A fungus tied to a disease devastating hibernating bats in the United States has been found in an Alabama cave system critical to the survival of endangered gray bats, government scientists said on Monday (April 8). Detection of the fungus that causes the bat disease, white-nose syndrome, in the Fern Cave National Wildlife Refuge in Alabama "could be pretty catastrophic" for the up to 1.6 million protected gray bats that hibernate there, said Paul McKenzie, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service endangered species coordinator.
Link: Yahoo! News
In 1916, poet Carl Sandburg memorialized Chicago as “hog butcher to the world.” Now, one Illinois lawmaker wants to stop the city from earning a new reputation as lion butcher to the country. State Rep. Luis Arroyo (D) is behind the proposed legislation — the first in the nation to outlaw lion meat. Under Arroyo’s plan, anyone caught selling or slaughtering African lion (Panthera leo leo) would serve a year in jail and/or pay a $25,000 fine.
Live animals could no longer be sold at flea markets and swap meets in California under a (Born Free USA-sponsored) bill making its way through the state Legislature. The bill cleared its first hurdle today. In an unusual show of bipartisan support, the Assembly Public Safety Committee approved the legislation unanimously. Democratic Assemblyman Roger Dickinson said the ban is needed to protect animals and consumers.
Like a once-quiet neighborhood cut up by an expressway and laced with off-ramps, Northeastern forests are changing because of the pipelines crisscrossing them amid the region's gas drilling boom, experts say.
Link: Yahoo! News
While many Floridians are well-versed in animal protection and guarding against invasive species — such as the Burmese python — not everyone in Southwest Florida is pleased with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's foreign push and what it might mean for local animals.
Led by Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, 72 senators and representatives formally asked the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Monday (March 25) to delist the gray wolf from the Endangered Species Act.
Kenya Wildlife Service wardens Tuesday (March 26) arrested 12 residents of Oldonye Sampu, Kajiado County over the killing of a lion in retaliation to an attack on three cattle. Two people were wounded when a pride of lions attacked the livestock and are recuperating at the Athi River Shalom community hospital in the latest incident of human-wildlife conflict.
The tragic death of Dianna Hanson at the Cat Haven wildlife sanctuary in California should focus attention on the dangers of working in captive animal facilities, according to one of the world's foremost animal advocacy organizations.
South African Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa has thrown her weight behind controversial calls for the legalisation of trade in rhinoceros horn. Molewa said for the first time in an interview that she believes it "is the right direction" to take and could be the key to saving South Africa's increasingly threatened rhino population from extinction.
Poachers killed at least 86 elephants in Chad last week, including 33 pregnant females and 15 calves, conservation groups said on Tuesday, warning that elephants in Central Africa risked being wiped out by such slaughters.
Link: Yahoo! News
Emily Kate, Born Free’s young adopted elephant in Kenya, has just given birth to her very first calf — a male. Emily Kate’s mother was Echo, a remarkable "matriarch" elephant who died of old age in 2009. Fortunately Emily Kate has a large family to help her at this important time, including older sisters who are experienced mothers. Learn more about Emily Kate here (PDF). Find out more about Born Free's role at Kenya's Amboseli National Park here.
Dying to try lion? If you live in Illinois, you'd better get your fix quickly before proposed legislation would make the "mane" course a Class A misdemeanor. Illinois State Representative Luis Arroyo proposed HB 2991 to the state's General Assembly last month. If the Lion Meat Act passes, Illinois will become the first U.S. state to forbid lion slaughter, or for any person to possess, breed, import, export, buy or sell lions for the purpose of slaughter.
Sharai Mawere, 43, a market stall owner, was making love to her boyfriend at a secluded spot in the bush near the northern town of Kariba when the lioness struck on Tuesday. Later, the lion and her two cubs were shot dead by wardens from the Department of Parks and Wildlife Authority and a professional hunter.
The global trade in ivory and rhino horn is at the top of the agenda at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, or CITES conference, taking place in Bangkok. The conference is debating imposing bans on all wildlife trade in 19 countries unless they crack down on the poaching, smuggling or sale of illegal ivory.
