Tag: Species

Breaking! Dallas Safari Club Holds Vile Ego-Driven Trophy Hunting Convention Virtually February 10-14 Auctioning Off Threatened & Endangered Species

Photos by: Katie Cleary

Tragically, despite the pandemic, Dallas Safari Club’s annual trophy hunting convention is taking place again this year February 10-14, but this time virtually. The notorious trophy hunting organization is once again auctioning off hunts of some of the most beautiful, rare, and endangered species on the planet, all to raise an estimated 3.5 million dollars for their organization. The Safari Club promotes the ruthless killing of defenseless animals, with guns, as well as bows and arrows, for so-called ‘sport,’ putting the future of our wildlife in jeopardy.

In 2017, WAN went undercover at the Safari Club Convention in Las Vegas and saw shocking displays of endangered dead animals, deplorably deemed ‘trophies’ by some; a wide array of easily accessible guns and ammunition; fur coats with the faces and feet of animals still attached; and wildlife outfitters that target hunters wanting ‘opportunities’ to kill wildlife for obscene amounts of money. Making matters worse, the promotion of the senseless violence associated with trophy hunting, took place amidst a flurry of men, women, and horrifically, some children.

“While walking into the Safari Club International Convention in Las Vegas, the feeling of horror and anxiety was overwhelming,” said Katie Cleary, President and Founder of Peace 4 Animals and WAN. The glorification of killing some of the world’s most endangered and threatened species on the planet was on display in such a shocking and heartless manner, it is a wonder how any human being can participate in such a cruel and selfish industry. We must do something to end the travesty of trophy hunting once and for all.”


“As we looked around at the massive crowd of 20,000 plus attendees, we couldn’t help but wonder what the method to the madness was,” continued Cleary. “There seemed to be a common thread throughout the convention with many trophy hunters justifying their actions based on what they claim to be ‘conservation,’ saying that if there wasn’t a value or price put on these animals, then there would be no incentive to protect them in the wild. The incentive to protect these animals lies in eco-tourism and photo safaris which brings in more money per year than trophy hunting ever will.

“Many of the species that were on display at the convention are listed on Appendix I of CITES, including: Snow Leopards, Elephants, Rhinos, and others like African Leopards, Polar Bears, Wolves, and African Lions. Many other imperiled species were stuffed and put on display, others were said to be realistic replicas.”

As noted by Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and Humane Society International (HSI) in a new shocking analysis of the 2021 Dallas Safari Club annual convention, beginning tomorrow, trophy hunters, hunting outfitters, and other businesses from around the world will gather online to buy, sell, and auction the opportunity to kill iconic animals, including canned hunts in the U.S., South Africa, and Argentina. Canned hunts involve the victimization of captive animals who live inside a fenced in area and have no way to escape the hunter. They are also refereed to as captive hunts, estate hunts or high fence hunts.

 

  • 849 exhibitors from 32 countries will participate virtually.

  • 351 of those exhibitors will offer hunting trips to kill 319 species, including critically endangered black rhinos, cheetahs, brown bears, and kangaroos, in 70 countries.

  • 183 hunts in 24 countries were donated for auction to kill over 200 animals from leopards to bears.

“The pandemic is not slowing down the vile trophy hunting industry and the shameless conventions that celebrate the violent, needless slaughter of wild animals,” said Kitty Block, President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, in a statement. “As millions of people struggle to survive the pandemic, trophy hunters spend millions of dollars on grim globe-trotting trips to shoot beloved, iconic animals for bragging rights and collections of heads to hang on their wall.”

The HSUS/HSI analysis shows that the over 800 exhibitors registered to participate in the convention will also sell wildlife body parts and products such as taxidermies, knives made of giraffe bones, furniture made of ostrich skin, boots and belts made of shark skin, and elephant leather, as well as other home décor and fashion accessories made from animals.

