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Ivory Wars –> The Elephants Bloodbath

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Another clip I made for You-tube




According to the Mail and Guardian, over 600 000 elephants were poached in the 1970s and 1980s!!

Worldwide concern over the decline of the elephant led to a complete ban on the ivory trade in 1990. Elephants have been placed on Appendix 1 of CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, which means ALL trade in elephant parts is prohibited. Some governments have cracked down hard on poachers. In some countries, park rangers are told to shoot poachers on sight.

Poaching has caused the collapse of elephants’ social structure as well as decimating their numbers. As the price of ivory soared, poachers became more organized, using automatic weapons, motorized vehicles, and airplanes to chase and kill thousands of elephants. To governments and revolutionaries mired in civil wars and strapped for cash, poaching ivory became a way to pay for more firearms and supplies.

23 000 elephants are illegally poached each year. 6% of all Africa’s elephants are brutally slaughtered so their tusks can be hacked out of their jaws. 

The killing stops with YOU!!

Stop the bloodshed. Don’t help to pay for wars in Africa. Don’t buy Ivory or even support stores that stock ivory. 
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The Namibian Seal Cull

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We all know about the Canadian Seal Cull. Disgusting, barbaric. But how many are aware of the Namibian seal cull? Do you know that the Namibian cull is the largest slaughter of its kind on the planet? It is considered to be the most brutal of all culls and is now officially responsible for the death of more seals than the Canadian cull.
terrified seals run for their lives

On the first of July, 85 000 suckling seal pups and a further 6 000 bulls will be killed in the annual cull. For the next 139 days, terrified pups will be rounded up, seperated from their mothers and be violently beaten to death. The colony will be rounded up at daybreak. Pups, bulls and mothers will surrounded and kept away from the safety of the sea. Men with clubs move in and the seals run in fear.

The babies vomit their milk up in fear

The sealers will cut the little ones throats, sometimes while they are still alive. The baby seals are known to be so terrified that they vomit up their mothers milk. The sand on the beach is stained pink from all the blood. Carcasses are thrown onto the back of waiting vehicles and the bull-dozers come in to clean up the beach before the tourists arrive to view the colony. 

There is not ONE animal charity that has an active campaign against this mindless slaughter. Not ONE! And each year, despite a declining population, the quota gets increased. But before I get into the quota, I want you to consider the following.
The cruelest of all culls
The Cape Fur Seal is listed on Appendix 2 of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. (CITES) This means that they are not yet threatened with extinction, but their survival is dependent on conservation. They have a natural mortality rate of around 30% within the first few weeks of being born. In Canada, sealing only begins after the pup is fully weaned and is self surviving. The Cape Fur Seal however, takes much longer to wean, up to 11 months. Clubbing begins when they are seven months old. Yes, still baby babies.
Bull-dozers clean up the beach 

Loss of habitat, the fishing industry and starvation are major threats to these animals. Between 1994 and 2000 some 300 thousand seals died from starvation. In 1993 the pup production was 164 248 with a sealing TAC quota of 50 850 – (31% of pups) In 2000 the pup production was 147 823 (90% of 1993) with a sealing TAC quota of 60 000 – (41% of pups). In 2006 the pup production was 107 910 (73% of 2000) with a sealing TAC quota of 85 000 – (79% of pups) What justification is there for the Namibian government to increase the quota from 31% to 79% considering the two mass die offs in between where between a third to a half of the population died of starvation? This amounts to a seal genocide! 

