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Animal News Weekly - November 28, 2014

Woodland Park Zoo to Close Elephant Exhibit


Elephants Bamboo and Chai to be Moved

But Where Will They Go?

In an announcement made Wednesday, November 19 by Woodland Park Zoo (WPZ) President and CEO, Deborah Jensen, Bamboo and Chai will leave the zoo and go to another yet unnamed Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited facility. In Jensen's statement, the zoo recognized it cannot meet the needs of elephants and will phase out its elephant program.

IDA praises the zoo's public admission that elephants do not belong at the WPZ in Seattle. This public statement sets an important example for other zoos wrongfully displaying elephants in zoos, let alone in cold-weather climates.

The WPZ joins the ranks of other zoos including the Alaska Zoo, Toronto Zoo, and Detroit Zoo which have made the responsible choice to end the public display of elephants.

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No Import Permit for Black Rhino Parts

In Defense of Animals

Tell the USFWS to Protect Endangered Species

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is currently reviewing at least two permit applications to allow importing black rhino trophies into the United States. Back in January 2014, Texas hunter, Corey Knowlton paid $350,000 for the winning bid in a Dallas Safari Club auction to kill a black rhino in Namibia. The other applicant is Michael Luzich from Nevada, who apparently secured his permit to kill a black rhino directly from the Namibian government.

Poaching and trophy hunting further the commercialization of wildlife and create demand for body parts of animals already on the brink of extinction.

Only about 5,000 of the critically endangered black rhinos still exist in the wild, with 1,800 remaining in Namibia. Poaching is the leading reason why black rhinos are struggling for survival. Trophy hunters pay big bucks to shoot rare and endangered animals because all they care about is the thrill of killing, under the guise of conservation. They reduce beautiful and majestic wild animals to lifeless, dead body parts they mount on walls.

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Save the Cuckoo From
Cattle Ranchers and Other Threats

In Defense of Animals

On October 2, 2014, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced that the western population of the yellow-billed cuckoo would be protected as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The rule went into effect on November 3. According to the USFWS, "once abundant in the western United States, populations have declined for several decades, primarily due to the severe loss, degradation and fragmentation of its riparian habitat as a result of conversion to agriculture, dam construction, river flow management, and riverbank protection."

The USFWS is proposing the designation of 546,336 acres of critical habitat in 80 separate units in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. According to Jennifer Norris, field supervisor for the USFWS’s Sacramento office, these units have been identified with "essential nesting and fledgling sites where conservation actions are needed to protect and recover this imperiled songbird."

But the designation of this land, necessary to enforce the Endangered Species Act and protect the yellow-billed cuckoo, is not set in stone. A Public Comment Period, originally scheduled to last two months and end on October 14, has now been expanded by another two months, through January 12. All evidence points to moneyed interests being the cause of the delay.

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Compassionate Canine Companions

In Defense of Animals

IDA invites you to read this column by guest blogger Dr. Armaiti May, DVM, CVA, veterinarian, animal activist, and "Animal Issues" radio show host.

Upon discovering the horrors of factory farming, it’s only natural to want to remove one’s support from such cruelty, starting with ceasing the consumption of animal products in one’s own diet. Being vegan feels good because we are not contributing to the unnecessary confinement, mutilation, and ultimate untimely slaughter of innocent beings.

After a while, it makes sense to wonder if there’s more we can (and should) be doing to minimize our contribution to animal suffering. For example, what are we feeding the family dog(s)? Can we adequately meet a dog’s nutritional requirements through a vegan diet? Fortunately, in most cases, the answer is yes. In fact, in many cases, a well-balanced nutritionally appropriate vegan diet can actually be superior in its health-promoting properties compared to a meat-based one.

The next time you go to the grocery store, pick up a bag of dog food and glance at the ingredient list. Up to 50 percent of commercial pet food brands are comprised of "meat meal" and "byproducts," which include various body parts (such as beaks, brains, spinal cord tissue, bones, lungs, and intestinal tracts), slaughterhouse wastes, 4-D meat (from dead, dying, diseased, or disabled animals), supermarket rejects, as well as rendered dogs and cats from animal shelters.

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Want to Save Trees? Save the Elephants

In Defense of AnimalsIn a groundbreaking study, researchers at the University of Florida demonstrated a monumental link between the dramatic decline of elephant populations and the local extinction of dominant tree species. They found that Asian elephants and other large-bodied, seed-eating mammals, play a vital role in seed dispersion in dominant tree species in Thailand. Thus, elephants not only help, but are also vital for these tree populations to thrive. It was known that elephants and other animals dispersed the seeds after eating local vegetation. But now we know that they tend to spread the healthier tree seeds that have the highest chance of survival.

The elephant population in Asia has seen disastrous declines in the past century. In the beginning of the 20th century, it was estimated that there were over 100,000 Asian elephants; now that number has plummeted by over 50 percent; perhaps to only 30,000-40,000 individuals. This recent study shows the urgency of protecting elephants from overhunting before it is too late. "The message that 'guns kill trees too' should help put overhunting at the top of the conservation agenda, where it deserves to be," said Richard Corlett, director of the Center for Integrative Conservation at the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Gardens in Yunnan, China.

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Over A Billion Animals Brutally Killed For Fur Every Year

Speak Out and Stop the Horrors 

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