Inside Sri Lanka’s Deadly Struggle To Live Peacefully With Elephants

Like many young bull Elephants, Brigadier had a strategy. Spending his days in a small patch of forest in northwest Sri Lanka, he would emerge under cover of darkness to feast on crops. One evening, he bundled into an army brigadier’s property, earning him his name and sealing his fate.

Government officials captured Brigadier and trucked him to Maduru Oya National Park. But he immediately took off, probably intending to find his way home, got lost, and wound up 120 kilometres north at Sampur beach. Incredibly, a navy boat discovered him swimming 5 kilometres offshore and towed him to safety.

After his big adventure, Brigadier settled down again, returning to his nocturnal crop-raiding routine. Six months later, he was found dead at the bottom of a well.

Apart from the swimming bit, stories like this are common in Sri Lanka, where habitat loss is forcing Elephants into an increasingly bloody conflict with humans. When I visited the country to report on efforts to stem the bloodshed, I found that the government’s favoured solution of moving problem Elephants into fenced-off national parks isn’t working. Some experts believe it will even backfire, pushing the species to the brink in the country.

The only way to secure the future of Sri Lanka’s Elephants, they argue, is to find ways to peacefully coexist with them. That is no mean feat. And yet, as I saw for myself in several villages, there is a simple solution. The question is, will it be implemented across the island? And will people accept that the Elephants must live among us or not at all?

Asian Elephants are under pressure. Their numbers have declined by an estimated 50 percent in the last 75 years, leaving just 40,000 to 50,000 in the wild. Although they aren’t poached anywhere near as much as their African cousins, their forest homes are being rapidly fragmented. Nowhere is the problem more acute than in Sri Lanka. It accounts for just 2 percent of their total habitat yet is home to over 5000 Asian Elephants – more than 10 percent of the remaining global population.

That so many Elephants remain here is a testament to the species’ cultural importance in the country. The majority of Sri Lankans are Buddhist and Elephants feature prominently in a number of stories about the Buddha’s previous reincarnations. Hinduism, Sri Lanka’s second-largest religion, also enjoys a close association with the animals in the form of the god Ganesh. “Elephants hold a very special place in our hearts,” says Prithiviraj Fernando, chairman of the Centre for Conservation and Research in Tissamaharama.

Yet as the island grows increasingly crowded and their habitat disappears, the lives of Elephants and humans are overlapping more and more. This puts Sri Lanka’s many farmers at constant odds with the animals, often with deadly consequences.

Hungry Elephants raid crops, trampling fields and sometimes people. In response, farmers attack the animals with flaming torches, firecrackers, home-made guns and even explosives embedded in fruit, known as hakka patas or “jaw exploders”. Last year, more than 300 Elephants were killed in altercations with humans and around 70 people lost their lives to Elephants. “Sri Lanka has the highest level of Human-Elephant conflict in the world,” says Fernando. “Wherever there are people and Elephants, there’s conflict.”

For more than 70 years, Sri Lanka has attempted to solve the problem by moving Elephants to national parks. According to the government’s approach, the world’s second-largest land animal belongs in protected areas surrounded by electric fencing, while people belong everywhere else. In many cases, as with Brigadier, problem animals are specifically targeted for translocation. Officials also attempt to clear whole herds using a colonial-era tactic called an Elephant drive. Day after day, sometimes for a year or more, hundreds of people venture into Elephant territory, setting off guns and thousands of “Elephant thunders” (a type of huge firecracker) to corral the animals into fenced areas.

Whichever method officials use to try to confine Elephants to parks, it doesn’t work. In 2012, Fernando and his colleagues published a study showing that of 16 translocated bull Elephants that the researchers had monitored over several years, two were killed within the park they were released in and none of the others stayed put. Some broke out and returned home while others established a new territory where they began raiding crops again.

Elephant drives produce similar results. Many males evade the round-up or break out soon after arriving at a park. The only ones that stick around are the females and calves, which tend to be more risk averse. They soon experience first-hand that Sri Lanka’s parks often lack the resources necessary to support hundreds of additional residents, each of which eats up to 140 kilograms of vegetation per day. The newcomers quickly become “emaciated, walking skeletons, and many starve to death”, says Fernando. “We’ve seen this over and over again wherever Elephants have been driven to parks and fenced in.”

