CAPE TOWN— A wild herd of elephants that roamed in Limpopo’s Atherstone Game Reserve has been translocated by Global Supplies – Conservation Initiatives to a safe haven through the collaborative efforts of the Elephant Reintegration Trust, global animal welfare organisation Humane Society International-Africa (HSI-Africa) and Fondation Franz Weber, a Swiss organisation that has been dedicated to the protection of elephants since 1975.
At the same time, HSI-Africa treated the herd’s females with immunocontraception to humanely control the population growth at their new home.
Elephant immunocontraception – a non-steroidal, non-hormonal and humane method of elephant population control – has been researched and funded by HSI and the Humane Society of the United States since 1996. Immunocontraception uses the female elephant’s own immune response to block egg fertilisation.
Female elephants over the age of 10 years are darted remotely from a helicopter with a dropout dart that contains the immunocontraception vaccine and a marking dye. This marks the elephant at the dart site, creating a quick aerial reference of which animals have been darted. The dart falls out a short while afterwards. Thus, the animals do not need to be immobilised in order to be treated and the vaccinations are completed within minutes.
“This relocation marks the 36th population and 1041th female elephant on immunocontraceptive treatment to date. This is more than half of all breeding age female elephants in populations outside of the Kruger National Park.
“Considering that a female is capable of reproducing eight to 10 elephant calves within her lifespan, the exponential effect of our immunocontraception programme means that thousands of elephants have been spared from death through a cull as they compete for land and resources with people in an ever-shrinking habitat,” says HSI-Africa wildlife director, Audrey Delsink.
Smart elephant management
In addition to contracepting the females, HSI-Africa and partner Global Supplies – Conservation Initiatives also deployed a satellite tracking collar on one of the herd members to remotely monitor the elephants at their new home under the watchful eye of the Elephant Reintegration Trust. This translocation forms part of groundbreaking research into elephant behaviour and reintegration and is critical to our understanding of elephant management.
“The collaring and immunocontraception are part of a long-term, proactive elephant management strategy. Both activities work to save elephants’ lives and mitigate human-elephant conflict. We are extremely proud and excited to be part of this project that will not only lead to the enrichment of the lives of these elephants but will change the way in which we manage elephants in the future.
“We are delighted to collaborate with the Elephant Reintegration Trust, Fondation Franz Weber, who provided funding for the transportation of the elephants, and our partner, Global Supplies – Conservation Initiatives, as well as the progressive reserve that has willingly accepted this herd. We all share the same vision of peaceful human-animal co-existence,” added Delsink.
HSI-Africa is the only non-profit organisation that specifically works on humane methods of population management in and around reserves where elephants could come into conflict with surrounding communities.
Media contact: Marisol Gutierrez, HSI-Africa media and communications manager, +27 72 358 9531, firstname.lastname@example.org
Download photos of the elephant relocation
CAPE TOWN—This World Elephant Day, Humane Society International/Africa is celebrating the treatment of its 34th population of African elephants using the immunocontraception vaccine as a humane population growth control method. This brings the total number of females under treatment in South Africa to 1,035 – which is more than half of all breeding-age female elephants outside of the Kruger National Park, which does not use contraception.
As an effective alternative to the traditional method of culling – when family groups are gunned down – immunocontraception uses the female elephant’s own immune response to block egg fertilisation. Female elephants over the age of 10 years are treated remotely from a helicopter with a dart that contains the immunocontraception vaccine and a marking substance.that creates a quick reference of which animals have been darted. The dart falls out shortly afterwards. The animals do not need to be immobilised to be treated and vaccinations are completed within minutes.
Download photos and video of elephants receiving the immunocontraception vaccine.
“Shooting these magnificent animals to control their numbers is an antiquated, cruel and unnecessary way to deal with an elephant population that is increasingly squeezed by human encroachment. Immunocontraception is the future of humane elephant conservation,” said Audrey Delsink, wildlife director for HSI/Africa and an elephant biologist.
