Archive for the ‘endangered species’ category

Sad-Looking, Cute, and Threatened…

December 17, 2012

cute slow loris– – Have you ever seen anything look this sad and cute at the same time?–Don’t you just want to take it home with you?–Well, you may not want to, because it’s a venomous primate, a type of slow loris species called Nycticebus kayan newly discovered in Borneo.

Now the slow loris (which sounds like a Dr. Sseus character) is a nocturnal primate found across Southeast Asia that is closely related to a lemur and is characterized by unique fur coloration on its face and body.  The creatures are poorly understood due to their lifestyle of nighttime activity and slow movements.

To access its poison, a slow loris rubs its hands under glands near its armpits, then applies the poison to its teeth.  The resulting bite can put a person or predator into potentially fatal anaphylactic shock.  Despite its toxic defense, the species is threatened due to deforestation and poaching.  Sadly, the cuteness of the species may lead to its undoing, making it a prime candidate on the illegal pet-trade market in Asia.  Due to the toxicity of its bite, captive animals often have their canine and incisor teeth pulled out, which puts them at risk since they then can’t chew properly, ultimately resulting in death…

Disappearing Minnesota Moose!

December 15, 2012

Bullwinkle– – In Minnesota, a dwindling moose population has prompted the state’s Department of Natural Resources to recommend that the moose be labeled a “species of special concern” under the state’s endangered species protections.  This designation could clear the way for the Minnesota moose to eventually be listed as threatened or endangered should the population fall further.

We might expect this to be a cause of concern as well  to one Bullwinkle J. Moose, who resides in the fictional small town of Frostbite Falls, Minnesota, a parody of the real-life American town of International Falls, Minnesota.  Bullwinkle has trouble enough, after all, being plagued by the nefarious schemes of spies Boris and Natasha Badenov.  I’m sure, however, that Bullwinkle and the “plucky squirrel” will prevail against any and all difficulties…

Animal Smuggling…

May 14, 2011

 – -We’ve posted previously here on Foxsylvania about the illegal trade in wild and exotic animals, including animal smuggling.  While it’s fairly common for one type of animal to be smuggled (snakes, spiders, etc.), some smugglers diversify and try to take a variety of different species out.

Take for example the case of a man arrested at Thailand’s international  airport May 13th after he was caught trying to smuggle wild animals out of the country.  The man, identified as a citizen of the United Arab Emirates, was trying to board a flight to Dubai when investigators found a baby bear, two leopards, two panthers, and at least two monkeys stuffed into his luggage!  Don’t ask me how…must have been some pretty big luggage!

The anti-animal trafficking group FREELAND said the man is believed to be part of a far-reaching animal trafficking network…

Mail Order Tarantulas

December 8, 2010

– – I, for one, prefer not to get tarantulas in my mail.  The bills are bad enough…

…but a German man stands accused of sending more than 500 live tarantulas through the mail, receiving more than $300,000 for the arachnids.

Special agents from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service waged a sting operation (so to speak), ordering and receiving dozens of live tarantulas in an investigation known as “Operation Spiderman.”  If convicted, the person involved faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000…

…and for your reference, the entire Brachypelma genus is protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species because it is being threatened by international trade, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

– -Well, there goes my gift idea for my relatives this Xmas!


Art Influencing Life

November 6, 2010

– – J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels have popularized owls, which is a bad thing to the extent that fans of the young wizard and his owl Hedwig have been buying endangered owls from illegal bird traders!

This has been a problem in such countries as India, where the environment minister revealed that a recent report details that nearly half of India’s 30 species of owls can be found on sale at markets.  In addition to their Harry Potter appeal, people also buy the owls for medicinal purposes and for sacrifice in some Hindu festivals.

In the Harry Potter novels, owls are used as a form of communication, carrying important messages…

Big Bad Wolf?

