Tackling the Tusk Trade

Michael Markarian: Animals & Politics

In a welcome break from partisan gridlock, Republicans and Democrats are joining together to protect elephants and rhinos from illegal poaching. This month, New Jersey and New York became the first two states to ban the trade in elephant ivory and rhino horns, with bills signed by Governors Chris Christie, R-N.J., and Andrew Cuomo, D-N.Y.  The new policies will help to crack down on international wildlife traffickers and dry up the demand for illegal wildlife products in the northeast, which is the largest U.S. market for ivory and a main entry point for smuggled wildlife products.

Elephants and rhinos are threatened by a global poaching crisis. Only 28,000 rhinos of five different species remain in the wild, with more than 1,000 of them poached last year for their horns. In 2012, about 35,000 African elephants were killed for their tusks, and if the current poaching rate continues, African elephants could be extinct in a few decades. In Central Africa, populations of forest elephants have declined by 65 percent during the last decade. Asian elephants are critically endangered with fewer than 50,000 left in the wild.
Seized Ivory Crush

Seized U.S. ivory stockpile bound for crushing. Credit: The HSUS/Iris Ho
Much of the killing is associated with criminal networks and Africa-based terrorist groups like al-Shabaab, the Lord’s Resistance Army, and others, which use the proceeds from ivory sales to fund their nefarious activities. As House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, R-Calif., noted, “While this growing problem is a grave threat to wildlife, with some animals facing extinction, it is also a threat to U.S. national security interests. As long as illegal wildlife trafficking continues, terrorists and rebel groups will have yet another way to fund their deadly objectives.”
Policymakers need to do more to address this problem. Fortunately, President Obama has announced a national strategy to crack down on elephant poaching and the ivory trade, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plans to issue new regulations that would prohibit the commercial import all African elephant ivory, including antiques, with a few exemptions for non-commercial purposes. This near-total ban on U.S. commerce in African elephant ivory, with the exception of a narrow class of antiques and certain ivory items that are exempt from regulation under the Endangered Species Act, will build on the efforts of the states to stem the tide of the poaching epidemic.
Shockingly, some members of Congress are trying to retain the status quo on the illegal slaughter of elephants, and at the request of the trophy hunting and gun lobbies and the music and antique industries, are fighting the Administration’s proposal. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.—whom Chattanoogan columnist Roy Exum said is “morphing into America’s newest champion of animal abuse”—and Rep. Steve Daines, R-Mont., have introduced the so-called “Lawful Ivory Protection Act,” which would handcuff the Fish and Wildlife Service and prevent the administration from taking any new action to protect elephants from the ivory trade.
These short-sighted politicians are lamenting the ability of someone to resell a gun or a guitar with a little bit of ivory on it, without regard for the fate of the largest land mammal in the world or our national security. Congress should follow the lead of New Jersey and New York, and support the global effort to stop the slaughter of elephants and rhinos—not provide aid and comfort to the organized criminal network of poachers and traffickers.

We’re Eating Pangolins Off the Face of the Earth


We’re Eating Pangolins Off the Face of the Earth

While we’ve been focused on the poaching crisis that’s threatening the future for charismatic animals like elephants, rhinos and tigers, another species now faces the threat of extinction thanks to human appetites and could disappear before most people even hear of it.

The pangolin, which includes eight species who live in Africa and Asia, are unique little creatures in a number of ways. They’ve been described as walking artichokes and because they’re insectivores they’ve been dubbed “scaly anteaters.” These toothless animals are also the only mammal covered in true scales, which are made of keratin, and the the fact that they walk like a miniature T. rex only adds to their charm.

Unfortunately, these curious creatures are being hunted to the brink for both their meat, which is considered a delicacy by the affluent, and for their scales, which are believed to have medicinal properties.

Even with protection and international trade bans in place, pangolins are still widely traded illegally on the black market. Just days ago, 1.4 tons of pangolin scales were seized by officials in Vietnam and are believed by customs officials to have come from as many as 10,000 animals.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Species Survival Commission (SSC) Pangolin Specialist Group, more than one million pangolins are estimated to have been taken from the wild over the past decade alone, which has made them the most illegally traded wild mammal in the world.

Until this week, only two species had been listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as endangered, while the remaining four were listed as threatened and species of least concern. Now they’ve all been upgraded over concerns that their populations are plummeting. Chinese and Sunda pangolins are now listed as “Critically Endangered,” while the Indian and Philippine pangolins are “Endangered” and all four species in Africa are listed as “Vulnerable.”

In an effort to get immediate conservation work going, the Pangolin Specialist Group also published a new action plan this week, ‘Scaling Up Pangolin Conservation,’ that outlines steps that need to be taken now to to stop the illegal trade and keep pangolins from disappearing forever.

