Hundreds of animals seized in operation targeting wildlife trafficking across Asia   Leave a comment

From:  InterPol

Dec. 19, 2014

LYON, France – A five-month long INTERPOL-coordinated operation targeting wildlife trafficking in tigers and other big cats across Asia has resulted in the seizure of hundreds of animals and more than 160 arrests.

Involving 13 countries, Operation PAWS (Protection of Asian Wildlife Species) also focused on lesser known species also in high demand by the black market, such as bears and pangolins. Wildlife traders using the internet and social media in certain countries were also investigated.

Among the live animals recovered were tigers, leopards, bears, monkeys, red pandas, lions and crocodiles in addition to 3,500 kg of elephant ivory, 280kg of pangolin scales, rhino horns and more than 4,000 kg of red sandalwood. A large number of turtles, tortoises and birds were also seized across a wide range of countries indicating a high demand for these species.

Designed and developed by the involved member countries as a collaborative law enforcement response to wildlife crime, Operation PAWS was coordinated by INTERPOL’s Environmental security unit as part of Project Predator, in addition to support from the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC).

Aimed at supporting and enhancing the governance and law enforcement capacity for the conservation of Asian big cats, INTERPOL’s Project Predator is primarily funded by the United States Agency for International Development.

The 13 countries which participated in Operation PAWS which was conducted between July and November were Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam. It was also supported by Australia, Canada and the USA.

Live tigers, leopards, bears, lions and crocodiles in addition to 3,500 kg of elephant ivory, 280kg of pangolin scales, tiger skins and rhino horns were seized during the five-month long Operation PAWS. © Indonesia

 

 

A five-month long INTERPOL-coordinated operation targeting wildlife trafficking in tigers and other big cats across Asia has resulted in the seizure of hundreds of animals and more than 160 arrests. © Vietnam

 

As well as tigers and other Asian big cats Operation PAWS (Protection of Asian Wildlife Species) also focused on lesser known species also in high demand by the black market, such as bears and pangolins. © Vietnam

 

Hundreds of animals were seized in an INTERPOL coordinated operation targeting wildlife trafficking across Asia. © Malaysia

 

 

Federal Court: Great Lakes Wolf Hunting Ends Now   Leave a comment

From:  The Humane Society of the United States

Dec. 19, 2014 by Kaitlin Sanderson: 240-672-8397; ksanderson@humanesociety.org

Sport Hunting and Trapping of Wolves is Over

Sport hunting and trapping of wolves in the Great Lakes region must end immediately, a federal District Court has ruled. The court overturned a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision that removed Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves living in the western Great Lakes region, which includes Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

The Humane Society of the United States and a coalition of wildlife protection groups, including Born Free USA, Help Our Wolves Live and Friends of Animals and Their Environment, filed suit against the USFWS’s premature December 2011 delisting decision. The decision threatened the fragile remnants of the gray wolf population by confining wolves to a small area in the Great Lakes region—where state politicians and agency officials have rushed forward with reckless killing programs that threaten wolves with the very same practices that pushed them to the brink of extinction in the first place.

Jonathan Lovvorn, senior vice president and chief counsel for animal protection litigation at The HSUS, said, “In the short time since federal protections have been removed, trophy hunters and trappers have killed more than 1,500 Great Lakes wolves under hostile state management programs that encourage dramatic reductions in wolf populations. We are pleased that the court has recognized that the basis for the delisting decision was flawed, and would stop wolf recovery in its tracks.”

In its 111-page ruling, the court chided the USFWS for failing to explain why it ignored the potential for further recovery of wolves into areas of its historic range that remain viable habitat for the species.  The court also noted that the USFWS has failed to explain how the “virtually unregulated” killing of wolves by states in the Great Lakes region does not constitute a continued threat to the species.

Following federal delisting, Wisconsin and Minnesota rushed to enact emergency regulations to allow the first public hunting and trapping seasons in the Great Lakes region in more than 40 years. The states authorized some of the most abusive and unsporting practices, including hound hunting, snares, baiting, electronic calls and the use of leg hold traps. Wisconsin’s wolf hunt ended this year after killing 154 wolves – 80 percent of them in leghold traps. And in Minnesota, 272 gray wolves were killed – 84 percent of the wolves in this year’s late season were trapped.

The Michigan legislature also passed three separate laws to designate wolves as a game species, in its zeal to allow the state to authorize a trophy hunting and trapping season for wolves, and to undermine a fair election by Michigan voters on wolf hunting. However, in response to a referendum campaign launched by The HSUS and other animal welfare and conservation groups and Native American tribes, the 2014 wolf hunt was canceled and voters in Michigan soundly rejected sport hunting of wolves in the recent November election.

Despite rhetoric from state politicians about wolf depredation of livestock, a new study of 25 years of wolf data has shown that hunting wolves may increase livestock losses.  Michigan lawmakers relied on false stories about wolves to push through a hunting season, and had to apologize for misleading statements.

Today’s ruling by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia follows another ruling by the same court in September that rejected the USFWS’s decision to delist wolves in the State of Wyoming. The HSUS was also a plaintiff in the Wyoming litigation.

The plaintiffs in the Great Lakes lawsuit were represented in the case by Schiff Hardin, LLP and attorneys within The HSUS’ Animal Protection Litigation section.

 

Study: Non-hunters contribute most to wildlife   3 comments

From:  WyoFile

Dec. 18, 2014 by Angus M. Thuermer Jr.

Private lands, like the farm these goose hunters are on in Goshen County, provide essential habitat for wildlife. Some say federal lands, especially in the West, also are fundamental to wildlife conservation but haven’t been accounted for in the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. Proponents of that theory estimate that hunters contribute only 6 percent to wildlife conservation nationwide. (Angus M. Thuermer Jr/WyoFile)

 

As Wyoming grapples with how it will fund wildlife conservation, hunters may lose some of their influence as other groups and interests are asked to increase their financial contributions.

Hunters have been key players in conserving wildlife in the post-frontier era, a development that’s come to be called the North American Model of Wildlife Management. Wyoming Game and Fish Department says 55 percent of its budget comes from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses and fees, and that hunters contribute even more through taxes on guns and ammo.

Since 2005, however, the agency has received general fund money appropriated by the Legislature, now amounting to 6 percent of its budget. That opens the door for others to demand representation in wildlife management decisions.

But those interests, whether they be against hunting or against aggressive predator control, feel they already have a legitimate reason to be heard but still are being shut out.

“I would describe the North American Model as incomplete,” said Thomas Serfass, a professor at Frostburg State University in Maryland and chairman of its department of biology and natural resources who has studied the issue. “It’s never been a complete story of wildlife conservation.”

Hunters have rightly claimed credit for saving or restoring iconic American species, be they elk, antelope, ducks or wild turkey. Yet some point to imperiled sage grouse, declining mule deer populations and the recent Endangered Species Act protection of the Gunnison sage grouse as examples of a broken North American Model.

One of the elements that is missing from the North American Model’s history of wildlife conservation is the contributions of federal land management agencies, Serfass said.

“Federal funding has never been a prominent part of what’s been, or at least what’s been portrayed (as) the North American Model,” he said. “Setting land aside in the public domain in perpetuity is probably the most substantive thing we do for wildlife conservation.”

When the value of federal land programs are put into the mix of wildlife conservation today, hunters’ contributions diminish to a mere 6 percent of funding nationwide, a paper released in October says. “The basis (the North American Model) of public debate is a myth,” says the study Wildlife Conservation and Management Funding in the U.S. The group Nevadans for Responsible Wildlife, Management issued the paper.

“Times are changing,” said Donald Molde, co-author of the study and a former board member of Defenders of Wildlife. “The issue of wildlife — who pays for that (and) whether the non-consumptive user should have a say — this is a body of concern that’s really relatively new … in the last 10 years.”

