Remembering Wildlife, Remembering Bears. A Review Of The Book Raising Funds For The Protection Of Bears.

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated” ~ Mathatma Gandhi.

A new book aims to raise awareness of the plight facing Bears and to raise money to protect them. This is the latest book in the Remembering Wildlife series which has so far raised more than £952,000 for conservation through book sales around the world.

“There can be few species that we humans have such a contradictory relationship with, than Bears. From hugging toys of them at night as children, to labelling them as anything from a nuisance to a threat, entertainment to medicine, we are nothing but hypocritical in how we relate to this most awe inspiring creature. At Remembering Wildlife, we believe it is time to stop and think about this contradiction.

As you’ll see in this stunning collection of images, the eight Bear species roam from ice sheets to forests, meadows to mountains. From tender moments with their young, to fierce territorial battles between males, we tell their story in a way that commands respect, awe and reappraisal.

American Black Bear (Ursus Americans) by Amy Gulick Tongass. National Forest, Alaska This Black Bear cub was sent up a tree by its mother for safekeeping while she fished in the stream below. It was an unusually hot day and the cub flopped out on the branch until mom gave the signal to come down for a meal.

With this book, we aim to shine a spotlight on their diversity and beauty, their resilience and fortitude and most importantly, to raise funds for those working to protect them. We are supported in this mission once again by many of the world’s top wildlife photographers, who have all generously donated their work. Together, we are determined to stand up for Bears and penetrate the moral consciousness of all those who would exploit or see them destroyed. Because the planet would be poorer without them” – Margot Raggett, Remembering Wildlife Founder.

Chaparri Ecological Reserve, Peru Andean Bear. Photographer Daniel Rosengren was visiting a bear sanctuary in Chaparri when suddenly this wild bear appeared and climbed a tree. Staff explained it visited sometimes and was not shy.

All profits from the sale of the book will be used to support projects working to protect Bears.

Each turn of the page reveals another striking image of one of the eight Bear species –American Black Bear, Andean Bear, Asiatic Black Bear, Brown Bear, Giant Panda, Polar Bear, Sloth Bear and Sun Bear – revealing tender moments with family members, fierce territorial battles and the harsh reality of life as a bear, for example, when searching for food.

Sun Bear (Helarctos malayanus) by Tim Laman Gunung Palung National Park, West Kalimantan, Indonesia Sun Bears are rare, and this image was one of a handful of obtained during two years of intensive camera trapping, deep in the remote rainforest of Gunung Palung National Park in Indonesian Borneo.

Actor and comedian Ricky Gervais has endorsed the book, saying it is: “A wonderful book that shows how beautiful Bears are and just what we have to lose if we don’t stand up for them now. They deserve better.”

The hardback coffee table book is a collection of 88 stunning images taken by the world’s top wildlife photographers – including Marsel van Oosten, Art Wolfe, Frans Lanting, Greg du Toit and Daisy Gilardini – who have generously donated images to help protect Bears in the wild.

Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus) by Marsel van Oosten Svalbard. Climate change is not the only threat to Polar Bears. In Canada, the world’s largest exporter of Polar Bear skins, more than 600 Bears are legally killed every year. Hunters worldwide kill more Polar Bears than African Rhinos, which are protected by guards against poaching.

Six out of the eight Bear species are listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as Vulnerable or Endangered due to pressures ranging from climate change to human-wildlife conflict. Even those Bears of least concern, such as Brown Bears, are at risk of being lost for good in certain countries.

Founder of Remembering Wildlife Margot Raggett said: “Humans have long had a special relationship with Bears – we hug them at night as children and love seeing them in story books and on screen. Yet, in the real world, they’re not always viewed with the same affection and can been seen as a nuisance or a threat.

“Some face lives of misery – as dancing Bears, illegally trafficked as pets or used for medicine – or face serious threats and extinction through climate change, hunting or human-wildlife conflict.

Giant Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) by Suzi Estzerhas. Two playful seven-month-old Giant Panda cubs in a tree Chengdu, China

“Through images and words, this book shines a spotlight on their diversity, beauty and resilience as well as raising awareness of their plight and raising funds for organisations passionately fighting for the future of Bears.”

The foreword for the book is by award-winning wildlife filmmaker, presenter and public speaker Gordon Buchanan MBE.

Brown Bear (Ursus arctos) by Tin Man Lee Lake Clark National Park, Alaska. After three hours lying motionless in remote Alaska, the photographer caught this picture of a spring cub waking up from a deep sleep and sitting up, with mother Bear, who was 20 feet away, dashing back to give a cub a nose touch.

Further information about Remembering Wildlife can be found here .

To find out more about the projects that Remembering Wildlife has already funded, click here

Each book costs £45 GBP (approximately $50 USD) and copies can be ordered at Remembering Wildlife

Charities Struggling To Raise Funds In “Animal Welfare Time Bomb”

Animal welfare charities are facing “significant” financial problems in the Covid-19 crisis due to falling donations, the closure of charity shops to protect volunteers, and the cancellation of fund raising events.

There has already been a rise in cancellations of charity donations by direct debit across the UK. The current cost of living crisis has affected rescue charities twofold. Donations have dropped significantly However, the need to help animals in need has increased DRAMATICALLY.

Many people who bought pets during the covid lockdown have handed them into rescue centres because they can no longer (or don’t want to) look after. The cost of living crisis means many people cannot afford the cost of keeping their pets.

To make matters worse, the pandemic struck at a bad time. When Lucy’s Law came into effect in England, many puppy farmers abandoned the ‘trade’ – a victory for animal welfare. However, this led to an increase in breeding dogs dumped to fend for themselves with no regard for their welfare – just as the charities looking after them struggle to raise enough funds to function.

Like many animal welfare charities, we are struggling after lockdown. Covid restrictions and the cost of living crisis has resulted in very little funding coming in. This has dramatically affected our ability to help charities who are really struggling at the moment.

Please help us help other by donating ANY amount, large or small, at the link below. EVERY penny counts at these desperate times.

Everyone who donates will receive a Certificate of Appreciation as a thank you for helping animals in need.

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In Kenya’s Worst Drought In 40 Years, Elephants And Other Wildlife Are Dying In Alarming Numbers

THE CARCASS OF AN ELEPHANT THAT DIED DURING THE DROUGHT IS SEEN IN THE SHABA NATIONAL RESERVE, ISIOLO COUNTY, KENYA, SEPT. 22, 2022. (REUTERS PHOTO)

Over 100 Elephants died as a result of drought in East Africa, which has taken a toll on the wildlife in Kenya’s national parks.

Carcasses of dead Buffaloes, Zebras, Giraffes, Elephants and other animals litter the parks attracting scavengers such as Vultures and Hyenas.

ONE OF THE HUNDREDS OF ZEBRAS SUCCUMBING TO THE DROUGHT

The animals are dying due to one of the worst droughts ever to hit East Africa, with experts saying it has been the worst drought experienced in the eastern part of Africa for over 40 years.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA), Nancy Githaiga, the country director of Africa Wildlife Foundation in Kenya, said that 109 Elephants have been recorded dead in the Tsavo National Park, Kenya’s largest, over the past year.

“Although cases of poaching have greatly dropped due to surveillance, the number of Elephants is now going down significantly because of drought,” she said.

“It’s not just Elephants, it’s giraffes, zebras and all wildlife that are dying, you will find their carcasses around.”

Temporary waterholes were installed last year, but because of the increasing severity of the drought and the vast areas involved we MUST get more water to the dying animals of Kenya and do so FAST!

THE PHOTO SHOWS SIX GIRAFFES LYING LIFELESS IN THE SABULI WILDLIFE CONSERVANCY IN WAJIR. THE ANIMALs DIED AFTER GETTING STUCK IN MUD AS THEY TRIED TO DRINK FROM A NEARBY RESERVOIR, WHICH HAD ALMOST DRIED UP.

The drought is the worst in the region in more than 40 years and shows no signs of abating.

With each passing day, more parched animals are dropping dead, like the sad story of Monsoon, the matriarch Elephant.  

“Monsoon,” the miracle elephant, survived being shot FIVE times by poachers and even managed to give birth after her ordeal. A drought in northern Kenya killed her last month.

Animals like Monsoon are dropping dead beside dried-up water pans and nonexistent pastures. We cannot afford to lose wildlife in these staggering numbers. Please help us support charities at the heart of this crisis.

How you can help us support those on the ground:

You can support animals in need by donating as little as £1 – It only takes a minute but it can last a lifetime for an animal in need.

Everyone who donates will receive a Certificate of Appreciation as a thank you for helping animals in need.

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Should Wildlife Tourism Be Banned In India?

Tiger T42 – Fateh. A dominant tiger of Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve, he rules over Qualiji area. He is named after the legendary conservationist, synonymous with Ranthambhore, Fateh Singh Rathore-A tribute to a great man.

Wildlife Tourism in India has always been a controversial matter. In 2010, a Public Interest Litigation was filed by tiger activist Ajay Dubey, claiming that the industry was becoming unsustainable and exploitative. As per the 2006 Amendment of the Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972, “critical Tiger and wildlife habitats” must be inviolate for the vital growth of tiger populations. Any form of human activity was deemed a threat to Tiger conservation. It was on this basis that, on the 24th of July 2012, the Supreme Court ordered a temporary ban on tourism in the core zone of Tiger reserves. The ban stirred significant debate amongst conservationists.

More about the wildlife tourism ban

The underlying principle of the order was questionable. Tiger populations grew remarkably in reserves such as Kahna, Bandhavgarh and Ranthambore, despite substantial amounts of wildlife tourism. Contrastingly, Tiger populations in less popular Protected Areas, such as Buxa and Palamu Tiger Reserve, have depleted immensely despite a lack of tourism. Associating wildlife tourism to the depletion of Tiger populations remains a baseless claim.

The Supreme Court hoped that the ban would instigate the establishment of buffer zones in Protect Areas for wildlife tourism, in accordance with the November 2011 NTCA guidelines. However, despite the Supreme Court mandate, numerous states were reluctant to comply with the guidelines. Tourism in buffer zones was not the most practical alternative. These regions are used extensively by bordering villages for cattle grazing and the collection of forest produce. Habitat degradation would lead to inferior wildlife sightings, hence attenuating the attractiveness of wildlife safaris. 

Wildlife Tourism In India

Fortunately the MoEFCC and NTCA redrafted guidelines, allowing for wildlife tourism in up to 20% of the critical Tiger habitat of a reserve. The revised guidelines encouraged states to form their own ecotourism policies. Following this, on the 16th of October 2012, the Supreme Court allowed for the recommencement of tourism in core areas

Are there any benefits of wildlife tourism?

There are numerous benefits to wildlife tourism, particularly for the local communities. Following proper practices, ecotourism brings substantial economic benefits. With over 1 million people visiting tiger reserves annually, a lot of revenue is generated in the form of entry fees, guide salary, lodge bookings amongst others. This provides significant employment opportunities for the local communities and has ripple effects as locals will associate a monetary value with wildlife. This would increase the general acceptance of wildlife, hence reducing human-wildlife conflict. Furthermore, this would prevent locals from turning to game hunting for sustenance. Entry fees would also provide the Forest Department with much required funding for conservation works! It is estimated that in the Fiscal Year of 2019, wildlife tourism in Madhya Pradesh attracted nearly 2 million visitors, generating 27 crore rupees. An organization, TOFTigers, estimated that nearly a quarter of the state’s Forest Department Budget consists of park entry fees in 2017. Moreover, the industry generated an additional 2,500 full time jobs out of which 82% were given to locals. With the industry growing at a healthy 15% annually, local economies stand to benefit immensely, particularly in the North East where the wild wonders are relatively unexplored.

Tourism also has a plethora of benefits in the management of the reserve. With the Forest Departments heavily under resources and understaffed, patrolling Protected Areas is a daunting task. Parks certainly benefit from watchful tourists. Detection of forest fires, illegal activities and injured animals improves with the participation of tourists. In fact, with the development of citizen science software, tourists can contribute even further towards wildlife research. It is no surprise therefore, that within 6 weeks of wildlife tourism shutting down due to the pandemic in 2020, the cases of poaching increased by 151% across India.

Unethical Practices Cloud wildlife tourism

However, in the past, there have been concerns regarding whether the economic benefits of wildlife tourism actually reach local communities.  Wildlife tourism may also lead to some atrocious practices. For example, both captive elephants, and dancing bears, undergo immense torture while being trained for tourist purposes. Similarly, Kopi Luwark, the world’s most expensive coffee, is a major attraction in Indonesia. However, most people are oblivious to the fact that it sponsors the illegal wildlife tradeSnake charming also is equally diastorous.

Unruly visitors are not avoidable

Enforcement of rules and regulation also remains a dark spot in the wildlife industry. I personally have witnessed numerous accounts of wildlife harassment. Unruly tourists littering, wearing excessively bright colours and making excessive noise has made a few safaris unpleasant. Furthermore, in the lure of tips, guides are often overly enthusiastic during a safari. A critical protocol which is frequently ignored during a direct sighting is the minimum distance requirement between two jeeps. Though legally, animals have the right of way in forest roads, this behaviour by jeeps often obstructs their paths and causes distress to the animals. I witnessed this with the dominant male Rudra in Tadoba Tiger Reserve in October 2020 and in my first visit to the park in 2017, where a jeep did some off-roading to show the guests tiger cubs feeding on a kill. Not only did the family flee, the jeeps shamelessly continued chasing them off-roading. Littering is also a prominent issue. On the same trip, I visited the Tipeshwar Tiger Reserve where visitors, despite being confronted by both forest staff and guests, continued to litter in the park. I can name plenty of such personal anecdotes from forests all over India! Seeing the popular tiger of the park overwhelms tourist and guide alike!

The impact of such behaviour has had an observed impact on wildlife. Tigers and other wildlife of popular parks are far more accustomed to jeeps than in the smaller reserves. Despite this, tigers do witness increased stress levels. This is proved by a study of 341 samples of tiger scats by the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in Bandhavgarh and Kanha National Park. The study found that tigers had higher concentrations of the stress hormone, faecal glucocorticoid metabolite (fGCM), during the tourism season than prior. 

This behaviour could be rectified by improved education. While an underlying purpose of ecotourism is education, only 30% of India’s Protected Areas have visitor orientation centres. Private lodges also are not very proactive in the field. 

Wildlife tourism has to become more sustainable

Another issue with wildlife tourism is that lodges are not truly eco-friendly. A nationwide study of 10 of India’s major wildlife tourist destinations was alarming. 85% of tourist facilities were within 5km of the park. 93% of the lodges used local wood while the dependency on local borewells varied from 40% to 100%. Swimming pools in the lodges of Central India prove costly for local communities in the dry summer months. The fragile ecosystem of Ladakh is witnessing widespread decimation in recent years due to scores of tourists flocking to the state following the release of the movie “3 Idiots”.

The same study found that in the 10 parks, 95% of the revenue went to private operators. Only 4.5% and 0.5% went to the park and locals respectively. In fact, only 0.001% of the locals within a 10km buffer of PA were employed. This accentuates the fallacies of India’s wildlife industries! 

Larger mammals steal the limelight

Although only 10% of India’s 500 Protected Areas are Tiger Reserves, they account for 32% of wildlife tourism. Spotting charismatic species such as Tigers, Elephants, Rhinos and Lions still remains the sole interest for most visitors. Much of India’s natural beauties are unheard of by the general public. This is in sharp contrast with countries such as Australia, US, South Africa and Europe. Unlike India, ecotourism is not limited to safaris solely. These countries offer a wide array of sustainable activities across their natural landscapes including bird watching, camping, adventure sports, and natural history museums. Although it is essential to not damage the natural ecosystem, the ecotourism industry in India could be further developed. In fact, developing more activities in the lesser known parks could help distribute tourism more evenly across the country. There is much scope to expand. India could also adopt a private-public partnership in a few regions, much like the Private Game Reserves of South Africa!

The Greater One-Horned Rhino

All in all, the wildlife tourism industry is still fairly young and has much growth left. It has various benefits to wildlife but there are many issues for India to iron out such that the industry can bolster conservation efforts.

This article was first published on Think Wildlife Foundation. 

How you can help animals in need:

You can support animals in need by donating as little as £1 – It only takes a minute but it can last a lifetime for an animal in need.

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Best Animal And Nature Images 0f 2022 Revealed As Wildlife Photographer Of The Year Announced

A buzzing ball of cactus bees was awarded the top prize at the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.

The winners of the Natural History Museum’s prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition were announced at an awards ceremony in London today.

American photographer Karine Aigner was announced as this year’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year for her remarkable image of a buzzing ball of cactus bees spinning over the hot sand on a Texas ranch (top image).

Entitled “The Big Buzz”, her winning shot was taken close up at bee-level and shows all except one of the male insects intent on mating with the single female at the centre.

Organisers of the contest pointed out that, like most bees, the insects pictured are threatened by habitat loss, pesticides and climate change, along with farming practices that disrupt their nesting grounds.

All The Winners Of Wildlife Photographer Of The Year 2022

10 Years and under winner

Battle stations by Ekaterina Bee, Italy

Ekaterina Bee, Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Ekaterina Bee watches as two Alpine ibex spar for supremacy. It was near the end of a spring day trip with her family that Ekaterina spotted the fight. The two ibex clashed horns and continued to trade blows while standing on their hind legs like boxers in a ring. In the early 1800s, following centuries of hunting, fewer than 100 Alpine ibex survived in the mountains on the Italy–France border. Successful conservation measures mean that, today, there are more than 50,000.

Location: Pian della Mussa, Piedmont, Italy

11-14 Years Winner

Out of the fog by Ismael Domínguez Gutiérrez, Spain

Ismael Domínguez Gutiérrez reveals a monochromatic scene as an osprey sits on a dead tree, waiting for the fog to lift. When Ismael arrived at the wetland, he was disappointed not to be able to see beyond a few metres – and certainly he had no hope of glimpsing the grebes he wanted to photograph.

But as the fog began to lift, it revealed the opportunity for this striking composition. Ospreys are winter visitors to the province of Andalucía. Here the many reservoirs offer these widespread fish-eating raptors shallow, open water that is clearer than many rivers and lakes.

Location: Embalse de Los Hurones, Cádiz, Spain

15-17 Years Winner

The beauty of baleen by Katanyou Wuttichaitanakorn, Thailand

Katanyou Wuttichaitanakorn, Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Katanyou Wuttichaitanakorn is intrigued by the contrasting colours and textures of a Bryde’s whale, which surfaces close by. Following government tourism guidelines, the tour boat Katanyou was travelling on turned off its engine as the whale appeared close by.

This meant that Katanyou had to steady his hands to capture this close-up composition as the boat rocked in the swell. Bryde’s whales have up to 370 pairs of grey-coloured plates of baleen growing inside their upper jaws. The plates are made of keratin, a protein that also forms human hair and nails, and are used to filter small prey from the ocean.

Location: Upper Gulf of Thailand, Phetchaburi, Thailand

Animals in their Environment winner

Spectacled bear’s slim outlook by Daniel Mideros

Daniel Mideros takes a poignant portrait of a disappearing habitat and its inhabitant. Daniel set up camera traps along a wildlife corridor used to reach high-altitude plateaus. He positioned the cameras to show the disappearing natural landscape with the bear framed at the heart of the image.

These bears, found from western Venezuela to Bolivia, have suffered massive declines as the result of habitat fragmentation and loss. Around the world, as humans continue to build and farm, space for wildlife is increasingly squeezed out.

Location: Peñas Blancas, Quito, Ecuador

Animal Portraits winner

Puff perfect by José Juan Hernández Martinez, Spain

José Juan Hernández Martinez witnesses the dizzying courtship display of a Canary Islands houbara.

José arrived at the houbara’s courtship site at night. By the light of the moon, he dug himself a low hide. From this vantage point he caught the bird’s full puffed-out profile as it took a brief rest from its frenzied performance. A Canary Islands houbara male returns annually to its courtship site to perform impressive displays.

Raising the plumes from the front of its neck and throwing its head back, it will race forward before circling back, resting just seconds before starting again.

Location: La Oliva, Fuerteventura, Spain

Behaviour: Invertebrates Winner

The big buzz by Karine Aigner

Karine Aigner gets close to the action as a group of bees compete to mate. Using a macro lens, Karine captured the flurry of activity as a buzzing ball of cactus bees spun over the hot sand. After a few minutes, the pair at its centre – a male clinging to the only female in the scrum – flew away to mate. The world’s bees are under threat from habitat loss, pesticides and climate change. With 70% of bee species nesting underground, it is increasingly important that areas of natural soil are left undisturbed.

Location: South Texas, USA

Behaviour: Birds Winner

The listening bird by Nick Kanakis, USA

Nick Kanakis gains a glimpse into the secret life of wrens. Nick spotted the young grey-breasted wood wren foraging. Knowing it would disappear into the forest if approached, he found a clear patch of leaf litter and waited. Sure enough, the little bird hopped into the frame, pressing its ear to the ground to listen for small insects. This prey-detecting technique is used by other birds, including the Eurasian blackbird. Grey-breasted wood wrens are ground-dwelling birds, often heard but not seen. They broadcast loud, melodious songs and rasping calls while hidden in the undergrowth.

Location: Tatamá National Park, Risaralda, Colombia

Behaviour: Mammals winner

The great cliff chase by Anand Nambiar, India

Anand Nambiar captures an unusual perspective of a snow leopard charging a herd of Himalayan ibex towards a steep edge. From a vantage point across the ravine, Anand watched the snow leopard manoeuvre uphill from the herd. It was perfectly suited for the environment – unlike Anand, who followed a fitness regime in preparation for the high altitude and cold temperatures. Snow leopards live in some of the most extreme habitats in the world. They are now classed as vulnerable. Threats include climate change, mining, and hunting of both the snow leopards and their prey.

Location: Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary, Himachal Pradesh, India

Oceans: The Bigger Picture Winner

New life for the tohorā by Richard Robinson, New Zealand

Richard Robinson captures a hopeful moment for a population of whales that has survived against all odds. Hindered by poor visibility, Richard used a polecam to photograph the whales gradually moving towards his boat. Pushing his camera to its limits in the dark water, he was relieved to find the image pin-sharp and the moment of copulation crystallised in time.

When ready to mate, the female southern right whale rolls onto its back, requiring the male to reach its penis across the female’s body. Known by the Māori as tohorā, the New Zealand population was hunted to near extinction in the 1800s, so every new calf offers new hope. Shot under New Zealand Department of Conservation permit #84845-MAR

Location: Deas Head, Auckland Islands, New Zealand

Plants and Fungi Winner

The magical morels by Agorastos Papatsanis, Greece

Agorastos Papatsanis composes a fairy tale scene in the forests of Mount Olympus. Enjoying the interplay between fungi and fairy tales, Agorastos wanted to create a magical scene. He waited for the sun to filter through the trees and light the water in the background, then used a wide-angle lens and flashes to highlight the morels’ labyrinthine forms. Morels are regarded as gastronomic treasures in many parts of the world because they are difficult to cultivate, yet in some forests they flourish naturally.

Location: Mount Olympus, Pieria, Greece

Natural Artistry winner

Heavenly flamingos by Junji Takasago, Japan

Junji Takasago powers through altitude sickness to produce a dream-like scene. Junji crept towards the preening group of Chilean flamingos. Framing their choreography within the reflected clouds, he fought back his altitude sickness to capture this dream-like scene. High in the Andes, Salar de Uyuni is the world’s largest salt pan. It is also one of Bolivia’s largest lithium mines, which threatens the future of these flamingos.

Lithium is used in batteries for phones and laptops. Together we can help decrease demand by recycling old electronics.

Location: Salar de Uyuni, Daniel Campos Province, Bolivia

Behaviour: Amphibians and Reptiles Winner

The bat-snatcher by Fernando Constantino Martínez Belmar, Mexico

Fernando Constantino Martínez Belmar waits in darkness as a Yucatan rat snake snaps up a bat. Using a red light to which both bats and snakes are less sensitive, Fernando kept an eye on this Yucatan rat snake poking out of a crack. He had just seconds to get the shot as the rat snake retreated into its crevice with its bat prey. Every evening at sundown in the Cave of the Hanging Snakes, thousands of bats leave for the night’s feeding. It is also when hungry rat snakes emerge, dangling from the roof to snatch their prey in mid-air.

Location: Kantemo, Quintana Roo, Mexico winner

Underwater Winner

Shooting star by Tony Wu, USA/Japan

Tony Wu watches the electrifying reproductive dance of a giant sea star. As the surrounding water filled with sperm and eggs from spawning sea stars, Tony faced several challenges. Stuck in a small, enclosed bay with only a macro lens for photographing small subjects, he backed up to squeeze the undulating sea star into his field of view, in this galaxy-like scene. The ‘dancing’ posture of spawning sea stars rising and swaying may help release eggs and sperm, or may help sweep the eggs and sperm into the currents where they fertilise together in the water.

Location: Kinko Bay, Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan

Urban Wildlife Winner

House of bears by Dmitry Kokh, Russia

Dmitry Kokh presents this haunting scene of polar bears shrouded in fog at the long-deserted settlement on Kolyuchin. On a yacht, seeking shelter from a storm, Dmitry spotted the polar bears roaming among the buildings of the long-deserted settlement.

As they explored every window and door, Dmitry used a low-noise drone to take a picture that conjures up a post-apocalyptic future. In the Chukchi Sea region, the normally solitary bears usually migrate further north in the summer, following the retreating sea ice they depend on for hunting seals, their main food. If loose pack ice stays near the coast of this rocky island, bears sometimes investigate.

Location: Kolyuchin Island, Chukotka, Russia

Wetlands – The Bigger Picture Winner

The dying lake by Daniel Núñez, Guetamala

Daniel Núñez uses a drone to capture the contrast between the forest and the algal growth on Lake Amatitlán. Daniel took this photograph to raise awareness of the impact of contamination on Lake Amatitlán, which takes in around 75,000 tonnes of waste from

Guatemala City every year. “It was a sunny day with perfect conditions,” he says, “but it is a sad and shocking moment.” Cyanobacteria flourishes in the presence of pollutants such as sewage and agricultural fertilisers forming algal blooms. Efforts to restore the Amatitlán wetland are underway but have been hampered by a lack of funding and allegations of political corruption.

Location: Lake Amatitlán, Villa Canales, Guatemala

Photojournalism Winner

Ndakasi’s passing by Brent Stirton, South Africa

Brent Stirton shares the closing chapter of the story of a much-loved mountain gorilla. Brent photographed Ndakasi’s rescue as a two-month-old after her troop was brutally killed by a powerful charcoal mafia as a threat to park rangers. Here he memorialised her passing as she lay in the arms of her rescuer and caregiver of 13 years, ranger Andre Bauma. As a result of unrelenting conservation efforts focusing on the daily protection of individual gorillas, mountain gorilla numbers have quadrupled to over 1,000 in the last 40 years.

Location: Senkwekwe Center, Virunga National Park, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Photojournalist Story Award Winner

The Cuban connection by Karine Aigner

A Cuban bullfinch is positioned alongside a road so that it becomes accustomed to the hubbub of street life and therefore less likely to be distracted during a competition. These birds are highly prized for their sweet voice and feisty spirit. Karine Aigner explores the relationship between Cuban culture and songbirds, and the future of a deep-rooted tradition. For hundreds of years, some Cubans have caught and kept songbirds and held bird-singing contests.

Throughout a turbulent period of economic sanctions and political unrest, these small, beautiful birds have provided companionship, entertainment and friendly competition within the community. Now with regular travel and emigration between Cuba and North America, the tradition of songbird contests has crossed an ocean. As songbird populations plummet, US law enforcement is cracking down on the trapping, trading and competing of these birds.

Location: USA and Cuba

Rising Star Portfolio Award Winner

A theatre of birds by Mateusz Piesiak, Poland

Placing his remote camera on the mud of the reed bed, Mateusz seized the opportunity to capture the moment when a passing peregrine falcon caused some of the dunlins to fly up. Mateusz carefully considered camera angles to produce a series of intimate photographs exploring the behaviour of birds.

Winner of the Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year award when he was 14, Mateusz explored his locality during the Covid-19 lockdown. “Even a small pond or park in the city centre turned out to be a very good place for photographing wildlife.” Throughout this portfolio Mateusz focuses on local birds, researching and preparing for images that were in his mind “for days, months or even years” before he finally managed to realise them.

Location: Poland

Portfolio Award Winner

Under Antarctic ice by Laurent Ballesta, France

Laurent Ballesta endures below-freezing dives to reveal the diversity of life beneath Antarctica’s ice. An underwater photographer and biologist, Laurent has led a series of major expeditions, all involving scientific mysteries and diving challenges, and all resulting in unprecedented images. He has won multiple prizes in Wildlife Photographer of the Year, including the grand title award in 2021. His expedition to Antarctica, exploring its vast underwater biodiversity, took two years to plan, a team of expert divers, and specially developed kit. His 32 dives in water temperature down to -1.7˚C (29°F) included the deepest, longest dive ever made in Antarctica.