Among many measures it hopes to see completed, the group has recommended stronger tracking of pangolin parts, more studies to get a better understanding of pangolins and their movements in the wild and working with local communities to ensure they don’t have to turn to poaching to survive.

What the group believes is the single most important step to conserving these species is reducing the demand for their meat and scales in China and Vietnam, which it hopes to do through awareness campaigns and by engaging the conservation community to help spread the word and change opinions.

“In the 21st Century we really should not be eating species to extinction – there is simply no excuse for allowing this illegal trade to continue,” Professor Jonathan Baillie, Co-Chair of the IUCN SSC Pangolin Specialist Group and Conservation Programmes Director at ZSL, said in a statement.

For more info on how to help pangolins, visit pangolins.org.

Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/were-eating-pangolins-off-the-face-of-the-earth.html#ixzz39UZ0K5co

Cancel Ted Nugent for His Violence Against Animals

While I’m happy to hear that Ted Nugent’s concerts are being cancelled across the country because of his well-documented racist remarks and that the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence has a petition out to get his name off the list of headliners at an Ohio rock show, I’d like to see someone cancel him for his habitual violence against animals and his many blatantly speciesist statements.

Granted, Ted’s just an idiot. But to animals, he’s a dangerous idiot. From Meet the NRA.org, get a load of some of his hateful, illogical statements (presented here in chronological order of their idiotic appearance):


In a March 8, 2010 op-ed for the Washington Times, Nugent mocked high profile individuals who have been killed or injured by animals including, “Steve Irwin, brain-dead hippie grizzly bear neighbors, religious voodoo rattlesnake witch doctors, homosexual Las Vegas lion huggers, and the Orca handlers at Sea World.” Regarding his practice of riding a buffalo on stage during concerts, Nugent said, “I carried a 10mm handgun in my belt during those stage rides, just in case the beast decided to go buffalo on me. A quick 200-grain armor-piercing slug through the back of his head would have made the difference between a momentary increase in entertainment value and a few dozen or more trampled rock fans. I knew this, and I was prepared.”

On July 21, 2011, Nugent tweeted, “HumaneSocietyOfUnitedStates is vile criminal scam liars.”  

On April 14 2012, Ted Nugent signed a plea agreement with federal prosecutors, admitting that he had illegally shot, killed and transported a black bear in southeast Alaska in May 2009 and transported it in violation of the federal Lacey Act. Nugent agreed to a $10,000 fine and a two-year probation. He also agreed to pay Alaska $600 . After signing the agreement, Nugent advised fellow hunters, “ even when you are aghast at a maniac, inexplicable, illogical law, please abide by those laws at all costs .” According to Nugent, his prosecution for killing the black bear was the result of a “ witch hunt” inspired by his political activism. “ We are the people turning up the heat, and that’s why I’m being singled out by certain fish and game agencies and certain U.S. attorneys ,” he stated. Nugent then turned his attention to female Democrats in the House of Representatives…

On September 1, 2012, Nugent tweeted, “Did I mention how insane fun it is slaughtering pigs with machinegunsfrom helicopters? Cleanse the goodearth.”

On November 13, 2012, Nugent tweeted, “Since soulless animal rights fools hate nature I will kill many deer for them.”

In a March 2013 interview with Brett Winterble on Sirius XM radio, Nugent stated, “I took my machine gun in the helicopter—in the Texas hill country—me and my buddy ‘Pigman.’ His name is ‘Pigman’; I’m the swine czar. I killed 455 hogs with my machine gun. I did it for Bill Maher and all those other animal rights freaks out there.”

In a March 18, 2013 interview on a Lynchburg, Virginia talk radio show, Nugent stated, “When you have freaks like Bill Maher and the animal rights freaks, these brain-dead, doped up monsters, these mongers that think that they’re gonna tell Ted Nugent I can’t eat venison. Every time I hear the words ‘animal’ or ‘right’ in the same paragraph I kill more stuff.

In an August 13, 2013 radio interview on “The Mike Huckabee Show,” Nugent spoke about his hunting dog Gonzo, stating, “We literally hunt anywhere between 250 and 300 days a year. And you think Gonzo is good on ducks, you should see him on squirrels and doves and rabbits and woodcock and grouse. He really is a mystical, wonderful hunting dog.”

On October 25, Nugent tweeted, “Weirdos against hunting are against nature herself-pure veison [sic] forever

In a January 14, 2014 op-ed for Newsmax, Nugent asserted, “The whole global warming lie is a giant, international environmental scam and hoax designed to control people by instigating fear and panic. There is no global warming, only hot-air from Al Gore and his gaggles of Woodstock rejects who have made many millions by perpetuating something that just isn’t so.” Contrary to Nugent’s statement, global climate change is a phenomenon that is well-supported by research conducted by agencies such as the National Academy of Sciences, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.”

Oh, and who can forget the bold proclamation he made back on April 14, 2012 during a live interview at the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting , “If Barack Obama becomes the president in November again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year…”



KWS Rangers kill poacher next to the 45-year-old elephant he had killed in Tsavo

Sunday, July 27, 2014 – 00:00 — BY RAPHAEL MWADIME

The suspected poacher killed in Tsavo West on Friday night lying with the elephant carcass they had killed.Photo/Raphael Mwadime

The suspected poacher killed in Tsavo West on Friday night lying with the elephant carcass they had killed.Photo/Raphael Mwadime

Kenya Wildlife Service rangers have killed one suspected poacher and recovered four elephant tusks  in Tsavo West National Park.

Five other poachers fled leaving behind an M16 rifle, two AK47 magazines, an axe, three saucepans and six five litre water jerry cans.

The poachers had already killed a 45-year-old elephant near the water pan and were in the process of removing its tusks.

Senior KWS Warden in charge of Tsavo West, Josephat Erupe, said KWS rangers on Friday traced foot prints of the group of poachers before getting them removing ivory from a bull elephant they had killed.

“On Friday our rangers spotted the strange foot prints that they traced to Marwa dam where the suspects had killed an elephant. At about 8pm our officers caught up with the suspects where they spotted spot lights and when they came closer, they saw the group removing tusks from the elephant. They opened fire and gunned down one suspect,” he said.

Erupe said that the rangers took ambush until Saturday morning where they realised that they had gunned down one suspect and recovered four elephant tusks and the firearm.

“We have launched an air ground operation to track the runaway suspects. It a matter of time before our security personnel catch up with them,” he told the Star at the scene of incident.

Erupe said that the poachers have devised a habit of waiting for elephant at the watering pans where they kill them.

“We have observed that the poachers wait for elephants when they come to drink water at the watering pans where they shoot them. We have enhanced security surveillance in the park in a bid to fight poaching,” he said adding that the male Jumbo aged about 45 years was killed some 50 metres from the water pan.

- See more at: http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/article-180101/kws-rangers-kill-poacher-next-45-year-old-elephant-he-had-killed-tsavo#sthash.EvqIopTK.dpuf

Ex Guns N’ Roses star Matt Sorum blasts Ted Nugent over hunting photo post


Former Guns N’ Roses star Matt Sorum has taken aim at fellow rocker Ted Nugent for68439_10151399495155861_1116657731_n his pro-hunting remarks.

Animal lover Sorum took offence to a photo he spotted of smiling Nugent standing next to a pre-teen boy who had just killed a groundhog, and took to Twitter.com to lash out at the Cat Scratch Fever hitmaker over the weekend.

The drummer wrote, “Hey @tednugent u are a sick individual, u are smiling too much for killing this animal. Something wrong w u (with you), poor kid.”

Nugent has made a name for himself protecting the rights of hunters, insisting they are vital to manage wildlife.

In an interview earlier this year, he attacked animal-rights activists opposed to hunting and killing, calling them “numb-nuts”.

Sorum is currently spearheading the International Fund For Animal Welfare’s campaign for elephant conservation, and last month wrote an open letter to his fellow musicians urging them to support a new U.S. strategy for minimizing America’s role in global elephant poaching.

Jail time awaits Baudette hunting guide for years of bear and deer poaching

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson


by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune

  • Updated: July 22, 2014 – 10:22 AM

Keith Slick also was sentenced for fleeing in a motor vehicle and second-degree drunken driving for briefly trying to elude a conservation officer.

A longtime big game guide in far northern Minnesota is facing jail time after admitting to years of poaching bears and deer, acts that also have cost him his hunting privileges for three years, state conservation officials said Monday.

Keith R. Slick, 33, of Baudette, pleaded guilty and was sentenced in Lake of the Woods County District Court to 90 days in jail for various misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors, including: transporting a big game animal, lending/borrowing a bear license, two counts of taking/possessing an over-limit of bear and failing to register a bear.

Along with his jail time, Slick also was sentenced to 120 hours of community service and must pay $2,090 in fines and restitution. Once out of jail, he will be on probation for two years with conditions that he surrender his weapons and agree to random searches.

Slick also was sentenced for felony fleeing in a motor vehicle and gross-misdemeanor second-degree drunken driving for briefly trying to elude a conservation officer. Slick will serve 30 days of electronic home monitoring for fleeing, with that time starting once his incarceration ends.

Ac­cord­ing to the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which investigated the case:

Dur­ing last fall’s bear hunt­ing sea­son, state con­ser­va­tion of­fi­cer Robert Gorecki spotted an ac­tive bear bait sta­tion be­long­ing to Slick. A search of his home un­cov­ered nu­mer­ous bear capes and skulls, as well as sets of deer ant­lers.

“There were no pos­ses­sion or reg­is­tra­tion tags found with any of the bears,” Gorecki said in a state­ment re­leased by the DNR. “The bears did not have any cuts in their ears that would in­di­cate that a site tag was at­tached at any time in the past,” Gorecki said.

A check of DNR re­cords in­di­cat­ed that Slick nev­er reg­is­tered a buck or bear tak­en in the past 10 years, which is as far back as a­gen­cy re­cords go.

A cellphone seized in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion con­tained pic­tures of Slick with a dead bear. Nu­mer­ous text mes­sages were also found with Slick tell­ing peo­ple a­bout the bear he had shot. Oth­er text mes­sages from Slick stat­ed that he had shot seven bears in his life.

Only two of the six ant­ler sets re­cov­ered had site tags on them, but they were from in­di­vidu­als oth­er than Slick.

A rifle and bow that Slick used for poaching will be auctioned by the state.

The Real Face of Poaching

What exactly is a poacher? A person who kills animals (more often endangered one) and sells them, or their parts for profit. Correct? So, what does this poacher look like? In your mind who is a poacher? If you’re imagining the quintessential pith helmet wearing, rifle clad “Van Pelt” figure, you probably want to think again.

The WWF launched an incredible campaign to break down the definition of what a poacher is. People tend to distance themselves from the crime if they weren’t directly responsible for the “dirty work,” but the wildlife trade wouldn’t exist if we all took on some responsibility and stopped participating.

When you consider the number of exotic animal “delicacies” that appear on menus across the world (don’t think the U.S. is exempt here) and look at the people who made that dish appear before you, that is a poacher.

WWF Shows Us the Real Face of Poaching, the Outcome Will Shock You When you purchase a brand new ivory statue, the person who sold it to you is a poacher. When you purchase rhino horn pills…you participate in poaching.

WWF Shows Us the Real Face of Poaching, the Outcome Will Shock You Though it may be true that these people responsible for the sale of these items are not the ones out slaughtering animals, they play a vital role in continuing the industry of poaching because they supply the one thing this cruel trade is motivated by: profit.

WWF Shows Us the Real Face of Poaching, the Outcome Will Shock You Without the people who pay for these exotic items, there would be no wildlife trade, no poachers, and no senseless killing of wild animals. It is easy to distance yourself from the crime if there is no blood on your hands, but it’s hard to forget what happened to these beautiful animals to bring that commodity to your door.

Although the wildlife trade is an enormous industry, all it takes is one person who stops buying tiger skin rugs to kick off a long chain of others who join them in conscious actions. The choice it yours!

To learn more about what the WWF is doing to help end wildlife crime, click here.

Image source: World Wildlife Fund 


FWP investigates killing of 3 young grizzly bears


FERNDALE- Wardens are looking for information that could help them track down whoever killed three young grizzlies in the north end of the Swan Valley.

Agents with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said the bears were killed in the Ferndale area.

Because the investigation is ongoing, authorities aren’t giving out more details about exactly where the bears were found or how they were killed.

FWP and USFWS are hoping to hear from anyone that may help them track down the poachers. Anyone with information can contact 1-800-TIP-MONT begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 1-800-TIP-MONT FREE  end_of_the_skype_highlighting . Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward.

photo copyright Jim Robertson

photo copyright Jim Robertson

WI Man to pay fine for killing bear

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Wednesday, June 4, 2014 11:54 pm | Updated: 11:55 pm, Wed Jun 4, 2014.

A Fall Creek man will pay a $2,443 fine for killing a bear in the town of Bridge Creek during last fall’s gun deer season.

Michael C. Mackey, 29, pleaded guilty in Eau Claire County Court to a misdemeanor count of killing a bear without a license.

Judge Michael Schumacher also revoked Mackey’s DNR license privileges for three years.

According to the criminal complaint:

A confidential informant told authorities a bear was killed Nov. 24 during a deer drive.

A second informant contacted authorities and said Mackey shot a bear and hid the carcass in the woods.

During a Nov. 29 interview, Mackey admitted to a warden that he shot a bear. He said he shot the animal in the town of Bridge Creek because it charged up a steep hill directly at him.

The warden, with Mackey’s help, retrieved the bear’s carcass from the woods.

After examining the carcass, the warden determined the bear wasn’t shot while charging Mackey. The bear was moving away from Mackey when it was shot.