Tag: National

Heartbreaking News! Six Park Rangers Have Been Attacked & Killed By Armed Assailants In Virunga National Park

It is with immense sadness that Virunga National Park confirms the deaths of 6 Park Rangers in an attack by armed assailants this morning, Sunday, January 10th, 2021.

One Ranger was seriously wounded in the assault. Fortunately, the Ranger has been taken to a hospital in Goma and his injuries are no longer considered life-threatening.

At approximately 7:30am, the Rangers were ambushed while on foot patrol inside the Park. The attack took place near Kabuendo, which is located near the border of the Park, in the Central sector, between Nyamilima and Niamitwitwi.

According to a statement by Virunga National Park, preliminary investigations indicate that the Rangers were taken by surprise and had no opportunity to defend themselves, and that those responsible for the attack are local Mai-Mai groups.

The identities of the Rangers who lost their lives are:

BURHANI ABDOU Surumwe, age 30 years

KAMATE MUNDUNAENDA Alexis, age 25 years

MANENO KATAGHALIRWA Reagan, age 27 years

KIBANJA BASHEKERE Eric, age 28 years

PALUKU BUDOYI Innocent, age 28 years

NZABONIMPA NTAMAKIRIRO Prince, age 27 years

Virunga National Park deeply regrets the tragic loss of life among its Rangers, who work tirelessly and with dedication to protect both the Park and the neighbouring communities from the tyranny of armed groups. Their sacrifice will not be forgotten nor be in vain.

The Rangers of the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature are agents of the Congolese State. They do not have military status and their actions do not fall under the law of conflict.

All efforts will be undertaken to bring the perpetrators to justice and sustain the rule of law within the Park.

Virunga National Park remains committed to delivering development initiatives that benefit local people and the wider region, and working in partnership with local communities to bring peace and prosperity to many millions of people whose lives have for too long been blighted by conflict and the activities of armed groups.

Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone at Virunga National Park, including the families and friends of the victims, as well as the injured Ranger.

Virunga National Park in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo is 7,800-square-kilometres (3,000 sq mi), stretching from the Virunga Mountains in the South, to the Rwenzori Mountains in the North, bordering Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, Rwenzori Mountains National Park, and Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda.

The park was established in 1925 as Africa’s first national park and has been a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site since 1979. In recent years, poaching and the Congo Civil War have seriously damaged its wildlife population. The park is managed by the Congolese National Park Authorities, the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN), and its partner the Virunga Foundation.

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135 Groups Call On President-Elect Joe Biden To Sign An Executive Order Declaring The Extinction Crisis A National Emergency

135 groups recently called on president-elect Joe Biden to take immediate action to confront the rapid extinction of wildlife by signing an executive order to halt the global extinction crisis and restore wildlife.

The order illustrates how Biden can take bold, aggressive action to save endangered species without the involvement of Congress. The United States could be positioned as a leader in the fight to combat extinction, protect public lands and waters, curtail the international wildlife trade, and restore abundant wildlife populations across the nation.

The latest assessment by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) found that 27% of evaluated species of plants and animals around the globe are threatened with extinction. Last year, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) warned that one million species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. Now, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, trafficking and exploitation of wildlife could give rise to new and deadly zoonotic diseases if allowed to continue unchecked.

By signing the proposed executive order, president-elect Biden would launch the following key actions:

  • Declare that the extinction crisis is a national emergency, which would give Biden increased latitude under the National Emergencies Act to take action without approval from Congress.

  • Create 175 new national monuments, national wildlife refuges, and national marine sanctuaries so that 30% of U.S. lands and waters are conserved by 2030 and 50% by 2050.

  • Aggressively recover imperiled species by protecting all species that warrant it under the Endangered Species Act, and instituting a broad review by all federal agencies of any actions that might harm threatened wildlife and plants. Federal agencies would also be directed to fully integrate climate change into the conservation and recovery of endangered species.

  • Crack down on the global wildlife trade by imposing sanctions on any nation that fails to adequately address illegal wildlife trade or deforestation.

The executive order is part of a suite of proposals the Center and allies will submit to Biden and his transition team in the coming weeks. These include actions to stop new fossil fuel leasing on public lands and waters and address the climate emergency.

Many of the actions suggested in the proposed order were outlined in Saving Life on Earth, a groundbreaking plan to fight extinction released by the Center in January. Now, a dedicated campaign within the Center, the Saving Life on Earth plan calls for $100 billion for species; for half the Earth to be protected for wildlife; and for dramatic cuts in pollution and plastics.