September 18, 2010

– – Ah me…as if Sarah Palin shooting wolves from aircraft wasn’t enough, government agencies are seeking broad new authority to ramp up killings and removal of gray wolves in the northern Rockies and Great Lakes, despite two recent court actions that restored the animal’s endangered status in every state except Alaska and Minnesota…

Although once poisoned to near-extermination in the lower 48 states, wolves have made a major comeback in the last two decades under the protection of the Endangered Species Act.  A backlash has occurred, however, as wolf packs have developed a taste for livestock and big game herds coveted by hunters.

As wolf populations have expanded in numerous states, they tend to push into agricultural and residential areas where domestic animals offer an easy meal.  Various proposals would gas wolf pups in their dens, surgically sterilize adult wolves, and allow “conservation” or “research” hunts to drive down the predators’ numbers.

Wildlife advocates and animal rights groups contend, however, that the response to depredating wolves has become too heavy-handed, and that a string of court decisions in their favor underscores that the species remains at risk…


The Devil’s Endangered!

July 4, 2010

– – When you think of large carnivorous marsupials, you probably just naturally think of the Tasmanian devil, best known as the spinning tornado of destruction Taz in the Looney Tunes cartoons.- -Well, the genuine article’s in danger, and not from being outwitted by Bugs Bunny…

…60 percent of the wild devils in Tasmania have been claimed in a single decade by a cancer known as devil facial tumor disease.  By some estimates, the animals could be extinct within 25 years.  One colony in northwestern Tasmania has shown immunity to the disease, for which there is currently no treatment.  As this may not be enough to save the species,  zoos are critical to devil conservation, and 14 zoos are endeavoring to breed 1,500 disease-free animals.  Trouble is, only 24 devil joeys have been bred since the program began in 2008…

(…so obviously, we need more horny devils!)


Pennsylvania’s Pigeon Shoots…

February 27, 2010

– – One can be less than fond of pigeons but still abhor their use as living targets.  The practice of live pigeon shoots continues to exist in the state of Pennsylvania despite unsuccessful efforts to eradicate it, drawing the attention of none less than animal rights activist and former long-time game show host Bob Barker! Now pigeon shoots involve hunters firing at birds as they are released from small cages and attempting to fly away, and still takes place through a circuit of gun clubs holding shoots in the fall and winter seasons, typically involving 500 to 1,000 birds and about 40 to 50 shooters.

In 1998, a long-running annual pigeon shoot in the town of Hegins, Pennsylvania came to an end following a Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling that participants could be guilty of animal cruelty.   An attempt at a statewide ban on such “hunting” failed to be passed by the legislature in 1999, and an updated ban proposed in 2007 remains under debate.

Viewing the infamous Hegins pigeon shoot, together with its use of children in the horrific killings, led one long-term hunter, Steve Hindi, to abandon hunting altogether and found SHARK, “SHowing Animals Respect and Kindness,” a registered non-profit charity that deals with any issue involving violation of the innate rights of living creatures.  SHARK also conducts animal rescues and education projects.–Bravo!

The Tiger Trade…

February 13, 2010

– – As we are about to enter the Year of the Tiger, it’s important to remember that the commercial tiger trade is threatening the big cats with extinction, with only some 3,200 tigers remaining in the wild, nearly half of them in  India.

The tiger population is down from 100,000 worldwide a century ago due to growth in the human population and a demand in China, Vietnam, and Laos for tiger parts to be used in folk medicine.

Environmental activists are also worried about private ownership of tigers in the United States, where more than 5,000 tigers are believed to be in private hands as backyard pets or roadside zoo attractions.  Now tigers are often too dangerous to handle after six months of age, after which point they risk exploitation as they outgrow their usefulness.  While 26 states ban private ownership of tigers, nine states, including North and South Carolina, Ohio, and Wisconsin  have no regulations at all!

The highest number of captive tigers are found in Texas, which has regulations on tiger ownership but rarely enforces them.  China has nearly 6,000 tigers in captivity, and is trying to stamp out the tiger trade.  A growing private industry of  underground “tiger farms” in Asia, however, is putting new pressure on the endangered species as marketing tigers tends to stimulate and sustain demand for them…