Raleigh, NC – Our hearts and prayers go out to the many people in Texas, Louisiana and surrounding areas that are in the path of Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath. The magnitude of the devastation from this storm is unimaginable and the American Kennel Club® (AKC®) and AKC Reunite are here to contribute to the relief. Two AKC Pet Disaster Relief trailers have been deployed in Dallas and Ft Worth, Texas to help evacuees from the storm and AKC Reunite will continue to help shelters caring for pets displaced by the storm.
“AKC Reunite continues to monitor the situation in Texas and Louisiana. We are committed to providing as much assistance as possible to those affected by this storm,” said Tom Sharp, AKC Reunite President and CEO. “Pets are part of the family and we understand how important it is to ensure their safety as well.”
The Fort Worth AKC Pet Disaster Relief trailer has been deployed at the Fort Worth Wilkerson Facility emergency shelter, located at 5201 Ca Roberson Blvd, Fort Worth, TX 76119. The deployment of this trailer allows people to safely evacuate with their pets instead of risking their lives because they do not have a safe, pet-friendly place to go. It houses supplies that create a safe, temporary home-base for at least 65 pets in the wake of a disaster. The essential, non-perishable AKC Pet Disaster Relief supplies are crucial, as many pet owners do not have the time to gather the necessary items to care for their pets during an emergency evacuation.
The Tri Cities/Cedar Hill AKC Pet Disaster Relief Trailer is deployed adjacent to the “Mega” Shelter set up in Dallas at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center. This self-care animal shelter set up in the nearby parking garage so evacuees have close proximity to their pets. Efforts are being supported by the SPCA of Texas, the Dallas Animals Services, and the Dallas County Animal Response Team.
AKC Reunite has donated thousands of dollars to Austin Pets Alive shelter, Etosha Rescue, the SPCA of Brazoria County, among others. The organization has also purchased $2,600 worth of kennel runs for the Tri-Cities Animal Shelter and Dallas County Response Team to assist at the Dallas Mega Shelter.
Please refer to the AKC Reunite website for more updates on the storm and what the AKC and AKC Reunite are doing to contribute to the relief. You can also find pet-friendly emergency shelter locations, including those with AKC Pet Disaster Relief trailers. To donate to AKC Reunite, please click here.
Non-native Predators Caught on Cameras in Wildlife Refuge
(Washington, D.C., August 17, 2017) Endangered ‘Alae ‘Ula(Hawaiian Common Gallinule, a subspecies of Common Gallinule formerly called Hawaiian Common Moorhen) are among the latest documented victims of feral cat predation on the Hawaiian island of Kaua‘i. The pair of breeding adults was attacked and killed while sitting on their nest in a national wildlife refuge in late April. With no adults left to tend the nest, the birds’ remaining three eggs and two hatchlings did not survive. The incubating parents of two more nests were killed by the same feral cat on April 22 and May 19, and six more eggs subsequently failed to hatch. The feral cat is still at large.
The attacks were captured on remote cameras installed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in partnership with American Bird Conservancy (ABC). This predation by cats on endangered birds represents a major setback for conservation efforts and is a harsh reminder of the dangers feral cats and other invasive animals create for Hawai‘i's native species.
“Feral cats, whether they are dumped on the wildlife refuge by irresponsible owners or they find their way onto the refuge from nearby feral cat feeding stations, are having a very significant and tragic impact on Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge's endangered birds,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Deputy Project Leader Michael Mitchell. “Throughout Kaua‘i, natural resource managers are doing everything they can to save our native birds. But some species are running out of time, and extinction is forever.”
The recent attacks are among the latest in a long line of killings of endangered Hawaiian birds by feral cats, a non-native species. Unpublished data collected by FWS employees have documented at least 252 suspected cat kills of Hawaiian Common Gallinules, ‘Alae Ke‘oke‘o (Hawaiian Coots), Ae‘o (Hawaiian Stilts), Koloa Maoli (Hawaiian Ducks), and Kōlea(Pacific Golden-Plover) in Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge between 2012 and 2014. Seabirds are similarly at risk, especially while in the nest. Feral cats were suspected in the deaths of 22 Laysan Albatross chicksduring a 3-week period in 2015. Recently, a feral cat was caught on camera killing and dragging an endangered ‘Ua‘u (Hawaiian Petrel) out of its nest by the Kauai Endangered Seabird Recovery Project (KESRP), an incident that is unfortunately recorded with regularity in remote seabird colonies on the island.
According to KESRP Coordinator Dr. André Raine, “Feral cats are one of the worst of the introduced predators on the island of Kaua‘i — they are widespread throughout the island, are highly adept predators, are capable of killing large numbers of birds in a very short period of time, and regularly kill breeding adult birds, which makes their long-term impact on a breeding population even more devastating.”
“The continued losses of Kaua‘i's unique and endangered birds to cat predation are unsustainable,” said Grant Sizemore, ABC's Director of Invasive Species Programs. “With even wildlife refuges no longer safe from cats, the time has come to pass a comprehensive cat ordinance — such as that recommended by Kaua‘i's Feral Cat Task Force — to encourage the responsible care of pets and safekeeping of wildlife.”
The task force, which included stakeholders from animal welfare, conservation, and community members, submitted its recommendations to the County Council in March 2014. Those recommendations include setting a goal of “zero feral, abandoned, or stray cats” and implementing practical solutions such as sterilization and confinement as key strategies for addressing the cat, wildlife, and human health concerns associated with free-roaming cats. Those concerns include toxoplasmosis, an infectious parasitic disease that may be spread to humans and wildlife through cat feces and which has been linked to deaths in endangered Nēnē (Hawaiian Goose) and Hawaiian monk seals. A report prepared for the Hawai‘i Department of Health in 2000 suggested that feral cats are the “highest collective risk factor [for toxoplasmosis] and require further attention and action from a ‘holistic public health perspective.’”
