Volume 9, Issue 122, December 2014

SAFHOWL

The Monthly Free E-Newsletter of South African Friends of Wolves

Volume 9, Issue 122, December 2014

From the Editor’s Desk

safow-image-1

 If only people truly understood wolf society,
they would see how deficient their own is.

 A very Happy Festive Season and a 2015 full of wisdom

Ed.

News from the Wolf Front

National

Nothing new to report.

International

From Defenders of Wildlife (http://www.defenders.org)

  1. USA: Idaho: Tell Secretary Jewell: Stop the wolf killing contest!

Shocking news.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has just approved a commercial wolf and predator-killing derby in Idaho. What’s worse, the agency has authorized the event to take place once every year for the next five years!
Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, has the power to reverse this decision. She needs to use it.
Tell Secretary Jewell that killing wolves and other predators for commercial gain on publicly owned land is just plain wrong: http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=T5QVdQmyFaq2GaJjp-X2pg

Introduced by a “hunters’ rights organization,” this kill-fest will make a competitive, commercialized sport of killing wolves and other predators. And, it will take place on federal public land – that’s land that belongs to you and me!
Contests like these have no place in the 21st Century. They are a throwback to times past, when wolves and other predators were seen as vermin. The federal government shouldn’t be encouraging and endorsing this outdated thinking, and it certainly shouldn’t be hosting thrill kill competitions.
Please take action TODAY, and help us stop this atrocious event: http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=ysGvI65tYT3irv67N6NzBQ

Thank you for all you do.

  1. USA: CRISIS: Wolf delisting emergency

If you love wolves, you need to know…
For the first time in more than 40 years, nearly every gray wolf in the Lower 48 could be stripped of protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service could announce its final decision to delist wolves any day now.
If they do move forward with delisting, it will mean they’ve ignored the recommendations of their own scientific peer review panel – and leave wolves at the mercy of extreme anti-wolf state politicians, putting the recovery of wolves everywhere at grave risk.
We can’t let that happen.
With your help, we’re launching an Emergency Protection Fund for Wolves. Will you be among the first supporters?
http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=nxW41C76c5wvUnrB6V7NpQ

To get the fund off to the strongest possible start, generous donors have agreed to match your gift, dollar-for-dollar, up to a total of $150,000.
Your support will help give us the extra resources we need to protect wolves where and when they need it most.

  • Our legal team is already gearing up for a monumental legal battle to uphold the law and restore federal ESA protection to wolves;
  • We’re stepping up our presence in battleground states like Idaho, where extreme anti-wolf politicians have caused the deaths of more than 1,400 wolves since 2009 and made a mockery of wolf conservation;
  • We’re going to states like California and Oregon, where there’s plenty of suitable wolf habitat, and where pro-wolf voices ring loud and clear;
  • And we are tirelessly organizing – in neighbourhoods, online, and through the media – to make it clear to our elected officials that most Americans want wolves in their world.

Please be among the first to donate generously to our Emergency Protection Fund for Wolves. Your gift will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $150,000 until 11:59pm EST on November 21st:
http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=Wl46sF2MdU2Rb03HdK7SlQ

I want to be clear on one thing: Whatever happens in the coming days, this fight is far from over.
Thanks to you, in 1967, Defenders of Wildlife was the first organization to propose reintroducing wolves. In 1995, we were there when a new generation of wolves first set foot in Yellowstone National Park and the central Idaho wilderness. Every day since, we have fought in court, in Congress, and in statehouses across the country to make sure wolves get a fighting chance to survive.
With people like you at my side, I remain steadfastly optimistic.
Please help us today
http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=i7bR_IwOuLfar-4k44AMuQ

  1. USA: Idaho: A big step in the right direction!

Finally some good news from Idaho!
We just received word that the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has withdrawn its permit allowing a “Predator Derby” to take place on BLM lands in Idaho. This was the appalling commercial derby that Defenders of Wildlife went to Federal court last week to block.
This is an important victory for wolves and other predators – and it’s one you helped achieve. The reversal came after Defenders went to court and tens of thousands of you expressed outrage over the decision to let the predator killfest go forward on BLM lands. Fortunately, senior officials at the Department of the Interior heard your voice and directed that the commercial derby permit be withdrawn.
Introduced by a “hunters’ rights organization,” the derby’s goal was to make a competitive, commercialized sport of killing wolves and other predators. This was a throwback to 19th century thinking when wolves were seen as vermin worthy only of extermination.
The BLM’s reversal is an important victory as we work around the clock to end the slaughter in Idaho. Sadly, it’s still possible that the derby could take place on federal lands elsewhere in Idaho. But we can take heart in the fact that, at least on BLM lands, wolves and other predators can breathe easier today. And we can remind ourselves that larger victories are not only possible, but inevitable, when wildlife defenders like you make your voices heard.
Thank you again. You’re making a difference, and we are so grateful!

  1. USA: A World without wolves?

You and I have seen what a world without wolves looks like. We inherited a nation where wolves had been pushed to the brink of extinction.
By the 1930s, a century of constant persecution and slaughter had all but erased wolves from our nation’s wild lands. But on January 12, 1995 that all began to change. On that day, gray wolves set foot in Yellowstone National Park for the first time since their extermination in the park decades earlier.
The reintroduction of gray wolves is one of the greatest conservation successes of our time. But tragically, vocal anti-wolf extremists and politicians are turning back the clock on this landmark achievement.
Today, once again, states are working to kill hundreds of wolves.
Please support the Defenders of Wildlife Emergency Protection Fund for Wolves. Your donation will help us win the war for wolves and protect other vulnerable wildlife:
http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=3bYk8NAtPDLQptziIQVrFg

The extermination of wolves in the 19th and early 20th centuries was based on fear and ignorance. Back then, most people didn’t understand the importance of wolves and other predators to the health of the ecosystems they inhabited. And many believed the old wives’ tales about wolves being malicious, bloodthirsty monsters.
Today, of course, we know better. But old fears and prejudices die hard. And the war against wolves has been renewed with shocking ferocity.
Anti-wolf forces are working to bring wolf recovery to a screeching and tragic halt.
In just the past three years, more than 1,100 wolves have been killed in Idaho alone. They’ve been gunned down, snared by the neck, trapped and shot from helicopters.
And to make matters worse, the most anti-wildlife Congress in decades will convene in January. The anti-wolf extremists are likely to have unprecedented support in our nation’s capital.
With your help, Defenders speaks for the wolves, both in Washington, DC and on the frontlines of the war against wolves. Thanks to supporters like you, we were there on that cold January day almost 20 years ago. And with your continued help, we will look forward to even greater successes ahead.
If you love wolves, there’s never been a more important moment to come to their defence.
Please support the Defenders of Wildlife Emergency Protection Fund for Wolves. Your donation will help us win the war for wolves and protect other vulnerable wildlife:
http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=UA6SmXSjGRxSLUpXkkFe8w

A world without wolves? We’ve seen what that looks like. And we we’re not going to let it happen again!
Thank you for all you do.

For the wolves

  1. USA: Idaho: Important update on Idaho’s killing contest

Here’s the latest on the proposed wolf and predator killing contest in Idaho:
Despite the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) rightly withdrawing its permission for a “hunters’ rights” organization to hold a commercial predator killing contest on 3 million acres of public lands, the sponsors of the derby are still determined to move forward – so they’re planning to hold it on national forest and private lands.
It’s now up to the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to step in and not allow this to happen on their lands.
Tell Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to follow BLM’s lead and close our national forests to Idaho’s appalling wolf and predator kill fest:
http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=FP55tIIzDJ7mnM-AefbG7g

We need to make it clear once and for all that the federal government should not be in the business of approving 19th century predator killing tactics. BLM has made that decision and the U.S. Forest Service should do so as well.
Secretary Vilsack needs to step up and deny the use of national forest lands for a commercial kill fest!
Tell Secretary Vilsack that killing wolves and other predators for commercial gain on national forest lands is just plain wrong:
http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=_IX9BHPM8C4n148jLjzIlQ

Contests like these have no place in the 21st century. The federal government shouldn’t be encouraging or endorsing this outdated thinking which ignores the valuable role that predators play in maintaining healthy ecosystems. And it certainly shouldn’t be allowing killing competitions on national forest lands.
The USFS needs to do its job and ensure that national forest lands are protected for the enjoyment of all Americans. BLM stepped up for predator conservation, and now it’s time for the Forest Service to step up as well.
Please take action TODAY, and help us stop this event from taking place on national forest lands:
http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=K1WcVnFFxHsSoPD6f6AYxA

Thank you for all you do.

  1. USA: Washington: URGENT: Help us stop hateful anti-wolf lies

Washington state has become the newest battleground in the war against wolves.

An anti-wolf group has begun running huge billboards filled with anti-wolf lies and propaganda intended to incite fear. They would have people in Washington believe that young children will be next on a wolf’s “menu.”

These lies must not go unanswered.

That’s why Defenders is planning an all-out ad blitz to stop the damaging spread of lies and misinformation.

We need to raise at least $50,000 to run this aggressive campaign – won’t you chip in to help us run billboard and online ads that tell the truth about wolves?
http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=UuzW8A0epclKK3xQ-OMlsQ

We’re hoping to raise enough to run eight billboard ads across Washington state as well as an aggressive online ad campaign to expose the lies that anti-wolf forces are spreading. We’re confident that when people have the facts, they’ll continue to support wolf recovery in the state. The more we can raise, the longer we can keep these ads running:
http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=21g_xdBWtynOh1d4rY_ovA

As of the last official count, there are only 52 wolves in all of Washington state – and they are being illegally killed as the hate-based claims become more and more farfetched.

It’s a familiar tactic. Fuel old fears and prejudices to turn public opinion against wolves. Then, press for state wildlife rules that permit “kill first, ask questions later” tactics against these magnificent animals.

That’s what they did in Idaho – and they can do it here too if we don’t nip this in the bud!

Here’s the truth about wolves: They have more reason to be afraid of humans than we do of them. You are more likely to be attacked by your neighbour’s poodle than to be attacked by a wolf.

Help us spread the truth! Donate now to help us run counter ads in Washington state and to help protect wolves and other wildlife:
http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=40p9LsxtsnxDqvRmSm93nw

We have already lived in a nation where wolves had been pushed to the brink of extinction – we’re not going to let it happen again. We can’t let fairy tales based on superstition and lies set back the recovery of such an important native species.

We can’t tell you how grateful we are for your continued support:
http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=HBL4YUtujd1DMcTZY5HLZQ

From California Wolfcenter (californiawolfcenter@yahoogroups.com)

Mexican Wolf Blue Range Reintroduction Project Monthly Update

November 1-30, 2014

The following is a summary of Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project (Project) activities in Arizona on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests (ASNF) and Fort Apache Indian Reservation (FAIR) and in New Mexico on the Apache National Forest (ANF) and Gila National Forest (GNF). Non-tribal lands involved in this Project are collectively known as the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area (BRWRA). Additional Project information can be obtained by calling (928) 339-4329 or toll free at (888) 459-9653, or by visiting the Arizona Game and Fish Department website at www.azgfd.gov/wolf or by visiting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website at www.fws.gov/southwest/es/ mexicanwolf. Past updates may be viewed on either website, or interested parties may sign up to receive this update electronically by visiting www.azgfd.gov/signup. This update is a public document and information in it can be used for any purpose. The Reintroduction Project is a multi-agency cooperative effort among the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD), USDA Forest Service (USFS), USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services (USDA-APHIS WS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the White Mountain Apache Tribe (WMAT).

To view weekly wolf telemetry flight location information or the 3-month wolf distribution map, please visit http://www.azgfd.gov/wolf.  On the home page, go to the “Wolf Location Information” heading on the right side of the page near the top and scroll to the specific location information you seek.

