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

Polar bear killed by another animal at Detroit Zoo

by Matthew BleicherMonday, February 8th 2021AA

<img src="https://komonews.com/resources/media2/16×9/full/1015/center/80/6bbfdc29-d4c5-4fb8-beaf-9f665659f791-large16x9_POLARBEARFILEDETROITZOO.png&quot; alt="Visitors to the Detroit Zoo's new Arctic Ring of Life Exhibit get an up close and personal view of a polar bear October 16, 2001 in Royal Oak, Michigan. The new 4.2 acre, $14.9 million exhibit is the largest polar bear exhibit in the world, and contains a 70-foot long viewing tunnel that runs beneath a 300,000 gallon chilled salt water pool, and other arctic wildlife such as seals, snowy owls, and arctic fox. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

Visitors to the Detroit Zoo’s new Arctic Ring of Life Exhibit get an up close and personal view of a polar bear October 16, 2001 in Royal Oak, Michigan. The new 4.2 acre, $14.9 million exhibit is the largest polar bear exhibit in the world, and contains a 70-foot long viewing tunnel that runs beneath a 300,000 gallon chilled salt water pool, and other arctic wildlife such as seals, snowy owls, and arctic fox. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)<p>{/p}

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ROYAL OAK, Mich. (WEYI) — On Monday, the Detroit Zoological Society said in a statement that a female polar bear, Anana, was killed by another polar bear.

According to the zoo, it happened during a breeding attempt. The male polar bear, Nuka, killed Anana.

“This was completely unexpected and the Detroit Zoo staff is devastated by the loss of Anana in this sudden and tragic event,” said Detroit Zoological Society Chief Life Sciences Officer Scott Carter. The zoo says the two bears lived with each other in 2020 without any issues. They had just been reintroduced last week. This was part of a nation-wide program called the “Polar Bear Species Survival Plan.” According to a statement from the Detroit Zoo, this program is “a cooperative population management and conservation program that helps ensure the sustainability of healthy captive animal populations.”

Nuka has been successful in the breeding program before. Nuka recently fathered twin cubs at the zoo.


Two Sumatran tigers escape Indonesian zoo, one shot dead

AFP  6 hrs ago

Two Sumatran tigers escape Indonesian zoo, one shot dead (msn.com)

Fox News cancels Lou Dobbs’ programTwo Sumatran tigers escape Indonesian zoo, one shot dead

A critically endangered Sumatran tiger was shot dead on Saturday while another is still on the loose after they escaped from a zoo on Borneo island, leaving a zookeeper dead, an official said.a zebra standing on top of a tiger: Sumatran tigers are considered critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, with fewer than 400 believed to remain in the wild© JUSTIN SULLIVAN Sumatran tigers are considered critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, with fewer than 400 believed to remain in the wild

The tigers, both female and about 18 months old, escaped from Sinka Zoo in the town of Singkawang, West Kalimantan late Friday after days of torrential rain caused a landslide and opened a tunnel allowing their exit. 

A 47-year-old zookeeper was found dead with scratches and bite wounds on his body.

Authorities also found dead a cassowary, ostrich and monkey near the tiger cage. 

Police and conservation officials were immediately dispatched to search for the tigers. 

Nearby tourism attractions were ordered to close and locals were told to stay at home while police searched for the animals. 

“We tried with a tranquilliser gun first but it didn’t work, so we were forced to shoot the tiger because it was already behaving very aggressively,” Sadtata Noor Adirahmanta, the head of a local conservation agency, told AFP.

“We were afraid it would escape to the nearest neighbourhood. Although we tried our best to catch it alive, our priority is humans’ safety,” he added. 

Authorities are still looking for the other tiger in the jungle surrounding the zoo.

A cage with animal prey inside has been prepared in hope the escaped tiger will return to the zoo at her feeding time.

Sumatran tigers are considered critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, with fewer than 400 believed to remain in the wild.

Tiger parts are widely used in traditional medicine — particularly in China — despite overwhelming scientific evidence they have no beneficial value.


