Displaying items by tag: Africa

Review written by Jon Patch with 3.5 out 4 paws

Black Panther

Walt Disney Pictures and Marvel Studios present a 134 minute, PG-13, Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, directed by Ryan Coogler, written by Coogler and Joe Robert Cole with a theatre release date of February 16, 2018.


WILD WEDNESDAYS ARE BACK ON SMITHSONIAN CHANNEL™ WITH PREDATORS ON THE PROWL IN THREE NEW SPECIALS

BABOON KING


PREMIERES WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 18 AT 8 PM ET/PT LIONS UNLEASHED


PREMIERES WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 8 AT 8 PM ET/PT TIGER ON THE RUN


PREMIERES WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 15 AT 8 PM ET/PTNEW YORK – October 11, 2017 – In the wild, survival of the fittest is the only strategy that prevails, proving across all species who is most fit to be on top. Smithsonian Channel’s new Wild Wednesday lineup showcases the battles these animals must face to prove their dominance and protect themselves, their family and the land that they live on. Whether on the outskirts of the Ethiopian highlands or navigating through villages of India, all three predators learn how to adapt in the new environments where they are placed. Explore these incredible stories on Smithsonian Channel with the premieres of BABOON KING on Wednesday, October 18 at 8 p.m. ET/PT, LIONS UNLEASHED on Wednesday, November 8 at 8 p.m. ET/PT, and TIGER ON THE RUN on Wednesday, November 15 at 8 p.m. ET/PT. In Ethiopia’s highlands, one male’s power is being challenged by a handsome young Turk. BABOON KING unveils the story of Braveheart, an old and tired baboon, who is battling to stay on top of his many responsibilities. The breeding season is coming and his harem is watching him closely – can he rise above the odds to fight off the bachelors and win his females’ respect in time for the breeding season? Everything is at stake for Braveheart – his authority, his mating rights and, above all, his legacy. If he doesn’t prove that he is a capable leader and protector, he will lose the throne and everything he has ever fought for. LIONS UNLEASHED reveals a new era dawning in the heart of Africa. Twenty-five years ago, a brutal civil war stripped Rwanda of its most iconic wildlife. The Rwandan people have worked hard to restore their pride and rejuvenate the land, but there’s still one piece of the puzzle missing – lions. Leaving their native home in South Africa, seven lions are being transported to Akagera National Park, covering thousands of miles to the heart of Africa, in order to revive the local lion species. To survive in this foreign land, they will have to master a barrage of challenges. For the new lions, it should be a cinch to thrive in this new habitat, but this strange new land is anything but predictable. TIGER ON THE RUN explores the life of Kumal, a young Indian tiger who is forced out of his father’s territory by a rogue male and sets out on a remarkable journey to adulthood in the wilds of central India. Time and space are running out, and to continue his legacy, he must find a territory of his own and a mate. Harassed by local villagers and hampered by his poor hunting skills, Kumal is left on the brink of starvation. He must adapt quickly to a life on his own or his very survival will be at stake. BABOON KING is produced by Julie King and Graeme Duane for Earth Touch. John Cavanagh and David Royle serve as executive producers for Smithsonian Channel. LIONS UNLEASHED is produced by Kira Ivanoff and Graeme Duane for Earth Touch. John Cavanagh and David Royle serve as executive producers for Smithsonian Channel. TIGER ON THE RUN is produced by Graeme Duane for Earth Touch. Joy Galane and David Royle serve as executive producers for Smithsonian Channel.
Smithsonian Channel™, owned by Smithsonian Networks™, a joint venture between Showtime Networks Inc. and the Smithsonian Institution, is where curiosity lives, inspiration strikes and wonders never cease. This is the place for awe-inspiring stories, powerful documentaries and amazing entertainment across multiple platforms. Smithsonian Channel combines the storytelling prowess of SHOWTIME® with the unmatched resources and rich traditions of the Smithsonian, to create award-winning programming that shines new light on popular genres such as air and space, history, science, nature, and pop culture. Among the network’s offerings are series including Aerial America, Million Dollar American Princesses, Polar Bear Town, The Weapon Hunter, The Lost Tapes, Mighty Ships, Mighty Planes and Air Disasters, as well as critically-acclaimed specials that include Building Star Trek, The Unknown Flag Raiser of Iwo Jima, MLK: The Assassination Tapes and The Day Kennedy Died. Smithsonian Networks also operates Smithsonian Earth(TM), through SN Digital LLC., a new subscription video streaming service delivering spectacular original nature and wildlife content. To learn more, go to www.smithsonianchannel.com, or connect with us on Facebook, //twitter.com/@SmithsonianChan">Twitter, and Instagram.
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Cynthia Smoot is the Emmy award-winning co-anchor of the FOX 13 11 O'clock News

When she's not at the anchor desk, Cynthia's likely covering a story about Florida's fabulous wildlife or people and their pets. She loves nature and enjoys helping Tampa Bay viewers get to know some of the interesting creatures in our own backyard, such as "Winter," the little dolphin at Clearwater Marine Aquarium that lost her tail but now swims with the help of a prosthesis.

She has also reported on some of the area's most notorious animal cruelty cases, following the story of "Casper," a boxer that was nearly starved to death, from the day he arrived at the county shelter to the day he went home with his new adoptive owner.