The 185 items that are expected to be auctioned off include donated hunts to kill at least 205 animals in 24 countries, among them: elephants, giraffes, hippos, Cape buffalos, and crocodiles. There are at least 16 U.S. canned hunts being auctioned off. Eight are in Texas. The remainder which include the hunting of elk, exotic sheep, and various antelope and deer species, are in Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, and Pennsylvania,

Among the most expensive hunts for auction are a $70,000 excursion for desert bighorn sheep in Mexico and a $52,850 brown bear hunt in Alaska.  Other deplorable hunts include killing elephants in Zimbabwe and Zambia, giraffes in South Africa, and leopards in Namibia. Items like firearms; apparel made of beaver, mink, and lynx fur; Swarovski Optik equipment such as a riflescope; and an $80,000 diamond necklace are up for auction as well.

“When WAN witnessed the disconnect to our natural world and the lack of compassion while undercover at the SCI convention, we realized that there’s still a tremendous amount of work to be done to create and enforce laws to protect our most threatened species in every country and continent around the world. Most of us are born with compassion in our hearts but it has to be nurtured. We can help foster compassion by educating others about the plight of these incredible species and spread knowledge to have respect for all living beings. If we work together in a collective effort, we have the ability to change the hearts and minds of those who do not share the same love for animals. But, it has to be done with compassion first,” said Cleary.

A summary of progress made in 2020 to stop the trophy hunting industry is posted HERE!

Members of the public who are opposed to this senseless cruelty can sign the pledge against the trophy hunting of wildlife HERE!

The post Breaking! Dallas Safari Club Holds Vile Ego-Driven Trophy Hunting Convention Virtually February 10-14 Auctioning Off Threatened & Endangered Species appeared first on World Animal News.

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Peace 4 Animals, SCIL, NRDC & FOE Introduce California Anti-Deforestation Bill To Protect Critical Rainforest Habitat & Endangered Species

Following a year of devastating fires throughout the Amazon rainforest and the forests throughout Indonesia, as well as continued degradation of boreal forests throughout North America, Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) and bill co-sponsors, Peace 4 Animals, Friends of the Earth, Natural Resources Defense Counciland Social Compassion in Legislation, announced the introduction of Bill AB 416, The California Deforestation-Free Procurement Act.

“By introducing this bill, we’re giving California the opportunity to take real leadership in the fight against tropical and boreal deforestation and primary forest degradation by making our purchases – and our global impact – more transparent, more sustainable, and more ethical,” Assemblymember Kalra, said in a statement sent to WAN. “AB 416 asserts our California values and extends environmental leadership to the protection of tropical and boreal forests, sending a powerful signal to global markets that illegal and destructive commodity-driven deforestation will no longer be tolerated.”

If passed, all California state contracts involving commodities that put tropical and primary boreal forests at risk, such as palm oil, soy, cattle, rubber, paper/pulp and timber, would require contractors to maintain a No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation (NDPE) policy, and provide evidence that their operations in sensitive tropical and boreal regions are not linked to forest destruction and degradation or abuses of indigenous peoples’ rights.

Environmental advocates and industry leaders alike agree that such policies are the best way to prevent ongoing forest destruction. A version of the bill introduced in 2019 achieved strong bi-partisan support but failed to pass the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The world’s forests are in crisis. Tropical forests cover roughly 7% of the Earth’s surface but harbor close to half of all species on Earth. An estimated 18 million acres of forestan area one-fifth the size of California—is lost every year, largely due to the expansion of agribusiness plantations. Tropical deforestation and related land-use changes are responsible for nearly a quarter of global carbon dioxide emissions, and are a major contributor to the global biodiversity crisis.

Boreal forests account for one-third of the world’s forested areas and, after mangroves, are the most carbon-dense forests on earth. The Canadian boreal forest alone stores twice as much carbon as the world’s oil reserves and is the nesting ground for billions of migratory birds. Logging in primary forests is one of the major contributors to carbon emissions and the decline of critical species. In North America, only 15 of 51 boreal caribou herds have sufficient habitat to survive long-term, primarily due to industrial logging, while 33% of boreal birds have declined in the last 50 years.

“I have seen first-hand the heartbreaking effects of tropical deforestation while traveling and filming throughout Indonesia,” stated Katie Cleary, Founder and President of Peace 4 Animals. “We will lose vital species such as endangered orangutans, tigers, and rhinos if we do not take meaningful action to end the destruction of our rainforests. The Deforestation-Free Procurement Act will help to aid in the protection of critical habitat thus preserving species and forests for future generations.”