Posted on 2020/05/7

By John Vibes / Truth Theory

Footage captured at a zoo in Beijing, China shows a captive tiger walking in endless circles in his enclosure. A staff member told reporters that this type of behavior is actually common for animals who have been staying at the zoo for a long time.

Representatives with the zoo say that the Bengal tiger was later given “psychological counseling” after zookeepers noticed the strange behavior. However, the so-called “psychological counseling” that the animal was given did not seem very professional.

“We have taken the animal to receive behavior training. We also brought more food and toys for the tiger. It’s like “psychological counseling”,’ a zookeeper told reporters.

When tigers are in the wild, they usually cover a lot of ground and do a lot of exploring in their day to day activities, and that is what their instincts tell them to do.

The enclosure that the animal was kept in was just a giant cage or fence, with no semblance of a tiger’s natural habitat. This is why many zoos at least make an attempt to recreate an animal’s natural habitat in their enclosures. Unfortunately, the zoo where this tiger was held did not implement these types of natural landscapes in the animal’s enclosure, leading to severe psychological stress.https://googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/ads?client=ca-pub-3352039084549762&output=html&h=280&slotname=3150226346&adk=2975939105&adf=4151858944&w=560&fwrn=4&fwrnh=100&lmt=1594312452&rafmt=1&psa=1&guci=—&format=560×280&url=https%3A%2F%2Ftruththeory.com%2F2020%2F05%2F07%2Fpsychologically-distressed-tiger-in-beijing-zoo-walks-in-endless-circles-in-small-enclosure%2F%3Ffbclid%3DIwAR2wbrakKEwYO4494G1kQWeANRdixFa310X7fn8iY3KjYz7ApT7BkJsuENY&flash=0&fwr=0&fwrattr=true&rpe=1&resp_fmts=3&wgl=1&adsid=ChEI8ICb-AUQ3euZmYfC3ObdARJMALqdR0Ithprx9XP4a0v6wwQ9bdIVQMLERQERFS6Yd0lqLOg9AaPHyFPZ2pXOgJJbnKpMVYYt-Mrco_V6_8zYJsdudNNBgrtilcGqRA&dt=1594312450112&bpp=55&bdt=3819&idt=2029&shv=r20200706&cbv=r20190131&ptt=9&saldr=aa&abxe=1&cookie=ID%3D979f73b8979b71d2%3AT%3D1594309830%3AS%3DALNI_MbHGUIj4OFoXku-exRl_Rokjhdr6A&prev_fmts=0x0&nras=1&correlator=7951419361940&frm=20&pv=1&ga_vid=358418846.1594309840&ga_sid=1594312451&ga_hid=1852987212&ga_fc=1&iag=0&icsg=3000292152959520&dssz=89&mdo=0&mso=0&u_tz=-420&u_his=1&u_java=0&u_h=768&u_w=1366&u_ah=728&u_aw=1366&u_cd=24&u_nplug=3&u_nmime=4&adx=213&ady=1733&biw=1349&bih=657&scr_x=0&scr_y=0&eid=21060548&oid=3&pvsid=3207325954121030&pem=600&rx=0&eae=0&fc=1920&brdim=0%2C0%2C0%2C0%2C1366%2C0%2C1366%2C728%2C1366%2C657&vis=1&rsz=%7C%7CeEbr%7C&abl=CS&pfx=0&fu=8336&bc=31&jar=2020-7-8-19&ifi=1&uci=a!1&btvi=1&fsb=1&xpc=pEd1boSLxz&p=https%3A//truththeory.com&dtd=2284

Sun Quanhui, a senior scientific adviser at a non-profit organization called World Animal Protection China told the South China Morning Post that this is a common problem in Chinese zoos.

“Let’s just give the example of how beasts of prey are kept. In almost every Chinese zoo, we see them in cement cages or behind steel bars, which to some extent is considered maltreatment. Some are species that naturally live in groups, but they’re often isolated, which also causes them huge psychological distress.” Quanhui said.

Tigers are listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List since 1986. As of 2015, the global wild tiger population was estimated to number between 3,062 and 3,948, but the number in captivity is far higher.

