China is extending its so-called panda diplomacy agreement with the United States, letting giant pandas stay at the Washington national zoo for another five years, a Chinese conservation official said Jan. 19. "This is a great opportunity ... to advance our friendship," Zang Chunlin, secretary-general of the China Wildlife Conservation Association, told reporters.
Virginia McKenna, who co-founded the Born Free Foundation in England with her husband Bill Travers and son Will Travers (Born Free USA's chief executive officer), is featured in a three-part Q&A article on the Pet News and Views website.
LONDON – Britain and China have signed trade deals worth £2.6 billion and announced Beijing will loan a pair of giant pandas to Edinburgh Zoo for 10 years. The agreements were inked during talks in London between Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.
Inside Thirteen recently had the opportunity to speak with veteran actress, author and wildlife activist Virginia McKenna. She is best known for her role as Joy Adamson in the 1966 film, "Born Free," for which she received a Golden Globe nomination. The film (based on the book by the same title) tells the story of George and Joy Adamson, who raised an orphaned lion cub, Elsa, to adulthood, and released her into the wilds of Kenya.
Podcaster Charlie Moores assembles a panel of experts to talk about National Bird Day. Joining Moores are Denise Kelly of the Avian Welfare Coalition; Marc Johnson of Rhode Island-based Foster Parrots and the conservationist behind the innovative eco-tourism initiative "Project Guyana"; David Morimoto, head of the Biology Department at Massachusetts’ Lesley University; and Michael Schindlinger, professor of biology at Lesley.
It's been 50 years since Joy and George Adamson adopted a lion cub in Kenya. Her name was Elsa and she became the major character in the book "Born Free" by Joy Adamson.
For those too young to remember the story, PBS is offering a documentary on "Nature" on Jan. 9.
NAIROBI – Kenyan police arrested a Thai woman at Nairobi airport as she checked in for a flight to Bangkok with 20 kilograms of illegal ivory, the wildlife service said on Dec. 26. The woman was arrested Christmas night while in transit from Maputo in Mozambique with 105 pieces of ivory jewelry and raw ivory. She was to be arraigned before a magistrate Dec. 27, Kenya Wildlife Service said in a statement.
The U.S. Senate this week toughened laws against shark finning, hoping to save the ancient fish which experts fear is on the brink of extinction due to growing demand in Chinese restaurants. Tens of millions of sharks are killed each year by fishermen who slice off their fins — a delicacy in Chinese cuisine — and leave them to die in the water. Sharks live long and have few offspring, compounding risks to their survival.
Link: AFP/Yahoo News!
While most of us are used to seeing wolves in grey and black, new images from Yellowstone National Park show them in a range of psychedelic colors. This is not a new species of wolf, but part of a study to research disease in the park's grey wolf population.
The state of Alaska filed a lawsuit Dec. 14 in an effort to stop a federal agency's plan to protect endangered sea lions by restricting fishing in the western Aleutian Islands. Gov. Sean Parnell said the National Marine Fisheries Service failed to make a rational connection between what it found and the conclusion it reached that fishing needs to be curtailed in because sea lions aren't getting enough to eat.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service announced Dec. 13 that the wolverine warrants protection under the Endangered Species Act, but the listing will be delayed because other species take higher priority. Wolverines, who are members of the weasel family, are only a candidate for listing, and their status will be reviewed annually, the agency said.
Link: The Denver Post
Tiger tourism in India and Nepal can only help to protect the species from extinction if it is community-led, said a leading wildlife agency. Speaking at a Save The Wild Tigers forum in London, Debbie Banks, head of tiger campaigns at the Environment Investigation Agency, said these countries lack tourist products that sufficiently benefit local communities.
Link: TTG Live
Some of the most powerful voices in world wildlife welfare have banded together with leading zoo professionals to stop New Zealand's Auckland Zoo from forming a herd of elephants in inner-city Western Springs Park.
Link: The Aucklander
BILLINGS, Mont. — Negotiations to remove Northern Rockies gray wolves from the endangered species list hit an impasse Monday (Dec. 6), after Wyoming and Idaho refused to go along with an Interior Department proposal on the issue, Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer said. Schweitzer said the breakdown in talks among the three states and the Obama administration makes it unlikely Congress will address the issue this year.
It's sold in small, expensive vials to tourists from Hong Kong and Asia as a health tonic to improve your liver function, your libido and your general health. But the bear bile sold to visitors in Vietnam is not only cruel and illegal but potentially deadly to those who use it.
Exotic pet permits are about to go extinct in Oregon. The state Department of Agriculture says that, beginning in January, the state will not issue any new permits while it phases out the old ones. The agency is acting at the direction of the 2009 Legislature, which ordered the change to protect the public against health and safety risks posed to the community by exotic animals.