“The loss of our forests is not just damaging for us, it’s also a loss of habitat for countless species of animals,” stated Judie Mancuso, CEO and Founder of Social Compassion in Legislation. “We caused the devastation, which means we need to do everything in our power to protect all the vulnerable and endangered species. The Deforestation-Free Procurement Act is a powerful step forward to begin the healing and end the destruction.”

“California’s Deforestation-Free Procurement Act is a visionary but extremely pragmatic and direct contribution to halting the global deforestation crisis,” said Jeff Conant, Senior International Forests Program Manager at Friends of the Earth. “This bill is not merely timely, it’s long overdue.”

“The actions of the marketplace in California and across the U.S. will critically define the fate of forests around the world, from the lush tropical rainforests to the majestic boreal,” explained Jennifer Skene, an Attorney with the Canada Project at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “This Act recognizes that interconnectedness and moves toward ending the wasteful destruction of the forests that are the ancestral homelands of many Indigenous Peoples and play such a vital role in protecting our climate and the world’s biodiversity for future generations.”

The principal co-authors of AB 416 are Assemblymembers Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella), and Alex Lee (D-San Jose), and Senators Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica), and Henry Stern (D-Los Angeles). The bill is also co-authored by Assemblymembers Laura Friedman (D-Glendale), Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance), and Luz Rivas (D-Arleta), and Senator John Laird (D-Santa Cruz).

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

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Breaking! A Generous Donor Protects 300 Acres Of South Oahu’s Rainforest To Save Native Species In Hawaii

A 300-acre parcel of rainforest in the southern Ko‘olau mountains in Oahu will now be protected indefinitely, due to a generous donation by a compassionate landowner in the Pia Valley. The Hawaiian Department of Land and Resources (DLNR) announced that Patricia Godfrey gifted the irreplaceable rainforest land to protect Hawaii’s native species.

Expected to be called the Pia Natural Area Reserve (NAR), the donation removes the land from private hands and makes it public land managed by the DLNR’s Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW). The new reserve will most-likely be accessible by foot and could be visited for recreational uses, hiking, and education.

“We hope to make this beautiful area even better by actively managing the ecosystem for native plants, birds, and animals,” DOFAW Oahu botanist, Susan Ching, said in a statement.

The land extends the summit ridge of the Ko‘olau and encompasses upper portions of Pia valley, directly upland of the Hawai‘iloa and Niu Valley subdivisions.

“This will leave an incredible legacy,” noted Christopher Miller, DOFAW’S Oahu NAR Manager. “As a Natural Area Reserve, we will strive to keep the native forest as intact as possible.”

On a recent trip up the trail and overlooking the Pia Valley, DOFAW Watershed Planner Katie Ersbak said, “The rare, threatened, and endangered species that occupy this valley are why we were very interested in protecting it. As others have commented, we hope to bring it into the Natural Area Reserve system, which is a special designation for places high in biological diversity, which has rare species in native forests, and watershed recharge value as well.”

“I am delighted to have been able to play a part in securing the future of Pia Valley as a protected wilderness,” said Godfrey. “On behalf of myself and my family, I would like to thank our state conservationists and all who protect and defend our vital wild lands and the sanctuary they provide for their plant and animal inhabitants.“

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

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Breaking! Qatar Airways Cargo Saves Wildlife With ‘WeQare’ Initiative By Flying Endangered Species Back To Their Natural Habitat

As an inaugural signatory to the Buckingham Palace Declaration in March 2016, and a founding member of the United for Wildlife Transport Taskforce, Qatar Airways has a zero tolerance policy towards the illegal trade of endangered species. The cargo carrier’s initiative to bring wildlife back to their natural habitat is consistent with the airline’s commitment to fight wildlife trafficking and the illegal trade of wild animals.

Wildlife trafficking is the world’s fourth-largest illegal trade, estimated to be worth $19 billion per year. The trade in endangered species and plants, fueled by demand for jewelry, ornaments, and unproven medical treatments, is needless and has disastrous consequences for global conservation efforts.

