Exposing the Big Game

Forget Hunters' Feeble Rationalizations and Trust Your Gut Feelings: Making Sport of Killing Is Not Healthy Human Behavior

Exposing the Big Game

Albanian restaurant serves bear meat in illegal wildlife trade that’s ‘out of control’

Stop the Wildlife Trade exclusive: Bears, monkeys, wolves and birds of prey sold for hundreds of euros on popular Albanian websites, investigation finds

A cub kept by a hotel owner to attract tourists - a common practice in Albania

A cub kept by a hotel owner to attract tourists – a common practice in Albania ( Four Paws )

A restaurant in Albania is offering diners meat from illegally hunted bears – part of an illicit trade in wildlife that is “out of control” in the country, investigators claim.

Researchers said it was the first time they had seen bear meat cooked in Europe, and experts warned that the crude butchering of animals may lead to outbreaks of zoonotic diseases such as coronavirus.

Bears, monkeys and birds of prey are among live animals being sold on popular Albanian online marketplaces, the investigation found, raising fears for the survival of some species in the country.

Animal-protection charity Four Paws discovered that two of Albania’s leading online sites were carrying dozens of adverts selling brown bears and other species that are legally protected.

Many photographs of the animals – along with foxes, barn owls and wolves – showed them with their mouths taped up or their claws chained.

It’s a profitable business: a tiny capuchin monkey was offered for €750 (£675), and a barn owl, a bear cub and a wolf for €500 each.

The buyers are mostly restaurant and hotel owners who keep the animals to attract tourists, or individuals who want the animals as pets and status symbols, charity workers said.

Eagles, the national symbol of Albania, are especially popular with buyers and are often found stuffed as trophies in public places.

The menu featuring mish ariu – bear meat (PPNEA)

But hunting protected species, keeping them captive and selling them is banned in Albania, following a huge decline of native wildlife in the country.

Offenders may be jailed under the law, which was tightened in October, but enforcement of it is lax.

Four Paws said that after its team reported some of the illegal adverts, they were deleted but new ones reappeared.

“A large majority of the photographs displayed severe animal cruelty, such as foxes with sealed muzzles in plastic boxes, bear cubs in chains and birds with their feet tied,” said Barbara van Genne, of the chaity.

A tiny capuchin monkey on sale for €750 (Four Paws)

Monkeys and birds of prey are often kept in bars and restaurants in Albania as a tourist attraction, while foxes are sold for their fur, according to the investigators.

Wolves are bought to be cross-bred with dogs for the puppies to be sold as guard dogs, commonly used in the mountains against wolves. But other animals are killed, stuffed and put on display.

Animals’ mouths are often taped to prevent them biting and their feet chained to stop them running away.

A restaurant in the town of Drilon has also been found advertising bear meat on its menu on Facebook. The listing, for “mish ariu” – Albanian for bear meat – added “ne sezone”, meaning “according to season”.

A live fox with its mouth taped up advertised for sale (Four Paws)

An online restaurant portal, updated earlier this month, confirms the restaurant offering.

A spokesperson for Protection and Preservation of Natural Environment in Albania (PPNEA) said: “What is especially alarming about this is not only the fact that bear meat is being sold, it is also the addition in brackets of “ne sezone”, which gives the impression that there’s a hunting season for bears.

“In fact there’s no hunting season for any wild animals in Albania, there’s a hunting moratorium and hunting ban for years throughout the whole country – passed in 2014 and extended in 2016 until March 2021.

“The massive decline of wildlife in Albania triggered this.”

Bear meat dishes have previously been seen in Asian countries. The meat can trigger disease caused by parasites, with symptoms including diarrhoea, cramps, fever and hallucinations.

Prof James Wood, head of department of veterinary medicine and an infection expert at the University of Cambridge, said Covid-19 and other zoonotic viruses can be carried by contaminated meat from any species.

“However, the risks are far greater from butchering and hunting than they are from simple consumption,” he said.

“Bears are no more likely to act as a source of a zoonotic virus than any other species group.” He added that cooking was a highly effective means of destroying the Covid-19 virus and other infections, but that “eating bears is, of course, highly undesirable for many reasons, including conservation and animal welfare, if they have been kept in captivity before being killed”.

A bear kept in a cage at a restaurant (Four Paws)

Ms van Genne said: “Four Paws has been active in Albania since 2015 but we have never seen such atrocities before. Until now we have mainly focused on restaurants that keep bears in small cages for entertainment of guests.

