Burning Ivory to Spread the Message – Hard Hitting New Videos Released

http://www.all-creatures.org/articles/ar-burning-ivory.html

An Animal Rights Article from All-Creatures.org

FROM

Joyce Tischler, founder and general counsel, Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) as posted on Animal Blawg
May 2016

On April 30, 2016, Kenya burned 105 tons of ivory, along with over one ton of rhino horns and the confiscated skins of thousands of other wild animals in a strong public statement of support and respect for its native wildlife.

It’s eerie to watch these videos and realize that each pair of tusks belonged to someone (not something) who was highly intelligent and social, and who lived in an intricate society where they form lifelong familial bonds, cooperate to solve problems and teach their children the essential skills needed to survive in the wild.

burning ivory
Image by Tim Gorski

African elephants are running out of time. Homo sapiens, a species that by most accounts is overpopulating the planet, is brutally killing elephants at the rate of 96 per day. By some estimates, African elephants will be extinct in approximately one decade. Every elephant death is disturbing and the thought of no more wild elephants is beyond comprehension. The inane reason we are killing them is to seize their tusks—ivory, a coveted product that is valued by humans more highly than live elephants. You may already know that. So, here’s some promising news.

ivory trinkets

On April 30, 2016, Kenya burned 105 tons of ivory, along with over one ton of rhino horns and the confiscated skins of thousands of other wild animals in a strong public statement of support and respect for its native wildlife. This burning has been captured on video by Tim Gorski, a documentary filmmaker who is currently working on the elephant issue.

burning ivory
Image by Tim Gorski

It’s eerie to watch these videos and realize that each pair of tusks belonged to someone (not something) who was highly intelligent and social, and who lived in an intricate society where they form lifelong familial bonds, cooperate to solve problems and teach their children the essential skills needed to survive in the wild. Elephants are one of the most extraordinary species ever to grace this planet; they deserve no less than to be allowed to live out their natural lives with their herds in their homelands.

Please take a look at one or more of the videos, and listen to the powerful words of those fighting on the ground to protect elephants:

Kenya Ivory Burn 2016
Visit Tim Gorski’s Facebook page
Visit Tim’s website, Rattle The Cage Productions

And, when you’re done, please learn more about the issue; get involved. Stop the slaughter.

Stiffer penalties needed for poaching wolves

http://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/stiffer-penalties-needed-for-poaching-wolves/

Poaching may be limiting progress toward wolf recovery goals.

WOLVES are important native predators and vital pieces of our wildlife heritage. The news [“Four new wolf packs recorded in state,” Local News, March 14] that Washington is now home to at least 90 wolves, 18 packs and eight breeding pairs is exciting.

However, eight years after wolves were first confirmed back in the North Cascades, there are only three wolf packs in that designated recovery area. There remain no confirmed wolf packs in the Cascades south of Interstate 90 or in Western Washington. In order to meet wolf-recovery goals agreed upon under the Washington Wolf Conservation and Management Plan (Wolf Plan), and for the long term viability of the species in our state, it’s important that wolves recolonize the high-quality habitat in the Olympic Peninsula and Washington’s South Cascades.

Wolves are protected by both state and federal endangered-species laws in Washington. Yet wolf poaching has occurred with tragic frequency in recent years. Several members of the Methow Valley’s Lookout Pack were poached in 2010. A wolf from the Smackout Pack was poached in late 2013. The 2014 poaching of a Kittitas County breeding female wolf is still unprosecuted. In September 2015, shamefully minimal fines were announced for a Whitman County wolf poacher. Also in 2015, investigators announced that a lone wolf killed by a vehicle on I-90 west of Snoqualmie Pass had previously been shot. Numerous other unconfirmed rumors of wolf poaching reach us each year, and some are most certainly true.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s a bull elk or a wolf, poaching is never acceptable.

Sea Shepherd Intercepts Fleet of Illegal Fishing Vessels in the Indian Ocean – High Seas Pursuit Now Underway. .

– High Seas Pursuit Now Underway.

The Sea Shepherd ship, under the command of Captain Siddharth Chakravarty, has now engaged in a pursuit of on…Show more

Sea Shepherd Global - Sea Shepherd Intercepts Fleet of Illegal Fishing Vessels in the Indian Ocean preview image

Sea Shepherd Global – Sea Shepherd Intercepts Fleet of Illegal Fishing Vessels in the Indian Ocean

High Seas Pursuit Now Underway The Fu Yuan Yu 076, currently on the run from the Steve Irwin. Photo: Tim Watters Sea Shepherd’s

 

first all-female anti-poaching unit risking their lives to protect big cats, rhinos and elephants from men with guns

The REAL lionesses of Africa: Stunning ‘Black Mambas’ are first all-female anti-poaching unit risking their lives to protect big cats, rhinos and elephants from men with guns

  • WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
  • Black Mambas is all female, anti-poaching group working in Balule reserve
  • They free animals from snares and radio in poachers’ locations to rangers
  • Women’s lives are constantly at risk from poachers, animals they protect
  • Poaching in Balule reduced by 75 per cent since Mambas formed in 2013 

They are in fact the Black Mambas, an all female anti-poaching unit risking their own lives to protect the endangered animals being hunted for their horns, fur and meat. 

On their daily patrols around the Balule reserve, near Kruger National Park, they face the very real prospect of being gunned down by poachers or mauled to death by the animals they swore to protect.

Despite the dangers, and against the odds, the Mambas are winning the battle against poaching. Their presence alone has reduced poaching in Balule by 75 per cent and their methods could now be rolled out across the country.

Protectors: The all-female Black Mambas risk their lives to protect the endangered animals being targetted by poachers in the South African bush

Protectors: The all-female Black Mambas risk their lives to protect the endangered animals being targetted by poachers in the South African bush

 Winning: The Mambas (pictured), many of whom are mothers and wives, have reduced poaching in the Balule reserve, near Kruger National Park, by 75 per cent

 Winning: The Mambas (pictured), many of whom are mothers and wives, have reduced poaching in the Balule reserve, near Kruger National Park, by 75 per cent

Endangered: The Mambas' most important job is to protect the rhinos being targetted by poachers for their horns, which sell for more than cocaine on the black market (pictured, Black Mamba helping victims of rhino poaching at the Rhino Revolution Rehabilitation Centre)

Endangered: The Mambas’ most important job is to protect the rhinos being targetted by poachers for their horns, which sell for more than cocaine on the black market (pictured, Black Mamba helping victims of rhino poaching at the Rhino Revolution Rehabilitation Centre)

When Siphiwe Sithole told her parents she wanted to be a Black Mamba, they feared she would be eaten by a lion.

They were right to worry. Since joining in 2014, she has had two very close encounters with the King of the Jungle.

Siphiwe, 31, said: ‘The first time was when I first started working as a Mamba. I ran from it [the lion], which was wrong. You should never run from a lion!

‘I was put on a special course which taught me how to deal with wild animals, should I ever meet them. I then met some lions for a second time and this time I knew how to behave.’

The women’s backgrounds vary, but for some who come from poor families and villages, joining the Mambas is their only chance at a well paying job. Some even become the bread winners in the family.

Day-to-day duties of the 26 strong Mamba team include freeing animals trapped by barb wire snares, and patrolling the 400 square km Balule reserve looking for the slain carcasses of endangered rhinos.

Poachers killed at least 1,215 rhinos in 2014 – up from just 13 in 2007. It was this alarming trend that inspired Siphiwe to take action.  

