Increasing the survival rate of frosted flatwood salamander larvae in Florida, protecting longleaf pine habitat for federally listed species like the gopher tortoise and eastern indigo snake, and spearheading Operation Herpsaspetz, to uncover an illegal scheme to capture, sell, and transport 750 North American Wood turtles worth nearly $345,000.  

These are just a few of the many conservation efforts for which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Southeast Region honored its partners and employees Regional Director’s Honor Awards marking extraordinary conservation accomplishments in 2015 and 2016.

“Many people and organizations have worked diligently behind the scenes to help conserve the Southeast Region’s fish, wildlife and plant diversity and the variety of habitats they depend upon,” said Cindy Dohner, the Service’s Southeast Regional Director.  “We commend their efforts and thank them.”

The following individuals and organizations received awards:

Alabama:

International Crane Foundation: Dr. Richard Beilfuss, President and Chief Executive Officer; Dr. Erica Cochrane, Conservation Measures Manager; Lizzie Condon, Whooping Crane Outreach Coordinator; Dr. Julie Langenberg, Vice President, Conservation Science, Baraboo, Wisconsin:  The International Crane Foundation (ICF) spearheaded a “Keeping Whooping Cranes Safe” campaign focused on reducing human-induced mortality of these highly endangered birds. This campaign was piloted in Alabama, an important wintering area for whooping cranes in the eastern migratory population. Through partnerships with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, state, and non-government organizations, the ICF has produced radio and television public service announcements, billboards, workshops for kindergarten through high school teachers, outreach events, and even a whooping crane mascot to raise public awareness to the plight of these birds and the need to actively work for their recovery. ICF has been a key partner in expanding participation in the annual Festival of the Cranes held at Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge in Alabama for more than 3,000 attendees.

Florida:

Nick Wiley, Executive Director, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), Tallahassee:  Nick Wiley also is 2016-2017 President of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.  He is a recognized leader-among-leaders in conservation across the nation.  Nick chaired the Federal-State Joint Task Force on Endangered Species Act (ESA) Policy, which recommended ways to strengthen the partnership between federal agencies and states in implementing the ESA. He led the development of a new kind of ESA Section 6 Agreement that allows the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and FWC to avoid duplication in ESA permitting, and the FWC Imperiled Species Program, which gives the State of Florida a stronger authority for protecting species, thus preventing the need for them to be federally listed.   Nick provided several million dollars to the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee NWR to help control invasive exotic plants, such as melaleuca and lygodium, and invasive animals, including pythons and snakehead fish, all of which pose significant threats to migratory birds, listed and at-risk species, and other native wildlife. Nick also has partnered closely with the Service on NWRS land protection and managing of hunt programs, working towards common sense solutions on an array of controversial issues.

Alto “Bud” Adams Jr., Landowner of Adams Ranch, Inc., Fort Pierce:  Bud Adams’ cattle ranch has been actively operating for 76 years and is the 12th largest cow-calf ranch in the country. Bud’s influence and support as a leader in the ranching community were critical in the creation of the Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge. To date, Bud has placed 663 acres in conservation easements as part of the refuge; 2,330 acres in the Florida Rural and Family Lands program; and he is working with the State of Florida on several thousand additional acres in easements. These lands will continue to conserve and protect important natural resources in South Florida in perpetuity.

Julie Morris, Florida and Gulf Coast Programs Manager, National Wildlife Refuge Association, Nocomis:  Julie Morris has been instrumental in establishing, building and maintaining high-trust relationships with stakeholders throughout the Everglades Headwaters landscape. She has brought together federal and state agency representatives, ranchers, sports men and women, and non-government organizations in a cooperative approach across key landscapes to protect valuable natural resources, connect wildlife corridors, and keep working lands working. Julie’s collaborative spirit has fostered a partnership approach that has added 30,000 acres in conservation easements to the Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Area since its establishment in 2012.

Dr. Frank Mazzotti, Professor, University of Florida, Davie: The Burmese python, Nile monitor lizard, and veiled chameleon are among the invasive species that are a threat to the South Florida landscape and to the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge. Dr. Mazzotti is an expert on invasive reptiles and a key player in efforts to prevent their introduction and to control their spread in South Florida. He is a leader in working extensively with local, state and federal agencies and private sector organizations and individuals to actively respond to this serious threat.

Julie Scardina, Corporate Director Animal Ambassador Programs SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, Orlando:  Under the direction of Julie Scardina, SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment turned the Migratory Bird Treaty Centennial into an environmental educational opportunity through in-park special events and social media outreach that engaged more than half a million people. SeaWorld’s communications gave people an understanding of the serious challenges migratory birds face and how we all benefit when birds thrive.  SeaWorld also has been an invaluable partner in the Service’s manatee conservation efforts rescuing 32 manatees and releasing 23 manatees in 2016.

St. Marks Frosted Flatwoods Salamander Research Team: Wildlife Biologist William Barichivich, Wildlife Biologist Katherine O’Donnell, Wildlife Biologist Susan Walls, Wetland and Aquatic Research Center U.S. Geological Survey, Gainesville: When surveys revealed a precipitous decline in frosted flatwoods salamanders on St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge and across the species’ range, staff from the refuge and the U.S. Geological Survey took action with other partners and experts through a structured decision making workshop to address the needs of the salamander. William Barichivich, Katherine O’Donnell, and Susan Walls were instrumental in inventorying and monitoring population levels and developing a successful larval headstart program. The methods developed for this program have increased the survival rate of larvae.  The Team has worked successfully with partners and experts from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Panama City Ecological Services Field Office, the Apalachicola National Forest, The Nature Conservancy, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and Eglin Air Force Base to implement management techniques to conserve this species.

Florida Department of Transportation State Environmental Office: Marjorie Kirby, Administrator of State Environmental Programs; Xavier Pagan, Administrator of State Environmental Process, Tallahassee: Marjorie Kirby and Xavier Pagan have championed funding and support for two additional U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff members to work with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) on programmatic consultations and streamlining solutions for routine transportation projects, for projects and research to develop new approaches for protecting species and habitat, and for bold and innovative ideas to address species concerns and mitigation issues. They regularly coordinate at a statewide level with staff from the Service and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to ensure that species considerations are appropriately addressed and considered in project design allowing for enhanced species benefits and compatibility with road projects. Examples include the work they did with their District 1 FDOT staff on negotiating and installing State Road 80 underpasses and fencing to facilitate panthers and bears crossing under the widened sections of road, and funding/staff support for research on Perdido Key beach mouse crossings that will be considered in a multi-state bridge project. Both Majorie and Xavier were key participants in the GreenLinks project, a shared vision of landscape-level conservation priorities among partners in transportation planning in northwest Florida.

