Archive for April 2, 2012


Courtesy of World News

Today (2nd April), an item was posted on Daily Mail UK titled ‘”You’re next”: Taunting war of words rages on between hunters and animal rights activists as “cruel” pictures of wolves maimed in traps hit internet’.

‘… A debate about the ethics of hunting wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains has taken a threatening turn after gruesome images of the animals, dead and maimed by traps, swept the internet.

The FBI is investigating a report of an anonymous email received by anti-trapping group Footloose Montana warning advocates will ‘be the target next’.

The group says it was likely singled out because it had criticised and widely circulated a snapshot of a smiling trapper posed with a dying wolf whose leg was caught in the metal jaws of a foothold trap on a patch of blood-stained snow …

The image posted on its Facebook page was taken from the Trapperman.com website, including text that joked about the wolf being shot and wounded by a passersby after it was caught — ‘lucky they were not real good shots.’

The photo went viral over the Internet last weekend, and on Monday the Missoula, Montana-based group received the email threat.

The message read: ‘I would like to donate a gun to your childs (sic) head to make sure you can watch it die slowly so I can have my picture taken with it’s (sic) bleeding dying screaming for mercy body.’ Then the email, a copy of which Footloose gave to Reuters, said the recipients would be the next targets …

A Missoula Police Department detective, Sgt Travis Welsh, confirmed this week that investigators were looking into a ‘report from a local institution about a malicious email.’

Footloose Executive Director Anja Heister said FBI agents had interviewed a member of her group about the threat, but an FBI spokesman declined to comment.

By Tuesday, Trapperman.com, a site whose mission statement declares, ‘Always keep in mind that we are the true protectors of wildlife and the wild places in which the animals live,’ had removed pictures of dead or dying wolves and commentary …

Images of several trappings posted on social media have meanwhile escalated rancor between animal rights activists and hunters.

Commenting on a Facebook-posted image of two wolves strangled to death by cable snares, an individual who identified himself as Shane Miller wrote last month, ‘Very nice!! Don’t stop now, you’re just getting started!’

A person going by the name Matthew Brown posted the message, ‘Nice, one down and a BUNCH to go!’ in response to a Facebook image of a single wolf choked to death in a snare.

In Idaho and Montana, hundreds of the animals have been killed – mostly through hunting – less than a year after being removed from the U.S. endangered species list.

Stripping the wolves of federal protection last spring opened the animals to state wildlife management, including newly licensed hunting and trapping designed to reduce their numbers from levels the states deemed too high.

Since the de-listing last May, Idaho has cut its wolf population by about 40 percent, from roughly 1,000 to about 600 or fewer. Some 260 wolves have been killed in Montana, more than a third of its population, leaving an estimated 650 remaining …

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has also proposed lifting the protected status for another 350 wolves in Wyoming. Once common across most of North America, wolves were hunted, trapped and poisoned to near extinction in the lower 48 states by the 1940s under a government-sponsored program.

Decades later, biologists recognized that wolves had an essential role as a predator in mountain ecosystems, leading to protection of the animal under the Endangered Species Act.

Wolves were reintroduced in the mid-1990s over the vehement objections of ranchers and sportsmen, who see the animals as a threat to livestock and big-game animals such as elk and deer.

Environmentalists say the impact of wolves on cattle herds and wildlife is overstated and that the recent removal of federal safeguards could push the wolf back to the brink.

Wolves have long been vilified in the region as a menace, symbolizing for some a distant federal bureaucracy imposing its rules on the West.

‘They’re putting us and our way of life out of business,’ said Ron Casperson, co-owner of Saddle Springs Trophy Outfitters in Salmon, Idaho. ‘It makes me sick every day I look at this country. These wolves… I mean, come on.’ …

State wildlife managers had predicted that such passions would ease once the wolves were de-listed and states gained control. But discourse on the Internet and social networks appears to have grown more hostile.

Some hunters have expressed discomfort at the apparent bloodlust unleashed on the Internet, which they see as tarnishing the reputation of a sport that attracts less than 15 per cent of Americans.

‘There are two groups – one supports fair chase and ethical hunting, and the other views the reintroduction of wolves and the recovery with venom,’ said veteran sportsman Rod Bullis of Helena, Mont.

Idaho Fish and Game Commissioner Gary Power said he was bombarded with letters and emails from people representing extremes on both sides of the debate.

‘There are some folks out there stirring the pot: ‘Get rid of government, get rid of this, they shoved it down our throats, kill them all,’ and they are adding to the contentiousness,’ he said.

Animal rights activists said they are sickened at the online flurry of pictures depicting wolf kills, and alarmed by comments suggesting a growing desire to shoot, trap and snare wolves.

‘Roughly $40 million has been spent on wolf recovery, and now we are witnessing the second extermination of wolves in the West,’ said Wendy Keefover, director of carnivore protection for WildEarth Guardians.

Idaho and Montana are required to maintain about 150 wolves per state each year to prevent federal protection from being imposed again.

But Idaho plans to more than double the number of wolves a hunter may take in some areas for the 2012-13 season, raising their bag limit to 10.

Montana is seeking to raise its wolf-hunt quotas, and state wildlife managers are discussing allowing trapping, which is currently illegal there. At least one Montana county is considering a bounty for wolves killed by licensed hunters …’

 

poached elephant at garumba

News Release
27 March 2012
TWENTY-TWO ELEPHANTS KILLED AT GARAMBA

African Parks regrets to announce that 22 elephants have been killed in Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the past ten days. Garamba, which shelters an estimated 2,000-3,000 elephants (one of the
biggest remaining elephant populations in central Africa) has until now avoided the elephant poaching onslaught taking place across west and central Africa.

Park management was alerted to the poaching incident when one of five collared elephants, which are monitored daily by satellite, was observed to have remained stationery for 24 hours. A ground patrol sent to investigate discovered six dead elephant, including two babies, grouped together in the southern section of the park. Unusually, the genitalia of the adult male elephants had been removed along with the tusks.

Over the following three days intensive aerial surveillance was undertaken, during which time 1,415km was flown over the park to ascertain if further poaching had taken place. During these patrol flights another two groups of carcasses involving 13 elephants were located. Ground patrols involving more than 70 rangers subsequently located another three carcasses, bringing the total number of elephants killed to 22 – eighteen adults and four calves.
All 22 elephants are believed to have been killed within a day or two of one another.

Group of six elephant carcasses found by ground patrol.

Group of five elephant carcasses discovered from the air.

This is the biggest elephant poaching incident at Garamba since African Parks assumed management of the park in November 2005, and is serious cause for concern. Our initial investigations suggest that the poaching was the work of a professional group possibly numbering ten or more. Indications are that the elephants were encircled before being shot, as the carcasses were found grouped together. The killings had been achieved with one or two
direct shots to the head as opposed to being sprayed with bullets, again indicating the work of professionals. Cartridges found at the scene confirm that AK-47 assault rifles were used in the attacks.

African Parks’ management will do everything in its power to bring the perpetrators to account. A substantial reward has been offered for information leading to arrests and local villagers are being interviewed to source information about the identity and location of the poachers. Constant aerial monitoring is also being undertaken to prevent a repeat of the attacks.

Map of Garamba indicating where the 22 elephant carcasses were discovered and the aerial surveillance paths flown in the past ten days.

As Garamba is located in a politically volatile region, with armed forces from a number of countries as well as the Lord’s Resistance Army present in the region, follow-up operations will be difficult. However, as with last year’s elephant poaching incident at Zakouma National Park in Chad, we are determined to demonstrate that poaching does not pay. Once the incident has been fully investigated, a further update will be provided, including additional measures that will be put in place to avoid a repeat of such a tragic event.

For further information please contact:

Jane Edge – communications director – janee@african-parks.org
Luis Arranz – Garamba Park Manager – luisa@african-parks.org
Peter Fearnhead – CEO – peterf@african-parks.org

The Superior Human? is the first documentary to systematically challenge the common human belief that humans are superior to other life forms. The documentary reveals the absurdity of this belief while exploding human bias. Featuring Dr Bernard Rollin, Gary Yourofsky Dr Richard Ryder, Dr Steven Best. Narrated by Dr Nick Gylaw. The entire film is linked at “The Superior Human” website.

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