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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A VIDEO OF A JCB RESCUING A BABY ELEPHANT FROM A DEEP PIT GOES VIRAL

A BABY ELEPHANT GETS A HELPING PUSH UP FROM A JCB

One lucky little Elephant has captured the hearts of people across the internet after it was rescued from a mud pit in the Southern India state of Karnataka.

A video of the rescue operation staged by state forest officials has charmed netizens, as it also shows what some people say was an appreciative gesture from the Elephant, who turned to address the crane that helped to dig it out.

the BABY ELEPHANT being rescued FROM A DEEP PIT by a jcb

The incident took place in Siddapura Village in Coorg district of Karnataka, reported Indian Express.

A good Samaritan recorded and shared the clip, which has been viewed over one million times on Twitter alone. The beginning of the video shows the Elephant struggling to climb up and out of a slippery mud put. Each time it tries, it slips back down the hole’s steep walls. Eventually, an excavator machine pulls in and begins to dig mud out from around the Elephant.

THE ELEPHANT KEPT SLIDING BACK INTO THE PIT

Bystanders can be heard cheering as the arm of the JBC crane reaches behind the Elephant and gives it a gentle push, giving it the boost it needs to finally get its feet back on solid ground.

The lumbering animal then turns back around to face its rescuers, bumping its head and tusk to the machine’s bucket in what some are viewing as a sign of appreciation. Onlookers can be heard cheering loudly as it does, then officials set off a small firecracker to encourage the Elephant to leave the area and return to the forest.

Sudha Ramen, Deputy Conservator of Forests, Tamilnadu Forest Department shared the video from her Twitter account. She told Newsweek, “Elephants are mostly human-friendly until they get aggressive stimulated by human behaviour or have some hormonal imbalances. They are known to recognize the aid received when they are in need.”

Even though this behaviour can be observed in subadult and adult Elephants, young ones are not as human-friendly or expressive.

She added that when such rescues happen in a crowded environment, the animal is usually in panic mode and may get aggressive because of human presence or too much noise.

“But in this situation not many outsiders were present. Still, I do not say that the animal returned a gesture in this case. It may be an exhibit of stress too,” Ramen told Newsweek, addressing the belief shared by many that the head bump was ‘thank you’ in the Elephant language.

Her tweet with the video has been viewed more than a million times. She credited the video to Indian actor Satish Shah who initially shared it on his Twitter page.

Sudha Ramen, Deputy Conservator of Forests, Tamilnadu Forest Department shared the video from her Twitter account.

The usage of machinery such as a JBC depends upon the terrain, the animal involved in the rescue, and other safety factors, according to Ramen. The vehicle often comes in handy as many of its features make it able to handle slushy, slippery ground, and many rescue operations are carried out in the forest or nearby in areas that are usually non-motorable larger vehicles.

“Such operations are done only in the presence of the forest officials and vet doctors, so the driver gets guided by them,” Ramen told Newsweek.

“This made my day 1,000 times. Kudos to the construction crew and operator. And Mr. Elephant is the classiest mammal I’ve ever seen,” commented one user.

While many appreciated the machine operator’s work, some also questioned the use of smoke crackers in the end.

“It seems the Elephant was actually very grateful to the JCB for helping her/him by doing a head bump with it. Instead of busting smoke to scare it away, we could be gentler next time by keeping some food nearby so that they can replenish and get busy without charging at anyone,” wrote another.

THE RESCUED ELEPHANT APPEARS TO THANK THE JCB

However, the rescue team is always advised to carry the smokers along for safety reasons, Ramen told Newsweek, saying it is not necessarily standard practice to use them but they are commonly deployed when herds venture into villages or human habitations.

“It is used on occasions to direct the animal back into the forest and also to protect the nearby people if the animal tries to attack them,” she said.

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A 10-POINT BUCK SOUGHT SANCTUARY INSIDE A SOUTHERN MICHIGAN CHURCH ON THE OPENING DAY OF THE STATE’S DEER HUNTING SEASON

THE BUCK INSIDE THE CHURCH

On the first day of deer season for firearms in Michigan, a 10-point buck apparently sought to find refuge in Grace Christian Fellowship Church in Sturgis, breaking through a window and becoming a huge surprise to the pastors when they got to the church Monday morning.

“When Luke Eicher, Justin Wickey and Amanda Eicher arrived at the church this morning, they found signs of breaking and entering,” stated the church’s description on the video. “Little did they know that a 10-point buck had come for prayer in the auditorium on opening day of gun season.”

When the three walked into the church’s office Monday morning, they noticed light coming from a darkened window in the auditorium.

“When I peeked inside, I saw the window was broken and heard loud banging,” Amanda Eisher told Storyful. “My husband rushed in and found this 10-point buck. On the opening day of the gun season of all days!”

“I was just shocked by how high he could jump,” Amanda Eicher said. “I was amazed at how big he was.”

The buck didn’t appear to have any gunshot wounds and was bleeding just a bit from what appeared to be cuts from the glass, she told the Kalamazoo Gazette. Besides the broken window, the only other damage was blood stains on the carpet.

“There was some damage to the building and our pastors are a little traumatized,” the church reported. “But the buck left strengthened in the Lord to go face his battles.”

Credit: The Grace Christian Fellowship Church

A HIKER SAVED THE LIFE OF AN ALASKAN TIMBER WOLF—4 YEARS LATER THE WOLF STILL REMEMBERED HIM

Deep in the Alaskan wilderness, a prospector came to the rescue of an injured mother wolf and her pups, and a lasting connection is formed.