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

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Hundreds Of Species Of Sharks & Rays Are Now Threatened With Extinction According To An Update Of The IUCN Red List

A recently updated Red List analyses from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) indicates that 316 species of sharks, rays, skates, and chimaeras, are now considered threatened with extinction, many of them as a direct consequence of overharvesting for their meat, fins, and oil. These species are members of the Chondrichthyes class which means that they have a flexible skeleton made of cartilage instead of bone.

Four species of hammerhead and angel sharks, all of which are either Endangered or Critically Endangered, are also at risk of extinction, making them among the world’s most threatened shark families in the world.

Preliminary analysis from the organization TRAFFIC have found that the total number of the global shark meat trade was fairly stable between 2008 and 2011, before increasing in 2012–2017. However, a serious lack of reporting and data collected on species that have been caught and traded obscures underlying trends in shark populations.

“On the outside, stable annual catches give the false impression that everything is fine, but in reality, they could be masking the serial depletion of species—as soon as one is fished out, the industry simply targets the next, so that one by one they disappear,” TRAFFIC’s Senior Advisor on Fisheries and Vice Chair of the IUCN Shark Specialist Group, Glenn Sant, said in a statement.

“Fisheries need to get serious about better data collection and reporting. How can you manage something if you don’t know what’s going on under the surface,” continued Sant.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a rise in shark and ray poaching, although the levels of monitoring have fallen due to social distancing requirements.

“This could be a recipe for disaster when overlayed with the already limited monitoring and management of these species,” concluded Sant.

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

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Victory! Colorado Approves Reintroduction Of Endangered Gray Wolves Bringing Hope To Their Species Throughout The West

An unprecedented state ballot initiative requiring wildlife officials to reintroduce endangered gray wolves in Colorado passed Tuesday’s election with a 20,000-vote majority and hundreds of pro-wolf precincts left to be counted. Opponents conceded that the measure has passed.

Proposition 114 requires Colorado Parks and Wildlife to develop a wolf restoration and management plan based on science and statewide public hearings. Reintroduction to areas west of the Continental Divide must begin by December 31st, 2023.

“Since time immemorial wolves were one of the most influential animals in shaping the ecology of Colorado’s forests and grasslands,” Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity told WAN. “Federal wolf poisoning and trapping on behalf of the livestock industry a century ago continues today to harm a myriad of other animal and plant species. Colorado voters wisely decided to begin to undo that harm.”

“This is a great victory for wolves coming on the heels of Trump’s illegal action to remove federal protection, and it will help restore the natural balance in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains,” Robinson also noted in a statement. “The people of Colorado have helped turn the page on a brutal chapter of our history that saw wolves exterminated across the West.”

Throughout the pandemic, hundreds of volunteers campaigned statewide for Proposition 114, staffing phone banks and waving banners along roads. The livestock industry bitterly opposed the measure and spent heavily on anti-wolf advertising.

Reintroducing gray wolves to Colorado will restore the species in a key portion of its range between existing populations of wolves in the northern Rockies, as well as critically imperiled Mexican gray wolves in New Mexico and Arizona. Mexican wolves could benefit from occasional interbreeding with northern wolves.

“Wolves are the engine of evolution for terrestrial ecosystems, and their return to Colorado will benefit deer and elk herds, the health of our forests, songbirds, and even rare wolverines,” said Robinson.

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

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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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Breaking! Endangered Species Act Protection Shockingly Stripped From Gray Wolves In The Lower 48 U.S. States Putting Their Species In Jeopardy

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) finalized a rule today that removes protection from gray wolves in the lower 48 states, except for a small population of Mexican gray wolves in Arizona and New Mexico. The USFWS made its decision despite the fact that wolves are still functionally extinct in the vast majority of their former range across the continental United States.

In July, WAN reported that almost two million Americans opposed the Trump administration’s plan to remove Endangered Species Act protection for gray wolves. The number of comments submitted were the highest ever recorded on a federal decision involving endangered species, yet the administration still chose to move forward with this disastrous plan.

Even the scientific peer reviews written at the behest of the USFWS state that the agency’s proposal contained numerous errors and appeared to come to a predetermined conclusion, not even supported by its own science.