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

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The National Park Service Continues To Try To Stop Attempts By Activists To Bring Thirsty Tule Elk Water; Urgent Action Is Needed To Save Them!

Twenty wildlife and national park protectors recently defied National Park Service (NPS) orders for a second time and risked getting arrested while participating in a bold, carefully planned, nighttime operation, to bring 150 gallons of water to the Tule elk. The move follows the tragic passing of more than 18 Tule elk this year who died in the reserve at Point Reyes National Seashore due to California’s drought.

As previously reported by WAN, the animals are blocked from reaching perennial sources by an eight-foot-tall fence. The action took place before the winter rains came, but were thwarted by the NPS which removed troughs before the thirsty Tule elk could drink.

“The actions of the National Park Service speak loud and clear: private ranching business is favored over public opinion and the lives of native wild animals at Point Reyes National Seashore,” Fleur Dawes of In Defense of Animals said in an email sent to WAN. “Removing water from thirsty and dying rare Tule elk is despicable. Bay Area residents overwhelmingly want these native wild animals protected over private interests. We support the merciful actions of these brave animal activists and urge everyone to take urgent action to save the Tule elk.”

Video recorded by Silver Reaction Media shows a peaceful but physically demanding action with over a dozen animal advocates hauling water hundreds of yards over rough terrain and in coastal fog.

Off-camera, others kept watch, signaling any arrival of sheriff and park rangers. They were quiet, using minimal light, so park visitors, rangers, and live-in ranchers would remain unaware of the groups actions. However, the video shows that rangers discovered the activists, confronted them, and vowed to remove the water.

Concerned citizens had previously delivered fresh drinking water and troughs to the elk, only to have it taken away within days by NPS staff. The NPS’ refusal to provide water for these elk is a disturbing repeat of the similar “forced die-off”  that the agency created in the California drought of 2013-2014, which killed around half of the nation’s largest herd of 540 Tule elk. It has taken years for the herd to recover to just 420 individuals today.

This year, the NPS not only refused to act again but deliberately removed water from hundreds of animals trapped in the unnatural elk reserve enclosure. The needless suffering and deaths of the elk are among the numerous, egregious, anti-wildlife, and pro-industry policies that park rangers are required to enforce at the Seashore. 

Currently, over a third of the Point Reyes Park’s so-called “wilderness area” is occupied by modern industrial animal businesses which supply beef and milk to brands including Clover Sonoma, Straus Family Creamery, Nicasio Valley Cheese Company, and Cowgirl Creamery.

Despite widespread public opposition, in September, the NPS released a management plan that would extend these private beef and dairy leases to ranchers from five-years to 20-years. In addition to expanding industrial operations inside this national park, they  will allow the shooting of native Tule elk.

Ranchers supplying these dairy companies do not own the Point Reyes land that their cattle degrades and pollutes. They sold their properties to the federal government for the equivalent of $350 million in the 1960’s to establish the park, and now lease back the land at under-market rates. Maintenance on the concentrated animal feeding operations is funded by taxpayers.

Thousands of American citizens and dozens of local organizations including In Defense of Animals, ForELK, TreeSpirit Project, Rancho Compasión, Save Point Reyes National Seashore, Resource Renewal Institute, The Center for Biological Diversity, and Western Watersheds Project are lobbying for a plan that would remove all livestock operations from Point Reyes. This plan would restore its creators’ original vision of a truly wild and pristine national park in the San Francisco Bay Area, remove fencing to allow Tule elk to roam free, and improve opportunities for the park’s 1.7 million annual visitors.

The 340+ miles of fencing, erected only at the request of the commercial cattle operations, is a direct contradiction of a national park’s purpose: being one of the few places in America where our priceless heritage of precious few remaining wild animals are safe from threats of hunting, development, and businesses,” stated Jack Gescheidt, of TreeSpirit Project.

People are urged to email their concerns to the California Coastal Commission encouraging them to REJECT the National Park Service’s recommended management plan which expands this National Seashore’s cruel beef and dairy operations at the expense of its wildlife.

E-mail: pointreyesmanagementplan@coastal.ca.gov or sign the In Defense of Animals petition, HERE!

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

The post The National Park Service Continues To Try To Stop Attempts By Activists To Bring Thirsty Tule Elk Water; Urgent Action Is Needed To Save Them! appeared first on World Animal News.

