A Pictorial Tribute To Wildlife Street Artist Roa

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF STREET ARTIST ROA

Roa, a hugely talented Belgian street artist from Ghent, is renowned for his giant black and white animal street art. Roa started off in the street art scene painting animals on abandoned buildings and warehouses in the isolated industrial areas of his hometown. Today, Roa’s animals may be found slumbering on the sides of semi derelict buildings and peering out from shop shutters in city streets all across the world from New York to Berlin and Warsaw to Paris.

Stockholm, Sweden.
ANONYMITY
Roa Lets His Work Do The talking

Street artist Roa is a muralist from Ghent, Belgium sprays beautiful illustrations of animals on buildings, walls and anything he can find in cities around the World. His work has often been recorded and photographed, but very little is known about the artist and even less is documented.

Renowned for his monumental black and white paintings of wildlife, ROA is a pseudonym of a Belgian street artist that has been leaving both accidental and intentional viewers in awe for years now. His hand painted, large scale and unique portrayals of rabbits, birds, rats, fish and other animals disquietly cohabit city streets, whilst his more disturbing images of skeletal or dead creatures directly reflect ROA’s pessimistic opinions of society. Although this street artist’s work is definitely a contender when discussing the most famous and recorded urban pieces in recent history, not much is known about this mysterious painter from Ghent who uses this anonymity to make sure both his artwork and spirit remain uncompromised.

At a very young age Roa remembers wanting to be an archaeologist or something adventurous and collecting little skulls from birds and rodents to draw at home. He grew up in the eighties and naturally was inspired by the American life; music, skating and so forth. The love for music, more in particular hip-hop, quickly joined his curiosity in graffiti. Like most muralists, he began by spraying throw-ups under bridges and walls. During his early years, Roa expressed an active, eclectic mix of styles. At the time, there was not prevailing movement in Belgium. As time went on, the scene’s evolution further evolved as foreign visitors left behind an assorted collection of talents and skills. Slowly but sure Roa became addicted to the nature of urban art.

Roa is primarily known for his strong obsession for animals and rodents. He often combines life, death, and life after death in his murals, which quickly distinguishes him amongst traditional muralists. His animals are painted to include skeleton and internal organs, making the sight even more realistic. The artist states, “Organs are the vital substances of our body and they represent a lot of the symbolism which I like!” One’s love for animals could not be expressed nearly as much as our artist Roa. This mysterious Belgian muralist has created hundreds of murals through Europe. He has also travelled to other locations around the world.

His preferred forms of methods to paint are by using spray paint or acrylic paint. In fact, most of his work is created through a mixture of black, white, and grey scale colours. At times, the muralist prefers to sketch, especially those large murals. He first began his artistic career by paining buildings and warehouses in his hometown. Nowadays, his distinctive black and white style street artwork can be found worldwide.


Some major cities, where his work can be found include London, New York, Berlin, Warsaw, Madrid, Moscow, Los Angeles, Mexico City and Paris.

Muralist Roa’s true obsession for animals is unparalleled and he uses this obsession to paint for inspiration. Roa uses native animals based on the location he is painting in. For example, if he goes to a specific location filled with roosters, like Mexico, then he will paint a rooster. Not only does this make him a standout artist, but his attention to detail is phenomenal. He truly has a pure passion for painting. Roa simply paints to paint- no other reason.

Carefully using the placement and the enlarging of the graffiti subject, ROA implies the cruelty and absurd relationship of humans and animals, as well as displaying the roots and origins of the depicted beings – this is what’s his art all about.

Roa’s work has been turning heads across the street art community by bringing birds, rodents, and other animals back into the consciousness in the areas they once inhabited. Although the street art is generally conveyed in a very natural matter, even his dead animal paintings seem at peace. Not only that, but his extra-large scale black and while local rodents may be viewing the image at work from nearby.

Roa’s anonymity has kept his work and his spirit free.

Enjoy Some Of Roa’s Art From Around The World

ROA BERLIN GERMANY
BERLIN, GERMANY
ROA MAKASUTA THE GAMBIA 1
MAKASUTA, THE GAMBIA
ROA JOHANNESBURG SA
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFROCA
ROA BROOKLYN USA
BROOKLYN, USA
ROA BARCELONA SPIAN
BARCELONA, SPAIN
ROA WERCHTER BELGIUM
WERCHTER, BELGIUM
ROA GAMBIA
MAKASUTU, THE GAMBIA
Lenticular Street Art
LONDON, UK
roa-in-gambia1
MAKASUTU, THE GAMBIA
roa_warsaw_7_u_1000
WARSAW, RUSSIA
ROA OREBRO SWEDEN
OREBRO, SWEDEN
ROA MONTREAL
MONTREAL, CANADA

These are just SOME of the vast amount of murals that Roa has created. You can visit his Facebook page at Roa Street Artist.

Please let others see Roa’s amazing work by SHARING far and wide. Please SUBSCRIBE to receive regular new and updates straight to your inbox.

An Elephant Caught In A Snare Trap Had No Idea Who Was Coming To Help Him

AN ELEPHANT CAUGHT IN A SNARE

An Elephant was found in Liwonde National Park, he was completely debilitated and had a wire snare trap digging into the flesh of his leg near his foot. The poor animal could not move, feed or even get water to alleviate his condition.

  1. The Helpless Victim
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It is said that hunters set snare traps to kill smaller wild animals and not Elephants. Unfortunately though, a helpless Elephant fell victim to it. This gained varied reactions in the social media where one Facebook user said, “Humans the only species to demonstrate such ‘inhumanity’, we should be ashamed.

  1. Veterinary Help
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Veterinarian Amanda Salb of Lilongwe Wildlife Trust and Derek Macpherson of Cluny Wildlife Trust teamed up with the Rhino Protection Team and African Parks scouts to tranquilize the suffering animal and remove the gory snare.

This picture shows them inserting the needle, on which the IV lines are connected, into the Elephant’s ear on which arteries are accessible, and usually an endotracheal tube is inserted down the animal’s throat. The IV will allow the veterinarians to monitor blood-oxygen levels, while the tube ensures that the animal can continue breathing under anesthesia.

