The Irwin family - Terri, Bindi and Robert – are returning to Animal Planet, it was announced today at MIPCOM by David Zaslav, President and CEO of Discovery Communications. Animal Planet will work together with the Irwin family to develop and produce the television projects that will bring them back to Animal Planet across the network’s platforms. The Irwin family will also serve as global ambassadors for Discovery Communications. 

The Irwin family has a long and meaningful history with Animal Planet. Steve Irwin helped create a distinctive new style of wildlife documentary and The Crocodile Hunter featured both Steve and Terri as co-hosts along with the animals of Far North Queensland. Steve's boisterous charm, unconventional style and extraordinary daring, combined with Terri's wit and composure and their amazing encounters with crocodiles, venomous snakes and spiders, made The Crocodile Hunter a worldwide hit. The Crocodile Hunter aired on Animal Planet from 1996 through 2007 and also featured Terri and Steve’s children, Bindi and Robert.  

"Steve Irwin was a champion for all wildlife and he and Terri’s excitement and enthusiasm brought viewers from around the world in touch with nature. Their passion for animals, love for their family, and leadership in conservation awareness left a strong legacy that continues today. We are thrilled to have Terri, Bindi and Robert back in the Animal Planet family,” said Patrice Andrews, General Manager of Animal Planet.

“We’re excited to be returning home to Animal Planet and our Discovery Communications family,” said Terri Irwin. “We look forward to the year ahead as we embark on new projects and adventures with Animal Planet.”

    

Terri is a passionate wildlife spokesperson and conservation icon around the world. She actively speaks out and supports conservation issues, including the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve, a 135,000-hectare property in Cape York dedicated to Steve. In 2015, Terri won the Award for Excellence in Women’s Leadership in Queensland and received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from The University of Queensland in recognition of her outstanding contributions to conservation and environmental management efforts.

The Irwin family kids have not been left idle since they graced our screens near some of the most formidable reptiles on the planet on The Crocodile Hunter. Bindi has dedicated her life to wildlife conservation and inspiring the next generation to make a difference in the world. She received a Daytime Emmy Award in 2009 for her Discovery Kids series, Bindi, the Jungle Girl; co-created a series of books, Bindi Wildlife Adventures; and most recently in 2015 captivated the Dancing with the Stars audiences with her heartfelt performances and won the championship, taking home the coveted Mirrorball Trophy. 

Robert, has a natural curiosity and loves learning about wildlife and the Australian bush. He earlier co-hosted the Discovery Kids series, Wild But True, which allowed him to share his passion for wildlife and conservation with the world. Robert also has recently made several memorable appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon that have left people in awe of his talent and enthusiasm for animals.  

The entire Irwin family strives to make Queensland, Australia-based Australia Zoo, a global zoological destination and leader in conservation relating to both wildlife and their habitat, the biggest and best wildlife conservation facility. Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors was established in 2002, initially by Steve and Terri, as a way to include and involve other caring people to support the protection of injured, threatened or endangered wildlife - from the individual animal to an entire species. Terri remains involved as the patron of Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors which runs the busiest wildlife hospital of its kind in the world which has treated almost 72,000 animals in the 12 years the hospital has been open. Additionally, the Irwin family continues the important work of Steve Irwin, through research, educational programs, conservation projects, and much more.

About Animal Planet

Animal Planet, a multi-media business unit of Discovery Communications, is the network of hit franchise series and special programming dedicated to animals and the natural world that includes RIVER MONSTERS, DR. JEFF: ROCKY MOUNTAIN VET, PIT BULLS & PAROLEES,TANKED, TREEHOUSE MASTERS, THE VET LIFE and PUPPY BOWL, the largest non-sports TV event on Super Bowl Sunday. Animal Planet is the premiere TV, digital and social community for all things animal, providing immersive, engaging, high-quality content across all Animal Planet platforms including: Animal Planet television network, available in more than 90 million homes in the U.S., that is complimented with a deep Video On Demand offering; online assets www.animalplanet.com, the ultimate online destination for animal lovers and pet owners; the Animal Planet Go app that allows viewers to catch up on full episodes of their favorite shows anytime anywhere; Animal Planet L!VE, the go-to digital destination for round-the-clock, unfiltered access via live cameras around the globe in a variety of animal habitats; Animal Planet Social including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram via @AnimalPlanet and on Snapchat as AnimalPlanetTV.

About Discovery Communications

Discovery Communications (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) satisfies curiosity and engages superfans with a portfolio of premium nonfiction, sports and kids programming brands. Reaching 3 billion cumulative viewers across pay-TV and free-to-air platforms in more than 220 countries and territories, Discovery’s portfolio includes the global brands Discovery Channel, TLC, Investigation Discovery, Animal Planet, Science and Turbo/Velocity, as well as OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network in the U.S., Discovery Kids in Latin America, and Eurosport, the leading provider of locally relevant, premium sports content across Europe. Discovery reaches audiences across screens through digital-first programming from Discovery VR, over-the-top offerings Eurosport Player and Dplay, as well as TV Everywhere products comprising the GO portfolio of TVE apps and Discovery K!ds Play. For more information, please visit www.discoverycommunications.com.

Photo credit for the Irwin family picture to Russell Shakespeare

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Ventura County, CA – Oct. 15, 2017 – Staff at the Turtle Conservancy are celebrating the hatching of three Critically Endangered Pan’s Box Turtles (Cuora pani) this week at their conservation center in California.  It is the first time the Turtle Conservancy has hatched this species and the first second generation breeding of this species in the United States. Pan's Box Turtles are understood to be effectively extinct in its native China due to over-collection for the medicinal and pet trade.

“This is a critical step forward for Pan’s Box Turtle, a unique and little-known species that really needs more attention,” said Dr. Peter Paul van Dijk, Field Conservation Programs Director at the Turtle Conservancy. “Our efforts, along with those of our global partners, will contribute to ensuring their future on this planet.

This hatching success was years in the making. The parents hatched at the Fort Worth Zoo and Zoo Atlanta as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Program (SSP). They came to the Turtle Conservancy in 2010 where they grew to adulthood and bred for the first time this spring. The Turtle Conservancy is home to one male and four female adult Pan’s Box Turtles, along with dozens of other species of threatened turtles and tortoises.

These animals represent a part of the North American “assurance colony” that is a last line of defense against extinction, with the ultimate goal of restoring wild populations. The Turtle Conservancy was the first organization in the world to return captive-born turtles to their native country for conservation when they sent young Golden Coin Turtles back to Hong Kong in 2012.

“We’ve been successful returning animals back to their native country in the past,” said Turtle Conservancy co-founder and president Eric Goode. “With this species that will be a much more daunting task, but my dream is to let all wild animals be exactly that, wild.”

The species is endemic to a small area of Central China, and may have been relatively common locally until the 1990s, when turtles increasingly became the focus of the traditional Chinese medicine markets. Now, China has grown into the largest market for turtles and tortoises in the world. Turtles and many other animals are collected and sold into the traditional medicine and food trade in massive quantities, while the exotic pet hobby is growing rapidly. The Pan’s Box Turtle can fetch prices upwards of $10,000 in the animal trade.

The Conservancy protects more than 45,000 acres world-wide of wild land for endangered turtles and tortoises, along with other threatened species including jaguars, macaws and antelope, and native flora. It is their hope they can continue to protect viable habitat for other species, including the Pan’s Box Turtle

Additional Info:

  • Pan’s Box Turtle is classified as Critically Endangered in the IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species [http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/5956/0].
  • Turtles and tortoises are the most endangered group of vertebrates on the planet. Over half of the 365 species of turtles and tortoises are threatened with, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
  • The Turtle Conservancy works to alleviate threats to highly threatened turtles around the world by protecting land and captive breeding endangered species
  • Asia is the world’s largest consumer of turtles – for the food, traditional medicine and pet trade
  • The Chinese turtle industry has surpassed $1 billion annually in gross revenue
  • The Turtle Conservancy is the only AZA-certified facility dedicated solely to the conservation of turtles and tortoises. 
  • Zoos in North America and elsewhere maintain Studbooks of captive animals to ensure long-term genetic diversity and maintain records of endangered species reproductive success

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Photo: A Critically Endangered Pan’s Box Turtle breaks through its egg and takes its first breath at the Turtle Conservancy in California. (Photo by Max Maurer/Turtle Conservancy)

The Turtle Conservancy is a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to protecting threatened turtles and tortoises and their habitats worldwide. The Conservancy's Conservation Center in Southern California is a premier facility for breeding Critically Endangered turtles and tortoises in the world. Since 2005 the Conservancy has combined this highly successful breeding program with protecting land in Africa, Asia, and North America.

Note to the Media: If you would like to guide your readers or viewers to a Web link where they can learn more about turtle conservation and perhaps make donations in support of helping save wildlife and wild places, please direct them to www.turtleconservancy.org

 

Visionary Philanthropist Madame He Qiaonyu Pledges
US$20 Million For Wild Cat Conservation as the Newest Member of Panthera’s Global Alliance

October 13, 2017

MonacoIn a move indicative of China’s growing influence as a leader in environmental protection, visionary philanthropist and entrepreneur Madame He Qiaonyu, through her Beijing Qiaonyu Foundation, has joined forces with Panthera, the global wild cat conservation organization, and WildCRU, Oxford University’s conservation research unit, to protect big cats and their vast landscapes within China and beyond. It is the first international partnership for the Foundation, which envisions establishing the largest collaboration for biodiversity conservation in the world.

 

Starting with the apex carnivores, Beijing Qiaonyu Foundation will invest
$20 million over the next 10 years to fund conservation programs devoted to the protection of big cats both inside China and around the world, focusing on 10 “at-risk” areas to be determined by Beijing Qiaonyu Foundation with Panthera and WildCRU.

 

The partnership will be announced tomorrow in Monaco in conjunction with a meeting of IUCN’s Patrons of Nature, of which Madame He is a member.

 

Madame He is Founder and Chairman of Beijing Oriental Landscape and Ecology Co. Ltd., the largest landscape architecture company in China. Since establishing Beijing Qiaonyu Foundation in 2012, Madame He has become a force in Chinese philanthropy, investing in such areas as female entrepreneurship, ecological education, and climate change, and is setting the standard in China for emerging philanthropists.

 

In 2017, Beijing Qiaonyu Foundation introduced an ambitious vision for nature conservation, unveiling an accelerated seven-year plan to protect 28 critical habitat areas within China and conserve dozens of flagship animal and plant species. The Foundation plans to leverage its investments through high-profile partnerships within China and beyond, adopting and applying best practices to achieve its objectives and developing models for conservation worldwide.
 

Madame He stated, “I feel fortunate to have met Thomas and to be working with Panthera. This partnership enables us at Qiaonyu Foundation to utilize the most professional and experienced team in cat conservation as we begin to protect and preserve these beautiful but fragile species. It is an extraordinary undertaking, and to achieve the ambitious outcomes we seek, we are going to mobilize all the passion and intelligence we utilized when starting our businesses.”

 

She continued, “I would also add that there are a large number of entrepreneurs in China who are actively paying attention to environmental issues. They would love to share their wealth, knowledge, and vision to search for more and effective solutions for conserving nature. Qiaonyu Foundation is calling on potential partners in China and indeed across the globe to unite together to protect our only homeland and promise a better future for this planet!”

