OUTCRY AS NORTH CAROLINA COMMISSION VOTES TO ALLOWS BEAR HUNTING IN SANCTUARIES!

A decades-long ban on bear hunting in parts of North Carolina has been overturned by the state’s wildlife resources commission, in a move that has sparked outcry from local residents and American animal rights groups.

The North Carolina commission voted to allow bear hunting in three bear sanctuaries, encompassing an area of 92,500 acres of mountainous forest in the southern US state. The sanctuaries, established to protect and preserve North Carolina’s black bear population, are set to open to hunters later in 2022, despite thousands of people signing a petition against the move.

A NORTH CAROLINA TROPHY HUNTER ‘RESPECTFULLY’ SITS ASTRIDE A BLACK BEAR

Bear hunting has been banned in North Carolina’s Panthertown-Bonas Defeat, Standing Indian and Pisgah Bear sanctuaries since 1971. The number of black bears in the state has since grown from fewer than 1,000 to about 25,000, according to the wildlife commission.

In a January public hearing, the commission said the US Forest Service, the federal agency that oversees America’s 154 national forests, had requested that hunting be allowed in the three sanctuaries “due to increased human-bear interactions”.

The commission voted in favor of the proposal in late February, in defiance of opponents who say hunting will not reduce human-bear encounters.

“It will definitely not target the actual bears involved in the original complaint of ‘increased bear-human interactions’,” said Bill Lea, a North Carolina-based nature photographer and retired US Forest Service assistant district ranger.

“Instead, the plan will target many of the younger bears who have just started life on their own away from their mothers and who have not yet developed the skills to elude the packs of vicious dogs and hunters. The indiscriminate killing of bears never addresses the problem of individual bear behavior.”

The American black bear is native to North America, where it can be found across Canada and in much of the western and eastern US, including North Carolina, California and New York. The bears, which can weigh up to 660lb (300kg), are omnivores who are normally wary of humans, but can develop a taste for food designed for humans if it is left easily accessible.

A BLACK BEAR WITH HER CUBS

A petition, addressed to the wildlife commission and signed by almost 8,000 people, said it was mostly humans who are to blame for bear encounters.

“We as humans need to address and acknowledge that our actions are changing bear behavior and causing conflicts. Managing our habits, understanding how they impact bears, and adjusting our activities will solve bear-human conflicts, not hunting,” the petition, started by the One Protest advocacy organization, said.

Friends of Panthertown, a non-profit group which protects and maintains parts of the Panthertown-Bonas Defeat bear sanctuary, said 2,744 people had commented on the North Carolina commission’s bear hunting proposal, with 86% of people opposed to the changes.

“Bear hunting has no place in Panthertown,” said Jason Kimenker, executive director of Friends of Panthertown. “This is their natural, wild habitat. These forests are their territory. This is their home. We are the visitors here and we all have a responsibility to continue to protect the bears.”

Friends of Panthertown said human-bear interactions had dropped after it installed “bear-proof food storage vaults”. Local groups say they will continue to lobby against bear hunting, but as it stands hunters will be allowed access to the three huge sanctuaries this fall.

“I don’t think we would be fully human if we did not feel compassion for bears and other animals as individuals,” Brad Stanback, one of the members of the North Carolina wildlife resources commission, told the Asheville Citizen Times.

Mike Pelton, a bear researcher for more than 30 years and professor emeritus at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, said it feels like a rushed decision. 

“As a bear researcher for more than 40 years, I strongly disagree with this proposal. I do not believe it will solve the conflict problems and fear it could have negative long-term consequences for bears in the future.” he said.

Mike Pelton, professor emeritus of the University of Tennessee, taught wildlife science and studied black bears in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for 40 years. 

“The devil’s in the details on this whole issue in regards to more detailed information on what’s going on out there both on the sanctuaries and off the sanctuaries,” he said, mentioning data points such as how many hunters there are, whether they’re using dogs, where the bear kills happen and statistics about the age, sex and condition of those bears.

The commission did not respond to a request for comment. Peta was among the national organizations to criticize the move.

“Peta reminds the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission that bears are not living targets for gun nuts, that they can manage their own populations based on available resources, and that there are always humane solutions for dealing with real or perceived conflicts with wildlife,” the group said in a statement.

Animal protection groups said proper storage of food and scented items was the way to reduce encounters, along with better education about how hikers and visitors can prevent visits from curious bears.

A Black Bear raids a residents trash bin

“North Carolina cannot hunt its way out of human-bear conflicts as an excuse for a trophy,” Kitty Block, president and chief executive of the Humane Society of the United States, said.

“Black bears are slow to reproduce and susceptible to overkill from both legal hunting and poaching. They provide vast benefits to their ecosystems, and destroying them instead of implementing proper solutions, is a disaster.

“If Black Bears are to survive and thrive, we must learn to adapt and share our world with them.”

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STUDENT REFUSED TO LEAVE UKRAINE WITHOUT HIS RESCUE DOG MALIBU. NOW THEY’RE SAFE!

Amid the horrific Russian invasion, many Ukrainians have been able to leave with their furry friends by their sides. But some people are still having trouble getting to safety. Rishabh Kaushik, an Indian student in Ukraine, has been struggling to get his rescue dog named Malibu approved to fly.

#NoAnimalLeftBehind

Rishabh was trying to evacuate to India amid the war, but he refused to leave without Malibu. The government kept denying his flight without the dog’s paperwork. So, he posted a video online, pleading for someone to help him. All he wanted was for his pup to be safe.

Rishabh was studying software engineering at the Kharkiv National University of Radio Electronics Engineering when the war began. He’s in his final year of college, and he adopted Malibu during his time in Ukraine. He named the rescue pup “Malibu” because it means “sweet.”

Rishabh Kaushik with Malibu after arriving in India

Rishabh’s family is from Dehradun, India, so he planned to return there once he realized it wasn’t safe in Ukraine. His family members in Ukraine quickly evacuated the country, but Rishabh couldn’t go with them because of Malibu. He refused to hop on a plane unless his furry friend could be beside him.

The student faced a lot of setbacks when trying to fly back to India. He said the government kept asking for paperwork that he couldn’t obtain because most places in Ukraine were closed. Eventually, he turned to the internet to ask for help. He posted a video sharing his story, hoping someone could find a way for him and Malibu to escape.

“Even my dog is so stressed out about it,” said Rishabh. “He’s really scared about all the bombings happening, and he’s crying all the time with all the bombings happening around.”

After seeing his plea, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) reached out to the Indian government and convinced them to allow pets on flights. With more lenient pet travel restrictions, Rishabh was able to safely fly to India with Malibu by his side.

“There was a lot of documentation in India, the procedure was long. But in war-like situations, they should’ve allowed their own citizens. So, I had put up the appeal. A memorandum had come recently which stated that pets and even strays are now being allowed without NOC,” Rishabh said.

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#NoAnimalsLeftBehind

EVIL CRIMINALS ARE TARGETING BADGER SETTS WHEN THE MOTHERS ARE PROTECTING LITTERS OF TINY CUBS

Badger setts have been targeted by cruel criminals in Co Down, just as the mothers are safeguarding their litters of small cubs.

A badger-baiting gang digging into a sett to recover their dogs

After uncovering a spate of sett attacks, the Northern Ireland Badger Group has issued a warning to residents in the Dromore region.

It claims that badger baiters accompanied by fighting dogs have dug out at least three setts in recent weeks, two of which have been left lifeless.

According to a spokeswoman, “These guys target the mother badger during this time of year because she fights to protect her cubs.

“They go to extraordinary lengths. They dig a deep tunnel into the main chamber and seal the entrance openings, preventing the badgers from escaping.

“The biggest of the setts was still active, but our fear is that they are targeting them at this time of year, when the mother will have cubs.”

The spokesman said the badger baiters dig down to get at the badgers, then loose fighting dogs, leaving the badger dead and badly mutilated.

Badgers will fight to the death leaving the dogs mutilated in the process

“The young badgers would probably be killed in the whole process. It’s a horrible thing – I’ve seen the aftermath a number of times. The badger is completely mangled, almost unrecognisable,” he said.

“I’ve found foxes tied to trees close to setts where they had been baited with the dogs.”

Landowners in the Dromore area who are working with the group are “disgusted” by the cruelty, he said.

“They would certainly have local knowledge – where they dug out the setts is well off the beaten track.

“It’s horrific what goes on in our countryside. Because it happens in the hinterland of Ulster, we only know about it when we get phone calls about people being on the land. It happens well away from public view.”

The spokesman asked local people to watch out for men with shovels and accompanied by terriers or lurchers as well as suspicious vehicles close to where setts would be.

“One of the times to be on the lookout are Sunday mornings. There tends to be less people about then and they take advantage of that,” he said.

“Badgers and their setts are both protected – you are legally not allowed to interfere with them in any way, so if you find any evidence contact police on 101 or ring Crimestoppers, but if you actually see a crime taking place ring 999.

“The police are very proactive on this and take wildlife crime and animal cruelty very seriously.

“The courts have also started giving custodial sentences for animal cruelty. These baiters have committed a crime and there need to be robust measures in place to make them stop,” the spokesman said.

A PSNI spokesman said: “Under the Wildlife Order, if any person intentionally or recklessly kills, injures or takes any wild animal included in Schedule fives/he shall be guilty of an offence.

“It is also an offence to damage/destroy or obstruct the sett. The Welfare of Animals Act (NI) 2011 also legislates for offences in relation to fighting and these include offences which may be linked to badger baiting.”

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SAVE THE ASIAN ELEPHANTS: A NEW LAW BECKONS – BY DUNCAN MCNAIR

“Don’t bother – Elephants are finished.”

“You must be joking. Anyway it’s India’s problem.”

“It’s big money talking, and you’ll never change that.”

“Surely the travel industry will sort it out if you ask them?”

BRUTALLY ABUSED FOR YOUR PLEASURE

These were amongst the unpromising responses enjoined on Duncan McNair after returning from his first trip to India, in 2014, to assess for himself the horrors to Asian Elephants in modern tourism of which he had started hearing and, appalled, urging that something must be done.

This Duncan’s story:

The sad refrain had some truth: the species is indeed in desperate peril. Yes too, vested interests like the UK travel industry could do so much, and so could India and the other range states. But these are not policies if nothing is being done. And the UK cannot compel a mighty sovereign State like India, less still Sri Lanka, Thailand or Myanmar, to adopt our own ideals of elephant welfare – aside from the UK’s own cupboards rattling with skeletons like brutal industrialised farming or a legacy of trophy hunting.

India has excellent animal welfare laws, according Elephants the highest degree of protection, but they are widely circumvented by political interference and protection of vested interests.

But, I thought, surely the world’s most revered species, the Asian Elephant, need not – should not – meet its end under the cruelest of all animal abuse, babies screaming and crying under extreme torture to break their spirits (known as “the phajan”) for easy use in tourism?

THE PHAJAN BEATS ELEPHANTS INTO SUBMISSION FOR YOUR ‘PLEASURE’ IN THE TOURIST ‘INDUSTRY’

Back in London I tramped and trailed round many animal welfare organisations searching for a star to hitch my wagon to, but received reproofs. One charity urged me to be realistic and not waste time. A Government minister charged with animal welfare issues told me she had far better things to do than help Elephants.

But I started receiving encouragement too, and exhortation. It was so plain that public awareness of the horrors was so low yet when people heard of them, they were as appalled as I. So in early 2015 Save The Asian Elephants was born, with an immediate strategy by every means to drive up awareness of facts omitted from all travel brochures and websites, draped over for years with a mantle of secrecy. After all, in a functioning democracy a proper cause constantly advanced, linked to coherent, credible policies, should prevail over time.

Without funds STAE developed an ethos of voluntary, unpaid help – no wages or perks for anyone, and working off the lowest cost base. Just passion and commitment.

ELEPHANTS PAINTING LIKE THIS IS NOT NATURAL BEHAVIOUR

A wonderful team of eminences and experts soon emerged from every quarter, and many others of all ages and specialisms. My childhood dreams of a veterinary career (I had spent forever in libraries poring over the lives of famous vets then seeking them out via the telephone directory hoping for inspirational meetings) were dashed when my ineptitude at sciences became evident. But later I could see my life as a lawyer having worth far beyond fighting for my clients. I was thankful others of my profession came forward to join STAE.

Policies were developed that were not contingent on concurrence of vested interests or governments of indigenous states, but on what we in the UK could achieve by relentless exposition of the facts and proper pressure upon government.

A landmark policy of STAE’s (alongside those previously outlined in Animal Spirit) is new law: to ban the advertising, promotion and sale of unethical Asian elephant-related venues. Self-regulation by the travel industry having failed, and endless promises of change broken, compulsion of law is essential to stem supply (and then demand) of the vast trade in such abuse. Shockingly, to date STAE has identified over 1,000 tour companies promoting 210 venues where extreme brutality is committed to baby and adult Elephants to hundreds of thousands of UK tourists. Abused Elephants regularly attack and kill. These fetid places are also a storm of risks for tourists to acquire deadly airborne viruses like Covid 19 as well as TB that broken down Elephants readily transmit through coughing, sneezing and spraying water.

STAE has been in ongoing negotiation with the Prime Minister’s officials and government departments on our Asian Elephants (Tourism) Bill, drafted for Lord Zac Goldsmith. Hopes of new law soon for the UK are running high based on government assurances. Polls show STAE’s Bill is backed by 90% of Britons, confirmed by STAE’s petition and others aligned to it running at 32 million signatures, and 100 people and organisations of influence including all the major faiths of SE Asia.

DUNCAN MCNAIR, STAE CEO AT DOWNING STREET

STAE considers this law transposable to other countries across the West and beyond. Together they can stem this tide of abuse. And although Asian Elephants suffer uniquely from abusive tourism, such law can stand adapted for other species too.

Who knows the destiny of this ancient species, denizens of the Earth long before Man? But what Man has done so wrong, he can put right. Whilst Christian precepts apply to the protection of all of God’s creation, no religious faith is needed to believe that we should stand and fight for these gentle creatures, “megagardeners of the forests” on which we all rely. We hope and pray there is time for the Elephants.

Duncan McNair KHS is a lawyer and founder and CEO of Save The Asian Elephants.

STAE’s petition for change can be signed at: bit.ly/STAEpetition

Suggested cut and paste letters of support to Minister Zac Goldsmith and to your MP are at: http://stae.org/uk-minister/ and http://stae.org/your-mp/.

THE ELEPHANT THAT WAS IN THE ROOM

Save The Asian Elephants (STAE) and all the animal welfare sector are aghast at the weekend’s media reports that the Government has abandoned the Animals Abroad Bill despite all its commitments otherwise, received regularly by STAE’s team as pledges, promises, “it’s been cleared in Cabinet” and “you’re pushing at an open door” in over 20 meetings with No 10 and Defra since lockdown.

THE ANIMALS ABROAD BILL WOULD HELP STOP CRUELTY LIKE THIS

STAE is working to bring the entire sector together to ensure all is done to see this decision, if confirmed, reversed. Indeed with public support for a ban to protect elephants from the most extreme violence largely driven by the UK market running at over 90%, STAE’s petition now touching 1.1 million, and extreme emotions evoked in the electorate by torture of baby elephants, any such decision seems extraordinary as a General Election looms before late 2024.

PHAJAAN OR ‘CRUSHING’ IS THE TRADITIONAL ASIAN TORTURE OF YOUNG ELEPHANTS TO BREAK THEIR SPIRIT. IT IS DONE SO THAT THEY ARE SUBMISSIVE TO HUMANS.

Why on earth would Government be committed to these cruel acts? It must surely be in its own interests to take a principled lead over other parties (who will support it) and other nations, by pursuing the Bill. They are important measures now expanded in the Action Plan for Animal Welfare to all species abused in overseas tourism (including big cats, apes, bears, equines, dolphins) and not particularly controversial or difficult. On the contrary they are welcomed across the political divide. None of the measures to ban ads for “low welfare venues” impinge on Tory peers’ shooting weekends or even pigging out on foie gras, if that’s their tragic choice.

STAE CEO Duncan McNair speaking to Protect All Wildlife said “If confirmed, its sickening and foreshadowed in STAE’s communications with Govt and officials over the past year and my US TV interview on Unchained TV, despite every reassurance from Govt (including a letter signed by the Minister a week ago) all was on track.” 

Muted claims that the Russian war on Ukraine has stolen all available Parliamentary time are unconvincing. STAE traces the evidence of wavering elements in Govt much further back. As they say, the first casualty of war is the truth. We hope the Defra Ministers at the helm will turn this round, publish the Bill, consult and bring it into Parliament soon.

Thank you to Duncan McNair CEO, Save The Asian Elephants  for speaking to us.

WILD AND FREE, HOW THEY SHOULD BE

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MONTANA GOVERNOR KILLED RARE COLLARED MOUNTAIN LION CHASED UP A TREE BY HUNTING DOGS

Greg Gianforte has caused outrage after hunting and killing a COLLARED Mountain Lion outside Yellowstone National Park.

MONTANA GOVERNOR GREG GIANFORTE AND A RARE MOUNTAIN LION

The Republican governor slaughtered the Mountain Lion in December on U.S. Forest Service land in Park County, southwest of Emigrant, Montana. The five-year-old Mountain Lion, who was being monitored via GPS collar by staff biologists at Yellowstone National Park, was chased up a tree by dogs and then shot.

“The governor and friends tracked the lion on public lands,” said Gianforte’s press secretary Brooke Stroyke in a statement to The Washington Post who first reported on the events. “As the group got closer to the lion, members of the group, who have a hound training license, used four hounds to tree the lion once the track was discovered in a creek bottom on public land.”

Stroyke also said that once the Mountain Lion had been forced up the tree, Gianforte “harvested it and put his tag on it. He immediately called to report the legal harvest and then the [Fish, Wildlife & Parks] game warden.”

The governor’s office confirmed the kill, which occurred on December 28th on public land just north of Yellowstone National Park. Gianforte’s spokesman noted that he had a proper license.

Yet, many area residents are sceptical of the governor’s story. The Post reports:

Some Montanans have raised questions about the tactics employed during the hunt. One person familiar with the incident told The Post that the Mountain Lion was kept in the tree by the hunting dogs for a couple of hours while Gianforte travelled to the site in the Rock Creek drainage area. In neighbouring Wyoming, detaining a Mountain Lion in a tree until another hunter arrives is illegal.

“There are an estimated 34 to 42 Mountain Lions that reside year-round in Yellowstone,” explains The Post. The Mountain Lion Gianforte hunted, dubbed M220 by researchers, was a five-year old male.

A YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK MOUNTAIN LION

“We almost never see a Mountain Lion,” said Nathan Varley, a biologist who leads wildlife viewing tours in Yellowstone. “They’re just too secretive. They usually only move around at night. They love to hide. They just don’t sit out in the open very much.”

This marks the second time Gianforte has reportedly shot and killed a monitored animal who wandered beyond the protected boundaries of Yellowstone National Park. In February of last year, Gianforte violated state hunting regulations after slaughtering a collard wolf 10 miles outside Yellowstone without the necessary trapping license or training.

Last year, Gianforte outraged conservationists and animal campaigners after dramatically stripping back hunting laws in Montana. The new rulemaking authorized the widespread killing of wolves in areas bordering Yellowstone National Park, paving the way for the potential slaughter of around 85 percent of the state’s wolf population. The use of strangulation snares, night hunting, and bait to hunt and trap the animals was also permitted.

“The consequences are severe for wolves,” said Dan Wenk, who was Yellowstone National Park superintendent from 2011 to 2019.

In the last six months alone, a record 25 Yellowstone wolves have been shot, trapped, and killed by hunters. 19 of these animals were slaughtered in Montana just over the park border.

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The Dogs Of War: The Conflict In Ukraine Is Displacing Pets As Well As People!

Przemysl, Poland (CNN) –Jakub Kotowicz loves animals so much he decided he wanted to spend his life healing them.

But the Polish vet never thought he’d suddenly be inundated with animals rescued from a war next door.

Jakub is with the Ada Adoption Center in Przemyśl, a no-kill animal shelter in Przemysl, Poland, just 30 minutes from the border with Ukraine.

Since the bombs started falling in Ukraine, he and the other veterinarians and staff have not slept much at all because the need to find shelter for displaced animals isn’t abating.

ADA foundation staff members are risking their lives driving into Ukraine to help empty out shelters, and they are offering space and veterinary services for the animals that refugees cannot keep with them or carry over the border. The shelter animals are in danger of being abandoned and then starving to death as war surrounds them.

On a recent day, Dr. Kotowicz hoists a large German shepherd on the table. She was rescued from Ukraine. The tag on her collar reads ‘number 2,’ but the staff has named her Moon.

“She is in bad shape,” says Kotowicz, as he tries to draw blood.

Moon is dehydrated so it’s hard to find a vein.

But she has much bigger problems. An older dog, she has a tumour protruding from one of her mammary glands.

Another veterinarian holds her still while Dr. Kotowicz manages to draw blood from her dehydrated body. Then he starts on her ears, digging out a large amount of wax and dirt riddled with mites.

All the while, Moon is docile and still. But when the vet checks her temperature, Moon whimpers a bit. When he removes the thermometer, she relaxes and nuzzles her caregivers.

“We have to remove this tumour so she will need to have surgery,” Dr. Kotowicz says as he pets Moon’s head. “I hate to see them suffering like this.”

Down the hall, there are a whole host of dogs and cats, most of them brought in from a huge truck that has just come back from the war-torn areas of Ukraine.

In normal times, ADA Foundation provides care for any injured or abandoned animal — not just cats and dogs. The shelter not only offers medical care for the animals but also helps socialize them so the pets in their care can be adopted and the wild animals can be set free.

In yet another room at the foundation, more animal war stories. A little girl is holding a tiny goat named Sasha on a soft warm bed made for him. Sasha had a serious problem with his legs that the veterinarians at ADA mended.

Sasha’s little front legs are bound with gauze tape. But he is rambunctious.

Down the hall, there are a whole host of dogs and cats, most of them brought in from a huge truck that has just come back from the war-torn areas of Ukraine.

In normal times, ADA Foundation provides care for any injured or abandoned animal — not just cats and dogs. The shelter not only offers medical care for the animals but also helps socialize them so the pets in their care can be adopted and the wild animals can be set free.

In yet another room at the foundation, more animal war stories. A little girl is holding a tiny goat named Sasha on a soft warm bed made for him. Sasha had a serious problem with his legs that the veterinarians at ADA mended.

Sasha’s little front legs are bound with gauze tape. But he is rambunctious.

Florida, is one group trying to help ADA foundation and other shelters to secure funds but the number of animals and their needs are great. The veterinarians are working day and night with little sleep.

They feel strongly that the animals displaced by war should be cared for.

“They are part of the family,” Dr. Kotowicz said.

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Gods in Shackles – What Elephants Can Teach Us About Empathy, Resilience and Freedom

SANGITA IYER FELL IN LOVE WITH THE COW ELEPHANT LAKSHMI AS SOON AS SHE SAW HER

With a foreword by the world-renowned chimpanzee conservationist, Dr. Jane Goodall (DBE), Gods in Shackles: What Elephants Can Teach Us About Empathy, Resilience, and Freedom is a moving memoir that follows a biologist, journalist, and award-winning wildlife filmmaker Sangita Iyer, who finds her purpose in advocacy for the Asian Elephants in her childhood hometown of Kerala, India. Gods in Shackles book touches on themes ranging from conservation and climate change to religion, philosophy and emotional well-being and how Elephants relate to each of these.   The book is slated for release on February 8, 2022, and will be available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and everywhere books are sold. 

Dr. Jane Goodall

Elephants are self-aware, conscious beings. They can feel and grieve the loss of both Elephants and humans. Elephants are supremely intelligent, with a brain size 3 times as large as the human brain.  They are social animals, who live in tight knit families.  Just like humans, their priority is protecting their young.

But they are being ripped apart from their families, subjugated using brute force and constantly abused, so they can be exploited in the so-called “cultural festivals”. Despite their physical and emotional traumas, these captive Elephants give nothing but love and compassion even to those who inflict suffering.

In 2013, Iyer visited her childhood home in Kerala, India, where more than 500 captive Elephants, owned by individuals and temples are forced to perform in lengthy, crowded, noisy festivals. Deprived of food, water and rest, these animals they claim to revere are exploited for tourists and money. This sparked the creation of her award-winning documentary of the same name and a new purpose in life for both Sangita and the Elephants. 

The book contains crucial scenes that could not be included in her ground-breaking film, Gods in Shackles, and it connects the readers with the emotions Elephants feel.

“By exposing the suffering of Elephants, my most sincere intention is to help people realize that manmade cultural shackles are preventing us from evolving consciously. Our attitudes and misguided beliefs are responsible for our own suffering, as well as the suffering of other beings – both human and nonhuman.” says Sangita Iyer

When Sangita found herself in the presence of these divine creatures and witnessed their suffering first-hand, she felt a deep connection to their pain. She too had been shackled and broken for too long-to her patriarchal upbringing in India, to the many “me too” moments in her work life that were swept under the rug, to the silence. Now she would speak out for the Elephants and for herself. And she would heal alongside them.

Kerala Festival Elephants

“If humans can collectively unleash the shackles that confine them—the shackles of culture, material wealth, and status quo, or whatever they may be—we can become compassionate enough to heal all sentient beings. But first, we need to heal our self by reconnecting with our origins—the wilderness and its inhabitants, so that we can foster a peaceful coexistence,” says Sangita Iyer

Climate Change angle:

Climate change is an existential threat that impacts people around the world, as what happens in one nation reverberates across the planet. We have natural climate mitigators in the tropical forests of India, and saving them in India would benefit the whole planet …

Journalist/biologist/Nat Geo Explorer, author and Founder of Voice for Asian Elephants Society Sangita Iyer is sounding the alarm about the need to protect Asian and African Elephants because of their critical role in mitigating climate change.

Watch this 6-minute video produced by Sangita that world premiered on Nat Geo TV India, and then uploaded on YouTube. Meet the Gardeners of the Earth There are more such short films here

And you can watch Sangita’s short clips here (4 minutes long): https://vimeo.com/657252565

“Elephants are the largest living land mammal, and they play a grand role in preserving this magnificent web of life that we are all a part of. Elephants create productive ecosystems, and they coexist harmoniously with all living beings, allowing the forests and its inhabitants to thrive.” notes Sangita.

Book Reviews

“As I read Gods in Shackles – What Elephants Can Teach Us About Empathy, Resilience and Freedom, I was shocked, saddened and angered by the cruelty towards the Elephants who are forced to take part in religious ceremonies – cruelty that is described in this extraordinary book.  And I was amazed and moved by the courage shown by its author Sangita Iyer.  She loves Elephants, yet despite the emotional pain she suffered when she saw the abuse meted out to them, she forced herself to visit as many of the temples as possible to record and expose their pain to the world. And when an accident left her crippled and in agonizing pain for weeks, she never gave up. Moreover, she realized that her pain, and the pain of the Elephants, reflected the suffering of so many abused people around the world. ” – Dr. Jane Goodall (DBE), Founder, the Jane Goodall Institute

“We are desperate to feel that we are not alone in the universe. We are not. A whisper is all around us, the constant song of life communicating with itself. In Unshackled, Iyer links our own resurrection as individuals and as a species to this shared song. ” — Richard Louv, author of “Our Wild Calling” and “Last Child in the Woods”

In these pages, Sangita Iyer offers us both love and imaginative hope. Hope becomes more realistic when we view the four horsemen of the apocalypse – climate disruption, biodiversity collapse, extinction and the decay of human hope – as a single existential threat with shared solutions. To find that path, to take action, we must first listen to the song that surrounds us, as Sangita has done in her own life. — Richard Louv, author of “Our Wild Calling” and “Last Child in the Woods”

“When a person stands up for injustice, the plight is infectious. Sangita’s passion is infectious. The good people of this world came her way and helped because they believed in what she was doing. Sangita made Gods in Shackles and the VFAES happen, and bravo to her. I would thoroughly recommend this inspiring and uplifting book. The subject matter is brutal, but it gives me hope that humans can still make the world a better place if we change our ways, if we make a stand. Education and solidarity are the way forward. Excellent read and fantastic journey!’ – Carla Kovach, Author of the bestselling, DI Gina Harte series

“Thought provoking, and very upsetting at times, particularly that these tortures are under the semblance of religion. This wonderful book is deep and full of facts and emotions. I particularly resonated with the frequent parallels to the Elephants’ plight and Sangita’s personal life experiences both physical and mental. Sangita. is a determined, cause driven passionate advocate whom I admire enormously.” – Rula Lenska – Renowned British Actress & Model

This phenomenal trailblazing book reminds us that humans need to self-heal in order to fully play our role in forming a synergistic co-existence with Nature and animals. What we do to another species reverberates back to us. There is an urgency therefore to end the weeping of Elephants, an evolving of humans so that we all hold out hands with respect and tender love. Then Elephants, all animals, will be free from shackles and chains. In this outstanding book Sangita Iyer is the worthy voice of Elephants, the translator of their wisdom, of the mapping of their consciousness itself and how it relates to us mere humans. – Margrit Coates, World Renowned Author, Healer and Interspecies communicator

“Through this engaging story Sangita Iyer helps us recognize how interdependence, community, diversity, and being open to adaptation and emergence creates transformative change for a sustainable future.” Dr. Liza Ireland; Associate Faculty, School of Environment & Sustainability, Royal Roads University.

You can pre-order this wonderful book at Gods In Shackles.

Remembering When Meat Loaf Rescued A Puppy From A Dumpster While On Tour

Meat Loaf with Little Ms. Karma

Many abandoned dogs are rescued every day and when rock star singer Meat Loaf was on tour, the crew one night noticed someone left a puppy behind a dumpster. They decided to rescue the puppy and proceeded to feed, cuddle and take her to the vet.

They posted on their Facebook page a picture of the puppy they rescued. The puppy joined the band on the road and they named her Little Ms. Karma. The puppy temporarily joined them on tour and adjusted well as the band took turns giving her lots of love.

Meat said in the post “Some of you already know that the other night after our rehearsal, our crew saw someone dumping this beautiful baby girl behind a dumpster. They scooped her up and after a couple days of Vet visits, sleeping, lots of cuddles and settling into life on the road, Little Ms Karma, left us last night to go to her new forever home. We’ll miss her but she’s on her way to her new momma and sisters and a big ole ranch to run around and we’re even more excited that she’s staying a part of the extended Meat Loaf family forever!!!

But life on the road is no place for a dog and eventually, a forever home was made with the family of one of the crew. So Little Ms Karma said goodbye to the band to join one member of her extended Meat Loaf family who lives on a ranch with his wife and daughters. Remembering Meat Loaf’s famous Grammy Award for Best Rock Solo Performance for “I’d Do Anything for Love” is truly reflected by the rescue.

Love is what makes us do things to have a little bit of heaven on earth. Love is also paying good karma forward and I think this is the main reason why Meat Loaf and his crew gave this sweet dog a whole lot of loving and a forever home.

Karma is much bigger now and has settled into her new life. She even has fans of her own!

Watch a video about Meat Loaf and Karma here:

Please share if you like this rescue story of love for Little Ms. Karma!

The Wildlife Friends Foundation Launches Largest Tiger Rescue In Thailand As Phuket Zoo Closes

The Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand (WFFT) is carrying out the largest tiger rescue in Thailand’s history as the renowned wildlife animal welfare and rescue organisation prepares to take custody of 11 tigers and two bears handed over by Phuket Zoo.

WFFT founder and director Edwin Wiek confirmed the news.

Edwin Wiek of the Wildlife Friends Foundation

“We are finishing off the new side enclosures for the Tigers right now, and we will be ready to pick up the first 4-6 in the coming week. We are still waiting for documents to move the Tigers, but I am pretty sure this ill be done by the end of the week.” Mr Wiek told Protect All Wildlife.

Part of the area at the WFFT site in Phetchaburi that the tigers and bears from Phuket Zoo will soon call home. Photo: Edwin Wiek / WFFT

Mr Wiek explained that he and Sangduen “Lek” Chailert, founder of the Elephant Nature Park, discussed the handover of the animals with the Phuket Zoo owners.

The zoo has been hard hit by the financial crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving the facility without tourist visitors for nearly two years.

Despite previous encounters between WFFT and Phuket Zoo over the conditions many of the animals were kept in at the zoo, the parties set aside any animosity in order to determine the safe future for the animals, Mr Wiek noted.

Horrifying scenes inside abandoned Phuket zoo where starving animals are forced to live in squalor

“They were genuinely very concerned about the animals. They said they had refused offers for the animals’ skins and bones,” he said.

“As WFFT has the facilities and expertise to take care of large carnivores and currently houses more than 30 other bears, it was concluded that WFFT could provide the best life-long care for these animals which require urgent rehoming,” Mr Wiek explained. 

Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand (WFFT) will also rehome two bears from Phuket Zoo. Photo: Edwin Wiek / WFFT

The rescue and rehoming of 11 Tigers to a sanctuary will be the biggest Tiger rescue in Thailand’s history. However, due to the financial impact of COVID-219, WFFT must first raise the funds required to rescue these 13 animals. As such WFFT is asking for financial support to undertake this historic rescue, he noted.

“This rescue will be no small feat for WFFT. The financial resources required to rescue and transport 13 large animals from Phuket to WFFT alone will be significant,” Mr Wiek said.

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic we have received more calls than ever from entertainment venues who cannot afford to feed their animals anymore. We try to help as many as we can. The fact is, though, that without financial support, we cannot help more.

“We are urging our friends in Phuket, in Thailand and around the world to please help with what will be a huge rescue, not only for WFFT, but for Tigers in Thailand,” he said.

WFFT is a registered foundation in Thailand. 

“In Thailand, like in every country in the world, animals are abused and exploited for profit and human gratification. There are many examples of animal exploitation within the tourist industry, for example, photo prop animals, animals performing in degrading shows, and elephant camps. Furthermore, there is still a thriving illegal trade in wild animals for pets and medicine,” the organisation explains on its website.

The top three major goals of the organisation are:

  • To rescue and rehabilitate captive wild animals and provide high-quality care and a safe environment for them to live for the rest of their lives, in a setting as close to nature as possible.
  • To campaign against all forms of animal abuse and exploitation in Thailand, work towards ending the illegal pet trade and discourage people from keeping all wild animals as pets. WFFT actively seeks to combat the illegal wildlife trade and to rescue animals from poor conditions or exploitation from human entertainment.
  • To provide veterinary assistance to any sick or injured animal; wild or domestic.

To learn more about Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand (WFFT), visit the official website here: https://www.wfft.org/

This video shows various animals including Tigers, Bears, and Alligators left for dead at Phuket Zoo due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The tourism industry all over the world has definitely been brought to a sudden halt but the animals who played a major role in that have also been abandoned. The clip was originally uploaded on YouTube and was shot by an Australian named Minh Nguyen, who lives and works in Thailand. 

“We are still fundraising for the tigers, and hopefully we will get some more much needed financial support in the weeks to come.” told Protect All Wildlife.

If you like to help fund this amazing rescue operation please donate ANY amount, large or small, at Phuket Zoo Animal Rescue.

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