Image Credit: Asia Newswire

The Ugly Side of Wildlife Tourism


Kirsten Luce’s photographs focus on the problems with ‘selfie tourism’.

With the growing popularity of Instagram and the “selfie” has come the search for the ultimate photo.

Now a growing industry offering access to animals in wildlife sanctuaries is emerging as the latest trend on social media.

“Without a doubt, the demand for this type of photo, to sit down next to a wild animal and have your photo taken, has grown exponentially because of social media,” says Kirsten Luce, an American photographer whose work previously concentrated on Latin American migrants in the state of Texas.

Thailand and Russia

While working on a project in Brazil, Peru and Colombia on the rise of selfie tourism, Luce realised just how big a problem it was.

She felt more research was needed and decided, along with her reporter, to focus on Thailand and Russia.

Chinese tourists at a crocodile centre in Thailand, taken by Kirsen Luce. Photo: RFI/Anne-Marie Bissada

“We were looking at where native species were exploited for the entertainment of tourists,” Luce explains on the sidelines of her exhibition at the Visa pour l’image photojournalism festival in Perpignan, France.

“In Thailand, everybody goes looking for an experience with the Asian elephants. They also have a lot of tiger experiences, so that was an obvious choice.

“Since we had already looked at a lot of tropical places, we wanted something tonally and texturally different. In Russia we found that travelling marine mammals are exploited at a large number as are bears and even polar bears.”

Image of bears performing for the ice circus in Russia from Kirsten Luce’s exposition. Photo: RFI/Anne-Marie Bissada

It’s a topic that hits hard through its raw imagery.

Many people at the expo took the time to talk to Luce about what she saw and how they can help.

“With a project like wildlife tourism, I think because people have never really seen the topic tackled, they are universally responding by condemning it,” she says.

“I’ve never produced a body of work that has gotten such an emotional response from virtually everybody. Everybody wants to do something to stop it and I’ve even had people say to me, how are you able to sleep at night, it must be the hardest thing to witness?”

Images and access

Photo from Kirsten Luce’s photo exposition. Photo: RFI/Anne-Marie Bissada

But prior to visiting the sanctuaries, Luce and her reporter met former trainers, veterinarians and animal rights activists. They would explain how the animals were often mistreated or prepared before an audience to look healthy, especially if tourists were visiting an “ethical” venue such as those offering bathing with elephants.

“The animal rights activists and trainers that had turned away from the field would give us tips and clues as to what to look out for in behaviour, and also whether or not teeth or claws had been removed,” explains the photographer.

Image of a chained tiger seated on a platform in Kirsten Luce’s exposition. Photo: RFI/Anne-Marie Bissada


The beauty of photography is in capturing a moment in time – and how that moment can make an instantaneous connection with viewers.

In an elephant sanctuary in Thailand, one such photo brought about change.

“It was clear he needed vet care,” says Luce about the young elephant that was kept away from the public because he had a broken leg. “They claimed they were treating him.

Also read: The Story of How the Orphaned Tigress of Bandhavgarh Was Rehabilitated

“We had a fixer go back a couple of times to check on him – he would be in the exact same position. We knew that the elephant was not getting the care he needed.

“That photo got a lot of movement. There was a lot of pressure, and he was finally purchased and moved to a sanctuary,” Luce says, adding that it was a rare occurrence of a happy ending.

But the owner of the wildlife centre has many more elephants there, and the wider industry continues to thrive, catering for wildlife consumers.

Wildlife ‘likes’

In Russia, a burgeoning industry has kept photographer Olga Barantseva busy, fulfilling people’s desire to pose with a big bear.

Barantseva has nearly a hundred thousand followers on Instagram.

Stepan, the bear used in Barantseva’s photos, was a former circus bear, likely abused into submission, says Luce, which would explain his apparent docile nature that allows him to pose with humans.

Also read: What Happened to the Women in Photography?

Another phenomenon Luce experienced in Russia was the travelling dolphin shows.

“These marine mammals are living and performing in inflatable tents, almost like a circus would come to town for six weeks,” she says. “These belugas and dolphins would be living in tanks for six months.”