American Bird Conservancy is 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.
-This Season’s “You Watch, We Give” Episode Premieres August 26-
(New York, NY) Animal Planet’s popular series PIT BULLS & PAROLEES features Tia Torres, a true believer in second chances. For more than 20 years, Tia has dedicated her life to New Orleans-based Villalobos Rescue Center, the largest pit bull rescue center in the U.S. She has also offered a fresh start to parolees and a new lease on life to dogs that were discarded and demonized because of the reputation of their breed. PIT BULLS & PAROLEES is back this summer for an all-new season with new stories, but the same heart we know and love, beginning Saturday, August 5 at 9PM ET/PT.
After a long recovery from a devastating leg injury, Tia gets back into in full swing and relies on her children, their significant others and the parolees to help keep the ever-expanding rescue center running. Tia fights a never-ending battle that’s grown to include dogs of every type and size, in desperate need of help. Many are unwanted pets dumped on the road, found wandering in the swamps, or thrown over the Villalobos gates. It’s the reality of running the nation’s largest pit bull sanctuary, where each new day brings happiness or heartbreak – and sometimes both.
In addition to the summer season premiere, Animal Planet’s annual tradition of “You Watch, We Give” for PIT BULLS & PAROLEES will continue Saturday, August 26 at 9PM ET/PT to coincide with National Dog Day. “You Watch, We Give” takes place as part of Animal Planet's on-going commitment to make a positive impact in the animal world; the network will donate money to Villalobos Rescue Center with the total donation based upon the episode’s viewership. Animal Planet encourages viewers to tune in for “You Watch, We Give” to help drive its donations to Villalobos.
To support “You Watch, We Give” on Animal Planet’s social channels, fans are encouraged to share photos of their dogs with the #ShowUsYourPups hashtag across Twitter, Instagram or the Pit Bulls & Parolees Facebook page and it may appear on TV during the episode. In previous years, Animal Planet’s donations from “You Watch. We Give" has helped cover Villalobos' expenses, including veterinary bills and food and shelter costs for the rescued pit bulls.
To satiate fans desire for additional content, Animal Planet digital and social (AnimalPlanet.com, Pit Bulls & Parolees page on Facebook and Animal Planet on Facebook and Twitter via @AnimalPlanet) will be offering Tattoo Tales (WT), a series of all-new short form content where fans will get up close and personal with Tia and her family, along with the parolees, as they share the stories behind some of their most meaningful tattoos.
PIT BULLS & PAROLEES is produced for Animal Planet by 44 Blue Productions and Rive Gauche Television. Rasha Drachkovitch and Billy Cooper are the executive producers for 44 Blue Productions. For Animal Planet, Lisa Lucas is executive producer and Patrick Keegan serves as supervising producer.
Wyckoff, NJ; Hillsborough, NJ; May 23, 2017: Winn Feline Foundation (Winn) and the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) are proud to announce the two recipients of the 2017 joint scholarships for clinical practice and clinical research scientist. Kaarin Muller, a fourth year veterinary student at Washington State University, was selected for the clinical practice scholarship and Liberty Sieberg, a third year veterinary student at Colorado State University, was selected for the clinical research scientist scholarship. Both of the $2,500 scholarships were chosen on individual academic achievements, admirable leadership, and profound dedication to the study of feline medicine, health and welfare.
“Both Kaarin and Liberty have demonstrated outstanding leadership skills and accomplishments, and are passionate about understanding the unique needs of cats which highlight their enthusiasm for feline medicine,” said Vicki Thayer, DVM, DABVP (Feline) and Executive Director of Winn.
In 2016, the Boards of Directors of both the AAFP and Winn approved the development and implementation of a joint scholarship offered by these two leading feline-dedicated organizations. After a wave of applicants and prestigious feedback from veterinary education programs, the boards decided to offer this opportunity again, expanding the selection to two recipients in the categories of clinical practice and clinical research scientist. The application process prompted students to answer two essay questions explaining his/her specific interest and background in feline health and welfare, and their plans for future participation in feline medicine.
“We are all impressed by the tremendous success shown by Kaarin and Liberty at such early stages in their careers,” said Heather O’Steen, CAE and Chief Executive Officer of the AAFP. She continues, “Their passion for clinical practice and clinical research, respectively, has enabled both of them to dedicate themselves to the health and welfare of felines.”
The AAFP and Winn are both dedicated to advancing and enhancing standards in feline care. The 2017 AAFP has several resources for veterinary students housed in the Student Center on their website, including complimentary webinars and a Toolkit for Veterinary Students. The toolkit contains materials to help veterinary students embrace a feline perspective and obtain further knowledge about the standards needed to elevate care for cats. Winn also offers various educational
resources on their website including the Cat Health News Blog, educational articles, podcasts, videos, and an annual continuing educational Symposium. Information regarding research grant awards and cat health study findings are also available on the website or through subscribing to their monthly e-newsletter.
Other educational opportunities from Winn and the AAFP can be found on their websites, listed below. The AAFP is accepting abstracts for poster presentation through June 2, 2017. Accepted abstracts will be presented at the AAFP Annual Conference in Denver on Oct. 19-21. For more information, visit www.catvets.com/education/abstract/abstract-guidelines.
About Winn Feline Foundation
Winn Feline Foundation is a non-profit organization established in 1968 that supports studies to improve cat health. Since 1968, Winn Feline Foundation has funded almost $6.0 million in health research for cats at more than 30 partner institutions worldwide. This funding is made possible through the support of dedicated donors and partners. Research supported by Winn Feline Foundation helps veterinarians by providing educational resources that improve treatment of common feline health problems and prevent many diseases. Grants are awarded at least twice yearly with the help of the foundation’s expert review panel. For further information, go to www.winnfelinefoundation.org.
