Humane Society International / Global

Arindam Bhattacharya/Alamy Stock Photo An Asian elephant (elephas maximus) eats grass in Kaziranga National Park, Assam, India

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

Humane Society International / Latin America

Daniel Aguilar/La Linea Dog in a puppy mill in Costa Rica, 2017

SAN JOSÉ—In order to support official investigations in cases of animal cruelty, a group of 25 veterinarians from private and public institutions are being trained in forensic veterinary medicine, including chain of custody enforcement, site handling and necropsies (autopsies).

This seminar, organized by the nation’s leading animal welfare organization, Humane Society International/Latin America, and the Costa Rican Veterinary Medical Association, will be taught by the forensic veterinarian, Dr. Julio Cesar Aguirre, a pioneer in this field from Colombia.

“Following the approval of the Animal Welfare Law, the Judicial Investigation Agency (OIJ) has been seeking veterinarians to help gather evidence in cases of animal cruelty, and it is very important for our organization to support them in this task,” said Amanda Chaves, manager of the companion animal program for HSI/Latin America.

In accordance with this law, passed in 2017, those who intentionally cause a domestic animal’s death, those who damage an animal’s health or inflict severe pain and those who promote or organize animal fights will be sentenced to three months to one year in jail.

For Dr. Aguirre, this seminar strengthens cooperation ties between public and private institutions that work to protect animals and the environment: “Forensic veterinary medicine is an ally of animal and social welfare, as it provides the authorities with the scientific tools that contribute physical, chemical, biological and behavioral evidence, in cases of animal abuse, cruelty and irresponsible ownership.”

“In Costa Rica, forensic veterinary medicine is not offered as a degree at any university, so the training with international experts such as doctor Aguirre will help strengthen the capacity of our veterinary doctors and better support cases against animal cruelty,” said Maria Pia Martin, academic affairs coordinator for the Costa Rican Veterinary Medical Association.

The Forensic Veterinary Pathology Seminar is taking place on November 11 and 12 at the Saint Francis of Assisi School, Veritas University, in Coronado.

Media contact: Alejandra Zuñiga, 7012-5598 (mobile),

Humane Society International / Global


GENEVA—Tropical rainforests in Central America will continue to be plundered for tiny translucent glass frogs to supply the pet trade in Europe and elsewhere, after a proposal for international trade controls failed at the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), largely due to the 28 countries in the European Union voting against protections. Glass frogs have become popular in the pet trade due to their unique transparent skin which shows their internal organs. The proposal to give glass frogs Appendix II protection lost by just one vote, and animal protection charity Humane Society International hopes there may yet be a chance to secure the necessary votes in plenary later this week.

The European Union is a key destination for amphibian and reptile species such as glass frogs, iguanas and geckos—animals that are popular in the exotic pet trade. This trade is often illegal and, even when it is legal, is harmful to wild populations. More than 30,000 live reptiles were confiscated from the EU between 2001 and 2010, and glass frogs are regularly sold on the internet and at reptile and amphibian fairs in Europe. Yet, despite the European Union’s role as a major consumer of glass frogs, the voting bloc failed to support protections for animals negatively impacted by European demand.

The proposal from Costa Rica, El Salvador and Honduras to give trade protections to 104 species of glass frogs received  overwhelming support from the  majority of other countries that are home to the species in Latin America, but failed to reach the 2/3 majority required to be successful. It was opposed by the 28 countries in the EU.

Grettel Delgadillo, deputy director of Humane Society International/Latin America, says: “The international pet trade threatens the very survival of glass frogs and many newt species such as the crocodile newt and Asian warty newt, which are also collected for food. Glass frogs are astonishingly beautiful, almost entirely transparent creatures which is why they have soared in popularity in recent years, regularly advertised for sale on the internet for buyers in the United States and Europe. Yet this trade is slowly killing off populations so it is a major blow to conservation efforts on the ground and around the world that CITES parties failed to better protect these creatures. This failure is in large part due to the European Union’s shameful opposition; the EU is a huge consumer of glass frogs for the pet trade and therefore directly contributes to this species’ demise.”

A proposal by China, Viet Nam and the European Union seeking to protect 40 currently unlisted newt species also in high demand for the pet trade succeeded.

Humane Society International commends the proponent governments for seeking to bring the greedy pet trade in amphibians under CITES control but regrets the EU did not see fit to give CITES protection to the glass frogs.

The decisions will need to be approved in a plenary session at the CITES meeting on August 27/28.


Media contacts:



Humane Society International / Latin America

San Jose, Costa Rica – In celebration of Environment Day on June 5, the President of the Republic of Costa Rica, Carlos Alvarado, announced the launch of Costa Rica Silvestre (Wild Costa Rica), a digital platform designed to promote healthy coexistence between humans and wildlife, and to better protect Costa Rica’s biodiversity through greater public awareness and participation.  The project was developed jointly by Humane Society International/Latin America (HSI/LA), the Ministry of Environment and Energy and other state institutions along with nongovernmental entities, all of whom were represented at the official event announcing Costa Rica Silvestre.

The platform contains a section called Wild Neighbors that is dedicated to strengthening positive interactions between people and wildlife in urban environments.

The site includes advice for direct interactions with wildlife including, but not limited to:

  • Raccoons.
  • Opossums.
  • Birds.
  • Snakes.
  • Crocodiles.

Videos that demonstrate the appropriate way to deal with wildlife in urban areas, including appropriate waste management, and no feeding of wild animals.

Finally, the platform includes educational material to raise awareness among children, youth and adults about campaigns and initiatives, legislation, technical and scientific publications and partnership opportunities to support and promote the conservation of wildlife in Costa Rica.

Grettel Delgadillo, deputy director and manager of the Wildlife Program at Humane Society International/Latin America, said, “This project is of the utmost importance because it positions wildlife as a priority in the decision-making process biodiversity and human-wildlife conflict, with a primary goal of ensuring healthy and humane coexistence.”

Costa Rica has an abundant wildlife population, in rural, protected and urban areas. Wild animals live in any environment where food, water and shelter are available, and in the case of urban areas, these resources are obtained directly or indirectly from human beings. When people and wildlife share the same territory, they interact with each other, and these interactions can sometimes raise challenges. Costa Rica Silvestre provides tools and practical advice for citizens to address interactions with wildlife in a responsible and humane way.

The Costa Rica Silvestre project can be accessed via this website.


Humane Society International and its partner organisations together constitute one of the world’s largest animal protection organisations. 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


Puppy mill operator convicted and sentenced for illegally breeding dogs for sale

Humane Society International / Latin America

Ivannia Brenes holds Lola and Lulú, 2 Yorkshire terriers whom she adopted after they were rescued from an illegal puppy mill in Guapiles, Limón, Costa Rica, in 2017. Photo by Arnoldo Moirin.

SAN JOSÉ—The Sanctioning Administrative Proceeding Court of the National Animal Health Department (SENASA) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock announced a sentence in favor of animal welfare in Costa Rica, convicting a person who was breeding dogs in a puppy mill. Humane Society International/Latin America worked with SENASA to rescue the dogs in this case.

In November 2017, more than 35 dogs were rescued from a puppy mill named Flora and Fauna in Limón. The dogs included breeds such as French poodle, Maltese, Shih Tzu, Chihuahua, Yorkshire terrier and Pekinese. At the time, they were living in unsanitary conditions and many suffered from health issues such as severe skin problems, alopecia, eye diseases, malformations, periodontal disease and tooth loss.

Amanda Chaves, manager of HSI/Latin America’s companion animal program, said: “No animal should be forced to live in such deplorable conditions as we found these dogs in 2017. We are grateful to SENASA for allowing us to help with the animals’ rescue. We are relieved that the dogs were adopted and now live in homes full of love. We will continue supporting and collaborating with SENASA and other local organizations to improve welfare levels of animals in Costa Rica.”

The majority of the puppy mill’s females were forced to give birth continuously as a means of income for the mill’s operators. After the rescue, the animals were checked by a veterinarian, who found that several of them were pregnant, including some whose lives were at risk due to their advanced age.

Thanks to evidence collected by SENASA, the Sanctioning Administrative Procedure Tribunal was able to demonstrate that the accused illegally bred dogs for sale. The offender was found guilty of the facts and fined approximately ₡645,000 colones, equivalent approximately to the base annual salary of a professional with a university degree.

HSI/Latin America encourages people to adopt companion animals (dogs and cats), instead of buying them at pet stores or from illegal breeding sites. Puppy mills breed animals for trade, focusing solely on economic profit and not on the welfare of the animals. The dogs bred in these places usually live in small wire cages with little to no human interaction, veterinary care or exercise.

Watch a video about Lola and Lulu, two dogs rescued in this case and adopted into a loving home:


Media contact: Amanda Chaves,, 506 70184621

Humane Society International

Humane Society International / Latin America

SAN JOSÉ—During February and March, Humane Society International/Latin America, together with the National Animal Health Service, the College of Veterinary Doctors and the School of Veterinary Medicine of the National University, participated in health fairs organized by the Asociación Costa Rica Indígena in the indigenous communities of Daytonia and Cachabri, in Talamanca.

This project provides free veterinary care to not only dogs and cats but also to farm animals such as pigs, cows, horses and chickens. Dogs and cats are spayed or neutered for free.

Amanda Chaves, manager of the Companion Animal Program for HSI/Latin America, sees the health fair as an excellent opportunity to collaborate closely with state institutions and other stakeholders in areas where there is very limited access to relevant services. “Since we started this project with the Asociación Costa Rica Indígena, we have participated in five health fairs and provided medical care for more than 1278 animals that had never received any veterinary attention. We hope to continue this work for the benefit of animal welfare in Costa Rica,” explains Chaves.

The first of these fairs in 2019 took place in February in Daytonia. Over the course of a single weekend, 227 animals received free medical care, including general veterinary checks, deworming and vaccinations against rabies. In addition, veterinarians performed spay/neuter procedures on 35 dogs and cats.

In March, the team visited the indigenous area of Cachabri, where inadequate access to health services, public services and transportation contribute to poor health for many animals and made the work arduous. Animals brought for treatment presented severe skin problems, high levels of malnutrition and infestation by fleas, ticks and parasitic flies. A total of 345 animals received veterinary care in just two days, including general health exams, deworming and rabies vaccinations, while 83 dogs and cats were spayed or neutered.

Media contact: Fabiola Ruiz,, ph. +506 88241785

The recurring event offered health exams, spaying/neutering, rabies vaccinations to pets in a remote area of Limón, Costa Rica

Humane Society International

LIMÓN, Costa Rica—During the month of September, Humane Society International/Latin America participated in an animal health fair that took place in the indigenous community of Suretka, Talamanca, in the province of Limón. The purpose of the fair was to provide local animals with general health check-ups and sterilizations.

Teams treated 200 dogs and cats, who were given health exams, dewormed and vaccinated against rabies. Nearly 100 animals were also spayed or neutered. In one case, a tumour was removed from a young dog who was in very poor health. He was dewormed and his owner was given medication and instructions to improve his health.

For Amanda Chaves, manager of the Companion Animals Program of HSI/LA, this type of event provides a helping hand to people who live in remote places and who do not have veterinary doctors or access to the appropriate medicine for their pets. “The idea is to help animals who don´t have the opportunity to see a veterinarian on a regular basis. Humane Society International/Latin America makes this life-saving care possible by donating the materials and medicines so that the specialists can do their work,” explained Chaves.

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The health fair was organized by the Costa Rican Indigenous Association and included veterinary staff from the National Animal Health Service (SENASA), the College of Veterinary Physicians of Costa Rica, and the Hospital of Minor and Wild Species of the National University. Additional support came from the Municipality of Heredia and HSI/LA, which provided the medicines and supplies for animal care.

This is the second time that HSI/LA has travelled to Talamanca to work with SENASA. The collaboration has resulted in significant improvement in the welfare of local residents’ companion animals. HSI/LA expects to contribute every three months to animal health fairs in the province.


Media contact for HSI/LA: