Giraffe cam: April ‘prepping’ for birth as calf is active

In the early Sunday morning bulletin, the Animal Adventure Park in Harpusville, located in upstate New York, announced more news about the impending birth. Will it be soon? Obviously April had no intentions of a St. Patrick’s Day birth: 

“Keepers have noted a calming down of the calf and April carrying everything a bit towards the rear. This is exactly what we want! Wax caps are still in place. Appetite remains strong.”

On Saturday, more than 70 million animal lovers thought for sure the baby would make her debut into the world. Her keeper Alyssa Swilley described the mom-to-be as eating everything in sight and “prepping for something.” The baby was said to have “mastered karate” and making as “much movement as a seasoned sportsman.”

Just in case, you’re just tuning into the April the giraffe’s pending motherhood extravaganza, (to humans although not likely to April) this will  be her fourth calf and her mate Oliver’s first calf. The park boasts some of the largest pens in the nation as far as room for the giraffes to stretch their legs, and the indoor housing section is meant for additional care and health of the animals as well as educational enrichment for the appreciation and knowledge of the species.

Try to imagine – moms all over the world – giraffes are pregnant for 15 months; at birth the calf will be nearly six foot tall and weigh in about 150 pounds upon delivery. April will be in charge of her own calf and if all goes as planned, the baby will be weaned after six to ten months – although that could take longer. Once the baby is born, there will be a contest to name her. Once the baby is fully weaned, she will be transferred to another facility and begin a new breeding program. Interbreeding is not successful nor ever recommended.

And one more fact for the day from the organization:

“The closest living relative of the giraffe is the okapi. Giraffe and Okapi are the only living members of the family Giraffidae. The family was once much larger, but all other members are now extinct. Preservation and conservation matters!”

For more information about the Animal Adventure Park, please click here.

 

Poachers break into Paris zoo, shoot rhino and saw off its horn

A four-year-old male rhinoceros was found dead on Tuesday morning at the Parc Zoologique de Thoiry; he had been shot three times in the head by poachers, and his horn had been chopped off. This is believed to be the first incident of poaching from a zoo animal in Europe. A press release on the zoo’s Facebook page described the disturbing and heartbreaking discovery:

“In the night of Monday, 6 March, to Tuesday, 7 March 2017 of the perps broke into in the field of Thoiry (50 miles west of Paris) despite the security measures put in place and killed one of the three white rhino in order to seize the One of his horns. The whole staff is extremely shocked. A survey of gendarmerie investigation in the early hours of the morning. The direction of the domaine de thoiry’s gonna file a complaint.” (translation)Rhino killed at paris zoo 2

The white rhinoceros, named Vince, is believed to have been attacked by at least two poachers in a protected clearing where two other rhinos lived. Vince’s second horn had been partially hacked away as if the criminals ran out of time and had to run away. Zoo personnel and authorities believe the poachers had intended to kill the other rhinos also –  Bruno, 5, and Gracie 37; both animals are said to be safe.

According to the website for the Thoiry Zoo, Vince came from the Netherlands where he was born in 2012. In 2015, Bruno and Vince arrived at the zoo. There are about 21,000 white rhinos in the world  living in the wild; mainly in South Africa and Uganda, but the species is hugely under threat from poaching, reports the Evening Standard. The white rhino is particularly vulnerable, because it is generally very passive in nature and has poor eye-sight.

Rhino horns are highly prized in traditional Asian medicine, where they are ground into a fine powder or turned into tablets to be used as a treatment for a variety of diseases; especially as a sexual enhancing potent. Local authorities state rhino horns can bring up to $41,000 on the black market.

The outrage on social media about the killing of Vince has gone viral. Such comments as:

Alexandre Lemerle wrote: “We’re in France but people can still kill rhinos for their horns…”

Jerome Leheutre posted: “New proof of human greed! A rhinoceros has been slaughtered and his horn severed at Thoiry zoo.”

Morgane L. wrote: “A bunch of a******s broke into Thoiry and killed a rhino to cut his horn off. I’m losing faith in humanity…..”

Rest in peace Vince. We do hope you get some justice. This kind of cruelty is unforgivable.

(Photos of Vince the rhino shot by poachers via the Thoiry Zoo Facebook page)

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Kill a coyote in exchange for free hunting license in Georgia

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources is calling it the Georgia Coyote Challenge where the state is inviting people to hunt or trap coyotes to win a prize.  Humane advocates are outraged and call the hunting and trapping of the animals as cruel and absolutely inhumane. The challenge begins in March and goes to the end of August; the winner of the challenge will receive a free lifetime hunting license. On the organization’s website, the details are explained. No guidelines as to the humane killing or trapping of the animals are mentioned:

“Each coyote killed, up to five (5) a month per hunter/trapper, will earn an entry into a monthly drawing for a lifetime license (or equal credit for purchase of hunting/fishing licenses)*.

Currently, scientific research suggests that removal of coyotes during the spring and summer is the most advantageous time to reduce the impact of predation on native wildlife. We want to encourage coyote removal efforts during this critical period.”

For the last ten years, the Atlanta Coyote Project has been documenting and tracking coyotes in the Atlanta area and contend the hunt coincides with pup-rearing season where both the male and female are involved in raising and feeding their offspring. If the killing is initiated and both parents are killed, the puppies will all starve to death or be attacked by other predators. According to the Atlanta Coyote Project’s Facebook, the state agency’s mission is to “sustain, enhance, protect and conserve Georgia’s natural, historic and cultural resources” and to sponsor such a program is reprehensible. Although  the Coyote Challenge  refers to coyotes as “non-native predators,” and experts agree the animals are relatively recent immigrants into the southeastern United States, coyotes have come to the area  because humans have killed all of the native wolves.

“Killing predators leads to unintended ecological consequences. Past efforts to eradicate wolves have clearly shown this,” state the organization.

In addition, the Atlanta Coyote Project states the following:

“Hard data showing that coyotes significantly impact the populations of other wildlife species is scant to nonexistent. Recent studies in South Carolina concluded that the negative impact of coyotes on deer populations is minimal (Kilgo et al., 2016). Secondly, we do not believe that coyote “removal” will reduce the population long-term. More than likely, it will lead to an INCREASE in coyote numbers over time as competition is reduced and a resurgence occurs. To see the ineffectiveness of lethal control as a wildlife management strategy, one needs to look no further than the estimated 70,000 coyotes that are killed each year by the USDA’s Wildlife Services.”

The Atlanta Coyote Project is working with state legislators to ban this type of hunting challenge, which they say other states have done. For more information or to contact the Georgia  Department of Natural Resources, click here.

(Photo courtesy of Atlanta Coyote Project)

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Click here to read about another coyote recently removed and killed  from a restaurant in New Orleans. Animal advocates were outraged.

 

Tourist slapped with huge fine for taking selfie with endangered shark

A tourist on vacation in Brazil has been slapped with a $6,200 (U.S funds) fine after she tried to grab an endangered shark out of the ocean and use it to pose for selfies. The woman was videoed wrestling with the small shark that latched onto her hand during the struggle at Brazil’s Fernarndo de Noronha, an archipelago of 21 islands and islets located in the Atlantic Ocean offshore of the Brazilian coast. The woman and her boyfriend spotted the lemon shark swimming near the beach line and decided to pluck it out of the water and use it to take selfies for their Facebook page.

On Wednesday, a court charged the woman and her boyfriend with animal cruelty. Perhaps an equal amount of karma for the woman happened after she needed four stitches on her hand to repair the damage from the shark bite.

“The place is considered an animal sanctuary with all it’s nature protected and strictly watched over. All that she earned were four stitches in her right hand and a big fine from the authorities for the environmental crime,” stated one Reddit user.

It didn’t take long for the photos and the video to go viral – nearly every comment criticized the couple for their blatant disrespect of wild animals and protected environmental areas. According to 9NewsAu, the Chico Mendes Biodiversity Institute lists lemon sharks as a protected species.  Although it is not known if this shark survived the trauma it must have endured, this incident follows a group of Argentina tourists who plucked a baby dolphin out of the ocean to take selfies and passed it around to multiple people. Tragically the dolphin died.

What a sad place for animals when they are forced to endure such egregious treatment from selfish humans. If only every judge assess such fines – surely this madness would stop.

(Photo of tourist taking selfie with endangered shark screenshot YouTube.)

Watch video here:

A man and his 1400 Kodiak bear share heartwarming bond

If you’re a skeptic about bears and humans capable of  having bonded relationships, this larger than life 1,400 pound Kodiak bear breaks all of the rules and delicately cuddles up to his best human in a viral photo and video of the two hugging and kissing. That special moment, caught on video by a staff member at the Orphaned Wildlife Center in Otisville, New York, can’t help but make one smile.

And now for Jimbo’s story. This Kodiak has a larger than life story when he stands on all fours; making him over nine feet tall. He is one of the oldest bears at the center, estimated to be about 20-years-old and gets along great with people. Jim Kowalczik, shown with Jimbo, has been working with the bear since he first arrived as a cub.

“Jimbo doesn’t do any performing or tricks. He has been with us since a cub – 21 years this month. He came from a situation where he was born in captivity and ended – had no skills to be released back into the wild,” has been posted on Facebook as the video continues to draw lots of smiles and ‘oohs and aahs.”

