Displaying items by tag: south africa

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March 3, 2018

Host - Jon Patch

Co-Host - Dr. Anne Lampru - Animal Alternatives

Producer - Zach Budin

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Executive Producer - Bob Page

 

March 1, 2017

New York, NY – In a highly controversial move, South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) recently announced plans to formalize the country’s legal trade in captive-bred lion skeletons, proposing to institute a quota of 800 skeletons per year eligible for export permits. The number of captive-bred lion carcasses legally exported from South Africa—primarily feeding a growing market among upwardly mobile Asians for luxury products such as lion bone wine—has grown exponentially since 2007, as lion bones have begun to fill demand for increasingly scarce tiger bones.

Panthera, the global wild cat conservation organization, condemned the quota as arbitrary and potentially devastating for wild lion and critically endangered tiger populations. Panthera is calling on the DEA to institute a moratorium on lion bone exports, effective immediately.

“The government’s proposed quota of 800 lion skeletons for legal export has absolutely no grounding in science,” said Dr. Paul Funston, Senior Director of Panthera’s Lion Program. “It is irresponsible to establish policy that could further imperil wild lions—already in precipitous decline throughout much of Africa—when the facts are clear; South Africa’s lion breeding industry makes absolutely no positive contribution to conserving lions and, indeed, further imperils them.”

Dr. Funston continued, “It is confounding that a country whose iconic wild lions are such a source of national pride—not to mention tourist revenue—would take such risks to sustain a marginal captive breeding industry that is condemned globally for its shameful practices. The legal farming of lions for tourists to bottle-feed, pet, and ultimately hunt in tiny enclosures is a stain on South Africa’s reputation as stewards of Africa’s wildlife.”

Proponents of the captive lion trade argue the industry reduces demand for wild lion parts, thereby benefitting wild lion conservation. However, there is significant evidence that South Africa’s legal trade in captive-bred lion trophies is accelerating the slaughter of wild lions for their parts in neighboring countries and is in fact increasing demand for wild lion parts in Asia—a market that did not exist before South Africa started exporting lion bones in 2007.

Recent anecdotal data and press reports from neighboring countries show an increase in lion killings for their bones and parts:

  • In 2016, 90% of lion carcasses from Limpopo National Park, Mozambique had skull, teeth, and claws removed
  • Rates of poisoning of lions specifically for body parts have increased dramatically in Niassa National Reserve, Mozambique
  • A 6kg consignment of lion claws and teeth was found in an illegal rhino horn apprehension in Maputo in 2016
  • In northern Namibia in 2016, 42% of lions killed in the Zambezi Region of Namibia (n=17), had their heads, feet, tails, skins and claws removed. In a previous spate of lion killing in the region in 2014 no body parts were removed from 20 lions that were killed

Panthera President and Chief Conservation Officer, Dr. Luke Hunter, added, “There is not one shred of scientific evidence showing that canned hunting and legal lion bone exports take the poaching pressure off wild lion populations. In fact, it is increasingly clear that these practices stimulate demand for wild lion, leopard and tiger parts throughout the world. The CITES mandate to limit captive-bred lion skeleton exports from South Africa was a step in the right direction; with global pressure mounting on the government to ban canned hunting, we may soon see the end of this reprehensible industry.”

Background

Wild lion populations are on a steep decline, with only 20,000 remaining today, down from 30,000 just two decades ago. The species faces a deadly matrix of threats in the wild, ranging from conflict with people and bushmeat poaching to habitat loss, unsustainable trophy hunting and the emerging threat of poaching for the illegal wildlife trade.

Panthera’s Project Leonardo leads or supports initiatives in 15 African nations to bring lion populations back to a minimum of 30,000 individuals within 15 years. Learn more.

Read Beyond Cecil: Africa’s Lions in Crisis for more information about the plight of the African lion, and take the pledge to #LetLionsLive at letlionslive.org

   
 
 

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

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

 

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“The endangered Barbary macaque could get a new chance at survival at CITES CoP17”

September 27, 2016, Johannesburg - For the first time in 30 years, Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) will discuss increasing the level of protection for a monkey species. Barbary macaques will take center stage in Johannesburg, alongside emblematic fauna such as elephants, lions, rhinos and sharks.