Responsibility: Every morning at 5am, the Mambas (pictured) begin their 12 mile long patrol of the Balule reserve to look for poachers and help the animals trapped in their snaresResponsibility: Every morning at 5am, the Mambas (pictured) begin their 12 mile long patrol of the Balule reserve to look for poachers and help the animals trapped in their snares

Patrol: On their daily treks in Balule reserve, they risk being gunned down by poachers or mauled by the animals they swore to protect

Opportunity: For many women from poor families and villages, joining the Black Mambas is their only chance at getting a well paying job

Opportunity: For many women from poor families and villages, joining the Black Mambas is their only chance at getting a well paying job

Opportunity: For many women from poor families and villages, joining the Black Mambas is their only chance at getting a well paying job

Unarmed: The Mambas, swathed in green military fatigues, look more like soldiers than they do conservationists but they do not carry guns

Unarmed: The Mambas, swathed in green military fatigues, look more like soldiers than they do conservationists but they do not carry guns

Progress: After joining the Mambas, some women even become the bread winners in their family and have to support their husbands 

Harrowing: Their patrols in the Balule reserve, near Kruger National Park, deter poachers who hunt rhinos (pictured) for their horns, which sell for more than cocaine on the black market

Harrowing: Their patrols in the Balule reserve, near Kruger National Park, deter poachers who hunt rhinos (pictured) for their horns, which sell for more than cocaine on the black market

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3458085/The-REAL-lionesses-Africa-Stunning-Black-Mambas-female-anti-poaching-unit-risking-lives-protect-big-cats-rhinos-elephants-men-guns.html#ixzz41UrC6uON
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Reward Offered in Minnesota Wolf Thrill Kill Case

Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust

The Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust are offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for poaching three wolves, whose frozen bodies were found in a ditch along a northern Minnesota highway. This reward is in addition to a $2,500 offered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

THE CASE: On Jan. 22, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources tip line received a report of three wolf carcasses found in a pile in a ditch just off the shoulder on Hwy. 8 near Floodwood, about 35 miles southeast of Grand Rapids. The wolves appeared to have snare marks on their necks and evidence indicates that they may have been killed elsewhere and dumped near the road, possibly the night before the DNR received the report. The bodies were sent to USFWS’s forensics lab in Oregon to determine how the animals were killed.

A SERIOUS CRIME: Gray wolves are listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act and cannot be killed except in defense of human life. Each violation is punishable with fines up to $25,000 and up to six months in prison.

Christine Coughlin, Minnesota state director for The HSUS, said: “There is no excuse for deliberately killing three members of a threatened species and discarding the animals like litter along the road for all to see.  The poacher responsible has callously wasted the lives of these wolves and removed them from their pack during breeding season, which can cause serious disruption in pack structure. We’re hopeful this reward will bring forward anyone with information about this heinous crime.”

Marla Wilson, acting executive director of the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust, said: “Clearly the person responsible for killing these magnificent animals has no regard for the law that helped bring them back from the brink of extinction.” The Trust has a 120-acre wildlife sanctuary in Minnesota and Wilson notes that wolves are safe and welcome there.

THE INVESTIGATORS: The case is being investigated by USFWS and the Minnesota DNR. Anyone with information about this case is urged to call the DNR’s Turn in Poachers (TIP) line at 1-800-652-9093.

PROTECTING GRAY WOLVES: After habitat destruction and widespread poisoning, trapping and trophy hunting of wolves resulted in extirpation of the species from nearly all of their range in the lower 48 states, wolves were placed on the federal Endangered Species List in 1967.  Wolves were prematurely delisted in the Great Lakes region in 2012 following pressure from special interest groups. Trophy hunters and trappers killed over 400 Minnesota wolves in the 2012-2013 hunting season—the first public hunt in the state in over four decades. A federal judge re-listed the species in 2014, but efforts to strip wolves of protection continue. The HSUS is fighting these efforts, working to ensure that wolves make a full recovery and that wildlife management decisions are based on sound science—not unfounded fear and hatred.

Media Contact: Chloe Detrick, cdetrick@humanesociety.org, 202-658-9091

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Minnesota coyote-hunting tournament is latest to draw opposition

http://www.startribune.com/minnesota-coyote-hunting-tournament-is-latest-to-draw-opposition/369533731/

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Michael Pearce, TNSAs in many places across the country, coyotes are not protected in Minnesota; with some restrictions, they can be hunted without a license.

