A team of conservationists has reintroduced 30 Javan slow lorises back into their rainforest home in Indonesia. Mount Halimun Salak National Park (TNGHS) carried out the release operation, along with the Center for Natural Resources Conservation (BKSDA) and International Animal Rescue (IAR) Indonesia.
As per Ammy Nurwati, the head of BKSDA, most of the lorises had been surrendered by members of the community to various sections of BKSDA in West Java, and had been entrusted to the IAR Indonesia Primate Center in Bogor to undergo treatment and care. Before being released back into the wild, the lorises had undergone a recovery and treatment process to stimulate their natural behavior. Starting with medical examinations and time in quarantine, they also underwent behavioral observations until they were declared healthy and ready to be translocated for habituation and then final release.
“During the habituation process, the team in the field continues to observe and record their progress every night. If, during the habituation period, all lorises are active and don’t have any abnormal behaviors, then they can be released into the wild,” Ammy shared in a statement sent to WAN. “They have to go through this long process to restore their natural instincts and ensure that they can survive and reproduce in their natural habitat.”
Ammy further explained that the slow loris release program was created to support the sustainability of ecological processes in the conservation area, as well as to maintain and increase the population of primate species whose numbers are decreasing.
Ahmad Munawir, Head of the TNGHS Office, said that the release of rehabilitated animals and conflict animals in Mount Halimun Salak National Park has become one of the most important programs in terms of saving wildlife. The slow loris is one of the wild animals that is vital to maintaining the balance of the ecosystem in the National Park. The release area has an ecosystem considered suitable as a place for the preservation and protection of slow lorises in terms of area security, availability of food and shade, habitat carrying capacity, and the level of predator threats. The hope is that with this release, the slow lorises can reproduce and thrive.
In order to minimize all risk of disease transmission, the safety procedures at IAR’s primate center in Bogor have been strengthened even further due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation.
“The health and safety protocols in this release activity were improved to minimize the risk of disease transmission. From the animal-side, a swab-test was carried out in the laboratory facility of the Center for Study of Primates – IPB University, and the results were all negative. From the human side, the implementation of all protocols was carried out correctly,” stated Alan Knight OBE, IAR Chief Executive. “All adjustments in this release procedure are part of efforts to eliminate the potential for transmission of COVID-19 and other zoonotic infectious diseases, so that our release and other conservation activities can continue, even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
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The post Breaking! 30 Slow Lorises Reportedly Kept As ‘Pets’ Are Rescued & Released Back Into The Rainforest In Indonesia appeared first on World Animal News.
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.
“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.”
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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.
Five orangutans were released back into the wild in West Borneo after they were all rescued from captivity. Sadly, their mothers had been killed so that the babies could be captured and sold on the black market as “pets.”
Prior to their release, the orphaned orangutans had spent years undergoing rehabilitation at an orangutan center in Ketapang, West Borneo.
The release was carried out by the Natural Resources Conservation Agency for West Kailmantan (BKSDA), the Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park (TNBBBR) and a team from International Animal Rescue (IAR) Indonesia.
The five orangutans consisted of three males named Jacky, Beno, and Puyol, and two females named Oscarina and Isin.
Isin was the most recent orangutan to be rescued from Kayong Utara district in 2017, while Puyol had spent the longest time in the IAR rehabilitation center, having been rescued in the Kendawangan area in 2010. Jacky was rescued from the Muara Pawan area in August 2013, Beno from the Simpang Dua area in 2015, and Oscarina was rescued from Pontianak in 2011.
The rehabilitation process is not always straightforward and can take some considerable time, depending on the circumstances and needs of the orangutan. Rehabilitation is necessary to develop the orangutans’ ability to survive in their natural habitat.
In the wild, baby orangutans will stay with their mothers until the age of 7-8 years old to learn from their mothers. Because these baby orangutans were forcibly separated from their mothers in order to be sold as “pets,” they were deprived of the opportunity to master the necessary survival skills.
The head of the TNBBBR Center, Agung Nugroho, stated that this release was carried out through a series of activities and studies. He hopes that the orangutans will be able to form new populations and maintain the existence of their species. Last February, his party also released five other orangutans.
“All these activities and studies are carried out to ensure that all orangutans who have been released can live safely and have adequate food. When a release has been carried out, it doesn’t mean our work is done. The monitoring team will continue its work to ensure that each released orangutan can adapt to its new habitat,” said Nugroho in a statement.
It can take up to three days to reach the point of release from IAR Indonesia’s orangutan rehabilitation center. However, the status of the area as a National Park will ensure the safety of critical species.
“With the release of these five orangutans, 51 orangutans have been released in the working area of the TNBBBR Center, consisting of ten wild orangutans that have been translocated and 41 rehabilitated orangutans from the Ketapang Orangutan Conservation Centre,” said Nugroho.
“It’s time for each to learn to live side by side in harmony. Humans as creatures that are considered the smartest, have the greatest responsibility to create and maintain the harmony of nature,” said the Head of the West Kalimantan BKSDA, Sadtata Noor Adirahmanta.
