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Jeffrey Flocken, North American Regional Director, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), issued the following statement regarding a bill passed on Friday, June, 20 by the New York state legislature which bans the sale and purchase of elephant and mammoth ivory and rhino horn:

“A big victory for endangered elephants and rhinos today, as New York enacts a landmark law to ban the sale of ivory and rhino horn.

These bans are important tools for regulating, and, we hope, eventually ending the ivory and rhino horn trade. Every 15 minutes on average, an African elephant is slaughtered for its ivory tusks to support a mass consumer demand. Rhinos, which are also poached for their horns, are similarly threatened. The U.S. ranks as one of the largest ivory consumers in the world and New York serves as one its biggest entry points and markets.

Promising regulations are gathering momentum at the federal level. As one of the first states to pass such legislation, New York is carving a path for others to follow.

We love New York’s actions and congratulate and thank our coalition partners in encouraging the passage of these bills.”

To learn more about IFAW’s work to crush the ivory trade, please visit http://www.ifaw.org/united-states/our-work/elephants/ending-ivory-trade.

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Penguin lovers around the world will unite to observe World Penguin Day on April 25th, and The Pew Charitable Trusts is joining the celebration by announcing the launch of the first global effort aimed at protecting penguins wherever they live.

Eighteen species of penguin range from the cold of Antarctica to the equatorial heat of the Galapagos Islands. Interference from humans in the form of pollution, habitat degradation, introduced predators, and overfishing is affecting the health of penguins. Climate change, which melts and shifts sea ice, adds to the challenges facing these birds. Most species are in decline, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Pew Emperor penguins

“Penguin protection is critical, not just for these iconic species, but for entire ocean ecosystems,” said Andrea Kavanagh, director of Pew’s global penguin conservation and Southern Ocean work. “Penguins are sentinels of ocean health, and changes to their populations can indicate trouble for other species that depend on a robust food web.”

Pew will work to restore and protect breeding and feeding grounds in the coastal waters of countries throughout the Southern Hemisphere, as well as advocate to establish large, no-take marine reserves in Antarctica’sSouthern Ocean.

As a member of the Antarctic Ocean Alliance, Pew is actively engaged in the effort to establish large-scale marine protections in the Southern Ocean. Although reserves do not mitigate the impacts of climate change, they help species such as penguins build resilience, abundance and diversity, and provide refuge from increased fishing pressures.

The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, or CCAMLR, is the consensus-based international body charged with governing these waters. Comprised of 24 member countries and the European Union, the commission is considering proposals for marine reserves in the Ross Sea and waters offEast Antarctica. At this October’s annual meeting, CCAMLR will debate the proposals for the fourth time. Pew hopes that this year, decisions will be made.

Last year, the international community could not agree on a plan to protect some of Antarctica’s valuable penguin habitat because of objections from Russia. But these waters and these habitats must be preserved.

“The Antarctic Treaty was signed at the height of the Cold War to protect the entire continent. Now it’s the Southern Ocean’s turn for an international conservation commitment,” said Kavanagh. “We all depend on a healthy ocean for survival. Today’s political differences should not stand in the way of protecting penguins and vulnerable sea life.”

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Celebrate BATS and learn the facts! U-Haul SuperGraphics is recognizing the true role of bats in our environment.  What’s Fact? What’s Myth?  What do bats really do and why are they worth protecting?

“Often overlooked, or even feared, bats are some of the most diverse, ecologically important and unique mammals on Earth,” stated Rob Mies, director, Organization for Bat Conservation. “Bats are a critical part of our environment. One bat alone can eat up to 5,000 insects in one night!”

U-Haul SuperGraphics Bat Appreciation

That insect control alone has been valued at $23 billion a year in savings to the agricultural industry. This reduction in pesticides not only saves costs but also prevents further negative effects on all of us. Bats are pollinators of hundreds of plants, some of which are exclusively pollinated by bats. Anyone who appreciates tequila should thank the Long-nosed bats.

There are nearly 1,300 kinds of bats worldwide, making up roughly a quarter of all mammalian species. Beyond their role in the environment, bats are involved in key industries including tourism, research and technology.

Over the years, bats have inspired advances in technology, particularly related to echolocation and sonar. Research has also led to the development of Draculin, anticoagulant using bat saliva to help stroke victims.

Current research is being done on the bat’s wing structure in order to identify ways to increase the maneuverability of airplanes.

Threats To Bats
Bats are under threat from a variety of sources, many human-driven. The biggest threat currently is a disease that is spreading across the country called White-nose Syndrome (WNS). WNS was first found in New York in 2006 and has since spread to 26 states. This fungal infection is typically spread bat-to-bat where bats hibernate. This devastating disease has killed more than 6 million bats so far. Researchers are working around the clock to find a cure, yet to date there is no way to control it. Learn more about White Nose Syndrome by visiting: http://www.whitenosesyndrome.org.

