President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20500 USA
20th September 2015
Re: Why tigers belong on the U.S.-China agenda
Dear President Obama,
We, the undersigned, write to respectfully ask you to raise the issue of tiger trade with President Xi Jinping during his visit to the United States in September 2015.
We congratulate you on your leadership in the global fight against the poaching and trafficking crisis that is sweeping across Africa, threatening the survival of an estimated 420,000 elephants and 25,000 rhinos. Given that there are fewer than 3,200 wild tigers remaining across Asia, we appeal to you to ensure that they too urgently receive the highest levels of political and financial investment to end the
demand that is making them worth more dead than alive.
Tigers Killed for their bones, teeth, claws, penis and fur
One of the most critical threats to the survival of wild tigers is trade in their meat, skin and bones to satisfy demand driven by wealth, rather than health − for high-status food, drink, home décor and even investment assets. This demand is fuelled by a marked increase in tiger farms in China, Laos, Vietnam and Thailand, where tigers are intensively bred for trade in their parts and products. China alone claims to house more than 5,000 tigers on farms.
China is the main consumer market for tiger parts and products, and China’s State Forestry Administration has grown demand by supporting the expansion of tiger farms, allowing legal trade in skins from farmed tigers and approving farm wineries that make tiger-bone wine. Those actions have stimulated consumer interest in tiger products from all sources, undermining law enforcement, incentivizing poaching, and facilitating trafficking by organized criminal networks. Tiger-farm investors continue to push hard for full legalization of trade in tiger bones – the very trade China banned in 1993 because it threatened the survival of wild tigers. If trade were legalized, it would unleash a devastating demand that could quickly wipe out the last wild tigers, as the bones of wild tigers are far more valuable than those from captive tigers.
In order to ensure that tiger conservation remains a priority for the international community and to end tiger farming and tiger trade, we appeal to you to raise these issues with President Xi when he is your guest in Washington.
We also request the United States to take the following steps to compel China to take vital action:
1. Destroy all stockpiles of tiger parts and products and ensure deceased captive-bred tigers are incinerated so their parts cannot enter the black market;
2. Review the current certification of China under the Pelly Amendment to the Fisherman’s Act and urge China to phase out tiger farms, as per Decision 14.69 of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES);
3. Encourage introduction and adoption of the Big Cats and Public Safety Act, so that the keeping and breeding of the more than 5,000 captive tigers in the United States can be phased down to include only the small number needed by legitimate zoos and conservation breeding programs, to set an example of best practice;
4. Ask China and Laos to address the trafficking and sale of tiger parts and products, ivory, rhino horn and other endangered species in and through Laos by Chinese and Laotian nationals; and
5. Encourage adoption of legislation that increases the capacity of the United States to assist in the international effort to combat illegal wildlife trade, ensuring that tigers are emphasized, along with elephants, rhinos and other species.
Zero poaching of tigers can only be achieved when there is zero demand. Therefore, we ask you to continue your leadership in tackling illegal wildlife trade by seeking an end to tiger farming in Asia and the keeping of thousands of unregistered captive tigers in the United States.
We thank you for your time and consideration.
Carole Baskin, Big Cat Rescue
Adam Roberts, Born Free USA and Born Free Foundation
Debi Goenka, Conservation Action Trust
Kedar Gore, The Corbett Foundation
Sally Case, David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation
Debbie Banks, Environmental Investigation Agency
Iris Ho, Humane Society International / The Humane Society of the United States
Sean Carnell, National Tigers For Tigers Coalition
Kishore Rithe, Satpuda Foundation
Simon Clinton, Save Wild Tigers
Harshwardhan Dhanwatey, Tiger Research and Conservation Trust
Vicky Flynn, TigerTime
Belinda Wright, Wildlife Protection Society of India
Biswajit Mohanty, Wildlife Society of Orissa
For Return Correspondence
By Email: firstname.lastname@example.org cc JudithMills@eia-international.org
By Post: Judith Mills c/o Environmental Investigation Agency, PO Box 53343, Washington, DC 20009 USA
By Telephone: Judith Mills, (202) 674 4588
Twitter handles that might be useful:
White House Press Secretary
Sally Jewell, Secretary of the @Interior
Secretary of @StateDept
Director, White House Office of Environmental Quality (CEQ)
Assistant to the President for Science and Technology
News on the talks between President Obama and China’s Xi
An international group of 13 wildlife experts, in a letter released Tuesday, is asking Obama to mention another topic — the threatened extinction of the 3,200 tigers that remain in the wild in Asia.
