Tag: Years

Breaking! Greek Parliament Votes To Make Animal Abuse & Torture Punishable With Up To 10 Years In Prison

In a landmark move yesterday, the Greek Parliament voted unanimously to make serious animal abuse and torture crimes that can result in a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of 25,000 to 50,000 euros.

The Minister of Rural Development and Food, Makis Voridis, drafted the amendment to tighten the legal framework governing the torture and killing of animals, after consulting with Minister of Justice, Konstantinos Tsiara.

“Our society no longer tolerates the heinous behaviors observed in recent times and demands a just punishment for torturing animals,” Voridis said in a statement, further characterizing the sentence of imprisonment of up to a decade “appropriate and fair punishment.”

In less severe cases, people who mistreat animals will also be sentenced to a minimum of one year in jail and will have to pay a fine of 3,600 to 18,000 euros.

According to the Ministry, the revenues from the imposition of fines will be used exclusively for the creation and improvement of municipal shelters and veterinary clinics.

The new amendment also allows the Prosecutor to permanently remove any animals from the possession of the offender. The Prosecutor may also prohibit the acquisition of another animal in the future.

Voridis also stressed that the ruling should serve as a clear message that, “Animal torture is not tolerated in the Greek state and society.”

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

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Chris Hemsworth & Wife Elsa Pataky Help Release Tasmanian Devils Back To Mainland Australia For The First Time In 3,000 Years

Photos By: WildArk

For the first time in 3,000 years, the Tasmanian devil is back in the wild on mainland Australia, a historic moment that is critical to rewild the country with the world’s highest mammal extinction rate. Aussie Ark, in partnership with Global Wildlife Conservation and WildArk, recently released 11 Tasmanian devils onto a 400-hectare (nearly 1,000 acre) wildlife sanctuary on Barrington Tops. Actors Elsa Pataky and Chris Hemsworth, friends of WildArk, helped release some of the wildlife into their new home.

“In 100 years, we are going to be looking back at this day as the day that set in motion the ecological restoration of an entire country,” said Tim Faulkner, President of Aussie Ark, which has been working with Tasmanian devils for more than 10 years with the goal of someday returning them to the wild.

Photo by: WildArk

“Not only is this the reintroduction of one of Australia’s beloved animals, but of an animal that will engineer the entire environment around it, restoring and rebalancing our forest ecology after centuries of devastation from introduced foxes and cats and other invasive predators,” continued Faulkner in a statement. “Because of this reintroduction and all of the hard work leading up to it, someday we will see Tasmanian devils living throughout the great eastern forests as they did 3,000 years ago.”

Tasmanian devils vanished entirely from mainland Australia in large part because they were outcompeted by introduced dingoes, which hunt in packs. Dingoes never made it to Tasmania, but across the island state, a transmissible, painful, and fatal disease called Devil Facial Tumor Disease (DFTD)—the only known contagious cancer—decimated up to 90% of the wild population of Tasmanian devils. Only 25,000 Tasmanian devils are remaining in the wild today.

Photo by: Aussie Ark

For the last decade, the Aussie Ark team has been building a population of Tasmanian devils and learning everything they can about the animals, including about their reproductive physiology, behavior, and ecological needs. This all led up to the reintroduction, which took place on September 10th, and followed a successful assisted trial release with 15 Tasmanian devils. Twenty-six total now call the wild of mainland Australia home.

Aussie Ark’s Tasmanian devil breeding program is the most successful for endangered species on mainland Australia. Aussie Ark founded the breeding program in 2011 with 44 individuals. Today, it’s home to more than 200, which is about 50% of the entire captive population spread across mainland Australia. Over the years, more than 390 Tasmanian devils have been born and raised at Aussie Ark in a way that encourages and fosters their natural behaviors, helping ensure that they maintain all the skills they need to survive in the wild.

Photo by: Aussie Ark

“Without Aussie Ark’s incredible work and perseverance over all of these years, the recent reintroduction would not have been possible and instead of looking forward to the recovery of the species, we would be watching the Tasmanian devil slip into extinction,” said Don Church, President of Global Wildlife Conservation. “This is an incredible example of how to rewild our planet, bringing back the natural systems to the benefit of all life on Earth.”

The Tasmanian devil is one of seven cornerstone species critical to Australia’s ecosystem, including: the Eastern quoll, Brush-tail rock wallabies, Rufous bettong, long-nosed potoroo, parma wallabies, and southern brown bandicoots, all chosen to help restore Australia’s natural balance.

Photo by: Aussie Ark

This is the first of three planned reintroductions. In the next two years, Aussie Ark will do two additional releases of 20 Tasmanian devils each. The animals will be monitored through regular surveys, radio collars fit with transmitters, and camera traps. This will give the researchers the opportunity to learn about how the Tasmanian devils are faring, where they are claiming territory, what challenges they are facing, what they are eating, and if they are reproducing. All of this information will help to inform future releases, including in Tasmania and elsewhere on the mainland, to continually refine the process.

Photo by: Aussie Ark

“The fires earlier this year were absolutely devastating and threatened to rob us of our hope,” stated Faulkner, referring to the devastating fires across Australia’s eastern seaboard earlier this year that burned more than 72,000 square miles of forest and claimed the lives of at least 34 people and nearly 3 billion animals.

“This is our response to that threat of despair: come what may, ultimately, we will not be deterred in our efforts to put an end to extinction and to rewild Australia,” continued Faulkner.

In addition, Global Wildlife Conservation, Aussie Ark, and WildArk are calling on kids ages 5-10 years old around the world to submit digital postcards to any of four of the featured Tasmanian devils released into the wild. Kids interested in sending a digital postcard can write to Lisa, Lenny, Skittles, or Jacksen. Thirty of the most creative postcards will be chosen to be published in an e-book. Learn more HERE!

Aussie Ark’s partners include: Global Wildlife Conservation, WildArk, Glencore, Australian Geographic, Australian Reptile Park, WIRES, and FAME.

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

The post Chris Hemsworth & Wife Elsa Pataky Help Release Tasmanian Devils Back To Mainland Australia For The First Time In 3,000 Years appeared first on World Animal News.

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Breaking! Notorious Wildlife Poacher ‘Guyvanho’ Accused Of Killing 500 Elephants Sentenced To 30 Years In Prison

Notorious poacher and ivory trafficker, ‘Guyvanho,’ accused of killing up to 500 elephants, has been sentenced to 30 years in prison in the Republic of Congo. This marks the first-ever wildlife trafficker to be convicted in Criminal Court in Congo.

Mobanza Mobembo Gérard, ‘Guyvanho,’ was found guilty and sentenced on August 19th for attempted murder of park rangers, ivory trafficking from poached elephants, and possession of military weapons, among other charges. Gérard was also required to pay damages of 38 million Central African Francs (USD $68,000) to the injured rangers.

Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park’s Wildlife Crime Unit and Anti-Poaching Department worked on this case for nearly three years with the cooperation of Congolese authorities, including the Ministry of Forest Economy, the Police, and District Prosecutors.

“This unprecedented conviction in criminal court is a major milestone in the protection of wildlife in the Republic of Congo. Previously, all environmental crimes were tried in the civil courts where the maximum penalty under the wildlife law was five years,” said Dr. Emma Stokes, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Regional Director of Central Africa, in a statement. “Today’s sentencing sends an extremely strong message that wildlife crime will not be tolerated and will be prosecuted at the highest levels. We are confident that today’s sentence will serve as a deterrent to would-be criminals that you will serve hard time if you break our wildlife laws and put park rangers and Congo’s national security in danger.”

Some of the incredible wildlife organizations and government agencies that have supported and worked on this case include:

Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), The Wildcat Foundation, Save the Elephants’ and Wildlife Conservation Network’s Elephant Crisis Fund, the Sangha Trinational Trust Fund, US State Department’s Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), the European Union, and the United States Agency for International Development’s Central Africa Regional Program for the Environment (USAID-CARPE).

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

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9 Members Of South Africa’s Most Notorious Wildlife Trafficking Gang Sentenced To More Than 56 Years In Prison

After years of investigations and collecting evidence, nine members of one of Southern Africa’s most prolific wildlife trafficking gangs were sentenced by a Malawi court to a total of 56.5 years in prison.

The convicted were members of the Lin-Zhang syndicate and each was found guilty of at least one wildlife trafficking offense of a listed or protected species including: pangolins, rhino horn, ivory, and hippo teeth.

Among them was Mrs. Quinhua Zhang, who was convicted of possession of rhino horn and an illegal firearm following her arrest at a raid in May 2019.

Zhang is the wife of Yunhua Lin, the alleged kingpin of the syndicate, who was arrested in August of 2019 following a three-month manhunt. Lin, reportedly, was also recently sentenced to 11 years imprisonment for the possession of rhino horn, conspiracy, and money-laundering.

“Following years of concerted efforts and overcoming countless obstacles, this small nation has demonstrated how, with political will and determination, to dismantle one of Africa’s most prolific organized international crime syndicates,” Mary Rice, Executive Director of the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), said in a statement.

The Lin-Zhang syndicate has been operating in Malawi for more than a decade.

“Fighting crime on this scale demands sophistication, collaboration, courage, and tenacity,” continued Rice. “Malawi should be immensely proud, and other African countries currently battling the scourge of illegal wildlife trade would do well to follow this example of global leadership.”

The sentiment was echoed by Brighton Kumchedwa, Director of Malawi National Parks and Wildlife. 

“It is critical that wildlife criminals can expect to feel the full weight of the law and the message needs to be loud and clear: Malawi is no longer a playground for the likes of the Lin-Zhang syndicate that exploit our natural heritage, damage our economy, incite corruption, and pose a risk to national security,” stated Kumchedwa. This is indeed a victory for the Malawi, and a victory for wildlife in particular.”

The sentences handed down yesterday at the Senior Resident Magistrate’s Court, in Lilongwe, were:

  • Quinhua Zhang – A total of 11 years in prison (seven years for possession of rhino horn and four years for an illegal firearm, to be served consecutively);

  • Li Hao Yuan – A total of 11 years in prison (seven years possession of rhino horn and four years for an illegal firearm, to be served consecutively, plus 1.5 years for possession of pangolin scales, served concurrently);

  • Yanwu Zhuo – A total of seven years in prison (possession of rhino horn);

  • Ya Shen Zhuo – A total of seven years in prison (possession of rhino horn);

  • Jinfu Zeng – A total of eight years in prison (five years for possession of pangolin scales and three years for possession of worked ivory, to be served concurrently);

  • Guozhong Zhang – A total of three years in prison (two years for possession of pangolin scales and three years for possession of worked ivory, to be served concurrently);

  • Guohua Zhang – A total of three years in prison (possession of worked ivory);

  • Cosmas Sakugwa – A total of 1.5 years in prison (possession of worked ivory);

  • Steven Daza – A total of 1.5 years in prison (possession of hippo teeth).

In total, 14 members of the syndicate were apprehended last year. Of the remaining syndicate members arrested in May of 2019, one Chinese and two Malawian nationals, Cheng Qiang, James Mkwezalamba, and Julius Sanudia, have each been sentenced to three years in prison for possession of live pangolins or pangolin scales.

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

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