March saw the CoP 16th meetings held in Thailand from which 177 nations attended for the three yearly summit held by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora also known as the Washington agreement founded in 1975.
Most of the meetings held did have some positive conclusions regarding some of our most known to species to critically endangered and endangered species of mammals and non-mammalians to botanical species. Talks on the environment were also held with regards to the earths increasing temperatures and the colossally high Co2 emissions by third world and industrialised nations.
Many species of aquatics were listed proving that we have more conservation work to undertake in these areas along with upgrading wildlife security to awareness and education with other mammal and non-mammal species up listed that shows conservation has been a complete success within the areas in bringing numbers of species back up to safe green levels.
The Polar Bear though was hit with a bad report, and by not protecting this majestic gentle giant then we could be looking at the Polar Bear in the next three years within the critically endangered category. The Polar Bear is at this moment listed as vulnerable from there the next listing is “endangered”. Can we honestly wait for the next the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora meetings to be held in South Africa to know of its fate?
The polar bear (Ursus maritimus) is a bear native largely within the Arctic Circle encompassing the Arctic Ocean, its surrounding seas and surrounding land masses. It is the world’s largest land carnivore and also the largest bear, together with the omnivorous Kodiak bear, which is approximately the same size. A boar (adult male) weighs around 350–700 kg (770–1,500 lb.), while a sow (adult female) is about half that size.
Although it is closely related to the brown bear, it has evolved to occupy a narrower ecological niche, with many body characteristics adapted for cold temperatures, for moving across snow, ice, and open water, and for hunting the seals which make up most of its diet. Although most polar bears are born on land, they spend most of their time at sea. Their scientific name means “maritime bear”, and derives from this fact. Polar bears can hunt their preferred food of seals from the edge of sea ice, often living off fat reserves when no sea ice is present.
International Animal Rescue Foundation © is frustrated at the lack of public awareness and propagandists of which I have listed a comment below of such wrongful information in the public domain;
Yet despite the Canadian government’s $150-million commitment February 2013 to fund 44 International Polar Year research projects, a key question is not up for detailed scientific assessment: If the polar bear is the 650-kilogram canary in the climate change coal mine, why are its numbers INCREASING? The latest government survey of polar bears roaming the vast Arctic expanses of northern Quebec, Labrador and southern Baffin Island show the population of polar bears has jumped to 2,100 animals from around 800 in the mid-1980s.
As recently as three years ago, a less official count placed the number at 1,400. The Inuit have always insisted the bears’ demise was greatly exaggerated by scientists doing projections based on fly-over counts, but their input was usually dismissed as the ramblings of self-interested hunters.
As Nunavut government biologist Mitch Taylor observed in a front-page story in the Nunatsiaq News last month, “the Inuit were right. There aren’t just a few more bears. There is a hell of a lot more bears.” Their widely portrayed lurch toward extinction on a steadily melting ice cap is not supported by bear counts in other Arctic regions either. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is collecting feedback on whether to declare the polar bear “threatened” under its Endangered Species Act, joining the likes of the rare red-cockaded woodpecker, the lesser prairie chicken and the Sonoran pronghorn, which are afforded official protection and species recovery management. The service held its first public hearing on the polar bear project last night in Washington D.C.
But background papers for the debate hardly justify a rush to protect the bear from extinction if its icy habitat fades to green. The service identifies six Arctic regions where data are insufficient to make a call on the population, including the aforementioned Baffin shores area.
Another six areas are listed as having stable counts, three experienced reduced numbers and two have seen their bears increase. Inuit also argue the bear population is on the rise along western Hudson Bay, in sharp contrast to the Canadian Wildlife Service, which projects a 22% decline in bear numbers.
Far be it for me to act as a climate- change denier, but that’s hardly overwhelming proof of a species in peril in Canada, which claims roughly two thirds of the world’s polar bear population. Reading international coverage of the bear, it’s obvious Canada has become home to the official poster species for extinction by climate change.
Everywhere you look, the “doomed” polar bear’s story is illustrated with the classic photo of a mother and cub teetering on a fragile-looking ice floe, the ice full of holes and seemingly about to disappear into the sea. “The drama is clear: This is truly the tip of an iceberg, the bears are desperately stranded as the water swells around them,” according to a recent article in The Observer magazine carrying the photo. Something’s always bothered me about that photo, which has been vilified on the Internet as a fake.
Even if it’s the real thing, the photographer was clearly standing on something solid not far from his forlorn looking subjects. For a species that can swim dozens of kilometres to find a decent seal dinner, a few hundred metres to shore is a leisurely doggie paddle to safety. Of course, tracking polar bear populations is an inexact science.
They roam about, which lends itself to double counting, and they’re not easy to identify from any distance. Besides, polar bears do live on ice and satellite photos show the sea ice is down 7.7% in the last decade. So something is happening up there.
End of report –
There were many unhappy conservationists at the CoP 16th meetings held this March 2013 regarding the Polar Bear that is concerning ourselves greatly as they face major threats of which one is not so easy to tackle and this could explain why CITES didn’t upgrade the Polar Bear as they may know more than they are actually letting on, although to most educated conservationists and maritime scientists it’s blatantly obvious that climate change could/will see them gone with or without them being upgraded to ensure their survival.
Polar Bear’s primary threats;
- Poaching and illegal animal parts trade
- Over hunting via foreign trophy hunters
- Inuit hunting and poaching for /food/income
- Climate change which is the fore front and most serious threat to our white bear
The day may soon come when some of the 19 polar bear populations in Canada, Alaska, Greenland, Norway, and Russia will have to be fed by humans in order to keep them alive during an extended ice-free season or prevent them from roaming into northern communities. Some bears may have to be placed in temporary holding compounds until it is cold enough for them to go back onto the sea ice. In worst-case scenarios, polar bears from southern regions may have to be relocated to more northerly climes that have sufficient sea ice cover.
Far-fetched, draconian, and unlikely as some of these scenarios may sound, 12 scientists from Arctic countries are, for the first time, suggesting that the five nations with polar bear populations need to start considering these and other management strategies now that sea ice retreat is posing serious challenges to the bears’ survival. In worst-case scenarios, the scientists say that polar bears with little chance of being rehabilitated or relocated may have to euthanized. Zoos, which are currently having a difficult time acquiring polar bears because of stringent regulations that prevent them from doing so, will at some point likely be offered as many animals as they can handle, according to the scientists.
This crisis management plan for polar bears as Arctic sea ice disappears was laid out in February in an article in Conservation Letters, the journal of the Society for Conservation Biology. Polar bear experts Andrew Derocher, Steve Amstrup, Ian Stirling, and nine others say that with Arctic sea ice disappearing far faster than originally estimated, it’s time for Arctic nations to begin making detailed plans to save as many of the world’s 20,000 to 25,000 polar bears as possible.
“We really never have been here before,” says Amstrup, chief scientist for Polar Bears International and a lead author of a landmark U.S. government-appointed panel that predicted in 2008 that two-thirds of the polar bears in the world could disappear by mid-century.
The University of Alberta’s Derocher added, “We have covered the science side of the issue very well, but the policy and management aspects are locked in the past. We still manage polar bears in Canada like nothing has changed. Other countries are moving on some aspects of future polar bear management, but it is glacial compared to the actual changes we’re seeing in sea ice and the bears themselves.”
The alien-sounding concepts presented in this week’s paper — with names like supplemental feeding, diversionary feeding, translocation, and intentional population reduction — may become increasingly put into practices as Arctic sea ice, continues to disappear in spring, summer, and fall. Forty years ago, when the first International Polar Bear Agreement was ratified, the threats facing polar bears were chiefly hunting and mining and oil development. But the overriding threat now is climate change.
Without adequate sea ice for enough of the year, many bears will not be able to use the ice as a feeding platform to hunt their favoured prey, ringed seals. As a consequence, polar bears will be forced to spend more time fasting on land, where they pose a greater risk to human populations in the Arctic. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Polar Bear Specialist Group recently concluded that only one of the 19 polar bear subpopulations is currently increasing. Three are stable and eight are declining. For the remaining seven subpopulations, there is insufficient data to provide an assessment of current trends.
Derocher and some of his colleagues have been thinking about the need for dramatic rescue plans for polar bears for at least five years. The scientists say a record disappearance of Arctic summer sea ice in 2007 increased the urgency for emergency planning, as did research by Peter Molnar — Derocher’s one-time graduate student and now a post-doctoral fellow at Princeton University — suggesting that the collapse of some polar bear populations may occur sooner than climate models predict.
Over the past two years, scientists began considering a specific list of actions to save polar bear populations. A draft paper by Derocher and others was circulated last August just as Arctic summer sea ice hit striking new lows, with sea ice volume dropping 72 percent from the 1979-2010 mean, and ice extent falling by 45 percent from the 1979-2000 mean.
“If you talk to any of the polar bear biologists, you’ll find that the public is already asking us about the issues we cover in the paper,” Derocher said in an interview. “I’ve had well-positioned conservationists waiting to start the fund-raising to feed polar bears.
“I don’t view the options we lay out as a way of not dealing with greenhouse gases,” he added, “because without action on that front, there’s little that could be done in the longer term to save the species, and we’ll see massive range contractions and possibly extinction.”
Two key ideas in the current paper are supplemental feeding, to make up for the loss of ringed seals that polar bears can kill on ice, and diversionary feeding to draw hungry polar bears on shore away from human settlements. Supplemental feeding is nothing new; it is done for numerous species, from elk in the United States to brown bears in Eastern Europe. But feeding polar bears poses major challenges.
Derocher said in an email that the goal would be to distribute food, such as seals, in sufficient quantities over large distances so that hungry bears, forced ashore by lack of ice, would not come into conflict by vying for the same food. The goal would be to keep bear populations widely scattered, as attracting too many bears to central locations could increase the risk of disease transmission. Helicopters could be used to deliver the seals, but the logistics and expense of such a plan would be daunting. Thousands of seals would have to be killed by wildlife officials every summer to meet the needs of hungry bears, who each consume up to five seals a week.
“There is not a lot of experience with any of these issues, so it would take coordination and learning from the east Europeans, who already feed brown bears,” said Derocher. Still, he is convinced that we will someday be feeding polar bears in the wild. “The public pressure will be intense to do so,” he says, “and the public influences policy.”
Another possible measure would be to relocate bears from more southerly regions, such as Hudson Bay, to more northerly regions, such as M’Clintock Channel in Nunavut in the high Canadian Arctic. The number of bears in the icier M’Clintock Channel area has been significantly reduced by overhunting, so there is room to relocate bears from Hudson Bay and James Bay without creating territorial conflicts, scientists say. Cubs from one population could also be flown to more northerly regions and placed with females that would rear them as “foster” cubs, Derocher said.
In Derocher’s view, feeding and relocation will only work for polar bears so long as they have some habitat remaining, which is unlikely in the next century if greenhouse gas emissions are not curbed dramatically. “Keeping hundreds of semi-wild bears on a diet of bear chow doesn’t fit my personal philosophy, but perhaps centuries from now, it will be viewed as visionary, if we eventually control those greenhouse gases,” Derocher says.
The paper notes that another option is holding polar bears temporarily in the Arctic in enclosures during low sea ice periods. A similar thing is now done with problem bears around Churchill, Manitoba on western Hudson Bay.
The report acknowledges that in a worst-case scenario, where the primary goal is to preserve the genetic structure of the species, zoos around the world could play an important role. Amstrup, the U.S. zoologist, says there are signs that the U.S. is at least considering the idea of easing restrictions on the importation of orphan cubs found in the wild.
“Regardless of whether reintroducing polar bears or their genes ever is practical, we cannot overlook other ways zoos may contribute,” he says. “Dozens of species are healthier and more abundant in the wild today because of captive breeding and other zoo programs.”
As a last resort, the paper mentions “intentional population reduction'” — the killing of starving bears. “Controlled reduction of population size through harvest might be necessary to ensure both human safety and a viable but smaller polar bear population as a result of declining habitat,” the paper said. “Euthanasia may be the most humane option for individual bears in very poor condition that are unlikely to survive. Under these circumstances, it will be important to develop clear guidelines for identification of starving animals.”
Amstrup emphasizes that the purpose of the article is not to promote one management strategy over another or to suggest that they will all work. “The purpose is to remind the readers, and hopefully policy people, that the long-term future of polar bears is in jeopardy,” he says. “It makes managers and policy people aware of the various kinds of on-the-ground actions that may be applied and makes them begin to think of the varying levels of cost that may be involved in the different options they may choose.”
Stirling, a biologist at the University of Alberta, said in an e-mail that the paper is “a starting point that clarifies the need to be developing some preliminary plans for dealing with such problems.” The scientists realize that it will be difficult to sell these controversial management strategies to the public and to policy makers. One impetus for action will likely be an increasing threat to humans in the Arctic from hungry bears being forced off the ice and onto land. “The sooner we consider the options, the sooner we’ll have a plan,” said Derocher. “The worst-case scenario is a catastrophically early sea ice break-up with hundreds of starving bears, followed by inappropriate management actions.
“It has always seemed that we’ve been behind the curve on climate change and polar bears,” he said, noting that conservation planning for polar bears has typically extended several decades into the future. “That time frame leads one to think you’ve got time. But the science is clear that this is a fallacy.”
So what do we do is the next question, we simply cannot just move into the Artic and start euthanizing them, and moving them to zoo’s is merely not the answer to solving the main problem of which climate change has to be addressed and rapidly. Translocation could be seen as a viable solution, but to where? and if we move them then as with other species that are moved or become critically endangered to extinct we could be looking at the Polar Bears prey then effecting other smaller mammals and fish.
This is a serious problem and one which is more serious than that of the Rhinoceros to Elephant as much as that is difficult to quote with regards to the catastrophic poaching levels that see’s eleven African Elephants slaughtered for their teeth (ivory) every one hour and every thirteen hours one to two Rhinoceros are also slain for their horn to produce fake Asian medicinal cures. Poaching is also funding terrorism and it has now been quoted that more “highly sophisticated criminals are in touch with this quick money maker” being that of narcotic gangs and the mafia.
- Longer stretches without food were impacting the predators’ health, breeding success and population, as for polar bears, “it’s survival of the fattest”.
- Previous studies have shown that the western Hudson Bay polar bear population, recently estimated at about 900 animals, has declined since the 1990s, as have their body condition and the number of cubs surviving to adulthood.
- Polar bears are arriving on shore earlier in the summer and leaving later in the autumn.
- The longer the bears spend on land, the longer they have to go without their energy-rich seal food, with consequent impacts on their health and survival.
The main proven and scientific fact though is changes to the timing of migration that have resulted in polar bears spending progressively longer periods of time on land without access to sea ice and their marine mammal prey = Climate change is going to kill them faster than hunting, poaching and Inuit tribes.
How do we address this problem though?, well that’s what should have been addressed more thoroughly at the CITES meeting instead of talks of upgrading them to ensure their survival. The Born Free Foundation’s CEO was most upset that CITES hadn’t placed a more stringent protection order on the Polar Bear. As explained though CLIMATE CHANGE that we have all ignored as well as being lied to by American government scientists and governmental non-profits paid by government to compulsively lie and spin much propaganda by the United States SHOULD HAVE BEEN taken into consideration a lot sooner which now leaves us in a stalemate predicament.
Stay tuned for our three part Polar Bear and Artic talks working towards preserving the Polar Bears future and it’s homes.
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Dr J C Dimetri V.M.D, B.E.S, Ma, PhD, MEnvSc
International Animal Rescue Foundation
Director and International Delegates
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New climate record date released this month shows the true reality of global warming which is now worrying ourselves International Animal Rescue Foundation © climatologists and meteorologists to and finally politicians that have now seen the light from which they knew this data was to be proven evident anyway, they just paid spin doctors and sceptics to scientists alike to lie to the public thus keeping revenue high and insurance claims down to benefit their own pockets and agendas. (Not anymore).
One of the most extensive analyses’ yet of the past temperatures shows that the world is warming faster than any time in the last 11,300 years. The study has produced the first detailed extensions of the famous – and sometimes contentious “hockey stick” temperature graph right back to the end of the last ice age.
It suggests that earth is not out of its natural range of temperature variation yet, but will be by the end of the century. The finding comes as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels made their second biggest leap on record which is rather concerning and shows that we aren’t doing enough when it comes to climate change reductions.
Monitoring stations in Hawaii recorded them rising by 2.67 parts per million between January and December 2012. The biggest jump was in 1998 when they rose by 2.93 ppm up from 315.97 ppm in 1959when records began.
Climatologists estimate that CO2 needs to plateau at 450 ppm for a 50% chance of avoiding dangerous warming as we ourselves predicted of 2oc or more. (The stated increase for 2100 is in between 2oc and 5oc) which would cause a catastrophic destruction of flora and fauna to our most precious Antarctica, and Polar bears alike.
Building a high resolution picture of how temperatures have changed is no mean feat. Thermometer readings only go back to around 1860 so we have to use proxies to delve back. Tree rings, for instance are thicker during warmer years when trees can grow faster.
Scientists at the Oregon States University in Corvallis and colleagues used 73 proxies to reconstruct temperatures throughout the Holocene http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holocene the epoch that began 11,300 years ago, after the ice age.
Their analysis shows that over thousands of years, temperatures rose and fell by less than 1oc. It took 8,000 years to go from “warm to cold”. Agriculture and communal life and societies various forms of government all rose during this period.
