California becomes second state to outlaw cruel weapon used to control elephants

Washington, D.C., August 30, 2016 -- Born Free USA, a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, commends California’s Governor Jerry Brown for signing S.B. 1062 yesterday to ban the use of bullhooks and other weapons designed to inflict pain for the purpose of training or controlling the behavior of an elephant. Introduced by Senator Ricardo Lara (D-33), the law will go into effect on January 1, 2018.

A bullhook is a long, thick pole with a sharp metal hook attached to the end, used to inflict pain as negative reinforcement. It is a common, yet highly notorious weapon in the elephant trainer’s arsenal. California is the second state in the nation to pass a prohibition on bullhooks, following Rhode Island’s precedent-setting law in July.

According to Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, “We are seeing a groundswell of public support across the country for ending the use of cruel bullhooks as the public becomes increasingly concerned about the welfare of performing animals—and legislators from coast to coast are responding. Bullhooks and other weapons used by trainers produce unimaginable suffering in elephants who are forced to submit to unnatural acts before an audience day after day, year after year. There is no justification for causing this type of physical and mental anguish.”

In addition, numerous elephant experts claim that sharp implements can do severe damage to elephants’ thick but highly sensitive skin. Trainers often embed the bullhook into the soft tissue behind the ears, inside the ear or mouth, under the trunk and chin, in the armpit area, on the back of the legs, in and around the anus, and in tender spots around the feet. The fear that the bullhook instills in elephants means they will, under duress, do everything possible to escape further blows. Its cruel power to implement negative reinforcement techniques explains why the bullhook has historically been a ubiquitous weapon for circus trainers. After that type of abuse, simply holding the bullhook near the elephant when in front of an audience is threatening enough to compel obedience.

“We thank Senator Lara for sponsoring this crucial legislation and applaud Governor Brown for making the compassionate choice to sign it into law,” says Roberts. “This is a momentous step forward in the fight to end brutality against performing animals, and I hope other states will follow California’s example without delay.”

Born Free USA is a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic "pets," trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to America the message of "compassionate conservation": the vision of the U.K.-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son, Will Travers. Born Free's mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at www.bornfreeusa.org, www.twitter.com/bornfreeusa, and www.facebook.com/bornfreeusa.

Oakland, CA...July 14, 2016 – Oakland Zoo’s elephant program contributed to a special collection of peer-reviewed scientific research articles resulting from a comprehensive study on North American zoo elephant welfare. The collections is available today in the scientific journal PLOS ONE. It includes nine research papers, an overview and formal commentary explaining the significance of the work and its importance to better understand and enhance zoo elephant welfare.

“Oakland Zoo applauds AZA for taking on such a massive institutional study to work on improving the livelihood of elephants in captivity. Being involved in elephant research and data collection in and out of the field for twenty years, Oakland Zoo is committed to continuously improving the lives of elephants, a sensitive, highly intelligent, sentient, and complex being. We understand that the more we learn about this species in the wild and in captivity, we can manage them appropriately to encourage species typical behaviors. This study is one step toward that goal,” said Gina Kinzley, Co-Lead Elephant Manager at Oakland Zoo. 

This is the first and only multi-institution study to comprehensively identify and measure variables that significantly contribute to North American zoo elephant welfare, thus allowing science to inform management practices, according to Anne Baker, Ph.D., one of several principal investigators of the project. “Many AZA-accredited zoos are already using knowledge we’ve learned from the research to improve the welfare of their elephants.”

The collection, titled Epidemiological Investigations of North American Zoo Elephant Welfare, is available online and is accessible to the public. (See journals.plos.org)

The research is the outcome of work by a 27-member study team, which includes independent consultants, zoo professionals, and faculty from three universities. The study was funded by an $800,000 leadership grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) awarded to the Honolulu Zoo Society and administered by Kathy Carlstead, Ph.D. Team members and dozens of research assistants from widely varied disciplines developed quantitative measures to assess multiple elephant-welfare indicators as well as a large variety of housing and management practices.

 “Zoo elephant welfare is a topic of public interest, but the lack of available data on this specific population made it difficult to differentiate fact from opinion, ” said Cheryl Meehan, Ph.D., the study’s consulting project manager and director of AWARE Institute, in Portland, OR. “The collection provides a scientific perspective on a number of issues that are important to the conversation about elephants in zoos, and it is forward-looking as a resource that can help shape and inform the future of elephant care.”

The collection resulted from a comprehensive study analyzing the daily lives of 255 Asian and African elephants in 68 North American zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Data were collected in 2012 and preliminary results presented at AZA conferences in 2013 and 2014. Research focused on factors related to the wellbeing of elephants that can be scientifically observed, measured, and analyzed, including: behavior, body condition, foot and joint health, female reproductive function, and walking distance -  Oakland Zoo's elephants were also part of the behavior studies which measured stereotypic behavior performance, walking distances and recumbence behavior. Nearly 96 percent of North American AZA-accredited zoos with elephants participated in the study.

Results showed that the elephants’ social lives play the biggest role in supporting behavioral health. For example, primary importance is for elephants to spend time in groups, and not be socially isolated.  Human care takers also can play an important role in an elephant’s social life through husbandry, training and interactive sessions.

 Although space is often linked to welfare in public discussions about elephants in zoos, researchers did not find evidence that the amount of enclosure space supports greater amounts of walking, decreased stereotypic behavior, improved body condition, or better foot and joint health.

The study did find that the quality of the space and management practices is important to elephant welfare. For example, the research demonstrated that decreased time spent on hard flooring significantly reduced the risk of foot and joint problems, which were found to be important health concerns for the population.

And the research team discovered a previously unknown link between the quality of enrichment and feeding programs and female reproductive health. This result indicates that day-to-day management practices could be an important tool in addressing the reproductive issues that are particularly common among female African elephants. 

“This groundbreaking approach provides a model for measuring welfare in managed animal populations with the potential to conduct similar studies to benefit many different species cared for in zoos and aquariums,” said Meehan. “And this research can be extended to inform elephant conservation efforts given that only a minority of free-ranging elephants exists in large undisturbed protected areas, while many “wild” elephants are managed in small reserves.”

ABOUT OAKLAND ZOO

The Bay Area's award-winning Oakland Zoo is home to more than 660 native and exotic animals. The Zoo offers many educational programs and kid's activities perfect for science field trips, family day trips and exciting birthday parties. Oakland Zoo is dedicated to the humane treatment of animals and wildlife conservation onsite and worldwide; with 25¢ from each ticket donated to support conservation partners and programs around the world. The California Trail, a transformational project that more than doubles our size, opens in 2018, and will further our commitment to animal care, education, and conservation with a focus on this state’s remarkable native wildlife. Nestled in the Oakland Hills, in 500-acre Knowland Park, the Zoo is located at 9777 Golf Links Road, off Highway 580. The East Bay Zoological Society (Oakland Zoo) is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization supported in part by members, contributions, the City of Oakland and the East Bay Regional Parks. For more information, go to: www.oaklandzoo.org

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U.S. is Largest Importer of Hunting Trophies By Far

Washington, D.C. (June 14, 2016) – Today the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) released Killing For Trophies: An Analysis of Global Trophy Hunting Trade. The new report provides an in-depth look at the scope and scale of trophy hunting trade and isolates the largest importers of animal trophies worldwide.  

The result of a comprehensive analysis of the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Trade Database, the report found that as many as 1.7 million hunting trophies may have been traded between nations between 2004 and 2014, with at least 200,000 of that being made up of categories of species, also known as taxa, that are considered threatened.

“The trophy hunting industry is driven by demand, and sadly, demand for animal trophies is prevalent worldwide,” said Jeff Flocken, North American Regional Director, IFAW. “Even in the face of extinction, imperiled species are still being hunted every day in order to serve as the centerpiece of someone’s décor. It is unconscionable in this modern day when species are under so many threats to survive.”

IFAW’s research found that 107 different nations (comprised of 104 importing nations and 106 exporting nations) participated in trophy hunting between 2004 and 2014, with the top twenty countries responsible for 97 percent of trophy imports. The United States accounted for a staggering 71 percent of the import demand, or about 15 times more than the next highest nation on the list—Germany and Spain (both 5 percent).

Of the top 20 importing countries, most of the trophies were killed and imported from Canada (35 percent), South Africa (23 percent) and Namibia (11 percent), with the largest number of threatened taxa coming from Canada to the U.S., followed by African nations to the U.S.

The analysis further revealed that three of the four threatened taxa from the highly-prized species known as the “Africa Big Five” (African elephant, African leopard, and African lion) are among the top six most traded of imperiled taxa. African lions in particular had the strongest statistically significant increase of trophy hunting trade since 2004, with at least 11,000 lion trophies being traded worldwide from 2004 to 2013.  Other big five species also remain popular with trophy hunters, with over 10,000 elephant trophies and over 10,000 leopard trophies being legally traded worldwide between 2004 and 2014. Like African lions, elephant trophy hunting trade has increased since 2004.

To view the full report, please visit: http://www.ifaw.org/united-states/resource-centre/killing-trophies-analysis-global-trophy-hunting-trade

About IFAW

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.

FASCINATING NEW ELEPHANT SCIENCE

NAT GEO WILD’S MIND OF A GIANT REVEALS THAT ELEPHANTS ARE SMARTER THAN EVER KNOWN BEFORE

MIND OF A GIANT Premieres Sunday, June 19, at 9/8c on Nat Geo WILD

(WASHINGTON, D.C. — June 1, 2016) Across Africa, elephants are in crisis. Each day, 96 elephants fall victim to poachers, human-elephant conflict and habitat loss. In 2013, Paul G. Allen launched the Great Elephant Census, the first pan-African aerial survey of savanna elephants in more than 40 years. Soon after surveyors began their work, they observed something that truly surprised them. In the past 40 years, in the face of growing threats, elephants have changed where and how they live in their historic ecosystems. This incredible discovery, combined with the latest studies from the top elephant researchers in the world, revealed that elephants are learning to adapt and survive in ways we’ve never seen before. We join the experts in Africa to see their work firsthand in Mind of a Giant, premiering Sunday, June 19, at 9/8c on Nat Geo WILD. For more information, visit www.natgeotv.com or our press site www.foxflash.com, or follow us on Twitter using @NGC_PR.

Mind of a Giant started with a noble cause that turned into revolutionary research that may help save a beloved and threatened species,” said Geoff Daniels, executive vice president and general manager, Nat Geo WILD. “The dedicated scientists and conservationists featured here are pushing the boundaries of elephant research to reveal a smarter, more thoughtful animal than ever known before. We are thrilled to share their story of hope with our viewers who love animals and the people working to save them.”

Never before has this volume of compatible elephant research been featured in a single film. Mind of a Giant is a window into the world of the modern elephant, supremely intelligent creatures living and fighting for their lives in a world of poachers, new human settlements and other dangers. Together with the top elephant researchers in the world, we learn about how these gentle giants exhibit empathy, grief, joy, fear and vengefulness. The more we understand these majestic creatures, the more we can help them live on for future generations.

The Experts

 

Sir Iain Douglas Hamilton is one ofthe world’s foremost authorities on the African elephant and founder of Save the Elephants, a leading research and conservation organization. In 1988 he was awarded the Order of the Golden Ark — one of conservation’s highest awards — and in 2015 he was awarded the Order of the British Empire (CBE). Save the Elephants conducts vital research on elephant behavior and ecology and pioneered GPS radio tracking in Africa to provide fresh insight into the life of elephants.

 

Frank Pope tracks the daily movements of elephants across a dangerous landscape. Pope is chief operations officer for Save the Elephants. He speaks to the fact that that elephants have learned exactly where safe territory ends and enemy territory begins. This new behavior proves that the elephants are aware of the location of their enemies, and that they have learned to proactively strategize their movements to avoid their foes.

Josh Plotnik founded Think Elephants International in 2011.His research on elephant intelligence has been published in some of science’s top peer-reviewed journals and has garnered millions of media impressions since 2006. Perhaps his best-known study centers on elephant self-awareness, which was conducted by placing a mirror in front of captive Asian elephants. He suggests that a mirror may truly be the window to an elephant’s soul, but he’s never shown a wild African elephant a mirror until now.

Joyce Poole, co-founder of Elephant Voices and one of the world’s leading elephant behaviorists, is an expert on how elephants communicate with one another. She shares some of the more than 250 postures, gestures and vocalizations she has identified that elephants use to communicate, and reveals their extraordinary ability to plan and coordinate their responses to threats.

Bob Jacobs studies the brains of elephants and humans at Colorado College. He reveals just how incredibly interconnected elephant brains are, and the massive processing power their huge brains possess. Elephants may be able to understand what what another animal is thinking, a trait that very few creatures can claim.

Caitlin O’Connell is a consulting faculty member at Stanford University School of Medicine who has studied elephants in the wild for the past 25 years. She demonstrates how incredibly sensitive elephants are to underground vibrations. This superhero trait gives them a long-range communication system to aid in detecting potential threats for miles around.

Mind of a Giant was produced for Nat Geo WILD by Vulcan Productions in association with Off The Fence. For Off The Fence, executive producer is Ellen Windemuth. For Vulcan Productions, executive producers are Paul G. Allen, Jody Allen, Carole Tomkoand Rocky Collins. For Nat Geo WILD, executive producer and senior vice president of development and production is Janet Han Vissering.

National Geographic Channels

The National Geographic Channels (The Channels) form the television and production arm of National Geographic Partners, a joint venture between 21st Century Fox and the National Geographic Society. As a global leader in premium science, adventure and exploration programming, the Channels include: National Geographic Channel (NGC), Nat Geo WILD, Nat Geo People and Nat Geo MUNDO. Additionally, the Channels also run the in-house television production unit, National Geographic Studios. The Channels contribute to the National Geographic Society’s commitment to exploration, conservation and education with entertaining, innovative programming from A-level talent around the world, and with profits that help support the society’s mission. Globally, NGC is available in more than 440 million homes in 171 countries and 45 languages, and Nat Geo WILD is available in 131 countries and 38 languages. National Geographic Partners is also a leader in social media, with a fan base of 250 million people across all of its social pages. NGC contributes over 55 million social media fans globally on Facebook alone. For more information, visit www.natgeotv.com and www.natgeowild.com.

About Vulcan Productions

Vulcan Productions is dedicated to the power of storytelling. The division produces content and large-scale campaigns that entertain, electrify and change the way people understand the world’s toughest challenges. Vulcan Productions’ films, television series and digital content spark ideas and turn action into measurable impact.  Founded by Paul G. Allen and his sister Jody Allen in 1997, Vulcan Productions creates content across all platforms, extending the wide-ranging work of Vulcan Inc. in wildlife, science, climate, oceans, education, technology, current social issues, history and the arts. Award-winning projects include Racing Extinction, Academy Award®-nominated Body Team 12, We The Economy, #ISurvivedEbola,Girl Rising, and The Blues. Upcoming projects include Ivory, Naledi: A Baby Elephant’s Tale and Unseen Enemy.

 

“New Jersey is a major hub for imports and transportation of body parts of endangered species.” – Born Free USA CEO

Washington, D.C., May 3, 2016 -- Born Free USA, a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, commends Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey for signing S. 977 into law—a bill that would ban the possession, transport, import, export, processing, sale, or shipment of lions, tigers, leopards, elephants, rhinos, and cape buffalos. These animals are endangered species that fall victim to trophy hunting.