As the story of Cecil the Lion continues to defy the desires of those wishing his story would just disappear; and continues to provide the motivations for those that desire his story to ride the wave of change, this story also seems to have evolved into the modern day biblical version of David vs. Goliath.
Goliath, of course, represents the hunting industry, their army of lobbyists and endless supply of financial might; including those that spend $50,000 for the right to kill a lion, much like you might spend $5.00 to purchase a box of cereal. David, on the other hand, represents the concerned animal rights supporters that are incensed, enraged and angered that such a senseless activity even exists in the first place.
Despite this anger and demand for “Justice for Cecil”, most people probably assumed that David had no chance to beat Goliath and ultimately, the world would continue to experience the inevitable decline and eventual mass extinction of the world’s animal population.
Yet, something odd seems to have occurred with Cecil; and there is a reverberation that has been created in social media that appears to have self-propelled the activism and demand for change. And people are actually starting to believe that Cecil’s death could truly be the tragic event that unites and unifies the world in a singular cause. And is it possible that Cecil’s story could finally and mercifully put an exclamation point on the tiresome argument that somehow hunting is a form of conservation; which undoubtedly was based upon the premise of “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” (Adolph Hitler)
Cub petting has been an evil practice for far too long
I recently read a quote from Edmund Burke, an 18th century philosopher who stated that “No one made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little.” And this connected deeply with me. Cecil could have become the story that incensed and angered many individuals, but those individuals becoming that “greater mistake” in Burke’s quote. Yet, this is not what has happened. Many appear to be taking the attitude that if they do “a little” and others do “a little”, all that “little” becomes magnified and multiplied to the point that it builds into something that actually changes the world.
SO, WHY HAS “CECIL” GAINED A FOOTHOLD AND GATHERED MOMENTUM, WHERE OTHER NON-CECIL’S HAVE FAILED?
It is a good question, and some have suggested it is as simple as the fact the he had a human name. And perhaps they are correct to some extent; and certainly, this has probably helped the story’s staying power. But perhaps it is better explained as a perfect storm of several factors: a human name, combined with the ongoing battle of one-percenters versus the rest of the world that has been reverberating the past several years. It is the haves versus the have-nots, the ethical versus the ethically bankrupt, the good versus evil, all encapsulated in a social media movement that did not exist five years ago.
If social media existed 40 years ago, we would not even be talking about Cecil today; as this movement would have begun long before the population had plummeted to an estimated 20,000 lions. However, because social media does exist today and has a greater influence over the world than it ever did, we are talking about Cecil and we are talking about population losses of the lion, and the tiger, and the cheetah, and the leopard, and the elephant, and the rhino and the wolf, and the polar bear, and just about every other non-human animal species.
Historic and Present distribution of the lion population.
This said, if there remains any doubt as to the truth of Edmund Burke, and if there are still any Davids out there that don’t believe Goliath can be beaten, the world is listening. Companies are listening, governmental officials are listening and they are responding and reacting.
Many articles and social media posts, blogs and websites continue to beat the drum of anger and rage – and I am not condemning those articles – because those are the exact articles that are driving this change. And there needs to be a constant reminder of the evil that exists in our society, and it is only in bringing this into the bright spotlight do we enact change. However, I believe that occasionally, we need to focus on positive results stemming from these efforts; as this provides a reminder to those pursuing change that they are making a difference. And perhaps more importantly, it reminds those on the sideline of inaction that just a little effort drives the winds of change.
SO, HOW ARE WE MAKING A DIFFERENCE?
Zimbabwe Hunting Ban
Almost immediately, the outrage that began on July 26th, the day the story appeared on social media, national and international news, the government of Zimbabwe moved to ban trophy hunting of the “Big 5” (lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos and buffalo). The parks and wildlife authority Zimparks also suspended hunting with bows and arrows, with permission from the authority’s head, and also banned the hunting of ‘collared iconic animals’.
And while the Zimbabwean government did ultimately lift the hunting moratorium ten days later, this was ten days that an innocent animal did not die as a result of this outdated sport. Additionally, the ban remains in place on farmland where Cecil died, as well as several other farms were officials allege animals were killed illegally; and the restrictions on bow hunting and the hunting of collared animals are still in effect.
Of course, the Zimbabwe government does receive significant annual revenues from the hunting industry, which should not be confused with revenues that trickle down to the local communities and local conservation, which has been estimated to be at less than 3%. That said, no one truly expected that Zimbabwe would turn off that revenue spigot without the development and expansion of alternative revenue such as the further expansion of ecotourism. This will take some time, but this should be perceived as a positive development and it is likely that Zimbabwe will be carefully studying neighboring countries like Botswana and Zambia that have successfully navigated and migrated away from hunting as a revenue source.
On August 3rd, Delta Airlines and United Airlines announced they would no longer transport buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion or rhino trophies on any flights. American Airlines followed suit later that day and Delta also announced that it was going to “review acceptance policies of other hunting trophies” in consultation with government agencies and organizations “supporting legal shipments”. In addition, other airlines joining this ban after Cecil’s death include Air Canada, Air France, British Airways, Brussels Airlines, Air Emirates, Etihad Airways, Lufthansa, KLM, Iberia Airlines, IAG Cargo, Singapore Airlines, Qantas Airlines, Qutar Airways and Virgin Atlantic.
According to Humane Society International (HSI), 42 airlines now prohibit the shipment of trophies from the African Big Five and other wildlife, including all the major airlines listed above. The one airline absent from this list is South African Airways, an airline that oddly enough, announced a worldwide embargo on trophy shipments prior to Cecil’s death; but less than three months later, relented and reversed its position, after pressure from Safari Club International (SFI) and the Professional Hunters Association of South Africa (PHASA).
Australia bans hunting ‘trophies’ from lions entering or leaving the country
The Australian government announced it has banned the import and export of hunting ‘trophies’, in an attempt to help curb the organized hunting of Africa’s wildlife. Greg Hunt, the environment minister, said he had signed an order to prevent the import of the gruesome hunting trophies, effective immediately. Hunt, said the practice of canned hunting was “cruel” and “barbaric.”
“It is about raising the most majestic of creatures for a singular purpose and that is to kill them, to shoot them for pleasure and for profit, it is done in inhumane conditions. It is involving things such as raising and then drugging and in many cases, baiting. It is simply not acceptable in our day, in our time, on our watch.”
United Nations General Assembly Historic Anti-Poaching Resolution
The United Nations adopted a historic resolution committing all countries to ramp up their collective efforts to end the global poaching crisis and tackle the vast illegal wildlife trade. All 193 UN member states agreed to “enhance regional and international cooperation along the entire illegal wildlife trade chain, including measures to stop the poaching, trafficking and buying. Along with strengthening judicial processes and law enforcement, the resolution encourages countries to actively involve local communities in the fight against the illicit trade by enhancing their rights and capacity to manage and benefit from wildlife resources.”
According to Elisabeth McLellan, Head of the Wildlife Crime Initiative, WWF International “Nepal has already proved that this comprehensive approach works, having achieved three years of zero poaching of rhinos since 2011 thanks to a combination of high-level political will, dedicated rangers, and genuine community participation – now it is up to other countries to follow Nepal’s lead and the measures outlined in this historic resolution.”
California Fish & Game Commission Implement Statewide Ban on Bobcat Trapping
The commission recently approved a statewide ban on bobcat trapping despite lawmakers’ protests. California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Jordan Traverso said the commission faced a difficult decision, but was ultimately swayed by the “sheer number of comments from tens of thousands of Californians who were in favor of the ban.”
Wild CRU and Pathera announce Summit for Wild Lion Conservation
In honor of Cecil the Lion, CRU and Panthera have announced the organization of a landmark summit for lion conservation at the Recanati-Kaplan Centre in Oxford in 2016 “ to grasp this new momentum in lion conservation, and inviting the foremost conservation experts from organizations throughout the lion conservation community to join us in a concerted effort to save the lion”.
