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WHY ARE WE STILL HUNTING RHINOS FOR | WHEN NO AMOUNT OF FUNDING HAS REDUCED POACHING?

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WHY ARE WE STILL HUNTING RHINO?

Why are foreign and native Africans still trophy hunting Rhinoceros for, when no amount of funding generated from these hunts has actively decreased poaching? Image credit: (Mrs Janice Hull, Limcroma South Africa).

Over five years ago I and a group of dangerous game hunters (DGH’s) were involved within a heated debate relating to the money allegedly generated from rhino hunting. The question I asked (and continue to ask) was: “Why are we still hunting rhino for when the money generated from these hunts doesn’t appear to be having any affect whatsoever on decreasing rhino poaching or increasing conservation efforts and security for African rhinos”? (Image above: Hunter – American Janice Hull).

The answer[s] I received were mixed opinions, abuse, and lies. I aimed this question at a number of professional hunters – (PH’s) working in South Africa, and Namibia most of which were American. While the vast majority of dangerous game hunters stated money raised from hunts was directed back into rhino conservation, I’m still after five years questioning where this money is actually going because rhino poaching is not decreasing whatsoever?

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Image Credit: Trophy hunter Mr Loddie Naymola

Since 2008 poachers have slaughtered a staggering 5,940 Rhinoceros – most of which have been poached within South Africa’s flagship park identified as the Kruger National Park. From the year of 2007 rhino poaching figures began increasing rapidly. A total of 13 rhino were bludgeoned to death in 2007. Meanwhile in 2009 South Africa lost a further 122 rhinos (due to poaching).

However come 2011 we really began to see poaching figures rise, come the end of December 2011 a whopping 448 rhinos had been slaughtered by poachers to fuel the Asian demand for pseudo rhino horn medicine. Come 2013 figures shot through the roof resulting in some 1,003 rhinos poached stated the Department of Environmental Affairs come 2013 December end. Then the largest stats were reported back in 2014 of which South Africa lost some 1,215 Rhinoceros to poachers. Yet ‘hunting revenue is preserving our ionic species’?.

Unfortunately at some point from 2014-2016 the Department of Environmental Affairs Minster Honorable Edna Molewa placed a complete ban on the public reporting of any rhino poaching figures, there was no reason as to why this ban was implemented, of which to date still remains in place. Coincidentally (2015’s poaching statistics) had decreased somewhat – of which come December 2015 some 1,175 rhinos had ‘allegedly been poached’. Isn’t that coincidental, a blanket ban on poaching figures is ordered, then come the next year a decrease is seen!.

SOURCE: POACHING STATISTICS.

The SOUTH AFRICAN DEFENCE WEB stated back in January 2016 that a ‘lack of rhino poaching information was negatively affecting anti poaching’. However despite the governmental blackout on rhino poaching incidents numerous organisations such as ‘Stop Rhino Poaching  and ‘Outraged South African Citizens against Poaching’ had reported via media, press and anti poaching reports a small rhino poaching decline.

However both of these organisations didn’t obtain their reports from the government, or did they?. So last years poaching stats could indeed be higher than what has been stated in the public domain. Furthermore both Facebook/Online groups/NGO’s share there statistics openly. So in all honesty there is no evidence whatsoever to prove a poaching decline from 2015 has occurred. Moreover and as explained – I myself find it awfully suspicious that since the 2015 poaching report blackout by the South African government – poaching stats just coincidentally decrease like that?.

Elise Daffue whom ‘allegedly runs some form of rhino intelligence group’ (on Facebook – identified as Stop Rhino Poaching), and not in the actual field, stated: “The drop in kills is testimony to the huge effort being made on the enforcement side. Environment Asset Protection strategies have been formulated and implemented over the past three years, guiding the strategic and operational plans nationally – from the ranger in the bush who detects the spoor to the prosecutor who fights that bail is denied. Keeping the numbers down depends entirely on good field work and reserve security, good investigations and good convictions”

While Elise Daffue has stated there was a drop in rhino poaching due to a “huge effort being made on the enforcement side” there remains no evidence whatsoever proving there has been a decline in rhino poaching from 2014-2015. Moreover if there is evidence where has this data come from?. Furthermore whenever we see hunters and ‘animal lovers mingling together’, regardless of what you state your organisation is and does – alarm bells begin ringing, especially coming close to the next CoP summit.

The Founder of Stop Rhino Poaching is friends with a hunter identified as Gustav Collins who runs the Mattaniah Game Reserve Furthermore Elise Daffue is also associated with the individual known as Simon James Naylor who is the Conservation Manager for Phinda Private Game Reserve of which has connections to various hunting organisations and the (WWF) that supports sustainable hunting of Rhinoceros within South Africa and Namibia. Finally (among many others) we have Mr Mark Lautenbach who works as a Specialist Freelance Guide at Ukuthula Lodge. Elise Daffue founder of Stop Rhino Poaching is also friends with a Department of Environmental Affairs worker, and numerous other governmental bodies, police and hunters.

While the above details may not seem overly important, when we’re trying to locate data on hunting statistics, money generated from these activities and more, suspicions are raised when we locate so called professional organisations that are connected to numerous hunting organisations; and institutions such as ‘petting farms’ I.e Ukutala Lodge that has connections with the canned hunting industry and, has featured in a (Blood Lion documentary).

So as one can see it all becomes rather confusing when all we want is upfront and honest answers, however when we ask questions and later find out there are numerous connections to the hunting and possibly ‘pseudo hunting trade’ will we even obtain a serious, straightforward and honest answer? When we’re lied to by hunters, how can we possibly trust Non-Governmental Organisations that are aligned to the very people whom are lying, and are hunting our rhinos while pretending to be so called conservationists? Moreover we (the organisation) do not believe there has been any decline whatsoever relating to rhino poaching. We do though believe that this so called ‘decline may be playing a role in this months CoP17 Summit’ relating to rhino horn legislation. 

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Image Credit: European trophy hunter, Mr Dennis Schemmel

Back in July 2016 it was reported that Rhinoceros poaching was finally without a doubt at ‘tipping point’. South Africa has seen the largest poaching rates recorded at some 72% from 2011-2015. Namibia recorded a loss of 10.8% from 2012-2015. Zimbabwe recorded a loss of 3.1% from 2012-2015. Kenya has recorded a loss of 4.4% from 2012-2015. Finally ‘other African range states mainly in Central Africa’ recorded a loss of 2.5% from 2012-2015.

While its been reported that some 25,000 Rhinoceros remain on the African continent – a depressing near six thousand have been poached all over the continent from 2012-2015. Yet hunting revenue from one of Africa’s most expensive game animals is allegedly reducing poaching? How is this possible, when we’ve lost so many rhinos, and reports from the Global Initiative have confirmed ‘rhinos are at tipping point’.?  Furthermore how can the hunting community continue to state that revenue from rhino hunting is helping to secure the rhinos future when 1. It clearly isn’t due to poaching statistics increasing, and 2. The majority of hunters today are now supporting an international rhino horn trade ban lift?

The Global Initiative stated: “Dozens more rhino have been shot in so-called “pseudo-hunts”. Across Europe, castles and museums have been raided by criminal gangs in search of rhino horn trophies. And in the United States, businessmen, antique dealers – even a former rodeo star and a university professor – have been implicated in the illicit trade”. Driven by seemingly insatiable demand in Southeast Asia and China, rhino horn has become a black market commodity rivalling gold and platinum in value.

SOURCE: GLOBAL INITIATIVE.

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Image: Female rhino hunter, origin of hunter unknown and name. South Africa?

To date there has been very little forthcoming information in relation to revenue generated from African rhino hunts, and where exactly this hunting money is going. Furthermore with rhino poaching still increasing, and tipping points now recorded by ‘various trusted organisations’ the question must now be raised why are we still hunting Rhinoceros?

From the 1940’s tiger hunting was common among many international and local tourists in India. However so too was tiger poaching. It was alleged that revenue from tiger hunting was actually helping to preserve the tiger species and other mammals too. Unfortunately this turned out to be complete codswallop. Then in 1973, the Indian government finally under the orders of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi banned tiger hunting due to so many tigers being poached – and legally hunted at the same time. Had Prime Minister Indira Gandhi not instigated ‘Project Tiger’, the tiger would have gone extinct way back in the 1970’s.

SOURCE: PROJECT TIGER.

In the last 50 years the tiger population in Asia has plummeted from 100,000 to about 5,000. The number of tigers is dangerously low, and the conservation of the world’s remaining tigers is of global concern. Now, in this volume, 40 world authorities on tigers from Asia, Europe, and North America have summarized and identified the management, conservation, and research needs for this endangered species. Before Project Tiger was implemented tiger populations were being hammered. The same identical hunting and poaching behavior before Project Tiger can now be witnessed in Africa – primarily in South Africa where rhinos are also being hammered both by hunters, poachers and pseudo hunters. Does that ring alarm bells among the many FAKE NGO’S out there?

International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa undertook various searches relating to rhino hunting and revenue generated from these hunts within South Africa. What we found was from 2005-2015 a total of 330 ‘White Rhinoceros’ had been legally hunted from 2005-2015. The minimum hunting price was exactly $50,000(USD). While the maximum hunting price was exactly $150,000(USD). It was found that from 2005-2015 and based on the assumption these were (white rhino hunts only) and, taking into consideration the minimum price first. Revenue generated from rhino hunting at the price of $50,000(USD) resulted in an estimated total $181,500,000 million – that’s $181 million(USD) raised from hunting. Meanwhile, and taking into consideration the highest price (being $150,000(USD) a total of $554,500,000 million was generated.

While we cannot place these two equations together and provide a factual sum because we don’t know how many rhinos were legally hunted at each individual price, the sheer fact that millions of dollars has been generated from 2005-2015 should be enough to explain that something isn’t quite right here. Furthermore these figures are based on the assumption these were white rhino hunts,

MINIMUM HUNTING PRICE: 2005-2015 = $181,500,000 million(USD)

MAXIMUM HUNTING PRICE: 2005-2015 = $554,500,000 million(USD)

SOURCE: HUNTING REVENUE.

SOURCE: REPORT TROPHY HUNTING.

To date (and as you can see within the sourced links above) there still hasn’t been a single reliable report that confirms just how much money is being made from trophy hunting in South Africa. The only so called reliable report (which is about as reliable as a chocolate teapot) and, being the only report to surface thus far stated that $200 million(USD) was generated from the years of 2010-2011 (in regards to all South African trophy hunts)? Who number crunched these figures, who even dared to come up with such an absurd low revenue income? I would also like to remind hunting organisations, just because you don’t have to tell us what you’re making, we can contact other organisations/institutions, locate prices, we can phone and email. Eventually we’ll find the truth!

Now either our expert eyes and our mathematical friends are missing something here, or journalists media and the pro trade lobby are forgetting that despite hunting revenue being made pubic. Environmental Scientists can research CITES trophy hunting statistics, then locate the common maximum and minimum price, and the number of rhino trophy heads exported/imported. So as one can read above just from the years of (2005-2015 – millions was made just from Rhinoceros hunting). Moreover who ever came up with the 2010-2011 sum of $200 million USD clearly is missing a lot of money off here, and needs to undertake a mathematical course too?

Rhinoceros hunting is by far the biggest money maker within the hunting business (most of this money is made in South Africa which hosts the largest rhino populations on the planet). Furthermore it just seems too coincidental that from 2010-2011 literally every hunting organisation that’s promoting/advertising rhino hunts has mysteriously removed their prices.

Trophy hunting of rhino is strictly regulated. Every year a total of five (black rhino) can legally be hunted within each of Namibia and South Africa, which totals to a maximum of (ten) per year – five per country. Furthermore in South Africa and Namibia one white rhino can be hunted by one hunter per year – that’s one rhino per hunter every year. Unfortunately there remains no further hunting revenue and data from the years of 2014. Its been estimated by the National Geographic based on the United States Fish and Wildlife report that the United States imported a total of 328 white rhino trophies from South Africa from the years of 2005-2014. Meanwhile a total of 7 white rhino were hunted and subsequently imported to the United States from Namibia from the years of 2005-2014.

SOURCE: NAT GEO HUNTING DATA.

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Image Credit: Rhino hunter Alexander Tseytlin

Black rhino hunts have provoked much controversy over the past five years mainly because black rhinos are actually listed as (critically endangered), hence why only five black rhinos can be hunted per year in South Africa and Namibia. Since 1996-2011 the species has been listed as near extinct on the International Union for the Conservation of Natures Red List. Fortunately due to ‘private farming conservation efforts (not wild efforts) the species has allegedly and gradually increased (primarily due to hunting?)’. Both private and wild populations are believed to be increasing within South Africa and Namibia placing the total species population count from 2010 at 4,880 black rhinos.

SOURCE: IUCN BLACK RHINO.

The only reports that we ourselves can offer in regards to black rhino trophy is that of media and press reports that have documented on large scale bidding for black rhino hunts. In January 2014, Corey Knowlton bid $350,000 for a permit to hunt and kill a black rhino in Namibia (Source: Corey Knowlton). Back in June 2016 Namibia offered up three of its black rhinos to trophy hunters. While the price has not been documented its most likely be in the region of just over $1 million(USD) for the three Black Rhinoceros (Source: Namibia black rhino hunt).

Meanwhile back in 1996 a game rancher named John Hume paid about $200,000 for three pairs of endangered black rhinos from the wildlife department of the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal. Among them was a male who would come to be called “Number 65,” and whose death would play a central role in the debate about conservation.

When the black rhino bull arrived, Hume’s farm manager — a burly Zimbabwean named Geoff York whose typical mode of dress is army boots and a pair of purple shorts — tranquilized him, clipped two notches in his left ear and two in the right, and gave him a number: 65. Mr John Hume later picked Mr Peter Thormahlen to organize the killing of ‘number 65’. The price was set at a $25,000 deposit on a $150,000 fee for a seven-day hunt.

Most of that would go to John Hume – the very man that is today advocating for an international legalized trade in rhino horn and has connections to a wide number of organisations such as, WWF, IUCN, CITES, The Department of Environmental Affairs and numerous other figures. Then on July 23rd 2005 Thormahlen and his client with John Hume tagging along proceeded on foot. Suddenly the rhino noticed them and rose from the dirt. The client pulled the trigger, and the first bullet pierced Number 65’s skull. The rhino, still standing, turned. A second bullet hit, and the rhino dropped dead. (Source: John Hume Rhino Hunt).

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Source: The Sacrifice, please click the source tag for more info

As you can read there is a staggering amount of money parting hands to hunt both black and white rhino. Yet poaching is still skyrocketing? South Africa has lost from 2008 almost 6,000 rhinos to poachers. Back in 2014 Namibia lost a total of 24 rhinos to poaching, then come 2015 a whopping 60 rhinos were poached. (Source: Poaching stats Namibia).

So the question still remains just what exactly is all this money going towards, can each professional hunting organisation prove to me, my organisation and the public that the money generated from rhino hunting is indeed being used to fund anti poaching operations, security, conservation, education, awareness and horn poisoning? (Etc).

While I’ve been extremely silent on this issue too since 2011 I’m going to make it pubic now. I dislike the fact that a ‘prominent South African game hunter’ is involved with the Rhino Orphanage. Back in 2011 we (the organisation) were going to submit funding for scales and equipment, however when running a trace on whom ran the main website, down to a trace on that individuals Facebook page, and more we later discovered a ‘silent partner’ that is hunting many of the big five..