“This bizarre new discovery is a further indication that the commercial wildlife trade in Albania is out of control.”

She warned that if the government did not intervene soon, “the few native wild animals left will be history”.

“The platforms need to introduce preventive measures such as seller identification to stop these ads. However, the main problem for the illegal trade remains – the lack of control and enforcement by the authorities,” she claimed.

In the 1990s, there were still about 200 pairs of eagles in Albania, but today the number has halved.

A wildlife sanctuary that can carry out criminal prosecutions, take in rescues and educate people in species protection was urgently needed in Albania, Ms van Genne said.

Zoo returns two pandas to China due to bamboo shortage amid pandemic


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Two giant pandas will be sent back to China from Canada because the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted their supply of bamboo, the zoo said.

The Calgary Zoo announced that Er Shun and Da Mao, who were on loan from China until 2023, will return early since zookeepers are struggling to import enough bamboo for them, CBC News reported.

“This is too much stress on my team and on the pandas. Can you imagine not having bamboo for a few days?” zoo president Clément Lanthier told the outlet.

Lanthier said that delayed and canceled flights have resulted in substandard bamboo that has aged or come in smaller quantities.

Giant pandas on average consume each day about 88 pounds of bamboo, which consists of the majority of their diet, the outlet reported.

The zoo fears that if there’s a second wave of coronavirus, the task of getting them the proper supplies could become impossible.

“We have exhausted all of our capacity, and it’s too much of a risk for the welfare of the panda,” Lanthier said.

COVID-19 kills Roy Horn, 75, of Siegfried & Roy, role model for “Joe Exotic”

COVID-19 kills Roy Horn, 75, of Siegfried & Roy, role model for “Joe Exotic”

Roy Horn & white tiger Mantecore.
(Beth Clifton collage)

Manicured image as “positive reinforcement” trainer & conservationist was,  like the Siegfried & Roy show,  largely illusory

            LAS VEGAS––Entertainer Roy Horn,  75,  whose illusion acts with longtime partner Siegfried Fischbacher famously featured white tigers,  pythons,  and elephants,  died on May 8,  2020 in Las Vegas,  his home for nearly 50 years,  from complications of COVID-19.

Siegfried & Roy show publicist Dave Kirvin told media that Horn died at the Mountain View Hospital in Las Vegas about a week after testing positive for COVID-19 infection.

Performing together since 1959,  Siegfried & Roy were the evident inspirations for a generation of white tiger breeders,  exhibitors,  and would-be media stars,  including “Joe Exotic” and “Doc” Antle,  featured in the six-part March/April 2020 Netflix “reality” series Tiger King:  Murder,  Mayhem,  & Madness,  directed by Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin.

Roy Horn and Siegfried Fischbacher

Tiger act bought $10 million home in Las Vegas

Siegfried & Roy “toured Europe,  Japan and other venues,”  recalled New York Times obituarist Robert D. McFadden,  “ and were featured in a 1999 3D Imax movie, a 1994 television special,  and at Radio City Music Hall in New York.  They broke records for the longest-running act in Las Vegas,  and were among the most popular and highest paid performers on the Strip. They also wrote a book,  Siegfried & Roy: Mastering the Impossible (1992).

“Horn and Fischbacher,”  McFadden wrote,  “who were domestic as well as professional partners,  kept their menageries,  including dozens of exotic cats,  at a glass-enclosed tropically forested habitat at the Mirage [hotel and casino];  at Jungle Paradise,  their 88-acre estate outside of town;  and at Jungle Palace,  their $10 million Spanish-style home in Las Vegas.”

McFadden recalled that Horn and Fischbacher,  “acknowledging that their acts depended on some endangered species,  were prominent in various animal conservation efforts,  particularly for the white tiger,  native to Asia,  and the white lion of Timbavati,  in South Africa.  They raised many of their show animals from birth,  and said they were not exploited and were never tranquilized.”

Exhibit A for banning white tiger & lion breeding

But animal advocates,  while conceding that Horn and Fischbacher may have treated their animals much more kindly than most animal-using entertainers,  tend to have viewed those “conservation efforts” as mostly eyewash,  meant to burnish the Siegfried & Roy show image.

A nine-member coalition,  headed by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals,  on May 19,  2017 formally petitioned the USDA Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service to initiate the federal rulemaking process to make breeding either white tigers or lion/tiger hybrids,  as Siegfried & Roy did to maintain their menagerie,  a violation of the Animal Health Protection Act of 2002 and the Animal Welfare Act of 1966.

Charged the petitioners to the USDA,  which has yet to act in response,  “Despite the known risks and lack of conservation value associated with breeding to create white tigers,  exhibitors like Siegfried & Roy continue to mislead the public into believing that they are a rare subspecies rather than a genetic anomaly.  Siegfried & Roy have had as many as 58 white tigers in their inventory at one time.  The pair continue to breed to create white tigers for exhibition at Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden at the Mirage in Las Vegas.”

(Beth Clifton collage)

Petition spotlighted “Joe Exotic” years before Netflix

The PETA-led petition to the USDA also described the activities of many other white tiger and lion/tiger hybrid breeders.

“In Oklahoma,  exhibitor Joe Schreibvogel,”  also known as Joseph Maldonado and now as Tiger King star ‘Joe Exotic,’  “sells white tigers,  ligers,  liligers,  and tiligers to private owners and exhibitors all over the country,”  the petition to the USDA alleged.

U.S. District Court Judge Scott Palk on January 23,  2020 sentenced “Joe Exotic” to serve 22 years in prison for having solicited the murder of Big Cat Rescue founder Carole Baskin in 2018.

Convicted of the murder plot in April 2019,  “Joe Exotic” was convicted at the same time of nine counts of violating the Endangered Species Act,  by shotgunning five tigers in October 2017 and by illegally offering tiger cubs for sale between November 2016 and March 2018.

The PETA-led petition also spotlighted “Bhagavan ‘Doc’ Antle,  also featured in The Tiger King,  whose South Carolina roadside zoo,  like the facilities formerly owned by “Joe Exotic,”  has a long history of Animal Welfare Act violations.

“Antle takes his experiments to a whole new level,”  the petitioners charged,  “by breeding to create hybrid white ligers.”

Roy Horn & his mother, circa 1950.

Siegfried & Roy act originated in post-World War II Germany

Horn and Fischbacher,  by contrast,  have been widely credited with helping to popularize “positive reinforcement” animal training,  but may also have done more to popularize and promote traffic in white tigers,  developing the market served by “Joe Exotic,”  Antle,  and others,  than all previous white tiger breeders combined.

Wrote McFadden,  “Roy Uwe Ludwig Horn was born on October 3,  1944,  in  Nordenham,  Germany,  near Bremen.  Like Fischbacher,  who was five years older and raised in Rosenheim,  a village in Bavaria,  Horn grew up in the turmoil of wartime and postwar Germany. While Fischbacher was drawn to magic,  Horn was taken with animals,  including his wolf-dog Hexe, and a cheetah,  Chico,  at a zoo in Bremen where the boy took an after-school job feeding animals and cleaning cages.”

Horn,  at age 13,  in 1957 became a cabin boy on a German cruise ship.

Roy Horn (left) with Chico the cheetah and Siegfried Fischbacher, 1966.

Cheetah named Chico

Continued McFadden,  “Fischbacher,  a steward,  was entertaining passengers with magic tricks,  and Horn caught his act.”

Recalled Horn to interviewers many years later,  “I told Siegfried if he could make rabbits come out of a hat,  why couldn’t he make cheetahs appear?”

Horn eventually smuggled the cheetah Chico aboard the ship in a laundry bag.  Siegfried developed an illusion routine featuring Chico,  performed at a variety of venues in Germany and Switzerland before mostly small crowds until in 1966 Princess Grace of Monaco saw them at a charity performance in Monte Carlo “and gave them a rave notice,”  recounted McFadden.

“A rush of publicity ensued.  Adding animals and tricks,  they were soon playing nightclubs in Paris and other European cities.  They made their Las Vegas debut at the Tropicana in 1967,”  McFadden continued,  “and by the early 1970s,  having made Las Vegas their base,  they were under contract at the MGM Grand.”

Money made the tigers go around

Moving to the Frontier Hotel in 1981, Siegfried & Roy during the next seven years performed before three million people there.

“In 1987,”  McFadden summarized,  “they signed a five-year $57.5 million contract with Steve Wynn,  owner of the planned $640 million Mirage casino-hotel,  a deal Variety called the largest in show business history.  It included $40 million more for a new theater for the show,”  plus the $18 million Secret Garden animal habitat.

