A Young Orangutan Kidnapped And Forced To Live In A Chicken Coop Is Given A Second Chance

Baby orangutans are prized possessions on the illegal black market, where many other critically endangered species are trafficked. Aman is just one of many infant Orangutans who were stolen from their mothers in the past couple of years, but his story highlights the extent of the illegal wildlife trade and the trauma that young orangutans suffer.

An infant Orangutan cannot be taken from its mother without force. Mother Orangutans will fight to the death to save their babies. To feed this insidious illegal trade, the mothers are almost certainly killed, often with machetes or guns. Not only are the infants traumatized and smuggled far from the forest, but the whole species is also robbed of future generations through the brutal murders of female orangutans.

Traumatic Transportation

Once captured by wildlife criminals, the babies are typically forced into boxes, crates, or even postage bags to be smuggled through or out of Indonesia, often to far-flung places like Thailand, the Middle East, Europe, or Singapore. Many also end up in small wooden cages, hidden away in homes across Indonesia. Owning a baby Orangutan is seen as a status symbol, even though the practice is illegal in both Indonesia and Malaysia. 

Regardless of where these highly intelligent beings end up, their freedom is gone forever unless they can be rescued. They are often fed the wrong food, are unable to climb or make nests in trees, and can become unwell and experience mental health issues. Some, like Aman, will carry the physical reminders of their early trauma for the rest of their lives.

Aman’s Story – From Trauma to Safety

Aman is missing the tops of his fingers on his left hand. His rescuers in Borneo believe his fingers were most likely hacked off while he clung to his mother as she was killed. It’s almost impossible to imagine what this young orangutan has been through in his short life: from being torn from his mother’s arms and experiencing her murder, to the pain of losing his fingers, to being shoved into a chicken coop and forced to look out at the world through wooden slats. 

Aman was rescued in June 2020 by the Bornean Orangutan Rescue Alliance (BORA) from a family home in Berau in East Kalimantan, Borneo. The BKSDA (Nature and Conservation Agency) contacted the BORA rescue team to notify them about an illegally held Orangutan, who they believed was about two years of age, and asked the team to help confiscate him.

The team immediately set to work and prepared an enclosure in their rescue center for the pending arrival at their vet clinic of the rescued Orangutan. They loaded a transport cage into their vehicle, left early one morning, and traveled to the home in Berau, where they found the young Orangutan peering up at them through the slats of a chicken coop. They learned he’d been fed mostly on bananas, water, and candy, and as soon as he was in their transportation crate, he was given leaves to rest on and fruit to eat. The confiscation and transport back to the rescue center went smoothly, although that is not always the case.

Within days of being rescued, the young Orangutan was recovering, learning to eat leaves and twigs, and finding simple joy in his freedom. Soon after he arrived at the rescue center, the team at The Orangutan Project, one of the BORA partners, contacted a bequestor to ask for a new name for the young orangutan. The name Aman was chosen as it means ‘safe’ in Indonesian. 

Nearly two years later, Aman still occasionally struggles to climb trees or open fruit, but he never gives up. Through the love and kindness of the Orangutan carers, the good diet of fruit, leaves, twigs, and termites; and the opportunity to learn from older orangutans and carers how to climb trees, swing through the branches and build a nest, Aman is flourishing. 

Jungle School was a new experience, but despite his missing fingertips, Aman is not daunted and is learning how to climb, swing through the trees, and forage for his food. He is a sweet, courageous young Orangutan who gives everything a go. Aman’s story is a testament to the resilience of young Orangutans who have been orphaned by the illegal wildlife trade, as long as they are one of the ‘lucky’ ones to be rescued from a life of captivity.

The Most Trafficked Great Ape

Orangutans are one of the most heavily trafficked critically endangered animals sold on the black market. International Orangutan conservation organization, The Orangutan Project, estimates that only one in six orangutans are rescued. Of the hundreds that the organization and its partners care for, there are thousands more that have been killed. 

Surprisingly, some baby Orangutans are even bought and sold online through sites such as Facebook, Whatsapp, and Instagram. At a price tag of $1,000 or more, baby orangutans are highly prized within the illegal wildlife trade, which is also responsible for poaching Tigers, Elephants, Pangolins, Rhinos, and many more species. 

As the forests of Borneo and Sumatra are destroyed, critically endangered species become more accessible to poachers. This, in turn, helps drive biodiversity loss throughout the remaining fragmented habitat. These dense, rich forests are healthiest when species like Orangutans, elephants, and tigers are flourishing. 

Less than Ten Years to Save the Orangutan

I believe, along with many other scientists and primatologists, that there are less than ten years to save orangutan populations from becoming too small, vulnerable, and fragmented to stop them from spiraling towards extinction. Without urgent action to safeguard the remaining rainforests of Indonesia, many species will die out. As forests are cut down for timber, mining, and unsustainable monocultures such as palm oilpulp paper, or rubber trees, orangutans and other species become easier prey for wildlife traffickers.

There are still forests in Borneo and Sumatra. There are still OrangutansTigers, and Elephants living wild and free in these forests. But without massive injections of funds to safeguard the remaining ecosystems, it won’t matter how many Orangutans are rescued from the illegal wildlife trade. While being rescued matters to individuals like Aman, this highly sentient species will have no forest habitat to return to without intact ecosystems.

We might save individual Orangutans, but if we don’t save the right size, type, and shape of the forest, Orangutans will become extinct in the wild. In 10 years, we might still have some forest left but not enough to sustain Orangutan populations. We might have some Orangutans left, but their numbers will be too low to secure the future of the species. And zoo populations are too small and too problematic to provide meaningful help.

The Race to Safeguard Eight Key Ecosystems

The most important act we can take now is to safeguard the remaining forests of Sumatra and Borneo. The Orangutan Project aims to protect eight key ecosystems across Borneo and Sumatra through legally binding agreements that put a stop to legal deforestation, unsustainable monocultures, and mining in those forests. At present, this world-renowned international organization has formed partnerships that have helped secure the future of two key ecosystems: the Bukit Tigapuluh Ecosystem in Sumatra and the Sebangau Ecosystem in Borneo.

Working with key partners in Borneo and Sumatra, The Orangutan Project is approaching the problem from all sides. To ensure these forests stay intact, they employ teams of wildlife rangers to patrol the ecosystems to reduce all illegal activities such as logginghunting, and snares. Their teams work closely with local communities, supporting economic development projects that provide incentives for forest conservation.

They engage with and empower indigenous communities in Borneo and Sumatra, responding to their immediate, expressed needs and aspirations with projects that support strength, resilience, and education. The evidence is encouraging; everywhere these rangers patrol the forest and engage local communities, illegal activities reduce over time, and farmers, children, and villagers become protectors of the forest.

All these efforts – from rescuing and rehabilitating Orangutans like Aman to patrolling vast tracts of forest and educating and empowering communities – require significant funds each year. Without funds from donors all over the world, such as Australia, the United States, Europe, and more, these activities would not be possible. Without support, many more Orangutans would be poached and illegally traded, and the richly biodiverse forests of Sumatra and Borneo would not be protected. 

Although actions now save Orangutans like little Aman, these steps taken will also bear fruit in the future – in 10, 20, or more years. Some of us will not be alive to see the outcomes of our actions and support – but we know that if we are part of this solution, we are helping bring about long-term survival, not only of Orangutans but also of TigersElephantsRhinos and the local people who live in and near the forests. 

The Mission of Protect All Wildlife is to prevent cruelty, promote the welfare of ALL animals EVERYWHERE, and help END animal abuse.

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RARE BIRTH OF SUMATRAN RHINO BRINGS HOPE FOR ENDANGERED SPECIES

A Sumatran Rhino has successfully given birth in a Lampung sanctuary, environment officials said, in a boost for conservation efforts targeting the critically endangered animal.

THE CLAF BORN IN WAY KAMBAS NATIONAL PARK

The World Wide Fund for Nature estimates fewer than 80 Sumatran Rhinos remain in the world, mainly in Sumatra and Kalimantan.

A Rhino named Rosa gave birth to a female calf on Thursday in Way Kambas National Park in Lampung, after suffering eight miscarriages since 2005, when she was brought in from the wild for a breeding program.

“The birth of this Sumatran Rhino is such happy news amid the government’s and partners’ efforts to increase the population,” Wiratno, a senior official at Indonesia’s environment ministry, said in a statement Monday. 

The calf, who has yet to be named, brings the number of Sumatran Rhinos in the Way Kambas sanctuary to eight.

Successful births are rare. The calf’s father, named Andatu, was the first Sumatran Rhino born in a sanctuary in more than 120 years.

Standing between 3.3 – 5 feet, Sumatran Rhinos are the smallest of all Rhinoceroses and they have a lifespan of around 35 – 40 years. They were once found across South and Southeast east, from the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas in Bhutan to eastern India, through Myanmar, Thailand, and  possibly to Vietnam and China. Now, the species is critically endangered, with less than 80 individuals remaining in the wild in small fragmented habitats on the island of Sumatra and nearby Borneo.

MOTHER ROSA WITH HER CALF

In 2017, Rhino conservation experts and the Indonesian government concluded that the only way to save the species was through a captive breeding program. The move was similar to an initiative launched in the 1980s that saw 40 Sumatran rhinos captured for breeding. But in this case, nearly half of the captive animals had died by 1995 and not a single calf had been born.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature classifies the Sumatran rhino, the smallest of all Rhino species, as critically endangered.

Multiple threats have brought them to the brink of extinction, including poaching and climate change.

This handout photo released on March 28 and made available on March 29, 2022 shows female rhino named Rosa (l) with her new baby born at the Way Kambas National Park, in Way Kambas, in Lampung province. Rosa delivered a baby rhino on March 24, for the first time after translocating from roaming in villages. A critically endangered Sumatran rhino was born in an Indonesian sanctuary bringing hope to the conservation of the rapidly declining species, an official said. (AFP/Handout)

Rhino horn is often illegally traded for traditional Chinese medicine. 

Indonesia is also racing to save another critically endangered species – the Javan Rhino.

Once numbering in the thousands across Southeast Asia, fewer than 80 are alive today, mainly in a national park on Indonesia’s main island of Java.

Efforts to conserve the species have shown promising results with the birth of five calves in Ujung Kulon National Park last year.

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ZooSpeak: ‘Life’ In A Zoo Through The Eyes Of A Brown Bear

Brown Bear, Germany, 2008

~ 1 ~

I’m aware of what you are

and I’m also aware of what you’re

thinking. You’re a human being

~ 2 ~

I’m aware of what you are

and I’m also aware of what you’re

thinking. You’re a human being

and you are thinking I am something else

~ 3 ~

I’m aware of what you are

and I’m also aware of what you’re

thinking. You’re a human being

and you are thinking I am something else

put here for your entertainment.

~ 4 ~

I’m aware of what you are

and I’m also aware of what you’re

thinking. You’re a human being

and you are thinking I am something else

put here for your entertainment,

that makes it easier for you to ignore me.

~ 5 ~

I’m aware of what you are

and I’m also aware of what you’re

thinking. You’re a human being

and you are thinking I am something else

put here for your entertainment,

that makes it easier for you to ignore me

and the wire mesh that surrounds me.

~ 6 ~

I’m aware of what you are

and I’m also aware of what you’re

thinking. You’re a human being

and you are thinking I am something else

put here for your entertainment,

that makes it easier for you to ignore me

and the wire mesh that surrounds me;

the wire mesh that separates us.

~ 7 ~

I’m aware of what you are

and I’m also aware of what you’re

thinking. You’re a human being

and you are thinking I am something else

put here for your entertainment,

that makes it easier for you to ignore me

and the wire mesh that surrounds me;

the wire mesh that separates us,

and your way of thinking from mine.

Gordon Meade

ZOOSPEAK

Gordon Meade is a Scottish poet and animal advocate. His 10th book of poetry is called Zoospeak. It’s about the inhumane and appalling conditions for animals who live in zoos and other terrible places. He wrote it to accompany the photographs in Jo-Anne McArthur’s, Captive, a haunting book of photographs featuring animals in captivity.

This Is NO Life

If you are unfamiliar with Jo-Anne’s work, go to We Animals Media and take a look. It will change you.

Please read and share Gordon’s poems.

The Mission of Protect All Wildlife is to prevent cruelty, promote the welfare of ALL animals EVERYWHERE, and help END animal abuse.

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15,000 Sheep Drown After Ship Crammed With Livestock Sinks In Sudan Port. The Ship was Licensed To Carry 9000 Sheep!

The animals died trapped inside a ship carrying them to Saudi Arabia, which sank a few minutes after setting sail.

THE BADR 1 HAS A CAPACITY OF ONLY 9,000 LIVESTOCK

The live export of animals has led to another tragedy. Over 15,000 sheep have drowned in the Sudanese port of Suakin, on the Red Sea, after the ship transporting them to Saudi Arabia sank. 

Although the reasons for the shipwreck have not yet been confirmed, the media has reported that the ship may have set sail carrying well above its maximum load of animals.

Witnesses have reported that minutes after setting sail, the ship tilted 45 degrees and gradually sank. The eight crew members were rescued but the majority of the animals on board did not survive.

The ship was bound for the city of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, a major importer of live lambs and sheep destined to be slaughtered for their meat upon arrival.

According to a Sudanese port official, the ship “was carrying 15,800 sheep.” The official said all crew members were rescued, however, this incident will have several economic and environmental consequences. In his statement, he outlined that the sunken ship will “likely have an environmental impact due to the death of the large number of animals carried by the ship”. 

The livestock on the ship was valued at approximately $3.7M said Saleh Selim, the head of the association’s livestock division, as he called for an investigation into the accident. The port is already under investigation following a fire that blazed for several hours, and caused damage in the cargo area, earlier this month.

Omar Al-Khalifa, head of the national exporters’ association, said that the ship did not sink quickly. In fact, the ship took several hours to sink at the pier, meaning there was a window that suggested it “could have been rescued”. The animals were loaded on the vessel at the port of Suakin

The News Agency, AFP, posted this update following the tragedy:

Yet Another Tragedy

This tragedy is not the first. In 2021, 895 calves died after being trapped onboard a ship in the Mediterranean Sea. The ship had originally departed from a Spanish port on its way to Turkey, but it was rejected at the port.

As a result, the ship stayed at sea for two and a half months. Some of the calves died onboard, while the 864 survivors were slaughtered at the dock of the Port of Escombreras in Spain.

Every year, more than two billion animals are forced to travel long distances. When transported by sea, they often travel in hot and overcrowded conditions in old ships that are not designed to transport live animals. 

The safety of these ships has long been in question. According to a recent study carried out by the organisations Robin des Bois, the Animal Welfare Foundation and the Tierschutzbund Zürich, live transport ships are the most dangerous in the world. At an average of 41 years old, they are too old and not fit for purpose. 

Thousands of animals die during the journeys and many are thrown overboard, with their bodies occasionally washing up on beaches.

Other animals are transported by road. In 2021, Animal Equality investigated the live transport of sheep across Europe. Every year, millions of lambs are slaughtered in Italy after being forced to endure hellish journeys of up to 1,200 miles from other European countries like Hungary and Romania.

The Mission of Protect All Wildlife is to prevent cruelty, promote the welfare of ALL animals EVERYWHERE, and help END animal abuse.

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Royal Bengal Tiger Caught On Trap Camera In Neora Valley National Park

Royal Bengal Tiger In The Neora Valley National Park

The Royal Bengal Tiger Seen in Neora Valley National Park was caught on camera. The picture of the Royal Bengal Tiger was captured in Neora valley national park. For the past few years, the Royal Bengal Tiger has been found in the Neora Valley National Park in the Gorumara wildlife division. Once again, the Royal Bengal Tiger can be seen roaming in the forest. Some of these images were captured on The Trap Camera on Sunday. Once again the wildlife department is excited that the picture of the Royal Bengal Tiger has been captured on the trap camera.

The state’s principal chief conservator of forests, Deval Roy, said, “We have received pictures of the Royal Bengal Tiger in the forests of Neora before. But this time the picture was caught on the trap camera several times. Earlier in the winter, pictures of the Royal Bengal Tiger were captured on camera. This time the picture has been taken from December to March. It is being investigated whether the pictures taken are of the same Tiger. “

Earlier there was a lot of evidence that there were Tigers in the jungles of Neora Valley. Once upon a time, there was a Tiger in the Neora Valley, but it was not seen for several years. The foresters thought that some of the places in the forest, which are still unfit for human transport, are suitable for Tigers to live in. At times, the Tiger seems to be scratched at the base of the tree, but no forester has seen the Tiger. On January 18, a Tiger was first spotted on the side of the road from Pedong to Lava. On January 18, a driver in the hills, Anmol Chhetri, caught him on camera.

On December 19, 2017, an automobile driver named Anmol Chhetri captured the first picture of the Tiger on his way from Lava to Rishop on his mobile camera. After that, the trap camera was created by the forest department. The camera captured pictures of the Royal Bengal Tiger several times. And that’s why they guessed that there were more than one number of Tigers in the forests of The Neora Valley. Since then, more or less pictures of Tigers have been captured every year. Even last year, the Tiger was captured on camera. And once again the picture of the Tiger was caught on the trap camera kept in the forest. Ensuring the safety of the Tigers is now the only aim of the forest department. For this, the security of the forests of Nawara is being strengthened, said an official of the concerned department.

The Buxa forest has the recognition of the Tiger Project in the North East. However, there has been a debate over whether there are Tigers or not for the past few years. Meanwhile, there is a rush to bring Tigers from Vin state to Buxa. And in the meantime, the Tiger was seen in the Neora Valley. Not once, but several times.

A Tiger was first spotted in the region in January 2017 by a car driver who took photos of the big cat. Later, the same Tiger was caught on a trail camera installed by the forest department across the 88-sq km the national park in January 2018.

The Tiger Was Earlier Caught On A Trail Camera In The 88-Sq Km Neora Valley National Park

“On December 18, 2019, a trail camera captured a tiger. We are yet to analyse the image. We cannot say right now if it is a male or a female,” said Ravi Kant Sinha, principal chief conservator of forests and chief wildlife warden of West Bengal.

“A thorough analysis of all images captured in the past three years is yet to be done. So, it is not possible for us to say if there are multiple tigers or the same one is being spotted,” Sinha added.

The Mission of Protect All Wildlife is to prevent cruelty, promote the welfare of ALL animals EVERYWHERE, and help END animal abuse.

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A Yellowstone Grizzly Bear Is Surrounded & Run Off By A Pack Of Wolves In “Once In A Lifetime” Footage

Every year, millions and millions of people visit Yellowstone National Park, but not everybody gets a show like this.

The Bear Is Chased Off By The Wolves

Captured by Yellowstone Adam Brubaker of Tied to Nature, the video picks up in the Hayden Valley area of Yellowstone with a couple of Wolves from Wapiti Lake Pack and a curious Grizzly bear.

You’d think that a bear would want to run away when he’s outnumbered by a few Wolves, but nope, this fella charges forward to get a better look.

A group of tourists have witnessed a scene straight out of a Sir David Attenborough documentary, when a pack of wild Wolves decided to take on a giant Grizzly bear.

In a stunning video shot by Tied to Nature tour operator Adam Brubaker, tourists witnessed a pack of 10 Wolves surround a bear which Mr Brubaker believes was eyeing off their kill.

The encounter, which happened at Hayden Valley in the famed Yellowstone National Park, was described as a “once in a lifetime” sighting by the qualified naturalist.

“I had the awesome opportunity to share this once in a lifetime Wolf and Grizzly sighting while on tour in Yellowstone today.” he wrote on his Facebook page alongside the video.

“This Grizzly was foraging in the far end of the valley when the Wolves started to cross his path. The Grizzly started standing up on his hind legs to get a better view of what was going on and then started to approach the Wolves.

At one point, the bear reared up on its hind legs to get a better look over the tall grass.

“Soon the rest of the Wolf pack appears and escorts the bear into the trees.”

Some thought that the Wolves might have been trying to protect their cubs, but Mr Brubaker believes they had dinner nearby – and didn’t want a hungry bear to snack on any leftovers.

“From what I could see the pups were not with them,” he told USA Today.

“The white Wolf has blood on her face and neck, so there could have been a carcass, but while I watched them they were not feeding on one.”

While grizzlies and Wolves typically avoid each other, encounters have happened before.

“Bears may benefit from the presence of Wolves by taking carcasses that Wolves have killed, making carcasses more available to Bears throughout the year,” National Park Service told Newsweek .

“If a bear wants a Wolf-killed animal, the Wolves will try to defend it; Wolves usually fail to chase the bear away, although female grizzlies with cubs are seldom successful in taking a Wolf kill.”

“I could see that the two species were probably going to cross paths but I did not expect what was going to happen.

“For many people, this would be a once-in-a-lifetime encounter. Neither the Wolves nor Bears were injured. I believe I saw the same bear yesterday out in the same place this time with no Wolves around.

“I have been a guide in Yellowstone for seven years and visiting the park for 20 and every day can offer something new or different.”

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What you can do to help end animal abuse

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Mother and Daughter Orangutans Released into the Wild to ‘Revert Impending Extinction Crisis’

After completing rehabilitation at the BORA Rescue & Rehabilitation Centre in East Kalimantan, Indonesia, Bornean Orangutans Ucockwati, 18, and Mungil, 8, were deemed eligible for release.

Bornean Orangutans Ucockwati, 18, and Mungil, 8 Were Released into the Wild To ‘Revert Impending Extinction Crisis’

A pair of Orangutans, mother and daughter, were released into their natural habitat.

According to a release from The Orangutan Project, Bornean Orangutans Ucokwati, 18, and Mungil, 8, moved to the wild in the first in a series of Orangutan releases planned for 2022 by the Bornean Orangutan Rescue Alliance (BORA) — a joint initiative of the Indonesian Nature Conservation Agency (BKSD), Centre for Orangutan Protection and The Orangutan Project.

Conservationists deemed the two primates eligible for release after the animals completed their rehabilitation at the BORA Rescue & Rehabilitation Centre in East Kalimantan, Indonesia.

“Both had demonstrated advanced foraging and nest-making skills, as well as a healthy dislike for humans,” Hardi Baktiantoro, a field manager for The Orangutan Project and Founder of the Centre for Orangutan Protection, shared. “Ucokwati is particularly aggressive towards humans, no doubt due to her ill-treatment while in captivity, and this made her a prime candidate to successfully transition back into the wild.”

Before BORA, the Orangutan duo lived at the Wildlife Rescue Centre in Yogyakarta on the Indonesian Island of Java. Ucokwati moved to the centre after being rescued from an amusement park in October 2011. She gave birth to her daughter at the centre in May 2013.

“We don’t know how long Ucokwati had been held in captivity at the park,” Hardi Baktiantoro added. “As with most Orangutans that end up in such places like these, it is highly probable that she was taken from her mother as an infant and sold into the illegal pet trade.”

Ucokwati Surveying Her New Surroundings

Due to financial difficulties caused by the pandemic, the rescue centre shut down. As a result, the mother-daughter duo moved to the BORA Centre in April 2021.

Ucokwati and Mungil now live on Dalwood-Wylie Island, located in the Busang Ecosystem, one of the last remaining viable rainforest habitats for Orangutans on the island of Borneo. The location is a 10-hour trip by vehicle from the BORA Centre followed by a three-hour boat ride along the Busang River.

The area was chosen for the release so BORA’s staff can monitor the apes while the animals adjust to life in the wild. The Orangutans’ rescuers expect Ucokwati and Mungil to venture further into the Busang Ecosystem as they become increasingly independent.

Bornean Orangutans Ucockwati, 18, and Mungil, 8 Were Released into the Wild

Two other male Orangutans are set to follow in the mother-daughter duo’s footsteps and will soon be released into the Busang Ecosystem. The releases are part of a mission to ensure the future survival of critically endangered Orangutans.

“The alliance has been granted approximately 20,000 hectares within the 260,000-hectare Busang Ecosystem to undertake Orangutan rehabilitation and release for critically endangered Bornean Orangutans,” Leif Cocks, the founder of The Orangutan Project, said.

“The release of Orangutans like Ucokwati and Mungil back to the wild gives hope that we can revert the impending extinction crisis,” Cocks added. “But we cannot do it alone. We need more individuals to join us to secure and protect viable rainforest habitat before it is too late.”

What can you do to help END animal abuse!

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James Cromwell Is Helping Animals Asia Group Build A Sanctuary To End Bear Bile Farming In Vietnam

Animals Asia, with help from celebrity supporters like James Cromwell, is working to build a second sanctuary in Vietnam for Asiatic Black Bears and Sun Bears rescued from bile farms.

A Bile Bear Sanctuary – Credit: Animals Asia

Actor and activist James Cromwell continues to give animals a voice, this time by helping Asiatic Black Bears and Sun Bears leave bile farms for a life of freedom.

Cromwell is working with Animals Asia to raise awareness about the sanctuary the charity is building in Vietnam, which is designed to comfortably hold and care for the last Asiatic Black Bears and Sun Bears currently residing at Bear bile farms across the country. Animals Asia, in collaboration with the Vietnamese government, already has a sanctuary in Vietnam, which houses nearly 200 rescue Bears.

According to Animals Asia’s founder, Jill Robinson, in 2017, Vietnam called a press conference with Animals Asia to announce their commitment to ending Bear bile farming, a practice where Bears — usually Asiatic Black Bears or Sun Bears — “are contained in tiny wire cages to immobilize them so that they can have their bile extracted from their gallbladder” for use in traditional medicine.

With the help of the Vietnamese government, Animal Asia has spent years moving Bears from bile farms to the non-profit’s existing sanctuary in Vietnam.

Bears Are Kept In Tiny Cages On Bile Farms For Years, Often Decades. Credit: Animals Asia

“Because the Bears are kept in tiny wire cages for their entire life, they have multiple physical and psychological problems. Very often, when we rescue them, the first thing that we’re looking at is what we call ‘Broken Bears,'” Robinson says .

“Many of them have had abdominal mutilations from where they’ve had a crude, surgical intervention to extract their bile. Many of them are blind. Many of them are missing limbs from having been caught in the wild in leg hold traps. Many of them have horrible mobility problems. Many of them have heart problems,” she adds of the cruelty Bears endure at bile farms.

Even when faced with this despair, Animals Asia knows that each Bear deserves a second chance, no matter how long recovery takes.

“They are relentless. They are courageous. They’re superhuman,” Cromwell says of the charity, which he has partnered with several times to save animals.

Actor And Animal Activist James Cromwell. Credit: Animals Asia

Founded in 1998, Animals Asia’s decades of hard work have brought the organization “to the cusp of ending Bear farming once and for all in Vietnam, which is the most thrilling thing ever because of the collaboration of the Vietnam government there,” says Robinson.

This new sanctuary will be the final step, as the existing Animals Asia sanctuary in Vietnam is almost full. There are still an estimated 310 Bears left at bile farms in the country that need a safe, permanent home.

“Hence our commitment and sense of urgency to start building this second sanctuary in Vietnam so that we can rescue the remaining number of Bears there and commit to our promise,” Robinson says.

A Bile Bear Sanctuary. Credit: Animals Asia

Plans for the new sanctuary will be publically revealed on May 27, with an event in Vietnam that Cromwell will virtually attend. While plans are in motion for Animals Asia’s second Vietnamese sanctuary, the charity is still raising the $5.8 million needed for its construction.

Cromwell hopes that animal lovers will help Animals Asia reach its goal “because we have to learn the lesson from these creatures.”

Robinson says that the rescue Bears she meets in Vietnam continue to amaze her with their strength and forgiveness.

Bears Play In Their Enclosure At Animals Asia’s Sanctuary In Vietnam Credit: Animals Asia

“Once we bring them into our sanctuary, it may take days, it may take weeks, it may take months for that trust to — and you suddenly see a spark, a light that comes into their eyes. Anyone that’s rescued a dog will know exactly what I’m talking about. You suddenly see that mind-set switch,” she says.

“Their personalities start to emerge. That is the most beautiful thing to see. Bears that were horribly traumatized are now turning somersaults on their own in the grass just because they can. They’re in playful Bear bundles with their friends just because they can. They’re foraging in huge expanses of forest in the sanctuary just because they can. They have choices of whatever they want to do, of whatever they want to eat throughout the day as well. It’s a privilege to be working with these species to really begin to understand the animal they are,” she adds.

To learn more about Animals Asia and how to help with their new sanctuary in Vietnam, visit the charity’s website.

Freed From A Bear Bile Farm – Tuffy Jumps For Joy. Credit: Animals Asia

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A Viral Video Of An Elephant Doing A Headstand Leaves The Internet Angry. Here’s Why!

A video of an Elephant doing a headstand has gone viral online and triggered a discussion about animal cruelty.

The video shows Elephant standing on its head, like he’s doing a headstand.

A video circulating on social media shows an Elephant in a circus-like pose while taking a bath. But the viral video has angered social media users.

The video has been shared by Morissa Schwartz on Twitter with the caption, “I didn’t know Elephants could do this.” It has received over 380k views and has had more than 200 comments mostly expressing the belief that cruel training has been used to train the Elephant to ‘perform’.

Meanwhile, in the video, it could be heard crowd of spectators gasping and cheering at the view. After watching this act by the Elephant, angry viewers took to the comment section to express their outrage. Many of them even claimed that the headstand was not real and the big creature was trained for doing so. People also said that there are chances that the animal was unethically trained to do it to entertain the crowd. The video has spread outrage on the internet.

Here are a just a few of the comments it garnered:

It is very essential for us to understand that these animals go through a lot of fear and pain in making such moves. The humans train them and brutally torture these animals to make them do these poses.

ELEPHANTS ARE BEATEN INTO SUBMISSION FROM A VERY YOUNG AGE

But we, the citizens, can create a groundswell of changes and instil compassion in the hearts of cruel human beings while creating a safe world for Elephants. If you’re genuinely hurt and angered by the atrocities against Elephants, here are nine things you can do right now:

1. Scratch off Elephant rides from your bucket list.

2. Boycott festivals that exploit Elephants and perpetuate cruelty

3. Do not visit zoos, circuses, or any entertainment that involves Elephants or any animals for that matter.

4. Educate yourself and influence your immediate circle of family and friends, creating ripples of change. Gods in Shackles is a great educational aid that exposes the dark truth behind captivity.

6. Write letters and petitions to your elected officials.

7. Remember to vote – you have the power to vote them out.

8. Share this story and help create awareness.

9. Write a science-based review on TripAdvisor and other travel sites.

What you can do to help wildlife

The Mission of Protect All Wildlife is to prevent cruelty and promote the welfare of ALL animals EVERYWHERE.

Please support our work by donating ANY amount, large or small. It only takes a minute and your donations help make our work possible. Thank you for your support.

Pilot Whales Killed In Season’s First Faroese Hunt

 The devastating scene of pilot whales thrashing in blood-filled water as hunters converge on them with their killing tools.

On May 7th, more than 60 pilot whales were captured and butchered in this year’s first pilot whale hunt in the Faroe Islands. Ingi Sørensen, a Faroese diver, author, and underwater photographer who is fiercely against the practice documented the slaughter, known as grindadráp in Faroese. His video recording shows several motorized boats driving the pilot whales towards the selected whaling beach in the islands’ capital of Torshavn. Images reveal the devastating scene of pilot whales thrashing in blood-filled water as hunters converge on them with their killing tools.

They hunt the long-finned species of pilot whales that inhabits the North Atlantic. It is a wide-ranging, toothed whale that belongs to the dolphin family and which, among dolphins, is second in size only to the orca. Pilot whales live in matriarchal pods with an exceptionally strong social structure. They are one of the most frequently reported whale species in events of mass strandings and are known to stay together as a group, even in a crisis. This makes it easy for hunters to drive entire pods of them ashore. And once the pod is helplessly stranded, men and women—mostly men—begin the process of killing every single member, including pregnant and lactating mothers and their offspring. When the carnage is over, calves that were cut from their mothers’ wombs can be seen lying next to their dead mothers, umbilical cords still attached.

Faroese whale hunters use motorized boats to chase pods of pilot whales ashore. Faroese whale hunters use motorized boats to chase pods of pilot whales ashore. Credit: Ingi Sørensen
Faroese whale hunters use motorized boats to chase pods of pilot whales ashore. Credit: Ingi Sørensen

For centuries, the people of the isolated Faroe Islands survived by hunting whales, and during times of famine, pilot whales became their rescue. But times have changed, and pilot whale meat and blubber are no longer considered everyday food in the Faroe Islands. Many toxins build up in animals’ bodies as they ascend the food chain. This bioaccumulation reaches dangerous levels in top predators, such as pilot whales. In 2008, the chief physician for the Faroese Department of Occupational Medicine and Public Health, Pál Weihe, and the islands’ chief medical officer, Høgni Debes Joensen, warned that pilot whales are contaminated with dangerously high levels of mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), as well as DDE, a breakdown product of the insecticide DDT. In a press statement issued in 2008, the physicians noted that mercury and PCB exposure contribute to Parkinson’s disease in adults, impaired immunity in children, and compromised fetal development. “It is recommended that pilot whale is no longer used for human consumption,” they warned.

The Faroese government chose not to follow the doctors’ recommendations. In June 2011, however, the Faroese Food and Veterinary Agency urged limited consumption of pilot whale meat and blubber. They issued special recommendations for women and girls: refrain from eating blubber while they plan to have children, and do not eat whale meat while pregnant or breastfeeding. No one should eat the kidneys and liver of pilot whales, the agency said.

As a result of the government’s hazardous decision to downplay the risks of consumption, the pilot whale hunt continues to this day. I have heard whalers boast that they can kill a pilot whale in a few seconds. What they don’t consider is the lengthy time it often takes to drive the pod ashore. And, apparently, they also don’t think about the distress that these ocean-going marine mammals experience when forced to strand in shallow water with no possibility of escape. Once stranded, the pilot whales are subjected to complete chaos, commotion, and yelling as hunters start the practice of dragging them ashore. They do this by injecting a rounded stainless-steel hook into a whale’s blowhole. The hook is attached to a long piece of rope, and several men drag the struggling whale ashore. A pilot whale can weigh more than 5000 pounds, and it is easy to imagine how terrifying and painful it must be to be dragged out of the water in this manner. Once the whale is fully beached, a hunter finishes it off by jamming a spinal lance into its spinal canal, thereby severing the spinal cord, and cutting the blood vessels supplying blood to the brain.

A whale hunter kills a pilot whale with a so-called spinal lance, thereby severing the spinal cord and cutting off the blood supply to the brain. In 2015, the spinal lance replaced the traditional whaling knife as a killing tool. A whale hunter kills a pilot whale with a so-called spinal lance, thereby severing the spinal cord and cutting off the blood supply to the brain. In 2015, the spinal lance replaced the traditional whaling knife as a killing tool. Credit: Ingi Sørensen
A whale hunter kills a pilot whale with a so-called spinal lance, thereby severing the spinal cord and cutting off the blood supply to the brain. In 2015, the spinal lance replaced the traditional whaling knife as a killing tool. Credit: Ingi Sørensen

While hunters are killing some of the pilot whales with spinal lances, other whales are still fighting for their lives in shallow water. They can see and hear their family members being mutilated and destroyed just a few feet away from them during their desperate struggles. Swimming in the blood of their dying pod members, all they can do is await their turn. I am sure they are fully aware that their pod, which has taken several generations to build, is being demolished. Their torment, to me, is undeniable, and it is impossible for me to fathom how anyone can participate in it, especially now that the meat and blubber contain some of world’s most dangerous toxins and should not be considered food.

On a positive note, not all Faroese people agree that the pilot whale hunt should continue. Ingi Sørensen puts it this way: “There is no justification to wipe out entire schools of pilot whales, and the much-used argument of maintaining the hunt as a Faroese tradition that must be carried into future generations has no validity.” He adds: “Throughout centuries, pilot whales have saved us from starvation. Today, their meat is so toxic, our own health authorities warn us it’s too dangerous to eat. The destruction of these incredible beings needs to stop, once and for all. Now it’s our turn to save them, by leaving them be and focusing our attention on saving their habitats.”

Pilot whales are fighting for their lives as hunters jam rounded stainless steel hooks into their blowholes to drag them ashore. Pilot whales are fighting for their lives as hunters jam rounded stainless steel hooks into their blowholes to drag them ashore. Credit: Ingi Sørensen
Pilot whales are fighting for their lives as hunters jam rounded stainless steel hooks into their blowholes to drag them ashore. Credit: Ingi Sørensen

The lack of empathy is not a Faroese phenomenon. It is a human phenomenon, and people carry out animal cruelty daily in every single country of the world. Please refrain from posting derogative comments based on negative stereotyping against all Faroese people, as they shut down all possibilities of dialog.

This article by Helene O’Barry was first published by The Dolphin Project on 25 May 2022.  Lead Image: Once helplessly stranded, the whales are subjected to complete chaos, commotion, and yelling as hunters start the practice of dragging them ashore. Imagine the terror these highly social and complex beings go through as the entire pod is being demonished in a tremendous bloodbath. Credit: Ingi Sørensen.

#StopTheGrind

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