Then in the late 19th century temperatures skyrocketed to tremendous levels of which is when the industrial revolution took off, the car engine was in vast production along with a vast increase in population trend that began to steadily grow out of control to what we have to date some 7,107,615,709 covering exactly 510,072,000 square kilometres.
With an increase of 211,757 people born into the world which is roughly one born every minute, the yearly growth is 1.10% of which yesterday’s population rate was 7,107,403,952 so looking at these figures it just shows that we are damaging our environment through over population of which the average “hunter aka animal environmental population controller as the new (politically correct name states)” states wildlife is the “problem” regarding environmental welfare. The numbers are accurate to today’s 21st March 2013 count based on the last census and governmental records including death rates too.
The late 19th century’s temperatures were driven by exasperating greenhouse gas emissions. The rate of recent warming is unlike anything that happened in at least 11,000 years confirmed by the Pennsylvania State University Park, who created the original “hockey stick” graph. Rapid change is the real issue of warming because it challenges our ability to adapt in time.
The gradual drift before the 19th century was driven by changes in the earth axis of rotation, the planets tilt increased early in the Holocene before decreasing again, it sort of “wobbles”. A greater tilt leads to more sunlight at the poles in the summer, and this keeps the planets warmer.
If humans ha not began warming the planet by releasing greenhouse gasses, earth would eventually return to an ice age. However if we were following the orbital trend we’d still be cooling.
Figures suggest that the planet is now nearly as warm as its warmest point in the last 11,000 years. Some climatologists have claimed that it is even already hotter which we ourselves are within the 50/50 mark as of the past five years off global climate change and atmospheric disturbances.
However “for now” we can most certainly state along with other leading scientists, climatologists and environmentalists that the uncertainties in the data make it difficult to say for sure.
Dr Micheal Mann has come under Vicious attack from government to even sent “death threats” who by though? well governments representatives to non-profits CEO’s and Non governmental Organisations that “was paid by the American government” to LIE TO THE PUBLIC that climate change was all a myth. Greenpeace later exposed the governments and the scientists that were PAID to LIE and rip apart scientists like Dr Mann’s work. You can view that in our rolling scripts from December 2012 to January 2013 on-wards with all date proven by INTERNATIONAL ANIMAL RESCUE FOUNDATION and placed within the public domain.
Ex-president George W.Bush should of been held accountable for allowing these lies to be processed into the public domain, however as normal like most political leaders he is “immune from such actions”.. Dr Mann told the truth, he gave the full accountable data that was evident even to the naked eye. Surely if the public cannot view the damage that is being done, agricultural damage, major weather disruptions, third world food and water shortages, and more then it’s blatantly obvious the public has been blinded by these lying skeptics that attacked Dr Mann.
Only YOU can change this world. Only you can see the difference. Review each and every piece evidence and study it in-depth then challenge each and everyone of us.
Dr J C Director
International Animal Rescue Foundation
International Animal Rescue Foundation © is pleased with the overall majority of the meetings at the 16th conference of parties (CoP 16th) held in Bangkok, Thailand from the 4th March to the 14th March 2013, although a handful of critics state otherwise regarding Tiger, Elephants and Rhinoceros, Polar Bears and other species listed within the 34,000 species that are brought up within the meetings every three years.
We are though somewhat disappointed in other decisions of which Asia was seen to group mostly together with nations that deal in illegal ivory, Rhinoceros horn but mostly illegal weaponry taking most of the floor.
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), also known as the Washington Convention adopted in 1963 and then consequently signed March 3rd 1973 by the then 177 nations which some sceptics seem to be forgetting Cites are not law makers as such. Cites is simply a “signed agreement” that consisted of 177 parties or countries with the majority of them nations from the European Union with one new nation entering four days that now consists of 178 parties in total.
Cites and the IUCN’s aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of the species in the wild, and it accords varying degrees of protection to more than 34,000 species of animals and plants.
In order to ensure that the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was not violated, the Secretariat of GATT was consulted during the drafting process. The agreement has also as of the 40th anniversary implemented and founded new adoptions such as task forces M.I.S.T from which nations will now work on forming an international conservation rescue unit to combat illegal poaching, pseudo hunting, illegal wildlife trade in plants and animals to the preservation of our water ways, soil and natural environment.
Should a serious event of poaching or natural disaster happen placing species in critical danger of extinction or other then transnational agencies will reach out to help other continents in dealing within in a multitude of tasks of which will be effective we hope within the next forty days. Forwarding on from the 15th March 2013, new Deoxyribonucleic acid laboratories will be set in place and internationally recognised departments dispatched and organized to now hit poaching and wildlife crime harder than before, although this is going to take some time to establish we will await and view what the outcomes of M.I.S.T and how effective other orders implemented will come about.
Cites and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature DO NOT see “hunting as a crime” or major problem from which it clearly explains that “sustainable utilization” to protect species is a must as explained in part of their mission statement above to not threaten the survival of the species in the wild http://www.cfr.org/natural-resources-management/convention-international-trade-endangered-species-wild-fauna-flora-cites/p21750 http://www.iucn.org/about/union/commissions/cec/cec_how_we_work/
Sharks, Tiger, Elephants and Rhinoceros;
Much confusion is floating on the international networks that Cites has been caught with its pants down as is only thinking of monetary gain, this is complete utter nonsense. CITES is an international agreement to which States (countries) adhere voluntarily. States that have agreed to be bound by the Convention (‘joined’ CITES) are known as Parties. Although CITES is legally binding on the Parties – in other words they have to implement the Convention – it does not take the place of national laws. Rather it provides a framework to be respected by each Party, which has to adopt its own domestic legislation to ensure that CITES is implemented at the national level.”
In laymen’s terms each nation has to engage in protection of some 34,000 species from which they can ignore such as most of Asia has. However should the “signed parties” FAIL then sanctions can and will be placed of which evidence is shown by the nation’s effected to those that are want action or are concerned with crime in their continent.
The states then voluntary agree by VOTING that sanctions will be implemented. By applying these sanctions this then BANS the aggressor nations from importing, or exporting any of the listed 34,000 species of plants and animals that would see the violating the nations revenue hit drastically.
The 16th meetings of the Conference of Parties (CoP) finally after much debate and disapproval by Asia and some African nations, listed the Ceanic White-tip sharks, three species of Hammerhead Sharks, Scalloped Hammerhead, Great Hammerhead, and Smooth Hammerhead, Porbeagle sharks and manta rays. We are very pleased by this as some 100 million Sharks and Rays a year are slaughtered for their fins to produce Asian Shark Fin soup and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Had this very historical move by all nations not of been implemented then the Sharks explained above would have been pushed to near extinction from over fishing, poaching, hunting, and the Traditional Chinese Medicine trade which in turn would also have seen a mass over population of their prey thus placing more small species of marine aquatic life in danger we would also of seen a colossal loss of such amazing species effecting marine biodiversity more.
Asia are the main number one offenders and should such nations NOT abide by the ruling that will come into place after the honey moon period of 40 days then sanctions could be placed at any alternative meetings plus17 Conference of Parties (CoP) thus seeing ALL trade banned.
Although the Tiger species was not mentioned much about in the meetings it was actually spoken about on the just before the meetings of which Cites quoted the following;
Police and customs heads from 13 Asian countries agreed today to tighten controls and improve cross-border cooperation to curb the illegal smuggling of tigers and other critically endangered species. The accord came at the conclusion of the two-day international “Heads of Police and Customs Seminar on Tiger Crime”, which brought together top Police and Customs Officers from countries that still have tigers living in the wild.
Hosted by the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC), and organised by INTERPOL, in cooperation with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the World Customs Organization (WCO), and with the technical and financial support from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Secretariat and the World Bank, the Tiger Seminar objective was for participants to agree on a robust set of law enforcement-based solutions to protect tigers and other rare and highly threatened species.
“The tale of the Tiger is not simply about conservation, it is also about crime,” said Mr. Yury Fedotov, UNODC Executive Director. “It concerns transnational organized crime, high profits, widespread corruption, money laundering, fraud, counterfeiting, and violence.”
The Tiger Seminar brought together 26 delegates from 13 tiger range countries as well as senior representatives from ICCWC members and key partner organisations operating in the field of tiger conservation and wildlife crime. A critical Tiger Seminar activity was to raise awareness among Police and Customs authorities of the impact wildlife trafficking has on wild tigers.
“We must take immediate and urgent action to save these magnificent animals from extinction,” said Mr. Kunio Mikuriya, WCO Secretary General. “The global Customs community is firmly committed to working closely with its partners to stop criminal trafficking in endangered species and other environment sensitive goods, by ensuring more vigilant and effective border enforcement among a range of measures.”
Environmental crime is a serious international problem with a detrimental impact on the global economy and security. Criminals violate national and international laws through increasingly sophisticated techniques and highly organised networks. Their activities directly affect human health, and threaten the environment and global biodiversity.
“Our efforts to fight tiger crime must not just result in seizures – they must result in prosecutions, convictions and strong penalties to stop the flow of contraband,” said Mr. John E. Scanlon, CITES Secretary-General. “If we get the enforcement system right for the tiger, we will help save countless other species together with their ecosystems.”
Tiger conservation experts presented an up-to-date situation analysis of wild tiger conservation threats, particularly worldwide and Asian trans-national organized crime links to wildlife crimes, including the trade in tigers and tiger parts.
“Wildlife and other environmental criminals too often operate in remote areas with impunity, evading detection, and circumventing full prosecution under the law,” said Mr. Keshav Varma, Program Director, World Bank Global Tiger Initiative. “The World Bank and Global Tiger Initiative fully support the resolve of the police and customs officials from tiger range countries to collaborate on intelligence. We applaud efforts to intensify pressure on the organizers of criminal networks and corrupt officials who shield them.”
Working with environmental crime experts, participating tiger-range country police and customs senior officials agreed on cross-border action points, opportunities and cooperation strategies, after discussing national priorities, challenges, and reviewing best practices.
“This important seminar has highlighted the environmental crime challenges facing senior law enforcement officers and the need for enhanced international cooperation.” said Mr. Jean-Michel Louboutin, INTERPOL Executive Director of Police Services. “Criminals cannot prosper from abusing our shared natural heritage.”
Tiger Seminar attendees discussed the need to develop a coordinated response to combat tiger crime.
“We need to work collectively through our respective environmental programmes,” said INTERPOL’s Mr. Jean-Michel Louboutin. “In this context, the INTERPOL Global Complex for Innovation in Singapore will from 2014 provide a key platform to fight environmental crimes in the 21st century.”
The Seminar also recognised INTERPOL’s Project Predator, which aims to develop the effectiveness of law enforcement agencies and form National Environmental Security Task Forces.
“If we lose an emblematic species like the Tiger, mankind will be acknowledging that it is prepared to lose any animal on the planet. This must not be allowed to happen.” said Mr. Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of UNODC. “By our actions, we must show that we have the capacity, the ability and the commitment to protect other species living on this planet.”
Compelled by the need to urgently respond to the burgeoning threat of environmental crime, five inter-governmental organisations formed in 2010 the International Consortium to Combat Wildlife Crime or ICCWC (read I-Quick). These organisations are: the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), INTERPOL, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the World Bank and the World Customs Organisation (WCO). The consortium seeks to scale up wildlife law enforcement effectiveness, by intelligence-led interdiction and advanced investigative methods.
The “Heads of Police and Customs Seminar on Tiger Crime” is one of the Consortium’s first activities. It is a follow-up to the November 2010 St. Petersburg Summit on Tiger Conservation, during which Heads of Governments of 13 tiger range countries committed to increase their cooperation to eradicate poaching, smuggling, and the illegal trade in tigers and tiger parts. Addressing illegal trade is an essential part of the Global Tiger Recovery Program, a comprehensive 12-year strategy endorsed by all 13 countries to double the population of wild tigers by 2022, the next Year of the Tiger.
The Seminar also addressed Decision 15.48 made at the 15th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) held in Doha in 2010, which states: “The Secretariat shall seek funds to convene, as soon as possible, a seminar involving senior-level Customs and police officers from tiger range States, to brief them on the threatened status of this species, particularly the impact wildlife crime has upon it. The officials shall also be briefed by the Secretariat regarding the Global Tiger Summit, planned under the Global Tiger Initiative, so that the law enforcement community throughout tiger range States is prepared to engage in efforts to safeguard this species and respond to measures adopted at the Summit. The Secretariat shall collaborate with ICPO-INTERPOL, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the World Customs Organization in preparing the seminar.”
Cites recognises that the PAOCHING crises is more of a challenge and by hitting this hard and also WARNING the offending nations that should they NOT cease or tackle poaching then by CoP 17sanctions will be placed and that will effect over twenty three nations. Cites and the signed nations have also agreed to input more Tigers into the wild, which would boost their number up by 3,000. Should the violating nations then not ACT sanctions could be placed on all nations.
Placing sanctions would be seen as catastrophic to those that deal in animal and plant part trade, many people rely on animals and plants that brings in on the “legal market millions” in revenue on the illegal market though the entire animal part trade is bringing in an estimated $25 million a year with the illegal plant trade taking in over $12 million. Think of it like a school child being given a warning “misbehave again and all your pocket money is removed”. However in order for all nations to agree on FIRMLY on this at the next meeting then the Tiger and other big cats need highlighting more.
With regards to Tiger bine wine it has been suggested in many reports and those reports from ourselves that most Tiger bine wine is now counterfeit, or is in fact a substitute. Other wildcats are being used for such non-medicinal liquors from the Lion to the Ocelot. The same applies to the Tiger balm and Rhinoceros horn of which 80% of Rhinoceros horn is indeed fake/imitation made up of fine resins and minerals.
Rhinoceros and Elephant;
The ivory trade is the commercial, often illegal trade in the ivory tusks of the hippopotamus, walrus, narwhal, mammoth, and most commonly, Asian and African elephants.
Ivory has been traded for hundreds of years by people in such regions as Greenland, Alaska, and Siberia. The trade, in more recent times, has led to endangerment of species, resulting in restrictions and bans.
While African elephants have been hunted for several centuries, the exploitation of elephant herds on a massive scale began in the 1970s. Organized gangs of poachers used automatic weapons, profited from government corruption, and laundered tons of elephant tusks through several African countries to destinations in Eastern and Western countries.
Threatened with extinction, the elephant is theoretically protected from international trade by their listing on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) since 1989. The enforcement of this ban, the level of compliance adhered to by CITES Parties, the response of non-CITES members, as well as the policy question as to how trade “interventions” best serve the environmental objective of species preservation, are all key concerns of this dispute.
Both Asian (Elephant maximus) and African (Loxodonta africana) elephants are listed on Appendix I of CITES The Asian Elephant is now heavily endangered. Male Asian elephants have small tusks and Asian females are tuskless.
Remaining herds are located in small numbers in Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Sumatra and are now populated for 2012-13 at 22,000. The Asian species once was found throughout Southern Asia, was severely over-hunted. Although ivory trade has experienced sustained growth since the 1940s, the huge increase that occurred during the 1970s was the result of automatic weapons availability and widespread government corruption in many exporting countries which decimated elephant populations across Africa.
In the 1960s, raw ivory prices remained between $3 and $10 per pound. In 1975, the price reached $50 because ivory was perceived as a valuable hedge against rising inflation. By 1987, the price was $125 per pound. The relative price inelasticity of ivory also fuelled demand.
New manufacturing techniques which enabled the mass production of ivory carvings along with rising demand in East Asia led to increased elephant kills.
Hong Kong was the primary consumer of raw ivory from 1979 to 1987 and probably remains important today. Japan was the second largest consumer in this time (whose market share dropped markedly during the period), followed by Taiwan (whose share rose). For both Hong Kong and Taiwan, there is significant trans-shipment of product to China. In 1979 the EC began was a major consumer, but by 1987 its share dropped to 4 per cent. At the same time, the United States market share rose from 1 to 6 per cent
Cites quoted at CoP 15 the following;
“There has been increasing willingness within the Parties to allow for trade in products from well-managed populations. For instance, sales of the South African white rhino have generated revenues that helped pay for protection”. “Listing the species on Appendix I increased the price of rhino horn (which fuelled more poaching), but the species survived wherever there was adequate on-the-ground protection. Thus field protection may be the primary mechanism that saved the population, but it is likely that field protection would not have been increased without CITES protection”.
Trade in both Ivory and Rhinoceros horn is banned so there is not much now that Cites can do other than now order an ultimatum to the main twenty three nations that should the poaching not be ceased by the removal of ivory and tackling poachers, couriers, purchasers, kingpins to drug barons then Cites will as explained above impose immediate sanctions which would severely impact on the economy hard off the violating nations. However could placing sanction’s then increase poaching more?
This is the main worry that Cites has hence why they are cautions with regards to listing other Elephant and Rhinoceros species. So these offending nations are being given the chance, with the help of increased law enforcement, M.I.S.T and environmental policing agencies and “HELP of the Google to now remove all banned animal parts thus hitting demand harder and pushing the criminals into the streets which International Animal Rescue Foundation © required to now combat crime and cease all trade in three years. SHOULD it fail then sanctions will be implemented.
The conference has identified 23 countries including China, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo that are key to the supply and consumption of ivory.
A committee of the conference will outlined the actions that each of these countries must take to stem the trade. If these steps are not taken by the summer of 2014, sanctions could be applied.
It depends though on how much progress there is, but if there is absolutely no intent to follow up on those actions, sanctions are a very real possibility,” Targets for countries like Nigeria were achievable.
If you see ivory being sold at the airport terminals, all they need to do is shut it down. These are do-able actions, they are not ones that would require a great deal of new resources.
Governments were no longer seeing these species issues as being about biodiversity – they were seen as threats to national security. The criminals who are now poaching elephants and smuggling tiger parts are the same who are funding terrorism and funding militias.
Hong Kong is already at the front line with colossal seizures from 2011-2013 http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1190036/hand-organised-crime-ivory-trade
Tourists are being urged now to STOP purchasing ivory from which International Animal Rescue Foundation © has seen much off and sent many papered documents to the environmental law enforcement agencies to now cease this, the press have launched now a multi-national appeal to STOP purchasing ivory this hitting trade even more http://www.asianewsnet.net/Thailand-tourists-urged-to-refrain-from-buying-ivo-43984.html
Please read following reports http://www.cites.org/eng/news/pr/2012/20120621_elephant_poaching_ivory_smuggling.php
Taiwan has stated it will also burn all ivory and ban all market trade before the next summit, Taiwan is the largest distributor and importer of ivory internationally with China and Vietnam being the second and third. http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/338598/thailand-in-landmark-pledge-to-end-its-ivory-trade all reports can be viewed here http://www.cites.org/eng/news/cuttings/2013.php
Rhinoceros is also under the same predicament and although there was not a mention of the trade being lifted at the Cites conference it has been seen by some “mostly Rhinoceros owners and some wildlife” agencies as unfair to allow the ivory trade to commence yet “not the Rhinoceros horn” however that is just blatantly ridiculous as on cannot de-tusk as Elephant of which all monies amassed from “sized Ivory” went into conservation protection “although that protection is to still to be seen” the sale never actually decreased poaching just made matters worse by supplying the market thus keeping the demand flow high and lucrative.
The Chinese government also then after purchasing the ivory re-sold this on for 10X the price they paid for it “that’s why poaching didn’t decrease”. The same in theory has been applied to the Rhinoceros from which the Department of Environmental Affairs quoted that the “the Rhinoceros horn debate will NOT “be lifted BUT has to spoke on as this a taboo area.
This clumsy researcher that was born in Africa that now resides in Australia printed this article on the Rhinoceros horn debate then instructed all of his friends and family, university students and more to not sign the AVVAZ petition https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150614157465933&set=a.10150167025165933.306936.633775932&type=1&theater then consequently contacted the DEA and other agencies to pressure the South African government on legalising it. Maybe he simply doesn’t understand a simple thing of what actually happened to the Elephant species. – http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2013/s3701680.htm
Most of the demand for rhino horn comes from China and Vietnam, where it is used to treat ailments ranging from headaches to cancer. The horn has no real curative powers, however–it is composed of keratin, the same material human fingernails are made of. Delegates to CoP16 in Bangkok, Thailand, congratulated the Department of Environmental Affairs for its initiatives to combat rhino poaching on the sidelines of the conference saying initiatives presently being undertaken in South Africa would enhance the global effort to fight all trans-boundary wildlife crimes.
The Department of Environmental Affairs then stated http://za.news.yahoo.com/south-africa-mulls-legal-rhino-horn-trade-123704593.html trade “has to spoke about of which SHE DID NOT state that the Rhinoceros trade WOULD be lifted. The DEA minster quoted;
“I must state categorically that there is no decision by South Africa on whether to apply to CITES at CoP17 to legalise the trade in rhino horn, or to permit the once-off sale of rhino horn stockpiles to fund conservation efforts, has been made.”
Edna Molewa 2013 March – Statement issued in the 8th March;
Update for Rhinoceros poaching 15th March 2013 is 158 Poached dead https://www.environment.gov.za/?q=content/stats_rhino_poaching_update
We were concerned about this statement though of which is going in favour of the hunting fraternity that see sustainable utilization as the only answer to control “species over population”. In our eyes there is no such thing as “animal species over population”. Our concepts are clear of which habitat destruction is the main number one issue that has to be tackled. The DEA minster quoted;
“South Africa’s position will be informed by, and based on, sustainable use principles with the long term conservation of species as the overall objective. Proposals that will ensure responsible utilization and conservation of the species concerned will be supported by South Africa”.
“Over 90 per cent of Africa’s white rhino and approximately 35% of Africa’s black rhino occur in South Africa. Rhino populations occur in formally proclaimed conservation areas as well as on private land, with the private sector contributing approximately 2.2 million hectares of land towards rhino conservation, with more than 4 000 rhino in private ownership. The populations occur throughout South Africa in all its provinces”.
“South Africa developed a Biodiversity Management Plan (BMP) for the Black rhino, aimed at ensuring the long-term survival in nature of the species, and is in the process of developing a BMP for white rhino. Key elements are the maintenance of existing ranges, the promotion of long term genetic viability and the establishment of new viable populations. South Africa shared information relating to the status of its rhino populations and interventions implemented and planned to secure its long term survival”.
South Africa has seen an increase in the illegal killing of its rhinoceros population, especially the white rhino population in the Kruger National Park where 425 animals have been poached for its horns in 2012.
While it is clear that rhino poaching has increased, so too has the focus and activities of the South African security forces in attempts to protect the rhino. South Africa has implemented various measures to counter the slaughtering of its rhino population, but 2012 saw the greatest number of rhinoceros killed in a single year, i.e. 668.
The side event at CITES CoP 16 was intended to show participants, attending the CoP, what South Africa has done in the fight against the illegal killing of rhino and illegal trade in rhino horn; and what additional measures are required to ensure the safety and security of our rhinoceros population.
The current annotation to the Appendix II listing of the white rhino populations of South Africa and Swaziland restricts trade to live specimens to appropriate and acceptable destinations and hunting trophies. A proposal to prohibit the export of hunting trophies until at least CoP 18 was submitted by a Party for consideration to the 16th CoP to CITES. This proposal was opposed by South Africa and Swaziland and it highlighted the need to have a discussion on the role of trade in the conservation of the species. During the side event presentations were made to elicit discussions relating to this important topic.
The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) is currently leading the development of the UNEP-GEF project ‘Strengthening Law Enforcement Capabilities to Combat Wildlife Crime for Conservation and Sustainable Use of Species in South Africa (target: Rhinoceros)’. The main aim of the GEF project is to improve the forensic and intelligence/information sharing capabilities of relevant groups to better control the recent upsurge in poaching of rhinoceros in South Africa’s protected area network, especially Kruger National Park. South Africa shared the information relating to the project with the CITES Parties and NGO community.
South Africa participated in the CITES and Livelihoods side event that reflected on the role international trade plays in terms of livelihoods of communities and the challenges and opportunities that it presents. The case study of the Tyhefu Traditional Council Aloe Project was presented by a community member of the project itself, Mr Mangwanandile Witness Mjoli.
Please read below the key components for your interest;
One must not yet look at everything in all doom and gloom, the facts have been clearly stipulated and proven above, we must now all work as an international TEAM to combat illegal poaching, reduce demand, and protect our species of which transnational law enforcement forces are now undertaking. We must also remember that the Rhinoceros horn trade HAS NOT been lifted and the Rhinoceros is still listed as near threatened and not vulnerable.
Focusing on these key important areas thus using every piece of technology, equipment, funding, team work and more must NOW be seen as critically important for the next meeting at CoP 17 to be held in South Africa.
Thank you for reading
International Animal Rescue Foundation
Youth Ambassadors China, Amazonia, America, Malaysia
http://www.grida.no/publications/rr/elephants/ (THE CRISIS CAN BE ADDRESSED)
There are 500,000 African Elephants left in the wild – Please download the most comprehensive and up to date research. Please watch the video above as it’s most important. There is also a 40Mb Pdf FILE that you can download. ELEPHANT range is now second to POACHING – Agriculture, supplying markets outside of Africa, land conversions from which South Africa ha now ceased all migrants from purchasing land so South Africa has known of this problem for some time. Habitual loss and human over population are KILLING the Elephants too. This now MUST be seen as MOST important that need’s tackling.. 60% decline is very worrying
RRAivory_draft7 Download Elephants in the Dust
25,000 left in the wild however hunting is declining in this with increased crime efforts to combat illegal trade and wildlife trade in vulnerable species.
Could the worlds tiniest monkey help unravel the mysterious origins of Homo floresiensis the Hobbit human relative? Emergence of The Hobbits skull is similar to that of a taller hominin, Homo erectus. This suggests to some that the Homo floresiensis, whose remains were found on an Indonesian island ten years ago, was a dwarf species that evolved from this larger one.
However its brain and teeth are proportionally much smaller than in typical dwarf species which others say indicates the Hobbit is merely and unusual form of our species. But perhaps the Hobbit was not a typical dwarf.
Scientist’s that observed Pygmy Marmosets Callithrix pygmaea, quoted they too have previously been put forward as a dwarf species but, again have unusually small teeth. This pinpointed against dwarfism of which scientists are using a primate evolutionary tree, scientists have confirmed that these monkeys did evolve from larger ancestors and undergo dwarfism.
So why do they have such small teeth?
The evolution of such a small species usually involves shortening the length of pregnancy or infancy, but recently it has been suggested that there might be a more unusual route: pregnancy length stays the same but the growth of the fetes slows down. This might influence brain and tooth size as they develop early.
Scientists found that the Pygmy Marmoset’s pregnancy and infancy are similar in length to their evolutionarily close, larger relations.
This suggests the unconventional route to small stature (Journal of Biology 2000).
If Homo floresiensis is a dwarf, one of the controversies has been whether it fits with previous patterns of dwarfism. The new analysis suggests it may fit with what is seen in Pygmy marmosets. Some scientists are not convinced though stating that its adamant that the Hobbit is simply a diseased member of our species however other critics state the analysis makes a strong case that primate can undergo dwarfism.
The first set of remains to have been found, LB1, was chosen as the type specimen for the proposed species. LB1 is a fairly complete skeleton, including a nearly complete cranium (skull), determined to be that of a 30-year-old female. LB1 has been nicknamed the Little Lady of Flores or “Flo”.
LB1’s height has been estimated at about 1.06 m (3 ft. 6 in). The height of a second skeleton, LB8, has been estimated at 1.09 m (3 ft. 7 in) based on measurements of its tibia. These estimates are outside the range of normal modern human height and considerably shorter than the average adult height of even the smallest modern humans, such as the Mbenga and Mbuti (< 1.5 m (4 ft. 11 in) Twa, Semang (1.37 m (4 ft. 6 in) for adult women) of the Malay Peninsula, or the Andamanese (1.37 m (4 ft. 6 in) for adult women).
By body mass, differences between modern Pygmies and Homo floresiensis are even greater. LB1’s body mass has been estimated at 25 kg (55 lb.). This is smaller than that of not only modern H. sapiens, but also H. erectus, which Brown and colleagues have suggested is the immediate ancestor of H. floresiensis. LB1 and LB8 are also somewhat smaller than the australopithecines from three million years ago, not previously thought to have expanded beyond Africa. Thus, LB1 and LB8 may be the shortest and smallest members of the extended human family discovered thus far.
Could the Scientists be correct, could the “cause for debate” simply be a diseased relative?
Laron syndrome is a disorder chiefly characterized by marked short stature. Signs and symptoms in the newborn period typically include low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and having an unusually small penis (micropenis). Affected children have slow and disproportionate growth, delayed motor development due to decreased muscle mass, and delayed puberty. Other signs and symptoms include distinctive facial features (protruding and high forehead, shallow eye sockets, underdeveloped nasal bridge and small chin); delayed teething; a high-pitched voice; thin bones and skin; and decreased sweating (hypohidrosis). It is often caused by mutations in the GHR gene and is inherited in an autosomal recessive manner. Treatment focuses on improving growth and includes injections of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) and a diet with adequate calories.[
The pygmy marmoset is 4 1/2 to 6 inches long with a 7 to 9 inch tail. It weighs 3 5/8 to 4 ounces. It is the smallest monkey in the world. The fur on its hair is long, forming a cape or hood. Its color is tawny and speckled. It has barely visible rings of black and tawny on its tail. Its fingers and toes have claws.
The pygmy marmoset lives in groups and pairs. Groups contain one breeding pair and 3 to 7 offspring. The older offspring help to take care of the youngest or new offspring of the pair after the first few weeks. The first few weeks the father takes care of the young except during nursing.
There is no apparent breeding season for the pygmy marmoset and it most likely breeds twice per year. The gestation or pregnancy lasts 130 to 150 days. Twins are most common. Single births are rare. The young suckles for 3 months before it is weaned. Both males and females become sexually mature between 1 and 1 1/2 years old. The lifespan of the pygmy marmoset may reach up to 12 years which is long in relation to the animal’s size.
They pygmy marmoset, like most marmosets, eats the gum of trees as its main source of food. However, unlike most marmosets that search for new sources each day the pygmy marmoset gouges about 10 holes in the bark each day, scent marks the tree and then returns later to scrape up the liquid oozing out of the tree with its teeth. It also eats nectar, fruits and small creatures like grubs and spiders. The pygmy marmoset is located in South America. It is arboreal so requires trees to spend its life in so occupies tropical and floodplain forest habitats.
The pygmy marmoset is classified least concern on the IUCN (International Union of Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) red list of threatened species. This classification is the lowest and means the species has a large widespread, population and no current threats that would likely decrease its population in the foreseeable future.
International Animal Rescue Foundation Forestry Conservation & Speciesism Watch
The big cat family we absolutely adore within the animal kingdom that have roamed for planet for over a million years virtually left untouched by man, consumer greed, increasing wildlife part medicine trade and fur/skin trade, to habitual destruction, agriculture, pet trade, mining, pollution and human species conflict. (Picture above is Eurasian lynx)
Wild cats are one of a prized species of wild felidae’s that share almost the same appearances but are not all generically related to one another such as the Tiger and Lion, and of course all being prime carnivores that hunt their prey stealthy, with precision speed, compact agility, and power to stay alive in today’s demanding and competitive world.
Mostly nocturnal they will take their prey in the dead of night or early mornings. The larger felid family though that have no real known predators will hunt both morning and night to sustain their colossal carnivorous diet that normally ranges in between 11Lb and 25Lb of fresh hunted meat a day every day. We have heard of “one to two” larger felids consuming a plant based diet however it’s unheard of and [very rarely] practised in the Zoological society, this diet can also cause malnutrition and severe illness, arthritis, bone and skin disease to eventual death.
Over one hundred years ago the population sizes of our most precious wild cats that range from Lions, Cheetahs, Tigers, Jaguar, Jungle Cat, to the Pampas cat down to the near threatened [NT] Sand Cat that is almost identical to the domestic feline cat Felis silvestris catus populated the earth in the thousands.
Unfortunately we are now losing our wild cats very rapidly for many reasons that we can as a human species control if other nations reduced a range of environmentally damaging factors such as mining, palm oil to and poaching, pet trade and a vast reduction in fur trade both legal and illegal that’s seen many celebrities that was against fur now return to this repulsive trade.
Those celebrities were adored by many for their stance against the fur trade, environmentalists and activists were most thankful regarding the awareness they created thus educating many, sadly with so many now returning to their old past life style behaviour more animals suffer with many wildcats pushed to nearing extinction.
There are some thirty six species of wild cats within today’s world of which some are listed as least concern [LC] on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature [IUCN] to others that are critically endangered [CR] only living in the hundreds, to the Amur that’s population count stands at a mere thirty individual cats left within the Eastern European wild.
The most precious critically endangered wild cats that still inhabit the earth in small populations are going to be pushed to extinction within the next three to five years unless immediate action is taken by Asia and Eastern Europe “members of the Cites agreement” in ceasing the illegal wildlife parts trade imminently.
Since the start of the Cites summit in Bangkok, Thailand 4th March 2013 from which 35,000 species of animals and plants fall under the Washington agreement there was very little mention with regards to the wildcats, no sanctions placed against China or Thailand in banning them from all importations of all 35,000 species which would have been seen as exceptional punishment for trade and poaching violations.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species and the I.U.C.N did explain 10th March 2013 that more Bengal Tigers were to be pushed into the wild thus increasing population size. The problems we see though with the Tiger Bone Wine trade. Is how can one possibly protect our Bengal or Sumatran unless imminent sanctions are placed to at least give populations time to increase.(Picture above is the Serval)
Pushing more species into the wild is merely pushing them into the poacher’s hands thus increasing more money and demand. Please view this link. https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=176332405848682&id=199685603444685
Immediate action must now be implemented to end the barbaric Traditional Chinese Medicine [TCM] and Traditional Indian Medicine [TIM] trade cultures that are seeing many animals slaughtered for their bones, claws, skins, to organs, and genitals for fake medicines, cultural myths and urban legends that supposedly bring you luck and good will to improving one’s health which is complete fantasy.
I have identified, detailed and highlighted some of the most precious and extremely endangered wildcats from the least concern to critically endangered, that still inhabit the earth today.
The thirty six wildcats within the wild are as follows;
The African Golden Cat, Asian Golden Cat, Andean Mountain Cat, Bay Cat, Black-footed Cat, Bobcat, Caracal, Cheetah, Chinese Desert Cat, Clouded Leopard, Cougar, Fishing Cat, Flat-headed Cat, Geoffrey’s Cat, Iriomote Cat, Jaguar, Jaguarundi, Jungle Cat, Kodkod, Leopard, Leopard Cat, Lion, Little Spotted Cat, Lynx Canadian, Lynx Eurasian, Lynx Spanish, Margay, Marbled Cat, Ocelot, Pallas Cat, Pampas Cat, Rusty-Spotted Cat, Sand Cat, Serval, Snow Leopard, Tiger, Wildcat-African, Wildcat-Asiatic, Wildcat-European.