The CITES Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP17), which is currently taking place in South Africa, has the power to change the fate of Barbary macaques and stop their race towards extinction. In an almost unprecedented move, all range States and the main consumer countries providing the market for these animals have rallied together behind a joint Morocco-EU proposal to transfer the species to Appendix I of the Convention, which will afford them the highest level of international protection from trade and help enhance enforcement measures against trafficking in this species. The proposal has also received overwhelming support from the global animal welfare and conservation community. 

The Barbary macaque (Macaca sylvanus) is the only African primate species north of the Sahara, the only macaque species in Africa and the only non-human primate living in the wild in Europe (Gibraltar). In the last 30 years, the populations of this unique primate in Morocco and Algeria have dwindled from approximately 23,000 to the latest estimates of 6,500 – 9,100. The largest wild subpopulation, which inhabits the mixed cedar forests of the Middle Atlas Mountains in Morocco, has been decimated: only 5,000 remain, a 65% decrease in just three decades.

A significant number of Barbary macaques, mostly infants, are illegally captured from the wild and traded every year, mainly to feed the European exotic pet trade and to be used as tourist photo props. The protection granted to the species both in Morocco and Algeria, its listing on Appendix II of CITES and an EU import ban have done little to help curb poaching and trafficking in these intelligent and sensitive endangered primates. This criminal activity is increasingly in the hands of organized international networks. Barbary macaques remain the most frequently seized CITES-listed live mammal in the EU.

Animal Defenders International (ADI) President Jan Creamer says: “The illegal trade is pushing Barbary macaques to the brink and action must be taken before it is too late. Like so many wild animals, these little monkeys are paying the price for unscrupulous traders bartering with their lives.” It is estimated that approximately 3,000 Barbary macaques could be currently being kept as pets in Europe.
 
Musician Moby said: "I refuse to stand by and do nothing as these endangered monkeys are snatched from the wild and their families for photo props and the pet trade. Barbary macaques need our urgent help and I hope governments will join ADI and 'back the macaque' and grant them the greater protection they need".

Gerben Jan Gerbrandy, Member of the European Parliament for D66 and Head of the European Parliament Delegation to CoP17, agrees on the importance of this moment: “The adoption of the joint proposal from the EU and Morocco would be a key next step in protecting a species for which the EU is unfortunately a key destination market. Now we have to make sure that any agreement is properly and coherently enforced to the fullest effect. That is where the real difference will be made.”

North Africa is the gateway to Europe for other illegal wildlife products, including live specimens such as endangered tortoises. Tackling Barbary macaque trafficking is expected to help with protection of other endangered species, some of which are also on the agenda at CoP17.  

"This truly unique and endangered primate species needs all the protection we can provide as international community. The highest possible protection from CITES will strengthen conservation efforts underway to help the Barbary macaque survive and thrive. It makes total sense to support the range states, Morocco and Algeria, in this goal," adds Rikkert Reijnen of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

Highly intelligent, emotional and sensitive, Barbary macaques live up to 22 years of age, in social groups comprising as many as 80 individuals, with males playing a primary role in caring for their young. They prefer high altitude cedar forests, but can also be found in oak forests, coastal scrub, and rocky slopes, feeding on fruits, tree leaves, and plants.

Having campaigned for over 20 years to educate the public about the use of primates for entertainment, research, and as pets, exposing the huge numbers of animals taken from the wild each year and the suffering of the animals during captivity and transport, the plight of the Barbary macaque is a cause close to the heart of Animal Defenders International (ADI).
 
Last year, ADI rescued more than 30 illegally traded monkeys in Peru during an 18-month mission against wildlife trafficking and to enforce a ban on wild animals in circuses. Over 100 animals were saved during the operation. Having nursed the monkeys back to health, ADI relocated new family groups from six different primate species to sanctuaries in their native Amazon habitats where ADI continues to fund their care for life.
 
ADI previously rescued two Hamadryas baboons – one from a Bolivian circus and the other from the pet trade in Cyprus. They now live happily together at the Lakeview Monkey Sanctuary in the UK, where ADI funds their care for life, along with three macaques born at the notorious and now closed Israeli monkey breeder Mazor Farm. Born to wild-caught parents, Baloo, Betty and Boo were sold to a European research laboratory and used in neurology experiments. When the monkeys were no longer required, ADI stepped in to save them from being killed.