Day after day, the slaughter of the elephants continues at a record pace — 25,000 killed in 2011, conservationists say, and more than 30,000 last year. A study from the Wildlife Conservation Society shows that 60 percent of all African forest elephants (a slightly smaller subspecies of the African savanna elephant) have been killed in the last decade for their ivory, leaving about 80,000 in their primary habitats in Western and Central Africa.
The investigation into a lion attack that killed a 24-year-old woman who loved big cats is focusing on a cage door that the 550-pound animal managed to escape through to reach the volunteer intern, officials say.
The following was first published on Feb. 28, 2013.
It has been almost two weeks since I lost my partner of 37 years-and-one-day, Pat Derby. Our anniversary was Valentine's Day. I've been keeping myself busy, spending some time alone, and doing needed, but mindless, jobs around the Sanctuary. The entire time I've spent thinking about what to say to PAWS' friends and supporters about the incredible Pat Derby.
Crime syndicates and terrorists are outgunning those on the frontline of wildlife protection and pose a deadly threat to people and animals, the world's top wildlife official has told the Guardian. The law enforcement fightback must mirror the war against illegal drugs, said John Scanlon, secretary general of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites), with undercover operations and harsh penalties.
Horsemeat imported from Canada has tested positive for the veterinary drug phenylbutazone in Switzerland.
Poaching and ivory trafficking have skyrocketed in the post-China ivory sale years. The Chinese government recently built the world’s largest ivory carving factory and is funding the training of a new generation of ivory carvers. Can CITES stop this madness?
From exotic birds to reptiles, the health and safety of wildlife sold at outdoor markets is the focus of a new bill, AB 339 sponsored by Born Free USA and the State Human Association of California and authored by California Assemblyman Roger Dickinson (D-Sacramento). “Very frequently, I found the animals didn’t have food or water, even when it was really hot out,” Monica Engebretson, senior program associate for Born Free USA,
Adam Roberts, executive vice president of Born Free USA, a leader in wildlife conservation and animal welfare, and a board member of Species Survival Network (SSN), warned February 25, “We are presiding over a slide towards extinction for many of the world's most iconic species.”
In 2002, I spent 10 days in Kenya. I'll never forget lying in a tent on the Maasai Mara trying to sleep against the awful, blood-curdling roar of lions hunting on the moonlit plains. I would wake every hour, swearing a beast was at my door. Seven years later, a trip to Botswana ended without seeing (or hearing) a single lion, and while the safari was magnificent, something powerful and fearsome was notably absent. It made me wonder: What would Africa be without lions?
Poachers have preyed on yet another Kaziranga rhino, the horn-shorn carcass of which was recovered from the Bagori range of the national park this morning (Feb. 18). This was the ninth rhino killed in the state this year and the seventh in Kaziranga. Forest officials said the male rhino's carcass was recovered near the Kaoimari forest camp in the Bagori range of the park. Empty .303 rifle cartridges were also recovered from the site.
Link: Yahoo! News India
A brown bear dubbed Mike by its fans has been shot and killed by gamekeepers in a mountainous border region in southeastern Switzerland after several run-ins with locals, Swiss officials said on Wednesday (Feb. 20). How to deal with the bear, known as M13 by authorities, had sparked controversy between gamekeepers and environmentalists far outside the Graubuenden canton, which borders on Italy and Austria and where the animal was most often spotted.
Link: Yahoo! News
Poachers have decimated elephant populations across Africa and parts of Asia, killing thousands of animals for their revered ivory. Yet in Sri Lanka, home to some 7,000 wild Asian elephants, a different, more hopeful story is playing out.
A significant legal precedent was set today that will protect migratory birds from lethal collisions with the highly reflective windows of office buildings. Cadillac Fairview, one of Canada’s largest commercial property owners and managers, was charged under s. 14(1) of the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) and s. 32(1) of the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). In a ruling released Monday, Judge Melvyn Green of the Ontario Court of Justice found that hundreds of birds, including threatened species, had been injured and killed at the company’s Yonge Corporate Centre, consisting of three office buildings in Toronto, during the 2010 spring and fall migrations.
Endangered bonobos are being sold as pets in the jungles of central Africa, British conservation experts have discovered. The apes, which are close to extinction, can fetch thousands of pounds on the black market. They are caught by poachers in forests in the heart of the Democratic Republic of Congo and taken to ports hundreds of miles away to be sold to sailors who see them as a status symbol. There are thought to be only between 15,000 and 20,000 bonobos, also known as pygmy chimpanzees, in the wild.
An initial chemical analysis on 14 Borneo pygmy elephants that died mysteriously could not conclusively determine if they were poisoned, and more tests will be conducted abroad, an official said Friday (Feb. 8). The endangered elephants were found dead last month in a protected forest in Sabah state on Borneo. Sabah is home to most of the remaining 1,200 Borneo pygmy elephants that exist worldwide. The elephants are feared to have been poisoned because they encroached on Malaysian plantations.
Link: Yahoo! News
Just a stone's throw from two of Los Angeles' busiest freeways lies the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve, a unique spot in an urban jungle. The northern portion of the reserve is adorned with 30-foot-tall cottonwood trees, spots of coyote bush and other plants. Native plants cover 50 percent of the nature spot, says Kris Ohlenkamp with the San Fernando Valley Audubon Society. On the other side it was significantly more than that," he says. A cement corridor leads to the southern part of the reserve. "This 48 acres was the original wildlife area," Ohlenkamp says, "and now it's all gone."
An American tiger trainer was mauled and killed at a circus in Northwestern Mexico by one of the big cats performing with him, officials said Tuesday (Feb. 5). Amateur video showed Alex Crispin Suarez, 35, circling around two tigers and making the animals turn while standing on low platforms during a performance on Saturday in the Indian village of Etchojoa in Sonora state.
Link: Yahoo! News
The attention of Thailand’s 85-year-old king is helping revive interest in a fading local tradition — the rollicking Thai monkey show. The show, known in Thailand as “Lakorn Ling,” features monkeys that wear costumes and makeup as they perform roles adapted from Asian classical novels and folklore. The monkeys dance, lip-sync and fight with swords.
Most people seem to agree that setting aside a 55-acre former sewage lagoon as a public wildlife viewing area is a good idea. The disagreement comes over whether dogs should be allowed on the property, owned by the city of Snohomish.
Darwin the Ikea monkey will remain at the Story Book Farm primate sanctuary until a trial over his ownership, a Superior Court Justice ruled Friday (Feb. 1). Yasmin Nakhuda, the former owner of the Japanese macaque, sat expressionless as Justice Michael Brown read the decision in an Oshawa courtroom Friday morning.
The owner of a Richland Chinese restaurant pleaded innocent Wednesday (Jan. 30) to allegations she illegally bought bear gall bladders and game animals from undercover officers. Tai Woan Ng, 52, faces trial April 8 in Benton County Superior Court.
Malaysian authorities discovered the decomposing remains of another three endangered Borneo pygmy elephants on Wednesday (Jan. 30), deepening a mystery surrounding at least 13 such deaths this month. The wildlife department in Malaysia's Sabah state is bracing for the possibility of finding more dead elephants in the Gunung Rara Forest Reserve, where an unknown number of the animals roam, said Masidi Manjun, Sabah's environment minister.
Link: Yahoo! News
A dolphin has died after it got stranded in the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn Friday (Jan. 25). The Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation said the dolphin died before the high tide at 7:10 p.m. Marine experts had hoped the tide would help carry the animal back to sea.
At its north Corvallis refuge, Chintimini Wildlife Center has for the past 23 years provided rehabilitation services to more than 17,000 injured and orphaned animals. Many such animals are returned to the wild upon recovery, but some remain at the center and become ambassadors as part of Chintimini’s community education program. And that includes injured squirrels.
A Las Vegas resort is offering visitors the chance to participate in the creation of artwork painted exclusively by dolphins. The "Painting With the Dolphins" program at Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat in The Mirage allows guests to pick and canvas and the three paint colors the dolphins will use to create a masterpiece, the Las Vegas Sun reported Wednesday (Jan. 23).
