National Report Names Best and Worst States for Animal Protection Laws

SAN FRANCISCOThe Animal Legal Defense Fund, the premiere legal organization for animals, released the 11thannualyear-end report(2016), ranking the animal protection laws of all 50 states.

For the ninth year in a row, Illinois takes first place—followed by Oregon (2), Maine (3) and California (4). Rhode Island (5) broke into the top tier this year. Kentucky holds steady at fiftieth place for the 10th year in a row, followed by Iowa (49), Wyoming (48), Utah (47), and North Dakota (46) rounding out states with the weakest animal protection laws.

Wisconsin was the most-improved state in 2016, jumping fourteen places in rank, in part, by passing a comprehensive cost-of-care law, mandating reimbursement of the costs of caring for a cruelly treated animal to the caregiving agency prior to the disposition of the case. While 25 states require reimbursement of costs of care after the offender is convicted, only 16 states require reimbursement prior to, or regardless of, a criminal conviction.

Other notable changes this year included Michigan’s and Wisconsin’s new provisions to allow pets to be included in protective orders in domestic violence situations, Tennessee’s enactment of the first-ever statewide animal abuser registry, Idaho’s new felony provision for torturing a companion animal, and Maryland’s and Pennsylvania’s new prohibitions on possessing animal fighting paraphernalia.  Kentucky showed some progress by strengthening animal fighting statutes, but it was not enough to shake its reputation as the “Worst State” for animal protection laws ten years in a row.

The past five years of the Rankings Report reveal that more than three quarters of all states have significantly improved their animal protection laws. “The Animal Legal Defense Fund works year round to strengthen laws, and we are gratified to see that reflected in the Report,” says Animal Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Stephen Wells. “Despite this, there’s still a long way to go in animal protection, and Americans should use the Rankings Report as an indicator of where their home state can improve.”

The Rankings are based on a comprehensive review of each jurisdiction’s animal protection laws including over 4,000 pages of statutes. This is the longest-running and most authoritative report of its kind, and tracks which states are taking animal protection seriously.

The full report, including details about each state, isavailable at for download (PDF). The Animal Legal Defense Fund’s complete “Animal Protection Laws of the U.S.A. and Canada” compendium, on which the report is based, is available ataldf.org/compendium.

For more information visit, aldf.org.

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About The Animal Legal Defense Fund

The Animal Legal Defense Fund was founded in 1979 to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system. To accomplish this mission, the Animal Legal Defense Fund files high-impact lawsuits to protect animals from harm; provides free legal assistance and training to prosecutors to assure that animal abusers are punished for their crimes; supports tough animal protection legislation and fights harmful legislation; and provides resources and opportunities to law students and professionals to advance the emerging field of animal law. For more information, please visitaldf.org.

Washington, D.C., January 5, 2017 -- Today is Born Free USA’s 15th annual National Bird Day: a day to raise awareness for wild and captive birds everywhere.

According to Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation: “We want to use this day to remind the public that birds belong in the wild. They do not deserve to be bred in captivity in unregulated, often miserable conditions. They deserve to fly and not be traded and sold as pets where they spend their lives in cages, and where people cannot possibly meet the complicated needs of a bird.”

National Bird Day is a time to celebrate birds for the true wild animals they are,” Roberts adds.

Born Free USA’s facts about birds:

