Thursday, January 19, 2017

Animal Cruelty & Animal Crime Weekly Reports

Here are the Worst Zoos for Elephants in the U.S. and Canada. Elephants and humans may not look the same or speak the same language, but we are similar in ways that many people don’t realize. They share loving bonds between herd members and much like a human family, everyone helps the new mother when a baby is born, and they grieve when they lose a family member.

In spite of that, elephants have suffered greatly at the hands of humans, poached for their ivory, forced out of their homes due to habitat destruction, sold into the logging and trekking industries, and of course, forced to live in zoos and on the road in circuses.

Every year, In Defense of Animals ranks the top ten worst zoos for elephants, which exposes the suffering of these highly intelligent, emotional creatures that are all too often exploited by humans for profit. According to Dr. Marilyn Kroplick, president of the organization, “2016 was a shocking year for zoo elephant suffering. In our zoos, elephants’ rights are violated, they are stripped of their dignity, and submitted to disgusting abuses. We owe it to elephants to stop exploiting them. It is time to shut down archaic and barbaric zoo exhibits, and retire elephants to sanctuaries where they can live in peace.”

Here are what In Defense of Animals named as the top three worst zoos for elephants in 2016.

1. Oklahoma City Zoo, Oklahoma

You might not remember the name of the zoo, but all elephant lovers will remember the death of Chai, an Asian elephant who passed away at this very zoo in early 2016. Chai and one other elephant named Bamboo were transferred to Oklahoma City Zoo from Woodland Park Zoo in Washington state. This happened in spite of public outcry that the two elephants, who had experienced multiple health conditions due to being held in captivity, should be sent to a sanctuary instead. After moving from chilly Seattle to an even colder climate in Oklahoma, Chai’s already poor health began to quickly deteriorate. She lost 1,000 pounds and it was reported that this 37-year-elephant, who should have been in “the prime of her life,” according to Lisa Kane, was found collapsed on the floor three times in one week. On a couple of occasions, she needed to be hoisted up in a harness, as seen above.

Chai also suffered from a bacterial infection in her bloodstream, which was tied to 25 untreated abscesses as well as a multitude of health issues stemming from her previous captivity on Woodland Park Zoo. Meanwhile, Bamboo is forced to live in either solitary confinement or the company of aggressive elephants, which has sadly led to her getting two inches of her tail bitten off. Unfortunately, the zoo denied any responsibility in Chai’s untimely death and claims that Bamboo is doing “great”— a story that is all too familiar for animals in captivity. This is the third time that Oklahoma City Zoo has been included on this list.

2. Natural Bridge Zoo, Rockbridge County, Virginia

At Natural Bridge Zoo in Virginia, you can pay to see primates in filthy cages, take photos with tiger cubs who were torn from their mothers shortly after birth, and ride Asha, a 33-year-old Asian elephant who is called a “pet” by owners Karl and Debbie Mogensen. Even on the hottest summer days, Asha is forced to give rides to paying customers and is kept isolated from other elephants and forced to live in a barn during winter. In addition to that, Natural Bridge Zoo uses bullhooks – which have been outlawed in the state of California and will be illegal in the city of Richmond starting in 2018 – to control Asha

The Humane Society of the United States carried out an undercover investigation in 2014, revealing multiple instances of improper care, including filthy cages, inadequate veterinary care for sick and injured animals, improper handling of animals leading to stress, and lack of clean drinking water. In August of 2016, another investigation revealed that Asha was being mistreated by her keepers and In Defense of Animals points out that since 2015, the USDA has visited this roadside atrocity five times, finding 62 Animal Welfare Act violations. Unfortunately, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries could only temporarily suspend the zoo’s permit, and they soon opened their doors again, much to the dismay of animal lovers everywhere. This is also the third year in a row that the Natural Bridge Zoo has been included in In Defense of Animal’s List of the 10 worst zoos for elephants.

3. Honolulu Zoo, Hawaii

Vaigai and Mari, Honolulu Zoo’s two resident female Indian elephants, were abducted from their homes in the wild at a very young age so that the zoo could make money from ticket sales. In the past six years, this atrocious zoo has seen five directors quit and has had its accreditation withdrawn by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums in 2016. In spite of spending $12 million in 2011 in order to expand the elephant exhibit, living conditions for Vaigai and Mari has not improved. According to In Defense of Animals, living quarters for the pair provides too little shade in the hot Hawaiian sun, has little to no enrichment (in fact, the two were once found playing with a car battery they had dug up), unclean and brackish (salty) water, and unsafe rocks that could easily injure their feet. In addition to that, the zoo has its elephant keepers brandish bullhooks in order to control the two through fear and pain. This is the fourth time that Honolulu Zoo has been included on this list.

Also included on In Defense of Animal’s list of shame were the Edmonton Valley Zoo in Alberta, Canada, Oregon Zoo in Portland, Oregon, Buffalo Zoo in Buffalo, New York, Wildlife Safari in Winston, Oregon, Pittsburgh Zoo in Pennsylvania, Milwaukee County Zoo in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Fort Worth Zoo in Fort Worth, Texas. You can read the full list on In Defense of Animals.

Hopefully one day, we’ll be able to see a day where animals are not exploited for the sake of human entertainment. But in order for that to happen, we need to take a stand for elephants now. Doing that is simple; vow to never attend any venue that puts animals on display for profit and entertainment. These places include zoos, roadside exhibitions, places that advertise elephant rides, and circuses. By voting with your feet and dollar, you are sending the message that you do not support these practices. All image sources by In Defense of Animals.

Urgent! Sign This Petition to Shut Down Indonesian Zoo Where Animals are Starving. It is a wonder how Bandung Zoo, located on the island of Java in Indonesia, is still in business. The zoo gained infamy when Scorpion Wildlife Trade Monitoring Group, a non-profit that fights illegal wildlife trafficking and for the living conditions of zoo animals in Indonesia, released a video where starving sun bears in a concrete pen are begging for food from visitors. Just seeing the sorry condition of these animals is enough to bring tears to your eyes. This is just one of Bandung Zoo’s many offenses against their captive animals. In May of 2016, Yani, the zoo’s 34-year-old captive Sumatran elephant, who had been unable to stand for over a week, died shedding tears with chains shackled to her feet. Prior to that, the zoo’s resident giraffe died unexpectedly. When an autopsy of his body was performed, 40 pounds of trash were discovered in his stomach. Animals in Bandung Zoo live in sad, filthy concrete pens with little to no enrichment.

This video shows the zoo’s sun bears standing on their hind legs, begging for food from visitors. They are visibly emaciated and in desperate pain.

Yet, the zoo is currently ranked number 75 on Trip Advisor’s list of things to do in the region — but why? Regardless of whether or not you are a big animal lover, to recommend that people visit a zoo where the animals are so neglected that they must turn to handouts of junk food from visitors is an act that is lacking in any common sense.

According to a report in The Sun, the carnivores only get fed when New Zealand sends over food parcels. While this is a heartfelt act, it is the responsibility of the zoo to ensure the best possible care for their animals — and if they cannot/will not manage that, then the animals should be sent to sanctuary homes.

How can Trip Advisor be so blind to the zoo’s captive animals whose suffering is so obvious that commenters are speaking out on their page? One commenter, FlyawayAZ, described his trip to the zoo: “Animals thin and in poor condition. In many cases they are in extremely small cages with no natural materials. Old, rusty cages… but most importantly was the sadness of the animals in small, cement pens.”

The best possible course of action that we can take is to put pressure on President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, and his Minister of Environment and Forestry, Siti Nurbaya Baka to shut down the zoo once and for all and to ensure that all its captive animals are given a fresh start at either a sanctuary or conservation center.

Sign this petition and let it be known that you will not stand for this abhorrent treatment of animalsLINK HERE. Share this post and encourage others to do the same! Lead image source: Scorpion Wildlife Trade Monitoring Group/YouTube

Tourists Terrify Sea Lions While Trying to Snap Pictures. Well, it’s happened again. Our obsession with capturing ourselves on camera with animals has lead to the complete lack of respect for another living being. Just recently, two sea lions at La Jolla Cove, in San Diego, were huddled together on a rock when tourists decided it would be okay to take photos of the two marine animals. Rightfully so, the video posted to social media is sparking outrage from animal lovers around the world. In the video, people are seen poking and trying to pet the wild animals.

As you can see in the below photo, a father is alarmingly seen holding his baby right next to the sea lions before the animal almost bites the baby foot.

When will people learn?! Carly Padilla, Outreach Educator for Project Wildlife of the San Diego Humane Society noted if a sea lion bites, they often don’t let go and can cause a lot of tissue damage. Sea lions can range from 100-1,000 pounds and have thick, sharp teeth.

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Even though a sign at the entrance to the La Jolla cove clearly states, “Do not approach the Seals/Sea lions, they can bite and may attack,” people still walked up the animals. Is a pic worth this?!
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Not only is approaching sea lions dangerous to humans, it’s dangerous for the sea lions too. Approaching them could cause anxiety, resulting in a mother reducing milk production or, worst, abandoning her pups altogether. This is NOT okay!
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Carly Padilla said, “All wildlife sees us as a big scary predator and what do you do when there are predators around,  you try to protect yourself.” We can only imagine how scary it was to the sea lions to have humans invade their home!
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Taking selfies with animals has sadly become a bit of a trend nowadays with people treating animals like they are nothing more than mere props. Unfortunately, the popularity of taking selfies with animals has caused many to experience physical harm and stress. In one recent case, tourists found a stranded, dying dolphin and instead of helping the suffering creature, they took selfies with the animal instead. In another incident, a woman killed a swan after pulling the bird out of the water just for a quick snap. In Costa Rica, hundreds of tourists prevented endangered sea turtles from nesting because they were taking selfies instead. This needs to stop.

We can all do our part by being more conscious of how our choices impact the world around us. Selfies are fun to take, but please leave wildlife out of the picture. Image Source: Andrea Else Hahn/Facebook

Demand Justice for Trapped Cat Sadistically Scalded

In Defense of Animals
In December, the horrific scalding video of a trapped cat in Moss Point, Mississippi was posted on Snapchat where it was spotted by a concerned person who shared the content among animal advocates. They immediately began flooding the Moss Point Police Department with calls for justice. Eventually, even the District Attorney became involved despite the fact that in Mississippi this crime is only a misdemeanor under the 2011 passage of MSSS 97-41-16. We must demand that the maximum penalty currently available get applied in this case to each of the perpetrators. TAKE ACTION

Police Constables in India Caught Eating Dogs & Cats

In Defense of Animals
Striving hard to shake the stereotype of being dog eaters in Northeast India won't be easy when people are caught eating them, and especially when they are constables, entrusted with upholding the laws. READ MORE

After 133 Years, Ringling Bros. Circus To Close


Animal abuse: video of scared dog chained to roof of trailer on highway goes viral - Justice for Terrified Dog Transported in Open Trailer on Highway
Rapper Eve Sees the Starved, Abused Dogs PETA Helps
Extreme dog fur: ‘Rasta’ dog, 69 other mistreated animals rescued from their own filth

Heart-Wrenching Picture Reveals Why We Need to Change Our Relationship With Wild Animals. 

The illegal wildlife trade is a worldwide, black-market industry that targets rare and endangered animal species for their use as exotic pets, food, medicinal ingredients, jewelry, household trinkets, and more. Its effect on endangered animal populations has been devastating. For example, approximately 100 African elephants are killed for their ivory tusks – which are often turned into decorative ornaments – every single day. Between 2012 and 2015 alone, over 103,000 elephants were killed by poachers. Africa has now lost 60 percent of its elephant population, and many conservation experts fear that the continent’s elephants could become extinct by the year 2025.

Gorillas, lions, tigers, and rhinos – to name a few – are also being targeted, captured, and killed by illegal wildlife poachers at an alarming rate. The damage that the illegal wildlife trade has caused to vulnerable animal populations is one of the major contributing factors behind the Earth’s sixth mass extinction event.

A mass extinction event is defined as the disappearance of 75 percent of Earth’s biodiversity within a period of three to twenty-two centuries. A recent, shocking report by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Zoological Society of London found that 58 percent of our planet’s wildlife has been lost in the past four decades alone, primarily due to human activities. While habitat loss and deforestation have played a significant role in the loss of so many of Earth’s animals, there is no doubt that the illicit wildlife trade is also to blame.

The plight of the innocent animals caught up in this gruesome trade was recently highlighted by renowned photographer Jo-Anne McArthur. McArthur’s pioneering work has long sought to shed a light on the cruelty that animals suffer at human hands.

In this heart-wrenching picture, the love and devotion that this young monkey feels for their mother can be clearly seen.

This Heart-Wrenching Picture Reveals Why We Need to Change Our Relationship With Wild Animals
It is obvious that the loving bond between this mother and baby is exactly the same as the powerful connection that human parents and children share. Tragically, the separation of mothers from their offspring is a routine occurrence for animals caught up in the wildlife trade. Monkeys who have been targeted for sale as an exotic pet, for example, are often separated from their mothers at a very young age so that they will be more docile and easier to bend to their handlers’ will.

While it is hard to say for sure what this little monkey’s fate is to be, one thing that this image definitely demonstrates is that when young animals are torn from their mothers in order to satisfy humans’ greed for profit, it is nothing short of heartbreaking. This picture reminds us that every one of us must do what we can to raise awareness of the harm that the illegal wildlife trade has caused to vulnerable beings all over the world. Image Source: Jo-Anne McArthur/My Dream For Animals

To find out how you can help put an end to this trade, check out the links below:
More Animal Cruelty and Animal Crime to report: