(WARNING: The video this story links to contains graphic images.)
PHOENIX — A tiger cub named Orion born at the Wildlife World Zoo in the west valley was eventually given to a small roadside zoo back east — a zoo that had a history of problems. Now Orion is coming back to Arizona, but it got us wondering — what else can happen to tigers in captivity? It turns out Orion is one very lucky cat.
A Senate panel has approved a measure intended to serve as an international model to prevent trafficking in tigers and their body parts. The bill (S3061) would establish strict reporting and registration requirements for captive tigers in New Jersey to prevent their illegal trade. It cleared the Senate Economic Growth Committee unanimously. “This bill will send a message throughout the country and indeed the world that this illegal trade in tiger parts is horrible,” said its sponsor, state Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Union).
Horses could soon be butchered in the United States for human consumption after Congress quietly lifted a 5-year-old ban on funding horse meat inspections, and activists say slaughterhouses could be up and running in as little as a month.
Link: AP/Huffington Post
One attraction holiday shoppers might notice at the mall this year is not a photo op with Santa, but instead, with tiger cubs. At malls across the United States shoppers can pay a fee to have their photos taken with baby tigers and even play with them in their pens. But Lisa Guerrero and the "Inside Edition" I-Squad discovered that shoppers might be surprised to learn where these tigers come.
A transfer of 113 primates from the defunct Wild Animal Orphanage to the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary in Dilley was approved Monday by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Texas. In August 2010, the Northwest Side animal orphanage announced on its website that it was being dissolved because of overpopulation, underfunding and inadequate housing.
Link: San Antonio Express-News
A wildlife shelter that went bust will be transferring 113 primates to a nearby sanctuary after a bankruptcy judge on Monday approved the move. "We don't have definitive historical numbers on rescues, but it is clearly one of the largest single rescues we know of," Adam Roberts, executive vice president of Born Free USA, told msnbc.com.
Umoya, one of the dominant female elephants at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, died early Thursday apparently following an altercation with another elephant. “When trainers arrived they found Umoya had been injured and subsequently died shortly thereafter,” said Yadira Galindo, a zoo spokeswoman. The elephant was down on the ground when zookeepers found her. “There were a few injuries that indicated there may have been some sort of aggressive interaction with another elephant,” Galindo said.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has approved a ban on the harvest of tiger sharks and three species of hammerhead sharks in state waters, beginning Jan. 1, 2012. he measure was approved Nov. 16 during meetings in Key Largo. The news is sure to please shark conservationists and scientists who had grown increasingly concerned that too many large, slow-to-reproduce sharks were being killed.
Rescuers were racing against the clock Monday to save two huge sperm whales stranded on a Tasmanian sandbank after 22 others died, the Australian Parks and Wildlife Service said. Marine mammal specialists were on site in Macquarie Harbour at Strahan on Tasmania's northwest coast, but the rescue bid was hampered by rough weather. Twenty-two of the whales washed ashore on Saturday at Ocean Beach near Strahan, and all of them died.
About one in four mammal species are at risk of extinction, and the Western black rhino has officially been declared extinct, according to a new assessment of biodiversity by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and partners. For the latest update, researchers assessed the status of 61,900 species of plants and animals.
Born free but sentenced to a life in captivity, four majestic lions can once again feel the sun on their flowing manes and the soft spring of lush grass under their paws. The sight of these kings of the African savannah returning to their roots brought a glowing smile to one of the great animal champions last week. Virginia McKenna, star of the 1966 cinema classic "Born Free," was there to see two of the mighty big cats begin their epic journey from their cramped confinement in a presidential palace compound to the nearest thing to true wilderness. (Read more about the Ethiopian Wildlife Center in Born Free USA's Global Field Projects.)
Link: Express Yourself (U.K.)
Many of you volunteer on behalf of animals, and some days are harder than others. When I visit a shelter, I try to focus on the good that is being done by so many who work and volunteer in animal rescue. I have a lot of heroes. Here are a few of their stories and their advice on how to cope. [Born Free USA's chief executive officer, Will Travers, is featured in this story.]