According to Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, “New Jersey is a major hub for imports and transportation of body parts of endangered species. We are thankful for Senator Raymond Lesniak’s leadership on this bill, which is crucial to protecting imperiled species. We commend Governor Christie for signing this bill into law. Born Free has studied wildlife trafficking for more than two decades, and we can conclude that trophy hunting does nothing to enhance conservation. In 2013, Born Free USA, along with partner organizations, commissioned Economists at Large to investigate the facts.  The study proved that the trophy hunting industry makes a minimal contribution to national incomes. As a portion of any national economy, trophy hunting revenue never accounts for more than 0.27 percent of the GDP."

Under this legislation, those violating the law will be guilty of a third degree crime and fines of up to $75,000. The law will go into effect Monday, May 26, 2016, after the Senate and Assembly concur with the governor's conditions.

According to Senator Raymond Lesniak (D-NJ), who sponsored the bill, “Our ban will send a strong message to those who would endanger the very existence of these majestic animals to avoid bringing their ‘trophies’ into New Jersey and better yet, give it up entirely.”

This critical piece of legislation comes less than a year after the tragic death of Cecil the lion, who was allegedly lured outside of Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe and killed by an American hunter. He was shot with an arrow, injured, and tracked for 40 hours before finally being shot with a gun, beheaded, and skinned. The U.S. is a significant market for hunting “trophies” like Cecil. State laws banning the importation of these products are aimed at reducing the demand. Roberts adds, “Born Free USA encourages other states to pass similar legislation in order to protect imperiled species from extinction and ultimately put an end, once and for all, to this horrific ‘sport.’”

Born Free USA is a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to North America the message of “compassionate conservation”—the vision of the United Kingdom-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son, Will Travers. Born Free’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at www.bornfreeusa.org, www.twitter.com/bornfreeusa, and www.facebook.com/bornfreeusa.

 

Born Free’s Manori Gunawardena, a leading elephant scientist, in attendance

Washington, D.C., January 26, 2016 -- Today, on International Customs Day, Born Free USA and Born Free Foundation applaud the Sri Lankan government for destroying more than 350 elephant tusks.

To demonstrate Sri Lanka’s commitment to combating the illegal wildlife trade, the country’s president, Maithripala Sirisena, as well as ministers, diplomats, and other distinguished guests—including John E. Scanlon, Secretary-General of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) and Born Free’s Country Representative for Sri Lanka, elephant scientist Manori Gunawardena—witnessed the permanent destruction of hundreds of seized ivory tusks. (//www.flickr.com/photos/132476364@N06/sets/72157661640310653">Photos available here)

Gunawardena believes the event signaled a strong willingness for her country to combat illegal trade at the international as well as national level: “I am relieved that it’s finally happening and am thrilled at the buy-in from the president and prime minister. Sri Lanka is making a very strong statement by going ahead with the destruction with the support of the highest levels of government. This event will educate Sri Lankans on the gravity of global wildlife crime and its impact on their country. Culturally, the Sri Lankan public will never condone the slaughter of elephants.”

According to Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA and Born Free Foundation, “This brave decision by the Sri Lankan government is to be loudly applauded. Overwhelmingly, the world now recognizes that ivory belongs on elephants, and nowhere else. Today, Sri Lanka joins the growing number of countries taking bold action to deny wildlife traffickers their blood money and blaze a path for a future with wild elephants.”

The ivory was seized by Sri Lanka Customs in Colombo in May 2012 from a ship en route from Mombasa Port in Kenya to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Had it not been impounded, from Dubai, the ivory would have been sent on to Thailand. Following a request of the Sri Lankan government, a team from the International Consortium on Combatting Wildlife Crime collected DNA samples from the seized ivory. Later, forensic analysis revealed that the elephants had been poached in southeast Tanzania and northern Mozambique.

China, Kenya, Mozambique, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, and the United States all took a stand against illegal wildlife crime in 2015 by holding high-profile events to destroy ivory stockpiles. Earlier this month, Hong Kong also revealed plans to ban the import and export of ivory and to close domestic markets.

Based on Born Free’s monitoring of reports relating to ivory seizures, it is estimated that more than 139,000 elephants have been poached for their ivory since January 2012 (www.bloodyivory.org). Born Free helped secure the international ban in commercial trade in ivory in 1989. Since then, Born Free has campaigned tirelessly against attempts to reopen international trade in ivory as well as to bring an end to all domestic and legal trade. Born Free also investigates poaching, exposes illegal ivory smuggling, and provides protection to elephants in their range countries.

International Customs Day (January 26), organized by the World Customs Organization, recognizes the role of customs officials and agencies in maintaining border security by focusing on the working conditions and challenges customs officers face.

The Born Free Foundation is a dynamic international wildlife charity devoted to compassionate conservation and animal welfare. Born Free takes action worldwide to protect threatened species and stop individual animal suffering. Born Free believes wildlife belongs in the wild and works to phase out zoos. We rescue animals from lives of misery in tiny cages and give them lifetime care. Born Free protects lions, elephants, tigers, gorillas, wolves, polar bears, dolphins, marine turtles, and many more species in their natural habitats, working with local communities to help people and wildlife live together without conflict. Our high-profile campaigns change public attitudes, persuade decision-makers, and get results. Every year, Born Free helps hundreds of thousands of animals worldwide. For more information about Born Free, please visit www.bornfree.org.uk.

Born Free USA is a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic "pets," trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to America the message of "compassionate conservation": the vision of the U.K.-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son, Will Travers. Born Free's mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at www.bornfreeusa.org, www.twitter.com/bornfreeusa, and www.facebook.com/bornfreeusa.


Animal Defenders International launches its “Watch List” to track trainers who have been exposed abusing animals

January 20, 2016, LOS ANGELES, CA In a dramatic move, Circus Bouglione in France has dropped elephant trainer Lars Holscher following protests and negative publicity afterAnimal Defenders International’s (ADI) undercover videorevealedHolscher’sabuse of elephants during his Great Britaintour a few years ago.

ADI’s hidden cameras filmed Holscher’s act in 2009, when he was touring in the Great British Circus with three elephants, Vana Mana, Sonja and Delhi. ADI exposed a staggering level of casual violence, including elephants hit in the face with a metal elephant hook, broom, brush, and pitchfork, and a worker cruelly twisting an elephant’s tail. The elephants are seen and heard on screen afraid, retreating and crying out. Holscher himself was seen striking the elephants with a metal bar, using a small concealed hook to control the elephants during performances, forcing a lame elephant to continue performing and overseeing the chaining of the elephants for 11 hours a day – while the circus claimed they were never chained.https://youtu.be/h4L6EahWjoQ

Holscher fled the UK, but has since appeared in at least seven European countries and even supplied an elephant to one of this year’s Academy Award nominees.

Jan Creamer, ADI President“By their nature, circus acts are able to change location easily and often change the names of acts and the animals they use. We have been shocked with the lack of background scrutiny that circuses and filmmakers employ when hiring animal acts. With ADI’s Watch List we workto ensure that trainers and suppliers can’t escapetheirabusive history.”

While Holscher was touring with Cirkus Scott in Sweden, Vana Mana (then known as Ghandi) joined the set of the Felix Herngren comedy‘The 100-year-old man who climbed out the window and disappeared. Co-produced by Buena Vista International Sweden, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company Nordic, the film has been nominated for a 2016 Academy Award for Makeup and Hairstyling.

When Cirkus Scott became aware of the abuse Vana Mana and her companion Sonja (known as Baby) endured, they announced they would stop using wild animals altogether, after 76 years of doing so.

This ADI footage was already in the public domain along with a damning report by experts, including Professor Donald Broom, MA, PhD, ScD Emeritus Professor of Animal Welfare Science, Cambridge University; Samantha Lindley, BVSc. MRCVS, Edinburgh University, veterinary expert, behaviorist; Dr Joyce Poole, expert in elephant welfare and communication; and Simon JR Adams, BSc, BVMS, MRCVS, zoo & wildlife veterinarian. Still, Holscher continued to use the elephants.https://www.ad-international.org/media/GBC_Elephant_Report_F_2010.pdf

At the time, Dr Mel Richardson, a renowned wild animal vet with 40 years experience with captive elephants, noted:  “Sonja, Vana Mana, and Delhi are being caused unnecessary suffering…. the day-to-day existence of these elephants is a living hell…..LH Hölscher is not using the bull hook [ankus] as a guide to communicate his desire for the elephant to move up or move back or stand still (steady). He is using it as a club to beat the animal. He is inserting the hook into the ear and on the ear flaps to torment the poor animal with maximum effect for the least effort on his part.”

In the United States, Have Trunk Will Travel became America’s most notorious elephant act supplier after an ADI undercover investigation in Californiarevealed staff beating, hooking, and electric shocking the elephants to force them to perform tricks. The company had supplied Hollywood films including Water for Elephants, Zookeeper, and Operation Dumbo Drop.bit.ly/1PhBKFU 

Most facilities in California have severed links with the company, including fairs and zoos that employed Have Trunk Will Travel to give rides, but last year the company trekked elephants across the country to Southwick’s Zoo inMassachusetts.

Jan Creamer said,These trainers use such abusive techniques because the elephants never forget, trainers then rely on seemingly harmless gestures in public to control animals who know all too well what will happen if they disobey.  This is a national problem because these acts move from state to state with ease.  ADI’s Watch List will provide a valuable resource for people wishing to challenge the claims of discredited trainers but we really need the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act to be reintroduced to Congress to eliminate this suffering.


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TPR NEWS
Saturday, Jan. 9, the ninth day of 2016. There are 357 days left in the year.CREW
Jon Patch - Host
Jillyn Sidlo - Co Host
Amanda Page - Reporter
Ben - Network Producer
Bob Page - Executive Producer-----------

China announces domestic ivory trade ban

(Sept. 25, 2015 – Yarmouth Port, MA) The President of China, Mr. Xi Jinping, and the President of the United States, Mr. Barack Obama, made history today by announcing that the two countries would take swift action to protect elephants from the ongoing poaching crisis.

In a joint statement, the Presidents committed to enacting “nearly complete bans on ivory imports and exports, including significant and timely restrictions on the import of ivory as hunting trophies,” and promised to “take significant and timely steps to halt the domestic commercial trade of ivory.”  In addition, the two leaders pledged further cooperation to halt the surge of wildlife trafficking that imperils countless species around the world. The United States government had already committed to a “near total ban” on ivory trade, and this represents a major step forward by their Chinese counterparts.

“Mr Xi has today delivered a tremendous victory in the battle to save elephants,” said Azzedine Downes, CEO of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

It is estimated that 35,000 elephants are killed every year—or one every 15 minutes—for the ivory trade.

“Today China has slammed the door in the face of all those who are profiting from the slaughter of elephants,” said Mr. Downes. “As the world’s largest market for legal and illegal ivory, this ban will save the lives of tens of thousands of elephants.”

China’s ivory trade ban follows the announcement by President Obama of strict new ivory regulations which will lead to a massive reduction in ivory sales in the United States—one of the world’s top markets for ivory.

These regulations are not yet finalized and are still open for public comment through September 28. The regulations would prohibit the sale of most ivory items across state lines, and would further restrict imports and exports, with some limited exceptions.

