Category Archives: North America

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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North Atlantic Right Whale Population is Crashing

The North Atlantic Right Whale is one of the most endangered of all the large cetaceans. Fewer than 450 remain and this year18 deaths have been recorded off the coasts of USA & Canada by ship strikes. There could be more we are not aware. To make matters worse, no calves have been sighted in 2018 where they and their mothers are found off the coast of southern Georgia and northern Florida. At this current rate of death and lack of newborns, the species will be extinct by 2040.
We will lose the Vaquita this year and have recently lost the Yangtze river Dolphin. When will the world wake up from ignorance.
The WCFF informs, engage and inspires wildlife conservation through the power of film. Join us for our eight year anniversary in New York, NY, October 18-28, 2018. Ten days of film screenings, panel discussions, receptions, field trips, networking, Virtual Reality and more.
 
Contact: info@wcff.org to join the planning committee. Sponsor the film festival, advertise on the big screen during the outdoor summer series and the October festival. Take a page in the full color program book to be distributed in USA, China and other countries.

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
Instagram: @wcff_org
Vimeo.com/wcff
LinkedIn: Wildlife Conservation Film Festival

“I Am Salmon”

“I Am Salmon” produced and directed by Peter Mieres will premiere at the 2018 Wildlife Conservation Film Festival (WCFF) in New York, NY. The WCFF mission is to inform, engage and inspire wildlife conservation through the power of film. Join us for our eight year anniversary is October 18-28, 2018. Ten days of film screenings, panel discussions, receptions, field trips, networking, virtual reality and more. All Access Film Festival passes are available now for purchase: wcff.org/nyc-festival-2018/

Synopsis: “I Am Salmon” tells the story of the life cycle of the five species of wild pacific salmon and their age old relationship with the Tseshaht First Nation in British Columbia. Wild Pacific Salmon are at risk by a number of threats such as deforestation, pollution, over-fishing and the dams, ect. This short documentary hopes to create awareness of the issue.

Watch trailer: https://vimeo.com/259220503

Contact: info@wcff.org to join the planning committee. Sponsor the film festival, advertise on the big screen during the outdoor summer series and the October festival. Take a page in the full color program book to be distributed in USA, China and other countries.

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
Instagram: @wcff_org
Vimeo.com/wcff
LinkedIn: Wildlife Conservation Film Festival

Cure for White-Nose Syndrome?

White-nose syndrome, a disease that affects insect-eating bats, is one of the most devastating wildlife diseases on record. But there may be a relatively simple way to stop it, according to new research: UV light.

A new study from a team of scientists from U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the University of New Hampshire has found that the fungus is highly sensitive to UV light. Only a few seconds of exposure to ultraviolet light destroys the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome, Pseudogymnoascus destructans.

P. destructans can only infect bats during hibernation because it has a strict temperature growth range of about 39-68 degrees Fahrenheit. However, treating bats for the disease during hibernation is challenging, so any weakness of the fungus may be good news to managers trying to develop treatment strategies.

Some estimates have over 7 million bats from multiple species to have been killed by this fungus. Some bat colonies have been totally destroyed and have not recovered.

Read more:

https://www.whitenosesyndrome.org/

https://sciencebulletin.org/archives/18996.html

http://outbreaknewstoday.com/white-nose-syndrome-p-destructans-fungus-highly-sensitive-uv-light-49767/

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
Vimeo.com/wcff
LinkedIn: Wildlife Conservation Film Festival

 

 

Grizzly Bear Populations may soon combine

The grizzly bear population in Yellowstone National park number over 750 individuals. Male bears are moving north to expand their range and could meet up with members of their species around Glacier National Park within ten years or less. The distance between the two parks is 410 miles and their are a number of National Forests connecting the two parks as a wildlife corridor.

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/03/science/grizzly-bears-yellowstone-genes.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fscience&action=click&contentCollection=science&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=8&pgtype=sectionfront

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

Wildlife Conservation Film Festival
October 18-28, 2018
http://www.WCFF.org
Facebook.com/WCFForg
Twitter: @WCFF_org
Instagram: @wcff_org
Vimeo.com/wcff
LinkedIn: Wildlife Conservation Film Festival

A Year in Review: Seven Stories that Highlight Hope for Conservation in 2016

Channel Islands fox rebound

The Channel Islands, eight islands off the coast of Southern California, house more of their adorable cat-size foxes (found nowhere else on earth) than ever in recent history. Thanks to conservation efforts including captive breeding of the foxes and relocation of predatory eagles, the population was recently removed from the endangered species list.

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Photo source: Don DeBold

Chernobyl wildlife boom

Though Ukraine’s Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded over 30 years ago, it has left behind a wasteland that most scientists thought would remain barren for years to come. However, in 2014 University of Georgia researchers left dozens of cameras in a heavily forested area of Chernobyl’s 1600-square-mile Exclusion Zone and saw that boars, wolves, foxes, raccoon dogs and many more species had reclaimed the land as their own. “It’s basically an incredibly large sanctuary” for animals, said one researcher of the follow-up study and accompanying photos which were published this year.

Robotic animals used to trick poachers

US authorities have come up with an unexpected but highly successful method to catch poachers: placing remote-controlled robotic animals like deer, bear, and moose in illegal hunting hubs and apprehending those foolhardy enough to shoot at them.

Peanut butter and drones provide a creative way to help adorable ferrets

Native to the US, beautiful black-footed ferrets currently hold the spot of North America’s most endangered species, due in large part to a plague killing prairie dogs, their main source of food. This year the federal government began testing a unique and tasty solution that could drive the ferrets’ population to healthy numbers: using drones to drop peanut butter-flavored pellets laced with plague vaccine on unsuspecting prairie dogs (about 60-90% of prairie dogs fell for the trick in recent tests), helping their populations recover enough to restore a balanced ecosystem to the American grasslands where the dogs and ferrets reside.

Full-time Hedgehog Officer for British Town

Officials in Ipswich, a village on the eastern coast of the UK, have recently noted declines in typically high hedgehog populations, so a local wildlife organization created the post of “Hedgehog Officer”, tasking the British woman who beat around 150 applicants with conserving this adorable local creature.

Jaguars settling in Arizona

Jaguars claimed much of the western US as their own before being completely hunted to death, but 2016 gave two positive signs that some of the creatures may have migrated from northern Mexico into the Arizona desert. A few months following the appearance of a gorgeous male, caught on camera and nicknamed El Jefe, a second male cat was photographed prowling around an Arizona army installation. Though Arizona wildlife officials dampened some excitement with the revelation that the closest breeding population is 130 miles south, the presence of these cats brings hope that more may eventually find their way to their old stomping grounds in the US.

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Strong protections for some of world’s most endangered animals

The 2016 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) concluded by creating tough new regulations against killing and trading endangered animals currently vulnerable to poachers, including African gray parrots, pangolins, and manta rays.

Post by Shannon Cuthbert

Source: Brulliard, Karin. “Nine great news stories about animals in 2016.” The Washington Post. 30 December 2016.

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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

Endangered Species Face 12-Year Wait to be Listed

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A new study in journal Biological Conservation uncovered that the average time it takes a species to be officially classified as endangered is 12 years, six times longer than scientists say it should be to promote the health and survival of these species.

When Congress first passed the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1973, the process for a species to be added to the “endangered” list entailed being labelled as endangered or threatened by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. In 1982 Congress added an amendment laying out an entire two-year timeline for the process, from a petition submission in favor of the species being added to a final rule being created in the Federal Register.

However, the reality is a bit more complex. “While the law lays out a process time of two years for a species to be listed, what we found is that, in practice, it takes, on average, 12.1 years,” says Dr. Emily Puckett, a recent Division of Biological Sciences graduate at the University of Missouri. “Some species moved through the process in 6 months but some species, including many flowering plants, took 38 years to be listed—almost the entire history of the ESA.”

The study analyzed the length of time it took for the 1,338 species listed for ESA protection between January 1974 and October 2014 to move through the listing process. Researchers also examined if a species grouping affected the speed with which it was listed, and found that vertebrates moved on to the list significantly more quickly than did flowering plants and invertebrates. This finding prompted the study’s authors to conclude there may be a bias in the listing process that undermines the ESA’s official listing policies. “While the [US Fish and Wildlife] Service can account for species groups in its prioritization system, it’s not supposed to be mammals versus insects versus ferns but, rather, how unique is this species within all of the ecological system,” Puckett says. “However, our findings suggest some bias that skews the process toward vertebrates.”

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Long delays in ESA listing have real and severe impacts on endangered species. In fact, the study’s authors cited documentation of several species that went extinct while the lengthy process unfolded. In contrast, species that were listed quickly and had strong conservation plans put in place had greater chances to recover and thrive. For instance, the island night lizard took a mere 1.19 years to be listed, while the prairie fringed orchid took 14.7 years to be listed. In the meantime, the lizard population has been restored and it has been removed from endangered status, while the orchid is still a threatened species.

“The whole point of putting species on the list is they already have been identified as threatened or endangered with extinction,” Puckett says. “Without being on the list, we run the risk that these populations will go locally or globally extinct and there will be nothing to save.”

Sossamon, Jeff. “”Endangered Species Wait 12 Years to Get on the List.” Futurity. 12 August 2016.

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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