Nearly 90 elephants killed at Botswana sanctuary for their tusks

In a protected Botswana sanctuary, the bodies of 87 elephants, stripped of their tusks have been killed these past few weeks. According to the conservation group, Elephants Without Borders, five rare white rhinos were poached and killed in the same area.

“People did warn us of an impending poaching problem and we thought we were prepared for it,” stated Mike Chase, a spokesperson for the nonprofit organization.

According to the BBC,  Botswana is home to the largest elephant population in the world, however the population has declined by 30 percent in the last decade because of poaching. Most of the elephants live in legally protected areas. The dead animals were discovered near the Okavango Delta wildlife area – a popular tourist destination for viewing elephants and other endangered wildlife.

Tragically, the increase in poaching has occurred just one month after President Mokgweetsi Masisi took office in Botswana and disarmed the poaching units in May.

“… the government has decided to withdraw military weapons and equipment from the Department of Wildlife and National Parks.”

No explanation was ever given in an area where a shoot to kill policy against poachers prevailed. Now it’s become open season for poachers where the world’s largest elephant population still live, according to Dr. Chase.

(Photos via screenshots Elephants Without Borders and BBC News)

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Hunter shoots elephant in Zimbabwe fitted with radio collar

A huge bull elephant was shot dead by a Russian trophy hunter in Zimbabwe, even though the animal had been wearing a radio collar universally known as a research tag and considered unethical to shoot. The elephant, known as a “big tusker” because of the size of his tusks, was killed last month outside the Gonarezhou National Park.

According to the African Geographic,  the elephant had been collared for research purposes and known by the entire hunting party which included a government ranger and two trackers, however all of the men stated they had not noticed the device until after the animal was killed.

The Frankfurt Zoological Society, who collared this and other elephants for research purposes, issued a statement about the disturbing incident:

“There is no law that protects a collared animal from being hunted in Zimbabwe, but there is general acceptance that the ethical position is that a hunter will avoid shooting an animal with a collar. The data from this bull has been captured and will help us with our ongoing efforts to find solutions, together with our local and international partners, to conservation questions in a world where the challenges to find space for wildlife and their habitats are becoming ever more complicated.”

One year ago, National Geographic reported a 50-year-old African elephant named Satao II had been found dead while feeding in the eastern region of Tsavo Trust in Kenya. The elephant was believed to have been poisoned by an arrow for his immense tusks; Satao II tusks weighed 112 and 111 pounds each. The two poachers were arrested and never allowed to sell the tusks for the illegal ivory markets.

There are only 25 of the “big tuskers” believed to be alive in all of Africa, and it is thought these animals could go extinct in our lifetime. Female elephants prefer mating with the older males, meaning the “tuskers” are needed for the preservation of the species. The highly socialized animals respect the senior members of the herds – these are the very animals who teach the younger elephants their social and survival skills.

What else is trophy hunting about besides greed?

Read about more big game hunting horror.

(Photo of hunter shot elephant in Zimbabwe via FB La voix des animaux)

 

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Animal lovers outraged over hunter’s photos of slaughtered wolves – read more here.

 

 

 

 

One elephant died and four others injured in circus truck crash

In a heart wrenching accident in Madrid, Spain on Monday, one circus elephant died and four more hurt are being treated for their injuries. The truck overturned on a highway linking Albacete with Murcia in the southern part of the country, as it tried to pass a slow moving vehicle. The elephants were part of the Circo Gottani circus which includes elephants, tigers and horses.

According to ElPais, the truck tipped over as it tried to get back into lane – most likely from an uneven distribution of weight from the five female elephants moving around inside of the truck. The driver wasn’t injured, but one of the elephants died at the scene of the accident.

The elephants’ circus trainers worked at keeping the elephants calm, however two of the animals suffered “serious injuries.” One had to be moved by a crane to clear the road. One photo showed one of the injured elephant’s foot wrapped in white bandages. It is not known how seriously he was injured.

“With five unpredictable animals, each one of them weighing three to four tons, accidents can happen no matter how much care has been taken,” stated Albacete’s police officer, Jose Amado.

Animal advocacy groups have criticized circuses and contend this is just the latest example of how circuses are a danger to both the physical and behavioral needs of wild animals.  The town council explained the four elephants would be cared for by local authorities until another truck could be procured for their travel.

Just one month ago, a one-ton hippopotamus escaped from another Spanish circus. Fortunately he was safely captured after leading police on a one hour chase.