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Help Commemorate The 60th Anniversary Of The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge By Taking Action To Save Wildlife

In 1960, President Dwight D. Eisenhower created the Arctic National Wildlife Range “for the purpose of preserving unique wildlife, wilderness, and recreational values.” Twenty years later, President Jimmy Carter expanded the range and renamed the area as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The Arctic refuge has existed as a haven for migratory birds. They return to the refuge each summer to nest, raise their young, feed, rest, and then migrate to the United States and beyond.

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is a critical birthing place and nursery for the Porcupine caribou herd that travels thousands of miles to the coastal plain to calve and seek refuge—shielded by the Brooks Range and protected from pests thanks to the winds blowing off the Arctic Ocean. The refuge’s coastal plain is also the most important onshore maternal denning habitat for Southern Beaufort Sea polar bears, where they give birth.

“The Southern Beaufort Sea population is considered one of the most imperiled of the nineteen polar bear populations found throughout the circumpolar Arctic, and will be further harmed by oil and gas development in the coastal plain of the Arctic Refuge. Industrializing this area could be the end of these imperiled polar bears,” said Nicole Whittington-Evans, Alaska program director for Defenders of Wildlife, in a statement.

The Arctic refuge is vital to the Gwich’in people who make their home on or near the migratory route of the Porcupine caribou herd and have depended on caribou for their way of life for thousands of years. The Gwich’in call the coastal plain “Iizhik Gwats’an Gwandaii Goodlit” or The Sacred Place Where Life Begins, yet it remains vulnerable to development and has been proposed for oil drilling. Tradition indicates that the Gwich’in have occupied this area since time immemorial, or, according to conventional belief, as long as 20,000 years.

The integrity of the National Wildlife Refuge System is under assault from a congressional mandate to lease the refuge’s coastal plain for oil and gas development and an all-out-effort by the Trump administration to allow these activities, which would destroy it. The administration announced that it will hold an oil and gas lease sale for the coastal plain of the Arctic refuge on January 6, 2021. Despite the extreme legal and political pressures, industrializing one of the nation’s greatest wildlife refuges is becoming increasingly difficult for the companies that would do so.

Just days before the Arctic refuge’s 60th Anniversary, holdout Bank of America Corp announced that it would not finance Arctic National Wildlife Refuge drilling or exploration. It was the only major U.S. bank of six that had not ruled out financing for the destruction of the refuge. Bloomberg reported this week that, “The Trump administration is racing against legal deadlines and a merciless regulatory calendar in its last-ditch effort to sell drilling rights in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge before President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in at noon on January 20th.

As we continue the fight for polar bears, the integrity of the National Wildlife Refuge System and the culture of the Gwich’in people, let’s be heartened by these wins! 

Here are six actions you can take to celebrate the 60th Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Anniversary:

  1. Call or write your representative and senator to show your support for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and ask them to protect the coastal plain.

  2. Sign and share Defenders of Wildlife Arctic National Wildlife Refuge online petitions.

  3. Support protecting Arctic wildlife from Big Oil’s industrial invasion.

  4. Write LTEs for your local newspaper showing support for the refuge.

  5. Become a Biodiversity Ambassador and help defend the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

  6. Tell the Department of the Interior not to sell off critical polar bear habitat in the refuge.

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Breaking! Nairobi National Park In Kenya Receives Title To 2,000 Acres Of Government Land Increasing Space For Endangered Species To A Total Of 49,000 Additional Acres

The government of Kenya has granted a title deed to Nairobi National Park for 2,000 acres of Government land that was formerly known as a Sheep and Goat Research Facility, which is adjacent to the Park. The title was presented by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta at a ceremony at the Kenyatta International Convention Center earlier this week.

“Giving the title deed to Nairobi National Park enables the Park to secure the much needed space for wildlife and is a clear testimony of Kenya’s commitment to wildlife conservation,” President Uhuru Kenyatta said in a statement. “We must secure more space for wildlife habitat for posterity.”

The formal acquisition of the title deed means that Nairobi National Park, which is home to a wide variety of wildlife and 100 mammal species including: endangered black rhinos, lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, buffaloes and giraffes, among many others, will expand from its current 29,000 acres to 31,000 acres under the protection of Kenya Wildlife Service.

The land located on the southern side of Nairobi National Park will provide a wildlife corridor to inter-connect the Park with the Swara Plains and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) conservancies.

