Monday, February 29, 2016

A Whale Of A Week!

Daughtry: Don't Support SeaWorld - Orcas Deserve Better!
Daughtry: Don't Support SeaWorld - Orcas Deserve Better!

We've got 62,165 supporters, help us get to 65,000

Overview Petition
SeaWorld Orlando just announced that the band Daughtry, led by American Idol finalist Chris Daughtry, would headline one day of their upcoming music festival (along with Alabama, Steve Miller Band and Foreigner). Sign the petition and urge these performers to cancel their appearances to send the message that killer whales don't belong in captivity.

Since the film "Blackfish" aired extensively on CNN, a massive outcry has demanded an end to the inhumane practice of keeping these intelligent, highly social animals in enclosures the relative size of hot tubs. It is heartbreaking that these orcas have been stripped of their families and their ability to live in the wild, swimming hundreds of miles, hunting as a pack, and caring for their young together. All for the entertainment of tourists and the enrichment of SeaWorld's corporate profits.

Sign this petition to add your voice to the call to end orcas in captivity, and ask Chris Daughtry to stand against the horrible treatment of such amazing animals. Click to help!

What SeaWorld Won’t Tell You About Dawn Brancheau’s Death. SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau began her Dine With Shamu show on February 24, 2010, just as she had many times before, but this particular show included a gruesome finale that left Brancheau’s body without her left arm or part of her scalp, among other injuries. Dawn Brancheau was declared dead shortly after the show, but still, six years later, SeaWorld claims no responsibility for the vicious attack. So just how did one of SeaWorld’s most experienced and celebrated trainers end up crushed and drowned by the jaws of the marine park’s largest attraction?
“We don’t know for sure what motivated Tilikum. But there’s no doubt that he knew exactly what he was doing. He killed her.”
—Former SeaWorld Trainer Jeffrey Ventre

A Killer Whale Is Born
Former SeaWorld trainer Jeffrey Ventre blamed Tilikum for Brancheau’s death, but the truth begins with the wild orca’s capture near Iceland in 1983. At just 2 years old, he was torn from his mother and their ocean home and sent to the rundown marine park Sealand of the Pacific. Food was withheld from him as a training technique, and he endured attacks from the two dominant female orcas, whom he was forced to live with. After years of performing eight shows a day, seven days a week, Tilikum dragged Sealand trainer Keltie Byrne to the bottom of the pool, where he and the other orcas stripped her of all her clothing and left bite marks and bruises on her skin. It took nearly two hours to retrieve her body. Not long after Keltie’s death, Sealand closed its doors, and its orcas were purchased by SeaWorld.
Trainer (believed to be Dawn Brancheau) with an orca
Trainer (believed to be Dawn Brancheau) with an orca

“My understanding of the animal’s past was very limited. In fact, there had been 30 incidents between killer whales, and trainers prior to my being hired at the park. And I didn’t know about any of them until after I left SeaWorld. So I think that’s a serious mistake on SeaWorld’s part that they weren’t letting people know the history of all the animals.”
—Former SeaWorld Trainer Samantha Berg

History Repeats Itself
As Dawn Brancheau lay next to Tilikum, petting him in just a few inches of water, she likely had no reason to suspect that she was about to be torn apart. According to one of SeaWorld’s own employees, the event was unpredictable and the orca gave no indication that he was about to grab her. Even if Brancheau had spotted signs that Tilikum might act aggressively, would SeaWorld’s star performer have done anything differently? Maybe not—trainers were expected to continue performances, regardless of any signs that an orca might act out.
Dawn Brancheau was one of SeaWorld's star performers. She was cautious and always abided by the park's "safety" guidelines when she was around the orcas. When her death was announced, former and current trainers were astonished that she had been the one killed.
Dawn Brancheau was one of SeaWorld's star performers. She was cautious and always abided by the park's "safety" guidelines when she was around the orcas. When her death was announced, former and current trainers were astonished that she had been the one killed.
Dawn Brancheau was one of SeaWorld’s star performers. She was cautious and always abided by the park’s “safety” guidelines when she was around the orcas. When her death was announced, former and current trainers were astonished that she had been the one killed.

In one case, trainers ended a show after an orca began to ignore signals, swim rapidly, and grab at one of the trainer’s arms. In response, SeaWorld’s vice president for animal training criticized their actions in a two-page document claiming that the show should not have been ended early because it brought unnecessary attention to the incident. He argued that the trainers should have used other resources before canceling the show, despite SeaWorld’s official position that trainers could end a show at any time if they felt uncomfortable.

Why were SeaWorld trainers being forced to interact so closely with these enormous wild mammals? This was precisely the issue at the center of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) investigation. The agency cited SeaWorld for multiple violations and demanded that the company stop putting trainers at risk by making them interact with orcas during shows.

The Truth Comes Out

SeaWorld finally gave up on appealing its violations, but not before OSHA presented damning evidence that seems to imply that SeaWorld may be responsible for its own trainer’s death. OSHA found that in the 20 years leading up to Brancheau’s death, the park generated 100 reports of aggression and precursors to aggression—including 12 incidents resulting in the injury or death of a trainer—and according to SeaWorld’s own corporate curator for zoological operations, there were times that the company didn’t document incidents at all, which can be evidenced by SeaWorld’s failure to generate an incident report for Dawn Brancheau’s death and for a third death that Tilikum may have previously been involved with.
SeaWorld had previously been warned of the potential danger of incorporating Tilikum into its marine park when obtaining a permit for the orca from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), long before Dawn Brancheau’s death. Upon applying for the permit, SeaWorld hadn’t even looked at the incident report about the Sealand trainer’s death, and after being urged by the NMFS to do so, SeaWorld attributed the previous attack to a design flaw at Sealand. SeaWorld reiterated multiple times while obtaining the license that its safety measures, training, and park facilities were superior to those of Sealand and would prevent such an event from occurring at its park.