And if you’re wondering why the bears at the Orphaned Wildlife Center aren’t hibernating, it seems that captive bears just don’t. Although they do slow down a great deal and sleep most of the day, staff members explained, the bears also eat less. During the spring, summer and fall, Jimbo normally eats 30 pounds of food a day. In the winter he eats less than five pounds. His favorite food is red meat – thankfully he doesn’t see his caretakers as dinner.

Jimbo is the largest of the center’s 11 listed bears. The mission of the rescue is to “provide safety and nurturing to animals that are truly orphaned and prepare them to be return to a life in the wild.” Those who cannot make it on their own find Orphaned Wildlife Center as a sanctuary.

To help this organization, donations can be sent by following this link.

Photos and video of Jimbo the Kodiak bear courtesy of Orphaned Wildlife Center.

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Video:

 

Orphaned baby manatee death blamed on human trash

An orphaned baby manatee, dubbed “Emoji,” passed away days ago. The calf had been rescued in October by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Little Emoji, just weeks old at the time, was critically ill and his stomach was found to be full of plastic bags and trash.

The calf recuperated under the care of the Lowry Park Zoo, and though he appeared to be recovering from his poor state of health, he passed away. On January 31, the zoo updated Facebook followers of the calf’s tragic passing:

We are deeply saddened to share that early Monday morning, Emoji, our rescued orphaned manatee calf passed away.

The zoo noted that Emoji’s death is sad reminder of the deadly impact that trash from humans can take on wildlife:

Emoji is a tragic illustration of the consequences that simple human actions, like throwing trash away in waterways has on the world around us. Alongside helping educate the public about manatee care and the dangers of pollution, Emoji allowed the Zoo’s veterinary staff to learn more about critical manatee care. Our findings will benefit future manatee research and breakthroughs.

Adding:

TLPZ remains steadfast in our commitment to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of manatees. We will also continue our campaign to develop a manatee emoji, now as a memoriam of the young calf and a way to educate the public on the dangers that face this species in the wild.

We will miss you, Emoji.

 

 

Update on coyote taken from Dat Dog in New Orleans

There has been some confusion over the fate of a coyote which was removed by a trapper from the Dat Dog restaurant in New Orleans, Louisiana, last week. Though multiple news outlets reported that the coyote was humanely euthanized shortly after being captured, some people are under the mistaken impression that the animal was later spared.

In order to eliminate any confusion, the Pet Rescue Report reached out directly to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries on Thursday morning. The official response from Melissa Collins, the agency’s permits coordinator, which confirms that the trapper euthanized the coyote, follows:

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is tasked with the management and regulation of all wildlife species in Louisiana and promulgates rules and regulations that allow for the take of wildlife species. It is my understanding an LDWF permitted Nuisance Wildlife Control Operator (NWCO) retrieved the coyote found at Dat Dog restaurant.  NWCOs are required to abide by the NWCO program rules and regulations.  According to §127.F.p. of the NWCO regulations:
 
                Raccoons, skunks, feral hogs, coyotes and nutria shall not be relocated and shall be euthanized, within 12 hours of capture, in accordance with the current American Veterinary Medical Association guidelines on euthanasia.
 
If an NWCO were to transfer a live coyote to a wildlife rehabilitator, an NWCO would be in violation of the NWCO rules and regulations, which could result in a possible citation and loss of license. However in this case, the trapper removed the coyote and humanely euthanized the animal according to AVMA guidelines as required by NWCO rules and regulations.
 
Coyotes are rabies-vectors species and potentially carry other wildlife diseases/parasites (e.g., distemper, parvo virus, echinococcus) that can impact both human health and the health of domestic animals and wildlife populations. Compliance with laws, as well as knowledge on the proper handling and disposal of wildlife species is important in preventing disease outbreaks among the public, domestic animals, and wildlife populations.

Prior article about this situation here.


Screenshot (991) Dog and woman have something in common – read about their special bond here.

Coyote that wandered into Dat Dog is euthanized

A coyote that wandered into the Dat Dog restaurant in New Orleans last weekend wound up being “humanely” euthanized. On Tuesday, Bill DiPaola, President and COO of Dat Dog, released an official statement about the animal’s untimely demise:

“I am deeply saddened and very upset to report that our friend, the coyote that visited us on Frenchmen, was ordered put to sleep by the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. Dat Dog is an animal-friendly, animal-loving company. We celebrate pets and animals of all kind. When our coyote friend visited our Frenchmen location, we did everything in our power to have it released back into the wild or taken to safety. I am very disappointed to hear that was not the case. In response, we’ll be hosting a donation event at our Freret Street store with the Louisiana Wildlife Federation. It will be centered around legislation, rule-making and habitat conservation so that we can all learn more about the vital role that our wildlife and environment play in our present and future Louisiana. We’ll also continue to support our friends at Zeus’ Place in their animal adoption program.