This wild release program has proved so successful that three baby orangutans have been born naturally in the Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park area to the rehabilitated orangutans released there. The birth of a new generation of orangutans has fuelled hopes that the orangutan population in the Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park and in West Kalimantan will be maintained and sustainable.
Alan Knight OBE, Chief Executive of International Animal Rescue said, “It’s always a joyful occasion when orangutans are released back into their natural habitat. It gives us all hope for the future of their species, as well as for the future of the forest as a whole and for every living creature that depends on it for survival.”
The post Five Orangutans Formerly Kept As “Pets” In West Borneo Are Rehabilitated & Released Back Into Their Rainforest Home appeared first on World Animal News.
All photos of these Asian elephants were taken at the Center for Elephant Conservation in Polk City, Florida, by Stephanie Rutan of White Oak Conservation.
White Oak Conservation has started construction on a new 2,500-acre home for Asian elephants. Most of these elephants previously traveled throughout the United States with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, until they were retired in 2016.
Thirty elephants will be released in the northeastern Florida refuge, owned by philanthropists Mark and Kimbra Walter, as soon as it is ready. The first arrivals are expected in 2021.
Nineteen of the elephants were born in the United States.
“Elephants are majestic and intelligent animals, and they are in dire need,” Kimbra said in a statement sent to WAN. “For so long, humans have decimated the native habitats, poached, and removed these animals from their natural home.”
“Our family is committed to improving the lives of individual elephants and ensuring the survival of elephants in the wild,” stated Mark.
Within White Oak Conservation’s 17,000 acres, nine interlinked areas will be opened for the elephants. The area will include a variety of vegetation and habitat types for the elephants to choose from, including wetlands, meadows, and woods.
The spacious habitats will give the elephants room to wander, exercise, and forage. White Oak’s philosophy is to accommodate natural behavior and social bonds as closely as possible. Family groups will be together, with calves and their mothers and siblings in the same areas as grandmothers wherever possible.
Eleven waterholes will be built, each wide and deep enough for the elephants to splash and frolic in. Three barns will be built within the complex specifically to suit the elephants’ needs. These facilities will be easily accessible to the elephants and equipped with high-tech veterinary equipment.
“Asian elephants are endangered in the wild,” explained Michelle Gadd, Ph.D., who leads the Walters’ global conservation efforts. “Only 30,000 to 50,000 elephants remain in the wild in less than 15% of their historic range. Where they do survive, they continue to be threatened by habitat degradation and fragmentation, conflict with humans, and poaching.”
Walter Conservation is committed to bringing elephant education and awareness to the next generation of conservationists through its world-class educational and training programs, in person and remotely. In 2019, more than 1,600 students visited White Oak and participated in education programming.
White Oak, which is a part of Walter Conservation, is a one-of-a-kind center for the conservation and care of endangered and threatened species.
Through Walter Conservation, the Walter family conserves rare species and wild places around the world. Efforts include improving the quality of life of individual animals, recovering rare species, restoring ecosystems and protecting wilderness areas.
Thus far, their philanthropy supports several areas in North America and Africa, protecting important wild populations of African elephants, rhinos, lions and many other species. The Walter Conservation approach is to protect and preserve large wild areas, provide wildlife security and management, to collaborate with local residents and host-country governments, and to invest in sustainable enterprises.
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The post Breaking! Thirty Retired Circus Elephants To Be Released In White Oak Conservation’s New 2,500-Acre Habitat In Florida appeared first on World Animal News.
Annual data just released on the deaths of iconic marine life in New South Wales reveals shark nets as the cause of many species becoming entangled including dolphins and turtles. The data is from two leading marine conservation groups, Humane Society International (HSI) and the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS). A total of 480 animals were caught in 51 shark nets in the past year (September to April), of which a shocking 284 sharks, dolphins, turtles, and rays were killed in the nets, according to data published on July 31st by the Department of Primary Industries.
HSI/Australia and AMCS are calling for the Berejiklian Government to end the NSW Shark Meshing Program, particularly as shark nets don’t reduce the risk of unprovoked shark interactions. Many threatened and protected species were caught in the nets, including: 7 dolphins, 10 turtles, and 31 critically endangered grey nurse sharks.
“NSW DPI has made great progress in developing a suite of effective tools to manage the inherently low risk of shark bites, including drone surveillance, personal shark deterrents, and education—all of which are much more effective at protecting ocean users than nets,” said Lawrence Chlebeck, Marine Campaigner with HSI/Australia in an email sent to WAN. “This includes the recent commitment to expand drone surveillance across additional NSW beaches. All of this is building to an end to shark nets, and this new wildlife death tally should surely be the last straw for the NSW Government.”
“Shark nets are a relic of the past having been introduced in the 1930s when little was known about shark behaviour and their importance in the ecosystem. The truth is that shark nets don’t make swimmers safer and they take a terrible toll on marine life—costing the lives of turtles, dolphins, sharks, and rays. It is high time the NSW Government consigns shark nets to the history books where they belong,” continued Chlebeck.