  1. How many species of birds are there? There's no single correct or universally agreed-upon number, and that's because there is more than one definition of "species." By one definition, there are 18,000-20,000 bird species; by another definition, there are only half that.
  2. Blackbird singing in the dead of night. "Blackbird," a song on the Beatles' White Album, is said to have been inspired by the U.S. Civil Rights Movement.
  3. The Birds. Alfred Hitchcock's 1963 film The Birds employed live birds in many scenes. To attract the birds, actors often had ground meat or fish smeared on their hands.
  4. Indeed, a very Big Bird. Big Bird, a beloved character on the children's program Sesame Street, debuted in 1969. He is 8 feet 2 inches (249 cm) tall.
  5. Keep on Rockin'! The common pigeon we see in cities around the world (and sometimes in rural or wilderness areas) used to be called the Rock Dove, but it's now called the Rock Pigeon. It's a feral, domesticated variation of the wild type found in Europe, Africa, and Asia.
  6. Edgar Allen Poe's famous narrative poem, "The Raven," was first published in The Evening Mirror on January 29, 1845.
  7. Now, that's old! Parrot fossils have been found that date back as far as 60 million years.
  8. The bald eagle. The bald eagle is the national bird of the United States, but Benjamin Franklin had originally argued that the turkey would have been a more appropriate symbol.
  9. This is what is sounds like. Prince's 1984 song "When Doves Cry" stayed at number one on the Billboard Music Chart for five weeks, keeping Bruce Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark" from reaching the top spot.
  10. Kept captive around the world... Turacos and louries—long-tailed, medium-sized birds—are only found in the wild in Africa, but we commonly see them in zoos.
  11. Beep, beep! Looney Tunes characters The Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote debuted in 1949. Their adversarial relationship was inspired in part by Tom and Jerry.
  12. The bird is the word. "Surfin' Bird" by The Trashmen was released in 1964. The song regained fame and notoriety after it was featured in a television episode of Family Guy.
  13. I smell an advantage for this owl. Great Horned Owls are found in every mainland state and Canadian province—and they have a really bad sense of smell! But, that's good for them, because a major prey species for this owl is the skunk. The skunk's best defense, a foul-smelling spray from their anal scent glands, does not deter the Great Horned Owl. Museum specimens of the owls, decades old, often retain traces of the skunk odor!
  14. The Last Suppers. In his two frescos of "The Last Supper," painted in Florence in 1480 and 1482, Renaissance artist Domenico Ghirlandaio prominently featured flying peacocks. Art historians believe the peacocks are meant to emphasize the "Oriental" setting of the Last Supper scene.
  15. And, a partridge in a pear tree. In the song "The 12 Days of Christmas," a holiday season standard, the singer's true love gives her 364 gifts—184 of which are birds.

For more information on how to celebrate the wildness of all birds and help birds in captivity, please visit www.nationalbirdday.org. For bird owners looking for support, visit www.nationalbirdday.org/a_happy_bird.php.

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 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.

 

(Washington, D.C., Dec. 21, 2016)American Bird Conservancy has petitioned the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to list the Oregon Vesper Sparrow as a threatened or endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). In a letter sent to Sally Jewell, Secretary of the Interior, ABC describes this subspecies of the Vesper Sparrow as highly imperiled and threatened with extinction throughout its range.

The petition makes the case that the species warrants listing because of significant population declines and ongoing habitat loss and degradation, among other threats, and because it lacks adequate protection under existing regulatory mechanisms.

Without ESA listing, the sparrows’ future looks grim. The current estimated population of the Oregon Vesper Sparrow is fewer than 3,000 birds, and Breeding Bird Survey data indicates a statistically significant population decline of more than five percent every year over the last 45 years.

This migratory species has a restricted breeding range that historically included southwestern British Columbia, western Washington and Oregon, and northwestern California. Now, breeding populations have disappeared from British Columbia and California, along with numerous local breeding populations throughout the range.

The species overwinters in California west of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and south of San Francisco Bay, and historically it ranged into northwestern Baja California, Mexico. But wintering populations in Baja and southern parts of California have now disappeared.

“We are deeply concerned about the future of this bird,” said Bob Altman, ABC’s Pacific Northwest Conservation Officer. “With so few birds remaining, many in small and isolated populations, the Oregon Vesper Sparrow needs the immediate protection and conservation focus made possible through ESA listing.”

Several primary threats are driving the sparrow’s decline:

  1. The continuing loss and degradation of its grassland and savannah habitats because of development, conversion of those habitats to intensive agriculture, and the encroachment of invasive shrubs, trees, and exotic grasses;
  2. Harmful or poorly timed land-use activities such as mowing, overgrazing, military training, and recreational use; and
  3. The vulnerability of small, isolated breeding groups of birds.

“Every year, more populations are being lost, and we are not seeing the establishment of new populations where habitat restoration has occurred,” Altman said.