Headliners at the Mirage from 1990 to 2003,  adding white tigers to the act in 1995 after purchasing a pair from the Cincinnati Zoo,  Siegfried & Roy at peak performed before 400,000 people a year,  generating $44 million in revenue.

Former Siegfried & Roy trainer Chris Lawrence was onstage with Roy Horn during 2003 attack.  (NBC News photo)

Birthday attack stopped the show

That ended abruptly on Horn’s 59th birthday in 2003.  Midway through a solo show with a seven-year-old white tiger named Mantecore,  the tiger refused to lie down on command.  Horn rapped Mantecore on the nose with his microphone.  Mantecore swiped at Horn’s arm.  Horn stumbled.  Mantecore seized Horn by the neck,  crushing his windpipe,  and dragged Horn off stage as Horn tried to beat him away with the microphone.

Forced to suspend the Siegfried & Roy shows,  the Mirage laid off 267 workers,  but continued to house the Siegfried & Roy animals,  including Mantecore,  at the Secret Garden.

Horn and Fischbacher contended that Mantecore “had been unhinged by a woman in the front row with a beehive hairdo,”  McFadden recalled,  and after Horn tripped,  “picked him up by the neck,  as a tigress might a cub,  attempting to carry him to safety.”

The USDA Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service,  however,  “discounted all such theories and called it a simple attack by the tiger,”  McFadden noted.

A white tiger at Big Cat Rescue.  (Beth Clifton photo)

“Treating the cats like props”

Former Siegfried & Roy trainer Chris Lawrence,  46,  in March 2019 gave a different explanation to The Hollywood Reporter.

“Many of the handlers thought that Roy was treating the cats more like props than he was respecting them for who they were,”  Lawrence told The Hollywood Reporter.

Lawrence claimed that he himself “actually talked Roy into using the tiger that would ultimately maul him and end the most successful stage show in the history of Las Vegas.”

Said Lawrence,  “What Roy did was,  instead of walking Mantecore in a circle,  as was usually done,  he just used his arm to steer him right back into his body,  in a pirouette motion.  Mantecore’s face was right in (Horn’s) midsection.  Roy not following the correct procedure fed into confusion and rebellion.”

Lawrence tried unsuccessfully to lure Mantecore away from Roy with raw meat,  but was knocked down,  along with Roy.

Bengali the tiger keeps on coming, with a red rubber ball rising like the morning sun behind him.  (Carole Baskin photo)

Oldest Siegfried & Roy tiger died at Big Cat Rescue

Siegfried & Roy,  with Mantecore,  performed only once more together,  for a cancer charity benefit in 2009.

Wrote Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Mike Weatherford then,  “Siegfried Fischbacher and Horn were trying to figure out when and how to bow out gracefully even before the accident that put an abrupt end to their show.  The Mirage hit had been running for thirteen and a half years and 5,750 performances.  Horn had just celebrated his 59th birthday. Fischbacher had already passed 60.”

Mantecore died on March 19,  2014,  at age 17––old for a tiger,  but not nearly the oldest of the tigers Siegfried & Roy bred.

That tiger,  21 or 22 years of age,  either way one of the half dozen oldest tigers on record,  and one of two tigers within that elite half dozen to share the name Bengali,  died on May 31,  2016 at Big Cat Rescue on the outskirts of Tampa,  Florida.  Siegfried & Roy had sold him to a circus.  The circus retired him to Big Cat Rescue in 2000.  

(Beth Clifton collage)

Another former Siegfried & Roy tiger,  Sarmoti,  acquired at the same time,  died at Big Cat Rescue at age 20 in 2013.

Sarmoti,  Big Cat Rescue founder Carole Baskin told ANIMALS 24-7,  “is an acronym for Siegfried And Roy, Masters Of The Impossible.”

         (See A tale of two of the world’s oldest tigers, both named Bengali.)

Please help us continue our work for animals: 


Did Netflix’s ‘Tiger King’ Forget About The Tigers?

EDITORS’ PICK|3,758 views|

The crazy, chaotic energy of Netflix’s Tiger King proved the perfect antidote to coronavirus anxiety, as 34 million people watched the series during its first ten days on the streaming platform.

Judging from the initial responses on social media, many viewers felt absolutely certain that Carole Baskin murdered her husband (as the documentary strongly implies), while Joe Exotic was hailed as a warped kind of hero, being the protagonist of Netflix’s story.

The series even sparked a semi-satirical #FreeJoeExotic campaign, prompting a reporter to ask President Trump if the titular Tiger King was to receive a presidential pardon; it’s a ridiculous question for the president to receive during a global pandemic, but to be fair, we live in ridiculous times.

Now that the initial shockwave has passed, and the world has had time to fully absorb the madness of the exotic animal trade, some are asking why the filmmakers chose to leave big cat welfare in the background, focusing on the eccentric personalities and unsolved murder-mystery.

It’s not a particularly difficult question to answer; any filmmaker rewatching those clips in the editing room, tasked with crafting a compelling narrative, would absolutely shift focus to the larger-than-life characters in this story. Tigers can’t possibly compete with the electric cast of crackpots featured in this series – they’re far too outrageous to waste.

From an animal rights perspective, there’s much to criticize about Tiger King, but I think it’s important to view the series as what it actually is – a story – rather than what it “should” have been. Tiger King is a sensationalist slice of entertainment, and doesn’t pretend to be anything else.

The plight of the lions and tigers cooped up in Joe’s cages, however, is rarely forgotten; the sight of the majestic creatures sitting forlornly in those tiny cages serves as a constant reminder that Joe and others are severely abusing them for profit. Watching newborn cubs being torn from their mother was disgusting, and it was clear that Joe didn’t give a damn about their welfare; these magnificent predators were treated like oversized plushies.

That being said, Carole Baskin, whatever you think of her, has good reason to be angry about her portrayal; not just the murder mystery thing (which has, inevitably, led to her being harrassed by lunatics), but the implication that Baskin was mistreating her tigers to the same extent Joe was, which is simply false.

Or at least, that’s currently the case. Because Baskin’s sanctuary, Big Cat Rescue, has a complicated history, like everything in Tiger King. As the documentary points out, Baskin used to be incredibly ignorant to the needs of these animals, and during the nineties, even offered a “bed and breakfast” experience that allowed guests to spend the night with a young wild cat in their cabin.

Clearly, Baskin has changed her priorities, having overhauled and reassembled the sanctuary long ago; it’s been a non-profit for years, Baskin now campaigning for a total ban of the private ownership of big cats, regardless of keeping conditions.

From an animal rights perspective, it doesn’t matter what Baskin’s motivations are, or what her history is, considering that she is currently advocating for big cat welfare. Clearly, the exotic animal market is rotten to the core, a wretched hive of scum and villainy – that’s why it made for such great television.

Big cat people, to put it mildly, are extremely weird. Many of them have a warped, Disney-esque perception of the animal kingdom, an infatuation devoid of real respect. Should one really cuddle creatures that are capable of tearing off limbs?

But there is an upside to Tiger King’s sensationalism; due to the documentary’s outrageous content, an extraordinary amount of people are now talking about it. Which means that many more people now understand how deeply immoral it is to own a tiger, pet a tiger, or to have a selfie taken with a cub.

This wasn’t the focus of the documentary, but it’s become part of the conversation, and those big cats desperately needed someone to shine a light on their deplorable living conditions.

Because the most extraordinary thing about this insane series, by far, is that (almost) all of what we saw was perfectly legal.

Russian Watchdog Warns Six Walrus Calves From ‘Whale Jail’ May Be Smuggled To China

Zeeshan Aziz (@imziishan) 13 minutes ago Thu 05th December 2019 | 05:29 PM Russian Watchdog Warns Six Walrus Calves From ‘Whale Jail’ May Be Smuggled to China A Russian environmental watchdog has questioned the legitimacy of an appeal by the Akvatoriya company in Vladivostok to sell to China six baby walruses that were captured in 2018 in Chukotka by two companies implicated in the recent “whale jail” scandal, the watchdog’s press service told Sputnik on Thursday

MOSCOW/VLADIVOSTOK (UrduPoint News / Sputnik – 05th December, 2019) A Russian environmental watchdog has questioned the legitimacy of an appeal by the Akvatoriya company in Vladivostok to sell to China six baby walruses that were captured in 2018 in Chukotka by two companies implicated in the recent “whale jail” scandal, the watchdog’s press service told Sputnik on Thursday.

According to the Federal Agency for Supervision of Natural Resources (Rosprirodnadzor), on November 25, 2019, Akvatoriya lodged a request to issue a permit under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora to export six baby walruses from Russia to China. The documents provided by the company, however, raised questions on the origin of the animals.