..So who do we trust when it comes to facts and figures? How can we trust anyone that is stating hunting is indeed increasing rhino numbers when literally every individual and organisation are in someway aligned to one another in South Africa and over the borders? Can the Rhino Orphanage and its ‘affiliate’s’ also prove that every single rhino that’s been saved has been released back into a reserve, and not hunted for sport that clearly from this entire document has proved – no amount of hunting whatsoever is increasing rhino populations!

Hunting operations are indeed expensive. While the price of a hunt may indeed seem high. One also has to take into consideration what the farmer and/or professional hunter has to pay for too. Upkeep of land, maintenance of vehicles and buildings, fuel, service charges for gas, electricity, water, and rent Etc, food and beverages for the visiting hunters, guest house uses, damages to guest houses, travel, firearms (among many other bills). Then of course comes anti poaching being the last bill. Some of this expense can be viewed below.

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Image: Hunting Charges (Source: IFAW)

While we know that Rhinoceros trophy hunting is indeed expensive, poaching is unfortunately still increasing in various African countries, please do check the sourced links out above, and read that data carefully. The image above with source proves that no big five farmer is taking every single dollar or euro that’s advertises rhino hunting on their site or allows rhino hunting on their property.

So the question remains why are we still hunting rhino for? The question I’ve answered. Rhino hunting is nothing more than a overpaid sport that does nothing whatsoever for conservation and, is not under any circumstances whatsoever contributing to decreasing poaching. All these millions if not billions being made yet here we are still seeing rhinos poached. Finally, and the very best question of them all. If hunting revenue from rhino hunts is not decreasing poaching, how the hell is a so called sustainable rhino horn trade going to decrease poaching? Same money – same prices – going nowhere!

Thank you for reading. 

Dr Jose C. Depre PhD. MEnvSc. BSc(Hons) Botany, PhD(NeuroSci) D.V.M.

Master of Environmental, Botanical & Human Science. 

Environmental, Botanical and Human Scientist. 

 


TOREO | THE BULLS STORY – LA FIESTA NACIONAL.

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TOREO | THE BULLS STORY

HISTORY

Toreo. Just the word brings back horrific flashbacks of the many times myself and friends working within the Animal Rights Militia have taken on the matadors and their deranged, psychopathic fiends, that revel within this brutal festival. The last account five years ago was when we stormed a bullfighting ring. Not only was we spat at by the crowd, we were also beaten over the head, shoulders, and body – Police deliberately turning their head as pepper was rubbed within our eyes. Water cannons shot at us, female activists chained together with us all screaming as the matadors fiends attacked, welcome to Spain. 

That’s the level at which these sadists drop to, just to protect their so called brutal and gory cultural tradition. Police then, after each activists chain was cut, dragged each of us away, before imprisoning each individual for illegal trespass, and various public order offences. Forget the bull though that’s beaten, lanced, and brutally tortured (even before the festival begins). Oh, didn’t you know? What, you thought the bull was only abused during the event? No, far from it. Every single bull before they even enter the bullfighting ring are lanced, they have pepper or Vaseline rubbed within their eyes, and are also stabbed within their genitals just to weaken the bulls strength. The spectators believe that this strong, proud, and daring matador is actually fighting a strong and powerful bull. Far from it!

“Stabbed in the genitals – Vaseline rubbed into the bulls eyes”

Bull fighting in Spanish known as (Toreo) has been a part of Spanish tradition now for many hundreds of years. The “cultural tradition” dates as far back to the 1700’s, which then was a traditional event reserved primarily for the wealthy nobleman. Today the so called tradition is now watched by families both poor and wealthy, children and even celebrities. Today we see a man or woman known as a (matador) standing within the ring taunting and aggravating the bull.

It’s quite uncommon to witness now anything other than the matador within the ring. From the early 1700’s right up to 2008 horses were still used by matadors (and are still used within some events). Unfortunately as one can see within the image below, these forgotten victims (despite the masses armor protecting them) in many cases would be the bulls first victim. But why horses?

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Image: Bull gorges the horse, often in many cases dying from their injures. 

The tormented bull does not understand that it is the man on the horse’s back that is causing his pain, only that he is in agony. He therefore sees the horse as his enemy as much as the man. It’s not unusual for horses used in bullfights to be so badly gored by the bulls that they have to be killed, but only after they have been dragged from the ring and the view of the spectators. Spanish bullfights also employ “picadors”, men on horseback armed with spears.

Horses are often the “forgotten victims of the bull fighting tradition”. Rarely are they mentioned within the press, or the media, their pain etched deep within their eyes after the bull gorged them, before yet another sadist fires a bullet into the horses head – killing them instantly releasing them of further misery and pain. What a waste of an animal – all for a so called cultural tradition!

I’ve documented on many bullfights now, however, today, refuse to part with my money just to provide it to sadists. I’ll admit now, even a grown man, hardened by the sights and sounds of animal torture tears were and still are shed, knowing I couldn’t do a single thing to stop this animals pain, witnessing them up close, the pain clearly visible within their eyes, in a sense pleading with me or someone to help them, reminding me in a sense to remember them.

The horses are blind-folded to prevent them from becoming terror stricken at the charge of the bull. It is commonly believed that their ears are stuffed with cotton-wool to prevent them from panicking and their vocal cords cut to stop them screaming with fear at the bull’s attack. This is the fate of these beautiful animals. To be used to entertain a crowd that lusts for blood and claims that bullfighting is a tradition and “cultural heritage”.

“Horses ears are stuffed with cotton-wool to prevent them from panicking and their vocal cords cut to stop them screaming with fear at the bull’s attack”

What about the brave matadors, picadors and their ilk? Bullfighters are rarely injured and seldom killed in the ring. With their armory of weapons to weaken the bull until it can no longer fight, their lives are not at great risk. In fact, in the last 50 years only 10 bullfighters have been killed worldwide. The last gimp that was gored by a bull and killed was back in July 2016, identified as Victor Barrio. In my humble opinion his death wasn’t gory enough, and I’d have quite happily paid good money knowing he was going to be gored to death slowly and sadistically just to send my love as he departs this grotesque and evil world to hell.

Many people believe that bullfighting is only confined to Spain, if only? Bull fighting is hosted in various countries around the planet – mostly European. Spain, Portugal and France are the main three European countries where bull fighting is still legal – although in France activists are fighting back hard, and I do believe that France is soon to kick this horrifying cultural tradition out off the back door for good. India, United States of America, and Tanzania all host bull fighting events too. Furthermore in India, Persian Gulf, Japan, South East Asia, South Africa, and Kenya host “bull wrestling events”, again the bull is brutally killed.

Building of the Maestranza Bullring in Seville began in 1758 making it Spain’s oldest Plaza de Toros. The origin of modern day bullfighting on foot (rather than horseback) can be traced back to Ronda. It is one of the most charming bullrings in the country and although its capacity is only 12,500, it attracts the top bullfighters. You can see bullfights in Seville from April (during Seville’s Feria de Abril) through to October. The video below is one on of the most barbaric so called “cultural traditions” I’ve ever witnessed! 

“THIS IS SPANISH CULTURE”

LA FIESTA NACIONAL

The Spanish bullfighting season is normally hosted from April into October every year. However within the past decade activists have finally had enough – and today its not uncommon to see activists, and the (locals that support this so called “cultural tradition” facing off with one another within the streets). Violent clashes are at times known to explode outside of the ring and within the ring. The whole purpose of these clashes is to disrupt the event and reduce as many “paying spectators” from gaining access. The more financial disruption can be caused – the quicker these events slowly, but surely come to an end. Please view the video below. 

Many spectators that attend the local Spanish bullfighting festivals only witness what is ongoing in the ring before, and after. They are rarely (if at all told) how the bull is acquired, what happen’s to the bull before the festival, and if the bull is lucky – what happen’s to the bull after? I myself believe that if all of these spectators truly knew what happened prior, during and after they’d never attend another bullfighting festival again.

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Image: Matador begins preparation for the kill.

As explained above most if not all spectators only witness the bullfighting match; well if you’re one of them spectators (reading this article) then now is the time to read the following gruesome and rather upsetting facts – just so you know how cowardly this so called cultural tradition truly is!.

PRE-FIGHT

The bull is not an aggressive animal (nor does his charge at seeing red), and the reason he is angry and attempts to charge at the matador whilst in the bullring is mainly because he has been horrendously abused for the previous two days. In fact, what spectators see is not a normal, healthy bull, but a weakened, half-blinded and mentally destroyed version, whose chances of harming his tormentors is virtually nil. The bull has wet newspapers stuffed into his ears; Vaseline is rubbed into his eyes to blur his vision; cotton is stuffed up his nostrils to cut off his respiration and a needle or knife is stuck into his genitals.

“The bull has wet newspapers stuffed into his ears; Vaseline is rubbed into his eyes to blur his vision; cotton is stuffed up his nostrils to cut off his respiration and a needle or knife is stuck into his genitals”

Also, a strong caustic solution is rubbed onto his legs which throws him off balance. This also keeps him from lying down on the ground. In addition to this, drugs are administered to pep him up or slow him down, and strong laxatives are added to his feed to further incapacitate him. He is kept in a dark box for a couple of days before he faces the ring: the purpose of this is to disorientate him. When he is let out of the box, he runs desperately towards the light at the end of the tunnel. He thinks that at last his suffering is over and he is being set free — instead, he runs into the bullring to face his killers and a jeering mob.

“A strong caustic solution is rubbed onto his legs which throws him off balance”

THE BULL FIGHT

The above “pre fight description is 100% factual” – I’ve seen it with my own eyes, and have spoken to various ex-matadors (that also verify mine and others claims) that are now friends with myself – fighting to end this gruesome cultural tradition. Furthermore its not just the bulls that are abused, as explained above, horses are treated in more or less the same horrifying manners.

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Image: Frightened horse – gored and unfortunately killed. 

Strictly speaking, a bullfight is composed of 3 separate “acts”, and the whole thing is supposed to last for 20 minutes, though in actual fact it varies. The opening of a bullfight begins with a tune being played on a trumpet — the tune is the special, signa lure Rifle which characterises the beginning of the horror. Upon entering the ring, bulls have been known to collapse through exhaustion alter their pre-fight ordeal — they have been dragged to their feet by the bullfighter’s assistants. Below is a video of the “forgotten victims” – horses. The video I believe was recorded in Peru or Mexico.

THE PICADORS 

The sequence of events begins when the bull faces the picadors — these are the men on horseback, whose purpose it is to exhaust the bull. They cut into his neck muscles with a pica. This is a weapon of about 6-8 inches long, and 2 inches thick. Once it is thrust into the bull it is twisted round and a large, gaping wound appears. The bull then starts bleeding to death. But why can’t the matador do this – a man that is so strong, so fearless and is scared of no beast? Well its simple. The matador requires the help of three to four other gimps because there is no way he’d safely be able to deliver that first blow thus weakening the bull as he (cowardly attacks the animal). Isn’t that how bullies in the school playing field behave? The image below depicts various weapons and a pica – a rather crude weapon that the picadors use to weaken the bulls strength, so the coward in woman’s clothes can take the bull down with ease.

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Image: Pica and Banderilla.

Pica’s and Banderilla’s vary in shape and size, there really isn’t any specific shape although most picadors will tend to chose a slim, and sharp pica or Banderilla, so as to not quicken the loss of blood from the bull. Furthermore the slimmer and finer the blade – the easier it is to stab into the bull. The last thing a picador wants is to be battling within an already pissed off bull that could take the horse down (which it does sometimes) and potentially kill the picador too. The above image is an example relating to the bladed weapons used by picadors, and matadors.

ASSISTANT MATADORS

After the picador has finished his sordid and rather sick, perverted business, the assistant matadors then get to work with the banderillas (sharp, harpoon-like barbed instruments seen in the image above). These are plunged into the bull’s body, and he may also be taunted by capes (seen in the image below). Up to six banderillas may be used. When the banderillas strike the bull stops in his tracks and bellows madly.

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Image: Matador plunges Banderilla into bull.

 THE FINAL ACT OF BARBARITY

A trumpet signals the final “act” — in fact, during the whole nightmare, strange, slow tunes are played throughout. It is, of course, during the final act that the bull is killed (and hopefully goes onto a better life). The kill should last 6 minutes, and is done by the main matador. If he has any difficulties (which is an extremely rare occurrence), the others immediately rush in to his aid and finish off the bull. While death may take some 6 minutes – brain death takes over 30 minutes if not longer. 

THE FINAL DEGRADATION

The matador is supposed to sever the artery near the heart with one thrust of the sword — in fact, this never happens. It often takes 2-3 times before the creature is mercifully released by death. By this time, the bull’s lungs and heart will be punctured and he always vomits blood. Miraculously, he sometimes attempts to rise again, and gets up on his knees, only to receive further mutilation at the hands of his tormentors. He finally gives up, goes to his knees and lies down. Even then, he is not allowed a little dignity to leave this world in peace, his ears and tail are cut off (often when he is fully conscious), and his broken, bleeding body is dragged around the ring by mules, to which he is attached by an apparatus made of wood and chains. Not content with his suffering, which must be too horrible to describe by words, the crowds boo and jeer him. They even throw empty beer cans at him. His body is then taken away to be skinned, and even then he may not be dead when this happens. 

“THIS IS SPANISH CULTURE?”

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Image: Bull is dragged away after being brutally and sadistically killed. 

THE JUDGES FINAL DECISION

To be brutally honest I don’t really know what’s worse. Watching the matador or picadors rain merry hell down on the bull, the bull vomiting blood, and suffocating on its own blood, the bull collapsing to his feet unable to take a further onslaught, or the judges final decision on how the fight went?. Once the bull has collapsed and begins the slow several minutes of painful death. Judges will rule on how well the matador fought. Traditionally when the bull is down and unconscious, judges will decide whether to cut off one ear (for a good fight), two sliced ears means (an excellent fight), or two ears and the tail (bravo – the best fight they’ve witnessed). 

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Image: Female Matador Lea Vicens sliced the two ears off (excellent fight).

IF THE BULL GORES THE MATADOR TO DEATH?

When I posted about Victor Barrio’s death, many people reveled about his death, cheered the bull, while many more truly believed that was it, the bull had won, and that was that. Unfortunately within Spanish tradition that’s not how this so called “culture” concludes matters. Bulls are bred by the local farmers, of which the farmer will chose the very best bull to enter the ring. 100% of all bulls that the local farmer will be presenting to the ring – are 100% free roaming and wild. So you’d kind of think, that should the bull get lucky the bull will be returned back to the farmer and treated by a veterinarian, and hailed as an animal hero? Think again! Feel free to leave Lea Vicens a message on Facebook here 

Far from it. The bull hasn’t a chance. Its either take the matador on and lose – of which the bull is then skinned and fed to the locals, or take the matador on and kill the matador, of which unfortunately the bull will still die. Those lucky bulls that (incredibly rarely) are able to take the matador down and kill him or her, will be sent to slaughter. As an environmental and human scientist and qualified veterinarian I find the latter quite mindbogglingly odd. Should a bull win or even lose that’s been scared witless, put through hell, of which its body has been pumped with stress hormones and adrenaline prior and during the battle. That meat will be toxic and tough to eat. So in a sense the bull is (if they win or lose) getting their own back on the local community either way!.

THE BULL ALWAYS HAS THE LAST LAUGH

Stress, fear and pain when animals are being slaughtered or waiting to be slaughtered results in several disease processes in the humans which eat the meat. Most notable are cardiac problems, impotency and general fatigue. These adverse effects are most directly associated with consumption of dog meat (simply because there is no dog meat slaughter regulation – and in this case with the bull that wins or loses – no regulation on disease neither). Experiments including laboratory dogs slaughtered in stressful conditions result in impotence of rats fed with the dog’s meat. These results correlate with studies of humans in St. Georges, Utah.

Studies made of domestic farm animals (cattle, pigs and poultry), and of laboratory animals (dogs and rats) show in all cases elevated levels of steroid hormones, generally associated with adrenocortical secretions. Primary substances include adrenaline, cortisone-like secretions, and steroids which stimulate fear pheromone production. All of these are known to result in poor health and poor vitality. This study confirms this link in food consumed by humans.

I’ve studied human, wildlife, botanical and environmental science for many, many years. I’ve written over 4,000 articles for press and the media and talked on radio shows within the past decade around the globe. However during all of these articles, including my own organisations articles I’ve never written about such barbaric, repulsive, and backwards so called cultural traditions. Nevertheless – and regardless of how long these so called cultural traditions continue I and my fellow companions as well as the media and press will continue to fight on to end this barbarism.

Five years ago I looked into a bulls eyes and cried my heart out watching the bastard matador slowly and sadistically kill the bull in front of me and many hundreds of jeering spectators. I felt in a sense that the bull was asking me to remember him, and as yet been unable to explain that story in full. So this time I’ve remembered him, released that horrific memory from my mind. I’ve told his side of the story – a story that is rarely told to the witnessing public. Remember him I damn well did. I’ll never forget neither.

Thank you for reading, and to follow my of my articles stay tuned to my main site >here< 

Dr Jose C. Depre  PhD. MEnvSc. BSc(Hons) Botany, PhD(NeuroSci) D.V.M.

Environmental, Botanical & Human Scientist. 

Chief Executive Officer | Chief Environmental Crimes Officer. 

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FACEBOOK: IVORY TRADE OFF THE SCALE | VIET NAM | PART I

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FACEBOOK | IVORY TRADE IN VIET NAM

Written by Dr Jose C. Depre (Chief Environmental Officer).

By the time it takes me to finish this document an estimated 20-50 elephants will have been slaughtered. Once you turn your head and continue to do nothing, come tomorrow 100 elephants would have been killed for their ivory to supply the South East Asian black market. Back in January 2015 I launched yet another online and ground intelligence gathering operation relating to the illegal wildlife trade; We are focusing on China, Viet Nam, Laos, and Thailand of which the team, a twenty four strong experienced male and female unit originate from all backgrounds. Today I’m focusing more on the online trade which has now increased to worrying new levels.

Since January 2015 when [Operation Stop It] was launched Environmental Crimes Officers have found what we believe is a new trend of ivory trade in operation on the United States platform known as Facebook. External Affairs Officers became aware of the huge trade when investigating a Vietnamese national identified as Mr Trang from June 2015 to December 2015. Unfortunately since providing law enforcement agencies with masses of evidence just on this one trader; very little in the way of arrests and/or confiscations has been witnessed.

The ban on international trade in ivory was introduced in 1989 by CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) after years of unprecedented poaching. In the 1980’s, an estimated 100,000 elephants were being killed per year and up to 80% of herds were lost in some regions. However despite the ivory trade ban in place, very little in the way of illegal trade reduction is being witnessed within Viet Nam, China, Laos, and Thailand.

Viet Nam is one country of interest that we’ve noted as hosting “unusually large amounts of (raw ivory tusks), most of which seem to be originating from impounded stocks, with other tusks clearly removed from ivory pyres”. While we are aware a large majority of ivory tusks are originating from Africa, there is also a significantly large amount also originating from Asia. Asian ivory tusks are more favored for carving over that of African elephant tusks.

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Image: Two tusks located for sale on Facebook 16.05.16 from | impounded or stolen from pyres?

The two elephant ivory tusks (pictured above) were located on Facebook for sale yesterday which we suspect have originated from a recent or past ivory burn. Normally ivory tusks are white, or a dusty creamy color with some dark tinges to them; embers can clearly be seen on the left hand tusk with visible white dehydration and salt marks too.

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Image: Ivory jewelry smuggled from Africa into South East Asia now on sale on Facebook.

While the online trade is no big secret, the fact is Facebook hosts no terms and conditions in place that bans such illegal trade; the Facebook platform has no systems in place to recognize such imagery (I.e raw tusks) using BOTS that can then report back to a third party Policing team. Finally IARFA Environmental Crimes Officers have found Facebook is being exploited by many South East Asian citizens primarily from Viet Nam, and Thailand peddling ivory from Asia and Africa.

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Image: Ivory trader weighs up tusks he is trading online via pseudo Facebook account shops.

The image above clearly demonstrates just has serious the ivory trade has become online and on the Facebook social media platform. Traders will commonly show their products to prove their wealth (I.e as a status symbol), or to prove/demonstrate the legitimacy of their products compared to other traders, that may be selling counterfeit ivory. The trader who we can only be name as Mr Phong then demonstrates just how much he will be making come the end of the month. The total amount of ivory Mr Phong is selling on Facebook (pictured above and below) will fetch him around $15,000-$20,000USD depending on how the ivory is sold and/or manufactured.

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Image: My Phong weighs up this illegal haul of ivory, fetching him some $15,000-$20,000USD

Despite international and domestic trade bans nothing is actually working, furthermore we do hold concerning evidence that shows without a doubt many tusks are being removed from compounds in Asia and Africa then sold onto the very people that police took the ivory from. Police have been witnessed trading confiscated ivory at high prices back into the hands of smugglers knowing too well they are going to make a good wage due to the high demand for ivory tusk products.

Back in 1992 Viet Nam officially outlawed the ivory trade, unfortunately since the ban was implemented any ivory that was purchased before “Viet Nam’s ivory ban” can still be sold legally so as long as the tusks host the correct certification; Fortunately CITES did rule that “re-worked ivory or any tusks/ivory products that were purchased before or after the 1992 Viet Nam ivory ban that are then re-worked, would then be classed as new ivory (non-exempt) thus making that product that was legal – now illegal.

Meanwhile back in 1975 international trade in “Asian elephant ivory” was also banned. There has been quite a few tusks examined by experts and third party experts located on the United States Facebook platform as originating from Asian elephants. Asian elephant tusks are much smaller than your average African bush elephant tusks. Come the 1980’s it was then stated no fewer than 50,000 Asian elephants existed which are now listed on CITES Appendix One and known to [endangered].

One out of every six Hanoi citizens are dealing ivory on the United States Facebook platform. Most of this ivory is as explained originating from Africa and Asia, with clear and obvious signs of trafficking, and thefts from impounded ivory and ivory pyres.

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Image: One of many thousands of online ivory trading Facebook shops in Viet Nam.

The image above was picked up from one of many thousands of Viet Nam ivory traders. Traders establish a sophisticated network of “pseudo Facebook accounts”. These accounts are rarely in the real name of the trader. Traces of some accounts via the IARF Environmental Cyber Crimes Unit have shown ivory traders using Virtual Proxy Networks [VPNs] to conceal their Internet Protocol Address.

Furthermore when dealing over the phone traders normally use cheap (non-smart throw away phones) so that should enforcement agencies locate them, tracing the traders exact whereabouts, and who they are selling ivory onto is almost impossible.  Its not uncommon to witness traders with a number of cell phones. One phone (the throw away one) will be used for trade and can easily be disposed of with all evidence destroyed containing names and numbers of ivory dealers and buyers. Meanwhile smugglers, traders and carvers also host a smart phone for normal everyday conversations and general surfing the web or interacting with friends and family on Facebook, Twitter or Weibo.

Back in March of 2016 International Animal Rescue Foundation’s- Environmental Crimes Officers located three Viet Nam ivory trading carving factories all advertised on the United States Facebook platform. Moreover it wasn’t just carvers and ivory advertised for sale; we also located evidence of ivory carving tools, measuring and weighing instruments and “DIY ivory carving instructions for beginners”. The carving instruments below were found in one Hanoi carving workshop (on the Facebook social media platform), meanwhile underneath the bottom image is proof of more raw ivory tusk carving.

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Image: Ivory carving tools, Viet Nam, Hanoi used to intricately carve ivory.

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Image: In the same carving room more raw ivory tusks were located readied for carving on Facebook.

Environmental Crime Officers have located a staggering 80,000 “ivory and wildlife trade shops” all in operation on the United States Facebook platform, yet little if anything is being done to stop this trade or even restrict traders activities. When submitting this evidence with films, images and Facebook accounts and the current laws on ivory trade to Facebook’s Security Head, Alex Stamos we we’re unfortunately ignored.

Yet Facebook’s moderation team are quite willing to remove accounts that have violated their “bullying, harassment or terrorism polices” (all of which are crimes), sadly the social media platform is unwilling to remove highly active wildlife traders breaking domestic and international wildlife laws that are making a ton daily.

On the 3rd March 2016 the BBC reported “Facebook wildlife trade prompts fears among environmentalists”. Traffic – an Environmental Crimes Investigation Organisation located hundreds of online profiles selling endangered and threatened animal species. Facebook stated “It will not hesitate in removing content that is promoting such trade”. Yet when we contacted Facebook submitting more than enough evidence relating to ivory, rhino horn, tiger and pangolin trade all accounts are still in operation.

Facebook did quote though “They are developing practical solutions to combat trade“, unfortunately these solution’s seem to aimed only at “animals rather than animal parts”. For the time being Facebook has no terms or polices in place that would remove illegal wildlife traders dabbling in rhino horn, tiger parts, pangolins, or [non-exempt] ivory. And with some 1.32+ billion Facebook users, Facebook will we believe now have a large job on their hands in combating such trade as from 2014 trade on the Facebook platform has exploded.

“Investigators are concerned that the use of social media and smartphones means that anyone interested in selling wildlife can rapidly access huge numbers of potential buyers”….

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Image: More ivory Facebook shops churning out thousands of euro in ivory, all from raw re-worked tusks.

While Facebook has stated they are developing new measures and applications to combat trade, these new measures and whatever applications will be made to combat trade are all too late. Facebook is probably one of very few platforms where you can actually create “private groups”, where only those that are interested in such trade can enter and interact with other users.

Moreover Facebook provides you secrecy in relation to pages; I.e: Traders can censor which countries they don’t want to view their pages then continue trading whatever they like. In relation to pages there are ways and means around that censorship, which will not be published hereto.

One of the largest items we are seeing traded on Facebook is that of ivory bangles, ivory necklaces, ivory wrist bands, ivory chopsticks, ivory pens, ivory encrusted watches, ivory sex toys and ivory cigarette holders (in the thousands). Overseas tourists that visit Viet Nam are often caught or witnessed buying these small cheap products, and the longer they (the tourist) purchase from ivory carvers and traders, the longer demand will continue to increase and fan out. That is one area of the trade we need all be focusing on (demand) to nip in the bud sooner rather than later.

Ground Sales Survey of Ivory:

Back in 2014, a total of 1614 ground outlets were surveyed in 21 localities throughout Viet Nam. Eighty-five of these outlets (5%) were found to have a total of 2300 ivory items for sale.  Buon Me Thuat city was found to have the highest percentage of shops (50%) offering ivory. However since CITES has placed more pressure onto Viet Nam to clamp down on ivory and other wildlife trade, these shops are slowly reducing trade, although we do highly suspect traders are now operating more freely on line from which policing this area of the trade is more difficult.

While it was stated that many shops on the ground had increased somewhat, law enforcement in Viet Nam has allegedly made it more difficult for traders to openly trade ivory that has no exemption. Its is for this reason we now believe Facebook is being used more and more to trade ivory products, and as one can see in the images above – we are talking massive amounts of ivory pieces and products, 90% of which hosts no certification, furthermore the vast majority of traders we’ve located are carving products from “smuggled ivory”.

It is presumed that the currency in which the price is listed or quoted in many ivory surveys may indicate the nationality of the most common buyers in that area. Both observations and questions to particular sellers substantiate the fact that ivory is sold to both “foreign tourists and Vietnamese nationals”. For example in HCMC, the majority of the ivory buyers in the two markets are assumed to be tourists from China as prices were quoted in Chinese Yuan.

Video: Bryan Christy examines the illicit ivory trade. Interesting we have also have located a number of “counterfeit tusks that are being traded online and on the ground”. Please stay tuned for article two that will delve a little deeper into both the counterfeit rhino horn, ivory and tiger part trade.

The HCMC silver and gold shops that also offered ivory (particularly the smaller, religious pendants and figurines) appear to be targeting Vietnamese buyers with prices advertised in VND. In Dak Lak and Ha Tien, the majority of the ivory buyers are assumed to be Vietnamese tourists as prices there were quoted in VND. In Ha Noi, prices were mostly given in USD when enquiries were made, which may indicate that the buyers of ivory pieces are likely to be international tourists.

While the majority of ivory is presumed to be aimed at mostly Asian tourists – there is no real hard hitting evidence that this is in deed true. For example if you was British you’re hardly going to purchase an ivory bangle in GBP, so exchanging that currency into Vietnamese dollars then places that ivory for sale (at just about everyone and anyone) with the correct currency.

It may be somewhat of a shock but the UK is the third biggest source of intercepted illegal ivory entering the United States of America (US), which has been singled out by CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) as a ‘problem country’ with a large domestic ivory trade likely to provoke illegal elephant poaching if not regulated and brought under control. London’s Portobello Road – the biggest antiques market in the world – has been identified as the single major source of this illegal ivory.

Furthermore while antique ivory trade is “problematic” so too is non-antique and the longer these trades persist, more and more elephants will be slaughtered for their tusks. We are growing very concerned now at the large number of ivory dealers operating on Facebook. There is clear evidence that much of this ivory is originating from both Africa and Asia, furthermore as explained – the large number of “raw tusks we are locating clearly shows that security is indeed more than questionable at ports, and pounds that hold confiscated ivory.

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Image: Raw African ivory tusks, cut and sold onto Viet Nam carvers, on sale on Facebook.

Back in 2015 (just before Christmas) External Affairs Environmental Crimes Officers located an “unusual amount of raw tusks from Africa” that we suspect had made their way into Viet Nam from China. IARFEIA Officers located on the Facebook platform some 21 whole raw and non-certified elephant tusks, some of them even had blood around the bases indicating these were freshly poached ivory tusks; all of which is in violation of both domestic and international ivory trade laws.

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Image: Vietnamese ivory carver aged 19 from Hanoi, Viet Nam.

The image above doesn’t really show much does it? although the other images below shows exactly what this talented young man has been creating from raw African and Asian elephant tusks (and is still creating today with his freinds – all college students). Ivory traders and dealers make no attempt at concealing their identity anymore neither. However there still remains a hardcore number of dealers that will continue to conceal their faces, names, and never post images onto Facebook that depicts them holding raw non-exempt ivory.  This belief that ivory traders, peddlers, and smugglers were all but old, is now a myth. Today we’re witnessing traders and carvers as young as 16 years old, taking over from their parents thus fueling the ivory trade evermore on Facebook.

