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.
People like Lt. Col Faye Cuevas, a war-veteran-turned-conservationist, are exactly what wildlife warriors need. Africa, teeming with poachers and bearing the brunt of climate change, was especially up for change. To make up for Africa’s lack of resources, a Canadian team put up a brigade in Mali to protect its dwindling elephant population.
The brigade combines rangers and army forces, a necessary pairing for protecting wildlife in this hostile territory, regularly crisscrossed by offshoots of Al Qaeda and bandits.
Since launching the brigade in February, there have been no run-ins with poachers. Mali, normally plagued by other traffickers and petty bandits, has come a long way.
“The work,” Sergeant Sangare [of the brigade] said, “it is love.”
The brigade, led by the Wild Foundation and International Conservation Fund of Canada, is the first foreign helping hand Mali has received in some time. With locals expressing their dire need for basic necessities, the groups have also stepped in as community lifelines. It seems to me this act of selflessness is rarer than any ivory on the market.
Time and again, elephants have proven that they are worth more than just their tusks. Back in August, they rescued hundreds of tourists from a flood in Nepal. And while some, like war veteran Col. Faye Cuevas, are doing their best to protect them, it seems the efforts are not enough. Last year, the U.K. has taken a favorable — albeit small — step towards banning almost all sales and exports of ivory products.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove has announced a consultation to end the trade in ivory of all ages — previous attempts at a ban would have excluded antique ivory produced before 1947.
The government says there will be some exemptions, for musical instruments and items of cultural importance.
A lack of clear restrictions is corroborating the fears of environmentalist groups, who are unsatisfied by the ban. They argue that the UK still leads in exporting legal pre-1947 ivory antiques even in the past few years, and though the transactions are technically not punishable by law, the high amount of sales stimulates demand and encourages poaching in Africa.
Nonetheless, pressures from conservationists and Prince William himself — a long-time campaigner against the trade — are pushing the government to impose a total ban. If I were being encouraged by English royalty to head towards a certain direction, I’d probably start walking.
At a wildlife conference in Vietnam, [Prince William] said: “Ivory is not something to be desired and when removed from an elephant it is not beautiful.
“So, the question is: why are we still trading it? We need governments to send a clear signal that trading in ivory is abhorrent.”
Well said, Prince William. I toot my horn (or tusk?) in your favor. While waiting for further updates this 2018 from the government of the UK, perhaps we could share a toast to the greatness of elephants.
Following India’s campaign against the use of wild animals in circus shows, China has caved to international pressures. In a giant leap forward, the mass ivory consumer is finally placing a near-total ban on the material. Things will definitely be looking up for 30,000 African elephants slaughtered by poachers each year.
China and the U.S. both agreed to “near-complete” ivory bans, which prohibit the buying and selling of all but a limited number of antiques and a few other items.
Ivory is in demand for intricate carvings, trinkets, chopsticks, and other items.
With no proven clinical use, ivory used as medication is purely based on superstition. Despite previous international bans, China has consistently managed to quietly condone black market trade — until now.
“The Chinese government’s ban on its domestic ivory trade sends a message to the general public in China that the life of elephants is more important than the ivory carving culture,” said Gao Yufang, a Ph.D. student in conservation biology.
With no means to curve laws, China is finally bound to the positively inescapable ban. There is no guarantee to a drop in poaching, but when society gets it, it seems everything falls naturally into place.
When Indian locals set their minds to something, chances are, they will pull through. To demonstrate the importance of lush forestry (and push boundaries), 1.5 million volunteers planted 66 million trees in 12 hours. When the government refused to act, 700 Kuttemperoor villagers restored a beloved river in only 70 days. To top off the year, the country is now putting an end to circus acts that feature wild animals.
India’s Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change… has canceled the recognition of all circuses which were found guilty of torturing wild animals including elephants by locking them in cramped cages and thrashing and intimidating them to perform tricks that are unnatural to their inherent characteristics.
In 1998, India banned the exhibition of wild animals in performances, save for elephants. Simply put, bears and tigers “had it worse” compared to the gentle giants. Furthermore, the industry argued a complete loss of animal entertainment would put livelihoods at risk. Activists, along with Nikunj Sharma of PETA, think the excuse is pitiful.
“Livelihood can never be a justification for cruelty on any living being. More and more people today know that circus means cruelty to animals and want no part in it.”
Let’s stick to juggling and acrobatics, shall we?
As the saying goes, an elephant never forgets. The relationship between one and a human is always give and take. While some are dedicating their lives to fighting for elephant rights, the animals are also doing their best to protect humans. Watching elephants rescue tourists from a jungle safari park in Nepal was an unexpected surprise — and a good one.
The Rapti River overflowed its banks in Sauraha, 80 km south of the capital, Kathmandu, inundating hotels and restaurants and leaving some 600 tourists stranded.
“Some 300 guests were rescued on elephant backs and tractor trailers to (nearby) Bharatpur yesterday and the rest will be taken to safer places today,”
Unfortunately, many others remain missing, as heavy rain affected 75 districts. Floods submerged over 60,000 homes.
“The heavy rains hit at one of the worst times, shortly after farmers planted their rice crop in the country’s most important agricultural region,”
Despite the tragedy, many lives were spared thanks to these gentle giants. To forgive and not forget is a notion that applies heavily to the humble elephant. They may be patient animals, but are still deserving of our respect.
Some war veterans choose to retire comfortably, whether in the city or the countryside. However, this is not the case for one special air force officer. Lt. Col. Faye Cuevas, who served in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Africa has returned to her latter post to assist in the conservation of African elephants.
The number of Africa’s savannah elephants had dropped to about 350,000 by 2014 because of poaching, according to a recent study.
“At the current rate of elephant decline, my 6-year-old daughter won’t have an opportunity to see an elephant in the wild before she’s old enough to vote,”
“Which just is unacceptable to me, because if that is the case then we have nothing to blame that on but human apathy and greed.”
Elephant ivory, which has virtually no medicinal value, is popularly sold in China as a means of alternative healing.
Together with the U.S.-based International Fund for Animal Welfare, Cuevas introduced a smartphone-based software app (tenBoma) that allows rangers and field investigators to enter and share information immediately.
tenBoma has revolutionized wildlife security, among other conservation strategies. Poaching is a worldwide battle that has not yet been won–but with the help of people like Cuevas, victory is closer than ever.