“Thus, taking into account that the date of birth indicated in the animals’ passports is 2018, the age of the animals at the time of capture could not exceed 10 months. There is no information about the address and conditions of keeping the walruses in the exporter’s request. As part of the review procedure, we sent a request to the Russian Federal Fisheries Agency on the legitimacy of catching the given walruses,” the press service stated.

According to the Russian legislation, capturing walruses that young is illegal. On Tuesday, the Russian Environment Ministry ordered head of Rosprirodnadzor Svetlana Radionova to check Srednyaya Bay, where the baby walruses were held in captivity. In addition, in March, one of the workers of the “whale jail” confirmed that there were walruses among the animals stranded in captivity.

The scandal involving the “whale jail” erupted last year when environmentalists found that a large group of marine mammals was held in captivity in Srednyaya Bay of the Primorsky Region. The stranded animals were being prepared to be smuggled to China. As a result of a probe into the illegal fishing of aquatic animals and animal abuse, the companies responsible for the violation were fined a total of 150 million rubles
($2.4 million). The trapped orcas and belugas were steadily released in groups from June to November.


14-Month-Old Lioness Declawed In Zoo So Kids Can Play With Her

A Palestinian zoo, in an attempt to bait visitors into visiting the zoo, decided to declaw a 14-month-old lioness in their possession so the guests could play and interact with the animal. The incident took place two weeks ago in the Gaza strip, where there’s a lack of proper veterinary facilities.

Falestine, the lioness, was tranquilized and shrouded before a veterinarian named Fayez al-Haddad got to work. He deliberately clipped off her claws one by one using a pair of shears before he sewed her up.

He completed the job on Tuesday, when the poor lioness was subjected to much pain once again. One can only imagine the confusion the animal experienced when she realized that she no longer has her claws, and the Four Paws charity says that the procedure is similar to a person losing their fingers up to their knuckles. Mohammad Jumaa, the zoo owner, and the veterinarian, however, both seem to be morally unaffected by what they did.

Rafah zoo opened 20 years ago, but animal welfare is clearly not on the top of their list of priorities. The zoo is located on the border of Egypt in the southern part of the Gaza strip. The zoo was closed down from 2004 to 2017, and Jumaa got it running again two years ago.

According to Four Paws and many other organizations, the zoo has bo business staying open, as there is no improvement in the well-being of the animals that are held captive there. Four newborn lion cubs were left to freeze at the zoo, and there are at least 49 other animals trapped in pitiful enclosures.

Four-legged victims of war find peace in Jordan

Forty animals from Rafah Zoo in the Gaza Strip, considered the worst zoo in the world, will join at the end of the month other rescue animals at Jordan’s wildlife center aptly called New Hope.

For the last two years, a protected forest near the Jordanian capital has been home to animals that suffered in the regional wars. Seventeen African lions, two leopards and four bears currently live at Al Ma’wa for Nature and Wildlife, 48 kilometers (30 miles) from Amman.

Four Paws, founded in Vienna in 1988, brought the animals to the shelter opened by the Jordanian authorities in 2017. Most of these wild animals had been left in the zoos without food or water. Four Paws transported some of the lions and bears from the Magic World Zooin war-ravaged Aleppo, via the Turkish border. Bear Lula and lion Simba were rescued from the zoo in 2017; they were the sole survivors at the zoo that once housed many animals but was ravaged by the fighting. More animals from Syria followed. Bear Dana, who was smuggled out of Syria in a van provided by the Turkish Ministry of Forestry and Agriculture, was pregnant. Within 12 hours of her arrival in Jordan, she gave birth to a cub that the team named Hajar (Emigrant).

Three lions that were rescued from Al-Bisan Zoo in the Gaza Strip, which was shelled by Israel in 2014, also found their way to Jordan in 2017, after being sheltered in different preserves in the region. More wild animals from Gaza are on their way. Later this spring, at least 40 animals — including five lions, a hyena, monkeys, wolves, porcupines, foxes, cats and dogs — that have been trapped at Rafah Zoo, known as the world’s worst zoo due to the poor living conditions that killed many of the animals there, will find a new home at Al Ma’wa.

According to a statement by Four Paws, the owner of the zoo has finally agreed — after negotiations that lasted more than a year — to hand over the animals to Four Paws at the end of March, when a team of veterinarians, wild animal transporters and animal caretakers will be in Gaza for several days to examine the animals and load them into their transport crates.

