American Bird Conservancy invests in on-the-ground conservation for the Townsend’s Shearwater and other endangered species
(Washington, D.C., May 30, 2019)Today, American Bird Conservancy (ABC) announced awards totaling $100,000 to restore important seabird nesting colonies in Mexico, Peru, Chile, and the Dominican Republic. The awards will leverage additional matching funds, putting a total of $243,000 on the ground for direct conservation. Through this effort, ABC and partners are investing in the future of some of the Western Hemisphere’s most imperiled seabirds, including the Townsend’s Shearwater, Guadalupe Murrelet, Ashy Storm-Petrel, Townsend’s Storm-Petrel, Peruvian Diving-Petrel, and Black-capped Petrel These species are listed as Endangered and Critically Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Some of the nesting sites where the projects will occur are globally recognized for their unique biodiversity through the Alliance for Zero Extinction.
These restoration grants, the first of their kind offered by ABC, address an urgent need for increased investment in capacity for seabird restoration, particularly in South America, where 38 globally threatened seabirds occur amidst unaddressed and growing threats, such as introduced predators.
Support for local initiatives is a key focus of these awards. “We are pleased to provide funds to dedicated local conservationists, many of whom are the only individuals or groups working to protect seabirds in their countries,” says Hannah Nevins, ABC’s Seabird Program Director.
“For species such as the Black-capped Petrel few nesting sites have been found, so it is critical to protect each and every known site. The clock is ticking loudly for this species. Adult birds return every year to the same burrow and are subject to an onslaught of threats — human disturbance, agricultural encroachment, forest fires, and nonnative predators,” says Nevins.
Seabirds are among the most imperiled groups of birds. About one-third of seabird species are in decline worldwide due the above-mentioned threats, along with sea-level rise, reduction of prey due to overfishing, and fisheries bycatch. Most seabirds nest on or under the ground in burrows, where they are especially vulnerable to nonnative predators, including feral cats, mongooses, rats, and mice.
“Through these awards, ABC seeks to promote the kind of coordinated, large-scale efforts needed to conserve seabird nesting colonies,” added Dr. George Wallace, ABC’s Threatened Species Conservation Officer. “The goal is to ensure that our children will see these magnificent species persist into the next century and beyond.”
American Bird Conservancy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. With an emphasis on achieving results and working in partnership, we take on the greatest problems facing birds today, innovating and building on rapid advancements in science to halt extinctions, protect habitats, eliminate threats, and build capacity for bird conservation. Find us on abcbirds.org, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (@ABCbirds).
33 lions, rescued from appalling conditions in circuses in Peru and Colombia by Animal Defenders International (ADI), surely cannot believe their eyes this morning as they roared in their first sunrise in the African bush.
A record-breaking cargo flight with all 33 lions on board jetted into Johannesburg on Saturday night. The lions, saved during an ADI mission to help enforce bans on wild animal acts in Peru and Colombia, are now settling into their forever home at Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary, situated on a private estate in Limpopo Province. Many of the lions have been declawed and have broken teeth so would not survive in the wild.
During an 18-month operation in Peru, ADI raided every circus and rescued every animal. Known as Operation Spirit of Freedom, and also providing support on wildlife trafficking enforcement, 100 animals were saved – most, including bears and six different species of monkeys, were rehomed in Peru. Nine circus lions were also handed to ADI in Colombia where a ban has also been passed.
A massive ADI relocation effort began on Thursday morning in Bucaramanga in Colombia, with nine lions loaded into travel crates and travelling to Bogota by truck. The same night 24 rescued lions were loaded into travel crates in Peru and taken to Lima Airport. A huge MD11 aircraft chartered from ethical cargo company Priority Worldwide Services then flew the nine lions from Bogota to Lima where they were joined on board for a trans-Atlantic flight to Johannesburg – not without its problems due to a long delay in Brazil due to a computer problem. The lions were monitored throughout the flight by ADI President Jan Creamer, ADI Vice President Tim Phillips, and ADI veterinarian Eva Chomba. The lions arrived in South Africa on Saturday evening, bellowing out a huge roar that echoed through the aircraft as they touched down. Trucks donated by Ibubesi Transport Logistics then carried the lions to Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary in Limpopo, arriving Sunday morning.
