End the Importation of Wild Animals

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End the Importation of Wild Animals

Posted: 31 Oct 2011 12:04 PM PDT

 

As the recent tragedy in Zanesville, Ohio so painfully illustrated, there’s no good reason for individuals to keep dangerous predators as pets, and the outcome is inevitably disastrous—for the people who are put at risk, for the wild animals themselves who are confined in unnatural settings that fail to meet their complex needs, and, in this case, the animals who met such an untimely and violent death. Another news story that broke this weekend—a 76-pound adult female deer was found intact inside a 16-foot-long Burmese python in the Everglades—shows that when these exotic pets are released or escape into the wild, they are capable of wreaking ecological havoc on our natural resources.

 

Burmese python

Burmese python

Burmese pythons, like the one pictured here, have colonized the Everglades and have now become a dominant predator in this storied American national park.

 

That’s right, a giant snake swallowed a deer whole. Burmese pythons have colonized the Everglades—with an original group of snakes set loose by pet owners or escapees during a hurricane—and have now become a dominant predator in this storied American national park. People often purchase wild animals, like snakes, when they are young and manageable, but there are very few options for placement when the animals grow too dangerous to handle and are no longer wanted. These exotic predators are now fighting with alligators and killing untold numbers of native animals for food. It’s only a matter of time before one of them kills a highly endangered Florida panther or Key deer.

 

It’s no surprise that the U.S. Geological Survey recently released a report documenting potential environmental harm from the trade in large constrictor snakes. The 300-page study should erase any doubt about whether these giant creatures belong in the pet trade. All nine species of large pythons, anacondas, and boa constrictors studied pose either medium or high risk to our natural resources. Three of the species are already reproducing in Florida, where “a very large number of imperiled species are at risk from giant constrictors.”

 

Take ActionUrge the White House to finalize a rule to stop the importation and interstate movement of these deadly snakes as pets.

 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has rightly proposed a rule to ban the trade in these nine species of giant snakes, but the Obama administration has been delaying action. There’s no good reason for the White House to be weak-kneed simply because they’ve been hearing some complaints from the reptile industry lobby—the very people who have cost the nation hundreds of millions of dollars, given the government control efforts that have been initiated. It’s much more humane and fiscally responsible to deal with the problem on the front end through prevention. Why should all U.S. taxpayers shoulder the financial burden for a few people who make selfish and reckless decisions?

 

When you add in the threat to humans, and the suffering that the snakes themselves endure in the trade, then the case for a trade ban for these giant snakes is overwhelming. Please take action today and urge the White House to move forward and finalize a rule to stop the importation and interstate movement of these deadly snakes as pets. Every day we wait compounds the danger to public safety, animal welfare, and our natural resources.

 

 

16 Foot Burmese Python Swallows Deer Whole in FL Everglades

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Resolve on Reptiles

As the recent tragedy in Zanesville, Ohio so painfully illustrated, there’s no good reason for individuals to keep dangerous predators as pets, and the outcome is inevitably disastrous—for the people who are put at risk, for the wild animals themselves who are confined in unnatural settings that fail to meet their complex needs, and, in this case, the animals who met such an untimely and violent death. Another news story that broke this weekend—a 76-pound adult female deer was found intact inside a 16-foot-long Burmese python in the Everglades—shows that when these exotic pets are released or escape into the wild, they are capable of wreaking ecological havoc on our natural resources.

Burmese python
Burmese pythons, like the one pictured here, have colonized the
Everglades and have now become a dominant predator in this
storied American national park.

That’s right, a giant snake swallowed a deer whole. Burmese pythons have colonized the Everglades—with an original group of snakes set loose by pet owners or escapees during a hurricane—and have now become a dominant predator in this storied American national park. People often purchase wild animals, like snakes, when they are young and manageable, but there are very few options for placement when the animals grow too dangerous to handle and are no longer wanted. These exotic predators are now fighting with alligators and killing untold numbers of native animals for food. It’s only a matter of time before one of them kills a highly endangered Florida panther or Key deer.

