Wildlife experts reach out to future conservationists with engaging activities that will educate about decline of lions

Washington, D.C., August 26, 2016 -- Experts believe that fewer than 20,000 lions exist across Africa today and they only inhabit 8% of their historic wild range. The decline of the lion has been rapid and steep—and, without global action, the species could disappear from significant parts of Africa during our lifetime. Born Free USA, a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, has launched a critical educational program as part of its 2016 Year of the Lion campaign to teach children about the plight of lions, why they matter, and what needs to be done to make sure that they continue to survive. Born Free USA has created engaging, fun, age-appropriate lesson plans about the issue: one plan for first through third graders and one for fourth through sixth graders. These lesson plans are also available for families to download in order to open a conversation with their children about keeping wildlife in the wild. 

According to Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, who is both an international wildlife conservation expert and the father of a 12-year-old: “When it comes to protecting wildlife, so much can change in a single generation. The actions of our children will determine whether that change is positive or negative: whether they will save species from suffering, or doom them to extinction. Kids have the power. We must protect imperiled species in the generations to come… before they vanish. Teachers and parents can encourage students to become future wildlife conservationists—or, at the very least, understand the issue and be informed about the impact for animals and for people. We believe these lesson plans can do just that.”

The Year of the Lion lesson plans use compelling facts, engaging talking points, and activities to get kids thinking about the king of the jungle, and how they can make a difference just by being aware of the importance of lions to our planet.

The lesson plans include similarities between big cats and domestic ones; information about their size, weight, sounds, and habits; and an array of questions, stats, and games. In addition, kids are encouraged to send their drawings of lions This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for display in Born Free USA’s online lion gallery wall to help spread the message of saving lions. A fifth grade class in Newtown, Connecticut has already submitted its drawings. The lesson plans also include a link to a song, a slide show, and a storytelling activity.

Roberts says, “More than a dozen African countries are already thought to have lost their lion populations, and the international demand for lion bones and body parts is further exacerbating this downward spiral. The public is more aware than ever about the need to save lions before it is too late. The slaying of Cecil the lion made headlines in 2015, and the 2015 documentary Blood Lions revealed the horrors of hunting to audiences worldwide. The time is right for us to let our kids know—without graphic language or horrific images—that there is a desperate need to save this beleaguered species, and that they can be part of the solution.” 

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 1966 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.

Washington, D.C. (August 17, 2016) – Jeff Flocken, North American Regional Director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), issued the following statement in response to the killing of a giraffe and zebra in South Africa by a 12-year old American trophy hunter:

“It’s sad any time that an imperiled animal like a giraffe is killed for fun, regardless of who does it.  Giraffes are in serious decline across Africa—it is estimated that their populations have dropped by 40 percent in the last 15 years. The last thing they need is to be killed for anyone’s enjoyment. 

All the negative on-line energy focused on this should not be directed at any individual, particularly a minor. We know that the problem is so much larger than any one of these isolated incidents.  These kills were just two of thousands and thousands of animals legally killed for sport annually.  This includes an approximate 200,000 animals from threatened species killed for trophies over the last decade.

Trophy hunters need to stop taking the lives of wildlife simply for fun.  We are in 2016 and wild animals are facing a multitude of threats to their existence.  Killing them for sport just isn’t right.”

 

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.

 

Bats Also at Risk, New Radar Study Says

 

(Washington, D.C., Aug. 8, 2016)A radarstudyreleased last month by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) provides stark evidence that wind turbines on the Great Lakes pose an unacceptably high risk to migratory birds and other wildlife. Yet this region in New York has been targeted for enormous wind energy projects, including the proposed Lighthouse Wind facility—one of the nation’s 10 worst for birds, according to ourrecent report.

“This study is the smoking gun in the argument against installing wind energy so close to the lakeshore,” said Dr. Michael Hutchins, Director of American Bird Conservancy’sBird-Smart Wind Energy Program. “If risk to birds means anything to our elected leaders, this should be the death knell to projects like Lighthouse, which is currently under serious consideration by New York’s Public Service Commission."

The study, conducted in 2013 and released in July 2016, monitored four sites using radar along the shore of Lake Ontario, scanning 24 hours a day in vertical and horizontal planes to capture movement. At all sites, the radar recorded high levels of bird and bat activity in or near the “rotor-swept zone” that wind turbines would occupy if built along the lakeshore. Activity was especially high at night, a finding that largely invalidates the use of daytime visual surveys often used by wind-energy developers to assess risks to birds.