Bats are also dying off from the effects of climate change, the loss of habitat and the increased use of pesticides.  Bat conservationists are extremely concerned that these threats combined may lead to the species’ extinction.

What You Can Do
The problem facing bats is big, but all of us can, and should, take easy steps that will help protect these important animals:

Care for bats throughout the year

  • Put up summer roosting, bat houses in your backyard. Visit http://www.batconservation.org/bat-houses
  • Plant native, night-blooming plants and avoid using pesticides
  • Become involved in protection of local forests and wetlands

Avoid possible spread of WNS by humans

  • Stay out of caves and mines where bats are known or suspected to hibernate
  • Honor cave closures and gated caves
  • Stay out of caves when bats are hibernating

Invest in education and research
The nonprofit Organization for Bat Conservation teaches people about the importance of bats and inspires people to become involved in conservation.  Visit us online at www.batconservation.org.

Get free U-Haul SuperGraphic coloring book pages and screen savers at:
http://www.uhaul.com/SuperGraphics/264/Venture-Across-America-and-Canada-Modern/Missouri

About U-Haul SuperGraphics

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Canon Europe, leader in imaging solutions, is sponsoring a WWF and Norwegian Polar Institute (NPI) expedition to the islands of Svalbard above the Arctic Circle, as part of its role as Conservation Imaging Partner of WWF International. Setting off tomorrow, the NPI and WWF-Canon expedition aims to collect critical data about Europe’s most westerly polar bear population.

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© Brutus Ostling, Canon Ambassador

During the Svalbard expedition, the team of researchers will undertake two specific missions: to place satellite collars on polar bears so that their routes can be tracked over the next year and to scout for new denning areas on islands in the Svalbard peninsula. Completion of these tasks will help the scientists to assess the response of polar bears to climate change, and to understand if there will be anywhere for the bears to den in the future, following a recent report that the area could be completely free of summer sea ice by 2050[1].

Canon imaging equipment will be used by the expedition team to capture the experience and record events. Swedish wildlife photographer and Canon Ambassador Brutus Östling will also accompany the scientists to capture images of the wildlife they encounter along the way and document the expedition.

“Canon has a longstanding partnership with WWF, supporting a number of important Arctic expeditions and helping WWF to record the state of the environment,” commented Cyprian da Costa, Brand Communications Director, Canon Europe. “The images captured in Svalbard will play a fundamental role in the research undertaken on this expedition and help promote the vital work being carried out by WWF to raise awareness of the challenges that polar bears are facing in a world ever-more affected by climate change.”

Geoff York, Polar Bear Lead, WWF International Lead, commented: “Canon’s support for these expeditions is invaluable; we are delighted to be working together to highlight how the changing ice conditions are impacting the polar bear populations and how they breed. The photographs and video footage truly bring our work to life and help us to highlight these changes to a global audience.”

The Svalbard trip is the third Arctic research expedition that Canon has supported. In 2012, the expedition travelling from Greenland through Canada’s High Arctic to the Last Ice Area was designed to assess the future management options for that area. In 2013, researchers travelled to the Taimyr Peninsula in the Laptev Sea to collect genetic material to confirm the theory of existence of unique subspecies of the Laptev walrus population.

Canon Europe has been a conservation partner of WWF International since 1998. The continued partnership demonstrates Canon Europe’s dedication to a sustainable future in which humans live in harmony with the natural world. The partnership includes support for a range of initiatives, including continued sponsorship of the WWF-Canon Global Photo Network and photography training for WWF employees.

Visit the expedition web site for updates.

1. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/rog.20017/abstract

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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently announced it would suspend imports of sport-hunted African elephant trophies taken in Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

Jeffrey Flocken, North American Regional Director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) said:  “IFAW applauds the U.S. Government’s move to suspend the import of elephant trophies from Tanzaniaand Zimbabwe.  Killing one of the world’s most endangered and admired species just to hang on a wall is simply unacceptable in this day and age. We encourage the FWS to make it permanent.”

It is estimated that between 25,000 and 50,000 elephants are killed for their ivory each year.

About IFAW (the International Fund for Animal Welfare)
Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has signed the Dangerous Wild Animal Act into law. The bill (HB 4393), prohibiting private ownership of dangerous wild animals, was sponsored by Delegate Randy Swartzmiller (D-1).

The new law includes a recommendation on phasing out future ownership of big cats, bears, primates, venomous and constrictor snakes, and alligators; institutes a Dangerous Wild Animal Board to create a list of animals to include under the law, and addresses Animal Welfare Act violations by roadside zoos.

ifaw-cdi

Image courtesy of IFAW

“We commend the governor and legislature for this tremendous step forward for animal welfare and public safety in West Virginia.” said Tracy Coppola, campaigns officer at the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). “We were honored to work on the bill in coalition with The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), and celebrate this victory with them.”

