Category Archives: Wildlife

2018 first rhino victim of poachers

Poachers shot dead a pregnant rhino and hacked off her horn in a nature reserve outside Komani (Queenstown, South Africa) this week. Lawrence de Lange Nature Reserve manager Hein Gerber said yesterday the five year-old white rhino had been due to calve in two to three weeks.

“One rhino is bad enough. We were very shocked and it is a great loss. But with her being pregnant, in fact we have lost two animals,” de Gerber said.

Initial investigations showed the poachers used a .375 calibre hunting rifle to shoot the animal before chopping off its horn with an axe either late on Christmas night or before dawn the next day, he said.

The carcass was found 60 to 70m from the reserve’s southern fence.The access point through the fence had not yet been pinpointed but it was clear that the poachers had got into the reserve and had not shot the animal from the road, the manage said.

Europol: wildlife crimes

The Spanish Guardia Civil, with the support of Europol and in close cooperation with Mexico, has carried out Operation SUZAKU, resulting in 29 arrests in Spain and in other countries. All of the arrestees have been charged with crimes of smuggling, wildlife crime and animal abuses, as well as being part of a criminal infrastructure.

Over 2,000 animal were seized during Operation SUKAZU, and the expected benefits that could have been obtained by the trafficking of species have been estimated to be above half a million euro. International trafficking of species is identified as a priority in the fight against organised crime within the EU Policy Cycle for the next four years.

The organised crime group controlled a network of operators, who were transporting birds of a large variety of species to Spain from different places in Africa and Latin America by using mules. International collaboration has taken place with police authorities and other bodies from 18 different countries.

Using various concealment techniques, the criminal group trafficked birds that are classified under different types of protection and that were included in the CITES Convention and in the national protection laws of the countries of origin. Many of the birds died during the transit and sometimes the death rate reached 50%. The criminal group used several points of entry in Spain, using the airports of Madrid-Barajas, Pamplona and Bilbao.

Operation SUZAKU has been mainly carried out by the Nature Protection Service (SEPRONA) of the Guardia Civil. Europol supported the operation and facilitated the exchange of operational information. AMERIPOL coordinated the activities with the different Latin American countries involved.

Europol birds

Neglected lions saved from Razgrad zoo

The lions of the Razgrad zoo, aged between 3 months and 12 years, will soon have a life free from suffering. The international animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS has saved the animals from particularly adverse conditions in an urgent rescue mission which took place over two days. Thus far, the big cats, who come from a three-generation-long inbred line, vegetated for years without any medical care in tiny enclosures.

“To see the animals like that was shocking. Never in their lifetime have these lions been examined by a veterinarian. This is fatal, especially in the light of the systematic inbreeding of the big cats. Here, the descendants of siblings have procreated uncontrolled due to lack of care,” reports FOUR PAWS big cat expert Barbara van Genne. In the past, the bred lions were sold to other zoos, circuses and private persons.

The introduction of a stricter legislation in Bulgaria in 2008, however, led to a reduced demand. Hence, the big cats remained in the Razgrad Zoo.

Since the city owns the zoo, FOUR PAWS convinced the mayor of Razgrad to intervene. The international team of veterinarians provided medical care to all lions and additionally sterilised two adult males. Due to the lack of physical exercise, the older lions already suffer from severe issues with their spines. It is likely that the younger ones will face the same health problems soon.

 

A 3-year-old lion whose condition was particularly critical has already been brought to Sofia for comprehensive examinations. The veterinarians found sand in his bladder and diagnosed fibrosis in the kidneys. The upcoming results of a CT scan will provide more details about his health. As soon as he is fit enough, FOUR PAWS will transfer the lion to one of its own sanctuaries.

Siberia 'waterboarded' to ice cube dog killing defended by police

Police of Yakutia (Siberia) reported of an abhorrent death a dog, as claimed in social networks, the owner ‘waterboarded’ and left to die at -50 C° degree frost. The police authorities deny such a case in spite of massive photo, and other evidence brought by the group of animal rights defenders, who attempted to save the dog frozen into ice.

This particular type of execution was practiced in Russia in Middle ages, and even described in novels of 19th century authors: serfs turned into frozen “sculptures” by pouring onto them water in freezing temperatures. Later it was revived by Stalin during ‘great purge’. Today it is considered as at most perverse type of torture and execution.