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Image: Young trader named as Mr Manh exhibits his newly carved ivory pieces on Facebook.

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Image:Mr Manh proudly shows one of many hundreds of ivory pens that are in great demand.

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Image: Ivory pen with top off, Viet Nam, Hanoi.

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Image: Ivory trader identified as Mr Trang proudly displays carved ivory on Facebook for sale.

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Image: More freshly carved ivory cartridge pens on sale in Hanoi, via Facebook.

From 2015 (to date) IARFA Environmental Cyber Crimes Officers and the ground team External Affairs Environmental Crimes Officers have found that Viet Nam is “suspected” of peddling more ivory than China and Thailand. Cyber Crimes Officers are now locating every week on average of 2-3 “raw tusk dealers” operating on Facebook. Meanwhile the database of 80,000 ivory and wildlife trade dealers all operating on Facebook continues to increase by the week.

The whole purpose of this article is to wake people up, and open their eyes. We have a major problem on Facebook, and Alex Stamos Facebook Head Security Officer doesn’t seem to be taking much notice of this ongoing and rather concerning problem relating to just the ivory trade alone. We’ve not got much time left, there is an estimated 50,000 Asian elephants in Asia, and “known – some 600,000 African elephants remaining on the continent of Africa with a probable 1.2 million known but (uncounted).

Facebook has become a hotbed for the lucrative and illicit most illegal wildlife trade. And for the time being not a single thing is being done to control this trade. Please sign the petition hereto: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/645/521/701/facebook-remove-illegal-pet-and-wildlife-traders-from-your-server/

“The Extinction Clock is Ticking”

Thank you for reading. 

Chief Environmental Officer, Dr Jose C. Depre. 

Environmental Crimes Department. 


VINPEARL SAFARI CONTROVERSY | UNFOLDING EVENTS.

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VINPEARL SAFARI | CONTROVERSY

FOR THE PEOPLE OF VIET NAM | FOR THE ANIMALS OF VINPEARL

Controversy has been brewing wildly around Viet Nam’s first ever safari, where a total of either “108 or 115 animals died over the course of 1-2 months on the premises”, with a further “135 monkeys escaping from the premises”. Biologists, Environmentalists, and Journalists have all tried in vain to obtain answers from Vinpearl, and Cites Viet Nam, unfortunately neither expert has actually received, or been sent paperwork that can place speculation, and allegations at rest. Down to investigating further as to why so many animals died on the premises.

International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa was first informed about Vinpearl back in early February of this year (2016). From the start of February 2016, we were emailed, phoned and sent various social media requests from many Vietnamese and foreign citizens asking us to investigate the Safari, and to look into other concerning allegations. International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa then contacted our Asian counterparts, and began painstakingly laying out all data for us to scrutinize. The following data that can be proven to some degree as (factual), is listed below for your immediate attention, and information.

  1. Vinpearl imported ‘we believe some 330 animals’ from South Africa, these animals ranged from giraffe, tigers, lions, monkeys, kudu, crocodiles, impala, and wildebeest Etc. The farm located in Capetown that supplied Vinpearl belongs to Mr Huong Que, who admitted back in 2014 to illegally de-horning and trafficking two rhino horns from South Africa into Viet Nam. Mr Huong Que, strangely, hasn’t been arrested for this offence. Furthermore a Viet Nam Cites officer identified as Mr Le Hoai Nam has been friends with Mr Huong Que on Facebook since (2014) when Mr Huong Que admitted to breaking South African and international law (2014). Based on Mr Le Hoai Nam and Mr Huong Que’s online communications, they seem to know each other very well.
  2. From the 12th February ‘it was alleged’ many ex-pats began leaving the island of Bai Dai, Ganh Dau Phu Quoc, Kiến Giang, Vietnam in disgust due to many animals dying, and escaping at the safari. Vinpearl Safari and the media stayed completely silent. Citizens of Viet Nam and abroad quoted as many as “4000” animals dying. However since media and press have documented on the case, Vinpearl have been forced to break their silence. Vinpearl then admitted (without showing evidence in the way of paperwork), that some “105 to 108 animals did die”, with a further “135 monkeys escaping”.
  3. Speculation then emerged that Mr Chu Dang Khoa, his ex-wife or (ex-girlfriend), and father Mr Huong Que were involved in the shipping of animals from South Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia into Vinpearl Safari. So far, to date we can prove that Mr Huong Que, and Mr Chu Dang Khoa’s ex-partner, were most certainly involved in the shipping of many animals from South Africa. We also know that Mr Chu Dang Khoa did once live on his fathers farm in South Africa, Capetown. However as explained Mr Chu Dang Khoa still doesn’t as such fit into the main picture. We do though find it somewhat coincidental that Mr Chu Dang Khoa’s ex-partner, and his father are involved in shipping animals into Vinpearl, many of which ‘we suspect’ have unfortunately died (that originated from the African continent).
  4. On the 24th February 2016, Vinpearl then stated the following within a press and media article, again showing no paperwork, or evidence to back this claim up: Total animals imported with permits is 2,236 individuals. As of Feb. 19, 2016 there are 2.2004 individuals living at the zoo, 12 individuals were born at the zoo upon their arrival. Then a total of 108 individuals died. 

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Image: Two aircraft are identified as shipping animals from South Africa. 

Points 1-4 are areas within our own environmental investigation that contain missing pieces of the jigsaw so to say. Furthermore where there is evidence of admitting criminal activity directly under the noses of a Vietnamese Cites officer I.e Mr Le Hoai Nam, then we have cause of concern.

Below are questions that we require answering, of which we have already politely asked, however been refused answers, down to our own internet protocol address banned from emailing Vinpearl. The following questions are aimed at  both Cites Viet Nam, and Vinpearl.

  1. CITES VIET NAM: We request that all permits relating to all 2,236 animals that were ‘allegedly imported’ to be made public, communicated to us via email, or letter (which will pay the charge), or made view-able to trusted press journalists and NGO’s?
  2. CITES VIET NAM: We request the full veterinary reports relating to each of the alleged “108 animals that died”, the cause of death, health reports, and data that can be examined in relation to all of the alleged 108 animals health ‘prior and before entering Vinpearl Safari”?
  3. CITES VIET NAM: What relation does the Vietnam Cites Officer identified as Mr Le Hoai Nam have in connection with Mr Huong Que? Is this relation professional, or are the two merely friends? Furthermore when Mr Huong Que admitted to illegally de-horning and trafficking two rhino horns (front and rear), back in 2014, why didn’t the Vietnamese Cites Officer who has been friends with Mr Huong Que since 2014 pick this up, and act upon it?
  4. CITES VIET NAM: Where did the alleged “14 rhino come from” that has been stated in press and media as being “exchanged” from another safari of which we have since located is nothing but a construction site, with major land clearance problems? Out of the 108 animals that died, were there any rhino deaths, and if so where are these rhino carcasses now, and the horns?
  5. VINPEARL: We request paperwork from My Quynh Safari/Vinpearl Safari that can categorically back the claims up from Vinpearl and Cites Viet Nam relating to the 14 rhino on Vinpearls Safari. If Vinpearl did take 14 rhino from My Quynh Safari, then that paperwork will be held by Vinpearl, My Quynh Safari and Cites Viet Nam. If no paperwork is shown then we can only but continue questioning?
  6. VINPEARL: We request paperwork that shows all animals imported from overseas went through the correct quarantine protocols, were inspected for disease, stress, and underlying medical conditions. Furthermore we also request the name[s] of who signed the animals off that have been reported as dead as “fit to be released into a newly built safari”?

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Image: Someone begins demanding posts are removed about Vinpearls alleged corruption.

A recent press article released today stated that the Cites Vietnamese Management Authority inspected Vinpearl Safari grounds, and found that no illegal activities had occurred. The following points we’ve located regarding Vinpearl Safari and the only African supplier are listed below for ones immediate attention.

  • While we can take on board that some animals may suffer ill health, a newly established safari, that is professionally run, hosts expert zoologists and is owned to a multi billionaire just doesn’t see 108 animals die.
  • A professionally run safari and the breeders themselves simply don’t allow some 12 pregnant animals to be transported over 10,300 kms, for some 11.5 hours. Some of the animals that have since given birth originated from South Africa, and that flight would have caused unnecessary suffering. Furthermore the medications administered could have harmed the unborn young. So its safe to say that professional and adequate veterinary checks, and surveillance were not carried out accordingly.
  • How was it even possible for some 135 macaques to escape from an allegedly ‘well secured safari’? The safari states the 135 macaques were placed into larger cages for bigger primates. This now raises the concern about the so called locally transported rhino, that are penned in with what appears to be strong chicken wire.
  • We don’t buy the answer that claims 108 animals simply died due to the transportation and not being able to adjust to the environment in full. These animals wouldn’t have died had the relevant veterinary checks been conducted as explained prior to shipping, and on landing.
  • When Vinpearl hit the headlines throughout Viet Nam unidentified individuals were asked to remove press, media and Facebook posts. We have examined all of them posts of which not a single post actually proves animal cruelty, trafficking or wildlife trade. What the posts actually touched up on was; Inhumane transportation, animal deaths, speculation about the safari, who the suppliers were, and why some zoologists had indeed left the safari due to many animals dying, suffering disease and virus.
  • Why was both Cites Viet Nam, Vinpearl, Cites South Africa and the DEA doing business with Mr Huong Que, and Mr Chu Dang Khoa? Mr Huong Que admitted to de-horning and trafficking rhino horns, and Mr Chu Dang Khoa is known to the Department of Environmental Affairs (South Africa), for dealing in rhino horns and diamonds. The DEA ‘nicknamed him as Mr Rhino Horn Billionaire’.

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Image: Mr Huong Que who supplied Vinpearl admits to violating wildlife law.

While we understand that a Vietnamese Cites Management Officer has indeed paid a visit to Vinpearl claiming that everything is all above board, we ourselves want to see proof as explained above. We believe that while the main breeder that is Mr Huong, has relations to Cites Viet Nam (see image below), then corruption could be at play here relating back to the so called visit this week stating all was okay at the safari.

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Image: Cites Vietnamese Officer asks Mr Que when he’ll be back home?

This article will be updated as and when. We please ask that visitors to the site stay tuned for regular updates that will be dated and timed. The whole purpose of this article is to get to the bottom of why so many animals have died, why government agencies are doing business with known criminals, corruption, dishonesty, trafficking, wildlife trade, and more. We are not going to print data that cannot be proved. Finally this article cannot be censored by the Vietnamese Government.

The people of Vietnam have a duty to know just exactly what is going on here. Its clear although not proven that people in high places are also involved here to some degree. Who are the other dealers too? Where in Europe and America did other animals come from, did Mr Rhino Horn Billionaire and ex-partner, father and others supply the entire safari, and if so what relation do they have with Viet Nams most richest man?

International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa has communicated our concerns to SAPs relating to wildlife trafficking regarding Mr Que’s de-horning of a rhino and illegally trafficking them horns back to Viet Nam. If anything this man needs to be questioned about his comment, the rhino carcass must be located (if there is one), and the farm that Mr Que owns must be investigated to satisfy our own concerns and wildlife agencies that further crimes haven’t been committed on this farm. The longer it goes ignored, the quicker evidence (if any), will be concealed. One doesn’t just admit to committing a serious wildlife crime as a joke.

Environmental Crimes Department.

 


Where Are Our Children? Brutality of South Africa’s Past.

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WHERE ARE OUR CHILDREN?

Introduction:

Despite our best efforts to educate and push awareness into the public domain in relation to big cat hunting and the petting industry in South Africa and neighboring countries. We have uncovered a rather large core of dedicated students and volunteers from America, Canada, eastern and northern Europe and South America that still defy the basic knowledge made public, that what they are practicing is harming both captive and non-captive felids. These students actions are contributing to the spread of disease and is supporting abuse no end. Furthermore International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa’s Environmental Investigations Unit has unearthed countless British travel agencies, South African universities and even veterinary establishments that support the petting industry. (Image credit Nick Brandt) 

The Petting Industry Explained:

Since the release of the Blood Lions documentary one would have thought that students whom continue to visit these seedy and corrupt lodges, parks and alleged reserves, would have taken note that their behavior is more a hindrance to conservation and wildlife alike, rather than supporting ethical conservation itself. Unfortunately this ‘hardcore group’ of mostly disrespectful, uneducated students and volunteers have simply brushed that advice and education aside. The petting and hunting industry within South Africa is increasing in size, despite vast reams of data and evidence made public that clearly shows these industries have no value to conservation whatsoever.

International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa made it quite clear that we would expose students, volunteers and tourists that defy basic conservation education, while participating in unethical and abusive non-conservation tourism. Trainee veterinary technicians, private vets, school leavers, trainee zoologists, backpackers, doctors, judges down to missionaries, pilots and even celebrities are all contributing to the extinction of our African Lion, Cheetah, Leopard and even non-endemic Tigers. While we are aware that some infant and adult cats have been rescued via the many lodges, parks and farms within South Africa, and that other animals simply cannot be released into a reserve, the fact of the matter here is that breeding is ongoing, interaction and abuse is rife, and little if any reintroduction programs are being seen. When we investigated the industry back in 2011 never did we expect these pseudo conservation practices to skyrocket to gargantuan proportions.

Below we have included a list of students and volunteers down to visiting tourists that continue to place our African wildlife and captive species in danger from a multitude of virus’s, diseases down to actively contributing to the extinction of our threatened wildlife not forgetting abuse being played out. We have given many volunteer agencies, tourist agencies, lodges, parks and reserves ample time to clean their unethical fake conservation behavior up. They have all bar one refused. We now have no choice but to continue with our actions in the hope that this will open visiting tourists eyes, their employees eyes and teaching establishments that these individuals are aligned too, that this practice and pseudo conservation behavior must stop here and now!

Furthermore we are naming and shaming travel agencies, student gap agencies down to veterinary and South African universities too. When watching the first screening of Blood Lions in South Africa some months back, I knew that harsh measures had to be taken. We are not just fighting the main industries here, were battling multi-million if not billion dollar companies that are all aligned to one-other directly or indirectly. The whole purpose of this article (I of IIII) is to begin breaking the link, showing the evidence of pseudo conservation, educating travel agencies and shaming those that continue to defy basic and scientific education. Furthermore we are without a doubt going to bring these agencies and industries to their knees financially while continuing to expose those that abuse our captive and wild animals.

“STUDENTS & VOLUNTEERS PRACTICING UNETHICAL AND NON-GREEN CONSERVATION IN AFRICA”

The following list has been compiled showing both visiting students, volunteers and supporters of the petting industry within South Africa. We are not prepared to stop with this exposure while the industry continues to boom.

Douda Bis, Robyn Robles from Anglia Ruskin University, Hongyi Fan-devalois, Mandy Blasetti a Veterinary Assistant/Technician at Banfield Pet Hospital, Isabel Quiñone from Ejecutiva de Ventas at Diafrom, Connor William from Lancaster (village), New York, Kormákur Ingólfsson that works for Erhvervsakademiet Lillebælt, Iris Joensen that studies at Tåstrup borger og realskole, Heidi Arsenault a Plant Pathology Technologist at Canadian Food Inspection Agency. 