While there were once hundreds of thousands of wolves in the lower 48 states, now there are only an estimated 5,500 currently living in the continental United States; a fraction of the species’ historic population.

“Wolves are too imperiled and ecologically important to be cruelly trapped and gunned down for sport,” Collette Adkins, Carnivore Conservation Director at the Center for Biological Diversity told WAN. “The Interior Department is catering to trophy hunters, the livestock industry, and other special interests that want to kill wolves. We’ll do everything we can to stop it.”

“This is no ‘Mission Accomplished’ moment for wolf recovery,” said Kristen Boyles, an attorney for Earthjustice in a statement. “Wolves are only starting to get a toehold in places like Northern California and the Pacific Northwest, and wolves need federal protection to explore habitat in the Southern Rockies and the Northeast. This delisting decision is what happens when bad science drives bad policy — and it’s illegal, so we will see them in court.”

“We should be putting much more effort into coexistence with wolves, working to ensure that populations in the lower 48 are thriving and are able to play out their ecological role balancing our natural systems, instead of stripping critical protections still needed for their full recovery,” said Bonnie Rice, Senior Campaign Representative for Sierra Club. “The science is clear that to protect our communities and prevent future pandemics, we need to be doing more to protect nature and wildlife, not less.”

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Vermont Becomes The 12th State In The U.S. To Ban The Sale Of Elephant Ivory & Other Parts Of Imperiled Species

Governor Phil Scott signed H.99 (ACT 169) into law last week, making Vermont the 12th state in the nation to ban the trade of imperiled wildlife parts. The new law goes into effect on January 1, 2022.

State bans are critical to ending demand in the United States, one of the largest importers of imperiled wildlife parts in the world. Federal law only restricts import, export, and interstate trade. If there is no state law, the trade is free and clear once the item arrives in the state. 

The new law will stop trade within the state of Vermont of imperiled wildlife parts from 15 of the world’s most at-risk species, including: elephants, rhinos, cheetahs, giraffes, hippos, jaguars, leopards, lions, pangolins, rays, sea turtles, sharks, tigers, primates, and whales. This also includes elephant ivory that is poached and disguised as ancient ivory from Wooly Mammoths and Mastodons. 

As per the new bill, people are allowed to keep ivory that they already possess, pass it down, or give it away, they just cannot sell it. Exemptions include musical instruments.

“This legislation is vitally important because any sale of ivory, whether new or old, fuels demand,” Brenna Galdenzi, Co-Founder and President of Protect Our Wildlife said in a statement. As long as we, right here in Vermont, place a monetary value on endangered animal parts, it fuels wildlife trafficking and poaching.”

Protect Our Wildlife has been working with Vermont for Wildlife’s Co-founder Ashley Prout McAvey, making this effort a focus of their work since they first started their nonprofit in February of 2015.

“My hope is that Vermont’s latest action will encourage the remaining 38 states to act swiftly to close their markets in these imperiled animal parts,” shared McAvey. “When all 50 states take a stand, the nation will be making a resounding impact in the battle against extinction.”

States that have enacted similar legislation include: New York, New Hampshire, New Jersey, California, Washington, Hawaii, Oregon, Nevada, Illinois, Minnesota, and New Mexico.

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

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Breaking! Conservation Groups Take Legal Action To Speed Up Protection For Endangered Giraffes Under The Endangered Species Act

Yesterday, conservation and animal-protection groups filed a notice of intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to consider Endangered Species Act protections for Africa’s rapidly dwindling giraffe population.

The groups, including Center for Biological Diversity, the Humane Society of the United States, and Humane Society International, petitioned for giraffe protections in April 2017, but the species still has not received the legally required finding that was due in April 2018, nor any protection under the Act.

Last year, after a lawsuit filed by the groups, the Fish and Wildlife Service determined that giraffes may qualify for protections under the Act — but the agency has failed to make a decision or implement any protective measures.

“Giraffes are loved by people around the world, so it’s shocking and sad that the U.S. government is ignoring their tragic plight,” said Tanya Sanerib, international legal director at the Center for Biological Diversity, in a statement. “As giraffe populations plummet, these extraordinary creatures desperately need the Endangered Species Act’s sturdy shield. But three years after we petitioned for protections, federal officials are still stalling on safeguards for everyone’s favorite longnecked mammal.”

With fewer than 69,000 individuals remaining in the wild, giraffes have been undergoing what has been called a silent extinction. Giraffe populations have dropped nearly 40% due to habitat loss, civil unrest, and poaching. The international trade in bone carvings, skins, and trophies puts additional pressure on these iconic animals.

“The United States has an important role to play in preventing extinction of these magnificent creatures, as the top importer of giraffe trophies, and as many Americans import giraffe parts — including bones and skins — to sell for commercial purposes in the U.S.,” said Adam Peyman, wildlife programs director for Humane Society International. “The time has long passed for the Fish and Wildlife Service to take action and put in place desperately needed protections.”

Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) decided in 2019 to regulate international trade in giraffes — including trophies and other body parts — by placing the species on Appendix II. But several key exporting countries in Africa have expressed that they do not intend to implement or enforce CITES requirements with respect to giraffes, even though the listing only requires export permits and reporting of international trade in giraffes. Protection under the Endangered Species Act is desperately needed to help curb imports of giraffe bones, trophies, and other parts to the United States and increase funding for conservation efforts for the species.

On average, the United States imports more than one dead giraffe “hunting trophy” a day, and imported more than 21,400 giraffe bone carvings between 2006 and 2015. Many of the imported giraffe parts are turned into frivolous decorative items such as pillows, boots, or jackets.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature assessed giraffes as “vulnerable” to extinction in 2016 and classified two giraffe subspecies as “endangered” and two more as “critically endangered” in 2018.

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

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Breaking! California Governor Gavin Newsom Signs Critical Bill Protecting Mountain Lions & Other Species From Toxic Rat Poisons

Governor Gavin Newsom just signed Bill AB 1788, The California Ecosystems Protection Act into law, placing greater restrictions, with limited exceptions, on the use of second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides to protect the state’s native wildlife.

The bill, introduced by Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), requires state regulators to reduce the threats to nontarget wildlife before the restrictions on second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides can be lifted.

“We can protect public health without threatening California’s wildlife,” Jonathan Evans, Environmental Health Legal Director at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement. “We applaud Governor Newsom and Assemblymember Bloom for their leadership in protecting California’s mountain lions, bobcats, and kit foxes.”

Rodents that consume these long-lasting poisons are in turn consumed by other wildlife, resulting in secondary poisoning and contamination of the food chain. Developed in the 1970s, second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides have higher potency than earlier compounds. A single dose has a half-life of more than 100 days in a rat’s liver.

“These ‘one-feeding-kill’ poisons are devastating California’s wild animals, including some of the state’s most beloved species like mountain lions,” said Stephen Wells, Executive Director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund. “California has taken a critical step towards safeguarding these animals from unnecessary suffering and death.”

Despite a 2014 ban on consumer sales, rodenticides continue to be heavily used by commercial operators. The California Department of Pesticide Regulation’s 2018 analysis of 11 wildlife studies determined anticoagulant rodenticides are poisoning a wide range of animals, including mountain lions, bobcats, hawks, and endangered wildlife such as Pacific fishers, spotted owls, and San Joaquin kit foxes.

“Anticoagulants are wiping out the very wildlife that helps control rodents naturally. There is a groundswell of support for this bill, which takes a giant step to reduce secondary poisoning,” said Lisa Owens Viani, Director of Raptors Are The Solution.

There are many safer alternatives to anticoagulant rodenticides. Exclusion and sanitation are the best approach to managing rodents. Sealing buildings, eliminating food and water sources, and trimming foliage and tree limbs from the sides and roofs of houses are also important steps to reduce the presence of rodents. When physical exclusion is not possible, there are dozens of safer rodent control options including providing owl boxes in rural areas to encourage natural predation and using traps that don’t involve these highly toxic chemicals.

The harm caused by second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides in California is well documented. More than 70% of wildlife tested in California in recent years has been exposed to dangerous rodenticides, including more than 25 different species.

AB 1788 was cosponsored by the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Center for Biological Diversity, and Raptors Are The Solution.