It’s no surprise that the U.S. Geological Survey recently released a report documenting potential environmental harm from the trade in large constrictor snakes. The 300-page study should erase any doubt about whether these giant creatures belong in the pet trade. All nine species of large pythons, anacondas, and boa constrictors studied pose either medium or high risk to our natural resources. Three of the species are already reproducing in Florida, where “a very large number of imperiled species are at risk from giant constrictors.”

Take ActionUrge the White House to finalize a rule to stop the importation and interstate movement of these deadly snakes as pets.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has rightly proposed a rule to ban the trade in these nine species of giant snakes, but the Obama administration has been delaying action. There’s no good reason for the White House to be weak-kneed simply because they’ve been hearing some complaints from the reptile industry lobby—the very people who have cost the nation hundreds of millions of dollars, given the government control efforts that have been initiated. It’s much more humane and fiscally responsible to deal with the problem on the front end through prevention. Why should all U.S. taxpayers shoulder the financial burden for a few people who make selfish and reckless decisions?

When you add in the threat to humans, and the suffering that the snakes themselves endure in the trade, then the case for a trade ban for these giant snakes is overwhelming. Please take action today and urge the White House to move forward and finalize a rule to stop the importation and interstate movement of these deadly snakes as pets. Every day we wait compounds the danger to public safety, animal welfare, and our natural resources.

Court Will Rule on Standing of Tony Supporters to Fight for Him in Court

Court Will Rule on Standing of Tony Supporters to Fight for Him in Court

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Court Will Rule on Standing of Tony Supporters to Fight for Him in Court, Will Once Again Decide His Fate

2009 July Tiger Truck Stop 006Baton Rouge, La. – Tomorrow morning, the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) and outraged Louisiana residents return to East Baton Rouge District Court to square off against the owner of the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, La., where Tony, a Siberian-Bengal tiger, has been confined as a roadside exhibit for over a decade.

 

The same court granted ALDF’s original request for a permanent injunction in May 2011, a ruling that would have prevented the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries from renewing in December the annual permit that allows Michael Sandlin, owner of the Tiger Truck Stop, to keep Tony on display. In August, the Louisiana Court of Appeals ruled that Michael Sandlin and the Tiger Truck Stop must be named as defendants in the lawsuit and ordered a new trial, vacating the trial court’s earlier decision. In addition to this new trial, the Court will consider a motion by the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to contest the plaintiffs’ standing to bring the lawsuit to free Tony.

When: 

Wednesday, November 2, 9:00 a.m.

Where:
East Baton Rouge District Courthouse
Room 8B (Judge R. Michael Caldwell’s courtroom)
300 North Boulevard, Baton Rouge

Since ALDF filed its original lawsuit in April 2011, it has argued that the Department violated state law in granting the permit to Michael Sandlin. In tomorrow’s hearing, the Court will again hear ALDF’s argument that Sandlin’s permit to own and display Tony should be invalidated, and that Tony should be released into the custody of ALDF or an accredited animal sanctuary where he can receive care and treatment and live out his life in a more natural environment, free from the 24-hour exposure to noise and diesel fumes and the taunts of visitors. ALDF is requesting both a permanent injunction, which would mean the state could not renew Sandlin’s permit in December, and a mandatory injunction, which would require that Sandlin’s current permit be revoked. The Court may choose to issue a decision in the case immediately following the hearing.

Tony has been on exhibit at the Tiger Truck Stop since 2000; he has lived there with no other tiger companions since 2003. ALDF’s lawsuit to free Tony has drawn the support of high profile advocates like Leonardo DiCaprio and True Blood’s Kristin Bauer and has galvanized activists around the world. The law offices of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell, & Berkowitz, P.C. are providing pro bono assistance with the lawsuit.