Link: Pet News and Views
Charlie the Central Park, New York City, carriage horse, who dropped dead on his way to work in midtown, was suffering from a pronounced, chronic ulceration of the stomach and a fractured tooth before his death, according to his preliminary necropsy results. The horse's cause of death has yet to be determined, but the necropsy results likely meant Charlie was in severe pain prior to dropping dead en route to work at 54th Street and Eighth Avenue on Oct. 23, according to the ASPCA, which performed the necropsy.
Link: Huffington Post
Toronto city council has voted to ban the sale of shark fin in the city. The ban, suggested by councillors John Parker, Glenn De Baeremaeker and Kristyn Wong-Tam, will outlaw the possession, sale, trade and distribution of shark fins or their derivative products. The proposal passed easily - by a vote of 38 to 4.
Link: CBC News
ZANESVILLE, Ohio — The woman’s voice sounded a little annoyed. “There’s a bear and a lion out,” she told the 911 operator on Tuesday. “Right up behind us.” Come again? the operator said. “Yeah,” the caller replied. “They’re chasing Terry’s horses.”
Link: New York Times
The case of an Ohio man who set loose his collection of wild bears, lions, tigers and other beasts before apparently killing himself has animal-welfare organizations renewing their call for a clampdown on ownership of exotic animals. “Exotic, dangerous animals simply do not belong in private hands. It’s not worth the risk,” said Adam Roberts, executive vice president of Born Free USA.
Police in Vietnam say a circus elephant has trampled to death a girl who sneaked into a yard to feed it. Police officer Pham Ngoc Tien of Lao Cai province in the north says the elephant was part of a troupe from Hanoi on a 10-day tour of the province. He says the elephant was tied to a chain in the fenced backyard of a cultural center when it was not performing.
Industrial chemicals are being transported from the industrialized world to the Arctic via air and sea currents. Here, the cocktail of environmental toxins is absorbed by the sea's food chains, of which the polar bear is the top predator.
Maggie retired from the petting zoo at the Brevard Zoo shortly after her 16th birthday. A fallow deer with familiar white dapples on her back, Maggie had lived at the Florida zoo since 1994, where staff and guests alike knew her for her calm, sweet nature and attraction to men wearing strong cologne.
"Elsa: The Lioness That Changed the World" (Brian Leith Productions/BBC/WNET) captured the prestigious Conservation Hero prize at the 11th Jackson Hole (WY)Wildlife Film Festival Awards this week. In the competitive world of documentaries, the work and legacy of pioneering conservationists George and Joy Adamson won plaudits from judges and the public.
Link: Born Free Foundation
Florida is now officially the world capital for invasive and potentially invasive reptiles and amphibians, according to a 20-year study verifying that 56 non-native species of these animals have become established in the sunshine state.
Nevada's controversial bear hunting season has just become permanent. State wildlife commissions voted 8-0 at a meeting in Reno on Sept. 24 to continue Nevada's first ever bear hunt again next year and every year after that from Aug. 20 to Dec. 31. The commission will review the season annually and could alter the number of bears that can be shot in a given year. The current limit is 20 bears, only six of which can be females.
Link: AP/San Jose Mercury News
Zimbabwe's wildlife authority says poachers have begun poisoning watering holes, killing nine elephants and at least five lions in recent weeks.
Link: AP/Huffington Post
There may be fewer men and women sporting full-length sable coats today, but as the cold kicks in, plenty of people are still donning fur earmuffs and fur-trimmed hats and coats. Fur wearing has become more democratized, and now that fake furs look increasingly realistic, it’s hard to tell what comes from an animal and what comes from a machine. And recent controversies over real fur marked as fake prove that the situation isn’t getting any clearer. All of which makes the work of those who know the real cost of fur and are working to end it that much tougher.