Georgia:

Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division: Dr. Jon Ambrose, Chief of Non-game Conservation, Social Circle; Matt Elliott, Program Manager of Non-game Conservation, Social Circle;  Steve Friedman, Chief Real Estate, Atlanta; Jason Lee, Program Manager Non-game Conservation, Brunswick; Brent Womack, Wildlife Biologist Game Management, Armuchee: The Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division has taken the lead on working with partners to establish new and expanded conservation lands at strategic locations across Georgia. As a result of the Division’s capability in partnering, planning, and application of best available science, thousands of acres that benefit federally-listed and at-risk species have been added to state-owned public lands. Examples include the expansion of the Paulding/Sheffield Forest Wildlife Management Area (WMA) to more than 15,000 acres providing open pine woodland for a variety of species and protecting the headwaters of the Etowah River, which is critical habitat for the endangered Etowah Darter and other listed pecies; significant efforts to expand the Lower Altamaha River conservation corridor creating greater connectivity with conservation lands from Georgia’s coast to the Okefenokee swamp and Fort Stewart, as well as, providing habitat for migratory birds, many listed and at-risk species, such as the southern hognose snake and Florida pine snake, and spawning areas for native fisheries; and the establishment of the Alapaha WMA that includes the state’s largest concentration of gopher tortoises.

Susan Meyers, Monarchs Across Georgia, Lilburn: Georgia Susan Meyers is a leader in conserving monarch butterflies and other pollinators through her hands-on work in schools and communities across the State of Georgia. She supported the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the expansion of the Rosalyn Carter Butterfly Trail, oversaw the funding and creation of 20 new monarch habitats in schools and community gardens, and led an effort that put native pollinator gardens in 50 state parks. She has taught 150 teachers the basics of monarch conservation and reached 50,000 students, parents and community members through her workshops and outreach events. Susan also was instrumental in connecting the Service with numerous other partners working to create, connect and conserve landscapes for monarchs and pollinators.

Reese Thompson, Landowner, Vidalia:  Reese Thompson has been a major contributor to the restoration of longleaf pine in the Southeast by the way he has managed his own lands and the model he has provided for other landowners. Reese has restored thousands of acres on his own land and been a champion for management of at-risk and listed species, such as the gopher tortoise and eastern indigo snake, demonstrating through actions that species can be conserved on working forests. Reese is a leader among private landowners, working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, the Longleaf Alliance, the Orianne Society, and Partners for Conservation to not only improve management on his property, but also to host field days to educate others and to advocate publicly for ecological restoration and public-private partnerships. Reese works closely with adjacent landowners to keep the larger forested landscape as forest. His knowledge and insight helped the Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service adapt conservation measures that are practical for landowners to implement under the Gopher Tortoise Working Lands for Wildlife Initiative.

Dan Forster, Director Government Relations, Archery Trade Association New Ulm, Minnesota:  As the past director of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division and past president of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Dan Forster has long been a guiding force in southeastern species and habitat conservation. Dan played a key role in land acquisitions for many listed species, including the indigo snake, red-cockaded woodpecker, and Etowah darter and at-risk species, including the gopher tortoise, gopher frog, and Florida pine snake, leveraging funds from multiple partners including the Department of Defense, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, industry, foundations, and private landowners to focus on shared conservation goals. Conservation along the Altamaha River is a great example of Dan’s leadership in restoring habitat connectivity and providing large corridors of habitat for various species. The Altamaha is the last major undammed river in Georgia that provides natural flood regimes and through Dan’s leadership over 100,000 acres of habitat along the lower Altamaha River has been conserved.

Louisiana

Louisiana Turtle Smuggling Investigative Team: Scotty Boudreaux, Special Agent U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Lacombe; Brian Cazalot, Postal Inspector U.S. Postal Inspection Service New Orleans; David Haller, Assistant U.S. Attorney U.S. Attorney’s Office New Orleans; Greg Kennedy, Assistant U.S. Attorney U.S. Attorney’s Office New Orleans; Brian Lomonaco, Special Agent Department of Homeland Security, New Orleans:  Working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Office of Law Enforcement, this team of investigators is recognized for their unparalleled dedication to the international fight against wildlife trafficking and smuggling. Through Operation Herpsaspetz, they identified and dismantled an unlawful scheme in which some 750 North American Wood turtles worth nearly $345,000 were illegally captured, sold and transported over a three-year period from Pennsylvania through Louisiana and California to a final destination in Hong Kong. The investigation led to the arrest and prosecution of American and international suspects for violations of the Lacey Act, and Endangered Species Act, smuggling, money laundering, using fictitious names and addresses, and conspiracy violations. So far, the prosecution phase has yielded six and a half years of incarceration, 25 years of probation, and $51,000 in fines and restitution, in addition to monetary seizures of $134,000.

North Carolina:

Jeff Fisher, Chief Executive Officer Unique Places, LLC Durham; Tim Sweeney, Principal/Manager 130 of Chatham, LLC, Cary: A strong partnership between Tim Sweeney, Jeff Fisher, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has led to significant contributions to the conservation of rare plants and other native fish and wildlife species in the Box Creek Wilderness National Heritage Area in North Carolina. Tim, with Jeff ’s assistance, has donated 6,000 acres of conservation easements to the Service, with another 1,000 acres underway, to permanently protect southern Appalachian mountain bog habitats, advance the conservation of at-risk species, and contribute to wildlife corridor connectivity with other protected lands in the state. Tim has also purchased 175 acres of endangered Virginia big-eared bat habitat, permanently protecting a significant maternity colony.

Tennessee:

Ed Carter, Executive Director Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Nashville: As Executive Director of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Ed Carter has set the bar for his visionary leadership and invaluable contributions in support of the Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy (SECAS). In recognizing the existing and projected massive landscape changes reshaping the Southeast’s aquatic and terrestrial habitats, Ed introduced a compelling vision whereby state fish and wildlife agencies engage partners in defining a conservation landscape of the future that sustains fish and wildlife. Ed led efforts to receive commitment and support from the 15 State Directors of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA), and the 12 federal agency leaders of the Southeast Natural Resource Leaders Group. His leadership also provided direction and support to the conservation science staff of six Landscape Conservation Cooperatives, the Southeast Climate Science Center, and the Southeast Aquatic Resource Partnership to achieve many significant accomplishments over the past five years. This enormous undertaking culminated in a SECAS Conservation Leadership summit convened at the 2016 SEAFWA Conference where state and federal leaders gathered to witness the amazing progress that has been made. Under Ed’s direction, the Leadership Summit participants helped to chart the course for the next five years.