Coyote put down

The coyote had startled employees when it ran into the establishment as the business was being closed. The animal was eventually corralled in one portion of the building until a trapper arrived to remove him. Dat Dog believed that a wildlife rescue group would be taking the coyote in, but the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries preempted the rescue attempt and the animal was put down on Monday night, reported NOLA.

(Photo screenshot via NOLA/Trapper John Schmidt and Pixabay free images)

 

‘Bites, scratches and pees’: Family bought lion cubs as pets

A family from Russia purchased two lion cubs as pets for their children, but were angry and disappointed the cub “bites, scratches and pees.” Now they are trying to sell the three-month old super kitties and posted an online advertisement stating:

“Attention! Maximum repost! Lion cub, female, three months old. We bought it for our children, but it turned out that the lion cub can scratch, bite and most importantly pee.”Lion cub 2

According to The Metro, although the ad was placed anonymously, Veles, a Russian animal rescue shelter, who had been notified by concerned animal activists, through some detective work and an investigation discovered the family owns two lion cubs – Tver and Tula. Spokesperson Alexandr Fedorov, for the rescue organization, told the public the cubs eat 39.6 lbs of meat a day, and the shelter is not able to meet the expenses.

Fortunately, the Taigan Safari Park in Belogorsk has expressed an interest in taking the cubs. Two years ago, the sanctuary which houses about 50 African lions, including rare white lions, met the risk of their animals starving to death as economic restrictions were placed on Ukrainian accounts following Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Zubkov, a Ukrainian business man and former military officer, created the animal tourist attraction from a former Cold War-era military base over 90 acres of land, according to Russia Today. Fortunately, additional funding became available and the wild animals were no longer used as war victims.

Tragically, it is not known where these cubs came from, and obviously they will never have the opportunity to live in the wild as nature intended.  In Russia, owning exotic pets is a status symbol – that is until the wild animal” scratches, urinates” or grows too large to control.

(Photos of lion cubs via the Metro screenshots.)

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Video of four lion cubs born at the Taigan Safari Park:

 

Canada Goose coats faces legal battle for denying animal cruelty

The fur-lined hoods of the $900 Canada Goose parkas identified by the company’s circular red, white and blue patch on the arm, have been reaching an all time popularity since December. Although celebrities wearing them have been pushing the outdoor sportswear company to its success, there is ongoing controversy over accusations of animal cruelty.

The coats, trimmed with coyote fur have become a Manhattan fashion driven statement. According to Yahoo,  celebrities  Emma Stone, Daniel Craig, Drake, and Rihanna have been wearing the parkas; making the pricey outerwear increasingly popular, but at what price? Displays are popping up everywhere from New York City to the London streets calling on consumers to boycott the product. Protests are held weekly outside of the SoHo flagship store, and even though there has been an effort to sway the public about the company’s “fur policy,” animal rights advocates contend the reports are aimed to misinform the public with the sole purpose of “business as usual.”

coyote-1730060_960_720

The leg-hold trap remains legal in every province and territory across Canada and is the most widely used, despite a ban in other countries (including the EU), as well as Florida, Rhode Island, New Jersey and Arizona. The American Veterinary Association, the American Animal Hospital Association, the World Veterinary Association, the National Animal Control Association, the Humane Society of the United States and the Sierra Club all oppose the leg-hold trap. Many animals die struggling to get free. Many die from dehydration, blood loss and hypothermia. Some animals become so desperate, they break their teeth chewing; some will even chew off their own limbs to escape; suffice to say, the animals suffer greatly before they are ultimately killed.

The Daily Mail reports Canada Goose does not buy from fur farms because there are no coyote fur farms. Coyote fur can only be obtained by shooting or trapping them in leg-hold, Conibear or snare traps.  And Canada Goose also buys their fur from auction houses that sell all sorts of fur, including farmed fur.

According to an ongoing legal complaint, consumers continue to be duped into thinking they are making either an ethical choice or buying the best product when they purchase Canada Goose. In an effort to sway the public, Canada Goose claims they have a “fur policy.” Most informed and compassionate people already know that the fur trade is inherently violent, and that fur products derived from this violence are also inherently frivolous.

“They claim they’re an ethical company, but it’s an oxymoron,” stated Rob Banks, an activist who has led the charge against Canada Goose in New York. “You can’t humanely kill an animal. The videos prove it,” he says and suggests people just do a google search showing animals try to escape from the standard leg hold traps.

The fur trade is a $40 billion industry with its biggest markets in China and Russia, and even though Canada Goose has billions of dollars to promote their brand, compassionate people don’t want to support it.

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(Photos via Pixabay free images and screenshot via YouTube)