“What about this public lands argument,” he said. “Holy Toledo, that’s a huge subsidy to hunters.”

Molde’s paper, written with Mark E. Smith, co-founder of the Nevada group, says the eight largest federally funded wildlife programs contribute $18.7 billion annually to wildlife, land management and related programs. Those agencies include the U.S. Forest Service at $9.7 billion, the National Park Service at $3.6 billion, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at $2.8 billion and the BLM at $1.2 billion.

Only 5 percent of those agencies’ operating budgets and land acquisition costs are funded by hunters or related activities, the authors say. A similar ratio occurs in the private sector among conservation nonprofits, the study says.

“The 10 largest non-profit conservation organizations contribute $2.5 billion annually to habitat and wildlife conservation; of this, 12.3 percent comes from hunters and 87.7 percent from the non-hunting public,” the paper says. The Nature Conservancy tops the list at $859 million annually, followed by land trusts, Wildlife Conservation Society, World Wildlife Fund and Ducks Unlimited, the latter at $147 million.

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation was last of the top 10 at $54 million, according to Molde and Smith.

Theodore Roosevelt was a hunter, conservationist and one of the architects of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. That doctrine  credits hunters for wildlife health because of their financial contributions to game management through the purchase of hunting licenses. As the non-hunting public contributes more to state wildlife agencies, it is asking for a larger role in decision making. (Library of Congress - click to enlarge)

Theodore Roosevelt was a hunter, conservationist and one of the architects of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. That doctrine credits hunters for wildlife health because of their financial contributions to game management through the purchase of hunting licenses and more. As the non-hunting public contributes more to state wildlife agencies, it is asking for a larger role in decision making. (Library of Congress)

“With increased awareness and interest of the general (non consumptive) public in controversial wildlife management issues such as fur trapping, predator control, trophy hunting, coyote killing contests and wolf reintroduction, a debate is before us as to whether the general public is or should be afforded a proper voice in wildlife management decisions,” the two wrote. “Sportsmen favor the current system, which places a heavy emphasis on their interests through favorable composition of wildlife commissions and a continued emphasis on ungulate management.”

“Nonhuman predators (wolves, mountain lions, coyotes, ravens and others) are disfavored by wildlife managers at all levels as competition for sportsmen and are treated as second-class citizens of the animal kingdom,” the paper says. “Sportsmen suggest this bias is justified because ‘Sportsmen pay for wildlife,’ a refrain heard repeatedly when these matters are discussed.”

Molde has been arguing with Nevada wildlife authorities about lion hunting and trapping for 40 years, he said, but officials hear other voices. “The guys who stand up and shout the loudest are the ones that shoot deer, elk and bighorn sheep,” he said.

Their argument goes like this, Serfass said: “We provided the funding and technical resources, for example, restoring ungulates. In the process hunters vilify predators.” Thus, “they (hunters) should have primary attention in the way predators are managed.

“That attitude has taken us back 70 or 80 years in the progress we have been making in predator and prey management,” he said.

Even choosing to buy a license shouldn’t entitle one to a louder voice, Molde argues. Such influence may even undercut elements of the North American Model.

The North American Model of Wildlife Management:

• Wildlife is a public-trust resource
• Elimination of markets for wildlife
• Allocation of wildlife by law
• Wildlife can only be killed for a legitimate purpose
• Wildlife are considered an international resource
• Science is the proper tool for the discharge of wildlife policy
• Democracy of hunting (not restricted to those of means)

From “Large Carnivore Conservation” edited by Susan Clark (Yale) and Murray Rutherford (Simon Fraser University). The two argue in the book that the North American Model is inconsistent in its principles.

In recent years Wyoming has seen the establishment of the Cougar Fund, Wyoming Untrapped, and Wyoming Wildlife Advocates, each of which seeks to defend predators. Wildlife Advocates recently sued federal agencies over the elk hunt in Grand Teton National Park and is criticizing the Game and Fish’s killing of a grizzly bear near Clark.