Includes Comments From Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary Director Tim Ajax
They are in the business of keeping you, me, all of us alive. But the work is highly controversial. You may not know that two of the largest breeders and importers of monkeys in the United States are right here in the Coastal Bend. They are in the business of medicine. And that means testing drugs on animals. Watch the video.
Link: KIIItv.com (Corpus Christi, Texas)
Remember the $6,000 capuchin monkey that caused waves when it was euthanized so it could be tested for rabies after it bit an Oneida Castle woman? Well, that monkey has caught some national attention. Earlier this week, Born Free USA learned of Jada’s story and sent out a news release calling on New York state to reconsider its rabies testing requirements. The group also took aim at those who keep exotic animals as pets.
Just because we've already seen taxidermied piglet banks, frogs in plastic cubes and reindeer steaks for sale, it doesn't mean we can't have a humane holiday season this year. Here are more than 25 ways to give without giving up on your love for animals.
NAIROBI, Kenya – The Kenya Wildlife Service on Nov. 26 said its agents shot dead two suspected poachers who they saw shooting at a herd of elephants in one of the country's famous national parks. This brings the number of poachers shot dead by agents of the wildlife service to five, the most killed in a month, an agency spokesman said.
A pet rhesus monkey — on its way to be euthanized — bit its Phoenix owner on the hand last week, stirring up a renewed brouhaha about monkeys and other primates making bad pets. It doesn’t take a zoological scientist to figure that one out.
Link: Tucson (Ariz.) Citizen
The dwindling population of a whale in Hawaiian waters has led the Obama administration to propose classifying the species as endangered, environmentalists say. The Hawaiian "false killer whale" has a small and ecologically important population that has suffered a significant decline over the past 25 years and only 150 of the animals may be left, a Natural Resources Defense Council release said Nov. 17.
Police suspect a fire that killed 26 animals in Karlsruhe Zoo on Dec. 12 was caused by arson. The fire brigade were too late to save miniature donkeys, ponies, dwarf goats and sheep but were able to lead elephants, hippos and flamingos to safety. Fire experts launched an investigation on Dec. 15.
Link: Spiegel Online
While setting aside massive swaths of land would seem to provide powerful strongholds for biodiversity, a new study finds that such reserves often don't reach their full conservation potential because of poor placement — they are put in areas that are convenient for people to avoid, but not for threatened species to thrive.
Fulton County Commissioner Tom Lowe argued Nov. 3 that nobody loves animals more than him — he cries when he puts his dogs down — but he said there is a place for cattle prods and bullhooks. The commission went along with Lowe, voting 4-3 against a proposed ban on the use of bullhooks by circus elephant trainers.
Two suspected ivory poachers were in custody and three others were killed by Kenyan authorities in the past week in a pair of incidents, the Kenya Wildlife Service said Nov. 1. Five elephants also were killed in the incidents.
Link: CNN (Warning: The link includes a mildly graphic picture of confiscated elephant tusks.)
BEIJING – China has urged zoos to stop serving wild animal products and holding wildlife performances in an attempt to improve the treatment of tigers, bears and other animals amid concerns over widespread abuse in zoos and wildlife parks.
Valerie Mayen is a recent winner of Born Free USA’s fashion challenge. Tommy Garrett of Canyon News recently interviewed Mayen and posted the Q&A.
Link: Canyon News
Suppose everything the circus people say is true. The elephants they use in their shows are not harmed, and the training is humane. The animals are healthy and happy. Even if all that is right, it doesn't change the bigger picture. Performing elephants should have long since gone the way of the circus freak show. It's something future generations will look back on in embarrassment.
Link: Connecticut Post
MOSCOW – Key tiger habitats in Russia's Far East are slated for logging in what would be a new blow to the dwindling population of the highly endangered Amur tiger, the World Wildlife Federation reported Oct. 20. Within a week, the local government in Primorsky region is planning to auction off some 28,000 cubic metres (990,000 cubic feet) of forest that includes cedar and oak forest inhabited by the Amur tiger, said the WWF's Denis Smirnov.
Link: AFP/Yahoo News!
VALLEY FORGE, Pa. — An animal-rights group that opposes the use of hunters to cut the deer population in Valley Forge National Historical Park wants officials to consider using coyotes instead. Friends of Animals opposes a plan to use sharpshooters to eliminate more than 80 percent of the Pennsylvania park's deer in the next four years. Last year, it filed a lawsuit seeking to stop the hunts.
Fishermen at the Japanese town made famous by the controversial Oscar-winning documentary "The Cove" shrugged off protests by animal rights activists on Tuesday to carry out their grisly annual dolphin hunt.
Furry critters across the District of Columbia — with the exception of rats and mice — soon could be getting a reprieve from animal-control specialists who rid homes and properties of wild animals. The D.C. Council gave tentative approval Oct. 5 to a bill to impose some of the nation's strictest standards for how animal- and pest-control companies can remove raccoons, opossums, foxes, snakes and other nuisance animals from lawns, attics and basements.
