Responding to requests to add them to the federal threatened and endangered species list, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has concluded that the Louisville cave beetle, Tatum Cave beetle, black mudalia, sicklefin redhorse, Arkansas darter, and highlands tiger beetle do not need such protection. A plant species, Hirst Brothers’ panic grass listing is not warranted as it has been determined that it is not a taxonomically distinct species and does not meet the definition of a species under the Endangered Species Act.
“After investigating these seven species in the field and reviewing the best available science, we determined these species do not need the protection of the Endangered Species Act,” said Cindy Dohner, the Service’s Southeast Regional Director. “Some species are more abundant than previously thought or do not face a level of threat that would warrant listing. One species needs more scientific study, and another, unfortunately is believed to be extinct. ”
All seven of these species were candidates for listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). After a thorough review of past and current information, including extensive surveys, they have been removed from the candidate list.
Louisville cave beetle – Historically, this beetle was known to exist in only two caves in Jefferson County, Kentucky: Eleven Jones and Highbaugh Caves. Over the last two years, field surveys have shown the beetle to live in three additional caves: Sauerkraut, Cave Hill, and Cave Creek Caves. Although stressors like human visitation and sedimentation still remain, we have no evidence that these stressors are negatively affecting the populations.
Tatum Cave beetle – This beetle is known to live in a single cave, Tatum Cave, in eastern Marion County, Kentucky. The species has not been seen since 1965 (a period of 51 years) despite multiple intensive surveys of the cave. Based on this and the best available scientific information, we believe the Tatum Cave beetle to be extinct.
Black mudalia – Little is known about this aquatic snail thought to be in the Black Warrior Basin River drainage in Jefferson and Blount counties, Alabama. From the 1800’s until present time, researchers have recorded conflicting biological information regarding this species. In 2016, we learned that two different samples previously identified as the Black mudalia were actually not the same. Before the black mudalia can receive protection, scientists must accurately identify the snail and determine its status and distribution.
Highlands tiger beetle – This beetle occupies open sandy areas of scrub habitat on the Lake Wales Ridge in Polk and Highlands counties, Florida. Habitat loss and fragmentation along the Lake Wale Ridge has been substantial in the last 50 years. Yet, existing protected and suitable habitat under conservation management exists for the species. Recent surveys also indicate that both the distribution and abundance of Highlands tiger beetles throughout its range are greater than originally known. With the amount of available existing suitable habitat, ongoing management actions, documentation of 16 newly identified occupied sites, identification of improved habitat quality, and existing estimated adult beetle count of more than 10,000 individuals in 56 sites, we find this beetle does not need endangered species protection.
Sicklefin redhorse – Though long recognized by the Cherokee, this fish was discovered by science in the early 1990s. It is found in Swain, Jackson, Macon, Clay, and Cherokee counties, North Carolina, and Towns County, Georgia. For several years, it has been the subject of a focused conservation effort by the Service, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, and Conservation Fisheries, Inc. An agreement signed earlier this year formalized the partnership and brought in the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Duke Energy, and the Tennessee Valley Authority. We find this fish does not need ESA protection based on the stability of existing populations, re-evaluation of threat likely to affect populations in the future, and development of a Candidate Conservation Agreement which ensures continued participation by all stakeholders in a focused effort to address and mitigate potential threats while expanding the range and population health of the species.
Arkansas darter - For nearly 30 years, the Arkansas darter (fish) has been classified as a candidate species, which means there is enough biological information and sufficient threats to protect the fish under the ESA, but other priorities have prevented such a listing. Yet, recent surveys done in areas not studied in years have expanded our knowledge and recorded 80 Arkansas darter populations in three unique areas, including high plains, mixed grass prairie, and Ozark Plateau, spread across its multi-state range from eastern Colorado, southwest and central Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, and into Arkansas. This additional information proves the Arkansas darter is resilient to threats, and with such high population numbers, makes federal protection not warranted.