The challenged elk hunt in Grand Teton may be an example of how some people feel left out, according to a masters’ thesis being prepared by Marian Vernon, a teaching fellow at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. She interviewed more than 30 people about the park’s elk reduction program.

“(W)hile stakeholders tend to define the problems associated with the park elk hunt in technical terms (e.g., problems of elk overpopulation, human safety), the underlying problem — and the ultimate source of the conflict — is that many stakeholders feel disrespected and excluded from the process by which government agencies make decisions about wildlife management and conservation on public lands,” she wrote in the Northern Rockies Conservation Cooperative fall 2014 newsletter. “The results of my study suggest that agencies should shift the focus of their attention away from ecological and biological details of elk management and instead focus on improving transparency, participation and involvement with outside stakeholders.”

Serfass, at Frostburg State, agrees.

“Probably a lack of access (to decision-makers) is one of the weakness in how we conduct wildlife conservation,” he said. “As a democratic society, if we’re talking about the public trust, people need more access.”

Despite the argument about the role of public lands in wildlife conservation, state management budgets are still viewed through the lens of the rifle scope, the critics said.

“Access is related to contributions,” Serfass said. “The first thing we have to do is realize we need a broader funding base.

“Non-hunting conservationists need to step up and demand to participate in funding,” he said. “The infrastructure is not in place. The average person who cares about conservation doesn’t necessarily (participate in) those types of activities,” like hunting.

“They certainly don’t have a voice with congressional caucuses that deal with sportsmen activities,” he said. “If they don’t belong to one of the higher-end conservation organizations, it’s a challenge for them to participate.”

Attempts to find new ways to fund wildlife conservation are ongoing not only in Wyoming but also nearby, not always successfully. In North Dakota, voters this month rejected a proposal to set aside 5 percent of the state’s oil extraction tax for conservation, the Bismarck Tribune reported.

In Montana, Fish Wildlife and Parks stalled a proposal to sell a wolf-management stamp that would have funded non-lethal elements of the agency’s program. Critics on both sides of the predator argument didn’t have faith in the proposal. The nonprofit Wildlife Institute offered reasons in an online essay.

Ducks Unlimited member Fred Kingwill and Sprigger hunt on the Salt River in Star Valley. Waterfowl hunters contribute to wildlife management through taxes on guns and ammo, as well as by buying licenses and duck stamps. Ducks Unlimited is the top hunters' conservation group in the country, a recent study says. (Angus M Thuermer Jr/WyoFile Ñ click to enlarge)

Ducks Unlimited member Fred Kingwill and Sprigger hunt on the Salt River in Star Valley. Waterfowl hunters contribute to wildlife management through taxes on guns and ammo, as well as by buying licenses and duck stamps. Ducks Unlimited is the top hunters’ conservation group in the country, a recent study says. (Angus M. Thuermer Jr/WyoFile)

“The lack of relationships with citizens who do not hunt or fish can lead to indifference or mistrust that undermines public support for new revenue sources,” the policy group said. “At the same time, the longstanding relationship between agencies and hunters that has fueled conservation for the past century can also create resistance to allowing other interests to help fund state agencies.”

Regardless of the role of federal lands and budgets in sustaining wildlife in Wyoming, the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission decides on game populations, hunting seasons and so on. The governor appoints the seven members of the commission, who represent districts across the state. Laws limit the number of members from a single political party.

Wyoming wants to set up a task force to figure out how to ensure long-term Game and Fish funding, said Neil Thagard, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership’s Western outreach director. The group supports wildlife conservation through the North American Model. Sportsmen, business owners, oil and gas interests would come up with a plan at the governor’s request, Thagard said, and he’s been asked to serve.

While it’s too early to predict what might come out of such a group — yet to be assembled and announced — Thagard would like to see non-consumptive users engaged, he said.

“There’s no one in this state that doesn’t benefit from sustainable fish and wildlife populations,” he said. “I would just like to see everyone step up to the plate and be willing to provide funding for professional wildlife management.”

