Ivory Bites the Dust

PawsUp

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service destroyed 6 tons of ivory in response to illegal poaching of elephants.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service destroyed over 6 tons of ivory in response to poaching of elephants.

Paws Up!
To the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for destroying stockpiles of confiscated ivory.

A recent news story confirmed that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service “destroyed more than 6 tons of confiscated ivory tusks, carvings and jewelry….”

According to the story, “poachers killed 32,000 elephants last year.” As long as there are illegal markets for ivory, elephants will continue to die. With less than half a million elephants left in Africa and Asia combined, the more we can do to stop illegal sales of ivory, the more we will be able to help save the lives of the largest land mammal.

Take Action: Thank the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for sending a message to traders in illegal ivory. Additionally, never buy products made in whole or in part with ivory.

Dan Ashe, Director
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
1849 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20240

Elephants Safe in LA

PawsUp

064

The use of bullhooks on circus elephants is now prohibited in the city of Los Angeles.

Paws Up!
To the Los Angeles City Council for banning the use of bullhooks on circus elephants.

The Los Angeles City Council “voted unanimously to prohibit the use of ankus or bullhooks, which is a tool used by animal trainers at circuses to keep large elephants in line, starting in 2017.”

Bullhooks are inhumane tools of the circus trade and need to be outlawed across the country. But bullhooks are really only one part of the problem. Circuses in general are abusive to animals. Learn more about the degradation animals experience in circuses and roadside shows.

Take Action: California residents, thank the leaders in Los Angeles for taking a stand to protect elephants in circuses. If you live outside LA, let your council members know you want them to follow Los Angeles’s lead. And never, never support a circus that promotes animal shows.

Herb Wesson, President
Mitchell Englander, President Pro Tempore
Los Angeles City Council
City Hall
200 North Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Elephants to be Retired

Elephants belong in their natural setting, not a zoo or circus.

Elephants belong in their natural setting, not a zoo or circus.

PawsUpPaws Up!
To the Forest Preserve Committee of the Rock Island County Board (IL) for voting to send elephants at the Niabi Zoo to retirement.

According to a news story, Babe and Sophie will be relocated to an appropriate facility where they will live in retirement. Both Babe and Sophie were former circus elephants who wound up in a zoo. The director of the zoo stated that there is “no intention to bring elephants back….The climate is very rough on them….”

Circus and zoo elephants lead horrendous lives in climates that are often totally unsuitable to their normal environment. Additionally, life in a zoo or circus does not give elephants the space they need for roaming and foraging. Elephants typically roam 10 miles a day over ranges measuring hundreds of square miles. Also, they must reside on hard ground and cement surfaces, contributing substantially to painful foot and leg ailments. Foot disease is a common cause of death in captive elephants. They often endure conditions that induce psychological and emotional suffering and may develop stereotypies, such as swaying or patterned walking, which are considered symptoms of psychological distress. Circus and zoo elephants suffer from the inability to partake in natural behaviors, like forming family groups and are often subjected to inhumane treatment through the use of bullhooks and other negative training devices.

Take Action: The best action anyone can take to protect elephants in zoos and circuses is to never attend, visit, or view on media animals confined or forced to entertain. Additionally, if there is an elephant exhibit in your community, contact your local authorities to see if you can persuade them to do what the Rock Island County Board did and vote to send the elephants to an appropriate sanctuary.

New Jersey on Verge of Banning Wild Animals in Circuses

If passed, New Jersey bill A 4088 would penalize those exhibiting bears, elephants, lions, and tigers in circuses throughout the state.

If passed, New Jersey bill A 4088 would penalize those exhibiting bears, elephants, lions, and tigers in circuses throughout the state.

A bill before the New Jersey Assembly, A 4088 , would impose a penalty for the exhibition or use in a performance of live bears, elephants, lions, and tigers in that state.

Wild and exotic animals, such as bears, elephants, lions, and tigers, do not belong in the circus. Many animals are forced to perform by the use of bullhooks, electric shocks, ropes, and other abusive tools. Many circus companies have been cited for violations of the Animal Welfare Act yet persist in forcing these wild animals to perform unnatural tricks. These animals not only face years of both physical and psychological distress, but also pose a threat to onlookers during their performances.

Last year, Greece banned the use of animals in circuses; and just recently, the British government did likewise.

New Jersey residents, contact your legislators and let them know you support A 4088, which would effectively ban the use of live bears, elephants, lions, and tigers in exhibitions and performances in your state. Residents of other states, let your legislators know you would like to see similar legislation to protect wild animals in your state.

When you think about it…a species with a brain should be able to think.

The intelligence of animals is often times underestimated.

The intelligence of animals is often times underestimated.

For centuries, animals were considered nothing more than robots, machines that made noises but nothing more. They were considered to have no intelligence and certainly couldn’t learn other than by constant repetition. They certainly couldn’t use tools or show emotions like love.

However, the more we engage with animals where they are—not where we think they should be—the more we learn that we have underestimated them.

When given a stick to find food, a chimpanzee can fashion it into a tool to dig termites out of rotted tree trunks. When given a stick to reach food, an elephant ignores it. Are elephants “dumber” than chimpanzees? No, elephants don’t use sticks the way chimps do. If an elephant wants to reach food, especially food suspended above her head, she will extend her trunk. If the food is too high, and there is a suitable object that the elephant can step on to reach the food, the elephant will move that object and step up to grab the food. Once we begin to recognize the species’ differences, and develop “tests” to test their abilities on their terms, the more we learn about their intelligence.

Can animals love? Can they show compassion and empathy for their own kind or for other species? Can they learn by adapting what they already know to new situations? The answer to these and other questions about animal intelligence is more often today “yes.” When you think about it, a species with a brain should be able to think.

Keep the Circus From Coming to Your Town

Exotic animals such as these elephants are forced to perform unnatural tricks.

Exotic animals such as these elephants are forced to perform unnatural tricks during circus performances.

It’s that time of year again. Box cars and tractor-trailers carrying wild creatures in chains and cages will be touring the country for the annual circus season. Cole Bros. and Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey are among the most recognized of traveling circuses transporting elephants, monkeys, and big cats, among several other animals, for an average of 26 hours between stops.

While the sole purpose of these companies is to exploit animals for entertainment and their own financial gain, many patrons are unaware of the tortuous acts that take place behind the scenes. Through these training tactics, animals, particularly elephants, are forced to perform unnatural tricks through the use of electric shock, ropes, and sharp metal bull hooks. Cole Bros. Circus has been cited and fined repeatedly by the United States Department of Agriculture for failing to meet “minimum standards of care and treatment” established by the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). Violations include negligent and cruel living conditions, lack of adequate veterinary care, and use of blatant, abusive training tactics.

While animal circuses have been fined thousands of dollars throughout their existence, families still flock to these events unaware of the suffering that these animals endure because of their ticket purchases. These animals not only face years of both physical and psychological distress, but also pose a threat to onlookers during their performances. Contact your city Chamber of Commerce and local venues that support these inhumane performances, and urge them to close their doors to companies allowing such violent training to be committed in their own community.

Click here to view the list of venues and Chambers of Commerce for each state hosting a circus.

Elephants Belong in the Wild

morgue_elephants

Elephants belong in the wild, not in zoos

Elephants do not belong in zoos. They do not belong confined to spaces inadequate for them to function normally. In fact, most elephant zoo exhibits cannot begin to replicate the normal roaming and foraging patterns of elephants who, in one day, can cover 10 miles over ranges measuring hundreds of square miles. In addition, zoo elephants;
• Reside on hard ground and cement surfaces, contributing substantially to painful foot and leg ailments. Foot disease is a common cause of death in captive elephants.
• Endure conditions that induce psychological and emotional suffering; for instance, living in isolation for extended periods of time.
• Suffer from the inability to partake in natural behaviors, like forming family groups. Infant elephants are often shipped to other zoos or circuses.
• Develop stereotypies, such as swaying or patterned walking, which are considered symptoms of psychological distress.
• Are subjected to inhumane treatment through the use of bullhooks and other negative training devices.
• Live in climates that do not replicate their natural environment, causing them undue stress.

The life of a zoo elephant is fraught with much pain, suffering, and sorrow. Therefore, permanently closing elephant exhibits and retiring the elephants to appropriate sanctuaries would do a great service to the world’s largest land mammal. Such a compassionate act on the part of zoo officials would serve as a true testament of their concern for the well-being of wildlife. Additionally, such an action will go far in fostering a public understanding and respect for the magnificent and gentle elephant.

We urge you to contact zoos in your locale where elephants are being deprived of their natural environment, companionships, and freedom from inhumane treatment and urge those zoos to close their elephant exhibits and retire any elephants in their care to appropriate sanctuaries. By urging zoo directors to permanently close their elephant exhibits, you will be demonstrating your compassion, respect, and concern for these gentle giants.

Elephants to Stay in Zimbabwe

PawsUpPaws Up!
To Zimbabwe for returning elephants to the wild instead of shipping them to Chinese zoos.

According to a news story, Zimbabwe has decided not to ship five baby elephants to China for exhibition in zoos in that country.

Four elephants had been shipped in November and one died. The five other baby elephants were awaiting transport when the decision was made to return them to the wild once they have been prepared for their transition.

“State parks and wildlife officials agreed on their release,…and ‘the capture of wild animals for zoos or similar habitats, irrespective of location’ is expected to be stopped.”

Elephants live in herds and work together to protect everyone in the family.

Elephants live in herds and work together to protect everyone in the family.

Elephants, like all wild animals, belong in the wild or in protected sanctuaries and not on display in zoos.

Take Action: Thank the Zimbabwean officials for their commitment to saving lives. Let them know that this compassionate act will serve as a true testament of their concern for the well-being of wildlife and that such an action will go far in fostering a public understanding and respect for the magnificent and gentle elephant.

Mr. Francis Nhema, Minister
Environment and Natural Resources Management
The Permanent Secretary
Kaguvi Building, 11th Floor
Central Avenue, Harare
Zimbabwe
environment@gta.gov.zw

Mr. Edson Chidziya, acting director of National Parks
Parks & Wildlife Management Authority
Corner Sandringham & Borrowdale Roads
Botanical Gardens
PO Box CY140, Causeway, Harare
Zimbabwe
echidziya@simparks.co.zw

LA May Ban Performing Elephants

Life with a circus is not humane for elephants.

Life with a circus is not humane for elephants.

According to a news story, the City Council of “Los Angeles is poised to ban elephants from performing in circuses within its city limits….”

The circus has been around since ancient times. Meant to entertain, circuses often mean suffering, pain, fear, and degradation for the animals who are forced to perform day after day. Life is hard for the humans who choose to work in the circus. Life is inhumane for the nonhuman animals who have no choice.

Los Angeles residents, please contact the mayor and your council members to express your desire that circus elephants should not be allowed to perform in your city.

California residents, please contact the mayor of Los Angeles and members of the Los Angeles City Council to express your support of the proposed ban.

The Honorable Antonio R. Villaraigosa, Mayor
The Honorable Herb J. Wesson, Jr., Council President
The Honorable Ed Reyes, President Pro Tempore
City Hall
200 N. Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

When you think about it…when animals grieve, they look a lot like us.

Animals show signs of grieving much like we do.

We have long since passed the point where we have to wonder, “Do animals think?” We know they do. Do animals feel pain? Absolutely. So, do animals grieve when one of their own dies? Yes. Animals who lose animal friends can become anxious or depressed and may lose their appetites and their interest in playing. They may have trouble sleeping. Anyone who has companion animals may have seen such behavior when one companion dies, leaving the other(s) bereft.

While some animals show signs of distress when a companion of theirs dies, some hold actual funerals for their dead. According to an article in BBC Nature, “When western scrub jays encounter a dead bird, they call out to one another and stop foraging…The jays then often fly down to the dead body and gather around it….”

In another article, we learn that Yellow-billed Magpies often descend on the carcass of one of their own, “hopping and making loud squawking noises for prolonged periods. Some biologists have described these reactions as ‘funeral behaviors,’….”

Marc Bekoff, Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, in an essay on animal emotions, notes that animals display grief at the loss or absence of a close friend or loved one. “Among the best examples are grieving rituals of elephants in the wild observed by such renowned researchers as Iain Douglas-Hamilton, Cynthia Moss and Joyce Poole…To quote Joyce Poole: ‘As I watched Tonie´s vigil over her dead newborn, I got my first very strong feeling that elephants grieve. I will never forget the expression on her face, her eyes, her mouth, the way she carried her ears, her head, and her body. Every part of her spelled grief.’ Young elephants who saw their mothers being killed often wake up screaming.”

Mothers grieve the loss of their babies and babies grieve the loss of their mothers. Flint, a young chimpanzee, died of a broken heart after his mother Flo’s death. Conrad Lorenz, Nobel-wining zoologist, observed grief in geese. And, recently, at the National Zoo in Washington, DC, a mother panda lost her 6-day old infant. Mei Xiang was heard making “distressed vocalizations,” which alerted zoo staff to the death.

When you think about it, animals grieve the loss of loved ones, experience depression, create rituals, hold wakes, and generally act like us when a companion, friend, partner has died.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 110 other followers

%d bloggers like this: