Category Archives: Breeding in captivity

“In The Footsteps of Giants” – Official WCFF Selection

“In The Footsteps of Giants” produced by Dave Taylor with Stop Drop and Roll Productions is an official selection to the 2018 WCFF. Documentary on the Climb for Conservation on Mt Kilimanjaro for black rhino conservation at Mkomazi Reserve in Tanzania with legendary wildlife conservationist Tony Fitzjohn
SYNOPSIS:  Experience a summit climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro with a group of climbers from “Climb For Conservation as they raise money for the black rhino conservation and breeding program at Mkomazi Reserve in Tanzania and meet the extraordinary Tony Fitzjohn and family that is dedicated their lves to bring the black rhino back from the brink of extinction.
The WCFF mission is to inform, engage and inspire wildlife conservation through the power of film. Join us October 18-28, 2018. Over 100 documentary films, many World and North America premieres. Panel discussions, receptions, field trips, networking, virtual reality/360 & more. All Access Film Festival passes are available now for purchase: wcff.org/nyc-festival-2018/
Contact: info@wcff.org to join the planning committee. Sponsor the film festival, advertise on the big screen. Take a full or half page in the full color, hard copy program book, istributed in Africa, Australia, China, Europe, India, North & South America.

 

Christopher J. Gervais, FRGS
Twitter: @CJGERVAIS
Christopher@WCFF.org

Wildlife Conservation Film Festival
October 18-28, 2018 | New York, NY
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Big Cat Public Safety Act

A federal bill that aims to end the private possession of big cats such as tigers, lions, leopards, and pumas as pets, as well as to stop cub petting and limit exhibitors to those who do not repeatedly violate the law, has been re-introduced in the United States Senate.
Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut supported the re-introduction of the latest version of the Big Cat Public Safety Act HR1818, which was originally introduced to the House in March 2017 by Republican Congressman Jeff Denham of California.

Recent national headlines have documented public outrage at the inhumane display of a tiger at a high school prom in Miami, Florida, alarm as federal agents discovered a tiger cub in a duffel bag at the U.S. Mexico border, and confusion when a young tiger was spotted roaming a Texas neighborhood. Such examples underscore the public’s growing concern about the treatment of big cats­­ and the sponsors of the Big Cat Public Safety Act have made it clear that they are listening.

By reintroducing the BCPSA, senators from six states across the nation are joining more than 130 bipartisan members of the House of Representatives in calling for an end to the unregulated trade and nationwide abuse of captive big cats.

“This common-sense bill is an urgently needed answer to the problem of big cats kept in unsafe and abusive situations around the country,” Prashant Khetan, CEO and general counsel of Born Free USA, one of the numerous animal welfare organizations that are supporting this bill, said in a statement. “Thousands of big cats are currently owned as pets or maintained in ill-equipped roadside zoos and menageries, which pose a severe risk to the safety of people in surrounding communities, as well as the welfare of the cats themselves. It’s about time that we had a federal law that can serve to stop this inhumane practice around the country.”

The bill, if enacted, would keep dangerous big cats out of the hands of private individuals, breeders and exhibitors with egregious, ongoing Animal Welfare Act citations, and unscrupulous menageries that have historically taken advantage of loopholes to circumvent existing restrictions. The BCPSA would close these loopholes while providing exemptions for qualified wildlife sanctuaries and exhibitors licensed by the US Department of Agriculture that meet basic standards intended to protect the public and animals.

“Relying on accredited sanctuaries to take in unwanted and usually neglected big cats is not a viable solution to the big cat crisis in this country,” said Carole Baskin, founder and CEO of Big Cat Rescue. “When big cats are wrongly kept as pets or cruelly exploited in entertainment businesses, they often endure tremendous suffering for years in deplorable conditions with inadequate nutrition, and little, if any, veterinary care. Then, when the owners no longer want the cats or they are seized by the authorities, the substantial financial burden to house, feed, and provide long-term vet care for these big cats falls upon sanctuaries. The Big Cat Public Safety Act will finally address the inhumane treatment of the vast majority of big cats in America.” Baskin noted that it costs over $10,000.00 per year for food and vet care for one tiger or lion.

Christopher J. Gervais, FRGS
Twitter: @CJGERVAIS
Christopher@WCFF.org

Wildlife Conservation Film Festival
October 18-28, 2018 | New York, NY
http://www.WCFF.org
Facebook.com/WCFForg
Twitter: @WCFF_org
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LinkedIn: Wildlife Conservation Film Festival

Is this the End of the Sumatran Rhino?

Some years ago when i was in high school there were an estimated 800 Sumatran Rhino left in the world. Today estimates have as few as 30 to no higher than 90 animals left in the wild and captivity combined.

Habitat destruction has been the primary culprit along with poaching for rhino horn. Mismanagement of wildlife conservation has been another factor that has plagued the protection of this unique species. For the years the governments of Indonesia and Malaysia have not cooperated to devise a comprehensive management plan to include captive breeding and habitat protection. Now with perhaps as few as 30 animals left on earth is it too late.

History has shown that it is not too late. The White Rhinoceros was nearly exterminated and number were reduced to as low as 50 animals. Today there are around 15,000. The number was higher a decade ago but years of poaching have reduced the species by over a thousand animals a year for the past ten years.