Please report any wolf sightings or suspected livestock depredations to:  (928) 339-4329 or toll free at (888) 459-9653.  To report incidents of take or harassment of wolves, please call the AGFD 24-hour dispatch (Operation Game Thief) at (800) 352-0700.

Numbering System:  Mexican wolves are given an identification number recorded in an official studbook that tracks their history.  Capital letters (M = Male, F = Female) preceding the number indicate adult animals 24 months or older.  Lower case letters (m = male, f = female) indicate wolves younger than 24 months or pups.  The capital letter “A” preceding the letter and number indicate breeding wolves.

Definitions:  A “wolf pack” is defined as two or more wolves that maintain an established territory.  In the event that one of the two alpha (dominant) wolves dies, the remaining alpha wolf, regardless of pack size, retains the pack status.  The packs referenced in this update contain at least one wolf with a radio telemetry collar attached to it.  The Interagency Field Team (IFT) recognizes that wolves without radio telemetry collars may also form packs.  If the IFT confirms that wolves are associating with each other and are resident within the same home range, they will be referenced as a pack.

CURRENT POPULATION STATUS

At the end of November, the collared population consisted of 57 wolves with functional radio collars.  There are currently 19 packs and 4 single wolves in the BRWRA.  As of this report the IFT has documented 40 pups produced in the wild population for 2014.

The IFT initiated efforts to document the overall wolf population this month with track counts and visual observations being obtained on known packs. Food caches and camera traps are also being deployed in an effort to document the uncollared portion of the population.

IN ARIZONA:

Bluestem Pack (collared AF1042, AM1341, m1330, m1331, f1333, f1339, f1340 and mp1382)
In November, the Bluestem Pack continued to use their traditional territory in the central portion of the ASNF.  The IFT documented thirteen wolves in the Bluestem pack during November.  The On November 1, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow south of Middle Mountain in Arizona.  The investigation determined that the cow was killed by wolves.  The depredation was assigned to the adults and juveniles in the Bluestem Pack.

Elk Horn Pack (collared AF1294)
In November, AF1294 was located within its traditional territory in the northeast portion of the ASNF in Arizona. During November the IFT documented two uncollared pups traveling with AF1294 indicating the Elk Horn Pack currently consists of three wolves.

Hawks Nest Pack (collared AM1038, AF1280 and mp1383) 
During November, the Hawks Nest Pack was located within their traditional territory in the north central portion of the ASNF.  The IFT documented the Hawks Nest Pack consisting of two adults and three pups in November.

Hoodoo Pack (collared M1290)
In November, M1290 traveled between the northern portion of the FAIR and the north portion of the ASNF.  The IFT was able to confirm that a second uncollared wolf is still traveling with M1290 this month.

Rim Pack and Maverick Pack (collared AF1305 and m1336)
In November, AM1107 was found dead in Arizona.  The incident is under investigation.  Since that time, m1336 from the Maverick Pack has been documented several times traveling with AF1305 in November.  AF1305 and m1336 were located together in the south-central portion of the ASNF throughout November.

Single f1332 (Collared)  
Wolf f1332 has remained in Arizona and has traveled the south central portion of the ASNF.  During the yearly population counts, the IFT found tracks of a second wolf traveling with f1332.

ON THE FAIR:

Maverick Pack (collared AM1183, AF1291, F1335, and M1342)
During November, the Maverick Pack traveled within their traditional territory both on the FAIR and ASNF.  During the early part of November m1336 left the Maverick Pack and began traveling with Rim AF1305 within the Rim Pack traditional territory.  M1342 began making dispersal movements this month.  The wolf was located near Eagle peak in New Mexico during the first part of November.  M1342 then returned to the Maverick Pack and has been located with the Maverick Pack at the end of November.

Tsay o Ah Pack (collared M1343 and AF1283)
During November, the Tsay o Ah Pack was located on the FAIR.

Tse ighan lige Pack (collared M1249, f1389 and f1388)  
During November, M1249 was located on the FAIR.

IN NEW MEXICO:

Canyon Creek Pack (collared M1252 and F1246)
During November, the IFT located these wolves within their traditional territory in the central portion of the GNF.

Coronado Pack (collared AM1051, AF1126 and mp1350)
Throughout November the IFT located the Coronado pack within the Gila Wilderness.  On November 27 and 29, the IFT investigated several nuisance reports concerning the Coronado pack in the vicinity of Gila Hot Springs. The pack was closely monitored and hazed through the end of the month.  The Coronado Pack continues to remain within the Gila Wilderness.

Dark Canyon Pack (collared AM992, AF923 and M1293) 
Throughout November, the IFT located this pack within its traditional territory in the west-central portion of the GNF.

Fox Mountain Pack (collared AM1158, AF1212, m1345 and mp1384)
During November, the IFT documented AM1158, AF1212, and mp1384 of the Fox Mountain Pack within its traditional territory in the northwest portion of the GNF.  m1345 has been documented repeatedly with AF903 from the San Mateo pack.  A food cache has been maintained for the Fox Mountain Pack this month in an effort to prevent livestock depredations.

Iron Creek Pack (collared M1240 and F1278)
In November, the Iron Creek Pack continued to utilize their territory in the northern portion of the Gila Wilderness and the southern portion of the Gila National Forest.

Lava Pack (collared M1285 and F1295)
Through November, M1282 has not been located. F1295 has been located with, or in close proximity to, M1285 in the Gila Wilderness.

Luna Pack (collared AM1155, AF1115, m1337, and M1284)
In November, AM1155, AF1115, and m1337 of the Luna Pack remained in their traditional territory in the north-central portion of the GNF.  The IFT has maintained a food cache for the Luna Pack in an effort to prevent livestock depredations.  M1284 has been exhibiting dispersing behavior and has only been located with the other members of the Luna pack once this month.

Mangas Pack (collared AM1296)
In November, the Mangas Pack utilized the area in the northeastern portion of the GNF.

Prieto Pack (collared AM1387, AF1251, mp1386, fp1392)
Throughout November, the Prieto Pack was located within their traditional territory in the north-central portion of the GNF.  OnNovember 9, fp1392 was caught and collared.  A food cache has been maintained for the Prieto Pack in an effort to prevent livestock depredations.

San Mateo Pack (collared AF903 and m1345)
During November the IFT has located AF903 within the traditional San Mateo territory travelling with m1345 originally from the Fox Mountain pack.  M1282 has not been located during November.

Willow Springs Pack (collared AM1185, AF1279, m1338, mp1385, fp1390, and mp1391)
Throughout November the IFT has located the Willow Springs Pack in their traditional territory in the north central portion of the GNF.  The IFT documented nine wolves in the Willow Springs pack during November.  A food cache has been maintained for this pack to prevent livestock depredations.

M1282 (collared)
M1282 has not been located this month.

M1284 (collared)
Throughout November, M1284 was located with its natal pack, the Luna Pack, in the north-central portion of the GNF.

M1285 (collared)   
In November, M1285 was located with F1295, from the Lava Pack, within the Gila Wilderness.

MORTALITIES

In November, AM1107 from the Rim Pack was located dead in Arizona.  The incident is under investigation.

INCIDENTS 

During November there were three livestock depredation reports and two nuisance reports in the BRWRA.

On November 1, Wildlife Services investigated one dead cow in Arizona south of Middle Mountain.  The investigation determined the cow was killed by wolves.  The depredation was assigned to the adults and juveniles from the Bluestem Pack.

On November 19, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow near Canyon Del Buey in New Mexico.  The investigation determined the cow was killed by wolves and the depredation was assigned to the Mangas Pack.

On November 25, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow near Collins Park in New Mexico.  The investigation determined the cow was killed by wolves and the incident was assigned to the Luna Pack.

On November 27, a dog was attacked near Gila Hot Springs in New Mexico.  The incident was assigned to the Coronado Pack.

On November 29, a dog was attacked near Gila Hot Springs in New Mexico.  The incident was assigned to the Coronado Pack.

CAPTIVE MANAGEMENT

The Sevilleta Captive Management Facility remains empty due to ongoing facility maintenance.

COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION 

On November 11, The IFT gave a presentation to 17 members of the Wildlife Society at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.

PROJECT PERSONNEL

No significant activity to report.

REWARDS OFFERED

The USFWS is offering a reward of up to $10,000; the AGFD Operation Game Thief is offering a reward of up to $1,000; and the NMDGF is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to the conviction of the individual(s) responsible for the shooting deaths of Mexican wolves.  A variety of non-governmental organizations and private individuals have pledged an additional $46,000 for a total reward amount of up to $58,000, depending on the information provided.

Individuals with information they believe may be helpful are urged to call one of the following agencies: USFWS special agents in Mesa, Arizona, at (480) 967-7900, in Alpine, Arizona, at (928) 339-4232, or in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at (505) 346-7828; the WMAT at (928) 338-1023 or (928) 338-4385; AGFD Operation Game Thief at (800) 352-0700; or NMDGF Operation Game Thief at(800) 432-4263.  Killing a Mexican wolf is a violation of the Federal Endangered Species Act and can result in criminal penalties of up to $50,000, and/or not more than one year in jail, and/or a civil penalty of up to $25,000.

Other News

National

Nothing to report

Next Door

From Johnny Rodrigues, Chairman for Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force (www.zctfofficialsite.org)

BABY ELEPHANTS ABDUCTED FOR EXPORT TO CHINA

26th November 2014

We have received some very disturbing reports of animals being captured in Hwange National Park for export to China. Tourists and visitors to Hwange have complained about this.

Apparently, China has ordered a certain number of animals, amongst which are 30 lions. So far, 34 baby elephants, 7 lions and about 10 sable have been captured and are being held at Mtshibi Capture Unit, 7km from Main Camp. The elephants are between 2 and a half and 5 years old.

Our investigators have seen the animals and tried to take photos but were not allowed. The security there is very tight. They were told that the animals will be sent by container trucks to Maputo in Mozambique where they will be transferred to a livestock sea freighter and sent on to China

Why is Zimbabwe stealing from the future generation’s natural resources? The baby elephants quite likely won’t survive the trip and the only crime they have committed is being born in Zimbabwe. They are now being sentenced to a life of inhuman treatment. This is very traumatic, not only for the baby elephants but also for their families. Elephants don’t forget and this is very dangerous for future visitors to Hwange.

We have to try and stop this export from taking place.

2. Join me on this petition

I just signed this petition — will you join me?

Robert Mugabe, Saviour Kasukwere, Walter Mazimbi, Chidziwa.: Stop the export of animals to China
To: Robert Mugabe, Saviour Kasukwere, Walter Mazimbi, Chidziwa.

The petition is really important and could use our help. Click here to find out more and sign.

Thanks so much

3. Dr. Ian Player

We were deeply saddened to learn that Dr Ian Player passed away this morning after suffering a stroke last week.

Dr Player was a true gentleman and one of the best conservationists in Africa. He was responsible for introducing the white rhino into Hwange National Park, amongst many other things.

This is a great loss for African wildlife and we will try to keep his legacy alive.

Our sincere condolences for his family.

  1. UPDATE ON ELEPHANTS CAPTURED FOR EXPORT

8th December 2014

Further to our last report, we have now been informed that 36 elephants have been captured for export to China. Of the 36, one has already died and the meat was shared out between the people at the boma. We are extremely distressed that the elephants haven’t even left yet and one has already died. 27 elephants have been medically examined and found to be fit for travel but we don’t know what will happen to the other 9.

We would like to thank everybody who has signed our petition. The link to the petition is here.

Saviour Kasukuwere, Minister of Environment has stated that the elephants are going to the UAE and not to China. In view of this, a letter has been written to the Sheikh of the UAE by David Neale. The letter (below) has been agreed to by all the signatories at the foot of the letter.

His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum
Chairman and Chief Executive Emirates Airline and Group
Emirates Group HQ
PO Box 686
Dubai
December 2014

Your Highness,

Re: Transport of elephants from Zimbabwe to the UAE / China by Emirates Airlines

This letter is sent on behalf of major international animal welfare organisations and elephant conservation and welfare charities and their many millions of supporters worldwide, signed below. Collectively, we have extensive experience in advising governments and industry around the world on animal welfare policy and practice.
We are writing to most respectfully seek your personal support concerning a critical animal welfare issue.
In Zimbabwe elephants, lions and other endangered wild animals cruelly captured from their wild herds are currently awaiting export to foreign zoos and entertainment facilities. A parallel case in November 2012, in which Emirates Airlines flew wild captured elephant calves from Zimbabwe to China, resulted in a global public outcry. The renewed captures of wildlife for export are already drawing much criticism in the media, and a robust and widespread response from the public.
We are in no doubt that you share our concerns and will be saddened to learn that three of four elephants captured in Hwange National Park in 2012 and sent to two Chinese Zoos have since died. At least one elephant calf died in quarantine soon after arrival into China. . The one surviving elephant at Taiyuan Zoo is clearly suffering from bad health (as confirmed by a group of elephant specialists veterinarians who examine footage and photographs obtained from the facility, and put their concerns in writing in a letter to Chinese officials in February 2013) and without the company of other elephants, which, we are sure you are aware, is essential for the psychological well-being and behavioural development of these highly social, intelligent animals. Elephants have a highly evolved complex social system; extensive research has shown that elephants kept alone, especially elephant calves, will very likely develop abnormal behaviours and suffer high levels of stress. The facilities of the zoos that imported these animals do not come anywhere close to meeting modern, international zoo standards and, given that even the most highly regarded modern zoos seriously struggle to keep elephants well, many zoos simply cannot provide for the psychological or physiological needs of elephants. Without question, it is our collective view that the elephants captured from their wild herds and transported to unnatural environments are suffering greatly, and that their removal from their natal herds will have had a damaging lasting impact on the remaining animals.
We are deeply concerned that the previous as well as the current planned export may be contravening the commitments of the countries concerned to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which requires that such transactions can only be permitted if they are sustainable, prevent cruel treatment and ensure adequate housing and care at the animal’s destination. Elephant population estimates for Zimbabwe are unreliable, implementation of management plans and controls inadequate and on-going poaching could result in a rapid population decline. Furthermore, mortality rates of calves during capture, transport and in captivity are high. Elephant experts agree that the removal of calves from family groups is inherently cruel, and causes severe psychological trauma to the affected calves and the group.
We urge Emirates Airlines to not support such actions which violate welfare standards and the conservation of endangered species. We kindly urge you to refuse to transport these wild caught animals to captive facilities, where their welfare will inevitably be severely compromised.
Emirates’ stated vision ‘to make the Emirates Group an environmental leader’ includes a commitment to severalconservation programmes and the Emirates Environmental Policy clearly recognises that ‘customers, staff and regulators are increasingly conscious about the environment and greenhouse gas emissions’. We suggest that your staff and customers, along with our organisations’ many supporters, will also be conscious of, and concerned about, the welfare of those recently captured wild animals and would wish that no further elephants suffered in this way.
Emirates has an opportunity to demonstrate to its customers and the wider public that it will not compromise its environmental credentials by participating in the export of wild caught animals from Zimbabwe. The photo below of the one surviving solitary elephant at Taiyuan Zoo clearly shows that the conditions in this zoo do not provide the quality of physical, social and psychological care elephants require.
Your personal assurance that Emirates will play no further part in the transport of such wild caught animals would give us all the comfort we seek and we would subsequently be pleased to recognise that principled position in international press and media communications acknowledging Emirates’ decision.
We look forward most respectfully to your positive response.
Yours sincerely.
Sent on behalf of the following organisations:
1. AAP Rescue Centre for Exotic Animals, NETHERLANDS
2. All Life In A Viable Environment, JAPAN
3. Andhra PRadesh Goshalala Federation, INDIA
4. Anima, MACAU
5. Animal Friends, CROATIA
6. Animal Friends Niigata, JAPAN
7. Animal Projects & Environmental Education, MALAYSIA
8. Animal Protection Network, SWEDEN
9. Animal Rights Action Network, IRELAND
10. Animal Rights Centre, JAPAN
11. Animal Sanctuary Trust, INDONESIA
12. Animals Australia
13. ARK Animal Refuge Kansai, JAPAN
14. Australians for Animals
15. Bali Animal Welfare Association, INDONESIA
16. Bali Sea Turtle Society (BSTS), INDONESIA
17. Behavioral & Environmental Solutions, USA
18. Beijing Pet Adoption Day 北京领养日, CHINA
19. Beijing Sunflower Friends of Animal Team 北京市向日葵动物之友志愿者团队,CHINA
20. Bharatiya Prani Mitra Sangh, Hyderabad, INDIA
21. Blue Cross Youth Seva Sangham – Andhra Pradesh, INDIA