Living towers of marine invertebrates punctuate the seabed off Adelie Land, 32 metres (105 feet) under East Antarctic ice.

Here, at the centre, a tree-shaped sponge is draped with life, from giant ribbon worms to sea stars.

Location: Adélie Land, Antarctica

Protect All Wildlife, Wednesday 12 October 2022.

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Hunter Mauled By A Mother Grizzly Bear After Surprising Her And Her Three Cubs In Alaska.

A hunter was mauled by a grizzly Bear in Alaska this week after approaching her and her three cubs — leaving him with serious puncture wounds on his arms, wildlife officials said.

Nicholas Kuperus, of Michigan, was able to escape what could have been a lethal attack Tuesday after using Bear spray, Alaska Wildlife Troopers said in a statement.

Kuperus, 33, had stumbled on the mother Bear and her cubs while hunting with other people about 60 miles north of Glennallen in the upper East Fork Indian River, the statement said.

The hunters called the troopers for help via a satellite communication device.

Officials flew to a nearby ridgetop in a small state aircraft to rescue Kuperus and transported him to an ambulance in Glennallen.

Just a few days earlier, a hunter was attacked by an adult Brown Bear he mistakenly believed he had shot and killed, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

The man approached what he thought was his kill near Anchorage when the Bear charged. His hunting party shot at the animal until it stopped its attack.

The man was taken to a hospital. It is unclear if the bear survived.

Earlier this year, a US Army member died after he was mauled by a Bear while training near the Anchorage Regional Landfill, some 200 miles from where Kuperus was attacked.

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Hunter Illegally Lured A Bear With Bait To Kill It, Georgia Officials Say.

It is illegal for hunters to use bait to lure black bears in Georgia. A hunter in White County is accused of violating the law, officials say.

A hunter is facing charges after investigators discovered a Bear had been lured to its death with bait, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division.

Game wardens learned of the illegal kill through a tip Sunday, Sept 11, according to a news release.

It happened in White County, about 90 miles northeast of Atlanta.

“After a brief investigation which included an inspection of the kill site, it was determined that the Bear was in fact illegally killed over bait,” the division reported.

“The Bear was seized, and the subject was charged with killing the bear over bait. The meat is being processed and will be donated to a family in need.”

State laws forbid the use of bait to lure Bears to a specific location “which gives or might give a hunter an unnatural advantage when hunting Bear,” according to Georgia State Code.

“Any person violating the provisions of this Code section is guilty of a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature and, upon conviction, may be punished by a fine of not less than $500.00 and not to exceed $5,000.00 or by confinement for a term not to exceed 12 months, or both,” the state says.

Bear baiting is considered unethical and is widely condemned as a practice that can increase conflicts with humans.

In late summer and fall, Bears go into a frenzied eating behavior, called hyperphagia, as they attempt to gain 20 to 40 pounds per week to survive hibernation,” according to the Humane Society of the United States.

“Bears subjected to baiting come to associate food with the smells of humans and even livestock. Those who then become habituated to human foods become less shy and more unpredictable, changing their eating habits, home ranges and movement patterns in ways that are sometimes irreversible.”

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Protect All Wildlife are involved in many projects to protect animals’ rights, welfare, and habitats. Money contributed to Protect All Wildlife supports ALL of our worthy programmes and gives us the flexibility to respond to emerging needs. Your donations make our work possible. Thank you for your support.

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R.I.P. Frodo, The Last Surviving Dog Rescued From Michael Vick’s Dogfighting Ring.

ANIMAL ABUSER MICHAEL VICK AND FRODO

In 2007, authorities rescued 51 Pit Bulls from a Virginia compound belonging to Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick. These dogs endured horrible torture. They were electrocuted, beaten, hanged, drowned, and forced to fight.

DOGS BEING RESCUED FROM VICK’S PROPERTY

Sadly, four of the dogs did not survive, but 47 brave Pitties did. These frightened, formerly abused dogs were given love and patience by several rescue organizations and their forever families.

THE 47 SURVIVING DOGS OF THE DOG-FIGHTING RING

One of these survivors, Frodo, lived to be 15 years old. He died on December 18th, 2021. After one year of hell at Vick’s compound, he spent the last 14 years being “pampered like a prince.”

R.I.P. “Sweet” Frodo

BAD RAP, an Oakland-based nonprofit animal welfare organization, announced the dog’s passing on Facebook. This organization helped immensely in advocating for the dogs and rehabilitating them.

The post from BAD RAP mourning Frodo’s loss states:

“Sweet Frodo – How we loved him. He was one of the bravest survivors we’ve ever met.”

FRODO

Frodo had a good life with his loving family, and he also went out surrounded by love. BAD RAP described the dog’s final moments:

“Frodo gobbled that big bag of steak under the tears of his mama, Kim Ramirez and her daughter Dominique. Thank you Dr. Williams for tending to his medical needs up until the end. He trusted you and you made this moment so perfect.”

The Story Of Frodo’s Recovery

Throughout his life, Frodo served as a face of the movement to eliminate the negative stereotype against Pit Bulls. He also proved the value of patience and kindness in a dog’s life.

BAD RAP, who have plenty of experience working with dogs seized from fighting situations, believed in these dogs from the start. In a previous post, BAD RAP wrote that dogs with difficult pasts deserve a chance:

“Frodo showed us that younger dogs pulled from cruelty cases need socialization from Day one so they can grow up strong and brave. In his case, he was approx. 3-6mos old when seized by authorities, and then waited six long and damaging months in solitary confinement for rescue help.”