“As far as the funding to the professional wildlife agencies, it is sportsmen that are paying the bill, and that’s a good thing,” he said. Some hunters want to keep it that way, he said. If the system changes, the fear among some is “We as sportsmen are going to lose control.”

Thagard agrees that federal lands in the West are essential to healthy wildlife populations, hence his stiff opposition to states acquiring them. At the state management level, where most game populations, hunting seasons and limits are set “I think the hunter does have a louder voice — but they’re the ones engaged with the agency,” he said.

He also would defer to technical and biological experts, unlike Yale’s Vernon who is studying the Grand Teton elk hunt and suggesting decisions be made in a broader context that includes interests and stakeholders that have not traditionally been involved.

“What does the science say we need to do to appropriately manage fish and wildlife resources,” Thagard said. “It should be science-based information that influences the decisions.

“Our Wyoming Game and Fish are heavily influenced at times by policies established at the state level and by special interests,” he said. “That doesn’t always bode well for wildlife.”

Thagard said he’d like to see game and fish license prices linked to the consumer price index. If such were to happen, hunters and anglers would see less sticker shock than if prices were hiked once every decade or so, as they are now. Such a move also would keep the Legislature, which today approves license-price increases, out of the picture.

“We have too much legislative meddling in Game and Fish agencies,” he said. “This isn’t just Wyoming, it’s all over. We don’t need politics driving fish and wildlife management.”

If non-consumptive users feel left out of the wildlife management picture, so too do non-resident hunters. They’re one of the largest, if not the largest single group of contributors to the Game and Fish budget, Dubois outfitter and former legislator Budd Betts said.

He is a board member of the Wyoming Outfitters and Guides Association, a group that relies heavily on out-of-state clients.

Non-resident hunters can pay more than $1,000 for an elk license, $10,000 all-told for travel and an outfitted hunt. Even if non-consumptive users contribute to the Game and Fish budget, “the lion’s share is still going to come from the non-resident,” Betts said.

Like non-consumptive users, non-resident hunters also don’t have a direct line to the commission, Betts said.

“The Wyoming outfitters are really the only voice for the non-resident hunter – the only organized and sophisticated voice,” he said. “You have to have a commercial group speak for the major license (revenue) source. You have to have a trade organization to speak for that group.”

There’s no proven way to capture revenue from non-consumptive wildlife users, no method like taxing camera or binocular sales, Betts said. Should such a system be developed, or should general fund money increase as a proportion of the Game and Fish budget, that could worry hunters.

Park Service biologists carry a tranquilized wolf pup in Yellowstone National Park before they collar it with a radio transmitter during the wolf transplant project in the mid 1990s. Several groups that support predators are making increasing complaints about how large carnivores are treated in Wyoming. If Wyoming broadens its wildlife funding base beyond hunters, it will likely have to deal with those new constituents' views. (Angus M Thuermer Jr/WyoFile Ñ click to enlarge)

Park Service biologists carry a tranquilized wolf pup in Yellowstone National Park before they collar it with a radio transmitter during the wolf transplant project in the mid-1990s. Several groups that support predators are making increasing complaints about how large carnivores are treated in Wyoming. If Wyoming broadens its wildlife funding base beyond hunters, it will likely have to deal with those new constituents’ views. (Angus M. Thuermer Jr/WyoFile)

“The issue has always been (that) when you lose your hunter base for funding, it no longer becomes a hunter-based philosophy,” guiding wildlife management, he said. There could be “some sort of a non-hunter incursion into Game and Fish management.”

Wyoming voter approval of a constitutional amendment in 2012 guaranteeing the right of residents to hunt, trap and fish reflects how they feel about preserving their hunting heritage. Meantime, non-residents may be at the limit of what they would pay for a Wyoming elk license, Betts said.

“We’re going to be significantly overpriced versus other states,” he said. “The only way to maintain your competitiveness is to maintain your quality.”