Scientific support for the proposal

Dr. Shirley McGreal of the International Primate Protection League has also expressed strong support: “I am at the NAPSA (North American Primate Alliance) conference in Tacoma and of course IPPL is delighted that Morocco and the EU have proposed the elevation of the Barbary macaque to Appendix I of CITES. There are less of them in the world than there are humans in the small town where I live!”   

Dr. John Cortes, co-editor of The Barbary Macaque: Biology, Management and Conservation (2006) has been a long-time defender of the species: “I fully support and endorse the proposal. As Minister for the Environment in Gibraltar, a range State for the Barbary Macaque, and familiar with the species in North Africa, I agree fully with the statement and its aims.”

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Efforts to increase protection and better conservation measures for Barbary macaques are being led by the following organizations:

AAP Animal Advocacy and Protection, www.aap.nl/en


Animal Defenders International, www.ad-international.org

Born Free Foundation and Born Free Foundation USA, www.bornfree.org

Eurogroup for Animals, www.eurogroupforanimals.org

Fondation Brigitte Bardot, www.fondationbrigittebardot.fr

Fondation Franz Weber, www.ffw.ch

Humane Society International, www.hsi.org

International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), www.ifaw.org

International Primate Protection League, www.ippl.org

Pro Wildlife, www.pro-wildlife.de

Species Survival Network, www.ssn.org


 
Animal Defenders International (ADI) is active worldwide to end the suffering of captive animals in commercial use: animals used in entertainment – film, television, advertising, circuses and sport or leisure such as hunting or for products such as fur. Replacement of animals in scientific research; funding and promotion of non-animal advanced methods. ADI investigates, produces evidence and reports on the scientific, legal and economic issues for each case study, recommending solutions. Information is distributed to the media, public and officials. Where ADI’s evidence has been a catalyst for change, we collaborate with governments to conduct large scale seizures or rescues of wild animals in captivity and relocate them to forever homes – back to their natural habitat wherever possible.  http://www.ad-international.org
Animal Defenders International: Ending the suffering of animals in captivity and protecting wild animals and their environments
 
 

 

Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa, September 24 - October 5, 2016

Washington, D.C., September 19, 2016 -- Born Free USA, a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, will urge delegates at the 17th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to make precautionary decisions with respect to wildlife and international trade. Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, will be in attendance at the conference in Johannesburg, South Africa, September 24 - October 5, 2016.

The international wildlife trade is estimated to be worth billions of dollars annually and includes millions of animals who are traded as trophies, pets, medicine, and more. After habitat destruction, exploitation of wild specimens for trade is a main reason for the critical decline of global biodiversity. CITES is one of the most effective global instruments to counter the depletion of wildlife species for trade. CITES accords varying degrees of protection to more than 30,000 species of animals and plants that are threatened by overexploitation. With 183 Parties bound by the Convention, CITES is the largest conservation agreement in existence. 

According to Roberts, “This meeting is the most important call to save wildlife. And, people are watching and waiting for outcomes.  Armed militia and sophisticated organized crime networks are operating across continents to slaughter and trade wildlife for profit. Traffickers and other profiteers are watching closely to see what happens if the trades in elephant ivory and rhino horn are reopened. Any signal from CITES that there is profitability in this deadly trade will result in animal carcasses unceremoniously littering the African savannah and forests. CITES Parties must act with precaution to adopt sufficient measures to ensure that international trade will not lead to the extinction of species for future generations. The outcome of this conference can change everything.”

Born Free USA will be there to focus on a number of important issues, among them:

African Elephants: Africa’s elephants remain beleaguered by poaching for their ivory tusks, and some populations could disappear forever without significant action. Born Free USA will be supporting Kenya’s call to uplist all of Africa’s elephants back to Appendix I, thereby closing any chance for trade that is primarily commercial. Going back to the 1989 ban will dry up ivory markets and reduce elephant poaching. Similarly, the organization will work to defeat certain southern African countries that will be trying to facilitate international trade once again.   

Rhinoceros: Swaziland is proposing limited trade in rhino horn, which could seriously threaten the continent’s remaining estimated 25,000 black and white rhinos. Born Free USA will urge Parties to reject Swaziland’s proposal as the trade in rhino horn, like elephant ivory, leads to poaching. Rhinoceros horns are highly sought after in Asia because of false local beliefs in their medicinal properties. According to Roberts, “A resumption of rhino horn trade would have a devastating impact on this species already poached close to extinction.”

