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Elephant Reunites With Old Trainer
As the adage goes — an elephant never forgets.After 35 years, Kristy the Asian elephant still has fond memories of her former zookeeper, Peter Adamson. He was Kristy’s trainer in the early ’70s and ’80s, when she lived at a zoo in Scotland that is now closed.
The pair reunited at the Neunkircher Zoo in Germany while Adamson was visiting friends in Germany.
He found out Kristy was still alive at 52 years old and still healthy. The average lifespan for Asian elephants is 48 years.
There should be no doubt in how fiendish an act hunting can be. Nonetheless, many people find their cup of tea in the ruthless “sport.” Just recently, CEO of Jimmy John’s, Jimmy John Liautaud’s hunting obsession was exposed on Twitter, and a new hashtag has been making its rounds on the internet reading, #BoycottJimmyJohns. Read on to know more about ‘Boycott Jimmy Johns’ hashtag that went viral on Twitter.
‘Boycott Jimmy Johns’ Trends After CEO’s Hunting Obsession Exposed
The CEO of the gourmet sandwich chain, Jimmy John Liautaud, has a hunting obsession and the fact is quite well documented. Years back, a website allegedly revealed the CEO’s images with him posing with killed “trophy” animals like a leopard and an elephant.
More recently, Twitter user Yossarian317 posted a macabre image which features the sandwich chain’s CEO posing with two thumbs up, sitting on the corpse of a huge elephant he allegedly hunted and killed. The tweet garnered some 28k re-tweets and 22k likes.
Twitter user Yossarian317 tweeted the post with the caption:
“Owner of Jimmy Johns celebrating the killing of a beautiful animal. Remember next time you want a sub. Please retweet!”
And within a blink of an eye, twitter outpoured their aghast and anger on the image with comments flooding in. A user wrote:
“Despicable, unfathomable, disgusting. The owner of @jimmyjohns. Sorry about your tiny penis, Jim. I’m sure glad there’s lots and lots of other sandwich places.”
Another user said: “Will never go to Jimmy Johns again!”
“Do we start a #BoycottJimmyJohns trend??,” added another user.
How Can Killing be Fun?
Hunting as a sport is unfortunately still enjoyed by many. Some hunting instances take place on private enclosed lands where enforcing the law can be difficult. Hunters reportedly pay to kill native and exotic species in what it is called a “canned hunt.” Do you find anything exciting or sporty in succumbing animals to death in enclosed lands where they can’t escape? I don’t.
Animal rights activist groups like PETA are encouraging people to boycott Jimmy Johns, like the trending hashtag, and are referring to sandwich shops like Subway, which does not support trophy hunting. What do you think? Going vegan is surely an all-in-one boycott to every single animal abuse happening on earth. Let me know your views in the comments.
Officials at Kruger National Park in South Africa said a suspected rhino poacher was killed by an elephant and his remains eaten by lions. Pictured here, an elephant in the park in 2016.
A suspected rhino poacher was killed by an elephant and his remains likely eaten by a pride of lions, park officials in South Africa said.
Kruger National Park rangers received a call last week from the family of the suspected poacher, the park said in a statement issued Friday. According to the family, accomplices of their relative said he was killed by an elephant on Tuesday, while they were in the park to poach rhinos.
The elephant attacked “suddenly,” police Brig. Leonard Hlathi told South African news website TimesLive. Hlathi said the man’s accomplices claimed to have carried his body to a road before leaving the park.
Rangers began search efforts to find the man’s remains and bring the family closure but could not locate a body.
“Indications found at the scene suggested that a pride of lions had devoured the remains leaving only a human skull and a pair of pants,” the statement reads. The remains were found in the Crocodile Bridge section of the park.
Observers were quick to point out the apparent irony. “It’s the Circle of life,” one commentatorquipped on Twitter.
Glenn Phillips, managing executive of the park, issued his condolences to the deceased’s family. “Entering Kruger National Park illegally and on foot is not wise, it holds many dangers and this incident is evidence of that,” Phillips said in the statement.
Police are investigating the incident, and the other four suspected poachers have been arrested and will appear in court, according to the statement.