Publicity about the second annual “Save the Birds” tournament in Marshall, which began Friday and was to run through Saturday, sparked an online petition calling for it to be banned and a heated dialogue between supporters and opposers in the town’s local newspaper.

 

As in many places across the country, coyotes are not protected in Minnesota; with some restrictions, they can be hunted without a license. The tournaments, which are legal, are popular with hunters vying for prizes and enjoying the accompanying social occasions.

But many anti-cruelty groups adamantly oppose them. They include the Minnesota-based nonprofit Howling for Wolves, which along with more than 169,000 signers of a Change.org petition posted by Scott Slocum of White Bear Lake, campaigned for the contest’s suspension, deeming it dangerous to wildlife and criticizing its competitive nature.

The protesters sent a letter to Gov. Mark Dayton, according to Howling for Wolves founder Maureen Hackett. A spokesperson for Dayton said he’s in Washington, D.C., until Monday and sent a response from Linden Zakula, Dayton’s deputy chief of staff.

 “State law provides no protection for coyotes in Minnesota; therefore, no license or permit is needed to take them, and no DNR approval is required,” Zakula said. “Our office has informed Howling for Wolves that the governor has no legal authority to prevent a coyote hunt from taking place.”

Despite their legality, the hunts are still offensive, protesters say.

http://www.startribune.com/minnesota-coyote-hunting-tournament-is-latest-to-draw-opposition/369533731/

Meanwhile:

3 dead wolves found dumped in northern Minnesota ditch; poaching suspected

The hunting of wolves is illegal in Minnesota; federal authorities are offering a reward for information.
By Star Tribune

Gary Kramer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife ServiceThe gray wolf is currently listed by the federal government as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act.

The carcasses of three wolves “frozen solid” were found dumped in a ditch along a northern Minnesota highway in what conservation officials are confident is a case of poaching, federal authorities said Thursday.

The discovery on Hwy. 8 near Floodwood, about 35 miles southeast of Grand Rapids, was reported on Jan. 22 to a state Department of Natural Resources poachers tip line, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

“The wolf carcasses were discovered in a pile in the ditch just off the shoulder of the road, as though someone had driven up and dumped them off the edge of the shoulder,” agency spokeswoman Tina Shaw said.

The gray wolf is currently listed by the federal government as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act, meaning they cannot be hunted except in defense of human life. A conviction for each violation could result in up to six months in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.

The federal agency announced a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

More: http://www.startribune.com/3-dead-wolves-found-together-in-northern-minnesota-poaching-suspected/369263491/

Birders rejoice as Oregon standoff comes to close

http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2016/02/birders_rejoice_as_oregon_stan.html#incart_story_package

With David Fry’s surrender to FBI agents Thursday morning, birders and environmentalists breathed a collective sigh of relief.

They’d grown increasingly anxious watching as the armed standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife refuge that began Jan. 2 dragged on for weeks and then for more than a month. Fry was among a group of four holdouts who dug in after the departure of most occupiers Jan. 26 and 27.

With each passing day, the standoff posed a greater threat to the spring migration that draws millions of shorebirds, waterfowl and songbirds to the 187,000-acre bird sanctuary.

“This couldn’t have ended soon enough,” said Harv Schubothe, president of the Oregon Birding Association.

Spring thaw is just around the corner, and Schubothe worried what might happen if U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service personnel couldn’t be present to direct the flow of melting water. He feared northbound swans, geese and sandhill cranes might arrive at Malheur to find dry meadows where wetlands should be. Unmanaged melt of this year’s copious snowpack could also cause flooding that might breach levies and wash out roads.

The standoff also threatened the Harney County Migratory Bird Festival, an April event that offers a major tourism boost for the county.

