Tag: Endangered Species

Elephant Walk

According to the World Wildlife Fund, the elephant is the largest animal walking the earth wandering 37 countries in Africa. Their presence help maintain suitable habitats for numerous other species but due to the illegal poaching for their ivory, over hunting for sport and the loss of their habitat the number of elephants are dwindling. Not yet considered endangered, they are vulnerable.

The illegal demand for ivory is the biggest driver of elephant poaching. Despite a global CITES ban on international sales of ivory since 1990, tens of thousands of elephants are killed to meet a growing demand for ivory products in the Far East. Asia stands behind a steadily increasing trend in illegal ivory and there are still thriving domestic ivory markets in Africa. Limited resources combined with remote and inaccessible elephant habitats make it difficult for governments to monitor and protect elephant herds. The impacts of war and over-exploitation of natural resources often lead to increased poaching as elephants are also regarded as source of wild meat. 2011 saw the highest volume of illegal ivory seized since global records began in 1989.

The punishment for poaching is very lenient as law professor and animal lover, Jonathan Turley notes in this report at his blog:

The reason why elephants are going extinct may have something to do with a trial in Cameroon against twin brothers accused of killing more than 100 elephants in Central Africa. What is most striking about this story is that these brothers – Symphorien Sangha and Rene Sangha – have been arrested before and never served a day in jail. Now, with over 100 dead elephants to their credit, they are only looking at a maximum of three years in jail. Indeed, Symphorien Sangha was found guilty of killing elephants and wounding a forest ranger. He will receive 10 years for wounding the ranger but no more than three years for killing a huge number of elephants and a long record of poaching. With a deterrent level of that kind, it is astonishing that any elephants remain alive.

If that isn’t outrageous enough, in a second article by Prof Turley, an NBC Sports Network show featured an NRA lobbyist, Tony Makris, shooting an elephant in the face and then celebrating while the animal lingered in pain before it is finally put down. I’m with Prof. Turley on this outrageous act:

I am also confused why this is so impressive. The elephant is standing there and you shoot it at close quarters in the face with a powerful weapon. The elephant however does not die after two shots but lingers in pain before it is finally put down. The episode ends with celebration with what appears to be champagne. [..]

The episode is filmed in the Botswana wilderness where he is led to around 20 feet from an elephant. While the number of elephants continue to fall in the country, a ban on trophy hunting will not kick in until 2014. That leaves people like Makris rushing to kill elephants while they still can.

We are not alone in our disgust:

NRA lobbyist Tony Makris sparks outrage by killing elephant on NBC show Under Wild Skies

by Bernard Humphries, The Australian

NBC Sports sparks outrage for airing an NRA-sponsored show in which the host kills an elephant by shooting it in the face

from the DailyMail.co.uk

   ‘Under Wild Skies’ is hosted by Tony Makris, a lobbyist for the National Rifle Association

   In a highlighted reel from this week’s episode, Makris travels to Botswana and hunts an elephant, shooting it several times before it dies

   Makris laughs as the animal lets out one last groan after the final shot and then he jokes about wanting to hunt for birds

   Makris celebrates the hunt by drinking champagne

   Some NBC Sports viewers are now calling on the network to cancel the show

I won’t post the video since it’s very graphic and disturbing. You can view it at Prof Turley’s site.

As one commenter put it, “We’re an awful species.”

Safari in Ohio

The Ohio Sheriff’s Department had the chance to go big game hunting without even having to buy airline tickets to Africa:

Ohio farm owner killed himself after letting animals loose, police say

Police say the owner of a wild animal preserve set wolves, bears, and lions free before dying from a self-inflicted wound.

This story is in The Guardian.

In all, so far, the authorities have killed :

  18 Bengal Tigers, 17 Lions, 8 Bears, 1 Wolf.

There’s more:

Who can put a Price on the Environment?

EcoEconomics in a Nutshell

Our free market economy is nothing more than a huge auction called ‘Supply and Demand’, which – very efficiently – puts a price on on everything.