Cynthia has also traveled to the Everglades to report on the threat of Burmese pythons to our native wildlife, and to Boca Grande, where invasive spiny-tailed iguanas are pushing out threatened gopher tortoises and eating native birds.

In 1998, Cynthia received a prestigious Emmy award for "A Real Life Horse Whisperer," the story of Monty Roberts, who helped revolutionize horse training with his non-violent methods.

Cynthia grew up in Yorktown, Virginia and received her B.A. in communications from James Madison University. She's a 30-year veteran of broadcast journalism, with a career that began in radio as an award-winning morning news anchor and news director, and for the past 28 years, in television as a producer, reporter, and anchor.

Before coming to WTVT in 1997, Cynthia spent 13 years at the FOX owned and operated TV station in Greensboro/Winston-Salem/High Point, North Carolina as the 5, 6 and 10 p.m. news anchor. In North Carolina, she was deeply involved in children's issues and received a number of community awards and honor for her involvement and advocacy on issues relating to foster care and adoption, infant mortality, teenage pregnancy and working women.

Cynthia was also involved with the North Carolina chapter of "Operation Smile," twice
traveling abroad with medical teams to report on the life-changing surgery they perform on children with facial and limb deformities.

Cynthia lives in Tierra Verde with her husband Bill, greyhound Karma, and Bo the cat. Cynthia’s horse, Bucky, prefers the country life in Manatee County.

If you would like to contact Cynthia, you can email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You can also connect with her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @CynthiaSmoot.

 

Cheetah Conservation Fund is the world’s leading organization dedicated to saving the cheetah in the wild. Founded by Dr. Laurie Marker in 1990, CCF has created a set of integrated programs aimed at addressing the principle threats to the cheetah.

 

CCF’s conservation programming is rooted in scientific research. CCF maintains a research program on the biology, ecology and genetics of cheetahs that publishes papers in peer-reviewed journals annually, and currently operates the only fully-equipped genetics lab at an in-situ conservation facility in Africa.

 

Using this research as an underpinning, CCF has created a set of integrated programs that together address the threats both to the cheetah and its entire ecosystem, including human populations. CCF operates from the principal that only by securing the future of the communities that live alongside the cheetah can you secure a future for the cheetah. Helping people helps cheetahs.

 

Learn about the cheetah and what we do to help it win the race against extinction:

 

Welcome.

 

If you’re here, it’s a pretty good bet that, like me, you think the cheetah is special. It’s the world’s fastest land animal, and the oldest species of big cat. It’s also Africa’s most endangered big cat. We’ve lost over 90 percent of the world’s wild population in the past 100 years. And if we don’t act now, we might lose the cheetah forever.

 

I invite you to join us

 

Be part of our work here in Namibia and around the world. Donate. Visit. Volunteer. While we love hosting interns, working guests and visitors at our International Research and Education Center in Namibia, Africa, the truth is that you can help the cheetah right now, right where you are.

 

What will it take to save the cheetah?

 

Saving the cheetah means addressing its entire ecosystem, including the people who live in the cheetah’s range. Ninety percent of cheetahs in the wild live outside protected areas, alongside human communities. Securing a future for the cheetah means securing the future of the people who live in cheetah country. For nearly 25 years, Cheetah Conservation Fund has been doing just that – through our celebrated Livestock Guarding Dog program, and our award-winning habitat restoration project, Bushblok. We’re based in Namibia, where the world’s largest population of wild cheetahs lives, and everything we do is aimed at creating a thriving ecosystem so that cheetahs and humans can live together.

 

We need you, starting today.

 

Join our mailing list and learn more, be part of our CCF family. The race is on to save the cheetah, and with your help, we can win it.

 

For Cheetahs Everywhere,

 

Founded in Namibia in 1990, Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) is the global leader in research and conservation of cheetahs. CCF is dedicated to saving the cheetah in the wild.

 

The vast majority of wild cheetahs are outside protected areas, in areas populated by humans. Saving this magnificent animal from extinction requires innovative conservation methods that address the welfare of both cheetah and human populations over large landscapes. CCF has developed a set of integrated programs that work together to achieve this objective. CCF’s programs have effectively stabilized and even increased the wild cheetah population in Namibia.

 

CCF’s mission is to be the internationally recognized center of excellence in the conservation of cheetahs and their ecosystems. CCF will work with all stakeholders to develop best practices in research, education, and land use to benefit all species, including people.

 

CCF is an international non-profit organization headquartered in Namibia, with operations in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, and partner organizations in several other nations.

 

Location

 

Cheetah Conservation Fund is located in Otjiwarongo, Namibia, about three hours north of the capital city of Windhoek. CCF’s International Research and Education Centre is a renowned research facility that sets the standard for researchers and students worldwide seeking to learn more about the cheetah. It is a center for conservation programming and education, the base from which CCF reaches thousands of farmers, tens of thousands of students and hundreds of thousands of online supporters worldwide.

 

Even with all of this world-class, innovative conservation work going on, CCF is also an ecotourism destination, providing informative and memorable experiences for travelers whether they visit us for a day, or stay overnight in our guest house accommodations. Ask anyone who’s been here – there is no place on earth like CCF.

