If we were only $20.00 away from curing cancer, we would surely all clamor to be the one to complete the fundraising for the cure. Some of the ills of our society are that close to a cure. Ending the abuse of baby lions and tigers is one of them.
In 2005 The Chronicles of Narnia’s computer generated animation of Aslan the lion captivated the imagination of all who witnessed the fantasy. The notion of being so special that the creature known as the King of Beasts would allow us to touch him became irresistible to many when they were allowed to act out their fantasy. It only cost them $20.00… and their conscience.
After paying $20.00 to have their picture made with a baby lion or tiger the vast majority of people, who learned the truth about the miserable lives captive cats lead, confess “I knew in my heart that there was something wrong…” Often it is the nagging conscience, reminding them of the distressed baby’s cries for their real mothers, the barren accommodations, and the sleaziness of the business operators that haunted them long after the thrill of the moment had passed. (more…)
China has for the first time admitted that it permits trade in skins from captive tigers, participants and officials at a meeting of an international convention to protect endangered species have said. They say Chinese authorities had never before reported this.
“We don’t ban trade in tiger skins but we do ban trade in tiger bones,” a participant at the meeting said.
Between 5,000 and 6,000 tigers are believed to be in captivity in China.
Worldwide efforts – including tagging – are underway to protect tigers being killed and sold for their body parts.
Tiger Skins Used as Bribes to Officials in China
China admits trading in tiger skins
China has for the first time admitted in public that it permits trade in skins from captive tigers, according to participants and officials at a meeting of an international convention to protect endangered species.
Chinese authorities have never before reported this to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). However, during the convention’s standing committee meeting in Geneva, China reportedly said that it still banned tiger bones. “A Chinese delegate said, ‘we don’t ban trade in tiger skins but we do ban trade in tiger bones,'” a participant in the meeting said.
Sources within the CITES Secretariat confirmed that a member of the Chinese delegation had said this. Chinese officials have not responded to a BBC request for comment.
Between 5,000 and 6,000 tigers are believed to be in captivity in China. Wildlife conservation organizations have long demanded an end to the trade in skins. Wildlife experts believe “tiger farming” in China has fuelled demand for the poaching and trafficking of the endangered species elsewhere. They say the admission at the meeting will increase pressure on China to curb the practice. Reports also say that the farms where the captive tigers are held have been providing live animals and parts for illegal international trade.
According to officials and participants at the CITES meeting, the admission from China followed the presentation of a report which gave details of how the Chinese government had allowed commercial trade in skins from captive tigers. “The report presented in the meeting created a situation that required China to respond,” said a participant who did not wish to be named. “Basically when the meeting focused on the findings of this report, the Chinese delegate intervened,” he said. “It was the first time they admitted officially that this trade exists in China.”
Participants say this created quite a sensation during the CITES meeting. “After the Chinese intervention… we too intervened and made it clear that the investigations we have done with other organizations clearly show that the trade in China is happening on a commercial scale,” said Shruti Suresh, a wildlife campaigner with the UK-based Environment Investigation Agency, which has investigated the illegal wildlife trade across the globe. “The clarification was necessary because the Chinese delegate did not say that it was happening on a commercial scale, and there was a risk that the trade could later be misreported as something done for scientific research or, say, displays in the museums.”
Member countries of the CITES are required to report on what progress they have made to ensure that trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. A new report on illegal wildlife trade suggests that around 1,600 tigers, both from captivity and the wild, have been traded globally since 2000.
While China has been a major market for tiger parts, wildlife experts say other South East Asian countries like Vietnam, Thailand, Lao, Cambodia, Malaysia and Indonesia are also emerging as consumers, where tiger farming is growing. Reports say that in the past two years, there have been seizures of nearly 90 tigers likely to have been sourced from, or trafficked through, captive facilities across South East Asia and China.
“Demand-reduction efforts and enforcement and anti-trafficking activities are undermined both by the existence of facilities that keep and breed tigers for commercial purposes, and the lack of enforcement to stop trade from or through them,” says a report by Species Survival Network (SSN), whose members include more than 100 wildlife conservation organizations. “Trade in these specimens perpetuated the desirability of tiger parts and China’s experiment in licensing the domestic trade in skins of captive tigers has done nothing to alleviate pressure on wild tigers, as evidenced through continued poaching in the wild.”
A little more than 3,000 tigers are believed to be left in the wild across the globe. More than half of those are in India, where 42 tigers were killed last year. “If the Chinese government has admitted the trade in tiger skins, I think it is a forward step toward curbing illegal trade in tiger parts,” said SP Yadav, deputy inspector general of India’s National Tiger Conservation Authority. “Denial mode does not help solve the problem, but once you accept what is happening, it’s easy to move ahead.”
