“Masson brings the behavior of his animal subjects vividly and enchantingly to life…Truly fascinating.”
– Dr. Jane Goodall on The Evolution of Fatherhood
“A masterpiece…the most comprehensive and compelling argument for animal sensibility that I've yet seen.”
– Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, on When Elephants Weep
“Masson's rare combination of passionate advocacy and scientific perspicacity makes this book unusually powerful. As a psychoanalyst, he addresses the psychological and emotional barriers that keep people from adopting a compassionate lifestyle - and one so manifestly in their own interest, as well as society's and the planet's.”
The Atlantic on The Face on Your Plate
What Animals Can Teach Us About the Origins of Good and Evil
by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson
Bestselling author Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson has delved deep into the unexplored territory of animal emotions, but in his new book he tackles the wildest creature of all – humans. BEASTS: What Animals Can Teach Us About the Origins of Good and Evil (Bloomsbury; March 4, 2014) is an illuminating account of the relationship between humans, animals, and our perception of violence.
A given person might say they fear shark attacks more than his fellow man, but there is a glaring discrepancy with this prevalent misconception: sharks, orcas, big cats, and other fearsome predators are not nearly as aggressive as humans. We are the only species responsible for killing over 200 million of our own members in the last century alone.
Masson has taught us how to explore human emotions through animal behavior – the way dogs love, cats practice independence, and elephants grieve for their lost ones. In BEASTS, Masson examines the difference between the unchecked aggression and predatory behavior that separates humans from animals, and who the real beasts are.
Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, an ex-psychoanalyst and former director of the Freud Archives, is the author of numerous bestselling books on animal emotions, including Dogs Never Lie About Love and When Elephants Weep. He lives in New Zealand, but will be traveling to the U.S. at publication.
March 4, 2014—Elephants in iSimangaliso Wetland Park, located in KwaZulu Natal province on South Africa’s East coast, were treated for the first time with a contraceptive vaccine to control the population’s growth rate.
With the addition of iSimangaliso’s population, immunocontraception is now being used to successfully control elephant populations in 15 parks and reserves, including Tembe Elephant Park (commenced in 2007) in South Africa. Two other populations in KwaZulu Natal—Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park and Ithala—will also receive their first vaccination later this year.
Immunocontraception is a non-hormonal form of contraception that is based on the scientific principles of immunization through vaccination.
All three populations will receive three years of treatment under an agreement between Ezemvelo KwaZulu Natal Wildlife (Ezemvelo) and Humane Society International (HSI), with funding from -Ezemvelo, HSI and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) under the African Elephant Conservation Fund.
Although elephant poaching and trafficking in ivory severely threatens the survival of African elephants in several African states, in South Africa poaching remains fairly low. As a result, the country needs to manage elephant populations, especially in small enclosed parks and private conservancies, to slow their growth rates so as to prevent loss of biodiversity, to maintain ecosystem function and resilience, to reduce harm to human lives or livelihoods, and to avoid compromising key management objectives.
Research conducted over the past 18 years has resulted in a robust body of scientific work demonstrating that immunocontraception is a safe and effective way to control elephant population growth that has no effect on behavior. It is also reversible, allowing managers to fine-tune population growth.
HSI and its affiliate, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), have funded cutting edge research on the use of immunocontraception in African elephants since 1996. The immunocontraception vaccine contains agents that, when injected into African elephant cows, causes an immune response that prevents eggs from being fertilized by sperm. The vaccine is delivered remotely by dart gun, making the technique minimally invasive and eliminating the need for anaesthetization. Use of immunocontraception is a preferable alternative to other less desirable, more expensive and difficult population reduction methods such as culling or capture and translocation which, ultimately, do not solve the problem because populations reactively increase as remaining elephants continue to reproduce.
Audrey K. Delsink, HSI’s field director for the Elephant Contraception Program in South Africa, said: “We are very pleased to be working with Ezemvelo and iSimangaliso on this project. We hope that more elephant managers will fully embrace and use this technology to control elephant population growth in a proactive, effective and humane manner.”
Andrew Zaloumis, CEO of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, said “Elephants were reintroduced into iSimangaliso in 2003 after a one-hundred year absence. President Mandela described this as ‘almost spiritual, a form of restitution ... an attempt to recreate the wholeness of nature so that we can live in harmony with its creator’s magnificence … so that the descendants of the elders of Maputaland, the generations of the future, too can experience this grandeur.’iSimangaliso today represents one of the world’s leading examples of the modern era of conservation and we are pleased to implement the latest technology in elephant population control within our park to effectively manage the numbers without negative consequences.”
Read more about immunocontraception of elephants here http://www.hsi.org/assets/pdfs/elephant_immuno_report_2012.pdf
About HSI: Humane Society International and its partner organizations together constitute one of the world’s largest animal protection organizations. For more than 20 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.
About Ezemvelo: Ezemvelo is the conservation authority for the province of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. The organisation has been in existence for over 100 years and is mandated to conserve and manage the biodiversity of the KZN province. There are 100 protected areas and Ezemvelo strives to provide a high standard conservation and eco-tourism product – www.kznwildlife.com
About iSimangaliso Wetland Park: South Africa’s first world heritage site was inscribed in 1999 by UNESCO for its outstanding universal values - ecological processes; superlative natural phenomena and scenic beauty; and exceptional biodiversity and threatened species. The park comprises 332 000ha of terrestrial and marine protected area and is one of the country’s premier destinations as well as a global treasure. Visit www.isimangaliso.com for park information.
Dim lights Embed Embed this video on your site
Groundbreaking Giant Screen and Digital 3D Film Features Unrivalled Access To Highly Endangered Species And Highlights Conservation Efforts To Repopulate Them in the Wild
Opens In IMAX®, Giant Screen, Dome and Digital Cinemas in North America Spring 2014
WASHINGTON (February 27, 2014)--The giant panda is one of the rarest species on our planet. A shy, elusive and gentle creature, they once ranged in great numbers between Beijing and the Himalayas. But now, after centuries of human expansion and destruction of their habitat, the giant pandas are on the brink of extinction, with fewer than 1,600 remaining. PANDAS: THE JOURNEY HOME, a groundbreaking natural-history film, captures for the first time in 3D on the world's largest screens the highly endangered giant pandas living in Wolong National Nature Reserve in the People's Republic of China. This new 3D/2D giant screen film experience gives audiences a unique glimpse into one of the most incredible conservation efforts in human history. The scientists' goal: to increase the numbers in captivity and, far more ambitiously, to return pandas to the wild --to their natural home. Presented by National Geographic Entertainment, this original production will premiere in 3D, 2D, 15/70 and digital formats and will open in giant-screen, IMAX® and digital 3-D cinemas around the United States and worldwide beginning spring 2014.
Directed by Nicolas Brown (Human Planet) and produced by Caroline Hawkins (Meerkats 3D), PANDAS: THE JOURNEY HOME, is an Oxford Scientific Films Production for National Geographic Entertainment and Sky 3D, in association with the Chinese Wildlife Conservation Association, Wolong Panda Conservation Centre, CCTV9 and Nat Geo WILD.
Narrated by Joely Richardson, the 40-minute large format film PANDAS: THE JOURNEY HOME follows the pandas at a significant milestone in their history. After decades of captive breeding, the Wolong National Nature Reserve has hit its target number of 300 giant pandas and now must tackle the challenge of reintroducing breeding populations of the species to the wild. Filmmakers were given unrivalled access to the Wolong National Nature Reserve with the support of the Chinese Wildlife Conservation Association and the China Conservation and Research Centre for the Giant Panda. Oxford Scientific Films was granted permission to film the rare release of a panda bred in captivity and to follow a group of pandas being prepared for the wild in a mountain habitat, a first for a Western film crew. Alongside the natural breeding program, the film also captures the captive breeding program, including footage of newborns, young pandas playing, and methods of encouraging pandas to mate.