About the American Association of Feline Practitioners
The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) improves the health and welfare of cats by supporting high standards of practice, continuing education and scientific investigation. The AAFP has a long-standing reputation and track record in the veterinary community for facilitating high standards of practice and publishes guidelines for practice excellence which are available to veterinarians at the AAFP website. Over the years, the AAFP has encouraged veterinarians to continuously re-evaluate preconceived notions of practice strategies in an effort to advance the quality of feline medicine practiced. Launched in 2012, the Cat Friendly Practice® (CFP) program was created to improve the treatment, handling, and overall healthcare provided to cats. Its purpose is to equip veterinary practices with the tools and resources to reduce stress associated with the visit and elevate the standard of care provided to cats. Find more information at www.catvets.com.
Increasing the survival rate of frosted flatwood salamander larvae in Florida, protecting longleaf pine habitat for federally listed species like the gopher tortoise and eastern indigo snake, and spearheading Operation Herpsaspetz, to uncover an illegal scheme to capture, sell, and transport 750 North American Wood turtles worth nearly $345,000.
These are just a few of the many conservation efforts for which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Southeast Region honored its partners and employees Regional Director’s Honor Awards marking extraordinary conservation accomplishments in 2015 and 2016.
“Many people and organizations have worked diligently behind the scenes to help conserve the Southeast Region’s fish, wildlife and plant diversity and the variety of habitats they depend upon,” said Cindy Dohner, the Service’s Southeast Regional Director. “We commend their efforts and thank them.”
The following individuals and organizations received awards:
International Crane Foundation: Dr. Richard Beilfuss, President and Chief Executive Officer; Dr. Erica Cochrane, Conservation Measures Manager; Lizzie Condon, Whooping Crane Outreach Coordinator; Dr. Julie Langenberg, Vice President, Conservation Science, Baraboo, Wisconsin: The International Crane Foundation (ICF) spearheaded a “Keeping Whooping Cranes Safe” campaign focused on reducing human-induced mortality of these highly endangered birds. This campaign was piloted in Alabama, an important wintering area for whooping cranes in the eastern migratory population. Through partnerships with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, state, and non-government organizations, the ICF has produced radio and television public service announcements, billboards, workshops for kindergarten through high school teachers, outreach events, and even a whooping crane mascot to raise public awareness to the plight of these birds and the need to actively work for their recovery. ICF has been a key partner in expanding participation in the annual Festival of the Cranes held at Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge in Alabama for more than 3,000 attendees.
Nick Wiley, Executive Director, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), Tallahassee: Nick Wiley also is 2016-2017 President of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. He is a recognized leader-among-leaders in conservation across the nation. Nick chaired the Federal-State Joint Task Force on Endangered Species Act (ESA) Policy, which recommended ways to strengthen the partnership between federal agencies and states in implementing the ESA. He led the development of a new kind of ESA Section 6 Agreement that allows the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and FWC to avoid duplication in ESA permitting, and the FWC Imperiled Species Program, which gives the State of Florida a stronger authority for protecting species, thus preventing the need for them to be federally listed. Nick provided several million dollars to the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee NWR to help control invasive exotic plants, such as melaleuca and lygodium, and invasive animals, including pythons and snakehead fish, all of which pose significant threats to migratory birds, listed and at-risk species, and other native wildlife. Nick also has partnered closely with the Service on NWRS land protection and managing of hunt programs, working towards common sense solutions on an array of controversial issues.
Alto “Bud” Adams Jr., Landowner of Adams Ranch, Inc., Fort Pierce: Bud Adams’ cattle ranch has been actively operating for 76 years and is the 12th largest cow-calf ranch in the country. Bud’s influence and support as a leader in the ranching community were critical in the creation of the Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge. To date, Bud has placed 663 acres in conservation easements as part of the refuge; 2,330 acres in the Florida Rural and Family Lands program; and he is working with the State of Florida on several thousand additional acres in easements. These lands will continue to conserve and protect important natural resources in South Florida in perpetuity.
Julie Morris, Florida and Gulf Coast Programs Manager, National Wildlife Refuge Association, Nocomis: Julie Morris has been instrumental in establishing, building and maintaining high-trust relationships with stakeholders throughout the Everglades Headwaters landscape. She has brought together federal and state agency representatives, ranchers, sports men and women, and non-government organizations in a cooperative approach across key landscapes to protect valuable natural resources, connect wildlife corridors, and keep working lands working. Julie’s collaborative spirit has fostered a partnership approach that has added 30,000 acres in conservation easements to the Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Area since its establishment in 2012.
Dr. Frank Mazzotti, Professor, University of Florida, Davie: The Burmese python, Nile monitor lizard, and veiled chameleon are among the invasive species that are a threat to the South Florida landscape and to the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge. Dr. Mazzotti is an expert on invasive reptiles and a key player in efforts to prevent their introduction and to control their spread in South Florida. He is a leader in working extensively with local, state and federal agencies and private sector organizations and individuals to actively respond to this serious threat.
Julie Scardina, Corporate Director Animal Ambassador Programs SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, Orlando: Under the direction of Julie Scardina, SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment turned the Migratory Bird Treaty Centennial into an environmental educational opportunity through in-park special events and social media outreach that engaged more than half a million people. SeaWorld’s communications gave people an understanding of the serious challenges migratory birds face and how we all benefit when birds thrive. SeaWorld also has been an invaluable partner in the Service’s manatee conservation efforts rescuing 32 manatees and releasing 23 manatees in 2016.