When the last occupier exited the refuge Thursday morning, all those threats disappeared. Their minds eased, refuge supporters turned to the formidable task of moving on and mending relationships frayed by the occupation.

“There’s a consensus that we never want this to happen again,” said Chris Gardner, who serves on the board of the nonprofit Friends of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. “We want to make sure the refuge and Burns and the Harney County community are in partnership going forward, so it doesn’t happen again.”

For Gardner’s group, the occupation came with an upside. Bird lovers and environmentalists angry about the standoff channeled their feelings into action. The Friends of Malheur grew from 40 members to more than 700 over the course of the occupation. The group took in more than $25,000 in donations.

“Our treasurer has just gotten flooded with envelopes,” Gardner said.

The 41-day standoff began when Idaho businessman Ammon Bundy led a band of militants in an unannounced seizure of the refuge headquarters. Bundy’s insurrection fizzled on Jan. 26 when he and other occupation leaders were arrested on a highway north of Burns. LaVoy Finicum, a spokesman for the occupation, died in the encounter.

Known among birders and environmentalists as the crown jewel of the national wildlife refuge system, the vast preserve surrounding Malheur Lake is a rare source of abundant water in the arid Great Basin and a crucial point along the Pacific Flyway. Its importance to migratory birds can’t be understated, Schubothe said.

“The number of different species that depend on that oasis is just astounding,” he said.

In a way, the occupation leaders had fortuitous timing. Malheur’s wetlands are relatively empty in winter, with fewer birds present save the occasional hawk, quail, raven or owl. But the refuge comes alive in the spring as hundreds of species ranging from grebes and pelicans to warblers and finches arrive to feed and breed in its wetlands.

The standoff has likely ended with enough time for refuge staff to prepare for the migration, but cleaning up the occupiers’ mess could continue for weeks or months.

In a statement Thursday, Fish and Wildlife officials said they’ll be working to “assess and repair damages.”

In addition to the big task of managing water, refuge staff have been kept from the mundane duties of checking fish screens that keep invasive carp from tightening their grip on the refuge habitat, fixing fences and getting contracts in place for the summer.

“All that stuff that goes into making a place like Malheur function optimally, that’s stuff you can’t do on the spot,” said Bob Sallinger, conservation director for the Audubon Society of Portland. “You need to be prepping throughout the year.”

Sallinger quietly visited the bird sanctuary weeks into the occupation. Hoping to avoid the flurry of protests, counter-protests and news cameras, he brought little more than his binoculars and a bird list.

“I felt it was important to see for myself,” he said.

The swans had already arrived and the first sandhill cranes were coming in. Other waterfowl will arrive soon.

Although Sallinger was alone during his visit, other birders are planning trips to Malheur now that the occupiers have left. Hundreds have answered the environmental groups’ call for volunteers to assist in the cleanup effort.

Alan Contreras, a Eugene educational administrator and avid birder who began visiting the refuge as a child, plans to be among those returning this spring.

A lifelong Oregonian whose roots in the state go back to 1871, Contreras, 60, had taken the refuge occupation personally. He resented its out-of-stater leaders, who seemed to feel they had more right to the land than he did.

“I have asked my family to place my ashes there when the time comes,” he said. “It’s that kind of place.”

–Kelly House

Texas executes suspected poacher who shot, killed game warden

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/01/28/texas-executes-suspected-poacher-who-fatally-shot-game-warden.html

This undated photo shows Texas inmate James Freeman.  (Texas Department of Criminal Justice via AP)

This undated photo shows Texas inmate James Freeman. (Texas Department of Criminal Justice via AP)

A Texas man was executed Wednesday evening for fatally shooting a game warden nine years ago during a shootout after a 90-minute chase that began when he was suspected of poaching.

He was pronounced dead at 6:30 p.m., 16 minutes after Texas prison officials began a lethal dose of pentobarbital. As the pentobarbital began taking effect, he snored about five times and coughed slightly once.

The lethal injection was the second in as many weeks in Texas, which carries out capital punishment more than any other state. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to review his case earlier this month, and no new appeals were filed in the courts to try to block the punishment.