22. Born Free Foundation, UK
23. British Hen Welfare Trust, UK
24. Care for the Wild International,UK
25. Cat Welfare Society, SINGAPORE
26. Causes for Animals Ltd, SINGAPORE
27. Cee4life, AUSTRALIA
28. Centre for Orangutan Protection, INDONESIA
29. Changchun 3.10 Shanxiao Fund 长春3.10善小基金, CHINA
30. Changsha Small Animal Protection Association 长沙市小动物保护协会 , CHINA
31. Chengde Cat Forest 承德猫咪森林流浪猫救助团队, CHINA
32. Chengdu Home of Love Small Animal Rescue Center 成都市双流县爱之家动物救助中心, CHINA
33. China Farm Animal Protection Coalition中国农场动物保护联盟, CHINA
34. China Journalists Salon for Animal Protection中国动物保护记者沙龙, CHINA
35. China Youth Animal Protection Alliance 中国青年动物保护联盟, CHINA
36. China Zoo Watch, CHINA
37. Compassion Unlimited Plus Action, Bangalore, INDIA
38. CPR Environmental Education Centre, INDIA
39. Dalian VSHINE Protection of Animals SPCA大连市微善爱护动物协会, CHINA
40. Darjeeling Animal Shelter, INDIA
41. David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, UK
42. Djurskyddet Sverige (Animal Welfare Sweden), SWEDEN
43. Dobro Surtse, BULGARIA
44. DOGSTOP, HONG KONG
45. Dzivnieku Draugs, LATVIA
46. Egyptian Society of Animal Friends, EGYPT
47. Elephant Asia Rescue & Survival Foundation, HONG KONG
48. ElephantVoices, KENYA
49. Embark, SRI LANKA
50. Ente Nazionale Protezione Animali – Onlus, ITALY
51. Environment Films, UK
52. European Animal Protection Foundation / Europaeische Tierschutzstiftung, SWITZERLAND
53. FAADA, SPAIN
54. Fanciers Nanning Stray Cats 南宁流浪猫论坛, CHINA
55. Finnish Federation for Animal Welfare Organisations (SEY), FINLAND
56. For Elephants International,
57. Four Paws, UK
58. Four Paws International
59. Friends of the Earth, MALAYSIA
60. Fuzhou Aixinyuan Stray Animal Rescue Center 福州爱心缘流浪动物救助中心, CHINA
61. Fuzhou Small Animal Protection Center 福州小动物保护中心, CHINA
62. Gansu Green Volunteer Home 甘肃绿色志愿者之家, CHINA
63. GREY2K USA Worldwide, USA
64. Greyhound Compassion UK
65. Guangdong the Best Volunteer Center首善广东志愿者中心, CHINA
66. Guangyuan Bo’ai Animal Protection Center 广元市博爱动物保护中心, CHINA
67. Guangzhou Cat -Xi Xi Forest 熙熙森林广州猫, CHINA
68. Hefei Kennel Association Care Center合肥犬业协会小动物关怀中心, CHINA
69. Help Animals India, INDIA
70. Himalayan Animal Rescue Trust, INDIA
71. HK Dolphin Conservation Society, HONG KONG
72. Huhhot Angel Guardian呼和浩特天使守护动物保护公益团队, CHINA
73. Iceland Animal Welfare Foundation, ICELAND
74. In Defense of Animals, USA
75. In Defense of Animals, INDIA
76. International Otter Survival Fund, UK
77. International Primate Protection League
78. Jakarta Animal Aid Network, INDONESIA
79. JBF India Trust, INDIA
80. Jinan Cattery济南猫窝,CHINA
81. Karuna Society for Animals & Nature, INDIA
82. Kathmandu Animal Treatment Centre, NEPAL
83. Korea Animal Rights Advocate, REPUBLIC OF KOREA
84. Korean Animal Welfare Association, REPUBLIC OF KOREA
85. Lanta Animal Welfare, HONG KONG
86. Lanzhou Street Animal Rescue Station 兰州流浪动物救助站, CHINA
87. Life Conservationist Association, TAIWAN
88. Lifelong Animal Protection, HONG KONG
89. Light of Life Veterinary Clinic, SINGAPORE
90. Love Wildlife Foundation, THAILAND
91. Lucky Cats幸运土猫志愿者团体, CHINA
92. Marine Connection, UK
93. MelbournDolphin, AUSTRALIA
94. moonbears.org
95. Nanchang Small Animal Protection Association 南昌小动物保护协会, CHINA
96. Nanjing Ping An A Fu Stray Animal Rescue Association 南京平安阿福流浪动物救助会, CHINA
97. National Council of SPCAs, SOUTH AFRICA
98. Navale Consulting Group, INDIA
99. Orangutan Aid, HONG KONG
100. Palawan Animal Welfare Association, PHILIPINNES
101. People For Animals – Chennai, INDIA
102. People For Animals – Hooghly, INDIA
103. Pet Orphans Home汪汪喵呜孤儿院, CHINA
104. PETA Asia 亚洲善待动物组织, HONG KONG
105. Plant & Animal Welfare Society, INDIA
106. Pro Wildlife, GERMANY
107. Qingdao Society for the Protection of Animals 青岛爱护动物协会, CHINA
108. RAKSHA – Voice of the Voiceless, INDIA
109. Rattle the Cage Productions, THAILAND
110. Royal Veterinary College, University of London, HONG KONG
111. RSPCA Victoria, AUSTRALIA
112. Sahayog Organisation, Andhra Pradesh Goshalala Federation, Hyderabad, INDIA
113. Shandong Yantai Caring Street Animals Rescue Shelter 山东省烟台市爱心流浪动物救助收容中心, CHINA
114. Sichuan Qiming Companion Animal Protection Center四川省启明小动物保护中心, CHINA
115. SJZ One Meter More Love stray cats rescue group石家庄一米爱流浪猫救助团队, CHINA
116. Society for Animal Welfare and Management, NEPAL
117. Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals – Penang, MALAYSIA
118. Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals – Sarawak, MALAYSIA
119. Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals – Selangor, MALAYSIA
120. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Xiangzhou, Zhuhai) 珠海市香洲区爱护动物协会, CHINA
121. Soi Dog Foundation, THAILAND
122. Stiftung fuer Baeren / Foundation for Bears, SWITZERLAND
123. Stray Relief and Animal Welfare, INDIA
124. Sun Bear Centre – Kalimantan, INDONESIA
125. Swiss Animal Protection SAP / Schweizer Tierschutz STS / Protection Suisse des Animaux PSA, SWITZERLAND
126. Taiwan SPCA台灣防止虐待動物協會, TAIWAN
127. Thai Fund for Elephant Foundation, THAILAND
128. The Cattitude Trust – Chennai, INDIA
129. The Corbett Foundation, INDIA
130. The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, KENYA
131. The Humane Education Trust, SOUTH AFRICA
132. The Welfare of Stray Dogs – Mumbai, INDIA
133. The Winsome Constance Kindness Trust, AUSTRALIA
134. Tianjin Common Home中国天津共同家园, CHINA
135. Together for Animals in China 与牠同行动物福利促进协会, CHINA
136. United Against Elephant Polo, INDIA
137. Voice for Zoo Animals, JAPAN
138. “We Are One Family” Charity Association of Chongqing Normal University 重庆师范大学“天下一家”公益协会, CHINA
139. Wildlife Alliance, CAMBODIA
140. Wildlife in Need (and Active Environments), PHILIPPINES
141. Wildlife Protection Society of India, INDIA
142. Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation Centre, Bangalore, INDIA
143. Wolf Watch UK
144. Wuhan Small Animal Protection Association武汉市小动物保护协会, CHINA
145. Xi’an Grenadine Companion Animal Rescue Center 西安红石榴伴侣动物救助中心, CHINA
146. Xiamen Animal Protection Education Association厦门爱护动物教育专业委员会, CHINA
147. Xiamen Pet Web 厦门宠物网, CHINA
148. Xinjiang Karamay City Street Animal Protection Centre 新疆克拉玛依市流浪动物保护中心, CHINA
149. YeuDongVat, VIETNAM
150. Zhangzhou Small Animal Scientifically Rescue Center 漳州市小动物科学养护救助中心, CHINA
151. Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, ZIMBABWE
152. Zoocheck Canada, CANADA

Please respond to: Please respond to David Neale, Animal Welfare Director, Animals Asia Foundation, 10/F, Kai Tak Commercial Building 317-319 Des Voeux Road, Central, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong dneale@animalsasia.org

Cc: Mr Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline
Sir Maurice Flanagan KBE, Executive Vice Chairman, Emirates Airline and Group

Wolves and Wolfdogs

Wolves with blue Eyes?

Surely, you do know that wolf pups are born with blue eyes? Wolves develop their true eye color only as they mature, which typically comes out as a golden or hazel sometimes copper brown shade of color. BUT DID YOU ALSO KNOW that, although it is rare, adult wolves with blue eyes have been reported? This is called a paedomorphic trait, wherein an adult creature retains a juvenile characteristic.

Neoteny, also known as juvenilization, is one of two ways by which paedomorphism can arise. Paedomorphism or paedomorphosis is the retention by adults of traits previously seen only in the young, and is a subject studied in the field of ontogeny (developmental biology). Paedomorphism can also be the retention of larval traits which is commonly studied in salamanders. In neoteny, the physiological (or somatic) development of an organism (typically an animal) is slowed or delayed. In contrast, in progenesis, sexual development occurs faster. Both processes can result in paedomorphism, a type of heterochrony. Ultimately, this process results in the retention, in the adults of a species, of juvenile physical characteristics well into maturity and paedogenesis, the reproduction in a neotenized state.

Neoteny is one of three dimensions of heterochrony, or the change in timing of developmental events: acceleration (faster) vs. neoteny (slower), hypermorphosis (further) vs. progenesis (not as far), and predisplacement (begins earlier) vs. postdisplacement (begins later).

The word neoteny is adopted from the German word Neotenie, with the latter being constructed from the Greek words for “young” and “to extend”. The adjective form of the word is either “neotenic” or, less commonly, “neotenous”.

Neoteny has been observed in many species, but is seen more often in domesticated animals like dogs and mice than in wild animals. This is because there are more resources available, less competition for those resources, and with the lowered competition, the animals expend less energy obtaining those resources. This allows them to mature and reproduce more quickly than their wild counterparts. The environment that domesticated animals are raised in determines whether or not neoteny is present in those animals. Evolutionary neoteny can arise in a species when those conditions occur and a species becomes sexually mature ahead of its “normal development”. Another explanation for neoteny in domesticated animals can be the selection for certain behavioural characteristics. Behaviour is linked to genetics, which therefore means that when a behavioural trait is selected for, a physical trait may also be selected for due to mechanisms like linkage disequilibrium. Often, juvenile behaviours are selected for in order to more easily domesticate a species; aggressiveness in certain species comes with adulthood when there is a need for competing for resources. If there is no need for competition, then there is no need for aggression. Selecting for juvenile behavioural characteristics can lead to neoteny in physical characteristics because, for example, with the reduced need for behaviours like aggression, there will be no need for developing traits that would help in that area. Traits that may become neotenized due to decreased aggression may include a shorter muzzle and smaller general size amongst domesticated individuals. Some common neotenic physical traits in domesticated animals (mainly dogs, pigs, ferrets, cats, and even foxes) include floppy ears, changes in reproductive cycle, curled tail, piebald colouration, fewer or shortened vertebrae, larger eyes, rounded forehead, larger ears, and shortened muzzles.

Therefore, in contrast to common belief, not every wolf with blue eyes is a cross between a Husky and wolf.

Wolf Myths and Legends, Part 110

Wolf Christmas

freely told here from the book by Daniel Pinkwater

Little Stinkface and her brothers, Tanglefoot and PeeWee were sleeping, snuggled up under the snow where it was warm and cosy. Their older brother Robert, aunt Fang and mom were sleeping nearby, although under a thick cover of snow, and their dad was also in the close vicinity, watching over them.

PeeWee and Tangleffot produced little growls and munching noises in their sleep after they all had had a good meal of venison this evening. The moon was shining bright this night.

Stinkface felt PeeWee’s paws pushing against her when he stretched, almost shoving her out of the warm fur tangle, and she gave him a cranky growl. That alerted Tanglefoot, and he bit PeeWee in the tail. In the next moment they were all wide awake and jumped out of their snow cover, jumping around and on each other, wrestling, tumbling, laughing, and pushing one another about.