In the United States, Ringling Brothers Circus’ 11 female elephants performed for the last time in May 2016.  They danced, they pedaled, they stood on each other and even stood on their heads. For 145 years, elephants just like these gals had traveled in trains and performed in cities as the banner  of the circus displayed their acts. Only through years of legal battles and mounting scrutiny from advocacy groups and animal rights activists,  did the public became aware of the cruelty and torture the elephants endured during their training and their endless journeys while chained, whipped and beaten into submission.

(Photos via screenshots and Twitter)

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Police Officer shot and killed family’s elderly dog – who was inside of her own yard. Read the story here.

Senior dog shot by police


Traffic stop leads to recovery of dog stolen nearly 3 years ago – read more here.

Traffic stop leads to recovery of stolen dog

 

 

Scientists baffled after elephant caught on camera ‘smoking’

Scientists are baffled after catching a wild elephant on video “smoking” or at least blowing out plumes of smoke while eating smoldering charcoal lumps of wood. The female elephant was filmed in India at the Nagahrole National Park. The video was released on Friday, March 23 and was captured by Vinay Kumar of WCS India when he and colleagues had been studying tigers and their prey.

According to the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), the video shows the elephant picking up charcoal lumps with her trunk, eating the coal and then exhaling large clouds of smoke. Scientists think the elephant may have been eating the wood for medicinal purposes. Dr. Varun Goswami, a WCS elephant biologist stated:

“She appeared to be picking up pieces from the forest floor, blowing away the ash that came along with it, and consuming the rest.”

Dr. Goswami states charcoal may have toxin-binding properties of medicinal value to elephants as well as serving as a laxative.

The Nagahrole National Park is home to many threatened species including Asian elephants, Indian bison and tigers.

(Photos and video of smoking elephant via Facebook from WCS)

Check out the video:

 

 

Trump administration reversing promise to ban elephant hunt trophies into US

The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced that it will now consider permits for elephant hunt trophies from African nations on a “case by case basis” – reversing President Trump’s earlier promises to maintain a ban on the practice.

On Thursday, the FWS issued a memorandum stating it is withdrawing the 2017 Endangered Species Act (ESA) findings for trophies of elephants from Zimbabwe and Zambia, “effective immediately.”

“The findings are no longer effective for making individual permit determinations for imports of sport-hunted African elephant trophies.”

Each case, either to grant or deny permits to import sport hunted animals, will be on a “case-by-case-basis.” The department stated it will consider all information first prior to issuing permits relating to risk assessments of species vulnerability. The service also announced it will withdraw a number of ESA findings dating back to 1995 relating to African elephant trophies, bontebok and lions from African nations.

The decision to withdraw the FWS findings followed a court decision in December from an Obama era ruling  that banned the importing of elephant hunting trophies from Zimbabwe. The D.C. Circuit Court ruled the Obama administration did not follow the correct procedures banning elephant trophy hunting. Following that ruling, however President Trump had decided to turn the order around stating:

“I didn’t want elephants killed and stuffed and have the tusks brought back into this country, and people can talk all they want about preservation and all of the things that they’re saying where money goes towards, well, money was going in that case, going to a government which was probably taking the money.OK?”

Despite what President Trump said, apparently he has changed his mind. An “International Wildlife Conservation Council” has now been established “to advise the Secretary of the Interior on the benefits that international recreational hunting has on foreign wildlife and habitat conservation.”

Hunters had criticized Trump’s decision to delay ending the ban and placed the blame on “hysterical anti-hunters and news media outlets. According to The Hill, wealthy hunters from the Safari Club launched into overdrive contending how much they appreciated Zimbabwe’s elephant protection program paving the way for rich hunters to kill elephants. Americans, the largest population of hunters, pay up to $20,000 for each permit.

It is interesting to note, however that the Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke is an avid hunter and trophy collector. There has been no legitimate proof supporting the claims that killing elephants is good for the species. One has to really wonder how much these trophy hunters will make on the profit selling the ivory tusks of the elephants they kill? The Humane Society of the United States contends many problems still remain with Zimbabwe’s elephant management plan, including corruption, lack of government support and poaching.

“Let’s be clear: elephants are on the list of threatened species; the global community has rallied to stem the ivory trade; and now, the U.S. government is giving American trophy hunters the green light to kill them,” wroteWayne Pacelle, former organization’s president and CEO stated in November, 2017.

Poaching elephants in Zimbabwe has resulted in a decrease in the elephant population. This is also the country where Cecil the Lion was illegally tracked, pierced with an arrow, suffered and then killed by an American hunter.