One spring morning many years ago, I had been prospecting for gold along Coho Creek on south-eastern Alaska’s Kupreanof Island, and as I emerged from a forest of spruce and hemlock, I froze in my tracks. No more than 20 paces away in the bog was a huge Alaskan timber wolf—caught in one of Trapper George’s traps.

Old George had died the previous week of a heart attack, so the wolf was lucky I had happened along. Confused and frightened at my approach, the wolf backed away, straining at the trap chain. Then I noticed some­thing else: It was a female, and her teats were full of milk. Somewhere there was a den of hungry pups waiting for their mother.

From her appearance, I guessed that she had been trapped only a few days. That meant her pups were probably still alive, surely no more than a few miles away. But I suspected that if I tried to release the wolf, she would turn aggressive and try to tear me to pieces. Here are the proven skills to survive any emergency.

So I decided to search for her pups instead and began to look for incoming tracks that might lead me to her den. Fortunately, there were still a few remaining patches of snow. After several moments, I spotted paw marks on a trail skirting the bog.

The tracks led a half ­mile through the forest, then up a rock­-strewn slope. I finally spotted the den at the base of an enormous spruce. There wasn’t a sound in­side. Wolf pups are shy and cautious, and I didn’t have much hope of luring them outside. But I had to try. So I began imitating the high­-pitched squeak of a mother wolf calling her young. No response. A few moments later, after I tried another call, four tiny pups appeared.

They couldn’t have been more than a few weeks old. I extended my hands, and they tentatively suckled at my fingers. Perhaps hunger had helped overcome their natural fear. Then, one by one, I placed them in a burlap bag and headed back down the slope.

When the mother wolf spotted me, she stood erect. Possibly picking up the scent of her young, she let out a high­-pitched, plaintive whine. I released the pups, and they raced to her. Within seconds, they were slurping at her belly.

What next? I wondered. The mother wolf was clearly suffering. Yet each time I moved in her direction, a menacing growl rumbled in her throat. With her young to protect, she was becoming belligerent. She needs nourishment, I thought. I have to find her something to eat.

I hiked toward Coho Creek and spotted the leg of a dead deer sticking out of a snowbank. I cut off a hindquarter, then re­turned the remains to nature’s ice­box. Toting the venison haunch back to the wolf, I whispered in a soothing tone, “OK, Mother, your dinner is served. But only if you stop growling at me. C’mon, now. Easy.” I tossed chunks of venison in her direction. She sniffed them, then gobbled them up.

Cutting hemlock boughs, I fashioned a rough shelter for myself and was soon asleep nearby. At dawn, I was awakened by four fluffy bundles of fur sniffing at my face and hands. I glanced toward the agitated moth­er wolf. If I could only win her confidence, I thought. It was her only hope.

Over the next few days, I divided my time between prospecting and trying to win the wolf’s trust. I talked gently with her, threw her more venison, and played with the pups. Little by little, I kept edging closer—though I was careful to re­main beyond the length of her chain. The big animal never took her dark eyes off me. “Come on, Mother,” I pleaded. “You want to go back to your friends on the mountain. Relax.”

At dusk on the fifth day, I delivered her daily fare of venison. “Here’s dinner,” I said softly as I approached. “C’mon, girl. Nothing to be afraid of.” Suddenly, the pups came bounding to me. At least I had their trust. But I was beginning to lose hope of ever winning over the mother. Then I thought I saw a slight wagging of her tail. I moved within the length of her chain. She remained motionless. My heart in my mouth, I sat down eight feet from her. One snap of her huge jaws and she could break my arm … or my neck. I wrapped my blanket around myself and slowly settled onto the cold ground. It was a long time before I fell asleep.

I awoke at dawn, stirred by the sound of the pups nursing. Gently, I leaned over and petted them. The mother wolf stiffened. “Good morning, friends,” I said tentatively. Then I slowly placed my hand on the wolf’s injured leg. She flinched but made no threatening move. This can’t be happening, I thought. Yet it was.

I could see that the trap’s steel jaws had imprisoned only two toes. They were swollen and lacerated, but she wouldn’t lose the paw—if I could free her.

“OK,” I said. “Just a little longer and we’ll have you out of there.” I applied pressure, the trap sprang open, and the wolf pulled free.

Whimpering, she loped about, favouring the injured paw. My experience in the wild suggested that the wolf would now gather her pups and vanish into the woods. But cautiously, she crept toward me. The pups nipped playfully at their mother as she stopped at my elbow. Slowly, she sniffed my hands and arms. Then the wolf began licking my fingers. I was astonished. This went against everything I’d ever heard about timber wolves. Yet, strangely, it all seemed so natural.

After a while, with her pups scurrying around her, the mother wolf was ready to leave and began to limp off toward the forest. Then she turned back to me.

“You want me to come with you, girl?” I asked. Curious, I packed my gear and set off.

Following Coho Creek for a few miles, we ascended Mount Kupreanof ­ until we reached an al­pine meadow. There, lurking in the forested perimeter, was a wolf pack—I counted nine adults and, judging by their playful antics, four nearly full­-grown pups. After a few minutes of greeting, the pack broke into howling. It was an eerie sound, ranging from low wails to high-pitched yodelling.

At dark, I set up camp. By the light of my fire and a glistening moon, I could see furtive wolf shapes dodging in and out of the shadows, eyes shining. I had no fear. They were merely curious. So was I.

I awoke at first light. It was time to leave the wolf to her pack. She watched as I assembled my gear and started walking across the meadow.

Reaching the far side, I looked back. The mother and her pups were sitting where I had left them, watching me. I don’t know why, but I waved. At the same time, the mother wolf sent a long, mournful howl into the crisp air.

Four years later, after serving in World War II, I returned to Coho Creek. It was the fall of 1945. After the horrors of the war, it was good to be back among the soaring spruce and breathing the familiar, bracing air of the Alaskan bush. Then I saw, hanging in the red cedar where I had placed it four years before, the now­-rusted steel trap that had ensnared the mother wolf. The sight of it gave me a strange feeling, and something made me climb Kupreanof Mountain to the meadow where I had last seen her. There, standing on a lofty ledge, I gave out a long, low wolf call—­something I had done many times before.

An echo came back across the distance. Again, I called. And again the echo reverberated, this time followed by a wolf call from a ridge about a half­ mile away.

I had no fear. The wolves were merely curious. So was I.

Then, far off, I saw a dark shape moving slowly in my direction. As it crossed the meadow, I could see it was a timber wolf. A chill spread through my whole body. I knew at once that familiar shape, even after four years. “Hello, old girl,” I called gently. The wolf edged closer, ears erect, body tense, and stopped a few yards off, her bushy tail wagging slightly.

Moments later, the wolf was gone. I left Kupreanof Island a short time after that, and I never saw the animal again. But the memory she left with me—vivid, haunting, a little eerie—will always be there, a reminder that there are things in nature that exist outside the laws and understanding of man.

With four tiny pups to feed, the mother wolf would need to stay nourished.

During that brief instant in time, this injured animal and I had some­how penetrated each other’s worlds, bridging barriers that were never meant to be bridged. There is no explaining experiences like this. We can only accept them and—because they’re tinged with an air of mystery and strangeness—per­haps treasure them all the more.

This story originally appeared in the May 1987 issue of Reader’s Digest.

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A Critically Endangered Sumatran Tiger Has Been Found Dead In An Animal Trap In Indonesia

MEMBERS OF NATURAL RESOURCES CONSERVATION AGENCY INSPECT A SUMATRAN TIGER FOUND DEAD AFTER BEING CAUGHT IN A SNARE TRAP IN PEKANBARU, RIAU

A critically endangered Sumatran Tiger was found dead after being caught in a trap on Indonesia’s Sumatra island, authorities said on Monday, in the latest setback for a species whose numbers are estimated to have dwindled to about 400.

A STUNNING SUMATRAN TIGER

The female Tiger, aged between 4 and 5 years, was found dead Sunday near Bukit Batu Wildlife Reserve in the Bengkalis district of Riau province, said Fifin Arfiana Jogasara, the head of Riau’s conservation agency.

Jogasara said an examination determined the Tiger died from dehydration five days after being caught in the snare trap, apparently set by a poacher, which broke one of its legs.

She said her agency will cooperate with law enforcement agencies in an investigation.

Sumatran Tigers, the most critically endangered Tiger subspecies, are under increasing pressure due to poaching as their jungle habitat shrinks, according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It estimated fewer than 400 Sumatran Tigers remain in the wild.

It was the latest killing of endangered animals on Sumatra island. Conservationists say the coronavirus pandemic has led to increased poaching as villagers turn to hunting for economic reasons.

Three Sumatran Tigers, including two cubs, were found dead in late August after being caught in traps in the Leuser Ecosystem Area, a region for tiger conservation in Aceh province.

In early July, a female Tiger was found dead with injuries caused by a snare trap in South Aceh district.

An Elephant was found without its head on July 11 in a palm plantation in East Aceh. Police arrested a suspected poacher along with four people accused of buying ivory from the dead animal.

AN ELEPHANT FOUND WITHOUT ITS HEAD AFTER BEING KILLED BY POACHERS

Aceh police also arrested four men in June for allegedly catching a Tiger with a snare trap and selling its remains for 100 million rupiah ($6,900). Days later, another Sumatran Tiger died after it ate a goat laced with rat poison in neighbouring North Sumatra province.

Via A P News

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A Dolphin Deemed ‘Too Fat’ To Perform Slammed His Head Against Tank Before Lonely Death

In 1996, Makaiko the Dolphin was driven from his pod in Japan and forced into a life of captivity – hauled from venue to venue in painful conditions and starved in a cruel bid to teach him tricks.

MAKAIKO

Driven mad by years of loneliness, Makaiko took to smacking against his tank in a heartbreaking act of self-harm.

Snatched from his family in 1996, the poor bottlenose was starved and forced to perform for human crowds – but ran out his final years alone after being deemed “too heavy” and “foolish”.

He died a lonely death some ten years ago after being snatched from a life in the sea with his 80-strong family pod – that were either murdered or taken too. No one noticed he had got tangled in a net at the dolphinarium and quietly drowned.

Makaiko  — meaning  “inner strength” — was born in 1996 in the waters of Taiji, Japan, where she socialised with other pods and spent carefree days playing and roaming the wide-open spaces of the Pacific Ocean.

His former trainer Lorena Kya Lopez recently opened up on his heartbreaking tale in a grim warning about the wildlife trade, which “subjects millions of wild animals to suffering every day”.

