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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.

 

Black swans cry as heartless man steals and stomps on their eggs

Two devastated black swans cried out in sorrow as a man described to be in his 20s  stole four of their eggs in a park located in eastern China. The man then deliberately stepped on one of the eggs when onlookers confronted him. Authorities continue to search for the man, who wore a face mask and a pink cap, who scaled the fence inside Yangzhou’s Slender West Lake and laughed at his disgusting deed and escaped without being spotted by security.Black swan cries 2

According to the South China Morning Post, the two black swans tried to defend their nest and poked at the man with their beaks. The man turned around and kicked the swans injuring one of the bird’s wing. Witnesses yelled at the man to leave the eggs alone, but instead of leaving, the jerk intentionally stomped on one of the eggs. As one swan sadly lowered his head to the ground in abject sadness, the female swan raised her neck towards the sky and cried.

An older man finally dragged the young man out of the area. The Slender West Lake’s management issued a statement saying they were “deeply angered and shocked” by the incident. Article Six of China’s Wildlife Protection Law protects swans, who are listed as protected and an endangered species. What the idiot culprit most likely didn’t know is that the eggs of a black swan are not edible, cannot be incubated and can burst when left in hot temperatures.

China’s social media exploded in outrage over the intentional act of cruelty and expressed their anger that more than 30 people had been standing around and didn’t do anything in time to save the eggs and protect the black swans:Black swan cries 3

“Do all the people around just watching it like a show? Or are they too busy to do live-stream and putting it online,” commented one reader on Weibo.

“Our country owes this man’s father a condom,” another person wrote.

The Yangzhou Police Department are investigating and are asking for the public’s help in finding the “punk.”

(Photos via Weibo)

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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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Shocking cruelty as zoo’s beloved hippo Gustavito beaten to death

In the city of San Salvador, in El Salvador, the rise of  brutal gang violence in recent years just reached one of the most vulnerable victims, when the National Zoo’s beloved hippo Gustavito was beaten to death last week. The hippopotamus died on Sunday night. Even with the staggering loss of life to humans caused by the rampant violence, the senseless death of an innocent animal, that brought pleasure to thousands as he quietly frolicked in a zoo’s pool in his enclosure, stirred public outrage.

Police in El Salvador are investigating an attack at the National Zoological Park that killed a hippopotamus named Gustavito.

Police in El Salvador are investigating an attack at the National Zoological Park that killed a hippopotamus named Gustavito.

According to AbcNews, Gustavito was born and raised in Guatemala for two years. He arrived to the El Salvador National Zoo 13 years ago. The hippopotamus suffered “multiple blows on different parts of his body” from “blunt and sharp objects” in Tuesday’s attack, the Ministry of Culture said in a statement. Two days after the attack, the staff noticed Gustavito had been spending most of his time under water in his enclosure and had stopped eating. When examined, veterinarians discovered the hippo suffered from “bruises, lacerations on the head and body, cramps and abdominal pain.” A necropsy will be performed to determine the exact cause of the animal’s death.

And that wasn’t all. Vladen Henriquez, the zoo director, stated the hippo had injuries to his feet, wounds on his cheek which were indicative of having been attacked with an ice pick and injuries inside of his mouth most likely inflicted as Gustavito tried desperately to defend himself. Pieces of metal and rocks were found in his enclosure.

Salvadorans have been sending their sympathies through social media and have left flowers at the zoo’s gate. An investigation continues. Rest in peace Gustavito. (Photos of hippo courtesy of El Salvador’s Cultural Ministry)

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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.

 

Last 2 starving zoo animals saved from ISIS rule in Mosul

In war torn Mosul in Iraq, the Montazah Almorour Zoo had once been home to a large number of animals, playgrounds and green spaces for tourists and residents. Tragically the ISIS invasion caused even more innocent victims of war to suffer egregious and agonizing deaths; many of the animals including a lioness, monkeys and rabbits  either starved to death or were killed by surrounding fire and shrapnel.Isis zoo rescue 2

Two remaining zoo denizens somehow managed to barely survive.  A veterinary team from charity Four Paws International,  Vienna, Austria, an organization that sends aid workers worldwide to rescue bears, big cats and stray animals, has started treating animals at the Mumtaz al-Nour zoo in eastern Mosul to help. The team, led by Dr. Amir Khalil, arrived to help Simba the lion and Lula the bear. Both animals suffer from a host of diseases including extreme malnutrition, pneumonia, arthritis and severe dental infections.

According to the Daily Mail, the zoo’s location had been on the front battle line of conflict between militants and the Iraqi army. Most of the animals were killed, however local residents and volunteers had been feeding the last two zoo survivors with food scraps until it was too dangerous to risk their own live. Earlier in the month, zoo owner Abu Omar stated:Isis zoo rescue 3

“When the battle intensified, it was impossible for the guard and animal handler to reach them.”

The battle lasted  nearly four months. Now that the city has recently been liberated by Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the rescue team has sent veterinarians to supply medical help. On the organization’s Facebook book, the ongoing rescue efforts have been updated:

” A FOUR PAWS team accompanied by local volunteers are on site to provide the last two wild animals, a bear and a lion, with food and medical care. Although alive, both animals look miserable and are suffering from many diseases caused by malnutrition and lack of veterinary care. Both have very bad teeth, in addition the bear suffers from pneumonia and the lion has ill joints. The cages were cleaned and the bear and the lion were provided with the urgently needed help!”Isis zoo rescue 4

As to the futures of Simba and Lula, the organization is grateful that they have been able to supply first aid and provide the survivors with food for at least the next four weeks. They are investigating the possibilities of future treatment for the animals and plan to keep advocates and supporters informed. It is asked that advocates keep in mind  ISIS has been in control for the last two years – people and animals have suffered. Fortunately Iraqi media has helped to bring the plight of these animals out to the public.

Photos of zoo animals in Mosul courtesy of Four Paws International Facebook.

To help, please click here.

Check out the heartwarming video as these two innocent survivors are finally receiving the help they deserve:

Poachers brutally attack rhino orphanage

On Monday, Thula Thula Rhino Orphanage (FTTRO), built to rescue baby rhinos and other animals, after their mothers were killed for their horns by poachers, was attacked by a group of men who broke into the protected property. The rescue, located in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, was subjected to an egregious attack on the staff including one woman who had been sexually assaulted and others savagely beaten. Then the attackers turned their cruelty to the baby rhinos – two were left dead after their horns were hacked off.thula Thula rhino

According to the Thula Thula Rhino Orphanage Facebook page, authorities have been on the move apprehending those suspected of the heinous deeds.

“Yesterday SAPS successfully intercepted and arrested two suspected rhino poachers in Ermelo. One .458 rifle and ammunition recovered. Suspects brought back to KZN as they are believed to have been involved in recent Thula Thula Rhino Orphanage incident. In a separate arrest, in a joint operation, Ezemvelo and SAPS Rhino 7 successfully arrested on suspected rhino poacher and seized a .375 rifle and ammunition.”

Swift action by law enforcement !!! We will keep everyone informed as we receive updates.”Thula thula rhino 4

Eighteen-month-old Rhino babies Impi and Gugu had their horns chopped off. Gugu was killed instantly, but Impi survived, only to have to be euthanized the next morning because of his injuries. The rhinos had been due to have their horns surgically removed next week to protect them from the ivory traders. Founder of the orphanage Karen Trendler spoke about the attack on Facebook:

“…Your worst fear is that one of the rhinos … is going to be shot. That worst nightmare was realized, and then on top of that to have your team brutally assaulted is just beyond comprehension.”

Allison Thomson, founder of Outraged South African Citizens Against Rhino Poaching, stated she felt utterly heartbroken and “totally gutted.”

“It is increasingly difficult for those who care and have been trying to fight the war against rhino poaching, to carry on under these circumstances. Conservationists, private rhino owners, rangers, anti-poaching staff and vets have all revealed the heartbreak and tears behind their struggle.”thula thula rhino 2

Tragically the calves had all suffered anxiety and undue separation when they were very young after losing their mothers. In the wild, calves stay very close to their moms for anywhere between two and four years.  The orphanage, managed by Lawrence Anthony Earth Organization began in 2001 with two baby rhinos named Thabo and Ntombi. The two were eventually released into the protected reserve and continue to live in natural habitats. Even their lives have been threatened, and keeping the animals safe, has been a vigilant job. In one poaching attempt, Thabo was shot in the leg. His recovery period took more than a year before he could be released.