Poor Frodo was especially shy and fearful when rescued from his horrible situation. In a 2009 interview with The Mercury News, Kim Ramirez, Frodo’s adopter, explained:

“Anything mechanical, the sound bothers him. We have ceiling fans at our house and he would become fixated on them, looking up at them with apprehension. If I opened a cabinet, he would shy away. Or popcorn in the microwave. I don’t know, maybe the popcorn equates to gunshots for him. I don’t think he witnessed any of the fights. But I’m sure he heard them.”

Luckily, Frodo had the Ramirez family, who showed him so much love and patience. The sweet dog’s family even pushed him around in a stroller when his legs started to fail him.

R.I.P. to a true survivor.

The 48 Surviving “Vick” Dogs And Their Heroes

In 2019, 13 dogs freed from Vick’s ring were still alive, 12 years later. Just two days before Frodo passed, Jonny Justice died surrounded by his family, and Uba crossed the rainbow bridge in October 2021.

These dogs were given the chances they deserved, and they all lived happy lives despite their pasts.

BAD RAP also acknowledged how hard several rescue groups worked to change these dogs’ lives for the better. While BAD RAP and Best Friends received most of the public appreciation, these organizations helped rehabilitate the Pitties too:

  • The Richmond Animal League
  • Georgia SPCA
  • SPCA of Monterey County
  • Out of the Pits
  • Our Pack
  • Recycled Love
  • Animal Rescue of Tidewater
  • Animal Farm Foundation

When animal advocates come together, great things can happen. These 48 “Vick” dogs prove that.

What happened to Michael Vick?

Vick served just 19 months in federal prison for bankrolling the dogfighting, even after admitting to killing dogs. Despite this injustice, the high-profile case helped change the way the world sees Pit Bulls and how abused dogs can be rehabilitated.

Protesters at the Michael Vick hearing outside the Sussex County Courthouse in Sussex, Va.
What you can do to help animals in need:
Support ‘Protect All Wildlife’ by donating as little as £1 – It only takes a minute but it can last a lifetime for an animal in need.

We believe EVERY animal should be treated with respect, empathy, and understanding. We raise awareness to protect and conserve wild, captive, companion and farm animals. It is vital that we protect animals against acts of cruelty, abuse, and neglect by enforcing established animal welfare laws and, when necessary, take action to ensure that those who abuse animals are brought to justice.

Protect All Wildlife are involved in many projects to protect animals’ rights, welfare, and habitats. Money contributed to Protect All Wildlife supports ALL of our worthy programmes and gives us the flexibility to respond to emerging needs. Your donations make our work possible. Thank you for your support.

Everyone who donates will receive a Certificate of Appreciation as a thank you for supporting wildlife.

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Drought Forces Zimbabwe To Relocate 2,500 Wild Animals To New Reserves

The effects of climate change are outpacing poaching as the No. 1 threat to wildlife. In Zimbabwe, officials are now moving more than 2,500 wild animals from a reserve in the southern part of the country further north due to an ongoing drought. Rangers are relying on trucks, cranes and even helicopters to move the animals from the drought-stricken area.

“Project Rewild Zambezi,” the operation has been dubbed, involves moving animals to the Zambezi River valley, which will also help improve wildlife populations in that area. It is one of the largest live animal relocation projects in southern Africa, with more than 2,000 impalas, 400 elephants, 70 giraffes, 50 each of buffalo, wildebeest, zebras, and elands, 10 lions and 10 wild dogs, among other animals, being moved north.

The animals are being relocated from the Save Valley Conservancy to the Sapi, Matusadonha and Chizarira conservancies in the north. According to officials, the project is necessary to avoid a crisis.

“We are doing this to relieve pressure. For years we have fought poaching and just as we are winning that war, climate change has emerged as the biggest threat to our wildlife,” Tinashe Farawo, spokesperson for the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, told The Associated Press. “Many of our parks are becoming overpopulated and there is little water or food. The animals end up destroying their own habitat, they become a danger unto themselves and they encroach neighboring human settlements for food resulting in incessant conflict.”

One other option was to cull some of the animals to reduce competition for resources among the wildlife, but Zimbabwe has not had a culling since 1987. Conservationists argue that culling is a cruel and unnecessary solution.

The “Project Rewild Zambezi” is one of the largest in Zimbabwe. The country’s last mass relocation of wildlife occurred from 1958 to 1964, as hydro-dam construction led to rising water that ultimately created Lake Kariba. More than 5,000 animals had to be relocated at the time.

Drought is becoming an increasing threat in Zimbabwe and across Africa, reducing food and water available for wildlife, including vulnerable rhinos and giraffes. But hunting and poaching have also taken their toll. In Sapi Reserve, a UNESCO site, wildlife populations quickly declined from the 1950s until 2017, when it was taken over by the non-profit Great Plains Foundation. Relocating animals from areas affected by drought will also help in the foundation’s efforts to rewild and restore populations in Sapi Reserve.

What you can do to help wildlife:

Support ‘Protect All Wildlife’ by donating as little as £1 – It only takes a minute but it can last a lifetime for an animal in need.

We believe EVERY animal should be treated with respect, empathy, and understanding. We raise awareness to protect and conserve wild, captive, companion and farm animals. It is vital that we protect animals against acts of cruelty, abuse, and neglect by enforcing established animal welfare laws and, when necessary, take action to ensure that those who abuse animals are brought to justice.

Protect All Wildlife are involved in many projects to protect animals’ rights, welfare, and habitats. Money contributed to Protect All Wildlife supports ALL of our worthy programmes and gives us the flexibility to respond to emerging needs. Your donations make our work possible. Thank you for your support.

Everyone who donates will receive a Certificate of Appreciation as a thank you for supporting wildlife.

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The Bloody Truth Behind The Taiji Dolphin Drive Hunt

A new season started on September 1. Entire families of dolphins will be devastated for aquariums to draw crowds.

