Tag Archives: Captive Exotic Animals

Death of 17-Year-Old Endangered Gorilla Sparks Debate About Zoo Killings

elite-daily-gorilla

Many took to social media in protest after learning of the death of a beloved western lowland gorilla, one of a gorilla subspecies labelled “critically endangered” by the World Wildlife Fund. The 400-pound male, Harambe, was killed at the Cincinnati Zoo Saturday, May 28, when a four-year-old boy fell into the gorilla enclosure. After the gorilla dragged the boy through a moat as a crowd of tourists watched in horror, the zoo’s response team felt that the toddler was in “life-threatening” danger and shot the gorilla with a rifle.

However, upon seeing video footage of the incident, some observers believe the gorilla was merely trying to protect the child from perceived danger upon hearing the screams of surrounding tourists, and #JusticeForHarambe began trending online in response. In the clip, Harambe appears to be shielding the boy from the panicked cries around them, and does not seem ready to lunge at or attack the child. More than 70,000 protesters have petitioned on Change.org for the child’s parents to be examined for signs of child neglect, claiming that Harambe’s death could easily have been prevented had they been actively watching their son.

Western lowland gorillas remain the most widespread gorilla subspecies, according to the WWF, but face significant threats from deforestation, as well as from poaching and diseases that have reduced the most recent generation’s population by more than 60%. Aside from being totally extinct or extinct in the wild, being critically endangered is the most dire label an animal population can receive.

Saturday’s event brings to mind a 1986 occurrence that took place on the UK-dependent island of Jersey, in which silverback gorilla Jambo famously stood guard over a five-year-old boy who fell into a gorilla enclosure, rubbing the child’s back and protecting him from other gorillas, until keepers were able to extricate the child. However, unlike Harambe, Jambo was left unharmed and made into a local hero, featuring in a life-sized statue and even on Jersey stamps.

Coupled with a similarly-fatal incident last week, in which two lions were killed at a Santiago, Chile zoo when a man attempted suicide by climbing into their cage, Harambe’s death has led many to question the standard emergency procedures zoos currently have in place for unexpected encounters between animals and humans. For instance, some are questioning why zoo staff don’t carry tranquilizers that could be used in such incidents to incapacitate rather than kill animals who are in close and potentially deadly contact with visitors. The Cincinnati zoo staff responded by noting that tranquilizers take a much longer time to kick in, and that the boy’s life would have remained in danger until further action was taken.

As for 74-year-old trainer Jerry Stones, who raised Harambe from birth and described him as a “gentle giant,” the gorilla’s death is especially painful. “He was a special guy in my life. Harambe was my heart. It’s like losing a member of the family.”

BBtCkei

Sources: Gladu, Alex. “How endangered are western lowland gorillas like the one at the Cincinnati Zoo?” Bustle. 29 May 2016.

BBC News. “Gorilla killing: Harambe’s death at zoo prompts backlash.” 30 May 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

Advertisements

Truck Stop Tiger

tony the truck stop tiger

“Tony” is a tiger imprisoned at a Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana. Signs posted on Tony’s cage, indicate he was born in July 2000, now making him 15-years old. It is reported that Tony was acquired by Michael Sandlin as a 6-month old cub from a Texas breeder.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund found the permit issued by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries was illegal and revoked; LDWF was blocked from issuing a new permit. Unfortunately Michael Sandlin, “Tony’s” captor, enlisted his state Senator, Rick Ward, to propose a bill, SB 250, to exempt himself from Louisiana state law banning private ownership of big cats. This outrageous bill passed both the Senate and House and was signed by Governor Jindal. Immediately the Animal Legal Defense issued a statement saying they would challenge the validity of SB 250. On June 25, 2014 ALDF filed suit against the State of Louisiana for violating the Louisiana Constitution by passing a law that exempts a single individual from existing state public safety and animal welfare laws. Defendants include the State of Louisiana, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), the Tiger Truck Stop, and Michael Sandlin.

FreeToniTeeArt

Please go to Tony’s change.org petition asking the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to enforce the 2006 law banning private ownership of big cats remains open and is nearing 49,000 signatures.

There are an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 big cats kept captive by private owners. The exact number is a unknown because of insufficient record keeping requirements. These animals are kept as pets, exhibited in roadside zoos, perform in circuses and traveling exhibitions, and bred for profit. Cubs are used in “pay-for-play” schemes and photo ops.

lockedoutforhowlong63011

Wildlife Conservation Film Festival
& Biodiversity Conference
Christopher J. Gervais, FRGS
Founder & CEO
Christopher@WCFF.org
http://www.WCFF.org

Facebook.com/WCFForg
Twitter: @WCFF_org
Twitter: @CJGERVAIS
Instagram: @wcff_2014
Vimeo.com/wcff
LinkedIn: Wildlife Conservation Film Festival

Wildlife Conservation Film Festival, Inc.

Ohio High School Abuses Tiger Cubs

tiger cubs caged

In the state of Ohio, the Massillon Washington High School’s football boosters club has purchased or leased tiger cubs from a local private exotic animal breeder each year for the past 44 years.  dubbing each “Obie,”, these cubs are separated prematurely from their mothers and declawed, the young animals are forced to experience the stresses of human contact, paraded in front of thousands of screaming crowds.

The tigers’ tenure as mascots is brief. When football season’s over, they’re sent away to endure the rigors of captivity elsewhere, only to be replaced by a new “Obie.”

Critics say that generations of these “retired” tigers routinely wind up caged as roadside attractions, or are sold into private hands as breeding animals, pets or worse, targets for canned hunting operations.

A spokeswoman for Stump Hill Exotic Animal Farm, where boosters have acquired tiger cubs for the last few years, told Cleveland.com that it’s “no one’s business” where the “Obies” are sent, “except the Massillon Boosters Club, Stump Hill and the USDA.”

While the breeder can keep some details closely guarded, USDA reports are still a matter of public record — and they hint at a dismal life for the big cats. Stump Hill has been cited on numerous occasions for welfare violations, most recently on Dec. 5, when a routine inspection uncovered an unreported tiger cub who had been seriously injured after getting stuck in an enclosure fence. The inspector believes that the cub had chewed off part of her paw in an attempt to free herself.

Tigers%20for%20Sale_Dora

Stump Hill and Massillon Washington High School’s football boosters club have been the targets of multiple petitions in recent years, but none have been able to end the use of living mascots. In fact, when Ohio updated its laws regulating exotic animals in 2010, the new legislation was written in a way that allowed the school’s use of tigers to continue.

So far the schools boosters are not swayed by mounting pressure. “We talked about the petition but we really haven’t done anything as far as making a move to make any changes or do anything in the future,” said booster club historian Gary Vogt.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF), estimates there are 5,000 tigers held in captivity throughout the United States “in backyards, urban apartments and sideshows, often by those untrained in handling tigers.” The WWF has called for a ban on private possession of big cats.

This article was written by Stephen Messenger and published by The Dodo.

Tiger cubs, recovered from poachers who had planned to smuggle the animals out of the country, are seen in an iron cage in the custody of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) in Dhaka

Wildlife Conservation Film Festival & Biodiversity Conference
Facebook.com/WCFForg
Twitter: @WCFF_org
Twitter: @CJGERVAIS
Instagram: @wcff_2014
Vimeo.com/wcff
LinkedIn: Wildlife Conservation Film Festival

“Sambo” Forced Out of Retirement

1_1248856329_sambo-the-elephant

Two years after she was walked out of the city in the middle of the night to a quiet life of retirement on the outskirts of the capital, Sambo, Phnom Penh’s iconic and much-beloved elephant, might soon be back at work entertaining tourists. Funding for her recently concluded rehabilitation program now gone, her owner is insisting he has little choice but to begin showcasing her once more at Wat Phnom, a decision contested by the elephant rescue organisation that bankrolled her two-year sabbatical.

Sin Sorn, who owns Sambo, says that as the pair are no longer supported by the Elephant Asia Rescue and Survival foundation (EARS), he cannot afford to pay for her food and medical care without the steady income he earned for the more than 20 years that she was a tourist attraction at the temple.

The decades that 54-year-old Sambo spent walking on hard concrete and gravel while giving rides resulted in a painful abscess on a foot, overgrown toenails and a host of other issues, causing her to limp. A veterinarian retained by EARS warned in 2012 that a further deterioration in her “painfully lame” condition could lead Sambo to collapse on the city’s streets, Sorn agreed to move her to a plot of land for rest and medical treatment. That contract expired in March, leaving EARS and Sorn at loggerheads about what happens next.

“I do not have money to support her anymore. I will bring her back to Wat Phnom, but I will not allow people to ride her while she walks like in the past,” Sorn said yesterday at the sandy Phnom Penh Thmey compound where Sambo has lived since February 2012, as the elephant shovelled sugar cane into its mouth behind him. “I spend $15 a day just on Sambo’s food … [In the city], she will just stand in one place and tourists or people can touch her, take photos with her or buy fruits that I will sell to feed her.”

EARS has spent $45,000 over the two-year period paying for Sambo’s medical care and a monthly compensation package for Sorn to help fund an assistant caregiver, food, electricity and water and to cover his loss of earnings.

Sambo’s feet are in a far better condition than before, but EARS founder and CEO Louise Rogerson says sending her back to the city would be the worst possible decision for the elephant’s welfare. “She’s never going to fully recover 100 per cent, but what we’ve done is given her an intensive medical program over the last two years,” she said. “It has been a very slow rehabilitation process, there is absolutely no way she can go back to the city. It would be impossible for her to walk on hot tarmac roads.… It would basically be animal cruelty.”

EARS has offered to fund Sambo’s retirement at the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre in Takeo province or at the Elephant Valley Project in Mondulkiri province instead, but Sorn has rejected these options. He says he would prefer to move her to a piece of land in Kampong Speu province that his son has said he will purchase if donors help with her upkeep and medical costs. EARS has rejected that land as unsuitable for the elephant’s long-term retirement.

“I want to appeal to everyone in Cambodia and overseas and other organisations to help my Sambo. But not EARS. I want those who love elephants to help my elephant directly through me, because I am the owner of the elephant and I am taking care of her every day,” Sorn said.

He declined to explain why he no longer wanted any support from EARS, citing “personal issues” with the organisation. Sorn also brushed off concerns about Sambo’s health and any doubts of his commitment to care for her in the city. “Sambo has lived with me since she was 8 years old and I consider her my daughter. So I want to stay with Sambo until I die.”

Rogerson is clear, however, that Sambo “deserves a better life after 30 years of standing in the city”. “He’s pleading poverty and that he can’t afford to feed her, but that’s not the case. We can continue on an agreement if he wants to consider his elephant first and return her to her natural habitat with other elephants,” she said.

Wildlife protection officials from the forestry administration will visit Sambo this week to evaluate her health and determine whether the elephant can return to the city, Phnom Tamao sanctuary director Rattanak Pich said. The Ministry of Information has also offered its compound on Monivong Boulevard as a possible sleeping place for Sambo if she returns to the city, Minister Khieu Kanharith said.

73001053

Article published in the Phnom Pehn Post
by Kevin Ponniah and Mom Kunthear

Wildlife Conservation Film Festival, Inc.
Christopher J. Gervais, Founder & CEO
Christopher@WCFF.org
Facebook.com/WCFForg
LinkedIn: Wildlife Conservation Film Festival
Twitter: @WCFF_org
Instagram: WCFF_org

End to Circus Elephants in USA?

Image

Representative Jim Moran (D-VA) has reintroduced the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act (TEAPA) to Congress. If this bill passes, it would restrict the use of exotic, and non-domesticated animals by traveling circuses in the United States.

The Bill is being pushed by Animal Defenders International (ADI), which has successfully lobbied thirty countries to ban, or limit the use of animals in traveling circuses. TEAPA aims to end the use of exotic and wild animals in circuses, because they are subjected to cramped quarters, and forced to perform under fear of being physically assaulted if they refuse.

“Magnificent wild animals have no place in a traveling circus, and with this bill, the US joins almost 30 countries across the world that have taken action to end the suffering. Due to the very nature of the traveling circus, wild animals cannot move around or exercise naturally, they live their whole lives chained or tied up, or in small cages that fit on the back of a truck. Our investigations have also shown that violence to control animals is part of circus culture; animals are beaten, whipped and electric shocked to make them perform tricks. This brutality has no place in modern society,” said ADI President Jan Creamer.

ADI has been working with Moran, and is supplying members of Congress with detailed evidence of animal abuse in traveling circuses. “From video and photographic evidence, it’s clear that traveling circuses aren’t providing the proper living conditions for exotic animals. This legislation is intended to target the most egregious situations involving exotic and wild animals in traveling circuses,” said Moran. “The mounting evidence of inhumane treatment and the growing public concern for these animals demands that we reconsider what are appropriate living conditions for these intelligent, social creatures,” he added.

ADI estimates that around three hundred wild animals tour the United States with circuses. Already, over forty local ordinances have been passed in twenty states, but ADI argues that it is vital the issue be addressed federally, because a circus may train animals in one state, but move them between a dozen, or more states during the year.

The Bill would see the United States join almost thirty diverse countries that have already passed similar legislation including Austria, Belgium, Greece, India, Bolivia, Colombia and Panama. Other countries that are currently considering legislation include Great Britain, Brazil and Mexico. British Prime Minister David Cameron, recently promised that a ban would be passed within the next twelve months.

In October 2013, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to ban the use of bullhooks and “other implements and tools designed to inflict pain for the purpose of training and controlling the behavior of elephants” in circuses and traveling shows within the county. Stephen Payne, vice president of Field Entertainment, the parent company of Ringling Bros. “Really what this bill does is it bans the use of the guide for our circus. We’ll be unable to bring Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey back to the city of Los Angeles.” The bill is not go in effect until 2017

Judging from the amount of countries that have already banned the use of wild animals in circuses, it is fair to say that animal circuses are no longer an acceptable form of entertainment. Shows with human performers such as ‘Cirque de Soleil’ are rapidly growing in popularity.

Images below were taken at Ringling Brothers and Barnum Bailey Circus Elephant “Training Facility”. Here baby elephants are taken away from their mothers and beaten until submission so they will perform tricks for human amusement

Image

Image

Image

 Wildlife Conservation Film Festival, Inc.
Christopher J. Gervais, Founder & CEO
http://www.WCFF.org
Facebook.com/WCFForg
LinkedIn: Wildlife Conservation Film Festival
Twitter: @WCFF_org