All thirty six cats are of the most colourful, powerful, yet stunning, skilled hunting mammals that still walk the earth today, unfortunately as explained they are under enormous threat and we cannot as conservationists to the general public just simply look at the most critically endangered thus leaving others out of the equation. We have to look at the entire race in the same identical fashion to all flora and fauna that inhabits this destructive world.
Should we lose our concentration or let ones guard down we will most certainly view more species pushed further to the end of the cliff like lemmings, thus losing some of the most beautiful species of wildcats that have roamed shifting continental plates for hundreds of thousands of years.
All thirty six species of wild cats inhabit Africa, Asia, North America, South America, and Europe and the Middle East [United Arab Emirates], most populations and species are normally located within the warmer climates, with few species such as the Snow Leopard Panthera uncia located high above sea level in the snowy cold central mountains regions of Asia throughout Pakistan, and Afghanistan to China.(Picture above is the Canadian Lynx)
Panthera unicia is native to these areas yet regrettably being pushed higher up the ridges as their own prey that ranges from the Yak, agricultural wild stock to rabbit and birds are losing their own territory that they would normally feed on due to an array of reasons from climate change, habitual destruction, and pollution to over grazing which is rapidly seeing the Panthera unicia lose its fight for survival.
FELID HISTORY PAST & PRESENT;
The earliest fossil records of the modern felid ancestors come from a period of just under 10 million years ago. However findings of such fossils are rare and it is difficult to piece together a comprehensive picture of the early relationship between the felid species.
The small cats, those grouped in the “genus felis”, are poorly represented, with the exception that is, of the ancestor of the modern day Lynx. The early descendants of the lynx first appeared around four million years ago and are known as the Issoire Lynx (Lynx issidorensis).
This early Lynx was larger than the forms found today and is said more to resemble those species from the genus felis, notably in having shorter legs than the lynx of today.
It is now commonly believed that the Jaguar and Leopard both share a common ancestry, centred in Eurasia a little over 2 million years ago. However whereas the Leopard spread west into Europe the early Jaguar travelled east and crossed the Bering land bridge into North America. The early Jaguars that inhabited the Americas were both larger and longer legged than the modern species.
Ancestral Tigers were thought to have originated from Central Asia and China and spread out both east and west to cover most of Asia from the Caspian Sea to the Russian Far East. It is thought that the modern day Tiger, found in northern China is “perhaps” the closest direct ancestor of the earliest forms of the species.
Fossil records indicated that the Lion appeared on the scene considerably more recently than the other members on the genus Panthera. The earliest known records date back to around 750,000 years ago and stem from Western Africa. From here Lions spread north into Asia and Europe, were the Cave lion (Panthera spelaea) and Tuscany Lion were found in the Balkans and Northern Italy respectively.
The ancestral Lion also crossed from [Asia] into North America and the American lion (Panthera atrox) spread south as far as Peru. It is believed the Lion species evolved from eastern Asia of which then introduced “sub-species” within central Africa.
Early forms of the Cheetah are also believed to have inhabited North America as far back as 2½ million years ago (Acinonyx studeri) to as recently as 12,000 years ago in the smaller form of Acinonyx trumani. The early ‘Old World’ form, Acinonyx pardinensis found in Europe, closely resembled the modern day cheetah apart from being noticeably larger.
There are twenty-six species of “small wild cats belonging to the same group or genus as the domestic cat”, identified as the Felis, and these, together with three species of Lynx, six species of large cats (Panthera), and the cheetah (Acinonyx), make up the family of the Felidae which completes the full set of living species numbering thirty six, excluding though all domestic species of Feline.
There are currently over 73 breeds of domesticated cats recognized by the IPCBA (International Progressive Cat Breeders Alliance), while the more conservative CFA (Cat Fanciers’ Association) gives the nod to only 41. Developing and registering a new breed of cats is a long, involved progress, and not every attempt is successful. For example, the CFA steadfastly refused to admit cats bred from “wild stock,” such as the Bengal, or the Savannah, although these breeds are both accepted by TICA and IPCBA.
There are 45 titled in this link of which extra non-classified members such as the White Lion, White Tiger I have placed herewith for your interest – However please note that there are only 36 recognized wild true species alive. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=445618188851424&set=a.445618178851425.1073741826.199685603444685&type=1&theater
With the exception of the Cheetah, the felids are a contiguous group of meat-eaters which are all recognizable as belonging to the same family of mammal. They all have long legs, short faces, and sleek, athletic bodies with beautiful coats.
In addition, they can all retract their claws, have a keenly developed sense of smell, and they all purr. With the exception of the lion and two sub species of critically endangered Asian wildcat, all the felids are solitary hunters, kill rather small prey, and usually hunt at night. Interestingly, the lion is the most social of the felids, and lives and hunts in a family group which we call a “pride”, we note that not all wildcats that live within “social groups” are clearly identified as a [pride] though.
It is now thought that because the diet of the cat has remained the same for thousands of years, this may explain why the thirty six species of wildcats resemble each other so closely, with the exception of their size and the traits necessary for appropriate camouflage.(Picture above is Ocelot)
Cats have had no reason to change! Excellent hunters since the Lynx-like “Ur-cat” of the Miocene from whom the modern cats descend, the cats have had no need to adjust their bodies or their diets in response to major changes in the world’s climate. This is because the diets of the cats didn’t change. To a cat, a fish that eats algae, a bird that eats berries, and a giraffe that eats acacias are all meat for the hunting.
So while the glaciers came and went, while the vegetarians struggled to try and digest new plants and adapt themselves to overwhelming global changes, the cats simply kept on hunting, waiting to pounce on whatever managed to survive into the next epoch. It is the same limber body of the cat that hunted successfully in the Pliocene that hunts successfully today. – http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/tertiary/pliocene.php
WHY ARE THE NUMBERS OF FELIDS REDUCING?
- Illegal wildlife trade that mixes clothing with fake Asian medicine – Funding off illegal arms with regards to local and international civil war and terrorism. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/dec/12/wildlife-trafficking-national-security-wwf
- Over hunting that’s not seeing the species rejuvenate in time. http://www.africanskyhunting.co.za/trophies/lion-hunting.html
- Habitual destruction/depletion of natural resources that wildcats rely on caused mainly from commercial and domestic construction and trade such as the manufacture of the palm oil plantations, over grazing, pollution, deforestation, over population of which the Planet Earth has some 800+ billion people that inhabits the earth with one child born every minute. http://uk.oneworld.net/article/view/166165/1/
- Human and species conflict which unfortunately see’s wild cats always come the worst off, slaughtered in the most extreme sickening ritualistic fashions, mostly by armed gangs seeking revenge for an attack on family and/or friends.
- Capture and breeding – We now have more Bengal Tigers in Chinese and Thailand zoo’s and temples that are being kept in the most appalling of conditions, then left to starve for the production of Tiger Bone Wine and now Lions are being slaughtered for counterfeit Tiger Bone Wine. Lions are mostly hunted then their bones are sent to Asia via the hunter that makes vast sums of return money. Whereas the Tiger as explained above is left to starve to death then their bodies are stripped from the bones and placed within a vat of Rice Wine which apparently in Chinese medicine cures many diseases, improves impotency, and now cures Human immunodeficiency virus which is complete and utter nonsense. Tiger Bone Wine like Rhinoceros horn doesn’t cure any illness, and never has, it is complete myth. http://mg.co.za/article/2012-07-04-sa-breeders-embrace-growing-asian-demand-for-lion-bones http://www.lionaid.org/blog/2012/09/concentration-camps-for-tigers-in-china.htm
- Hunting traps that poachers or illegal hunters have set for smaller animals or primates that are lain down near commercial land of their own accord or have been paid by palm plantations, or mine owners to keep roaming predators away from working areas. The innocent Tiger or Leopard then accidently roams into these areas that were once their homes just to have their leg caught in a snare/trap. The more they struggle the more the snare or metal trap tightens. It has been noted that some cats have been left for days if not weeks in these traps from which they are then slaughtered by the poacher/hunter or humanely euthanized by a rescue unit that gets to them first or are called by the forestry commission. http://www.eyesontheforest.or.id/?page=news&action=view&id=561
- Pollutions and poisons – This year already we have seen 1 Bengal Tiger that was poisoned found floating in a river. We are not sure of the outcome of this investigation as yet. It could be a silent poaching incident, deliberate poisons to keep Tigers and other big cats out of populated villages, or commercial poisoning that we are now seeing on a regular basis. This commercial poisoning was also linked although not yet proved to be the cause of death of over 16 Pygmy Elephants next to plantations that grow palm oil trees. http://edition.cnn.com/2013/01/31/world/asia/malaysia-pygmy-elephants – https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=565401643478744&set=a.400871756598401.99979.400620306623546&type=1&theater
The main losses to our wild cat populations are primarily due to poaching, illegal wildlife trade for fake Asian medicine that doesn’t cure any illnesses at all or increase sexual libido, Tiger/Lion bone wine trade, habitat fragmentation, and retributive killing which is seen more in India, Indonesia Thailand and Malaysia.
The cats wander into what was their own territory that results in possible attacks on human’s mostly causing serious injury or great fatalities. As there are no wildlife officers within many regions they cannot get to the scene fast enough to halt the vigilante gangs that then proceed to hunt the wild cat down. Sadly the wild cat is stoned, whipped with metal chains or sticks, or on one case this month trapped into a cage then set alight. The Leopard suffered horrendously taking some toe to five minutes to perish in excruciating agony. . One report here http://www.indianexpress.com/news/3-leopards-killed-in-4-days-no-arrests-yet/1085525/ quotes how a Leopard was “axed to death” with another here http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4652281/girl-killed-by-leopard.html that reports a child was snatched by a Leopard then mutilated, there are no other reports on this sickening yet concerning story.
SPECIES IN DANGER WORLDWIDE;
All species listed below are of concern to International Animal Rescue Foundation © and all other conservation societies. Red listings have been updated from various lists that have failed to update their classifications. We have as an organisation since contacted them to inform them of their update.
Africa – Lion (Panthera leo, – (Vulnerable as listed on the IUCN Red List)
Cheetah Acinonyx jubatus (Vulnerable as listed on the IUCN Red List)
Both species are currently under enormous threat not to mention that they are also still canned hunt which International Animal Rescue Foundation© is currently working to put an end too.
The Lion (Panthera leo) numbers have dropped to as low as 32,000, down from nearly 100,000 just 50 years ago, the research is the most comprehensive assessment of lion numbers to date for December end.
(Extracted data) 2012
African savannahs are defined 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 Doris Duke Chair of Conservation at Duke University. “The reality is that from an original area a third larger than the continental United States, only 25% remains.” In comparison, 30% of the world’s original rain forests remain.
Lions in West Africa are at highest level of risk, researchers found. “The Lions in West Africa have suffered the greatest declines,” said Andrew Jacobson, another co-author from Duke. “Giving these Lions something of a fighting chance will require substantial increases in effort. The next 10 years are decisive for this region, not just for lions but for biodiversity, since Lions are indicators of ecosystem health.”
(End of Extract)–
Should the ecological systems that the Lion uses to hunt within, then be fragmentised even more, it will push the Lions prey that range from Kudu to Impala, Antelope and more away thus placing other species of animals in danger from lack of food and water sources.
The Lion and Cheetah requires these eco systems as they hunt using stealth tactics, and the grasses and high plains is what the female Lioness use as basic camouflage and safe haven to keep her cubs safe from other predators such as the Hyena, and wild dogs.
Should botanical ecosystems such as tree’s and grassland’s swamps, marshes and lowland scrub plants then come under threat from habitat destruction, pollution, and climatological destruction then the big cats prey and both Lion and Cheetah are forced to move on thus placing more areas in danger. The prey the Lion and Cheetah feed on could also become under immense threat thus causing eventually massive ecological catastrophic failure leading to one or more species pushed further into extinction.
Climate change and over population within Africa is now seriously playing a copious role with regards to the decrease in Lion species from which if no immediate and direct action is taken to sustain the species and environment then we could lose them in less than 10 years 2018 being the starting point of overall lion species decline.
Pseudo hunting, and the decreasing numbers of the world’s remaining Tiger populations in Russia and Asia is seeing the Lions exploited for fake medicine and counterfeit Tiger Bone wine. We now have on average within Africa a rough total of 32,000 Lions in the wild with numbers decreasing rapidly.
BRIEF TIGER BONE HISTORY;
As wild-tiger populations dwindle, poachers are now turning to Lions to feed the insatiable Chinese appetite for potions made from big-cat bones. The Lion is genetically similar to the Tiger and therefore Lion bone can be promoted as having similar healing properties.
The most infamous Tiger-breeding farm in China, Xiongsen Tiger & Bear Mountain Village in Guilin has bred many hundreds of Lions as well as Tigers with Tiger-bone wine openly on sale at the park. http://iheartchina.com/location/Xiongsen-Bear-and-Tiger-Mountain-Village – http://www.china-tour.cn/Guilin/The-Bear-and-Tiger-Village.htm
The endangered Asiatic Lion population in India is initially most at risk. In 2007, the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) raised the alarm that a new phase in wildlife poaching to meet Chinese demands could wipe out the world’s only Asiatic Lion population.
WPSI said: “This serious new development points to the fact that since Tigers are so scarce in the wild, these 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’. – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asiatic_lion
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.
As well as Asiatic Lions, this trade is threatening the already-declining African Lion population and demand for Lion bone may also be met by Lion farmers in South Africa.
In December 2009, the Department of Environment, Tourism and Economic Affairs, Free State Province approved the export of Lion bones from a captive-Lion-breeding facility. Please read the information below from www.cannedlion.org
“On Tuesday, 1st December 2009, the permit committee of the Department of Environment, Tourism and Economic Affairs, Free State Province decided to approve the permits for the exportation of Lion bones to one Cobus van der Westhuizen.
The Free State is one of the worst provinces in South Africa for captive Lion breeding. Lions are bred in South Africa in enclosures, just as a Pig farmer breeds Pigs in crates, for slaughter. The difference between raising Pigs and raising Lions is that the Lion abattoir has been turned into a lucrative ‘sport,’ colloquially called ‘canned Lion hunting.’ Various spin-offs from this grisly trade have already been successfully established, including cub-petting, walking with young lions, and the promotion in USA of Lion meat consumption which is still on-going.
International Animal Rescue Foundation © is aware off seven cub petting and walking with African wildcats off which one has British and Dutch Links named as the Daniels Cheetah Foundation run and owned by Wild Cats World and one concealed British owner that we believe to have some form of operation in.(Picture above is the Bengal Tiger)
On challenging this owner 2012 August of which it was clearly evident that there was a colossal six breeding farms and abattoirs within the vicinity we was threatened along with others too that had made attempts to question the owners in Holland.
We have tried to warn the government and many other’s from which we would not off been made aware unless the general public that had visited, viewed and raised questions to then contacting ourselves and others of this situation. Canned hunters have been linked to the vicinity, however we have been refused to meet in person to even attacked verbally via email communications.
We have serious problems in SA regarding conservation of biodiversity, due partly to a well-orchestrated campaign against any civilized notion of animal welfare, and partly to dysfunctionality in many areas of conservation – especially in some provinces. Now, with the approval of the permit, our worst fears and imaginings have been realized.
The door to the huge market for “Tiger bone” in Asia has been opened. Furthermore, *the demand for free-ranging Lion bone is much higher than that for captive Lions* and we fear the worst for our African Lion populations. Big money is involved, and we all know what that means.
Should the remaining 1,500+ plus Wild Tigers be pushed to extinction then our Lion’s will most certainly be next. International Animal Rescue Foundation’s © Conservation Crimes team have noted many bones up for sale on African and European classified advertisement’s from which every single buyer is purchasing from the the nations of Thailand, Vietnam, China, ,Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and again the United States to the even United Kingdom (London – China Town)
Cheetah – Acinonyx jubatus
The Cheetah species is within the same predicament as the Lion although there is no proof as of yet that they are being used for the making of Traditional Chinese Medicine as “yet” however the threat is still there should we lose our Tiger and even Lion species. We must also point that other species of Asian cats are being used for substituted Tiger Bone Wine then mislabelled as Tiger Bone Wine that in turn keeps the demand up.
“Illegal hunting within Africa, and India, to poaching all play a role within the decrease off populations off one of the world’s fastest land mammal”
Cheetahs are mostly hunted however we have noted within many road side seizures and arrests that Cheetahs are being used mainly in the production of Eastern European and Asian home decors, coats, rugs, carpets and upholstery to even “fur ornaments” that is seen within Europe as the new craze. This trend though is mostly confined to Russia, Poland, Czech Republic, Serbia, Kosovo, and Romania.
Hunters will obtain a permit to hunt of which they know that the skins in the black market and fur trade can actually fetch them depending on the size and age of the Cheetah up to $80,000 per skin. We ourselves have also noted on Russian EBay and classified advertisements some furs selling for up to $100,000. All sales are conducted from what appears to be a “shop on line” however on later investigations via meetings and Internet Protocol search the owners actually turn out to be hunters living in a house within Moscow.
One site under investigation was a Russian site named as www.avito.ru that had a total of 4 Tiger skins on sale, Leopard, Zebra, and Giraffe, Lion and many illegal arms, to even Rocket Propelled Grenade Launchers. The site has since been ordered to remove and the traders arrested that had breached the Russian environmental and poaching laws. Law enforcement has also since become involved within Moscow based on our reports from January 2012 after investigating an [unnamed fur trader].(Picture above is the Borneo Bay Cat)
The hunter would normally pay in between $20,000 and $30,000 for a hunting holiday of which they know they can easily obtain a much higher revenue back on the taxidermist product itself, which is [unusual to see] from a finished dipped and shipped trophy however intelligent and supplicated criminals have the knowhow on removing then selling on which does concern us as the hunting trade is being exploited in all directions. We will continue to demand a moratorium on hunting investigating and analysing all avenues until it is drafted into place.