Questions Remain
Tilikum, one of the largest orcas held captive at SeaWorld, has been in captivity for over 30 years. His sperm has been used to father over half the orcas at SeaWorld's parks, even though he has killed three humans.
Tilikum, one of the largest orcas held captive at SeaWorld, has been in captivity for over 30 years. His sperm has been used to father over half the orcas at SeaWorld's parks, even though he has killed three humans.
Tilikum, one of the largest orcas held captive at SeaWorld, has been in captivity for over 30 years. His sperm has been used to father over half the orcas at SeaWorld’s parks, even though he has killed three humans.
More than six years after the “accident,” there are still concerns about Dawn Brancheau’s last day as a SeaWorld trainer that have grave implications. Why did the marine park wait for 27 minutes to call for paramedics after Tilikum pulled Brancheau into the water? Was the park using this time to remove witnesses whose accounts didn’t match the story that SeaWorld was trying to create to make it seem as if her ponytail had triggered Tilikum’s reaction? Perhaps most importantly, why did SeaWorld’s then-owner try to blame his own orca trainer for her death—even after the OSHA investigation uncovered that the same safety measures and recall signals that had failed to prevent Dawn Brancheau’s death had been failing for years? And why did SeaWorld continue to rely on those failed measures?

“Let’s face it, in these types of incidents, I don’t recall any whale responding to any hand slap, food bucket, or any other distraction we tried to implement.”

—Internal SeaWorld document

The evidence in the judge’s decision seems to indicate that SeaWorld tried to downplay the risks and dangers that its trainers would encounter while working with captive orcas and to cover up its own failures in the incident that led to Dawn Brancheau’s death. SeaWorld wasn’t even willing to put the life of its own star trainer before profit, so why should anyone trust that it would ever put the well-being of its captive animals first?

To help all animals held captive by SeaWorld, please never buy a ticket, visit the parks, or support SeaWorld in any other way, and urge the marine park to stop raping orcas!

SeaWorld Admits It Infiltrated an Animal Rights Group. The company’s board has ordered employees to stop posing as activists to obtain information on groups like PETA.
SeaWorld has found itself in hot water again.

On Thursday, SeaWorld chief executive Joel Manby told investors the theme park operator had employees pose as activists to infiltrate People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

This admission comes months after PETA accused SeaWorld employee Paul McComb of working for the animal rights group under the alias Thomas Jones. PETA claimed McComb attended anti-SeaWorld meetings and protests, asked for insider secrets from other protesters, and encouraged aggressive and illegal tactics during demonstrations.

At the time, SeaWorld officials denied the claims but put McComb put on temporary leave. He has since returned to the company, according to Manby.

“Following the completion of an investigation conducted by independent outside counsel, the board has directed that the company’s management team end a practice in which certain employees posed as animal rights activists in connection with efforts to maintain the safety and security of company employees, customers, and animals in the face of credible threats that the company had received,” SeaWorld said in a statement issued after Manby discussed the issue with investors during a conference call Thursday.

The move didn’t placate PETA. “If SeaWorld had business savvy or common sense, it would modernize its business with coastal sanctuaries and virtual reality displays instead of building more dolphin prisons,” the organization said in a statement.

Manby has worked to reshape the SeaWorld image since he took over as chief executive last April. The company is still recovering from the fallout from the 2013 documentary Blackfish, which focused on mistreatment of captive killer whales at SeaWorld parks. Manby has ordered an end to orca shows at SeaWorld San Diego and approved the construction of exhibits and rides to increase park attendance.

Though SeaWorld’s 2015 revenue rose to $268 million—up 1 percent from the previous year—net income was down 1.6 percent to $49 million.

PETA suggested SeaWorld address larger problems. Since November, an animal has died every month at the company’s San Antonio park. 
SeaWorld officials just released their 2015 financial report and, along with it, confirmed both that the company employed more than one person to spy on supporters of PETA and other animal rights groups and also that at least one of the spies is still working at the company.

Pod of Humpback Whales Crash Kayaker’s Expedition – and It’s Awesome.
The earth is a really big place, and our exploration of it is nowhere near finished. There are still large tracts of the rainforest and ocean that we know next to nothing about.

What’s even crazier is that we don’t know all that much about many of the animals we might think of as familiar. Take whales as an example. Even though there are dozens of organizations that focus primarily on studying whales, their migration patterns remain a mystery to us and we’ve only just begun to grasp how they communicate and interact with one another. Perhaps this is part of the reason why this video is all that much more exciting to see.

The kayakers featured may have been prepared to see some marine animals on their morning trip – but from the looks of it, they got a little more whale than anyone could have expecting that morning! The giant marine animals don’t seem to even notice the people around them as they dive up and down from the water.

While the poor boaters were probably more shocked than anything at the time of this encounter, we’re sure that they paddled away knowing they had just seen to best show of their lives. Videos like this one just go to show that SeaWorld and other marine parks can’t hold a candle to the real thing.

