Archive for July, 2012

Willis Best (1999–July 30, 2012)

Willis, the King of Kings, the Quintessence of Cat, the Love of my Life, my Son, my Boy, my Soulmate. There is no greater love than what we shared.

He was brought to me in a paper sack in Fall 1999, liberated from the local “humane” society before they could kill him and two other gorgeous kittens. I bottle fed him as he grew into the most “beautiful boy” I have ever been blessed to know. He taught me the meaning of love, loyalty, and friendship.

Thank you Alafair for the lovely videos of Willis.This is a fitting tribute to a God and Angel in black fur, a gift from the universe that has blessed my life and filled me with light and love amidst a dark and empty void. I love you Willis, you will live in my heart and soul until the day I die, and the best of me dies with you. I will never forget you.

Alternate links:

Amazing story! This speaks on so many levels: tool use and ingenuity, technological knowledge, foresight and anticipation of a future (of pain if they do not smash the traps), the recognition of humans as predators and enemies, and — haha! — destruction of property; they are their own ALF.
So what say you anti-ALF pacifists and cultist vegan abolitionists? Is this self-defense (or extensional self-defense… if human liberators were to do it)? Or is it eco-terrorism? Huh? Get the problem with your collaborationist pacifist arguments? Eh?! Any of you care to step forward and CONDEMN this action — in your usual bullshit terms of course — as “violent” and “counterproductive”?  Eh?
Oh yeah, but you’re right: what would public opinion say? They would surely condemn those criminal gorillas as the violent, terrorist thugs you say the ALF is. And the fucking  difference between what this action and what the ALF do for animals who cannot liberate or defend themselves …. is what please?!

gorillas picture: young gorillas dismantle poacher's snare

Wild gorillas Rwema and Dukore destroy a primitive snare in Rwanda earlier this week.

Just days after a poacher’s snare had killed one of their own, two young mountain gorillas worked together Tuesday to find and destroy traps in their Rwandan forest home, according to conservationists on the scene.

“This is absolutely the first time that we’ve  juveniles doing that … I don’t know of any other reports in the world of juveniles destroying snares,” said Veronica Vecellio, gorilla program coordinator at the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund‘s Karisoke Research Center, located in the reserve where the event took place.

“We are the largest database and observer of wild gorillas … so I would be very surprised if somebody else has seen that,” Vecellio added.

(Also see “Dian Fossey’s Gorillas Exhumed for Investigation.”)

Bush-meat hunters set thousands of rope-and-branch snares in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park, where the mountain gorillas live. The traps are intended for antelope and other species but sometimes capture the apes.

Adults are generally strong enough to free themselves. Youngsters aren’t always so lucky.

Just last week an ensnared infant named Ngwino, found too late by workers from Karisoke, died of snare-related wounds. Her shoulder had been dislocated during escape attempts, and gangrene had set in after the ropes cut deep into her leg.

The hunters, Vecellio said, seem to have no interest in the gorillas. Even small apes, which would be relatively easy to carry away for sale, are left to die.

(Related pictures: “Baby Gorilla Rescued in Armed Sting Operation.”)

Rube Goldberg, Minus the Complexity

Poachers build the snares by tying a noose to a branch or a bamboo stalk, Vecellio explained.

Using the rope, they pull the branch downward, bending it. They then use a bent stick or rock to hold the noose to the ground, keeping the branch tense. A sprinkling of vegetation camouflages the noose.

When an animal budges the stick or rock, the branch springs upward, closing the noose around the prey. If the creature is light enough, it will actually be hoisted into the air.

(See National Geographic magazinemountain gorilla pictures.)

Rwema and Dukore Save the Day

Every day trackers from the Karisoke center comb the forest for snares, dismantling them to protect the endangered mountain gorillas, which the International Fund for Nature (IUCN) says face “a very high risk of extinction in the wild.”

(Related: “Gorillas Extinct Within Ten Years in Central Africa?”)

On Tuesday tracker John Ndayambaje spotted a trap very close to the Kuryama gorilla clan. He moved in to deactivate the snare, but a silverback named Vubu grunted, cautioning Ndayambaje to stay away, Vecellio said.

Suddenly two juveniles—Rwema, a male; and Dukore, a female; both about four years old—ran toward the trap.

As Ndayambaje and a few tourists watched, Rwema jumped on the bent tree branch and broke it, while Dukore freed the noose.

The pair then spied another snare nearby—one the tracker himself had missed—and raced for it. Joined by a third gorilla, a teenager named Tetero, Rwema and Dukore destroyed that trap as well.

Gorilla Tactics

The speed with which everything happened makes Vecellio, the gorilla program coordinator, think this wasn’t the first time the young gorillas had outsmarted trappers.

“They were very confident,” she said. “They saw what they had to do, they did it, and then they left.”

Silverbacks in the Kuryama group have occasionally been caught in the snares, so Vecellio thinks the juveniles would have known the traps are dangerous.

“That’s why they destroyed them,” Vecellio said.

(Related: “Gorillas Seen Using ‘Baby Talk’ Gestures—A First [With Video].”)

“Quite Ingenious”

Despite the unprecedented nature of the event, Vecellio said she wasn’t surprised by the reports. “But,” she said, “I’m always amazed and very proud when we can confirm that they are smart.”

Veterinarian Mike Cranfield, executive director of the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project, also said he wasn’t shocked by the news.

Chimpanzees are always quoted as being the tool users, but I think, when the situation provides itself, gorillas are quite ingenious,” he said.

Cranfield speculated that the gorillas may have learned how to destroy traps by watching the Karisoke center’s trackers.

“If we could get more of them doing it, it would be great,” he joked.

Karisoke’s Vecellio, though, said actively instructing the apes would be against the center’s ethos.

“No we can’t teach them,” she said. “We try as much as we can to not interfere with the gorillas. We don’t want to affect their natural behavior.”

“The Public Prosecutor of Brescia has ordered the seizure of Green Hill, the company Montichiari (Brescia) beagle breeding dogs for vivisection laboratories, long under fire from animal rights organizations. The operation, conducted by the Forest Service, is leading to the seizure of beagle dogs, both puppies and adults, and the entire structure for a total of about 5 hectares. Among the offenses alleged mistreatment of the animals. Green Hill is at the moment under a massive police raid with dozens of  policemen, carabinieri, forest services guards and political policemen  inside the place. They are identifying and numbering all dogs, while the  structure and all the animals will be “confiscated” for “animal cruelty” charges!  This does not mean they will be directly taken out of the structure, but  they will be definitely under legal control and will not be sold until new events.  This police action will take a long time and we are waiting for news from  our lawyer. our activists are there and the press is very very interested.  we asked to be the legal representatives for the dogs after the  confiscation, while it seems at the moment the police would name representative the city council, which is openly on green Hill side. This is not the closure but is an important step in a moment where the Senate is deciding the future of this farm.” (Tino Verducci)

This is a rare and decisive victory! It will be sealed if and when this investigation is over, all remained dogs are rehomed, and Green Hill Lab is as dead as the legitimations for vivisection. Congratulations GH activists, all of Italy, all anti-vivisection abolitionists, to all the animals saved and to be saved!!! Let us savor this moment and grow stronger!


Media coverage:


People are asked to contact the authorities by email and request that a reputable animal rescue association take care of the dogs:

As if we needed more proof animals are agents and thinking, feeling, sensitive subjects, who experience oppression and captivity no different than we do; who need freedom just as we do; and who will resist their oppressors and fight for their freedom, just as humans will, when they are not so alienated and comfortable in their own oppression they are not even aware they are prisoners.

Not so with these chimps; they methodically planned their Great Escape (shades of Steve McQueen) with whatever tools available to them, just as human prisoners are wont to do.

As I wrote some years back:

“The most fascinating thing about zoos is not their materiality — the cages, bars, walls, windows, moats, and  enclosures; the closed world of loneliness and pain pierced by  cries in the night; the dank and fetid smells of festering illness  and misery. Rather, the main interest of zoos lies in their underlying  psychology — in the human mindset that seeks to master nature,  to domesticate wildlife, to exert its will to power over what it deems inferior to itself; in the epistemologies of hierarchy  and rule that have defined the totality of Western culture since its inception. The architectures of separation exist not so much to detach us from any particular zoo animals, but from the natural  world as a whole; they are ontological dividing lines. Zoos separate us not only from particular animals but also, more generally,  from our own animality, our evolutionary heritage, our biological ancestors — the sentient and thinking beings with whom we share the dynamic adventure of evolution and whose existence paved the way for our own. Thus, the walls are not a physical as much as  a cultural means of separation; they split life into “us”  vs. “them” rather than establishing an evolutionary  continuum.”

Of course zookeepers, oppressors, and their speciesist agents in corporate media don’t see things quite this way. Perhaps the most poignant irony in this story is how the prisonhouse of zoos terrorize, beat, and physically and psychologically abuse our closest biological relatives, by the sheer institutionally fact of confinement and control. But slave resistance and uprising — as in the animal liberation movement — is stigmatized as “terrorism,” while the real oppression, violence, and terrorism is coded as business, entertainment, research, or some other perverted  concept in an inverted order of meaning.