I saw it for myself at Udawalawe National Park. Tourists raised their cameras as a mother and calf stepped out of the thick brush, but the Elephants were a disturbing sight, with jutting ribs, protruding shoulder blades and rope-like backbones. They plucked placidly at the short grass beneath their feet, but it clearly isn’t enough to sustain them. Like many Elephants confined to overcrowded national parks, they were on the verge of starvation.

That females and calves tend to suffer this fate is especially concerning, says Shermin de Silva, director of the Udawalawe Elephant Research Project and founder of Trunks & Leaves, a non-profit organisation focusing on Elephant research and outreach. Elephants have extremely slow reproduction rates, usually producing just one calf every six years. Earlier this year, based on mathematical modelling of Elephant population demographics from Udawalawe, de Silva reported that for Asian Elephants to maintain their numbers, females must reproduce at near-optimal rates and most calves must survive. Nutritional stress, in other words, can quickly push Elephant populations in Sri Lanka and beyond into tailspins. “For Elephants, the biggest threat is the calf that’s never born,” says de Silva.

The stark implications of this finding were reinforced earlier this year, when Fernando and his colleagues published the first nationwide Elephant survey. It showed that Elephants occur across 60 percent of the country – virtually everywhere that isn’t highly urbanised – and that 70 percent of them live side-by-side with humans. This not only means that Sri Lanka’s attempt to confine Elephants to parks has “completely failed”, says Fernando, but also that non-protected areas will have to play a critical role in the species’ survival. If Sri Lanka wants to save its Elephants, it has to find a way for people to live peacefully alongside them.

I saw just how difficult this is when I came across a bloated bull Elephant lying in a ditch by the side of a dirt road in north-west Sri Lanka, flies buzzing around two bullet wounds. A local man guessed it had been shot by a farmer in a nearby field and ran away before collapsing here. The animal was still alive when it was discovered, and a small crowd had gathered and erected a makeshift tent to give it some shade. Someone brought coconuts and bananas to try to feed it. Someone else brought water. Another person called the vet. When the Elephant died, a monk performed a ceremony to help ease it into the next life.

I left the scene feeling nauseous. But just a few minutes’ drive away, past neon green rice paddies and homes shaded by coconut and banana trees, I visited a place that is showing by example that there is an alternative.

In 2013, the village of Galewewa pioneered a programme designed by Fernando and his colleagues to use electric fences to encircle crops and homes rather than Elephants. The locals took some convincing. “People just assumed it wouldn’t be successful because they’d seen the government fences,” says Sampath Ekanayaka, manager of the Centre for Conservation and Research’s community programmes in the region. “To them, this was just another fence.”

In many ways, it is. But there are reasons to think the scheme would work. Elephants that encounter fences in national parks have “all the time in the world” to figure out how to get past the obstacles, says Fernando. Those that encounter a fence surrounding a village or crop field are unlikely to invest the time and energy required to break in because there will usually be people around, and Elephants are afraid of them.

Do Fence Me In

Eventually, after several years of deliberation, the village elders agreed to try the method. Fernando’s organisation paid for 90 percent of the installation costs, but villagers paid the rest, as well as shouldering the burden of maintaining the fences throughout the growing season. After harvesting, they take down the fences, allowing Elephants to forage on the crop remains.

The results have been encouraging. After six years with the fences, no people or Elephants have been killed, nocturnal raids are practically non-existent and crop yields and earnings have significantly increased. Galewewa’s success has prompted around 25 more villages to join the programme, and Sri Lanka’s wildlife department has now established another 30 village fences.

“I would 100 percent recommend this system to others in Sri Lanka,” says J.M.Muthubanda, president of the Fence Maintenance Society in Manakkuliya Gama, a village near Galewewa. “If we didn’t have this fence, many people would have been killed and we would have had to abandon the land. This was the best decision we ever made.”

Fencing can only ever be one part of the solution. Just as important is persuading people to change the way they think about living alongside Elephants – and to adapt their behaviour. People need to take responsibility for protecting themselves and the Elephants they share the land with, says Fernando.