That opens another Pandora’s box, he said. “That circles back around (to) all the issues people have with Game and Fish — herd numbers, late cow seasons, and how they go after predators,” Betts said.

If Wyoming finds a long-term funding solution, it may not satisfy everybody. Thagard and Molde’s divergent views of state wildlife agencies suggests as much.

“What would happen if Wyoming Game and Fish went broke and went out of business,” Molde said. “You’d still have wildlife all over Wyoming. They’d probably be doing just fine.” State game agencies exist, “simply to provide for hunter opportunity,” he said.

Thagard couldn’t see that more clearly – in the opposite direction. From elk feedgrounds to sage grouse conservation to habitat projects, wildlife today needs help.

“They don’t exist by themselves,” he said of wildlife. “We’re intervening to try and sustain it.”

Resources:
Click here to view a Game and Fish video about its funding history and challenges here:

In this article, backcountry hunters and anglers weigh in on why it is a bad idea to transfer federal lands to the states.

— Angus M. Thuermer Jr. is the natural resources reporter for WyoFile. He began working at the Jackson Hole News in 1978, and was editor of the Jackson Hole News and Jackson Hole News&Guide before joining WyoFile. Contact him at angus@wyofile.com or (307) 690-5586. Follow him @AngusThuermer.

 

Saint Francis Tames a Ferocious Wolf   Leave a comment

Wolf is my Soul:

In honor of a new WordPress friend I re-blog this post. <3

Originally posted on Anything is Possible!:

St Francis and the Wolf of Gubbio

(An imaginary letter  from 13th Century Gubbio, Italy)

My Dear Sister,

As you may remember from my previous letters, there has a been a dangerous wolf terrorizing Gubbio. The large wolf has been seen stealing sheep and goats, and has even taken away small children as well as grown men, or so I have been told. Yesterday, Friar Francis of Assisi, who has been a guest in Gubbio for some time, amazed us all by taming the vicious beast.

The wolf was outside the city walls chasing some sheep, as men gathered with pitchforks, rocks and slings to try to chase the wolf away. Our beloved Francis intervened and asked them to wait. The brave friar walked toward the wolf who snarled viciously and then charged at him with his mouth open. We could see the white of the wolf’s teeth from the city walls.

Then Francis made the sign…

View original 431 more words

Posted 19 December, 2014 by Wolf is my Soul in News/Nyheter

International smuggler held in Lucknow; cache of arms, animal skin recovered   3 comments

From:  The Indian Express

Dec. 18, 2014 by Express News Service | Lucknow

Tariq Khan after his arrest on Wednesday. ( Source: Express photo by Vishal Srivastav )

Tariq Khan after his arrest on Wednesday. ( Source: Express photo by Vishal Srivastav )

The Lucknow police on Tuesday night arrested an alleged international smuggler dealing in gunrunning and wildlife racket and recovered cache of foreign make arms, bullet-proof jackets and skins of Australian animals worths crores of rupees from his house located in posh Jopling road locality in Hazratganj. The police also claimed to have recovered a currency counting machine from the house.

The police claimed that alleged smuggler Tariq Khan confessed to be getting arms from foreign countries through illegal means and was selling them at higher rates in India to gangsters after making minor changes.

Senior Superintendent of Police Yashasvi Yadav said that Tariq has claimed that he was involved in smuggling for last one-and-half year. They would seek his custody to trace his associates involved in the smuggling. All recovered arms are of foreign made, the SSP added.

Tariq was apprehended during a vehicle checking drive near Butler Palace colony, where he was riding a a motorcycle worth Rs 15 lakh which was found to be imported illegally. He was also carrying a foreign make double barrel gun. As Tariq failed to provide documents of the motorycle and gun, he was taken in police custody for questioning.

The police conducted a raid at his house and recovered a .315-bore bore rifle, 16 other rifles, two revolvers, two pistols, a rifle with model of AK-47, three bullet-proof jackets, three telescopes, a gas propelled machine gun, cartridges, three made in china swords, three made in spain knives and three animals skins from the place.

The SSP claimed that the recovered firearms and bullet-proof jackets are of best quality and technology.

He added that they are probing to get details about the route used for smuggling the arms. Few arms seemed to have been purchased through online shopping.

 

 

Small Victories for China’s Animal-Welfare Movement   1 comment

From:  Business Week

Dec. 18, 2014 by Bruce Einhorn – Einhorn is Asia regional editor in Bloomberg Businessweek’s Hong Kong bureau. Follow him on Twitter @BruceEinhorn.

A tiger performs at Chongqing Safari Park in China

A tiger performs at Chongqing Safari Park in China Photographer: China Photos/Getty Images

It’s getting a little easier to be an animal in China. The country’s fledgling animal-rights movement this week received a double boost, with a animal-welfare law in the works and a prominent zoo taking action to stop animal performances.

On Wednesday, Dec. 17, the Global Times, the tabloid affiliated with the official Communist Party mouthpiece the People’s Daily, reported that that the National People’s Congress is moving ahead on a plan to pass landmark legislation to protect animals, both in the wild and in captivity. Lawmakers have just completed a draft of the proposal, Chang Jiwen, vice director of the Research Institute of Resources and Environment Policies under the Development Research Center of the State Council, told the newspaper.

There’s still a long way to go before the proposal becomes law: China’s parliament isn’t likely to take up the amendment until late in 2015. But given China’s track record, we should take progress wherever we can get it. Or, as the Global Timesreported, “Shi Kun, director of the Wildlife Institute at Beijing Forestry University, told the Global Times that China has long been criticized for not treating wild animals humanely, but with legal recognition of animal welfare, the country should be able to make progress on curbing phenomenon like overtime performance by zoo animals and harsh living conditions for wildlife on farms.”

Chinese zoo animals need the help. The country has about 180 zoos, and almost all of them feature performances by animals, according to the Animals Asia Foundation, an NGO that has been lobbying Chinese zoos to stop the practice. There are also about 50 safari parks that include animal performances, said Dave Neale, animal welfare director at Animals Asia. “They have black bears riding bicycles, macaques on bicycles, tigers doing circus tricks,” he said. “A lot of the big cats—the tigers and the lions—have had their teeth removed.”

In the spring, the Beijing zoo joined the foundation’s campaign against animal performances. Now the zoo in Hangzhou—the eastern Chinese city that is home to e-commerce company Alibaba (BABA)—has said it will stop animal performances after lobbying by the Animals Asia Foundation, the NGO announced on Tuesday.

Unfortunately, the World Association of Zoos & Aquariums (WAZA), which represents zoos worldwide, can’t be much help in China. The group includes two Taiwanese zoos, as well as a Hong Kong marine park and zoo, but no zoos from the mainland belong to WAZA. “That may change over time,” said Neale. “A lot of the individual zoos [in China] are interested in becoming members.”

Until now, the Hangzhou Zoo was best known outside China for an incident in the winter of 2013 when visitors pelted the zoo’s lions with snowballs. “Our animals should be treated fairly,” Hangzhou Zoo breeder Zhu Yan told the Xinhua news agency at the time. “We hope our visitors will use some self-discipline and be nicer to them.”

 

 

Return of Wolves – The Flaming pack is now home   Leave a comment

From:  Mitteldeutsche Zeitung

Dec. 16, 2014 by Henrik Terminal

The night view from 03.02.2013 shows a pack of wolves in the forest district Göritz.(IMAGE: DPA)

 

Three years ago, foresters first observed wolves in Flaming in Coswig. Since then this has become the home of the Göritz-Klepziger pack.

GÖRITZ . 

Es ist ein sonniger Oktobertag, als keine drei Kilometer vom Flämingdorf Göritz entfernt gejagt wird. Diesmal jedoch vergeblich, denn Wölfe sind im Revier und machen dem Jäger einen dicken Strich durch die Rechnung.