Mexico Airlifts exotic animals to Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado
The Mexican government has banned the use of exotic animals in any circus performances, as many of these animals have lived in deplorable, inhumane and abusive conditions. The result of this legal action is of course, positive. But, it is also negative in the sense that many of these circuses have now abandoned these animals. Fortunately, they are finding a new home to live out the remainder of their lives. A total of 8 lions,2 lynxes, a puma, and coyote have been relocated to this accredited Wild Animal Sanctuary, a 720 acre preserve that is home to over 350 animals rescued from illegal or abusive situation, with an additional 9 more exotic animals scheduled to be airlifted in the near future.
Peru and Columbia Lion Rescue
In addition to the Mexican airlift above, a total of 33 lions – many living in the similar deplorable conditions, and most subject to years of abuse, are being relocated from Peru and Columbia to the Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary in Limpopo, South Africa and will live out their remaining years in this 12,000 acre preserve.
Federal Ruling that all Dogs & Cats sold in Phoenix pet stores must come from shelters or non-profits
A federal judge recently ruled that any dog or cat sold by an Arizona pet store must either come from an animal shelter or non-profit organization and is one of 60 cities through the United States that now requires this.
Exotic animals seized from a Toledo, Ohio roadside sanctuary
Six tigers, a bear, leopard, cougar and liger were seized from a Toledo, Ohio owner after the owner ignored warnings that he needed a permit. These animals have now been safely relocated to animal sanctuaries in three other states.
“EVERYTHING YOU DO MATTERS”
These are just some examples of how the combined efforts of many individuals are making a difference in the protection of animals and animal rights. And there are of course, many other efforts and initiatives ongoing around the world that address and focus on policy that balances human needs with that of the environment, and this can only lead to positive improvement in our world.
In his latest book, The Butterfly Effect, How Your Life Matters, Andy Andrews discusses how in 1963, Edward Lorenz made a presentation to the New York Academy of Sciences and proposed a theory he purported as The Butterfly Effect. He stated that a butterfly could flap its wings and set air molecules in motion that, in turn, would move other air molecules, which would move other air molecules, and eventually influencing weather patterns on the other side of the planet. He was laughed out of the room. But in the mid 1990’s, physics professors from several universities tested this theory and proved that the butterfly theory actually worked.
The Butterfly Effect works and more importantly, as Andy Andrews has so eloquently and pointedly said “Every single thing you do matters. You have been created as one of a kind. You have been created in order to make a difference. You have within you the power to change the world.”
The point is that everyone on this planet makes a difference, and everything you do (and don’t do) makes a difference; and this statement has both positive and negative implications. Someone taking steps toward a certain goal, no matter how small those steps are, is making a positive impact toward that goal. Failure to take steps can have the same impact in the opposite direction. Inertia begets inertia, and the momentum created soon builds to the point that mountains can be moved and worlds can be changed.
I truly believe that Cecil is the vehicle that is becoming that Wave of Change of the 21st Century. Not just driving the change for the rights of endangered and threatened species, and not only for the rights of other animals around the world. But, I believe he can be a wake-up call warning us that we cannot continue down our current path. Loss of the apex predator in our delicate ecosystem will cause a cascading effect causing irreversible damage and harm to the world. But because of one lion, perhaps there is still time to make a difference.
As Edwin Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” And as Einstein stated “The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.”
HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED
The opportunities are boundless and limitless, but below are several great organizations, with direct links to their “get involved” page:
Let’s ride this Wave of Change and make a difference.
Glenn Williams is an avid amateur wildlife and nature photographer, and has a love for animals, particularly the big cats. He is extremely passionate as to the plight and threat to our wildlife, and devotes much of his time to conservation and awareness of threatened and endangered species.
When he is not at home, he can be found traveling with his artist wife throughout North America, seeking new adventures and photo opportunities and inspiration for his next article.
Current USDA Regulations and Enforcement Fails Animals and Public
Many facilities hide behind their USDA license as if it were a badge of honor, but this slide show will show you why USDA cannot possibly enforce the Animal Welfare Act and why it is a conflict of interest for them to be licensing the use of animals if they are also responsible for making sure animals are not abused. Breeding and dealing in captive wild animals is abusive and some other government agency, such as the Justice Department should regulate the care of wild animals if USDA is going to continue allowing wild animals to be used.