Brett Dunlap, State Director U.S. Department of Agriculture, APHIS Wildlife Services Madison: Brett Dunlap was instrumental in developing a new program in Kentucky and Tennessee to meet stakeholder needs around livestock depredation while fulfilling Migratory Bird Treaty Act responsibilities for black vultures. Brett worked with the Farm Bureau, the livestock industry, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to craft a first-in-the-nation program that is being used as a model. It permits “take” of these migratory birds with authorization granted through the Farm Bureau, while at the same time establishes a process for consideration of non-lethal methods to resolve the problem. Brett played a major role in working with the livestock industry and various organizations that represent livestock producers to provide public awareness of the benefits of black vultures, as well as the non-lethal tools that could help the producers and minimize the need to take birds. To date, the program has helped more than 250 farmers and has resulted in a greater exchange of information.

Conservation Fisheries, Inc.: Pat Rakes, Co-Director, J. R. Shute, Co-Director, Knoxville: For more than two decades, Conservation Fisheries, Inc. (CFI) has dedicated itself to the preservation of aquatic diversity, providing critical data and technical assistance to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and others for the protection and recovery of listed and imperiled fish species throughout the Southeast Region. CFI has worked with more than 60 species, developed propagation protocols, created and maintained “ark” populations of those most critically endangered fish, and reintroduced propagated animals back into their native habitats. Their work has led the way in helping populations of several imperiled species, such as the yellowfin madtom, smoky madtom and Citico darter and also helped focus restoration efforts in areas that benefit multiple species.

Gulf States:

Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration Case Team: Dan Audet, Project Manager, National Park Service, Seattle, Washington; John Carlucci, Assistant Solicitor, Office of the Solicitor, Department of the Interior, Washington, DC., Kevin Chapman, Compliance Coordinator, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Atlanta; Colette Charbonneau, Chief of Staff, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia; Clare Cragan, Attorney-Advisor,Office of the Solicitor, Department of the Interior, Lakewood, Colorado; Charman Cupit, Budget Analyst, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Jackson, Mississippi; Holly Deal, Attorney-Advisor, Office of the Solicitor, Department of the Interior Atlanta; Georgia; Benjamin Frater, Restoration Specialist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Fairhope, Alabama; James Haas, Chief Resource Protection Branch, National Park Service, Fort Collins, Colorado; Jon Hemming, Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Fairhope, Alabama;  Amy Mathis, Natural Resource Planner, U.S. Forest Service, Prairie City, Oregon; Debora McClain, Deputy Case Manager, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Denver, Colorado; Ronald McCormick, Ecologist Bureau of Land Management, Washington, D.C.; Ashley Mills, Fish and Wildlife Biologist ,U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Atlanta, Georgia; Mark Van Mouwerik, Restoration Project Manager, National Park Service, Fort Collins, Colorado; Nanciann Regalado, Public Affairs Specialist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Atlanta, Georgia; Robin Renn, Fish and Wildlife Biologist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Fairhope, Alabama; Kevin Reynolds, Case Manager, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Atlanta, Georgia; John Rudolph, Attorney-Advisor, Office of the Solicitor, Department of the Interior Washington, D.C.; Pam Rule, Program Analyst, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Knoxville, Tennessee; Gregory Steyer, Ecologist, U.S. Geological Survey, Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Amy Wisco, Program Analyst, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Lakewood, Colorado:  The Department of the Interior’s Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration Case Team - composed of representatives of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, the U.S. Geological Survey, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Office of the Solicitor - achieved extraordinary success in conservation following the catastrophic 2010 oil spill - the largest marine spill in U.S. history. Working together with state and federal partners on the Deepwater Horizon Trustee Council, this team helped lead the assessment of injuries to natural resources such as birds, fish, sea turtles and federally-managed lands while simultaneously creating and implementing a multi-faceted restoration program for the Gulf of Mexico. This collaborative approach across multiple bureaus within the Department of the Interior was extremely effective and efficient in providing clear, consistent and timely decisions and information and is considered a model for the Department’s engagement in future spills and other complex environmental challenges. This team’s efforts, from the completion of five Early Restoration Plans, which green-lighted $868 million dollars for restoration projects, to the completion of the Trustee’s Programmatic Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan and Environmental Impact Statement, were pivotal in helping the United States and the five Gulf States reach the $20.8 billion global settlement with BP - the largest civil settlement in the history of the United States.

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 can make it happen, visitfws.gov. Connect with the Service onFacebook, follow ourtweets, watch theYouTube Channeland download photos fromFlickr.

 

(May 18, 2017) – On the eve of Ringling Bros. permanently ending its traveling animal-based circus acts, The Humane Society of the United States released the results of a disturbing undercover investigation of a different traveling tiger act used by the Carden Circus and Shrine Circuses, showing tigers being regularly whipped and hit. In one instance, the investigator witnessed a trainer angrily whip at a tiger 31 times in less than two minutes after he became frustrated with the animal during a training session.

The HSUS investigation of ShowMe Tigers, a traveling tiger act hired to perform in circus shows, revealed numerous potential violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act and raises alarm about the violent handling and inhumane confinement of the tigers as well as safety concerns for the animals and public. ShowMe Tigers is owned and operated by tiger trainer Ryan Easley (aka Ryan Holder), one of many tiger trainers who contract with regional circuses around the country.

The investigation took place from December 28, 2016 through January 18, 2017, during which time The HSUS investigator was with Easley at his headquarters in Hugo, Oklahoma followed by nine days on the road while Easley toured with the Carden Circus, often performing for Shrine Circuses, in Sulfur Springs, Giddings, Bryan and Cedar Park, Texas, and in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Last year, Easley performed all season at Circus World Museum in Baraboo, Wisconsin. Prior to that, Easley toured with the Kelly Miller Circus for years.

The HSUS has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture asserting likely violations of the Animal Welfare Act, and is urging the agency to investigate ShowMe Tigers and take swift enforcement action for violations of federal law.

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS said: “While it’s true that Ringling is going out of business, other circuses are still operating and using inhumane methods of handling wild animals. There’s no excuse or rationale for whipping tigers or other wild animals for these silly performances. All circuses should end their wild animal acts.”