The problem is that it allows us to sell everything – the last drop of oil, the last tree, the last fish, the last of everything. It’s called growth – but it is, obviously, growth into oblivion – the exact opposite of EcoEconomics. It is a fatal flaw of our present economic system.

Or, as Greenpeace puts it: “When the last tree is cut, the last river poisoned, and the last fish dead, we will discover that we can’t eat money…”


The eco-economic price for a natural resource is, therefore, the price you would have to pay if our planet were to release that resource only at a sustainable level.

Who can put a Price on the Environment?  … We all should.

Afterall if we end up decimating the planet’s EcoSystems —  trying to sell off their once abundant natural resources — We can’t eat the money … or gold either, can we?

Govt To Fed Ex Sea Turtle Eggs to Florida Coast

Because the original is so oftentimes better than the description in the “can’t make this up” category, here is the latest press release from the Government’s Deepwater Horizon Incident JIC page:


NEW ORLEANS — The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) is proud to announce that FedEx Corporation (NYSE: FDX) is joining the efforts to protect sea turtle nests and eggs from potential impacts of the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill in the northern Gulf of Mexico. The company will be donating resources to transport hundreds of nests containing thousands of eggs to Florida’s Atlantic Coast and its logistics experts are working the Unified Command and its partner organizations to implement this complex translocation.  The relocation efforts are scheduled to begin in mid-July and continue throughout the hatching season.

FedEx is working closely with Unified Command Wildlife Branch scientists from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, NOAA and other partners to create the safest transportation solution for the relocation effort.  FedEx will take extensive precautions to protect the sea turtle nests and eggs, which will travel exclusively in its FedEx Custom Critical air-ride, temperature-controlled vehicles.

“In light of the imminent threat to sea turtles, we felt it was important to help move this extraordinary project forward,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director of NFWF. “Given our strong partnership with FedEx and our long standing relationship with the federal agencies, we were able to move quickly to develop an effective plan. We’ll continue to work with all parties so that this relocation offers the best hope for sea turtles’ survival.”

FedEx provides logistics expertise, in-kind shipping and funding for disaster preparedness, relief and recovery, working with organizations including the Red Cross, Salvation Army and Heart to Heart International. A FedEx-sponsored Salvation Army disaster response unit is in use to support responders to the oil leak right now. In 2006, FedEx donated its transportation services to deliver more than 1.2 million pounds of medical and other relief supplies to the Gulf Coast area in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

NFWF is supporting a number of wildlife projects in the Gulf region and is helping to coordinate the work of federal agencies, biologists and others who will be involved in the massive transport effort. The Foundation, established by Congress in 1984, is a non-profit conservation organization that works closely with federal agencies and private sector partners to protect wildlife and natural resources.

No word yet on whether or not the beaches in Florida will have to be at home and able to answer the phone or doorbell at the time of the delivery, or wait until the next scheduled package delivery on that route after the weekend and on the next business working day.

BP oil spill,turtle,ridley's sea turtle,oiled turtle,turtle gets bath,UC Davis

Help.  I’ve lost my habitat.

photo from US Govt. flickerstream, Deepwater Horizon Response,  6/10/2010 UC Davis


update 7/2/10 :  they’re going to hatch the eggs in a climate controlled warehouse, release them,  and hope the turtles know where to return years later.   http://www.marconews.com/news/…

Save the Bronx Zoo Today

Cross-posted at DailyKos.

What a difference a year makes. About a year ago in my extremely popular  The Animals are Getting the Pink Slip (A Bronx Zoo photo and action diary) this is what big sister Moxie looked like;

Yesterday I took my camera to see the three new lion cubs at the Bronx Zoo. The diary is called Friday Evening Photo Blogging: Lion Cubs Today! I can hardly tell Moxie and her mama Sukari apart but I got some great photos of Moxie playing loving sister to three 25 pound cubs. Now the stars of the zoo are  Nala, Adamma and Shani;

What hasn’t changed is that both Bloomberg and Paterson are still screwing the zoo and many cultural institutions. This year much harder than last.