“The study provides fresh and compelling evidence that wind-energy development does not belong on the shores of the Great Lakes, as ABC,Black Swamp Bird Observatory, and other conservation groups have argued,” said Hutchins. “It confirms what we have long known: In the absence of proven methods to reduce bird collisions with turbines, wind-energy development must be sited in areas where there are fewer birds and bats to minimize harm to these ecologically important animals.”

As the study notes, “Migrants are flying at altitudes that place them at risk of collision with current or future wind energy development in the area. The importance of shoreline areas, as revealed by our study, highlights the need to avoid these migration corridors as recommended in the Service’sLand-Based Wind Energy Guidelines.”

The FWS currently recommends that no wind turbines be built within three miles of the Great Lakes’ shorelines, while The Nature Conservancy recommends five miles. However, this new radar study suggests that the minimum should be extended even farther, perhaps as far as 10 miles. Unfortunately, the wind industry is eager to build in these sensitive areas.

Given the findings of the FWS radar study, ABC remains highly concerned about the size and location of the proposed Lighthouse project. If approved, up to 71 turbines would be built along the south shore of Lake Ontario in the middle of a migratory corridor used by millions of birds annually. The 570-foot-tall turbines would extend 4.5 miles inland along a 12-mile stretch. Vast numbers of songbirds and raptors concentrate within six miles of the shoreline during spring and fall of each year. This area also has pockets of habitat for sensitive grassland birds, which could be displaced by the turbines. Federally protected Bald Eagles that frequent the area would also be at risk.

“We hope that renewable energy can help address global climate change,” said Hutchins. “But how we do it is very important. We must keep wind and solar projects out of important and sensitive habitats for wildlife. We’re not doing a very good job of this now, but with improved regulation and science, leading to proper siting and mitigation, we could make wind energy ‘bird-smart’ energy too.”

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American Bird Conservancy is the Western Hemisphere's bird conservation specialist—the only organization with a single and steadfast commitment to achieving conservation results for native birds and their habitats throughout the Americas.  With a focus on efficiency and working in partnership, we take on the toughest problems facing birds today, innovating and building on sound science to halt extinctions, protect habitats, eliminate threats, and build capacity for bird conservation.

 

Coat made from 20 foxes to be repurposed as part of Born Free USA’s global Fur for the Animals campaign

Washington, D.C., August 8, 2016 -- Born Free USA, a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, recently received what was thought to be a lynx fur coat as part of the Born Free USA Fur for the Animals campaign. After further investigation at a furrier by Born Free USA, it was determined to be an arctic fox fur coat, dyed to look like a lynx, made from up to 20 fox pelts originating in Finland. Born Free USA sent the coat to the Fund for Animals Wildlife Center in Ramona, California, where it and other fur donations from the campaign are being used to comfort 28 orphaned coyote pups and additional baby wildlife.

According to Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, “Without a doubt, the foxes who died for this coat were born and held in miserable captivity on a Finnish fur farm. They were not allowed to run, play, or feed naturally. Simply put, they were not allowed to be foxes; their paws almost certainly never even touched the grass. Instead, they would have been driven mad by spending their entire lives in crowded, unsanitary, and painful wire cages: a fate shared by the millions of animals imprisoned in fur farms today.”

Due to the global success of Born Free USA’s Fur for the Animals campaign, the organization continues to receive fur donations every week from people who refuse to wear fur they have acquired: coats, stoles, hats, scarves, rugs, pillows, toys, etc. After receiving them, Born Free USA ships the items to wildlife rehabilitators across the country to use for supporting and comforting the baby animals in their care.

“Fur only comes from tortuous death,” Roberts explains. “The methods fur farms use to kill their victims are unspeakably cruel. Now, this coat that came from so much cruelty will be used to comfort coyote pups who, once rehabilitated, will potentially get the chance to live full lives in the wild. While the symmetry and symbolism is not lost on us, it would be far better if these foxes never had to die for fashion in the first place.”  

The lynx-dyed fox coat was included in a large shipment of fur donations Born Free USA sent to the Fund for Animals Wildlife Center. The center is currently caring for 28 orphaned coyote pups, many themselves victims of wildlife conflict and lethal control. The parents of six of these pups were killed for getting ‘too close’ to a residential neighborhood. Two others were found wandering alone after their mother was hit and killed by a car.

According to Ali Crumpacker, Director of The Fund for Animals Wildlife Center, “This coat, which needlessly killed so many animals, will now help many more on their journey to recovery and rerelease into the wild. While we are grateful for the opportunity to give a better ending to this tragic story, we continue to hope for a future in which fur is never taken from its original owner, and wildlife conflicts are resolved in a humane manner that doesn’t result in overwhelming numbers of vulnerable, orphaned wildlife.”

In addition to the coat, Born Free USA has shipped other donated fur pieces to The Fund for Animals Wildlife Center over the past year, which has helped comfort: 54 skunks, 141 Virginia opossums, 38 coyotes, 4 bobcats, 5 bears, 1 gray fox, 1 mountain lion, and dozens of others in need.

About Born Free USA: 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 USA’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.

About The Fund for Animals: The Fund for Animals operates the nation’s largest and most diverse network of animal care centers. An affiliate of The Humane Society of the United States, The Fund for Animals provides hands-on care and safe haven for more than 3,000 animals representing 150 species each year, including those rescued from cruelty and neglect, victims of the exotic pet trade, injured and orphaned wildlife, refugees from research labs, and many more, and works to prevent cruelty through advocacy and education. For more information, visit fundforanimals.org. The Fund for Animals’ animal care centers include · Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch in Texas · Fund for Animals Wildlife Center in California · Cape Wildlife Center in Massachusetts · Duchess Sanctuary in Oregon.

TPR NEWS
Saturday, Aug. 6, the 219th day of 2016.
There are 147 days left in the year.
 
CrewHost - Jon Patch
Co Host - Adriana Odachowski DVM
Producer - Lexi Lapp
Network Producer – Ben Boquist
Executive Producer - Bob Page
Special Guests - Michael Wombacher, author of Good Dog, Happy Baby will join Jon and Talkin' Pets 8/6/2016 at 5pm EST to discuss and give away his new book
Jim Quarles, Director of Pet Development for Indigenous Pet Treats will join Jon and Talkin' Pets 8/6/16 at 630 PM ET to discuss and give away their treats

https://us.vocuspr.com/Publish/525556/vcsPRAsset_525556_87067_438e719c-5824-4fb6-8e7c-a0ada1d2fd3d_0.jpeghttps://us.vocuspr.com/Publish/525556/vcsPRAsset_525556_87068_e855e5ce-02b9-45e4-9aa6-181d0772ea87_0.jpeg

 

 

Baby Wallaroo Emerges from Mom’s Pouch at Oakland Zoo

Oakland, CA…August 4, 2016 – A baby wallaroo, called a joey, has emerged from mom’s pouch at Oakland Zoo. Wallaroos are a species similar to but smaller than a kangaroo. Too early yet to determine the baby’s sex, ZooKeepers are waiting to name the joey until a gender can be determined.

Although it’s impossible to determine an exact birthdate, zookeepers estimate it between October - November last year. Joeys are technically born after only one month's gestational period - fur-less, blind, and about the size of a kidney bean (1’’ long). The tiny newborn will crawl unaided from the birth canal to the mother’s pouch where it begins to nurse. There it will continue to develop, not making an appearance until it is six to eight months old. (Zooborns. (n.d.) Retrieved from: http://www.zooborns.com/zooborns/2011/05/baby-wallaroo-peeks-out-of-the-pouch.html

“We’re very excited about the arrival of this new joey, who brings our wallaroo “mob” - the term for a group of wallaroos - to 12. For guests who get a peek from our Outback Adventure Train, the joey can often be seen near its mother, sometimes resting in the shade during the warm summer days or foraging on the lush grass in the cooler morning and evening hours,” Valerie Salonga, Zookeeper.

Since a Joey will not start coming and going from the safety of its mom’s pouch with any regularity until approximately ten months of age, only recently has the youngster begun grazing on grass, eating food-pellets, and spending time with female wallaroos in the mob other than its mother. More active every week, the joey is still quite shy and mom, Tallara, remains very protective.

Zookeepers are giving mom and joey plenty of privacy during this transitional period, providing a morning diet in a holding area and allowing Tallara to choose whether or not to go on exhibit each day.

 

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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Logging loopholes threaten old-growth forests; Marbled Murrelet’s protected zone reduced by 98 percent

Advisor, 202-888-7490

(Washington, D.C. August 5, 2016)The Bureau of Land Management has approved a logging plan for the forests it manages in Oregon, significantly weakening protections for the threatenedMarbled MurreletandNorthern Spotted Owl. These protections were put in place in 1994 as part of President Clinton’s Northwest Forest Plan.