 

As the newest member of Panthera’s Global Alliance for Wild Cats, Madame He joins Thomas S. Kaplan and Daphne Recanati Kaplan, His Highness Mohamed Bin Zayed, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and Hemendra Kothari—among the world’s leading environmental philanthropists—in an international collaboration to preserve large-scale wildlife habitat and biodiversity around the globe by protecting the big cats.

 

Panthera Founder and Chairman of the Board Thomas Kaplan stated, “Madame He’s vision for species conservation is big and bold, befitting China’s enormous potential to change the trajectory for threatened big cats at home and around the world. Madame He is herself a force of nature, and I have no doubt that she will galvanize a new homegrown movement to join her in sustaining our planet’s most precious and vulnerable wildlife.”

 

Dr. Kaplan continued, “We are humbled to be among the first partners aligned with Madame He and the Beijing Qiaonyu Foundation in this game-changing moment and look forward to working together under the auspices of the Global Alliance to realize our shared conservation goals.”

 

Phase One Will Focus on China’s Snow Leopards and African Lions

 

With a grant from the Recanati-Kaplan Foundation, in conjunction with Panthera and WildCRU, the Beijing Qiaonyu Foundation will invest
US$1 million to build out their comprehensive snow leopard conservation program in China, now in the early stages of development. The program will focus on two pilot sites to be determined, with the goal of expanding over time into the larger geographical range critical for the species’ survival.

 

Addressing one of the most pressing cat conservation crises globally, Beijing Qiaonyu Foundation will also contribute US$1 million to lion conservation in Africa with a focus on the geographies and populations most at risk. Due primarily to bushmeat poaching and conflict with humans, lion populations have plunged by more than 40% in the past two decades. Today, just 20,000 lions remain, occupying only 8% of their historical range. However, research shows that lions can thrive in large, well-protected landscapes with secure buffer zones, providing hope for the future.

 

And, in a third component of the partnership, Panthera, WildCRU and Beijing Qiaonyu Foundation will design and implement a joint wildlife management training program for Chinese conservationists working in the newly formed conservation areas in China. The training courses will be tailored for application both in the classroom and in the field.

 

Dr. Frédéric Launay, who will assume the CEO role at Panthera on November 1, stated, “Panthera is immensely pleased and proud to have the opportunity to work with Madame He and the Beijing Qiaonyu Foundation as partners in large-scale conservation. We see enormous opportunity to share knowledge, as well as to break new ground in creating a world in which humans and wild cats can thrive together.”

 

The Global Alliance for Wild Cats

 

The Global Alliance for Wild Cats was formed in 2014 to convene the world’s most visionary conservation thinkers across borders and cultures in a shared commitment to protecting big cats and their ecosystems. The Global Alliance invests in deploying at scale the most effective solutions for mitigating their primary threats: poaching for the illegal wildlife trade, human-cat conflict, loss of prey species, and the loss and fragmentation of habitat.

 

Her Excellency Razan Khalifa al Mubarak, Managing Director of the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund and Secretary-General of the Environment Agency–Abu Dhabi, said, “On behalf of His Highness Mohamed bin Zayed, we welcome Madame He to the Global Alliance. How fortunate we are to have such a bright light as Madame He focused on the big cats. Only with such grand vision can we hope to achieve conservation on the scale needed to save them.”

 

“We are looking forward to working alongside Madame He and the Beijing Qiaonyu Foundation,” said Hemendra Kothari, Founder and Chairman of India’s Wildlife Conservation Trust. “This is truly an extraordinary example of international cooperation. Together, we can hope to recover tigers, snow leopards, lions, and all of the iconic cats upon which the delicate balance of nature depends, particularly forest and water protection and climate change mitigation.”

 

A New Wave of Chinese Philanthropy

 

Madame He is pioneering a burgeoning philanthropic movement in China, providing inspiration to a new generation of philanthropists across a broad spectrum of interests, including many focused outside of China for the first time.

 

She is a founder with Bill Gates, Ray Dalio, Niu Gensheng, and Ye Qingjun of the Chinese Global Philanthropy Institute, an organization dedicated to cultivating the development of philanthropy in China and around the world.

 

About Panthera 
Panthera, founded in 2006, is devoted exclusively to preserving wild cats and their critical role in the world’s ecosystems. Panthera’s team of leading biologists, law enforcement experts and wild cat advocates develop innovative strategies based on the best available science to protect cheetahs, jaguars, leopards, lions, pumas, snow leopards, and tigers and their vast landscapes. In 36 countries around the world, Panthera works with a wide variety of stakeholders to reduce or eliminate the most pressing threats to wild cats—securing their future, and ours. Visit panthera.org.
 

About Beijing Qiaonyu Foundation 
The mission of BQF is simple and straightforward: to protect the earth and nature, and conserve biodiversity. We aspire to become one of the most influential Nature Conservation Agencies in the world. 
 

About WildCRU 
David Macdonald founded the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) in 1986 at the University of Oxford. Now the foremost University-based centre for biodiversity conservation, the mission of the WildCRU is to achieve practical solutions to conservation problems through original research. WildCRU is particularly renowned for its work with wild carnivores, especially wild cats, including its long-running studies on lion and clouded leopard. Its training centre for early-career conservationists, so far from 32 countries, produces experts and future leaders in global conservation. Visit wildcru.org.
 



WILD WEDNESDAYS ARE BACK ON SMITHSONIAN CHANNEL™ WITH PREDATORS ON THE PROWL IN THREE NEW SPECIALS

BABOON KING


PREMIERES WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 18 AT 8 PM ET/PT LIONS UNLEASHED


PREMIERES WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 8 AT 8 PM ET/PT TIGER ON THE RUN


PREMIERES WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 15 AT 8 PM ET/PTNEW YORK – October 11, 2017 – In the wild, survival of the fittest is the only strategy that prevails, proving across all species who is most fit to be on top. Smithsonian Channel’s new Wild Wednesday lineup showcases the battles these animals must face to prove their dominance and protect themselves, their family and the land that they live on. Whether on the outskirts of the Ethiopian highlands or navigating through villages of India, all three predators learn how to adapt in the new environments where they are placed. Explore these incredible stories on Smithsonian Channel with the premieres of BABOON KING on Wednesday, October 18 at 8 p.m. ET/PT, LIONS UNLEASHED on Wednesday, November 8 at 8 p.m. ET/PT, and TIGER ON THE RUN on Wednesday, November 15 at 8 p.m. ET/PT. In Ethiopia’s highlands, one male’s power is being challenged by a handsome young Turk. BABOON KING unveils the story of Braveheart, an old and tired baboon, who is battling to stay on top of his many responsibilities. The breeding season is coming and his harem is watching him closely – can he rise above the odds to fight off the bachelors and win his females’ respect in time for the breeding season? Everything is at stake for Braveheart – his authority, his mating rights and, above all, his legacy. If he doesn’t prove that he is a capable leader and protector, he will lose the throne and everything he has ever fought for. LIONS UNLEASHED reveals a new era dawning in the heart of Africa. Twenty-five years ago, a brutal civil war stripped Rwanda of its most iconic wildlife. The Rwandan people have worked hard to restore their pride and rejuvenate the land, but there’s still one piece of the puzzle missing – lions. Leaving their native home in South Africa, seven lions are being transported to Akagera National Park, covering thousands of miles to the heart of Africa, in order to revive the local lion species. To survive in this foreign land, they will have to master a barrage of challenges. For the new lions, it should be a cinch to thrive in this new habitat, but this strange new land is anything but predictable. TIGER ON THE RUN explores the life of Kumal, a young Indian tiger who is forced out of his father’s territory by a rogue male and sets out on a remarkable journey to adulthood in the wilds of central India. Time and space are running out, and to continue his legacy, he must find a territory of his own and a mate. Harassed by local villagers and hampered by his poor hunting skills, Kumal is left on the brink of starvation. He must adapt quickly to a life on his own or his very survival will be at stake. BABOON KING is produced by Julie King and Graeme Duane for Earth Touch. John Cavanagh and David Royle serve as executive producers for Smithsonian Channel. LIONS UNLEASHED is produced by Kira Ivanoff and Graeme Duane for Earth Touch. John Cavanagh and David Royle serve as executive producers for Smithsonian Channel. TIGER ON THE RUN is produced by Graeme Duane for Earth Touch. Joy Galane and David Royle serve as executive producers for Smithsonian Channel.
Smithsonian Channel™, owned by Smithsonian Networks™, a joint venture between Showtime Networks Inc. and the Smithsonian Institution, is where curiosity lives, inspiration strikes and wonders never cease. This is the place for awe-inspiring stories, powerful documentaries and amazing entertainment across multiple platforms. Smithsonian Channel combines the storytelling prowess of SHOWTIME® with the unmatched resources and rich traditions of the Smithsonian, to create award-winning programming that shines new light on popular genres such as air and space, history, science, nature, and pop culture. Among the network’s offerings are series including Aerial America, Million Dollar American Princesses, Polar Bear Town, The Weapon Hunter, The Lost Tapes, Mighty Ships, Mighty Planes and Air Disasters, as well as critically-acclaimed specials that include Building Star Trek, The Unknown Flag Raiser of Iwo Jima, MLK: The Assassination Tapes and The Day Kennedy Died. Smithsonian Networks also operates Smithsonian Earth(TM), through SN Digital LLC., a new subscription video streaming service delivering spectacular original nature and wildlife content. To learn more, go to www.smithsonianchannel.com, or connect with us on Facebook, //twitter.com/@SmithsonianChan">Twitter, and Instagram.
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Findings Could Raise Questions About All Solitary Carnivores

October 11, 2017

Jackson, Wyoming – Pumas, long known as solitary carnivores, are more social than previously thought, according to a new Panthera study published in the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances. The findings provide the first evidence of complex social strategies in any solitary carnivore—and may have implications for multiple species, including other wild cats around the world.

 

“It’s the complete opposite of what we’ve been saying about pumas and solitary species for over 60 years,” said lead author and Panthera Puma Program Lead Scientist Mark Elbroch, Ph.D. “We were shocked—this research allows us to break down mythologies and question what we thought we knew.”

 

Usually termed “solitary carnivores,” pumas have been assumed to avoid each other, except during mating, territorial encounters, or when raising young. The population studied interacted every 11-12 days during winter—very infrequently compared to more gregarious species like meerkats, African lions, or wolves, which interact as often as every few minutes. So to document social behavior, Dr. Elbroch and his field research team had to follow pumas over longer time spans.

 

Using GPS technology and motion-triggered cameras in northwest Wyoming, the team collected thousands of locations from GPS-equipped collars and documented the social interactions of pumas over 1,000 prey carcasses (242 with motion-triggered cameras that filmed interactions). Then, they used cutting-edge analyses of puma networks to reveal that the species exhibits social strategies like more social animals, just over longer timescales. The research is the first to quantify complex, enduring, and “friendly” interactions of these secretive animals, revealing a rich puma society far more tolerant and social than previously thought. 