Take drinking, for example. Around 70 percent of men who are killed by Elephants are intoxicated when the incident happens. Simply staying inside after a night of drinking would greatly reduce those deaths, says Sumith Pilapitiya, an independent Elephant researcher and former director general of wildlife conservation in Sri Lanka. “If you’re out drunk on a bike at night and you ride into an Elephant, what do you expect the Elephant to do at that point?” says Pilapitiya. “As human beings, we should be taking much more responsibility for our lives.”

Trains are another problem. Around 15 Elephants are killed each year on the tracks. Sri Lanka has few underpasses or overpasses but there is a straightforward fix. Train drivers could simply slowdown in the areas where Elephants tend to get hit.

What I saw in Galewewa shows that people can peacefully coexist with Elephants, so long as they have the right attitude and some semblance of support. Notionally at least, the Sri Lankan government is on board. As early as 2007, it created a national Elephant conservation plan that largely reflected the findings of Fernando, Pilapitiya and other Elephant researchers, including provisions for implementing seasonal agricultural fencing and educational programmes. But the plan was implemented ad hoc and has failed to live up to its potential as a result, says Pilapitiya, who resigned from his job heading Sri Lanka’s wildlife department in 2015  because of “systemic political interference”. G.C.Sooriyabandara, the current director-general of the Department of Wildlife Conservation, didn’t respond to repeated interview requests.

Still, there are signs of progress. In a first for Sri Lanka, the country’s Southern Development Board, following advice from Pilapitiya and Fernando, agreed to use radio tracking collars to study the movements of several herds of Elephants so it could select a site for a major industrial project that would minimise impact on the animals. “It’s the right thing to do, as far as I’m concerned,” says a high-level official at the board, who asked not to be named because he didn’t have permission to speak to the media.

As more and more villages sign up for his fencing programme, Fernando and his colleagues believe the country as a whole will eventually follow. “This is not something that can be done in a day or a year or even 10 years,” says Fernando. “It might take 25 years. But we’re hopeful that common sense will prevail.”

It is already too late for Brigadier. But if Fernando is right, Asian Elephants can look forward to a brighter future, and not only in Sri Lanka. The country’s human population density isn’t far behind that of India and Bangladesh, but it has almost 10 times the number of Elephants. This makes it a test case for Human-Elephant coexistence, says de Silva. “If we can get it to work in Sri Lanka, we can get it to work anywhere.”

From an original article by Rachel Nuwer for New Scientist

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Two Elephants Injured, 1 Dead After A Collision With The Pulasthi Express Train In The Early Hours Of 13 Jan 2023 In Sri Lanka

One Elephant has died after colliding with a train between Habarana and Hatharaskotuwa, leaving two more Elephants injured, according to Habarana Police.

The Pulatisi inter-city express train, which was running from Batticaloa to Colombo Fort, was derailed at 01.30 a.m. today (13) after colliding with three wild Elephants between the Galoya and Hatharaskotuwa railway stations.

The train engine and another carriage were both derailed in this accident. As a result, the train will not run to Colombo Fort.

435 Elephants were killed due to Human Elephant Conflict in Sri Lanka in 2022.

“We have robbed Elephants of their homes to build rail roads, roads, villages and agricultural farms. They have been living in Sri Lanka from way before humans arrived. They have an equal right to live in Sri Lanka” said a spokesperson for Rally for Animal Rights- (RARE)

It’s alleged that the driver of the train has not reduced speed at this wildlife area.


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

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

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

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

ONE OF THE HUNDREDS OF ZEBRAS SUCCUMBING TO THE DROUGHT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Should Wildlife Tourism Be Banned In India?

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

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

More about the wildlife tourism ban

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

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

Wildlife Tourism In India

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

Are there any benefits of wildlife tourism?

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

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

Unethical Practices Cloud wildlife tourism

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

Unruly visitors are not avoidable

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

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

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

Wildlife tourism has to become more sustainable

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

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

Larger mammals steal the limelight

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

The Greater One-Horned Rhino

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

This article was first published on Think Wildlife Foundation. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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“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.