“The Animal Legal Defense Fund is confident that the trial court got the law right the first time around and will again make the best decision for Tony,” says ALDF Executive Director Stephen Wells. “We would like nothing more than for Tony to spend this New Year’s in the comfort of an accredited sanctuary that is far better equipped to meet his basic needs and to give him the kind of life he deserves.”
Contact:
Lisa Franzetta, Animal Legal Defense Fund
Megan Backus, Animal Legal Defense Fund

http://www.aldf.org/article.php?id=1859

Big Cat Halloween 2011

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Big Cat Halloween

 

Every year the cats and volunteers look forward to Halloween at the sanctuary! This is when we hand out pumpkins to our larger species, Lions, Tigers, Leopards and Cougars and gourds to our smaller species like Bobcats, Servals and Ocelots.

 

We’ve been doing this for many years and the cats just love to play with and destroy the pumpkins and sometimes even “taste test” their Halloween treats! The staff, volunteers and interns have just as much fun watching our residents “carve” their pumpkins, but not so much fun clearing up the mess they leave behind!

 

This annual enrichment is a another way we help our cats remain healthy and happy  while living in captivity!

 

Check out our videos, photos and FREE Halloween goodies below…

 

 

Big Cat Halloween Games, Goodies, and Freebies

 

Here are some of our big cat Halloween Games, Goodies and Freebies for your family to enjoy.  All of our Halloween give always promote Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Florida and many of these Halloween goodies feature photos of the big cats that live there. Your can get free Halloween crafts for the crafting members of your family.  Your can get free Halloween desktop wallpapers, free Halloween screensavers, free Halloween games to play online and offline.  There are even free Halloween party games and party packs for you to download and print. It is our hope that you will enjoy this free Halloween stuff and pass the link to Big Cat Rescue’s main web site on to your friends.

http://bigcatfun.com/halloween.html

 

US News and World Report Interviews Howard Baskin

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Where Work Really Is a Zoo

US News & World Report Howard BaskinBy Kerry Hannon

Posted October 25, 2007

Howard Baskin admits that a few homeless cats have won his heart over the years, but saving abandoned and abused lions, lynxes, and leopards was by no means his dream, let alone his passion. When it came to giving to animal causes, he might write a modest check to the Humane Society of the United States. His world was finance and marketing.

Yet there’s no denying that a stroll where he works at the 45-acre Big Cat Rescue, a nonprofit educational sanctuary in Tampa, one of the largest in the world devoted to the big cats, leaves him inspired.

This is where Bengal tigers, African lions, snow leopards, bobcats, and other exotic cats recline gracefully on tree limbs, stretch languidly in their dens, or splash playfully in ponds amid shady oaks and palmettos. In all, there are 140 feline residents with permanent homes here. “Looking at these animals and realizing that I’ve been able to make a difference in the quality of their lives and securing their future is wonderful,” he says.

Baskin, 57, isn’t one of the cats’ caregivers, but he uses his financial acumen to ensure they live a healthful life. With a Harvard M.B.A. and a law degree, he spent the first 11 years of his career at Citicorp, rising to become director of strategic planning for the commercial real-estate division in New York. “Working in a small business had always been my plan, but I kept getting interesting jobs at the bank,” he recalls.

Finally, in 1991, he left Citi to work as a management consultant for a succession of small companies. Eight years later, he opted for a less stressful pace, consulting part time and freeing up time for tennis and leisurely rounds of golf. But something was missing.

And in 2003, just a few years into his semiretired bachelor life, he did an about-face. Before he knew it, he had ramped up to 60-hour workweeks at the sanctuary and agreed to take charge of its finances free. Sure, Baskin is fond of the cats, but it was another love that inspired him. His wife, Carole, whom he met in 2002 and married in 2004, founded the 15-year-old sanctuary and is ceo.

“I kind of married into this transition, although it was of course my choice, not a requirement,” Baskin says. “I fell in love with her. One thing that drew me to her was her passion for the mission and the excitement of working for a cause, not just living.”

http://www.bigcatrescue.biz/
http://www.bigcatrescue.biz/

Take Nikita, for example. The 6-year-old lioness spent her first year living on a concrete slab, chained to a wall by a drug dealer in Nashville. She was discovered in a raid and arrived at Big Cat five years ago with sores on her elbows the size of tennis balls.

