Editorial: Veto bobcat hunting bill

http://chicago.suntimes.com/editorials-opinion/7/71/666314/editorial-veto-bill-allow-bobcat-hunting-illinois

Written By Sun-Times Editorial Board Posted: 06/07/2015, 03:39pm
(AP Photo/The Wildlife Center, Alissa Mundt)

If lawmakers can’t tell the different between a saber-toothed tiger, which preyed on elephants and rhinos, and a bobcat, which eats mice and rats, it’s no wonder the Legislature passed a foolish bill to allow bobcat hunting in Illinois.

EDITORIAL

Gov. Bruce Rauner should veto the bill before lawmakers start comparing the shy, elusive bobcats to marauding dragons.

Bobcats have only recently recovered from the overhunting that put them on Illinois’ threatened species list, but they are not back in large numbers. Unfortunately, that didn’t stop the Legislature from voting to allow bobcat hunting again for the first time in 40 years.

One lawmaker during the debate compared bobcats to the fearsome saber-toothed tiger. Another lawmaker called bobcats ferocious. To hear the debate, laments the Humane Society of the United States, you wouldn’t know there’s no record of a bobcat killing a human — ever.

The bobcats, though, are at risk — of being caught in leghold traps that can cause them to suffer for hours or of dying in other painful ways.

The real reason people want to hunt bobcats is because they make good trophies and their valuable spotted pelts can be sold on the international market. That’s not a good enough reason to put the species in jeopardy again. People in other countries can make their mittens out of something else.

At first the House of Representatives voted to reject this law, but then flip-flopped and passed it narrowly. They had it right the first time.

Let’s hope Gov. Rauner knows the difference between a saber-toothed tiger and a bobcat and vetoes this bill.

Stop Trophy Hunters from Killing Bears in Florida

Petitioning Governor Rick Scott

Urgent: Stop Trophy Hunters from Killing Bears in Florida!

34,049
Supporters

Bears are facing imminent danger as the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) considers a proposal that would open a trophy hunt on Florida’s still-recovering population of black bears for the first time in over 20 years.  As a Florida resident, I have always valued the abundant and diverse wildlife that this state has to offer, and I need your help to keep Florida’s bears protected.

Florida bears were only recently removed from the endangered species list, and the majority of Floridians oppose this hunt.  The FWC doesn’t even know how many bears there are in the state – the last statewide population count was 13 years ago!

If this hunt is approved at the FWC’s June 24th meeting, hundreds of bears could be slaughtered as early as this October.  Once approved, it is also possible that the FWC will allow incredibly cruel and barbaric killing methods, including hounding — where bears are chased by packs of radio-collared dogs so that houndsmen can easily shoot bears off of tree branches, and baiting — where bears are lured by piles of doughnuts and other pastries, and shot while they’re gorging themselves.

Despite hearing from thousands of residents opposed to this trophy hunt, the FWC blatantly ignored those voices.  In fact, the FWC Commission Chair blew off the opinions of anyone who didn’t agree with him, condescendingly stating: “[t]hose people don’t know what they’re talking about… They think we’re talking about teddy bears.”  Don’t let them silence you!

Governor Rick Scott appoints the FWC wildlife commissioners, and has the power to put a stop to this misguided, scientifically indefensible trophy hunt. Florida is one of the nation’s top tourist destinations, and Governor Scott needs to know that the public doesn’t want to visit a state that promotes cruelty.

Please join me in asking Florida Governor Rick Scott to call off this hunt and show that Florida values its wildlife and the voices of its residents.

Letter to
Governor Rick Scott
I am writing to ask you to please call off the trophy hunt of Florida’s black bears.
Bears are facing imminent danger as the Florida Fish and Wildlife

Costa Rica First to ban sport hunting

As The Huffington Post reports, in December of 2012, Congress unanimously voted to ban hunting as a sport in the Latin American country. It was in 2010 that the popular initiative was proposed to Congress, with an accumulated 177,000 signatures calling for a ban on hunting.