Link: The Washington Post
The Sacramento splittail fish does not warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Oct. 5. The decision puts the Obama administration on the same side as a former Bush administration official who was accused of improper political interference in dozens of endangered species cases, including a 2003 decision to remove the Sacramento splittail from the threatened species list.
BILLINGS, Mont. – Two decades after the federal government spent a half-million dollars to study the reintroduction of gray wolves to the Northern Rockies, lawmakers say it's time for Congress to step in again — this time to clamp down on the endangered animals.
Sewage contamination in an Indian zoo has killed 32 blackbuck antelope and left two rhinos in critical condition, an Indian news agency reports. The antelope fell ill and died last week after drinking sewage water that seeped into the moat around their pens at New Delhi's National Zoological Park, according to a Press Trust of India report cited by The Associated Press. Two rhinos are struggling to survive after drinking the toxic water.
Link: AOL News
PARIS — An alliance of conservationists and international donors on Wednesday unveiled a map of six areas on the Mediterranean rim aimed at guiding policy for preserving precious habitats and threatened species.
Link: AFP/Yahoo! News
In the quest to save the endangered Florida panther, their Texas cousins were the cat's meow. Wildlife biologists moved eight female panthers from Texas — close relatives yet genetically distinct — into south Florida 15 years ago in hopes of boosting reproduction, and the immigration paid off.
Link: Yahoo! News
Virginia McKenna, who co-starred with real-life husband Will Travers in the classic and inspirational 1966 film Born Free, recently was interviewed by KABC-TV (Channel 7) in Los Angeles. McKenna talks briefly about her firm intention to continue speaking out for animals, and the short segment includes footage from our Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary in Texas.
Born Free USA (BFUSA) estimates that more than 300,000 non-target animals are the unintended victims of body-crushing wildlife traps set each year. Cats and dogs are injured or killed, suffering excruciating pain and losing limbs, as a result of the remorseless jaws of leghold traps, Conibear traps and snares set for wild animals, who trappers capture and strip for fur.
A disturbing collection of discarded animal parts has been found in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve on the west coast of Vancouver Island near Tofino, British Columbia. Park wardens found 35 kilograms of bear and deer meat, marine and freshwater fish, shellfish and the hide and paws of a black bear.
Link: CTV British Columbia Warning: The story's slideshow contains graphic images.
Born Free USA's senior program associate, Monica Engebretson, recently was interviewed by Shannon Devereaux Sanford of WTBQ radio in New York. They talked about urban and suburban conflicts between animals and humans. Listen to the 11-minute, 30-second interview.
The bear that recently killed a caretaker in a Cleveland suburb was the latest example of animal violence in a state that has some of the nation's weakest restrictions on exotic pets and among the highest number of injuries and deaths caused by them.
Flo and the 185 other chimpanzees who live at the Alamogordo Primate Facility in New Mexico have not been research subjects for nearly a decade. Now, however, the National Institutes of Health decided to move the elderly chimps to Texas for more research. Animals rights advocates are outraged, including Born Free USA.
Link: The New York Times
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has updated the status of five penguin species as “threatened” effective today (Sept. 2), under the Endangered Species Act — meaning the species are likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future. The five penguin species in question are the yellow-eyed penguin, white-flippered penguin, Fiordland crested penguin, Humboldt penguin and erect-crested penguin. They will be added to the federal lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants.
A Queens hairdresser is suing a famed artist and owner of a fancy upstate bed-and-breakfast after his pet capuchin monkey mauled her during a weekend visit.
CHICAGO – Two gators in the Chicago River. One strolling down a Massachusetts street. Another in bustling New York City. And that's just in the past few weeks. From North Dakota to Indiana, alligators are showing up far from their traditional southern habitats.
Link: Yahoo! News
A 24-year-old Elyria, Ohio, man has died after being mauled Aug. 18 by a bear owned by Sam Mazzola, an exotic-pet showman who has battled with authorities over his animals for decades. In 2008, The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reported that Mazzola was permanently stripped of his federal license to exhibit exotic animals. He was fined $13,950 for exhibiting his bear-wrestling act without a license; refusing to allow an inspection of an exhibit; threatening, abusing and harassing federal officials; and illegally selling skunks at an Elyria store.
Link: The Plain Dealer
What are we teaching children when we take them to watch animals be exploited for a few minutes of "entertainment"? Teaching children to be kind and considerate of animals not only creates a sensitivity and respect for animals, but as they grow into adults, those feelings manifest themselves in respectful and considerate interaction with each other. Isn't that what we human beings should be striving for in our lives?
Link: San Jose Mercury News
A federal judge in Montana has stopped the killing of wolves in Montana and Idaho by ordering the wolves put back on the federal threatened list.
Judge Molloy ruled that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had illegally stripped the northern Rockies gray wolf of its Endangered Species Act protections in 2009 by relying on political, rather than biological, reasoning.