Opening with a heart-stopping 2010 video of SeaWorld Orlando senior trainer Dawn Brancheau being dragged to her death by Tilikum, an orca known for killing before, Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s documentary "Blackfish" is enough to make anybody think twice about the wisdom of turning whales into performers. "Blackfish," which had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, relies on often-disturbing video shot by various park guests and trainers that shows orcas turning on staff in what experts in the film explain are not acts of aggression, but rather frustration at being held in, as one describes it, “a concrete bathtub.”
Booboo the bear has been found. On Friday afternoon, "A Grizzly Experience," the business run by Booboo's owners, posted this message on their Facebook page: "Booboo is home safe and sound!" According to ABC News, the 125-pound cub escaped on Tuesday (Jan. 15) afternoon from his home in Naples, Fla. As authorities scoured the area for the bear, residents were "urged to use caution" until the animal was found.
Link: Huffington Post
It was a professional hit, the quick and ruthless slaying of a family of 12. Poachers with machetes hacked off the tusks of 11 African elephants on Jan. 5 in a Kenyan reserve, passing over a baby that was crushed by its mother after a gunshot felled her. The same day, customs officials in Hong Kong seized more than 770 tusks, weighing more than a ton and valued at more than $1 million, according to Born Free USA, a group that tracks poaching and government seizures.
Darwin the Ikea monkey is the star of an online video game put together by a group of Ontario animators and programmers led by Barnabas Wornoff. Wornoff, reached at his Toronto home Friday (Jan. 11) night, explained that when the story of the primate found in the Ikea parking lot went viral before Christmas, he thought it would be a perfect opportunity to do something fun and current.
When do you not listen to the African wildlife expert? When he tells you to stand closer to the rhino. That suggestion by a South African game park owner resulted in serious injuries to a 24-year-old woman from Johannesburg.
Link: Yahoo! News
A hog-nosed skunk has been confirmed to have been spotted at the Grand Canyon, across the Colorado River and a decent distance away from the area in which the animals are known to typically roam. The hog-nosed skunk was snapped by an eagle-eyed visitor back in August, and wildlife experts were puzzled by the animal’s presence, as hog-nosed skunks usually chill in Arizona, Mexico or Texas.
A polar bear chomped her sharp teeth against the protective pod of a wildlife cameraman, who kept his composure as he filmed the horrific encounter, despite being terrified. Scottish cameraman Gordon Buchanan was filming polar bears throughout the northernmost part of Norway, Svalbard, which is an Arctic archipelago. His team constructed a safety pod, so he could get as close possible to the largest carnivore on Earth without turning into lunch.
About a dozen killer whales trapped under sea ice appeared to be free after the ice shifted, village officials in Canada's remote north said Thursday (Jan. 10), while residents who feared they would get stuck elsewhere hired a plane to track them down. The whales' predicament in the frigid waters of Hudson Bay made international headlines, and locals had been planning a rescue operation with chainsaws and drills before the mammals slipped away.
Link: Yahoo! News
Blind Baby Rhino Rescued by Wildlife Wardens after He Is Seen Bumping into Trees and Rocks in the Wild
A blind baby rhino rescued from the wild after being spotted bumping into trees and rocks on the African savannah has a new life. Nicky, a rare black rhino, is now getting 24-hour care at the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya and has formed a close bond with staff. The wildlife reserve hit the headlines when Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton there in 2010.
A 100-pound mountain lion was captured and released into Los Padres National Forest on Monday afternoon (Jan. 7) after making its way into a Santa Barbara backyard. Officials with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife responded to a call from a homeowner about 8:30 a.m. about a lion in a heavily wooded backyard bordering the Santa Barbara Golf Club.
A fish and game refuge has been one of the few places in the state where carrying a firearm remained illegal. But on Jan. 1, 2013, that changed. Legislation passed last year and signed into law by Gov. John Lynch in June legalizes the carrying of a firearm, concealed or exposed, in a fish and game refuge.