Under the new law, those caught hunting will face up to four months in prison or fines of up to $3,000. Smaller penalties were also included in the reform for hunters who steal wild animals or keep them as pets. Among Costa Rica’s most treasured and sought-after species are jaguars, pumas, and sea turtles; but thanks to the new legislation, they are now much safer.

Credit: www.whitewolfpack.com

With a population of 4.5 million people and an ecosystem that boasts more than 500,000 species, the diversity of Costa Rica is what attracts tourists from all over the world. In fact, tourism is the country’s number one industry.

Said environmental activist Diego Marin, who campaigned for the reform, to local radio:

“We’re not just hoping to save the animals but we’re hoping to save the country’s economy, because if we destroy the wildlife there, tourists are not going to come anymore.”

However, not all foreigners are interested in catching some waves or taking a leisurely stroll through the country’s gorgeous parks. Some are most interested in capturing exotic felines to sell on the black market, or are in pursuit of securing rare and colorful parrots to sell as pets elsewhere.

It is to be noted that there are limits on the ban. The legislation does not apply to hunting by some indigenous groups for survival, or to scientific research.

Still, as a very environmentally conscious country, Costa Rica’s initiative will likely boost conservation efforts and maintain its diversity for years to come.

“Costa Ricans think of themselves as “people who are in a very good relation with the environment,” said Alonso Villalobos, a political scientist at the University of Costa Rica. “And in that way, we have made a lot of progress. We have a stronger environmental consciousness.”

What are your thoughts on this news? Share your comments below. 


This article (Costa Rica Becomes The FIRST Nation To Ban Hunting!) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and TrueActivist.com.

Rhinos In Mozambique Likely Extinct, Expert Says; Elephants May Be Next

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/02/rhinos-mozambique-extinct_n_3200840.html

JOHANNESBURG — Mozambique’s rhinoceros population was wiped out more than a century ago by big game hunters. Reconstituted several years ago, the beasts again are on the brink of vanishing from the country by poachers seeking their horns for sale in Asia.

A leading expert told The Associated Press that the last rhino in the southern African nation has been killed. The warden of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park – the only place where the horned behemoths lived in Mozambique – also says poachers have wiped out the rhinos. Mozambique’s conservation director believes a few may remain.

Elephants also could vanish in Mozambique soon, the warden of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, Antonio Abacar, told AP. He said game rangers have been aiding poachers, and 30 of the park’s 100 rangers will appear in court soon.

“We caught some of them red-handed while directing poachers to a rhino area,” Abacar said.

A game ranger arrested for helping poachers in Mozambique’s northern Niassa Game Reserve said on Mozambican Television TVM last week that he was paid 2,500 meticais (about $80) to direct poachers to areas with elephants and rhinos. Game rangers are paid between 2,000 and 3,000 meticais ($64 to $96) a month.

While guilty rangers will lose their jobs, the courts serve as little deterrent to the poachers: killing wildlife and trading in illegal rhino horn and elephant tusks are only misdemeanors in Mozambique.

“Their legal system is far from adequate and an individual found guilty is given a slap on the wrist and then they say `OK. Give me my horn back,'” said Michael H. Knight, chairman of the African Rhino Specialist Group of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Species Survival Commission.

A meeting of the group in February reported there might, possibly, be one white rhino left in Mozambique and no black rhinos at all, Knight said.

According to Abacar: “We have already announced the extinction of the rhino population in Limpopo National Park.”

But Bartolomeu Soto, director of Mozambique’s transfrontier conservation unit, told the AP, “We believe we still have rhinos, though we don’t know how many.”

Mozambican news reports have said the last 15 rhinos in the park were slaughtered in the past month, but park officials said those reports were wrong. Soto said the misunderstanding had arisen over Abacar’s statement to journalists that he had not seen a rhino in the three months since he was put in charge of the large park.

The only official figure available for rhino deaths is that 17 of their carcasses were found in the park in 2010, Soto said. He said officials believe poaching must be taking place because rhino horn and elephant tusks carried by Asian smugglers are regularly seized at Mozambique’s ports, although at least some of the contraband could be from animals killed by Mozambican poachers in neighboring South Africa. This week a person was arrested at the airport of the capital, Maputo, in possession of nine rhino horns, Soto said.

The price of rhino horn has overtaken the price of gold as demand has burgeoned in Asian countries, mainly China and Vietnam, where consumers wrongly believe that the horn – made of the same substance as fingernails – has powerful healing properties. Chinese traditional medicine prescribes it for everything from typhoid, infant convulsions and fever to an antidote for poison and to relieve arthritis and cure possessions by the devil. Syndicates from Vietnam, China, South Korea and Thailand have been identified as being involved in the trafficking.

Knight said rhinos first vanished from Mozambique around the turn of the last century, in the age of the big white hunters, when the animals also nearly disappeared in South Africa, now home to 90 percent of Africa’s estimated 20,000 white rhinos and 4,880 black rhinos.

In 2002, leaders of Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe agreed to establish a transfrontier park straddling their borders and covering some 35,000 square kilometers (13,514 square miles) of the best established wildlife areas in southern Africa with South Africa’s famed Kruger National Park and Zimbabwe’s Gonarezhou National Park. It is funded by several international wildlife organizations and the European Union.

Soto said some 5,000 animals of various species were moved from South Africa to Mozambique, including the first 12 rhinos to roam in Mozambique in a century.

In 2006, South Africa removed some 50 kilometers (30 miles) of fence between Kruger and Limpopo National Park. Soto said the entire 200 kilometers (125 miles) of fence was not removed because Mozambique still is working to resettle some 6,000 people living in the park.

A second phase was to include two other Mozambican parks, allowing the transfrontier park to extend over 100,000 square kilometers (39,000 square miles) that would make it “the world’s largest animal kingdom,” according to the South African Peace Parks Foundation.

Those plans now are in danger, as is the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park. Knight said South African officials are even discussing rebuilding their fence with Mozambique.

South African officials say their country has lost 273 rhinos to poachers so far this year. They say most have been killed by Mozambicans who cross into Kruger Park. Poachers killed 668 rhinos in South Africa last year.

The slaughter continues with the number of deaths increasing even though South Africa has declared war on rhino poachers and for two years has deployed soldiers and police in Kruger, a vast park which is the size of Israel.

Soto said Mozambique’s government has been working since 2009 on a comprehensive reform of environmental laws involving consultations with all stakeholders. He said he expects the draft legislation to be presented to parliament soon. It includes criminalizing the shooting of wildlife and would impose mandatory prison sentences on offenders.

But it will come too late to save the last of the rhinos in Mozambique.

___

Associated Press writer Emmanuel Camillo contributed to this report from Maputo, Mozambique.

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World Bank approves grant to boost hunting in Mozambique

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Bloomberg/Sunday Times
May 27, 2015

The World Bank’s International Development Association approved a $40 million grant to Mozambique to fund conservation efforts, including strengthening the country’s program of selling the rights to hunt wild animals.

The IDA approved the grant in November 2014 for a project known as MozBio, run by the Mozambican government, which aims to improve revenue collection from tourism in conservation areas. Of the funds, $700,000 is earmarked to help develop sport hunting in the southern African country.

“Hunting, when properly regulated and when revenues are distributed to communities in and around parks, is an important financing tool for governments working on the sustainable management of their parks and natural assets,” Madji Seck, a World Bank spokeswoman in Washington, said.

“Hunting blocks in Mozambique have played the role of protected areas, hosting important fauna and flora that are under very high threat in unprotected zones.”

A study released this week showing that Mozambique’s elephant population has dropped by almost half in five years because of rampant poaching, including in national parks, underscores the urgent need for the country to upgrade its conservation network.

Mozambique estimates its elephant population has dwindled to 10,300 from just over 20,000, the Wildlife Conservation Society said in a statement Tuesday.