The travelling shows do not provide proper water filtering or medical attention, which almost certainly leads to premature death, and to keep up numbers, fresh stock is replaced illegally through poaching in the Black sea, according to Luce.

CITES agreement to ban sending wild elephants to zoos a victory for legacy of Swaziland


The end of the elephant-to-zoo trade marked by today’s Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species decision in Geneva is a victory for Friends of Animals efforts to make sure that no other pachyderms would suffer the cruelty of being ripped from the wild for a life in captivity and that the 18 elephants destined for U.S. zoos in 2016 would be the last to ever have to endure this.

The story of the Swaziland elephants that were sent to three U.S. zoos despite Friends of Animals efforts to keep them in the wild was spotlighted in a July New York Times Magazine cover story “Zoos Called it a ‘Rescue.’ But are the Elephants Really Safe?” by Charles Siebert.

The three zoos, Dallas Zoo, Sedgwick County Zoo in Kansas and the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska, had obtained permits from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to import the elephants in 2016 from a national park in Swaziland overseen by Big Game Parks.

FoA filed a lawsuit claiming that the FWS had a mandatory duty under the National Environmental Policy Act to fully evaluate and disclose whether the elephants, as a result of captivity, would suffer social, psychological, behavioral and physical impacts for the rest of their lives. But ahead of the scheduled March 17, 2016 hearing and without informing the court, a plane was secretly sent from Kansas City on March 5 to transport the elephants to the U.S.

“No other elephants should be drugged and crated, hauled off to a foreign place to spend the next 50 years feeling like captives,” said FoA Wildlife Law Program Director Michael Harris. “The Swaziland elephants will suffer in captivity, there is no doubt of that, but to them we must credit the decision today to end this practice.”

While the U.S. delegation to CITES opposed the agreement, FoA President Priscilla Feral said it is a vital step at a time when elephant populations in Africa are plummeting.

“In the last three years, we kept the story of the Swaziland elephants alive and delivered a PR nightmare for the zoos involved,’’ she said. “It’s gratifying to learn that despite the disappointing performance of the U.S. delegation, CITES passed a trade rule banning the exportation of African elephants to all zoos. Being able to deliver on our goal that they would be the last elephants to be robbed of their freedom and families is rewarding, especially in these difficult political times.”

CITES agreement to ban sending wild elephants to zoos a victory for legacy of Swaziland 18

US must stand against capturing baby African elephants for zoos and circuses


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US must stand against capturing baby African elephants for zoos and circuses © Getty Images Baby African elephants won a historic reprieve at the world’s largest wildlife trade conference last week when delegates voted in committee to end the barbaric practice of capturing live elephants from the wild and shipping them off to zoos, wildlife parks and circuses, where they spend the rest of their lives in captivity.

At the 18th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
(CITES) in Geneva, 46-member countries voted to restrict trade in live elephants from Zimbabwe and Botswana to conservation programs or to secure areas in the elephants’ natural range — except in cases of temporary, emergency transfers. This would shut down the pipeline for elephants to be sold into captivity to foreign countries.

However, this debate is not over. At a CITES plenary meeting scheduled for Tuesday, the issue may be reopened for discussion, triggering a second vote. Shamefully, the United States voted against the ban the first time and will likely do so again if the parties call for a second vote.

Similarly, the European Union spoke against the ban and may seek to overturn it. The 28-nation bloc, which has significant voting power, was prevented from casting votes earlier because not all members were credentialed at the time. Since then, delegates have faced intense lobbying pressure from China, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and zoo associations trying to flip the vote.

Elephants are social and emotional creatures that form strong family bonds and suffer tremendously in captivity, both physically and psychologically. Elephants often face horrific abuse during the capture process. Footage of wild-caught baby elephants, newly snatched from their mothers, shows them being beaten and kicked as they await export from Zimbabwe. From a helicopter, captors shoot tranquilizer darts at the young elephants, and then maneuver the chopper to drive away the rest of the herd. Some elephants die while waiting to be shipped, in transit or upon arrival at their destination.

Elephants who do survive the long journey have been observed living in dark, barren cells in holding facilities and zoos — in contrast to roaming the vast African wilderness with family groups and larger clans.