Last month, ILRI and Swara Plains Conservancy declared 32,000 and 15,000 acres of land respectively for wildlife conservation in Machakos County. This means that the Park will now have 49,000 acres available for wildlife including the 2,000 acres in Nairobi National Park.

Nairobi National Park is the only park in the world within a Metropolitan area. However, it faces threats due to numerous infrastructure developments brought by human settlements adjacent to the park.

Due to reduced space for wildlife in the park, several animal species occasionally move out of the park to the adjacent communities in search of forage and water. In the process, it sometimes results in human-wildlife conflicts outside the park. The newly-acquired land will therefore provide additional habitat to wildlife resulting in reduced conflicts between wildlife and people.

Wildlife corridors are important for maintaining the viability of isolated wildlife populations, genetic connectivity, and conserving ecosystems, ecological connectivity, for balancing environmental conservation and human development needs.

Migration and connectivity corridors are also often central to climate change adaptation strategies by providing options for shifts in wildlife ranges, thereby mitigating habitat fragmentation, degradation, and associated impacts on biodiversity.

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

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Urgent Action Needed! Tell Jimba Safaris To Stop The Lion Hunt In November Just Outside Of Hwange National Park In Zimbabwe

Photo of Mopane the lion

WAN has been informed by our partners that a lion hunt is scheduled to take place in Zimbabwe at the beginning of November 2020.

Allegedly, Wayne Dietrechsen with Jimba Safaris will be leading the hunt sometime between November 1st – 12th to kill one or more lions that have been listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.

Cecil The Lion group and Peace 4 Animals visited these beautiful animals in Zimbabwe last year and recently discovered that the hunt will allegedly be taking place near The Hide Lodge.

“While visiting Zimbabwe, we were lucky enough to see Mopane, a very large male lion that is of breeding age and the father of eight cubs,” Mark Robinson, Founder of Cecil The Lion group, told WAN. “It’s heartbreaking to think that Mopane could be killed by these hunters who dare to call their work ‘conservation.’”

Mopane along with Humba, Netsai, and Nquwele, make up a group of male lions who bring hundreds of thousands of dollars through photo safari tourism into Hwange National Park. The revenue through photo safaris goes towards conservation, the community, and to those who work in the Park. The community has also donated thousands of dollars towards conservation efforts in and around Hwang National Park.

Allegedly, Dietrechsen’s clients will be paying him tens of thousands of dollars to kill these beautiful animals. Hindering the crucially needed revenue that goes to the villagers and local communities through photo safaris that not only keeps these lions safe, but creates lifelong memories for tourists visiting Zimbabwe.

Trophy hunting puts the “Con” in Conservation.

Urge Jimba Safaris to put a stop to this hunt immediately. Africa’s lions need to be protected for the future of Africa. (Information Below)

+263 712 605 492

+263 712 215 974

+263 773 280 243 (24hrs)

Email:

wayned@zol.co.zw
wayned@iwayafrica.co.zw
tracellechase@gmail.com

Official Booking Agent
Europe and South America
Contact: Pedro P. Alejandre
pedro@spainsafaris.es
+34 670 78 73 95

You can also leave a comment on Jimba Safaris’ website HERE!

The Cecil The Lion community has already helped to stop scheduled hunts before and we can do it again. In memory of Cecil The Lion, we must protect the rest of Africa’s lions for future generations to come.

The post Urgent Action Needed! Tell Jimba Safaris To Stop The Lion Hunt In November Just Outside Of Hwange National Park In Zimbabwe appeared first on World Animal News.

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Call To Action! 300 Demonstrators Protest National Park Service’s Plan To Kill Tule Elk & Expand Ranching In California; Your Help Is Needed Before October 18th

Photos by Tony Seghal, In Defense of Animals

Yesterday, a crowd of 300 people gathered at a large-scale, modern dairy facility operating inside of the Point Reyes National Seashore. The demonstration was in response to the plan by the National Park Service (NPS) to kill Tule elk and expand ranching and other commercial businesses like Airbnbs and animal slaughter inside the San Francisco Bay Area’s only national park.

300 locals protested the killing of California’s wild Tule elk to further expand private ranching at Point Reyes National Seashore. Photos: In Defense of Animals/ForELK/Rancho Compasión

“We are devastated by the disappointing news,” Diana Oppenheim, of ForElk said in a statement sent to WAN. “This plan is incredibly reckless, cruel, and anti-wildlife.”