 

Research Facilities

 

Through the generosity of Life Technologies, CCF has developed a DNA laboratory that conducts a non-invasive, genetic monitoring program to provide accurate population estimates of cheetahs in Namibia and other home-range countries. The laboratory also researches questions involving cheetah gene flow and geographical patterns of genetic variation, as well as adaptive questions related to the cheetah’s behavioral ecology in specific habitats. The lab plays a key role in training the next generation of wildlife geneticists.

 

Learn more about Research

 

Model Farm and Creamery

 

The CCF Center includes several model farms that have been developed to research and display predator-friendly and commercially viable livestock and wildlife programs. Innovative business initiatives include the Bushblok compressed fuel log, made from invasive thorn bush and the Dancing Goat Creamery which makes goat’s cheese made from CCF’s goats which are protected by its Anatolian Shepherds and Kangal Livestock Guarding Dogs. Educational groups and visiting farmers have the opportunity to see first-hand that farmers and cheetah can co-exist.

 

Education Centre and Cheetah Museum

 

CCF’s education center and Cheetah Museum displays are designed around CCF’s scientific research findings and provide detailed information about the cheetah: its history, physiology, importance within the ecosystem, conflict with humans, and what CCF is doing to ensure the species’ survival for future generations.

 

CCF’s Education Team presents two-day or longer environmental courses for school groups with overnight accommodation provided at the CCF educational campsites. Since 2000, over 15,000 students have participated in these courses at the Center. In addition to school groups, regional youth groups, youth officials, teachers, health officials and farmers participate in specially designed programs at CCF’s Center.findings and provide detailed information about the cheetah: its history, physiology, importance within the ecosystem, conflict with humans, and what CCF is doing to ensure the species’ survival for future generations.

 

The CCF children’s educational playground demonstrates that learning can be fun. Children complete a range of activities designed to demonstrate cheetah physiology and environmental issues.

 

Learn more about Education

 

Resident Cheetahs

 

Since its founding in 1990, CCF has had great success working with farmers who have cheetahs living on their land. This has led to over half of the more than 900 cheetahs CCF has worked with being released back into the wild. But there are always orphaned and injured cheetahs and here at CCF they are given a large, peaceful sanctuary. These cheetahs, not able to make it in the wild due to behavioral or medical problems, are part of ongoing research to better understand cheetah biology, physiology and behavior. Some of CCF’s orphan cheetahs can be viewed at feeding time (14:00 h on week days and 12:00 h on weekends), or can be seen close up on a Cheetah Safari Drive. You can watch cheetahs run like the wind during a ‘Cheetah Run’ or view them in their natural habitat in CCF’s Bellebenno Reserve with excellent photo and viewing opportunities (based on availability). Enjoy a private safari through CCF’s own “Little Serengeti”, a picturesque open plain featuring large herds of hartebeest, oryx, springbok, warthog, and jackals; and don’t miss out on the ‘Cheetah Exclusive’, during which you will enjoy a unique personal encounter with one of CCF’s ambassador cheetahs and spend some time with CCF’s research staff.

 

Sponsor a Resident Cheetah

 

The cheetah is one of the most specialized of the 37 cat species with only one species in its genus, Acinonyx. During the 1980s, CCF and its research collaborators studied many aspects of cheetah biology including genetics, reproductive physiology, and virology. These early studies identified the cheetah’s limited genetic variation that results in reproductive and health problems. CCF’s current research focuses on a number of aspects of the cheetah’s life cycle, ecology, biology and genetics.

 


 

Health and Reproduction

 

CCF’s on-going research on the wild cheetah includes studying the genetics and relatedness of the population, the incidence of disease, stress hormone levels, and the reproductive health of the population. Through weighing and measuring for morphometric studies, analysis of dental structure and reproductive fitness, CCF is learning more about the overall health of the world’s cheetah population.

 


 

The Life Technologies Conservation Genetics Laboratory

 

CCF is home to a world class research facility that is unique in Africa. It includes the Haas Family Veterinary Clinic and the Life Technologies Conservation Genetics Laboratory, which is the only fully-equipped genetics lab in situ at a conservation facility in Africa. From this facility, CCF collaborates with scientists around the globe on research that not only benefits the cheetah and its ecosystem, but other big cats and predators as well. The Haas Family Veterinary Clinic allows us to not only collect samples from cheetahs that we take into our facility, it allows us to provide prompt veterinary care to our cheetahs, dogs, goats and other animals when they have need.

 

Assuring the good health of all our residents is an important part of making conservation work here at CCF. The genetics laboratory was made possible thanks to the generous donation of PCR machines, a Sequence Analyzer, and an initial batch of reagents from Applied Biosystems (now Life Technologies) at the time of the setup and a new laser in 2012. The addition of the state of the art non-invasive laboratory for our international scat samples in 2009 was supported by the Ohrstrom Foundation. We have had the chance to be able to use a great genetic analysis software called “geneious” since 2010, for which licenses were generously donated by the company who created it (Biomatters). Additional donations from private individuals and the surplus department of the National Institutes of Health provided valuable equipment such as a UV work station, centrifuges, pipettemen, electrophoresis systems and a camera system for the visualization of DNA, spectrophotometer, scales, glassware, and other lab ware.

