Trophy Hunting Is Driving The African Lion Into Extinction

THERE ARE LESS THAN 10,000 WILD LIONS LEFT IN AFRICA

A leading global Lion conservationist has warned of the impending extinction of lions in Africa where the overall population has fallen below 10 000 from a peak estimate of over 20 000 eight years ago.

In a presentation to the British parliamentary committee debating proposals to ban the importation of African wildlife trophies into the United Kingdom, African Lion specialist Pieter Kat said a recent field study by the organisation Lion Aid, revealed worrying prospects for the survival of African Lions:

“Our conclusion is that there are less than 10,000 wild Lions left in Africa. We base that number on the latest information from the ground,” Kat said.

“The current estimate of 20 000-30 000 Lions (in Africa) as stated by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (Red List) of 2016 is grossly inaccurate and urgently needs to be updated.”

In Africa, wild Lion populations are mostly found in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Tanzania and Kenya.

Smaller clustered populations also exist in Uganda, Mozambique, Eswatini and Angola.

While Elephant population estimates can be done effectively by aerial survey, Kat said Lion population estimates can only be derived from small sample counts which are conducted using different techniques to ensure they are not misleading.

Kat said the IUCN 2016 African Lion population estimate was flawed because it included thousands of non-wild, captive-bred and fenced-off South African Lions in the final count.

“What we did in our latest study is to review the number of Lions in what are called lion conservation units,” he said.

“We went back to look at these conservation units in detail.

“Most people agree that Lions should be classified as endangered on the IUCN Red List.

“However, they are not. Instead, they are classified as ‘vulnerable’.

“One reason for this is that the IUCN partly based their estimates on 16 fenced Lion populations in Southern Africa, mostly in South Africa.

“Those fenced populations are not truly wild Lions.”

He said the IUCN estimate was also heavily influenced by trophy hunters who manipulated Lion census data to support their own claims that Lion populations are healthy enough to support trophy hunting business.

Kat said trophy hunting remains one of the biggest contributors to the decline of African Lion populations as well as the depletion of breeder gene pools through its deliberate targeting of big male Lions.

“In order to be able to develop an effective Lion conservation strategy for Africa, we need to know exactly how many Lions are where. We need to know how many lions exist in trophy hunting areas,” he added.

“The best hunting concessions in terms of tenders and bids all happen to be right on the borders of the national parks.

“We know that they are luring the Lions out of national parks to be killed in private hunting concessions, just like Cecil (in Zimbabwe) was.

“More hunting concessions in Tanzania and Zimbabwe are not being bid on anymore because they are no longer profitable. The Lions have all been shot out.”

According to Kat, the claims often made by the trophy hunting lobby to the effect that trophy hunting funds the conservation of African wildlife are grossly inaccurate and deliberately misleading:

“Trophy hunters are allowed to sit on the IUCN committee of lion experts.

“More and more people have been allowed into the group who were not primarily concerned with lion conservation but rather Lion utilisation.

“This causes problems, because whenever politicians want to make decisions on wildlife conservation, the first place they turn to is the IUCN.

“They view the IUCN as the organisation that supposedly has the knowledge and information about how to best conserve species in the wild.

“However, many of the “experts” that are being consulted are not the ones who have the right information.”

Kat said there is clear evidence that Lions are being badly affected by trophy hunting since the hunters select the best animals, which are often the biggest-maned male breeding Lions.

“A number of studies in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia have shown this.

“A hunter does not want a young male (although these were hunted in Tanzania when they ran out of the big males).

“The big-maned Lions hunters target are often the leaders in a pride. This way, trophy hunting results in heavy disruptions of Lion prides.

“The females do not produce cubs anymore because new males will come in and say, “that’s not my cub” and kill the cubs.

“The pride structure of Lions simply falls apart as a result of trophy hunting.”

To save Lions from extinction, Africa range states should adopt conservation strategies to save the biggest and the best remaining Lion cluster populations.

They also need to craft holistic conservation strategies that include the use of effective, tried and tested techniques to protect rural communities and keep livestock safe from predators in order to reduce human-wildlife conflicts.

This article by Oscar Nkala was first published by The Standard on 7 August 2022.

What you can do to help animals in need:
You can purchase a Ban Trophy Hunting Now tops (more styles and colours available) at Ban Trophy Hunting
Support ‘Protect All Wildlife’ by donating as little as £1 – It only takes a minute but it can last a lifetime for an animal in need.

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

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

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

CERTIFICATE OF APPRECIATION

DON’T FORGET YOUR TRUNKS! Baby Elephant Tries To Forget Her Fear Of Water As She Receives Hydrotherapy In Bid To Learn To Walk Again After Injuring Her Foot In A Trap

BABY ELEPHANT CLEAR SKY

Staff at a Thai animal hospital take six-month-old orphan Clear Sky swimming to strengthen her leg muscles.

This baby Elephant is trying to forget her fear of water as she learns to walk again after losing part of her foot.

The nervous six-month-old grabbed a keeper for support as she was lowered into the pool at an animal hospital in Chonburi, Thailand.

CLEAR SKY IS LEARNING TO WALK AGAIN IN A SWIMMING POOL AFTER SHE INJURED HER FOOT.

The six-month-old is the first elephant to receive hydrotherapy at the Nong Nooch Tropical Garden animal hospital in Thailand

Clear Sky caught her leg in an animal trap laid by villagers to protect their crops.

Staff at the animal hospital are trying to help her strengthen her withered leg muscles.

After surgery she is now having treatment to strengthen her leg muscles.

STAFFERS USE A HARNESS TO HELP CLEAR SKY INTO THE WATER AND KEEP HER AFLOAT 

THIS WAS HER SECOND TIME GETTING WATER THERAPY
 

Baby Elephants usually love water, but Clear Sky was ‘a bit nervous and scared’, said a vet.

However she appeared to relax by the end of the hour-long session.

Vet Padet Siridumrong said: “She is still a bit nervous and scared of the water.

“Usually baby Elephants love the water.

“If she can do this regularly she will have fun.”

Villagers had found Clear Sky hungry and hobbling, after being separated from her mother in the wild.

Vets hope with more swimming, she won’t need an artificial leg.

The orphaned Elephant was in bad shape when she arrived at the hospital.