It’s not the first time animals have killed a suspected poacher in South Africa. Last year, one was attacked and eaten by a pride of lions in Limpopo province, police said.
The number of rhinos poached in South Africa has trended down since 2014, but demand for the animal’s horn, nonetheless, remains strong, Reuters reports. More than 500 rhinos were poached for their horns in the first eight months of last year.
Kruger National Park, South Africa’s largest game reserve, covers thousands of square miles along the country’s northeastern border. As of late last year, the park had some 5,000 rhinos, down from around 9,000 in 2014, according to government estimates cited by Reuters. Poaching and drought have both contributed to the decrease.
Last year, South African Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa called rhino poaching “a national priority crime.” In a statement, she said that more than 500 alleged poachers and traffickers were arrested in 2017, with the majority of arrests taking place inside or around Kruger National Park.
Speaking from her apartment in Brooklyn, New York, Nuwer explained how superstitious beliefs in China and Southeast Asia are a driving force of the trade; how wildlife trafficking needs to be tackled by law enforcement, not conservationists; and how she disguised herself as a prostitute to go undercover at a tiger farm in Laos.
The global wildlife trafficking trade is worth an estimated $7 to $23 billion. Who runs it? Where are the hotspots? Who profits? What are the most affected animals?
The most obviously affected animals are the big, charismatic megafauna, like rhinos, elephants, tigers, and even bears. In reality, though, we’re talking about millions of individual animals of thousands of species. It spans poaching for jewelry, pets, traditional medicines, trophies, or wild meat, which some cultures consider a luxury item. This is a global trade. However, much of the demand for illegal wildlife products is in Asia, especially in China and Vietnam. That’s predominantly because wealth in those places has been increasing over the past decades, so people who previously could not afford things like ivory jewelry or rhino horn carvings now can do so. There’s more demand than there is supply.
There’s a misconception, especially in the media, that there are these Pablo Escobar-like kingpins controlling everything. While there is some evidence that a few people like that do exist, much of this illegal trade is made up of disorganized, opportunistic criminals. The guy in Zimbabwe killing an elephant and running its tusks to the nearby village won’t know the guy in the town, who then sells those tusks to the corrupt airport official who, in turn, doesn’t know who exactly the tusks are going to in Malaysia or Hong Kong.
That’s one of the reasons that it’s so hard to tackle this thing. It’s not like you can just knock out a couple of big guys at the top and you’ve solved it. Even when you do make arrests of so-called kingpins, they’re oftentimes readily replaced by their colleagues.
Viral bear video shows dark side of filming animals with drones
Most of us could draw an elephant or a rhino. But fewer could say what a pangolin looks like. Introduce us to this shy animal and explain why it is so highly prized that it now faces possible extinction.
Pangolins are definitely my new favorite animal since writing this book. They are better known here in the U.S. and the U.K. as scaly anteaters, which is funny because they’re not that closely related to anteaters. They’re more closely related to cats and dogs. They look like walking pinecones with feet, or tiny, odd-looking dragons.
There are four species of pangolins in Asia and four in Africa. Unfortunately, because they look so strange, people tend to attribute magical or medicinal properties to them. Traditional societies all over the world have different uses for pangolins, especially their scales. The biggest source of demand is traditional Chinese medicine, a version of which is also practiced in Vietnam. Their scales are boiled, dried, then ground up into a powder and served to women who are having trouble lactating, for example. In Vietnam their meat is also considered a delicacy. You call up a wild meat restaurant in advance and then it will either be prepared for you, or its throat will be slit on the spot.
Tigers worldwide are also facing particularly vexing challenges. Give us a picture of the illegal trade and the ancient superstitions, often driven by male sexual insecurity, that fuel it. Is there enough being done to combat these primitive beliefs?
Definitely not! There are an estimated 4,000 tigers left in the wild today. There’s many more than that in captivity. When I say captivity, I mean in people’s backyards in the U.S. and elsewhere, which is a completely different issue—and then on so-called tiger farms in China and Southeast Asia. The tigers are bred, then slaughtered for their bones, meat, fur, teeth, and claws. Particularly sought after are the penises and bones, which are soaked in an awful-tasting rice wine and served, usually to men. They’re supposed to imbue men with the prowess and sexual energy of the tiger.