St. Marks Frosted Flatwoods Salamander Research Team: Wildlife Biologist William Barichivich, Wildlife Biologist Katherine O’Donnell, Wildlife Biologist Susan Walls, Wetland and Aquatic Research Center U.S. Geological Survey, Gainesville: When surveys revealed a precipitous decline in frosted flatwoods salamanders on St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge and across the species’ range, staff from the refuge and the U.S. Geological Survey took action with other partners and experts through a structured decision making workshop to address the needs of the salamander. William Barichivich, Katherine O’Donnell, and Susan Walls were instrumental in inventorying and monitoring population levels and developing a successful larval headstart program. The methods developed for this program have increased the survival rate of larvae. The Team has worked successfully with partners and experts from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Panama City Ecological Services Field Office, the Apalachicola National Forest, The Nature Conservancy, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and Eglin Air Force Base to implement management techniques to conserve this species.
Florida Department of Transportation State Environmental Office: Marjorie Kirby, Administrator of State Environmental Programs; Xavier Pagan, Administrator of State Environmental Process, Tallahassee: Marjorie Kirby and Xavier Pagan have championed funding and support for two additional U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff members to work with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) on programmatic consultations and streamlining solutions for routine transportation projects, for projects and research to develop new approaches for protecting species and habitat, and for bold and innovative ideas to address species concerns and mitigation issues. They regularly coordinate at a statewide level with staff from the Service and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to ensure that species considerations are appropriately addressed and considered in project design allowing for enhanced species benefits and compatibility with road projects. Examples include the work they did with their District 1 FDOT staff on negotiating and installing State Road 80 underpasses and fencing to facilitate panthers and bears crossing under the widened sections of road, and funding/staff support for research on Perdido Key beach mouse crossings that will be considered in a multi-state bridge project. Both Majorie and Xavier were key participants in the GreenLinks project, a shared vision of landscape-level conservation priorities among partners in transportation planning in northwest Florida.
Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division: Dr. Jon Ambrose, Chief of Non-game Conservation, Social Circle; Matt Elliott, Program Manager of Non-game Conservation, Social Circle; Steve Friedman, Chief Real Estate, Atlanta; Jason Lee, Program Manager Non-game Conservation, Brunswick; Brent Womack, Wildlife Biologist Game Management, Armuchee: The Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division has taken the lead on working with partners to establish new and expanded conservation lands at strategic locations across Georgia. As a result of the Division’s capability in partnering, planning, and application of best available science, thousands of acres that benefit federally-listed and at-risk species have been added to state-owned public lands. Examples include the expansion of the Paulding/Sheffield Forest Wildlife Management Area (WMA) to more than 15,000 acres providing open pine woodland for a variety of species and protecting the headwaters of the Etowah River, which is critical habitat for the endangered Etowah Darter and other listed pecies; significant efforts to expand the Lower Altamaha River conservation corridor creating greater connectivity with conservation lands from Georgia’s coast to the Okefenokee swamp and Fort Stewart, as well as, providing habitat for migratory birds, many listed and at-risk species, such as the southern hognose snake and Florida pine snake, and spawning areas for native fisheries; and the establishment of the Alapaha WMA that includes the state’s largest concentration of gopher tortoises.
Susan Meyers, Monarchs Across Georgia, Lilburn: Georgia Susan Meyers is a leader in conserving monarch butterflies and other pollinators through her hands-on work in schools and communities across the State of Georgia. She supported the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the expansion of the Rosalyn Carter Butterfly Trail, oversaw the funding and creation of 20 new monarch habitats in schools and community gardens, and led an effort that put native pollinator gardens in 50 state parks. She has taught 150 teachers the basics of monarch conservation and reached 50,000 students, parents and community members through her workshops and outreach events. Susan also was instrumental in connecting the Service with numerous other partners working to create, connect and conserve landscapes for monarchs and pollinators.
Reese Thompson, Landowner, Vidalia: Reese Thompson has been a major contributor to the restoration of longleaf pine in the Southeast by the way he has managed his own lands and the model he has provided for other landowners. Reese has restored thousands of acres on his own land and been a champion for management of at-risk and listed species, such as the gopher tortoise and eastern indigo snake, demonstrating through actions that species can be conserved on working forests. Reese is a leader among private landowners, working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, the Longleaf Alliance, the Orianne Society, and Partners for Conservation to not only improve management on his property, but also to host field days to educate others and to advocate publicly for ecological restoration and public-private partnerships. Reese works closely with adjacent landowners to keep the larger forested landscape as forest. His knowledge and insight helped the Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service adapt conservation measures that are practical for landowners to implement under the Gopher Tortoise Working Lands for Wildlife Initiative.
Dan Forster, Director Government Relations, Archery Trade Association New Ulm, Minnesota: As the past director of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division and past president of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Dan Forster has long been a guiding force in southeastern species and habitat conservation. Dan played a key role in land acquisitions for many listed species, including the indigo snake, red-cockaded woodpecker, and Etowah darter and at-risk species, including the gopher tortoise, gopher frog, and Florida pine snake, leveraging funds from multiple partners including the Department of Defense, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, industry, foundations, and private landowners to focus on shared conservation goals. Conservation along the Altamaha River is a great example of Dan’s leadership in restoring habitat connectivity and providing large corridors of habitat for various species. The Altamaha is the last major undammed river in Georgia that provides natural flood regimes and through Dan’s leadership over 100,000 acres of habitat along the lower Altamaha River has been conserved.