 

"Our research shows that food sharing among this group of pumas is a social activity, which cannot be explained by ecological and biological factors alone,” said study co-author Mark Lubell, director of the UC Davis Center for Environmental Policy and Behavior.
 

Here’s a breakdown of the most surprising findings:

  1. Every puma participated in a “network” of individuals sharing food with each other. Each puma co-fed with another puma at least once during the study, and many of them fed with other pumas many times.
  2. Choosing individuals with whom to share meals was not random or reserved for family members. The pumas seemed to recall who shared food with them in the past—and were 7.7 times more likely to share with those individuals. This is usually only documented with social animals.
  3. Males received more free meat than females, and males and females likely benefited differently from social interactions. Males got meat, while females likely received social investments facilitating mating opportunities.
  4. Territorial males acted like governors of “fiefdoms,” structuring how all pumas across the landscape interacted with each other. All pumas living inside each male territory typically formed a single network, and were more likely to share their food with each other. Social interactions occurred across these borders, but much less frequently than among cats within the same male territory.

The study emphasizes that puma populations are actually composed of numerous smaller communities ruled by territorial males. The loss of males, whether by natural or human causes, potentially disrupts the entire social network.

 

Videos and images captured during the study served as “irrefutable” evidence of social behavior, Dr. Elbroch said. “Suddenly, I was able to see what was happening when these animals were coming together. By stepping back, we captured the patterns of behavior that have no doubt been occurring among pumas all along.”

 

Except for lions and cheetahs (whose males form long-term social groups), all wild cats are typically described as solitary—a strategy characteristic of species living in complex habitats where predators compete for dispersed prey. This study should encourage researchers to study the social behavior of other solitary carnivores.

 

“This work goes against convention for solitary carnivores, but our evidence is supported by both behavior and genetics,” said co-author Anthony Caragiulo, Assistant Director of Genomic Operations at the Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics at the American Museum of Natural History.

 

Dr. Elbroch stated, “This opens the door to enormous possibilities. Are pumas everywhere behaving the same, or only in areas with large prey? Are other species like leopards and wolverines and so many others acting the same way? There is so much more to discover about the rich, secret social lives of wild creatures.”

 

Read the full study here.

 

Read Dr. Elbroch’s first blog about this paper.
 

Learn more about Panthera’s Puma Program here.

 

About Panthera 
Panthera, founded in 2006, is devoted exclusively to preserving wild cats and their critical role in the world’s ecosystems. Panthera’s team of leading biologists, law enforcement experts and wild cat advocates develop innovative strategies based on the best available science to protect cheetahs, jaguars, leopards, lions, pumas, snow leopards and tigers and their vast landscapes. In 36 countries around the world, Panthera works with a wide variety of stakeholders to reduce or eliminate the most pressing threats to wild cats—securing their future, and ours. Visit panthera.org.
 


 

 

Leading animal advocacy non-profit releases 2017 Trapping Report analyzing animal trapping laws

WASHINGTON – September 22, 2017 – Born Free USA, a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, today released its 2017 Trapping Report, which assigns a letter grade to each of the 50 U.S. states based on the existence and effectiveness of the state’s animal trapping regulations on animal welfare, wildlife conservation and public safety.

“Indiscriminate body-crushing traps are used to capture or kill furbearing animals who are deemed a ‘nuisance’ or who are valued only for the fur on their backs,” said Prashant K. Khetan, CEO and general counsel for Born Free USA. “In many instances, animals are caught in these brutal traps, but remain trapped for days, slowly dying while subject to the elements, other animals, physical pain and emotional torture. And both targeted and non-targeted animals—including household pets and endangered species—fall victim to these traps. While our report card applauds the states that are leading the way to end trapping, we must also ask ourselves, ‘what kind of a society allows this senseless butchering of our beloved wildlife to continue year after year?’ It must end. And end now.”

The report card is compiled by reviewing the laws of each individual state on a variety of different trapping-related topics and then, using a weighted point system, assigning individual letter grades and a final weighted grade to each state. Grades also include positive marks for prohibiting the trapping of bobcats and otters, two species native to most states but vulnerable to overexploitation.

According to Born Free USA’s analysis, only four states received an “A” grade or better:

1.       California

2.       Colorado

3.       Hawaii

4.       Washington

Conversely, 14 states received an “F” grade:

1.       Alaska

2.       Arkansas

3.       Idaho

4.       Iowa

5.       Louisiana

6.       Missouri

7.       Montana

8.       Nevada

9.       North Carolina

10.   North Dakota

11.   South Dakota

12.   Texas

13.   Virginia

14.   Wyoming

“As the report clearly shows, most states don’t have good laws on trapping,” Khetan said. “We’re working to shed light on the issue and help the states who are most interested in turning around their legislation.”

For those who are interested in standing up against trapping, Khetan recommends that they:

  • Learn more about the anti-trapping and anti-fur movement here
  • Write their government representatives to encourage them to enact and enforce better laws, including to prevent trapping on public lands
  • Support fur free products/retailers
 
 

To view the 2017 Trapping Report Card, as well as the full report, visit http://www.bornfreeusa.org/trappingreportcard.

About Born Free USA

Born Free believes that every animal matters. Inspired by the Academy Award-winning film, Born Free, we work locally, nationally and internationally on the conservation frontlines, in communities, classrooms, courtrooms and the halls of Congress, to end wild animal cruelty and suffering, and protect threatened wildlife. Born Free USA also operates one of the country’s largest wildlife sanctuaries, which provides a permanent home for 600 primates. Many are retired from research facilities, some rescued from inhumane conditions at circuses, zoos and private ownership. They have often endured a lifetime of abuse, neglect and cruelty. But at our sanctuary in Dilley, Texas, they are safe and live free.