 

We want to thank everybody for their support. One of the major motivating factors in having a laboratory in Namibia is to be able to process samples locally instead of having to send African samples to the US and Europe. This has several advantages including decreasing the dependence of Namibia from other countries and allowing Namibian students to be exposed to genetic research and conservation at CCF, at the same time avoiding the complications of sample export. Since 2009 we have trained 1-2 Namibian graduates a year in the laboratory. CCF is committed to working with students, both in Namibia and abroad, and training the next generation of environmental and genetic scientists.

 


 

Scat Detection Dogs

 

Trained scat-sniffing dogs help CCF ecologists find cheetah scat in the field. DNA is then extracted in its laboratory to identify individual cheetahs and understand cheetah population structure.

 


 

Genome Resource Bank

 

CCF has developed best-practice techniques for storing sperm, tissues and blood samples in its Genome Resource Bank (GRB), to provide ‘insurance’ for the cheetah’s survival. As a result, CCF maintains one of the largest GRB’s for an endangered species. Cryopreservation methods continue to be studied and refined in collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC, USA.

 


 

Behavior Demographics, Home Range, and Reintroduction

 

CCF investigates the movement of the cheetah to determine home ranges, habitat preference and seasonal use, territoriality, and behaviors unique to individual cheetah populations that may be critical for their survival. CCF develops and implements relocation, reintroduction, and non-invasive monitoring methodologies to ensure a viable wild population, and gathers data on the status of wild cheetahs.

 


 

Cheetah Census Research

 

Cheetahs are very difficult to count using conventional census techniques due to their secretive nature. CCF has tested various census and monitoring techniques, including radio-telemetry, spoor track counts and camera traps, and calibrating these to existing known density estimates in its research study area.

 


 

Ecological Research

 

CCF identifies vegetation and monitors growth patterns within CCF study areas, identifying target areas for ecological management, and investigating how bush encroachment affects biodiversity. CCF also conducts prey base studies that monitor habitat use by game species. CCF collates historical data regarding predation, develops methodologies for the reintroduction of prey species, and encourages standardized prey studies in other cheetah-range countries.

 


 

Investigating Human and Wildlife Conflict

 

CCF collaborates with farmers to better understand traditional farm management techniques and perceptions. CCF evaluates various non-lethal livestock management and predator control techniques that can reduce the indiscriminate removal of cheetah. The CCF research program includes CCF as a Model Farm and non-lethal predator control such as livestock guarding dogs.

 


 

Long-term Research and Education Partners:

 

 

 

View our research library

 

Environmental education plays a key role in Cheetah Conservation Fund’s (CCF) mission. CCF believes that public education and the development of national pride and international concern for the cheetah are critical to its survival, and therefore educates farmers, teachers, and the public about methods to conserve biodiversity and about the role of the cheetah and other predators in healthy ecosystems. CCF’s Education program includes:

 

Cheetah Fact Sheet Educational Resources

 


 

CCF’s International Research Conservation
And Education Center

 

In central Namibia, CCF operates a Field Research and Education Center to conduct formal and informal education programs. The Center is open to the public daily and offers educational activities, programs for visiting school groups, and training for Namibian and foreign university students.

 

CCF’s education center and Cheetah Museum displays are designed around CCF’s scientific research findings and provide detailed information about the cheetah: its history, physiology, importance within the ecosystem, conflict with humans, and what CCF is doing to ensure the species’ survival for future generations.

 

CCF’s Education Team presents two-day or longer environmental courses for school groups with overnight accommodation provided at the CCF educational campsites. Since 2000, over 15,000 students have participated in these courses at the Center. In addition to school groups, regional youth groups, youth officials, teachers, health officials and farmers participate in specially designed programs at CCF’s Center.

 


 

School Outreach Programs

 

Along with educational activities conducted at the Center, CCF’s Education Team presents outreach programs at schools and community events throughout Namibia. Since 1994, over 300,000 students have participated in a CCF outreach program.
 
Educational Resources

 


 

Farmer Training And Community Outreach

 

As 90 percent of Namibia’s wild cheetahs live on farmlands and come into conflict with farmers, livestock and game farming interests, CCF conducts a specific environmental education program for the farming community. CCF makes presentations at individual farms, farmers’ association meetings and agricultural shows, highlighting proven cheetah behavioral characteristics and predator-friendly livestock management techniques.

 

CCF’s Education Team conducts week-long training courses for communal conservancies, emerging and re-settled farmers, and extension officers. CCF’s courses are aimed at improving understanding of farming production principles and systems as well as providing hands-on training. Topics include cattle husbandry, herd and veld management, disease and vaccination programs, business principles and inventorying conservancy resources. Other topics include basic conservation training on sustainable wildlife utilization and the role and value of predators, predator kill identification and other ‘predator-friendly’ farming practices. Over 3,000 participants have undergone training at CCF’s Center. Several training courses are conducted each year.

 


 

International Training Courses

 

Cheetah conservation is interconnected to social, economic, and environmental factors which are of national concern. The next generation of African conservation managers must be equipped with the best training available. CCF has hosted several education and conservation biology courses for wildlife professionals. Collaborative partners include the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, the Smithsonian Institution and the Namibian Ministry of Higher Education. Over 300 Namibian and international course participants have completed courses on natural resource management, environmental education, conservation biology, game capture, and integrated wildlife, livestock and predator management.

 

CCF has close links and assists in training and sharing program successes with other countries where cheetah live, including Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Iran, Algeria and more recently, Angola. In many of these countries, efforts are currently underway to develop new conservation programs or support existing cheetah conservation efforts. CCF’s international collaborations involve distributing CCF materials, lending resources and support, and providing training through Africa and the rest of the world.

 

Additionally, CCF has been working in an advisory capacity with the Wildlife Trust of India and India’s authorities to discuss the best strategies for re-introducing cheetahs in India.

 

Countries in which CCF maintains ongoing collaborations:

 

Kenya

 

The Kenya cheetah population has declined over the past decade. The Kenya Wildlife Service has asked CCF to determine population distribution in the country as well as to identify population needs. CCF established a Kenyan satellite centre and employed two staff to begin research, conservation, and education programs. In addition, CCF is assisting with a project in the Masai Mara to study the impact of tourism on cheetahs and has worked with the industry to distribute awareness materials. In cooperation with Friends of Conservation, Kenya Wildlife Service, and Kenya Wildlife Clubs, CCF has provided student and teacher resource materials for their use in schools throughout Kenya.

 


 

Tanzania

 

In 2013, Tanzania became the fourth country to which CCF has sent its celebrated livestock guarding dogs to help with human-wildlife conflict. The dogs were sent to the Ruaha Carnivore Project (RCP) run by Dr. Amy Dickman. RCP is part of Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU), with whom CCF Founder and Executive Director Dr. Marker conducted her doctoral research. Goats from neighboring farms have been brought to a specially prepared kraal in the RCP research area to begin training the puppies. This represents the first known attempt to bring in specialized guarding dogs to help Tanzanian pastoralists protect their livestock.

 


 

Botswana

 

Botswana’s cheetah population may be the second largest free-ranging population, and a large percentage is found outside of protected areas. Botswana has used CCF as a model in the development of their programs. CCF has trained the Botswana Cheetah team in handling cheetahs, and developing survey and educational materials that will be utilized with the local farming community.

 


 

South Africa

 

CCF’s sister organization, Cheetah Outreach uses hand-raised, captive-born cheetahs as educational ambassadors at local schools, and to introduce the public to the problems facing the cheetah. Cheetah Outreach has adopted CCF’s Namibian education model, and has developed and implemented a school curriculum with the Western Cape Education Department. CCF works closely with the National Cheetah Monitoring Program and the DeWildt Cheetah Research Center.

 


 

Iran

 

The Iranian Cheetah Conservation project is supported by a United Nations Development Program (UNDP) grant entitled “Conservation of the Asiatic Cheetah, Its Natural Habitat and Associated Biota”. CCF maintains in close contact (weekly or more) with the Iranian groups involved in this project to provide support and guidance in their conservation efforts to save this last remaining population of Asian cheetahs. CCF has been to Iran twice to assist on the project and have been given a permit to work in Iran thus allowing a closer collaboration with this group.

 


 

North and West Africa

 

CCF’s Director is an active member of a newly developing North and West Africa project to identify the needs to save the Sahel cheetah. Currently, working in cooperation with a French Zoological Park, the Paris Museum of Natural History, and the Cat Specialist Group a formal group was developed. In addition, in 2005 CCF joined a collaborative survey team into Algeria to begin laying ground work for conservation efforts in this country. CCF trained one of the Algerian team members in Namibia in 2004.

 

 

-Wildlife Groups Seek to Save Species from Silent Extinction-

WASHINGTON (April 19, 2017) — In response to recent scientific consensus on giraffes’ vulnerability to extinction, five wildlife protection groups today petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect Earth’s tallest land animal under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

The legal petition, filed by the Center for Biological Diversity, Humane Society International, The Humane Society of the United States, International Fund for Animal Welfare and Natural Resources Defense Council, seeks “endangered” status for the species. Facing mounting threats from habitat loss, being hunted for their meat, and the international trade in bone carvings and trophies, Africa’s giraffe population has plunged almost 40 percent in the past 30 years and now stands at just over 97,000 individuals.

“Giraffes have been dying off silently for decades, and we have to act quickly before they disappear forever,” said Tanya Sanerib, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “There are now fewer giraffes than elephants in Africa. It’s time for the United States to step up and protect these extraordinary creatures.”

New research recently prompted the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to elevate the threat level of giraffes from ““least concern” to “vulnerable” on the “IUCN Red List of Threatened Species”. Yet giraffes have no protection under U.S. law. Species designated as “endangered” under the U.S. Endangered Species Act receive strict protections, including a ban on most imports and sales. The United States plays a major role in the giraffe trade, importing more than 21,400 bone carving, 3,000 skin pieces and 3,700 hunting trophies over the past decade. Limiting U.S. import and trade will give giraffes important protections.

“Previously, the public was largely unaware that trophy hunters were targeting these majestic animals for trophies and selfies. In the past few years, several gruesome images of trophy hunters next to slain giraffe bodies have caused outrage, bringing this senseless killing to light,” said Masha Kalinina, international trade policy specialist with the wildlife department of Humane Society International. “Currently, no U.S. or international law protects giraffes against overexploitation for trade. It is clearly time to change this. As the largest importer of trophies in the world, the role of the United States in the decline of this species is undeniable, and we must do our part to protect these animals.”

Known for their six-foot-long necks, distinctive patterning and long eyelashes, giraffes have long captured the human imagination. New research recently revealed that giraffes live in complex societies, much like elephants, and have unique physiological traits, like the highest blood pressure of any land mammal.