Findings:

  • A tiger named Tora did not receive veterinary care for a raw open wound on the side of her face. The USDA had previously cited Easley for not providing veterinary care to Tora when she had a laceration on her ribcage.
  • The distressed tigers were whipped and terrorized to force them to perform physically difficult tricks, including one tiger who was forced to “moonwalk” on her hind legs.
  • The tigers cowered, flinched and moaned in distress and flattened their ears back in a fearful response to being whipped and hit with a stick, typical behavior of traumatized and abused tigers. The mere presence of these tools during performances evoked classic signs of fear and behavioral stress.
  • While traveling, except for the few minutes each day when the tigers performed, they were kept exclusively in transport cages, where they ate, slept, paced, urinated and defecated in the mere 13-square feet of space afforded to each tiger. Not once were they provided the chance to exercise outside the cages. In fact, the tigers’ exercise cage was never unloaded from the trailer.
  • In Hugo, Oklahoma, the tigers had no heat source and only an inch of bedding during temperatures often well below freezing.
  • Easley withheld food from the tigers on five of the 22 days of the investigation, fed them only raw chicken and rarely provided necessary dietary supplements.

In a statement provided to The HSUS, Jay Pratte, an animal-behavior expert, trainer, and wildlife consultant with 25 years of experience, said: “Ryan Easley utilizes archaic training methods which entail fear, force and punishment. In my professional opinion, the tigers at ShowMe Tigers are suffering from psychological neglect and trauma on a daily basis.”

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest animal protection organization, rated most effective by our peers. For more than 60 years, we have celebrated the protection of all animals and confronted all forms of cruelty. We are the nation’s largest provider of hands-on services for animals, caring for more than 100,000 animals each year, and we prevent cruelty to millions more through our advocacy campaigns. Read about our more than 60 years of transformational change for animals and people. HumaneSociety.org

Vegan Outreach

  E-NEWS  •  MAY 17, 2017
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Biggest Event in Adopt a College History!

By Emmanuel Marquez, VO Mexico Outreach Coordinator

On May 8, we had an amazing day at the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León. VO Mexico Campaigns and Spanish Media Coordinator Katia Rodriguez and I had the support of 10 super committed volunteers, and together we set a new all-time record for the most booklets handed out at one event!

Emmanuel, Angelica, Katia, Luis, Constanza, and Israel at UANL
Above (from left) are Emmanuel Marquez, Angelica Burciaga, Katia Rodriguez, Luis Zepeda, Constanza Zuniga, and Israel Hurtado at UANL. Along with Yuliana Lozano, Sheccid Torres, Melissa Romero, Julio Silva, Angel Ramirez, and Carlos Contreras, they handed out 22,805 booklets in a single day!

Israel [above, right] was one of the first success stories we had in Mexico after Vegan Outreach started working there full-time. Thanks to the booklet he received from Katia more than two years ago at this same school, he decided to stop eating meat and helped us leaflet that day, handing out more than 1,000 booklets. Today he handed out 3,000 leaflets and is almost vegan.

Throughout the day we had very positive interactions—from people thanking us for the work we’re doing, to vegans and vegetarians asking to get involved with VO. I met Giselle (below, center), who told me she recently started giving up meat and plans to go fully vegan. I gave her a guide and info about other resources VO has for people in her situation, like the Vegan Mentor Program. She was very thankful and happy to receive support in her transition.

Eduardo, Giselle, and Jose at UANL

Eduardo (above, left) and I had a brief talk about the abuse animals go through in farms, and he decided to reduce his meat intake. Jose (above, right), a high school student who was on campus to register, read a leaflet and wants to go vegan. He also told us he wants to learn recipes so he can share food with the people around him, to inspire them as well and save more animals.

I’m extremely thankful for all of VO’s donors and supporters—this outreach was possible thanks to you. We all accomplished this together!

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Every dollar you donate to Vegan Outreach means more work we can do to inform and inspire people to go vegan.

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Give today to create more vegans tomorrow and move us closer to a vegan world!

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Fruit-Sweetened Granola

Wake your kiddos up with a bowl of Wendy Gabbe Day’s Fruit-Sweetened Granola!

Fruit-Sweetened Granola

Irresistible Lasagna

Craving Italian food? You’ve come to the right place! VO Outreach Coordinator Alexis Clark shares this veganized version of her grandmother’s lasagna recipe.

Irresistible Lasagna

Recent Feedback

Huge day at the University of the Sunshine Coast with volunteers Brooke Chandler and Vickie Breckenridge. We smashed the Sippy Downs campus record and had countless conversations. There were lots of vegos and vegans, and many more interested in taking steps towards veganism.

Sam Tucker, VO Australia and New Zealand Outreach Coordinator, 5/3/17


I hopped on over to the University of Northern Colorado for a few hours and was well received! For anyone familiar with this area, Greeley is well known for its cattle farms, slaughterhouse, and meat-packing plants. I was thrilled that I had such positive conversations and overall was met with a lot of enthusiasm.

Lori Stultz, VO Communications Manager, 4/18/17


I was joined again by volunteer Nick Huss, who enthusiastically helped me reach more than 2,000 students at Montclair State University today. We spoke to multiple students about how attainable it is to gain and maintain muscle on a plant-based diet, and many were willing to give it a shot!

Below is a photo of Nick chatting it up with a student about vegan nutrition for athletes.

Alexis Clark, VO Outreach Coordinator, 4/24/17

Nick Huss at Montclair State

Upcoming Events

Oakland VegFest • May 20 • Oakland, CA
More info.

Vegan Meat and Cheese Tasting • May 21 • Los Angeles, CA
Vegan Outreach will be hosting this tasty event at Holy Nativity Episcopal Church. For more info and to RSVP, please contact Community Engagement and Events Manager Roxanne Hill at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Going Vegan: A Fun Meal and Presentation • May 24 • White Sands Missile Range, NM
While you enjoy eating delicious vegan tacos, VO Greater New Mexico Community Engagement and Events Coordinator Victor Flores will be presenting about the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle. Don’t miss out on this educational and tasty event! More info.

More upcoming events.

Plant-based milk rocks! © Red and Howling

Vegan Outreach  Plant-based milk rocks! via @RedandHowling

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Vegan Outreach is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization working to expose and end cruelty to animals through the widespread distribution of our booklets promoting plant-based eating and compassion for animals.

All donations are fully tax-deductible.

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NEWS                                                                        FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

GO WILD THIS MOTHER’S DAY!