“The BLM plan is huge step in the wrong direction that ignores science, the dangers of climate change, and the successes of President Clinton’s Northwest Forest Plan,” said Steve Holmer, Senior Policy Advisor for American Bird Conservancy. “The BLM is now planning to log mature forests that are needed to recover populations of the threatened Marbled Murrelet and Northern Spotted Owl, and that provide for clean water and carbon storage.”

American Bird Conservancy (ABC) submitted aletterto BLM providing feedback on the plan; ABC also urged Obama administration officials to shelve the proposed plan, instead keeping the Northwest Forest Plan in effect until it can be updated in conjunction with the U.S. Forest Service.

“The Marbled Murrelet, a species listed under the Endangered Species Act, will be placed at great risk by the BLM’s plan to increase logging in mature forests,” said Holmer. “The Northwest Forest Plan provided for half-mile buffers around nesting territories. These are needed to ensure sufficient protected habitat around nests in a heavily fragmented landscape. This common-sense safeguard is being abandoned at the same time BLM is proposing to ramp up clearcutting.”

The Marbled Murrelet nests on large branches of mature and old-growth trees. It is listed as a threatened species under the ESA because of habitat loss caused primarily by logging of old-growth forests. An estimated 19,000 birds remain, but the Washington State population is currently in a steep 5.9 percent annual decline, and long-term population projections indicate a high risk of extinction in California and Oregon within the next 100 years.

Marbled Murrelet nests suffer heavier predation in areas where the forest is not intact. Clearcutting proposed in the BLM plan for Oregon will further fragment the landscape. The current buffers protect a circular area of 503 acres of habitat based on a half-mile radius from the nest site. The new plan provides for only 6.5 acres of protected habitat,a 98 percent reduction from the current standard.

Meanwhile, the Northern Spotted Owl—also listed as a threatened species under the ESA—is in decline across its range, including in Oregon. A recent study showed that the owl population has decreased by 31-68 percent in Oregon since 1985, due to the dual threats of habitat loss and competition from Barred Owls. The BLM plan calls for commercial logging in areas designated as reserves for the owl by the Northwest Forest Plan, in particular in late-successional and riparian habitats. This raises doubt that the new reserves will function properly.

The BLM plan is proposing a five-to-eight-year moratorium on Spotted Owl take until a Barred Owl control program is initiated in the planning area. (Research on the effectiveness of Barred Owl removal has just begun, and uncertainty remains as to how much Barred Owl control the public will support over the long term.)

“The Northern Spotted Owl will benefit from the proposed moratorium on take, but its habitat is at greater risk over the long term because of the extensive logging planned in late-successional areas of the reserves,” said Holmer. “We advise placing a much longer moratorium on owl take. In about 30 years, a large amount of new, suitable owl habitat will become available under the Northwest Forest Plan as forests mature. We need to stay the course and be as protective of the Northern Spotted Owl as possible until then.”

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American Bird Conservancy is the Western Hemisphere's bird conservation specialist—the only organization with a single and steadfast commitment to achieving conservation results for native birds and their habitats throughout the Americas.  With a focus on efficiency and working in partnership, we take on the toughest problems facing birds today, innovating and building on sound science to halt extinctions, protect habitats, eliminate threats, and build capacity for bird conservation.

____________________________________________________________

TPR NewsSaturday, July 30, the 212th day of 2016. There are 154 days left in the year. Crew:
Jon Patch – Host
Kellyann Payne - Co Host
Zach Budin – Producer
Ben Boquist - Network Producer
Bob Page – Executive Producer
Special Guests - Long time friend and Announcer to Hallmark Channel's Kitten Summer Games, David Frei, will join Jon and Talkin' Pets 7/30/16 at 5pm EST to discuss the the show
Loren Kulesus from Dr. Catsby's and Zack Williamson, Senior Associate at The Grommet will join Jon and Talkin' Pets 7/30/16 at 630 pm EST to discuss and give away their Innovative Cat Bowl to help prevent Whisker Fatigue

     
 

 
 

Tiger Population Rebounds in Parsa, Nepal,
Instilling Hope for the Species

Remarkable Recovery Shows Rigorous Anti-Poaching Efforts & Monitoring Key to Tigers’ Resurgence

 
July 29, 2016
 

In a rare victory for a species on the brink of extinction throughout much of its range, a scientific camera trap survey has revealed a marked increase in the tiger population of Nepal’s Parsa Wildlife Reserve. This news comes on International Tiger Day, a day dedicated to recognizing the plight of tigers around the world.

The Government of Nepal’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC), National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC), Panthera, the global wild cat conservation organization, and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) collaborated to carry out the 2016 population survey in Parsa as part of their ongoing partnership to protect and monitor tigers throughout the lowlands of Nepal.

Nepal’s Director General of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Krishna Acharya said, “The tiger population in Parsa Wildlife Reserve has significantly increased since the last census. This is fantastic news for tigers and it demonstrates that Nepal’s dedicated conservation efforts are delivering clear results. Nepal has committed to doubling its tiger population by 2022 and encouraging results like these show that we are on track to achieve that.”

Panthera Senior Tiger Program Director, Dr. John Goodrich, stated, “The impressive rise in Parsa’s tiger numbers has been fuelled by the natural movement of animals from neighboring Chitwan as conditions in Parsa have improved over the past three years. This is a testament to how law enforcement and strong government leadership can change the game for tigers. At a time when poachers are waging an all-out war against wildlife, Nepal serves as a beacon of hope for the tiger.”

ZSL’s Conservation Programmes Director, Prof. Jonathan Baillie said “Success for tiger conservation requires viable habitats, stringent protection, effective monitoring and community engagement and when those conditions are in place, tiger numbers will flourish as Parsa has demonstrated very clearly. Nepal’s exemplary track record in conserving its iconic wildlife makes it a conservation leader in the South Asian region.”

Today, just 3,900 wild tigers remain in all of Asia, largely due to poaching for the illegal wildlife trade. Nepal is estimated to support 163-235 tigers, according to a 2013 population survey. The 2016 survey confirms that Parsa specifically has seen around a 45% annual increase in its tiger population.

Nepal’s tremendous commitment to increasing coordinated law enforcement activities, harsh prosecution for poachers, and wildlife monitoring sets the nation apart from many other tiger range states. Hundreds of dedicated personnel from the Nepal Army and DNPWC jointly patrol Parsa Wildlife Reserve and other protected areas, preventing poaching of Nepal’s iconic wildlife, from the tiger to the greater one-horned rhinoceros. Yet there is still much work to be done.

Parsa’s tiger rebound can also be attributed to the empowerment of the country’s National Park and Wildlife Reserve Wardens, who maintain the authority to arrest, convict and sentence poachers. This model is in stark contrast to many tiger range states where poachers often escape with little to no jail time or fines, even after sentencing.

The success of these stringent anti-poaching efforts is especially evident in neighboring Chitwan National Park. Acting as a source population for Parsa, tigers from Chitwan have moved into the adjoining landscape, accelerating population recovery, and ultimately creating a larger more viable population that extends across both protected areas.

Since 2014, Panthera and ZSL have collaborated in Parsa Wildlife Reserve to monitor tigers and their prey using camera traps, and provide training for effective law enforcement and use of SMART, a computer-based platform that improves the effectiveness of wildlife patrols.

Parsa is also a trial site for innovative conservation technologies, which have been effectively deployed to provide valuable information to park managers. This includes ZSL’s seismic and magnetic sensors and Panthera’s PoacherCam – a remote camera that distinguishes people from wildlife and can transmit images to law enforcement, to stop poaching before it happens.

ZSL in partnership with DNPWC has also recently equipped and supported the deployment of a state of the art Rapid Response Patrol team in Parsa, which further strengthens the capacity of the park management to prevent tiger poaching before it takes place.

Over the next few years Panthera and ZSL plan to expand their efforts to support the Government of Nepal in its tiger conservation initiatives across three other protected areas that are home to tigers in the lowlands of Nepal.

Learn more about Panthera’s Tigers Forever Program.

Learn more about ZSL’s conservation efforts in Asia

About ZSL
Founded in 1826, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) is an international scientific, conservation and educational charity whose mission is to promote and achieve the worldwide conservation of animals and their habitats. Our mission is realised through our ground-breaking science, our active conservation projects in more than 50 countries and our two Zoos, ZSL London Zoo and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. For more information visit www.zsl.org

 
 
 

 
 
  About
Panthera
Panthera, founded in 2006, is devoted exclusively to preserving wild cats and their critical role in the world’s ecosystems. Panthera’s team of leading biologists, law enforcement experts and wild cat advocates develop innovative strategies based on the best available science to protect cheetahs, jaguars, leopards, lions, pumas, snow leopards and tigers and their vast landscapes. In 50 countries around the world, Panthera works with a wide variety of stakeholders to reduce or eliminate the most pressing threats to wild cats—securing their future, and ours.  
     
    Visit panthera.org  
     
 
     

Panthera Head Office
8 West 40th Street, 18th Floor
New York, NY 10018

 
 
 
If you would rather not receive future communications from Panthera, let us know by clicking here.
Panthera, 8 West 40th Street 18th Floor, New York, NY 10018 United States

 

Nonprofit Horse Rescue Group Challenges Inhumane Experimental Surgery

HINES, Ore., July 26, 2016 – Front Range Equine Rescue (FRER), a national nonprofit working to end the abuse and neglect of horses through rescue, advocacy and education, announced today it is suing the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management to stop the BLM’s experimental sterilization of wild mares in Oregon. The lawsuit was filed late yesterday in federal court in Washington D.C.

FRER’s suit contends the BLM’s intention to conduct surgical experiments on 225 wild horses, many in various stages of pregnancy, and potentially thousands more horses over time, causes harm and suffering in violation of federal law.

The sterilizations on wild mares proposed by the BLM, to be carried out in collaboration with Oregon State University, include three untested, dangerous procedures:

  • Slicing open the mare’s vagina while sedated, but awake and standing, and blindly pulling out her ovaries – a risky and controversial surgical procedure even for tame mares under the best of conditions, let alone captive wild horses in a holding facility
  • Burning and then cutting the sedated, but conscious horses’ fallopian tubes, a procedure that is surgically untested on horses
  • Using a laser, inserted through the vagina, to scar and seal the ovaries – another surgery that has never been studied in horses

“It is unjustifiable for the BLM to conduct such barbaric sterilization experiments with a host of known risks, including death, on captive wild horses,” said Hilary Wood, President of FRER. “Performing unproven surgeries in a holding pen, let alone on the open range, is contrary to the BLM’s congressional mandate to care for wild horses, especially when responsible alternatives like the PZP contraceptive vaccine already exist to maintain population levels and ensure herd viability.”

Earlier this year, FRER filed formal comments opposing the “research” that will be done on conscious animals in long-term holding. These comments – and comments submitted by more than 20,000 members of the public – were disregarded, prompting FRER to file its suit.

“These sterilization procedures are not documented, practiced, or analyzed in non-surgical settings; they are overly invasive, and they are unlikely to have applicability for mares on public lands,” said Laureen Bartfield, DVM, an expert in population control of wild horses and the social structure of herds. “Two of the three procedures have virtually never been performed on horses, and the unvisualized removal of the ovaries, while documented in the literature, is disfavored by reputable veterinarians. The BLM’s plan is not just clinically ill advised, it constitutes animal cruelty on a large scale.”

The plans for eventual widespread sterilization of horses on the range will also run up an estimated cost to the taxpayers in the millions – and the first of the funds could be handed to OSU in the form of a BLM grant. This first group of mares to go under the knife are in BLM custody in the Hines Corral in Eastern Oregon.

FRER’s lawsuit says the experimental sterilizations represent a conflict of interest, and are not in the best interests of wild horses, but rather in the BLM’s own best interest by reducing their management load without considering their mandate to properly manage the horses.

This is not the first time the BLM has pursued surgical sterilization for wild horses. In 2011, a federal court found the bureau’s plans to castrate wild horses captured in Wyoming was of an “extreme and irreversible nature.” In 2012, the BLM was again forced to defend similar plans in federal court, and abandoned its efforts to castrate Nevada’s wild horses.

About Front Range Equine Rescue (FRER)

Front Range Equine Rescue is a 501c3 Colorado nonprofit working to end abuse and neglect of wild and domestic horses through rescue and education. Since 1997, FRER has assisted thousands of horses through its programs, and many more with expanded facilities on the East Coast. Many of FRER’s rescued horses are obtained directly from auctions and kill lots, and would have shipped to slaughter without FRER’s intervention. Through its legal advocacy, FRER has effectively prevented horses from being slaughtered for human food in the U.S., and is actively involved in preventing unnecessary and unlawful removal of wild horses and burros from public lands. For more information see www.frontrangeequinerescue.org.

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