“Elephants are widely acknowledged as highly cognitive, sentient beings with close-knit family bonds that span generations. It has also been well documented that these sensitive animals suffer symptoms of post-traumatic stress for decades after undergoing traumatic experiences such as capture from the wild, culling or poaching,” said Delsink.
Humane Society International and the Humane Society of the United States have funded cutting-edge research on the use of this non-steroidal, non-hormonal and humane method of elephant population control since 1996. HSI adopts a science-based approach, and with its research partners, has published numerous scientific papers documenting the vaccine’s efficacy, reversibility, lack of behavioural side effects and cost-effectiveness.
“African elephants face many challenges, particularly habitat loss,” added Delsink. “The past three decades have seen their habitat shrink by half, which also leads to increased opportunities for human-elephant conflict on the fringes of neighbouring rural communities, parks and reserves.”
HSI/Africa is working to protect elephants from these and other threats through advocacy, education, policy and regulatory reforms, ivory-demand reduction programmes and on-the-ground conflict resolution efforts. It is the only non-governmental organisation that specifically works on humane methods of birth control in and around zones where elephants could come into conflict with surrounding communities.
With natural processes such as elephant migration curtailed by fences and borders and elephants limited to smaller areas, the ecosystem within the animals’ range also needs to be carefully managed. With females able to produce eight to 10 calves in their lifetime, elephant populations are able to double every 10 to 15 years, making immunocontraception a vital tool in elephant management plans.
Boys will be … bulls
Young male or bull elephants are sometimes incorrectly labelled as ‘problem’ or ‘damage-causing’ animals because they do what they are biologically programmed to do: to seek out new territory after leaving their natal herd. In the process, conflict with people can occur and the animals may be legally destroyed.
To mitigate such conflict in a community in rural KwaZulu-Natal, HSI/Africa and partners Global Supplies and Conservation Outcomes recently deployed three satellite collars on two bulls and a member of a family herd. The collars facilitate the remote monitoring of the animals’ movements: when a collared elephant nears a defined perimeter, reserve management are alerted and can then take steps to reduce the chance of conflict.
This is the second community reserve in the province where the partnership has deployed immunocontraception and satellite collars, embracing science and technology to provide more humane solutions that allow people and elephants to peacefully co-exist.
Download photos and video of elephants receiving the immunocontraception vaccine.
Media contact: Marisol Gutierrez, HSI/Africa media and communications manager, +27 72 358 9531, email@example.com
CAPE TOWN—South Africa is not a good place for lions today, on World Lion Day—and it won’t be tomorrow either, with an estimated 11,000 lions held captive in more than 300 facilities across the country. The captive lion breeding industry is marked by ongoing exposure of poor conditions and welfare standards, inhumane slaughter and pending cruelty cases.
“Like the pitiful circuses of old, the clock is ticking for this abusive industry, and the South African government should be doing more to hasten its end,” said Audrey Delsink, wildlife director for Humane Society International/Africa. “As consumers become increasingly aware of the cruel and exploitative practices in captive lion breeding and its spin-off industries, taking concrete steps to shut down this profit-driven, putrid trade would be a fitting way to honour World Lion Day.”
In addition to serious welfare and conservation concerns, COVID-19 has also placed a spotlight on infectious disease outbreaks linked to the wildlife trade.
“In captive breeding facilities, many lions are confined under unhygienic, stressful conditions, and they are often slaughtered on site, creating ideal conditions for the spread of zoonoses,” said Delsink.
There are almost four times more lions in cruel captivity in South Africa than there are in the wild. The country is home to only 3,000 wild lions.
The captive lion industry has no conservation value and is believed to be contributing to the growing demand for body parts of big cats and threatening global populations of other big carnivores—including tigers who are bred, slaughtered and hunted along with lion. The World Wildlife Crime Report issued in May 2020 by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime stated that illicit markets in big cats raise conservation concerns for the species.
The industry’s associated activities—such as cub petting, lion walking, ‘canned’ hunting and the trade in lion bone and other body parts—have continued despite the 2018 Parliamentary Colloquium that led to a committee resolution calling for the closure of the industry.