NAT GEO WILD CELEBRATES MOTHER’S DAY BY HIGHLIGHTING THE AMAZING MOMS OF THE ANIMAL KINGDOM

Premieres Include a Special Airing of Safari Liveat 9 AM ET and an Adorable

Three-Part Special Animal Momsat 8 PM ET on Sunday, May 14, on Nat Geo WILD

                       

(WASHINGTON, D.C. – May 1, 2017) Nat Geo WILD celebrates Mother’s Day with a day of programming that showcases the animal kingdom’s most amazing moms. Tune in Sunday, May 14, to discover the heartwarming stories of how our planet’s wild animals raise their young — from a mother sheep comforting her crying lamb to a lioness guarding her cubs in the middle of the African wilderness — with a lineup of adorable programming suitable for the entire family. You may be surprised at how similar the parental styles of the natural world are to our own! For more information, visit our press website atnatgeotvpressroom.com or follow us on Twitter using @NGC_PR.


The celebration begins with a morning alongside the animal moms of the African wilderness in a special airing of Nat Geo WILD’s hit series Safari Live from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. ET. Safari Live gives you a front-row seat to an actual safari as our guides get you up close and personal with some of Africa’s most iconic species — such as lions, leopards, elephants, giraffes and more — in real time. Viewers can interact with the guides in real time on Twitter using #safarilive.

Later, we reveal the secrets behind moms in the wild in a three-part special, Animal Moms,beginning at 8 p.m. ET. This charming program explores the ways in which animal mothers rear their young, from the moment of birth to the “terrible twos” and beyond. Each episode features a mix of science, fascinating stories and heartwarming moments to show how animal mothers devote their lives to their babies. Discover the surprising realities behind the greatest bond in the animal kingdom: motherhood.

 

Mother’s Day Premieres Include:

Safari Live: Mother’s Day Special

Premieres Sunday, May 14, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. ET

Safari Live is back with a special broadcast dedicated to the awesome animal mothers of the African wilderness. Not only are the guides giving you a front-row seat to safari rides in South Africa’s famous Kruger National Park, but they are also live broadcasting from the iconic Maasai Mara to showcase its incredible wildlife — such as herds of elephants, packs of endangered wild dogs, prides of lions, cheetahs, leopards and hyenas, among many others. It’s a Safari Live first you won’t want to miss!

Animal Moms: Happy Birthday!

Premieres Sunday, May 14, at 8 p.m. ET

Discover the incredible stories of the mothers of the animal kingdom. We begin with the heartwarming moments immediately following birth, when animal moms establish their magical bonds with their newborns as they welcome them into the world. From their youngsters’ first steps to their first meals, see how the animal mothers’ maternal instincts kick in to keep their young safe, fed and healthy.

Animal Moms: Terrible Twos

Premieres Sunday, May 14, at 9 p.m. ET

Explore how animal moms cope when their youngsters grow from infants to toddlers. Just like for human babies, play time is extremely important for these baby animals, and their animal moms have their work cut out for them. From pygmy goats learning just how high they can climb to baby lambs learning how to use their voices, these adorable stories show just how similar animals are to us. Discover animal moms’ tactics for tackling tantrums, the way they handle bullies and their ingenious methods for child care.

Animal Moms: Home Schooled

Premieres Sunday, May 14, at 10 p.m. ET

Just like human babies, animal babies learn by mimicking their mothers. It’s essential that they acquire all of the skills that will help keep them alive in the wild. Explore how animal mothers teach their young how to communicate, behave and find food. Also, witness a group of super-surrogate moms that are vital in preserving the future of various species.

 

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About National Geographic Partners LLC

National Geographic Partners LLC (NGP), a joint venture between National Geographic and 21st Century Fox, is committed to bringing the world premium science, adventure and exploration content across an unrivaled portfolio of media assets. NGP combines the global National Geographic television channels (National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo WILD, Nat Geo MUNDO, Nat Geo PEOPLE) with National Geographic’s media and consumer-oriented assets, including National Geographic magazines; National Geographic studios; related digital and social media platforms; books; maps; children’s media; and ancillary activities that include travel, global experiences and events, archival sales, licensing and e-commerce businesses. Furthering knowledge and understanding of our world has been the core purpose of National Geographic for 129 years, and now we are committed to going deeper, pushing boundaries, going further for our consumers … and reaching over 730 million people around the world in 172 countries and 43 languages every month as we do it. NGP returns 27 percent of our proceeds to the non-profit National Geographic Society to fund work in the areas of science, exploration, conservation and education. For more information visit natgeowild.com or nationalgeographic.com, or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+,YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

New York, NY – A new study comparing the wildlife conservation commitments of nations around the globe has found that affluent countries in the developed world commit less to the conservation of large mammals than poorer nation states. Panthera, the global wild cat conservation organization, and Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) directed the study published today in Global Ecology and Conservation.

Led by Panthera Research Associate Dr. Peter Lindsey, scientists created a Mega-Fauna Conservation Index (MCI) to evaluate the footprint of 152 nations around the globe in conserving large, imperiled animal species, such as tigers, lions and gorillas. The MCI evaluates spatial, ecological and financial contributions, including: a) the proportion of the country occupied by each mega-fauna species; b) the proportion of mega-fauna species range that is protected; and c) the amount of money spent on conservation, either domestically or internationally, relative to GDP.

As reported today in The Economist, the study’s findings revealed that poorer countries tend to take a more active approach to the protection of large mammals than richer nations. Ninety percent of countries in North and Central America and 70 percent of countries in Africa were classified as major or above-average mega-fauna conservation performers.

Although challenged by poverty and instability in many parts of the continent, Africa prioritizes and makes more of an effort for large mammal conservation than any other region of the world. In fact, Africa accounts for four of the five top-performing mega-fauna conservation nations, including Botswana, Namibia, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. The United States ranked 19 out of the top 20 performing countries.

Conversely, approximately one-quarter of countries in Asia and Europe were identified as major mega-fauna conservation underperformers. Asia as a region scored lowest on the MCI, home to the greatest number of countries classified as conservation underperformers.

Lead author and Panthera Research Associate, Dr. Peter Lindsey, stated, “Scores of species across the globe, including tigers, lions and rhinos, are at risk of extinction due to a plethora of threats imposed by mankind. We cannot ignore the possibility that we will lose many of these incredible species unless swift, decisive and collective action is taken by the global community.”

Human-caused threats, including poaching for the illegal wildlife trade and habitat loss and persecution due to conflict with people, among others, are devastating large animal populations around the globe. Recent studies indicate that 59% of the world’s largest carnivores and 60% of the world’s largest herbivores are currently threatened with extinction.

Professor David Macdonald, Director of WildCRU and co-author of the paper said, “Every country should strive to do more to protect its wildlife. Our index provides a measure of how well each country is doing, and sets a benchmark for nations that are performing below the average level to understand the kind of contributions they need to make as a minimum. There is a strong case for countries where mega-fauna species have been historically persecuted, to assist their recovery.”

