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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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Baby camel running loose winds up to be a llama

A camel and a llama are both members of the  Camelidae family, but interestingly enough are very easy to tell apart. Camels have one of two humps on their backs. Such was the news from Oconee County Georgia Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday afternoon as reports began to fly in about a camel on the loose. Sheriff officers, convinced it had been a slow day as to President Elect Trump’s tweets and rising developments, perhaps there was more time for the media to scramble around for news? According to the organization’s Facebook page, the initial report of an errant camel began in the afternoon:oconee-county-georgia-sheriffs-office-2

“Around 4:00PM, dispatch notified me that someone had reported ‘a baby camel running loose in Epps Bridge Road. Our deputies are not trained in South American camelid identification, but they quickly determined that the animal in question was actually a llama.”

And within moments, the brave officers were able to corral the animal although a bag of carrots helped indeed. The llama’s owner was found, and soon the family arrived with a van to take him home.

“We do not know at this time whether it just wanted to go for a stroll or if it was concerned about the weather forecast this weekend and was attempting to buy bread and milk,” the sheriff’s office posted on Facebook, “but I asked and it refused to answer questions. Perhaps this is because I don’t speak Spanish nor any of the native Peruvian languages.”

Actually, Chief Deputy Lee Weems, it is never a slow day for animal rescue, cruelty or neglect, but it’s always a pleasure to find compassionate and kind officers dedicated to helping all citizens – whether human or animals. The rescue community sends you their best for being heroes to those who cannot speak.

(Photos of llama courtesy of  Oconee County Georgia Sheriff’s Office.)

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‘Tremendous hearts’ take on 20-hour raccoon rescue attempt

A raccoon believed to have been trapped in a drain in Watsonville, California for more than 24 hours brought out the biggest and most compassionate hearts working almost as long to free him and actually digging up a parking lot to rescue him.trapped-raccoon

On December 30, a homeless man heard grunts and cries emerging out of a drain off Freedom Boulevard near the la Princesa Market. The man alerted the Santa Cruz Animal Shelter, who alerted the Watsonville Fire Department  and Wildlife Emergency Services asking for help. For more than eight hours, the rescuers worked to free the little creature, but were sadly unsuccessful. According to CbsNews, Rebecca Dmytryk, president of Wildlife Emergency Services stated her employees are experts in “difficult and technical animal rescues, this was really bad.”

And the important rescue attempts continued. With more than 20 hours spent trying to free the raccoon, rescuers had to cut through the pavement and dig into the pipe where the animal was caught. Luckily the owner of the market is an animal lover, and granted permission for rescuers to dig up her parking lot to save the raccoon.

And here’s the “tremendous hearts” part of this rescue – many of the workers would have been done at 5:00; most did not leave until 10:30 and until the raccoon was freed and placed on heating pads and administered warm fluids. A Santa Cruz veterinarian offered to help the wild animal as its temperature was so low it didn’t register on the thermometer. Sadly, Rebecca’s update on Facebook about the little guy left many in tears:

“I am sorry to say the raccoon, in the end, did not make it. We just received word. According to NAR, he started to look better. He was even able to walk a bit, but then collapsed and died. We believe it was due to exertional myopathy, where an animal strains too long.”

But the tiny little guy’s life did not pass away unnoticed or without compassion. Rebecca added:

“What’s more incredible than us getting this animal out alive, was the tremendous heart that went into its rescue – people giving their time and energy to help this poor creature. This – this heart gives me hope for the new year.”

Rest in peace little raccoon, and thank you everyone for your service. Follow the National Pet Rescue on Facebook.

(Photo and video of raccoon rescue Wildlife Emergency Services.)

Check out the video here.

Viral photo of elephants sharing one last moment together is heartbreaking

The viral photo of two elephants sharing one last moment together, as their trunks touch and their eyes longingly gaze upon each other, sadly reminds us how heartless humans can surely be. A Facebook image, posted by Sowmya Vidyadhar, taken on an unknown Bangalore, India city highway just days before Christmas, shows the elephants’ parting moments on two separate trucks; perhaps just seconds before their paths lead in different directions.

Surely elephant emotions reach deep into the human soul because these mammals share so many of our traits. They share the same life span as us and raise their young for nearly 20 years before they reach adulthood. They have strong family ties with intricate social networks, and when a member of the herd dies, elephants mourn very deeply. The young are closely guarded and when migrating, elephants will slow down to accommodate both the young and the very old. Scientists who have studied elephants assure us these immensely intelligent animals easily display jealousy, behavioral issues and love. They are able to communicate in silent voices unheard by man, hear sounds far beyond what we can sense and have memories that are known to span their entire lives. We’ve seen them smile, we’ve seen them grieve, yet we still treat them as if they were placed upon this earth to entertain us.

On December 22, Sowmya Vidyadhar posted the heartbreaking words above the memorable photo:

“Two elephants reach out in a brief moment of love and bonding before being taken away from each other for a lifetime of serving man.
How this image breaks my heart!”

Reactions from readers added to the sadness of the situation:

Sally Kannanthey are such intelligent beings and can recognize their families aftr many many years.. so just imagine the pain they face if they have to stand in chains and see their siblings nearby but can’t even go near them coz of the beatings and shackles ( humans are the worst..”
 
Eat Pray Love SleepFelt the same emotions the first time I saw this very touching moment ! It’s a pity that systems haven’t changed a bit to look into these areas .”
Ayushee SahaI’m waiting for the day when animals won’t be tortured anymore. When humans shall actually be humane and that day isn’t near…I’m afraid.”
Tragically, the question about humans ever changing or better yet – one day be willing to respect all life still remains unanswered? Even more disappointing is it just doesn’t seem to be heading that way.  We can only hope the elephants shall one day meet again and be together.
(Photo of elephants courtesy of Sowmya Vidyadhar Facebook)

 

Inauguration fundraiser: Hunting trip with the Trump sons for $1 million

For one million dollars, there’s the opportunity to start Donald Trump’s presidency off with a bang! Pony up the funds, and the day after the inauguration, a fundraiser entitled “Opening Day,” Donald Trump Jr. and his brother Eric are offering a multi-day hunting or fishing trip. According to TMZ,  the event will celebrate hunters, shooters and fishermen – at least for the rich citizens who helped him win.

TMZ obtained a draft of the invite for “Opening Day,” which is planned be held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in D.C.

Up to 16 people can join in the inauguration celebration; the attire for the fundraiser is described as “camouflage and cufflinks… jeans, boots and hats are welcome” and all proceeds will go to conservation charities although no specific organizations slated to receive the funds have been cited. Trump’s sons have always enjoyed big game hunting and have come under the ire of animal advocates and social media in the past. One especially disrespectful photo garnering criticism as to the lack of respect for hunting and their prey, included Eric Trump posing with a dead water buffalo in Zimbabwe sporting three rifles and a hat propped upon one of the animal’s antlers.

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In the past Trump stated his kids love to hunt. A photo of his sons holding up a dead  cheetah sparked more online anger in the past.

Just in case you don’t have a million dollars to fork over for this event, here are some less expensive options. After all, Trump is listening and thanking all those needing a job and the middle class Americans who voted for him:

OPENING DAY PACKAGES OFFERED

Bald Eagle: $1million 

Private reception and photo opportunity for 16 guests with President Donald J. Trump, four autographed guitars by an Opening Day 2017 performer, multi-day hunting and/or fishing excursion for 4 guests with Donald Trump, Jr. and/or Eric Trump, and team, 85 VIP guest tickets, access to VIP Lounge, 200 General Admission guest tickets

Grizzly Bear: $500,000 

Private reception and photo opportunity for 8 guests with President Donald J. Trump, two autographed guitars by an Opening Day 2017 performer, Multi-day hunting and/or fishing excursion for two guests with Donald Trump, Jr. and/or Eric Trump, and team, 45 VIP guest tickets, 90 General Admission guest tickets

ELK: $250,000

Private reception and photo opportunity for four guests with Donald Trump, Jr. and Eric Trump + One autographed guitar by an Opening Day 2017 performer, 20 VIP guest tickets, 40 General Admission guest tickets

MARLIN: $100,000 

Eight VIP guest tickets, 16 General Admission guest ticket

RAINBOW TROUT: $50,000

Four VIP guest tickets, eight General Admission guest tickets

WILD TURKEY: $25,000

 2 VIP guest tickets 4 General Admission guest ticket

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(Photos of Trump hunting via Facebook)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rare white-tailed deer in NYC park will not be euthanized

Time almost ran out for a rare white-tailed deer that had been living in a Harlem park for several days. On Friday, the city planned to euthanize the buck after police captured it inside of Jackie Robinson Park. The deer had drawn national attention after he wandered into the Polo Grounds Towers apartment complex two weeks ago.

How the buck came to be in the area remains a mystery, but it has been rumored that Harlem residents had cared for him as a fawn and the buck was accustomed to humans and swam back to Manhattan to find the people who raised him, searching for food or to find a mate.

According to Abc7News, the city originally said euthanizing the deer, currently being held in an East Harlem animal shelter, was “the only humane and safe recourse. The deer was brought to Animal Care and Control,” stated a spokesperson from Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office. It wasn’t long before animal lover, Governor Andrew Cuomo released a statement on Thursday offering assistance to relocate the deer. State regulations however preclude deer from being transported across county lines accept for scientific purposes because of their low survival rates. Still the governor had no intentions of giving up and the “buck stopped here.”

Around noon on Friday, New York Department of Environmental Conservation, the regulatory body for wild animals, announced the decision  to relocate the deer to upstate New York.

“Although survival rates for relocated deer are low and transport is a great stressor, DEC is the regulatory body here. The state has seen fit in this instance to transport the deer.

On Friday morning radio, Blasio tried to explain why he favored euthanizing the buck stating it was too difficult to relocate the animal. And despite the public outcry he stood firm on his decision stating:

“A deer does not belong in the middle of an urban neighborhood. The deer could not be left where they are. It could not be left in the streets of Harlem. I’m sorry. That is just absolutely unacceptable and dangerous.”

Good luck Bambi. We hope you can find a new home in the forest where you will be safe. Many thanks to Governor Cuomo for his compassion.

(Photo of white-tailed deer screenshot via Facebook)

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Former ‘selfie’ bear with chain in her nose finally freed

Just for entertaining humans,’selfie’ bears in Albania are kept in the cruelest conditions. One particular bear named Jeta caught the attention of advocates as her heartless owner paraded her through the streets with a chain attached to a ring through her nose.jetta-the-bear Tethered by her owner and dragged to all the popular tourists spots, Jeta was used as an attraction for visitors to take “selfies.” For the ‘selfie’ bear, there were no gentle words, no treats nor any kind treatment – Jeta was a commodity, and abuse was all she had known for the past 15 years of her tortured life.jetta-the-bear-3

Sadly, to add to her despair, the times when Jeta wasn’t being paraded around and used as a tourist attraction, she spent her days and nights in solitary confinement locked in a concrete enclosure as her painful paws were tightly chained to the floor.

Just one week ago, FOUR PAWS International teamed up with the Albanian Ministry of the Environment and local authorities  to rescue Jeta from the horrible conditions she had silently endured for years. Rescuers have now treated her medically, vaccinated and micro-chipped her.  She is scheduled to be moved to a temporary location and then then to be transferred to her retirement home at Bear Sanctuary Prishtina  in Kosovo where she will spend her days with other rescued bears.jetta-the-bear-5

Unfortunately, the years of neglect have caused Jeta to lose almost all her teeth, but she will be allowed to roam on 40 acres of a natural environment to enjoy, and for the rest of her life she will receive the best of care. No more chains for you Jeta – if only the other bears still bearing the same abject cruelty could join you in your freedom soon.

Please help other bears by donating here.

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(Photos of ‘selfie’ bear by Four Paws International)

 

 

Shocking video shows man feeding vodka to rare quokka

A disturbing Snapchat video of two young men and a woman has gone viral on social media showing the group feeding vodka to a quokka, an Australian wallaby species considered vulnerable due to their limited geographical range. According to Yahoo News, the video which was filmed on Rottnest Island off the coast of Western Australia on Saturday, shows the trio feeding the marsupial a passion fruit cocktail.

Because the drink is very sweet, the quokka quickly slurped it up as the trio could be heard in the video laughing and cheering. Tragically alcohol is lethal to the animal. In an interview with Suzanne Perry, from the Rottnest Island Authority, she fears the animal could be dead or very sick as a result of their actions:

“Their two minutes of what they would refer to as fun is extremely stupid,” Suzanne stated. Quokkas are a threatened species and they are not designed to have human food, let alone alcohol. We know there is proof that this does do them harm and could even kill them.”

Rangers are now studying the video to help them in tracking down the trio. If found to have interfered with wildlife, the group could face a $10,000 fine. If found guilty of animal cruelty, the fine could be as much as $50,000.

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(Photo of quokka via 9News video)