The Chinese have been really good about making a show of shutting down the ivory trade recently, but other than that there’s nothing going on to combat the illegal wildlife trade. President Xi has been cutting back on corruption, which means closing wild meat restaurants. But there’s no re-education campaign to discourage tiger use. In fact, investigations by conservation groups show that government officials are some of the most common purchasers of tiger bone wine in China and other Asian countries. They have no intention of closing this down.
WHY ELEPHANTS MAY GO EXTINCT IN YOUR LIFETIMENearly a hundred elephants are slaughtered each day in the wild, most for their ivory tusks. This killing of elephants by humans could wipe out the animals in the wild within a generation.
You visited a tiger farm in the Golden Triangle Economic Zone, in Laos, disguised as a prostitute. Tell us about that story and whether farms could be a solution to tiger trafficking.
[Laughs] I was quite nervous about visiting this place. It’s supposed to be a hotbed of crime, drugs, prostitution and yes, illegal wildlife trade. I had spoken with a woman named Debbie Banks, an excellent wildlife investigator working at the Environmental Investigation Agency in London, and she told me the only people who go there who are not Chinese, Vietnamese, or Thai are Russian or Ukrainian prostitutes, or else backpackers. I thought, okay, the former sounds a little bit more fun and I own some scanty clothes anyway, so I’ll go with that. I brought a friend and my husband from New York because I was nervous about going by myself. We wore ridiculous clothes and nobody seemed to notice or care about us, which was great. We could browse through these shops and look at huge quantities of ivory, rhino horn, and tiger products openly for sale, and we dropped by the Kings Romans casino where ivory and rhino horn were also openly displayed. We visited the tiger farm on the premises, where I was told clients can essentially go to shop for what animal they want to have for dinner at one of the on-site restaurants. This was an especially difficult experience for me; there were tigers pacing in small cages yowling mournfully, and a number of bears that were clearly suffering from cage-induced mania.
There’s definitely a constituency of people, especially in China and South Asian countries, who argue for what is called “sustainable use of wildlife products,” whether that’s selling ivory or raising tigers and rhinos for their body parts. But tiger farms have been closely linked with laundering of tigers illegally caught in the wild, then passed off as products. So tiger farms pose a critical threat to wild tigers. That’s not even to touch on the humane animal advocacy side of things. These animals live miserable lives.
It is estimated that 144,000 elephants were killed between 2007 and 2014 for their ivory, a drop in the overall population of 30 percent in just seven years. You attended an ivory burn in Kenya. Set the scene for us and explain the thinking behind this idea. Does it lower trafficking?
The first huge ivory burn took place in 1989. It was organized in Kenya by the paleontologist Richard Leaky. His idea was to create a spectacle that the world could not ignore. And it worked. A few months later it led to nations voting to give elephants the highest degree of international protection, which effectively banned commercial trade of ivory, which was an amazing accomplishment!
Whether the burns lower trafficking is not proven. But it’s not the primary goal of ivory burns; it’s an awareness-raising method to spread the word about the illegal wildlife trade. Another important purpose is to simply get the ivory out of circulation because a lot of the storehouses, particularly in developing countries, are notorious for leaking ivory and rhino horn out. You have 50 tons of ivory that you seize from some criminal and then a few weeks or months later that 50 tons has been reduced to 25, because of corruption. The big message is that ivory should never be traded. It has no purpose at all except for elephant tusks on elephants.
One of the many inspiring activists you met is a British woman named Jill Robinson. Tell us about her and the appalling trade in bear bile.
Jill is amazing. She was living in Hong Kong doing work on cats and dogs, when someone mentioned to her a bear farm for this bear bile trade, and her interest was piqued. She took a tour to a bear farm in mainland China and left the tour group at one point because she heard noises in the basement. She crept down these stairs to a dark room where she found cages and cages of bears in horrific condition, with open wounds. Jill had this moment of connection and wound up dedicating her life to ending bear farming for bile. Her organization, Animals Asia, has saved hundreds of bears from these farms and brought them to rehabilitation sites.
