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Monday, October 9, 2017

Wildlife Conservation News for 9 Oct 2017


Senate Bill Aims to Strip Protections From 1,098 Endangered Species Including Utah Prairie Dog, Florida Panther

Senate Bill Aims to Strip Protections From 1,098 Endangered Species Including Utah Prairie Dog, Florida Panther


Republican U.S. Senators Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee of Utah introduced legislation this week that would strip federal Endangered Species Act protections for animals and plants found in only one state. Known as intrastate species, such imperiled animals and plants make up the majority of the 1,655 species protected under the act.

The legislation is backed by extreme anti-wildlife organizations that oppose the protection of the Utah prairie dog, an animal only found in Utah. In addition to ending protections for the prairie dog, the legislation would terminate protections for all 1,098 intrastate species, including 497 species in Hawaii, 234 species in California, 86 species in Florida and 20 species in Utah.

"Utah's senators hate their prairie dogs so much they're willing to destroy most of America's endangered wildlife to wipe out this little animal," said Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity. "From the Florida panther to virtually all imperiled species in Hawaii, every one of these intrastate species would be condemned to extinction. Americans do not support this ludicrous proposal."

S. 1863, the deceptively named "Native Species Protection Act," seeks to overturn a 10th Circuit Court of Appeals decision from earlier this year that affirmed the federal government's authority to protect the Utah prairie dog.

Full story at http://bit.ly/2fWB37q

Source: EcoWatch

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Traveling To Nevis To Help Save Sea Turtles

Traveling To Nevis To Help Save Sea Turtles


Don’t be shy about ordering more than one Spicy Island Turtle at Four Seasons Resort Nevis.

The luscious cocktail from the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel’s master mixologist Kendie Williams hits all of the right notes — it’s herbaceous because of the rosemary-infused Naked Turtle white rum, fruity from the mango puree and lemon juice, and fiery from the Nevis-made Llewellyn’s mango pepper sauce and jerk spice rim.

The Nevis hotel (which reopens September 29, mostly unscathed by recent hurricanes) is the only place in the Caribbean to serve Naked Turtle, a smooth, slightly sweet rum with hints of molasses, coconut and vanilla (only 14 U.S. states carry it). But an even better reason to keep the Spicy Island Turtles coming is that you can help save a sea turtle’s life.

For every bottle of Naked Turtle white rum that’s produced, the company donates 50 cents to the Sea Turtle Conservancy; $1 saves two endangered baby sea turtle hatchlings. That’s a significant number, since only one in 1,000 hatchlings survive into adulthood, according to the STC, the largest and oldest organization dedicated to the research and conservation of sea turtles. Since launching in 2012, Naked Turtle has partnered with the Gainesville, Florida-based nonprofit to save more than 234,000 sea turtles.

Full story at http://bit.ly/2fWB636

Source: Forbes

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Laos is 'world's fastest growing' ivory market

Laos is worlds fastest growing ivory market


The fastest growing ivory market in the world is now Laos, according to an investigation by Kenya-based group Save the Elephants.

China is banning all ivory trade by the end of 2017, but business is booming in neighbouring countries.

Investigators visited a Chinese casino resort on the Mekong River.

They described a hub of gambling and prostitution, where ivory sales are booming among Chinese visitors who make up more than 80% of sales.

The researchers found dozens of shops selling thousands of items - carved tusks, ivory bangles, pendants and bracelets - openly for sale.

Full story at http://bbc.in/2fWB8YM

Source: BBC News

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Whaling may have all-but ended, but threats to the world’s whales remain

Whaling may have all-but ended, but threats to the world’s whales remain


After more than a decade harassing Japanese whaling vessels in the Southern Ocean, marine conservation organisation Sea Shepherd announced this summer that it would no longer be obstructing the seasonal hunt for minke whale. The group said the cost of sending their vessels south to the waters around the Antarctic had grown in recent years and their activities have been further disrupted due to the alleged use of military tracking technology targeting their ships and new anti-terrorism laws passed by Japan.

In March this year, 333 minke whales were caught by Japanese whaling companies. Japan's government insists the hunting of minke whale is for research purposes, a claim that is widely contested by conservation groups.

Having started out as small hunting expeditions using spears and primitive harpoons launched from rowing boats, whaling rapidly expanded into an industrialised business in the 19th and 20th centuries. The advent of steam power and projectile or exploding harpoons meant that by the 1930s, 50,000 whales were being killed every year.

As whale numbers diminished, concerns that whole species may become extinct eventually led to most whaling being banned by the International Whaling Commission in 1986. Although some populations have been able to bounce back, many species remain depleted and some are still in decline.

Full story at http://ind.pn/2w9cGK1

Source: Independent

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Rhinos Are Hunted By A Myth

Rhinos Are Hunted By A Myth


Rhinos are being poached by a myth, with 529 of the African giants having already been cut down in the first six months of the year. In the recently released independent film, "Hunted by a Myth", director Daniela Henao Cardenas tries to showcase how different points of view might lead to the survival of the species.

Cardenas explains how she wanted the title of her film to highlight that it's myths that are actually killing rhinos, as well as for it to be a thought-provoking introduction for the viewer. "The myth is basically that in China and Vietnam, the rhino horn can cure cancer or acts as some sort of aphrodisiac," she said.

In Asia alone, rhino horn is expected to fetch up to US$60,000 per kilogram, which has led to the suggestion that the trade of horn should be legalised as a possible solution to stemming the poaching crisis.

Cardenas goes on to explain how a single rhino horn is worth more than gold and cocaine on the black market, even though a horn is made up of little more than keratin, which can also be found in human fingernails.

Full story at http://bit.ly/2w8nyrq

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.za

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WildlifeDIRECT has a Message for Poachers: Hands Off Our Elephants!

WildlifeDIRECT has a Message for Poachers: Hands Off Our Elephants!


There are humans on this earth who still feel entitled to the option to purchase ivory. Their relentless desire for counterfeit antiques and dust-collecting figurines has caused a resurgence of poaching, and just over 30,000 elephants are killed each year. This pointless demand for ivory far outweighs the number of living elephants, and is the reasons the elephants are nearing extinction.

To learn more about what is being done to curb the ivory industry, I reached out to Dr. Paula Kahumbu, a Kenyan Conservationist with a PhD from Princeton. Dr. Kahumbu is the CEO of WildlifeDIRECT, an organization known for leading the ,Hands Off Our Elephantscampaign alongside the First Lady of Kenya, Margaret Kenyattato. Their efforts restored Kenya as a leader in the field of elephant conservation through a shift in behaviour at all levels of society. Dr. Kahumbu grew up in Nairobi, surrounded by a rich and diverse wild animal population and Richard Leakey - infamous Kenyan anthropologist, conservationist, and politician - as her neighbor. Despite being sent to secretary school, she pursued her innate passion for wildlife and dream of becoming a scientist working with animals. Dr. Kahumbu was in Manhattan recently to raise awareness around WildlifeDIRECT’s new campaign, Don’t Let Them Disappear in partnership with Amarula.

“We are losing one elephant every 15 minutes. This has a huge impact on their communities, as elephants - much like humans - live in closely interlinked family groups. They connect and interact with other family groups. If one elephant gets killed, other elephants 20 kilometres away will hear about it. elephants communicate on a vast scale using sonic vibration.”

Full story at http://bit.ly/2w65Ep1

Source: Huffington Post

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Hard to spot: criminals find new ways to smuggle rhino horns

Hard to spot: criminals find new ways to smuggle rhino horns


International traffickers have tried many ways to smuggle African rhino horns to Asia, concealing them inside wooden Buddha statues, stashing horn pieces in lobster heads kept in a refrigerated container and disguising horn portions as the bases of painted statues.

Now, conservationists say, some criminal groups are processing rhino horns into powder and trinkets in South Africa before export, a trend that could reflect changing consumer tastes and make it harder for law enforcement to intercept the illegal cargo.

The development highlights the difficulty of countering criminal syndicates, some of which include Chinese nationals, which show versatility in the face of periodic anti-poaching successes by security officials, who have reported confiscations of intact rhino horns at the main international airport in Johannesburg in past months. South Africa, which has about 80 percent of the continent's rhinos, has experienced record levels of poaching in the past decade.

Recent investigations by South African police discovered small, home-based workshops where rhino horns were cut into small pieces, beads and bracelets, or packaged as powder, TRAFFIC, a wildlife trade monitoring network, said in an analysis released Monday. The development will test overstretched law enforcement agencies if traffickers expand such operations, and growing evidence that swindlers are making fake rhino horn products out of cow horns adds to the challenge, the report said.

Full story at http://abcn.ws/2w65GNF

Source: http://abcnews.go.com

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