She was hobbling, in pain and in dire need of milk.

‘Kampon Tansacha, the director of the zoo that’s now her home, said: “We named her Clear Sky Up Ahead, because that is what she will need while she is with us.”

Elephants are a revered national symbol in Thailand, but their population in the wild has plummeted to an estimated 2,500 in the last century, a result of rabid development, habitat destruction and the ivory trade.

What you can do to help animals in need:

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

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

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

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

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“Empty Shell” (Brain Damage)

HAPPY THE ELEPHANT

I want my money back I came to see an Elephant I paid to see a conservation ambassador Inspire me to help conserve the species Especially her kind

I saw an empty shell

She looks like an Elephant But what is there to see, not Happy She is a poor teacher of Elephant lessons She is no solitary animal, but kept confined Like all captives, neurones scrambled, brain denied Stereotypy is not a dance – no, a pathetic trance A sign she can’t be happy in mind She’s not right in the head.

She is an empty shell

They have broken personalities All the Elephants with names, captive They are poor Elephant facsimiles They have the stature, the thick skin and bones They are devoid of Elephant spirit, truncated They are subjected to Floydian ‘Brain Damage’ They are all caught on the dark side (“‘As a matter of fact, it’s all dark’*) Cut off from the herd

They are empty shells

We pay the price to see: see the price they pay We fall for the old ‘conservation /education’ story We fail to see the oppression and the damage done We should be able to see for ourselves We could accept they are Sentients like us We could see them better in a sanctuary We could do the right thing Will we?

Collect all the empty shells

Put them back where they can refill Regain their freedom and society Be Elephants again, herd mentality That would be something to see Is it just a Zoological fantasy?

I find myself unhappy for Happy, again

If I find myself outside her enclosure (But I wouldn’t pay to go in anyway) Watching her sway song, groundhog days One day closer to her end of days Inspired to write yet another Happy poem Adding to ‘Not Happy’ ‘Personable’ ‘Elephant Stomp’ After the first setback of her legal person court case What would I do if I were you?

Might just as well go to a museum Pay to see a stuffed Elephant This one already is

I want my money back I came to see an Elephant Largest land animal, majestic Social fellow-sentient being Exemplary, salutary

I got an empty shell

*From ‘Brain Damage’ on the Pink Floyd album ‘Dark Side of the Moon’

**From ‘The Needle and the Damage Done’ by Neil Young

For all captive Elephants – Happy, Lucy, Shankar, The Fresno Elephants and so many more.

Written By Anthony Lovell.

What you can do to help wildlife:

Please Sign The Petition  To Free Happy From Her Imprisonment At The Bronx Zoo HERE!

Happy the Elephant had her day in court. We humans are better for it.

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

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

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

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

CERTIFICATE OF APPRECIATION

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 was a wild-born African Elephant captured from the wild in Mozambique when just a baby. She was sold into the circus industry in the U.S. and for twenty years abused and exploited. Tyke was tortured during this time, forced to wear a degrading clown costume and dance for the audience, and even forced to ride a giant tricycle.

In August 1994, Tyke spent several days locked in the hull of a tanker ship on a long ocean journey from California to Hawaii. When they finally let her out she was immediately forced into performing in from of an audience. Unable to take the abuse any longer, she finally snapped. 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.

THE PETRIFIED LOOK OF FEAR

IF THIS VIDEO DOESN’T CONVINCE YOU THAT ANIMAL CIRCUSES ARE HELL!

THE HORRIFIC RAMPAGE OF TYKE, THE ELEPHANT WHO FINALLY COULDN’T TAKE ANY MORE
R.I.P. TYKE

What you can do to help animals in need:

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

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

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

Federal Judge Restores A Wide Swath Of Endangered Species Act Protections That Were Gutted By The Trump Administration.

BALD EAGLES ARE A FAMOUS ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT SUCCESS STORY. CREDIT ANDY MORFFEW

A federal judge in California has overturned a 2019 Trump administration move to gut the landmark Endangered Species Act, vacating that administration’s changes and restoring protections for hundreds of species.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar in Northern California comes as the Biden administration is working on replacement rules for the Trump rollbacks and means the protections will be restored while the review process continues.

“The court spoke for species desperately in need of comprehensive federal protections without compromise,” Earthjustice attorney Kristen Boyles said in a statement from the plaintiffs emailed to EcoWatch. “Threatened and endangered species do not have the luxury of waiting under rules that do not protect them.”

Earthjustice represented the Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, National Parks Conservation Association, Wild Earth Guardians and the Humane Society of the United States in a lawsuit to block the Trump regulations passed in 2019. The lawsuit targeted five regulations in particular. 

These regulations did the following, according to EcoWatch and the Sierra Club:

  1. Removed the “blanket rule” giving threatened species the same protections as endangered species.
  2. Made it harder to protect species from the climate crisis by giving the government more wiggle room in how it interpreted the phrase “foreseeable future.”
  3. Made it easier to delist species.
  4. Allowed regulators to consider the economic impact of offering protections to a species.
  5. Made it harder to list new species and protect their critical habitat. 

When President Joe Biden took office, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service said they would work on new regulations. However, this process can take months to years. In the meantime, the services asked the court to remand the case in December of 2021, according to the plaintiffs. However, the judge decided to vacate the Trump regulations instead. 

“Regardless of whether this Court vacates the 2019 [Endangered Species Act] Rules, they will not remain in effect in their current form,” Tigar wrote in his ruling.

The plaintiffs applauded Tigar’s decision, which restores protections to hundreds of species. 

“Trump’s gutting of endangered species protections should have been rescinded on day one of the Biden presidency,” Center for Biological Diversity endangered species director Noah Greenwald said in the statement. “With this court ruling, the Services can finally get on with the business of protecting and recovering imperiled species.”

An Interior Department spokesperson said the agency was now reviewing the ruling. 

What you can do gto help animals in need:

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

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

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

Baby Pink Elephant Thrives Against All The Odds

A baby Elephant born with albinism has thrived in the wild despite facing problems caused by its pigmentation.

THE RARE CALF WAS SPOTTED BY RANGER AND WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER MOSTAFA ELBROLOSY IN THE MAASAI MARA, KENYA

The rare calf was born in the Maasai Mara, Kenya.