Moreover, the export of live wild elephants serves no credible conservation purpose and has been condemned by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the 31 African countries that belong to the African Elephant Coalition, and by many prominent elephant biologists.

Yet, since 2012, Zimbabwe has captured and exported more than 100 baby elephants to Chinese zoos and entertainment venues. Very young elephants are pursued due to their small size, which makes them easier to transport. Recently, we learned that Zimbabwe has begun targeting infants as young as eight months old. Such captures have far-reaching consequences, damaging individuals, families, larger social groups, and ecological health.

Some countries, zoos and zoo associations mistakenly believe that this proposal would prevent zoos from sending their legally acquired elephants to other zoos, circuses or sanctuaries in other countries.
This is simply not true. The proposal would not apply retroactively, which means that if an elephant was imported legally in the past, that animal could be exported legally in the future.

By voting against this proposal, the United States is disregarding the growing public opposition to this cruel practice, which harms elephant welfare and fails to promote elephant conservation.

We urge U.S. delegates not to seek to overturn the decision. If the proposed ban is reopened for a vote this week, the United States should throw its weight behind this proposal or — at the very least — abstain from voting.

A “yes” vote would reflect the position held by a majority of U.S.
citizens, African elephant range states and leading elephant experts.
Without U.S. leadership on this issue, elephant calves from Zimbabwe and Botswana may continue to be stolen from the wild and conscripted into a lifetime of captivity

Johanna Hamburger is a wildlife attorney for the Washington, D.C.-based Animal Welfare Institute who is attending CITES this week.


Protesters Demand Freedom for Bronx Zoo Elephant, Happy


AUGUST 12, 2019 BY As crowds entered the Bronx Zoo on Saturday, August 10th, dozens of activists with the Nonhuman Rights Project staged a protest at the entrance to demand that the Wildlife Conservation Society, which runs the zoo, release an elephant named Happy to a sanctuary after holding her captive in a small enclosure since 1977.

Happy is a 48 year old wild-born Asian elephant who was captured in Thailand and brought to the United States in the 1970s.  She has been held captive in the Bronx Zoo since 1977 and has lived alone in a barren one acre enclosure for the past 13 years. During the winter month, she is intensively confined to a small cement cell.

During the winter months, Happy (not pictured here) is held in this barren enclosure in the Bronx Zoo

“Elephants are social animals who need the companionship of other elephants,” said Kevin Schneider, the Executive Director of the Nonhuman Rights Project, “It’s no wonder that we see her swaying and engaging in other unnatural behaviors that indicate distress and suffering.”

Activists with the Nonhuman Rights Project demand that the Wildlife Conservation Society release Happy, an elephant held captive at the zoo since 1977, to a sanctuary

Both of the elephant sanctuaries in the United States, the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee and the Performing Animal Welfare Society in California, have agreed to take Happy at no cost to the Bronx Zoo, but the WCS has refused to let her go.  “The Wildlife Conservation Society acknowledged in 2006 that keeping Happy alone would be inhumane, so we don’t understand why they won’t release her from captivity,” said Schneider. “They either don’t want to acknowledge that Happy’s solitary confinement for the past 13 years has been cruel , or they don’t want to cave into pressure from animal rights advocates.”

During the warm months, Happy is held captive and alone in a one acre enclosure.

In 2018, the Nonhuman Rights Project filed a petition for a common law writ of habeas corpus in New York Supreme Court demanding recognition of Happy’s legal personhood and her fundamental right to bodily liberty. Happy is first elephant in the world to have a habeas corpus hearing to determine the lawfulness of her imprisonment.

As litigation proceeds, public support for the Happy’s freedom has grown. In June, two elected officials made public statements encouraging the WCS to free Happy. Corey Johnson, the Speaker of the New York City Council, wrote, “Happy and all elephants need more space and resources than the zoo can provide, plain and simple.  I urge the Bronx Zoo, which first planned to close the elephant exhibit back in 2006, to finally transfer Happy to one of two recommended sanctuaries so that she can enjoy the company of other elephants and the benefits afforded to a facility specifically designed to meet her needs.”  In a tweet, U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has voiced her opposition to solitary confinement for prison inmates, said that “The team and I are looking into what we can do” to free Happy.