Truman Shumway, Bernadette Pieterse who’s a Ranger at Glen Afric Country Lodge, Laura Victoria that studies at Rutgers University, Johanna Noseworthy that works at Inclusion Powell River, Eleanor Skovgaard that studies at the Scenic Artisan at University of Delaware, Alexane Francisci studying at the Concordia University, Laurence Vanmeerbeeck from Brussels, Belgium.

Lindsay Richardson that studies at ‘a’ American University, Luke Sparkes that studies at Oaklands College, St Albans, Johanna Eskelinen that works at the Yacht Week, Sharon Franks a Waitress at Grand Central Basildon, Capucine Bénazet, Lycée Guy Chauvet, Abby Ellison Ashley Snyder a Bartender/ Server at Outback Steakhouse, Emma Jayne Palfreman (self employed), Henrik Guldbrandsøy that studies at the Bergen University college, Fabienne Thoma that studies at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences/ZHAW, Caitlin Ferguson that works at Poppy and Pint.

Doug Richardson that studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Nadia Borg that works at Forbrugsmateriale Produktion at Struers ApS, Sue Harrison Kasperek, Eirik Lerum Vigerust from Boulder, Colorado, Torfinn Rønquist Antonsen that studies at Ørland videregående, Naomi Westhof a Highlight Editor at Sheffield United, Emma Enea whom is a Wildlife Coordinator at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, Sandi Stein Blasetti that studies at the University of Maryland University College, Kayleigh Harrop that studies at the University of the Highlands and Islands, Roberto Francisco Newton from Hemet, California, Albert Chang that studies at the University of Toronto, Zoi Kakouris, Marie-Louise Lorenz whom works at Vibholm Guld & Sølv, Wai Duong from Bramfeld, Hamburg, Germany, Alicia Taylor from the village of Wijnandsrade in Holland.

Chao Qiu from Wisconsin, Gretchen Newell whom works at World Tennis Club, Bainet Yusufu from Ihlathi High School, Annika Beyrle whom comes from the German town of Elmshorn, Laura Coughtrey from Lord Williams’s School, Taylor Ann Chism from Spokane Falls Community College, Mari Irby from Saint Mary’s College of California, Cathryn O’Sullivan from London, United Kingdom, Katharina Winther whom works at Konsulent at Københavns Kommune, Tathiane Forão from the Federal University of Pernambuco, Randy Risher from Phoenix, Arizona, Glen Peck from the University of Tech Pretoria, Ruby Bell a Clinical Nurse at Healthcare Australia. 

Katrine Tufteland from Oslo, Norway, Amandine Pascal, Isabella van Rijckevorsel from the Leiden University, Sherie Darmon from Toulouse, France, Melissa Quinn that works at Nando’s Parrs Wood, Amy Steele a Team Leader at Capital FM Arena, Georgia Mae Lipsham, Customer Services Adviser at Rich Products, Linda Schneider from the University of Miami, Esme Abbott, Shyoo Hayashi Marcus whom works at The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ. 

Sophie McCutcheon, Adam Mark Blake from Portchester, Andrew Bond whom works at Nationwide Insurance, Sandra Nuschele, Nikoline Jensen a Vikar at Børnehuset Eremitageparken, Natty Brown from the Catholic School of Archbishop of Ilsley, Nick Bruno, from The University of the Arts, Nico Schütze from the IFM – Institut für Managementlehre, Ty Broddle from Liverpool, Becki Warshow a Substitute Teacher / Volunteer Tutor at United South End Settlements, Shiran Cohen, Maale shaharut, Steve Lin, Aldo Neto, Bruno Garrido a Shop Seller at MSC Crociere, Julian James whom works at Liceo Scientifico Vittorio Veneto, Natacha Ferreira Ginja from Salto, Sao Paulo, David Chadwick from Northcote High School Michelle Dennis, Jade Vardy, Juliette Richard from Paris, France, Amanda Lynn whom works at Volunteer Southern Africa.

Graham Wilkin ‘a’ Security Adviser, Yaqin Song a Graduate Research Assistant at Georgia Tech, Stella Maria Galíndez from Buenos Aires, Argentina, Dan Maslach a Mechanical Engineer / Fuel Cell Lab Manager at U.S. Army TARDEC, Amanda Gross from the North State Carolina University, Andy Barrowcliffe from the Whitcliffe Mount College, Emily Rabska whom is a Kennel Supervisor at Eau Claire County Humane Association – ECCHA, Daniel Stratti from Sogndalsfjæra, Sogn Og Fjordane, Norway, Jo Kamenir, Full-Time P.E. Teacher at Epic Christian Academy, Lea Francisci from Montreal, Quebec, and Franziska Romrig.

The list above has been taken from a public database of which we [the organisation] haven’t committed a criminal offence in obtaining this data. As you can see above the vast majority if not all students, volunteers and supporters have no real expertise within conservation or animal welfare. Many of the individuals above are school or university goers or leavers, gap year students, or just general members of the public whom have on their own accord freely researched petting and reserve industries. From our own research we know that the vast majority of these individuals have visited South Africa via the company known as Volunteer Southern Africa that offers you the chance to volunteer at parks, lodges, farms and alleged ‘conservation teaching/science establishments’. On contacting the Volunteer Southern Africa organisation the company stated:

“We offer those the chance to assist in rearing and abandoned cat programs to help threatened and endangered species”

International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa see’s otherwise, and so should those that are offering students the chance to interact with baby Lions, Cheetahs, Tigers and Leopards. While we do not dispute the fact that some establishments within Southern Africa do run programs for orphaned and abandoned cats. Professional big cat rescues and orphanages do not under circumstances allow you to interact, walk, pet or pick up captive animals, moreover if they do allow interaction [this practice is very minimal]. Nor will these ‘professional’ rescues and orphanages continue to breed such animals thus again allowing the public to interact while making a tidy profit. And its not just these industries within South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe that are making colossal profits too, British travel agencies as explained above are also cashing in on animal exploitation (and they know it too).

No felid from Lions, Cheetahs, Leopard or Tigers can if hand reared ever be freely released into the wild, and if released into the wild the chances of their survival is incredibly slim. Yes there are such cases from which animals have been reintroduced into the African wild after being hand reared or kept within captive facilities for the vast majority of their lives, however these are rare and very few animals do actually survive.

Ukutula Lion and Research Center, Glen Afric, Lion Park, The South African Lion Park, Volunteer Southern Africa, do not under any circumstances reintroduce anyone of their animals that have been reared or sold to them from unidentified individuals ever release their cats into the wild. What these five unethical organisations actually practice is ‘cub petting’ and ‘adult cat petting’ which goes completely against the ethics and rules of conservationism. Moreover the five identified industries above and countless more are being endorsed and supported by the following professional establishments; Veterinary Faculty at the University of Pretoria at Onderstepoort, the Zodiac Animal Clinic and Old Chapel Veterinary Clinic in Pretoria.  What’s even more worrying is that despite the public outcry, Blood Lions documentary and worldwide condemnation at such practices (even when evidence is shown of abuse), The Department of Nature Conservation undertakes checks to ensure that all abuse is being played out according to South African law. (Excuse the sarcasm there)..

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Environmental Conservation Scientists and Wildlife Veterinarian Officers are becoming increasingly frustrated at viewing such hypocrisy from local and, overseas tourists that are allegedly promoting animal welfare and rights. Take Mme Mandy Blasetti, from Elkridge Maryland. Mme Blasetti works at the Banfield Pet Hospital in Maryland whom back in June of this year visited the Glen Afric Lodge.

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Image 1&2: On questioning Glen Afric, the lodge stated that petting was not on the agenda. 

As a Conservation Scientist myself I know very well that such human interaction only inflicts more harm to our African Lions than is being seen within this ‘very innocent looking image’. I’d have expected better too from a so called Veterinary Technician that of my own understanding should have been taught at university or college that this behavior is totally unacceptable. But why is this behavior unacceptable, what is the big issue about petting? Firstly many people that visit game lodges, parks or farms believe that just because hunting is not on the agenda (or because they are not aware of it), these animals will not suffer. That itself is complete and utter nonsense. So lets talk petting.

“Breeders and captive felid keepers quote many the following answers to questioning students”

Breeders, farms, lodges and “big cat projects” who charge or ask the public to pet and take photos with young cubs often tell people the following lies:

  • That the exhibitors are “rescuers” and operate “sanctuaries”.
  • That the cubs have a good life while being used to make money.
  • They enjoy being moved about and repeatedly awakened and handled by dozens of people all day.
  • That blowing in the cubs face “calms” them down.
  • That dangling them by holding under their front arms and bouncing them up and down “resets” them.
  • That close up photos with flash does not harm the cubs.
  • That it is safe for the cubs and for humans, and legal, to allow contact with cubs from when they are only a few weeks old to when they are six months or more old. (In South Africa this is still legal).
  • That the exhibitor must keep constantly breeding and using the cubs to make money because that is the only way he/she can support the adult animals he/she keeps.
  • That the exhibitor is doing this to promote conservation in the wild.
  • That the exhibitor is teaching people not to have exotic animals as pets.
    And the biggest lie of all:
  • That the cubs will have good homes after they get too big to be used to make money from petting.

“Are you a student that has been given anyone of the answers above? If so your promoting pseudo conservation, none of which has any value to conservation whatsoever”

We [the organisation] know too well that any petting or interaction industry that is either supporting hunting or indirectly supporting the canned hunting industry regularly reads our articles. We also know that they go to great lengths to clean their image up while still promoting pseudo unethical conservation. Lastly we also know that many breeders, lodges, parks Etc. will think up many different alternative answers to visitors questions after reading the above, as they know countless supporters read our articles. That’s what makes International Animal Rescue Foundation stand out from other non-governmental organisations. We don’t only fight to prove our point, we provide scientific facts from non-related experts and our own experienced scientific team too.

Virus and Disease

Petting, breeding and “big cat projects” rarely do tell their visiting students, volunteers and tourists the dangers in relation to petting cubs and adult cats. Within South Africa the current protocol (although its not necessarily the law), is that all new born cubs must be vaccinated from the ages of six weeks old. New born Cheetah, Lion, Tiger or Leopard cubs are not vaccinated automatically after birth. This in turn places visiting students and volunteers in danger of catching ‘a zoonotic disease’.

What is a Zoonotic Disease?

A zoonotic disease is a disease that can be passed between animals and humans. Zoonotic diseases can be caused by viruses, bacteria, parasites, and fungi. These diseases are very common. Scientists estimate that more than 6 out of every 10 infectious diseases in humans are spread from animals to humans. Still believe the industry is safe? Lets take a look.

A May 2011 statement from the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians (NASPHV) recommends that the public be prohibited from direct contact with cubs due to the risk of illness to humans stating” …ringworm in 23 persons and multiple animal species was traced to a Microsporum canis infection in a hand-reared zoo Tiger cub.”  Zoonotic diseases — those that jump to humans — account for three quarters of all emerging infectious threats, the Center for Disease Control says. Five of the six diseases the agency regards as top threats to national security are zoonotic.  The Journal of Internal Medicine [2012] estimated that 50 million people worldwide have been infected with zoonotic diseases since 2000 and as many as 78,000 have died.

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Image: Student volunteer feeds a cub that’s been snatched from its mother at birth.

Even with stringent monitoring procedures in place within South Africa rarely do you see, read or hear of zoonotic diseases being passed from animal to human (in South Africa). That doesn’t mean such diseases aren’t documented, far from it. Remember that most people visiting petting parks, lodges and farms or those that interact with captive and/or wild ‘adult’ animals end up travelling back home. So theoretically these virus and diseases will often be noted at the last minute or in this case on returning home. We do encourage tourists, students and volunteers to research zoonotic diseases documented within the countries that you are visiting though.

SCIENTIFIC FACT:

  1. Numerous instances of E. coli and cryptosporidiosis infections as a result of petting zoo visits in US, Canada, UK and elsewhere. Some of these infections have resulted in severe illness and even death.
  2. Screening of animals is usually limited to the common diseases and may not include all infectious diseases. Furthermore, screening cannot guarantee public safety.
  3. Cryptosporidium is only one of a number of bugs that can be picked up during a visit to a petting farm. Other common infections are caused by E. coli and Salmonella.
  4. Cases of E. coli linked to farm attractions are at their highest levels between June and October. An infection with E. coli can lead to mild gastrointestinal illness or in serious cases it can cause bloody diarrhoea which can lead to severe illness or even death.
  5. People don’t need to have direct contact with the animals at a petting farm to get sick. Outbreaks of illness have occurred in people that only had contact with the petting farm environment (e.g. gates, fences).
  6. From 2011 to 2015 over 849 cases of ringworm have been reported from tourists, volunteers and students that visit South African farms, lodges and parks. Yet Nature Conservation South Africa and the SPCA’s still believe that public safety is pretty much okay.

From last month [October] students and tourists continue to question us demanding that we show proof of hunting. These students and tourists do honestly believe that hunting is obviously the only problem here, and if its not shown or there is no proof then all is simply okay. We don’t need to show proof of hunting, because until our questions below in relation to [hunting] directed at those in

are answered then we will continue to believe that hunting is also a pivotal factor here within this pseudo conservation industry. Ukutula Lodge, The Lion Park, South African Lion Park, Glen Afric, and Volunteer Southern Africa have all failed to provide any explanation as to why they they allow, promote and encourage petting of which we know like other NGO’s leads to hunting one way or the other. But why, how does it lead to hunting? Firstly lets make ourselves crystal clear here. Just because hunting is not seen on anyone of the petting parks, lodges or farms doesn’t mean under circumstances that hunting isn’t going on elsewhere. The wool is being pulled over many tourists eyes. (Please view the Blood Lions trailer below).

Volunteer Southern Africa that is endorsed and promoted by both Amanzi Travel UK, Rooms For Africa, Trip Adviser and Volunteer Travel from I-to-I UK, from 2010 to date encourage students, volunteers and tourists to visit their [Living with Lions Project] We are shocked at the many SPONSORS that also support this project too. The project is 100% cruel, increases disease, zoonotic diseases from animals to humans, see’s mother Lion left in distress when cubs are cruelly removed, has the potential to pass on virus and disease from human to animals and leaves nursing cubs that require a stress free environment stressed out. (See view video below)

What the Living With Lions Project Doesn’t Advertise

FACT:

There are numerous issues with releasing hand-raised Lions into the wild. These Lions will always associate humans with food (as they have always been provided with food from humans while they have been growing up). Hand-raised Lions will still have their natural instincts; however they will not have the same natural fear of humans that wild-born Lions have, which will make them more likely to come into conflict with humans after their release.

FACT:

These Lion parks make a considerable amount of money from tourists who pay for interactions with cubs. Generally, cubs that are aged between 1 and 3 months are used as these are most ‘suitable’ as they are small, photogenic and at an age where the size of their teeth and claws mean that the damage they could do to tourists is limited.

FACT:

However something which is overlooked is the fact that young animals (like humans) need a lot of rest and sleep whilst growing. On busy days at these parks when there are a lot of tourists wanting their chance to play with a Lion cub, the cubs are not given this time. Regular interaction with humans can also cause health problems with the cubs. Many cubs in these facilities have been known to die of stress-related diseases and they can suffer injuries by being incorrectly handled by inexperienced staff, volunteers or tourists.