Born in 1996, Makaiko roamed free with other pods, playing in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Taiji, Japan.

One day, however, the sound of motorboats approaching the group left mothers desperately scrambling to gather up their young.

Hunters threw down heavy nets, scooping up dolphins to harvest for their meat or to sell into the tourist entertainment industry.

“While the water turned red from the blood of the dolphins who tried to escape or were killed, Makaiko was lifted out of the water, unable to move in the net,” Lopez told World Animal Protection.

THE ANNUAL TAIJI DOLPHIN DRIVE HUNT

“Makaiko had been captured. And so began the rest of his life in captivity.”

Alongside his sister Kumiko, the young animal was sold to a dolphinarium in Japan.

During transportation, he was painfully laid out on a stretcher and sprayed with water to keep his skin from drying out.

It was days before the pair were given any food. When they finally arrived at their temporary home, Makaiko was put in a small tank treated with chemicals to keep it clean.

“It wasn’t until they went to the surface and people approached them and started throwing dead fish at them that they had a chance to eat,” explained Lopez.

“The dead fish were not as nutritious as the food they would normally get in the ocean, but at that point, it was better than nothing.”

The meals came with a catch – the trainers would only feed the dolphins if they obeyed orders to perform tricks.

Weak and disorientated, Makaiko learned to jump and pushed trainers around the tank for hours on end.

After 10 months, the siblings were suddenly moved into a pitch black transportation box. For over two days, they were unable to see anything.

Hauled out on to a stretcher, Makaiko was treated with a cream to stop his skin drying again, but he was left in agony – visibly bleeding.

Eventually, they landed at the Six Flags dolphin venue in Mexico, where Lopez first came across the distressed creatures.

Here, trainers continued to teach them the tricks they had struggled with in Japan, but Kumiko was depressed and sadly died soon after.

Makaiko was once again moved, this time to the island of Isla Mujeres.

While the tanks here were bigger, the dolphins were still given punishingly little food and Lopez took sympathy.

“I would always come back at night to give them some extra food so they wouldn’t be as hungry,” she said.

“The water was too warm, leading to skin irritations and fungus infections. The sun was too bright, causing skin burns.

“The dolphins were getting weaker each day.”

Concerned about the animals’ welfare, Lopez supported a rescue mission which failed.

MAKAIKO TRAGICALLY DIED ALONE – DESPITE CAMPAIGNS TO FREE HIM

The trainer was fired over her involvement and was only allowed to come back one more time to say goodbye to the dolphins, which was “one of the hardest days” of her life.

Distressed dolphin dumped for being ‘too fat’

For Makaiko, however, the stakes were even higher.

When it came time for his pod to be moved again, he was said to be a “foolish” performer who refused to listen to orders and was deemed too big and too heavy.

While the rest of the animals were transported to another island, he was left behind – increasingly lonely and depressed.

“He stayed alone for some time, without food, and with a growing sense of anxiety he started banging his head against the walls,” said Lopez.

“At some point, people would come in with dead fish, and to clean the water. This was the only time Makaiko wasn’t alone.”

Makaiko’s fortunes changes after an intervention by the Mexican government.

He was rescued and placed with a company called Aqua World, where Lopez was able to lead a rehabilitation process.

Yet the years of mistreatment had left a deep impression on the distressed dolphin, who continued to self-harm.

He was finally transported to Dolphin Discovery at Isla Mujeres, where he would see out the last four years of his life.

While he was able able to swim in the ocean once more, it was only in a confined area and he was required to perform for crowds again.

One day, following Tropical Storm Emily, tragedy struck.

“Nets had been put down due to the destruction and Makaiko got tangled up in them,” said Lopez.

“The people looking after them didn’t see any of this, so Makaiko died. He lay tangled up in the nets in the dolphin venue where he was exploited to entertain thousands of people.”

Image Credits: Rocio Cue

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A Woman Rescued A Baby Elephant, And Now Moyo Follows Her Everywhere

ROXY AND MOYO

Roxy Danckwerts is the founder of Wild Is Life, an animal sanctuary in Zimbabwe. And one day, while working, she stumbled upon a baby Elephant that seemed to be lost and separated from her herd. The small baby Elephant almost drowned in a river while the herd was trying to cross it, and her health was in a critical condition.

The baby Elephant was found on the shore of Lake Kariba, and the efforts to find her herd were in vain because there were no Elephants in the area. At that time, the Elephant was just a few days old, fragile, scared, and separated from its family. Roxy decided to nurse the Elephant back to health, but what she didn’t expect was for the two of them to become best friends.

ROXY AND MOYO SNUGGLE UP TOGETHER

Roxy spent a lot of time with Moyo, giving the baby 18 litres of a specialised milk formula every day. They spent a lot of time together, and Roxy even slept with her, so it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that she became so fond of Roxy and now follows her everywhere she goes.

WRECKING COUCH

Moyo – which in African translates to ‘Of The Heart’ ~ is now 5-years-old and growing up fast. Moyo has become so attached to her savior Roxy, that she sees her as a second mother and doesn’t let her out of her sight.

While there’s plenty of room for her to go play outside in the wildlife sanctuary, Moyo seems to be enjoying life inside the house and doesn’t really care for outside activities. The cute elephant regularly visits the kitchen, munching on peanuts, brownies, salt, and he also seems to be really into silverware.