The dawn of a new day marks their first full day of freedom under the African sun and new beginnings for the lions in the natural bush environment they now call home. Returning to the homeland their ancestors had been torn from, the lions can feel the African soil beneath their feet and the sun on their backs, protected within an environment they can be given the care they need. One of the nine lions from Colombia, Iron, was the first of the 33 to step into his forever home, clearly relishing being able to rub up against a tree, another first for the big cats who had formerly lived in cages on the back of circus trucks.
“Before ADI rescued them, these animals had never felt the grass beneath their feet or the sun over their heads, yesterday they were in the African bush. This has been a really important mission because it has eliminated circus suffering in Peru, saving future generations of animals. Getting the animals home has been exhausting and exhilarating.”
Savannah Heuser, founder of Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary: “This is their birth-right. African sun, African night skies, African bush and sounds, clouds, summer thunderstorms, large enclosures in a natural setting where they can remember who they are. We love being part of the final rescue. Knowing that ADI has changed laws means that wild animals will never again be exploited like this again in Peru and that process has begun in Colombia.”
To familiarize the big cats with their new home, the lions will initially live in “bonding camps” where families will also be reintroduced. Then, over the coming months, the lions will be released into huge habitats with platforms and watering holes, for which donations are being sought as well as the lions’ ongoing care. www.lionsbacktoafrica.org
ADI has launched an appeal to fund phase two of the lion habitats and to care for the lions for life, which for some lions could be as long as 20 years. http://bit.ly/1TjatPq
The lion flight marked the epic conclusion of the ADI rescue mission in Peru, which TV legend Bob Barker’s DJ & T Foundation helped kickstart with a major donation that enabled ADI to start raiding circuses and removing animals. The cost of the lions’ first class ticket to freedom was funded through an online campaign by ADI and GreaterGood.com, with individuals including Oakland Zoo, Dr. Lo Sprague & Rev. Dr. Gwynne Guibord, Elise Zoli, and the Facebook group ‘Lion Lovers’ stepping in to fund the $10,00 airfare of individual animals.
Businesses have also donated services and goods or discounted services to help get the lions home including Priority Worldwide Services who chartered the MD11F cargo aircraft, Spherical Logistics and Swissport International at Johannesburg Airport, and fencing manufacturer Bonnox, Lood Swanevelder Fencing, Faan Venter, Ibubesi Transport Logistics, and Chill Box (who donated a freezer room at the lions new home).
ADI and Emoya would like to thank the Peruvian Government departments, SERFOR and ATFFS, and Police and in Colombia CDMB, a regional wildlife authority in Bucaramanga for enabling this incredible operation to happen.
About Animal Defenders International
Operating from Los Angeles, London and Bogota, ADI campaigns across the globe on animals in entertainment, providing technical advice to governments, securing progressive animal protection legislation, drafting regulations and rescuing animals in distress. ADI has a worldwide reputation for providing video and photographic evidence exposing behind-the-scenes suffering in the industry and supporting this evidence with scientific research on captive wildlife and transport. ADI rescues animals and educates the public. www.ad-international.org
About Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary
The Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary is set in 5,000 hectares of pristine African bush on a private estate in Limpopo Province. Opened by Savannah Heuser in 2012 when she was just 16 years old, the sanctuary has a no breeding policy and is not open to the public. https://www.facebook.com/EmoyaBigCats
Worldwide end to use of wild animals in traveling shows: The evidence that the suffering caused to wild animals by the constant travel, severe restrictions on movement and unnatural lifestyle has prompted authorities and governments around the world to end their use.