Existing regulatory mechanisms do not provide the protection needed to prevent the Oregon Vesper Sparrow from continuing on its trajectory toward extinction. There are no Federal or State programs dedicated to its conservation, and only about 20 percent of the birds’ range-wide population occurs on public lands. Without ESA listing, this vulnerable species will continue to decline and is likely to disappear forever.

(Photo: Vesper Sparrow by Suzanne Beauchesne)

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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.

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Washington, D.C., December 15, 2016 -- As 2016 draws to a close, Born Free USA, a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, has released a round-up of its top 10 successes for animals this year. According to Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, “Despite significant national and international challenges, we have seen momentous gains for wildlife this year on issues from performing animals, to fur in fashion, to international wildlife trafficking. There is growing public awareness and momentum to stop the abuses animals face when they are held captive, or trapped, or poached for profit. Born Free USA’s successes for animals in 2016 inspire us to fight harder to build upon these gains and ensure that 2017 is an even better year for wildlife around the world.”   

International Wildlife Conservation. In the fall, a Born Free USA delegation attended the 17th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in Johannesburg, South Africa. CITES Parties approved decisions and enacted measures to increase protection for several imperiled species. Born Free USA helped secure recommendations on the long-term conservation of cheetahs, including efforts to stop the illegal trade in the species; succeeded in getting CITES Parties to consider the threats facing African wild dogs for the first time; and helped stop attempts to reopen the elephant ivory and rhino horn trades. Born Free USA also played an important role in securing the adoption of a prohibition of commercial trade in all eight pangolin species.

Fur for the Animals Campaign. Born Free USA’s annual Fur for the Animals campaign—a donation drive to collect fur coats, hats, and other items to send to wildlife rehabilitators to comfort orphaned and injured animals—made international headlines this year. Since September 2016, Born Free USA has collected more than 1,000 fur item donations: more than double the donations from 2015. To date, the three-year program has received more than 1,600 fur donations, worth an estimated $3.5M, from more than 54,000 animals killed for their fur.

Debate about Whether Hunters Conserve Wildlife. In the spring, at a nationally-broadcasted live debate in New York, Born Free USA’s CEO, Adam M. Roberts, and President and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, Wayne Pacelle, successfully argued that trophy hunting depletes wild animal populations; that it occurs in countries in which governments set non-science-based quotas; and that the millions of dollars spent on these violent “thrill kills” do not promote conservation. Roberts and Pacelle won, convincing 65% of the audience that hunting does not conserve wildlife.

Undercover Trapping Report. Five years after the release of Born Free USA’s groundbreaking undercover trapping investigation, Victims of Vanity, the organization released Victims of Vanity II in September. This investigation focuses on trapping that takes place on private, public, and protected lands in New York and Iowa. The footage exposes the brutal world of trapping, documenting everyday trapping practices that are shockingly cruel and dangerous—and which are sometimes illegal. The compelling investigation is being used to push for bans on trapping on federal and state public lands.

Report to Expose Online Sales of Exotic Pets. In October, Born Free USA released a report titled Downloading Cruelty: An Investigation into the Online Sales of Exotic Pets in the U.S. The research confirmed the enormous quantity of exotic animals advertised on the internet; at least 3,706 individual exotic animals across 1,816 unique ads were listed for sale during a three-month period. The locations of these ads situated sellers in 49 states and Washington, D.C., and the species for sale were highly diverse. The report is being used to demand greater accountability from the classified ad websites, and stronger state and federal laws to crack down on the online exotic pet trade.

Banning Weapons Used on Elephants in Traveling Shows. Born Free USA successfully worked with coalitions in Rhode Island and California to pass legislation prohibiting the use of weapons designed to inflict pain on elephants in traveling shows. These precedent-setting laws will ensure that elephant trainers can no longer use these brutal tools, like the bullhook: a long, thick pole with a sharp metal hook attached to the end that trainers often embed into the soft tissue of elephants. Born Free USA also worked with a New York City coalition on an ordinance to prohibit the use of performing exotic animals within the city, including testifying at a hearing in October. Born Free USA Program Associate Kate Dylewsky told the council: “There are plentiful alternatives to shows that feature animals, and neither the economic strength nor the vibrant culture of New York City will suffer a loss from this law.” Born Free USA will continue pushing New York City aggressively to adopt this bill.