TOO MANY COOKS

The fact that Moyo almost drowned while crossing the river left the poor Elephant with a great deal of trauma and a fear of swimming. However, her caring guardian Roxy has been there the whole time, to help Moyo recuperate, and after 15-months of therapy, Moyo was finally able to overcome her fear of swimming. 

ROXY ENCOURAGES MOYO TO OVERCOME HER FEAR OF WATER

And with the selfless help of the people at the Zimbabwe sanctuary, Moyo and other orphaned and injured animals like him get special care and lots of love and attention to overcome their fears and traumas.

MOYO CAUSING HAVOC

WILD IS LIFE

“Little by little, a little becomes a lot.”

Wild Is Life is a genuine wildlife sanctuary in Zimbabwe. It is also home to the Zimbabwe Elephant Nursery (ZEN), Zimbabwe’s first elephant nursery which rescues, rehabilitates and re-wilds orphaned and injured Elephants.

An Elephant Graveyard: 282 Elephant Deaths Registered In Odisha In 3 Years

In Odisha, rapid urbanization, mining and industry, expansion of linear infrastructure and fragmented habitats have sent Elephants into a growing conflict with humans over the last several years.

A TRAIN STOPS TO LET AN ELEPHANT & CALVES CROSS THE EAST COAST RAILWAY IN ODISHA

 A total of 282 Elephants died in Odisha from 2018 through August 31, 2021, the state’s forest minister Bikaram Keshari Arukha said.  The highest number of Elephant deaths (93) took place in 2018-19, followed by 82 in 2019-20, 77 in 2020-21 and 30 till end of August this year. 

UNFORTUNATELY NOT ALL ELEPHANTS ARE SO LUCKY!

As many as 43 of the Elephants were electrocuted, seven were killed by poachers, 13 were hit by trains, four in road accidents and 59 died in other accidents. The rest succumbed to infections — 18 died of anthrax, six of herpes and 77 of other diseases. As many as 34 Elephants died of natural causes and 21 due to unknown reasons. 

Seven Elephants WERE Electrocuted by Sagging Power Lines

The eastern state had 1,976 Elephants in 2017, according to the last census. This was an improvement from 1954 in 2015 and 1930 in 2012, the minister noted at the state assembly.

“Odisha’s forest and environment department has selected 14 traditional Elephant corridors in the state for smooth movement of the Elephants,” he added.

The Minister also informed that the state lost 17 Leopards in this period which included two Royal Bengal Tigers, killed in electrocution and disease separately in 2018-19. Five Leopards were killed in poaching. The Special Task Force of Odisha Police, State Forest department as well as the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau have seized at least 29 Leopard skins since April 2020. Nine Leopard skins were seized by Forest officials in Kalahandi alone in July this year.

Three of the leopard skins seized by forest officials in kalhandi

The Tiger population in Odisha plateaued at 28 between 2014 and 2018, according to the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).

The number of Leopards in the state, however, more than doubled to 760 in that period, according to the NTCA report released December 21, 2020.  

‘Leopards occupy areas vacated by Tigers and this is one of the main reasons behind the increasing Leopard population in the state, according to LA Singh,  former wildlife research officer of Similipal Tiger Reserve

Leopards also breed more often than Tigers and can survive in almost any type of habitat and need less space, he added. Tigers, the biggest of the big cats, thrive in larger forest expanses, said the expert.

a royal bengal tiger Similipal Tiger Reserve

To curb poaching of wild animals, the State Government has formed anti-poaching and anti-smuggling squads in the sensitive areas.

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The Barbaric ‘Tradition’ Of ‘Breaking The Spirit’ Of Elephants For Their Use In The Tourism Industry

breaking The Spirit of the elephant

The use of elephants in the tourism industry has become incredibly popular. Vacations boasting everything from a chance to ride on an elephant, to seeing them paint, or even getting a massage from an elephant have popped up all across Asia. While these might appear to be fun activities for you and your family, the reality is that the experience is anything but for the elephants.

Although elephants are incredibly intelligent and docile by nature, there is very little about the behaviors exhibited by captive elephants in the tourism industry that is natural. To get these wild animals to interact with humans, they must undergo an extraordinarily cruel breaking process, called “Phajaan,” that renders them submissive to their human trainers.

Breaking Baby Elephants
Baby elephants are taken from their mothers at a very young age, usually three to six years old, but often younger. After a young elephant is in the captivity of its handlers, the aim of the Phajaan program is to break its spirit. Babies will be kept in small crates similar to those found in the intensive pig farming industry. Their feet will be tied with ropes, their limbs will be stretched, they will be repeatedly beaten with sharp metal and other tools, they will be constantly yelled and screamed at, and they will be starved of food. Bull hooks (a tool used in most forms of elephant control) will be used to stab the head, slash the skin and tug the ears.

The next time you see an Asian elephant used in trekking, elephant rides, movies, in a circus or any other form of entertainment, take a look at the state of its ears. Captive elephants often have shredded or torn ears from their tissue being ripped and pulled away in the training process. They also often have scars on their foreheads from deep lacerations caused by beatings.