A wildlife photographer caught it on camera, who spotted its unusual pink skin pigmentation, but it is believed to be thriving nonetheless.

THE NEWBORN WITH ALBINISM HAS BEEN THRIVING IN THE WILD DESPITE BATTLING WITH INTENSE SUNLIGHT BEAMING DOWN ON ITS NON-PIGMENTED SKIN

Mostafa Elbrolosy, a ranger who runs a safari camp, said he had heard about the Elephant’s birth but was surprised when he saw the adorable baby Elephant in person.

He said: ‘It was a rare sighting.

‘Rare creatures are always the most fascinating to any wildlife photographer and having the opportunity to view and photograph it was like a dream.

‘When I lived in Maasai Mara running my cozy camp here, I got news on the radio about a Eemale elephant giving birth to an albino.

‘I finished my work, packed my camera, and went looking for it with one of our guides.

‘We received a surprise in the afternoon after a long silent search with only a few people coming to see because no one expected it to be an albino.

‘I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity to see and photograph this extremely rare baby.’

Mr. Elbrolosy said the newborn calf was extremely rare and was thriving despite the harsh sun being unsuitable for it.

‘It is very well surrounded and protected by the herd, trying to feed on its mother and go for walks with her.

‘He’s only eight hours old.

‘We were delighted to see such a wonderful sight.’

Albinism is caused by a lack of pigment in the skin and often results in pale layers of skin as well as unpigmented, pink eyes.

This condition can also cause poor vision and can eventually lead to blindness as the calf gets older.

Many Elephants have patches of unpigmented skin behind their ears but true albinos can often be rejected by their own species due to their unusual appearance.

What you can do to help animals in need:

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

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

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

No Wonder He’s All Smiles! Raju The Crying Elephant, Who Moved The World After Being Pictured In Tears When He Was Freed From His Chains, Is Welcomed To His New Home – By Five Females

It was the moment Raju the Elephant had waited a lifetime for – a family of his own.

In July 2014 the gentle giant, who captured the hearts of people from around the world when he cried as he was freed from chains after 50 years – joined five female Elephants at Wildlife SOS’s Elephant Conservation and Care Centre in India.

His new family, named the Herd of Hope, have all been rescued from barbaric treatment.

HAPPY CHAPPY: RAJU, CENTRE, WAS INTRODUCED TO HIS NEW FRIENDS AT A CONSERVATION CENTRE IN INDIA
ENJOYING HIMSELF: RAJU SMILES WIDELY AS HE RELAXES IN THE POOL NEXT TO HIS NEW FAMILY – CALLED THE HERD OF HOPE.
GANG’S ALL HERE: RAJU’S FRIENDS HAVE ALSO ESCAPED FROM GREAT CRUELTY AND NOW LIVE IN MATHURA, NORTHERN INDIA.

And poignantly, they flapped their ears – an expression of joy – before touching him with their trunks as they welcomed him.

Charity Wildlife SOS founder Kartick Satyanarayan, who led the rescue operation to save Raju, said: ‘We are delighted Raju has fitted in so well with the first family he’s ever had since he was orphaned by poachers as a calf.

‘He had been so terribly brutalized for 50 years that we feared he’d be unable to live with his own kind. He didn’t even know how to be an Elephant. But now it’s like he’s always been with them.

‘When we first released him, he held back, and he was clearly wary. Three of our female Elephants Laxmi, Chanchal and Sai Geeta ran up to him – their ears flapping wildly –a sign they were excited and delighted to meet him. They also made high-pitched trumpeting sounds – a greeting.

AFFECTIONATE: ONE OF RAJU’S FEMALE FRIENDS, LEFT, STROKES HIS TRUNK WITH HERS. HE WAS INITIALLY WARY OF CONTACT BECAUSE OF HIS APPALLING TREATMENT AT THE HANDS OF HIS CAPTORS.
REHABILITATION: THE POOL’S WATER LETS RAJU TAKE WEIGHT OFF OF HIS LEGS – WHICH ARE PAINFUL FROM YEARS OF ABUSE.

TAKING IT EASY: RAJU WAS POACHED AS A CALF – AND ENDURED AN AWFUL LIFE AS A TOURIST ATTRACTION – BUT CAN NOW RELAX.

‘Then each of them touched him with their trunks, clearly reassuring him before they wandered off into the grazing land at our Elephant Conservation and Care Centre at Mathura. It was incredibly touching after all he’d been through.’

On July 4 this year the charity along with their counterparts in India saved Raju from dying in his bonds in a daring midnight rescue operation.

A  team of ten vets and wildlife experts from the charity were joined by twenty Forestry Department officers and six policemen to seize Raju in the Uttar Pradesh region.

Mr Satyanarayan said: ‘He’d been poached as a calf from the wild. Poachers either slaughter the mother, or they drive the herd into traps that are small enough only for the babies to fall into.

‘The mother cries for her baby for days after he’s been stolen – the illegal Elephant trade is sickening. The calves are then tied and beaten until they submit to their owners – their spirits are effectively broken.

’27 OWNERS’: RAJU, RIGHT, WAS PASSED FROM OWNER TO OWNER IN CAPTIVITY, AND EVENTUALLY WAS FOUND IN SPIKED CHAINS.

PLAYTIME: RAJU, LEFT, HAS BEEN ABLE TO START HIS RECOVERY IN THE SANCTUARY, AFTER BEING BLIGHTED BY WOUNDS ALL OVER HIS LEGS AND BODY WHILE IN CAPTIVITY.

‘Raju’s case was particularly tragic as we believe he has been sold again and again and might have had 27 owners – he’s been treated as a commodity and beaten into accepting his new handler every two years of his life.

‘By the time we found him he was in a pathetic condition. He hadn’t been fed properly and tourists started giving him sweet food items and because he was in a state of hunger and exhaustion, he began eating plastic and paper.

‘He had no shelter at night and was being used as a prop to beg with from dawn until dusk or being used for giving tourists joy rides. And most heartrendingly of all – the chains that cut into his legs had been there for 50 years. It was horrific.

‘It took us 45 minutes to remove the shackles that had torn into the flesh on his legs for the past 50 years – an act of unthinkable cruelty.