Trapping Legislation Introduced. In June, Representatives Alma Adams (D-NC) and Nita Lowey (D-NY) introduced the Public Safety and Wildlife Protection Act (H.R. 5560): a bill that would ban the import, export, and interstate commerce of steel-jaw leghold traps and Conibear traps. In September, Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) introduced H.R. 5954: the Limiting Inhumane Federal Trapping (LIFT) for Public Safety Act. This bill would ban trapping on all lands managed by the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It would also prohibit these federal personnel from using traps in the line of duty. Born Free USA assisted these efforts by providing information on U.S. trapping and calling on members of Congress to support the legislation after it was introduced. 

Armani Goes Fur Free. In April, luxury fashion icon Giorgio Armani announced the brand would eliminate the use of real fur beginning with its 2016 Fall/Winter line. Armani committed to this humane, fur free policy after working with the Fur Free Alliance, which includes Born Free USA. By committing to a fur free policy, Armani joins other high-end brands (such as Hugo Boss, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, and Stella McCartney) and acknowledges the ethical concerns of a new generation of fashion consumers.

Strengthening Protection of African Manatees. Illegal trade, bycatch, poaching, and human population growth are increasing threats for the fewer than 10,000 African manatees ranging in West and Central Africa. In some regions, the species is reported as being close to extinct. Local communities urgently need to understand the role they can play in its conservation. In July, Born Free USA joined forces with other groups to distribute posters throughout West Africa to educate citizens in manatee Range States about the threats affecting the species and about the need to end the illegal trade in manatee products

New Accommodations for Primates—and New Primates. In November 2015, a crew began the intensive process of creating new enclosures at the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary in Dilley, Texas. In March 2016, the enclosures were ready to be occupied by monkeys. These new enclosures contain necessary shade along with climbing and loafing structures. Each enclosure has its own propane-heated cinderblock house for inclement weather. The windows open, as well, so they will provide comfort in the summer heat. We also accepted new sanctuary residents, including two monkeys from biomedical research and one from a private owner who kept the vervet as a “pet.” Additionally, one of our resident monkeys from a zoo was released into the main 56-acre enclosure after a nearly year-long rehabilitation program.

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.

 
 
     
      
 
Spirit of Elsa lives on in Meru National Park
 

Large carnivore census reveals lions holiding their own in Elsa's homeland

The results of a vitally important large carnivore census in Meru National Park, Kenya, along with an exciting short video , were released today by international wildlife charity Born Free Foundation, revealing that the lion population there is holding its own.

The census, conducted earlier this year as part of a long-term lion monitoring project undertaken by Kenya Wildlife Service in collaboration with Born Free, and sponsored by the charity’s global partner, Land Rover, estimated as many as 79 lions* may be living in and around the park.

Meru is the historic homeland of the world-famous lioness, Elsa, who was raised and returned to the wild by legendary conservationists Joy and George Adamson, and whose story was told in the best-selling book and Oscar-winning film Born Free. The findings of the census are therefore of significant historical importance.

Will Travers OBE, President and CEO of Born Free Foundation, who was part of the team in Meru, said: “My mother, Virginia McKenna, and I were recently in Meru, one of the most striking and under-appreciated parks in Kenya. To see the dedication of Kenya Wildlife Service, our Born Free team, our colleagues from the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, and the members of the local community, was inspiring. Africa’s lions are in trouble but we are all working hard to make sure that in Meru their future can be secured.”

Scientists believe that the estimate is encouraging as Meru, which is located below the North Eastern foothills of Mount Kenya, is considered an important and viable lion stronghold which, if well-managed and conserved, could see wild lions thrive for decades to come. Although Meru is considered a key and secure habitat for lions, the status of its population was previously not well-known. The park is currently being restored after much of its wildlife was almost wiped out in the 1970s and 1980s by heavy poaching.

