Tag: Critically

Breaking! Court Rules That The Last Seven Critically Endangered Captive Red Wolves In North Carolina Must Be Released Into The Wild

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina ruled in a case brought by the Southern Environmental Law Center that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service must develop a plan by March 1, 2021, to resume its longstanding and successful practice of releasing captive red wolves into the Red Wolf Recovery Area in North Carolina. The case was brought on behalf of the Red Wolf Coalition, Defenders of Wildlife, and Animal Welfare Institute.

As reported by WAN last month, there are tragically as few as seven red wolves remaining in the wild today. The court order temporarily prohibits the agency from implementing its recent policy change that would prevent the release of captive wolves into the wild.

On November 16, 2020, the Southern Environmental Law Center sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina for violations of the Endangered Species Act. This was caused by new, illegal agency policies that bar the use of proven management measures to save wild red wolves on behalf of Red Wolf Coalition, Defenders of Wildlife, and Animal Welfare Institute. It filed for a motion for preliminary injunction in the case on November 19, 2020.

“With only seven known red wolves left in the wild, it is past time for the Fish and Wildlife Service to resume conservation measures that it used successfully for decades,” Sierra Weaver, senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center which represents the conservation organizations, said in a statement. “The court was clear that the agency has to stop managing red wolves into extinction and instead take meaningful action to rebuild the wild red wolf population in North Carolina.”

“We are grateful that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will finally abide by its responsibility to protect this critically endangered wolf,” stated Ben Prater, Southeast program director at Defenders of Wildlife. “Releasing wolves into the wild is a common sense, science-backed approach to boost this population and stave off the red wolf’s extinction. While the species has a long way to go, this is a major step in the right direction.”

“This is a vital ruling that will breathe new life into the Red Wolf Recovery Program,” noted Johanna Hamburger, director and senior staff attorney for AWI’s terrestrial wildlife program. “The Court held that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s passive efforts to manage the wild red wolf population are woefully inadequate to recover the species. By ordering the agency to once again release wolves from captivity into the wild population, the Court is requiring much-needed action to prevent the continued downward spiral of this species.”

“The Red Wolf Coalition is grateful that the court saw the importance of releasing captive red wolves to the wild population,” said Kim Wheeler, Executive Director of Red Wolf Coalition. “These additional red wolves will add genetic diversity and breeding opportunities to the wild population in northeastern North Carolina.”

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

The post Breaking! Court Rules That The Last Seven Critically Endangered Captive Red Wolves In North Carolina Must Be Released Into The Wild appeared first on World Animal News.

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Six Trafficking Arrests Made In Mexico For The Illegal Poaching Of Protected Totoaba; The Main Reason For The Decline Of The Critically Endangered Vaquita Porpoise

In a precedent-setting legal development, Mexican authorities have arrested six suspected totoaba traffickers under charges of Organized Crime and Crimes Against the Environment.

A press release issued by the Mexican Attorney General’s Office states that the arrests were made during a series of coordinated raids on November 11, carried out to enforce warrants issued earlier in the year.

The six individuals arrested are suspected members of a transnational criminal organization involved in the trafficking of totoaba swim bladders. The court has granted authorities two months to continue the investigation, during which time the suspects will remain in jail.

This case marks the first time these charges, which carry a possible prison sentence, have been applied in Mexico.

The totoaba is a large species of sea bass endemic to the waters of Mexico and protected under international law. Poachers catch totoabas for their swim bladders, which are often referred to as “the cocaine of the sea” due to the high price they demand on the Chinese black market.

Totoaba poaching is the primary cause of the decline of the critically endangered vaquita porpoise, the world’s most endangered marine mammal, which exists only in a small region in Mexico’s Upper Gulf of California.

There are sadly fewer than 20 vaquitas remaining in the wild. 

The gillnets poachers use to catch totoabas often span several hundred feet in length and form invisible barriers under the sea. Vaquitas, which are approximately the same size as totoabas, become entangled in the deadly illegal nets and drown. Whales, dolphins, sharks, and sea turtles also fall victim to these illegal nets.