HSI/Africa provided an extensive submission to the high-level panel commissioned by the Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Barbara Creecy to inform state policy on the management of lions, leopards and other wild animals in the country.
HSI/Africa called on the panel to take the following actions:
- Implement the directives of the Parliamentary resolution addressing captive lion breeding without further delay;
- Place an immediate moratorium on new captive lion breeding facilities or further breeding at existing lion facilities;
- Place a moratorium on the international import and export of live animals and animal parts, pending an independent investigation into allegations of CITES and local regulation non-compliance; and
- Engage with the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development to repeal recent amendments to legislation that facilitate the management of wild animals as farm animals, and the slaughter and consumption of lion and other wild animals as human food.
Tourists are often not aware that South Africa’s wildlife ‘entertainment’ facilities are linked to canned lion hunting, and many such facilities dupe unsuspecting tourists into spending time and money on volunteering at these places under the guise of ‘conservation’.
Lions exist in only 8% of their former range and are suffering from loss of habitat and prey, in addition to being decimated by trophy hunting.
HSI analysis of CITES trade data shows that between 2017 and 2018, the European Union imported 398 lion trophies, while the United States imported 150. Of the 406 EU trophies, 312 were from captive lion hunting facilities in South Africa.
Despite claims that the captive predator breeding industry and trophy hunting of captive-bred lions is a significant contributor to the economy, the contribution to South Africa’s GDP is marginal and benefits only a few. A recently published paper estimates that total gross revenue for the sub-sector is estimated at roughly USD $180 million per annum. These revenues represent a mere 0,96% of tourism’s total GDP contribution in 2019 (USD $18.8 million) but may entail extensive opportunity costs. The reputational damage to South Africa and the cost to its tourism is a far-greater risk than the country can afford as consumers increasingly seek out ethical tourist destinations around the world.
Panthera leo is classified by CITES as endangered, listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and is also listed in the U.S. Endangered Species Act.
Media contact: Marisol Gutierrez, HSI-Africa media and communications manager, +27 72 358 9531, firstname.lastname@example.org
WASHINGTON —Wildlife campaigners across the globe from animal charity Humane Society International have called for an urgent worldwide ban on the wildlife trade after China’s announcement that it will prohibit the buying and selling of wild animals for food in light of the mounting threat associated with coronavirus. The capture, market trade, and butchery of wild animal species for human consumption happens across large parts of Asia and Africa such as Indonesia, India, Vietnam, and West, Central and East Africa, as well as in Latin America, says HSI, posing a very real threat of spreading zoonotic and potentially fatal diseases. Governments around the world must take China’s lead and shut down this trade for good. HSI leadership in South Africa, Nepal, India, South Korea, Canada, the United States, Australia, Guatemala, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, the United Kingdom, Honduras, El Salvador and Costa Rica have joined the call for global action.
Jeffrey Flocken, HSI president, says: “China has taken decisive action to halt the wildlife trade for human consumption implicated in the global coronavirus crisis, but it would be a grave mistake for us to think that the threat is isolated to China. The capture and consumption of wild animals is a global trade that causes immense suffering for hundreds of thousands of animals every year, including endangered wildlife species being traded to the brink of extinction. The trade can also spawn global health crises like the current coronavirus, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome and the deadly bird flu. Wildlife markets across the globe, but particularly in Asia and Africa, are widespread and could easily be the start of disease outbreaks in the future.”
In the north eastern states of India, wild species such as the Chinese pangolin and several species of wild birds are routinely sold for human consumption. Bengal monitor lizard meat is also consumed across India, driven mainly by the superstitious belief that the fat stored in the tail can cure arthritis, and meat from the Indian flap-shell turtle is also popular across the country, despite both species being listed under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. In some north Indian states, owl eyes are also consumed for their perceived medicinal benefits for human vision.
Indonesia also has hundreds of “extreme” animal markets where the conditions are the same as those described by scientists as the perfect breeding ground for new and deadly zoonotic viruses, such as coronaviruses. Wild animals are sold and slaughtered in public and unsanitary conditions. The trade takes place alongside that of dogs and cats which itself has already been shown to pose a risk of rabies transmission. In January this year, Humane Society International wrote to Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo as part of the Dog Meat Free Indonesia coalition, calling for urgent measures to ensure that Indonesia does not become the next point of origin of a deadly virus by tackling the risk posed by these animal markets.
Mr. Flocken adds: “We already know that dog and cat meat markets in Indonesia are a hotbed for disease transmission, and we also know from our investigations that rabies-positive dogs are being sold and slaughtered for consumption in these markets. Given that dogs are caged and slaughtered alongside wild animals such as snakes, bats and rats, Indonesia must surely take preventative measures now to ensure it does not become the next point of origin of a deadly virus. Similar risks can be observed in wild animal markets across the globe and especially in Asia and Africa. The trade in wildlife is a global crisis that calls for global action, now.”
Wild meat consumption is also an issue in Vietnam where wild pig, goat and bird species are eaten as well as softshell turtle, bear, snake, pangolin and civet, and snake wine is also consumed. A number of studies conducted in recent years reveal that a significant percentage of the Vietnamese population consumes wild animals.
Bush meat, including that derived from primates, is still consumed in many parts of Africa. Earlier this month, the Tanzanian government endorsed the establishment of butcheries specifically for the bushmeat trade. And in South Africa, approximately 12,000 lions are captive bred in deplorable conditions, to facilitate the export of lion skeletons to Southeast Asia for tiger bone wine. Lions are hosts for the tuberculosis (TB) virus, which can survive in bones ground to powder.
In Guatemala and El Salvador, meat from crocodile, iguana and other reptiles is often eaten during Lent despite it being illegal to do so.
This week, the National People’s Congress, the Chinese national legislature, elevated an originally temporary ban on wildlife trade for human consumption from an administrative action to the level of a national law. Specifically, the announcement, issued as an emergency measure, creates a comprehensive ban on the trade in terrestrial wild animals bought and sold for food, including those who are bred or reared in captivity.
Download video footage of Indonesia’s wild animal and dog/cat meat markets here: https://www.dropbox.com/home/Indonesia%20Extreme%20Markets
Media contact: Wendy Higgins email@example.com
Gandhinagar — Representatives from more than 130 nations agreed to vital protections for migratory wild species at what’s being hailed as a landmark wildlife convention in Gandhinagar, India. Delegates agreed to increased or first-time conservation protection status for the endangered Mainland Asian elephant, the critically endangered great Indian bustard and Bengal florican, the jaguar, the oceanic whitetip shark, smooth hammerhead and tope shark. The circumstances of all of these species, require multi-nation conservation co-operation because their ranges traverse country boundaries.
Sixty percent of Mainland Asian elephants are found in India, and the species has been listed as Endangered in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) since 1986, a victim of habitat loss and increasing human/elephant conflict. The great Indian bustard, whose population has dwindled to around 150 individuals in India, is persecuted by hunting in Pakistan, and the Bengal florican has a population of less than 1000 birds, struggling to survive amidst habitat loss in India and Nepal.
Mark Simmonds OBE, senior marine scientist at Humane Society International, said: “With estimates of up to one million species at risk of extinction right now, nations have a shared responsibility to act, especially in the case of migratory species. Species such as the Asian elephant and hammerhead shark are in desperate need of attention and cooperation from the countries through which they roam, mate, give birth or feed. This truly is proving to be a landmark wildlife convention because we’ve successfully secured increased conservation protection status for many species and we can now set to work on concrete measures to protect them and their habitats.
The Asian elephant is endangered throughout much of its range, trying to survive in continually shrinking, degraded and fragmented habitat, and increasingly coming into conflict with people. Its protection will be vastly improved if range countries work together to tackle these challenges, and inclusion in CMS Appendix I will significantly aid that.”