The new US regulations are a good step toward closing longstanding loopholes that have allowed the illicit trafficking of elephant parts to thrive. If the Chinese government takes similar steps, and the US and China commit to strong enforcement of these measures, it would represent a major breakthrough in stopping this illegal trade which is killing tens of thousands of elephants every year. “IFAW’s behavior change campaign has reduced the demand for ivory in China through improving consumers’ knowledge that elephants are killed for their ivory, thereby changing consumer attitudes and altering buying practice, leading to a significant reduction in the desire to buy ivory,” said Grace Ge Gabriel, Asia Regional Director of IFAW.

“Banning ivory trade in China combined with vigorous enforcement and meaningful penalties for violators will stigmatize ivory consumption, supporting demand reduction efforts.

As a Chinese-American, I am so proud to see China and America, the two global powers taking the leadership role in the fight to save elephants.”

About IFAW

Founded in 1969, IFAW rescues and protects animals 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. Photos are available at www.ifawimages.com

Campaign features new website, short video voiced by actress Selma Blair, and children’s storybook

Washington, D.C., August 17, 2015 -- Born Free USA, a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, has launched a new educational campaign for children called “What Elephants Like” (www.whatelephantslike.org). The aim is to help parents start an important conversation about the delicate issue of elephant suffering, without using any graphic language or images. The initiative includes an interactive website; a powerful 30 second video voiced by actress Selma Blair; and a children’s storybook, all designed and produced for Born Free USA by Goodby Silverstein & Partners. 

According to Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA and the Born Free Foundation, “The shocking mistreatment of wild animals used for entertainment has gone on far too long. The goal of this initiative is to provide families with attractive, kid-friendly, non-graphic tools that can help promote an age-appropriate, meaningful conversation. Born Free is dedicated to empowering future conservationists by helping them understand at a young age what is happening in wildlife conservation, and learn how they can make a difference. Elephants—and all wild animals—belong in the wild, and no one is too young to understand that.”

The 30 second video features five elephants, with one attempting to stand on a barrel in the wild. The message is that elephants in entertainment have no choice and are forced to do something that is unnatural. 

The storybook, What Elephants Like, by Joel Lugar, produced by Born Free USA, with illustrations by Evan Schultz and Tyler Jensen, is a beautiful children’s book that appropriately entertains and enlightens readers with the message of keeping wildlife in the wild. The book is available at www.whatelephantslike.org as a free e-book, downloadable PDF, and coloring book, and can be purchased ($15.99, softcover, color, 8" x 10", 28 pages) at www.createspace.com/4856106.

The website also offers fun facts about elephants and more information about how people can get involved. 

Roberts adds, “The goal for the book, video, and website is to explain that these are extraordinary animals, and when you see them confined behind bars or forced to do tricks and perform, it is not natural, humane, or acceptable. We want kids to understand that these highly intelligent, sensitive, gentle giants deserve to thrive in the wild.” 

Fun Facts about Elephants

  • There are three species of elephant: African savannah, African forest, and Asian.
  • Elephants live in family groups that combine to form herds.
  • Elephant family groups are matriarchal, which means that one of the older females is the leader.
  • Elephants are very social. They like to hang out with other elephants and communicate in various ways, from loud trumpeting to low rumbling (so low that humans can't even hear it) that other elephants can hear more than two miles away.
  • Elephants use their trunks for a lot of different things, including reaching for food, blowing water onto their backs to cool off, and even as a snorkel for breathing while under water.
  • Elephants can live up to 70 years in the wild.
  • Elephants are happier in the wild; they should live free. But, they are at risk of being captured for circuses and zoos, or being killed by poachers for their ivory tusks.
  • They are herbivores, meaning they only eat plants like grass, fruit, bark, and twigs.
  • They use their tusks to dig and find water, clear pathways through the forest, shake fruit out of trees, and make scratches on tree trunks to mark their territory.

Born Free USA is a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to North America the message of “compassionate conservation”—the vision of the United Kingdom-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son, Will Travers. Born Free’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at www.bornfreeusa.org; www.twitter.com/bornfreeusa; and www.facebook.com/bornfreeusa.

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