Animal activists like Peter Lang don’t fight off wildfires for an entire sanctuary only to see its animals sold to circuses. To ensure that no wild or domesticated animal experiences abuse, Italy is banning wildlife shows in circus acts.
Jan Creamer, ADI (Animal Defenders International) President, said: “Traveling from place to place, week after week, using temporary collapsible cages and pens, circuses simply cannot provide for the needs of the animals.”
With over 2,000 animals forced to perform in 100 circuses, the aftermath of the ban will see a huge sigh of relief. Italy hopes to phase out elephants, bears, tigers, and lions (among others) within a year.
“The welfare needs of non-domesticated, wild animals cannot be met within a traveling circus – in terms of housing or being able to express normal behavior.”
Italy joins 40 other countries that have prohibited the use of animals in circuses. Perhaps I may be running out on a limb here, but just maybe will we see a vast improvement in wildlife communities.
While Hollywood VIP Leonardo DiCaprio is looking out for lions, Armenian firefighters have other plans. After years of playing cat-and-mouse, the International Animal Rescue freed two captive bears used for entertainment at a Yerevan restaurant.
“Now the plight of these poor bears has come to light, I know IAR won’t turn its back on them. After years of misery and neglect, an end to the suffering can’t come soon enough.” [said patron Neil Morrissey.]
Bear buddies Dasha and Misha now reside in a mountain sanctuary (hopefully miles from their captors). According to the IAR, there are still some 80 captive and abused bears unaccounted for.
“Some have been living for years in small, barren cages, surviving only on scraps and filthy, stagnant water. Many bang their heads to relieve the boredom. It is heartbreaking. We are determined to bring it to an end.” [said IAR chief Alan Knight.]
While The Jungle Book may have us thinking bears are as friendly as the affectionate Baloo, they aren’t. Entertaining or not, these fascinating beasts belong only to one place — the wild.
If not the Great Wall, it seems China’s main attraction is its everlasting devotion to the giant panda. The home of the Forbidden City has even built a solar farm inspired by the peaceful bamboo-munchers. Now hoping to increase populations, China is funding a national park dedicated to the slow-reproducing bears.
Plans for the park – which would cover 27,134 sq km – were first put forward early last year by the ruling Communist Party and the State Council, China’s cabinet.
If the 10 billion yuan ($1.6 billion) proves enough, the Giant Panda National Park will dwarf Yellowstone by three times. With over 80% of the world’s pandas situated in Sichuan, 2018 is the perfect year for a get-together. Getting them to breed? We’ll leave it up to luck.
Giant pandas have a notoriously low reproductive rate, a key factor – along with habitat loss – in their status as “vulnerable” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of threatened species.
We get it, guys. Dating around can be unsettling — but perhaps not for the greater good.
From banning their inclusion in recreational hunting and circus shows, bears are off to a great start in the new year. While those in the wild are frolicking in undisturbed freedom, those kept illegally are still waiting for rescue. For two of Nepal’s last known dancing bears, the delay has come to an end with the help of the Jane Goodall Institute of Nepal.
“We know that Rangila and Sridevi were suffering in captivity since they [were] poached from the wild and their muzzles were pierced with hot iron rods,” [said] Neil D’Cruze of World Animal Protection.
Despite the 1973 ban, bear dancing has permeated throughout Nepal. Many handlers turned to violent training methods, even removing the bears’ teeth. While rescue doesn’t liberate an animal from psychological trauma, extensive rehabilitation usually gets the job done.
“They will need long-term, specialized care, but many bears rescued from bear dancing and baiting have been able to live out the rest of their lives peacefully in sanctuaries,” [D’Cruze] said.
Both middle-aged, it’s about time Rangila and Sridevi received a hard-earned break!