The SSN report says the skins of tigers, leopards and snow leopards are valued among the political, military and business elite as luxury home decorations in China. “The outcome of recent corruption cases in China confirm they are ‘gifted’ as non-financial bribes to officials,” the report says.
In 2005, China had announced that it was considering re-opening the domestic trade in tiger bone from tiger breeding facilities. Two years later, CITES parties adopted a decision calling for the phasing out of such facilities. BBC July 11, 2014 http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-28258595
Unsporting Bill Shot Down
Michael Markarian: Animals & Politics
The Senate today shot down a motion to move forward on S. 2363, the dangerous if innocuous sounding “Sportsmen’s Act,” which has been portrayed as feel-good legislation but could have serious and far-reaching consequences for wildlife, public spaces, and human health and safety. The bill needed 60 votes to advance, but only received 41 in favor, and 56 opposed—a result of some Democrats opposing the bill because of its extreme provisions and Republicans uniting in opposition because they could not offer amendments on gun rights and other topics. Get the rest of the story here: http://hslf.typepad.com/political_animal/2014/07/unsporting-bill-shot-down.html?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzRss&utm_campaign=hslf
I was so sad to find out that Carol Porter died. I look for her periodically because she told me she hated the way USDA failed to enforce the Animal Welfare Act against big cat breeders and exploiters and always said she was going to write a book about it after leaving her position. I kept looking for her to see how that book is coming along, but today I learned that at the young age of 51 she is gone.
Florida’s Panther Population Increasing – Slowly
Citing a 10 percent increase in kitten survival, Gil McRae, the director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s research institute announced that new estimates put the number of Florida panthers in the wild at somewhere around 180 animals.
Even though they have been on the Federal Endangered Species List since the mid-1960s, the Florida panther almost became extinct in the early 1990s, but a concerted conservation effort by state and federal wildlife officials have turned that death spiral around and studies now show that the population has increased steadily since….. continue reading
Utah DWR Officials Order Euthanasia of Captured Lion
Tuesday, officials from the Utah Department of Wildlife Resources euthanized a scared, helpless mountain lion that had taken refuge in a garage in the community of American Fork, Utah.
The lion was first discovered around 12:30 pm by a teenage boy who had entered his family’s garage. When confronted by the human, the young mountain lion snarled at the boy and backed further into a dark corner of the garage in a vain attempt to escape. American Fork police officers and a local animal control officer were dispatched to the scene to contain the animal. When Josee Seamons, a wildlife….. continue reading
Lost Lion Caught After Wandering East Sacramento
After a day-long, self-guided tour of residences on the east side of Sacramento, a young, lost mountain lion eventually sought shelter in the “jungle-like” backyard of 74-year old Mabel Furr’s North Oak Park home at the corner of 32nd and X streets, where he was captured late Saturday evening by members of the Sacramento police force and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW).
The one-and-a-half year old male mountain lion, weighing approximately 70 lb, was first spotted around 1:35 a.m. early Saturday morning near 58th and M streets. Sacramento police officers….. continue reading
This month Porsche is unveiling their new SUV called the Macan – which means Tiger in Indonesian. When Big Cat Rescue recently learned that Porsche dealerships around the country planned to rent tiger cubs as part of the “entertainment” at their Macan launch parties, we knew we had to try and educate Porsche about why this is cub abuse.
We contacted Porsche North America’s headquarters in Atlanta and explained that Big Cat Rescue as well as other GFAS-accredited sanctuaries and reputable animal welfare groups such as PETA are highly opposed to the exploitation of tiger cubs for entertainment, PR and “shock value.” We explained to Porsche that tigers are endangered in the wild and using them as props to promote automobiles would send the very wrong message that exotic animals are ours to use at will.
We were extremely pleased to find that Porsche management quickly “got it” about the abuse to the cubs and immediately notified all of their dealers around the country NOT to include tiger cubs in their marketing promotions for the Macan. And after further discussions with Big Cat Rescue and PETA, Porsche has adopted a no-animal policy for all dealer activities!!
And a very special THANK YOU to Porsche for caring about tiger cubs and taking a responsible stance on wild animal exhibitions!