Despite overwhelming opposition to commercial ranching in Point Reyes National Seashore, the NPS recommended “Alternative B,” allowing the shooting of native Tule elk, who only recently recovered from near extinction, expanding ranching and dairy operations, and extending their private leases from 5 to 20 years.

The recommendation by the NPS of Alternative B is the exact opposite of what the public wants. In the Park Service’s own survey, 91% of 7,624 respondents wanted native Tule elk protected and cattle ranching removed from Point Reyes.

The announcement comes amid a growing furor over a mass-die-off of Tule elk who are trapped without enough water in the Park. Local activists previously delivered fresh drinking water to troughs for the elk, only to have it promptly taken away by NPS staff.

Tragically, locals have already discovered 15 dead elk in the park and the drought is expected to last for months.

Blocked from accessing water by cattle ranchers, fifteen elk have died from thirst and malnutrition in Point Reyes National Seashore in recent weeks. CREDIT: Matthew Polvorosa Kline polvorosakline.com

This is a repeat of similar “forced die-off” by thirst and starvation that the agency created in 2013-2014, killing over 254 elk in a herd of 540. Unfathomably, the agency did nothing as half of the herd died, trapped behind fencing preventing them from reaching water and food that were available elsewhere in the park. The fencing of wildlife in a national park unit was erected at the request of the commercial cattle operations.

The NPS recommended plan also allows all ranchers to kill and “process” farmed animals on site, to add even more cows, and introduce other species to the Seashore including goats, sheep, and chickens.

Even with a cap on animal herd sizes, this will exacerbate lethal conflicts between ranchers and Tule elk, in addition to other wild species that will predate domesticated animals living in the park.

“The NPS is going to shoot elk and allow more cows in Point Reyes National Seashore to prop up private, for-profit ranches and dairies that were paid millions of dollars and supposed to vacate the park years ago,” said Jack Gescheidt, of TreeSpirit Project. “The Seashore has a charter to favor wildlife over commercial enterprises, not the other way around.”

Over a third of the Point Reyes park’s so-called “wilderness area” is occupied by modern industrial animal businesses. Taxpayers pay for the maintenance on these concentrated animal feeding operations which supply beef and milk to brands including: Clover Sonoma, Straus Family Creamery, Nicasio Valley Cheese Company, and Cowgirl Creamery. 

The public has been led to believe that these smaller companies mitigate the environmental harm that larger meat and dairy operations do, not realizing they actually contribute as much or more greenhouse gases, and greater land and water inputs.

“It is no secret that animal factories, commonly mislabeled ‘agriculture,’ are the world’s greatest contributor to air, soil, water, and ocean pollution, yet NPS is ensuring this continues at Point Reyes,” continued Gescheidt.

Local entrepreneur Miyoko Schinner of Miyoko’s Creamery told demonstrators and farmworkers to give themselves a better lifestyle by participating in the future of food, not its dying past. The award-winning plant-based cheese producer explained how she has grown her business to be twice as profitable as all the dairies on the Seashore combined, employs three times as many people, and has done so without harming wildlife or cows, or taking taxpayer subsidies.

Thousands of American citizens and dozens of local organizations including: In Defense of Animals, ForELK, TreeSpirit Project, Rancho Compasión, Save Point Reyes National Seashore, Resource Renewal Institute, The Center for Biological Diversity, Western Watersheds Project, Peace 4 Animals and WAN supportAlternative F” as does over 7,600 citizens surveyed.

“Alternative F” would phase out private ranches over five years, remove fencing to allow Tule elk to roam free, and improve opportunities for the park’s 1.7 million annual visitors.

“There are more cattle in all of Point Reyes than there are Tule elk left in the world,” stated Fleur Dawes, of In Defense of Animals. “It’s ridiculous that ranchers are getting taxpayer handouts to exploit and pollute public wildlands. Tule elk are trapped and dying of thirst in the park because of ranchers. Now, they will shoot this endemic California species. We have just days left until NPS Regional Director Woody Smeck signs the Tule elk death sentence. Please act now to save what’s left of our Seashore.”

The Seashore’s “death warrant” is scheduled to be signed on October 18th, one month after the National Park Service released its Final Environmental Impact Statement.

The public is encouraged to help stop the atrocious “Alternative B” from being signed and finalized before October 18th.

In Defense of Animals is requesting that people contact three officials that can use their influence to oppose “Alternative B” on the Environmental Impact Statement for the Point Reyes National Seashore. 

You can say, “I oppose expanded ranching and shooting of Tule elk at Point Reyes National Seashore, recommended in “Alternative B” of the Environmental Impact Statement. Can you stop this travesty? Please urge further inquiry, such as water quality tests and a supplemental environmental impact report on drought and wildfires, before National Park Service Regional Director Woody Smeck signs this disastrous plan.”

Please Call: California Coastal Commission, Executive Director, John Ainsworth, (415) 904-5202, John.Ainsworth@coastal.ca.gov

California Governor Gavin Newsom, (916) 445-2841, gavin@gavinnewsom.com

California Congressman Adam Schiff, (818) 450-2900, https://schiff.house.gov/contact

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

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Breaking! Endangered Javan Rhino Population Continues To Grow With Recent Birth Of Two More Calves In The Ujung Kulon National Park In Indonesia

Photo By: Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment and Forestry 

The Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK) in Indonesia announced the birth of two Javan rhinos in the Ujung Kulon National Park; a male named Luther and a female named Helen. The calves were detected by monitoring results of the Ujung Kulon National Park team from March to August 2020 using 93 video camera traps.

As of August, this year, the cumulative number of Javan Rhino according to the latest data from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, has reached 74 individuals, consisting of 40 males and 34 females. Fifteen of the rhinos are children while 59 are of juvenile-adult age.

According to Wiratno, the Director General of Conservation of Natural Resources and Ecosystems at the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, five other Javan Rhinos were born at the Javan Rhino habitat in Ujung Kulon National Park since last year.

“The birth of the Javan Rhino in Ujung Kulon National Park confirms that the Javan Rhino population continues to experience natural breeding, so that it continues to provide great hope for the survival of endangered Javan Rhinos,” Wiratno said in a statement.

Wiratno then emphasized that, even in the COVID-19 pandemic situation, field monitoring was continuing, including through video camera traps. Monitoring and full protection activities will continue until the end of December 2020.

“From one birth to the next, the Javan Rhino continues to connect, and this strengthens our optimism and enthusiasm, especially in the very difficult situation during the current pandemic,” concluded Wiratno.

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

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New Lawsuit Aims To Stop Hunters From Killing Bears & Their Cubs & Wolves & Their Pups During Denning Season In Alaska’s National Preserves

A lawsuit filed yesterday in Federal District Court in Alaska charges the United States Interior Department and National Park Service (NPS) with violating multiple laws when adopting a rule that would open up national preserves in Alaska to hunting practices like baiting bears and killing wolves during the denning season.

“Allowing bear cubs to be killed with their mothers and wolf pups to be targeted in their dens is unjustifiably cruel,” said Andrea Feniger, Director of Sierra Club’s Alaska Chapter. “It is also detrimentally short-sighted. The science is clear that we are in the midst of a climate and extinction crisis. There’s an urgent need to manage these lands to protect wildlife.”

With the new rule, NPS reverses its longstanding position that Alaska may not implement sport hunting regulations on national preserves that are designed to decimate predators in order to increase the numbers of moose and caribou so that people can sadly continue to hunt them.

“It is outrageous to target ecologically important animals like wolves and bears so that hunters might have more moose and caribou to kill,” Collette Adkins, Carnivore Conservation Director for the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement. “Not only are destructive predator control practices harmful and unsporting, they’re illegal when done on federal public lands set aside to protect biodiversity.”

Unfathomably, the agency’s new rule illegally clears the way for the state to allow activities like bear baiting and killing of wolves during denning season in all national preserves in Alaska.

The lawsuit charges the agencies with violating the National Park Service’s Organic Act, the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act. The State of Alaska generally manages so-called “sport hunting” on federal lands, but that management discretion must stay within the bounds of federal mandates.

“Techniques such as killing bear sows with cubs at den sites or “harvesting” brown bears over bait are clearly inappropriate within units of the National Park System,” said Phil Francis, Chair of the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks. “The National Park Service is mandated to conserve wildlife, not exploit it through these objectionable hunting practices.”

Law firm Trustees for Alaska filed the lawsuit on behalf of 13 clients: Alaska Wildlife Alliance, Alaska Wilderness League, Alaskans FOR Wildlife, Center for Biological Diversity, Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks, Copper Country Alliance, Defenders of Wildlife, Denali Citizens Council, the Humane Society of the United States, National Parks Conservation Association, Northern Alaska Environmental Center, Sierra Club, and Wilderness Watch.

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

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