Captive breeding has been successful recently at the Cincinnati zoo until their last female rhino died. The International Rhino Foundation (IRF) breeding center in Sumatra has had success but the number of offspring is not competing with the overall birth/death rate.

The Sumatran Rhino s the smallest of all five rhino species, it is also a close relative of the extinct Wooly Rhinoceros that dies out at the end of the Pleistocene Era. To lose another rhino species in such a short time in geological history would be a tragedy.

More can and needs to be done to save this species. IT IS NOT TOO LATE! An aggressive captive breeding program must be implemented with combined efforts of Indonesia and Malaysia. Some scientists believe that  In vitro fertilization may be the answer. It is certainly worth a try. We will not know unless an effort is put to the test.

Recently the Wildlife Conservation Film Festival (WCFF) partnered with NatGeoWild to host a program on Sumatran Rhino Conservation in Dali, China. The event screened clips from Operation Sumatran Rhino and discussed conservation work for tis endangered species. In the audience were over 150 wildlife conservation experts, biologists, government representatives from multiple South-east Asia countries and leaders in the nature/wildlife documentary film industry. All were in agreement, more needs to be done to save this species and the power of this film is getting the word out.

Christopher J. Gervais, F.R.G.S.
Twitter: @CJGERVAIS
Christopher@WCFF.org

Wildlife Conservation Film Festival
October 18-28, 2018 | New York, NY
http://www.WCFF.org
Facebook.com/WCFForg
Twitter: @WCFF_org
Instagram: @wcff_org
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Largest Dog Meat Market in South Korea Shut Down

On the morning of December 13, Seongnam, South Korea’s Moran Livestock Association, which kills around 80,000 dogs every year for their meat, announced they are entirely stopping the practice of confining, killing, and selling dogs. The shut-down was due in great part to the actions of Defense of Animals, an animal activist group who had heavily campaigned against MLA’s brutal slaughter of dogs and had petitioned the city of Seongnam to take action. Marilyn Kroplick, the President of IDA, made this statement following the group’s victory: “The closure of Korea’s most infamous dog meat market at Moran deals a significant blow to the heart of the dog meat trade. Moran market has run with the blood of hundreds of thousands of dogs for many years, so this is a step in the right direction in our fight to end the horrific dog meat trade.” Nevertheless, despite this step in the right direction for the dog meat trade, Kroplick noted that dog meat selling operations would likely just relocate, necessitating further activism by IDA until all such meat markets are eliminated.

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Photo: Emilian Robert Vicol

Source:  Starostinetskaya, Anna. “South Korea’s Biggest Dog Meat Market Shuts Down.” VegNews. 14 December 2016.

Wildlife Conservation Film Festival
Biodiversity & Wildlife Crime Conference
Christopher J. Gervais, F.R.G.S.
Founder & CEO
Christopher@WCFF.org
www.WCFF.org

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How Four Adorable Kittens Provide New Hope for Rare Scottish Wildcats

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Credit: Alex Riddell/RZSS

One could argue that the four Scottish wildcats born recently at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland’s Highland Wildlife Park are among the most important kittens alive right now. These kittens reflect a chance for one of the rarest feline subspecies on the planet to survive into future generations. Scottish wildcats are barely larger than housecats, but have earned the nickname Highland Tiger due to their ferocious personalities and large tails. However, fierceness has not been able to save these wildcats from near-extinction, brought on by habitat loss and decimation by farmers and game-bird hunters seeking to prevent the wildcats from hunting farm animals and birds. Conservationists estimate only a few hundred of the cats remain in the wild, and frequent interbreeding with feral and domestic cats makes it difficult for scientists to get an accurate population count.

Luckily, as part of the Scottish Wildcat Action initiative, Highland Wildlife Park has been making efforts to breed the cats in captivity, leading to the successful births of four wildcat kittens this May, three from one litter and one from a second. They join 21 other kittens produced by the Park’s adult wildcats, one of which died from a congenital liver defect, and one after being transferred to another zoo. Several of the surviving 19 kittens have successfully been placed at parks around Scotland in attempts to breed the cats at other locations and to reduce inbreeding at each zoo. Breeders plan to release the kittens into the wild once they’re fully grown.

Previous genetic tests on the Highland Wildlife Park’s captive wildcats have suggested that all the cats have hybrid genes and are not purely Scottish wildcats, but these cuddly kittens hold as great a hope as any to continue the line of the critically endangered subspecies, and may even be the only chance left to prevent their extinction.

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Credit: Peter Trimming

Platt, John R. “Adorable Kittens Represent Hope for Nearly Extinct Scottish Wildcats.” Scientific American. 21 July 2016.

Wildlife Conservation Film Festival
Biodiversity & Wildlife Crime Conference
Christopher J. Gervais, F.R.G.S.
Founder & CEO
Christopher@WCFF.org
www.WCFF.org

Facebook.com/WCFForg
Twitter: @WCFF_org
Twitter: @CJGERVAIS
Instagram: @wcff_org
Vimeo.com/wcff
dailymotion.com/WCFF1
LinkedIn: Wildlife Conservation Film Festival