Find out more at FreeTony.com
Tigers in the U.S.
Carole Baskin, Founder and CEO of Big Cat Rescue, the world’s largest accredited sanctuary, that is devoted entirely to exotic cats speaks out about:
1. Where do big cats go when they are no longer profitable cubs?
2. If the good sanctuaries are full, where do the big cats go?
3. Should we be building bigger and more sanctuaries for the unwanted cats?
4. What is the best way to prevent the abuse of lions, tigers and other big cats?
5. Does banning private possession of exotics work?
6. Who tracks maulings, killings and escapes by tigers and other big cat species?
7. Do USDA and state inspections make sure breeders and dealers are being humane?
8. When did the big cat crisis in America start?
9. Are there laws to prevent exotic cats from being traded for their meat, skin and bones?
10. How is the public to blame for the worst acts toward tigers and their cubs?
11. What happens to breeders, dealers and other wild animal exploiters when they run out of money?
12. What are some of the most lax states when it comes to wildcat standards and enforcement?
13. Why doesn’t the government do something about all of the abuse of tigers, lions, leopards, jaguars & other big cats?
14. Are there illegal activities operating in the shadow of legal uses of tigers?
15. What kind of tracking is done and what needs to be done to end the abuse of exotic wild cats?
If you are looking for a way to help protect big cats like Cecil, please take the Tiger Selfie Challenge below. While Cecil was not a cub that was used for pay to play and then turned out into a canned hunt, most of his kind do start out that way.
Take the Tiger Selfie Challenge!
You remember the Ice Bucket Challenge, don’t you? It was a crazy, popular way to raise awareness about Lou Gherig’s Disease, that started in 2014 and has already raised more than 100,000 million dollars for ALS research. Just yesterday Boston Mayor Marty Walsh took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge—and challenged Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to do the same. A full year later this form of public activism is still grabbing headlines.
What if the cats had such a successful campaign to raise awareness about the suffering they endure for tiger selfies, lion selfies and liger selfies?
You KNOW we could end the pay to play schemes, once and for all, if everyone knew that posing with tiger cubs was Cruel NOT Cool! Find out how here: http://bigcatrescue.org/selfie/
New Big Cat Videos
Never miss a video starring your big cat friends! Subscribe to both channels:
In honor of Cecil the lion we have created free screen savers and wallpapers for Macs and PCs at our newly launched ChatBigCats.com site! LaWanna and Ysabel have been working for months to convert our old BigCatFun.com site to a kid safe, mobile responsive, interactive site where you can play games, puzzles and find all kinds of fun things to do. This site is still in Beta, so some links may be broken, but this link will take you to an area that is ready, where you can download the screen savers and wallpapers. http://chatbigcats.com/newsletter-gifts-august-2015/
Your voice is saving big cats!
Last month we asked you to speak out against the cruel use of cubs, in a pay to play Swim-With-Tigers scheme at Dade City Wild Things and USDA has finally sued them for severe violations of the Animal Welfare Act saying, “The gravity of the violations alleged in this complaint is great, involving multiple failures to handle animals carefully and to provide access for inspection.” Find out more at TigerCubAbuse2.com
Because you take action, whenever we point out big cat abuse, the USDA has also sued Doug Terranova who runs a circus and shows up at fairs with Joe Schreibvogel and his pay to play cubs, and Gregg & Karen Woody who also drag cubs out to parking lots and fairs. We can end the abuse of lions, tigers, ligers and other wild animal cubs if we all speak out together. Thank you for taking action on our alerts, and please be sure to do so on the following:
Top Shocking Incidents
of Big Cat Exploitation – August 2015
We hope by sharing a new list with you each month that you will join us in speaking out for the big cats and cubs that are exploited across this country every day. We encourage you to take one small action today and contact one or more of the offenders below to politely express your concern. Together we can be the voice for the voiceless…together we can make a difference. If you learn of exotic cats or cubs being exploited in your area, please contact Susan Bass at Susan.Bass@BigCatRescue.org.