"PANDAS: THE JOURNEY HOME will give audiences insight into the extraordinary strides that have been made towards saving the panda in the wild, but will also convey that much work has yet to be done," said Lisa Truitt, president of National Geographic Cinema Ventures (NGCV). "This is an important story, and National Geographic is grateful for the special access in order to feature the iconic, beloved, charismatic panda on the giant screen and in 3D."
Audiences will also get a chance to help with the conservation effort by participating in a texting campaign to raise funds for the preservation of the pandas' shrinking habitats. They can text PANDA to 50555 to contribute $10 towards a grant that National Geographic will award to the World Wildlife Fund for one of its panda conservation programs, details of which can be found at http://ngpandas.com.
PANDAS: THE JOURNEY HOME is a true exploration of the environment the pandas are being equipped to live in, taking audiences to the center of the fight to reveal the incredible lengths researchers are going to in order to save them from extinction. PANDAS: THE JOURNEY HOME follows China's quest to save the giant panda from extinction and the remarkable process leading to the release of a young male panda into the wild.
Very little is known about the behavior and breeding patterns of these shy mountain creatures. Breeding them in captivity largely began as a case of trial and error. But the plan is working and now the dream of releasing captive-bred pandas into the wild has become a reality. At birth, pandas are exceptionally vulnerable; blind and tiny. The cubs at Wolong National Nature Reserve's Bifengxia Panda Base are raised carefully and lovingly, developing playful and affectionate bonds with their keepers, and are carefully monitored by the vets and wildlife scientists at the base.
After years spent simply trying to breed more cubs and raise them to adulthood, the conservationists are now embarking on the next phase of their species-wide rescue mission: releasing these charges back into the wild. But there is a challenge facing them. Pandas raised by humans are not equipped to survive on their own. The last panda to be released, several years ago, survived for only one year before being killed by predators. The conservationists are determined to prevent tragedies like this from happening, and have developed a comprehensive wild training program for the pandas in their care. As a transitional environment, they use the breeding center in Wolong, where the pandas are distanced from humans and prepared to live a life in the wild.
Audiences are introduced to one of the residents, Tao-Tao, who is destined to be released into the remote LiTzu Ping reserve, where only 13 pandas remain. The hope is that Tao-Tao, strong and healthy, will find a female panda and introduce a new bloodline to this precious wild group. Tao-Tao could be the last chance of survival for this tiny population of giant pandas. Audiences are introduced to the conservationists at Wolong tasked to teach Tao-Tao to find water and food on his own and to recognize danger. Cameras capture Tao-Tao's much-anticipated release into the wild, an emotional culmination of years of work, carrying the hope for the future of the species.
PANDAS: THE JOURNEY HOME invites audiences to witness all of the extraordinary efforts to save the panda and introduce them back in to the wild. With the species excruciatingly close to extinction, PANDAS: THE JOURNEY HOME is an extraordinary picture of how pandas live and the astonishing measures conservationists are taking to ensure their future.
For more information on PANDAS: THE JOURNEY HOME, including Theater Listings, links to the trailer, and behind-the-scenes videos, visit http://ngpandas.com. Become a fan on Facebook at facebook.com/NatGeoMovies. Or follow us on Twitter @NatGeoMovies.
About National Geographic Cinema Ventures/National Geographic Entertainment
National Geographic Cinema Ventures/National Geographic Entertainment is responsible for production and distribution of giant screen, 3-D and specialty films. Over the last decade, NGCV/NGE has produced or released a number of successful films, including Oscar-nominated documentaries "Restrepo" and "The Story of the Weeping Camel"; giant-screen award-winning films "Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure," "U2 3D," "Mysteries of Egypt" and "Forces of Nature"; and feature-length films "The Last Lions" and "Life in a Day." Lisa Truitt is president of NGCV/NGE, and Mark Katz is president of NGCV/NGE distribution. For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.com/movies.
# # #
Washington D.C., February 21, 2014 -- The United Nations is highlighting the intrinsic values and contributions of wild animals and plants, particularly endangered and protected species, by declaring March 3, 2014 as World Wildlife Day. Born Free USA, a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, will use this platform to increase awareness about the deleterious wildlife trade.