Hirst Brothers’ panic grass - Hirst Brothers’ panic grass has been in some form of consideration for ESA listing since 1975. Over time, we collectively have learned a lot about the plant, and new information helps put other older information into context and sometimes leads us to a different understanding from that of the past. We recognize and appreciate the long standing efforts of the Delaware, Georgia, New Jersey, Camp Lejeune North Carolina staff and other botanists to protect and restore the Hirst Brothers’ panic grass and its habitat. Based on our review of the best available scientific and commercial information, Dichanthelium hirstii is not a taxonomically distinct species and does not meet the definition of a species under the ESA. The Service’s decision should not be interpreted as indicating that the Hirst Brothers’ panic grass is not worth conserving. Rather this is a decision that reflects the accurate implementation of the ESA’s standards. We greatly appreciate all of the hard work that our partners have undertaken to conserve the plant’s diversity.
The ESA allows anyone to petition the Service in an effort to add wildlife to the endangered species list. The recent findings on these seven species come as the Service works through hundreds of requests that have come from outside groups in recent years. For more information on the petition process, visit http://www.fws.gov/endangered/what-we-do/listing-petition-process.html.
With such a heavy workload, the Service is taking a two-pronged approach of evaluating the petitions as required by law and emphasizing conserving plants and animals before they need the protection of the Endangered Species Act. This has led to a broader, partner-driven effort in the Southeast to use flexibilities within the ESA to put the right conservation in the right places, benefit imperiled species, and reduce regulatory burden.
The Service’s Southeast Region, through an aggressive At-Risk species conservation effort, is strengthening existing partnerships, building new ones, and completing a range of conservation actions with the partners, including better surveys and monitoring. As a result, to date, more than 75 species across the region do not need the ESA’s protection. Another dozen species’ status has improved from endangered to threatened and in some cases, like the Louisiana black bear, the species have been recovered and removed from the list.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov/southeast. Connect with us on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/usfwssoutheast, follow our tweets at www.twitter.com/usfwssoutheast, watch our YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/usfws, and download photos from our Flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwssoutheast.
“The endangered Barbary macaque could get a new chance at survival at CITES CoP17”
September 27, 2016, Johannesburg - For the first time in 30 years, Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) will discuss increasing the level of protection for a monkey species. Barbary macaques will take center stage in Johannesburg, alongside emblematic fauna such as elephants, lions, rhinos and sharks.
The CITES Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP17), which is currently taking place in South Africa, has the power to change the fate of Barbary macaques and stop their race towards extinction. In an almost unprecedented move, all range States and the main consumer countries providing the market for these animals have rallied together behind a joint Morocco-EU proposal to transfer the species to Appendix I of the Convention, which will afford them the highest level of international protection from trade and help enhance enforcement measures against trafficking in this species. The proposal has also received overwhelming support from the global animal welfare and conservation community.
The Barbary macaque (Macaca sylvanus) is the only African primate species north of the Sahara, the only macaque species in Africa and the only non-human primate living in the wild in Europe (Gibraltar). In the last 30 years, the populations of this unique primate in Morocco and Algeria have dwindled from approximately 23,000 to the latest estimates of 6,500 – 9,100. The largest wild subpopulation, which inhabits the mixed cedar forests of the Middle Atlas Mountains in Morocco, has been decimated: only 5,000 remain, a 65% decrease in just three decades.
A significant number of Barbary macaques, mostly infants, are illegally captured from the wild and traded every year, mainly to feed the European exotic pet trade and to be used as tourist photo props. The protection granted to the species both in Morocco and Algeria, its listing on Appendix II of CITES and an EU import ban have done little to help curb poaching and trafficking in these intelligent and sensitive endangered primates. This criminal activity is increasingly in the hands of organized international networks. Barbary macaques remain the most frequently seized CITES-listed live mammal in the EU.
Animal Defenders International (ADI) President Jan Creamer says: “The illegal trade is pushing Barbary macaques to the brink and action must be taken before it is too late. Like so many wild animals, these little monkeys are paying the price for unscrupulous traders bartering with their lives.” It is estimated that approximately 3,000 Barbary macaques could be currently being kept as pets in Europe.
Musician Moby said: "I refuse to stand by and do nothing as these endangered monkeys are snatched from the wild and their families for photo props and the pet trade. Barbary macaques need our urgent help and I hope governments will join ADI and 'back the macaque' and grant them the greater protection they need".
Gerben Jan Gerbrandy, Member of the European Parliament for D66 and Head of the European Parliament Delegation to CoP17, agrees on the importance of this moment: “The adoption of the joint proposal from the EU and Morocco would be a key next step in protecting a species for which the EU is unfortunately a key destination market. Now we have to make sure that any agreement is properly and coherently enforced to the fullest effect. That is where the real difference will be made.”
North Africa is the gateway to Europe for other illegal wildlife products, including live specimens such as endangered tortoises. Tackling Barbary macaque trafficking is expected to help with protection of other endangered species, some of which are also on the agenda at CoP17.
"This truly unique and endangered primate species needs all the protection we can provide as international community. The highest possible protection from CITES will strengthen conservation efforts underway to help the Barbary macaque survive and thrive. It makes total sense to support the range states, Morocco and Algeria, in this goal," adds Rikkert Reijnen of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).
Highly intelligent, emotional and sensitive, Barbary macaques live up to 22 years of age, in social groups comprising as many as 80 individuals, with males playing a primary role in caring for their young. They prefer high altitude cedar forests, but can also be found in oak forests, coastal scrub, and rocky slopes, feeding on fruits, tree leaves, and plants.
Having campaigned for over 20 years to educate the public about the use of primates for entertainment, research, and as pets, exposing the huge numbers of animals taken from the wild each year and the suffering of the animals during captivity and transport, the plight of the Barbary macaque is a cause close to the heart of Animal Defenders International (ADI).
Last year, ADI rescued more than 30 illegally traded monkeys in Peru during an 18-month mission against wildlife trafficking and to enforce a ban on wild animals in circuses. Over 100 animals were saved during the operation. Having nursed the monkeys back to health, ADI relocated new family groups from six different primate species to sanctuaries in their native Amazon habitats where ADI continues to fund their care for life.
ADI previously rescued two Hamadryas baboons – one from a Bolivian circus and the other from the pet trade in Cyprus. They now live happily together at the Lakeview Monkey Sanctuary in the UK, where ADI funds their care for life, along with three macaques born at the notorious and now closed Israeli monkey breeder Mazor Farm. Born to wild-caught parents, Baloo, Betty and Boo were sold to a European research laboratory and used in neurology experiments. When the monkeys were no longer required, ADI stepped in to save them from being killed.
Scientific support for the proposal
Dr. Shirley McGreal of the International Primate Protection League has also expressed strong support: “I am at the NAPSA (North American Primate Alliance) conference in Tacoma and of course IPPL is delighted that Morocco and the EU have proposed the elevation of the Barbary macaque to Appendix I of CITES. There are less of them in the world than there are humans in the small town where I live!”
Dr. John Cortes, co-editor of The Barbary Macaque: Biology, Management and Conservation (2006) has been a long-time defender of the species: “I fully support and endorse the proposal. As Minister for the Environment in Gibraltar, a range State for the Barbary Macaque, and familiar with the species in North Africa, I agree fully with the statement and its aims.”
Efforts to increase protection and better conservation measures for Barbary macaques are being led by the following organizations:
AAP Animal Advocacy and Protection, www.aap.nl/en
Animal Defenders International, www.ad-international.org
Born Free Foundation and Born Free Foundation USA, www.bornfree.org
Eurogroup for Animals, www.eurogroupforanimals.org
Fondation Brigitte Bardot, www.fondationbrigittebardot.fr
Fondation Franz Weber, www.ffw.ch
Humane Society International, www.hsi.org
International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), www.ifaw.org
International Primate Protection League, www.ippl.org
Pro Wildlife, www.pro-wildlife.de
Species Survival Network, www.ssn.org
Animal Defenders International (ADI) is active worldwide to end the suffering of captive animals in commercial use: animals used in entertainment – film, television, advertising, circuses and sport or leisure such as hunting or for products such as fur. Replacement of animals in scientific research; funding and promotion of non-animal advanced methods. ADI investigates, produces evidence and reports on the scientific, legal and economic issues for each case study, recommending solutions. Information is distributed to the media, public and officials. Where ADI’s evidence has been a catalyst for change, we collaborate with governments to conduct large scale seizures or rescues of wild animals in captivity and relocate them to forever homes – back to their natural habitat wherever possible. http://www.ad-international.org
Animal Defenders International: Ending the suffering of animals in captivity and protecting wild animals and their environments
More than 800 fur items, worth an estimated $1.5 million and representing approximately 26,000 animals killed, have been donated and distributed to wildlife rehabilitation centers across U.S.
Washington, D.C., September 21, 2016, -- Today, Born Free USA, a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, announced its third annual “Fur for the Animals” campaign: a donation drive to collect unwanted fur coats and accessories, which are repurposed and sent to wildlife rehabilitation centers around the country to help comfort orphaned and injured wildlife.
Since the initiative began in 2014, more than 800 fur items, worth more than $1.5 million and representing approximately 26,000 animals killed, have been donated to Born Free USA and distributed to wildlife rehabilitation centers around the U.S.
According to Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, “Since we launched this campaign in 2014, we have seen an overwhelming outpouring of donations from across the globe: fur coats, scarves, hats, gloves, pillows, toys, and more. Frequently, the donations arrive with exceptionally moving thank-you notes from people relieved to find a worthy use for unwanted fur. These are often inherited items or regretted fashion decisions that have stayed in closets and storage units for years, until the owners heard about Fur for the Animals. The success of this campaign illustrates that consumers increasingly want nothing to do with fur in fashion. While urging people to not buy fur, we also provide an answer with fur already purchased: put it to good use by comforting wildlife.”
“Fur comes only from misery and death, and the demand feeds a barbaric and cruel industry. The fur that has come to our office over the past three years came from tens of thousands of animals who all suffered tremendously,” Roberts explains.
Born Free USA’s Fur for the Animals campaign comes two weeks after the organization released its shocking undercover trapping investigation, Victims of Vanity II, which reveals brutal, dangerous, and sometimes illegal trapping on both private and public land—all to supply the fur industry. Born Free USA hopes to reduce the supply, demand, and social acceptance of fur not only by showing the truth about trapping, but by taking fur out of circulation wherever possible and giving it back to where it belongs: with the animals.
Fur for the Animals runs from September 21 to December 31, 2016. To donate, fur can be dropped off in person or shipped to Born Free USA, 2300 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Suite 100B, Washington, D.C. 20007 before December 31, 2016.
Born Free USA commends the growing number of fashion retailers vowing to go fur free. In March 2016, Giorgio Armani announced it will be removing animal fur from its collections beginning with its Fall/Winter 2016 line. Armani has joined such brands as Hugo Boss, H&M, Steve Madden, Marks & Spencer, Topshop, and Zara. For a full list of fur free fashion retailers, click here.
Born Free USA is a member of Fur Free Alliance: an international coalition of animal protection organizations working to bring an end to the exploitation and killing of animals for their fur. Fur Free Alliance represents more than 40 animal protection organizations in 28 countries, and has millions of supporters worldwide.
Born Free USA is a nationally recognized leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to North America the message of “compassionate conservation”—the vision of the United Kingdom-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son, Will Travers. Born Free USA’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at www.bornfreeusa.org, www.twitter.com/bornfreeusa, and www.facebook.com/bornfreeusa.
Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa, September 24 - October 5, 2016
Washington, D.C., September 19, 2016 -- Born Free USA, a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, will urge delegates at the 17th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to make precautionary decisions with respect to wildlife and international trade. Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, will be in attendance at the conference in Johannesburg, South Africa, September 24 - October 5, 2016.
The international wildlife trade is estimated to be worth billions of dollars annually and includes millions of animals who are traded as trophies, pets, medicine, and more. After habitat destruction, exploitation of wild specimens for trade is a main reason for the critical decline of global biodiversity. CITES is one of the most effective global instruments to counter the depletion of wildlife species for trade. CITES accords varying degrees of protection to more than 30,000 species of animals and plants that are threatened by overexploitation. With 183 Parties bound by the Convention, CITES is the largest conservation agreement in existence.
According to Roberts, “This meeting is the most important call to save wildlife. And, people are watching and waiting for outcomes. Armed militia and sophisticated organized crime networks are operating across continents to slaughter and trade wildlife for profit. Traffickers and other profiteers are watching closely to see what happens if the trades in elephant ivory and rhino horn are reopened. Any signal from CITES that there is profitability in this deadly trade will result in animal carcasses unceremoniously littering the African savannah and forests. CITES Parties must act with precaution to adopt sufficient measures to ensure that international trade will not lead to the extinction of species for future generations. The outcome of this conference can change everything.”