‘His legs were so covered in abscesses and his feet so damaged by walking on hard tarmac roads, that we have spent much more than expected on his medical treatment, and we still have a long way to go as he has a serious limp and open wounds.’

TEARFUL: RAJU, PICTURED ABOVE MOMENTS BEFORE HE WAS FREED FROM CAPTIVITY, CAN BE SEEN WITH ‘TEARS’ STREAMING DOWN HIS FACE.
CRUEL: ACCORDING TO HIS RESCUERS, RAJU HAD BEEN IN CHAINS FOR AS LONG AS 50 YEARS.

BOUND: RAJU’S CHAINS, SEEN UP CLOSE ABOVE, TOOK 45 MINUTES FOR RESCUERS TO DISENTANGLE.

The Elephants Raju has joined have also suffered horrendously before they were rescued by the charity.

The second most recent member of the herd is eighteen-year-old female Laxmi, saved from the streets of Mumbai ten months ago. Although she was young, she suffered from severe arthritis, obesity and a heart condition.

Mr Satyanarayan said: ‘She’d been exploited and used as a begging prop, she was neglected and her owners had got her addicted to fried junk food.

‘When we saved her she was 1,200 kilos overweight and so fat we had to use a crane to get her onto a specially-strengthened truck to drive her to our centre. She was so huge her knees were giving way and she had early arthritis.

‘Our vets were concerned that she would not live much longer if she was not rescued immediately. But she has a great, if mischievous, character – even on the drive home her trunk kept sneaking through the window and she was searching in the driver’s pockets for a treat.

‘We have spent the last 10 months rehabilitating her – and at first it was a battle to get her to eat the food she should be eating. Now she’s finally getting healthier, leaner and enjoying being a free Elephant.

‘But although Wildlife SOS was given legal custody of her by the Forest Department, her previous cruel owners are petitioning the courts to get her back and so  now we are in a court battle to stop her being returned to the abusive situation we rescued her from.’

MIDNIGHT RAID: WILDLIFE SOS FOUNDER KARTICK SATYANARAYAN BREAKING RAJU FREE FROM CAPTIVITY.

Chanchal, 16, was rescued on June 29, 2012, on the outskirts of Delhi after she and a second Elephant were hit by a speeding truck.

The second Elephant was killed instantly and Chanchal was left with cuts, shards of glass and wounds all over her body as well as a severely injured leg. She was undernourished and her owners were arrested for negligence.

Mr Satyanarayan said: ‘Her leg was fractured and it’s taken us 18 months to nurse her back to health. She’s slowly rebuilding her life.’

Sai Geeta was a circus Elephant who was rescued after she was made to perform for years with a broken right rear leg.

Mr Satyanarayan said: ‘She still has a terrible limp where the break was never treated – the fracture was severe and when we rescued her she’d suffered for years in pain as it was never allowed to heal as they never allowed her to rest.’

ROAD TO FREEDOM: RAJU WAS TAKEN TO THE SANCTUARY IN MATHURA, NORTHERN INDIA, IN THIS TRUCK.

Finally Phoolkali, who is blind in one eye was smuggled illegally for years before the charity was alerted to her plight and immediately stepped in to rescue her.

Mr Satyanarayan said: ‘Phoolkali had spent more than 40 years of her life doing hard labour, being abused and being underfed. And her maltreatment and severe abuse by her previous owners caused her to be blinded in one eye.

‘Her owner would hide her in a windowless, deserted warehouse. Her owner would smuggle her across state borders in the dead of night to avoid detection by the authorities as he has no valid documentation for her legal possession.

‘She was frail and scrawny and almost skeletal in appearance and covered in sores and wounds.

‘Now she loves throwing mud on herself immediately after a long bath – much to the annoyance of her keeper – and also throws mud on him when he isn’t paying attention.’

YEARS TO RECOVER: THE HEAD OF WILDLIFE SOS SAID THAT IT TAKES YEARS TO RECOVER FROM RAJU’S DECADES-LONG ORDEAL.

Today the nightmare for Raju and his herd is a distant memory. And they are also enjoying a rehabilitation pool thanks to the generosity of donors to the centre.

Mr Satyanarayan said: :We are overwhelmed by the generosity of people from so many countries around the globe. We hope that if the donations continue, better facilities can be established for Raju and the other Elephants at the Centre who all deserve a better life to make up for the abuse they suffered all these years.

‘When we rescued him, Raju had never been in a pool before – and now he spends hours relaxing inside it. We’d like to thank everyone who donated – every penny has made such a difference to the quality of his life.

‘And while the pool is immensely pleasurable for him, it also is helping his rehabilitation as the water’s buoyancy enables him to take the weight off his legs which are incredibly painful from years of being shackled.

‘He still faces years of treatment to heal both the physical and psychological wounds. And sadly he’s not alone. We have a dossier of 80 Elephants whose life is in imminent peril and they also need to be rescued before they die of cruelty, exhaustion and abuse.’

Mr Satyanarayan said: ‘Our hope is that along with Raju, we can rescue many more of these tragic cases before it’s too late for them. It will enable them to taste freedom for the first time in their lives and live out their days in dignity, free from suffering and pain.’

RAJU’S ONE YEAR WITH NO TEARS!

Keep up to date at Wildlife SOS’s Elephant Conservation and Care Centre

What you can do to help animals in need:
Support ‘Protect All Wildlife’ by donating as little as £1 – It only takes a minute but it can last a lifetime for an animal in need. Thank you.

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

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

Everyone who donates will receive a beautiful Certificate Of Appreciation as a thank you for donating to help animals in need.

CERTIFICATE OF APPRECIATION

Watch: Rescuers Frantically Perform CPR On Mother Elephant As She Faints During Baby’s Rescue From High Drain.

When the rescue team arrived in Thailand’s Nakhon Nayok province, they used anaesthetic shots to subdue the mother elephant, it resulted in her halfway falling into the hole.

The Mother Elephant Being Lifted By A Crane (Source: Thailand Wildlife Conservation Division/ Facebook)

Heavy rains and muddy roads are not just dangerous for humans but also for wild animals travelling in the wild during the monsoon. A case in point is a baby elephant that slipped and fell into a high drain in Thailand. Things took a dramatic turn when rescuers attempted to save the baby with its mother fainting in stress.