Launched in 2002, Born Free USA is inspired by Virginia McKenna and her (late) husband Bill Travers, who, along with their son, Will, founded The Born Free Foundation (UK) in 1984. Their experience in Kenya filming the classic 1966 Academy Award-winning film Born Free, the story of Joy and George Adamson’s fight to successfully return Elsa the lioness to a wild and free life, launched the couple’s Compassionate Conservation movement, aimed at keeping wildlife in the wild. This movement continues to motivate millions of followers and activists across the globe. In 2007, Born Free USA merged with the Animal Protection Institute.

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Talkin' Pets News

September 23, 2017

Host - Jon Patch

Co-Host - Karen Vance

Producer - Daisey Charlotte

Network Producer - Quin McCarthy

Executive Producer - Bob Page

Special Guests - Pet Expert and Trainer Travis Brorsen will join Jon and Talkin' Pets 9/23/17 at 5pm EST to discuss his new series My Big Fat Pet Makeover on Animal Planet

Becky Robinson, President and Founder of Alley Cat Allies will join Jon and Talkin' Pets 9/23/17 at 630pm EST to discuss their organization and their efforts in hurricane relief

 

Dangerous Pesticides Kill Wildlife, Harm Unique Ecosystems

Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Director of Pesticides Science and Regulation, American Bird Conservancy, 202-888-7475, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Staff Attorney, Earthjustice, 415-217-2000

(Washington, D.C., Sept. 20, 2017) On behalf of American Bird Conservancy (ABC), the nonprofit environmental law organization Earthjustice has petitioned the California Fish and Game Commission to adopt a statewide prohibition on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides in the more than one million acres of wildlife habitat under its jurisdiction. “We need to be sure that these lands remain safe havens for birds and other wildlife,” said Cynthia Palmer, ABC’s Director of Pesticides Science and Regulation.

Neonics are a relatively new class of chemicals with the potential to derail California’s efforts to safeguard its unique ecosystems. Neonics are deadly to pollinators and other wildlife, including birds. For example, a single seed coated with neonics is enough to kill a songbird, and exposure to just one-tenth of a coated seed per day during the egg-laying season is enough to impair reproduction. Even tiny doses can cause birds to lose coordination and the ability to fly. Neonics are also lethal to many of the terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates — including butterflies, bees, earthworms, and mayflies — that are critical food sources for birds and other wildlife.

“What’s so stunning about these pesticides,” said Palmer, “is the fact that they can actually exacerbate the pest problems they were meant to solve. By harming pollinators like bees and butterflies, as well as natural pest control agents like birds and beneficial insects, neonics are sabotaging the very organisms on which we all depend.”

Europe has enacted a moratorium on the use of neonics, and Canada has proposed a nationwide ban on the most widely used neonic, imidacloprid, given the risk it poses to birds, insects, small mammals, and other wildlife. In addition, many U.S. companies such as Home Depot, Lowe’s, Walmart, True Value, and BJ’s Wholesale Club, as well as state and local legislatures, are reining in the use of neonics. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service banned neonic use on National Wildlife Refuge lands as of last year.

“We hope that the California Fish and Game Commission will follow the lead of the federal Fish and Wildlife Service and prohibit any use of neonicotinoid pesticides on the important network of wildlife refuges it oversees throughout California, one of the nation’s most biodiverse states,” said Trent Orr, the Earthjustice staff attorney who worked on the petition.

“It’s time for the agencies managing state refuges across the nation to join in protecting our endangered species and other wildlife from these poisons,” Palmer stated. “California has long been an environmental standard-bearer for the other states on everything from auto emissions to building codes. We urge the California Fish and Game Commission to lead the way on pesticides, as well, by adopting a statewide prohibition on neonicotinoid insecticides.”

(Photo: Banning the use of neonics on Califonia's public lands would benefit songbirds such as Horned Lark and many other species. Photo by Tom Grey)

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American Bird Conservancy is dedicated to conserving birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. With an emphasis on achieving results and working in partnership, we take on the greatest problems facing birds today, innovating and building on rapid advancements in science to halt extinctions, protect habitats, eliminate threats, and build capacity for bird conservation.

Earthjustice, the nation’s premier nonprofit environmental law organization, wields the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people’s health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change. Because the earth needs a good lawyer.

 

 

New IUCN Red List Assessment Classifies Snow Leopards as ‘Vulnerable’ to Extinction, One Step Up From ‘Endangered’ 

September 14, 2017

New York, NY – The mysterious snow leopard has been delivered a piece of good news. The Red List classification from the International Union for Conservation of Nature–IUCN–improves the conservation status of the big cat from “Endangered” to “Vulnerable.” Yet, these iconic symbols of Asia’s great mountain wilderness still face numerous threats, many rapidly growing, in their high mountain home.
 
The snow leopard was listed as Endangered by the IUCN Red List–the globally accepted, international standard for assessing extinction risk—for each 5-10 year assessment since its initial listing in 1972. The change in status came after a three-year assessment process by five international experts including scientists from academia and from Panthera, Snow Leopard Conservancy, and Wildlife Conservation Society, organizations active in snow leopard conservation. The assessment was then reviewed and approved by eight international felid and Red List assessments experts, the IUCN Global Mammal Assessment team, and the central Red List Unit.
 
Dr. Tom McCarthy, Executive Director of Panthera’s Snow Leopard Program and a member of the assessment team, said, “To be considered ‘Endangered,’ there must be fewer than 2,500 mature snow leopards and they must be experiencing a high rate of decline. Both are now considered extremely unlikely, which is the good news, but it does not mean that snow leopards are ‘safe’ or that now is a time to celebrate. The species still faces ‘a high risk of extinction in the wild’ and is likely still declining–just not at the rate previously thought.”
 
The assessment cites a number of recent studies that used more scientifically robust methods than in the past and which suggest snow leopard numbers are likely higher than previously thought. Dr. Rodney Jackson, Founder and Director of the Snow Leopard Conservancy (SLC) and another member of the assessment team, said, “Even with such positive supportive information, the assessment team took a conservative approach, including using the lowest estimated global population size of 4,000 when determining if the Endangered threshold could be met.”
 
One of the reasons that snow leopard status has improved is greatly increased conservation efforts. Dr. David Mallon, snow leopard expert and member of the assessment team, points out that in the last few decades there has been a significant increase in the number of protected areas within the snow leopard range. The species’ range is extensive, and covers more than 1.8 million square kilometers of mountain habitat in 12 range countries across Asia.
 
Dr. Jackson stressed that local initiatives such as community ranger monitoring efforts and the building of predator-proof corrals to control conflict over livestock losses are helping to protect the cats from retaliatory killing in many locations.
 
The snow leopard is the top predator of the world’s greatest mountain chains–the Himalaya, Karakoram, Hindu Kush, Tien Shan, Altai, and other mountain regions of Asia. Unfortunately, even in these near-inaccessible mountains, the snow leopard faces numerous threats.
 
“Continuing threats include poaching for its thick fur and overhunting of its wild prey,” said Peter Zahler, Coordinator of the WCS Snow Leopard Program and also on the assessment team. “There is also an increasing number of domestic livestock raised by local people in these high mountains that degrades the delicate grasslands, disturbs wild sheep and goats and drives them into less productive habitats.” Zahler pointed out that this can also lead to disease outbreaks in wild sheep and goats due to transmission of novel pathogens from their domestic counterparts. “The loss of wild prey can lead to attacks on domestic stock, which itself can lead to retaliatory killing of snow leopards by local shepherds,” Zahler said.
 
Zahler added, “It is important that a change in status is not misinterpreted–this change does not mean that the snow leopard has been ‘saved’ and efforts on its behalf can stop. The IUCN’s Vulnerable status means a species is still vulnerable to extinction, and the snow leopard population is still believed to be in decline and facing a high risk of extinction. Threats–poaching, habitat destruction, loss of prey species–still exist and new threats such as roads, border fences, and climate change, are increasing. So conservation actions must continue and be increased to conserve the species.”

Read Panthera's Q&A on this news.
 

About Panthera 
Panthera, founded in 2006, is devoted exclusively to preserving wild cats and their critical role in the world’s ecosystems. Panthera’s team of leading biologists, law enforcement experts and wild cat advocates develop innovative strategies based on the best available science to protect cheetahs, jaguars, leopards, lions, pumas, snow leopards and tigers and their vast landscapes. In 36 countries around the world, Panthera works with a wide variety of stakeholders to reduce or eliminate the most pressing threats to wild cats—securing their future, and ours. Visit panthera.org.

About Snow Leopard Conservancy
SLC, founded in 2000 by Dr. Rodney Jackson and Ms. Darla Hillard, aims to secure the survival of the snow leopard, by conserving its mountain habitat, enhancing local livelihoods and alleviating the human-wildlife conflict which threatens its existence. By blending traditional knowledge with modern science, SLC works in partnership with local people, to increase environmental awareness, advance grassroots conservation initiatives and involve them in non-invasive monitoring of snow leopards. By developing an appreciation for this wild cat, the ultimate goal of the Conservancy is to turn conflict into coexistence. Visit snowleopardconservancy.org.
 
About Wildlife Conservation Society
WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in nearly 60 nations and in all the world’s oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. WCS has been a global leader on snow leopard conservation since the 1970s, with current programs in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and China. Visit: newsroom.wcs.org.


For International Primate Day on September 1st 2017, Animal Defenders International is calling for action to end the use of primates in research. Worldwide an estimated 200,000 primates are experimented on each year, with over 70,000 animals used in research across the US,one of the world’s largest users of primates.

Animal Defenders International President Jan Creamer said: The continued use of primates in research is unethical and unnecessary. Harmful to both our closest relatives and to science, governments must end primate tests and facilitate the adoption of modern alternatives without delay.”

Some primates are forcibly removed from the wild and used as breeding machines to supply the industry, or used themselves in tests. In addition to the trauma causedto individuals during the capture process, subsequent confinement, and during procedures until their deaths, this brutal practice harms local populations threatening their survival. 

In Latin America, ADI has exposed the capture of owl monkeys for use in malaria experiments in Colombia. Taken from the trees, these nocturnal primates go from the forest to a barren cage. Our evidence led to a tribunal revoking the experimenter’s permits;although this groundbreaking decision has been overturned. Elsewhere, in Africa and Asia, ADI has revealed dire conditions inside the monkey breeders, who take primates from the wild to maintain their breeding stocks. At the monkey farms, individuals are confined to cages and routinely manhandled. In Florida, already home to a number of monkey breeders, ADI is opposing plans for a facility which seeks to import thousands of primates from outside the US.

Primates are frequently used in brain experiments because of their apparent similarity to humans. However, despite being our closest relatives, non-human primates differ from us in a number of ways, including the immune system. Their use in research therefore can never reliably predict potential human effects. Aspirin for example causes birth defects in monkeys, but is widely used by pregnant women without the same effect.

Such species differences are the fundamental flaw of using animals in research.Each species responds differently to substances, with an animal’s age, diet, sex, even bedding material, also affecting results. As a result animal tests can delay scientific progress and lead to human tragedy.

Just days after being given trial drug BIA 10-2474, the six male volunteers in the highest dose group were hospitalized. Four volunteers displayed neurological symptoms, with at least one losing all his fingers and toes; one of the six volunteers died a week after receiving the dose.  No comparable effect had been seen in monkeys or other animals given high doses of the drug over long periods. Some monkeys were estimated to have received around 75 times the dose given to the volunteers.

In another drug trial tragedy, TGN1412was given to volunteers who then suffered multiple organ failure as the drug triggered an uncontrollable immune response. One volunteer was hospitalized for three months, another had their fingers and toes amputated, and all are likely to suffer permanent damage to their immune systems and live with the danger of developing cancer and lupus.  The drug had been tested extensively in laboratory animals including in doses 500 times greater in monkeys with no drug-related adverse events.

Investment in animal research, predominantly with primates, has been wasteful and unsuccessful. A review has shown that not one of the 85+ candidate AIDS vaccines successfully tested in primates have been effective in human patients.

ADI has documented the suffering of primates for product safety tests at the notorious contract testing facility Huntingdon Life Science (now known as Envigo). Monkeys were strapped down to restrain them while substances were pumped directly into their stomachs, and they suffered a range of debilitating symptoms.

Researchers claim that the use of primates in brain research is ‘necessary’ but sophisticated neuroimaging techniques are available to study human behavior and brain function.Comparing data from human electrical brain activity with data obtained by experimenters using electrodes in restrained monkeys, Professor Furlong and his team at Aston University in the UKhave shown the same level of data can be obtained, directly relevant to human patients.


International Primate Daywas established by Animal Defenders International in 2005 to highlight the threats to and abuses of our closest relatives in the animal kingdom – apes and monkeys – from their use in research and entertainment, for meat and the pet trade.

Around 20,000 primates are imported into the US every year, from countries such as China, Vietnam and Mauritius. ADI USA revealed the hidden suffering of primates bred for research on the tropical Indian Ocean island of Mauritius. Biodia, one of the biggest suppliers of laboratory monkeys in the world, sends thousands to miserable deaths in the USA and worldwide. At this facility we filmed baby monkeys torn from their screaming mothers to be tattooed, pregnant monkeys manhandled and pinned down in terrifying routine procedures and screaming monkeys being swung by their tails.http://www.ad-international.org/animal_experiments/go.php?id=3503

Over 2,000 primates were imported into the UK from Asia and Africa last year. ADI infiltrated Nafovanny in Vietnam filming the macaque monkeys in small, filthy, broken cages – images the huge dealer of monkeys to the USA and UK denied were on their premises – until we proved otherwise. They once roamed free only to be torn from the trees and forced to live for years in these dismal prisons. http://www.ad-international.org/publications/go.php?id=1577 Monkeys filmed Huntingdon Life Sciences were supplied by Nafovanny.http://www.ad-international.org/publications/go.php?id=1576

Non-animal methods

  • There are many alternatives to the use of animals which are more reliable and are based on better science such as,human cell, tissue and organ culture, including 3D models containing different tissues providing a better representation of the actual situation in a living human;databases of known information, and sophisticated analytical techniques.
  • Advancednon-animal methods include the lung-on-a-chip, which mimics the movements of the breathing lung, providing provide low-cost alternatives for drug screening and toxicology tests
  • Accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) is an analytical tool of unprecedented sensitivity. It can be used to study samples from human volunteers given ultra-low, harmless, doses of new drugs (called micro-dosing). Obtaining early data from humans can avoid the unnecessary exposure of volunteers in clinical trials to potentially toxic drugs.  Safe, relevant to the correct species. Emerging technologies like AMS have many advantages, including speeding the development process and improving safety.
  • Other cutting edge methods available to develop and test drugs include computer simulations and modelling, high throughput screening for rapid analysis of compounds for drug discovery, epidemiological studies of human disease, transmission, genetics and environmental factors; fMRI and other imaging techniques.

Species differences

The fundamental flaw of using animals for safety testing, and other forms of research, is species differences. With each species responding differently to substances, primate and other animal tests can never reliably predict potential human effects.

  • Macaque monkeys are frequently used in toxicology testing, but they have specific genes which are vital for drug metabolism (when a drug works through the body). These genes are not found in humans and this is just one of the reasons for differences in drug metabolism between monkeys and humans.
  • The action of drugs also varies; for example Aspirin causes birth defects in monkeys, but is widely used by pregnant women without the same effect.
  • A review showed that none of the 85+ candidate AIDS vaccines successfully tested in primates have been effective in human patients Horses, rats and mice cannot vomit.
  • Morphine drugs are a depressant in rats, dogs, hamsters and other species, but produce tremors and convulsions at comparable doses in mice and cats.
  • The breast cancer drug tamoxifen was designed as an oral contraceptive. It is in rats, but in women it has the opposite effect. It is now used in the treatment of breast cancer, despite causing cancer in rats in some studies.

Animal Defenders International (ADI):Los Angeles – London – Bogota

Ending the suffering of animals in captivity and protecting wild animals and their environments

Active worldwide to end the suffering of animals: animals in entertainment – film, television, advertising, circuses and sport or leisure; animals used for food or fur; protection of wildlife and the environment; trade in animals; zoos, pets, entertainment and laboratories. Funding and promotion of advanced scientific methods to replace the use of animals in research. ADI investigates, produces evidence and reports on the scientific, legal and economic issues for each case study, recommending solutions. Education and awareness to public, media and officials. Where ADI’s evidence has been a catalyst for change, we collaborate with governments to conduct large-scale seizures of wild animals in captivity and relocate them to forever homes – back to their natural habitat wherever possible.

www.ad-international.org

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