The Dangerous Wild Animal Act ends West Virginia’s history of being one of six states without any restrictions on big cats and other exotics in private hands.

Coppola added: “As with our campaign to pass the federal Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act (H.R. 1998/S.1381), ending the big cat pet and roadside zoo trade is a top priority for IFAW. Wild animals kept as backyard pets or in roadside zoo exhibits cannot escape a life of misery. Without a change in the law, first responders trained to protect human safety will continue to risk their lives confronting these dangerous wild animals after escapes or attacks.”

About IFAW (the International Fund for Animal Welfare)
Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats.

 

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Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Ellen Ferretti today announced that DCNR’s Wild Resource Conservation Program is funding a transmitter to help better understand the southerly movement of snowy owls.

The program provided $3,000 for a transmitter being worn by a bird caught at the beginning of March in central Pennsylvania.

project-snowstorm

“It doesn’t happen very often, and when it does, it’s rarely as dramatic as this year. Pennsylvania was at the epicenter of a massive southerly movement of one of the Arctic’s most iconic animals,” Ferretti said. “True to its mission of supporting research, conservation and education projects focused on biodiversity, the Wild Resource Conservation Program is happy to help with this important project.”

Named after the town near where he was caught, Womelsdorf is a young male that has spent the winter hunting in the farm fields of western Berks County. He is a very healthy bird, judging by the ample layer of fat lying below his dense feathers, and will have no problem carrying the 40 gram transmitter strapped to his back with Teflon ribbon.

This winter, hundreds of snowy owls moved as far south as Florida and west to the Great Lakes states. This “irruption” is the largest in a half century, and is likely due to a bumper crop of young owls, thanks to an overabundance of lemmings in the Arctic last summer.

Not much is known about the owl’s winter behavior and ecology, especially during an irruption. Recognizing this unprecedented opportunity, Project Owlnet, a network of U.S. and Canadian owl researchers, launched Project SNOWstorm to learn more.

The multi-state effort, which is based at the Ned Smith Center for Nature and the Arts in Millersburg, is utilizing a technology never before used to track an owl’s movements. Twenty owls have been captured and outfitted with solar-powered GPS transmitters that should provide an extraordinary level of detail about the bird’s movements.

Birds from a range of habitats, from ocean coast to farmlands to urban areas, have been tagged to gain the best sense possible of how they move and behave during an irruption.

“It’s ironic that we know more about the ecology of snowy owls on their breeding grounds in the Arctic than we do about their winter ecology when they’re down here,” says Project Owlnet’s co-director, Scott Weidensaul. “The incredibly detailed tracking data we’re getting has already produced a host of unexpected discoveries about where and how these owls move across the landscape, what habitats they use by day and at night, their hunting behavior and a lot more.

“We’ve found that some are home-bodies, rarely straying more than a half a mile from where they were tagged, while others have roamed hundreds of miles across multiple states,” Weidensaul said. “Some specialize in hunting waterbirds at night over the ocean, while others have spent weeks on end hunting ducks and gulls in cracks in the ice on Lake Erie, miles from shore. There have been almost weekly revelations.”

Anytime Womelsdorf passes within range of a cell phone tower in Canada or the U.S., the unit will download all of its data to Project Owlnet.

The small device can store up to 100,000 data locations, each indicating Womelsdorf’s latitude, longitude, altitude and speed.  It should continue operating throughout the bird’s life.

Anyone can follow Womelsdorf’s travels or those of his fellow owls by visiting Project SNOWstorm.

For information on DCNR’s Wild Resource Conservation Program, go to http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/conservationscience/wrcp/index.htm.

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West Virginia may be on its way toward ending its history of being one of six states without any restrictions on big cats and other exotics in private hands.

ifaw-tiger

Wild animals kept as backyard pets or in roadside zoo exhibits cannot escape a life of misery. Without a change in the law, first responders trained to protect human safety will continue to risk their lives confronting these dangerous wild animals after escapes or attacks.

Late last week, the West Virginia legislature passed the Dangerous Wild Animals Act (House Bill 4393, Del. Randy Swartzmiller (D-1)) with overwhelming support.

This long-overdue initiative prohibits private ownership of dangerous wild animals. Specifically, the bill includes an emphasis on phasing out future ownership of big cats, bears, primates, venomous and constrictor snakes, and alligators; creates a Dangerous Wild Animal Board to create a list of animals to include under the law; and addresses Animal Welfare Act violations by roadside zoos.

IFAW was honored to work on the bill in coalition with amazing partners: The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). We celebrate this victory with them, and we commend the West Virginia legislature for this tremendous step forward for animal welfare and public safety in West Virginia.

As with our campaign to pass the federal Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act (H.R. 1998/S.1381), ending the big cat pet and roadside zoo trade is a top priority for IFAW. Wild animals kept as backyard pets or in roadside zoo exhibits cannot escape a life of misery. Without a change in the law, first responders trained to protect human safety will continue to risk their lives confronting these dangerous wild animals after escapes or attacks.

If you are a West Virginia resident, please ask Governor Tomblin to sign the bill into law today!

About IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare)
Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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An international team of wildlife scientists praised China’s commitment to reintroduce tigers into the wild during a recent meeting at Laohu Valley Reserve in South Africa. The meetings signalled continued cooperation and new momentum in the effort to reintroduce the world’s rarest tiger, the South China tiger, back into the wild in China.

Scientists Praise China's Commitment to Reintroduce Tigers to the Wild

The scientists and representatives of the UK charity, Save China’s Tigers, hosted a delegation from the Chinese State Forestry Administration to Laohu Valley Reserve in South Africa’s Free State province. Laohu Valley Reserve is home to an ambitious effort to breed and rewild South China tigers for introduction into restored wild areas in China. The meetings were part of an effort to evaluate the progress of the South China Tiger Project and discuss next steps.

The scientists and Chinese State Forestry Administration representatives celebrated the success of the first phase of the Project. Project Director, Mr. Lu Jun, noted that “not only are these South China tigers in excellent health, but they have been rewilded successfully and are ready to return to the wild in China.”

Save China’s Tigers and the Chinese government delegation also confirmed their commitment to the second phase of the Project – the reintroduction of rewilded South Chinatigers into large protected wild areas in China. Mr. Lu Jun noted, “We have together already made great progress in rewilding and will continue to work together to restore habitat for the tigers in China.”

The group also reviewed the groundbreaking research being conducted by Dr. Maria Fabregas on the rewilding of the tigers at Laohu Valley Reserve. As part of her research, she assesses hunting performance of each of the tigers held at the South African facility to ensure they are proficient hunters before they are reintroduced back into their former range in China.

Preliminary results are indeed very positive, showing that the evaluated tigers are able to hunt frequently enough to meet their energetic requirements, but most importantly, they show a high level of adaptability in their hunting behaviour. Dr. Maria Fabregas indicated that, “the fact that they are flexible in their hunting strategies depending on environment is very encouraging, as the habitat where they will be reintroduced in China will be very different from what they experience here in South Africa. Being able to adapt to different environments is crucial for their survival.”

Importantly, Save China’s Tigers and State Forestry Administration representatives will be meeting with provincial authorities in the next few months. These meetings will lay the groundwork for the development of large fenced reserves to return tigers. Dr. Gary Koehlersaid, “It is truly gratifying to see the success of this project and the support of the Chinese government to ensure that these tigers are returned to the wild in China.”

Save China’s Tigers has been at the forefront of rewilding tigers and sharing this knowledge with others in tiger conservation, most recently with the Malaysian Department of Wildlife and National Parks.

The South China tiger (Panthera tigris amoyensis) is an iconic symbol in Chinese culture, but only a few possibly remain in the wild and approximately 100 live in captivity. The Chinese Tiger Project began in 2002 when Save China’s Tigers and the Chinese Tigers South African Trust signed a landmark agreement with the Chinese government to transfer zoo born tigers from China to Laohu Valley Reserve to breed and be rewilded for later introduction into the wild in China.

Further inquires can be made to either Save China’s Tigers at info@savechinastigers.org or Mr. Lu Jun, National Wildlife Research and Development Center of China’s State Forestry Administration, lujunmail@vip.sina.com

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Animal Fund, a forty-year-old non-profit organization, has launched a unique web site called Whaleopedia, which gives viewers natural history information on every species of whale, dolphin and porpoise for free. What sets this site apart from all others is the massive number of unique photographs, video clips, and audio recordings of these animals, collected from all over the world.

ANIMAL FUND DOLPHINS

Whaleopedia will be a great asset for anyone who wants to learn about these fascinating animals—from teachers, to students, to those who just want to see the incredible variation among cetaceans. The text in Whaleopedia was written by world-renowned marine mammal expert Ken. Balcomb, and the artwork depicting each animal was created by Larry Foster, long recognized as the world’s finest cetacean artist. This site is essentially an updated and expanded version of The World’s Whales, a best-selling guide to whales, dolphins and porpoises, published by Smithsonian Books, and compiled and co-authored by Animal Fund president Stan Minasian and Ken Balcomb, with artwork by Larry Foster.

Whaleopedia utilizes the large media library of Animal Fund as its base, but also embeds hundreds of unique photographs and video clips from photographers and videographers around the world, making it the one-stop shopping site for entering and learning about the world of whales, dolphins and porpoises.

Animal Fund is a 40-year old non-profit organization concentrating on public education of animals, both wild and domestic, and the environment. Whaleopedia is but one of Animal Fund’s public education projects.

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