National restrictions on performing animals in travelling circuses, either wild or all animals, have been enacted in 32 countries – Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, India, Iran, Israel, Malta, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Slovenia, Sweden, and Taiwan, The Netherlands. Similar laws are under discussion in the UK, USA, Brazil and Chile.
April 18, 2015, Lima, Peru: Hoover the tiger, Mustafa the mountain lion and Condorito the condor have been removed from two circuses in northern Peru during raids as part of Animal Defenders International’s (ADI) mission to enforce Peru’s ban on the use of wild animals in circuses, Operation Spirit of Freedom.
ADI, Peruvian authorities ATFFS Piura, and the police moved in after ADI received tip-offs that two circuses were illegally operating with wild animals in the area. Both circuses heavily resisted the legal action, with riot police and the Public Prosecutor called in to secure the condor and mountain lion during a long and hostile stand-off.
Almost 80 animals have been rescued from circuses and the illegal wildlife trade during ADI’s Operation Spirit of Freedom so far. The rescue mission will culminate in June with a huge airlift to Denver, Colorado of 33 lions, a bear and now Hoover the tiger. The animals are destined for The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado where large acreage habitats are being prepared for them. ADI is also relocating nearly 50 native wild animals to a specially built facility at Pilpintuwasi near Iquitos in the Amazon with the Peruvian Air Force providing an aircraft for the animals and the Navy providing river transport.
Hoover the tiger was removed from Circo Africano, the same circus that Cholita, an endangered Andean spectacled bear who has won the public’s hearts, was removed from several years ago. Cholita, dubbed the “real life Paddington bear”, had her paws mutilated to remove her claws and has lost most of her fur.
Eight months ago, ADI was poised to remove two tigers from the same circus but it slipped through the net and eluded authorities until now – the other tiger died during that time. Hoover is the sole survivor of up to six tigers with the circus. He is thin and will be monitored closely by the ADI veterinary team.
ADI was tipped off about the location of the circus via social media and began discussions with ATFFS Piura about the seizure operation whilst continuing to trail the circus. The organisations were then tipped off about another circus in the area.
The second raid took place on Circo Koreander less than 24 hours after the first, in an isolated village in the same area of northern Peru. A mountain lion called Mustafa who was kept chained in the back of a pick-up truck was removed by ADI along with Condorito the condor, named after a Chilean comic book character. The heated seizure saw police reinforcements and the Public Prosecutor called in. Legal proceedings are now underway concerning the circus’ obstruction of the seizure and to try and secure a monkey still with the circus.
The seizure operation began on Sunday with ADI trucks carrying cages heading to the circus locations, and ended on Friday morning with the animals arriving safely at ADI’s Spirit of Freedom Rescue Center near Lima.
Animal Defenders International President Jan Creamer, who oversaw the difficult seizures in Peru this week said, “Before we began seizure operations with the Peruvian authorities last year, ADI conducted a census of all animal circuses in Peru. Some disappeared as soon as the first seizures took place, but we have steadily tracked down every circus that was on that list and removed their wild animals. It has been public tip-offs to ADI that have led to the seizures on the last three circuses so we urge people to remain vigilant and report any sightings of wild animals in circuses.”
Jan Creamer: “A huge thank you to the Piura ATFFS, police and Public Prosecutor who stood up for these animals in very difficult circumstances and ensured the animals were safely removed by ADI.”
ADI’s Spirit of Freedom flight to take the 33 lions and Cholita the bear to the USA had originally been planned for April. However, ADI, Peruvian authorities SERFOR and ATFFS, The Wild Animal Sanctuary and Denver International Airport all agreed the priority had to be saving the animals, and so the airlift has been postponed until June and will now take Hoover the tiger to a new life in the US.
Jan Creamer: “We never gave up hope that we would find the illegal circuses and give each and every animal the chance of a better life, free from their circus cages and chains. Locating and raiding circuses all over Peru and looking after this number of different animals has been a huge challenge. Now we are looking forward to the next stage: getting all of the animals ADI has rescued to their new homes.”
Operation Spirit of Freedom rescue mission is expected to cost ADI over $1.2 million, with the biggest single cost being the flight to the US.
Please donate to help get Hoover the tiger, Cholita the bear and all the other animals saved during Operation Spirit of Freedom to their forever homes: www.ad-international.org/FreedomAppealUS or 323-935-2234.
More information about ADI’s Operation Spirit of Freedom http://www.ad-international.org/SpiritofFreedom
South America circus bans: A two year undercover investigation by ADI from 2005 to 2007 led five countries in South America to ban wild animal circus acts – Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Paraguay and Colombia. In Central America, Mexico, El Salvador, Panama, and Costa Rica have also passed bans. Peru’s ban on wild animals in circuses was passed in 2012 following a successful campaign launched in 2007 by ADI and backed by local animal protection groups. Bolivia was the first South American country to ban wild animals in circuses and ADI was called in after most circuses defied the law. During its ‘Operation Lion Ark’ enforcement mission ADI raided eight illegal circuses in Bolivia rescuing all the animals including horses, dogs, coatis, monkeys, baboons and lions. ADI flew 25 lions to The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado and 4 lions to California. The rescue is the subject of the multi-award-winning film Lion Ark. In August 2014, ADI began working with the Peruvian authorities to enforce its animal circus ban in a mission known as ‘Operation Spirit of Freedom’.
National restrictions on performing animals in travelling circuses, either wild, all animals, or in a handful of cases specific species have been enacted in 31 countries – Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, India, Israel, Malta, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Slovenia, Sweden, Taiwan, The Netherlands. Similar laws are under discussion in the UK, USA, Brazil and Chile.
Animal Defenders International
With offices in London, Los Angeles, Lima and Bogota, ADI campaigns across the globe on animals in entertainment, providing technical advice to governments, securing progressive animal protection legislation, drafting regulations and rescuing animals in distress. ADI has a worldwide reputation for providing video and photographic evidence exposing the behind-the-scenes suffering in industry and supporting this evidence with scientific research on captive wildlife and transport. ADI rescues animals all over the world, educates the public on animals and environmental issues. www.ad-international.org
The Wild Animal Sanctuary (TWAS) is a 720 acre refuge in Keenesburg, Colorado, USA, for more than 350 rescued lions, tigers, bears, wolves and other large carnivores. ADI rescued 29 animals from circuses in Bolivia in 2010 and 2011 and the story of the 2011 seizure, rehabilitation and relocation of 25 of the lions to the TWAS is told in the movie, Lion Ark www.lionarkthemovie.com
Rescue team catches circus after public tip off
MARCH 13, 2015, Piura, Peru - Animal Defenders International (ADI) and Peruvian authorities SERFOR, ATFFS, the National Police and department of Piura have successfully raided an illegal circus today, rescuing three lionesses and two monkeys as part of a collaborative effort to enforce the country’s ban on the use of wild animals in circuses.
ADI has now removed 24 lions from Peruvian circuses and has in its care almost seventy animals rescued during ADI's Operation Spirit of Freedom.
ADI urged members of the public to be vigilant for any circuses defying the law. Following a tip off, ADI has been trailing the circus for over a week while liaising with the authorities in preparation for today's seizure.
Early this morning the circus suddenly moved with vehicles leaving in different directions but thanks to an ADI team the vehicle with the animals was stopped just outside Sullana, just north of Piura.
The three lionesses called Africa, Kiara and Muneca, and two monkeys, Valeria and Valentino, are on their way to the ADI Operation Spirit of Freedom rescue center near Lima, where they will join the 21 lions, 31 monkeys and other wild animals who have been saved from circuses and the illegal wildlife trade during the groundbreaking rescue mission. A further nine lions are in ADI's custody in Colombia.