The thing about bear bile is that it’s one of the few traditional Chinese medicines that is efficacious. However, the active component, ursodeoxycholic acid, can be synthesized in a lab so you do not need bears to be put in these awful situations or kept in captivity. The problem is, users in China and Vietnam want this to be a wild, free animal, so they think they are absorbing the essence of this pure, strong thing.
At a conference in London earlier this month, it was suggested that the best way to curb wildlife trafficking, like the drugs trade, was to follow the money not, as is usual, the animal. What’s your view on this? Is enough being done to intercept these illicit funds?
That’s a great point! Definitely not enough is being done because virtually nothing is being done in terms of investigating the financial crime side of things. The problem with the illegal wildlife trade is that it’s so often seen as something in the purview of conservationists, biologists or ecologists. But that’s like giving botanists the job of tackling the cocaine and heroin trade. We need to get criminal experts involved, including money-laundering experts, because a lot of times the punishments that go with breaking wildlife laws are really weak. It’s a $100 fine for trafficking a rhino horn that might be worth $30,000! Money laundering laws would be much stronger. So I think crime is where we should be focusing. We need criminal experts, not wildlife experts, and we need to treat this like any other type of crime, not something special just because it involves wildlife.
There are bright spots in this story. Tell us about the Zakouma National Park in Chad, and what you think the future holds for trafficked animals.
The Zakouma National Park in Chad had an elephant population of around 4,000, one of the biggest herds in Central Africa, but in less than a decade that population fell to around 450. It was being absolutely hammered by Janjaweed poachers riding down from Sudan for this killing spree and taking the ivory back to sell. Everybody had resigned themselves to saying goodbye to those elephants. However, a spectacular non-profit organization called African Parks negotiated with the President of Chad to take over the park. Thanks to their efforts, poaching is virtually at zero, and the elephant population is once again growing. They’re even having new babies, which is huge!
There are other people who are giving it their all to save their countries’ wildlife. Thai Van Nguyen, the founder of Save Vietnam’s Wildlife, is a great example. He’s Vietnamese, his organization is entirely run by Vietnamese and he is the only person in Vietnam equipped to rehabilitate pangolins rescued from the illegal wildlife trade. Thai brings them back to his facility, rehabilitates them, and when they’re strong enough he and his colleagues take the pangolins to secret locations and release them.
People like Thai are buying time for the rest of us as we get our acts together and decide this is something we want to stop. And that animals are worth saving.
An aerial survey discovered bodies of 87 slaughtered elephants near a wildlife sanctuary in Botswana, Africa.
Many of the dead elephants were ripped of their tusks, and left with mutilated skulls — a sign of poaching.
Wildlife conservation organization Elephants Without Borders found the “alarming”rate of dead elephants while flying an aerial census supported by the Botswana government.
“People did warn us of an impending poaching problem and we thought we were prepared for it,” Mike Chase, director and founder, said in a statement.
The country recently disarmed its anti-poaching unit under president Mokgweetsi Masisi.
Chase told the BBC this is the largest incident of elephant poaching he’s ever seen or read about in Africa. The carcasses were found near the the Okavango Delta wildlife sanctuary, a popular tourist destination.
Poachers killed many of the elephants within the last few weeks, according to a poaching incident report obtained by NPR. Three white rhinoceroses were also killed in the same area over the past three months, according to the report.
The 2016 Great Elephant Census, which reported more than 130,000 elephants in Botswana, also revealed African savanna elephant populations were declining by 30 percent in 15 of the 18 Africa countries surveyed. A map from that report showed Botswana’s elephant population was in stable condition as neighboring Angola, Zimbabwe, and a small area of Zambia saw decreasing populations.
But, that trend could be changing, as Chase told the BBC “poachers are now turning their guns to Botswana.”
KOTA KINABALU: A juvenile male Bornean pygmy elephant has died a week after he was found with an injury on his front left leg caused by a snare trap at Ulu Segama Forest Reserve, Lahad Datu.
Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) public relations officer Siti Nur’Ain Ampuan Acheh said the five-year-old pachyderm died on the way to the Borneo Elephant Sanctuary in Kinabatangan at about 8.40am on Sunday (Sept 2).
Siti Nur’Ain said the elephant was rescued on Aug 26 after it was found with an injury on its leg caused by the trapping device.
She added that a team comprising a veterinarian and wildlife rangers was dispatched to the location to rescue the injured animal.
A South African man is facing federal charges for his role in allegedly helping a Colorado hunter illegally kill endangered elephants in Zimbabwe and offering similar services to an undercover federal agent, according to an indictment unsealed Monday in Denver.
Professional hunter Hanno van Rensburg, 44, of South Africa is facing charges of conspiracy, wire fraud and violations of the Lacey Act and Endangered Species Act, which prohibit the hunting and trade of threatened animals, including the African elephant, according to the indictment filed by the U.S. Attorney in Colorado. A warrant has been issued for van Rensburg’s arrest.
Federal prosecutors allege that in 2015, van Rensburg was paid $39,195 to help a Colorado hunter shoot an elephant outside of Zimbabwe’s Gonarezhou National Park. Van Rensburg and the Colorado hunter — who is not named in the indictment — tracked the wounded animal inside the park, the indictment states.
Van Rensburg and the Colorado hunter, according to the indictment, “agreed to pay and paid a bribe to the game scouts of between $5,000 and $8,000 so that they could shoot elephants other than the one that was first shot and wounded and kill an elephant inside Gonarezhou National Park, in violation of the Zimbabwe Parks and Wild Life Act.”
The indictment alleges that to export the elephant’s ivory, Van Rensburg conspired to tell Zimbabwean authorities that his client, the hunter from Colorado, was actually from South Africa.
“To conceal this contrivance, van Rensburg quizzed Colorado hunter on the layout of his house so that Colorado hunter could convincingly answer such questions and successfully represent himself as a South African resident,” according to the indictment.
Federal authorities also allege van Rensburg attempted to sell a similar illegal elephant hunting trip to an undercover agent with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. According to the indictment, in 2017 van Rensburg told the agent to bring around $9,000 dollars on the trip for “extras,” as in bribes.
Hunters are required to buy “tags” if they want to hunt an elephant in Zimbabwe, and van Rensburg allegedly reassured the agent that a limited number of tags was not a problem.
“But you know about Zimbabwe, how it works,” van Rensburg allegedly told the agent, according to the indictment. “If they need another tag, they get another tag. You know, that’s the negative part of it. The system is so corrupt. If they need to get it, they will get it. If the client pays the money they will find another tag. I am straightforward with you. Corruption is the rule in Africa.”
Van Rensburg did not immediately respond to requests for comment, but one of his former clients is coming to his defense.
Charlie Loan, a hunter who is unrelated to the current case, said the indictment comes as a surprise. Loan said he was part of a small group that hired Van Rensburg and his guides for a 10-day South African hunting safari in 2012.
“One of the things that we were all really impressed by was the fact that they put a lot of emphasis on conservation,” Loan told ABC News. “Conservation was key in his mind, and that went through his entire staff.”
In a new low, the Trump administration has created an advisory council dedicated exclusively to promoting the killing of imperiled wildlife species for sport.
Filled with trophy hunters and gun industry lobbyists, the International Wildlife Conservation Council now wields considerable influence over America’s international hunting policies, putting the future of vulnerable species like elephants, lions, and giraffes at grave risk.
Tell Interior President Trump and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to stop promoting international trophy hunting and immediately dismantle the IWCC.
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Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke
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Dismantle the International Wildlife Conservation Council
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President Donald Trump’s eldest son Donald Trump Jr. deserves to be deported for hunting and killing an elephant and other wildlife, animal rights activists demand.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) announced Friday it plans to put up a billboard in towns bordering Mexico features an infamous image of Trump Jr. holding a knife and the tail of an elephant he apparently shot abroad.
“Deport callous cheating opportunists now! All nations have their undesirables. Kindness welcome,” the billboard slated for El Paso and Laredo, Texas, states