For more information on nontoxic rodent-control methods, visit: SafeRodentControl.org.

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

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Breaking! Western Joshua Trees Are Now Protected Under California’s Endangered Species Act For At Least One Year

Earlier this week, the California Fish and Game Commission agreed to accept a petition protecting western Joshua trees under the state’s Endangered Species Act, granting legal protection to the iconic trees for at least a year.

Joshua trees are threatened by climate change, fire and, habitat destruction from urban sprawl, and other development in their Mojave Desert home.

“This is a huge victory for these beautiful trees and their fragile desert ecosystem,” Brendan Cummings, the Center for Biological Diversity conservation director and a Joshua Tree resident, said in a statement. “If Joshua trees are to survive the inhospitable climate we’re giving them, the first and most important thing we can do is protect their habitat. This decision will do that across most of their range.”

This week’s vote grants Joshua trees candidate status under the California Endangered Species Act, giving them legal protection during a yearlong review to determine whether the species should be formally protected under the state law.

The vote affirms the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s April recommendation, which came in response to a petition from the Center.

Commissioners also agreed to give developers of 15 shovel-ready industrial solar projects in Kern and San Bernardino counties so-called “take authorization,” allowing them to kill Joshua trees. In exchange the developers must pay into a state fund that will be used to purchase and permanently preserve Joshua tree habitat. This exemption applies only during the review period and requires developers to pay approximately $10,000 an acre, based on a ratio of 1.5 acres for every acre of occupied habitat that’s destroyed.

“This summer’s raging wildfires, heatwaves, and hurricanes confirm our dire climate crisis and the need to urgently achieve 100% renewable energy,” stated  Cummings. “But, the best places to put solar panels are on rooftops, parking lots, and degraded farmland, not pristine desert habitats. We disagree that these exemptions are needed, but we understand the commission’s decision.”

Recent studies show Joshua trees are dying off because of hotter, drier conditions, with very few younger trees becoming established. Even greater changes are projected over the coming decades. Earlier this year scientists projected that the Joshua tree will be largely gone from its namesake national park by the end of the century.

Last year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service denied federal protection to the species.

“Joshua trees face extinction in the wild and there is not much time left to save them. Human-caused climate change is making matters worse,” said Cummings. “It’s critical that the state stood up for these spectacular trees, because the federal government, local officials, and for-profit corporations are facilitating their destruction.”

Climate change could wipe out western Joshua trees, which already are failing to reproduce at drier, lower elevations. Prolonged droughts are projected to be more frequent and intense over the coming decades, shrinking the species’ range and leading to more tree deaths. Higher elevations, where Joshua trees might survive increasing temperatures and drying conditions, are at risk of fire due to invasive non-native grasses.

Habitat loss and degradation are also major threats. Outside of Joshua Tree National Park, off-road vehicle use, cattle grazing, power lines and pipelines, and large-scale energy projects are destroying habitat. Approximately 40% of the western Joshua tree’s range in California is on private land, with only a tiny fraction protected from development. Current projections show that virtually all of this habitat will be lost without stronger legal protections for the trees.

“Developers are bulldozing Joshua trees every day to build roads, power lines, strip malls, and vacation rentals,” said Cummings. “If these beautiful plants are to have any hope of surviving in a warming world, we have to stop killing them.”

The Joshua tree has recently been recognized as composed of two distinct species, the western Joshua tree and the eastern Joshua tree. The two species occupy different areas of the desert, are genetically and morphologically distinguishable, and have different pollinating moths.

The vote addresses the western species. The western Joshua tree has a boomerang-shaped range stretching from Joshua Tree National Park westward along the northern slopes of the San Bernardino and San Gabriel Mountains, through the Antelope Valley, northward along the eastern flanks of the southern Sierra Nevada and eastward to the edges of Death Valley National Park and into Nevada.

The eastern Joshua tree’s range in California is centered in the Mojave National Preserve and extends east into Nevada, Arizona and Utah.

If Joshua trees win protection under California’s Endangered Species Act, state and local agencies will have to manage threats to them, including developing a recovery plan outlining a strategy to protect the species in the face of climate change.

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

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