  1. Injecting The Tranquilizer
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Here we see Dr. Salb injecting the tranquilizer fluid into the iv line. They probably had to more or less guess the weight of this particular young Elephant in order to administer the correct dose. The others help to pull the uninjured leg up so that they are able to get to the injured one with the snare attached, that has dug very deeply into his flesh.

This adolescent must have really struggled and struggled to free himself, probably very confused and not sure what was holding him back. What an awful death he would have suffered. When the woozy pachyderm finally succumbs, not that he had any resistance left, they get to work on his wound.

  1. Snare Trap Removed
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Dr. Salb gets to work on removing the horrible wire snare. Derek MacPherson looks on resting his hand on the poor suffering Elephants trunk in a comforting gesture. Another helper looks on with some water with disinfectant, to clear the wound of debris etc., so that the snare can be seen properly to be able to remove it. The vet has to use really strong sharp side cutters and strength to unwind the strong wire that the poachers use.

  1. Taking Off The Snare
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And this is the offending bloody snare tightly wrapped around the young Elephant’s leg with a piece of flesh still embedded into it.

“It’s always devastating to see the dreadful damage these snares can do to such a big animal,” the Lilongwe Wildlife Center wrote on its Facebook page. Snares can cull animal populations at an alarming rate. Hunters/poachers set snare traps with aims to kill smaller wild animals than Elephants, which can decimate animal populations at an unsustainable rate, according to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT). Just 1,000 of these snares can capture 18,250 animals in a year — even Elephants, whose population is already plummeting because of the ivory trade.

  1. The Infected Wound
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To make things even more sad, the young Elephant’s wound appears to be infected. Here you can see that the wound is being cleaned out the blood and puss from the deeply cut leg of the Elephant which appears to be almost cut to the bone. Needless to say, this poor Elephant must have been in a lot of pain. Luckily while they work, he is safely in dreamland and not feeling the excruciating pain for the moment.

  1. All Cleaned
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In this picture you can see that the Elephant’s wound has been washed clean and is ready for some topical treatment. It is also noticeable that the animal has lost a lot of weight and looks very weak. And from the position of the person’s hand you can see the depth that the snare cut into the leg.

The whole procedure went extremely well Dr. Salb said “Although the wound was really deep, we’re all so pleased that we were able to remove the snare entirely and give him the required treatment.”

  1. The Young Elephant Still Sleeping
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At this point, the whole procedure has been completed with topical ointments applied and antibiotics administered. Looking at the photo, a game park ranger watches over the young Elephant. The African Park scouts and the Rhino Protection Team also helped in monitoring the condition of the animal.

  1. Double Checking
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Here veterinarian Amanda Salb seems to be double checking on the Elephant. Probably taking some measurements and statistics for their records. Wildlife vet, Amanda Salb, is the heroine along with her team, in this important role of saving wildlife discovered alive in national parks.

Many similar incidents occur on a regular basis in this huge park and it is also because of its vastness that the difficulty of monitoring arises. Nevertheless, the world isn’t lacking with people who show immense compassion to animals.

  1. Radio Collar
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A radio collar is fitted to the injured Elephant. The Elephant gets a radio collar so he can be found again for follow-up treatment. The Elephant will continue to be monitored by African Parks scouts and the Rhino Protection Team, and if he needs any further treatment, Wildlife vet, Amanda Salb and her team will be on call.

  1. Getting Better
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Lilongwe Wildlife Trust reported that despite his gory injury, the pain seemed to have subsided quickly because, two days after the rescue, the Elephant was spotted at the watering hole with his herd. “He was bathing normally and seemed bright,” Salb said.

This Elephant is one of the lucky few that got found in time and treated, and that the treatment was adequate and the little fellow was strong. As Elephants have long memories I am sure he will not forget his horrific ordeal in a hurry. Let us hope the same thing does not occur again. People voiced their reactions online to this particular Elephant’s brush with a snare trap. “Humans the only species to demonstrate such ‘inhumanity’, we should be ashamed.”

  1. Operation Safe Haven
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Nearly 50% of animals living in the park had been slaughtered before ‘Operation Safe Haven’ moved in in November 2014. They detected and removed 10,000 deadly poachers’ traps that covered the park, and arrested over 70 criminal poachers and 6 wildlife traffickers, securing hefty fines or prison sentences against the majority.

At the end of Operation Safe Haven the security of the national park was handed over to a team of long-term managers, African Parks. The future of the Elephants and Rhinos here is now assured and the breakthrough formula should be applied to other national parks. At least our young Elephant is a bit safer in his habitat now.

  1. The Snares
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This photo alone tells just how rampant poaching is. The snares all look terrifying considering that they are used as instrument to trap and slowly kill their poor victims.

  1. The Hunt For Ivory
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Here for interest sake is a haul of poached ivory confiscated from people, that set traps, shoot and kill Elephants for their tusks. These were bound for Asia. We are thankful that there are still people around that care for the endangered species of animals in Africa, especially Elephant and Rhino.

  1. Sunset Over Liwonde Game Reserve
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Here is a beautiful picture of a sunset over the watering hole at the Liwonde Game Reserve in Malawi, where the young Elephant was found. Hopefully he is completely recovered and enjoying the peaceful surroundings.

Please SHARE to raise awareness about this issue. You can also sign up for UPDATES & NEWS by submitting your email details in the right-hand column. But most of all NEVER give up fighting for the future of wildlife! Thank you.

Incredible Video Shows The Moment An Elephant Rushes To Rescue ‘Drowning’ Keeper After Pair Formed An ‘Inseparable Bond’

KHAM LA AND HER CARER DARRICK THOMSON

This incredible video shows the moment an Elephant rushed to save her keeper who she thought was drowning.

This baby Elephant thought the man who looked after her was drowning and rushes to save him ❤️ . The Save Elephant Foundation in Chiang Mai, Thailand, captured little Kham La racing to the ‘aid’ of Darrick Thomson, the co-founder of the foundation and one of her favorite people ever.

Darrick was calling out to her on the shore, and she interpreted his calls as distress cries (he was totally fine, though). Kham La charged through the water, sheltering him with her body and offering her trunk for him to hold on to.

The video shows him swimming, and splashing about in the water.

Faithful Kham La seems to think he might be in trouble and races into the water to rescue him.

Darrick trainer at Elephant Nature Park

As soon as Kham La thinks her trainer is in peril she dashes into the water

The 42-year-old said: “Kham La was in a really bad way when she came to us.

The beautiful moment Kham Lha wades in to rescue the trainer Darrick

The beautiful moment Kham La reaches Darrick to check he is OK

“She had been tied up and forced to undergo cruel training known as crushing to prepare her to work in the tourist industry.

Please SHARE this article to raise awareness about this issue and feel free to leave a comment below. You can also sign up for UPDATES & NEW ARTICLES by submitting your email details in the right-hand column. But most of all NEVER give up fighting for the future of wildlife! Thank You.

The Awful Night Poachers Broke Into An African Wildlife Orphanage And Pumped Bullets Into Two Baby Rhinos To Hack Off Their Tiny Horns

In Memory of Impi and Gugu who were killed in the raid.

Françoise Malby-Anthony, who founded the Thula Thula game reserve in 1998 with her late husband, the renowned conservationist and internationally bestselling author Lawrence Anthony recalls the awful night that poachers attacked her Rhino orphanage on the 27th of February 2017

THE NIGHT POACHERS ATTACKED A RHINO ORPHANAGE

“Living alone on a vast African game reserve is not for the faint-hearted. And that night, even after 17 years in the wilderness, I felt a strange sense of unease.

It was 2am . White flashes of lightning were lighting up my bedroom. Thunder cracked like gunshots. As I stroked my dog, Gypsy, trying to reassure her, I suddenly realised that the phone was ringing.

‘Hello?’ I mumbled.

‘The orphanage has been hit. They shot two rhinos and attacked the volunteers.’

I sat bolt upright. Hit? Shot? Attacked? I couldn’t process the words.

I’d created the animal orphanage just a year before in order to fill a desperate need. Increasingly, poachers had been targeting adult rhinos for their horns — to sell to the Far East for useless traditional potions.

Any defenceless babies, whose horns had yet to grow, were left to die in the bush. Or if they were found in time, they were brought to my orphanage.

On that very night, I knew that four animal-mad girl volunteers and a permanent carer were providing intensive nursing for six vulnerable baby rhinos and a young hippo.

IMPI WITH ONE OF HIS CARERS

Panic-stricken, I ran to my general manager’s cottage and banged on the door.

‘Lynda! It’s me! Open up!’ I yelled, shivering in the rain. ‘Poachers at the orphanage. I’ll never manage the roads in this weather. We need your 4×4.’

She saw the horror on my face and asked no questions. ‘Give me five minutes.’ The rain smacked our faces as we sprinted to her car.

We crept along the dirt track leading to the orphanage, struggling to see, not speaking, hearts hammering. What would we find?

The men who slash rhinos’ faces for their horns are utterly barbaric — far beyond the conception of my trusting young volunteers. One wrong move or word, and an agitated lunatic could well have killed the girls.

Slowly, painfully slowly, we struggled through the downpour. As we arrived at the orphanage, one of my anti-poaching guards ran out.

‘What were you thinking, driving here on your own?’ he burst out. ‘The attackers could still be in the reserve! Quick. Get under cover.’

I stared at him. ‘Is anyone hurt?’ I asked. He nodded, grim-faced, and took us inside . . .

Baby rhinos don’t run. They half-bounce, half-fly as they hurtle towards you with an inquisitive look on their soft faces.

Or so I discovered when I first met Thabo, who’d been a terrified newborn when he was found, his umbilical cord still dragging below him in the dust. His mother had almost certainly been killed by poachers, and it was a miracle he’d survived even a day on his own.

Now Thabo was two months old, and had just arrived from a reserve that could no longer keep him. He nestled his snout gently against my leg — and I melted.

THABO

I’d just agreed to give him a permanent home on the land that my husband and I had bought in South Africa, intending to turn it into a game reserve that would keep animals safe from poachers.

We called it Thula Thula — Zulu for ‘quiet’. Within a few years, we’d built a game lodge, started taking in paying guests and had adopted an entire herd of wild elephants — though no rhinos.

But that was about to change: as I stroked Thabo, I knew with absolute certainty what needed to happen next. I was going to create a haven where orphaned rhinos could heal after their trauma.

That was back in 2011. By the time I’d raised enough funds and rhino-proofed an existing building, my husband Lawrence had died tragically young of a heart attack.

For a long time after I lost him, I lurched from one crisis to the next, never feeling anything was under control. Even small decisions felt overwhelming at first, but creating the orphanage gave me a focus, a reason to get up every day.

LAWRENCE ANTHONY

There was so much at stake. If the heating fails in our game lodge, we might get a bad rating on TripAdvisor, but the guests won’t die. A heating failure in the orphanage’s high-care ward, on the other hand, will soon kill a baby rhino.

Our first call came in April 2015. An anti-poaching unit had just found the carcass of an adult female rhino, with her horn hacked off, but no sign of her calf. Would we take it in if they could track it down? By running away, the six-month old calf had at least avoided being butchered for the tiny horn beginning to grow on his head. With rhino horn fetching £68,000 per kilo on the Far Eastern market, the poachers would have killed him for every gram they could get.

By the time Ithuba was traced, it was a week since his mother had died. Heavily sedated when he arrived, he was covered in infected tick bites and close to death. That first night, he was put on a drip and slept peacefully — but the second night was hell.

It was as if he was going through all the trauma of the past week — his mother’s murder, being transported in a clanging trailer and then finding himself in a strange room with two-legged animals who looked just like the ones who’d killed his mother.

The mere sight of his carers sent him careering around his room in panic — and 200 kilos of agitated rhino can do a lot of damage to a pair of human legs. His high-pitched squeals of terror pierced every corner of the orphanage.

Eventually, we persuaded him to drink milk from a bottle. Then colic struck and nightmares. He’d shiver and jerk about in his sleep; on waking, he’d spin around his room in panic, flinging himself against the walls.

‘What Ithuba’s going through isn’t unusual,’ the vet assured us. ‘People think post-traumatic stress is only experienced by humans, but his emotional recovery is going to be far more complicated than his physical recovery.’

It’s heartbreakingly hard to comfort traumatised animals, but our carers did it with infinite patience and affection. Slowly, Ithuba began to understand they weren’t like the people who’d hurt his mother.

I’ll never forget the day when I saw him trotting happily next to Axel, an easygoing young French carer. Ithuba kept bumping into his leg, as if to reassure himself that he wasn’t alone any more.

Another huge step was the revival of his curiosity. Rejecting other toys, Ithuba homed in on anything made out of tyre, including his food bowl which was a home-made tyre contraption. He’d tip it over, throw out the food, fling the bowl about until it started rolling, then run after it. Finally, he’d balance it on his head, preening and strutting like a dressage horse.

BFFs: The two baby rhinos, Thabo and Ntombi, were soon inseparable

Yet for a long time, he also continued to have panic attacks. He’d be playing happily, then he’d suddenly squeal in fright, latch onto a corner of his carer’s sleeve and suckle it — rather like a baby sucks its thumb.

Slowly, however, his insecurity faded — and his appetite exploded. By the time he was nine months old, he’d doubled his weight and turned into a happy little rhino tank who’d soon be starting a new life in the wild.

The next rhino calf delivered to the orphanage had also lost his mother to poachers. He’d stood by his mother’s body for six days, desperately tugging at her decaying teats while vultures tore her flesh. How do you even start to console a little creature who’s been through that?

Megan, a fresh-faced young British girl, remained with Impi for his entire first night as he ran round and round in circles, crying non-stop, too terrified to sleep, desperate to find his mother.

‘I kept talking to him,’ she said. ‘I told him what had happened to him, that he was safe with us, that there was another baby rhino just like him called Ithuba, and that I was sure they would be friends.

‘He eventually came up to stand silently at my knees. He looked so lost. I longed to take him in my arms to comfort him but I didn’t dare move in case I frightened him. Then he collapsed at my feet and fell asleep.’

Within three days, however, little Impi was on the mend. Ravenously hungry, he’d indignantly head-butt his carers if his bottle wasn’t ready when he wanted it.

One morning, Megan was on her hands and knees giving the floor a good scrub when she felt two little eyes boring into her. Impi edged closer and nestled his chin on her shoulder. And there it stayed, as he shuffled along to keep pace with Megan’s movements.

Some calves are boisterous and belligerent, but not Impi. He was a tender little creature who was afraid of everything and hated being left alone.

Like Ithuba, he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, and unfamiliar sounds — even a bird’s squawk — would send him fleeing, squealing in panic.

Nights were a terrible struggle. No matter how exhausted he was, he didn’t feel safe enough to lie down until a volunteer had started reading him a book. Then he’d quietly nestle on the hay next to her, burrow his head into her legs and fall into the deepest sleep.

Ithuba, meanwhile, wasn’t happy about losing his pampered role as the only rhino at the orphanage — and particularly jealous when he realised that Impi was in his old room. Again and again, he charged the barrier to get in; only the sound of Axel rolling a tyre behind him managed to distract the cross little rhino.

The next orphan to arrive was Thando, who’d been discovered neck-deep in mud and unable to move. There was no sign of his mother.

It took five men to pull Thando out of the mud, and there were whoops of delight when they saw he was strong enough to stand.

The DIFFERENCE in Thando’s behaviour from that of the other two rhinos was startling. Rather than being petrified when he woke up in a strange room surrounded by humans, he was merely stroppy.

Happily, he hadn’t had to witness his mother being hacked to death, nor had he been on his own in the wilderness for nights on end. As a result, he very quickly became one of the orphanage’s most laid-back little rhinos.

Eventually we decided that Impi and Thando should meet, as they were similar ages. So, one overcast summer’s afternoon, we left the doors and barriers to their rooms open at feeding time. The carers hovered out of sight nearby.

Impi, usually such a timid little rhino, immediately charged at Thando, who didn’t so much as blink. Baffled by this non-reaction, Impi skidded to a halt and stared at him.

After a lot of posturing and strutting on both sides, they headed inside and flopped down on a mattress, their stumpy little legs entwined. From then on, they were best friends, constantly cuddling up or practising charging techniques on each other.

Another successful pairing was between Charlie, a baby hippo found alone in a river, terrified of water, and a newborn rhino called Makhosi, abandoned because he was too tiny to reach his mother’s teats. As both were under a week old, we put them in the same room.

Amazingly, Makhosi scampered straight up to the hippo. For his part, Charlie swayed his big head from side to side in greeting and reached his snout towards her.

First, they exchanged interested noisy snuffles. Then Makhosi lowered her head and Charlie gently chomped her ears. Finally, the tiny rhino clambered onto the hippo’s mattress, nuzzled up against him and fell fast asleep.

WILD ENCOUNTERS

After that, they trotted everywhere together, demanded to be fed at the same time, and cuddled up whenever they needed warmth or reassurance.

When Charlie’s teeth started to cut through, his gums became sore and inflamed, and he lost his appetite. His rhino friend knew just what to do: she comforted him with gentle nudges, then fell asleep each night with her snout touching his.

Charlie, the baby hippo who was scared of water standing bravely in his paddling pool with pal Makhosi close by

More orphans were now flooding in. Nandi, our first black rhino, was another newborn whose mother had been killed. She was afraid of the dark and wouldn’t go to sleep without a blanket tucked tightly around her.

If it slid off, she squealed until her carer woke up and tucked her back in again. What a little princess!

Then there was Storm, who’d probably been rejected by his mother. He had so many parasites that we almost lost him.

And finally there was Gugu, a healthy rhino calf who wanted nothing to do with her carers. It was her choice to drink from a bucket rather than a bottle — anything to keep humans at bay.

When she first saw Impi and Thando, however, she broke out into high-pitched calls of delight. And as for Ithuba, our original rhino calf, he became the love of her life.

Poor Ithuba was so much older than the others that we had to keep him in a separate enclosure. Undeterred, Gugu would spend hours walking out with her strapping neighbour, each keeping pace with the other on either side of the fence.

ITHUBA WITH KAREN TRENDLER

By the start of 2016, our baby rhinos were all thriving and protected by round-the-clock security guards. It made no difference.

On the terrible rain-lashed night that poachers attacked the animal orphanage, I arrived to find our terrified girl volunteers huddled together in an office. One of them had only been with us for a few hours, her dream of working with orphaned animals now a savage nightmare.

Slowly, as they sobbed and cried, I started piecing together what had happened.

Just as the team had finished the first evening feed, five heavily armed men had breached the fence, disabling cameras and cutting cables as they crept towards our security guard. Two of them had attacked him from behind and tied him up.

THE DODO’S HEADLINE OF THE ATTACK

Then they waited, patient predators, biding their time until the next feed. Axel, the only staff member there that night, had gone to bed while the two girls on feeding duty chatted and laughed as they prepared bottles for the hippo and the rhino calves.

Suddenly, they were ambushed by the poachers, and shoved into a locked office. At gunpoint, Axel was roused and forced to round up the rest of the volunteers.

‘Where are the rhino horns?’ the attackers kept asking. Needless to say, we didn’t have any, but Axel was beaten and one of the girls was severely assaulted.

THE HUFFPOST’S HEADLINE OF THE ATTACK

The poachers must have known that Gugu and Impi — now our oldest rhinos at the orphanage — were due to leave soon. And that meant they’d already have stubby little horns.

While three men guarded the youngsters, two others, armed with guns and an axe, headed for the calves. They pumped bullets into Gugu and Impi for horns no bigger than a child’s fist.

RIP GUGU

Gugu died instantly, sweet Impi didn’t. The poachers didn’t give a damn. They held him down and hacked his face with the axe.

Were they disconcerted by his terrified expression? Superstitions run deep in rural Zululand, where it’s thought that eyes have memories. So the poachers did the unthinkable — they poked out Impi’s eyes.

Half an hour later, the men and their bounty were gone.

Meanwhile, the guard in the storeroom had escaped and was running barefoot through the reserve to raise the alarm. Petrified of being caught, he avoided roads and tore through the bush in the pitch dark, shredding his feet in the process.

To this day, I can’t bear to think about Impi and the anguish of his carers. They’d hand-raised him, and there was nothing they could do to ease his terror and pain.

Impi was euthanised as soon as our vet arrived. The tragedy was that both calves had been days away from becoming wild rhinos again.

The next 24 hours are a blur. I have flashes of memory: the ashen faces of the girls, the explosive racket of the storm, the atrocity of Impi’s injuries, the chaos in my heart.

For a while, I lost faith in mankind. I lost hope in saving rhinos.

Demand for their horns will never stop; they’ll always be in danger, as will the men and women who risk their lives guarding them.

What I do remember with profound gratitude is the phone call from Megan, the British girl who’d helped look after Impi and Gugu. Now back home, she offered to start a campaign to pay for improving the orphanage’s security.

Donations flooded in from all over the world. The outpouring of love and concern was incredible: more than £45,000 was raised.

The cash has paid for more round-the-clock armed guards and extra protection for staff during night feeds. We’ve also upgraded our entire security system.

Additional anti poaching team and extra armed security

Update 2/23: Two male suspects have now been arrested for the killing of two baby rhinos and the assault of the staff at Thula Thula Rhino Orphanage, according to SA people. The men are apparently part of a “notorious gang,” and they were heavily armed when police found them.

This true account comes for Françoise’s beautiful book An Elephant In My Kitchen.

Françoise Malby-Anthony ~ An Elephant In MY kitchen

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A Poacher’s Attack Through The Eyes Of Rhino Calf Ntombi

As the number of rhinos killed by poachers keep rising and more traumatized orphaned calves are in need of care, Kirsten Everett, a volunteer at Nikela, takes us on a touching journey as she looks at the horrors of a poacher attack though the eyes of a young Rhino calf.

NTOMBI WITH VET KAREN TRENDLER

“My mother and I were contently filling our hungry stomachs when we heard a strange noise. I carried on eating but she smelt the air for unknown scents. I saw the terrified look in her eye before she managed to control it; the unnatural smell meant something. A few minutes later we heard the ‘whop, whop’ of a metal monster flying closer towards us. Just when my mother focussed on it the men crept out of the bushes with a crunch of sticks. Something seemed to hit her and she grunted in surprise. The birds abandoned their posts heading away from the danger. I stood helplessly as she tried to run but ended up falling to the ground. The men surrounded her and tried to chase me away. I ran forward scared enough to not care about the men as they had done something to my mother, I needed her and they must go away.

Out of nowhere one of the big men spun on me and hit me hard with something sharp. Blood oozed from my wound as my mother answered my cry for help with a weak beg, ‘Away, away’. I backed away nursing my wound, how could I get to her?? She grunted again so I didn’t give up. I ran forward again but this time the angry man was merciless, determined to get his message across. As quietly as possible I took the cuts to my poor head trying not to worry my mother even more.

Confused I backed away into the bushes calling to her to get up, but the eerie silence dragged on and she didn’t move a muscle. Fear glued me to the floor as I felt my young heart pulsing with anger and fear. A breeze blew, as I waited for the monsters to go so I could go to my poor mommy and find out what was wrong. My heart skipped a beat when I realised this was what my cousin had gone through only a full moon ago. It was terrible, my body couldn’t stop shaking and I couldn’t think clearly, I felt lightheaded from all my blood loss.

Finally when the monsters left I ran to her side, ‘Mom wake up.’ My voice cracked with emotion but still she didn’t respond. I took a step back and saw the pool of blood. Her horn had been brutally cut off and she lay lifeless. Above me a crow flew over.

I turned to run then I asked myself some important questions… where would I go? I wasn’t old enough to know the way to the dam yet. Who would protect me from predators? The truth was that I wasn’t strong enough to survive by myself yet. Would I be with my mother in the sky sooner than I thought? The last question scared me the most; out in the wild without my mother I might just be able to survive a week.

I heard the snap of a twig, I wasn’t alone. This time I didn’t have the strength to care what these humans wanted with me. I collapsed and slept for a few hours. I was almost completely unconscious though I sensed kindness near me. Too traumatised to do anything I lay as they treated my wounds. The people who tried to comfort me planted a seed of hope. Hope that I could survive and hope that the rest of the human race would come to its senses and help my species and all the others out there”.

Let’s stop the babies’ cries! Let’s save the last rhin0!

Written by Kirsten Everett. Based loosely on the story of “Ntombi” who was rescued by Karen Trendler and her team.

NTOMBI WITH ONE OF HER CARERS

Update (July 31, 2013): This is Ntombi feeling good and playful

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The Tragic Story Of Tyke The Circus Elephant: The Most Horrific Circus Death Ever!

20th August 1994: The day that tyke the elephant was shot 86 times!

Mention “Tyke the Elephant” to anyone who lived in Honolulu 27 years ago and chances are they’ll shake their head and talk about what a dark moment it was in their city’s history.

Tyke, a 20-year-old female African Elephant, was in Honolulu with Circus International. On August 20, 1994, during the show, Tyke entered the ring at the Blaisdell Arena, kicking around what looked to audience members like a dummy. “We thought it was part of the show,” one witness told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. They soon realized the supposed dummy was a severely injured groomer. Panicked, audience members fled for the exits. Tyke went on to fatally crush her trainer, who was trying to intervene, before fleeing the arena herself.

For nearly 30 minutes, Tyke ran through the streets of the Kakaako neighborhood’s business district at rush hour, nearly trampling circus promoter Steve Hirano when he tried to fence her in. It was a foot chase between her and the Honolulu police, who eventually shot her 86 times before she succumbed to nerve damage and brain haemorrhages. People watched aghast from their cars, apartments and the sidewalk.

Image result for tyke the elephant

Twenty seven years later, witnesses still remember it vividly, and the attitude in Honolulu toward animal-driven circuses is distrusting. No circus elephants have performed since Tyke, even though there is no prohibition against it.

In 2014, when the Moscow International Circus announced that it would perform in Honolulu with “wild animals”, activist group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals circulated a petition against it. A circus spokesman recently told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that animals would be excluded from the shows, and PETA applauded the decision in a press release:

While the Tyke incident challenged people around the world to think about our relationship to circus animals, many circuses such as the Kelly Miller Circus, UniverSoul Circus, Cole Bros. Circus of the Stars and Carson & Barnes  still use exotic animals, including Elephants, in their shows today. Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus has only recently stopped using Elephants in their circus.

What can you do? PETA encourages you to avoid supporting any circus that includes animals and provides a list of animal-free circuses, as well as a list of things you can do if the circus comes to your town.

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R.I.P. TYKE

First They Tortured Animals, Then They Turned To Humans!

Jeffrey Dahmer. Ted Bundy. David Berkowitz. Aside from killing dozens of innocent people (combined), these men—and significant percentage of other serial killers—have something else in common: Years before turning their rage on human beings, they practiced on animals.

TED BUNDY

According to the FBI, animal abuse is highly correlated with interpersonal, human-to-human violence. Serial killers often torture or kill small animals from an early age, and men who commit child abuse or domestic violence very frequently harm household pets as well. “If somebody is harming an animal, there is a good chance they’re also hurting a human,” said John Thompson, deputy executive director of the National Sheriff’s Association, in a 2016 interview.

A&E Real Crime spoke to Dr. Chris Hensley, associate professor of criminal justice at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, for some insight on why these two behaviors are linked—and what we can do about it.

Why do people hurt animals in the first place?
People who harm animals go after someone they perceive as weaker. Many serial killers feel a sense of rejection from their parents or from someone they love; there’s either a perceived rejection or a real rejection. Rather than going after the person who rejected them, they’ll start with something that’s weaker, and often that’s an animal. It’s a matter of power.

THE CONNECTION BETWEEN CRUELTY TO ANIMALS AND HUMAN VIOLENCE

At what point does it progress to human beings?
Some research suggests there’s ‘graduation’ hypothesis, where killers start with animals and move to human beings later—and it’s often someone they perceive to be weaker than they are: prostitutes, for example, or hitchhikers, or the elderly. Other people think that animal and human abuse starts at the same time, which is called ‘generalized deviance theory.’ That’s where a kid might hit another kid and then go home and smack their cat. I think it’s somewhere in the middle, a combination of both [theories].   Your research team asked prison inmates about their experience with animal abuse. What’s the most surprising thing you’ve found?
Finding out that there’s a powerful link between bestiality (sexual relations between a human and an animal) and later interpersonal violence. We don’t know why there’s a connection there—it’s a fairly new area of study and there’s not a lot of literature, but what we know is people who commit bestiality at a young age are significantly more likely to commit interpersonal crime than those who don’t.

[Bestiality] is still rare, of course, but of the people who have committed it, they’re significantly more likely to go on to hurt human beings. Also people that have a method of abusing animals—like strangulation—usually use that same method in hurting human beings. [Serial killer] Henry Lee Lucas, for example, slit the throats of his animal victims as he was sexually abusing them, and then eventually did that with women.

How common is animal abuse? What are some warning signs?
Most studies since 1980 have shown a link between childhood animal cruelty and adult interpersonal violence. We also know that it can be co-concurrent with child abuse or elder abuse. It’s very common in a domestic-violence situation, especially if it’s the victim’s animal.

We’ve seen multiple cases where you have someone engaging in domestic violence that ends up not only killing the person they’re abusing, but then they go back and kill the pets as well. I think it’s because the pet is an extension of [the victim].

In Chattanooga, if you’re in a domestic-violence situation, we have a family-justice center that will allow survivors to stay there and there’s an animal hospital nearby that will board your pets for free.

What else are states or law-enforcement officers doing to keep animals safe?
Tennessee actually became the first state to have a registry—you can go online and look at who in the state has been convicted of animal cruelty, similar to sex-offender registration. Depending on the amount of cruelty, that person is prevented from owning animals. Tennessee is the only state that currently has one, but I know that the FBI is also looking at developing a database as well.

What else could states be doing?
It’s taking a long time for states to really look at the impact that childhood animal cruelty has on later violence. A lot of states have dragged their feet in making animal cruelty a felony, and there are some states that don’t have any laws on the books related to bestiality at all.

Around 2002 and 2003 a lot of states got rid of sodomy statutes, and those states would usually have bestiality underneath that umbrella of sodomy. Those laws became nullified so states had to write their own laws for bestiality specifically, and some haven’t been quick about doing that.

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How can we prevent animal abuse before it progresses into interpersonal violence?

To me, treatment is key for children who engage in animal cruelty. Oftentimes parents or caregivers will say “boys will be boys” or turn a blind eye to things, instead of admitting something is really wrong with their child. Most parents know when their kids are engaging in this behavior.

We need to say that any form of animal cruelty, should be unacceptable – if you see your kids doing it, that’s a warning sign, and something has to be done. If you see animals being mistreated please report it to the police.

Original story by Sarah Watts in A & E, Real Life Crime.

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CHARITY APPEAL TO HELP BUILD THE FIRST CENTRE IN THE UK FOR DISABLED ANIMALS

As thousands of disabled animals are put to sleep across the UK, animal welfare charity Miracle’s Mission is looking for help to build the UK’s first centre for disabled animals – where they can be rehabilitated before finding their forever homes.

Victoria Bryceson, founder of Miracle’s Mission, says that countless disabled dogs are euthanased unnecessarily, despite the fact they could have a good quality of life with the right physical therapy and prosthetics.

She says, “At the moment amputation of one leg is common practice with UK vets, as dogs can live very well and still be very active with three legs, especially if it is a back leg, as most of the weight is on the front legs.

“However, when it comes to a double amputation leaving the dog with two legs, the general vets that I have seen in the UK have said it’s definitely not possible to do this as the dogs won’t be left with a good quality of life.”

As thousands of disabled animals are put to sleep across the UK, animal welfare charity Miracle’s Mission is looking for help to build the UK’s first centre for disabled animals – where they can be rehabilitated before finding their forever homes.

Many people may not be aware that dogs who have wheels and prosthetics can live as good a life as a fully able bodied dogs – much like Ella, who was found wandering the streets of Egypt, paralysed from the back down after being thrown off the top of a building.

Miracles’ Mission brought her to the UK, giving her a second chance. A wheelchair for dogs was made so she could get around, and soon Ella was running around with other dogs, living life to the fullest. Victoria is looking to let owners know that their disabled dogs could live happily, too, if only given a chance.

She adds, “The specialist hospitals seem more open to it as they have more experience in the area, but even they have problems where most of their dogs in these conditions are euthanased – not because they need to be but because, in their words, it is the owners of the dogs who can’t cope with the thought of a two legged dog. So there is a huge need for education in this area, amongst the public, dog owners and vets.

“General practice vets that have seen my journey with double amputee dogs have said that they have had a huge education on disabled animals and they can now see the possibilities and potential of a disabled dog. They are now much more open to using wheels and prosthetics. Dogs using wheels and prosthetics can live as good a life as a fully able-bodied dog and this is what I want to show people.

“I was stopped so many times when I was with a double amputee dog, to ask about her wheels as people hadn’t seen them before. They told me stories about their dogs back legs deteriorating and they thought the only option was euthanasia, but now they would look into wheels.”

The new centre will provide dedicated care for the most vulnerable dogs and cats. Animals under its care will receive thorough veterinary assessments, MRIs, surgeries, the fitting of prosthetics, and doggy wheels. Their personalised rehabilitation plan will include physiotherapy and hydrotherapy as well as daily massage and TENS machine stimulation.

Victoria says, “The animals coming into our care will initially all be stray dogs with nowhere else to go and no one else to help them. They will either have been born with some sort of condition, such as a bent leg that they can’t walk on or they will have been in an accident – for example hit by a car or they will have been abused.”

Once the patients have been emotionally and physically rehabilitated as much as possible, Miracle’s Mission get to work to find them all forever homes.

Victoria explains, “We will offer a full rehabilitation programme right through from assessment to surgery to rehabilitation, recovery and re-homing. This is again why education is so important, so that people become open to adopting disabled dogs.

“If we don’t re-home the dogs the centre will be full on day one and then we won’t be able to help anymore, so it is really desperately needed that the dogs be re-homed.”

There already is a waiting list of disabled dogs, but Victoria cannot accept them until she is able to finance the centre.  She is currently crowd funding to raise £20,000 to secure a deposit for the centre, which if secured will be built in Yorkshire in 2020.

If you’d like more information get in touch by writing to info@miraclesmission.org

Paul Christian, founder of Protect All Wildlife and Patron of Miracle’s Mission.

Images by Andrew Price

Please help Miracle’s Mission by donating ANY amount, large or small here.

The Story Of A Tragic Wolf Called ‘Romeo’ Who Loved Too Much And Deserved Much Better

ROMEO

On a twilit night in Juneau, Alaska, in December 2003, and Nick and Sherrie Jans were walking with Dakotah, their yellow Lab, in the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area not far from their house. Suddenly, a young black wolf appeared on the ice—and began running in their direction. Awestruck but scared, the couple watched as Dakotah broke loose and charged the predator, which was twice the size of the dog. The animals stopped yards apart and gazed at each other “as if each were glimpsing an almost-forgotten face and trying to remember,” recalled Jans. After a few moments, Dakotah ran back to her owners, and the three hurried home, listening to the wolf howl

The locals named him Romeo, and soon his presence was noted by the entire town. Most found it fascinating that Romeo was so friendly, while others assumed that this naturally predatory animal would give into his natural instincts at any moment, potentially attacking their pets and children.

During this time Nick Jans started documenting Romeo. When he did, he uncovered an emotional story, the heart of which describes the tenuous relationships between wild animals and the humans around them.

“The first thing I saw was tracks out on the lake in front of our house on the outskirts of Juneau,” Jans said in an interview with National Geographic. “A few days later, I looked out from my house and there was this wolf out on the ice. I’d had 20 years of experience around wolves up in the Arctic and immediately knew it was a wolf, not a dog. I threw on my skis and found him.”

ROMEO

According to Jans, Romeo seemed totally relaxed and friendly.

And it wasn’t just one interaction, either: Romeo remained his curious, friendly self for the better part of six years.

“For want of a better word,” Jans said, “The only thing I can say from a human perspective is that it amounted to friendship. If you wanted to be scientifically correct, it would be “social mutual tolerance.” But it was more than that. The wolf would come trotting over to say hi, and give a little bow and a relaxed yawn, and go trotting after us when we went skiing. There was no survival benefit. He obviously just enjoyed our company.”

Romeo’s behavior was definitely unusual, as many wolves tend to assert dominance by attacking dogs and other animals.

he wolf got his name because Jans and his family noticed how Romeo was kind of a flirt — particularly with their “Juliet,” a dog named Dakotah. Here, they’re standing nose-to-nose in what seems to be an all-too-perfect photo moment.

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Romeo survived for years despite many mortal threats: scented traps, busy roads, illegal hunting, and even a poisoning attempt. He also had to contend with the natural dangers of starvation, injury, and attack by another pack of wolves. By almost any standard, his prolonged proximity to humans and dogs constituted incredibly rare behaviour. There was no obvious survival benefit to his socializing, yet the wolf lingered persistently, a late echo of the original process that must have initiated the domestication of dogs.

Romeo stayed in the area for as long as he lived — and he lived three times longer than most wild wolves do.

“Romeo was the single most transformative event of my life,” Jans said. “The amazing thing was Romeo’s understanding. It wasn’t just our understanding and tolerance. It was the combination of his and ours and the dogs’. We were these three species working out how to get along harmoniously. And we did.”

What happened to Romeo?                                                                                                   Romeo disappeared in late September 2009. After some sleuthing, a supporter found he had been shot and killed by Juneau resident Park Myers III and his Pennsylvanian friend Jeff Peacock. Both men were arrested and ended up paying fines, serving a few years on probation, and losing hunting and fishing privileges for a limited time. In late November 2010, a memorial service was held for Romeo and this plaque was laid along a path where he once roamed.

“Nothing can take away the miracle that was Romeo and the years we spent in his company,” writes Jans. “Love, not hate, is the burden we carry.”

Nick Jans’ beautiful account of his unusual relationship is now in a book called A Wolf Called Romeo.

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This Is Why You Should Never Ride On The Back Of An Elephant If You Are Travelling In Asia

Elephant rides are an attraction regularly offered to tourists in several Asian countries including Thailand. But to get there, the animals undergo a very particular training that is actually akin to real torture.

Between 35 and 40,000, is the number of wild Elephants that remain in Asia, according to estimates. A figure to which should be added the more than 15,000 domesticated Elephants. If you go to Asia one day, you will certainly meet these majestic pachyderms with big ears. You may even be asked to ride on their backs for a ride.

This attraction attracts millions of tourists every year in Asia, especially in Thailand. Nevertheless, it hides a reality that few tourists are aware of: to get there, the animals suffer a real torture. If the words can seem strong, they are not, as all those who have seen with their eyes what is really happening. Indeed, to be trained, Elephants undergo a ritual called “phajaan”.

The principle is simple: “break the spirit” of the Elephant. As two globetrotters, Seth and Lise, explain, “the origin of phajaan comes from the ancestral belief that one can separate the mind of an Elephant from its body so that it loses its reflexes and instinct natural wilderness and be completely under the control of man “. Concretely, it is to submit the Elephant until he agrees to do everything asked of him.

Beaten, hungry and sleep-deprived

From a practical point of view, it is only by using violence that the trainers achieve it. Phajaan lasts between 4 and 6 days and is carried out on young Elephants. The animals are separated from their mothers and locked in narrow cages where they are chained. Without being able to struggle or even move a limb, they are then repeatedly hit in strategic places, the most sensitive.

THE PHAJAAN

In addition to being beaten, Elephants are kept awake, deprived of food and water under the eyes of trainers (“mahout”) who recite prayers that can be translated as “Elephant, if you stop fighting, we do not you’ll hurt more, “says a documentary. The torture does not stop until after several days, when the trainers believe that the spirit of the Elephant is broken, that his behaviour has changed.

The Bullhook

Out of his cage, the animal appears submissive, impressed by the fear of the man who subjected him to this torture. Then begins a real training that will consist in teaching the Elephant all the necessary commands or gestures intended to amuse the tourists. Once the specimen is formed, it can be used as an attraction for most of its life.

50% of Elephants die during the ritual

It is estimated that half of the Elephants would not survive phajaan. Others would become aggressive: about 100 mahouts are killed each year by their animals. Still others would go insane or have trouble with their experience, rendering them unusable for attractions. Most would then be killed.

The surviving Elephants are used to wander among the tourists, to beg or for work. In order for them to remain submissive, they are given a few booster shots by hitting them or pressing the sensitive spots again. In tourism, an Elephant can spend the day carrying people without a minute to rest, eat or drink. The rest of the time, most animals are tied up so that they are not dangerous.

WHEN NOT BEING EXPLOITED BY TOURISTS THE ELEPHANTS ARE CHAINED

A life that would often lead to the appearance of disorders including neurological. “If you ever have a chance to spot domestic Elephants, watch them,” Seth and Lise explain. “Chance or not, all the Elephants we’ve seen had signs of recent abuse, scars, obvious signs of poor health, some are more damaged than others, and it’s extremely rare to see one of these well-treated animals. “.

“It is largely because of tourists that this business works, so it is up to tourists to make the right decisions. The future and especially the well-being of thousands of Elephants is at stake,” they conclude in their blog.

Seth & Lise: To Make Elephants Attractions In Thailand … What Is Hidden From Tourists? 

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