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Image: Selfish tourist interacting with confused Lion cub destined for death. 

FACT:

In order for the parks to be able to offer interaction opportunities with cubs, they are taken from their mothers after a few days to a few weeks (depending on the facility). This can lead to viral, respiratory and nutritional problems with are common amongst hand-raised predators due to substandard milk formulas being used to replace the mother’s milk. This can lead to lower immunity and the regular contact with humans can cause the cubs to contract diseases such as ringworm (often passed from visitors’ own domestic cats at home).

FACT:

The removal of cubs from their mothers at a young age also leads to problems for the mother herself as the Lioness can come back into oestrus sooner than she should do. This allows the park owners to breed from the Lionesses at a much more regular rate than Lionesses in the wild would reproduce. This in turn allows a constant supply of cubs that can be used for interactions.

FACT:

The Lion breeding industry is growing and with it so are concerns of welfare issues for these Lions. Most volunteers and tourists who go to these parks do so unknowingly and with the best of intentions. When questioning the conservation ethics of them, they are told that they are helping to increase numbers of Lions in the wild, but evidence of this is hugely lacking and this is linked to the issues of releasing hand-reared Lions into the wild, as discussed above.

FACT:

These facilities need a constant supply of cubs at the right age for interactions, where they are still cute for photographic opportunities, small enough to cuddle and of little danger to visitors, which begs the question, what happens to these cubs when they are too old for interactions?

FACT:

There is no straightforward answer to this but there are a number of agreed possibilities that are widely accepted within wildlife circles. Many of the Lions are sold for private collections but the most commonly acknowledged destination for these Lions is into the canned hunting industry IARFA knows and holds evidence that four of the five petting industries above are involved within the hunting industry. Canned hunting refers to the highly controversial act of raising an animal within a confined area and then hunting the animal within a confined area in order increase the likelihood of the hunter obtaining a kill. Therefore visitors and volunteers at such facilities are unwittingly supporting the canned hunting industry. Furthermore what they don’t know about hunting I.e they do not see will push them into the false sense of belief that hunting is not occurring simply because its not occurring on the questionable lodge, park, farm of reserve.

FACT:

There is a lot of money in this industry as people are willing to page large amounts of money to shoot a Lion, and canned hunting makes this possible for people who have limited time and hunting skills as the animal is in a confined area. The money that can be generated from selling Lions into this industry is enough for Lion parks to sell their Lions that have previously been used as interaction cubs to canned hunting facilities where tourists can have the ‘ultimate hunting experience’ by shooting a Lion.

IF you are still reading this document and do firmly believe that what your supporting is ethical conservation then we do have major problems. International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa has gone to extraordinary lengths to show to you what the petting industry really is. We know that some students, volunteers and tourists will have been informed that some if not all of the animals that are on the premises they have visited are most likely rescues. So if that’s true then the following questions below and points raised can be answered?

QUESTIONS NEVER ANSWERED

Can the premises in question back these claims up? Can they show documentation that proves these animals were rescues? Where did these animals come from? Why are there so many cubs? Why in many images do we witness many pretty young women and handsome young men holding cubs? (that question should be enough to prove to you that the industry your supporting is indeed a marketing industry) that uses sly tactics to emotionally eye rape young and inquisitive students, volunteers and tourists. Why does Ukutula Lion and Research Center like the other four questionable lodges, parks, farms and ‘Living with Lions Projects’ use systems such as ECOscan. ECOscan is a system of which Lions are sold on to exotic buyers, farms and hunting lodges. Furthermore the system also protects the buyers information I.e name, company, location and address. See image below.

ecoscanECOSCAN is a system that Ukutula Lion and Research Center uses to sell animals on to buyers. Ukutula Lodge has also implemented into their terms and conditions one of the following rather interesting rules:

  1. Buyers must agree to the animal being chipped that both ECOscan and Ukutula Lodge monitor. 

However what Ukutula Lion and Research Center do not tell you is that the buyer once they breed that Lion, them cubs are immune from this system. So after birth has taken place Ukutula Lodge has then distanced themselves from the questionable buyer. Meaning its “more than likely that hunting is occurring”. Lastly on checking with South African lawyers no buyer of any Lion from Ukutula does not under any circumstances have to agree with Ukutula’s terms of policies/agreements Etc. A very crafty move by an alleged Lion Research Center, one of which the public cannot easily trace that buyer too. Please view image below and click on the image to view which British Travel Agency supports it, alternatively please click >here<

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 Image: Volunteer Travel I-I UK supports Ukutula Lodge that Blood Lions called into question. 

Last month the South African Non Governmental Organisation, Blood Lions called into question Ukutula Lodge that refused to allow the Blood Lions team onto their property to investigate claims in relation to canned hunting. To read more on that subject please view the link below:

http://www.bloodlions.org/us-volunteer-speaks-out-cubs-hired-for-parties-and-events-ukutula/

The last thing we ever wanted to be forced to do was to begin exposing the petting industry at an angle that sees us exposing those that directly contribute to the industry that has skyrocketed over the past ten years. Unfortunately we’re being forced too. We’ve provided more than enough facts, accounts, and evidence. What or more to the point how much more evidence do students, tourists and volunteers really require?

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Image: Students at the Living with Big Cats Project.

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Image: Student at the Living with Lions Project.

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Image: Student at the Living with Lions Project.

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Image: Student advertised on the UK Travel Firm Amanzi Travel UK.

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Image: Lonely cub advertised for petting at the I to I Volunteering UK agency.

No money the public spends to pet or take photos with cubs ever goes to support conservation in the wild. In fact, the opposite is true. There is a huge and growing market for Tiger and Lion parts, and Tiger and Lion “derivatives”, i.e. products made out of Tiger and Lion parts like Tiger and Lion bone wine. A dead Tiger/Lion is worth up to $50,000 for its parts. Breeding what US Fish and Wildlife Service calls “generic” Tigers like the ones used in the mall exhibits is not tracked, similar to ECOscan system used by various lodges and parks in South Africa. So there is no way to know how many born Tigers/Lions are killed to have their parts illegally sold into this trade. And, the more that trade expands, the more incentive the poachers, hunters and farmers have to kill Tigers and other big cats in the wild and via hunting within South Africa. Yes sadly, farmers and lodges, parks and alleged “living with big cats programs’ will sell after hunting (in some if not all cases) bones on to the Asiatic market to double their money. All supported by you the volunteer, tourist and student.

RECAP:

The cubs used for petting exhibits/farms Etc are torn from their mothers shortly after birth, causing emotional pain to both the cubs and the mothers. Imagine what that mother experiences after enduring the long pregnancy and finally giving birth, filled with the instincts to nurture her cubs, and then having them snatched away. The breeders take them away and have people handle them so the cubs will “imprint” on the people instead of doing what is natural and imprinting on their mothers.

And what is life like during the months they are used to make money for their owners? Cubs this age want to roam, explore, test their young muscles to develop coordination, and sleep for extended periods of time without interruption. Watch what happens during these exhibits. The cubs are repeatedly awakened so a customer can pet them instead of being allowed the sleep their young bodies need. When they try to wander they are repeatedly yanked back. And where are they when not on exhibit? Well I’m sure you can answer that question. A nursery maybe? Possibly, without the mother that is pining for her young? Just because its a cozy looking nursery means nothing.

Thank you for reading. 

Dr Jose C. Depre. 

Chief Environmental Officer and CEO; 

PhD. MEnvSc. BSc(Hons) Botany, PhD(NeuroSci) D.V.M. Environmental & Human Science

Environmental and Animal Rescue Investigations Chief Officer.


UKUTULA: TOURIST AND STUDENT BOYCOTT.

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 STUDENT AND TOURIST – BOYCOTT

International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa’s Board of Directors have decided to call for an immediate tourist and student boycott of Ukutula Lodge & Lion Park (Ukutula Lodge) situated at the address below with immediate effect. Please share this data onto all friends, family, work colleagues and, anyone that you know who’s planning on visiting the Ukutula Lodge & Lion Park (Ukutula Lodge) in South Africa:

Ukutula Lodge & Lion Park (Ukutula Lodge) please click the links below for GPS and Sites. 
26 of the Farm Klipkop,
JQ411,
Brits, 0250,
South Africa

GPS UKUTULA LODGE AND LION PARK

UKUTULA WEBSITE

We the organisation please encourage all members of the public to visit TRIP ADVISER and UKUTULA SOCIAL MEDIA pages and pre-warn all members of the public and provide a ONE STAR rating not to visit this lodge. This farm lodge has categorically lied to the public, are selling animals onto to hunt, and haven’t answered a single question put to them since 2013. Today 2015 after the lodge yet again tried to fool the public into airing “a recorded and cut version of the BLOODLIONS.ORG film showing what (they want to show) Blood Lions made the following statement.

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We the [organisation] have thought long and hard in relation to issuing a boycott with regards to Ukutula and their unprofessional practices operating under the guise of species research. International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa has taken in to consideration all aspects of the boycott, the implications this boycott could have on captive breeding and monetary loss. However had there not been evidence that clearly shows trade of Lions and other animals to silent partners, organisations and farms then we’d have not called for a mandatory boycott. Vasts sums of monetary income are coming into this lodge from private buyers of Lions, Cheetahs, Tigers and other animals. The farm doesn’t require funding from foreign tourists that are being lied too, brainwashed and fed misinformation, therefore a boycott must commence to shut this practice down.

Tourists and students that visit the Ukutula Lodge and Lion Park travel from the following countries: Germany; France; Finland; Holland; Denmark; Belgium; Norway; Serbia; Romania; Sweden; United States; Canada; Italy; Australia; New Zealand; Czech Republic; South Africa; Namibia; Zimbabwe; Botswana; Ireland; Portugal; Greece; Thailand; China; Vietnam; Brazil; Peru; Argentina; Mexico; Hawaii; India and Taiwan. There are likely many other countries that tourists and students are encouraged to visit too. However the vast majority are coming in from Holland, Germany, France, United Kingdom, United States, South Africa and Belgium.

Further boycotts will be called for and all boycotts with data and contact details will be posted onto our main environmental news and media site. Boycott information will be communicated to our education and youth team, as well as being communicated to all 6.1 million supporters, 400,000 of which are aligned to our Africans organisation. Any organisation or company that is aligned to Ukutula and is either promoting their services, establishment, funding their team or is actively involved in pseudo education and conservation will also fall into the international boycott too.

Environmental News and Media have identified further third parties that are actively encouraging the promotion of UKUTULA Lion and Game Lodge too identified hereto: Pieter and Brenna, Hartbeespoort and the Crafters Market of which Your Cheetah Spot company are trading images of cubs and adults to the public. We suspect that these images and other crafts sold via the company through the market via felid exploitation are providing a source of income to both the company and Ukutula. This practice is unethical and encouraging the deaths of our wildlife. The University of Pretoria are also supporting the UKUTULA Lion and Game Lodge too. We please ask that international students refrain from visiting this university that are sponsoring the work of UKUTULA. Should we locate any further companies or teaching establishments that are promoting the UKUTULA lodge we’ll be implementing them within our daily news netter ebullition and hereto on this site.

This entire game lodge is not under any circumstances teaching practical or professional conservation. What they are doing is selling animals onto silent and unknown buyers, and promoting/encouraging petting. International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa will furthermore expose tourists, students and anyone that ignores our advice and that of third party NGO’s and investigative teams.. International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa’s role is to now shut this entire establishment down. Alternatively the establishment can immediately stop their pseudo practices and continue “professional conservation” while answering our questions.

WHY ARE WE CALLING FOR A TOURIST AND STUDENT BOYCOTT OF UKUTULA?

International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa are calling for boycotts for the reasons set out hereto:

1. Promotion and interaction of felid cubs. (petting)
2. Evidence that proves cats and other animals allegedly used for research that allegedly live their life out on the grounds, being sold to private and silent buyers, organisations and farms.
3. Evidence that proves the lodge is actively involved within the hunting industry be it directly or indirectly.
4. Failure to answer straightforward and polite questions in relation to the above from ourselves, leading big cat specialists, and third party conservation organisations.

This boycott will be communicated in French, Dutch, German and Spanish. Furthermore we encourage others to please translate to your fellow friends, family, work colleagues and students.

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International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa will call this boycott off at anytime should we be provided with the following data.

1. How many cats from the felid family have you bred since founded?
2. How many cubs and other members of the felid family have you sold onto individual buyers, farmers, safaris, and reserves Etc. since founded?
3. To whom have you sold the above animals too under your terms for ECOSCAN? I.e. names of farms, safaris, game reserves, lodges, private hunting services, zoological gardens, individual buyers Etc?
4. Please provide any data to back your claims up that you do not support the slaughter of any animals on your farming lodge?
5. Please provide an explanation as to why you feel its necessary to remove cubs from their mothers when the mothers can rear them quite capably.
6. Are you prepared to allow independent environmental investigation officers to visit your lodge and undertake a TWO YEAR review of your scientific research, monitoring of all captive felids from the hours of 06:00am to 18:00hrs? Monday to Saturday?
7. Do you have any other land or holding facilities that are not mentioned within the public domain?
8. Are you connected to any hunting organisation, safari, reserve or other institution that promotes hunting or sustainable utilization.

STUDENT TOURIST ACCOUNT VIA BLOODLIONS.ORG

British wildlife volunteer, Keeton Hill, shares his experience and findings after his time at Ukutula farm, South Africa.

In 2013 I volunteered at Ukutula, a supposed lion conservation centre outside of Brits, Pretoria, in South Africa. For 6 months afterwards, I spoke of how great the experience was, and about how much good Ukutula were doing. Several weeks after returning from South Africa, I saw a claim that they were involved in the sale of lions for hunting. Initially, I dismissed this claim. However, after seeing more accusations, I decided to do some research to prove these claims wrong. A year and a half later, I am still yet to do so. Instead, I have only seen more and more evidence that I actually volunteered at a farm largely suspected to be involved in the canned hunting industry.

The project was booked through an agency which specialises in volunteering and working abroad. I spent 2 weeks in South Africa looking after lions. At Ukutula, volunteers were told that the lions were removed from their ‘dangerous’ parents, and hand-reared instead for their own safety. We were then told that samples were taken from the 100+ lions on the farm for research purposes, and that where possible, older lions were released into the wild.

During my two week stay, I noted several ways of doing things that I didn’t agree with. For example, there was no permanent staff member in charge of supervising the volunteers who were looking after the cubs. Upon arrival, volunteers were given a brief overview of how to care for them. As of that overview, it was up to the volunteers to decide between them who were to complete what tasks. Any authorisations or approvals were to be sought from the owners, who weren’t always available. This sometimes led to volunteers not knowing how to handle some situations, which then resulted in disagreements between volunteers. For example, some volunteers allowed young children to pet the cubs, whilst others didn’t. Some allowed guests to feed the cubs, others didn’t. There was also an occasion during which the powdered milk supply for the cubs ran out. It was a two hour wait before more was delivered. I also didn’t agree with the cubs being able to be hired for parties and events (which happened several times during my stay). Despite these things, I naively believed everything that we were told about the ‘research’ conducted at the park, and the lion ‘release’ program.

WOULD UKUTULA AND MR STRACHAN PLEASE BE KIND ENOUGH TO PROVE WHERE ALL OF THESE ANIMALS ARE NOW SHOT BY A STUDENT BACK IN 2013 IN THE VIDEO BELOW?

After the accusations against Ukutula were made, and I started my research, it became clear that these claims of releases were simply not true, and that Ukutula was far from what it made itself out to be. I realised that it operated in exactly the same way as canned hunting farms are described as operating. These similarities included a constant stream of cubs being born (there were 9 under the age of 3 months whilst I was there, with more on the way), large groups of tourists petting the cubs throughout the day, walks with older lions, and promises of the eventual release of lions into the wild (of which no evidence has ever been provided).

In order to build up a balanced and comprehensive picture about Ukutula, and find out as much about it as possible, I asked questions to a previous volunteer, a previous member of staff, and the centre’s current owner. I asked both the previous volunteer and previous staff member if they had any reason to believe that the suggestions regarding Ukutula being involved in the canned hunting industry were true. The volunteer told me that they no longer supported the centre, as they had heard several claims that lions were sold from the park (something which the centre themselves later admitted to). The staff member politely declined to comment. I then asked the current owner a series of questions, regarding why they bred so many lions, and when and where their lions are released. I was told that the centre had never claimed to release lions into the wild (which is simply not true, as myself and several other volunteers were told by the centre themselves that they do).

Since this initial realisation, it has only become more and more clear that the Ukutula lies to its volunteers and guests, has never released any lions into the wild, and that they are also more than likely involved in canned hunting. The farm admitted to moving at least 2 lions, Michael and Mandela, to zoos in the United States, and the whereabouts of several lions, such as Kevin, Kylie, Ricky, and Jenny, to name just a few, are now unknown. Attempts at finding out where these lions might be through asking members of the farms staff have proved unsuccessful, always resulting in rudely written replies, which avoid answering the question. For example, when asked the whereabouts of Kevin the lion, an Ukutula employee replied, “none of you(r) damn business”.

When I questioned the farm using an alternative email address to my own, posing as a volunteer interested in working there, they admitted that “lions are relocated in different places”. When I asked, “doesn’t that mean that the people that you send lions to could then sell them onto hunters”, the farm replied that, with a supposed “monitoring system” in the planning, this should mean that they should be “able to react to that”, but “sadly it does not mean there is a 100% guarantee”. I have also since realised that the CITES database shows absolutely no record of any lions being exported from South Africa for release into the wild in any other country. However, what it does show, is mass exports for lion trophies, lion bones, and lion skin.

I have shared my findings and opinions with any volunteers who were at Ukutula with me, and continue to attempt to inform other people who have been to the farm, as well as people that I know personally, about the canned hunting industry. Unfortunately, many previous volunteers refuse to believe about the industry, and defend the farm, often insulting or ignoring the people trying to inform them.

As the canned hunting industry is entirely legal in South Africa, creating awareness and understanding of the industry is vital, as this is one of the only ways to fight against it. The more people who know about canned hunting, the better, as this lessens the amount of unknowing volunteers who believe themselves to be doing good, which then lessens the money that these farms receive. This is why Blood Lions is so important, as it could finally be the large scale exposure of canned hunting that is needed to educate people about the canned hunting industry, as well as maybe even changing the terrible fate of South Africa’s captive-bred lions.

END OF TESTIMONY

One of the most upsetting images is that from 2013 that depicts famous singer Kylie Minouge (pictured below) petting a Cheetah cub at Ukutula that has been removed from its mother (hardly a good example to set to our children or young wildlife conservationists). Many of the students whom travel to work at this Lion and farm lodge are often told that cubs have to be separated from their mothers as the mothers are “allegedly to dangerous” and could attack or do attack the cubs.

This seemingly irresponsible advice comes from a wide range of fake conservationists that work at the facility. One in particular Mr Alan Strachan whom runs the company “Your Cheetah Spot“. Scottish born Mr Strachan that works at the Ukutula Lion and Game Lodge actively encourages people to interact with Cheetah cubs, has been witnessed man-handling the Cheetah cubs, and provides the same excuses as most staff. “The cubs are ill, cannot be released into the wild or are suffering from a wide range of tendon or ligament problems (hence why they can all walk) and look (more than healthy).

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If your still thinking on visiting and taking part in the petting of cubs of which you have been told these animals are introduced into the wild. Then ask yourselves this. Why are these animals in the video below that are allegedly “so dangerous” being hand fed, and are more than tame? But more importantly can Ukutula provide evidence to back their claims up that these animals in the video below and depictions above are not dead, or ANY of the females that are sold then bred producing cubs thus not falling under “Ukutula’s ECOSCAN policy” are not then killed for the canned hunting and the trophy hunting industry? Many hunters will try and tell you that this unethical practice is helping to increase populations of Lions. So in that case please do visit the IUCN Red List and look up the Panthera Leo, can you see anywhere in this data that proves such activities are helping Lions or any cat population increases in the wild? OPEN YOUR EYES!

“DON’T BE FOOLED BY CUTENESS OR FOBBED OFF WITH EXCUSES”

Dr Jose C. Depre 

Chief Environmental and Botanical Officer. 

Chief Executive Officer. 


Contributing to Extinction: The Petting Scam.

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THE BIG CAT DEBATE PART III

“Conservation is not Petting Cubs or Promoting the Petting Industry”

Over the past week and a half we have been investigating some nine conservation organisations and companies aligned to them organisations within South Africa. As of yesterday we began to make public them questions which were legitimate and fully above board. We have given two related companies known as Your Cheetah Spot and Ukutula Game Lodge over twenty four hours to answer the questions set out here on Facebook within this article. Any professional organisation that isn’t involved within the direct petting or game hunting of threatened species one would then think such questions would quite easily be answerable to place public faith into the domain. Unfortunately within the past hour it seems otherwise.

Your Cheetah Spot a photography and alleged merchandise company, and what appears to be an organisation that is directly aligned with the promotion of petting cubs has not only failed to answer more than straightforward questions, but has evaded them by attacking us with silly nonsense seen hereto. Now we weren’t pointing fingers, nor was we accusing which can be read in all of our posts on Facebook hereto.

While we respect that Your Cheetah Spot is indeed a company their main Facebook imagery and online articles states otherwise. In the image below one can clearly see that the Your Cheetah Spot company is in someway aligned with the recently brought into question Ukutula Game Lodge, that appears to have some two or more Facebook pages online. International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa is a company and not charitable. Meaning that we work for our money. From 2012 to 2015 we have become increasingly suspicions in relation to over ninety South African organisations being “conservation and hunting”.

We equated that over R8.9 BILLION (ZAR) has been pumped into all of the ninety hunting and conservation organisations. However we’ve seen little if any conservation work, reduction in species threat status, reduction in anti poaching or increase of any species they are directly working with in the wild. As we are not a charity but indeed a giver 1/2 of these organisations fell within our (Funding African and Asian Wildlife Survival) program. While we have not provided monetary income to Your Cheetah Spot or Ukutula Game Lodge, we have directly and indirectly promoted their services or organisation[s] (2013-2014). That in turn has technically brought our company into disrepute in regards to malpractice and public misinformation, furthermore it was somewhat more embarrassing that members of the public also pointed this out to us too, and not forgetting some twelve key conservation experts.

The image below shows that both Your Cheetah Spot and Ukutula Game Lodge are related in one way or the other.

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Ukutula Lodge does go under other names of Facebook too such as Ukutula Game Lodge Etc. On viewing Your Cheetah Spot company we were somewhat concerned with the vast amount of small cubs that are in our eyes being petted by the public, or by the staff in general from which we believe is at the Ukutula Game Lodge. Please view the images below. Please also note that it has been alleged that some of these animals are “sick and unwell” and cannot be released into the wild. We our now bringing that into question.

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The male in the image above is known as a wildlife photographer and conservation researcher, of which he also with his students, friends and family helps at the Cheetah Research Center, while meeting up with members of the public at the Ukutula Game Lodge or Ukutula Lodge. When putting questions to Scottish born Alan Strachan and the user on the Your Cheetah Spot Facebook page we was then made aware of the current unprofessional behavior of Ukutula Game Lodge. Its at this very lodge that our suspicions have yet again arisen, of which you can view in the images below.

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Interestingly when viewing more data on Ukutula Game Lodge we were somewhat perplexed as to how many big cats this farm is currently holding of which it states “is research”.  Even more worrying is that the vast majority of these cats are/or were all cubs, all of which are being bred on a “game farm”. Please view the data below.

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Now just to remind the millions of readers that tune into our environmental investigations news site what a game farm is, we have made it very simple to read and understand for you to come to your own conclusions. Please see the image below.

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A further suspicion that was then immediately raised by the External Affairs investigative team was the vast majority of friends on Mr Strachan’s Facebook friends list that are all (holding or petting) cubs, yet there seems to be no mothers in sight, please see the image below.

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The list is pretty endless of which you can view more here

Any good professional conservation teacher, conservation organisation, research center, or reserve would not under any circumstances allow the direct petting of any big cat cubs. The potential for virus and disease to emerge and not forgetting the removal of the cats natural hunting instincts would severely be detrimental to the animals health. So on viewing the two parties being that The Ukutula Game Lodge and Your Cheetah Spot company that boasts years of experience then why are we seeing such behavior? Furthermore on questioning Your Cheetah Spot company they categorically stated that they hadn’t released any animals in to wild since [2007]. Yet they also stated to the CEO that they were just a simple photography and gift company.

International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa asked some nine very basic and straight forward easy to answer questions. The organisation has waited and waited, the questions were stern but not abusive. However it would appear that on asking such straightforward questions “Your Cheetah Spot company” has not only become abusive but have shown just how hateful of homosexuals they are (again clutching at straws and trying to turn the table onto us). See the screen shots below.

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So when basic very polite questions are asked not only are we spat at with trolling nonsense from hunters and deluded pseudo activists whom have created these articles in the image above, the Chief Executive Officer is then spat more abuse at insinuating that he is gay and obviously goes under many other names too. And as yet, still there is no answers to our questions.

Linda whom runs the Facebook page Your Cheetah Spot stated that the vast majority of these animals cannot be released back into the wild. The kind lady also stated that many animals are sick or injured. Furthermore Linda stated that there is not enough room to simply release Cheetahs back into the wild within South Africa. As a more than competent and professional environmental company there is room, and there are also many active reintroduction programs over the border. In our own opinion these animals are not being released as then that would mean a loss of revenue. Furthermore if these animals are being bred for science, what happens to them after the research is up. Lastly as you may all remember Cecil? Cecil was one of many Lions that the Oxford University Lion Research Center studied, oddly IN THE WILD!

Reintroduction programs have been very operational within Swaziland for some years. Furthermore South Africa is not detached from the continent. Bordering you have Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and finally Lesotho with Swaziland in the far right. So the excuse that these “many small cubs” that are new born and are most certainly not sick, old, injured (in most cases) cannot be reared in accordance to a professional captive breeding program is utter nonsense.  Just to remind you – Linda whom is aligned with the You Cheetah Spot company stated that the last release was back in 2007 of any Cheetahs which we do believe was in the KWN.

A further concern is that Linda stated Alan Strachan (experienced photographer and author) has many contacts within the Cheetah Breeding theater, see image below.

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The comment above is just a contradiction of what is being viewed at the Ukutula Game Lodge of which Alan Strachan visits regularly such as “you have to make sure that there is very little contact with humans” “The last prey release was back in 2007”. If these contradictions do not spring up red flags to you then they should. Swaziland has been the center for many Cheetah releases over the years as listed on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s website. Furthermore the sheer fact that in the vast majority of Mr Strachan’s images on his Facebook profile that depict “cub petting” and on their very own Facebook page is also somewhat concerning.

THE LIES BREEDING AND RESEARCH CENTERS TELL YOU

Below is a list of common lies or misinformation breeding, research and farming centers will try their utmost best to tell you. However at the end of the day its down to you to undertake your own research. Why are there so many cubs, why have there never been any releases of animals into the wild, why are there never no mothers seen with the cubs, why did the breeder or the supporter of a breeder state that these animals cannot be released back into the wild in South Africa..The simple answer to that question would be (mass loss of profit). Again we’re not putting words into your mouths, we are though asking you to please open your eyes, question, look around.

Breeders who charge the public to pet and take photos with young tiger, lion, cheetah or leopard cubs tell venues and customers some or all of the following ‘misinformation which is’:

1) That the exhibitors are “rescuers” and operate “sanctuaries”
2) That the cubs have a good life while being used to make money:
a) They enjoy being carted around the country in a semi and repeatedly awakened and handled by dozens of people all day
b) That blowing in the cubs face “calms” them down
c) That dangling them by holding under their front arms and bouncing them up and down “resets” them cubs at the mall
Cubs at the mall always = cub abuse
d) That close up photos with flash does not harm the cubs
3) That it is safe for the cubs and for humans, and legal, to allow contact with cubs from when they are only a few weeks old to when they are six months or more old.
4) That the exhibitor must keep constantly breeding and using the cubs to make money because that is the only way he can support the adult animals he keeps.
5) That the exhibitor is doing this to promote conservation in the wild.
6) That the exhibitor is teaching people not to have exotic animals as pets
And the biggest lie of all:
7) That the cubs will have good homes after they get too big to be used to make money from petting.
The images and evidence that is seen on one of the nine alleged conservation organisations that are either directly or indirectly involved in the promoting of petting or in this case “science and research”. Have shown little evidence of anyone of these animals actually being released into their native wild.

We DO NOT buy the excuse that states there is little room in South Africa to release these animals back into their native wild. Africa is a continent and South Africa is most certainly not detached from neighboring countries. South Africa borders Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho and Swaziland. Swaziland is one country of particular interest as many Cheetah reintroduction programs are happening within this country. The Cheetah Spot company also made public that Mr Strachen has many contacts with “Cheetah breeders” so why are we not seeing reintroduction, but more ‘petting’ of which these images are directly promoting the petting industry which in turn directly promotes the canned and non-canned hunting industry.

If you would like to know more about felid petting one can view the link here supplied by the Big Cat Rescue.

So as our questions haven’t been answered then we’ll reprint them here in a more orderly and professional fashion. On hitting the publish button the news letter will be sent to over 2,000 subscribers and over 6.1 million supporters respectfully.

  1. What relation does Mr Strachan and Your Cheetah Spot company have in relation to the Ukutala Game Lodge?
  2. Why are there so many cubs being shown on the Ukutala Game Lodge and Your Cheetah Spot company that are not unwell but more than healthy?
  3. Why are there so many cubs with no mothers being petted at the Ukutala Game Lodge, and where are their mothers?
  4. What happens to the cubs being shown on the Your Cheetah Spot company and Ukutala Lodge when you have reached maximum holding capacity?
  5. From reading, Your Cheetah Spot company states its nothing more than a photography and merchandise company. The company stated that they have only managed to release some Cheetahs into the wild back in 2007. So from 2007 to date you’ve obviously been in contact with more cubs, so how many animals are you holding on this farm, and where are the excess going too, one cannot just continue breeding and not releasing they are obviously going somewhere?
  6. Are you Ukutula and Your Cheetah Spot company involved in game or canned hunting?
  7. Why are you “Your Cheetah Spot” company directly encouraging through photography the petting industry but then contradict yourselves by stating that these animals must have the bare minimal human contact?
  8. Are both Your Cheetah Spot company and Ukutala Game Lodge aware of the health implications to these animals via the direct handling, man-handling and petting of cubs and elders?
  9. Why does the Your Cheetah Spot company that stated 1. They are just a merchandise company then 2. agreed they are working directly with these animals believe that South Africa is the only country that these animals can be released into?
  10. Will you Your Cheetah Spot company and Ukutula Game Lodge make public the amount of animals that you have allegedly helped, released into the wild and how many have been deliberately bred?
  11. Why when questioned did you not answer the questions highlighted but then some 14 hours later placed untrue, derogatory and misleading data into the public domain asking people to share. When all we did was obtain the information from your own sites, your own staff, friends and online data? No professional organisation or individual would behave in that manner?
  12. How much money are Your Cheetah Spot Company directly making from petting big cats and cubs?
  13. How much money are Ukutala Game Lodge making from the direct petting of big cats and cubs, and where is this money going too. Why are you also promoting the “interaction with very healthy cubs” to foreign tourists of which is commonly known as a “Lion Petting Farm aka Hunting Industry”?

The next time you want to abuse us you may want to remember that we are not propagating misleading lies about you. The data above has derived directly from you. All we have done is placed that all together, reviewed it and come to the conclusion that from questions 1-13 both of you are in some way directly involved in the petting industry which has direct relations to the hunting industry.

For now we’re going to leave our concerns at this. We will though be going through all organisations and individuals aligned with us and, if found to be exploitation any animals will be removed and exposed by us. Lastly when you have emigrated to our country please respect our natural heritage.

 

External Affairs Department 

externalaffairs@international-animalrescue-foundation.org.uk 

Environmental and Animal Abuse Investigations Authority Europa.

EXTERNAL AFFAIRS HEAD OFFICERS: 

Jose C. Depre: Chief Executive Officer.

Johan Le roux: Anti Poaching / Illegal Animal Parts Trade Head Investigator. 

Michal Jooste: Endangered Species Watch. 

Pitier Van rens den: Chief Environmental Officer and Emergency Rescue. 


Endangered Species Monday: Alaena margaritacea

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Endangered Species Monday: Alaena margaritacea

This Mondays (ESP) Endangered Species Watch Post we take a brief glance at South Africa’s most endangered species of butterfly. Generically identified as Alaena margaritacea the species was primarily located by Dr Harry Eltringham FRS (18 May 1873, South Shields – 26 November 1941, from Stroud) whom was an English histologist and entomologist who specialized in Lepidoptera. (Image: unknown photographer) 

Dr Eltringham had been awarded a Master of Science (Cantab and Oxon) and a Doctor of Science (Oxon). He worked at the Hope Department of Entomology. He wrote Histological and Illustrative Methods for Entomologists OCLC 03655743, The Senses of Insects, London, Methuen (1933) and on Lepidoptera Nymphalidae: Subfamily Acraeinae. Lepidopterorum Catalogus 11:1-65 with Karl Jordan (1913) and On specific and mimetic relationships in the genus Heliconius.

Commonly known as the Wolkberg Zulu butterfly and identified back in 1929 the species stands within ‘threatened’ status of which has qualified for vulnerable listing. Endemic to a wee small town of South Africa the butterfly is from the family Lycaenidae which is the (second largest family of butterflies on the planet), hosting some 5,000 species and, constitutes 30% of the butterfly species on Planet Earth.

A. margaritacea is known to inhabit grassy slopes adjoining afromontane forest in the Haenertsburg area of the Limpopo Province near the Wolkberg. Populations trends are currently not known however we do know that flora alien (non-native botanical specimens) are placing the only two known colonies of Wolkberg Zulu butterflies within that area in [extreme danger], back in 2013-2014 a second colony was located to the joy of many.

To give you a clearer image of just how threatened the species is (any such habitat disturbance within their known range could see extinction occur within days rather than months or years).

However its not all doom and gloom yet. There is hope, even within a country that’s habitat is slowly being destroyed by agriculture, aquaculture and urbanization. Three years ago the species was believed to have gone extinct. However an intensive search was mounted by members of the Lepidopterists’ Society of Africa.

Despite being identified back in 1929 the species has only ever been known to occur in one single location: a small town in northern South Africa in Polokwane within the town of Haenertsberg. The wingspan is 24–27 mm for males and 28–30 mm for females. Adults are on wing from late December to early January. There is one generation per year. Lepidopterists’ Society of Africa spokesperson Naturalist Andre Coetzer stated that as yet none has been able to locate a third colony (2014).

The species has a habit of settling very frequently and for very long periods … which makes searching for the butterfly a tedious, challenging task involving long treks over rocky terrain while combing and scrutinizing the grass and undergrowth. And there’s another problem: the Wolkberg Zulu has an extremely short flight period (the ‘winged’ adult part of its life cycle) – just three weeks in December and early January that also happens to fall right in the middle of the rainy season. All of this easily explains why no one has found another colony of this elusive and endangered butterfly in the last 80 years. Until now… Please read more here to learn more on the butterfly. For fuether information please contact the organisation directly – click here

A typical liquid diet consists of nectar from flowers but also eat tree sap, dung, pollen, or rotting fruit. They are attracted to sodium found in salt and sweat too.

The word Lepidoptera is derived from the Latin words “lepido” meaning scale, and “ptera” meaning wings. Lepidoptera literally means scale wings, referring to the minute scale-like structures on the wings of both butterflies and moths. We are unsure as to how many Wolkberg Zulu Butterflies actually live within the two colonies, there could be anything from 100-200 (random guess). Which is why we please ask all our readers to make a donation to the Lepidopterists Society of Africa to secure more projects.

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Image: Wolkberg Zulu butterfly

For now we remain skeptical and whether there will be more colonies located. We are praying for more colonies to be located. The Department of Environmental Affairs must do more to protect their lands from invasive botanical species to ensure future survival of all flora and fauna. Not forgetting establishing a funding program, protected and manned area to secure their South Africa’s critically endangered butterfly. Failing this we’ll lose South Africa’s most rarest butterfly known to humankind.

Threats 

The only known threat to be placing the species in direct danger are that of alien botanical species. Habitat destruction is not known to be problematic within the region although agriculture and human disturbance could very well become a problem. For more information on alien invasive species please see click here for further information.

Unfortunately folks we do not have a video to show of this amazing video but hope one is made available soon. Video footage of this amazing yet so very rare butterfly would be wonderful to view. Please don’t forget to check out the links above and, donate if you can to the group Lepidopterists’ Society of Africa.

Thank you for reading.

Dr Jose C. Depre.

Chief Environmental and Botanical Scientist.  

 

 

 

 



Con in Conservation?

Contrary to popular belief native Africans were not the first people on the continent to pursue a career or “sport” of trophy hunting. The history of trophy hunting dates as far back to the early 1800’s when southern and central European hunters sought out large or small game. Not much has really changed since the early 1800’s although hunters did out of mutual respect show much veneration to their kill more than today’s modern hunters that flock to the continent of Africa from far and wide in their droves.

Southern and central European hunters were known to keep the trophy head or entire animal as a sign of prowess however did leave much waste of which little of that waste was provided to local villagers and communities struggling financially or in times of famine when free food was much sough after. Today most professional hunters (PH) or outfitters allege that their trophy kill’s are evenly distributed out to the local communities and villagers in dire need of food.

Today in most of Southern Africa we see a mixture of international citizens hunting animals from lion, elephant, zebra, cheetah, impala down to hippopotamus and plains game. The vast majority of hunters visiting the continent range from northern Europe where hunting has long been associated with their history. Back in the 1800’s northern European hunters within their native range would mostly hunt for meat and in Africa evidence has shown that the majority of northern European hunters do indeed demand their kill or any waste is equally handed out to local villagers and communities. After all its their tradition and a tradition in northern Europe that is steeped in history.

Sport hunting has long gotten up Animal Rights Activists noses which today’s hunting generation rarely follow any rule of the land or continue to practice the family tradition as if its a heirloom. Environmental researchers from the Environmental News and Media team have long argued now that western disrespect within today’s hunting generation is now rubbing off onto our own African citizens that have been witnessed killing animals then parading the parts of bodies of animals or jokingly fooling around with the corpse as if it was nothing more than a piece of shit on ones shoe.

One such hunter witnessed back in 2012 that our investigative team noted last year named as Mr Henning Pretorius from Krugersdorp Gauteng, South Africa didn’t just grotesquely slaughter this non-threatened Zebra below – he then set about jumping on the animals dead back jokingly  fooling around and acting as if he was on some rodeo. Hardly professional hunting nor conservation. We will though give him his due respects where given of which the animal was slaughtered – however made into a rug for his own home. The meat was distributed among family members and friends which back in the 1880’s was uncommon.

Since Henning pretorius became aware of this image circulating Mr Pretorius not only demanded its removal but, has been given special cyber protection – I.e his profile has been blocked from the United Kingdom. We do find this move by Facebook rather peculiar as 1. we’re not British citizens or even residents and 2. why has he been given this rather suspicious preferential treatment? Did we touch a sore nerve. Mr Henning has also taken the rather unusual step of removing this image or at least concealing it amidst his other nauseating images that Facebook’s administration platform seems to be protecting.

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Kalahri’s Historian on hunting and Animal Rights stated: 

Trophy hunting is the most controversial aspect of hunting for opponents of hunting, who argue that modern economics or vegetarianism should eliminate the need for most killing of animals, if not animal domestication entirely.

They see such killing as an issue of morality, citing British fox hunting as an especially inhumane “blood sport.”
Hunting in North America in the 1800s was done primarily as a way to supplement food supplies. The safari method of hunting was a development of sport hunting that saw elaborate travel in Africa, India and other places in pursuit of trophies. In modern times, trophy hunting persists, but is frowned upon by some when it involves rare or endangered species of animal. Other people also object to trophy hunting in general because it is seen as a senseless act of killing another living thing for recreation, rather than food.

In all due respects Henning and Kalahari are nothing more than a CON in Conservation.

Africa holds the largest custodian of lions in the world. However their populations are dwindling quite rapidly. To date and based on the most recent up to date International Union for the Conservation of Natures report a population count of some 30,000 lions remain in the wild. Listed as vulnerable and nearing endangered they remain the second species within the big five that’s populations are actually declining. Central African elephant “populations” could be considered within this count too however based on census reports elephant populations within the central African republic are known to be “endangered” as a population not as an entire species.

The African lions main threat is that of habitat destruction and human species conflict with some reports of “unregulated hunting” as being problematic mostly within Tanzania. However while the IUCN lists certain dangers regarding the lion such as habitat destruction, persecution and unregulated hunting they fail to list the dramatic decrease of male African lions that are required within the prides to keep species intact. Continued hunting of males lion or even female lionesses will eventually have an adverse effect onto lion populations thus pushing this species into the realms of endangerment.

Environmental News and Media has duly noted from 2011 to 2014 a stark increase of eastern and southern European hunters visiting Africa to hunt the big five. Increases from Ukraine, Russia, Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Serbia, Bosnia and Turkey have been noted. More worrying are increasing numbers of trophy hunters such as Jacine Jadreško from Croatia (pictured below).

Jacine Jadreško

Croatian, Albanian, Russian, Czech Republic and Polish trophy hunters are second to that of American hunters with British hunters slowly creeping up. While sport hunting is not currently considered a major threat to the species, habitat loss, a lack of prey and increasing conflict with humans are to blame for the decline in the numbers of African lions, whose numbers have dropped by two-thirds since the 1980s, according to  2014 USDA report. There were 76,000 lions in Africa in 1980, but that number has declined to about 30,000 today.

Zambia has since lifted the ban on hunting lions and cheetahs. The ban wasn’t lifted because lion and cheetah species populations began increasing but more for sustainable wildlife projects. In other words while the ban on hunting was in place funding to secure wildlife from poaching just didn’t hit the target – so – therefore Zambia has limited the ban to generate funding to preserve its natural wildlife.

A Con or practical thinking?

Environmental News and Media’s External Affairs Investigations Dept noted a stark and worrying increase of youth hunters to the continent too. Most African countries hold certain rules in place the forbid a minor under the age of sixteen from carrying or even shooting a loaded rifle. As one can see in the case below this is not so. From Howick, Kwazulu-Natal laws are being flouted daily.

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Con or gun conservation?

A further worrying trend were witnessing in South Africa are tiger farms springing up everywhere in the Eastern Cape – for the gun. From 2012 to 2014 Environmental News and Media recorded a total of 63 tiger farms in the Eastern Cape. Since 2012 a further 21 have been established. Tigers are listed as critically endangered – yet are bred and for the gun.

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One of the world’s largest and most iconic predators may soon go extinct in the wild – yet in South Africa the species are being bred for for the bloody gun!

Amid all the fuss over global warming and alternative energy, the continued loss of biodiversity is being largely overlooked and forgotten. And the trend may claim its highest profile victim to date in just a couple decades, say conservation groups. For at least a million years tigers have roamed the forests and jungles of Asia, ruling the top of the food chain. But today Tigers are facing a final bow from the world they once ruled as their habitats have been destroyed and their numbers slashed by poaching.

At the start of the twentieth century there were an estimated 100,000 tigers. Over the course of the last century those numbers shrank and several subspecies — the Bali, Javan, and Caspian Tigers — went extinct.

The WWF has released a new report estimating that there are now only 3,200 tigers left in the wild in India, Southeast Asia, Russia, and China. They estimate that within a generation tigers will become extinct in the wild, if drastic action is not taken to conserve them.

Sybille Klenzendorf, director of the WWF-US species conservation program comments, “There is a real threat of losing this magnificent animal forever in our lifetime. This would be like losing the stars in the sky. Three tiger subspecies have gone extinct, and another, the South China tiger, has not been seen in the wild in 25 years.”

World Bank, a multinational financial institution that provides loans to developing countries, is partnering with the WWF in a push to save the beasts.

Keshav S. Varma, program director of the World Bank’s Global Tiger Initiative comments, “Unless we really crack down on illegal trade and poachers, tigers in the wild have very little chance. If the tigers disappear, it is an indication of a comprehensive failure. It’s not just about tigers. If you save the tiger, you are going to save other species. It provides an excellent indicator of commitment to biodiversity. If they survive, it shows we are doing our job right. If they disappear, it shows we are just talking.”

Despite the fact that so few tigers remain, demand for their body parts is at an all time high on the Asian black markets. Crawford Allan, director of TRAFFIC-North America, which monitors the trade in wildlife, comments, “The demand for bones and skin, meat, and even claws and teeth … is driving a major crime campaign to wipe tigers out in the wild.”

Lixin Huang, president of the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine has teamed with the WWF to try to fight Chinese natives from using tiger parts in their traditional remedies. States Huang, “Traditional Chinese medicine does not need tiger bones to save lives. What we are dealing with is an old tradition, an old belief that tiger wine can make their bones stronger. That is not medicine, that is from old tradition.”

The WWF’s ambitious goal is to try to get the tiger population doubled to 6,400 tigers in the wild by 2022. To do that, they say they will need $13M USD a year and cooperation from the governments of Bangladesh, China, Europe, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Russia, the United States, Vietnam, and the Greater Mekong region, which stretches across Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

Nearing extinction in the wild – Bred in captivity in South Africa for the gun.

Hardly Conservation is it?