No. 1 The Benton County Fair in Oregon recently hosted A Walk on the Wild Side’s exotic animal exhibit. An article in the local Corvallis Gazette-Times quoted one fairgoer saying the cages were small and the animals were pacing and showed signs of stress. A Walk on the Wild Side, also located in Oregon, has been closed to the public since March 2015 due to code violations but still subjects exotic cats to fairs and shows.
Benton County Fair Manager Lonny Wunder said he receives two or three complaints a year about the wild animal exhibit, but he will reconsider having them back if he receives more than that. SO we are asking you to please urge Wunder to do the humane thing and not allow exotic animals to be displayed at the fair next year.
Contact Fair Manager Lonny Wunder at 541-766-6090 and email him at this link http://www.bentoncountyfair.net/contact-us/email-inquiry/ No. 2 The Midland County Fair in Michigan just hosted a circus act called Wambold’s Amazing Animals. The act featured several tigers and even included a liger – the result of the unnatural mating of a tiger and a lion. Local paper Midland Daily News covered the tiger show in at least two articles but never mentioned the true issues involved with big cats in traveling acts in their reporting. Fair manager Trish Steele is quoted gushing over the circus act, “They provide a lot of educational information to people who are in the free entertainment area. It’s not just a show.” Hmmm.
The owner of the tiger is also quoted in the article saying white tigers are “very, very rare in the wild because they have no camouflage.” It’s true they don’t have camouflage, but white tigers are not found in the wild because they are not a species!
There is nothing educational about seeing majestic big cats forced to perform in front of crowds and travel in small transport wagons. Please help us educate Steele and the Midland Daily News that exotic cats and other animals at fairs and in circus acts should be a thing of the past. Urge the fair to NOT have the cats back next year.
No. 3 The Kutztown Fair in Pennsylvania recently hosted a circus act with tigers called Tiger Encounter, run by the notorious Frisco circus family.
We’re told children were allowed to feed the cats with a long stick. That sends the wrong message that big cats are ours to use how we want. Please kindly let the Kutztown Fair that animal lovers do not want to see big cats used as entertainment.
No.4 The West End Fair in Pennsylvania is going on right now until August 29. The fair features Bruno Blaszak’s Royal Bengal Tiger circus show. However, there is no such thing as a “royal” Bengal tiger. The fair’s website says Bruno is “devoted to preserving these magnificent tigers for many generations to come.”
Breeding them to live lives of misery in circus acts and traveling the country in tiny transport cages? That is no life at all for big cats.
No. 5 The Showhegen State Fair in Maine recently included the Vicenta White Tigers circus act. In a local newspaper article, owner Vicenta Pages actually told a reporter – presumably with a straight face – that “there are no longer any white Bengal tigers left in the wild of their homeland in India, having been hunted and poached to extinction.” HUH?
White tigers do not exist in the wild and could not survive even if they did because they would not be able to sneak up on prey or hide from predators. Big Cat Rescue believes it is tragic that fair managers and even journalists fall for these lies over and over again. Would you speak out for these tigers?
Many of you responded to our action alert, contacting the FWC and asking them to not give up on the FL panther. Big Cat Rescue attended the meeting in Sarasota to speak up for panthers (and bears). We also participated in a news conference with the Sierra Club, The Conservancy of Southwest Florida, and the Humane Society of the United States. Our combined actions resulted in the FWC taking note of the public’s comments and sending the proposal back to their staff for
Earlier this month (August 2015) the FWC posted their revised policy proposal. As the Tampa Bay Times put it in their editorial on August 17th, the revised proposal is a “win for open government over secrecy” but the policy still has “some weasel language” and that overall, this is a reminder of the “need for public oversight of this critical agency.”
Big Cat Rescue opposes the revised policy proposal Although we were pleased to read that the overall tone of the proposal had softened with the removal of some of the most contentious terms and language, Big Cat Rescue found the “weasel language” to be far more extensive and subtle than the TBT let on.
First, the good.
The revision includes welcomed recommendations to restore panther habitat in the Everglades, coordinate with the Florida Department of Transportation on the installation wildlife crossings, and support for strategic conservation easements. But much like the FWC’s response to request for more habitat be protected for wildlife – the FWC has little to no say in these matters. These recommendations are just that, recommendations.
Second, the bad.
The original proposal repeated brash assertions that the FWC would no longer support panther recovery outside of southwest Florida and insisted that one population of an estimated 100 to 180 panthers in southwest Florida after 34 years “should be ample scientific evidence to warrant reconsideration of the status of panthers under the Endangered Species Act.”
The federal government has maintained that for panthers to be taken off of the endangered species list their needs to be three separate populations, each with 240 panthers. Conservation groups, wildlife organizations, and a wide array of Floridians were quick to call out what was an attempt to force the federal government to reconsider the criteria for taking panthers off the endangered species list. (Big Cat Rescue believes that lowering the panther’s federal protective status, and ultimately delisting the big cat from the Endangered Species Act, are steps towards allowing a panther hunt.)
This revision, in addition to the softer tone and recommendations, includes language stating that the FWC does not intend to change the panther’s protected status. But the core statements brashly asserted in the original proposal are still there – polished and smoothed over, but none the wiser.
Third, the ugly.
The FWC is still abandoning their obligation to federal recovery efforts outside of the small population of 100 to 180 panthers in southwest Florida. The policy proposal still calls for federal officials to lessen their criteria for taking panthers off the endangered species list. It also leaves the door wide open for the FWC to take lethal action against panthers.
Be a voice for the Florida panther!
Tell the FWC Commissioners to oppose the policy proposal. Attend the upcoming FWC meeting in Ft. Lauderdale on September 2nd, 2015 at the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina. The FWC will be voting on the revised policy proposal as well as finalizing rules for the impending bear hunt.
regarding DEW Haven and Yankee Jungle in South Portland on Saturday, August 29th, 2015
Hello Maine supporters of Big Cat Rescue! We are assisting local Maine big cat lovers who are organizing a protest in South Portland next Saturday, August 29th, from 11 am to 2 pm at 8 Cottage Road, South Portland, Maine 04106.
These big cat advocates — lead by Kris Snyder and Karen Coker — will be demonstrating to Maine residents that animal lovers don’t want to see DEW Haven (formerly DEW Animal Kingdom) buy, sell, trade, breed and exhibit big cats and other animals.
As you may be aware, DEW Haven is featured on the program Yankee Jungle, which airs on Animal Planet. The protest will be on the sidewalk outside the office of Lone Wolf Media, producers of Yankee Jungle. Big Cat Rescue joins these animal lovers in seeking to raise awareness about the sad reality of what’s happening at DEW Haven and why the animals should not be further exploited in a television program.
Learn more and sign up to attend the peaceful protest here: https://www.facebook.com/events/570814466392088/
Bring your own signs or just show up. They will have extra signs for your use!
We hope you will add your voice and stand up for the cats and cubs being exploited and used as entertainment at DEW Haven. We are the only voice these animals have!
Feel free to email me any questions you may have. THANK YOU!
Director of Public Relations
Big Cat Rescue
Join Big Cat Rescue to Support FL Panthers in Ft Lauderdale
Last week (Aug 2015) the FWC posted their revised draft FL panther position statement. As some of you may recall, in June, Big Cat Rescue joined various national conservation groups in speaking out against the original draft position statement. Many of you responded to our action alert, contacting the FWC and asking them to not give up on the FL panther. Carole and I attended the meeting in Sarasota to speak up for the panthers (and the bears). We also participated in a media conference with the Sierra Club, The Conservancy of SW Florida, and the HSUS. You may read our response to the FWC’s original draft position statement at http://bigcatrescue.org/why-is-the-fwc-giving-up-on-the-florida-panther/.
We are currently working on our comments in response to the revised statement and will be sending out another action alert to our Florida supporters.
In the meantime, PLEASE PLAN ON JOINING me, Howard, and Carole at the upcoming FWC meeting in Ft. Lauderdale on September 2nd, 2015 at the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina. The FWC will be voting on the revised statement as well as finalizing rules for the impending bear hunt.
More information about the meeting including the address, start time, agenda, and a link to the revised draft FL panther position statement may be found online at http://myfwc.com/about/commission/commission-meetings/2015/september/02/agenda/