Displaying items by tag: endangered species act

Mega-Ivory Seizure Puts Future of Elephants in Doubt


December 12, 2012 -- A massive seizure of 1,500 ivory tusks in Port Klang, rumoured to weigh a staggering 20 to 24 tonnes, has stunned the conservation world.


"Last year, 2011, was described by trade experts as the worst year for elephants in decades," said Will Travers, CEO Born Free Foundation and Born Free USA. "This latest seizure coming, as it does, on top of 900 kg seized in New York in July, 1,500 kg in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in May and two seizures, one of 3,810 kg in October and another of 1,330 kg in November in Hong Kong, means the bloody ivory trade has reached new heights of destruction and depravity in 2012.”


This latest seizure was carried out by Royal Malaysian Customs officers at Port Klang, just outside Malaysia's capital city Kuala Lumpur. The shipment, reportedly, involved 10 crates, divided between 2 containers, shipped from the Port of Lomé in Togo, West Africa, destined for China, via Spain. The ivory was hidden in secret compartments underneath "wooden floor tiles.”


Travers continued, "I thought that when the international ivory trade ban was agreed in 1989, we would see a permanent reversal of fortunes for this beleaguered species. How wrong I was - the respite was temporary. Experts estimate that between 20,000 and 30,000 elephants are being illegally killed each year to fuel demand, largely driven by China. No part of Africa is now safe. Across the continent, for the first time, the number of carcasses recorded as a result of poaching exceeds the number reportedly dying from natural causes."


And the situation could get even worse.


With only three months to run before the 16th meeting of 176 Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), a proposal has been put forward by Tanzania seeking approval for the sale of more than 100 tonnes of stockpiled ivory to China and Japan. Analysis by Born Free's trade experts concludes that, far from meeting demand and depressing poaching, this is fuelling demand and incentivising another wave of slaughter.


"I fear that elephants may disappear entirely from those parts of Africa least able to protect them from the onslaught" said legendary actress Virginia McKenna, OBE, Founder of The Born Free Foundation and Born Free USA. "The fragile elephant populations of West and Central Africa are most at risk, but even countries such as Kenya, with the well-trained and well-resourced rangers of the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), are operating at full stretch and losing their lives in the process."


There are no easy answers but Born Free, together with other conservation charities with many years' experience working in Africa, are calling on Tanzania to withdraw its proposal; for China and Japan's ivory trading nation status to be revoked; and for the international community to come forward with the resources necessary to fund the African Elephant Action Plan, the only viable blueprint for elephant survival agreed by all 37 African elephant range States.


Born Free is calling on the public to make its opposition to any further ivory trade known by registering at http://www.bloodyivory.org where the latest details of the Malaysian mega-seizure and other interceptions can be found.


About Born Free USA: Born Free USA is a nationally recognized leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to America the message of “compassionate conservation” -- the vision of the U.K.-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son Will Travers, now CEO of both organizations. Born Free’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at: www.bornfreeusa.org; twitter twitter.com/bornfreeusa; Facebook facebook.com/BornFreeUSA.


About the Born Free Foundation: The Born Free Foundation is a dynamic international wildlife charity, devoted to compassionate conservation and animal welfare. Born Free takes action worldwide to protect threatened species and stop individual animal suffering. Born Free believes wildlife belongs in the wild and works to phase out zoos. We rescue animals from lives of misery in tiny cages and give them lifetime care. Born Free protects lions, elephants, tigers, gorillas, wolves, polar bears, dolphins, marine turtles and many more species in their natural habitat, working with local communities to help people and wildlife live together without conflict. Our high-profile campaigns change public attitudes, persuade decision-makers and get results. Every year, Born Free helps hundreds of thousands of animals worldwide. For more information visit: www.bornfree.org.uk.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Issues Positive Finding on

Groups’ Petition to List Lions as Endangered

WASHINGTON D.C. – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that the African lion may warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), following an initial review of a petition seeking to protect the species which was filed by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Humane Society International (HSI), Born Free USA, Born Free Foundation, Defenders of Wildlife and the Fund for Animals. The groups thanked the federal agency for its preliminary positive 90-day finding on the petition to protect lions.

“Today’s decision is an important first step as we work to protect the African lion—a species confronted with mounting threats and a steep population decline,” said Jeff Flocken, DC Office Director, IFAW. “The ESA is the most powerful law we have to safeguard the African lion against the unnecessary threat of U.S. trophy hunters.”

The number of African lions has declined by more than 50 percent in the past three decades, with fewer than 35,000 believed remaining today. Despite the significant and continued declines in population and range, the number of lion trophies imported to the United States is increasing. Listing the African lion as Endangered would generally prohibit the import of lion trophies into the United States, an essential step to reversing the current decline of the population.

“African lions are in danger of losing the land they require in order to thrive, are exposed to a variety of deadly diseases, are slaughtered for their meat and organs or in retaliatory killings – including by gruesome poisoning – as a result of livestock predation, and are killed for trophies and commercial sale of their parts,” noted Adam Roberts, Executive Vice President of Born Free USA. “The US government deserves high praise for taking the necessary first step toward ensuring a chance at survival for this beleaguered species.”

“The African lion has been pushed to the brink of extinction in part by irresponsible American trophy hunters,” said Teresa Telecky, Director, Wildlife Department, Humane Society International. “It’s time for the U.S. government to recognize the perilous state of this species and put the brakes on killing rare animals to get one’s name in a trophy book.”

Now that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has issued its positive preliminary 90-day finding on the petition, the agency will next receive information from scientists and the public about the status of the African lion to determine whether an endangered listing would be appropriate.

For more information visit www.helpafricanlions.org.


The Bicknell’s thrush, a songbird whose migration range stretches from the Caribbean to Canada, may need federal protection as a threatened or endangered species, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today.

The announcement follows an initial review of a petition seeking to protect it under the Endangered Species Act. The Service based the decision, known as a 90-day finding, on scientific information about the Bicknell’s thrush provided in a 2010 petition from the Center for Biological Diversity and in the Service’s files.

The Service will start an extensive review for this songbird to determine if adding it to the federal list of threatened and endangered wildlife is warranted.

The Bicknell’s thrush has one of the most limited breeding and wintering ranges of any bird on the continent. It summers in scattered pockets across the northeastern U.S. and southeast Canada, requiring a very specific conifer forest habitat at the highest mountain elevations. Forestry, energy, and recreational developments, such as ski areas, threaten these special environments. During winter, the thrush migrates to the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Cuba, and Puerto Rico, where subsistence farming and logging threaten its forest habitat.

Like other migrating songbirds, the Bicknell’s thrush is further challenged by the impacts of changing climate on its breeding and wintering areas. The loss of high-elevation forests, shift in available food, and increase in extreme weather could affect the survival of this species. The Service, other management agencies and conservation organizations have focused on predicting and monitoring the effects of climate change, managing and protecting habitat, and restoring existing populations. This collaboration will be crucial to securing the long-term existence of this unique bird.

Today’s announcement begins a 60-day period during which the Service invites information on Bicknell’s thrush. In particular, the agency requests information about impacts to the species from climate change, operations of wind and telecommunication projects, and mercury accumulation. Following the review, the Service will issue a 12-month finding on the petition.

The 90-day finding can be accessed here on August 14, 2012, and at the Federal eRulemaking Portal starting August 15. Information may be submitted by one of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments to Docket No. FWS-R5-ES-0056.
  • U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: Docket No. FWS-R5-ES-0056; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042-PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.

Information must be received on or before October 15, 2012. The Service will post all comments on http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means the agency will post any personal information provided through the process. The Service is not able to accept email or faxes.

More resources:

  • Bicknell's thrush fact sheet (PDF)
  • Specific information needs on Bicknell's thrush (PDF)
  • Bicknell's thrush, climate change and range map (web article)

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that David Adams, 60, formerly of Newnan, Georgia, was sentenced today in United States District Court, Northern District of Georgia, after pleading guilty to the unlawful take of a Florida panther, a species listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
“Today’s sentencing affirms our commitment to investigate violations of the federal wildlife laws intended to protect our Nation’s most imperiled species,” said Luis J. Santiago, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Southeast Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement.
Adams was sentenced to two years probation, with a special condition of probation that he may not hunt or obtain a hunting license anywhere in the United States during the period of probation.  In addition, he was sentenced to pay a fine of $2,000. 
According to court documents and other information presented in court, on November 16, 2008, Adams shot and killed a cougar known as a Florida panther while deer hunting in Troup County, Ga. At the time of the shooting, Adams knew he was shooting at a species of cougar, for which there was no open hunting season in the State of Georgia.  The bullet fired from Adams’ gun entered the Florida panther in the rear portion of the rib cage by the right hindquarters just below the spine and lodged in the inside of the panther’s right front shoulder.
The Florida panther has been listed as an endangered species since March 11, 1967. The Puma concolor coryi (the scientific name for the Florida panther) is a sub-species of the Puma concolor, which is known by many names such as, cougar, puma, catamount, and mountain lion.  
The Endangered Species Act prohibits the “take” of an endangered species.  As defined within the Endangered Species Act, “take” means to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct.  The maximum penalties for criminal violations of the Endangered Species Act can result in imprisonment of up to one year, and/or up to $100,000 in fines.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission have worked for years to bring the Florida panther back from the edge of extinction. The population has been growing since its low point of less than 30 panthers in the wild in the late 1980s, to more than 100 to 160 adults today. Genetic testing showed this panther was an offspring of panther FP137 (South Florida). 
This case was investigated by Special Agents of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Law Enforcement Rangers with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.   For more information about our work and the people who make it happen, visit http://www.fws.gov and http://www.fws.gov/southeast .

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