  

“I was lucky enough to study giraffes in the wild in Kenya many years ago.  Back then, they seemed plentiful, and we all just assumed that it would stay that way,” said Jeff Flocken, North American regional director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). “Giraffes are facing a crisis.  We cannot let these amazing, regal and unique creatures go extinct – it would be a dramatic loss of diversity and beauty for our planet.  This listing petition is rallying the world to help save the giraffe.”

The IUCN currently recognizes one species of giraffes and nine subspecies: West African, Kordofan, Nubian, reticulated, Masai, Thornicroft’s, Rothchild’s, Angolan and South African. Today’s petition seeks an endangered listing for the whole species.

“I can’t – and won’t – imagine Africa’s landscape without giraffes,” said Elly Pepper, deputy director of NRDC’s wildlife trade initiative. “Losing one of the continent’s iconic species would be an absolute travesty. Giving giraffes Endangered Species Act protections would be a giant step in the fight to save them from extinction.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has 90 days to review and respond to the petition and determine whether a listing may be warranted.


The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.2 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

Humane Society International and its partner organizations together constitute one of the world’s largest animal protection organizations. For more than 20 25 years, HSI has been working for the protection of all animals through the use of science, advocacy, education and hands on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide – on the Web at hsi.org.

The Humane Society of the United States is the most effective animal protection organization, as rated by our peers. For more than 60 years, we have celebrated the protection of all animals and confronted all forms of cruelty. We and our affiliates are the nation’s largest provider of hands-on services for animals, caring for more than 150,000 animals each year, and we prevent cruelty to millions more through our advocacy campaigns. Read more about our more than 60 years of transformational change for animals and people. HumaneSociety.org.

Founded in 1969, IFAW rescues and protects animals 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/IFAW and Twitter @action4ifaw.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 2 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us atwww.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.

Review written by Jon Patch with 3.5 out of 4 paws

A United Kingdom

Fox Searchlight Pictures, Film United, Harbinger Pictures and Pathe’ BBC Films present a PG-13, 111 minute, based on a true story, Biography, Romance, Drama, directed by Amma Asante and screenplay by Guy Hibbert with a theater release date of February 10, 2017.


 
September 8, 2016- South Africa- A lion family has been reunited in the African bush after they were torn apart by a traveling circus in South America. Leo, his mate Muneca, and daughters Africa and Kiara are back together. Animal Defenders International (ADI) is appealing for funds to complete an enclosure in the African bush where they can live out their lives together. https://lionsbacktoafrica.org/donate-for-leo/
 
The wonderful news comes after tens of thousands of people watched a viral video of Leo, groggy with anesthetic following dental surgery, battling to reach his daughter Africa as she willed him on and reached out for her father.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dm4NI_juV_0
 
Leo was rescued by ADI on the first day of a huge operation to enforce Peru’s ban on wild animals in circuses. But the circus had blocked the rescue of Muneca, Kiara and Africa, and then disappeared with them before a court could decide on their fate.  ADI never gave up on them and eight months later tracked down the circus over 600 miles away, in a remote region near the border of Ecuador, and Leo’s family was saved.
 
During the biggest operation of its kind ever undertaken, ADI rescued over 100 animals (lions, bears, tigers, monkeys and others) as they closed down Peru’s wild animal circus industry.  In May, ADI flew the 33 lions rescued during the mission to South Africa to start a new life at Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary.
 
Since then, the lions have been steadily rehabilitated, introduced to each other and are undergoing an intense veterinary program to repair the damage inflicted on them in the circus. The lionesses are also being neutered to prevent breeding.  These battered animals cannot return to the wild, but it is the aim of ADI and Emoya to give them a life as close to what nature intended as possible.
 
Leo, one of the oldest lions rescued had all of his canine teeth smashed in the circus and underwent three hours of dental surgery in August to repair the damage.  Leading veterinary dentist Gerhard Steenkamp, who repaired the damage, extracting teeth and doing root canals, noted “His mouth has taken a hell of beating.”  Muneca also had surgery for two smashed teeth.
 
The video of Leo recovering has moved tens of thousands of people online and shows the importance of family bonds in this social species.  As he began to recover from anesthesia and slowly stumbled and dragged himself towards his anxious daughter Africa, who appeared to be urging him on from behind a fence, even reaching her paw out to him.   Once Leo reaches her, they nuzzle and he settles beside her for a few minutes, but soon recovers and is back on his feet as if nothing had happened. At the time the lions were in “bonding” camps, preparing them for reintroduction, with mesh between them allowing contact but ensuring they could not fight.  Now the family is back together.
 
Jan Creamer ADI President: “It is wonderful that against all of the odds, these lions have been saved from circus suffering and the family reunited back where nature intended in Africa.  Now we are asking for people to help, and donate for a huge natural bush enclosure for this family, that will be their happy-ever-after.”
 
The final step for Leo and his family will be a huge natural bush enclosure with self-filling water holes and secure solar powered electric fences. ADI and Emoya need to complete these for all the lions rescued costing up to $150,000.