The creation of this conservation index aims to mobilize and elevate international conservation support and action for large animal species, acknowledging those countries making the greatest sacrifices for conservation and encouraging nations who are doing less to increase their efforts. Scientists seek to produce this conservation index annually to provide a public benchmark for commitment to protecting nature’s largest, and, some would say, most charismatic wildlife.

Addressing how countries can improve their MCI scores, Dr. Lindsey commented, “There are three ways. They can ‘re-wild’ their landscapes by reintroducing mega-fauna and/or by allowing the distribution of such species to increase. They can set aside more land as strictly protected areas. And they can invest more in conservation, either at home or abroad.”

At the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, developed nations vowed to allocate at least $2 billion (USD) per annum towards conservation in developing nations. However, current conservation contributions from industrialized nations have reached just half of that amount, averaging $1.1 billion per year (USD).

Co-author and Oregon State University Distinguished Professor William Ripple added, “The Mega-fauna Conservation Index is an important first step to transparency – some of the poorest countries in the world are making some of the most impressive efforts towards the conservation of this global asset and should be congratulated, whereas some of the richest nations just aren’t doing enough.”

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 renowned for its specialisation in wild carnivores, especially wild cats, for its long-running studies on lion and clouded leopard, and for its training centre, where early-career conservationists, so far from 32 countries, are trained by experts to become leaders in conservation, resulting in a global community of highly skilled and collaborative conservationists. Visit wildcru.org.

   
 
 

 
 
  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  
   

 

Washington, D.C., May 1, 2017 – Born Free USA, a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, and The Body Shop have announced a new partnership that will benefit the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary. With The Body Shop’s new Love Your Body™ Club rewards program, its members earn points with every purchase. Those points become rewards, which members can use to treat themselves to their favorite product, or choose to help care for rescued monkeys by donating the rewards to the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary.

Additionally, Love Your Body™ Club members will be entered into a contest to win a once-in-a-lifetime grand prize trip for two to Texas for a behind-the-scenes look at the sanctuary, which is not open to the public.

According to Angela Grimes, interim CEO of Born Free USA, “Born Free USA and The Body Shop are both committed to compassion. We are thankful for The Body Shop’s generosity in choosing us as the sole beneficiary for this campaign. Born Free USA assures The Body Shop customers that their donations will go directly toward the critical support and care for more than 600 monkeys at the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary.”

The Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary in Dilley, Texas (75 miles south of San Antonio) is the only one of its kind in the U.S. in that the majority of its residents—ages two to 34—live in free-ranging groups in natural enclosures of several acres. The sanctuary provides a safe, permanent home for its residents, many of whom were rescued from roadside zoos, private possession, or retired from research facilities. In order to allow residents the maximum amount of privacy and freedom, the sanctuary is not open to the public. The Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary is accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS). 

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.

The Love Your Body™ Club demonstrates The Body Shop’s inherent belief that business can be a force for good, and exemplifies the commitment to enrich, not exploit. The Love Your Body™ Club not only offers exciting rewards for consumers, but also provides a unique opportunity to directly contribute to its charity partner, Born Free USA.

The Body Shop’s motto is simple: make products that make you look and feel so good. At the heart of feeling good is loving yourself, including your body. The Body Shop was founded in 1976 by Dame Anita Roddick in Brighton, England, starting with the belief that business could be a force for good. The Body Shop has always done things differently and created innovative, naturally-inspired products. Today, its Enrich Not Exploit™ Commitment is stronger than ever. Dedicated to enriching people as well as the planet, The Body Shop works fairly with farmers and suppliers, and helps communities thrive through its Community Trade program. The Body Shop has never tested any of its ingredients or products on animals and never will. An iconic British retail brand with an extensive and growing global presence, it now employs more than 22,000 people in more than 60 countries around the world. It has exported innovative products, created campaigns that matter, and believes in an ethical approach to business and its unique English reverence to countries all over the globe.

I wanted to share a recent rescue from Marc Ching of the Animal Hope & Wellness Foundation. 

FOXES FREED- 

After rescuing 120 dogs in Changchun- he and a colleague, Kai-Su, went undercover as fur buyers and were able to save 2 foxes from fur farm in north China in the Hebei province.

This fur farm is one of the largest as they slaughter 3000 foxes a day around October then sell the skins to manufacture fur coats.  Foxes are not the only victims- they use goats to feed the babies and minks are  also used for fur- for one coat- they need to kill 30-40 minks.

When Marc and Kai-Su were there, they skinned a fox alive. They use electric shock so the foxes will be weakened and not bite them while they are skinning them.   They skin the foxes alive because if the foxes are killed first, the blood circulation would stop and they believe the fur would be of lesser quality, which of course, is a myth.   They then eat the meat after the animal is skinned.

The owner shared that they export most coats to Russia, Korea and Japan but they also sell a lot to western countries as well.   Marc was able to convince the fur farmer to let them take two of the foxes.  He said their customers needed to see the quality of the fox’s fur.  The fur farm owner doesn't want to sell live foxes as they need them to keep breeding. Each mama fox only can be used for 7-8 years, then they will get skinned as well. In their whole life they stays in a tiny cage and waiting to die.

While they were only able to save the 2 foxes, they have got a partner in northern China to save 1500 foxes with around 200 in a dog rescue shelter.   The issue is the after-care as foxes are not easy to take care of and if set free, then they could be end up in a fur farm again. And they cannot fly them abroad as foxes are not allowed.

The current solution is building a park for them with ferns so they have space to run and enjoy nature and the environment.  The best way to save them is to bring awareness and educate people stop buying fur products. No buying, no killing then no fur products business.

www.animalhopeandwellness.org for more information.