Born Free USA will be there to focus on a number of important issues, among them:
African Elephants: Africa’s elephants remain beleaguered by poaching for their ivory tusks, and some populations could disappear forever without significant action. Born Free USA will be supporting Kenya’s call to uplist all of Africa’s elephants back to Appendix I, thereby closing any chance for trade that is primarily commercial. Going back to the 1989 ban will dry up ivory markets and reduce elephant poaching. Similarly, the organization will work to defeat certain southern African countries that will be trying to facilitate international trade once again.
Rhinoceros: Swaziland is proposing limited trade in rhino horn, which could seriously threaten the continent’s remaining estimated 25,000 black and white rhinos. Born Free USA will urge Parties to reject Swaziland’s proposal as the trade in rhino horn, like elephant ivory, leads to poaching. Rhinoceros horns are highly sought after in Asia because of false local beliefs in their medicinal properties. According to Roberts, “A resumption of rhino horn trade would have a devastating impact on this species already poached close to extinction.”
African and Asian Pangolins: Born Free USA believes that all eight species of pangolins—four in Africa and four in Asia—should be on CITES Appendix I. Roberts explains, “Pangolins are the most heavily-traded mammal in the world and are at risk from trade in their scales as medicines—despite a complete lack of efficacy in medicinal use. Pangolins are disappearing fast and a ban must be secured on international commercial trade.”
African Lions: Having successfully petitioned for the addition of Africa’s lions to the list of endangered species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, at CITES, Born Free USA will be supporting the proposal submitted by Niger, along with many other lion range States, to uplist lions from Appendix II to Appendix I. “Lions are not only subjected to an international trade in trophies, but are also increasingly targeted by the international trade of their bones, which replace tiger bones in Asian folk remedies. This commercial trade is having an increasingly prejudicial impact on the species.” Read the proposal.
For more information about key issues Born Free USA will be involved with at CITES, visit www.bornfreeusa.org/cites. Born Free USA will be on Twitter and Facebook throughout the conference with live updates.
Born Free USA is a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, the organization leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to North America the message of “compassionate conservation”—the vision of the United Kingdom-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son, Will Travers. Born Free USA’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at www.bornfreeusa.org, www.twitter.com/bornfreeusa, and www.facebook.com/bornfreeusa.
“Meet the Animal Artist” Experience Added to Oakland Zoo’s Animals Saving Animals Annual Art Auction
Oakland, Calif. -- September 15, 2016 -- Oakland Zoo has added a new twist to the third year of their annual “Animals Saving Animals Art Show” to raise money for animal conservation. Bidding winners get to come to the Zoo to be part of the painting experience with the animal artist.
Zoos across the country now sell animal paintings as a way to fundraise, but Oakland Zoo wanted to enhance the concept by personalizing the experience. “We saw that people bought these artworks to connect with the animals, so we decided to offer an experience where people could meet an animal artist up-close and behind-the-scenes, for the ‘creative’ painting process.’ It’s an amazing way to connect with animals at the Zoo, support animal conservation in the wild – and, of course, acquire unique artwork,” said Erin Harrison, Sr. Manager of Marketing & PR at Oakland Zoo.
Artwork created by zoo animals is up for auction on eBay now through Thursday, September 22 at 11am. Artists featured in the Animal Art Show Experience include an elephant, lemur, goat, sun bear, giraffe, parrot, and green monkey. For a complete list of artist names, biographies and bidding link, and additional information on Oakland Zoo’s Animal Art Show Experience, go to: http://www.oaklandzoo.org/Animal_Art_Show_2016.php
“The Animal Art Show Experience is a triple win; it provides fun enrichment activity for our animals, helps support the conservation of wildlife, and draws public attention to the various conservation challenges that animals face,” said Amy Gotliffe, Conservation Director at Oakland Zoo. “The Animal Art Show is also a perfect example of how the entire Oakland Zoo staff embraces our conservation efforts, from our Marketing Department to our Animal Care team. We hope the lucky winners of this unique art know that they took action for wildlife every time they look at it.”
None of the animals are forced or coerced into participating in the Art Show. The painting sessions are conducted with zookeepers, using only positive-reinforcement methods to encourage voluntary participation. The paint used is non-toxic and water based. All funds raised from the auction will benefit Oakland Zoo’s conservation partners, who are working in the field to save wild animals.
ABOUT OAKLAND ZOO:
The Bay Area's award-winning Oakland Zoo is home to more than 660 native and exotic animals. The Zoo offers many educational programs and kid's activities perfect for science field trips, family day trips and exciting birthday parties. Oakland Zoo is dedicated to the humane treatment of animals and wildlife conservation onsite and worldwide; with 25¢ from each ticket donated to support conservation partners and programs around the world. The California Trail, a transformational project that more than doubles our size, opens in 2018,
and will further our commitment to animal care, education, and conservation with a focus on this state’s remarkable native wildlife. Nestled in the Oakland Hills, in 500-acre Knowland Park, the Zoo is located at 9777 Golf Links Road, off Highway 580. The East Bay Zoological Society (Oakland Zoo) is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization supported in part by members, contributions, the City of Oakland and the East Bay Regional Parks. For more information, go to: www.oaklandzoo.org
Shocking report shows brutal, dangerous, and sometimes illegal animal trapping practices common on private, public, and protected land
Washington, D.C., September 7, 2016 -- Five years after Born Free USA’s shocking undercover investigation Victims of Vanity, which exposed the vicious truth about the U.S. trapping industry, the wildlife conservation and animal welfare organization announced today the release of Victims of Vanity II. The latest Born Free USA undercover operation began in August 2015 at the Annual National Trappers Association (NTA) Convention, held in Hamburg, New York and continued throughout the 2015-2016 winter trapping season in Adirondack Park in upstate New York and in rural southwest Iowa. The report reveals trappers setting cruel, indiscriminate, and sometimes illegal traps not only on private and public land, but also in local and state parks: land ostensibly set aside for the protection of wildlife.
According to Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, “Our investigator witnessed callous disregard for wildlife, public safety, and the law. This detailed report shows illegal steel-jaw leghold bear traps for sale; the use of Conibear, leghold, and drown-pole traps in the six-million-acre national historic landmark, Adirondack Park; and traps set next to homes, and a trap line for beaver in a park where trapping is prohibited. The footage we obtained is heartbreaking, and the fact that this archaic, barbaric practice is still going on is impossible to comprehend.”
“This investigation reaffirms our commitment to ending this vicious, bloody ‘tradition,’” Roberts added. “Born Free USA will continue efforts to ban all traps from federally protected lands. We are pushing for passage of the Refuge from Cruel Trapping Act, which would ban snares, leghold traps, and Conibear body-grip traps within the 150-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System. We also urge Congress to support and pass the Public Safety and Wildlife Protection Act, which bans the interstate commerce of leghold and body-grip traps—the two traps most often used in the U.S. today.”
Victims of Vanity II investigation findings include:
- The selling of steel-jaw leghold bear traps, which are not legal for ‘sport’ trapping in the lower 48 states, and are generally not an accepted or widely-used method for wildlife control.
- Skinning demonstrations with piles of dead animals strewn on the floor and over the tops of coolers, skinned in front of a live audience, and their carcasses tossed into garbage bags.
- The trapper took Born Free USA’s investigator to a place he called “a great killing area.” After dismantling a beaver dam—which is illegal to do in New York—the trapper blocked the only entrance to the dam with a row of Conibear traps, condemning the beaver to death when he returned to repair the dam and secure his home.
- Illegal trapping, including setting large, dangerous Conibear traps on land: something the trapper knew was illegal and asked the Born Free USA investigator not to film. (Born Free USA still obtained footage.)
- The trapper used a torturous drown pole trap: a leghold trap attached to a pole with a drowning lock. The trap is set in water along a river bank. When the animal is trapped and struggles to swim away, the pole drags him or her to the bottom of the river and slowly drowns him or her—a process that can take up to 20 minutes of a slow and painful death.
- Under Iowa state regulation, trapping is included in the definition of hunting. The trapper showed Born Free USA’s undercover investigator three beavers he had trapped in Rapp Park and Recreation Area—a 100-acre park north of Shenandoah, Iowa where hunting, and therefore trapping, is explicitly prohibited.
- The trapper caught two coyotes using unpadded leghold traps. The anxious, exhausted coyotes were subjected to further vicious treatment from the trapper, who kicked the first coyote and laughed at the second coyote who, stumbling with fatigue, refused to give up struggling. In an effort to spare only the pelt, the trapper—who refused to be filmed at this point—shot both coyotes in the lungs, forcing them to die slowly and painfully as their lungs filled with blood, suffocating them.
- The trapper told Born Free USA’s undercover investigator that trapped coyotes are regularly kept alive and sold for blood sport. After already enduring the pain, stress, and injury of being trapped, a coyote is put into an enclosure with dogs and condemned to a horrific, violent death—all to the cheers of excited onlookers who make bets on the outcome.
Page County, Iowa:
To view the complete undercover investigation report, Victims of Vanity II, click here.
Roberts adds, “While graphic and extremely disturbing, the report, images, and videos we collected reveal the inherent cruelty of common, everyday trapping practices.” The public can help put an end to this cruel industry by stopping the demand for fur. Born Free USA asks that people never purchase real fur or shop at stores that sell fur. Instead, support the more than 400 retailers that have committed to a no-fur policy by joining the Fur Free Retailer program. Additionally, we urge everyone to write their members of Congress urging an end to cruel trapping in America.
Born Free USA is a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic "pets," trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to America the message of "compassionate conservation": the vision of the U.K.-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son, Will Travers. Born Free's mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at www.bornfreeusa.org, www.twitter.com/bornfreeusa, and www.facebook.com/bornfreeusa.
September 8, 2016- South Africa- A lion family has been reunited in the African bush after they were torn apart by a traveling circus in South America. Leo, his mate Muneca, and daughters Africa and Kiara are back together. Animal Defenders International (ADI) is appealing for funds to complete an enclosure in the African bush where they can live out their lives together. https://lionsbacktoafrica.org/donate-for-leo/
The wonderful news comes after tens of thousands of people watched a viral video of Leo, groggy with anesthetic following dental surgery, battling to reach his daughter Africa as she willed him on and reached out for her father. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dm4NI_juV_0
Leo was rescued by ADI on the first day of a huge operation to enforce Peru’s ban on wild animals in circuses. But the circus had blocked the rescue of Muneca, Kiara and Africa, and then disappeared with them before a court could decide on their fate. ADI never gave up on them and eight months later tracked down the circus over 600 miles away, in a remote region near the border of Ecuador, and Leo’s family was saved.
During the biggest operation of its kind ever undertaken, ADI rescued over 100 animals (lions, bears, tigers, monkeys and others) as they closed down Peru’s wild animal circus industry. In May, ADI flew the 33 lions rescued during the mission to South Africa to start a new life at Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary.
Since then, the lions have been steadily rehabilitated, introduced to each other and are undergoing an intense veterinary program to repair the damage inflicted on them in the circus. The lionesses are also being neutered to prevent breeding. These battered animals cannot return to the wild, but it is the aim of ADI and Emoya to give them a life as close to what nature intended as possible.
Leo, one of the oldest lions rescued had all of his canine teeth smashed in the circus and underwent three hours of dental surgery in August to repair the damage. Leading veterinary dentist Gerhard Steenkamp, who repaired the damage, extracting teeth and doing root canals, noted “His mouth has taken a hell of beating.” Muneca also had surgery for two smashed teeth.
The video of Leo recovering has moved tens of thousands of people online and shows the importance of family bonds in this social species. As he began to recover from anesthesia and slowly stumbled and dragged himself towards his anxious daughter Africa, who appeared to be urging him on from behind a fence, even reaching her paw out to him. Once Leo reaches her, they nuzzle and he settles beside her for a few minutes, but soon recovers and is back on his feet as if nothing had happened. At the time the lions were in “bonding” camps, preparing them for reintroduction, with mesh between them allowing contact but ensuring they could not fight. Now the family is back together.
Jan Creamer ADI President: “It is wonderful that against all of the odds, these lions have been saved from circus suffering and the family reunited back where nature intended in Africa. Now we are asking for people to help, and donate for a huge natural bush enclosure for this family, that will be their happy-ever-after.”
The final step for Leo and his family will be a huge natural bush enclosure with self-filling water holes and secure solar powered electric fences. ADI and Emoya need to complete these for all the lions rescued costing up to $150,000.
Please help Animal Defenders International raise $16,500 for Leo’s family enclosure, where the lions will be cared for life by ADI at Emoya. Any extra funds raised will go towards the enclosures for the other rescued lions and care for Leo and his family. https://lionsbacktoafrica.org/donate-for-leo/
Operation Spirit of Freedom
Leo was rescued as part of Animal Defenders International’s Operation Spirit of Freedom, a mission with Peru's authorities to enforce the ban on wild animals in circuses. In the biggest operation of its kind over 100 animals were rescued from circuses and the illegal wildlife trade. ADI previously enforced a ban on animals in circuses in Bolivia.
Animal Defenders International:
With offices in Los Angeles, London and Bogota, ADI campaigns across the globe on animals in entertainment, providing technical advice to governments, securing progressive animal protection legislation, drafting regulations and rescuing animals in distress. ADI has a worldwide reputation for providing video and photographic evidence exposing the behind-the-scenes suffering in industry and supporting this evidence with scientific research on captive wildlife and transport. ADI rescues animals all over the world, educates the public on animals and environmental issues.
Wildlife experts reach out to future conservationists with engaging activities that will educate about decline of lions
Washington, D.C., August 26, 2016 -- Experts believe that fewer than 20,000 lions exist across Africa today and they only inhabit 8% of their historic wild range. The decline of the lion has been rapid and steep—and, without global action, the species could disappear from significant parts of Africa during our lifetime. Born Free USA, a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, has launched a critical educational program as part of its 2016 Year of the Lion campaign to teach children about the plight of lions, why they matter, and what needs to be done to make sure that they continue to survive. Born Free USA has created engaging, fun, age-appropriate lesson plans about the issue: one plan for first through third graders and one for fourth through sixth graders. These lesson plans are also available for families to download in order to open a conversation with their children about keeping wildlife in the wild.
According to Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, who is both an international wildlife conservation expert and the father of a 12-year-old: “When it comes to protecting wildlife, so much can change in a single generation. The actions of our children will determine whether that change is positive or negative: whether they will save species from suffering, or doom them to extinction. Kids have the power. We must protect imperiled species in the generations to come… before they vanish. Teachers and parents can encourage students to become future wildlife conservationists—or, at the very least, understand the issue and be informed about the impact for animals and for people. We believe these lesson plans can do just that.”
The Year of the Lion lesson plans use compelling facts, engaging talking points, and activities to get kids thinking about the king of the jungle, and how they can make a difference just by being aware of the importance of lions to our planet.
Roberts says, “More than a dozen African countries are already thought to have lost their lion populations, and the international demand for lion bones and body parts is further exacerbating this downward spiral. The public is more aware than ever about the need to save lions before it is too late. The slaying of Cecil the lion made headlines in 2015, and the 2015 documentary Blood Lions revealed the horrors of hunting to audiences worldwide. The time is right for us to let our kids know—without graphic language or horrific images—that there is a desperate need to save this beleaguered species, and that they can be part of the solution.”
Born Free USA is a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic "pets," trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to America the message of "compassionate conservation": the vision of the U.K.-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic 1966 film Born Free, along with their son, Will Travers. Born Free's mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at www.bornfreeusa.org, www.twitter.com/bornfreeusa, and www.facebook.com/bornfreeusa.
Washington, D.C. (August 17, 2016) – Jeff Flocken, North American Regional Director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), issued the following statement in response to the killing of a giraffe and zebra in South Africa by a 12-year old American trophy hunter:
“It’s sad any time that an imperiled animal like a giraffe is killed for fun, regardless of who does it. Giraffes are in serious decline across Africa—it is estimated that their populations have dropped by 40 percent in the last 15 years. The last thing they need is to be killed for anyone’s enjoyment.
All the negative on-line energy focused on this should not be directed at any individual, particularly a minor. We know that the problem is so much larger than any one of these isolated incidents. These kills were just two of thousands and thousands of animals legally killed for sport annually. This includes an approximate 200,000 animals from threatened species killed for trophies over the last decade.
Trophy hunters need to stop taking the lives of wildlife simply for fun. We are in 2016 and wild animals are facing a multitude of threats to their existence. Killing them for sport just isn’t right.”
About IFAW (the International Fund for Animal Welfare)
Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.