A bear seen at the Al Ma’wa for Nature and Wildlife, Jordan, Feb. 25, 2019. Image by Mohammad Ersa

Head of Al Ma’wa Mustafa Khraisat told Al-Monitor that just like human war victims, the animals that came to the preserve were also traumatized and needed psychological treatment. “We noticed that Loz and Sukar [Arabic for Almond and Sugar], the bears brought in from Aleppo, hid every time they heard planes flying over the sanctuary,” he said. “It took a while for them to relax.”

Al Ma’wa for Nature and Wildlife, also known as the New Hope Center, was established in partnership with the Princess Alia Foundation and Four Paws. It is managed by a staff of 26 employees, including caretakers who focus on issues related to health and psychology. The sanctuary covers an area of ​​1,100 dunams (272 acres) of protected forest that creates living conditions close to the natural environment of the animals.

The animals that are currently living in Al Ma’wa are only a small number compared to all those that died in the various wars. “Due to the destruction of the zoos in which they lived, a large number of wild animals died. When the survivors came here, most were in critical condition. We had to put them on a special diet,” Khraisat said.

A lion seen at the Al Ma’wa for Nature and Wildlife, Jordan, Feb. 25, 2019. Image by Mohammad Ersan

The reserve, which opens its doors to visitors for a small fee, has become a popular local attraction. The sanctuary has created a new kind of eco-tourism in Jordan, with 200-300 visitors a day during the week. On weekends, the number of visitors goes up to 1,500.

“The tour guide gave me a thorough explanation about the conditions that these animals have experienced in the past,” Said Rand, a university student from Amman, told Al-Monitor. “It was very moving to learn how they had been affected by war.” He said that he visited the preserve to watch animals in their natural environment, even though there is a protective fence that separates the animals and visitors.

Khraisat pointed out that Al Ma’wa provides visitors with the opportunity to see animals up close, but also seeks to create awareness on how wars affect fauna, and explain the harmful practices and crimes against animals. “Our guides seek to raise visitors’ awareness on the harmful impact of illegal possession and trafficking of animals as well,” he concluded.

Read more: https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/03/four-pawed-victims-of-war-find-peace-in-jordan.html#ixzz5jUjpbV4U

Nyah, an African elephant born at the Indianapolis Zoo, dies at 6

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A six-year-old African elephant that was born and raised at the Indianapolis Zoo has died.

The zoo announced the death of Nyah on Tuesday afternoon.

Zoo officials said Nyah fought a brief illness. Veterinarians described her symptoms as typical of mild colic and that she had signs of abdominal discomfort.

Officials said her symptoms “progressed rapidly” before she died Tuesday morning.

A necropsy is underway to determine more about the cause of death.

“She was an amazing ambassador for her species,” the zoo said in a Facebook post.

Nyah was described as “a beautiful, fun and curious elephant, often seen following her big sister Zahara around.”

Zoo:  Jaguar attacks selfie-taker

Wildlife World

jaguar sleeping on branchImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionThe zoo confirmed that the animal would not be punished (file photo)

A woman who stepped over a barrier to take a selfie at a zoo in Arizona, US, has been attacked by a jaguar.

It happened on Saturday and the woman’s injuries were not life-threatening.

When she crossed the barrier and approached the enclosure to photograph herself with the jaguar, it swiped out through the fencing, leaving deep gashes on her arms.

Wildlife World Zoo director Mickey Ollson said there was “no way to fix people crossing barriers”.

“They’re there for a good reason,” he said.

He said the same animal had previously attacked someone else who crossed the barrier, but not as seriously. He confirmed that Saturday’s incident was the result of “human error” and the animal would not be euthanised.

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Video of the incident showed the woman, who is in her thirties, writhing on the ground.

Eyewitness Adam Wilkerson, who took the video, told Fox News he heard someone shouting “help” and ran over.

“The jaguar has clasped its claws outside of the cage around her hand and into her flesh,” he said.

“My mom thinks of how to distract the jaguar and she grabs her water bottle and she shoves it through the cage, right near where the jaguar is.

“The jaguar lets go of the girl somewhat because the claw catches on just her sweater. At that moment, I grabbed the girl around the torso and pulled her away from the cage and it unlatches from her claw.

“The jaguar just goes after the bottle.”

The zoo said in a tweet that it was sending prayers to the woman’s family.

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