Then PeeWee found a twig, and Tanglefoot and Stinkface chased after him. Tanglefoot got hold of the twig first, and then Stinkface had it. During that wild game they bumped into the three grown-up wolves, growling and yelping, so that they had no other choice but to get up too. They shook the snow off their backs, settled down again, and watched the pups play in the moonlight.

Occasionally the grown-up wolves got involved in their games, but tonight, when Stinkface pumped into one of them and rolled over on her back with her paws up into the air, the big wolves just nuzzled her but didn’t get up to play with them.

Dad came out of a small group of trees, and the pups stopped playing and ran to him, rubbing their faces up to his. Dad told them that their uncle Louis was on his way to visit, and they got very excited, because uncle Louis was a funny wolf who always had interesting things to tell and show them.

Robert wanted to know how dad knew that uncle Louis was coming; did he see him, did he smell him, or did he hear him howl? But dad simply said “I just know”.

And he was right – a little while later uncle Louis arrived. The pups did not approach him with the same respect we showed to their father but flew straight into him, jumped all over him, and rolled around in the snow with him. Uncle Louis laughed and batted them with his paws.

Uncle Louis was amazed about how big the pups had become, and how pretty little Stinkface was. Then uncle Louis rubbed faces with dad and mom, while Robert and aunt Fang approached him with bent legs, their heads bowed and held sideways, and then reached up to rub their faces against his, very much like pups do it.

Uncle Louis was a very tall wolf, solidly black in colour and with yellow eyes.

He explained that this was the longest night of the year – or just about, and asked whether everyone would feel like taking a run through the woods, because he wanted to show us something unusual. Dad was concerned that uncle Louis had been going back near the pack of humans again, because he was convinced that humans posed a danger to wolves and did not want his pack to get near them, but uncle Louis said that humans were hardly dangerous, because they are so clumsy and make so much noise that they could not possibly get near the wolves or even see them if they didn’t want them to. He said that this was a special night for the humans, and that they were quite peaceful, not bothering about wolves at all.

The pups started to plead with their dad to go for a run through the woods with their uncle and see something unusual, and their father agreed that this was a fine night and he also felt like running.

And so they started running, with the snow feeling crisp and crunchy under their paws. The moon casted dark shadows, and they breathed the cold air deep into our lungs. Stinkface felt strong and light, stretching her legs in the run. The moon was shining silver on her brother’s fur, the stars were bright, and they did not tire of running.

They stopped they run on top of a hillside where they could see a human’s place below. They could clearly smell the place, hundreds of smells they had never smelled before, and some of them were nice.

They saw big, wooden things the humans were living in, and uncle Louis explained that they build these things by putting pieces of wood together. They could see that there were lights inside these things shining through holes in the sides. And everywhere they looked were coloured lights, like coloured stars, and hot, smoky smells, strange meat smells, and sweet smells.

They could not see any humans, though, because they were all inside the wooden things with smoke coming out of the snow covered tops of them.

But although they could not see the humans they could hear them. They heard them singing, and they listened. It sounded nice, and little Stinkface thought “even if they are dangerous, they are animals, just like we are”. And then they lifted their heads, and sitting on the hillside above the human place, they started to sing with them.

Readers’ Contribution

A Wolfdog Diary, Part 101

By Erin

Well, as expected, our German friend came back from his field trip, and to my personal horror not during the afternoon hours as had originally been planned, but again when it was already dark. Ted and I now feared a repeat of the same drama that happened when he first arrived here from Germany late at night, but to our big surprise, that was not the case. While Kajack again made a hell of a fuss, the others remained quite calm, and even Taima decided that it was better to come inside than stay outside on her own. Maybe the weather had helped her make this decision because it had been raining during the afternoon, and the conditions outside were rather unpleasant.

We had another three days together before our friend had to catch his flight back home, and to our great relief everything went smoothly and without more problems. However, when he started packing his stuff and moving his luggage to the car, you could clearly see the twinkle in their eyes – they were obviously enjoying the fact that he would now leave for good.

We didn’t have much time to indulge in our newly found freedom. Just a week later, Kajack first didn’t finish his food one evening, and then refused to eat completely the next morning. We suspected that he might have upset his stomach with some pieces of bone or something else because except of the non-eating he seemed to be quite okay. In the evening, he again refused to eat, and although he still didn’t show any other symptoms like fever, swollen glands or apathy, we decided we would take him to the vet for a check-up the following morning. We were quite worried.

The next morning, he was anything but impressed when Ted put him on leash. Knowing that Ascar would not at all like to be separated from his best buddy, I had locked the others out until Ted had managed to get Kajack into the car, which was a bit of a challenge to our physical powers. Once inside the car, however, he found this new perspective rather interesting and seemed to really enjoy the ride. The rest of the pack made their disagreement heard by intense howling when we left.

At the vet’s place, Kajack behaved very well, lying flat on the floor with his eyes closed, letting the vet do what he had to, without any protest. We had brought a faecal sample, which I had collected just one hour before, because we had feared that this could be another case of hookworm. As it turned out, however, he actually suffered from a very tricky strain of billiary. It produces hardly any clear symptoms, and often goes away after a few days by itself, or at least it seems to, with the animal going back to eating and behaving completely normal, until the next “attack” hits. That can go on for a while, but in the end the infected animal will simply keel over from liver failure. Luckily, with Kajack, it was still at a very early stage, and we could take him home after two injections (one in the neck and one in the rump).

The pack was very happy to see us coming back with him, and couldn’t stop sniffing out where he had been and what happened to him. Ascar also made it clear that he didn’t like a pack member to go AWOL. It took only about two hours before Kajack started to ask for some food, and in the evening he gulped down his portion as if there would be no tomorrow.

Kajack turned one year last week, and, as usual, the pack had an exciting feast with two tins of sardines shared between the four of them.

… will be continued