African and Asian Pangolins: Born Free USA believes that all eight species of pangolins—four in Africa and four in Asia—should be on CITES Appendix I. Roberts explains, “Pangolins are the most heavily-traded mammal in the world and are at risk from trade in their scales as medicines—despite a complete lack of efficacy in medicinal use. Pangolins are disappearing fast and a ban must be secured on international commercial trade.”

African Lions: Having successfully petitioned for the addition of Africa’s lions to the list of endangered species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, at CITES, Born Free USA will be supporting the proposal submitted by Niger, along with many other lion range States, to uplist lions from Appendix II to Appendix I. “Lions are not only subjected to an international trade in trophies, but are also increasingly targeted by the international trade of their bones, which replace tiger bones in Asian folk remedies. This commercial trade is having an increasingly prejudicial impact on the species.” Read the proposal.

For more information about key issues Born Free USA will be involved with at CITES, visit www.bornfreeusa.org/cites. Born Free USA will be on Twitter and Facebook throughout the conference with live updates.

Born Free USA is a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, the organization 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.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About IFAW

Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Will Visit Gabon, Kenya & South Africa to Advance International Fight Against Illegal Wildlife Trade to Protect World’s Iconic Species 

WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell this week will travel to Africa on a multi-country visit to Gabon, Kenya and South Africa to meet with government officials, non-governmental organizations and conservation leaders to continue the United States’ work to combat the illegal trade of wildlife products in the U.S. and abroad.

Secretary Jewell’s travel to Africa, which begins Thursday, January 21, and runs through the following week, follows her recent participation at the http://www.cop21paris.org/">21st Conference of Parties (COP21) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris, where she https://www.doi.gov/pressreleases/secretary-jewell-discusses-combating-wildlife-trafficking-african-nations">met with senior officials from the countries of Gabon, Kenya and Namibia to discuss methods to combat wildlife trafficking in partnership with other consumer, transit and source countries.

Black markets in the U.S. and abroad are contributing to record high demand for wildlife products, which has a devastating impact on species such as elephants and rhinoceroses, pushing them into further decline and even near extinction. Criminal elements, including insurgent groups, are involved in poaching and transporting ivory and rhino horn across Africa.

African countries are major source countries for ivory, rhino horn and other illegally taken flora and fauna destined predominantly for markets in Asia. https://www.doi.gov/pressreleases/secretary-jewell-meets-chinese-vice-premier-wang-yang-discuss-international-cooperation-combat">Secretary Jewell traveled to China and Vietnam last summer in a similar effort to further work to crack down on these black markets both at home and internationally.

This international outreach is part of President Obama’s https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/nationalstrategywildlifetrafficking.pdf">National Strategy to Combat Wildlife Trafficking. The President’s http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/07/01/executive-order-combating-wildlife-trafficking">July 2013 Executive Order established an interagency Task Force on Wildlife Trafficking that is co-chaired by Secretary Jewell to develop and implement the strategy, as well as an Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking. As stated in the President’s Executive Order, wildlife trafficking reduces the economic, social and environmental benefits of wildlife while generating billions of dollars in illicit revenues each year, contributing to an illegal economy, fueling instability and undermining security.

The https://ustr.gov/tpp/">Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement, which is currently under public and congressional review, includes the strongest international commitments to fight the illegal trade in endangered species of any trade agreement in history. While Africa is not part of TPP, illicit wildlife parts and goods also pass through TPP waters, ports and countries. By increasing enforcement, enhancing information sharing and mandating action, the Obama Administration is helping cut off supplies of illegal ivory, rhino horn and other items and preventing poaching with the end goal saving Africa’s iconic species.

 

Animal Defenders International (ADI) has today launched a new appeal and website to secure funds for the lifetime care of 33 lions rescued from travelling circuses in Colombia and Peru.The lions will be flown bya specially chartered Boeing 747 to a new life atEmoya Big Cat Sanctuary in Limpopo province, South Africa, where they will enjoy huge natural bush enclosures.

The lions have led such tragic lives that it is not possible to release them into the wild; almost all have been mutilated to remove their claws, one has lost an eye, another is almost blind, and many have smashed and broken teeth because of their circus life. The lions will have the next best thing to a life in the wild, home to Africa where they can retire in a safe, protected, natural habitat.  Special African bush enclosures are being constructed, with a substantial financial commitment to the lionslifetime care and veterinary needs.

People can meet each of the 33 lions on the website, from the ‘babies’ Mahla and Scarc tothe old boys Ricardo, Joseph, Leo, Junior and King at http://lionsbacktoafrica.org/. Discover their likes and dislikes, family ties and even blossoming romances!  People can get directly involved in the record-breaking rescue by adopting lions $2,400, sponsoring travel crates $1,500, enclosures $6,000, and flight costs for lions $10,000.

Animal Defenders International President Jan Creamer said, “These lions have all endured sad, painful lives, but the new laws in Peru and Colombia have set them free. Having saved them from the circus,they deserve to be taken back to their homeland and retire in peace.In the season of goodwill a wonderful future awaits these animals, forever under the African sun – everyone can get involved by donating at http://lionsbacktoafrica.org/

The airlift in January will be the culmination of ADI’s Operation Spirit of Freedom, a year-long mission assistingthe governments of Peru and Colombia with enforcement of legislation prohibiting the use of wild animals in circuses.It has been the biggest rescue of its kind with nearly 100 animals saved and will culminate with the huge lion airlift to Africa.

ADI and Emoya are just waiting for the final green light, import permits from South African officials, and hope to move the lions in January. The flight will cost $335,000 and a further $300,000 will be needed to complete the large natural habitats at Emoya. The first phase of “bonding camps” at Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary is nearly complete – this is where the lions will first be settled in, families get to be together again, some introductions to make new families and form prides. The next phase will see the habitats extended into the lifetime spaces.

The entire rescue is funded by public donations and last month award-winning Bond actor Sir Roger Moore appealed for help to give the lions “who have suffered so much” “the peace and sanctuary they need”.

Jan Creamer:“This is an animal rescue on a very large scale, because it is effectively multiple animal rescues all at once. That makes this an expensive process but it is also the most effective approach because over the course of a year we have completely eliminated the use of wild animals in circuses in Peru. Now we need people to help give these animals the retirement they deserve after years of suffering to entertain people – for the younger lions that could be more than 20 years of care.”

Find out more and donate at: http://lionsbacktoafrica.org/donate/

If you haven't seen "Blood Lions" on MSNBC, it will air Saturday, Oct.17th at 6:00 PM and Sunday, Oct 18th at 1:00 AM (check your local listings).. Be warned that it contains graphic footage of the inhumane treatment and  killing of lions on lion farms and canned hunts in South Africa.

It is all about huge amounts of money, and psychopaths who have no sense of conscience or remorse. THE KILLING OF WILD ANIMALS IS A HUGE FINANCIAL  AND EMOTIONAL SPORT!!!!!!    This documentary will make you angry and sick to your stomach. DO SOMETHING TO STOP THIS ATROCITY FROM HAPPENING!!!!  It is a hugely profitable, bloody business in South Africa!!! 

PLEASE !!!!!.......INUNDATE THIS SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT WITH YOUR DEMANDS TO STOP THE BREEDING OF LIONS TO BE SLAUGHTERED TO BECOME AHEAD ON THE WALL OR A RUG TO BE STEPPED UPON. 

Private Office of President Jacob Zuma
Chief Director: Support Services
Charmaine Fredricks
Telephone: (Union Buildings) 012 300 5288
Fax: (Union Buildings) 086 683 5288
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

IT HAS BEEN PROVEN!  YOUR VOICE COUNTS!  I SO RESPECT YOU FOR USING IT!!!!!!

With love and protection for the lions in the wild, and mercy for those who are subjected to man's inhumanity..........
 
Tippi Hedren
President The Roar Foundation
The Shambala Preserve

Dream ending for circus lions rescued in South America:  
Huge airlift to take 33 lions home to Africa

September 1, 2015 - Thirty-three lions rescued by Animal Defenders International (ADI) from ten circuses in Peru and Colombia are going home to their native Africa in the biggest ever airlift of its kind.  
 
The lions, who endured years of confinement in cages on the backs of trucks and a brutal life being forced to perform in circuses, are heading to huge natural enclosures at Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary in South Africa.
 
The airlift in October will be the culmination of ADI’s work with the Governments of Peru and Colombia to eliminate the use of wild animals in circuses. ADI evidence of the abuse of circus animals in Latin America led to legislation banning animal acts and then ADI stepped in to help enforce the laws.
 
Almost all of the rescued lions have been mutilated to remove their claws, one has lost an eye, another is almost blind, and many have smashed and broken teeth because of their circus life, but they will retire in the African sunshine.
 
Jan Creamer, ADI President, who is leading the rescue mission in Peru, said:  “We are delighted that these lions who have suffered so much will be going home to Africa where they belong.  The climate and environment are perfect for them. When we visited Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary we knew this is a dream come true for ADI and, more importantly, the lions.”
 
ADI’s year-long Operation Spirit of Freedom, working with the Peru Government SERFOR and ATFFS wildlife departments, as well as police, has seen ADI raid circuses all over the country, facing violent confrontations, rescuing over 90 animals, travelling thousands of miles, and traversing the Andes with lions.  
 
Nine ex-circus lions from Colombia will join 24 lions from Peru on the flight to South Africa. They are the first animals to be handed over following Colombia’s ban on wild animal circuses and taken into care by the CDMB regional wildlife authority in Bucaramanga. ADI assumed the lions’ care until the flight was finalized. 
 
Home for the lions will be Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary set in 5,000 hectares on a private estate in Limpopo Province, South Africa. The sanctuary is already home to eight rescued lions and tigers in large acreage habitats of pristine African bush, has a no breeding policy and is not open to the public.  
 
Savannah Heuser, founder of Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary says: “Mahatma Gandhi once said; 'Be the change that you wish to see in the world.'  The change that is being offered to these 33 lions will change their entire world. 
 
Their lives were forcibly wasted away in horrific tiny cages, the doing of mindless circus acts, I cannot start to comprehend the endless days suffering that these animals had to endure. They have a lot of lost time to make up for. They will live out the rest of their lives in a natural habitat, the closest they can ever come to freedom.”
 
ADI is chartering a Boeing 747 to transport all 33 lions with an ADI veterinary team, direct from Lima to Johannesburg and is funding the construction of habitats for the lions at Emoya, ready for the arrival of the lions in late October.
 
Over ninety animals have been rescued during the ADI operation, which also provided assistance to the Peruvian authorities on the issue of wildlife crime.  ADI is concluding a huge construction program for over 50 native wild animals rescued during the operation in two parts of the Amazon, including bears, six species of monkeys, coati mundis, kinkajous, and a puma.
 
Jan Creamer paid tribute to governments, wildlife officials and the public in Peru and Colombia:  “Seeing these lions go home to where they truly belong will be a testament to the commitment of wildlife officials and the governments in Peru and Colombia to change the treatment of animals.”
 
Peru’s wild animal circus ban was passed in 2011, and between August 2014 and July 2015, the ADI team identified and raided every circus with wild animals.  Some circuses went underground as the raids commenced, but were eventually caught.  Only one circus reported to have a lioness is still to be found, which was pursued into Ecuador by the ADI team in July this year. Wildlife officials and the local ADI team are on alert should the circus reappear.
 
ADI previously enforced Bolivia’s animal circus ban, relocating many animals within the country and taking 29 lions to two sanctuaries in the US, and a baboon to the UK. ADI’s Operation Spirit of Freedom in Peru and Colombia has been an even larger undertaking.
 
Savannah Heuser:  “We at Emoya are deeply honored and privileged to be part of such a massive operation. We salute ADI for saving animals and ending suffering. Let's bring these 33 to Africa. Let's bring them home.”
 
Moving the lions to Africa increases the flight costs, but it is the ideal home for the animals and ADI believes, the right thing to do. An appeal has been launched to meet the increased flight costs as well as the enclosures for the lions.
 
Jan Creamer:  “We really need financial support for this move.  It is more expensive to relocate these animals to Africa, but who can put a price on taking them home to where they belong?   It also sends such a clear and important message about protecting wildlife in their natural habitats and ranges.”
 
Until their flight, planned for end October, the lions will remain at the ADI Spirit of Freedom Rescue Center near Lima, Peru, where they will continue their rehabilitation under ADI veterinary supervision and enjoying their with grassy play pens, but the best is yet to come!
 
Please donate now to help get the lions home www.ad-international.org/hometoafrica
 

Columbia Pictures, Alpha Core and Genre Films present a 120 minute, R rated, Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller, directed by Neill Blomkamp, written by Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell with a theater release date of March 6, 2015.

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