Mozambique’s conservation areas consist of seven National Parks, 10 National Reserves, 17 controlled hunting areas and two Community Reserves, according to a World Bank document outlining the funding project. While revenue from tourism to the parks trebled to $3 million in 2013 from the previous year, that’s not enough to finance the areas, according to the bank.

Attempts to stimulate income from tourism by allocating part of the funding to developing hunting could backfire, according to critics of the practice.

“Nothing will turn away tourists faster than knowing that the beautiful and majestic animals they have come to watch might be met with a bullet,” Ashley Fruno, a spokeswoman for animal rights group PETA, said.

Victory! Another Major Airline Bans Hunting Trophies

by  May 19, 2015

http://www.care2.com/causes/victory-another-major-airline-bans-hunting-trophies.html#ixzz3b4fUmKGx

Victory! Another Major Airline Bans Hunting Trophies
In more good news for wildlife, things just got a even harder for sport hunters looking for a way to transport their trophies home.

Emirates Airlines, the world’s largest international airline, just announced that hunting trophies will no longer be allowed and that the change would be effective immediately.

In a statement, the airline said the ban will be applied to all trophies, whether or not they’re from species protected by Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and it will include trophies from species that aren’t currently threatened with extinction.

It further said, “This decision is to support international governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, that are managing wildlife population towards sustaining the task to eliminate illegal trade and transportation of hunting trophies worldwide and saving wildlife heritage.”

The announcement comes just weeks after South American Airlines (SAA) announced it would no longer transport trophies from rhinos, elephants, lions and tigers in an effort to protect wildlife being targeted by sport hunters and the illegal wildlife trade.

Tim Clyde-Smith, a representative for SAA, told the media that at the time that, “The vast majority of tourists visit Africa in particular to witness the wonderful wildlife that remains. We consider it our duty to work to ensure this is preserved for future generations and that we deter activity that puts this wonderful resource in danger.”

Despite conservation efforts, Africa’s iconic wildlife continues to be targeted at an alarming rate by poaching and sport hunting that has put the future survival of a number of species in jeopardy.

Now it won’t matter whether or not hunters have the required permits, since they’re not getting their trophies on flights from either of these airlines. Not only does this send a message that sport hunting isn’t supporting conservation, but it will make it harder for anyone trying to move illegal items by claiming they’re from legal hunts.

Conservationists are cheering the latest change in policy from Emirates Airlines and hope other companies will follow the ethical lead these two airlines have set.

“This is a bold move by the world’s biggest international carrier,” said Dr. Elsayed Mohamed, Middle East Regional Director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare. “Emirates have taken an important and responsible step in showing they are serious about wildlife conservation. We value their decision and look forward to other national airlines in the Gulf region to follow their lead.”

Delta Airlines, which TakePart previously reported is the only carrier based in the U.S. with direct flights to South Africa, is also being pushed to make a similar change in policy, but so far the airline hasn’t budged.

Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/victory-another-major-airline-bans-hunting-trophies.html#ixzz3b4e0J9Z5

Sadistic hunters vie to be Extreme Huntress champ

EXCLUSIVE: The next Rebecca Francis? ‘Sadistic’ hunters vie to be Extreme Huntress champ

THESE are the women animal rights campaigners have branded “sadistic” and “unhinged”.

PUBLISHED: 19:30, Mon, May 18, 2015 | UPDATED: 08:14, Tue, May 19, 2015


Jodi Schmideder, Rebecca Francis and Jen The Archer CordaroIG

Rebecca Francis, centre, has received death threats since the show


They are in the running to be finalists in the American television female hunting competition Extreme Huntress, which has seen previous winners receive death threats and worldwide hate.

This year’s fearless competitors have admitted they are anxious about public perception, but remain defiant in their “right” to kill animals which includes zebras, lionesses, antelopes and bears.

**WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT PICTURES TO FOLLOW**

Rebecca Francis, the competition winner in 2010, has been repeatedly slammed by comedian and animal lover Ricky Gervais in recent months after a photograph emerged of her lying with a giraffe she had killed, beaming with happiness.

After angry animal rights activists called for her head, she refused to accept she had done anything wrong.

This year’s competitors are equally as unabashed as they fight for votes to be selected into the finals of what is regarded one of the most prestigious titles a huntress can achieve.

Jen “The Archer” Cordaro is no stranger to hate after receiving death threats for teaching children to hunt with the campaign #Bringakidhunting.

Activists even turned up at her house and threatened to murder her first born when she starts a family.

Lorraine LawrenceIG

One of the finalists Lorraine Lawrence with a lioness

Charisa ArgysIG

Contestant Charisa Argys says she believes in living with integrity and morals

I know putting myself out there could potentially attract abuse yes, but that’s the risk I am willing to take

Jodi Schmideder

Thousands of people have signed a petition to “stop” the PhD student, following graphic images of her slicing sows and posing with dead boars.

She told Express.co.uk: “Threats on someone’s life is never acceptable.”

But nothing will stop the city-born bow hunter who started shooting 18 months ago with an aim to be self-sufficient and live “off-grid” within ten years.

She added: “If anything, it makes me want to keep fighting the good fight.”

She sympathised with the abuse Ms Francis is attracting, adding she too would kill endangered and wild animals including zebras, lions or giraffes.

She said: “If the need was there for culling or management, absolutely.

Tanya Chegwidden with a zebraIG

South African contestant Tanya Chegwidden has killed game from zebra, impala, and waterbuck

Jodi SchmidederIG

Jodi Schmideder said some contestants were trophy hunters

“There are management reasons to hunt all types of animals, including endangered animals or animals that humans put at the top of their cute and fuzzy hierarchy.”

But charity People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) accused the Extreme Huntress semi-finalists of “perpetuating violence”.

Associate director Elisa Allen said: “It has been a long time since humans truly needed to hunt in order to survive – today, people who get their kicks from hunting and killing defenceless animals are either sadists or suffering from a psychological break.

“Common decency says that we should protect the most vulnerable and helpless in society, not destroy them – much less derive “pleasure” from doing so.

“When cruelty is glorified and portrayed as a ‘hobby’, it debases society and perpetuates violence.

“Hunting of any kind has no place in modern society, and it should have ended years ago, along with cockfighting, bear-baiting and dogfighting.”

Tanya Chegwidden, top left, Jessica Amoss, right, and Taylor ReisbeckIG

Tanya Chegwidden, top left, Jessica Amoss, right, and Taylor Reisbeck

Miss Cordaro is joined by 19 other female hunters in the competition, including mother-of-one Michelle Slyder, 41, from Montana in America.

The engineer told Express.co.uk: “Nothing that happens to me personally could make me waiver in my passion for hunting. It’s not about what others think, it’s just who I am, how I was raised, and a part of me.

“I can’t and won’t ever change that. Every person has a right to their opinion and I can handle what comes my way. I also will protect my right, which is why I would never back down from someone engaging in that manner.”

Meanwhile Jodi Schmideder, 24, who started hunting before she could walk, aged two, admitted some contestants are trophy hunters.

“For some, that is what hunting is to them. I on the other hand, would love to luck out sometimes and bag a big game animal, however, it is not what hunting is to me.

Jen The Archer CordaroIG

Hunter Jen The Archer Cordaro said no one deserves death threats

Michelle Slyder with a dead wild goatIG

Michelle Slyder hunts for meat and wouldn’t kill endangered animals

“When you do shoot an animal, and you decide to post pictures for the general public to view, you should know not everyone will be ok with it. I don’t wish upon anyone to receive death threats towards them, it is extreme and yes, scary. However, every picture or post you are debating to show could potentially put you in a bad position, and precaution should be taken.

“I know putting myself out there could potentially attract abuse yes, but that’s the risk I am willing to take.”

Votes are being cast across the world to decide who is the Extreme Huntress of 2016.

The 20 semi-finalists will be reduced to six for the television finals. There they will go to a Texan ranch to compete head-to-head in outdoor skills and fitness challenges to decide who is the Extreme Huntress 2016.

Angry animal lovers claim Extreme Huntress has “nothing to do with conservation”, with one calling the television programme “a stain on the world”.

But producers are brazen in their fight back, claiming on social media “ignorance is bliss”.

Airline Takes On Big Game Hunters to Protect Rhinos, Lions, and Elephants

Africa’s largest airline bans the shipment of endangered animal trophies on its flights.


An elephant head with ivory tusks and other hunting trophies in a taxidermy store in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. (Photo: Robert Caputo/Getty Images)

April 30, 2015

Taylor Hill is TakePart’s associate environment and wildlife editor.

It just got harder for big game hunters to bring endangered animal trophies back home from South Africa to hang on their wall.

That’s because South African Airways, the continent’s largest airline, has banned the transport of endangered rhinos, elephants, and lions aboard its passenger and cargo flights.

“SAA will no longer support game hunters by carrying their trophies back to their country of origin,” SAA country manager Tim Clyde-Smith told the South African media on Wednesday. “The vast majority of tourists visit Africa in particular to witness the wonderful wildlife that remains. We consider it our duty to work to ensure this is preserved for future generations and that we deter activity that puts this wonderful resource in danger.”

The news broke April 25, when the Professional Hunters Association of South Africa posted internal documents from SAA revealing its embargo plans. The airline then issued a statement announcing that the embargo had gone into effect April 21 on all of its flights. No exceptions will be made, even if the hunter holds a valid permit “issued by the relevant authorities” to transport the animal, the airline said.

SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali said in an email that a recent incident influenced the airline to establish the embargo. “Early in April 2015, a shipment lodged as machinery spare parts was discovered in Australia whilst in transit to Kuala Lumpur. The shipment contained elephant tusks and was seized. We were issued with a notice of seizure.”

“We recognize that this decision could impact several stakeholders,” Tlali added. “SAA Cargo remains committed to playing a significant role in curbing the illegal transportation of all animal species while positively contributing to national and international conservation efforts.”

Conservation groups are touting the move as a step in the right direction, helping curb the hunting of Africa’s endangered animals and limiting options for illegal wildlife traffickers who might otherwise transport wildlife products under the guise that the goods were obtained via legal hunts.

“We see this as a bold and positive move on South African Airways’ part to limit human-induced mortalities,” said African Wildlife Foundation spokesperson Kathleen Garrigan. “It’s especially impactful given that [SAA] services a major sport-hunting destination.”

With SAA taking the first step, the question is whether other international airlines will follow suit. Delta Airlines, the only U.S.-based airline with direct flights to South Africa, did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding SAA’s embargo.

If other airlines jump on board, trophy hunting might not be so appealing to big game hunters if they can’t bring evidence of their kills home. American hunters are already facing restrictions on what African animals they can go after.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials banned ivory trophy imports from Tanzania and Zimbabwe last year and are considering listing the African elephant as an endangered species—which would effectively ban all ivory trophy and elephant skin imports from legal hunts.

“This move will likely not deter hunters from hunting, but it may deter them from choosing South Africa as a destination for sport hunting,” Garrigan said.

_________________________

Also see:  With conditions: Carolinas regulators approve first federal permits for offshore oil surveys

http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/2015/05/04/with-conditions-carolinas-regulators-approve-first-federal-permits-for-offshore/

Petition: Demand an End to Trophy Hunting!

DEMAND AN END TO TROPHY HUNTING WILD ANIMALS

  • author: sophie m
  • target: KENDALL JONES (facebook)
  • signatures: 6,738

6,738

7,000

we’ve got 6,738 signatures, help us get to 7,000

This girl posts loads of photos of herself with endangered animals that she kills and shows them off on facebook. She is proud that she hunts defenseless wild animals to hang on her wall. This needs to stop now and we need to make a point for other poachers out there!

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