See below for what actions we the people have left.  

Wolves, hunting, and “The Big Howl”


Just wanted to pass along this email I got from the NRDC, so anyone who didn’t know about Obama’s Interior Secretary Salazar’s plan to allow wolf hunting to commence in May can take action.


In just a few weeks, the mass killing of wolves could begin in

Idaho and Montana — and not even newborn wolf pups and their

nursing mothers will be spared.

Please don’t miss this opportunity to speak out before this slaughter unfolds. On May 4, the wolf’s federal protection will be lifted, and hunters and government agents will be free to open fire. After that, the states will launch

public hunts, targeting wolves.

Time is critical, so please take a moment to act now to call off what may become a disaster to the survival prospects of wolves living in and around Yellowstone National Park and the Norther Rockies.

She’s Got To Be Kidding, Right?

This very brief essay that might be about hypocrisy. Or it might be that that McPalin campaign is giving you and me and all the other people who care about Global Warming a raised middle digit.  You decide.

These are polar bears:


In May, 2008, before she was a VP candidate, the Great Huntress decided that polar bears shouldn’t be on the endangered species list, where Bushco had put them.  The Anchorage Daily News wrote:

The State of Alaska will sue to challenge the recent listing of polar bears as a threatened species, Gov. Sarah Palin said Wednesday.

She and other Alaska elected officials fear a listing will cripple oil and gas development in prime polar bear habitat off the state’s northern and northwestern coasts.

Palin argued there is not enough evidence to support a listing. Polar bears are well-managed and their population has dramatically increased over 30 years as a result of conservation, she said.

Climate models that predict continued loss of sea ice, the main habitat of polar bears, during summers are unreliable, Palin said.

The announcement drew a strong response from the primary author of the listing petition.

“She’s either grossly misinformed or intentionally misleading, and both are unbecoming,” said Kassie Siegel of the Center for Biological Diversity. “Alaska deserves better.”

Put simply, Palin is a hard-core global warming denier:

Q: What is your take on global warming and how is it affecting our country?

A: A changing environment will affect Alaska more than any other state, because of our location. I’m not one though who would attribute it to being man-made.

But you already knew all of that.  You’ve already ranted and banged on the table about this and cursed a blue streak at the screens on your television and monitor.  This is nothing new.

Then, last night, on Keith, I thought I saw Sarah Palin wearing on her right lapel a polar bear pin.  Just like this:


I was paying special attention, because I wanted to see whether she was still wearing the RNC purchased and soon to be donated to charity designer threads.  Normally, I don’t pay much attention.  Last night I was paying attention because I wanted to see if she had gotten, well, more frumpy.  That didn’t happen. To put it mildly, I was surprised by the pin.  Maybe I’m easily surprised.

There is no really satisfactory explanation for this.  Are they hypocrites of the first degree? Is the McPalin campaign that clueless? Maybe after the last eight years, they think cluelessness, for which they have voted 90% of the time, is a qualification for running the nation.  But then I had a darker thought.  Maybe she’s wearing the pin to “energize the base,” and it’s a gigantic FU to anyone who cares about the environment.

You choose.  Either way, I wish McPalin would be gone.

Bush’s Eco Mess Passed Off To Obama To Fix

Bush has used a Machiavellian strategy to destroy our Endangered Species Act (ESA), leaving President Obama with another mess to clean up. Similar to the wars, global warming, Guantánamo and economic crisis, unscrupulous deception and political expediency were used to pump up corporate profits.  This is no surprise. Bush had a track record before assuming office of baseball teams and businesses that he ruined and then passed off to others to fix his messes.

The maddening part is the failure of Congress to hold the culprits even a little bit accountable for their messes. Impeachment is taken off the table and the likelihood of criminal prosecutions is slim. But, what about just good ole financial restitution? The government insiders and corporations that profited should be required to return those monies over to the government to pay for fixing this mess.  