Blackfish is Winning Battle Against Marine Captivity in the West – Now There’s a War in Asia. It’s worth remembering that money is behind most animal cruelty – it’s business and business is always looking for new markets. Standing on the shoulders of animal welfare giants, the movie Blackfish was the beginning of the end for western animal performance using dolphins and killer whales. As the number of people in Europe and America willing to pay to see this cruelty diminishes – and with the likes of SeaWorld on the run – it’s worth remembering that they too are customers. When SeaWorld stopped expanding, its cruel suppliers started to look elsewhere. They looked east.
In recent years, we have noted an increasing public demand for seeing whales and dolphins in captivity within Asia. This demand is fueled by an industry which sees profit in animal suffering, ripping animals from their families, and their natural environment, to incarcerate them in tiny pools and make them perform tricks for their food. The rise in the use of whales and dolphins in entertainment within countries such as China, Indonesia, and Vietnam is incredibly worrying at a time when an end to this horrific cruelty might otherwise be in sight. This is an industry that has had a foothold in the USA, Europe, and Australia for many years, and many thousands of individual animals have suffered, and continue to suffer in the name of entertainment. It’s distasteful to imagine that those people behind this cruelty are cynical enough to look at the world and spot opportunities to continue this horror trade. What they want are areas with little awareness of animal welfare and porous legislative controls that do little to protect captive animals from suffering. 
In Indonesia, wild caught dolphins are subjected to frequent transport and lives in tiny pools as part of traveling dolphin shows. We can only imagine the stress such transport and time spent immobilized must cause for these individuals. In Vietnam, wild caught dolphins are subjected to poor living conditions and the indignity of being forced to jump through hoops of fire to entertain a public largely unaware of the stress and suffering such conditions cause. In China, over 400 wild caught whales and dolphins now languish in the countries ocean parks, with many more ocean parks under construction, fuelling an ever-increasing demand for more wild caught animals. In January 2016, one such facility opened within a shopping mall in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou. Encouraging shoppers to stop by and view animals such as wild caught beluga whales stereotypically swimming within their tiny pool. This epitomizes the attitude of the industry, using animals as commodities to be used, abused and eventually discarded and replaced when they fall ill and die. 
The rise in the ocean park industry in China has fueled a huge demand for more wild capture within Russia and Japan. Over 200 dolphins, pilot whales, and false-killer whales ripped from their ocean homes in Japan, and over 100 beluga whales and at least nine killer whales all being forcibly removed from their families to meet this insatiable appetite for bigger attractions within China. The finger of blame for this cruelty must be pointed directly at those that are responsible for the wild capture, purchase, and eventual incarceration of these animals. With little or no regard for the fact that these individuals live within complex family groups, within societies built upon cooperation between individuals, empathy for fellow family members and moral behaviors which ensure group harmony and cohesion. It is these messages of the emotional and cognitive capacities of these intelligent, socially complex animals that we are promoting across Asia in the hope that a largely uninformed public will one day turn their own backs on this industry and help to set free those individuals that continue to suffer in the name of entertainment and prevent further individuals from suffering the same fate.
Crack Down on Animal Abuse in Aquatic Theme Parks 
Target: Dr. Barbara Kohn, Senior Staff Veterinarian of APHIS
Goal: Ensure better care of aquatic life by imposing new rules on aquatic theme parks. 
The USDA has proposed new rules that will positively affect all animals at aquatic parks. These changes to the Animal Welfare Act will help ensure that captive creatures can maintain good health without discomfort. After numerous reports of inhabitable living conditions, the standards for these mammals need to be raised and enforced. Urge the USDA to put these proposed regulations into action immediately. 
Whether or not you are opposed to animals living in captivity, we can all agree that regulations need to change. Marine park cetaceans, such as dolphins and whales, often suffer from eye and skin problems. These issues are associated with poor water conditions and over-exposure to the sun. Sea World even puts black zinc oxide (sunblock) on their orcas so park attendees don’t notice the sun burns.
If the new USDA regulations are enacted then proper shading of outdoor pools would be mandatory. Light would have to be changed for indoor pools as well. A mandatory six hours of darkness would be enforced so that their indoor environment mimics their natural habitat. The rule would also implement new salinity standards and stop the use of over-chlorination. 
All of the proposed changes to the Animal Welfare Act will benefit marine animals found at aquatic parks. Stricter regulations on parks will ensure that these animals are treated more humanely and live longer. Urge the USDA to pass these new rules into law so marine parks can start taking proper care of their animals. 
Dear Dr. Kohn,
The USDA and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has recently proposed new amendments to the Animal Welfare Act regarding the care of animals at aquatic parks. The new changes would significantly increase the well-being of animals at marine parks. All around the United States, these captive animals suffer skin and eye diseases from improperly treated water and poor facilities. The new proposals regarding salinity, lighting, and temperature standards will reduce if not eliminate these problems entirely.
All animals belong in the wild, but if they are going to live in captivity then they need to be properly cared for. The suggested changes to the Animal Welfare Act will ensure this proper care. The parks will more closely mimic their natural environment, causing less stress and fewer health problems in these beloved mammals. I urge you to help these beautiful creatures by passing the proposed amendments immediately.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Leon7
Racing Extinction Clever Universe,,Scientists predict we may lose half the species on the planet by the end of the century. They believe we have entered the sixth major extinction event in Earth's history. Number five took out the dinosaurs. This era is called the Anthropocene, or 'Age of Man', because the evidence shows that humanity has sparked this catastrophic loss. We are the only ones who can stop it as well. The Oceanic Preservation Society, the group behind the Academy Award® winning film THE COVE, is back for "Racing Extinction". Along with some new innovators, OPS will bring a voice to the thousands of species on the very edge of life. An unlikely team of activists is out to expose the two worlds endangering species across the globe. The first threat to the wild comes from the international trade of wildlife. Bogus markets are being created at the expense of creatures who have survived on this planet for millions of years. The other threat is all around us, hiding in plain sight. There's a hidden world that the oil and gas companies don't want the rest of us to see. Director Louie Psihoyos has concocted an ambitious mission to call attention to our impact on the planet, while inspiring others to embrace the solutions that will ensure a thriving planet for future generations.

The very oceans you love face deadly dangers in the weeks ahead.

Right now, the U.S. Arctic Ocean is drill-free. Right now, the Atlantic Ocean off the U.S. East Coast is drill-free.
But that could be about to change. Right now, the White House is considering a proposal to drill in the Arctic and Atlantic. If we don’t fight back, Big Oil gets their way and vulnerable marine life like dolphins, whales and sea turtles face the danger of drilling and spills.

Will you join our all-out push to protect the Atlantic, the Arctic and vulnerable marine life like dolphins right now?

With your donation of $20 or more you’ll receive a special gift in recognition of your commitment to save our oceans.

There’s no such thing as totally safe drilling. If we allow Big Oil in the Arctic and the Atlantic the threat of a catastrophic Deepwater Horizon like disaster and routine spills will loom large.

More than 1,000 sick dolphins in the Northern Gulf of Mexico died in the five years following Deepwater, many from lesions linked to oil exposure.1 Just imagine an unprecedented number of dead dolphins washing ashore from Long Island, N.Y. to Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

The thought of failing those dolphins and our oceans makes me sick.
Oceana member support has helped us win victories for oceans around the world. Today, I want to give you the opportunity to receive something in addition to the satisfaction of making a difference:

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Oceana members are the heart of our campaigns and grassroots network. Your dependable support and commitment to our oceans allows us to know how far we can expand and stretch our campaigns to protect our oceans.

As an Oceana member you make a difference.

Rewired Weekly Presents 'Closet Classics' with songs and remixes by Boy George, Eve Gallagher, Ezee Posse, more

Sunset Pictures presents The Last Lioness

Today's Elephant in the Room

I want to announce an album I am putting together for Animal Rights issues and notably for, The Big Cat Public Safety Act. After much discussion with my partners at the ALDF (Animal Legal Defense Fund), we feel that it has a better chance of passing than something like TEAPA. It is also arguably more urgent since it addresses much more than just traveling circuses (which are retiring elephants from performing and not to discount them at all, however, we feel that there are a few little ankle biter circuses left and that elephants will be eliminated from traveling shows before TEAPA passes.

Plus, The Big Cat Public Safety Act is currently pending, and Big Cat Rescue is running point on it:

With that said today to open the show and Blog piece, we are in need of a couple more songs that relate to animal welfare or that are about being against certain abuses. As of today, we have thirteen (13) songs cleared and i would like there to be Fifteen (15) songs totakl, on the full length LP. So far, we have popular artists and major recording acts such as Vegan Boss, The Smiths, Federal Moguls (DJ and side project from member of the Bloodhound Gang), No-Limitt, Joe Atman (with the Riohc Choir), Richtaste, Simon & Rohit Blaat, Respect, Mister Sir and Gaisi (also with special guest performer) that have contributed brand new songs by some along with popular hit songs.

It is an album with all formats, all genres with all types of subject matters that deal with poaching, wildlife crime, the Taji, Japan Dolphin Hunt, Fur, Animal Trapping, Animal Testing and about overall Animal Welfare and about being against Animal cruelty and abuse! All (100%) proceeds and all revenues go directly to the ALDF with the hope of getting this greatr bill passed this year/next year.

Thanks for the potential; support and most of all, please feel free to turn over some music if you have any that fit the spirit of this project.

On to the show and blog piece today with the first story by Green Monster, Lauren Kearney from One Green Planet about how Elephants Are Harmed for More Than Their Ivory – Here Are Three Products to Avoid. Armed with AK-47s, grenades, and other firearms, poachers will kill relentlessly in order to get hold of the “white gold” we know as ivory. In Asia, the demand for ivory is huge. Prized for ornamental use and seen as an ideal material for carving, this infatuation with ivory has led to the mass killings of elephants throughout Asia and Africa. One hundred African elephants are killed every day by poachers seeking ivory; it is estimated.

But it’s not just the demand for ivory that is driving elephants to the brink of extinction. Did you know that in addition to tusks, elephant skin, hair, and dung are used for various products? Unfortunately, the demand for these products is also driving elephants to their end. But as a consumer, you have the power to reduce that demand. Here are three elephant products to watch out for:

1. Elephant Leather
Thick and durable with its rippled texture, elephant skin is used in everything from bags and belts to gun holders, and flask coverings. You can even buy it on eBay. That’s because it’s actually, unbelievably, legal, provided one complies to the conditions laid out by the Convention of International Treaty of Endangered Species (CITES). Based primarily in the United States and imported from Africa, the elephant leather market trades freely through the Internet, meaning numerous companies are selling elephant skin online. An average price is about $400 for eight square feet.

Even popular brands, like Nike, sell elephant leather shoes in its customizable line, Perfectly Made Kicks, in which top-paying clients, like Jay-Z, can create their own shoes with their choice of at least five different exotic animal skins. Roje Exotic American Leathers, another one of the many online companies selling elephant skin, defends their use by saying, “The source of all African elephant skins come from culls once the elephant herd reaches destructive numbers to African tribes and nature.” Although many sellers claim they never sell poached hides, and instead claim that it’s the byproduct of an elephant, it’s clear that elephants are obviously being killed – either for their tusks or their skins. We don’t think this justifies the killings of a highly intelligent, endangered species purely for vanity reasons.
2. Elephant Hair
For centuries, mythology has believed that wearing an elephant hair bracelet would protect you from illness and bring you prosperity. Innocent, it may seem, but unfortunately, many of the elephant hair bracelets that are sold today come from either culled or poached elephants, or plucked from the tail of live elephants in captivity. Last year, authorities in Senegal broke up a ring of traffickers selling jewelry made from the hair at the end of an elephant’s tail,  confiscating more than 450 items including bangles, rings and bundles of hair worth around $65,000 during a raid. It’s best to avoid elephant hair at all costs. Otherwise, you could be fueling the mass killings of elephants through Asia and Africa.

An elephant is held in chains as a man plucks out the tail hairs with his teeth.
PicMonkey Collage
3. Elephant Dung
Because not much of an elephant’s food is broken down in its digestive process, much food passes through their systems in an untouched state. We admit, it’s a bit on the gross side, but elephant fecal matter is actually crucial to its position as a super-keystone species since dung beetles and birds feed off this nutrient-laden matter filled with seeds and other vegetation (appetizing, we know). Because it is so fibrous, humans have come to use elephant dung for compost, to fill holes in the roads. Some businesses even boast elephant dung in their coffee (with a $50 per cup price tag), or use it to make paper. The problem is, while it may appear on the surface to be harmless or even so-called “sustainable,” as some of these companies tout, many of the elephants providing the dung are living in captivity in the tourism or working-elephant industry. In order to create such products from elephant dung, these highly intelligent and sensitive animals are being forced to live away from the wild, for human profit.  Imagine living in chains just so people can ride you and collect your waste!

Elephant dung is collected to make pricey coffee at a Thailand tourist destination!
What You Can Do
If you want to be a hero for elephants, the best thing you can do is avoid purchasing any elephant-derived products full-stop. Elephant leather, hair, and notebooks can all be easily purchased online but you are the consumer, and you have the decision to say no. The only being that needs elephant parts is an elephant. To further the impact, share this article with your friends and family and urge them not to buy any elephant products. Lead image source: Caitlin

ALDF Lawsuit on Behalf of Lucky the Elephant to Proceed. Lucky Deserves a Healthy and Happy Retirement!
Today, the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), the nation’s preeminent legal advocacy organization for animals, learned that its Endangered Species Act (ESA) lawsuit on behalf of Lucky the Elephant against the San Antonio Zoo would move forward as planned.

Judge Xavier Rodriguez of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas denied the Zoo’s efforts to evade jurisdiction, finding that the plaintiffs had properly filed suit under the ESA and not, as the Zoo had misleadingly argued in its motion to dismiss, under the federal Animal Welfare Act.

ALDF, with pro bono support from Dentons LLP and local attorney Melissa Lesniak, represents three San Antonio residents who oppose the Zoo’s unlawful confinement of Lucky.  The suit alleges that she is being “harmed” and “harassed” in violation of the ESA because the Zoo confines Lucky alone, without another Asian elephant companion, in an enclosure too small to meet her needs, with little to no shelter from the sun, and on a hard, species-inappropriate substrate.

As a consequence of the Judge’s ruling, the lawsuit will proceed to discovery, during which ALDF will seek access to records of the Zoo’s elephant-keeping program and to conduct independent veterinary and site-specific analyses of Lucky and her enclosure.

Lucky, an endangered Asian elephant, was captured from the wilds of Thailand before her first birthday.  She has spent the last 53 years at the San Antonio Zoo, and has been entirely alone for the past three.  Scientists assert that Asian elephants are emotionally, socially, and psychologically complex animals, who recognize themselves in a mirror and exhibit higher order emotions like mourning and altruistic behavior; experts agree that elephants cannot thrive in captivity, especially when held in forced solitude.

ALDF’s lawsuit seeks to end the Zoo’s unlawful confinement of Lucky and asks the Court to order her retirement to sanctuary, where she can socialize with other elephants and enjoy a much larger, species-appropriate habitat.

“Lucky has served her time entertaining the residents of San Antonio,” said Stephen Wells, executive director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund, “and deserves a happy and healthy retirement. We want her to live out her life living as an elephant should—with other elephants in as natural an environment as possible.”

Please help to Ban Circuses that Exploit and Abuse Animals in the Unites States of America.
Animals in circuses have been mistreated and tortured for decades. They know of nothing but a cage slightly larger than them and beatings when they do not do as commanded. Majestic and beautiful creatures have been brutally murdered for their disobedience and for fighting back. These evil circuses exist only to steal money from the audiences pockets.

Sure animals are not people, but they do exist, feel, and have families. And you know what? They are extremely intelligent. As human beings, we should not allow this behavior by circuses to continue. Please help put a ban to circuses that exploit animals. Please help to save a life. Please help to give these animals freedom.

Suraj - What a Difference Two Months Makes!
Rescued in December 2015 from a lifetime of abuse and negligence as a confined temple elephant in Satara, Maharashtra, Suraj, the 45 year old one –eared tusker is now on a steady road to recovery in his new home at the Elephant Conservation and Care Centre (ECCC) in Mathura.

When the Wildlife SOS Rescue team first found him, they were devastated to see him restrained by spiked chains in a dark, dank room with little food and water. He had a malnourished frame, his body was covered with bull-hook wounds, his feet were in an advanced stage of foot-rot and his tail was injured and left untreated. In addition, due to the constant pressure from the heavy chains, his right front wrist had twisted outwards.

Suraj is currently undergoing treatment for the injuries he sustained at the hands of his former owners and has gained a healthy amount of weight as well as a hearty appetite. Due to lack of important nutrients and vitamins, he’s being given supplements with his meals, which mainly consists of sugarcane, green fodder and a variety of fruits and vegetables. His favourite foods include papayas and peppermint.

Though initially aloof and wary of his new surroundings, Suraj is gradually settling down and has become much calmer. He has learned to be a bit more trusting and is responding well to his mahouts and has been interacting with the other bull elephants like Rajesh and Mac and we are hopeful to see them all bonding over time.

Suraj has also been introduced to our target training program, a process which relies on positive reinforcement for the elephants to achieve repeated actions that enables the vets to provide safe and effective veterinary care of the animal without stressing it out. Recently, he developed abscesses on his left hip but is responding well to his treatment and his wrist injury is gradually healing as well.
One of the happiest moments since his arrival at the centre has been his growing fondness of the elephant pool, where he loves taking baths and enjoys splashing water. Though the mental and physical scars from his traumatic past will take years to heal, it is truly heart-warming to see Suraj take his first few steps towards a more positive future.

This wonderful new life full of love and freedom has been possible because of your support and concern for our beloved ‘Herd of Hope’ and we hope you will continue to stand by our cause.

End Wild Elephant Imports to U.S. Zoos.

Target: Tim Van Norman, head of the permits branch at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Goal: Stop the import of wild elephants to U.S. zoos.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) approved permits for the import of 18 elephants from Swaziland, Africa. Three U.S. zoos will put the elephants from Hlane Royal National Park into captivity for the rest of their lives. The zoos will cage these animals, which are used to traveling distances of 50 miles per day, into pathetically small enclosures where they often are driven to insanity or bored to death.
They will spend the rest of their lives on exhibit and forced to breed. Most of the elephants are female and only three are male and their ages range from 6 to 25 years old, but they won’t live very long considering the lifespan for captive elephants is 17 years old compared to 56 years for wild elephants. The elephants will go to the Dallas Zoo, Sedgwick County Zoo, in Wichita, Kansas, and Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska.
The organization, Friends of Animals, filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service against the alleged illegal importation of the 18 elephants. They will need all the support they can get considering that a similar lawsuit that was filed by the Born Free organization in 2003, attempting to stop the import of 11 elephants from Swaziland, failed.
Elephants living in the U.S. don’t have a chance at a good life or even survival. These massive and family-centered animals should be able to exist in peace in the wild or an accredited sanctuary for the entirety of their graceful lives. We must put an end to the suffering and captivity of elephants. Tell the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service to deny the importation of these harmless animals and demand that there is an end to elephant captivity in zoos.
Dear Mr. Van Norman,
You just approved permits for the import of 18 elephants from Swaziland to three U.S. zoos. You approved the abuse and lifelong captivity of otherwise free-roaming and gentle creatures. By approving the importation of the elephants, you also supported the inhumane and needless exhibition and exploitation of animals.
You can still make a change for the better. Elephants in U.S. captivity live about a quarter of their natural lifespans. In fact, it isn’t uncommon for young elephants (like the 6-year-old being imported) to spontaneously die in captivity. We must put an end to the suffering and captivity of elephants. As head of the permits branch with the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, you should do the right, just, and humane thing and deny the importation of these wild animals and end elephant captivity.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Foto-Rabe
OKC Zoo releases Chai the elephant's necropsy results. 37-year-old Asian elephant Chai died in January.
The Oklahoma City Zoo has released the results of a necropsy on a 37-year-old Asian elephant that died in January.

The elephant, Chai, died unexpectedly on Jan. 30.

Veterinary staff said an initial necropsy found no obvious signs of death. Tissue results were sent to an independent lab and found the elephant had a systemic bacterial infection.

The initial report did find the elephant had a slightly thin body condition, and the independent analysis showed a significant loss of body fat.

Zoo staff said Chai was receiving additional food because of weight loss. They said the elephant's appetite had been excellent and her behavior was normal.

The zoo has asked for further investigation to determine if Chai had a chronic issue  or underlying disease. Those tests could take several weeks to complete..

TARGET: Auckland Mayor Leonard Brown and Auckland Zoo's Director Jonathan Wilcken

We've got 3,236 supporters, help us get to 4,000

We have reached our goal of 3000, in two days! Let's see if we can quickly make it to 4000. Time is short, this is an urgent situation. Please, share with anyone and everyone! Thank you for supporting this petition. I saw a picture of little Nandi with her Mother.... Please don't let them take her away...... Thank you!

About This Petition
Please support this petition by signing to save the Asian Elephant taken from it's Mother and gifted from The Sri Lanka Government to the Auckland Zoo. This is the second elephant the Sir Lankan Government has "Gifted" to this zoo. We Do Not Use Wild Animals As Trade. This is a life, with strong family bonds, and she matters! This will bring this Island Country to three captive elephants in this zoo. Which is three to many!

Elephants are highly intelligent, complex and self-aware individuals who have evolved for long distance living. In the wild they range tens of miles a day, live in large, tight-knit family groups, and communicate with one another at great distances. Yet zoos keep elephants in tiny exhibits of a few acres or less, where lack of movement and standing on hard surfaces cause painful foot infections and arthritis, the leading causes of euthanasia in captive-held elephants. The stress and boredom of intensive captivity results in abnormal behaviors such as repetitive swaying and head bobbing.

The process to bring the elephants to New Zealand includes a quarantine in their country of origin, flying them to the island of Niue for medical checks and more quarantine procedures before coming to Auckland. Yet Auckland's Mayor defends the Council vote by saying that the decision was important in helping Auckland become a major tourist destination and making the city the capital of events. 

Please, we must end this age old practice of hiding behind the word "Gifted" , when we all know, nothing comes for free. Our elephants are not pawns. They are wild animals that deserve to live their lives in the wild, with their families. They were NOT put here for Human Entertainment. PLEASE TAKE A STAND AGAINST THIS CRUEL, BARBARIC ABUSE OF OUR PRECIOUS ELEPHANTS. Thank you!
Inokashira Park Zoo in Tokyo: Hanako lives for 61 years alone in a concrete prison! Give her a real life or send her to a sanctuary!
Inokashira Park Zoo in Tokyo: Hanako lives for 61 years alone in a concrete prison! Give her a real life or send her to a sanctuary! STOP IT NOW!IMPORTANT UPDATE on the petition to help Hanako the elephant: Thanks to YOU, WE HAVE BEEN ABLE TO SECURE A MEETING WITH HER ZOO!!!

TARGET: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery, Ministry of the Environment, Director of Inokashira Park Zoo of Tokyo, CITES Japan  less

We've got 418,668 supporters, help us get to 500,000

We now URGENTLY need to raise travel expenses to get to Japan for this crucial visit, and we only have 22 days left. Please share and contribute to THE FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN NOW to help Hanako. Every dollar counts.

About This Petition

Hanako has lived for over 60 years alone, in a barren cement pen. Now there is finally hope for change. Every dollar counts. Every share counts. Please visit the funding campaign for Hanako and pitch in!  


Hanako is a 69-year-old Asian elephant who has lived in shameful conditions at the Inokashira Park Zoo in Tokyo for the past 61 years. She was transported in 1949 from Thailand to Japan when she was just two years old, to what would become her life-long prison. And ‘prison,’ is not an exaggeration. 

Blogger Ulara Nakagawa saw Hanako while visiting the zoo, and was shocked to see the conditions of her confinement. Ulara writes in her blog that it looks like "one of the cruellest, most archaic zoos in the modern world." Hanako is completely alone in a tiny cement enclosure with nothing to comfort her or provide stimulation. She just stands there, appearing almost lifeless , since there is nothing else for her to do. It was beyond painful for Ulara to take in Hanako's pitiful situation. 

To add insult to injury, the Inokashira Park Zoo is located in one of the most affluent neighbourhoods in Tokyo and part of a public park known for being the home of the popular Ghibli Museum. This means that hundreds of thousands of global tourists have seen Hanako in her concrete prison and done nothing to help her. 

But now we have a chance to make up for lost time and make sure Hanako lives out her last days in the comfort she deserves. Please sign and share this petition demanding that Hanako be sent to an elephant sanctuary. If this is not possible, she needs to be given medical assistance and a new, enriched enclosure where she can interact with other elephants. She should not be forced to live in a concrete prison. Please support:

The Amazing Moment a Working Elephant Gets Her Freedom After 50 Years Hauling People.
For 50 years, this remarkable elephant, Thong Kam, served the people of Thailand. She gave up her freedom, happiness and well-being to haul people around and serve as entertainment.  Thankfully, now that she’s reached the age of retirement, she’s getting the love and care she deserves.

Thong Kam has found a new home at the Elephant Nature Park, which is “dedicated to providing care and assistance to Thailand’s captive elephant population.” We’re so happy Thong Kam will finally have a chance to live in a sanctuary that values her needs and her happiness.

But not all elephants are as lucky as Thong Kam. Thousands of elephants in Thailand are subjected to an entire life in captivity. These beautiful, highly intelligent beings loose their freedom the moment they are born. In captivity, elephants live miserable lives and undergo daily abuse and violence, just to for the purpose of entertaining tourists.

Join us in speaking out against the cruelty against elephants by sharing this article, and learning about the wonderful work of Elephant Nature Park.

Don’t Allow Zoos to Import Elephants From Africa.
Target: Tim Van Norman, head of permitting at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Goal: Do not allow U.S. zoos to import wild elephants from Africa.
Permits were recently approved allowing three U.S. zoos to import eighteen wild elephants from their native home in Swaziland. The Dallas Zoo, the Sedwick County Zoo in Kansas, and the Henry Doorly Zoo in Nebraska will be putting the elephants on display and using the three males and fifteen females for breeding purposes. Not many elephants remain in Swaziland, so this move will take away a significant number of the population to live out the rest of their lives in captivity. Furthermore, elephants have been proven by the scientific community to be highly intelligent and social animals that do not respond positively to being separated from their families. The quality of life they will experience as exhibits in a zoo will be detrimental to both their health and emotional wellbeing.
The Fish and Wildlife Service granted the permits despite numerous protests from animal welfare groups, and is now facing a lawsuit from Friends of Animals, a Connecticut-based animal advocacy group. The non-profit organization claims that the Fish and Wildlife Service’s failure to do a National Environmental Policy Act analysis should nullify the permits, as this analysis would have examined the physical and emotional well-being of the elephants and would have shed light on the dangers of forcibly removing them from their home. By failing to complete this analysis, the Fish and Wildlife Service violated its duty to weigh the possible dangers of the importation and fully disclose this information.
In an interview with National Geographic, Tim Van Norman, the head of the permits branch at the Fish and Wildlife Service, spoke about the decision to approve the permits and claimed that the zoos were not looking to make a profit from importing the elephants. Friends of Animals disputes this claim by pointing out that the zoos have invested more than $25 million in elephant exhibits, and Swaziland has made a profit in the past by selling elephants to U.S. zoos. Furthermore, Norman claims that his organization has “not been mandated by Congress to consider the ethics of this.” It is always the responsibility of any decision-maker to consider the ethics involved in his choice, and importing these elephants would be both cruel and unethical.
Sign the petition below to support the Friends of Animals’ lawsuit, and urge the Fish and Wildlife Service to reconsider their decision and keep the elephants safe by revoking these harmful permits.
Dear Mr. Van Norman,
The permits to import eighteen elephants from their native home in Swaziland to U.S. zoos must be revoked. Scientific findings have proved that elephants are highly intelligent, social and emotional animals, and removing them from their families and familiar habitat will be detrimental to both their physical and emotional wellbeing. They will not experience a good quality of life in captivity as zoo exhibits, and the importation should not be allowed to occur. Had a National Environmental Policy act analysis been conducted, the dangers of importing these elephants at the risk of their physical and mental health would have been discovered. This information should have been fully disclosed, as it is likely that their lifespans will be greatly shortened in captivity.
I am urging you to heed the protests of the Friends of Animals organization and the many other animal advocacy groups that have objected to these permits. Please revoke the permits, and do not separate these elephants from their families and homeland to live out the rest of their lives in captivity.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Megan Coughlin
Got 30 Seconds? See What’s Wrong With UniverSoul Circus
With a long history of contracting with notorious animal abusers like Hugo Liebel—who has mistreated ailing elephant Nosey for two decades—and a shameful record of endangering the public with potential exposure to tuberculosis and to dangerous animals, it’s all cruelty under the big top at UniverSoul Circus.

Given its history of animal abuse and negligence regarding public safety, it’s high time that UniverSoul dropped its animal acts to focus on human performers instead, like Cirque √Čloize, San Francisco–based Circus Finelli, and many others have already done.

What You Can Do
Urge UniverSoul to end its cruel animal acts, and never buy a ticket to any circus that forces animals to perform. Click Here To Help!

Elephant calf rescued from mine holding dam!

NO FWC Renewal for Nosey! 

Right Now Nosey has an unprecedented opportunity. Florida Congressman Vern Buchanan has been awarded an A+ by the HSUS for his work on animal rights. We're proud of him for his accomplishment on behalf of animals. If there is one elephant in Florida that needs a champion of animal rights, it's Nosey! Congressman Buchanan CAN only speak for Nosey if he is made aware of what has been happening with her. Please call his office, ask the clerk to read your message back to be sure it has been taken accurately, ask for a call back if you can OR better yet, send him a fax with all you want him to know. Here are a series of numbers so that you can reach him in as many ways as possible.

Your faxes, phone calls and emails are all needed. The more, the better!

Phone: (202) 225-5015/ (941) 951-6643
Fax: (202) 226-0828/ (941) 951-2972


Rescued Elephant Who Spent 42 Years in Circus Enjoys a Well-Deserved Rest! 
There is no denying the fact that elephants are incredibly fascinating and intelligent animals. Sadly, because of their intrigue, they’re commonly exploited by the entertainment industry. Mia, the elephant in this video, was forced to perform in a circus for 42 years of her life. While on the surface, circuses might seem like a “fun” time for elephants, in reality, they are anything but.

Circus elephants are typically trained to perform using painful bullhooks and other harmful methods like starvation. In captivity, they’re prone to develop potentially fatal foot conditions from standing on hard surfaces for long periods of time and the majority suffer from zoochosis as a result of the mental stress of being deprived of their natural habitats. We’ve said it more than once, but we will say it again – circuses are no place for elephants.

Thankfully, the sweet ellie in this video doesn’t have to worry about the circus any more thanks to the rescue team at Wildlife SOS. After a lifetime of being coerced into doing tricks and performing before loud crowds, Mia seems perfectly content to enjoy a simple roll in the dirt – something all elephants deserve.

To learn more about Mia and the organization that rescued her, click here

Our worst fears have come to pass on Capitol Hill. And lives are at stake.
Today, the full House of Representatives passed H.R. 2406, the so-called “Sportsmen's Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act of 2015.” The bill is loaded with some of the worst anti-wildlife provisions I have seen.
If this bill passes the Senate and is signed into law, it will be a death sentence for wolves, elephants and other vulnerable wildlife.
If this bill becomes law:
  • Wolves will die. Wolves in Wyoming and the Great Lakes will lose Endangered Species Act protection. The last time wolves were delisted in Wyoming, 80% of the state became a free-fire zone where anyone could shoot wolves at will.
  • Elephants will die. America’s ability to crack down on the importation and sale of illegal ivory will be crippled. This gun lobby-backed provision will send a message to the armed criminals who are decimating Africa’s last herds that the American market is still open for business.
  • Alaskan predators will die. The bill would strip the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service of the authority to bar the state of Alaska from launching a program to decimate wolves, grizzly bears and other large carnivores within national wildlife refuges and national preserves across Alaska.
  • Toxic lead will continue to contaminate wildlife habitat. The bill would prohibit federal agencies from regulating lead in most forms of ammunition and fishing tackle. In the United States, an estimated 3,000 tons of lead are shot into the environment by hunting every year, leading to the death of many animals from toxic lead poisoning.
You and I Can Stop This Insanity
We are the voice in Washington, D.C. for species that have no voice of their own. And we’re your voice too.
With your help, we’ll make sure this bill never becomes law. Our legislative team is working together with other conservation organizations to make sure the grassroots pressure to protect wildlife is unrelenting.
Thanks for being an advocate for elephants. By signing on to stop wildlife crime and calling for an end to the illegal ivory trade, you are making a difference!

Today, we're asking you to take the next step and make a donation to protect the future of elephants and so much more that we love and value.

Please make a donation today and help protect the future of nature.
The future of elephants is in our hands

There's so much to love and appreciate about elephants.

Elephants show affection and empathy. They help each other. They grieve. They also play a crucial role in maintaining forest and savanna ecosystems, benefiting many other species.

Sadly, African and Asian elephants face massive threats from poaching, habitat loss, and conflict with humans.

The future of elephants is in our hands—the future of all wildlife and their habitats is in our hands. Together, we can stop wildlife crime, deforestation, and many other threats to nature and people.

Please act now to help protect the future of elephants and nature worldwide.
Tens of thousands of African elephants are killed every year for their tusks. And as their habitat shrinks, Asian elephants are forced into close quarters with humans—often raiding crops, sometimes injuring people, and becoming vulnerable to retaliatory killings.

When you make a donation today, you'll be helping to stop wildlife crime, protect habitat, reduce conflict between people and wildlife, and so much more.
We Can Protect the Future of Elephants

Together, with you by our side, WWF and our partners are protecting elephants on many fronts. We're training anti-poaching teams, supporting rangers, working to strengthen ivory trade legislation and enforcement, restoring critical habitat, helping local communities deter elephants from farms and villages, and much more.

You can make a difference for the future of elephants—and other vulnerable wildlife and wild places—today.

Donate today and help protect the future of elephants and nature worldwide.


From the Amazon rain forest to the majestic Himalayas, we work with partners to combat threats, preserve biodiversity and protect habitats around the globe. Your generous donation today will help us continue our critical efforts to build a future in which people live in harmony with nature.

Donate today and help protect the future of nature.

We're making a difference: Last year, WWF received licenses to manage 100,000 acres of lush rain forest in Sumatra—the only place that's home to elephants, tigers, and orangutans. And over a million WWF supporters like you signed our petition to tell the US government we won't stand for illegal African elephant ivory being imported and sold within our borders.

Together, we are making a difference for elephants and nature worldwide!

Stand with us—protect the future of nature with your donation.

See the trailer for 'Racing Extinction Clever Universe' here now.
Scientists predict we may lose half the species on the planet by the end of the century. They believe we have entered the sixth major extinction event in Earth's history. Number five took out the dinosaurs.

This era is called the Anthropocene, or 'Age of Man', because the evidence shows that humanity has sparked this catastrophic loss. We are the only ones who can stop it as well. The Oceanic Preservation Society, the group behind the Academy Award® winning film THE COVE, is back for "Racing Extinction". Along with some new innovators, OPS will bring a voice to the thousands of species on the very edge of life. An unlikely team of activists is out to expose the two worlds endangering species across the globe. The first threat to the wild comes from the international trade of wildlife. Bogus markets are being created at the expense of creatures who have survived on this planet for millions of years.

The other threat is all around us, hiding in plain sight. There's a hidden world that the oil and gas companies don't want the rest of us to see. Director Louie Psihoyos has concocted an ambitious mission to call attention to our impact on the planet, while inspiring others to embrace the solutions that will ensure a thriving planet for future generations.
Last, please join CompassionWorks International, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), NYCLASS, Long Island Orchestrating for Nature - LION, The Animals' Battalion - public page, Brooklyn College Students For Animal Rights, FAUN (Friends of Animals United New Jersey), Animal Defenders International, and many other animal advocacy organizations and stand up against circus cruelty!

We are winning the battle against animal abuse in entertainment, let's keep up the pressure!

A protest will be held opening night, Thursday, February 25th, at 5:30pm. Attendance is crucial.

Protests will also be held:
Friday, Febraury 26, 6-7:30pm
Saturday, February 27, 10-11:30am, 2-3:30 pm & 6-7:30 pm
Sunday, February 28, 10-11:30am, 2-3:30 pm & 6-7:30 pm
Tuesday, March 1, 9am-11am, 6-7:30 pm
Wednesday, March 2, 6-7:30 pm
Thursday, March 3, 6-7:30 pm
Friday, March 4, 6-7:30pm
Saturday, March 5, 10-11:30am, 2-3:30 pm & 6-7:30 pm
Sunday, March 6, 10-11:30am, 2-3:30 pm & 6-7:30 pm

Please email with questions.

Local and national organizations that would like to join as admins: please contact us so we can add you!