Ropes are used to tie and stretch the elephant’s limbs, these will eventually be replaced with tight, constricting chains. The Phajaan may last for weeks and they have no rest from physical torture and mental domination. Gradually, their spirits break and their handlers achieve control.

parar1
The ‘Crush’

The “Bond” Between Trainer and Elephant
Traditionally in Eastern Asia, a mahout will be sole charge of a single elephant. As a mahout ages, his elephant is passed down through his family line. An elephant’s mahout will not be involved in the physical abuse during Phajaan. In the final stage of the Phajaan, the elephant’s mahout will bring the animal its first meal with water, and will be the one to “release” the elephant and lead it away from the crate.
After weeks of torture, of mental and emotional abuse, of loneliness, confusion and

separation, the elephant sees this human figure as its savior – the one it trusts. This is just another stage of mental and emotional manipulation, of course, but it is how a particular mahout gains such immense control over its animal.

This video illustrates the cruelty of this process. We will warn you, it is graphic.

What You Can Do
Getting the chance to interact with a baby elephant might seem like an incredible experience, but given the immense cruelty and abuse that that elephant has to endure for these interactions, is it really worth it? Asian elephants are highly endangered animals and are often targeted by poachers who capture them from the wild and sell them into the tourism industry. By visiting attractions that feature captive elephants and paying to ride or interact with one, you become complicit in this injustice.

We can all help to end this cruelty by boycotting tourism attractions that feature captive elephants. If you are headed to Thailand and want to experience elephants in a humane way, check out elephant sanctuaries like Elephant Nature Park or Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary. These organizations are helping to spread the truth about the cruelty inherent in elephant tourism while providing a sanctuary for animals who have been rescued from such attractions.

But remember, these elephants would not need to be in sanctuaries if the elephant tourism industry didn’t exist so please share this knowledge with others so we can see the cruelty against elephants end, once and for all.

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The 2021 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards Have Just Announced Their Finalists And Here Are 40 Of The Best Photos

Born from a passion for wildlife, and decades of experience living & working in East Africa, The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards began its life modestly in 2015 as a photographic competition.

Since then, steered by its founders, Paul Joynson-Hicks MBE and Tom Sullam, it has grown into a globally renowned competition seen by millions of people every year, and always with wildlife conservation at its heart.

The free competition, open to wildlife photography experts and novices, celebrates the hilarity of our natural world and highlights what we need to do to protect it. From a surprised otter to a swearing turtle, Comedy Wildlife’s photographs transcend cultures and ages to bring a smile to everyone’s face.

Find out more about the Comedy Wildlife mission HERE.

#1 Time For School

Time For School

“A smooth-coated otter “bit” its baby otter to bring it back to and fro for its swimming lessons” Cleo Kee Teo.

Michelle Wood, who is part of the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards team said “The uniqueness of Comedy Wildlife compared to other photography competitions is the comedy aspect which can be a split-second decision to push the button at the right time,” she said. “We would probably say it’s a good idea to take your camera or camera phone with you whenever you are out and about, just in case that special moment arises,” she suggested always being ready to capture some amazing shots.

“And you have to be patient, very, very patient. Wildlife photography involves a lot of waiting around, Comedy Wildlife photography even more!! But the competition is free and so it is always worth entering your photo or video. By getting involved with the competition, even buying a print or calendar, you are directly helping us support our conservation charity and highlight our message, which is at the heart of the Awards.

#2 I Guess Summer’s Over

I Guess Summer's Over

“I was taking pics of pigeons in flight when this leaf landed on birds face” John Speirs.

#3 Ninja Prairie Dog!

Ninja Prairie Dog!

“When this Bald Eagle missed on its attempt to grab this prairie dog, the prairie dog jumped towards the eagle and startled it long enough to escape to a nearby burrow. A real David vs Goliath story!” Arthur Trevino.

According to Michelle, how the Awards decide on what charity to support each year depends on a variety of factors. “We look at a range of factors, including sustainability, reach, location, species, long term goals. Save Wild Orangutans is an amazing initiative, set up by the Gunung Palung program helping the local population live and work in harmony with the Orangutan population and their habitat. We all share this world and have to work together to preserve it. This charity aligns with our core conservation message and we will do everything we can to shine a light on their work, through coverage of the competition.” 

The Category and Overall Winners of the competition will be announced on the 22nd of October, and I can’t wait to see who takes the cake (and our hearts). In the meantime, the 2021 competition finalists will be exhibited at The Photography Show in Birmingham.

#4 Did I Say You Could Take My Picture?

Did I Say You Could Take My Picture?

“I followed this Ruby-Crowned Kinglet for about 15 minutes as it hopped from one branch to another in fast succession. I think it knew I was following it because, all of a sudden, it just stopped and stared at me for all of about 3 seconds!” Patrick Dirlam.

#5 Peekaboo

Peekaboo

“I was photographing a group of goslings for a while when one broke away from the pack. It hid behind the leg of a bench for a few seconds before poking its little head out to say hello.” Charlie Page.

#6 Monday Morning Mood

Monday Morning Mood

“I took this shot while photographing a group of Pied starlings perched in a tree at the Rietvlei Nature Reserve in South Africa. It perfectly sums up my mood on most Monday mornings :)” Andrew Mayes.

The finalists include 42 images, plus the Portfolio and Video category entries. 2021’s shortlist showcases the biggest mix of animals seen in the competition so far. The Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards team notes that among the entries are a laughing vine snake from India, a trio of strutting Gentoo penguins on the beaches of the Falkland Islands, and a Kangaroo performing a picture-perfect Pavarotti impersonation in Australia.

In a press release, Paul, the co-founder of the competition, said that the team has been overwhelmed with the number and quality of the entries they received this year. A whopping 7k photos were submitted to the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards for consideration from every single corner of the globe.

“It was an amazing turnout, especially given the impact of the pandemic. The huge number of images we receive every year illustrates the appetite there is to engage with conservation and reminds us that wildlife truly is incredible and hilarious and, we must do all we can to protect it,” Paul said.

#7 Don’t Worry. Be Happy!

Don't Worry. Be Happy!


 
A Dragonfly early in the morning on a flower looks into my camera and it seems as if it laughing. The year 2020/2021 was very hard for everybody because of Corona. But when you go outside and watch carefully the Beauty of our nature, then problems seems to get less for me. So if I have a bad day this image make me give a smile back” Axel Bocker.

#8 Quarantine Life

Quarantine Life

“Isolated inside with your family eager to get out and explore the world? These eastern raccoon kits are too. Just when you think there’s no more room in the tree hollow, mother raccoon appears and displays just how compact the space is. The babies clambered all over their mom and each another, struggling to take a look at the exact same time.  This photo was taken in Southwestern Ontario, Canada. After exploring a particular area with numerous tree hallows, I identified it as a hot spot for raccoon families. Since raccoons will move from den to den, often not spending more than one night at a time in a particular den, locating an area with numerous options is key to locating the animals. I stumbled across this family and immediately worked on leveling the camera with the hole to prevent an upward angle. When the camera and tripod were ready, the baby raccoons were extremely curious (and cooperative), sticking their heads out for a closer look!” Kevin Biskaborn.

#9 Mr. Giggles

Mr. Giggles

“Grey seal pup appears to be giggling. I loved the expression captured. It looks so human-like.  I was lying on a rocky beach for hours, as motionlessly as possible, patiently waiting for seal life to unfold around me. This seal pup came onto the shore for a bit of rest and ended up sleeping on its chosen rock for hours before the incoming tide forced it to move more inland. Occasionally, it would stretch and yawn and it was one of the yawns that led to this expression, looking as if the seal was giggling.” Martina Novotna.

#10 See Who Jumps High

See Who Jumps High

Chu Ha Lin.

#11 Draw Me Like One Of Your French Bears

Draw Me Like One Of Your French Bears

“This young Kodiak Brown Bear sauntered down the riverbed and stopped across from me. She proceeded to start making herself a bear bed pulling back the sand with her gigantic claws. Once she had her bed just how she wanted it she laid down, rolled over on her back and started smiling and me! And she didn’t stop smiling! I would have to say she was the most provacative bear I had ever seen!” Wenona Suydam.

#12 Majestic And Graceful Bald Eagle

Majestic And Graceful Bald Eagle

“Bald Eagles will use the same nest for years, even decades, adding new material to it at the beginning and throughout the nesting season. Normally, they are highly skilled at snapping branches off of trees while in flight. Possibly tired from working nonstop all morning on a new nest, this particular Bald Eagle wasn’t showing its best form. Yes, sometimes they miss. Although this looks painful, and it might very well be, the eagle recovers with just a few sweeping wing strokes, and choses to rest a bit before making another lumber run.” David Eppley.

The photographer who took the overall best picture will win a one-week safari with Alex Walker’s Serian in the Masai Mara, in Kenya, as well as a unique handmade trophy from the Art Garage in Dar es Salaam, in Tanzania.

A panel of experts will judge the finalists, and it’s quite an impressive turnout! The panel includes wildlife photographers Daisy Gilardini, Tom Laman, and Will Burrand-Lucas, travel editor Neil Stevenson, TV presenter Kate Humble, actor and comedian Hugh Dennis, co-founder of The Born Free Foundation Will Travers OBE, Managing Director of Serif, developer of award sponsor Affinity Photo Ashley Hewson, ThinkTank’s Simon Pollock, image expert Celina Dunlop, Amazing Internet’s Andrew Skirrow, and Bella Lack, the “formidable ambassador for conservation.

#13 Operatic Warm UPS

Operatic Warm UPS

“The kangaroo looked like he was singing ‘the hills are alive, with the sound of music’ in the field.” Lea Scaddan.

#14 Dancing Away To Glory

Dancing Away To Glory

“A young langur sways its body to give an impression that its dancing.” Sarosh Lodhi.

#15 Attitude!!

Attitude!!

“Males of these species of lizard chooses higher elevations to monitor their territory and display. Caught this particular male roosting on the twig of a bush during high heat summer.” Aditya Kshirsagar.

#16 Before And After Coffee

Before And After Coffee

“Baby Great Horned Owl shows human-like reaction as one wakes up before coffee and after having a cup. I was avidly watching the two cute owlets in the nest, hoping it would wake up and move. It took a pretty long time, as both babies were too sleepy and were nuzzling each other, sleeping with mouths open. When one finally started to stir, this is what I saw. It is too precious, half opening both eyes, opening one and finally both eyes looking like it was startled.” Nat Tan.

#17 Ouch!

Ouch!

“A golden silk monkey in Yunnan China – this is actually a show of aggression however in the position that the monkey is in it looks quite painful!” Ken Jensen.

#18 We’re Too Sexy For This Beach

We're Too Sexy For This Beach

“I was lying on the beach during a stretch of fair weather at Volunteer Point in East Falkland, just waiting to capture a Gentoo Penguin jumping out of the surf to land on the beach.  To my delight, a trio emerged from the water and walked straight in my direction.  I really enjoyed photographing this moment as it seems to capture some sassy personality displayed by these individuals” Joshua Galicki.

#19 The Butt Dunk / The Face Plant / The Shake Off / The Final Scratch

The Butt Dunk / The Face Plant / The Shake Off / The Final Scratch

“An elephant expresses his joy in taking a mud bath against the dead trees on the shores of Lake Kariba in Zimbabwe on a hot afternoon.” Vicki Jauron

#20 How Do You Get That Damn Window Open?

How Do You Get That Damn Window Open?

“This raccoon spends his time trying to get into houses out of curiosity and perhaps also to steal food” Nicolas de Vaulx.

#21 Laughing Snake

Laughing Snake

“Vine snakes are very commonly seen snakes in western ghats of India. When approached they show aggression by opening their mouth wide open. Nothing to scare of this beautiful harmless Vine snake.I was happy to find it and smiling and  It looks like he was smiling back at me.” Aditya Kshirsagar.

#22 Smoked Deer For Dinner

Smoked Deer For Dinner

“I have been following the family of a tigress called Paaro in India’s Jim Corbett National Park for many years. This is her daughter who has stood on her hind limbs to be able to scratch her face with a log. But, it appears as if she is carrying the log on her shoulders.” Siddhant Agrawal.

#23 Let’s Dance

Let's Dance

“Two Kamchatka bear cubs square up for a celebratory play fight having successfully navigated a raging torrent (small stream!)” Andy Parkinson.

#24 The Green Stylist

The Green Stylist

K Gurumoorthy

#25 Flautist

Flautist

“I spent my days in my usual “gopher place” and yet again, these funny little animals haven’t belied their true nature.” Roland Krenitz.

#26 Foot Jam

Foot Jam

“There is a great big pine tree with a small to medium sized hole in it near my house where a young racoon has called this home for the past year. Well this year it appears that the little racoon has outgrown it’s tiny home as it barely fits!” Brook Burling.

#27 Directing Penguin

Directing Penguin

“Two Gentoo penguins having a discussion after coming out of the surf” Carol Taylor.

#28 Monkey Riding A Giraff

Monkey Riding A Giraffe

“During a game drive we found a group of monkeys playing around with each other, jumping up and down from a bare branch.It was a joy to watch. After a while I saw a giraffe coming from the right. By the moment the giraffe did pass the branch, one of the monkeys was on his post to ride the giraffe :-)” Dirk-Jan Sttehouwer.

#29 Treehugger

Treehugger

“This Proboscis monkey could be just scratching its nose on the rough bark, or it could be kissing it. Trees play a big role in the lives of monkeys. Who are we to judge…” Jakub Hodan.

#30 Are You Talking To Me? / Big Smile / Fluff / Lol

Are You Talking To Me? / Big Smile / Fluff / Lol

“While trying to make proper pictures with flash I visited two groups of wild horses for two years. Every now and then they didn’t try to eat my flashes or run over the stands and they posed for me.” Edwin Smith.

#31 Shhhh! I’m So Hungover It Hurts

Shhhh! I'm So Hungover It Hurts

“Burrowing owl youngsters are so amusing to watch.  This burrowing owl caught my eye because he looked like he a hangover.” Anita Ross.

#32 The Photo-Bombing Wave

The Photo-Bombing Wave

“Polar Bear mom and cubs frolicked in the icy waters of the Arctic.  They kept dipping under the water and once came up together with this amusing pose.  A tender moment is shared by mom and one cub while the other photo-bombs with a wave to the onlookers.  Or, it sure looked like a wave…..” Cheryl Strahl.

#33 Yes, I Did It

Yes, I Did It

“A frog climbed a flower from a plant, and when he made it to the end he laughed celebrating his success” Dieky Oesin.

#34 Leaning Post

Leaning Post

“A young cub decides to use his patient mother as a leaning post, the birds in the trees requiring closer inspection” Andy Parkinson.

#35 Peek-A-Boo

Peek-A-Boo

“I was photographing a group of goslings for a while when one broke away from the pack. It hid behind the leg of a bench for a few seconds before poking its little head out to say hello.” Pal Marchart.

#36 Cotton Eyed Joe

Cotton Eyed Joe

“Ever seen a grizzly bear square dance? Just need a jug, some spoons and a banjo. Gets ‘em every time”. Rick Elieson.

#37 Welcome To Nature!

Welcome To Nature!

“A red damselfly welcomes us into the world of macro nature. It was so amazing to see it climb up the straw, and pause at the intersection to say hi! :)” Mattias Hammar.

#38 Sweet Lips Are For Kissing!

Sweet Lips Are For Kissing!

“This picture was taken at Curaçao, Dutch Caribbean.  Usually box fishes are difficult to take pictures of, since they do not have a problem of a diver coming close, but if you show interest, they always turn the back and not the face to you. That’s why I tried to swim 0.5m above the fish and showing no interest at all to him. The same time I had my camera not in front of me, but below at my chest pointing to the bottom. When the right moment had come, I turned the camera 90 degrees to the front and just point and shoot, hoping to have the fish in focus. Never expected to have its beautiful lips that close!” Philipp Starr.

#39 Just Checking

Just Checking

“A male Vervet Monkey was hanging around a bridge over the Luangwa River in South Luangwa National Park looking for some action (handouts from passersby).” Larry Petterborg.

#40 Missed

Missed

“Two Western Grey Kangaroos were fighting and one missed kicking him in the stomach.” Lea Scaddan.