In 2015, the animal advocacy group In Defense of Animals ranked the Bronx Zoo the fifth worst zoo in the United States for elephants. “The Bronx Zoo does not have the space, the resources, or the weather conditions that elephants need to live a reasonably healthy life. Shame on the Bronx Zoo for sentencing “Happy” to what is likely the most unhappy of sentences for an elephant: a life of self­ aware solitary confinement.”

Change.org petition demanding an end to Happy’s solitary confinement has garnered over one million signatures.

Bear attacks worker during wildlife tour at Pennsylvania resort

The resort said that it has “ensured the enclosure is completely secure” and is arranging counseling for guests and staff who witnessed the attack.

Calls for Canadian zoo to be shut down after deer die in stampede

Marineland in Ontario partly closes after a walrus and two deer die in recent weeks

Protesters in front of Marineland theme park.
 Protesters in front of Marineland theme park. Photograph: Tara Walton/Toronto Star via Getty

A controversial theme park in Canada is facing renewed criticism following the deaths of three animals in recent weeks, triggering fresh calls from activists for the attraction to be shut down.

Officials at Marineland, which sits on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls in Ontario, said two deer were killed in a stampede allegedly caused by a father and son taunting the animals. The incident, which occurred last weekend when the attraction opened for the season, has prompted staff to temporarily close the deer park area.

Days after the stampede, the park also announced the results of a postmortem on one of its walruses which died in April, citing a heart attack as the cause of death for the 18-year-old animal named Apollo. Apollo is the fourth walrus to die in the park over the last two years, leaving it with only one remaining animal – a female called Smooshi.

Speaking of the deer deaths, Marineland said: “We are all upset by this terrible act against innocent animals. In order to protect our animals, we are closing the deer park to make modifications to prevent this type of incident from ever happening again.” It added that this was the first time such an incident had occurred.

Deer sit around the perimeter of Marineland’s deer park.
 Deer sit around the perimeter of Marineland’s deer park. Photograph: Tara Walton/Toronto Star via Getty Images

But Phil Demers, a former animal trainer at the park who has become Marineland’s most vocal critic, rejected the park’s explanation, claiming that a move to reopen the deer park to visitors after years of closure could cause panic among the animals.

“There’s been countless incidences of patrons stressing out the animals. [Marineland] took a gamble. They opened it for the first time in years,” he said.

Marineland has increasingly become a target for activists, who argue the park has a moral responsibility to release the animals it keeps in captivity. The park dismissed protests outside its gates over the opening weekend as a “small group of annual demonstrators [who] continue to seek to damage Marineland at all costs”.

The park was the focus of a 2012 investigation by the Toronto Star, which interviewed a number of employees alleging incidences of animal neglect. The park is contesting the claims.

“Marineland is in what can only be described as a significantly worse condition than when I spoke out in 2012. There has been exactly no investment in improvement to the animal life support systems whatsoever,” said Demers.

Marineland has vigorously denied the claims and has been in a legal battle with Demers over the last seven years, alleging he attempted to steal a walrus – an allegation he calls “absurd”.

Despite pressure from critics, the park continues to house an estimated 51 beluga whales. It also has five bottle-nosed dolphins and a single orca named Kiska.

A male beluga whale at Marineland.
 A male beluga whale at Marineland. Photograph: Denis Cahill/AP

Proposed legislation in the Canadian parliament – dubbed the “Free Willy bill”– is likely to receive royal assent in the coming weeks and would ban the captivity of cetaceans, including orcas, dolphins and beluga whales across the country. The province of Ontario previously passed similar legislation, which banned the acquisition of large marine mammals, but allowed Marineland to keep its whales.

Ever since the park’s owner, John Holer, died last year, the company – Holer Family Amusements – has been at a “crossroads”, the Niagara Falls mayor, Jim Diodati, told the Toronto Star, as it explores a possible expansion of the park, or sale of its land to developers.