Baby Beluga

cross posted from The Dream Antilles


A Beluga Whale

Some great news, and a slap in the face to Sarah Palin.  The New York Times reports:

The federal government on Friday placed beluga whales that live in Alaska’s Cook Inlet on the endangered species list, rejecting efforts by Gov. Sarah Palin to keep the whales from coming under the increased protections.

The relatively small, whitish whales, sometimes visible from downtown Anchorage in the inlet’s silvery water, declined by almost 50 percent during the late 1990’s, and federal scientists say they have not rebounded despite protections that included limiting subsistence hunting by Native Alaskans. About 375 whales have been counted in Cook Inlet each of the last two years, according to scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“In spite of protections already in place, Cook Inlet beluga whales are not recovering,” James Balsiger, an acting assistant administrator in charge of the agency’s fisheries programs, said in a written statement announcing that the whales were in danger of extinction.

The announcement, whose timing was tied to a predetermined schedule under the Endangered Species Act, drew attention once again to Ms. Palin’s positions on environmental issues. The governor, the Republican nominee for vice president, has come under scrutiny for her ambiguous statements about climate change and her administration’s effort to prevent another species, the polar bear, from being declared a threatened species.

And why is Governor Palin opposed to Belugas?  Wanna guess?

As with the polar bear, Ms. Palin’s administration had fought the beluga listing because of its potential to restrict coastal and offshore oil and gas development. The beluga listing also could affect a proposed bridge over Knik Arm that would connect Anchorage to the Matanuska-Valley and Ms. Palin’s hometown of Wasilla.


And here’s an appropriate way to celebrate, with a song from Raffi my kids used to love back in the day:

Alaska environmentalist on Palin record: It’s not pretty

What’s Sarah Palin’s environmental record as governor of Alaska?

I asked an old friend, a college classmate of my wife, who’s been an environmentalist working in Alaska for three decades, most of her post-college life.  In a nutshell:

Her record is one of support for wolf control by illegal means, opposition to the listing of endangered species, and unethical intervention into public initiative processes.

But read her report yourself:  

SeaWorld: flipper and friends

One of the many venues that can be seen from the Skytower is Dolphin Discovery, with its lighthouse motif.  But we made a lot of stops along the way.  It was sort of like Dorothy and the gang…we had to have many adventures before we reached the Emerald City.

In the interest of trying to force a thematic scheme to today’s photographic offerings, the old television shows Sea Hunt and Flipper kept popping into my head…with a touch of Might Morphin’ Power Rangers.

In order, for the purposes of this epic, we visited the dolphins at Rocky Point Preserve, the sea turtles near Shipwreck Rapids (a ride we did not take), Cirque de la Mer, Shark Encounter, Manatee Rescue, Dolphin Discovery and, finally, Penguin Encounter.  Maybe the good news is that I do not have photos of them all.

So, without further ado, Flipper:

Fourteen more photos on the inside…

SeaWorld: otters, sea lions, and the big guys

The scene to the left is a view from above of the exhibit called Rocky Point Preserve.  The exhibit allows a person to get up close and personal with sea otters and dolphins.  I’ve saved the dolphin picks for a later essay.

Today is about the sea otters and sea lions because they appear together in a play performed later:  Clyde and Seamore’s Risky Rescue™.  There is nothing some people like more at a zoo or circus than seeing how clever other humans are at teaching some “dumb animal” how to do tricks to amuse humans.  The play speaks to the craving of such people.  I figure it could have been worse, however.  The stars of this show also perform a take off of the Tonight Show called Sea Lions Tonight.  We were spared that one.

One should always remember when one is in San Diego that above all else, it is a Navy town.  Every public gathering seems to begin with a salute to the people currently in uniform, an invitation to veterans to stand (an invitation which I find I never accept), and an invocation of nationalistic pride and/or jingoism.  In the case of Clyde and Seamore, the play has a naval theme.

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