Big Cat Rescue encourages our supporters to visit their local Porsche dealer and test drive the new Macan. To read PETA’s press release, read on:
PORSCHE URGES DEALERSHIPS TO NIX TIGER CUB EVENTS FOLLOWING APPEAL
Company Shares Concerns With PETA, Big Cat Rescue Over Animals’ Well-Being, Customers’ Safety
Atlanta — In response to appeals from PETA and Big Cat Rescue citing animal welfare and public-safety concerns raised by Porsche dealerships’ reported plans to exhibit tiger cubs at unveilings of the new Porsche Macan, Porsche Cars North America has pledged to urge all of its U.S. dealerships to cancel any plans to display tiger cubs or any other animals at events.
In an e-mail to PETA, Porsche’s vice president of marketing, Andre Oosthuizen, told PETA that Porsche shares its concerns “when it comes to the ethical treatment of any animal, large or small, wild or domesticated” and “will personally make contact with every Porsche dealer to reinforce our appeal that no animals whatsoever be used in any dealer activity.”
“After hearing from PETA about how tiger cubs used for displays are torn away from their mothers shortly after birth, Porsche was quick to kick a ‘no live animals’ policy into high gear,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “By speaking out against cruel big-cat displays, Porsche has set an example of kindness and good business sense for other companies to follow.”
Baby tigers used for public display are typically only 8 to 12 weeks old—and the cubs displayed at a Porsche dealership in Tampa, Fla., earlier this month were believed to be only 3 weeks old.
In nature, tiger cubs stay with their mothers for two years, but tiger cubs used for display are generally taken away from their mothers when they’re just days old in order to “acclimate” them to human handling. The frightened, helpless cubs are continually carted from town to town and venue to venue—and when they grow up and are no longer profitable, they’re often left to languish in small cages or are disposed of.
Wild-animal displays also place the public at risk of injury and disease transmission. A bear cub recently used in a promotion at Washington University in St. Louis bit at least 18 people.
Hardly a week goes by now that there isn’t a case in the news of a big cat facility that was once considered a haven for the animals rescued has found itself over run with animals that there are no funds to provide for.
People love a good rescue story and they want to be involved. They will volunteer or donate to facilities that are in the public eye doing the heart pounding rescues because it makes them feel good about themselves. They are instantly gratified with the rescue of the animal from some deplorable condition and for a few weeks they thrill in seeing the animal rebound in health and personality until the rescued one appears to be safely set for life…then they are off looking for the next thrilling rescue.
Sometimes sanctuary founders are this short sighted themselves and they continue to take on more animals than they can afford because they believe that recognition is right around the corner and surely some big donor is just about to discover them. Sort of like the starry eyed actress that lives hand to mouth until she has lost her good looks and ability to land a meaningful job, while hoping to be discovered by Hollywood. They usually mean well but just aren’t in touch with reality.
Often a person with the chutzpah to start a sanctuary may be cognizant of how unlikely this is, but they may depend on volunteers and donations to keep their dream alive and they know that if they aren’t rescuing the “animal in distress of the week” then they will lose their volunteers and donors to someone who is acting so irresponsibly.
One thing you can always count on is that the unexpected will happen. A founder will become sick or die or just change their mind about how they want to spend their life. A day like 9/11 will send the world as we know it into a three year tail spin. A year in which there is not a month that goes by without a tsunami, earthquake, major health epidemic, war or a hurricane will happen and the giving public will be so greatly pressed upon for human needs that there will be little left over for the animals. With global warming now finally being recognized as a planet changing reality we are only just beginning to see times of trouble…expensive trouble.
The following list of links go to stories about facilities that once housed big cats and failed. In some cases they never were really sanctuaries, but they claimed to be and many people were fooled into supporting them. In other cases they actually were sanctuaries and some of them even great ones but something happened and they either shut down or had to consider doing so. When a big cat sanctuary closes there is no where for the great cats to go. All of the decent sanctuaries are full and most of the rest continue to breed, sell and further exacerbate the exploitation. These are just a few sad examples of what happens when a big cat facility goes under.
Closed exotic cat facilities of considerable size:
Archangel Underwood, MN
Ashville Game Farm, Jeff Ash, NY
Bearcat Hollow, Ken Kraft, MN
Catherine Gordon Twiss, MS (had 86 lions and tigers when she was shut down)
Corpus Christi Zoo
Cougar Haven David Mallory had 38 big cats at one time, but only 14 at the time that he abandoned them. 9 tigers died while waiting for help to arrive.