Rebecca Regnery, Humane Society International’s deputy director of wildlife, said: “The jaguar, the largest native cat of the Americas, is now absent from more than 77% of its historic range in Central America. Despite protection in all its range states, the jaguar is threatened by illegal killing and trade. Listing on CMS will formalize range state collaboration on conservation efforts, creating an international legal framework for the first time. This will provide increased incentives and funding opportunities for this work, which is critical for curbing habitat destruction, maintaining key migration corridors and reducing violence and human deaths associated with retaliation and trafficking.”
Lawrence Chlebeck, marine biologist with HSI Australia, said, “This is a fantastic success for international shark conservation efforts. Three of the shark species hardest hit by commercial fishing will, from today, receive brand new international attention and coordination. Sharks are especially susceptible to population decline due to late maturation and low reproductive potential, and they are therefore some of the most threatened animals on our planet. International, cooperative conservation measures, such as those that will result from these listings, are absolutely vital to the ecological viability and survival of these species.”
Summary of key decisions today at CMS CoP 13
- Mainland Asian elephant/Indian elephant (Elephas maximus indicus) added to Appendix I
- Great Indian bustard and Bengal florican added to Appendix I
- The jaguar (Panthera onca) added to Appendices I and II
- The antipodean albatross (Diomedea antipodensis) added to Appendix I
- Oceanic whitetip shark (Carcharhinus longimanus) added in Appendix I
- Smooth hammerhead shark (Sphyrna zygaena) added to Appendix II
- Tope shark (Galeorhinus galeus) added to Appendix II.
These decisions have been made in the convention’s ‘Meeting in the Whole’ and are subject to formal verification in the closing plenary of the CoP on 22nd February. However, as they have been agreed by consensus, this is now a formality.
Media contact: Wendy Higgins firstname.lastname@example.org
SOUTH AFRICA — As animal protection organizations fight for the survival of many African wildlife species, an undercover investigation by Humane Society International and the Humane Society of the United States has exposed exhibitors peddling wild animal products and pay-to-slay trophy hunts at the Safari Club International convention in Nevada, USA, last week. The SCI convention is one of the world largest trophy hunting expos with over 870 exhibitors from 34 countries and more than ten thousand attendees. Sale offerings at the February 2020 event included a captive-bred lion hunt in South Africa for $8,000. One South African outfitter said hunting a giraffe costs “only” $1,200 because they have “too many giraffes” and need to “get rid of the animals.”
Other hunting trips for sale at the SCI 2020 convention included:
- A $350,000 hunt for a critically endangered black rhino in Namibia.
- An outfitter advertised its “Trump Special” – a $25,000 hunt for a buffalo, sable, roan and crocodile.
- A $6,000 hunt for any six animals that a customer can choose to kill in South Africa, such as zebras, wildebeest, warthogs, impalas, hartebeest, gemsbok, nyala, and waterbuck.
- A $13,000 hunt for black-backed jackal, African wildcat, caracal and bat-eared foxes in South Africa.
- A tuskless elephant hunt in Zambia for $14,500.
- A polar bear hunt in Canada sold for $60,000.
- An Asiatic black bear hunt in Russia for $15,000.
- Four South African exhibitors offered to sell or broker captive-bred lion hunts. One vendor bragged that his safari company holds five of the top 10 lions ever taken in SCI’s Record Book.
Audrey Delsink, wildlife director for Humane Society International/Africa said, “We are devastated to see the SCI convention offering so many opportunities to destroy our already-threatened wildlife, including giraffes which was listed on Appendix II by CITES last year. Giraffe numbers have declined by 40% in the past 30 years, plummeting to fewer than 69,000 mature animals left in the wild, and here we have exhibitors offering their destruction. The sale of canned lion hunts at the convention is also a huge concern – violating SCI’s own ban that it implemented in 2018. In South Africa there are more lions bred in captivity than exist in the wild, with as few as 3,000 wild lions roaming freely compared to 8 in captivity. Studies show that captive lion breeding and canned trophy hunting do not support conservation, are wrought with welfare travesties and are simply money-driven industries that benefit a handful. It’s time for this needless cruelty to stop.”