New York Daily News, July 13, 2012

Five chimpanzees broke out of their enclosure at Germany's Hannover “Experience Zoo” on Wednesday, terrorizing patrons and injuring a five-year-old girl.

Five chimpanzees broke out of their enclosure at Germany’s Hannover “Experience Zoo” on Wednesday, terrorizing [!!] patrons and injuring a five-year-old  girl.

How exactly the chimps escaped from their enclosure is under investigation, according to the Hannover Allgemeine Zeitung.

The chimps may have used wood that had fallen into their area during  gardening work to scale the wall of their pen, AFP reported. A zoo spokesperson told Die Welt Online that  the apes utilized a tree that had fallen over in a recent storm to climb  out.

About 2,500 people were visiting at the zoo at the time, and were evacuated  once officials realized the apes were on the loose.

A 5-year-old girl was knocked over by one of the apes as it tore through the  grounds of the zoo. The child escaped the encounter with cuts on her face, and  was taken to the hospital for observation, according to Die Welt Online, where zoo officials sent her a  large plush toy.

Most of the escapees didn’t get very far. Four of them “had a quick look  around and then jumped pretty quickly back into their compound,” zoo spokeswoman  Simone Hagemeyer told AFP.

“The fifth and oldest chimp went off to visit the head gorilla,” she told  the newswire service. “He’s getting on a bit, so we offered him a ladder to get  back into the enclosure.”

The  animal rights organization PETA criticized the Hannover Zoo, accusing them  of “grossly negligent behavior.”

“Chimpanzees possess incredible strength and can be completely unpredictable  around humans. One chimpanzee on its own can injure or kill a human – five  escaped chimpanzees could have led to a catastrophe,” zoologist and PETA  organizer Peter Höffken said in a press release.

“Incidents of severe injury continually take place with chimpanzees in  captivity,” Höffken added. “The practice of keeping intelligent great apes in captivity must be abolished.”

Animal Ethics: Past and Present Perspectives

Editor: Evangelos D. Protopapadakis, Athens

Publisher: Logos Verlag, Berlin, 2012

The link above opens to the book’s Table of Contents and then to the full text of my (much-revised) essay, “Total Liberation and Moral Progress: The Struggle for Human Evolution” (excerpted from my forthcoming book of the same title, Rowman&Littlefield, forthcoming in 2013). Logos Verlag is also publishing in early 2013 a selection of some recent essays of my work, to be translated into German.

A little Wild Justice always makes my day. Even though this was only a single act of a brave Kudu, and a minuscule counter to the ever-escalating human war on animals, it is an exquisite example of micro-resistance, such as animals unleash on humans everyday throughout the world.

But let us never fantasize the animals can liberate themselves through just attacks, counter-aggression, and defensive violence;. The longest and most barbaric war ever — the human war against animals — must become a two-sided war. Animal liberation can only be achieved when enough humans say Ya Basta! and destroy the destroyers by any means necessary.

**************************, June 12, 2012


MURURANI – A 44-year-old man was killed by a kudu that he was trying to kill with an axe at Mururani village, south of Rundu, on Saturday. The man had caught the kudu in a wire trap.

Police Deputy Commissioner Willie Bampton said the deceased was identified as Johannes Wihinda, a resident of Mururani village. One of the trapped kudu’s horns penetrated the left side of Wihinda’s chest while he was trying to bludgeon it to death.

Wihinda died on the spot.

For Immediate Release
4th July, 2012

The three cheetah cubs in Mara before they were relocated to the Nairobi Animal Orphanage. The female cub in the middle subsequently died of abuse. Photo Credit: cee4life

Investigation by Australian Agency reveals Ongoing Capture of Cheetah Cubs from the Mara and Relocation to Private Concerns Via Nairobi Animal Orphanage, Kenya.

There has been a long running scheme involving conservation personalities in which the Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) has unwittingly participated in, involving the capture of cheetahs from national parks and reserves and their relocation into privately owned and run captive facilities, a report carried out by an Australian-based organization, cee4life, reveals.

In the report, three cheetah cubs which were being rehabilitated for subsequent release in the Mara Triangle were confiscated by the authorities (KWS) and taken to the Nairobi Animal Orphanage contrary to an earlier agreement between the two to eventually release them into the Mara Triangle.

There has been a continuous influx of cheetah cubs at the Animal Orphanage, with some of the cubs being given as tokens to private individuals ostensibly to create more space for incoming orphans. The report also reveals plans to have some of the animals relocated to an upcoming facility in a ranch in Nakuru, which in turn plans to exploit the animals for entertainment and profit under the guise of education and awareness.

Dubbed “The Mara Cheetah Cubs Report”, the 66-page document mentions a prominent member of the Kenya’s conservation fraternity as one of the people behind the scandal. Ms. Mary Wykstra of Action for Cheetahs in Kenya, is revealed as one of the persons working fervently behind the scenes to ensure that the cubs are relocated to the Nairobi Orphanage so that they can be later given out to private individuals in running the aforementioned facility.

The report says, “as the investigation progressed, it was found that Ms Wykstra has endorsed a captive cheetah facility on one of the Rift valley ranches.” According to the report, the “cheetah centre” is to be built by an American organization called Cat Haven, which funds Ms Wykstra’s work in Kenya. Ms Wykstra is quoted in the report as saying; “I endorsed the proposal from Cat Haven three years ago. Six months after the endorsement, the KWS director issued a letter stating that KWS would assist in the development of the Cat Haven facility to take the pressure off of the Nairobi Orphanage.”

In a shocking revelation, Ms Wykstra, who is not a Kenyan citizen, is reported to have access to government documents from KWS in her continued efforts to source cubs for the said ‘cheetah centre’. For instance, Ms Wykstra admitted being privy to official KWS documentation regarding Mara cub removal. On this, the report says, “private Government internal emails or memos going to a foreign citizen with allegedly no “close ties” within KWS is of concern and highly unusual.”

When it was known that KWS had planned to confiscate the cubs in the Mara Triangle in early May, there was global outcry, with over 3,000 concerned individuals signing an online petition against the move in just a few days. KWS reacted by issuing a statement in defense of their actions. Terming the Animal Orphanage as “providing professional care to the cheetahs”, the wildlife body is reported to be opposed to releasing the animals in the wild saying, “attempts to release captive reared cheetahs to the wild have been unsuccessful.” However, the report disputes this, citing 107 successful cheetah release cases in Africa, 12 of which have been documented in Kenya.

The cheetah is an endangered species, with its population in the Mara ecosystem being on a steady decline. This is attributed to outbreaks of mange, high cub mortality and predation. With less than 30 individuals recorded in a recent census in the Mara, the cheetah faces a serious threat of local extinction. “It is noted that KWS and the carnivore experts did not consider the consequences of removing the Mara cubs from (the) ecosystem in the survival of the species as a whole,” states the report.

Gathering information from Kenyan-based and international investigators in the form of statements, video footage and other means, the investigation is hailed by prominent scholars for its credibility. Dr. Steven Best, a US Professor of Humanities and Philosophy, describes the report: “Few times in my life have I read such a meticulously documented, thoroughly researched, utterly persuasive, and powerful expose of one of the most deceptive, cynical, and manipulative frauds in conservation history.” He continues to ask: “Does Kenya want ecological death or biological regeneration? Do they want their reserves to be graveyards or teeming with life?”

The report confirms earlier suspicions that big cats, and specifically the cheetah, have occasionally been captured from Kenya’s protected areas and subsequently been handed over to private individuals via the Nairobi Animal Orphanage for unknown reasons and contrary to conservation best practice.

Cee4life confirms in addition that one of the three cheetah cubs has since died at the KWS facility on 01-07-2012, and the remaining two are being kept in unnatural and improper conditions.

Among other things, the report calls for an immediate and thorough investigation into claims of massive illegal trade in orphaned cheetahs via KWS and to be conducted by a separate and higher authority outside of KWS; and any cheetahs that have been found to be given as “gifts” be returned to an ethical facility. It also recommends that KWS officially approve the release program that has been presented to them by Mara Conservancy, and implement an immediate start to the official scientific program for wild release of cheetah.

For further information, please contact:

Sybelle Foxcroft
CEO Cee4life


Below is the original shocking report of the lies used by the “animal orphanage” to justify stealing three cheetah cubs — genetically crucial for biological diversity and preservation of the cheetah species — from professional wildlife rehabilitation, in order to be held in captivity, exploited for spectacle and tourist dollars, and even tortured. Despite the strongly documented and irrefutable facts of this report, the Kenyan government sided with the exploiters over the rehabilitators at the Mara Conservancy, EVEN AFTER ONE CUB JUST DIED OF GROSS ABUSE AND NEGLECT. More stunning information and shocking video will be posted to this blog within days. This report is well worth the time it takes to read. For regular updates and further reports, exposes, and information of this appalling scandal see Sybelle Foxcroft’s site, Cee4life.

Cee4life: Mara Cheetah Cub Report


Cheetahs on the brink of extinction, Wild Time Radio

Prominent Names in Cheetah Capture Scam

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