According to Adam Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, “The global wildlife trade is among the most profitable illicit enterprises along with drug and gun running. Trafficking rare and exotic wildlife -- live birds, reptiles, elephant ivory, rhino horn, lion trophies and other species’ parts and products made from them -- is an international business, worth $10 to $20 billion annually. It is a wildly destructive and cruel enterprise that must be controlled.”
Born Free USA reports that over the past 30 years, lion populations have been cut in half to approximately 35,000; tigers, numbering 100,000 in 1900, are now fewer than 4,000; and elephants, decimated across Africa in the 1970s and 1980s for their ivory, are facing a poaching crisis once again.
Born Free USA has worked to stop the abhorrent practice of trophy and sport hunting of lions, rhinos, and elephants around the world. Roberts explains. “As the illicit wildlife trade grows, we are fighting harder than ever against the poaching and killing of elephants and rhinos for their ivory and horns in Africa; the hunting of bears for their gallbladders here in America; and the destructive practice of shark-fining happening in oceans around the world.”
The UN Assembly selected March 3 to coincide with the signing of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in Washington, DC on March 3, 1973. The international agreement between governments of 179 Member States aims to ensure that global trade in close to 35,000 species of plants and animals does not threaten their survival. Born Free USA focuses on CITES issues and has been a respected vocal and active participant at its meetings.
“With World Wildlife Day falling on the anniversary of CITES, it brings an even stronger opportunity for the global conservation community and governments everywhere to speak with a unified voice and declare that there is no excuse for the indiscriminate killing, selling or captivity of wildlife and that it will not be tolerated,” Roberts says.
- The U.S. is the world’s largest importer of African lion trophies and parts, one of the main reasons why fewer than 40,000 lions remain in the wild. Between 1999 and 2008, 7,090 lion specimens, reported as being from a wild source, were traded internationally for recreational trophy hunting purposes, representing a minimum of 5,663 lions.
- A tiger in the U.S. can be purchased online or in person for as little as $300 -- less than the cost of a purebred dog. There are more tigers kept as “pets” in the U.S. (between 5,000 and 7,000) than there are in the wild, where fewer than 4,000 remain.
- By the beginning of 2014, only 5,000 black rhinos are left in the wild. Over 1,000 rhinos were poached in South Africa alone in 2013.
- Five states still allow bears to be killed solely for their gallbladders to create traditional Asian medicines and toiletries like shampoos and hemorrhoid creams. On the black market, bear gallbladder and bile can fetch prices higher by weight than gold or cocaine. In one instance, a bear gallbladder sold for $10,000 in South Korea.
- At least 73 million sharks -- many of which are endangered - - are killed worldwide to supply a demand for shark fin soup.
- Over 40% of the 234 primate species are now threatened with extinction.
- An estimated 13 million reptiles are kept as pets in the U.S. Most were captured in the wild or are the offspring of wild-caught parents. Tens of thousands of Burmese pythons - - formerly kept as pets - - have been let loose in the Florida swamps.
- More than 60% of the recorded primate incidents in the U.S. (bites or worse injuries to humans) in the past 10 years involved “pet" primates. More than 90 children and adults were injured in incidents occurring in 49 different states.
Born Free USA is a 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’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 facebook.com/bornfreeusa.
Saturday, Feb. 22, the 53rd day of 2014.
There are 312 days left in the year.
Dim lights Embed Embed this video on your site
Saturday, Feb. 15, the 46th day of 2014.
There are 319 days left in the year.
Dim lights Embed Embed this video on your site
Animal Defenders International (ADI) has today released an undercover investigation that reveals shocking conditions and violations of animal protection law in South Korea at “Monkey School,” an attraction that forces monkeys to perform in shows:
The scenes in South Korea show the same poor living conditions and appalling attitudes to animals that are universal to the performing animals industry that ADI has documented in the US and around the world at circuses and suppliers of performing animals for movies, advertising and television (1). ADI is calling for US citizens not to attend shows with live animal performances, to contact their Member of Congress to support legislation to end the use of wild animals in circuses and sign the petition to end wild animal performances in South Korea.