Lions across West, Central, and East Africa have declined by 60% or more over the past 21 years. More than a dozen African countries are already thought to have lost their lion populations entirely, and the international demand for lion bones and body parts, combined with unsustainable lion trophy hunting operations and growing evidence of lion poaching, are further exacerbating this downward spiral. There are currently thought to be as few as 20,000 lions remaining across Africa.

Tim Oloo, Country Manager for Born Free Kenya, added: “The data we have obtained from the census will allow Born Free Foundation, working with KWS, to build informed programmes to help conserve and protect lions. We’re going to save the Meru lions!”

As Born Free’s Year of the Lion 2016 draws to a close, Born Free has today launched an exciting short video following the team as they conduct the important census.

Born Free’s Year of the Lion 2016 saw the Foundation celebrate the 50th anniversary of the premiere of the Born Free film through a year-long series of events and activities. Events included the release of the Channel 4 documentary Virginia McKenna’s Born Free, in October; a Born Free delegation attending the 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), in Johannesburg, to stand up for lions and all wildlife, in September; and the release of ground-breaking research that confirmed the existence of a previously forgotten population of lions in Ethiopia, in February.

Born Free will host a Tweetstorm on 9th December (1pm-2pm UK time) to draw to a close Born Free’s Year of the Lion 2016, using the hashtag #TheFinalRoar. Born Free will be tweeting questions and lion facts, supported by Celebrity Patrons and Corporate Partners. For more information visit www.bornfree.org.uk or www.twitter.com/BFFoundation.

Find out more about the large carnivore census here

Link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?=-qaAT3OEmi8&feature=youtu.be

*Census results: 58 ± 21 lions; 98 ± 21 spotted hyenas; 18 ± 9 leopards; 12 ± 6 black-backed jackals; 9 ± 5 striped hyenas; 4 ± 2 caracals; 2 ± 2 aardwolfs.


About Born Free

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 habitat, 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



 
 

 

Meet Our Company

Workman Publishing Co., Inc., is an independently owned family of publishers, including Workman Publishing, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, Algonquin Young Readers, Artisan, Storey Publishing, and Timber Press. We are also partners with The Experiment.

We are publishers of award-winning cookbooks, parenting/pregnancy guides, books on gardening, country living, and humor, as well as children’s books, gift books, fiction, and the bestselling calendar line in the business. Located in the heart of New York’s Greenwich Village, in a converted printers’ building, our offices are high-energy and creative, filled with people who are passionate about what they do. We also have offices in Chapel Hill, North Carolina; North Adams, Massachusetts; and Portland, Oregon.


Workman Wellness

As the publisher of many bestselling books on health and wellness, from Younger Next Year and New Health Rules to Real Happiness, The Little Book of Zen, and Keep Your Brain Alive, we practice what we publish with weekly meetings of the Yoga Group, Meditation Group, Running Club, the Knit and Crochet Lunch Club, as well as an annual company-wide seasonal Healthy Potluck lunch.


Volunteering and Charitable Gifts  

We are a caring and generous group of people who love to do volunteer work together. Four days a year we gather as a company and give our time to organizations like Goddard Riverside, Grow NYC, City Harvest, and God’s Love We Deliver. We’re also ardent fund-raisers and Workman matches 50% of all personal giving.


Community Events

Whether it’s dressing up for Halloween or ice-skating in Central Park or a summer Field Day or Beer & Game Night late on a Friday afternoon, we look for any excuse to get together and have fun.


Benefits and Perks

Workman provides its employees with generous health coverage, a 401K matching program, paid family leave, an FSA plan, and tuition and gym reimbursement.  

There are also warm bagels and fresh fruit every Monday morning, five additional vacation days during the summer, in-house activities and events, an anniversary recognition program (starting with a batch of movie tickets and, after 25 years, a trip to anywhere in the world), and much more.

Get in touch

Please feel free to reach out to us with any question, comments or feedback.  You can contact Jill Salayi, General Manager of Workman at:

 
 

 

Washington, D.C., November 21, 2016 -- Born Free USA, a global leader in wildlife conservation and animal welfare, decries the deplorable conditions in which 15 exotic animals were found last week living inside a Pahrump, Nevada home. Law enforcement reportedly discovered three lions, one Bengal tiger, eight Canadian Siberian lynx hybrid cats, one panther, one serval caracal hybrid cat, and one fennec fox locked in rooms and cages amid their own waste.

According to Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, “The circumstances these wild animals were kept in as ‘pets’ is heart wrenching, but this type of tragedy occurs with alarming frequency, sometimes resulting in human injury or death, not to mention the horrific cruelty to the animals. A lion belongs on the plains of Africa, not in a filthy cage. A panther belongs in a rainforest, not locked away in a bedroom. A fennec fox deserves to be in a den with his mate, not trapped near predators that he cannot escape from. It is utterly selfish and despicable to even think that keeping a wild animal caged inside a home is a good idea.”

The Born Free USA Exotic Animal Incidents Database provides a startling reminder of how frequently exotic pet incidents occur. Since 2000, there have been more than 1,500 escapes, injuries, deaths, and other health and legal issues involving wild animals kept in a home. At least 36 people have died from attacks, including children, neighbors, and first responders.

Kate Dylewsky, Program Associate at Born Free USA and captive exotic animal expert, explains, “It is a miracle that none of the animals in this Nevada home escaped and no one was mauled before law enforcement stepped in. Police officers are not trained to deal with 400-pound wild cats, nor should they have to be. However, the burden of protecting both the community and the welfare of exotic pets falls on the shoulders of brave officers who put their lives on the line. It is time to take the safety of our first responders and our communities more seriously, and outlaw exotic pet ownership.”

Nevada does not have a law prohibiting the ownership of many exotic animals, including big cats, wolves, and primates. There is also no federal law to restrict or oversee private ownership of these species, resulting in a largely unregulated breeding industry and pet trade. If not for the animal cruelty statute that enabled law enforcement officers to inspect the property, it would have been entirely legal for the owners of these 15 dangerous animals to continue keeping them imprisoned.

Roberts continued, “The exploitation of animals and the threats to human safety that result from exotic pet ownership are preventable. Wild animals are not pets. They have their own needs and rights: freedoms that the animals kept in this Nevada home have been cruelly denied. Now that they have been rescued, they should go to sanctuaries where they can live as natural a life as possible, and we should outlaw exotic pet ownership entirely so that we are not faced with this situation ever again.”

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.

 

Implementing New FCC & FAA Guidelines Reduces Collisions, Saves Money and Energy

(Washington, D.C., Nov. 1, 2016) New guidelines for communication tower lights spell out how tower operators can save birds and energy without sacrificing safety. Put in place by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the guidelines strongly encourage tower operators to turn off or reprogram steady-burning red or white lights in favor of flashing lights, which are less harmful to birds yet still alert pilots to the towers’ presence.

As of late October, operators of more than 750 tall towers nationwide had already updated their lighting systems under the new guidelines. Making the switch saves energy, reduces operating costs, and reduces bird collisions substantially.

Steady red or white lights on communication towers attract or disorient migratory birds flying at night. As many as seven million birds a year die in collisions with towers and the guy wires that support them.

“By extinguishing the non-flashing lights on towers, we can reduce night-time bird fatality rates by as much as 70 percent,” said Dr. Christine Sheppard, American Bird Conservancy’s Bird Collisions Campaign Manager.

“We wish to thank the operators of the 700-plus towers that have already switched their lighting to help reduce mortality of birds,” Sheppard said. “But there are still some 15,000 tall towers across the U.S. with outdated lights that are dangerous for birds. We are asking all tower operators to make this cost-saving and life-saving switch to help migratory birds.”

The new guidelines explain how owners of towers taller than 350 ft. above ground level (AGL) and built before 2015 can use a series of easy steps to end the use of non-flashing lights. The FCC and FAA are expected to release specifications for flashing lights on towers 150 to 350 ft. AGL soon.

The FAA is calling on owners to eliminate the use of non-flashing lights on all towers. “New tower lighting schemes should now follow the revised guidance, and operators of towers with the old lighting system should submit plans explaining how and when they will transition to the new standards,” the agency said in a news release.

Visit ABC’s website for more information about communication towers and birds.

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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.

 

 
MIAMI, FLA. -OCTOBER 12, 2016 - The Zoological Wildlife Foundation (ZWF Miami) announces the arrival of its two newest tiger cubs, Harvey and Hailey, an adorable brother and sister pair.
 
"Harvey and Hailey are already playing and growing here at ZWF," said Mario Tabraue, President and Director of ZWF Miami. "The health and care of the animals at our zoo is our main concern, so we're happy the cubs are thriving" added Maria Tabraue, Vice President and director of the multi-acre private zoo located just south of Miami, FL.
 
The largest cat species, tigers reside in parts of Asia, Turkey and Russia. With approximately 3,500 of these big cats left in the wild, they are considered an endangered species. 
 
Harvey and Hailey were born at ZWF on September 6, 2016 from Metridies, one of our most beautiful big cats. The young cubs' diet consists of mainly milk, but they will slowly be introduced to meat in the weeks to come.
 
The cubs are currently available for encounters with visitors of ZWF. Guests will have a chance to meet them for a limited time for $80 + tax for adults and $40 + tax for children. To ensure the wellbeing of the cubs, the duration of each encounter is limited to 5 minutes.
 
To learn more about how you can schedule a visit to meet Harvey and Hailey as well as ZWF Miami's other resident animals, visit: www.zwfmiami.com.
 
ZWF Miami is located at 16225 SW 172 Avenue in Miami, Florida and is open to the public seven days a week. Tours of the park are available by appointment only. Call (305) 969-3696 for more information.
 
Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, for more exciting news and updates.
 
About the Zoological Wildlife Foundation:
Founded in 2001, the Zoological Wildlife Foundation (ZWF Miami) is an organization accredited by the Zoological Association of America that serves as a zoo and a conservation facility that is dedicated to educating the public about rare and endangered animal species in captivity and in the wild. Located south of Miami and spanning several breathtaking acres of land, ZWF Miami is home to everything from domestic animals, leopards, big cats primates, large predatory birds and mammals to dozens of exotic species, most of which are available for interactive encounters with the public.

 

Responding to requests to add them to the federal threatened and endangered species list, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has concluded that the Louisville cave beetle, Tatum Cave beetle, black mudalia, sicklefin redhorse, Arkansas darter, and highlands tiger beetle do not need such protection.  A plant species, Hirst Brothers’ panic grass listing is not warranted as it has been determined that it is not a taxonomically distinct species and does not meet the definition of a species under the Endangered Species Act.

“After investigating these seven species in the field and reviewing the best available science, we determined these species do not need the protection of  the Endangered Species Act,” said Cindy Dohner, the Service’s Southeast Regional Director.  “Some species are more abundant than previously thought or do not face a level of threat that would warrant listing. One species needs more scientific study, and another, unfortunately is believed to be extinct. ”

All seven of these species were candidates for listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  After a thorough review of past and current information, including extensive surveys, they have been removed from the candidate list.  

  • Louisville cave beetle – Historically, this beetle was known to exist in only two caves in Jefferson County, Kentucky: Eleven Jones and Highbaugh Caves.  Over the last two years, field surveys have shown the beetle to live in three additional caves: Sauerkraut, Cave Hill, and Cave Creek Caves.  Although stressors like human visitation and sedimentation still remain, we have no evidence that these stressors are negatively affecting the populations.   

  • Tatum Cave beetle – This beetle is known to live in a single cave, Tatum Cave, in eastern Marion County, Kentucky.  The species has not been seen since 1965 (a period of 51 years) despite multiple intensive surveys of the cave.  Based on this and the best available scientific information, we believe the Tatum Cave beetle to be extinct.  

  • Black mudalia – Little is known about this aquatic snail thought to be in the Black Warrior Basin River drainage in Jefferson and Blount counties, Alabama.  From the 1800’s until present time, researchers have recorded conflicting biological information regarding this species.  In 2016, we learned that two different samples previously identified as the Black mudalia were actually not the same.  Before the black mudalia can receive protection, scientists must accurately identify the snail and determine its status and distribution.