Dennis Hill Exotics Shelbyville, IN (20 tigers confiscated in 2005 and he got rid of the last 4 in 2011)
Great Cats of Indiana
Greenville Wildlife Center in Greenville, NJ
Horseshoe Creek in Davenport, FL owned by Darryl Atkinson
Karl Mitchell, Pahrump, NV
L & L Exotics owned by Lorenza Pearson in Copeley Township, OH
Savage Kingdom owned by Robert Baudy in Centerville, FL (had 11 tigers at time of closure)
Buy Big Cat Auto Accessories
Siberian Tiger Foundation owned by Diana Cziraky aka Diana McCourt (6 tigers at time of closure)
Tiger Creek/Wild World Morepark, CA (4 tigers in 2004)
Tiger Rescue Colton, CA (2002 10 tigers were seized and in 2003 13 young tigers were confiscated and 58 cubs found in the freezer)
Tigers Only owned by Joan Byron-Marasek in Ocean County, NJ (24 tigers were seized and sent to Wild Animal Orphanage in 2003)
Tiger Truck Stop AKA Tiger Travel Plaza ordered to remove Tony the tiger by Dec. 2011
Wesa-A-Geh-Ya in Warrenton, MO Sandra and Kenneth Smith, owners of Wesa-A-Geh-Ya animal facility, settle with USDA after being charged with violations of Animal Welfare Act. Smiths agree to civil penalty of $13,000 and revoking of their AWA license. Although Smiths no longer have USDA exhibitor’s license or AWA license, no law prevents them from keeping their animals under little supervision from any state or federal agency. (Warrenton Journal)
Wild Animal Orphanage in San Antonio, TX shuttered her doors in May of 2010 after a state attorney investigation into misappropriation of funds and a take over by the board of directors. At the time of closure the board members in charge said they had 400 wild animals and that 200 were tigers. Later, once groups like GFAS, IFAW and Born Free were called in there were only 75 tigers to be found. Where did 125 tigers go in those first couple of months? A year after closure there are still 30 tigers left languishing and countless primates, bears and other animals.
Zoo Cats AKA Zoo Dynamics owned by Marcus Cook FL and TX addresses (17 tigers in 2008, 7 in 2010)
This video shows facilities that are currently licensed and approved by the USDA and the Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission that have been operating at this level or worse for more than 10 years and yet are still open to the public. This shows precisely why we need better laws. Play 6 minute video HERE.
Cited by officials animal welfare violations but still in operation:
I had originally asked this couple to pretend that they were going to go pet tigers at the fair, but they were so appalled that anyone would do that, they asked to make the video in their own way to show that even rednecks know better than to pay to pay with tiger cubs or see big cats at the circus. They created their own script and certainly injected a lot of their own passion toward protecting animals. Check them out on fiverr.com as BShore2000
World Lion Day
“This is the perfect opportunity for the world to take note of the plight of the African lion, for us all to take the time to ponder the reality of today’s pressures on wildlife and the wilderness sustaining these wondrous animals who have, to date, stood the test of time – but for how long will they be able to run from man,” said Tammy Hoth, Director of the AfriCat Foundation.
Namibia is a forerunner in Africa regarding conservation and sustainable management of wildlife.
Namibia’s lion numbers range from between 600 and 800, found only in the Kunene, Etosha, and Caprivi region and in the Khaudom Park/Nyae-Nyae Conservancy along Namibia’s border with Botswana.
Despite the low numbers, the status of the Namibian lion is regarded by many as ‘healthy’.
After at least ten years of above-average rainfall in most parts of Namibia, as well as valuable data collected by researchers, it is believed that lion numbers and their distribution have increased in some regions.
“Persecution of lions by farmers has, however, continued unabated and with the first drought in years becoming a reality, livestock losses will be even less tolerated and more lions will be destroyed,” said Hoth.
Human-wildlife conflict is ever present on both communal and commercial farmland, especially along the borders of Etosha, on surrounding farmland and in a number of communal conservancies.
With the Namibian Lion Management Plan yet to be finalised, guidelines as to best practice regarding long-term lion conservation are not in place in communal conservancies, nor on commercial farms.
Hoth also said trophy hunting quotas are only allocated to hunting concessions in conservancies, where reliable research data is absent in most cases and the methods used to establish these quotas are debatable. Black- maned, male lions are naturally favoured as trophies and bring the highest fees to the conservancy.
Large numbers of lions are trapped, shot and poisoned on farmland annually, with the mandatory reporting of such killings irregular – thus, the official lion mortality figures cannot be regarded as true, according to Hoth.
The AfriCat Foundation, with bases in central and northern Namibia, believes that Namibia’s lions can survive.
“With programmes including research, human-wildlife conflict mitigation and community support, our motto ‘Conservation Through Education’ can and will support the long-term survival of our lions,” Hoth concluded.