Oceanites Discloses Data That Implicates Climate Change

 

NEW YORK – April 25, 2017 [12:01 am EDT] - The inaugural "State Of Antarctic Penguins 2017" (SOAP) report is releasing today for World Penguin Day, and the findings indicate at least two species of Antarctic penguin, Adélie and chinstrap, have declined significantly where vast warming has occurred on the Antarctic Peninsula. Oceanites, a leading international science-based NGO studying penguins and other Antarctic seabirds and analyzing impacts on these species, reveals these findings and identifies other important trends about the keystone Antarctic penguin species—Adélie, chinstrap, emperor, and gentoo—noting future concerns about these populations. The groundbreaking report summarizes for the first time in more than two decades the best available, up-to-date Antarctic penguin population data--aggregating data from 660 or more sites across the entire Antarctic continent and drawing on current scientific data, including 3,176 records from 101 sources of on-the-ground colony counts and satellite photo analyses.Downloadable “SOAP 2017” report and press assets:
A full copy of the "State Of Antarctic Penguins 2017" report is available online for free at the Oceanites website: <<https://oceanites.org/soap/>>. A PDF copy of the report, along with photographs, maps, graphics, and videos available for use in connection with today’s announcement, are available for download here.The results of the first-of-its-kind report are both significant and alarming, according to Oceanites founder and president Ron Naveen, who will present the findings with key collaborative research partner Heather Lynch at a Press Conference in New York City on World Penguin Day, to be held at Cinema Village from 3:00-5:00 pm EDT. (See event details here.)“In one generation, I have personally witnessed the precipitous decline of once abundant Adélie and chinstrap penguin populations,” said Ron Naveen. “These iconic birds are literally canaries in the coal mine. They provide critical insights into the dramatic changes taking place in the Antarctic. What’s happening to penguin populations can have important implications for all of us.”“We can now use advanced satellite technology and data analyses to better understand how these penguin populations are changing,” said associate professor Heather Lynch, who directs The Lynch Lab for Quantitative Ecology at Stony Brook University, which provides critical scientific expertise for the report. “By integrating expert biological field surveys, satellite imagery analyses, and citizen science, we can further enhance our ability to understand the changes taking place in an incredibly important world we are just learning about.”With NASA, Dr. Lynch and her lab developed for Oceanites the Mapping Application for Penguin Populations and Projected Dynamics (MAPPPD), a unique open-ended scientific support tool intended to provide “one-stop shopping” for scientists studying penguin populations in the Antarctic.The SOAP report establishes new baselines to monitor these penguin populations in the future, utilizing Oceanites’ new MAPPPD tool, and incorporates advances in satellite imagery analytical techniques. The report presents findings both continent-wide and per key Antarctic fishing areas designated by Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).Oceanites, through MAPPPD, now has available more on-the-ground censuses than ever before and, importantly, the rapidly developing satellite photo analytical techniques have greatly increased our knowledge and revealed even more colonies. The “State Of Antarctic Penguins 2017” report carefully sets forth numbers about Antarctic penguin populations as they now stand, based mostly on what is in Oceanites’ MAPPPD database. The new satellite analyses are providing new baselines and MAPPPD will have peer-reviewed predictive models available for Oceanites to describe more particularly what the trends will be for the SOAP 2018 report and beyond.Key findings outlined in “State of Antarctic Penguins 2017” report:
• Over the past 60+ years in the vastly warmed Antarctic Peninsula, gentoo populations have increased significantly; Adélie penguin populations have, in general, declined significantly; and chinstrap penguin populations have declined -- at some locations significantly.• By contrast, in East Antarctica and the Ross Sea, regions that have not experienced a warming trend, Adélie penguin populations appear to be increasing.• The SOAP 2017 report notes various concerns, all related to climate, potentially affecting these penguin populations--most importantly, perhaps, ice sheet collapse both in West and East Antarctica.
Key implications combining “SOAP 2017” report findings with other realities
• Clearly, in the vastly warmed Antarctic Peninsula, there are “winners” (rising numbers of gentoos) and “losers” (decreasing numbers of Adélies and chinstraps), foreboding concerns on whether humans will be able to adapt to warming trends.• Limiting warming to no more than 2°C. has become the de facto target for global climate policy; yet the Antarctic Peninsula already has warmed by more than that over the last 60 years — by 3°C. / 5°F. year-round and by 5°C. / 9°F. in the austral winter. • Ongoing studies are underway to ascertain whether penguins can maintain “the four vitals” necessary for adaptation and survival: food, habitat, health (disease-free environment), and reproduction (future generations).• Two species are in decline in the Antarctic Peninsula and another is adapting. “Food” might be an explanation; all the penguins can eat both krill and fish, but gentoos, at this point in time, appear to have adapted better to reduced krill availability by eating more fish.Funding to assist in the design, production, and dissemination of “State Of Antarctic Penguins 2017” report has graciously been provided by: The Curtis & Edith Munson Foundation, The Elissa and Herbert Epstein Foundation, and The Pew Charitable Trusts.For more information on penguins, Antarctica, climate change or the data and research of the Antarctic Site Inventory, please visit the Oceanites website (www.oceanites.org). To interact on social media, go to Facebook.com/oceanites, connect on Twitter @Oceanites, or follow the conversation using #StandWithPenguins.Ron Naveen and the team of Oceanites' biologists are the subject of a new documentary, The Penguin Counters, which follows the group on its vigorous scientific quest to monitor and map penguin colonies in the frozen Antarctic. Directed and produced by Peter Getzels and Harriet Gordon, the award-winning film is providing video clips for media use in conjunction with the SOAP 2017 report announcement to coincide with the theatrical release of the film in New York City by First Run Features for World Penguin Day, and there will be a special screening with filmmakers following the press conference. To learn more information about The Penguin Counters, visit www.penguincountersmovie.com.###About Oceanites
Oceanites has been the leading NGO research organization for over 23 years studying penguins and other Antarctic seabirds and analyzing the impacts of climate change. Oceanites and the Antarctic Site Inventory are the only non-governmental science project working in Antarctica and the only project monitoring and analyzing change across the vastly warming Antarctic Peninsula and effects on penguins, wildlife, land, ice, and surrounding Southern Ocean. Oceanites is an invited expert group invited to meetings of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, and regularly contributes papers to Antarctic Treaty Commission Meetings. Oceanites founder Ron Naveen is a “reformed” lawyer turned researcher and frequent author who has been to the Antarctic for 31 of the last 34 years, working with key international governmental, scientific and private sector organizations. Oceanites is the subject of the award-winning documentary, The Penguin Counters, released in New York City in April 2017 to coincide with the first “State Of Antarctic Penguins 2017” report and World Penguin Day. For more information, visit
www.oceanites.org.

 

-Wildlife Groups Seek to Save Species from Silent Extinction-

WASHINGTON (April 19, 2017) — In response to recent scientific consensus on giraffes’ vulnerability to extinction, five wildlife protection groups today petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect Earth’s tallest land animal under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

The legal petition, filed by the Center for Biological Diversity, Humane Society International, The Humane Society of the United States, International Fund for Animal Welfare and Natural Resources Defense Council, seeks “endangered” status for the species. Facing mounting threats from habitat loss, being hunted for their meat, and the international trade in bone carvings and trophies, Africa’s giraffe population has plunged almost 40 percent in the past 30 years and now stands at just over 97,000 individuals.

“Giraffes have been dying off silently for decades, and we have to act quickly before they disappear forever,” said Tanya Sanerib, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “There are now fewer giraffes than elephants in Africa. It’s time for the United States to step up and protect these extraordinary creatures.”