The ADI investigation of Monkey School in South Korea reveals: squalid and barren living conditions; traumatized animals showing psychotic behavior; animals found dead in cages; animals hit during training; and animals dragged along the floor by their necks.
ADI President, Jan Creamer: “Our investigation of Monkey School in South Korea has shown that performing animals endure extreme cruelty behind the scenes, just as we have found in the US, where we discovered beatings of elephants and other animals, use of electric shocks and the barren, deprived conditions that make animals go out of their minds. Countries around the world are banning animal performances and we hope to see the US do the same. US citizens can stop the cruelty by refusing to watch animal shows and signing our petition supporting South Korea’s new Zoo Act.”
Sharon Shaw, Director of Lakeview Monkey Sanctuary in the UK said: “All aspects of life for primates at Monkey School are appalling, from the inadequate and atrocious housing conditions, the physical and psychological torture, to the lack of empathy and respect shown by the staff. The poor animals who are unlucky enough to live there endure a barbaric, unnatural life.”
South Korea’s animal protection law is limited (2), yet ADI’s investigation has revealed violations by Monkey School including finding a monkey dead, having received no medical treatment; and animals moved to new enclosures without any provision to help them adapt to their new environment.
Congresswoman Hanna Chang has proposed a Zoo Act in South Korea that would ban circus-style animal performances and set minimum welfare standards and inspections for places that exhibit captive animals (3). Congresswoman Chang said: “As seen in the ADI footage, it is hard to imagine the pain that monkeys have to go through for humans every day. This clearly shows that it is now time to have regulations to monitor the welfare of animals in captivity in Korea.”
ADI and its South Korean campaigns partner Korean Animal Rights Alliance have joined over 80 international animal organizations supporting the new Zoo Act (4). The international petition supporting South Korea’s Zoo Act can be signed at: http://bit.ly/ADIKoreaPetition
Twenty five countries around the world have restricted circus animal performances, including Austria, Bolivia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, Greece, Hungary, India, Israel, Poland, Portugal, Peru, Singapore, Sweden and Taiwan (5). The US and Korea are among several countries currently discussing bans on circus animals including Ireland, the UK, Brazil and Germany.
Pet Bed and Breakfast Owner Invents a Product to Help Keep Dogs Healthy
Woof Woof Castle didn’t have games in mind when introducing their pet safety product nicknamed, “Peek-a-Boo™”
Having a pet “Bed and Breakfast” certainly has its challenges and having years of experience in the pet care business would certainly support such an endeavor, but this pet care expert didn’t see this one coming.
For Peggy Sue Soutner, the owner of Woof Woof Castle, it was just another day in her life with her pet dog, Aussie. Until the day when she and her husband discovered their dog, Aussie, had consumed some of the waste contents in the cat litter. The dog quickly developed pancreatitis and became very ill. This event inspired Ms. Soutner and her husband to start thinking about how she and other pet owners could prevent this from ever happening again.
Introducing the very simple but effective Peek-a-Boo™ Pet Latch. This product is ingeniously designed to keep the door open just enough to allow the cat to enter the room but not the other larger animals. It is very easily installed on the door edge just above the door knob and the adjacent wall. The product comes with CD instructions for a straight forward installation by the everyday homeowner. The package includes all required hardware necessary for a secure latching mechanism with or without the use of screws.
If your circumstance presents a cat that is larger than your dog or you have an extra large more powerful dog, Woof Woof Castle suggests the following: for smaller dogs, install the product at a height that will be preventative; and for the more powerful dogs, two latches can be installed.
The costs of other litter protective products on the market are in the hundreds of dollars. The Peek-a-Boo™ Pet Latch retails for under $20 and is “shelf ready” in both a portrait and landscaping clam shell shaped plastic. Dealer volume pricing is available.
To learn more about the Peek-a-Boo™ product view video here
or visit www.woofwoofcastle.com