shooting the most significant threat over its entire range. It could perhaps survive in disturbed forests or even forest mosaics if its large size and boldness in the face of humans did not make it an irresistible target for hunters (Hunters pay big bucks to hunt this species just to display its trophy on their home walls – what a bloody waste). It presumably also suffers from competition with humans for prey. Humans are sadly playing such a large roll in Harpy Eagle depletion.

Deforestation

International Animal Rescue Foundation Brazil have been documenting on deforestation legally and illegally within the Amazon over the ten years. We reported on “decreased levels of legal and illegal logging”. This however has changed and for the worse it seems.

From 2011-2012 some 2.050 square kilometers of forest were lost displacing species, ripping up medicinal plants destroying the environment furthermore. However from 2010-2011 some 2,261 square kilometers of forest were ripped up. Although declines are noticeable its not enough and species extinction within these areas especially within Harpy Eagles zones habitats are becoming “common practice”.

Harpy Eagles main habitats are Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French and Guiana.

However larger but sparse population sizes are seen within the countries that share the Amazon rain-forest being, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Galapagos, Patagonia and Peru. These areas are of major interest to International Animal Rescue Foundation Brazil as deforestation is rife and species extinction slowly occurring of both flora and fauna. Deforestation was stated to be on the (decrease). That is of course what the South American governments want everyone to believe. Please see facts below.

WHAT HAPPENED from 2011-2012 when reported only 2.050 square kilometers of rain-forest was recorded destroyed?. However from 2013 and this figure will shock you. A staggering 28% of rain-forest was lost IN ONE YEAR! Beating all records known since 2004.

Someone and “some government and a certain petroleum company” of which we have been BANNED FROM NAMING IN OUR ARTICLES knows exactly WHY Amazonia rain-forest depletion increased by 28% between August 2012 and last July 2011, after years of decline.

BACK in May of 2012 Speak Up For the Voiceless.Org printed via reports from International Animal Rescue Foundation Brazil three articles within its “Environmental Chapters 1-33″ detailing the (advance of two unmanned) oil companies. Pe******** and Cha****** . Later that year Pe********* emailed our Brazilian environmental company ordering them to remove all pictures, all MAPS and ALL evidence that showed them (DESTROYING MILE UPON MILE) of pristine rain-forest DESPITE a national uproar by the Nat-Geo and American NGO’s. Harpy Eagle habitat, plants of medicinal importance aquatic and mammal life within the areas 295.6 kilometers from Yasuni were obliterated. Indigenous tribes were also displaced. NO the forest destruction is not caused by locals. Forest destruction within the Harpy and other mammal zones are being destroyed due a loan handed to President Rafael Correa not being paid back on time to the Chinese. Google it or read whats left of the articles here http://www.speakupforthevoiceless.org – please view the maps and please watch all videos.

The fight to stop the destruction of this area of rain-forest has been lost. Sadly money speaks louder than words. America, China and Ecuador will be held responsible for any such species extinction caused by noise pollution, Co2 emissions, poaching, pollution, and human species conflict. The provisional statistics from August 2012 to July 2011 suggest that the area suffering deforestation was 5,843 sq km (2,255 sq miles), compared to 4,571 sq km (1,765 sq miles) in the previous 12 months. The 28% rise interrupts a period of declining deforestation which began in 2009. However, it still remains the second lowest annual figure for forest loss in absolute terms.

The worst year on record was 2004, when 27,000 sq km of forest was destroyed. Monthly data from several scientific institutions had suggested the deforestation rate might be on the rise. Little did anyone know it was actually true. The Brazilian government stated This swing is not related to any federal government fund cuts for law enforcement,” she told reporters, adding that around 4,000 criminal actions have been taken against deforesters in the past year.

Although the Ecuadorian and Brazilian region of Amazonia is spread far and wide, Harpy’s do inhabit both large and small owned regions. Brazil owns the vast majority of the Amazonian being some 60%.

Harpy’s occur in uninterrupted expanses of lowland tropical forest (typically below 900 m but locally to 2,000 m), but will nest where high-grade forestry has been practiced, and use forest patches within a pasture/forest mosaic for hunting, however with no forest there is no Harpy. Nests have been reported only 3 km apart in Panama and Guyana.

The Harpy Eagle was first described by Linnaeus in his Systema Naturae in 1758 as Vultur harpyja, after the mythological beast harpy. The only member of the genus Harpia, the Harpy Eagle is most closely related to the Crested Eagle (Morphnus guianensis) and the New Guinea Harpy Eagle (Harpyopsis novaeguineae), the three composing the subfamily Harpiinae within the large family Accipitridae. Previously thought to be related, the Philippine Eagle has been shown by analysis of DNA to belong elsewhere in the raptor family as it is related to the Circaetinae.

Here are a few interesting facts about the Harpy Eagle:

An Amazonian apex predator: In the Amazon rain-forest, Harpy Eagles share the top of the food chain with Jaguars and Anacondas. The Jaguar rules the forest floor, the Anaconda is king is swamps and lakes, and the Harpy Eagle dominates the canopy of the rain-forest.

What do they eat?: Although Harpy Eagles are commonly believed to solely prey upon sloths and monkeys, studies carried out in Tambopata have shown that they catch and eat a variety of animals. While they do eat sloths and monkeys, they also take large birds such as toucans, kinkajous, and will even kill Brocket Deer! That’s quite amazing for such a large bird of prey.

Over sized beak and talons: Harpy Eagles look especially intimidating due to their huge, Grizzly Bear sized claws and massive beak. The legs of the Harpy Eagle can also be nearly as thick as the wrist of a person!

A wide-ranging, rare bird: This big eagle historically occurred in rainforests from southern Mexico all the way south to the Atlantic coast of Brazil. However, they need large tracts of animal-filled rain-forest to survive and have thus disappeared from many areas of their range.

The moral of this story is should deforestation continue, the want for more wood and paper products, lack of recycling the sadly we will lose the Harpy by 2030.

Thank you for reading;

Chief Environmental Officer
Botanist & Environmentalist

Dr Josa Depre.

 


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