New research recently prompted the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to elevate the threat level of giraffes from ““least concern” to “vulnerable” on the “IUCN Red List of Threatened Species”. Yet giraffes have no protection under U.S. law. Species designated as “endangered” under the U.S. Endangered Species Act receive strict protections, including a ban on most imports and sales. The United States plays a major role in the giraffe trade, importing more than 21,400 bone carving, 3,000 skin pieces and 3,700 hunting trophies over the past decade. Limiting U.S. import and trade will give giraffes important protections.

“Previously, the public was largely unaware that trophy hunters were targeting these majestic animals for trophies and selfies. In the past few years, several gruesome images of trophy hunters next to slain giraffe bodies have caused outrage, bringing this senseless killing to light,” said Masha Kalinina, international trade policy specialist with the wildlife department of Humane Society International. “Currently, no U.S. or international law protects giraffes against overexploitation for trade. It is clearly time to change this. As the largest importer of trophies in the world, the role of the United States in the decline of this species is undeniable, and we must do our part to protect these animals.”

Known for their six-foot-long necks, distinctive patterning and long eyelashes, giraffes have long captured the human imagination. New research recently revealed that giraffes live in complex societies, much like elephants, and have unique physiological traits, like the highest blood pressure of any land mammal.

  

“I was lucky enough to study giraffes in the wild in Kenya many years ago.  Back then, they seemed plentiful, and we all just assumed that it would stay that way,” said Jeff Flocken, North American regional director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). “Giraffes are facing a crisis.  We cannot let these amazing, regal and unique creatures go extinct – it would be a dramatic loss of diversity and beauty for our planet.  This listing petition is rallying the world to help save the giraffe.”

The IUCN currently recognizes one species of giraffes and nine subspecies: West African, Kordofan, Nubian, reticulated, Masai, Thornicroft’s, Rothchild’s, Angolan and South African. Today’s petition seeks an endangered listing for the whole species.

“I can’t – and won’t – imagine Africa’s landscape without giraffes,” said Elly Pepper, deputy director of NRDC’s wildlife trade initiative. “Losing one of the continent’s iconic species would be an absolute travesty. Giving giraffes Endangered Species Act protections would be a giant step in the fight to save them from extinction.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has 90 days to review and respond to the petition and determine whether a listing may be warranted.


The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.2 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

Humane Society International and its partner organizations together constitute one of the world’s largest animal protection organizations. For more than 20 25 years, HSI has been working for the protection of all animals through the use of science, advocacy, education and hands on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide – on the Web at hsi.org.

The Humane Society of the United States is the most effective animal protection organization, as rated by our peers. For more than 60 years, we have celebrated the protection of all animals and confronted all forms of cruelty. We and our affiliates are the nation’s largest provider of hands-on services for animals, caring for more than 150,000 animals each year, and we prevent cruelty to millions more through our advocacy campaigns. Read more about our more than 60 years of transformational change for animals and people. HumaneSociety.org.

Founded in 1969, IFAW rescues and protects animals 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/IFAW and Twitter @action4ifaw.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 2 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us atwww.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.

Ricky Gervais awarded for animal protection advocacy

Animal Defenders International (ADI)has presented multi-talented comedian Ricky Gervaiswith the prestigious Lord Houghton Award for his high-profile advocacy on animal protection issues, creating awareness in a unique wayto worldwide audiences.

ADI President Jan Creamer said: “Ricky Gervais is an outstanding and outspoken campaigner for animals who has raised animal protection issues with new and growing audiences. This award is in recognition of the longstanding and passionate role Ricky plays in giving animals a loud and powerful voice.”

On receiving the award, Ricky Gervais said: “I am honoured to receive the Lord Houghton Award for a cause so close to my heart. The suffering of animals absolutely sickens me and I will continue to speak out and support the sterling work of organisations like Animal Defenders International.”

Ricky is currently on tour with his ‘Humanity’ show, and has been a supporter of ADI for many years, being one of the first to champion their Stop Circus Suffering campaign. While at XFM in the late 1990s, Ricky spoke out against the horrific abuse of elephants, a baby chimpanzee and others documented by ADI at animal trainer Mary Chipperfield Promotions, which resulted in cruelty convictions for the owners and their elephant keeper. Ricky has continued to be an outspoken advocate for the campaign, urging governments in both the UK and US to introduce legislation to prohibit travelling wild animal acts.

The shocking violence inflicted on Anne the elephant at Bobby Roberts Super Circus in 2011 and exposed by ADI “graphically displays why the government should ban wild animals in circuses” Ricky said, continuing “I am appalled that wild animals are still kept in circuses and fully support the call for a ban. It is high time that government got on and implemented one.”ADI’s evidence led to agovernment commitment to ban and a cruelty conviction for Anne’s owner – yet five years later, the government’s bill has still not been presented to Parliament.

The comedian, writer and producer, who has over 12 million twitter followers is an outspoken advocate on several animal issues including trophy hunting, blood sports and animal experiments.

Last year, supporting proposals to uplist the African lion to Appendix I (greatest protection) at the CITES conference in Johannesburg,Ricky said "The survival of the African lion hangs in the balance. We must stop blood-thirsty hunters from decimating our wildlife for a barbaric adrenaline rush or trophy piece to show off to their mates.” Sadly, fierce opposition from lion bone/body part traders fought off lion protection this time, but the campaign continues.

The Lord Houghton Award was initiated in 1980 as a lasting recognition of the significant contribution made by Lord Houghton to the animal welfare movement. During his long parliamentary career, he was a passionate animal welfare advocate, actively campaigning for changes in legislation to bring about improvements in animal welfare, even into his nineties.

Each year one of the four participating organizations – Animal Defenders International, OneKind, Cruelty Free International and League Against Cruel Sports – selects the recipient of the award.

In 2012 ADI presented the award to legendary multi-Emmy award winning TV host Bob Barker – an ardent public advocate for animals who, among other achievements, had ended each episode of his iconic show ‘The Price is Right’ with a plea to his audience to spay and neuter their pets.

This presentation of the 2016 Lord Houghton Award to Ricky was delayed for the completion of a record-breaking 18-month rescue mission in South America. ADI rescued over 100 wild animals from circuses and the illegal wildlife trade in a mission to assist the governments of Peru and Colombia with enforcement of their new laws ending the use of wild animals in circuses. Native wildlife such as bears, monkeys, birds and others were rehomed in Amazon sanctuaries, a tiger to a sanctuary in Florida and 33 Africa lions were rehomed to their native Africa.

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