Jeff Flocken, president of Humane Society International, said, “Our shocking investigation shows that no animals are off limits to trophy hunters. From shooting giraffes, hyenas, zebras, elephants, hippos, primates and lions in Africa to deer, ibex and wild boar in the UK and Europe, the trophy hunting industry reveals its true nature – one that is motivated by the thrill to kill, and not by conservation.”
According to CITES trade data, South Africa is the second largest hunting trophy exporting nation after Canada.
Other items for sale at the SCI convention were boots made of giraffe skin ($1,390) and kangaroo skin ($1,080), and trips to hunt Asiatic black bears, giraffes, elephants, lions, hippos, and more. The featured speakers and entertainers at the convention included Donald Trump Jr. and the Beach Boys. A “dream hunt” with Donald Trump Jr. in a luxury yacht in Alaska to kill black-tailed deer and sea ducks was sold at auction for a whopping $340,000. A taxidermy ibex mountain goat that Trump Jr. reportedly killed was on display on the convention floor.
Some items on the convention floor, such as belts and boots made of elephant, hippo and stingray, appear to violate Nevada’s law on wildlife trafficking. This is not the first time that vendors at SCI’s convention defied local authorities. Last year a dozen vendors were found selling illegal wildlife products in potential violation of the state law. HSI and the HSUS have submitted evidence of the violations of state law to local enforcement authorities.
SA: Leozette Roode, +27713601104, LRoode@hsi.org
UK: Wendy Higgins, +44 (0)7989 972 423, email@example.com
USA: Nancy Hwa, 202-676-2337, firstname.lastname@example.org
Humane Society International and its partner organizations together constitute one of the world’s largest animal protection organizations. For more than 25 years, HSI has been working for the protection of all animals through the use of science, advocacy, education and hands on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide – on the Web at hsi.org.
South Africa — City Lodge Hotel Group (CLHG) has become the first African hotel chain to announce a cage-free eggs commitment, after working for two years with animal protection organisation Humane Society International to develop its animal welfare policy. By the end of 2025 CLHG will source exclusively cage-free eggs throughout its entire supply chain, which serves approximately 1.4-million eggs annually. CLHG and HSI will continue to work together on the implementation of this policy.
Ross Phinn, divisional director of operations at CLHG, said: “Food is an important component of our overall offering to guests and we are committed to the switch to cage-free eggs. This is one of several steps that CLHG is taking on its sustainability, environmentally-friendly and responsible tourism journey.”
Leozette Roode, media and outreach manager for HSI-Africa, said: “HSI-Africa has been working with City Lodge Hotel Group for more than two years on their journey to adopting a 100% cage-free egg policy, and we commend the leadership of the organisation for deciding to join the global movement towards higher animal welfare standards. Consumers rely on food companies to ensure high standards of animal care in their supply chains, and CLHG is taking the lead to improve the lives of animals in South Africa’s food system. This move will relieve thousands of egg-laying hens from a life of extreme confinement, and sends a clear message to the egg industry that the future of egg production is cage-free. We are looking forward to working with CLHG to implement this commitment and encourage other food service providers to follow their example.”
Approximately 86% of egg-laying hens in South Africa spend their entire lives confined in wire battery cages, laying egg after egg for human consumption. Each hen is offered less space than the size of an A4 piece of paper, preventing them from fully performing their natural behaviors, such as nesting, perching, dust-bathing, running, flying, wing-flapping, and even freely walking. Studies show that battery caged hens suffer from psychological stress as well as physical harm. HSI is working globally to end the intensive confinement of egg-laying hens in cages. Businesses are increasingly realizing the economic value of more humane purchasing policies and farms are moving to meet the higher welfare requirements of their customers.
CLHG joins hundreds of international food corporations that have already committed to switching to exclusively cage-free eggs. HSI has worked with Unilever and Nestlé, the largest food companies in the world, on their cage-free policies, as well as two of the world’s largest food service providers, Sodexo and Compass Group, on their new global animal welfare and corporate social responsibility policies. After working with HSI-Africa, McDonalds South Africa committed to switching to 100% cage-free eggs in 2017. For more information on other HSI corporate cage-free commitments, see https://cagefreeworld.org/global/.
- With a gross turnover of R10.77 billion at producer level, eggs remain the fourth largest animal product sector in agriculture in South Africa.
- Approximately 7.1 billion eggs are produced in South Africa in a year (2017).
- Over 25 million egg-laying hens are raised in South Africa,, approximately 86% of whom are confined in battery cages.
- As well as enduring psychological stress, battery hens also endure physical harm including bone weakness, feather loss, and in some cases metabolic disorders, including disuse osteoporosis and liver damage.
Leozette Roode, HSI-Africa media and outreach manager, e: LRoode@hsi.org, t: +27 71360 1104
MONTREAL—Amid global recognition of the threatened survival of elephants, a hunting club in Calgary is poised to auction off the first licence for a foreigner to hunt elephant in Botswana. The Ivory-Free Canada Coalition, a partnership of Canadian non-profit organisations, including: Humane Society International/Canada, Jane Goodall Institute of Canada, World Elephant Day, Elephanatics, and the Global March for Elephants and Rhino-Toronto, has petitioned the federal government for two years to ban the import, domestic sale, and export of all elephant ivory, including hunting trophies.
The Ivory-Free Canada Coalition believes a full elephant ivory ban in Canada is more important than ever, as the Calgary chapter of Safari Club International is shockingly set to award the elephant hunt to the highest bidder at their 27th Annual Fundraiser on January 25 (provided the bid is over $84,000 CAD). Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi lifted a ban on elephant hunting in May last year, inciting worldwide outrage. He previously gifted stools made from elephant feet to regional leaders during a meeting to discuss the animals’ fate. The ban was installed six years ago by Ian Khama, Botswana’s previous president.
Michael Bernard, deputy director – HSI/Canada, stated: “It is absolutely appalling that in this day and age Canada is still complicit with the slaughter of elephants for trophies. We are urgently calling on the Canadian Government to ban all trade in elephant ivory and end Canada’s role in further endangering these magnificent creatures.”
Fran Duthie, president of Elephanatics, added: “Statistics have shown large-tusked elephants are in decline and need to be protected from trophy hunting and poaching. With the increase in illegal trade in ivory the need to ban trophy hunting is even more necessary.”
Patricia Sims, founder of World Elephant Day and president – World Elephant Society, also stated: “The trophy hunting of elephants is atrocious and needs to be banned worldwide. Elephants are a vital keystone species, they are the caretakers of their habitats and climate change mitigators in their role of maintaining biodiversity. Killing elephants ultimately destroys habitats and Canada needs to take a stand now to ban elephant ivory and protect elephants for their survival and the health of our planet.”
A staggering 20,000 African elephants are killed each year. Scientists anticipate they will be extinct in the wild within 20 years if threats continue. While poaching is the main threat to elephants, legal trophy hunting only exacerbates the threat and drives up the demand for elephant ivory.
Both the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Flora and Fauna (CITES) and members of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) have asked all countries to ban their domestic trade of ivory to save elephants. At least nine countries and 10 US states have done so. At the last IUCN Congress, Canada – along with Japan, Namibia and South Africa – refused to support the motion on domestic ivory trade bans.
Over 100 African elephant tusks were imported into Canada as hunting trophies over the past decade, according to the data Canada reported to CITES in its annual trade reports. Yet, exporting countries reported that over 300 African elephant tusks were exported to Canada in this same time period. The reason for the discrepancy is unknown.
Botswana was previously considered one of the last safe havens for elephants. It is home to 130,000 elephants which is almost a third of Africa’s total population.
In order to press the Canadian government into action, the Ivory-Free Canada Coalition launched a petition to ban elephant ivory and hunting trophies at change.org/ivoryfreecanada. With over 517,000 signatures, it is one of the largest Canadian petitions on Change.org for 2019.
For interviews and/or more information, please call or email the media contact below.
Media contact: Christopher Paré, director of communications, HSI/Canada – office: 514-395-2914 x 206, cell: 438-402-0643, email: email@example.com
The Ivory-Free Canada Coalition is a partnership of non-profit organizations petitioning the Canadian government to ban the import, domestic trade and export of all elephant ivory, including hunting trophies. The coalition includes Elephanatics, Global March for Elephants and Rhinos-Toronto, World Elephant Day, Humane Society International/Canada and the Jane Goodall Institute of Canada. Sign the Petition: www.change.org/ivoryfreecanada
Humane Society International/Canada is a leading force for animal protection, with active programs in companion animals, wildlife and habitat protection, marine mammal preservation, farm animal welfare and animals in research. HSI/Canada is proud to be a part of Humane Society International which, together with its affiliates, constitutes one of the world’s largest animal protection organizations. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide and on the web at hsicanada.ca.
WASHINGTON— Wildlife conservation groups sued the Trump administration today to force officials to propose Endangered Species Act protections for critically imperiled pangolins.
Today’s lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service notes that pangolins, which inhabit Asia and Africa, are in grave danger of extinction. A massive demand for their scales, erroneously believed to have curative properties in East Asian medicine, and their meat, consumed as a delicacy in some Asian countries, has fueled their decline.
“These odd, adorable animals may look like pinecones with legs, but the massive trafficking in pangolin parts is no joke,” said Sarah Uhlemann, international program director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “If poachers keep killing thousands of pangolins a week, they’ll disappear in decades. The Trump administration needs to help protect these unique creatures from exploitation and extinction.”
The world’s only mammal with scales, pangolins are also the world’s most trafficked mammals. Between 2004 and 2014, more than a million were illegally traded — an average of nearly 300 animals killed per day. Despite a 2016 ban on the international commercial trade in pangolin parts, several massive seizures in Singapore, Malaysia and China in 2019, representing tens of thousands of dead pangolins, show rampant illegal trade continues.
“The United States’ delay in listing these species belies its role as a leader in combating poaching worldwide,” said Adam Peyman, programs and operations manager for Humane Society International and co-author of the 2015 listing petition. “The U.S. market for pangolin products feeds poaching and trafficking in the countries where the animals are found. By giving all pangolin species the Endangered Species Act protection they desperately need, the Fish and Wildlife Service will have the tools it needs to stop U.S. trade in pangolin parts.”
While most illegally sourced pangolins are destined for markets in China and Vietnam, the United States also drives demand. At least 26,000 imports of pangolin products were seized in the United States between 2004 and 2013, and a 2015 report by Humane Society International found “medicinal” products containing or likely to contain pangolin parts openly for sale online and at U.S. stores.
“Pangolins cruelly suffer and die for their meat and the so-called medicinal properties of their scales. It is past time for the Fish and Wildlife Service to take action to prevent the illegal trade and eventual extinction of this species,” said Angela Grimes, CEO of Born Free USA.
One pangolin species, the Temminck’s ground pangolin, is already protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. In July 2015 wildlife groups petitioned the Fish and Wildlife Service to list the other seven pangolin species. The law required the Service to either propose protections or find protections “not warranted” by July 2016, more than three and a half years ago.
“The Trump administration should get with the program and do its part to save pangolins.” said Elly Pepper, deputy director of international wildlife conservation at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). “With scientists predicting the extinction of over one million species, the time for transformative change is now. We must rein in destructive consumption patterns like those decimating pangolins.”
Today’s suit was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. If pangolins are protected as endangered, the law would prohibit the import and interstate sale of pangolin parts in the United States, except for scientific or other conservation purposes. Listing would also heighten global awareness about pangolins and their threats and make funding available for anti-trafficking and habitat conservation efforts.
- Nancy Hwa, Humane Society International, (202) 676-2337, Nhwa@hsi.org
- Rodi Rosensweig, the Humane Society of the United States, (203) 270-8929, RRosensweig@humansociety.org
- Sarah Uhlemann, Center for Biological Diversity, (206) 327-2344, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Garrett Johnson, Born Free USA, (202) 368-6833, email@example.com
- Daniela Arellano, Natural Resources Defense Council, (310) 434-2304, firstname.lastname@example.org