Louisiana Turtle Smuggling Investigative Team: Scotty Boudreaux, Special Agent U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Lacombe; Brian Cazalot, Postal Inspector U.S. Postal Inspection Service New Orleans; David Haller, Assistant U.S. Attorney U.S. Attorney’s Office New Orleans; Greg Kennedy, Assistant U.S. Attorney U.S. Attorney’s Office New Orleans; Brian Lomonaco, Special Agent Department of Homeland Security, New Orleans: Working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Office of Law Enforcement, this team of investigators is recognized for their unparalleled dedication to the international fight against wildlife trafficking and smuggling. Through Operation Herpsaspetz, they identified and dismantled an unlawful scheme in which some 750 North American Wood turtles worth nearly $345,000 were illegally captured, sold and transported over a three-year period from Pennsylvania through Louisiana and California to a final destination in Hong Kong. The investigation led to the arrest and prosecution of American and international suspects for violations of the Lacey Act, and Endangered Species Act, smuggling, money laundering, using fictitious names and addresses, and conspiracy violations. So far, the prosecution phase has yielded six and a half years of incarceration, 25 years of probation, and $51,000 in fines and restitution, in addition to monetary seizures of $134,000.
Jeff Fisher, Chief Executive Officer Unique Places, LLC Durham; Tim Sweeney, Principal/Manager 130 of Chatham, LLC, Cary: A strong partnership between Tim Sweeney, Jeff Fisher, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has led to significant contributions to the conservation of rare plants and other native fish and wildlife species in the Box Creek Wilderness National Heritage Area in North Carolina. Tim, with Jeff ’s assistance, has donated 6,000 acres of conservation easements to the Service, with another 1,000 acres underway, to permanently protect southern Appalachian mountain bog habitats, advance the conservation of at-risk species, and contribute to wildlife corridor connectivity with other protected lands in the state. Tim has also purchased 175 acres of endangered Virginia big-eared bat habitat, permanently protecting a significant maternity colony.
Ed Carter, Executive Director Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Nashville: As Executive Director of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Ed Carter has set the bar for his visionary leadership and invaluable contributions in support of the Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy (SECAS). In recognizing the existing and projected massive landscape changes reshaping the Southeast’s aquatic and terrestrial habitats, Ed introduced a compelling vision whereby state fish and wildlife agencies engage partners in defining a conservation landscape of the future that sustains fish and wildlife. Ed led efforts to receive commitment and support from the 15 State Directors of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA), and the 12 federal agency leaders of the Southeast Natural Resource Leaders Group. His leadership also provided direction and support to the conservation science staff of six Landscape Conservation Cooperatives, the Southeast Climate Science Center, and the Southeast Aquatic Resource Partnership to achieve many significant accomplishments over the past five years. This enormous undertaking culminated in a SECAS Conservation Leadership summit convened at the 2016 SEAFWA Conference where state and federal leaders gathered to witness the amazing progress that has been made. Under Ed’s direction, the Leadership Summit participants helped to chart the course for the next five years.
Brett Dunlap, State Director U.S. Department of Agriculture, APHIS Wildlife Services Madison: Brett Dunlap was instrumental in developing a new program in Kentucky and Tennessee to meet stakeholder needs around livestock depredation while fulfilling Migratory Bird Treaty Act responsibilities for black vultures. Brett worked with the Farm Bureau, the livestock industry, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to craft a first-in-the-nation program that is being used as a model. It permits “take” of these migratory birds with authorization granted through the Farm Bureau, while at the same time establishes a process for consideration of non-lethal methods to resolve the problem. Brett played a major role in working with the livestock industry and various organizations that represent livestock producers to provide public awareness of the benefits of black vultures, as well as the non-lethal tools that could help the producers and minimize the need to take birds. To date, the program has helped more than 250 farmers and has resulted in a greater exchange of information.
Conservation Fisheries, Inc.: Pat Rakes, Co-Director, J. R. Shute, Co-Director, Knoxville: For more than two decades, Conservation Fisheries, Inc. (CFI) has dedicated itself to the preservation of aquatic diversity, providing critical data and technical assistance to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and others for the protection and recovery of listed and imperiled fish species throughout the Southeast Region. CFI has worked with more than 60 species, developed propagation protocols, created and maintained “ark” populations of those most critically endangered fish, and reintroduced propagated animals back into their native habitats. Their work has led the way in helping populations of several imperiled species, such as the yellowfin madtom, smoky madtom and Citico darter and also helped focus restoration efforts in areas that benefit multiple species.
Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration Case Team: Dan Audet, Project Manager, National Park Service, Seattle, Washington; John Carlucci, Assistant Solicitor, Office of the Solicitor, Department of the Interior, Washington, DC., Kevin Chapman, Compliance Coordinator, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Atlanta; Colette Charbonneau, Chief of Staff, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia; Clare Cragan, Attorney-Advisor,Office of the Solicitor, Department of the Interior, Lakewood, Colorado; Charman Cupit, Budget Analyst, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Jackson, Mississippi; Holly Deal, Attorney-Advisor, Office of the Solicitor, Department of the Interior Atlanta; Georgia; Benjamin Frater, Restoration Specialist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Fairhope, Alabama; James Haas, Chief Resource Protection Branch, National Park Service, Fort Collins, Colorado; Jon Hemming, Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Fairhope, Alabama; Amy Mathis, Natural Resource Planner, U.S. Forest Service, Prairie City, Oregon; Debora McClain, Deputy Case Manager, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Denver, Colorado; Ronald McCormick, Ecologist Bureau of Land Management, Washington, D.C.; Ashley Mills, Fish and Wildlife Biologist ,U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Atlanta, Georgia; Mark Van Mouwerik, Restoration Project Manager, National Park Service, Fort Collins, Colorado; Nanciann Regalado, Public Affairs Specialist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Atlanta, Georgia; Robin Renn, Fish and Wildlife Biologist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Fairhope, Alabama; Kevin Reynolds, Case Manager, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Atlanta, Georgia; John Rudolph, Attorney-Advisor, Office of the Solicitor, Department of the Interior Washington, D.C.; Pam Rule, Program Analyst, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Knoxville, Tennessee; Gregory Steyer, Ecologist, U.S. Geological Survey, Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Amy Wisco, Program Analyst, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Lakewood, Colorado: The Department of the Interior’s Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration Case Team - composed of representatives of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, the U.S. Geological Survey, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Office of the Solicitor - achieved extraordinary success in conservation following the catastrophic 2010 oil spill - the largest marine spill in U.S. history. Working together with state and federal partners on the Deepwater Horizon Trustee Council, this team helped lead the assessment of injuries to natural resources such as birds, fish, sea turtles and federally-managed lands while simultaneously creating and implementing a multi-faceted restoration program for the Gulf of Mexico. This collaborative approach across multiple bureaus within the Department of the Interior was extremely effective and efficient in providing clear, consistent and timely decisions and information and is considered a model for the Department’s engagement in future spills and other complex environmental challenges. This team’s efforts, from the completion of five Early Restoration Plans, which green-lighted $868 million dollars for restoration projects, to the completion of the Trustee’s Programmatic Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan and Environmental Impact Statement, were pivotal in helping the United States and the five Gulf States reach the $20.8 billion global settlement with BP - the largest civil settlement in the history of the United States.
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 can make it happen, visitfws.gov. Connect with the Service onFacebook, follow ourtweets, watch theYouTube Channeland download photos fromFlickr.
(May 18, 2017) – On the eve of Ringling Bros. permanently ending its traveling animal-based circus acts, The Humane Society of the United States released the results of a disturbing undercover investigation of a different traveling tiger act used by the Carden Circus and Shrine Circuses, showing tigers being regularly whipped and hit. In one instance, the investigator witnessed a trainer angrily whip at a tiger 31 times in less than two minutes after he became frustrated with the animal during a training session.
The HSUS investigation of ShowMe Tigers, a traveling tiger act hired to perform in circus shows, revealed numerous potential violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act and raises alarm about the violent handling and inhumane confinement of the tigers as well as safety concerns for the animals and public. ShowMe Tigers is owned and operated by tiger trainer Ryan Easley (aka Ryan Holder), one of many tiger trainers who contract with regional circuses around the country.
The investigation took place from December 28, 2016 through January 18, 2017, during which time The HSUS investigator was with Easley at his headquarters in Hugo, Oklahoma followed by nine days on the road while Easley toured with the Carden Circus, often performing for Shrine Circuses, in Sulfur Springs, Giddings, Bryan and Cedar Park, Texas, and in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Last year, Easley performed all season at Circus World Museum in Baraboo, Wisconsin. Prior to that, Easley toured with the Kelly Miller Circus for years.
The HSUS has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture asserting likely violations of the Animal Welfare Act, and is urging the agency to investigate ShowMe Tigers and take swift enforcement action for violations of federal law.
Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS said: “While it’s true that Ringling is going out of business, other circuses are still operating and using inhumane methods of handling wild animals. There’s no excuse or rationale for whipping tigers or other wild animals for these silly performances. All circuses should end their wild animal acts.”
- A tiger named Tora did not receive veterinary care for a raw open wound on the side of her face. The USDA had previously cited Easley for not providing veterinary care to Tora when she had a laceration on her ribcage.
- The distressed tigers were whipped and terrorized to force them to perform physically difficult tricks, including one tiger who was forced to “moonwalk” on her hind legs.
- The tigers cowered, flinched and moaned in distress and flattened their ears back in a fearful response to being whipped and hit with a stick, typical behavior of traumatized and abused tigers. The mere presence of these tools during performances evoked classic signs of fear and behavioral stress.
- While traveling, except for the few minutes each day when the tigers performed, they were kept exclusively in transport cages, where they ate, slept, paced, urinated and defecated in the mere 13-square feet of space afforded to each tiger. Not once were they provided the chance to exercise outside the cages. In fact, the tigers’ exercise cage was never unloaded from the trailer.
- In Hugo, Oklahoma, the tigers had no heat source and only an inch of bedding during temperatures often well below freezing.
- Easley withheld food from the tigers on five of the 22 days of the investigation, fed them only raw chicken and rarely provided necessary dietary supplements.
In a statement provided to The HSUS, Jay Pratte, an animal-behavior expert, trainer, and wildlife consultant with 25 years of experience, said: “Ryan Easley utilizes archaic training methods which entail fear, force and punishment. In my professional opinion, the tigers at ShowMe Tigers are suffering from psychological neglect and trauma on a daily basis.”
The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest animal protection organization, rated most effective by our peers. For more than 60 years, we have celebrated the protection of all animals and confronted all forms of cruelty. We are the nation’s largest provider of hands-on services for animals, caring for more than 100,000 animals each year, and we prevent cruelty to millions more through our advocacy campaigns. Read about our more than 60 years of transformational change for animals and people. HumaneSociety.org
Biggest Event in Adopt a College History!
By Emmanuel Marquez, VO Mexico Outreach Coordinator
On May 8, we had an amazing day at the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León. VO Mexico Campaigns and Spanish Media Coordinator Katia Rodriguez and I had the support of 10 super committed volunteers, and together we set a new all-time record for the most booklets handed out at one event!
|Above (from left) are Emmanuel Marquez, Angelica Burciaga, Katia Rodriguez, Luis Zepeda, Constanza Zuniga, and Israel Hurtado at UANL. Along with Yuliana Lozano, Sheccid Torres, Melissa Romero, Julio Silva, Angel Ramirez, and Carlos Contreras, they handed out 22,805 booklets in a single day!|
Israel [above, right] was one of the first success stories we had in Mexico after Vegan Outreach started working there full-time. Thanks to the booklet he received from Katia more than two years ago at this same school, he decided to stop eating meat and helped us leaflet that day, handing out more than 1,000 booklets. Today he handed out 3,000 leaflets and is almost vegan.