  • Highlands tiger beetle – This beetle occupies open sandy areas of scrub habitat on the Lake Wales Ridge in Polk and Highlands counties, Florida.  Habitat loss and fragmentation along the Lake Wale Ridge has been substantial in the last 50 years. Yet, existing protected and suitable habitat under conservation management exists for the species.  Recent surveys also indicate that both the distribution and abundance of Highlands tiger beetles throughout its range are greater than originally known.  With the amount of available existing suitable habitat, ongoing management actions, documentation of 16 newly identified occupied sites, identification of improved habitat quality, and  existing estimated adult beetle count of more than 10,000 individuals in 56 sites, we find this beetle does not need endangered species protection. 

  • Sicklefin redhorse – Though long recognized by the Cherokee, this fish was discovered by science in the early 1990s.  It is found in Swain, Jackson, Macon, Clay, and Cherokee counties, North Carolina, and Towns County, Georgia.  For several years, it has been the subject of a focused conservation effort by the Service, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, and Conservation Fisheries, Inc.  An agreement signed earlier this year formalized the partnership and brought in the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Duke Energy, and the Tennessee Valley Authority.  We find this fish does not need ESA protection based on the stability of existing populations, re-evaluation of threat likely to affect populations in the future, and development of a Candidate Conservation Agreement which ensures continued participation by all stakeholders in a focused effort to address and mitigate potential threats while expanding the range and population health of the species.

  • Arkansas darter - For nearly 30 years, the Arkansas darter (fish) has been classified as a candidate species, which means there is enough biological information and sufficient threats to protect the fish under the ESA, but other priorities have prevented such a listing. Yet, recent surveys done in areas not studied in years have expanded our knowledge and recorded 80 Arkansas darter populations in three unique areas, including high plains, mixed grass prairie, and Ozark Plateau, spread across its multi-state range from eastern Colorado, southwest and central Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, and into Arkansas. This additional information proves the Arkansas darter is resilient to threats, and with such high population numbers, makes federal protection not warranted.

  • Hirst Brothers’ panic grass - Hirst Brothers’ panic grass has been in some form of consideration for ESA listing since 1975.  Over time, we collectively have learned a lot about the plant, and new information helps put other older information into context and sometimes leads us to a different understanding from that of the past. We recognize and appreciate the long standing efforts of the Delaware, Georgia, New Jersey, Camp Lejeune North Carolina staff and other botanists to protect and restore the Hirst Brothers’ panic grass and its habitat.  Based on our review of the best available scientific and commercial information, Dichanthelium hirstii is not a taxonomically distinct species and does not meet the definition of a species under the ESA.  The Service’s decision should not be interpreted as indicating that the Hirst Brothers’ panic grass is not worth conserving.  Rather this is a decision that reflects the accurate implementation of the ESA’s standards.  We greatly appreciate all of the hard work that our partners have undertaken to conserve the plant’s diversity.  

The ESA allows anyone to petition the Service in an effort to add wildlife to the endangered species list. The recent findings on these seven species come as the Service works through hundreds of requests that have come from outside groups in recent years.  For more information on the petition process, visit http://www.fws.gov/endangered/what-we-do/listing-petition-process.html.

With such a heavy workload, the Service is taking a two-pronged approach of evaluating the petitions as required by law and emphasizing conserving plants and animals before they need the protection of the Endangered Species Act.  This has led to a broader, partner-driven effort in the Southeast to use flexibilities within the ESA to put the right conservation in the right places, benefit imperiled species, and reduce regulatory burden.

The Service’s Southeast Region, through an aggressive At-Risk species conservation effort, is strengthening existing partnerships, building new ones, and completing a range of conservation actions with the partners, including better surveys and monitoring.  As a result, to date, more than 75 species across the region do not need the ESA’s protection.  Another dozen species’ status has improved from endangered to threatened and in some cases, like the Louisiana black bear, the species have been recovered and removed from the list.   

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.  For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov/southeast.  Connect with us on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/usfwssoutheast, follow our tweets at www.twitter.com/usfwssoutheast, watch our YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/usfws, and download photos from our Flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwssoutheast

 
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