Archive for April, 2008

Mexico Gives Trade in Wild Parrots the Bird!

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

Dear Friends

Hard on the heels of the Cameroonian Parrot trade bust (and the subsequent release of hundreds of African Grey Parrots back to the wild) – here’s some really great news from Mexico.

Thanks to my good friend Juan Carlos Cantu for the information.

The Mexican Senate approved a bill to ban capture and export of Mexican wild parrots (66 votes in favor, 0 against, 1 abstention). This comes exactly a year after the Deputy Chamber had first drafted and approved the bill (300 votes in favor, 0 against, 2 abstentions).

The original bill was drafted by the Deputies after a presentation of the report “The Illegal Parrot Trade in Mexico. A Comprehensive Assessment” by Defenders of Wildlife and Teyeliz, A.C. which documented for the first time the volume of the illegal trade of parrots. An estimated 65,000 -78,500 are being captured illegally each year, with overall mortality exceeding 75% before reaching the purchaser. This translates into about 50,000 to 60,000 dead parrots per year.

Mexico harbors 22 species of parrots and macaws, of which 90% are in some category of risk. The latest Mexican classification (yet to be published) puts 11 species in Danger of Extinction, 5 species Threatened, 4 species under special protection, and 2 species unclassified.

Wow! This is sure to make a lasting and positive difference to the long-term survival prospects for parrots in Mexico – thanks to the hard work of conservationists and a government that cares.

Blogging off!

Will

Action for Orcas

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

Dear Friends

Last year I reported that a tanker containing thousands of litres of fuel sank in an ecologically-sensitive area off the coast of Western Canada, an area where OrcaLab have been studying wild orca for decades; a project supported by Born Free.

After a number of groups, including ourselves, highlighted this issue, the Government has now said it will take action to raise the tanker and remove the threat of a spillage.  However, we have just heard that they are taking this process at a very leisurely pace, that they have to open up the process to the submission of bids from constructors to carry out the work and there is a chance that they will now not get it done before the orca return in significant numbers at the start of the season.

The Government needs to understand that we are watching and that we are anticipating that they will fulfil their obligations to protect this environmentally fragile area by removing this tanker without delay.

If you feel, as I do, that the Government needs to know just how strongly we feel about this then please do write to:

The Honourable Barry Penner
Minister of the Environment
P.O. Box 9047, Stn. Prov. Gov’t.
Victoria, B.C.
V8W 9E2 Canada

phone:  1-250-387-1187
fax:  1-250-387-1356

Email: env.minister@gov.bc.ca

The Honourable Loyola Hearn, Minister
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
200 Kent St. Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0E6 Canada

phone:  1-613-992-3474
fax:  1-613- 995-7858

Email: Min@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

To find out more about this situation, please go here >

Blogging off

Will

Canned Hunting in the Line of Fire?

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

Dear Friends,

In 2007, the South African government announced it wanted to see an end to canned hunting of large predators.  This abhorrent practice, in which animals (especially lions) are bred to be killed in enclosures, with no chance of escape, was under the spotlight.  It seemed too good to be true – was the South African government finally going to take action?  International condemnation for this type of hunting had long been drowned out by the voices of South African land owners and farmers generating huge profits from this shocking industry.  Were things really about to change for the better?

We seized the opportunity – Born Free provided detailed comments and suggestions to the government’s newly drafted hunting regulations – for sure they were a step in the right direction, but still full of loopholes for the ardent canned hunting operator to abuse.

The South African government subsequently produced their new regulations.  Sadly some of the loopholes remained.  Nevertheless, the SA Predator Breeders Association were sufficiently perturbed by the new regulations to immediately take the South African government to court. 

The government then took the unbelievable decision to leave lions out of the new regulations altogether until the resolution of the court case!  The logic of this decision is incomprehensible to me. My understanding is that the legal case could take several years to reach a conclusion.  In the meantime, therefore, the practice of canned hunting of lions will continue despite government assurances to the contrary.

What are we to make of this situation given previously made public statements clearly announcing that the government is “…putting an end, once and for all, to the reprehensible practice of canned hunting.” (quote from a speech by South African Environment Minister Mr Marthinus Van Schalkwyk, 20th February 2007). 

Combine this with the government’s apparent lack of commitment to putting in place a contingency plan to deal with the displaced predators that will fall under these regulations (including lions, once they are included). We believe that, astonishingly, there could be 5-6000 lions languishing in breeding centres across South Africa.  What will happen to them?  Who will pay for their expensive lifetime care?  I can’t see the hunting fraternity setting up lion sanctuaries… will they simply be ‘terminated’?

I am sure many of you will have watched Louis Theroux’s programme on Sunday evening about Canned Hunting in South Africa exposing the shocking reality behind canned hunting.  According to one contributor, just 2% of people have the killer instinct.  Well I’m one of them! I want to kill off the canned hunting industry for good!

Blogging off,

Will

For more information on canned hunting, please click here