The Rescue Tean Find Mother Elephant Stuck Whilst Trying To Rescue Her Baby. (Source: Thailand Wildlife Conservation Division/ Facebook)

After the one-year-old calf fell into the manhole in the area of Royal Hill Golf Course, Khao Yai National Park in Nakhon Nayok province, its mother tried her best to help the baby walk out. However, continuous showers and slippery muddy terrain made all attempts go in vain. When wildlife rescuers arrived at the scene to help the infant, the anxious mother proved to be a hindrance in the operation. Things went awry when the rescue team used a shot to subdue the frantic elephant and she partly fell in as well.

The Trapped Baby Watches On Frantically. (Source: Thailand Wildlife Conservation Division/ Facebook)

Videos showed the rescuers racing against time to not just help the baby but the mother as well. Rescuers used a truck-mounted crane to pull the mother out before climbing on top of her to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), while an excavator was seen in action clearing the way to help the calf climb out of the drain.

“It was impossible to get near the baby while the mother was nearby so we gave her three doses of tranquillisers but she moved towards her baby before passing out and hit her head,” Dr Chananya Kanchanasarak, a vet involved in the operation explained to Sky News.

The Baby Snuggles Up To Mum Whilst A Rescuer Performs CPR (Source: Thailand Wildlife Conservation Division/ Facebook)

Dr Chananya said, “Despite the obstacles, the mother did not leave her baby’s side”. He added that the experience will be “one of the most memorable rescues” they have done.

(Source: Thailand Wildlife Conservation Division/ Facebook)

Eventually, the calf was able to climb out of the hole and the mother elephant too regained consciousness. Video showed the calf suckling its mother as soon as it got out and helped the mother too sooth her nerves. After an exhaustive and tense operation that lasted over three hours, both returned to the wild. 

After Three Hours The Mother And Calf Were Rescued And They Returned To The Wild. (Source: Thailand Wildlife Conservation Division/ Facebook)
The Rescuers Watch On As The Elephant Return To The Wild (Source: Thailand Wildlife Conservation Division/ Facebook)

For or more info on the Wildlife Conservation Division

What you can do to help animals in need:

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

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

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

There Is No Excuse For Animal Abuse So Let’s Help End It!

ACTOR, COMEDIAN AND ANIMAL RIGHTS ACTIVIST RICKY GERVAIS

Cruelty to animals, also called animal abuseanimal neglect or animal cruelty, is the infliction by omission (neglect) or by commission by humans of suffering or harm upon any animal. More narrowly, it can be the causing of harm or suffering for specific achievement, such as killing animals for entertainment; cruelty to animals sometimes encompasses inflicting harm or suffering as an end in itself, defined as zoosadism.

Animal cruelty can be broken down into two main categories: active and passive. Passive cruelty is typified by cases of neglect, in which the cruelty is a lack of action rather than the action itself. Oftentimes passive animal cruelty is accidental, born of ignorance. In many cases of neglect in which an investigator believes that the cruelty occurred out of ignorance, the investigator may attempt to educate the pet owner, then revisit the situation. In more severe cases, exigent circumstances may require that the animal be removed for veterinary care.

Whether it is Elephants killed for their tusks or beaten so they comply in the Asian tourism ‘industry’, Rhino slaughtered for their horns for ‘traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), animals skinned alive for the fur trade etc, animal activists need to stand together to fight for their rights.

At many elephant ‘sanctuaries’ across Thailand and in other countries, the elephants are taught to fear humans. This is so that they will act with compliancy. From babies they are tied up, starved and beaten in what is known as a ‘crush’. This is the act of breaking a young elephant’s spirit. And it’s mostly true what they say: an elephant never forgets. This means that, with their long memories, elephants remember this period of abuse for the rest of their lives. It ensures that the elephants will do what the trainers (also known as mahouts) say, and are more easily trained.

They are also commonly beaten with hooks and sticks that have nails poking out of them – this is when they are seen to be misbehaving or not following orders, or being too slow to respond. The mahouts want the animals to be constantly putting on a performance for those tourists who are there for elephant riding in Thailand.

UNDERCOVER FOOTAGE SHOWS CRUEL TRAINING USED ON BABY ELEPHANTS TO BOOST THAILAND TOURISM

As poaching and habitat loss ravage rhinoceros and elephant populations, protections for these species are vitally important. Today, all five rhino species and both elephant species are threatened with extinction. Efforts are underway across the globe to save these iconic animals.

Elephants and rhinos often experience painful deaths when poached. Rhinos may have their horns cut off while they are still alive and contrary to belief, elephants do not lose their tusks; they are hacked out by poachers.

More than a thousand rhinos and tens of thousands of elephants are killed each year to feed demand for ivory and rhino horn. The international trade in elephants, rhinos, and other species is the second-largest threat to wildlife after habitat loss. If the market continues to drive poaching, both rhinos and elephants could vanish from the wild as early as 2034.

HORRIFIC IMAGES OF ELEPHANTS POACHED FOR THEIR TUSKS AND A RHINO FOR ITS HORN

Every year, hundreds of badgers meet a horrific death in the name of ‘sport’ in the UK at the hands of terriermen. Many of those who have been caught digging into badger setts have used the excuse that they were after foxes – and many have escaped prosecution by so doing.

More than 10,000 are caught, tortured and killed in the UK each year by huntsmen with terriers – with almost a third of these illegal acts being carried out in Wales. Alarmingly, this figure is rising constantly. Terry Spamer, a former RSPCA inspector, believes that there are around 2,000 people involved in badger baiting currently. However, only around three people are caught and convicted of badger baiting each year, while the majority carry on breaking the law.

Traditional fox hunting was banned in England and Wales under the Hunting Act 2004. In spite of existing legislation, there has been 500 successful prosecutions under the Act. However, many incidents of illegal hunting have gone unpunished.

FOX HUNTING AND BADGER BAITING IS ILLEGAL IN THE UK BUT CARRIES ON WITH WITH APPARENT IMPUNITY

Dogfighting is an inhumane ‘bloodsport’ where dogs who have been bred, conditioned and trained to fight are placed in a pit to fight each other for spectator ‘entertainment’ and profit. Fights average one to two hours, ending when one of the dogs cannot continue.