THE BLOODY TAIJI DOLPHIN DRIVE HUNT CREDIT: INTERNATIONAL MARINE MAMMAL PROJECT

Just after 6am, a fleet of 11 fishing boats left Taiji harbour on Japan’s southern Pacific coast. Within an hour, the boats were lined up in a formation, encircling a pod of 18 Risso’s dolphins and forcing them into a cove. Nets were set to trap the dolphins, and soon after, seven dolphin trainers from the Taiji Whale Museum arrived.

One by one, the divers caught the dolphins and took them under grey tarps that were meant to shield their work from the scrutiny of outside observers. Under the tarps, the dolphin trainers examined the sex and size of the dolphins, estimated their age and selected two for sale to aquariums — appearance and suitability for training are usually key factors. They were placed on stretchers and taken to sea pens set in a nearby bay.

Just an hour earlier, these dolphins had been swimming freely in the ocean with their family. Now, they were facing a life in a small concrete pool, performing tricks to entertain people who rarely think about how the dolphins ended up there.

The fate of the 16 unchosen dolphins was even more cruel. Hunters struck them with a sharp metal spike into their necks just behind the blowholes, making them suffocate in their own blood, turning the ocean water around them red. Their dead bodies were dragged into Taiji fishing port, soon to become meat products.

In a matter of a few hours, an entire family of dolphins was destroyed as part of what some local fishermen and Japanese politicians call a “tradition”.

Inconvenient truth

On September 1, a new season of cruelty will begin. The small town of Taiji made global headlines after the 2010 Academy Award-winning documentary film, The Cove, highlighted Japan’s little-known dolphin hunting practice. While the film was highly acclaimed worldwide, it received a backlash in Japan as conservatives called it an attack on the country’s culture.

More than a decade has passed and the world has changed. Climate change is considered humanity’s biggest challenge. Governments and corporations around the world are working towards sustainability goals, including wildlife conservation. Sadly, in Japan, dolphin hunts continue as they did earlier, while the world’s attention has faded away.

During the six-month hunting season each year, I’m confronted with a truth that’s inconvenient for many people considering the enormous popularity of dolphins at aquariums. Dolphins form strong family bonds, moving together to protect the young and old who cannot swim fast enough when chased by hunters. Dolphins are also generally gentle and do not attack humans even to defend themselves. This makes it easy for hunters to catch entire pods.

Our investigation revealed that at least 563 dolphins were taken from the wild in Taiji alone during the 2021-22 season, of which 498 were slaughtered and 65 were kept for aquariums. The dolphin hunts are conducted across Japan, often using spearfishing. Taiji is particularly notorious because hunters here usually catch entire pods, leaving no chance for families to recover and causing a devastating impact on the dolphin population.

2021/2022 STATISTICS COURTESY OF THE DOLPHIN PROJECT

Already, the number of dolphins that hunters are trapping is declining — it has dropped almost to a quarter of the 2,077 dolphins caught in 2000 — even though they go out to the ocean searching for their prey every day during the season. Today, hunters are unable to meet the annual government-set catch quota of 1,849 dolphins.

2021/2022 STATISTICS – TYPES OF DOLPHIN COURTESY OF THE DOLPHIN PROJECT

A wild animal exporting industry

It’s a little-known fact that hunting really started only in 1969 with the establishment of the Taiji Whale Museum in order to display live dolphins. This was around the time when the United States was booming with dolphinariums driven by a popular TV series Flipper, in which a dolphin was a lead character.

A live dolphin is sold for as much as JPY 5 million ($36,000) overseas, while it only fetches JPY 50,000 ($360) as meat.

The Japanese government has defended the hunt as part of local culinary tradition, but hardly anyone in the country eats dolphin meat. In reality, this is about the trade of dolphins to aquariums for entertainment across the world, hiding behind “tradition”. In essence, it’s an animal export industry.

In fact, our research revealed that as of March 11, 2022, 269 dolphins and small whales were being kept as inventory in a massive set of sea pens in Taiji’s Moriura Bay, waiting to be sold to aquariums across Japan and the world. The hunt only continues because of the demand for human entertainment.

Change is coming

There is reason for hope, though. In March of this year, Sweden’s Kolmården zoo, the largest zoo in Scandinavia, announced it will end its dolphin shows. The decision by the zoo, which holds 12 captive dolphins, is symbolic of a new attitude towards animals around the world. Last November, the French parliament passed a bill that bans dolphin shows as well as wild animals used in circuses. A similar ban has been in place in Canada since 2019.

Coastal countries, such as India, Chile, Costa Rica and Brazil, also ban or restrict the captivity of dolphins. Expedia is the latest among travel agencies to stop selling tickets that include dolphin shows.

In Japan, too, there are signs that attitudes are beginning to shift. In May, a Tokyo-based aquarium became the first such facility in the country to end its dolphin show. It claimed financial burden as the primary reason, but it also mentioned the global trend in recent years. And the following month, another aquarium announced that it will discontinue sea lion shows.

Change is coming, slowly but surely. Until then, I will continue my work in Taiji to tell the people of Japan what we are doing to the animal we claim to love.

This article by Ren Yabuki was first published by Aljazeera on 31 August 2022. 

What you can do to help wildlife:

Support ‘Protect All Wildlife’ by donating as little as £1 – It only takes a minute but it can last a lifetime for an animal in need.

We believe EVERY animal should be treated with respect, empathy, and understanding. We raise awareness to protect and conserve wild, captive, companion and farm animals. It is vital that we protect animals against acts of cruelty, abuse, and neglect by enforcing established animal welfare laws and, when necessary, take action to ensure that those who abuse animals are brought to justice.

Protect All Wildlife are involved in many projects to protect animals’ rights, welfare, and habitats. Money contributed to Protect All Wildlife supports ALL of our worthy programmes and gives us the flexibility to respond to emerging needs. Your donations make our work possible. Thank you for your support.

Everyone who donates will receive a Certificate of Appreciation as a thank you for supporting wildlife.

CERTIFICATE OF APPRECIATION