Sea Shepherd has been working with Mexican authorities to deter poaching and remove the illegal gillnets that threaten the survival of the vaquita since 2015.

To-date, Sea Shepherd’s Operation Milagro (Spanish for “miracle”), has removed over 1,200 pieces of illegal fishing gear from the Vaquita Refuge, a UNESCO-recognized and federally-protected area in which gillnet fishing is banned.

“Sea Shepherd applauds the vision and leadership of the Mexican Attorney General’s Office and other authorities for investigating and prosecuting the environmental crime of smuggling totoaba bladders as transnational organized crime,” said Peter Hammarstedt, Sea Shepherd’s Director of Campaigns, in a statement. “While Sea Shepherd ships and crew work to confiscate illegal gillnets at sea, Mexican prosecutors are using every tool in the legal toolbox to successfully net suspected poaching ringleaders on land.”

The post Six Trafficking Arrests Made In Mexico For The Illegal Poaching Of Protected Totoaba; The Main Reason For The Decline Of The Critically Endangered Vaquita Porpoise appeared first on World Animal News.

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Breaking! U.S. Senate Increases Funding For The Protection Of Critically Endangered North Atlantic Right Whales By $2 Million Dollars

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Tragically, Only 9 Critically Endangered Red Wolves Remain In The Wild; A New Lawsuit Is Pushing For A Recovery Plan To Save Them

Photo by B. Bartel, USFWS

According to a legal agreement reached as a result of a lawsuit by the Center for Biological Diversity, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service must update its plan for saving critically endangered red wolves in the next two and a half years. Red wolves, which are native to the southeastern United States, have sadly dwindled to only nine known individuals in the wild, living in the eastern part of North Carolina.

“With only nine wolves known to remain in the wild, the red wolf desperately needed this good news,” Collette Adkins, carnivore conservation director at the Center, said in a statement. “The science shows that the red wolf can be saved, and I am hopeful that a new recovery plan will put the species back on the road to recovery.”

The agreement, approved on October 2nd by a North Carolina federal court, requires the Fish and Wildlife Service to complete a final revised recovery plan for red wolves by February 28, 2023.

This victory is the result of the Center’s 2019 lawsuit, which challenged the Fish and Wildlife Service’s failure to revise the outdated recovery plan from 1990. The Center filed its suit after the Service failed to follow through on its commitment to update the decades-old recovery plan by the end of 2018.

The Endangered Species Act requires that the agency prepare plans that serve as roadmaps to species recovery, identifying measures needed to ensure conservation and survival, such as reintroductions.

Last year, the Center released a report identifying five potential reintroduction sites that together could support nearly 500 breeding pairs of red wolves. All the sites are on public lands in: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia. 

The Fish and Wildlife Service has not taken steps to reintroduce red wolves elsewhere and has stopped taking action, such as widespread sterilization of coyotes to prevent hybrid animals from harming the gene pool which is necessary to conserve the remaining wild population.

“Time is running out to save red wolves and government foot-dragging has only made the problem worse,” continued Adkins. “It’s frustrating that we’ve had to sue time and again to get action. Hopefully this win finally gets these vulnerable wolves the help they need.”

The Fish and Wildlife Service is expected to release a draft revised red wolf recovery plan next year. The public will have an opportunity to comment on the draft plan.

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

The post Tragically, Only 9 Critically Endangered Red Wolves Remain In The Wild; A New Lawsuit Is Pushing For A Recovery Plan To Save Them appeared first on World Animal News.

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Breaking! Seismic Blasting Halted In Atlantic Ocean Giving Hope To Critically Endangered North Atlantic Right Whales

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WAN Exclusive: Urgent Help Needed To Stop The Destruction By Martabe Goldmine Of The Rainforest Habitat Of The Last 800 Critically Endangered Tapanuli Orangutans In Sumatra

Photo of rare Tapanuli Orangutan by: Maxime Aliaga 

Tapanuli orangutans were classified as a new great ape species found in Sumatra, Indonesia, in 2017, there are now sadly fewer than 800 individuals remaining in the wild.

Forest protection is vital for the survival of this rare and critically-endangered species as they live in smaller sub-populations in an already fragmented forest landscape. Tragically, their habitat is under multiple threats including the active Martabe Goldmine, in the Batang Toru region of North Sumatra.

Martabe Goldmine and forested region in February 2020

That is why Orang Utan Republik Foundation (OURF) is calling on British Company Jardine Matheson to URGENTLY STOP destroying Tapanuli orangutan habitat and immediately restore the forest they have already cleared.

Jardine Matheson owns the Martabe Goldmine through its subsidiary Astra International, which is Indonesia’s largest company. In 2018, after acquiring the goldmine, they made a firm commitment not to expand the mine into the Tapanuli orangutan habitat. They reportedly also told environmental organizations that they were concerned about the species and would not alter the surrounding landscape.

However, satellite imagery has now revealed the clearing of orangutan habitat adjacent to the active mine. The extent of the clearing is nearly 21.5 acres of forest. The mine already occupies an area of 67.6 acres which was formerly orangutan habitat before being cleared to allow for the extraction and processing of gold ore.

Martabe Mine with cleared forested area on June 25, 2020

“Destroying the habitat of this rare great ape cousin after claiming they would help in its conservation brings such claims into question, and makes a mockery out of the company and its subsidiaries’ commitment to sustainability in the real world,” Dr. Gary Shapiro, President of Orang Utan Republik Foundation and The Orangutan Project-USA told WAN exclusively. “Jardine Matheson needs to rectify this situation promptly. “

Jardine Matheson also owns the Mandarin Oriental Hotel chain which prides itself on environmentally sustainable practices within its hotels. Guests of the hotel would most-likely be shocked to know that its parent company owns an extractive operation that is destroying the habitat of our planet’s most critically endangered great ape, and of critically endangered Sumatran tigers and pangolins.

“Authentic Corporate Social Responsibility means acting in ways that are consistent with pledges to protect people, wildlife, and the environment. Would their clients think favorably if they knew the company was threatening the survival of our most critically endangered great ape cousin?” questioned Shapiro. “It would be hypocritical for a company to be posturing itself as an environmentally conscious business while operating contrary to those claims in remote areas of the world.”

Please join Orang Utan Republik Foundation and sign this petition urging Jardine Matheson to immediately halt any further destruction of forest adjacent to their active mine and to restore the cleared forest to its former status, HERE!

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10 Critically Endangered Javan Slow Lorises Are Rescued & Will Be Set Free In The Indonesian Rainforest

Last month, 10 Critically Endangered Javan slow lorises were transported to the Mount Sawal Wildlife Reserve (SMGS) in Ciamis, West Java, where they will undergo habituation before their complete release into the rainforest.

The lorises consist of four males and six females: Neira, Ical, Kaja, Putra, Arimbi, Switch, April, Gatotkaca, Neno, and Noku. Most of them have been surrendered by members of the local community to the Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) in the West Java region since 2018. They have since undergone lengthy rehabilitation at the International Animal Rescue Primate Rehabilitation Center in Bogor, West Java. The facility is the only one of its kind in Indonesia.

“The keeping of slow lorises as pets is having a devastating impact on wild populations, particularly as their natural habitat is also under threat,” Alan Knight, OBE, Chief Executive of International Animal Rescue (IAR) said in a statement sent to WAN. “The IAR Indonesia team has invested a huge amount of time and effort into helping these little primates recover and return to their wild behavior.”

Sadly, when they first arrive at the center, slow lorises are usually suffering from stress, trauma, and malnutrition, and they often display behavioral changes because their needs as wild lorises have not been met. They have been deprived of a suitable living environment and appropriate food and have been unable to behave as they would in the wild.

During the lorises’ habituation, the team in the field will continue to observe and record the changes in their behavior for two to four weeks. If during the habituation period all the lorises are active and don’t display any abnormal behaviors, then they can finally be set free.

The 10 slow lorises were confirmed to be ready to return to their natural habitat after going through treatment and recovery procedures such as quarantine, medical examinations, and behavioral observations at the rehabilitation center.

The normal treatment procedures at the center have been reinforced in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. IAR’s teams, using masks and other PPE, have limited contact with the animals even more than usual, and the number of personnel working in the field has also had to be reduced.

“During the pandemic, we have improved the health and safety protocols covering release activity to minimize the risk of disease transmission,” explained IAR Veterinarian Nur Purba Priambada. “We have ensured that the implementation of protocols such as physical distancing and using masks is carried out properly.”

All adjustments during the release procedure are part of efforts to eliminate the potential for transmission of COVID-19 and other zoonotic infectious diseases and ensure that the release and other conservation activities can still run even in the midst of the pandemic.

The slow loris conservation program in the SMGS area is a collaboration between the Central Natural Resources Conservation Agency of West Java (BBKSDA Jawa Barat) and IAR Indonesia. This program supports the survival of slow lorises and their ecological functions in the area, as well as to conserve their population when numbers continue to fall due to hunting and illegal trade.

“SMGS is a conservation area with an ecosystem that is considered suitable as a place to conserve and protect the survival of slow lorises,” said Warid, a Forest Ranger at the Natural Resources Conservation Agency of Ciamis Region. “Based on results of the survey conducted by the IAR Indonesia and BKSDA Ciamis team, the area has good potential in terms of security, availability of food, shade, and several other vital components for loris habitat.”

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

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U.S. House Of Representatives Passes Amendment Increasing Funding By $1.5 Million For The Protection Of Critically Endangered North Atlantic Right Whales

Yesterday, the United States House of Representatives approved an amendment to the fiscal year 2021 Commerce, Justice, and Science appropriations bill, increasing funding for monitoring and researching the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale by $1.5 million.

The additional funds will also help develop and test new anti-entanglement technologies, like ropeless fishing gear.

This is especially critical following the announcement earlier this month that the North Atlantic right whale was moved from Endangered to Critically Endangered on the recently updated IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

The amendment, co-sponsored by Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), Rep. Golden (D-Maine), Rep. Rutherford (R-Fla.), and Rep. Posey (R-Fla.), increases total funding for the right whale to $6.5 million.

“Forty-one right whales since 2017 have died or been critically injured. That represents 10% of all the right whales we have left on planet Earth. We can choose to act and be the generation that brings this species back from the brink,  or, the one that stands by as it goes extinct,” Rep. Moulton shared in a post on his Facebook page. “I’m choosing action through the SAVE Right Whales Act and an amendment to increase funding for right whale research.”

The North Atlantic right whale is one of the world’s most endangered large whale species. Fewer than 400 survive today, with only 95 females of breeding age. Once hunted by generations of European and New England whalers, the North Atlantic right whale continues to face human-caused dangers along the eastern seaboard of Canada and the United States.

“We are grateful that representatives on both sides of the aisle and from across our nation recognize the North Atlantic right whale’s dire situation and are responding with action. However, funding is only half the battle,” Jane Davenport, senior attorney at Defenders of Wildlife, said in a statement. “We urge Congress to pass the SAVE Right Whales Act, allowing the government, fishing and shipping industries, and nongovernmental organizations to organize and protect the right whale from extinction.”

Even when entanglements are not fatal, they often maim whales or prevent them from building adequate fat stores, limiting females’ ability to birth calves.

Females and calves are also uniquely vulnerable to vessel strikes. Out of 10 right whale calves born in the 2019-20 calving season, two have already been killed by vessel strikes and their mothers have not been resighted since.

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

The post U.S. House Of Representatives Passes Amendment Increasing Funding By $1.5 Million For The Protection Of Critically Endangered North Atlantic Right Whales appeared first on World Animal News.

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