Dog fights usually take part in quiet, private locations, such as in an industrial unit or farm building. Participants will spend months training their dogs in preparation, much like boxing, the fighters will have to hit a target weight to take part. Organisers will create a fighting ‘pit’ for the dogs to fight within.

Dogs who have been used in fighting often have serious injuries to their head, ears, front legs and chest that are caused as they go head-to-head in a pit. They will also have injuries of different ages, some old scars and some fresh wounds.

IT IS BELIEVED OVER 16000 DOGS DIE EACH YEAR IN ORGANIZED DOG FIGHTS

Each year, thousands of bulls are barbarically slaughtered in bullrings around the world. Over the centuries, bullfighters have found countless ways to rig the “fight” in their favor. Bulls are often weakened with drugs or by having sandbags dropped on their backs. Their horns have been shaved to keep them off balance, or petroleum jelly has been rubbed into their eyes to impair their vision.

Every year, approximately 250,000 bulls are killed in bullfights. Bullfighting is already banned by law in many countries including Argentina, Canada, Cuba, Denmark, Italy and the United Kingdom. Although legal in Spain, some Spanish cities, such as Calonge, Tossa de Mar, Vilamacolum and La Vajol, have outlawed the practice of bullfighting. There are only a few countries throughout the world where this practice still takes place (Spain, France, Portugal, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, and Ecuador). ~ HSI.

BULLS ARE TORTURED IN THE NAME OF CULTURE AND TRADITION

Each year from approximately September 1 to March 1, a large-scale hunt of dolphins takes place in the small village of Taiji, Japan, as featured in the 2010 Academy Award-winning documentary The Cove. During this six month season, dolphin hunters utilize drive hunt techniques to herd large numbers of dolphins to shore, resulting in their capture or death.

The captured dolphins may be selected for live trade to aquariums and marine parks for display, while others are slaughtered for their meat. The price for live captures is many times higher than those killed.

THE ANNUAL TAIJI DOLPHIN SLAUGHTER

What you can do to help animals in need:

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

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

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

A Testimony To Why Trophy Hunting Is A Vacuous Void, Devoid Of Any Moral Or Ethical Compass That Undermines Africa’s Indigenous Culture.

Below, is the full testimony of an anonymous source, a former member of the Oxford University Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) team that radio-collared and studied Cecil prior to him being killed.

CECIL LIVED IN HWANGE NATIONAL PARK, IN ZIMBABWE. HE WAS LURED OUT OF THE PARK WITH AN ELEPHANT CARCASS BY AMERICAN TROPHY HUNTER WALTER PALMER

This anonymous source’s first-hand account of the killing of Cecil 7 years on is an appropriate testimony, not only to the callous way in which American trophy hunter Walter Palmer et al took this pride male Lion’s life for their own self-gratification and/or financial enrichment (the ethos of trophy hunters and the industry that panders to them in general), but also a testimony to why trophy hunting is a vacuous void, devoid of any moral or ethical compass that undermines Africa’s indigenous culture. That is why the long outdated, notion of a bygone era of colonial entitlement and the predominantly white foreigner’s self-proclaimed ‘right’ to kill African wildlife for sadistic entertainment as espoused by trophy hunting must end:

“The physical act of a white hunter coming in and going out on their exploratory adventure, to conquer and kill an animal – that act rehearses the history of colonialism. That point is not lost on people who live in local communities, and it should not be lost on those of us from the country sending trophy hunters” (page 146) – Dr Chelsea Batavia

Senior environmental scientist

“When I started reading the narratives of trophy hunters, I was struck more than anything by the similarity with the narratives of terrorists when they talk about what they do” (page 151) – Professor Geoff Beattie, Professor of Psychology, Edge Hill University. Author, ‘Trophy Hunting: A Psychological Perspective’

The economic forces that drive the trophy hunting industry can be replaced with a balanced approach that enriches Africa’s own cultural identity and interaction with its native wildlife, free from the imposition of the destructive, greed-based desire of the trophy hunting colonial mindset and its bloated lobby heavily financed by vested interests.

ANON – a former member of the Oxford University Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU)

“I worked for close to a decade as a field researcher on the Hwange Lion research project in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe. The initial focus of the work was the impact of trophy hunting outside the park on the Lions inside the park. There was a lot of darting, collaring and observational data to collect. I spent 7 days a week tracking Lions, catching and collaring them and getting to know them. Soon that developed into a study of the conflict between people and Lions, a subject I eventually specialised in.

Cecil was a very large mature Lion in Hwange. He was special because very few male Lions ever survive as long as he did, and thus a lot was made of his huge mane and the fact that it was black. The black mane is a genetic trait that is quite strong in Hwange Lions, but very few Lions survive long enough for it to present. Cecil was dominant over some of the best Lion real-estate in Hwange and this too was the area best for tourists. That is why he was so well-known. He had large prides and he was seen daily by tourists. Cecil was very much in his prime when he was shot, despite him being 12 years old or so. The hunters made a case that Cecil was old and therefore past his prime, but that was not true. He was still breeding and in perfect condition. He was considered old because most Lions are shot long before getting to that age. He was one of two males in a coalition. They were unrelated but had forged an alliance because together they were stronger.

On the night of the 1st of July 2015, a couple of professional hunters (PHs) and their client were sitting about 40 or 50 metres from a blind overlooking a dead elephant. Between 9 and 10pm Jericho, Cecil’s coalition partner, ran past the blind and started feeding on the elephant. Jericho was a very large Lion in his own right and was about a year younger than Cecil. His saving grace was that he was blonde. Walter Palmer – the trophy hunter who shot Cecil – has subsequently said that he didn’t know about Cecil and hadn’t come to hunt Cecil specifically. However, the fact that they didn’t shoot Jericho while watching him feed for over an hour meant that they knew that a larger and darker Lion – the traits a trophy hunter prefers – was still to come.