Throughout the day we had very positive interactions—from people thanking us for the work we’re doing, to vegans and vegetarians asking to get involved with VO. I met Giselle (below, center), who told me she recently started giving up meat and plans to go fully vegan. I gave her a guide and info about other resources VO has for people in her situation, like the Vegan Mentor Program. She was very thankful and happy to receive support in her transition.
Eduardo (above, left) and I had a brief talk about the abuse animals go through in farms, and he decided to reduce his meat intake. Jose (above, right), a high school student who was on campus to register, read a leaflet and wants to go vegan. He also told us he wants to learn recipes so he can share food with the people around him, to inspire them as well and save more animals.
I’m extremely thankful for all of VO’s donors and supporters—this outreach was possible thanks to you. We all accomplished this together!
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Wake your kiddos up with a bowl of Wendy Gabbe Day’s Fruit-Sweetened Granola!
Craving Italian food? You’ve come to the right place! VO Outreach Coordinator Alexis Clark shares this veganized version of her grandmother’s lasagna recipe.
Huge day at the University of the Sunshine Coast with volunteers Brooke Chandler and Vickie Breckenridge. We smashed the Sippy Downs campus record and had countless conversations. There were lots of vegos and vegans, and many more interested in taking steps towards veganism.
—Sam Tucker, VO Australia and New Zealand Outreach Coordinator,
I hopped on over to the University of Northern Colorado for a few hours and was well received! For anyone familiar with this area, Greeley is well known for its cattle farms, slaughterhouse, and meat-packing plants. I was thrilled that I had such positive conversations and overall was met with a lot of enthusiasm.
—Lori Stultz, VO Communications Manager,
I was joined again by volunteer Nick Huss, who enthusiastically helped me reach more than 2,000 students at Montclair State University today. We spoke to multiple students about how attainable it is to gain and maintain muscle on a plant-based diet, and many were willing to give it a shot!
Below is a photo of Nick chatting it up with a student about vegan nutrition for athletes.
—Alexis Clark, VO Outreach Coordinator,
Oakland VegFest •
Vegan Meat and Cheese Tasting •
Going Vegan: A Fun Meal and Presentation •
While you enjoy eating delicious vegan tacos, VO Greater New Mexico Community Engagement and Events Coordinator Victor Flores will be presenting about the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle. Don’t miss out on this educational and tasty event! More info.
Vegan Outreach is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization working to expose and end cruelty to animals through the widespread distribution of our booklets promoting plant-based eating and compassion for animals.
All donations are fully tax-deductible.
NEWS FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
GO WILD THIS MOTHER’S DAY!
NAT GEO WILD CELEBRATES MOTHER’S DAY BY HIGHLIGHTING THE AMAZING MOMS OF THE ANIMAL KINGDOM
Premieres Include a Special Airing of Safari Liveat 9 AM ET and an Adorable
Three-Part Special Animal Momsat 8 PM ET on Sunday, May 14, on Nat Geo WILD
(WASHINGTON, D.C. – May 1, 2017) Nat Geo WILD celebrates Mother’s Day with a day of programming that showcases the animal kingdom’s most amazing moms. Tune in Sunday, May 14, to discover the heartwarming stories of how our planet’s wild animals raise their young — from a mother sheep comforting her crying lamb to a lioness guarding her cubs in the middle of the African wilderness — with a lineup of adorable programming suitable for the entire family. You may be surprised at how similar the parental styles of the natural world are to our own! For more information, visit our press website atnatgeotvpressroom.com or follow us on Twitter using @NGC_PR.
The celebration begins with a morning alongside the animal moms of the African wilderness in a special airing of Nat Geo WILD’s hit series Safari Live from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. ET. Safari Live gives you a front-row seat to an actual safari as our guides get you up close and personal with some of Africa’s most iconic species — such as lions, leopards, elephants, giraffes and more — in real time. Viewers can interact with the guides in real time on Twitter using #safarilive.
Later, we reveal the secrets behind moms in the wild in a three-part special, Animal Moms,beginning at 8 p.m. ET. This charming program explores the ways in which animal mothers rear their young, from the moment of birth to the “terrible twos” and beyond. Each episode features a mix of science, fascinating stories and heartwarming moments to show how animal mothers devote their lives to their babies. Discover the surprising realities behind the greatest bond in the animal kingdom: motherhood.
Mother’s Day Premieres Include:
Safari Live: Mother’s Day Special
Premieres Sunday, May 14, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. ET
Safari Live is back with a special broadcast dedicated to the awesome animal mothers of the African wilderness. Not only are the guides giving you a front-row seat to safari rides in South Africa’s famous Kruger National Park, but they are also live broadcasting from the iconic Maasai Mara to showcase its incredible wildlife — such as herds of elephants, packs of endangered wild dogs, prides of lions, cheetahs, leopards and hyenas, among many others. It’s a Safari Live first you won’t want to miss!
Animal Moms: Happy Birthday!
Premieres Sunday, May 14, at 8 p.m. ET
Discover the incredible stories of the mothers of the animal kingdom. We begin with the heartwarming moments immediately following birth, when animal moms establish their magical bonds with their newborns as they welcome them into the world. From their youngsters’ first steps to their first meals, see how the animal mothers’ maternal instincts kick in to keep their young safe, fed and healthy.