The team wants to let animal advocates and supporters of the orphanage to know they are not giving up nor giving in to these terrible attacks. The latest Facebook post on the Thula Thula Rhino Orphanage page reflects their hope:

“Good morning to all our followers. It has been a relatively calm evening at the orphanage. The team is still understandably under a lot of stress, but are showing amazing resilience and unwavering dedication to seamlessly care for the remaining orphans. All the babies are doing well, including chubby little Charlie and our ever vigilant, Duma. We are humbled by all the messages of support as well as donations that have been streaming in from all over the world. Again, if we are slow to respond, please be patient… we will get there.

Our management team and security consultants have been working around the clock to discuss extra security measures and support authorities with the ongoing investigation. In the coming weeks we will keep all our followers informed of the situation.”

A fundraiser to help the baby rhinos can be found here.

Photos courtesy of Thula Thula Rhino Orphanage Facebook page.

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Check out the video of baby rhinos playing with their canine friend:

U.S. House sanctions the killing of hibernating bears and wolf puppies in dens

The United States House of Representatives overturned an Alaska-specific wildlife regulation on Thursday previously issued by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service which protected shooting and trapping wolves with cubs, shooting grizzly bears from airplanes, luring grizzly bears with food to kill them and using inhumane steel leg hold traps and snares to trap animals.Hibernating bear bear.org

Proposed by Alaska Republican Representative Don Young, shortly before President Obama’s term ended and using the Congressional Review Act which allows Congress to revoke a regulation within 60 days of its passage with a simple majority vote, the measure passed 225 to 193 along party lines. The Obama administration called it a “withering attack on bears and wolves entirely at odds with America’s long tradition of ethical, sportsmanlike, fair-chase hunting.” Young, however has been a constant foe of the regulations saying it will “fundamentally alter not only how national wildlife refuges and the fish, wildlife, and habitats on them will be managed” but also affects the state and federal relationships. According to the Humane Society of the United States, president and CEO Wayne Pacelle calls the action shocking:

“What the House did today should shock the conscience of every animal lover in America. If the Senate and President concur, we’ll see wolf families killed in their dens, bears chased down by planes or suffering for hours in barbaric steel-jawed traps or snares.”

Affected by this ruling are federally managed lands, and the Alaska Board of Game has launched an attack on bears and wolves contending they want to increase the populations of caribou and moose. Somehow the age old natural predator and prey animal rules of the wild have now been deemed the responsibility of man.  Pacelle states the practices in question are disallowed in almost every state, however the House is seeking to revive such animal cruelty on federal lands specifically created to protect wildlife and promote the diversity of species.

“While the backers of the measure claimed this was a state’s rights issue, a recent poll by Remington Research Group found that Alaska voters oppose these inhumane and unsporting methods by a 2-1 margin, and many Alaskans voiced support for the rule during the extensive public comment period.  Alaska’s inhumane and unsporting predator control practices have been roundly condemned by state and federal wildlife scientists” stated Pacelle on the organization’s press release.

Alaskans for Wildlife, Alaska Wildlife Alliance, Friends of Alaska Wildlife Refuges, Lynn Canal Conservation, Northern Alaska Environmental Center, Oasis Earth, Resurrection Bay Conservation Alliance, Sierra Club – Alaska Chapter and the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council joined The HSUS in opposing H.J. Res. 69. Last year, a group of more than 50 scientists sent a letter to Congress in support of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rule. The full roll call can be found here. The HSUS expresses its gratitude to the lawmakers who voted “no” on this misguided resolution.

Weigh in on this ruling please. Is this a foreshadowing of what is to become of our wildlife for hunters having fun?

(Photos of bears via Bear.org. Photo of wolf pups via takepart.com)

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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.)

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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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