“The only guarantee we have from these nets, are the drownings of iconic wildlife like dolphins and turtles. For over 80 years in NSW, tens of thousands of animals have drowned at netted beaches,” said Dr. Leonardo Guida, shark scientist at the AMCS. “Shark nets were removed along the North Coast of NSW because the local communities opposed the unacceptable wildlife death toll. Newcastle, Sydney, and Wollongong need to do the same. We ask the NSW Government to continue their progress and bring an end to the nets. This must be the last meshing season.”
The NSW Shark meshing program runs annually from September 1st to April 30 from Newcastle to Wollongong. Of the 395 animals reported caught in the nets during the 2018-2019 period, 372 were non-target species and 179 were either threatened or protected under NSW or Federal law, or listed on international threatened species lists.
Even those animals released alive are not guaranteed survival as the stress and injury of entanglement can cause death soon after.
Originally meant as a means to “fish-down” shark populations, the nets are culling devices. Contrary to popular belief, reducing shark populations does not reduce the already small risk of shark bites, as recently confirmed in HSI vs GBRMPA and QDAF at the Queensland Administrative Appeals Tribunal. In its decision, the Tribunal stated “the lethal component of the Shark Control Program does not reduce the risk of unprovoked shark interactions. The scientific evidence before us is overwhelming in this regard.”
The post Australia’s Marine Life Death Toll Continues To Rise With Shocking Data Released About New South Wales Shark Net Problem appeared first on World Animal News.
Earlier this week, the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) sent letters to local, state, and federal agencies urging them to immediately investigate after a Goshen-based traveling circus publicly acknowledged that its unable to provide basic care for Minnie, the elephant in its custody, as a result of the COVID-19 lockdowns.
“We were extremely worried about Minnie well before the COVID-19 crisis and are even more so now,” Courtney Fern, the NhRP’s Director of Government Relations and Campaigns, said in a statement.
For over two years, the NhRP has been fighting in court and alongside local activists to free Minnie, a 48-year-old wild-born Asian elephant, to one of the two accredited elephant sanctuaries in the United States; both of which have offered her lifelong care at no cost to the Commerford Zoo. Recently, the NhRP learned of an online fundraiser set up by the family that sold Minnie (whom they call Mignon) to the Commerford Zoo in 1976.
With the authorization of the Commerford Zoo, the GoFundMe page seeks to raise $2.4 million to enable them to meet Minnie’s most basic needs, including food and veterinary care due to COVID-19, which has “impoverished the farm that supports them,” and is “in desperate need of support,” according to the description of the fundraiser. Created over a month ago, the fundraiser has only raised $1,405 so far.
“We understand the Commerford Zoo is in dire straights,” continued Fern. “For their sake and the sake of the many animals at their facility, they need to let Minnie go to a sanctuary. It is abhorrent for them not to do so immediately.”
The NhRP has repeatedly offered to drop its litigation against the Commerford Zoo—originally brought on behalf of Minnie and two elephants, Beulah and Karen, who have since died—if they agreed to release Minnie to The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee (TES) or the Performing Animal Welfare Society sanctuary (PAWS). Both facilities are vastly larger than the Commerford Zoo’s property and specially designed to meet elephants’ complex needs. The Commerford Zoo has ignored these offers.
The NhRP finds this fundraiser especially disappointing and egregious because the organizers and the Commerford Zoo are aware that Minnie has a place waiting for her in a sanctuary, and it would not cost them anything to do the right thing and release her.
Minnie is controlled by a bullhook, confined most of the time to a dark, barren barn, and lacks the company of other elephants.
Beulah and Karen both died in 2019, leaving Minnie the sole surviving elephant in the custody of the Commerford Zoo. As confirmed by the USDA in response to an inquiry from U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) after Beulah collapsed in public at the Big E fair, Beulah died as a result of blood poisoning caused by a uterine infection that the Commerford Zoo was aware that she had when they transported her to the venue, and sadly Karen died of kidney disease.
Founded in Goshen, Connecticut, by Robert “Bob” W. Commerford, the Commerford Zoo (also known as R.W. Commerford & Sons (and or) the Kids Fun Fair & Zoo) owns Minnie the elephant, as well as: camels, sheep, goats, llamas, donkeys, pygmy horses, ringtail lemurs, macaws, a kangaroo, and a zebra, among other animals. The USDA has cited the Commerford Zoo more than 50 times for failing to adhere to the minimum standards required by the Animal Welfare Act.
The NhRP is considering its next steps in its elephant rights litigation on Minnie’s behalf after the Connecticut Supreme Court declined to hear her case. The grassroots campaign to free Minnie to an accredited sanctuary has gained the support of Senator Blumenthal, Connecticut State Representative David Michel, Representative Anne Hughes, and other lawmakers. The NhRP will continue to fight for as long as it takes for Minnie’s release to a sanctuary where her right to liberty will be respected.
The post Nonhuman Rights Project Urges For An Elephant Named Minnie To Be Released To A Sanctuary After Claims That The Commerford Zoo Can No Longer Afford To Take Care Of Her appeared first on World Animal News.