ADI will be relocating all of the animals to their permanent homes in the coming weeks. Native wildlife will be rehomed in jungle habitats, which are being constructed by ADI in the Peruvian rainforest, at Pilpintuwasi in Iquitos and IkamaPeru. A total of 33 lions, including 9 from a circus in Colombia, will fly on the biggest airlift of its kind to The Wild Animal Sanctuary in the US.
ADI President Jan Creamer said “The ADI mission has always been to ensure no animals are left behind. We are elated to have saved these animals today and they will get their chance of a new life on the ADI Spirit of Freedom flight. We will remain vigilant. There should be no wild animals in circuses so if anyone sees one - they should call ADI."
Jan continued: "this is a historic day for Peru as ADI, SERFOR, the ATFFS and police have shown wild animal acts have no place in modern society and will not be tolerated."
The ban on the use of wild animals in circuses in Peru was secured after a five-year campaign by ADI and Peru's animal protection groups, following its shocking two-year investigation of South American circuses. The investigation led to five national bans on wild animals in circuses in Latin America - worldwide 30 countries have banned wild animal acts.
Efforts by ADI to stop circus suffering in Peru and enforce the law have been supported by the public and local animal organizations including United for Animals (UPA), Amazon Shelter, Peruvian Association of Animal Protection (ASPPA) and Animals Without Borders (ASF).
ADI is funding all rescue operations in Peru and the huge cost of relocating the animals - the largest single cost will be the flight to the USA.
Jan Creamer: "This is a wonderful day but it meant bringing our rescue team and trucks loaded with cages up to Piura. Tonight our precious cargo will be traveling back to Lima where we will have five more mouths to feed and three more travel crates to build. We urge people to please donate to help this mission.
Peru’s ban on wild animals in circuses was passed in 2012 following a successful campaign by ADI and local animal protection groups, following a two-year undercover investigation by ADI which revealed widespread suffering of circus animals across South America. The shocking exposé led to calls for action and nationwide bans followed in Bolivia, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and El Salvador.
Operation Spirit of Freedom was launched in August 2014 with ADI providing complete logistical support to the Peruvian authorities and removing wild animals from circuses all over Peru. 21 lions are in ADI’s care at their temporary Operation Spirit of Freedom rescue center near Lima. ADI has also begun assisting the Colombian authorities with implementation of its wild animal circus ban and is caring for nine lions who will join the Peruvian lions on the flight to the US.
Legendary, award-winning TV host Bob Barker donated $500,000 to get the rescue mission underway and establish the temporary holding center in Peru.
ADI estimates that construction of all the habitats for the indigenous wildlife, their care whilst they are constructed, and the cost to relocate the animals, will require $60-80,000 – and possibly more because of the diversity of species.
Approximately $200,000 is needed for the relocation of the lions from Peru and Colombia.
National restrictions on performing animals in travelling circuses, either wild, all animals, or in a handful of cases specific species have been enacted in 30 countries – Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, India, Israel, Malta, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Slovenia, Sweden, Taiwan, The Netherlands. Similar laws are under discussion in the UK, USA, Brazil and Chile.
Animal Defenders International
With offices in London, Los Angeles and Bogota, ADI campaigns across the globe on animals in entertainment, providing technical advice to governments, securing progressive animal protection legislation, drafting regulations and rescuing animals in distress. ADI has a worldwide reputation for providing video and photographic evidence exposing the behind-the-scenes suffering in industry and supporting this evidence with scientific research on captive wildlife and transport. ADI rescues animals all over the world, educates the public on animals and environmental issues.
Washington, D.C., August 12, 2013) Two new key properties have been acquired in northern Peru that will expand Abra Patricia Reserve to over 25,000 acres and help protect habitat for one of the world’s rarest birds, the Long-whiskered Owlet, along with 23 other globally threatened species.
The acquisitions were funded by American Bird Conservancy (ABC) and completed by Asociación Ecosistemas Andinos (ECOAN), ABC’s partner in Peru. When combined with three other properties purchased by the two groups in January and February 2013, the newly acquired lands total 1,261 acres. The Abra Patricia area is recognized by the Alliance for Zero Extinction as a critical site for both the endangered Long-whiskered Owlet as well as the endangered Ochre-fronted Antpitta.
The Long-whiskered Owlet, which was only discovered in 1976, is one of the tiniest owls in the world, measuring only five inches tall. The bird’s long, wispy facial feathers extend out past its head, creating the appearance of long whiskers.
The reserve at Abra Patricia (formally known as the Abra Patricia-Alto Nieva Private Conservation Area) consists of land privately owned by ECOAN as well as a 40-year conservation concession on forestry lands. When added to the recent acquisitions, the reserve now totals more than 25,000 acres managed by ECOAN for conservation.
These land acquisitions continue a string of recent successes ECOAN and ABC have celebrated in northern Peru. Their recent reforestation campaign resulted in completion of a new tree nursery at La Union, just north of Abra Patricia Reserve, and the planting of nearly 75,000 native trees and 25,000 coffee bushes in a variety of mixed forest, shade agriculture, silvipasture, and living fence systems on private lands near reserves. Those reserves were established to improve habitat on degraded lands for resident and migratory birds. Communities involved in the effort included San Lucas de Pomacochas and surrounding villages who are working to establish new protected areas for the communities’ forests and watershed.
The Abra Patricia Reserve is located in cloud forests in the Department of Amazonas and is adjacent to the Alto Mayo Protected Forest. The area is home to more than 300 bird species including many endemic to Peru. Twenty-three of these pecies are considered globally threatened. In addition to the Long-whiskered Owlet and Ochre-fronted Antpitta, other rare, threatened birds include the Royal Sunangel, Johnson’s Tody-Tyrant, Ochre-breasted Tody-Tyrant, and Pale-billed Antpitta. Several songbirds that breed in North America, such as the Swainson's Thrush, Blackburnian Warbler, and Cerulean Warbler, winter in the forests of Abra Patricia, as well. Abra Patricia is also home to the critically endangered yellow-tailed woolly monkey and a diversity of other wildlife and rare orchids.
Located along the Northern Peru Birding Route, Abra Patricia is one of the premier birding destinations in Peru, itself one of the premier countries for birding in the world. The Owlet Lodge at Abra Patricia often serves as a base for birding tourists who typically spend several days at other regional birding spots, such as Waqanki, Huembo, and Gotas de Agua. Owlet Lodge is a four- to five-hour drive from the airport in Tarapoto, and the spectacular Marvelous Spatuletail hummingbird can be seen just an hour’s drive away at Huembo Reserve. To learn more about the ecotourism and birding opportunities in the Abra Patricia region, visit our Conservation Birding website.
Support for the land protection and acquisition, as well as the community programs and reforestation efforts, was generously provided by the IUCN NL / Small Grants for the Purchase of Nature (SPN) sponsored by the Netherlands Postcode Lottery, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service under the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act, DJ & T Foundation, Gulf Coast Bird Observatory Tropical Forests Forever Fund, Jeniam Foundation, The Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, New England BioLabs Foundation, Lorna & Mike Anderberg, Cathy & Warren Cooke, Patricia & David Davidson, Nancy and Dick Eales, Joyce Millen & David Harrison, Stephen Rumsey, the Robert Wilson Charitable Trust, and Connie & Jeff Woodman.
American Bird Conservancy (ABC) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit membership organization whose mission is to conserve native birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. ABC acts by safeguarding the rarest species, conserving and restoring habitats, and reducing threats, while building capacity in the bird conservation movement.
ECOAN works to involve local communities in the preservation of biodiversity by promoting the sustainable use of natural resources, thus conserving flora, fauna, and natural ecosystems in Peru. ecoanperu.org