(Photo by Daniel McBride)

Read previous coverage on this report.

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Chinese rescuers save one-month-old baby elephant from ditch

On Sunday morning, Chinese rescue workers in southwest Yunnan Province saved a one-month-old baby elephant that had fallen into a ditch. According to the China Daily, the department of Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture’s press release stated forest police and nature reserve staff rushed to the site after receiving an emergency call about an infant Asian elephant that had fallen into a ditch from a 180 foot high hill.

The baby elephant weighed about 130 pounds and was seriously injured. Rescuers waited until the herd momentarily left the area and pulled the injured animal out. He was placed on a stretcher and has been moved to the animal reserve area for emergency treatment.

“The baby elephant has been taken to a wild Asian elephant rescue center for observation and treatment. It is frail and still in critical condition,” the local police told the public.

Asian elephants are protected in China – it is estimated there are barely 300 surviving.

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Continue reading: Dog found frozen to death in abandoned doghouse left alongside road


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Baby elephant used for ‘selfies’ dies one day after separated from mother

In Kurubarahandi, India, sightseers anxious to have “selfies” with a baby elephant that lost its mother died less than 24-hours later. According to the Express, excited villagers grabbed their cellphones – even as the injured calf cried desperately for his mother.

The eight-month-old baby had been injured after residents of the village attempted to scare the mother and another adult elephant back into the forest jungle. The men shouted and used sticks to drive the animals away in order to protect their crops, but amid the ruckus, the calf became separated from his mother and became too weak to keep up. Instead of the men trying to chase the calf away so he would have had a better chance of being reunited with his mother, they all surrounded the baby and began to take pictures.

When the mother elephant returned for her baby, forestry officials had already realized the calf had a fever and took him away for veterinarian help. Although he was treated with glucose and bottle fed milk, the baby died a few hours later.

Asian elephants continue to present conflicts with humans as their natural habitats are steadily taken away by man’s developments and as the animals enter into the built up areas in search of food. More than 300 Indians are killed annually by elephants, however at least 50 elephants die throughout the year.

Whose side does one take? Aren’t the elephants entitled to their own natural habitats without humans stripping every acre of protected jungles? You be the judge – please remain civil.

(Photo of baby elephant via screenshot via CEN)

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Injured bobcat rescued after being struck by a car

 


Firefighter’s daring rescue of trapped dog (in a house fire) captured on video

Man caught thrashing his dog with belt

Another viral video has animal advocates in India and across the world outraged at the cruelty towards a dog as his owner beats the animal mercilessly with a belt on the front lawn.

According to the DNAIndia,  the man in Bhubaneswar was videoed hitting the animal with his belt in a 21-second video posted by ANI.  Once posted by the Asian News International, a multi-media news agency, the video clip ended with the man kicking the dog with his legs. It is not known why the man so brutally beat the dog.

Egregious attacks on animals in India continue to be highlighted by viral videos as well as reports from animal advocates. Four medical students from the prestigious Christian Medical College in Vellore, India failed their oaths promising to  save the lives of humans or animals. In this disturbing case of animal cruelty, a one-year-old female monkey was tortured and killed after she accidentally entered the hostel room of the students. According to an animal lover’s Facebook page, another activist told him about the monkey torture; once posted, the photos of the disgusting act went viral leading to the apprehension and arrest of the  students.

Just one week ago, disturbing photos and an accompanying video went viral showing a young elephant so severely thrashed that the animal’s leg was broken.

In a response to the cruelty and online outrage after the release of the video, the animal charity organization, Save the Asian Elephants (STAE) issued the following statements:

“The elephant was beaten so badly it’s leg was broken, as were all the sticks used in the beating. The whole of humanity is shamed by this depravity to an innocent creature and a highly endangered species. It does all it can to obey yet the beatings continue.”

Read the entire article here.

The video of the dog having been thrashed can be viewed here. Warning: Disturbing and may not be suitable for all viewing audiences

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India captors beat young elephant with canes breaking its hind leg

In a disturbing and shocking event in India, a video has garnered viral status as a young elephant is shown being savagely beaten by its India captors to be used in the tourism trade.

According to the Daily Mail, regular beatings are common in India by elephant keepers to remind the animals to be subservient and frightened so that the animals will obey in tourist activities of riding, painting, football, tightrope walking and other close contact activities. The torture, known in India as “ketti azhikkal” is used as elephants come out of their mush period – mating season and the increase in testosterone in the animals, to “remind them who is in charge.”