Link: E magazine
Small furry mammals partial to a daily dose of hibernation in winter are probably extending their lifespan at the same time, according to a study published Sept. 14. Experiments with Djugarian hamsters native to Siberia showed that when the tiny rodents temporarily lower their metabolism and body temperatures, a state called torpor, it stops and even reverses a natural breakdown of chromosomes linked to aging.
Link: AFP/Yahoo! News
A polar bear swam continuously for over nine days, covering 687 kilometers (426 miles), a new study has revealed. Scientists studying bears around the Beaufort sea, north of Alaska, claim this endurance feat could be a result of climate change. Polar bears are known to swim between land and sea ice floes to hunt seals. But the researchers say that increased sea ice melts push polar bears to swim greater distances, risking their own health and future generations.
Link: BBC Earth News
One of the most recent additions to the crew of performing dolphins at the Chicago area's Brookfield Zoo, 4-year-old Nea, died Sept. 5 following an apparent "freak accident" collision with another dolphin.
Link: Huffington Post
Americans who hunted and killed endangered African elephants in Zambia cannot bring trophies of their prey back home, a federal judge ruled this week. "Plaintiffs paid a princely sum for the opportunity to shoot African elephants in Zambia and then they wanted to import the animals' corpses back to the United States," Chief U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth. "The trouble is that plaintiffs' attempts at post-mortem importation run up against some complex law."
Link: Courthouse News Service
Monkey, a 3-year-old baboon who had been living in an East Side (Madison, Wis.) laundry room until he was surrendered to the Dane County Humane Society earlier this month, on Aug. 29 was transferred to the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary in Texas.
An animal lover since childhood, Hayden Panettiere is using her star power to help prevent her favorite marine animals from becoming extinct.
Link: US Magazine/Yahoo! News
Drought takes toll on over 500 South Texas monkeys
When Tim Ajax took over as the director of the South Texas Born Again USA Primate Sanctuary a couple of years ago, he heard a story from a neighbor about the demise of a nearby town. "Millett was an active, thriving town down here about six miles south of Dilley off of 35,” Ajax said. “They had their own school and general store and it supported a large farming contingency down here.
The Food Network is known for showcasing a huge variety of foods — you don't fill an entire network by sticking to basics. For a long time, that variety included shark meat. Until very recently, the Food Network website listed shark tacos and shark au poivre among its thousands of recipes. But thanks to 30,000 petitioners on change.com, shark meat is now a thing of the past for the Food Network.
Link: Huffington Post
It was seen as one of the most distressing effects of climate change ever recorded: polar bears dying of exhaustion after being stranded between melting patches of Arctic sea ice. But now the government scientist who first warned of the threat to polar bears in a warming Arctic has been suspended and his work put under official investigation for possible scientific misconduct.
Link: The Guardian (U.K.)
He's wild at heart! Ian Somerhalder testified before Congress on July 28 for wildlife conversation. The Vampire Diaries actor, 32, is head of the Ian Somerhalder Foundation, which aims to empower, educate and collaborate with people to help them positively impact the planet and its creatures.
Link: US Magazine/Yahoo! News
In a rare defeat for Republican leadership, the House on July 27 backed a Democratic proposal allowing the Interior Department to continue adding new species to the Endangered Species Act. A spending bill backed by GOP leaders would have only allowed species to be removed from the endangered list, rather than added. Republicans said the current program encourages lawsuits from advocacy groups that seek to have species listed as threatened or endangered, costing the government tens of millions of dollars.
A slick black head breaks the surface, drawing delighted shrieks from whale watchers in a growing, and lucrative, activity that some say should replace Iceland's controversial whale hunt. Since their meager beginning in the 1990s, whale safaris in this island state have grown to attract tens of thousands of visitors each summer. But its proponents tensed up when Iceland reintroduced commercial whaling in 2006, and the two sides remain uneasy bedfellows.
MANYANI, Kenya — Record prices for ivory are fueling a sharp increase in poachers killing elephants, even those in protected areas, conservation groups warned July 20 — the same day that Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki burned five tons of confiscated ivory to highlight the problem.
The long-tailed macaque is being threatened with extinction by a huge surge in international trade and the destruction of its habitat in Southeast Asia, conservationists said on July 15. Species Survival Network (SSN), an international coalition of more than 80 charities, says trade in the species had more than doubled in the second half of the last decade.
BERLIN - Two runaway circus elephants in Germany surprised passers-by and police by showing up at a bus stop during a brief bid for freedom, officials in Hanover said on July 12. Dunia, a 40-year-old Indian elephant, and her counterpart Daela, a 25-year-old African elephant, were apprehended by police near the western city of Hanover over the weekend nonchalantly munching on tree leaves and looking for all the world as if they were waiting for the bus.
Link: Reuters/Yahoo! News
As our heat wave continues to intensify, the over 500 monkeys at the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary down in Dilley, Texas are going about their monkey business to stay cool. The "splish splashes" of monkeys doing cannonball jumps into the water and drenching themselves with water hoses can be heard in enclosures across the sanctuary's 186 acres.
Link: KXAN.com (Texas)
The Bahamas on July 5 joined the growing global movement to protect sharks, betting that the endangered animals are worth more to visiting divers than they are to fishers. The law, signed into effect by Lawrence S. Cartwright, the agriculture and fisheries minister, bans all commercial shark fishing in the country’s 243,000-square-mile territorial waters and prohibits trade in shark products.
Link: New York Times
Taeko Nose says she may never forget the image of her two dogs - "her children" as she calls them - tied up on a leash as she was forced to leave her home during Japan's nuclear crisis. Certainly three months afterwards, it's still etched in her mind.
Link: Reuters/Yahoo! News
The Dutch parliament has passed a bill banning the slaughter of livestock without stunning it first, removing an exemption that has allowed Jews and Muslims to butcher animals according to their centuries-old dietary rules. If enacted and enforced, religious groups say observant Jews and Muslims would have to import meat from abroad, stop eating it altogether, or leave the Netherlands.
Link: Associated Press/Google
Wild animals could be banned from circuses in Britain if a cross-party alliance of MPs succeeds with a call on Thursday (June 23) for government action. Members of Parliament will vote on a motion brought forward by backbenchers from the three main parties proposing a ban.
The New York state Assembly overwhelmingly adopted legislation this week that outlaws sales of bear gallbladders and bile — which are used in traditional Asian medicine to treat everything from headaches and fever to liver ailments. The Senate unanimously approved the bill last week. It now goes to Gov. Cuomo’s desk.
Link: New York Daily News
An army transport plane flew Tuesday from a military airport to take four rare wild horses to Mongolia as part of the Prague Zoo's efforts to reintroduce the endangered species to its native habitat.
Link: Yahoo! News/Associated Press
Animal activists expressed outrage Friday, June 3 at the discovery of two dead snub fin dolphins tied to mangroves and weighted with a concrete slab, saying every death took the rare species nearer to extinction. The dolphins were found in wetlands in Australia's world-famous Great Barrier Reef region last week by a recreational fisherman. Police said they suspected they were caught in a net cast by illegal fishing crews.
A probe by Living on Earth finds that some butcher shops in the are offering lion meat — but it's unlikely it came from some big game hunt. Living on Earth’s Ike Sriskandarajah found lion meat on the shelf at his neighborhood butcher and followed the trail to a dark corner of the exotic meat trade.
Link: Living on Earth
A federal judge on May 17 put a hold on an agreement between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and an environmental group that would have removed the perpetual log jam that hinders protection for threatened and endangered species.
Link: Los Angeles Times
Tigers. African and Asian elephants. Rhinos. Great apes. Marine turtles. The U.S. Postal Service unveiled a stamp May 11 on Capitol Hill at the Annual Association of Zoos and Aquariums reception that could help save them all. When issued in September, net proceeds from the sales of the Save Vanishing Species semipostal stamp will be transferred to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to support the Multinational Species Conservation Funds.
Link: U.S. Postal Service