Animal Moms: Terrible Twos
Premieres Sunday, May 14, at 9 p.m. ET
Explore how animal moms cope when their youngsters grow from infants to toddlers. Just like for human babies, play time is extremely important for these baby animals, and their animal moms have their work cut out for them. From pygmy goats learning just how high they can climb to baby lambs learning how to use their voices, these adorable stories show just how similar animals are to us. Discover animal moms’ tactics for tackling tantrums, the way they handle bullies and their ingenious methods for child care.
Animal Moms: Home Schooled
Premieres Sunday, May 14, at 10 p.m. ET
Just like human babies, animal babies learn by mimicking their mothers. It’s essential that they acquire all of the skills that will help keep them alive in the wild. Explore how animal mothers teach their young how to communicate, behave and find food. Also, witness a group of super-surrogate moms that are vital in preserving the future of various species.
About National Geographic Partners LLC
National Geographic Partners LLC (NGP), a joint venture between National Geographic and 21st Century Fox, is committed to bringing the world premium science, adventure and exploration content across an unrivaled portfolio of media assets. NGP combines the global National Geographic television channels (National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo WILD, Nat Geo MUNDO, Nat Geo PEOPLE) with National Geographic’s media and consumer-oriented assets, including National Geographic magazines; National Geographic studios; related digital and social media platforms; books; maps; children’s media; and ancillary activities that include travel, global experiences and events, archival sales, licensing and e-commerce businesses. Furthering knowledge and understanding of our world has been the core purpose of National Geographic for 129 years, and now we are committed to going deeper, pushing boundaries, going further for our consumers … and reaching over 730 million people around the world in 172 countries and 43 languages every month as we do it. NGP returns 27 percent of our proceeds to the non-profit National Geographic Society to fund work in the areas of science, exploration, conservation and education. For more information visit natgeowild.com or nationalgeographic.com, or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+,YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
New York, NY – A new study comparing the wildlife conservation commitments of nations around the globe has found that affluent countries in the developed world commit less to the conservation of large mammals than poorer nation states. Panthera, the global wild cat conservation organization, and Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) directed the study published today in Global Ecology and Conservation.
Led by Panthera Research Associate Dr. Peter Lindsey, scientists created a Mega-Fauna Conservation Index (MCI) to evaluate the footprint of 152 nations around the globe in conserving large, imperiled animal species, such as tigers, lions and gorillas. The MCI evaluates spatial, ecological and financial contributions, including: a) the proportion of the country occupied by each mega-fauna species; b) the proportion of mega-fauna species range that is protected; and c) the amount of money spent on conservation, either domestically or internationally, relative to GDP.
As reported today in The Economist, the study’s findings revealed that poorer countries tend to take a more active approach to the protection of large mammals than richer nations. Ninety percent of countries in North and Central America and 70 percent of countries in Africa were classified as major or above-average mega-fauna conservation performers.
Although challenged by poverty and instability in many parts of the continent, Africa prioritizes and makes more of an effort for large mammal conservation than any other region of the world. In fact, Africa accounts for four of the five top-performing mega-fauna conservation nations, including Botswana, Namibia, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. The United States ranked 19 out of the top 20 performing countries.
Conversely, approximately one-quarter of countries in Asia and Europe were identified as major mega-fauna conservation underperformers. Asia as a region scored lowest on the MCI, home to the greatest number of countries classified as conservation underperformers.
Lead author and Panthera Research Associate, Dr. Peter Lindsey, stated, “Scores of species across the globe, including tigers, lions and rhinos, are at risk of extinction due to a plethora of threats imposed by mankind. We cannot ignore the possibility that we will lose many of these incredible species unless swift, decisive and collective action is taken by the global community.”
Human-caused threats, including poaching for the illegal wildlife trade and habitat loss and persecution due to conflict with people, among others, are devastating large animal populations around the globe. Recent studies indicate that 59% of the world’s largest carnivores and 60% of the world’s largest herbivores are currently threatened with extinction.
Professor David Macdonald, Director of WildCRU and co-author of the paper said, “Every country should strive to do more to protect its wildlife. Our index provides a measure of how well each country is doing, and sets a benchmark for nations that are performing below the average level to understand the kind of contributions they need to make as a minimum. There is a strong case for countries where mega-fauna species have been historically persecuted, to assist their recovery.”
The creation of this conservation index aims to mobilize and elevate international conservation support and action for large animal species, acknowledging those countries making the greatest sacrifices for conservation and encouraging nations who are doing less to increase their efforts. Scientists seek to produce this conservation index annually to provide a public benchmark for commitment to protecting nature’s largest, and, some would say, most charismatic wildlife.
Addressing how countries can improve their MCI scores, Dr. Lindsey commented, “There are three ways. They can ‘re-wild’ their landscapes by reintroducing mega-fauna and/or by allowing the distribution of such species to increase. They can set aside more land as strictly protected areas. And they can invest more in conservation, either at home or abroad.”
At the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, developed nations vowed to allocate at least $2 billion (USD) per annum towards conservation in developing nations. However, current conservation contributions from industrialized nations have reached just half of that amount, averaging $1.1 billion per year (USD).
Co-author and Oregon State University Distinguished Professor William Ripple added, “The Mega-fauna Conservation Index is an important first step to transparency – some of the poorest countries in the world are making some of the most impressive efforts towards the conservation of this global asset and should be congratulated, whereas some of the richest nations just aren’t doing enough.”
David Macdonald founded the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) in 1986 at the University of Oxford. Now the foremost University-based centre for biodiversity conservation, the mission of the WildCRU is to achieve practical solutions to conservation problems through original research. WildCRU is renowned for its specialisation in wild carnivores, especially wild cats, for its long-running studies on lion and clouded leopard, and for its training centre, where early-career conservationists, so far from 32 countries, are trained by experts to become leaders in conservation, resulting in a global community of highly skilled and collaborative conservationists. Visit wildcru.org.