The problem is without adequate policing agencies to help in gathering this intelligence then sadly this will be a long drawn out battle that will see some of our wildcats and other larger mammalians pushed further to extinction.
“Poaching as explained above is on the increase and this again relays back to the European and American fur trade market”.
With the fur trade now taking off again and skins to rugs fetching enormous prices then sadly the poachers will continue to desolate our wild Cheetah species more, the imitation products [fake Leopard and Cheetah] skins are also increasing the [demand] for the real item that buyers quote “there’s nothing better than having top quality animal fur to keep you warm in the winter months”.
Cheetah cubs also have a high mortality rate that regrettably see’s mum lose two to three of her cubs from natural deaths, Lion or Hyena attacks. It has been suggested that the low genetic diversity of Cheetahs is a cause of poor sperm, birth defects, cramped teeth, curled tails, and bent limbs. Some biologists even believe that they are too inbred to flourish as a species
The species has been re-introduced back in to India as of the populations being desolated by hunting, illegal poaching, habitual destruction, and human species conflict. Cheetahs where currently extinct in India form the 1940’s however conservationists have pushed them into India that has seen some success although minimal.
It has also been suggested although again we have seen no current recent evidence of importing, that South Africa is importing Cheetahs into India, which is fair as long as they are introduced into well managed zones that are away from the general public, with efforts to combat poaching in these areas.
Leopard – Panthera pardus
The Leopard is currently listed as near threatened off which we do believe that should poaching, habitual destruction, pseudo hunting, illegal hunting, human species conflict and better park management not improve within the next ten to fifteen years then we could see the Leopard at critical point.
The Tiger species must be preserved and education to awareness within the fur trade must be paramount to demonstrate to buyers what carnage they are causing. Leopards are virtually solitary cats that are occasionally mistaken for the Cheetah.
Leopard species are located in Siberia, Russia, South Africa and Africa as a whole with some states seeing them extinct. Asia holds the current highest populations although both Africa and Indian critics quote different.
In 2008, the IUCN stated that leopards may soon move from a “Near Threatened” to “Vulnerable” status due to heavy hunting and poaching mainly for the commercial trade in Asia, persecution due to human-conflict situations, poorly managed legal trophy hunting, and habitat loss and fragmentation. Leopards are also persecuted in Africa by local tribes who use leopard skins for ceremonial dress and body parts for traditional uses.
African cats that are listed within the International Union for Conservation of Nature
- African Golden Cat – Profelis aurata – Near Threatened
- Black Footed Cat – Felis nigripes – Vulnerable
- Sand cat – Felis margarita – Near Threatened (located in mainly Asia although some species have been found in the African Sahara
- Lion – Panthera Leo – Vulnerable
- Cheetah – Acinonyx jubatus – Vulnerbale
All other remaining wildcats from the Serval to Caracal are of least concern on the IUCN list [however as explained this could change if we see the entire Tiger species wiped out].
North America big cats range from the Bob Cat, Puma, Canadian Lynx, Jaguar, Jaguarundi, and the Ocelot. Although we are not seeing a great decline the Jaguar is of the most important in this region of which there numbers are decreasing rapidly.
Panthera onca better known as the Jaguar is now near threatened of which we do believe is soon going to be moved up to vulnerable status for many reasons that I have listed below;
- Farms, ranches, mines, roads, towns, residential subdivisions and border infrastructure are increasingly being built in areas important to Jaguar survival, destroying Jaguar habitat and blocking migration routes.
- Human species conflict although rare in these dense forests where many plantations from Palm oil to Cocaine and Cannabis fields are grown, conflict still occurs. Most individuals in these areas carry hunting rifles or hand pistols that then take the cat down should conflict or intrusion occur.
- Palm oil plantations are a massive risk to the Jaguar as explained and should reduction in obsessive consumer demand not decrease or other alternatives be used, regrettably there will be a substantial decrease in numbers.
- Poaching is a major worry as usual with regards to the fur trade, and animal parts trade. The Jaguar is used mainly though for its skin as it brings in much illegal black market revenue. Native and non-native settlers that reside in the forest of Amazonia also hunt the Jaguar for bush meat.
- Their life span is crucial at such a small age from which they face many threats from snares, and the tropical pet trade.
Jaguars are the largest of South America’s big cats. They once roamed from the southern tip of South America’s continent north to the region surrounding the U.S.-Mexico border. Today significant numbers of Jaguars are found only in remote regions of South and Central America—particularly in the Amazon basin.
These beautiful and powerful beasts were prominent in ancient Native American cultures. In some traditions the Jaguar God of the Night was the formidable lord of the underworld. The name Jaguar is derived from the Native American word yaguar, which means “he who kills with one leap.”
Unlike many other cats, Jaguars do not avoid water, in fact, they are quite good swimmers. Rivers provide prey in the form of fish, Turtles, or Caimans—small, Alligator like animals. Jaguars also eat larger animals such as Deer, Peccaries, Capybaras, and Tapirs. They sometimes climb trees to prepare an ambush, killing their prey with one powerful bite.
Most Jaguars are tan or orange with distinctive black spots, dubbed “rosettes” because they are shaped like roses. Some jaguars are so dark they appear to be spotless, though their markings can be seen on closer inspection.
Jaguars live alone and define territories of many square miles by marking with their waste or clawing trees.
Females have litters of one to four cubs, which are blind and helpless at birth. The mother stays with them and defends them fiercely from any animal that may approach—even their own father. Young Jaguars learn to hunt by living with their mothers for two years or more.
South America consists of ten species of wild cats that are native to both South and North America and are mostly confined to the regions of Amazonia. As listed on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature the three wild cats that are most at risk are the Jaguar as explained above that’s now moved from vulnerable status to endangered, the Andean Mountain Cat of which should no major conservation efforts be enforced then we will lose these cats in 1-5 years if that, and the Kodkod Leopardus guigna that’s listed as vulnerable that’s similar in appearance the Andean cat.
Andean Mountain Cat – Leopardus jacobita
There are now no fewer than 2000 of the Andean Mountain Cat left in the wild with very few in Zoological Gardens. The Andean Mountain Cat is nearing extinction rapidly and within our eyes it would be seen as professional to then take at least a half of these cats then place them in to protective captivity to push numbers up thus after releasing into a protective wild reserve increasing numbers more. Once numbers are within the thousand mark then a slow release into the wild must begin.
There are no known sub species although this still has to be ascertained as the Andean cat was only discovered by conservation biologists in the late 1980’s.
Threats that face the Andean Mountain Cat are listed below;
- Climate change is playing a huge factor in the reduction off numbers.
- Deforestation is making a huge impact on the desolation of numbers from which the Andean Mountain Cat lives within tall grass lands and areas that food is widely available, yet now rapidly decreasing. Illegal and sustainable logging is damaging the surrounding ecosystem thus reducing the numbers via starvation or taking much larger risks to obtain prey within its own predator’s areas. Viscachas and Chinchillas, small birds and even Lizards are all being pushed out of the Andean’s cat ecosphere which will eventually kill the species of.
- Tropical pet trade is also a player in this area as their likeness to the actual domestic cat, the female (Queen) as it is better known has very small kittens that can fetch anywhere in between $500 to $5000 on the black market.
- Species competiveness/conflict, within the Andes range, there are other species of my larger cat such as the Puma, Pampas cat, and Jaguar that all compete to survive and within such harsh environments that’s coupled with illegal logging, mining, agriculture and poaching competing to stay alive and being one of the most smallest out of the wild cats of which the Andean Mountain Cat is no larger than a domestic pedigree cat is difficult for them to live and survive in now cramped zones. The Andeans cat’s kittens are also small prey for the larger cat of which the Tom (male) will occasionally guard the kittens however this is not always the case and mom will/can lose up to 2-3 “kids” if not “all” from predators that are all hunting within the same areas. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andean_mountain_cat please read more regarding this cat within the link provided. Please also note that more has to be done to now conserve these very small and agile cats.
Kodkod – Leopardus guigna
The Kodkod is the smallest cat within the region of South America of which Argentina and Brazilian conservationists have numbered the cats population to be no higher than 7,000 now from which only three years ago there was an estimated 10,000 adult Kodkods in the wild.
Confined to mostly Chile and Argentina the Kodkod was listed in 2002 on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as vulnerable.
Habitual destruction and loss of its own hunting prey from both poacher, deforestation, agriculture and persecution could see in the next three to five years should conservation efforts not be upgraded and the cat listed as critically endangered, then pushed extinction which is a sad fact of life now with most of our wildcats that are always under persecution from larger prey to humans. The Kodkod has no current sub species and is similar to pedigree feline.
The Kodkod’s diet’s range from small rodents, birds, lizards, and occasionally they will hunt prey such as Geese and Chicken. The gestation period lasts about 72–78 days. The average litter size is one to three kittens. This species may live to be about 11 years old.(Picture above on the left is a Female Lioness the the right is an extremely rare White Lion that is formed by a mutant gene. – The White Lion is a rare colour mutation of the Kruger subspecies of lion (Panthera leo krugeri) found in some wildlife reserves in South Africa and in zoos around the world. White lions are not a separate subspecies and are thought to be indigenous to the Timbavati region of South Africa for centuries, although the earliest recorded sighting in this region was in 1938.
The main threats to the Kodkod I have listed below;
- Illegal and sustainable logging
- The spread of Pine forest plantations from which its prey would not normally within
- Poaching is rare however there have been reports of the Kodkod for sale on the illegal black markets with regards to the illegal pet trade.
As with many of the small wild cat species within the Americas very little is known of the lifestyle of the kodkod. It is believed to be mainly a nocturnal hunter.
The cat is a forest dweller and is able to climb well. As with its lifestyle, little is known of the size of population of the kodkod, but loss of natural habitat due to forestry and logging activities, pose a constant threat. The kodkod is listed in CITES Appendix 2 and is protected in both Argentina and Chile.
Asia see’s many large and small cats that are listed on the CITES Appendix from being vulnerable to neat threatened and critically endangered. Within this section I have demonstrate as above only documentation on all “endangered” wildcats to those that are listed as vulnerable.
The following cats that reside and are native to Asia are listed below for your interest;
Please note that some of following cats that also reside in Africa and the Americas,that may also dwell in Asia too, and have different threat statuses.
- Asian Golden Cat Catopuma temmincki,
- Bornean Bay Cat Catopuma badia (vulnerable)
- Chinese Moutain Cat Felis bieti
- Clouded Leopard Neofelis nebulosa (vulnerable)
- Fishing Cat Prionailurus viverrinus
- Flat-headed Cat Prionailurus planiceps (vulnerable)
- Iriomote Cat iriomotensis viverrinus (endangered)
- Jungle Cat Felis chaus
- Leopard Panthera pardus (endangered)
- Leopard Cat Prionailurus bengalensis
- Lion Panthera Leo (Formally extinct in Asia within the WILD)
- Marbled Cat Pardofelis marmorata
- Pallas Cat Otocolobus manul
- Rusty-spotted Cat Prionailurus rubignosis
- Snow Leopard Uncia uncial (endangered)
- Tiger Panthera tigris (endangered)
- Wildcat (Asiatic) Felis silvestris
There are a total of eight wild cats within Asia that have been listed by CITES from vulnerable to endangered and regrettably critically endangered. I have highlighted each cat that’s current status I have also included along with threats and living behaviotr to ecology.(Picture above are Bobcat cubs)
- Bornean Bay Cat (Catopuma badia) now listed as endangered, in 2003 it’s reported that the Bornean Bay Cat had been completely wiped out. Fortunately in 2011 there were sightings of this very lucid and secretive Asian wild cat. The last pictures of the Bay Cat were taken in Lanjak Entimau wildlife sanctuary in southern Sarawak in 2003 and it had since been classified as extinct. Endemic to the island of Borneo there is a rough total of within the wild based on factual census that now range from 1,000 individuals however with poaching increasing these numbers have regrettably decreased and we no longer know for sure how many from the 1,000 are left within the wild from 2011 when all data was released after secret filming and documenting. The species was listed as endangered because of a projected population decline by more than 20% by 2020 due to habitat loss. As of 2007, the effective population size was suspected to be below 2,500 mature individuals. Current threats are mainly habitual destruction from deforestation, trappers and wildlife dealers. The Bay Cats diet ranges from small agricultural cattle, birds, and rodents.
- Clouded Leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) Listed as vulnerable, the Clouded Leopard is a felid found from the Himalayan foothills through mainland Southeast Asia into China, and has been classified as vulnerable in 2008 by IUCN. Its total population size is suspected to be fewer than 10,000 mature individuals, with a decreasing population trend and no single population numbering more than 1,000 adults. Current conservation threats of this most beautiful cat range from illegal logging that has regrettably decreased the forest size that it resides within. Large scale commercial poaching, skin/fur trade along with the Traditional Chinese Medicine trade that acquires the cat from its claws, teeth, meat and now worrying the Tiger bone wine trade of which the Clouded Leopard is sadly used as a substitute in the making of fake Tiger bone wine. The diet of the Clouded Leopard ranges from agricultural stock, Pheasants, rodents, and Deer. Clouded leopards also don’t appear to purr like the majority of cats. Hissing, grunting, snorting and moaning are very unique within this cat of which these vocalisations where observed in captivity and not the wild.
- Flat-headed Cat (Prionailurus planiceps) Listed endangered is a rare, little cat that is about 60 cm (2′) long and only weighs 2.2 kg (4.8 lbs.). The diet of the flat-headed cat includes fish, Frogs, crustaceans and rodents. You will notice that the majority of their diet lives around water. This is why you will always find the furry, flat-headed cat around lakes and streams. The appearance of this cat would make you question whether it truly is a cat since it has short legs, a long head with tiny ears and a short tail. They have often been compared to muskrats and otters instead of other cats. The differences continue to pile up for the flat-headed cat since their toes tend to be webbed and they are one of the few cat species with non-retractile claws. Well, I guess that isn’t entirely true since their claws do retract, however, the sheath covering is so short that two-thirds of the nail remain exposed. The flat headed cat’s threats are primarily threatened by wetland and lowland forest destruction and degradation. The main causes of such destruction are human settlement within the areas that they are native within, pollution and drainage for agriculture, and yet again the palm oil trade of which forest transformation effects every living species from cat to bird, rodents to incest’s. The clearing of mangroves, trapping and poising have reduced the levels of this cat down to 2000 maximum in the wild with 1% of them in captivity.
- Iriomote Cat (Iriomotensis viverrinus) Critically endangered, Located in Japan Iriomote Cats are small cats with a body length between 48 and 56cms (18.9 – 22 inches), a tail length between 16 and 45cms (6.3 – 17.7 inches) and they weigh between 3 and 7kgs (6.6 – 15.4 lbs.). Their current conservation status is endangered of which there are no more than 2,000 in the wild [if that]. The Iriomote diet normally consists off small mammals, such as birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects and occasionally fish. Current threats are habitat loss and persecution from humans. Normally living for only 8-9 years old there are literally a bare 200 in the wild up from 2007 of which saw only 100-110 before the last census [if that] so conservation within this area is slowly improving, however we do believe that we are going to lose this most amazing cat unless conservation protection is practiced.
- Leopard (Panthera pardus), Endangered (Please note that the Leopard is also present in Africa) of which professionally trained conservation teams including ourselves International Animal Rescue Foundation © are trying to preserve its [Near Threatened] status. Leopards are currently now endangered in Asia. Compared to other members of the Felidae family, the leopard has relatively short legs and a long body with a large skull. It is similar in appearance to the jaguar, but is smaller and more slightly built. Its fur is marked with rosettes similar to those of the jaguar, but the leopard’s rosettes are smaller and more densely packed, and do not usually have central spots as the jaguars do. Both leopards and Jaguars that are melanistic are known as black panthers. Diet normally consists of Antelope, Kudu, dead stock and agricultural stock too. They are an avid hunter being “one of” but not the fastest land running mammal in the world. The Leopard is a versatile hunter and generally nocturnal in its pursuit of prey – however the increased frequency of hunting found in the female [raising young] often leads to more opportunistic hunting during daylight hours. The type of prey taken by the Leopard is again dependant largely upon its locale – in the open grasslands of Africa where roaming herds of large to medium sized herbivores are common the Leopard will take young Eland and Wildebeest, Impala and Gazelle. However in the same areas the Leopard will also take small mammals such as Hares and Rock hyrax, reptiles and insects. In contrast, in the west and central forested regions of Africa the Leopards prey consists mainly of the smaller antelope such as Duiker, small Monkeys and various rodents such as Rats, Squirrels and Porcupines. The Leopard is currently living in 25 locations internationally that are located mainly from United Arab Emirates, China, Nepal, Africa and many more. Although the Leopard has had greater survival success across the African/Asian range compared with the Cheetah and Lion, who now only exist in single locations within this extended range, the Leopard, especially in the Middle East and South West Asia is under extreme threat. The Leopard is listed in CITES Appendix 1. Their numbers are dwindling in Asia due to human species conflict, skin/fur trade, fake Tiger Bone Wine trade (used primarily as a substitute) Traditional Chinese and Indian Medicine trade too.
- Lion (Panthera Leo) EXTINCT There are very few Lions in Asia and what Lions there are they are mostly if not all confined to zoos for eye entertainment or as explained with the Leopard and Tiger (Panthera tigris) they are subsequently starved to death within large sprawling zoo’s that China tries to keep secret. The Lions bones and/or skeleton is harvested then placed into a vat of rice wine. There are currently NO Lions in the wild within Asia that we are aware off.
- Snow Leopard (Uncia uncial) Listed as endangered although sharing its name with the common leopard, the snow leopard is not believed to be closely related to the Leopard or the other members of the Pantherine group and is classified as the sole member of the genus Uncia uncia. Due to the under-development of the fibro-elastic tissue that forms part of the vocal apparatus the Snow Leopard cannot give a full, deep roar and this along with differences in skull characteristics help to separate it from its fellow ‘big cats’. Locating the this stunning and majestic cat can take weeks if not months and can easily camouflage itself out witting its prey to performing some of the most daring cliff face jumps just to obtain its prey. The Snow Leopard lives to an average age of 15-20 years. Current environmental threats are poaching for fur and skin trade, animal parts trade, Traditional Chinese and Indian Medicine, hunting to protect agricultural livestock that has now been pushed into its own predatory hunting grounds, habitat depletion, and human species conflict although rare its happening. A recent study by the World Conservation Society W.C.S revealed that the Snow Leopard is in high danger of extinction within the mountainous regions of Asia from Afghanistan and Iraq. The study indicated that many Snow Leopard parts had been purchased by American and European soldiers that where being sold on the base camps from Afghan vendors that then consequently funds the illegal armoury trade and illicit narcotics trade. The Wildlife Conservation Society though have acted upon this and are now implementing new strategies and improved education to reduce illegal purchasing within the markets of Afghanistan and base camps. However wildlife trade is still being sold and is still on display in the local markets, if the vendor obtains high profit and sales or [want for more from the customer] this then increases the extinction rate rapidly through more illegal poaching. There are roughly 2,000- 2,800 Snow Leopards in the wild with 800 located in international Zoological Gardens. The Snow Leopard generally inhabits elevations between 2000-4000 meters although it can occasionally be found at lower altitudes to the north of its range and as high as 5500 meters in Himalayan regions. The cat is generally associated with generally rocky terrain such as high valley ridges, rocky outcrops and mountain passes. As summer gives way to winter, the snow leopard will follow its migrating prey down below the tree line to the lowland forests that cover much of its habitat – however the cat is rarely associated with dense forestation.
- Tiger (Panthera tigris) Endangered The male Siberian or Amur Tiger/Bengal/Sumatran, has a total body length in excess of 10 ft. and weighing up to 300 kg is by far the largest and most powerful member of the cat family. – However overall body size varies considerably throughout the five sub-species – the female Sumatran being almost 3 ft. smaller. With exception of the Lion the tiger is probably the most easily recognised of all wild cats – its fur which ranges from orange to brownish yellow with a white chest and belly is covered with broken vertical black/dark brown stripes. The length of the fur is longer in the Amur Tiger which inhabits the colder forested regions of eastern Russia and northern China. However, seasonal variation occurs throughout the species, with the winter markings often being paler and less well defined in the longer winter coat. Males of all sub-species also exhibit longer fur in the form of a ‘ruff’ around the back of the head, this is especially pronounced in the Sumatran male. In general the Tiger is a forest dweller but can also be found in grass land and swamp margins beyond woodland areas. They are never far from a source of water, are strong swimmers and have a particular love of bathing in pools and lakes in hotter regions. Principally, Tigers are nocturnal hunters although in protected areas away from human intervention the animal is often active during the day. Although habitat dictates the type of animal that it hunts, the Tiger prefers larger prey, such as wild Boar, Buffalo and Deer, but also hunts fish, Monkeys and various small mammals if its preferred food source is unavailable. The Tiger is often regarded as a cautious hunter, stalking as close as it can to the rear of its prey before making the final charge. Depending on the size of its prey the Tigers killing bite is usually to the throat or neck of its victim – with smaller animals a bite to the neck is often sufficient to sever the spinal cord, whilst with larger prey the throat bite is preferred, gripping the animal until it finally suffocates. As in common with many cats the Tiger will cache its food supply, hiding it under loose vegetation, returning to feed on the carcass over several days. Although, with the exception of mother and cubs learning to hunt, it is generally a solitary hunter the Tiger will often share its food with others of its family group. The Tiger more than any of the ‘big cats’ has earned a reputation of a ‘man-eater’. In the Sundarbans Reserve in the swamp lands along the coast of the Bay of Bengal it has been reported that tigers have attacked fishermen in their boats – however such unprovoked attacks are rare. Confrontation mainly occurs when humans stray into reserved areas to collect firewood or food and here, more often than not, it is by old or injured Tigers unable to compete for normal prey sources. Until recently, when the study of Tigers in their natural habitat has increased due to the establishment of protected reserves, little has been known of the life style of the animal. However today we know much more of the Tigers daily routine and social activities. Although in many ways a solitary animal, patrolling and marking its territory with urine sprays and scrapes the male Tiger will often spend time with its mate and offspring. The male’s territory usually encompasses that of more than one female and is rigorously protected against intrusion from other neighbouring males. The typical litter is between 2 to 3 cubs, which are born some 3 to 4 months after mating. The young Tigers will stay with their mothers in a family group for up to two years, learning the skills of hunting before separating to take up their independence. Young males may travel far, living a solitary life before establishing their own territory, often by ousting older or injured males. On the other hand young females often stay close to their mother and in some cases even share parts of her territory. Although popular in some zoos, ‘White Bengal Tigers’ are extremely rare in the wild – the last sighting of a white tiger in its natural habitat was near Rewa in Central India back in 1951. This male Tiger was captured by the Maharaja of Rewa and named Mohan – it is this animal that most of the white Tigers in captivity today are related. The white Tiger is not a true albino – it simply has less dark coloured pigment in its coat – this is sometime known as a ‘chinchilla’ mutation. The white Tiger is not pure white but has brown stripes and blue eyes. There is some concern about the keeping of white Tigers in zoos. These cats are by nature, extremely inbred and possibly not of pure bred Indian descent. Some suggest that they are taking up valuable cage space and breeding resources and this is to the detriment of other pure bred and more threatened sub species. The current environmental status of all Tiger species from the January 1996 stood at between 4,800 to 7,300 there is now more Tigers in Chinese captive breeding facilities than there is in the wild, and the populations within the wild stand now at a depressing 1,300 if that with 20 dead for 2013 to date March 2013.
The total number of Tigers from the year of 1996 stood at;
- Bengal Indian 4735
- Siberian Tiger 230
- South China Tiger 30
- Sumatran Tiger 500
- Indo-Chinese Tiger 1790
The sad reality with regards to the Tiger is we are losing the conservation battle against the illegal animal parts trade, and from recent submitted reports that we acquired from reputable conservation teams, we are lead to believe that the Tiger we may lose unfortunately unless action is implemented quickly and aggressively. The palm oil trade within Indonesia and Malaysia is also playing a crucial role in the destruction of these amazing million year old cats. The Ramin tree that the Sumatran’s live within has been illegally logged time again even though it is classified as endangered and must not be felled, logging agencies and plantation owners continue to flout the rules placing the Sumatran Tigers habitat in greater risk.
United Arab Emirates, Middle Eastern Asian nations and Europe compromise the following wildcats of which I have only documented on the individuals status as listed on the I.U.C.N list below this picture. Documentation on the Leopard Panthera pardus is listed above.
- Eurasian Lynx Lynxs lynx
- European Wildcat Felis silvestris
- Jungle Cat Felis chaus
- Leopard Panthera pardus (endangered)
- Sand Cat Felis margarita (near threatened)
- Spanish Lynx Lynx pardinus (critically endangered) – Picture above is the Jaguar – Amazonia
- Sand cat (Felis margarita) is listed as near threatened from which populations of this particular cat are actually still quite dense and with birth rates exceptionally high at 4-5 Kittens coupled with the where the cats breed they are still not really as yet in any near danger of being moved to vulnerable status. Known as the sand dune cat, is the only felid found primarily in true desert, and has a wide but apparently distinct distribution through the deserts of northern Africa and southwest and central Asia. The IUCN listed the cat as near threatened due to mostly the tropical pet trade and one can see why as they are an exquisite felid with such splendid colourings, and facial features that customers will pay up to $5000 for each on the black market. Habitat degradation is the major threat to the sand cat. Vulnerable arid ecosystems are being rapidly degraded by human settlement and activity, especially livestock grazing. The sand cat’s small-mammal prey-base depends on having adequate vegetation, which may experience large fluctuations due to drought, or declines due to desertification and loss of natural vegetation. They also may be killed in traps laid out by inhabitants of oases targeting foxes and jackals or in retaliation for killing their chickens. There are occasional reports of animals shot in south-east Arabia. Other localized threats include the introduction of feral and domestic dogs and cats, creating direct competition and through predation and disease transmission. The sand cat is the only wild cat that is not threatened with loss of habitat since it is found in the desert. But this species is threatened by hunting and collection for the pet trade. Some are killed by humans who consider them a threat to their livestock. Because sand cats live in such vast, desert locations, they are hard to study and keep track off, and population estimates are not available to date for 2012-2013.
- Spanish Lynx (Lynx pardinus) Listed as critically endangered, more commonly known as the Iberian lynx the species was mentioned in this month’s CoP 16th meetings in Bangkok Thailand from which we and other conservationists believe that we may lose this amazing specimen of wildcat. Native to the Iberian Peninsula in Southern Europe it is the most endangered species off wildcat in the world. Should the Spanish Lynx die out it would be the first felid species to become extinct since prehistoric times. The lynx is a solitary cat that haunts the remote northern forests of North America, Europe, and Asia. Lynx are covered with beautiful thick fur that keeps them warm during frigid winters. Their large paws are also furry and hit the ground with a spreading toe motion that makes them function as natural snowshoes. These stealthy cats avoid humans and hunt at night, so they are rarely seen. There are several species of lynx. Few survive in Europe but those that do, like their Asian relatives, are typically larger than their North American counterpart, the Canadian Lynx. All Lynx are skilled hunters that make use of great hearing (the tufts on their ears are a hearing aid) and eyesight so strong that a Lynx can spot a mouse 250 feet (75 meters) away. Canada Lynx eat mice, squirrels, and birds, but prefer the snowshoe hare. The Lynx are so dependent on this prey that their populations fluctuate with a periodic plunge in snowshoe hare numbers that occurs about every ten years. Bigger Eurasian Lynx hunt Deer and other larger prey in addition to small animals. Lynx mate in early spring or late winter. About two months later, females give birth to a litter of one to four young. Humans sometimes hunt Lynx for their beautiful fur. One endangered population, the Iberian lynx, struggles to survive in the mountains of Spain, far from the cold northern forests where most lynx live.
We are going to see a vast decline within the wildcat species unless immediate conservation actions are not stepped up and all nations responsible for poaching “incidents” now start to tackle these poachers with stringent punishment, fines, and stiffer prison sentences. Poaching, and the animal parts trade is and will always be the number one threat to our wildcat species plus the barbaric and completely senseless fur trade that’s gaining more momentum by the month.
Tropical pet trade, illegal logging, mining and the palm oil trade are all adding up to conservation stock depletion plus the massive over population of the human race that now stands at over eight billion people worldwide. It’s a sad fact of life that should we not start to reuse, reduce, and recycle then we are sadly only contributing to more trees being felled for the products that we could off reused and other products purchased on the high streets done without. The illegal logging trade and mining increases poaching from open road ways and places more animals at risk from the live illegal pet trade.
Mining and agriculture are also causing catastrophic habitat loss with now oil drilling threating thousands of species off plant and animal to aquatic and reptilians.
We have only one chance in life to save these most precious and majestic magical cats that are still residing upon Planet Earth, one must now also start gearing up and working harder to preserve the Lion and the Tiger with the Tiger being at the forefront of the Lions preservation. Should we see all 1,000+ Tigers vaporised for counterfeit medicines, balms, and bone wine, to bush meat then we will most certainly lose the Lion and the Tiger within a ten years.
We and all other conservationists require your immediate help to make aware the plight of the suffering and nearing of extinction these cats are facing with immediate action taken now rather than later. We have not got time to wait for the next CoP17 summit and based on the meetings so far we and others are going to be gearing up for more battles with regards to the Rhinoceros, Elephant, and many other species.
To report a poaching incident and or major animal abuse please contact us below
firstname.lastname@example.org or alternatively you can contact us for more information at email@example.com
Thank you for reading
Dr J C Dimetri V.M.D, B.E.S, Ma, PhD, MEnvSc
Delegated Rescue Corps & Administrative staff
International Animal Rescue foundation
Concerns are rising over the vast increase in smuggling of the Sandalwood tree deep within the forests of India, Australia and Africa. The trade is now roaring and placing many botanical species of plants and mammalians at risk. Streams and oceans are also polluted from the toxins that are used, plus poaching within these areas is increasing as of roads being opened up that gives the poacher, and the tropical pet trade smuggler an easy route into and out the forests of India.
What is Sandalwood?
Sandalwood is an aromatic tree that is a member of the numerous freeloading plants in the Santalaceae family, particularly the Santalum album. The sandalwood tree is indigenous to India and the specialty of the wood is that it radiates a perfumed scent. Even the wood or timber acquired from the tree is useful in numerous ways. The vital oil extracted from the sandalwood tree is commercially utilized in fragrances and remedies.
The sandalwood tree is partially parasitic and evergreen in nature. A normal sandalwood tree grows approximately up to 30 feet or 10 meters in height. The tree bears leaves that are like lances or javelins. The sandalwood flowers range from light yellow to purple in colour and the fruits borne by the tree are petite and just about black in colour. Over the ages, the aroma of sandalwood has been held in high esteem both in India as well as in China. In fact, for thousands of years, sandalwood is often burnt as incense and has a vital role in all Hindu ceremonies in India. In most parts of the world, the central part of the sandalwood tree is regularly used in the manufacture of perfumes. However, in China this has been used as a remedy for different disorders since approximately 500 A.D.
The Indian sandalwood, also known as the Santalum album, is said to be in danger of extinction hence why it is very costly. Despite the fact that all sandalwood trees in India as well as in Nepal are owned by the respective governments and felling for the trees stringently restricted, many trees are still cut down and smuggled out of these countries by well-linked and highly-placed smugglers. Owing to the steep gap between the supply and demand scenarios, the price of sandalwood oil has skyrocketed to $1000 – $1500 per kilogram during the last five years. It may be mentioned here that there are many nations where trade in sandalwood oil is considered illegal as the authorities there are of the opinion that this is ecologically harmful. The authorities in these countries substantiate their view by saying that making the sandalwood trade legal only helps in encouraging the over harvesting of this valuable tree.
According to the experts as well as the traders, sandalwood grown in the Mysore region of Tamil Nadu in southern India is of the best quality available anywhere. Even the smuggling of the sandalwood trees from this region is said to be the highest. As a consequence, the Tamil Nadu government has undertaken the task of planting new trees with help from international agencies. The move is expected to speed up the economic growth of the region, along with replacing the depleting sandalwood forests there. It may be mentioned here that currently people in Kununurra in Western Australia are growing the Indian sandalwood species or the Santalum album on a very large scale. The sandalwood plantations in the region are so vast that they literally surround the scenic little town of Kununurra on all sides.
Why has Sandalwood smuggling intensified?
International Animal Rescue Foundation © doesn’t personally believe that the illegal trade in Sandalwood has increased simply because of the dwindling tree numbers, or of its requirement’s within the Traditional Chinese Medicine and Indian Medicine trade [TIM] as we are again viewing the same typical pattern with Sandalwood as we are with the Rhinoceros, Elephant and Tiger to many other species internationally.
As explained within the documents of [understanding poaching Doc4 2013] we are viewing the increased smuggling as another form of revenue for the illegal firearms and narcotic trade of which Sandalwood tree logging is funding to great extents.
We cannot pinpoint as yet other areas of concern, however based on evidence and the fact the main kingpin that fronts this trade has made himself viewable to the world within China of which he [has been linked to animal parts poaching] and trade then we are lead to believe that he may [be funding poachers or some form of poaching unit] moving into Africa to then take down the Rhinoceros and the Elephant.
This is still to be fully investigated however we are 95% certain with regards from communication via Nepal and India that this man is somewhat involved within the African poaching trade his name we are [withholding] however one can locate this criminal on the World Wide Web via a simple search. He never leaves China and regularly mocks the Indian environmental and tourism ministers via electronic email and telecommunications.
The illegal smuggling and logging trade with regards to Sandalwood isn’t just confined to India though, the trade has also spread to WA [Western Australia] and Africa from which Chinese ringers are coincidentally behind making colossal amounts of money as I have explained briefly below.
This revenue amassed through the destructiveness off illegal forestry logging then goes back deep within the network of [animal poaching] thus keeping the circle of destruction flowing internationally with no light to be seen yet at the end of the tunnel.
Many musical instruments are made from Sandalwood – Illegally logged or legally logged?
Revenue made from illegal Sandalwood logging;
- For one ton of Sandalwood which is roughly one two trees depending on height and circumference length of the girth the trader would fetch in between $15,000 and $20,000 per ton.
- The opportunist logger/illegal trader would fetch no less than $15,000 per ton which can keep a poor person funded illegally for approximately 3-6 months.
- Just in WA [Western Australia] alone 170 tonnes of illegal sandalwood will fetch the illegal logger/trader $2.5 million. Back in March 2012 this exact quantity was seized from Asian loggers that would off brought to the black market millions of USD.
- Prices have skyrocketed on the black market that saw Sandalwood at only $3,000 a metric ton, this has since increased to $15,000 that’s concerning and if not stopped now and nipped in the bub it will take fifty years or more to bring back these tress to their former state.
Patterns and corruption;
We are viewing the same patterns of smuggling and trade routes with customs officers either being bribed or simply turning a blind eye and allowing critically endangered species of the Red Sandalwood the “most craved after” Pterocarpus santalinus to be loaded upon vast sized container ships of which it’s then exported illegally.
Very few legitimate Indian customs officers are not checking container ships and ports correctly, are too slack with their checks to not even scrutinizing documentation adequately which see’s Sandalwood in the ton load leave port. We are seeing though the exact same patterns with regards to the wildlife trade and narcotics trade of which more action has to be taken by customs.
Smuggling gangs are becoming very intelligent and have been noted strapping intricately a container to the underside of the vessel loaded with Sandalwood/wildlife parts or have welded open a new compartment underneath the ship of which they then store the illegal consignment. This compartment is usually next to the rudder.
This type of smuggling behaviour is relatively new and has been used by narcotic gangs that have smuggled abroad large quantities of contraband underneath vessels in welded/opened up caverns into many international nations. Australia is seeing some large hauls now regarding this type of illegal activity however they have specialist divers and one of the world’s best customs that routinely check these types of vessels both covertly underneath the container vessel and above to within, they also scrutinise the vessels construction plans.
It’s extremely frustrating to know that these methods are being used by smugglers that customs in India are not frequently checking, but more glancing around the ship’s infrastructure with no underwater checks, or blue print analysis.
November 2012 saw a huge consignment seized, of which had it made the Asian border the illegal contraband would of made millions of USD thus funding the black market massively.
Container vessels and ports must now be thoroughly checked with all loop holes closed
The report quotes;
A recent seizure of a container of red that was being moved from the SEZ port of Vallarpadom in Kochi has once again exposed the illegality of exporting this product to various parts of China. It is being alleged that the rare sandalwood was cut and transported through a nexus of smugglers and Naxals from the forests of Andhra Pradesh to other ports with the help of agents.
As many as nine containers, worth about 100 crores, have already passed unnoticed to other countries via this port indicating that there is massive political and organised syndicate smuggling ring operating here.
Government enforcement agencies like the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) and the Customs and Excise have complained that they have very little access to these SEZ Ports. – Which we find very hard to believe.
Because the first such SEZ approved port does not allow the entry of enforcement law agencies to conduct checks inside, it helps smugglers to carry on with their illegal operations. The Customs Department has alleged that the terminal is not immune to on-port customs inspections as per Section 47 of the SEZ Act.
The enforcement agencies that arrested the kingpin of the illegal trade Anil Kumar, the driver and few others are dismayed by the fact that they will be released on bail as the Indian law has no provisions against persons who violate the International treaty helping culprits to evade punishment.
Government of India has entered in an international treaty with several countries and to protect the treaty in India there is no law against persons who are violating the international treaty.
The recent Supreme Court order which states that any person of whatever quantum of amount he is evading or whatever the gravity of his offence he is involved the magistrates are bound to release them on bail which has created a very bad situation and has fuelled the Sandalwood trade more.
The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) confiscated, in an early morning raid, a container with 17 tonnes of contraband red Sandalwood destined for China through Dubai and Hong Kong from the Vallarpadom ICTT.
The DRI has learned that red Sandalwood worth a minimum of Rs 50 crore had left the ICTT for Dubai to be re-routed to Chinese ports since the commissioning of the terminal in February last year. The contents of the container cleared by the customs as rubber mat last week were filled with red sandalwood on its way to the terminal after getting Customs clearing.
The red Sandalwood is exported mainly to China for making musical instruments due to cheap price and availability in India. The contraband is also used in TCM/TIM and is another method of making money fast such as the illegal poaching and smuggling of wildlife animal parts from Africa.
The smuggling trade is also linked to Kenya – Africa;
The report quoted;
The protected Sandalwood tree is turning traders into millionaires. The plant is being harvested illegally in Samburu, Pokot, Baringo and other parts of the North Rift.
The cartels involved, including prominent politicians, administration and security officials, have made it almost impossible to bring the illegal trade under control, making extinction of the endangered plant a near certainty.
Hardly a week passes without a truckload of the wood, whose scientific name is Osyris lanceolata, [a similar species of rare Sandalwood] being seized is some part of the country.
There are many other cases that are not reported. Perhaps with this in mind, Forestry minister Noah Wekesa a few weeks ago advertised a hotline for the public to inform the ministry of illegal exploitation of the tree that is exported for use in the pharmaceutical and perfume industries.
The toll free hotline number 08002212323 will also provide information on the exploitation of other forest products including bush meat, skins, ivory, and contraband trade in wildlife species.
It is a follow up of the ban on Sandalwood harvesting imposed by President Kibaki in a gazette notice on April 4, 2007, under the protected tree species law.
Behind the scenes in the battle to save the Sandalwood is the Lusaka Agreement Task Force, an organisation charged with law enforcement operations against illegal trade in both animals and plants. The Task Force says over-exploitation of the Sandalwood and other products in the region may lead to a dangerous imbalance in the ecosystem.
Sandalwood is harvested from trees over 30 years old and unfortunately the tree is valuable from the leaves to the roots hence its vulnerability. The crude methods of harvest destroy the plant completely.
Late last year key Government departments in Kajiado district clashed over a lorry impounded at Namanga border on November 26 while transporting 40 tonnes of sandalwood worth Sh40 million to Tanzania. Area Police, Kenya Wildlife Service and Forest service personnel failed to agree on where the trailer should be kept. It ended up at the KWS staff quarters following pressure from KWS and forest officials. Sources said the KWS officials did not trust the police on grounds that they would be compromised.
The intriguing thing was that both containers had two padlocks one from the police and another from the KWS officials. This shows mistrust in each other’s capacity to keep the containers safe AND corruption.
However Humphrey Wanzala, who was then area police boss at the time, had a different story saying that the lorry was at the KWS quarters because the officials were suspecting that there were other wildlife trophies besides Sandalwood.
He denied that there was mistrust saying, “We are together in this as we work for the same Government. We shall pursue this matter to the very end.”
The KWS official, Mr Timothy Kitonyi, said the only issue was that the suspects claimed they harvested the sandalwood in Mbale, Uganda, yet they did not have any relevant documents. KWS suspected that they may have hidden other trophies in the containers. KWS official were investigating the matter from the headquarters in Nairobi. They wanted to find out how the containers full of Sandalwood had travelled that far without being detected. Three people, Jane Nyambura, Frank Jeremiah Frank and Daniel Muya, were eventually charged with being in possession of East African Sandalwood worth Sh40 million.
Habitat destruction and wildlife;
Illegal harvesting and a lack of effective management are major causes for concern. Even though the trade is regulated through a system of permits by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), it is believed that more of the aromatic wood is leaving the country through illegal means.
The fragrant tree is also at risk from shrinking habitat due to human encroachment and land conversion impacting the wild populations.
Currently there are no detailed studies done on the species. The current information available is very general. The future of our highly fragrant wood is severely threatened by a rising demand for Sandalwood, problems faced in monitoring harvests and a persistent illegal trade.
Many species of primate, Pygmy Elephants, Asian Elephants, parrots, fish, and more are all being placed in severe risk of endangerment from illegal logging that CITES now needs to urge all 178 nations of the CITES parties to now take further and more stringent action, laws and monitoring must be brought in via customs and excise, ports where large container ships are [immune] from random searches MUST not be immune and these loop holes now immediately extinguished to catch up with these criminals.
International Animal Rescue Foundation © works by tackling the demand not the just the killings, logging and/or smuggling. Hitting the demand hard between the teeth knocks the trade for six and disrupts all channels and levels, however to hit demand hard we need all African and most of Asia on our side. That’s going to take some doing however [there is no such word within our vocabulary as can’t or impossible].
In 2012, a report showed how Sandalwood smugglers were getting richer with impunity inside the 500-acre campus of Bangalore University (40 Sandalwood trees carted away; 50 more hacked, left to wither). And now, alarm bells are clanging again over the city’s largest biodiversity reserve.
Peacocks, Mongoose, Wild Rabbits, Jackals, Leopards, Bengal Tigers and more are all under threat not just via the habitual destruction but [the roads and pathways that are being opened up by the loggers] of which the poachers make a quick kill and vast sums of money. The snares and traps are similar to the ones Haryana-based poachers had laid at Biligiri Ranga Temple (BRT) wildlife sanctuary and which were discovered in July 2012.
The snares where made of material similar to clutch cables in motorcycles, they were laid in artificially created cavities to trap wildlife. This is the first time that such snares have been found within the campus. This indicates to us International Animal Rescue Foundation © that Sandalwood logging is out of control, habitat is being destroyed on colossal levels thus pushing wildlife into public areas making poaching easy game.
These snares are said to be common among poachers. They are usually camouflaged and around five or six are placed together in paths frequented by wild animals. The method does not leave a trace after the animals are killed. The products are then sold illegally over international borders.
The Indian government quoted “It is the responsibility of students to protect the flora and fauna they are blessed with. As government departments are involved in blame games, students on the campus should bring about a change and keep poachers and Sandalwood smugglers at bay,” Maheshwar H, a local resident said”
[We ourselves disagree and with the poachers being armed and becoming more intelligent by the day of which a member of the public is soon is going to fall prey to a poaching incident] leading to a loss of human life.
Will the government and CITES act then?
Who knows, what we do know is that should this trade not be hit hard on the head NOW then we are going to see a massive decrease in animal life, possible extinction of Indian big cats, to a possible human death.
We are already more than aware that in India alone big cats are being pushed into residential areas as of their own living areas being destroyed. ACTION must be taken NOW.
International Animal Rescue Foundation INDIA
Director & Indian Delegate of Affairs
For more information please email us of visit our Indian Facebook page that represents the NGO in India, please also stay tuned for our new relation in Nepal.
Encompassing India – Battling the illegal trade baron – Protecting our Flora and Fauna
The illegal smuggling trade seen below in a more different view. The smuggling trade is all around us, it is common fact that every day of your life you will come within only 10 feet of an illegal smuggling operation, by road, train, boat, plane, even in the streets. The smugglers are dressed just like us, they can even be high profile persons[s] to even selling to you WHAT YOU THINK is legal just to be stopped at customs/police [then YOUR questioned for racketeering] DON’T be a victim off crime.
Video below is a little “Bollywood” (spoof) at the start however it does get into the real deal within 1.4 minutes, showing a shocking case of a tree that is near to extinction, and exactly how bad this problem is within India.
In this last document on understanding poaching part 5 I’m going to explain the other side the increasing demand for Rhinoceros and Elephant poaching and why demand is colossally raging out of control when in reality from recent surveys it has been proven that Rhinoceros horn and ivory to other animal parts are not actually being used to such a high degree anymore for medicine but rather consumption and religion/cultural beliefs or gaining what our once ancestors had within Asia.
Since January 2011 we have been monitoring other arrests that are related to Rhinoceros horn and ivory to try and ascertain other areas that we may have overlooked. These areas that we covered where in the regions of Hanoi and Saigon, and most districts of China, the two regions of Vietnam that I have identified is where most Rhinoceros horn is actually sold, however within China it’s sold all over as a whole.
The results were somewhat worrying that showed the levels of Rhinoceros horn in Vietnam are in fact very low, which confused us, based on the usage levels from 2012 surveys and how easy it is to actually obtain via classified advertisements, private marketers, to street vendors and the medicine markets.
Coming as no surprise the majority of Rhinoceros horn is actually fake, meaning that we have now [petty criminals] deep within Asia as well as highly sophisticated criminals working within Vietnam that is seen on whole as the largest user and consumer of Rhinoceros horn and second largest trader in Elephant ivory and other animals parts.
Records and arrest documentation within Asia have shown that 80% of Rhinoceros horn is non-Rhinoceros horn but chemicals that are made up of many different minerals, stones and Papier-mâché – French for “chewed paper”. The fake Rhinoceros horns were so delicately and intricately produced and then polished that buyers of Rhinoceros horn couldn’t even tell the difference between the real thing thus handing over thousands of Vietnamese dollars just for the [petty criminals] to then vanish leaving the [lucrative black market] trader some thousands of dollars out of pocket.
Rhino horn smugglers are now making very high quality fake horns, allowing unscrupulous hunters to sell the real horns at a huge mark-up to black market dealers for traditional medicine/and/consumption to status symbols. The fake horns are made with top quality resins and look so authentic that they are almost impossible to distinguish from the real thing, a report presented this week to members of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species quoted CITES officials have been alerted to the increasing involvement of professional hunters in the illegal rhino horn trade, this is yet another reason why international Animal Rescue Foundation © is working towards a full moratorium on hunting due to vast corruption and fake horn sales.
Trophies are exported to hunters after a legal hunt, but once the hunters have received the trophies in their home countries, the original rhino horns are removed from the trophies and replaced with fake horns. Our investigations teams have within the last four weeks located many traders that are selling trophies “on mounts” and off mounts of which it was clearly visible that the real horns had been removed, to even one trophy quoted as “recently hunted” [Northern White Rhinoceros] even though it had been pushed to extinction within the last decade, the so called antique’s horn was even placed pointing downwards and what looked like [glue] around the base of the horn [indicating that the real horn had been removed and a fake resin horn had been placed on the trophy.
CITES did not specify in which country the fake horns were being made and sold, but details in the report point to the possible involvement of either American or European hunters in the fake horn scam. As we ourselves quoted this “didn’t come as a surprise” as we know how many illegal yet fake narcotic sales are on the market, and with narcotics making gargantuan sums of money then the temptation to cash in on the (counterfeit trade) from petty yet skilled criminals is there and has been for some years.
Horns are smuggled in via hiding them in statues to avoid detection.
In 2012 wildlife investigators in the US arrested several American and Vietnamese nationals in a major bust in several cities across the US following the seizure of numerous rhino horns, some of which were suspected to have originated from legal rhino hunts in SA and other parts of the continent being mainly Zimbabwe that has only 700 Rhinoceros left within the country alone.
There have also been a series of robberies from museums and private collections across Europe over the past three years in which the horns were stolen from mounted rhinoceros head trophies. The fake horns were initially made with a mould and were relatively easy to identify, but recent reports from authorities indicate that fake horns encountered lately are made in high-quality resin with a density even higher than that of a real horn.
This makes visual identification, once fully mounted, extremely difficult. But CITES officials have now found a way to smoke out the culprits (so they believe). Fake horns can however, be identified relatively easily by collecting and burning a small quantity of dust from the horn, which will deliver a distinctive smell indicating that it is not rhinoceros horn. Even though CITES have stated this, the unscrupulous buyer that is purchasing on the back street’s doesn’t always have the time to examine the horns leaving them out of pocket by thousands of Vietnamese dollars.
In the light of this new trend, it is of extreme importance that CITES parties should have adequate legislation and enforcement controls in place, to prevent horns that are part of legal exported trophies from being used for purposes other than hunting trophies, and to ensure that the trophies remain in possession of their owners.
Another possible source of the fake horns is Vietnam, which has been implicated as the end destination of dozens of SA rhinos that were shot legally by Vietnamese poachers posing as professional hunters. However the Department of Environmental Affairs in  has now ceased this and Vietnamese hunters can no longer hunt or obtain a hunting permit for South Africa.
The report notes that Vietnamese authorities had pledged to conduct a stock-taking exercise to check whether SA rhino trophy horns were still in the possession of Vietnamese hunters. It is vital for the authorities in Vietnam to conclude this activity as a matter of urgency and to investigate fully all incidents where trophies are no longer in possession of the hunters. Such follow-up investigations can provide important information on the identity of the driving force behind the trafficking of rhino horn. People who no longer had their horn trophies should be able to tell investigators who the horns had be sold to. This has yet to be acted upon and we are led to believe that it will never be taken seriously too.
With all this evidence and knowledge though in the public domain and now known to the environmental law enforcement agencies the counterfeit trade is still on-going which in theory is driving the demand for obtaining the real horn up at increasing and alarming rates thus now threating the South African and African Rhinoceros species on a whole even more.
Saving Rhino’s the online non-profit organisation quoted;
The demand for rhino horn is so great in Vietnam that certain outlets are said to be selling imitation rhino horn made from cows or buffalo.
On the Vietnamese market, some sources report that a “freshly cut” rhino horn commands a retail price of USD $25,000 – $40,000 per kg. Imitation horns supposedly fetch a substantial price of USD $15,000 per kg.
Contrary to popular belief, the manufacture and sale of “fake” rhinoceros horns does not flood the market and drive prices down. Instead, imitation horns keep the trade invigorated and the demand high.
Regrettably as http://www.savingrhinos.org/vietnamese_rhino_horn_trade.html quoted and ourselves and CITES that until the demand is hit in every possible direction including the fake/imitation trade then we are going to view more Rhinoceros murdered for fake horn. It should also be noted that the Rhinoceros horn trade should never be lifted until all these avenues have been researched into more, investigated then illuminated and closed down that could cease the demand colossally.
Fact stands though that 80% of Rhinoceros horn is indeed imitation horn or other animal horns of which again we have been monitoring very large hunting organisations and outfitters that are hunting for demand vast populations of horned African species from the Oryx, Antelope, Impala, Kudu and Springbok of which the skilled petty criminals in Asia, America or Europe then delicately craft these horns with other materials in to a fake Rhinoceros horn. Such sales of horned animal products are on sale everywhere. http://www.africancraftsmarket.com/carved-horns.html
The problems don’t just stop at Rhinoceros horn nether the demand for fake ivory from which the “processed ivory can sell in the region of $25,000 to $100,000” depending on design is also on the rise and at worrying levels.
Other animal tusks such as Hippo ivory or Walrus and even bones are all being traded off too as Elephant ivory which again is increasing demand thus keeping the barbaric and senseless poaching continuing on such a large scale that saw in 2011 some 25,000 Elephants slaughtered for greed and culture, 2013 has seen almost 200 Elephants slaughtered for their tooth’s [tusks] for the entire continent of Africa.
Examples of synthetic Elephant ivory can be seen when the bottom of the tusk appears to be sliced, but no grains or ivory identifications are clearly visible. The “cut” area of the imitation tusk is created when the item is removed from the mould. There will also be small holes from bubbles made in the moulding process similar to that of plaster or plastics.
Wildlife internet crime is on the rise if we know your selling on the internet you will be located, and your details logged and you will face a hefty prison sentence or fine – this trader in India caught our eye last week one of many.
Sadly though there are many skilled craftsmen within Asia that have worked in the legal and illegal ivory trade for some years before ivory trade was eventually banned in the 1990’s. To become a skilled carver too you have to pass a five year course which coincidentally is run and funded by the Chinese government. These craftsmen are so highly trained that sourcing the real Elephant ivory from the counterfeit is near impossible unless a DNA sample is carried out.
Substitutes supposedly do not have the integrity of true ivory, and part of this has to do the growth pattern of ivory, called Schreger lines, which facilitates carving at any angle. So it seems the uniqueness of the material as a carving substrate, its beauty and its historic significance in terms of a rarity and prestige all contribute to the demand.
Even flooding the market with fake ivory would not help to reduce pressure on living elephants. The prestige and appearance of the real article make consumers demand genuine ivory in exactly the same way as Rhinoceros horn trade.
Many buyers of fake ivory and Rhinoceros horn will perform checks on the articles such as burning small sections to identify if the ivory is counterfeit however this is not always the case when the purchaser is presented with a $50,000 piece of crafted ivory or Rhinoceros horn at $75,000kg.
Would you as an illegal peddler allow someone to take a lighter or blow torch to the product and then [possibly damage the product] ruining months if not years of crafted ivory to damaging a Rhinoceros horn that [could indeed be real] you could be landed a hefty [illegal bill or even shot dead].
So how do we tackle the problem and what other areas can be looked into to tackle increasing sales to decrease demand?
- Firstly we could ask CITES and governing environmental agencies to now work towards implementing a full ban on all Asian hunting permits being obtained thus decreasing ivory trophies then being sold on the black market. Fact stands that in China some 90% of all ivory is illegal and has no papers as quoted by two independent investigative environmental agencies and the National Geographic Channel. Only 10% of the ivory in China is legal. [That’s incredibly shocking and worrying]
- Secondly we could ask CITES and governing environmental agencies to work on implementing a full ban on all Rhinoceros and Elephant hunting to reduce the market even more. This would also decrease the potential for any mounted trophies traveling into Vietnam illegally from other nations thus reducing demand on a whole.
- Online sales need to be tackled and by doing this I.S.P [Internet Service Providers] need to enforce now tougher regulations such as banning Internet Protocols from their sites thus cutting the trader and/or criminal of from the internet. Environmental agencies must share this information with other ISP providers so if the criminal/trader then located another ISP they would be immediately banned as the IP address being that “your personal computers number” would not be able to locate the internet based on shared intelligence. The same ruling must more or less apply to all E-mail providing companies of which should they notice the same IP logging on based on shared intelligence then the email provider does not provide thus communicating with wildlife and law enforcement agencies of which the individual can be monitored by all means of online trading.
- When traders are located selling and buying on the internet law enforcement agencies must introduce tougher penalties to now ban the trader from using any form of internet communication device, computer, laptop, internet café, mobile phone, proxy servers. A confiscation order must also be introduced of all communication equipment of which is then subsequently crushed if illegal online activity is noticed.
- Online classifieds must now be given a three count rule then banned we have located now many American, African, Canadian, European, and Asian buy and sell sites that are still not checking the sites accordingly for illegal wildlife trade. By enforcing such measures of which should they flout three times then the sites are automatically shut down or censored.
Since Operation Trojan Horse began  part of the International Animal Rescue Foundation’s © environmental counter intelligence ground and monitoring research team exactly 175 Asian, American and European sites have been noted with 69 off them sites communicated with thus informing them of the environmental laws both on line and on the ground.
34 of them sites where shut down from the 175 located and eavesdropped on with the remaining still under investigation of which we are communicating with law enforcement agencies exactly what they are providing, advertising, to the whom the buyers are and what other web of communications the buyer[s] have such as the black market, couriers, poachers, social media and other.
These options must be seen as the only option in reducing demand further before implementing a legal trade in Rhinoceros horn or ivory, and as an environmental investigations and animal welfare unit that’s provided factual evidence, surveyed evidence and statistics to, high crime rate, low unemployment, and high poaching then demanding a full moratorium we cannot yet agree on fully as experienced and knowledgeable environmentalists until every possible avenue has been effected. The reasons for not “as yet” fighting for a full moratorium I have highlighted below. Please take in to account that we state “full and not partial” for the reasons highlighted below;
- Would the consequences of a complete ban on hunting then impact on job losses and liquidation of companies thus increasing anti-social behaviour, crime, increased poaching, and poverty, suicide, to effecting child and adult education?
- The demographics of South Africa encompass about 50 million people of diverse origins, cultures, languages, and religions, this is based on the last census of  with the next census not due until the years between 2016-2021. Every minute within South African alone there are 10 children born every minute thus increasing populations which has a detrimental effect on natural habitat pushing more species out of their natural living areas. By implementing a complete moratorium would this then have a knock on effect on species that are so tightly packed within areas they have been pushed into via habitual destruction that agriculture and homeland would be consequently invaded to even placing human life at risk and destroying crop?
- By placing a moratorium on hunting for the species of Rhinoceros and Elephant in South Africa would this increase poaching of other species thus introducing another trend to the black market thus starting a new destructive circle of?
- Would a full hunting ban increase what we are seeing now botanical poaching thus reducing near threatened endangered and criticality endangered species of plant and trees that human and animal life depends on?
As professional conservationists we cannot take any chances or risks of placing a nation in even more poverty, damaging conservation and agriculture more too increasing crime and possibly a
newer poaching trend. Surveys have to be undertaken, risk analysis, environmental monitoring, and what other methods can be introduced to decrease the illegal black market of wildlife trade.
The department of Environmental Affairs issued a ban on all hunting permits to Vietnamese individuals applying for a hunting permit in 2012 of which the D.E.A quoted in their last government public announcement 1st March 2013 that hunting permits that have been applied for in 2012 had decreased significantly by almost 50%.
This may sound fair and good news, however this ban was aimed more at banning pseudo hunting from one nation based on the number of corrupt individuals that haven’t even fired a rifle never mind hunting in [Vietnam] from entering in to South Africa.
Most of the non-genuine hunters were not keeping the trophies as stated in environmental law then removing horns as explained above thus subsequently selling the real horn on. The trophy they had in their possession had then either coincidentally vanished or the horns had been replaced by imitation horns made from fine resins and/or resin and papier-mâché.
However the poaching has still erratically increased and banning [just] Vietnamese individuals has not had any effect at all from the ever increasing demand of illegal wildlife trade that’s flooding both Thailand and Vietnam at alarmingly high levels. http://www.capitalfm.co.ke/news/2012/05/mozambique-customs-arrest-vietnamese-rhino-horn-smuggler/ http://english.vietnamnet.vn/fms/society/56937/the-biggest-ivory–rhino-horn-smuggling-cases-in-vietnam.html http://www.rhinoconservation.org/2013/01/07/rhino-horn-smugglers-arrested-in-thailand-and-vietnam/
We was not expecting the D.E.A (Department of Environmental Affairs) to just ban Vietnamese citizens as what’s to stop a Vietnamese posing as a Chinese or Japanese citizen with fake papers, also what’s stopping them from obtaining fake passports and papers that can and are made to order and online or via black market tourism trade that helps illegal asylum seekers to enter nations using political persecution as a weapon for refugee to then carry commit crime and terrorism.
Since the DEA banned hunting Vietnam citizens from applying for hunting permits there has been a substantial increase in the amount of American, Russian and Eastern European hunters now applying which is believed to be the increase of more Rhinoceros pseudo hunting to supply the demand for Rhinoceros horn in Asia.
Since the permit ban was placed evidence suggests that nationals from the Czech Republic and Poland have been implicated in pseudo-hunts. Information from the DEA in South Africa indicates that there has been a 50% plus reduction in the number of rhino trophy hunting permits granted and that the number of hunting applications from Vietnam and other East Asian countries has dropped off as explained above. However, there has been a reported rise in applications from Russian and, particularly, US hunters (up by 300% in 2012 so far compared to 2010) possibly indicating the flexibility and opportunistic nature of pseudo-hunting criminal operatives.
From 2003 to 2013 those that have been arrested for Rhinoceros poaching alone have been more Afrikaans indicating that syndicates could possibly be working within the refugee camps in Africa posing as refugees then sending the poor man into South Africa from Mozambique.
The total number of Mozambique’s that have been arrested is now standing at 479 from 2003 -2012 of which they are the most known poachers, and with the evidence above within the links it clearly shows that Vietnamese are working inside Mozambique which now needs addressing immediately. The poacher then supplies the Vietnamese or Thai couriers which consequently keep the demand flowing, although it’s been disrupted slightly.
From research we have amassed the following;
- The ban on Vietnamese hunting permits has been a complete waste of time with more poaching increasing via African individuals via Mozambique thus supplying the market more. This could also suggest that should there be a lift of the Rhinoceros horn trade with [controlled prices and trade] then reflection from the hunting permit ban on Vietnamese could increase poaching could as a whole considerably more.
- Pseudo hunting from US, Russian, Polish, and Czech Republic individuals has increased which if not monitored or some form of control implemented could see the Rhinoceros population’s desolated.
- 80% of imitation horn is deriving from Europe and America of which is then flooded into Vietnam of which when the buyers and users become aware of the horn being fake this then increases demand more via poaching. Keeping the imitation horn demand flowing too is also increasing the real horn demand both with ivory and Rhinoceros horn.
- Antique dealers are now cashing in on the horn and again supplying this to the market.
- Internet trade has to be tackled more where more horn in larger sums is being peddled on classifieds, buy and sell, to private sites using code words, acronym’s and other.
- There must be international environmental police established in each of the 178 nations that are listed with The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
- Peddlers in the imitation horn trade need to be sought and consequently arrested, the chemicals they are using sought and then listed in the same way as agricultural fertilisers and other materials so that should a producer order these chemicals in large quantities law enforcement are then informed which in turn can track those responsible.
- The sales of other trophy horned animals has increased since the ban on Vietnamese hunting permits was introduced.
- Refugee camps and customs need to be looked in, monitored, and investigated.
The sales of imitation and fake Rhinoceros horn’s needs to be taken seriously as whilst this is still in the woodwork it’s creating more demand of which needs nipping in the bud hard with the traders dealt with in the exact same manners as those peddling in the real horn and wildlife trade.
- In October City Press reported on a man near Musina, Limpopo, who carved fake rhino horns and boasted that he could sell them for between R15 000 and R25 000 each.
- March the 2nd 2012 in Johannesburg another seizure of fake horn was seized that appeared to be have blood on it the accident on the N3 near Johannesburg saw two men arrested then subsequently let off.
- A lot of dealers know they are dealing with fake horn products and as such consider themselves to be ‘legal’. [It’s actually illegal under CITES law to be selling fake or real horn in Vietnam however it is in operation on a high level].
- Legal sales of fake horns and skulls are being purchased in the United States, Europe, and Asia that now needs monitoring and action placed.
Just to give you an insight as how nervous people are with regards the trade in Rhinoceros horn in Vietnam being fake, we searched other dealers and located information from dealers below which is a “guide to check if the horn is real or fake” which again points to the theory that 80% of Rhinoceros horn is indeed imitation and driving demand more. The site checked also gives a bigger insight on the horn trade in Asia as a whole which is worrying”
The dealer quotes;
“A wide range of verification methods are offered when questioning the authenticity of horn material. From the density of the material when cutting with an iron saw, to the colour of the ‘milky’ solution when powder is mixed with water or rice wine, shining a sharp torch through part of the horn, burning a corner and sucking in a hairy smell, tapping the horn piece with a finger nail and analysing the sound, pulling off some individual fibres (it seems one of the most reliable ways to try to identify real horn”.
The dealer then goes on to quote;
“Most of the horn on offer tends to be cut slabs or the tips indicating that it mostly comes from polished and modified water buffalo horns”.
“When asked for the easier to identify base of the horn the dealers tell the stories of it being the most valuable part and always sold first and them only having the tips left”.
“Prices quoted at the wholesale level to buy a whole or a large chunk of a horn, based on weight, were pretty uniform at U$ 20 000 for African horn and U$ 40 000 for Asian horn per kg (they being much smaller than the African horns). It was clear that with imitation products more flexibility existed in negotiations (in one case a piece of horn was cut from the bigger part with a chisel and hammer and pieces flying all over shop”.
“TCM dealers do trade in small quantities and it then it becomes retail and the prices go up (we also bought a sample in commercial packaging in Chinatown in Jakarta which officially stated it being 0.3 grams contained in a small glass vile”.
“Besides this retail trade for medicine there is the market of the big players buying whole horns and having special trusted dealers doing the verification for them. These players include the nouveau rich with a Rolls Royce in the car park who buy it as a must have item, as a status symbol and possibly also looking at it as an investment opportunity with supply bound to get more restricted and respective prices going up. On several occasions we were told of a family patriarch buying up a whole horn and then taking care of the family’s need and handing out pieces and powder as needed”.
The dealer then quotes the most worrying evidence;
“A dealer in the north of North Vietnam told us that a drug enforcement unit recently visited him and took some of his horn telling him that he would be paid later, indicating corruption in law enforcement on all levels”.
“The grinding plates have now also gone “up market”, with a new version made out of special Japanese clay which was introduced recently. The pamphlet which comes with the very fancy packaging also includes images of a live rhino and promises that horn can ‘cure incurable diseases”.
“The latest step being the sale of a special contraption supposedly with Japanese motor that can be bought to grind down the horn into powder. The above plate is mounted on a rotating platform and the horn piece is then fixed above the plate into a vice type metal grip and lowered to the rough plate surface and then the machine is turned on, the horn base is stationary on the rough surface and the plate turns. So a whole industry producing accessory items is now evolving”.
“In the case of the Asian rhino horns on offer, the fakes are much more realistic since the base is generally part of the very small horns but there are also obvious fakes”.
WORRYING TRENDS AND RELATIONS TO THE UNITED STATES;
The main import dealers are well established businessmen involved in all kinds of related activities including the trading in other contraband (in one case said reputed to be amphetamines). In the case of a key Laotian importer he hands out a business card showing that he is the head of the chamber of commerce for his district and the deputy head of the Laotian boxing and swimming association. He also operates a macaque breeding farm with primates being sold as captive bred when many are indeed wild caught imports from Thailand and Cambodia – with most of them being exported to the US for medical research. He is also about to expand his tiger farm.
“Dealers on this level often hire ‘mules’, just like with the drug trade, to get the merchandize to their headquarters. If anything should go wrong at the international level they can disassociate themselves from any such transaction and they deal with the product once it is in the country and then they do not have to worry about any potential problems occurring along the borders”.
The dealer then quoted the most worrying news that was very shocking;
“However even on the international level there seems little to worry about. I recently bought an imitation horn from a US store which produces Bone Clones of all kinds of skulls, human and animal bones including museum quality skeletons. I transported the well done imitation product openly in my check in bag over half a dozen international borders expecting somebody to detect the shape and form on an X-ray machine and questioning me. It never happened”.
We must not under any circumstances lift the Rhinoceros horn trade until all of these most crucial avenues are explored and vaporised. Should the trade be lifted and even more Rhinoceros are murdered because of the trade both on the internet and via imitation horn to selling imitation horns and skulls worldwide then we could lose the Rhinoceros species more quicker than imagined with the Elephant unfortunately following soon after.
Should one not “understand poaching” and the “increasing demand” to “wiping demand of the plate” then regrettably we will lose this war thus placing other species in danger that will in turn keep the momentum of the destructive wildlife medicine and consumption trade flowing.
Dr J C Dimetri
V.M.D, B.E.S, Ma, PhD, MEnvSc
Director and Founder
Join us at Team Africa International Animal Rescue Foundation
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To report illegal wildlife crime, poaching, trafficking, large domestic animal abuse please email below or INTERPOL
The video below just shows the amount of disrespect that Thailand has even when the meeting for the CoP summit is under way. Whilst the meeting was being held this undercover investigation was filmed showing the illegal trade in ivory. Allowing the Rhinoceros horn trade to be made legal will have disastrous consequences, and be shown similar to this. Rhinoceros horn is not medicine.
The Egyptian lather below clearly has no worries about selling ivory, we also located more ivory tusks on his website owned by an American domain WEEBLY
This site can be located here http://elwahe.weebly.com/index.html
VIETNAM PLEASE WATCH THE VIDEO – RHINOCEROS HORN IS NOT MEDICINE
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