A local media said about the verification of the publication of a photograph of a dead dog with a comment that a drunk owner doused the animal with water and him outside to die.

Police officers carried out verification activities, during which the owner was defined, as well as the circumstances of the dog’s death. According to police report the Shepherd dog suffered from Carre’s disease, and was partially paralyzed, the Interior Ministry said.

Police said that the owner did not kill the dog himself, but called in the volunteers of one of the animal protection organizations of Yakutsk. They took the animal, and after a while, a photo of a dead dog appeared on the Internet (image below).

dog ice

“The owner of the dog and members of his family are characterized positively, the pet was a favorite of a large family,” the police say.

The volunteers said the owner did not call them, but it was a neighbour who heard the howling animal, freezing into ice. The moment they arrived the dog was a block of ice and had no chance to survive. They suppose when knowing about the illness of the animal the owner decided to kill it himself to save up money and efforts to cure “the member of the family”.

There are no laws, protecting animals from human’s cruelty in Russia. For 17 years the administration of President Vladimir Putin has been blocking a package of laws, prepared previously in times of rapprochement with the West. So called ‘dog-hunters’ movement, promoting poisoning, chopping and shooting dogs is widespread in Russia, never confronted with prosecution, unlike animal rights defenders, who suffer hostility, and even threatened with jail for the promotion of ideals of humanism.

 

Paris: escaped circus tiger executed

News of the tiger’s escape came after Paris’ public transport authority, RATP, briefly closed down a tramline in the 15th arrondissement, according to France Info – the public radio that broke the news.

Two eyewitnesses told the radio station said they saw the tiger descend onto the tracks.

“At first, we thought it was a technical incident,” said Thomas, a passenger of tramway 3a. “Then the driver told us it was a tiger. Naturally, we wondered what was going on. We were able to leave 15 to 20 minutes later.”

In the meantime, armed police and circus staff had rushed to the scene. At least two shots were reportedly heard.

Reportedly there were no attempts to put the animal to sleep, and evacuate, but just right forward killing was a chosen option. The heartless reaction of the authorities killing the magestic animal damages even further already plagued by misfortunes reputation of the city, losing its image of a dream touristic destination.

Brigitte Bardot Foundation and animal defenders across Europe were indignant about the accident, blaming Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo indifference to animal suffering in circuses. Some witnesses from neighbourhood also claimed they saw the three tigers jammed in a small cage  of a few square meters “in misery”:

The growing protest about barbaric torture of animals in circus for fun of the least cultivated audiences, forced many big cities to ban use of wild and exotic animals in entertainment. Paris is clearly lagging behind the progressive and humanistic world trends – one year ago Iran prohibited animal circus.

Trump retreats on imports of hunting trophies

President Donald Trump said in a tweet on Friday he is putting a decision to allow imports of elephant trophies on hold after a torrent of criticism from conservation advocates and across social media.

Trump’s reversal came hours after his administration released a rule on Friday to allow hunters who kill elephants in Zimbabwe to bring their trophies back to the United States, which had been banned by the Obama administration.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said in a statement that he had spoken with Trump and “both believe that conservation and healthy herds are critical.” He said the “issuing of permits is being put on hold as the decision is being reviewed.”

Early word of the planned change had drawn protests from conservationists, who said it could deplete already at-risk elephant populations. It also caused a social media firestorm, with opponents posting photos of President Donald Trump’s sons Donald Jr. and Eric, avid hunters, posing with dead wild animals.

 

'K9' dogs-officers – laudit!

Every day, throughout the EU and beyond, thousands of dogs are working to help keep us safe, many times even risking their lives. These specially-trained and dedicated ‘K9’ officers are searching for explosives or drugs, finding evidence at crime scenes, tracking missing people and criminals and protecting their handlers.

To honour their loyalty and their work, Europol dedicates for the first time ever its yearly calendar to these invaluable four-legged members of police forces.

Europol’s “Dogs as Heroes” 2018 calendar features professional images of police dogs in their working environment in Europe and beyond. All of the calendar’s images were submitted to Europol as part of the Agency’s annual photo competition open to law enforcement photographers.

Europol’s “Dogs as Heroes” 2018 calendar will be available for purchase for one symbolic euro* at the EU Bookshop.

* covering the printing costs, shipping costs not included

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