Das Göritz-Klepziger Rudel trifft sich in der Nähe auf einem seiner Rendezvousplätze. Dort kümmern sich die älteren Tiere um den Nachwuchs, es wird gespielt, gefüttert, der Kontakt im Rudel gehalten.

„An dieser Stelle waren sie mehrere Wochen“, wird später Nils Schumann vom Landesforstbetrieb Anhalt bestätigen. Der Göritzer Revierförster hat die Rückkehr der Wölfe in den Coswiger Fläming, in eine ruhige und relativ waldreiche Gegend, nach nahezu 200 Jahren von Anfang an miterlebt.

Erste Beobachtungen

Im Winter 2011/2012 werden immer wieder Wölfe und ihre Spuren im weiten Umfeld von Göritz gesehen. Es sind einzelne Tiere, einige sicher aus dem Altengrabower Rudel, dem ersten in Sachsen-Anhalt, das bereits 2009 nachgewiesen wird. Und die Hinweise verdichten sich, werden konkreter. So entschließt sich das Landesamt für Umweltschutz im Januar 2013, Fotofallen nahe Göritz zu installieren. Sie bringen rasch Ergebnisse. Ein Rudel mit wenigstens sieben Tieren läuft im Februar ins Bild. Das zweite Wolfsrudel in Sachsen-Anhalt, das man fortan das Göritz-Klepziger Rudel nennen wird, ist nachgewiesen.

Hellgrau gefärbt ist der Rüde des Göritz-Klepziger Rudels und dadurch gut zu erkennen. Seine Herkunft ist unbekannt.(BILD: HEYER/ANDERS)

 

Auch auf Brandenburger Seite klicken nun die Fotofallen, suchen Förster intensiv nach Spuren und Losung. Wissenschaftler werten die Proben aus, analysieren Fotos. Alsbald können sie Genaueres über die Tiere sagen. Die Fähe kommt 2010 im Altengrabower Rudel zur Welt. Nach zwei Jahren erreicht sie die Geschlechtsreife, so dass 2012 im Fläming erstmals seit langer Zeit wieder Wolfswelpen geboren werden.

Herkunft bleibt im Dunkeln

Woher der Rüde stammt, wo sein Herkunftsrudel lebt, bleibt indes bis heute im Dunkeln. Auf jeden Fall sind es diese Elterntiere und ihre Welpen, die im Februar 2013 in die Fotofalle tappen und so den Rudelnachweis ermöglichen.

Die Welpen wurden 2014 geboren.(BILD: HEYER/ANDERS)

 

Zu ihnen gesellen sich im Mai oder Juni 2013 neue Welpen. Die anfängliche Vermutung, hervorgerufen durch ein Foto der trächtigen Wölfin vom April, bestätigt sich. Wie viele Wölfe geboren werden, lässt sich jedoch nicht mit hundertprozentiger Sicherheit sagen. Von zwei bis drei ist die Rede. Eines der Jungtiere stirbt am 14. Januar 2014 auf der Autobahn 9 nahe der Abfahrt Köselitz. Die Kollision mit einem Kleintransporter überlebt der junge Wolf nicht.

Nachwuchs gesichert

Im Mai 2014 kommen erneut Welpen bei Göritz zur Welt. Fünf sind es diesmal, wie Fotos zeigen, die im August veröffentlicht werden.

Die Welpen wurden 2014 geboren.(BILD: HEYER/ANDERS)

 

Diese jungen Wölfe sind es auch, die im Oktober von einem Jäger auf dem Rendezvousplatz fotografiert werden. Bereits relativ selbstständig, sind sie auch schon mal ohne die Elterntiere unterwegs. Und etwa im Februar, so wie es jedes Jahr aufs Neue geschieht, wollen Fähe und Rüde von ihren Nachkömmlingen in Ruhe gelassen werden. Im zweiten Lebensjahr gehen die jungen Wölfe dann auf Wanderschaft, der Kontakt zum Rudel löst sich langsam. (mz)

 

 

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