BROTHERS IN ARMS: THE LAST KNOWN PHOTOGRAPH OF CECIL (WITH BROTHER JERICHO STANDING BEHIND HIM)

Cecil arrived about an hour later. Walter Palmer let loose his arrow. Cecil ran off wounded. The hunters left to go back to camp for the night. Normally when a client is about to shoot a Lion from a blind, his professional hunter (PH) is ready too with his rifle. If the client’s shot doesn’t kill the Lion instantly, then the PH shoots the animal to “secure it”. This is common practice because a wounded Lion is dangerous to follow up and nobody wants to do it. The PH is professionally obliged to “back up” the client’s shot to avoid a wounded animal. In this case, however, Walter Palmer had told his PH not to back him up. The reason for this was that Walter Palmer was after Safari Club International’s bow-hunting record for a Lion. If a rifle was subsequently used, then the bow-hunting record would have been disallowed. So Cecil ran off wounded, and the hunters simply went back to camp.

In the morning, at around 9am, the hunters returned and tracked Cecil down. He was badly wounded and hadn’t gone far. Walter Palmer then finished him off with a second arrow. From statements made to police, we understand that when Palmer and the PH approached the Lion they saw the collar and panicked. The PH said that he took the collar off and placed it in a tree before following his client. When he returned he said the collar was gone. We know from the GPS data that the collar was collecting, however, that they then gave that collar to someone who carried it around for a couple of days to mimic a Lion’s movements in order to confuse us and presumably buy time to get the client out of the country. On the morning of July 4, the collar sent its last GPS point and was presumably destroyed. We never found it.

There was no permit for hunting a Lion in that area. The PH had purchased a Lion quota from another area. He was hoping to hunt Cecil and export it as one of the others shot elsewhere. Illegal practices such as those are relatively commonplace.

During my time as part of the Lion project, it happened maybe a dozen times that we know of. Usually the collar is destroyed and we only find it months later. In Cecil’s case he had a new satellite technology collar which meant all its data is sent to a server and even when the collar is destroyed the data is safe and accessible.

CECIL ENJOYS A MOMENT WITH A LIONESS. THE FAMOUS LION WAS KNOWN FOR BEING UNAFRAID OF HUMANS.

I became something of a pariah in Zimbabwe after the story died down. At first, when the story broke, I was the only person on the ground speaking to the press, and I was complimented by the authorities and WildCRU alike. However, when the hunting industry approached the government and told them that if they pressed for Walter Palmer’s extradition they would lose their industry, there was an about-turn.

Suddenly it was said everything was legal and no charges were pressed. I was left alone on the end of the plank, surrounded by sharks. I still had to go to meetings with the very landowners in the Gwaai Valley where Cecil had been shot where I was screamed at and accused of destroying the industry. I slept with a loaded rifle by my bed for many months, always waiting to hear a vehicle approaching our home at night. I have since been subjected to all sorts of abuse and character assassinations, including now having a file of everything I had ever posted on social media printed and given to Zimbabwe’s secret police, the CIO (Central Intelligence Organisation), the Parks authorities, local chiefs and so on. I was banned from entering the park for over a year and forced to delete my Facebook page. I have had to keep a very low profile since.

The situation of Lions today is difficult. There were 1.2 million wild Lions in the 1800s. Now there are around 20,000. They are doing well in protected areas. They are under threat from habitat loss, though, as well conflict with livestock owners which includes retaliatory killing and – worryingly – preventative killings before they kill any livestock. Lion conservation is all about boundaries. On park boundaries, where mortalities are man-related, that is where we lose Lions.

Much value is placed on the value of Lions in terms of economies, both for hunting and photographic safaris, and that is very important. However, to me these are the least important of their three values. The other two are cultural value and ecological value. The cultural value of Lions is all around for us to see. There was a premiership match a while ago between Manchester United and Chelsea. Three of the largest sports brands on earth and all three – the premier league being the third – have a Lion in their logo. That doesn’t even describe the value that the Lion represents to Africans which can hardly be quantified.

The most important aspect or value of Lions, though, is their ecological value. It is very much like the value of wolves which people are now understanding when they were lost and then reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the US. Lions keep landscapes healthy, rivers flowing and arid areas regenerating whilst avoiding desertification. Simply put, Lions keep browsing animals bunched in dense herds moving which avoids overgrazing. Savannahs are healthier with Lions. The loss of Lions would be a catastrophe for the people of Africa and for the globe to have lost the most iconic species on earth. Economies would suffer and ecosystems would have lost a key component that keeps millions of hectares of Africa from becoming desertified.

PALMER SHOT CECIL WITH A BOW AND ARROW ONCE THE LION LEFT THE SAFETY OF THE PARK, ONLY WOUNDING HIM. HOURS PASSED BEFORE THEY FINISHED HIM OFF

The 2015 IUCN Red Data analysis on Lions reported that trophy hunting was one of the main contributors “to an astonishing decline of 42% of the continent’s total Lion population.” Trophy hunting is detrimental because it targets the largest animals. With Lions, trophy hunters target the males with the darkest manes too. In nature, if a male has those two traits – in other words, he is the largest and darkest male in the area – then he is the pride male. Period. So hunters are targeting the very animal that is maintaining pride stability and holds all the best genes. The loss of that individual is felt for months after his death and over a large area for many species including ours. When a pride is stable and the male is in tenure undisturbed, his male offspring usually leave the pride at about 3.5 – 4.5 years old. They often leave in coalitions and have had plenty of hunting experience to allow them to fight for a territory and take one over for themselves. They are considered adults and will avoid humans and their livestock as a rule. The daughters will tend to stay with their mothers and that continuity is the maintenance of a pride and their territory.

CECIL’S PRIDE: CECIL’S CUBS IN 2015

If a pride male dies naturally, in a fight for instance, the new male is probably stronger with some genetic advantage. He will kill all the cubs from his predecessor and very quickly mate with all receptive females and get his genes into the system as soon as he can. And rightly so, as he is the strongest male around now. If the pride male is hunted, though – and we know that trophy hunters target the pride males by virtue of the fact they are after the largest, darkest males – then the weaker males that couldn’t beat the pride male move in after the hunter has left with his trophy, and the stronger male’s cubs are killed and replaced with weaker genes. We have seen a situation where a coalition of four males in a pride were trophy hunted and up to 16 cubs and sub-adults were killed by new males after the fact. So we don’t just lose 4 males – we lose 20 Lions altogether from that hunt.

Infanticide as I have described sounds all very clinical, but Lionesses if nothing else are the best mothers alive and they hardly just sit and allow their cubs to be killed.

They either fight, in which case they too can be killed, or they flee. Africa’s parks are large, but the Lionesses will flee to the only place that an adult male won’t follow her to kill the cubs, and that is often amongst people. When they leave the parks to avoid infanticide and find themselves amongst people, they rarely find wild prey to live off.

So they may start killing livestock. I noticed this pattern many years ago and I know that WildCRU has the data but they won’t publish it for fear of upsetting the people that give them their permits to study Lions – for example, the Parks department managers who receive money from Lion hunting.

As a result, we are told that trophy hunting is not the largest source of Lion mortality but that conflict with livestock is. This story shows that trophy hunting is in fact a major, if not the major, driver of that conflict. Ironically, the hunters that are responsible for the conflict spikes are often called in to deal with the “problem Lions” with no mention of the fact that they caused it. We have had prides of Lionesses birth 4 or 5 cohorts of cubs and not see a single one reach adulthood because they are caught in this cycle. No sooner have they moved out of the park and started killing livestock than they lose their cubs to snares and “problem animal” control. If the Lionesses survive they now move back to the park without cubs to protect and mate with the new males. Their own cubs are born when hunting season comes around and those males are killed too.

The Truth About Cecil’s Death and The Future of Africa’s Lions

And so the process repeats itself. All the time, Lions are getting the blame and hunters are seen as saving the day. Conflict work is the hardest work of all, especially if you are trying to be sensitive to people and protecting Lions. I have attended meetings where every man attending had an axe on his shoulder for me if the meeting went badly! Yet in Hwange, we know without a shadow of doubt that trophy hunting had the single most significant effect on Lion mortality. As Dr Andrew Loveridge of Oxford University WildCRU has written, levels of hunting mortality exceeded deaths of Lions in conflict with people or killed in wire snares set by poachers and also far outstripped natural levels of mortality. Other sources of mortality such as retaliatory and pre-emptive killing of conflict Lions are often driven by trophy hunting too. So the total impact of trophy hunting is enormous.

Lions breed quickly and their numbers can recover very swiftly once hunting is stopped. We saw Hwange’s Lion population nearly double in the 4 years that Lion hunting was stopped. By allowing the pride males to mature, their protection means that Lionesses lose fewer cubs to Hyaenas. The sub-adults leave later when they are more experienced and can get a territory, rather than get chased around by adult Lions until they too escape the park and predate on livestock – and end up being killed as a ‘problem’ animal.

What perhaps churns my stomach most are the prizes offered by groups such as Safari Club International. To win the highest Safari Club International award, it is estimated that a trophy hunter must kill more than 300 animals. This is one of the strongest arguments against trophy hunting. The hunting and killing of animals purely for ego is a colonial relic that has no place in modern humanity. Pro-hunters argue that if we stop hunting, then the lands that are set aside for it quickly turn to alternative, less Lion-friendly land uses. Slave owners and traders used a similar argument to counter the proposed abolition of slavery. If you ban slavery without finding an alternative source of labour then you won’t have sugar in your coffee, they might say. But that was not an excuse to keep an inhumane system going. It was banned, and people were forced to find an alternative, and so will conservationists when trophy hunting is banned.

MAJESTIC

If you wait, though, then there is no incentive to change. I actually advocate for traditional hunting in protected areas believing that people too are key components of healthy ecosystems, and traditional hunting is a disturbance activity that keeps animals moving and avoids overgrazing. Trophy hunting, though, has no place in African culture. If we are to strengthen Africa’s appreciation and protection of their natural heritage, we must look for links to their cultures. Currently, trophy hunting makes traditional African hunting illegal, and we call them poachers – while rich foreigners come and kill the wildlife with a red carpet rolled out for their arrival. It is vile and has to be consigned to history. These animals should not be sold and hunted as a commodity, but rather they should be part of a strong cultural and ecologically healthy system.

To ensure the survival of Lions, we need to get Africans to feel that the Lions are theirs and not only there for the privileged foreigners to shoot. Often I hear that there are people who have signed a letter saying that the world should leave Africa to manage its wildlife the way it sees fit. I agree with that in principle. However, when I read the list of names, especially from Zimbabwe, I see nobody who represents ordinary people. I see politicians with interests in the trophy hunting industry promoting hunting as “Africans managing their wildlife”. Trophy hunting has no place in African tradition. It is very easy to assemble corrupt people to sing the new song that the powerful trophy hunting lobby want to push, namely that trophy hunting is about promoting African self-determination.

I do believe Africans should decide how to manage their natural resources, but it is almost that they need to be allowed to re-learn what this means. All our park managers are trained by the colonial system under the “if it pays it stays” mantra. Let us instead promote a system change where self-confident Africans, who know what Lions and other wildlife mean to them culturally, and without outside influences, decide what to do with their rich resources. That is paramount. The rest will come easily after that.

I have advocated for the Lion to be declared the first World Heritage Species. This means not seeing it as a tax to ensure the survival of Lions, but rather as a celebration of an animal that means so much to all of humanity. Brands that use Lions for their marketing should come under pressure to pay into a fund that supports the types of work I describe above. Lions are important, but they are also the most efficient means of protecting large areas and a plethora of other species. If you give Lions what they need, their prey will be looked after and their landscapes as well as the people that have to live with them.

It is time to ban trophy hunting, set up Lion as the first World Heritage Species, and raise funds from businesses that use Lions in their marketing. That money should be used to protect Lion landscapes with less stick and more carrot, build up Africans in a way that they can explore what Lions and their wildlife resources mean to them both culturally and ecologically, and empower them to make those decisions.

BELOW ARE PHOTOS OF WALTER PALMER WHO KILLED CECIL IN THE PRIME OF HIS LIFE

US TROPHY HUNTER WALTER PALMER (LEFT) WITH ANOTHER LION HE KILLED
PALMER IS SNAPPED HERE WITH A RHINO THAT HE APPARENTLY PAID £13,000 TO KILL
PALMER WITH A LEOPARD FROM HIS NOW CLOSED FACEBOOK PAGE

© BRENT STAPELKAMP

PROTECT ALL WILDLIFE

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

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