Please help Animal Defenders International raise $16,500 for Leo’s family enclosure, where the lions will be cared for life by ADI at Emoya. Any extra funds raised will go towards the enclosures for the other rescued lions and care for Leo and his family.  https://lionsbacktoafrica.org/donate-for-leo/
 

Operation Spirit of Freedom
Leo was rescued as part of Animal Defenders International’s Operation Spirit of Freedom, a mission with Peru's authorities to enforce the ban on wild animals in circuses.  In the biggest operation of its kind over 100 animals were rescued from circuses and the illegal wildlife trade.  ADI previously enforced a ban on animals in circuses in Bolivia.
 
Animal Defenders International: 
With offices in Los Angeles, London and Bogota, ADI campaigns across the globe on animals in entertainment, providing technical advice to governments, securing progressive animal protection legislation, drafting regulations and rescuing animals in distress. ADI has a worldwide reputation for providing video and photographic evidence exposing the behind-the-scenes suffering in industry and supporting this evidence with scientific research on captive wildlife and transport. ADI rescues animals all over the world, educates the public on animals and environmental issues. 
http://www.ad-international.org

 

Wildlife experts reach out to future conservationists with engaging activities that will educate about decline of lions

Washington, D.C., August 26, 2016 -- Experts believe that fewer than 20,000 lions exist across Africa today and they only inhabit 8% of their historic wild range. The decline of the lion has been rapid and steep—and, without global action, the species could disappear from significant parts of Africa during our lifetime. Born Free USA, a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, has launched a critical educational program as part of its 2016 Year of the Lion campaign to teach children about the plight of lions, why they matter, and what needs to be done to make sure that they continue to survive. Born Free USA has created engaging, fun, age-appropriate lesson plans about the issue: one plan for first through third graders and one for fourth through sixth graders. These lesson plans are also available for families to download in order to open a conversation with their children about keeping wildlife in the wild. 

According to Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, who is both an international wildlife conservation expert and the father of a 12-year-old: “When it comes to protecting wildlife, so much can change in a single generation. The actions of our children will determine whether that change is positive or negative: whether they will save species from suffering, or doom them to extinction. Kids have the power. We must protect imperiled species in the generations to come… before they vanish. Teachers and parents can encourage students to become future wildlife conservationists—or, at the very least, understand the issue and be informed about the impact for animals and for people. We believe these lesson plans can do just that.”

The Year of the Lion lesson plans use compelling facts, engaging talking points, and activities to get kids thinking about the king of the jungle, and how they can make a difference just by being aware of the importance of lions to our planet.

The lesson plans include similarities between big cats and domestic ones; information about their size, weight, sounds, and habits; and an array of questions, stats, and games. In addition, kids are encouraged to send their drawings of lions This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for display in Born Free USA’s online lion gallery wall to help spread the message of saving lions. A fifth grade class in Newtown, Connecticut has already submitted its drawings. The lesson plans also include a link to a song, a slide show, and a storytelling activity.

Roberts says, “More than a dozen African countries are already thought to have lost their lion populations, and the international demand for lion bones and body parts is further exacerbating this downward spiral. The public is more aware than ever about the need to save lions before it is too late. The slaying of Cecil the lion made headlines in 2015, and the 2015 documentary Blood Lions revealed the horrors of hunting to audiences worldwide. The time is right for us to let our kids know—without graphic language or horrific images—that there is a desperate need to save this beleaguered species, and that they can be part of the solution.” 

Born Free USA is a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic "pets," trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to America the message of "compassionate conservation": the vision of the U.K.-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic 1966 film Born Free, along with their son, Will Travers. Born Free's mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at www.bornfreeusa.org, www.twitter.com/bornfreeusa, and www.facebook.com/bornfreeusa.

Washington, D.C. (August 17, 2016) – Jeff Flocken, North American Regional Director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), issued the following statement in response to the killing of a giraffe and zebra in South Africa by a 12-year old American trophy hunter:

“It’s sad any time that an imperiled animal like a giraffe is killed for fun, regardless of who does it.  Giraffes are in serious decline across Africa—it is estimated that their populations have dropped by 40 percent in the last 15 years. The last thing they need is to be killed for anyone’s enjoyment. 

All the negative on-line energy focused on this should not be directed at any individual, particularly a minor. We know that the problem is so much larger than any one of these isolated incidents.  These kills were just two of thousands and thousands of animals legally killed for sport annually.  This includes an approximate 200,000 animals from threatened species killed for trophies over the last decade.

Trophy hunters need to stop taking the lives of wildlife simply for fun.  We are in 2016 and wild animals are facing a multitude of threats to their existence.  Killing them for sport just isn’t right.”

 

About IFAW (the International Fund for Animal Welfare)

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.

FASCINATING NEW ELEPHANT SCIENCE

NAT GEO WILD’S MIND OF A GIANT REVEALS THAT ELEPHANTS ARE SMARTER THAN EVER KNOWN BEFORE

MIND OF A GIANT Premieres Sunday, June 19, at 9/8c on Nat Geo WILD

(WASHINGTON, D.C. — June 1, 2016) Across Africa, elephants are in crisis. Each day, 96 elephants fall victim to poachers, human-elephant conflict and habitat loss. In 2013, Paul G. Allen launched the Great Elephant Census, the first pan-African aerial survey of savanna elephants in more than 40 years. Soon after surveyors began their work, they observed something that truly surprised them. In the past 40 years, in the face of growing threats, elephants have changed where and how they live in their historic ecosystems. This incredible discovery, combined with the latest studies from the top elephant researchers in the world, revealed that elephants are learning to adapt and survive in ways we’ve never seen before. We join the experts in Africa to see their work firsthand in Mind of a Giant, premiering Sunday, June 19, at 9/8c on Nat Geo WILD. For more information, visit www.natgeotv.com or our press site www.foxflash.com, or follow us on Twitter using @NGC_PR.

Mind of a Giant started with a noble cause that turned into revolutionary research that may help save a beloved and threatened species,” said Geoff Daniels, executive vice president and general manager, Nat Geo WILD. “The dedicated scientists and conservationists featured here are pushing the boundaries of elephant research to reveal a smarter, more thoughtful animal than ever known before. We are thrilled to share their story of hope with our viewers who love animals and the people working to save them.”

Never before has this volume of compatible elephant research been featured in a single film. Mind of a Giant is a window into the world of the modern elephant, supremely intelligent creatures living and fighting for their lives in a world of poachers, new human settlements and other dangers. Together with the top elephant researchers in the world, we learn about how these gentle giants exhibit empathy, grief, joy, fear and vengefulness. The more we understand these majestic creatures, the more we can help them live on for future generations.

The Experts

 

Sir Iain Douglas Hamilton is one ofthe world’s foremost authorities on the African elephant and founder of Save the Elephants, a leading research and conservation organization. In 1988 he was awarded the Order of the Golden Ark — one of conservation’s highest awards — and in 2015 he was awarded the Order of the British Empire (CBE). Save the Elephants conducts vital research on elephant behavior and ecology and pioneered GPS radio tracking in Africa to provide fresh insight into the life of elephants.

 

Frank Pope tracks the daily movements of elephants across a dangerous landscape. Pope is chief operations officer for Save the Elephants. He speaks to the fact that that elephants have learned exactly where safe territory ends and enemy territory begins. This new behavior proves that the elephants are aware of the location of their enemies, and that they have learned to proactively strategize their movements to avoid their foes.

Josh Plotnik founded Think Elephants International in 2011.His research on elephant intelligence has been published in some of science’s top peer-reviewed journals and has garnered millions of media impressions since 2006. Perhaps his best-known study centers on elephant self-awareness, which was conducted by placing a mirror in front of captive Asian elephants. He suggests that a mirror may truly be the window to an elephant’s soul, but he’s never shown a wild African elephant a mirror until now.

Joyce Poole, co-founder of Elephant Voices and one of the world’s leading elephant behaviorists, is an expert on how elephants communicate with one another. She shares some of the more than 250 postures, gestures and vocalizations she has identified that elephants use to communicate, and reveals their extraordinary ability to plan and coordinate their responses to threats.

Bob Jacobs studies the brains of elephants and humans at Colorado College. He reveals just how incredibly interconnected elephant brains are, and the massive processing power their huge brains possess. Elephants may be able to understand what what another animal is thinking, a trait that very few creatures can claim.

Caitlin O’Connell is a consulting faculty member at Stanford University School of Medicine who has studied elephants in the wild for the past 25 years. She demonstrates how incredibly sensitive elephants are to underground vibrations. This superhero trait gives them a long-range communication system to aid in detecting potential threats for miles around.

Mind of a Giant was produced for Nat Geo WILD by Vulcan Productions in association with Off The Fence. For Off The Fence, executive producer is Ellen Windemuth. For Vulcan Productions, executive producers are Paul G. Allen, Jody Allen, Carole Tomkoand Rocky Collins. For Nat Geo WILD, executive producer and senior vice president of development and production is Janet Han Vissering.

National Geographic Channels

The National Geographic Channels (The Channels) form the television and production arm of National Geographic Partners, a joint venture between 21st Century Fox and the National Geographic Society. As a global leader in premium science, adventure and exploration programming, the Channels include: National Geographic Channel (NGC), Nat Geo WILD, Nat Geo People and Nat Geo MUNDO. Additionally, the Channels also run the in-house television production unit, National Geographic Studios. The Channels contribute to the National Geographic Society’s commitment to exploration, conservation and education with entertaining, innovative programming from A-level talent around the world, and with profits that help support the society’s mission. Globally, NGC is available in more than 440 million homes in 171 countries and 45 languages, and Nat Geo WILD is available in 131 countries and 38 languages. National Geographic Partners is also a leader in social media, with a fan base of 250 million people across all of its social pages. NGC contributes over 55 million social media fans globally on Facebook alone. For more information, visit www.natgeotv.com and www.natgeowild.com.

About Vulcan Productions

Vulcan Productions is dedicated to the power of storytelling. The division produces content and large-scale campaigns that entertain, electrify and change the way people understand the world’s toughest challenges. Vulcan Productions’ films, television series and digital content spark ideas and turn action into measurable impact.  Founded by Paul G. Allen and his sister Jody Allen in 1997, Vulcan Productions creates content across all platforms, extending the wide-ranging work of Vulcan Inc. in wildlife, science, climate, oceans, education, technology, current social issues, history and the arts. Award-winning projects include Racing Extinction, Academy Award®-nominated Body Team 12, We The Economy, #ISurvivedEbola,Girl Rising, and The Blues. Upcoming projects include Ivory, Naledi: A Baby Elephant’s Tale and Unseen Enemy.

 

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.

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