Purrfect fit. Not all of the cats were abused. Some were abandoned by owners who could no longer afford to care for them. Others were retired from circus acts, rescued from fur farms, or obtained from roadside zoos that had fallen on hard times. Baskin came well prepared to bolster the sanctuary’s shaky financial underpinnings. The small firms where he used to work ran the gamut from a bridge builder to a foundry to an audiovisual firm. They were businesses where finances were in disarray when he arrived. Someone had to figure out how to get things organized and create systematic controls.

Visitors who take educational tours of Big Cat have doubled since 2003, to 26,000 last year. Revenues from contributions rose 50 percent in 2006 alone. The annual Fur Ball, the chief fundraiser, brought in an estimated $100,000 in October, up from $17,000 five years ago. Carole has had time to advocate for laws to crack down on illegal animal dealers and implement humane care standards for the cats.

Howie and Carole BaskiinAlthough Baskin would like to spend a bit more time on the golf course, there’s little other downside. His full-time consulting income, which often topped six figures, had already been trimmed, and he had a thrifty lifestyle, enough savings, and growing retirement funds.

“I don’t take a traditional salary, but, in reality, I get a double payback. I not only get to do something for the cats,” he says as he watches Nikita devour her afternoon “bloodsicle” snack. “I feel like I am contributing to the world. More importantly, I get to make Carole happy. That’s my No. 1 goal.” Spoken like a true newlywed.

http://www.usnews.com/articles/business/careers/2007/10/25/where-work-really-is-a-zoo.html

Download it HERE

Copyright 2007 U.S. News & World Report, L.P. Reprinted with permission.

How To Phase Out Tiger Farms

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How To Phase Out Tiger Farms

Phasing Out Tiger Farms
Technical Advice For Phasing Out Tiger Farms

The International Tiger Coalition (ITC) is an alliance of environmental, zoo and animal protection organisations and the traditional Chinese medicine community. ITC has experts on conservation breeding management, husbandry, welfare and economics who can provide technical advice on in situ and ex situ tiger conservation and management.

This technical report is in response to requests from Parties and encouragement from the Secretariat (CoP14 Doc 52, Annex 7) to address issues relating to farmed tigers in China should China choose to permanently retain its 1993 ban on domestic trade in tiger parts.  This should also apply to tigers farmed for photo booths and entertainment in the U.S.

Under the present management system, the tigers in tiger farms have little or no conservation value. Hence immediate steps should be taken to reduce their populations.

It is the responsibility of tiger farm owners, and perhaps the government agencies that permitted continued breeding, to humanely provide for and ensure the long term care of these tigers.
Recommendations

Given that tigers in farms are not contributing to conservation of tigers in the wild at present, that only individuals of known and verifiable genetic origin retain any potential to do so in the future, and that the cost of providing appropriate levels of care is very high, this report recommends that efforts begin immediately to reduce and eventually phase out the populations of tigers in farms.

Only a small number of creditable, viable options are available for the tigers currently held in tiger farms. Whatever option for individual animals is decided upon, the first immediate step is to establish a moratorium on any further breeding to stabilize the population. Subsequently, proper assessments are necessary to determine what should happen to each animal. This will determine how many animals fall into the options below, which are set out in no particular order of priority.

1) Those animals which are in an acceptable state of health but do not meet the international criteria necessary for inclusion in a registered, international conservation captive breeding program should be placed in a facility that is suitably equipped to house them in accordance with internationally recognized welfare standards.
2) Those animals which do meet the necessary criteria can be included in a registered international conservation captive breeding program called the Species Survival Plans which are administered through AZA accredited zoos.
3) For those animals which cannot contribute to any conservation program and whose state of health is such that maintaining life is not in the best interest of the animal, humane euthanasia is advised. Their remains should be irretrievably and securely destroyed..

The International Tiger Coalition will offer advice on the technical implementation of each option, drawing upon their own considerable expertise and internationally recognized models and guidelines, including the IUCN Guidelines for the Placement of Confiscated Animals and the husbandry standards provided by AZA, BIAZA, WAZA and ZSL.

Click here for more on the International Tiger Coalition.