The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles on Monday declined a clemency petition from Freeman.

Freeman was suspected of illegally hunting at night in Southeast Texas’ Wharton County when a game warden spotted him. Freeman sped away, leading authorities on a chase that reached 130 mph. It ended near a cemetery near his home in Lissie with Freeman stepping out of his pickup truck and shooting at officers.

When the March 17, 2007, shootout was over, Freeman had been shot four times and Justin Hurst, a Texas Parks and Wildlife game warden who had joined in the pursuit, was fatally wounded. It was Hurst’s 34th birthday. About 100 law enforcement officers, many of them Texas game wardens, stood outside the Huntsville prison, during the execution.

Also outside were several motorcyclists who support law enforcement, the loud revving of their bikes clearly audible as the punishment was being carried out.

The brother of the Texas slain game warden thanked the law enforcement officers for coming to Huntsville.

“Nine years ago — nine long years,” Greg Hurst said after the execution, his voice cracking with emotion as he spoke of his brother’s death.

Texas Game Warden Col. Craig Hunter, head of law enforcement for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and a witness to Freeman’s execution, said the punishment marked “a moment that many of us have been waiting for since we first heard of Justin’s death.”

Hurst was an alligator and waterfowl specialist before moving to law enforcement. A state wildlife management area where he once worked in Brazoria County and about 60 miles south of Houston now carries his name.

Freeman’s trial lawyer, Stanley Schneider, said heavy alcohol use and severe depression led the unemployed welder to try to commit “suicide by cop” in his confrontation with officers.

“It was totally senseless,” Schneider said of the fatal shooting. “It really is very sad that it happened, that two families are suffering like this.”

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice has at least eight other inmates set to die through July. Last year, 13 convicted killers were put to death in Texas, accounting for nearly half of all the 28 executions carried out nationwide.

Poaching Death of Popular Oklahoma Elk

From Oklahoma KC local news:

He was a little scruffy looking and didn’t have a majestic set of antlers,
but a very popular
Nickel Preserve bull elk with the nickname Hollywood was killed on Friday
night. He was very
laid back and kid-friendly and well known to the preserve visitors.
Poachers on late Friday or on early Saturday found the elk a few yards
off a country road
and shot it with a crossbow and a rifle. Then they took its head and one
hindquarter and left the
rest to rot.
News of the killing exploded on social media Sunday and Monday as the
Nature Conservancy
offered a $1000 reward for information leading to the conviction of those
responsible. And on Monday
the Tulsa-based NatureWorks pledged to double that reword.
The president of NatureWorks stated “Our board members are outraged by
this totally classless
act. NatureWorks hopes in matching the reward that the responsible party
will be apprehended
and prosecuted to the fullest extent.”
The $2000 comes in addition to a reward of $500 that could be offered
thru the Okla. Dept. of
Wildlife Conservation’s anonymous tip line, Operation Game Thief.
The Director of the preserve said the elk’s small rack and scruffy look
may have kept him
safe for a time.
The Nature Conservancy’s 17,000 acre Nickel Preserve, in the Cookson
Hills NE of Tahlequah, Okla.,
is home to a herd of about 50 elk and a group of five bulls and 15 cows
were transplanted to the
preserve in 2005 to re-establish the herd in the Ozarks.
The bull elk was nicknamed Hollywood because this 8 to 9 year old bull
had taken up residence
near the county road on the preserve and was a regular feature of social
media posts from nearly
everyone who came to the preserve. He seldom ever left the preserve.
The old bull was indeed a good one for people who wanted to get close to
him.
A preserve visitor states “We called him Lawrence Elk.” She saw the elk
for the first time last
year and since then, she and her daughters have visited the preserve one or
twice a month.
She added “There have been many times I pulled up and he was within 4
yards of my car,
and he would just lie down and chew his cud. I think he saw cars so much
he just became
accustomed to it.”

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