In the shocking footage, the young elephant’s front leg is tied to a tree; three men continually beat the animal with canes until the elephant collapses to the ground. Even then, the torturers don’t stop lashing the animal; that is until their weapons snap in half.

In a response to the cruelty and online outrage after the release of the video, the animal charity organization, Save the Asian Elephants (STAE) issued the following statements:

“The elephant was beaten so badly it’s leg was broken, as were all the sticks used in the beating. The whole of humanity is shamed by this depravity to an innocent creature and a highly endangered species. It does all it can to obey yet the beatings continue.”

The CEO of STAE, Duncan McNair, encourages all visitors to shun the entertainment elephant attractions while traveling.

“In view of the enormous levels of outrage recorded recently by STAEs followers and the media everywhere about the video showing torture of the elephant in India for commercial purposes – we are repeating it below. Over 430,000 views to date. Please exercise discretion in watching it as some viewers may find it distressing. STAE is calling for urgent action!,” has been posted on Facebook.

There has not been any update on the condition of the elephant shown having been brutally beaten.

To take action and help the plight of the elephants:

Please pass this on everywhere, to all of influence including MPs, the Prime Minister, Secretary of State for the Environment Michael Gove and the Indian High Commissioner to the UK: https://stae.org/help-us/

Sign STAEs online Change.org petition & share it with your friends: https://www.change.org/p/save-the-asian-elephants-savetheas…

Follow us on social media and comment on STAE’s Facebook and Twitterhttps://twitter.com/stae_elephants

Please also support and quote STAE’s pioneering work for the elephants and ask everyone to raise awareness. The elephants need us in their desperate plight. Thank you.

(Photos of  India captors beating young elephant via Facebook)

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Graphic and very disturbing video. Use discretion when viewing.

 

 


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WH says decision on elephant and lion trophies brought back to U.S. not final but…

At the White House press briefing Thursday afternoon, spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters when asked about the reported policy shift referencing the ban on elephant trophies lifted and whether he changed his views on hunting, Sanders replied:

“Actually, there hasn’t been an announcement that’s been finalized on this front. Until that’s done, I wouldn’t consider anything final.”

Sanders then referred questions to the Department of the Interior, which oversees the Fish and Wildlife Service. Of particular interest when referring to what Sanders stated, it would seem the decision has already been made. The ban on elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia is expected to be reversed on Friday morning when the Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision is published in the Federal Register. Currently however, the decision is available for public inspection. It will take effect barring a last minute intervention.

November 16, 2017 – The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Service) will begin issuing permits to allow the import of sport-hunted trophies from elephants hunted in Zimbabwe, on or after January 21, 2016, and on or before December 31, 2018, for import permit applications that meet all other applicable requirements. More information on this decision can be found in our Questions & Answers.

The decision to allow trophy hunters who kill elephants and lions in two African countries to bring the endangered animals home as trophies continues to outrage humane groups, animal lovers and animal activists.
In an apparent “win-win” for the NRA and the Safari Club International, a hunting advocacy group, it was all  cheers about the reversal on Tuesday morning as their website recognized how the Fish and Wildlife Services claimed hunting is beneficial to wildlife and that these range countries know how to manage their elephant populations. There has been no legitimate proof supporting the claims that killing elephants is good for the species. One has to really wonder how much these trophy hunters will make on the profit selling the ivory tusks of the elephants they kill?
 The Humane Society of the United States contends many problems still remain with Zimbabwe’s elephant management plan, including corruption, lack of government support and poaching.

“Let’s be clear: elephants are on the list of threatened species; the global community has rallied to stem the ivory trade; and now, the U.S. government is giving American trophy hunters the green light to kill them,” wrote Wayne Pacelle, the organization’s president and CEO.

And there’s more. As (FWS) announced it was lifting a ban on the import of elephant “trophies” from Zimbabwe and Zambia, it also  published new guidelines that showed lions shot in the two African countries will also be eligible to be mounted on those trophy room walls in the United States.

President Trump has previously spoken out against hunting after photos of his eldest sons, Don Jr. and Eric, posing with trophies, provoked criticism. When a photo of Don Jr. holding a severed elephant tail went viral over social media, Trump addressed the issue on Twitter in March 2012.

“I’m not a hunter and don’t approve of killing animals. I strongly disagree with my sons who are hunters, but they acted legally and did what lots of hunters do,” Trump wrote.

Read yesterday’s article here.

(Photo of elephants to become trophies again Breakthrough.org)

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