Hatem Yavuz
The ministry of fisheries claims it has on several occasions asked the public for a more humane method of culling. To date, no one has come up with a solution. The cull is driven by ONE man. Hatem Yavuz. He has the contract to buy every skin from the Namibian cull until 2019. He pays $7 per pelt while foreign tourists pay $12 to view the colony (after the bull-dozers have cleaned up the beach that is) His solution to the method of culling is, and I quote  “In order for them to feel less pain, they need to be killed with a club that has a nail in it.” Yavuz, who describes himself as an animal lover, is arrogant in the extreme. He wears a necklace made from the teeth of a white whale he killed. Dubbed “The King of the Cull” Yavuz jokes in an interview with Australia’s Seven News that he wears his crown with pride. He laughs at the interviewer and makes silly and snide comments the whole way through. Yavuz and his partner run their business “Hatem Yavuz Deri” from Sydney and apparently also have offices in Turkey, Russia and South Africa. Here is his e-mail address hatemyavuz@superonline.com Feel free to raise your concerns. 
But enough of that particular moron. I now wish to draw your attention to the hero of this story and not the villain. The Patron Saint of Cape Fur Seals is a South African who has fought tirelessly against this Namibian cull. Francois Hugo.  In 1999, Hugo established “Seal Alert-SA” as a “direct hands on organisation to address the imbalances, cruelty and abuse that has plagued this species for 600 years.” Paul Watson, co-founder of “Greenpeace” and founder of “Sea Shepherd Conservation Society” has this to say 
Francois Hugo
” One of the rarest things among people are those who have forged a bond with another species. It is such people that I admire and respect most for they have shaken loose the bonds of anthropcentrism and they have pierced that mysterious but familiar veil that separates us from the other wondrous species that share this incredible planet with us. Francois Hugo is one such person whose profound love for the Cape fur seals manifests itself in a raging passion that  fuels both his anger at the injustice done to the seals and his compassion to do all that he can to defend and protect the seals. Francois is a devoted shepherd to these marvolous creatures and he needs the assistance of every person who can muster up the compassion to support him. Here is a man who is not asking for anything but for people to join his plea to the government of South Africa to help protect and save his beloved seals.”
Francois, for all you have done and all you continue to do, I salute you. Though I cannot do much, I will do my damndest to raise awareness to the plight of these animals and let the world know about the atrocities being perpetrated against them. Thank you.  
If anyone who reads this would like to know more, or if you are able to assist Mr Hugo in any way please contact Seal Alert SA http://sealalertsa.wordpress.com/ 

Barbaric. Utterly Disgusting.

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I have been criticized as being a bit “over the top” with regards to my love and passion for wildlife, nature and the creatures I share the planet with. I have resigned from my crappy poor paying job in the corporate world. It may be good for some people, but sitting behind a counter, shuffling paper back and forth and dealing with a chain of incompetent useless idiots… well it brought me not one iota of happiness. It was Ghandi, I think, who said “Our future depends on what we do in the present.” And this IS the present. So what AM I doing? I am raising awareness, sharing ideas and fighting rampant cruelty as best as I can. I have joined up with Sea Shepherd. Some of you groaning “those lunatics!” Yes. Sea Shepherd. Lunatics? Watch this clip and decide for yourself before you condemn the folks who actually have the balls to do something about protecting the marine environment.

My attempts may be in vain, after all saving the life of one animal will not change the world, but it will change the world for that one animal. At the end of the day, when all is said and done… will you have said more than you have done? Thanks Gina for these wise words. For one so young and yet so aware, you are an inspiration. You are already the voice that animals do not have.

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Dolphins have been declared the world’s second most intelligent creatures after humans, with scientists suggesting they are so bright that they should be treated as “non-human persons”.
Studies into dolphin behaviour have highlighted how similar their communications are to those of humans and that they are brighter than chimpanzees. These have been backed up by anatomical research showing that dolphin brains have many key features associated with high intelligence.
The researchers argue that their work shows it is morally unacceptable to keep such intelligent animals in amusement parks or to kill them for food or by accident when fishing. Some 300,000 whales, dolphins and porpoises die in this way each year.
“Many dolphin brains are larger than our own and second in mass only to the human brain when corrected for body size,” said Lori Marino, a zoologist at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, who has used magnetic resonance imaging scans to map the brains of dolphin species and compare them with those of primates. 
“The neuroanatomy suggests psychological continuity between humans and dolphins and has profound implications for the ethics of human-dolphin interactions,” she added.
Dolphins have long been recognised as among the most intelligent of animals but many researchers had placed them below chimps, which some studies have found can reach the intelligence levels of three-year-old children. Recently, however, a series of behavioural studies has suggested that dolphins, especially species such as the bottlenose, could be the brighter of the two. The studies show how dolphins have distinct personalities, a strong sense of self and can think about the future.

It has also become clear that they are “cultural” animals, meaning that new types of behaviour can quickly be picked up by one dolphin from another.
In one study, Diana Reiss, professor of psychology at Hunter College, City University of New York, showed that bottlenose dolphins could recognise themselves in a mirror and use it to inspect various parts of their bodies, an ability that had been thought limited to humans and great apes.
In another, she found that captive animals also had the ability to learn a rudimentary symbol-based language.

Other research has shown dolphins can solve difficult problems, while those living in the wild co-operate in ways that imply complex social structures and a high level of emotional sophistication.

In one recent case, a dolphin rescued from the wild was taught to tail-walk while recuperating for three weeks in a dolphinarium in Australia.

After she was released, scientists were astonished to see the trick spreading among wild dolphins who had learnt it from the former captive.

There are many similar examples, such as the way dolphins living off Western Australia learnt to hold sponges over their snouts to protect themselves when searching for spiny fish on the ocean floor.
Such observations, along with others showing, for example, how dolphins could co-operate with military precision to round up shoals of fish to eat, have prompted questions about the brain structures that must underlie them.
Size is only one factor. Researchers have found that brain size varies hugely from around 7oz for smaller cetacean species such as the Ganges River dolphin to more than 19lb for sperm whales, whose brains are the largest on the planet. Human brains, by contrast, range from 2lb-4lb, while a chimp’s brain is about 12oz.
When it comes to intelligence, however, brain size is less important than its size relative to the body.
What Marino and her colleagues found was that the cerebral cortex and neocortex of bottlenose dolphins were so large that “the anatomical ratios that assess cognitive capacity place it second only to the human brain”. They also found that the brain cortex of dolphins such as the bottlenose had the same convoluted folds that are strongly linked with human intelligence.
Such folds increase the volume of the cortex and the ability of brain cells to interconnect with each other. “Despite evolving along a different neuroanatomical trajectory to humans, cetacean brains have several features that are correlated with complex intelligence,” Marino said.

Marino and Reiss will present their findings at a conference in San Diego, California, next month, concluding that the new evidence about dolphin intelligence makes it morally repugnant to mistreat them.
Thomas White, professor of ethics at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, who has written a series of academic studies suggesting dolphins should have rights, will speak at the same conference.
“The scientific research . . . suggests that dolphins are ‘non-human persons’ who qualify for moral standing as individuals,” he said.

Save the Rhino!

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Poaching of African rhinos has risen 2,000 percent in the past three years & Rhino horns fetch up to $30,000 per pound.

The poaching of rhinos for their horns has risen dramatically over the last year and a half, conservationists report.

These crimes are fueled by demand for African rhino horn from the Asian market, where it can fetch more than $30,000 a pound ($60,000 per kilogram).

Africa is losing a rhinoceros every other day. South Africa, which holds more than 80 percent of the continent’s rhino population, has been losing at least 20 rhinos per month.

“Within South Africa’s national parks — not counting private land there, where poaching was rare — there were 10 rhinos poached in 2007,” said Matthew Lewis, senior program officer for African species conservation for the World Wildlife Fund. “Thus far in 2010 alone, more than 200 rhinos were poached within South Africa, with a lot of those poached outside national parks, so that’s a more than 2,000 percent increase in just three years’ time.”

The horns might weigh 6.3 to 8.1 pounds (2.9 to 3.7 kilograms) on average. Bits of crushed horn are a prized ingredient in traditional Asian medicines.

The crisis in Africa

Two species of rhino are native to Africa, while three are native to southern Asia. Of the two African species, the white rhinoceros is near-threatened, and the black rhinoceros is critically endangered. Some 4,000 black rhinos and 17,500 white rhinos are all that keep Africa’s rhinoceros population from extinction.

Hundreds of thousands of rhinos once roamed throughout Africa. Now highly organized international groups of illegal hunters are using helicopters and deploying technologies including night-vision scopes, silenced weapons and drugged darts to find and kill these giants.

“We’re up against the emergence of really high-tech poachers,” Lewis said. “This tactic of using helicopters and veterinary drugs on darts has really only come out in the last six months to a year. It really points to organized crime.”

Greed and nonsense

Most rhino horns leaving southern Africa are destined for markets in Asia, especially Vietnam, where demand has escalated in recent years.

“A lot of that has to do with how Vietnam’s economy has grown astronomically,” Lewis said. The country’s newly affluent middle and upper class seems to be seeking rhino horn as some kind of miraculous remedy, he said, although its traditional use in Chinese medicine is for fevers and nosebleed.

Rhino horn is made from keratin, “from compacted hair, a very similar substance to the hooves of a horse or a cow, or a person’s own fingernails,” Lewis said. “Taking rhino horn has the same effects as chewing on your fingernails: no medicinal properties whatsoever.”

With prices that high, there’s also the prospect “of creating anything and calling it rhino horn,” Lewis said. “People can throw in all kinds of crazy things, and it could actually be very dangerous.”

Trouble in Asia

Asian rhinos, which generally have smaller horns, seem to be less of a target for poachers. Still, two of the three Asian rhino species, the Javan and Sumatran rhinoceroses, are critically endangered at populations of 40 and 400, respectively, Lewis said, and only 2,400 or so Indian rhinoceroses remain in the wild.

“They were nearly wiped out 100 years ago, and they’re hanging on by a thread,” Lewis said. “Indian rhinos have much larger horns than the other two Asian species, and we’ve seen escalation to their poaching similar to Africa in the past three or four years.”

“We have to raise awareness and get on top of this,” Lewis concluded. “Rhinos could go extinct in our lifetime as a result of this if awareness isn’t raised.” He hopes increasing public awareness about the plight of rhinos could spur a crackdown on the criminals who buy and kill for these horns.

Facts on Fur

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The fur trade. Just the very mention and the mind starts spinning. Of course it is an emotional issue, but before you think I am some kind of weird hippie or am here to promote my moral superiority, please bear in mind that I have actually done considerable research into the subject.

As with any argument, it is of utmost importance that one is first presented with the facts. Here they are. Undisputed.

Each year around 50 MILLION animals are slaughtered for their fur. Animals include, but are not limited to foxes, rabbits, cats, dogs, wolves, bears, hamsters, raccoons, mink, moles, chinchillas, lynx, beavers, skunks, seals, coyotes, leopards, tigers, otters and squirrels.

Around 85% of these 50 million animals are raised in various fur farms around the world. The living conditions of these caged animals invariably involves unhygienic, cramped and squalid living accommodations, with insufficient space for maneuverability and a lack of water. Cages, made out of wire mesh, are usually stacked on top of one another in long rows under an open shed. Sometimes, while being moved around, animals inside these cages have their legs broken. Small farms usually have around a hundred animals, while some of the larger fur farms, such as those in Scandinavia, can have up to a hundred thousand.

Animals subjected to these conditions frequently develop physical and behavioural problems induced by the stress of their caging. Aside from frantic and ceaseless pacing, reports of self-mutilation where the animals bite their skin, tails and feet are not uncommon. Malnutrition and overcrowding also result in increased disease susceptibility and more parasites. Because of these un-natural conditions one finds an unusually high rate of cub mortality, as much as 25% in foxes. Infanticide, where the mother eats her own young, is also a regular occurrence. Mink, which rely heavily on water, are often found dead from heat exhaustion, especially in summer where they cannot find water to cool themselves. Water is usually via a nipple system which freezes in winter.

Number of Animals to Make a Fur Coat:
12-15 lynx
10-15 wolves or coyotes
15-20 foxes
20-25 cats
60-80 minks
27-30 raccoons
10-12 beavers
60-100 squirrels

In order to preserve the pelt, and thus maximize profits, fur farmers employ some fairly gruesome methods in order to kill the animals. Some of these are listed as follows. Anal electrocution, where the shock causes the animals eyeballs to burst and it contorts so violently the spasms break its back. Some animals, struggling in pain and terror have their necks twisted and broken. Others, particularly seal pups, are bludgeoned to death. Their heads beaten so hard the skulls collapse. Some fury creatures are injected with strychnine which causes spasms in the muscles, starting with the head and neck. The spasms spread to every muscle causing continuous convulsions until death, in the form of asphyxiation caused by paralysis, comes some 15-25 minutes later. Cats are usually strangled with wire nooses and have water poured down their throats until they drown. Many creatures are simply gassed with exhaust fumes. This unreliable method often leads to the animal waking up to find itself being skinned alive.

As for the environment, it has been found that the amount of energy required to make a genuine fur coat is approximately 20 times that of a fake fur garment. Chemicals used to stop the fur from rotting also render it not bio-degradable and the very use of these chemicals can also lead to water contamination.

Unlike the meat industry, where the meat is used as a source of food, the fur industry serves no purpose other than to pander to the whims of vanity. Some 80 000 Cape Fur Seals and a further 350 000 Harp Seals are slaughtered each year in Namibia and New Foundland respectively. If you were to line these animals up side by side, you would have a line of almost 300 Kilometers long. However, less than 2% meat is used and carcasses are left to rot on the ice floes.