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Category Archives: Animal Issues

Global Tentacles

634px-Giraffe_cave_art

Giraffe Cave Art at the NamibRand Nature Reserve
Picture credit: Namibnat

 

At first glance this morning, this news appeared to be a positive move, made by someone who had their heart and their power, in the right place, and was a cause for tremendous joy.
But then after reading further and seeking secondary and other stories for reference, it seems that all is not as it appears.
Paul Allen, the Billionaire philanthropist, who is seemingly strongly supportive of protecting Endangered Wildlife, has several not so nice personal blemishes, that must also be considered before we proceed to give him his Best Global Humanitarian Award.
Mr. Allen has introduced a measure to get on the Fall Ballots in Washington State, that will put a hurting on those who use the World’s  most at risk wildlife to make a dirty income.
The measure, called Inititive 1401, has already reached, thanks to all of his volunteers in the field, the necessary number to get on to the Ballot in November.

This is a great thing.

What I am having trouble with, is the dark side of his company Vulcan and his sister Jody, who was the CEO, and has just stepped down after some very ugly issues about wildlife  poaching and sexual harassment were brought to light by accusers who work for Allen’s company.
I will not go fully into these things, as they are well presented in the links below.
What I am interested in pointing out here is this.
When very rich, very powerful people make the news and receive gushing accolades without the public or the press, doing more than just a little background digging into the facts, bad things can happen.
In this case, Allen, who has passionately promoted this initiative in Washington, to save and protect wildlife, seems awesome, but something here is not right, and  it all smells just a little rank, when you learn that he has regularly taken African Safaris and owns Tourist Lodges in Botswana.

Now add to this, the fact that his Company Vulcan,  formerly run by his sister, has been taken to court and accused of smuggling, poaching and more.
All too often, people like Allen and his sister, are unlike you and me, frequently kept safely in a cocoon, so that the scandals, or dirt runs off of them and does not stain their pristine, public images.
My concern and primary reason for writing about this today is, that it would be so much easier to believe Allen and all the others who claim to be truly concerned about the welfare of Endangered Wildlife, if there was not so damn much money involved in all of this.

If, as you do so passionately profess Mr. Allen, you truly do wish to protect Endangered African Wildlife, may I suggest that you dispose of your African Tourist Lodges and suspend your Safari trips?

It would be wonderful to see those with so much wealth, using it to personally educate and enlighten the rest of the world to what is happening to the precious few wild animals that we have left, before they are all gone.

We absolutely must take this message out to the schools, to the young, who will become our next generation of protectors.

Sadly, access to excessive money can turn even the best people’s heads the wrong way and there is just too much at stake here.

The treacherous arms of Global Smugglers and Wildlife Traffickers can have very long tentacles, some are even said to be attached to Global Mobsters, that just may reach into even safe corners, including those of the well protected, well insulated, excessively wealthy.

 

Places to learn more:

Washington Rare Species Trafficking Measure, Initiative 1401 (2015)

Global Efforts to Stop Illicit Wildlife Trade: Are They Enough?

China Promises an End to Its Ivory Trade, While Some U.S. Politicians Pander to Wildlife Traffickers

Paul Allen: Seeking unbroken tall bones?

Paul Allen’s sister steps away from managing $17 bln fortune

Seahawks owner Paul Allen, sister settle as bodyguards claim smuggling, bribery

War threatens existence of wildlife species in South Sudan

Washington State Initiative Aims to Protect Iconic Animals Threatened With Extinction

Paul Allen bankrolls initiative to ban rare-species trafficking

 

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Patron of the Oceans

Pugh with Tutu
Lewis Pugh with Archbishop Desmond Tutu,  September 15, 2010
Picture credit: Publicist

 

On GMHQ this morning Sam Champion interviewed a true Hero, one who is not just another wildlife activist.

He talked to Lewis Pugh, the renown swimmer, author, activist, public speaker, and former marine lawyer, from Plymouth, England, who has put his infamous speedos into water that few of us will never, thankfully have to endure, to save an endangered ecosystem and endangered Ocean wildlife.

Earlier this year, Lewis launched a five swim campaign in Antarctica for a cause near to many hearts, especially his!

Lewis is swimming in the Ross Sea, to shine a light on what Humans once again are doing to wildlife that is causing irreparable harm to those with no voice.

His dream is for the area to become a Marine Sanctuary.

Among the victims he is swimming to save and protect are: Whales, Squids, Seals and Emperor Penguins, none of which has numbers to brag about here right now.

As he so poignantly said during the interview, the affects over fishing, combined with climate change, in this unique place, is having a disastrous affect on a pristine ecosystem and those who inhabit it quite precariously.

Of course Sam is extremely close to this subject from his years on his own show Sea Rescue, and its extensive involvement in Marine life.

Pugh has a Facebook page, listed below and there have been countless interviews and stories about him, so getting to the heart of this story was quite easy.

Lewis is hoping to impact the members of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources or, (CCAMLR) from its representative 24 countries.

Among the myriad of accolades and awards Pugh has been given, the one that I personally find most important was, when he was appointed the UNEP’s Patron of the Oceans in 2013.

 

Places to learn more:

Lewis on Facebook

Lewis Pugh Swims Antarctica’s Icy Ross Sea To Save Pristine Ecosystem

Ocean campaigner puts his body in ice to save a sea

Antarctica in a Speedo chilling for extreme swimmer Lewis Pugh

His Bio on Wikipedia

His personal web site: Lewis Pugh

Lewis Pugh: Swimmer has Ross Sea talks with Russia

Lewis Pugh’s Antarctic swim – in pictures

 

 

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Branson’s Bunch~

RichardBransonUN2012
Sir Richard Branson at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development June,  2012
Picture credit:  UNclimatechange

 

When going through my mail this morning,  a surprising story presented itself.

The unexpected subject of this great news, is not one who normally comes to mind when thinking of Endangered Wildlife, but there he was,  right there in my mailbox, Billionaire Richard Branson.

The story was concerning a new edition to an already growing group at his Necker Island  home in the Caribbean.

I was not aware that Branson had been rescuing Endangered Wildlife for years and in co-operation with several Wildlife Groups,  was using his vast wealth for such a good purpose.

Branson’s involvements in Humanitarian and  Environmental Issues are the only things that will be addressed here,  as it would take an eternity to describe the total sum of the man’s often outrageous,  or occasionally notorious life.

It is not often that I find that a Billionaire and I have much in common, but in Branson’s case this is not entirely true.

His lifelong admiration for Nelson Mandela’s Humanitarian efforts and causes and his passion for protecting the Environment, including Endangered Animals, are two areas where we are in complete agreement.

Branson’s  Island home in the Caribbean has been a source of much criticism, as many believe that he only lives there to avoid taxes on his vast wealth, but for whatever reason, he has managed to make this place a refuge for wildlife and it is for this reason that I admire him and am writing about him today.

My huge respect for Branson as a Humanitarian,  is only superseded by my admiration of his sincere efforts to care for Endangered Animals on his little island in paradise.

As he continues to add to his animal family, Branson has wisely teamed up with the Turtle Conservancy

The most recent guests to be welcomed at his Island retreat are several Endangered Tortoises.

Prior to them,  have been a wide assortment of mammals, birds, reptiles  and other,  amounting to a total of 140 species.

As one of the wealthiest men in the world, Branson does not need to do any of  this.

He could continue to carry on every single day of his life as the famous,  carefree playboy of the world, as many already believe that he is.

But for me at least, this particular side of such a multifaceted man shows that he is a complicated,  many layered person who has earned my respect, at least for this.

One amusing mention in the story,  is about a web site that Branson has had set up,  with a new family member or addition to be  “shown each week.”

Regardless of the flamboyant outer shell this powerful, passionate man consistently shows to most of the world, in my opinion, there is more importantly,  another softer, kinder side, and it is for this that I will always thank him.

Thank you Richard, for what you are trying to do with the Endangered Animals on your island,  or Branson’s Bunch.

 

Places to learn more:

Richard Branson adds endangered tortoises to Necker Island

Necker – more species than any other island on earth

New tortoises on Necker Island

The Turtle Conservancy

 

 

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The NBA Cares, and that’s No Hype!

elephant1 Basketball rhino

Picture credits:  Elephant: Ian Sewell,   Basketball: Reisio,   Rhino: Ikiwaner

“It would have been great to have shown you any of the player’s pictures,  or the NBA Care’s Logo, or anything related to this story here, however, the NBA strictly forbids it!”

 

The American culture of sports figures and their ability to influence in this country is legendary, but when it becomes a mantra for saving the lives of animals being slaughtered,  it reaches a new level of altruism altogether.

The hysteria for college basketball raging through America right now is at its peak, with March Madness and all that that implies!

So, what better time for a story about some of the stars of the sport and their efforts to put a bright spotlight on a criminal, barbaric act against animals.

These six NBA stars:  “Pau Gasol of the Los Angeles Lakers, Tyson Chandler of the New York Knicks, Al Horford of the Atlanta Hawks, Serge Ibaka and Thabo Sefolosha of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Joakim Noah of the Chicago Bulls ”   have joined forces with  ” NBA Cares “  and  ” Wild Aid “   and are trying to put an end to the Global  gluttonous appetite for Ivory,  with their new PSA called NO Hype.

Throughout Africa, this heinous, horrendous, murdering business has left the country littered with the rotting elephant and rhino corpses left behind in the poacher’s plunderous hunts for animal body parts, namely Ivory.

This Public Service project may or may not work, but it does clearly succeed at one thing, a whole new group of people everywhere, will now be much more aware of the problem than before.

And it is a proven fact that when the public is alerted to,  or has repeated exposure to a crime and those who perpetuate them, they can help to bring them to justice and end the criminal acts.

These men, these groups,  are collectively doing what few others could right now, they are using their public persona and star power to promote the idea that these heinous acts and those who do them can and must be stopped, before the animals affected by illegal poaching are wiped off of the earth,  forever.

These six men,  NBA Cares and Wild Aid,   are all about giving back and that’s  NO HYPE!

 

A few places to learn more:

NBA Athletes Launch Campaign Against Ivory and Rhino Horn Poaching

Pau Gasol part of NBA Cares Campaign against Ivory and Rhino horn poaching

NBA Cares

‘No Hype’ NBA Cares, Nick Brandt and WildAid 30s

Pau Gasol and Wild Aid Media

NBA Athletes Speak Out to Save Africa’s Endangered Wildlife

 

 

 

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Partners Against the Pipeline!

Reject-and-Protect

Gary Dorr – Nez Perce and Nebraska rancher Ben Gotschall.
Photo credit: Mary Anne Andrei / Bold Nebraska

 

This posting today may seem a bit off topic, but wait, it really is not.

It will also be posted to both of my Blogs,  as it concerns both people and animals!

When was the last time that Cowboys and Indians found an Issue that they could agree upon in this Country?

Hmmm.

Can’t seem to recall, can you?

Well an Issue that is critical to both sides right now,  saving their land and water,  has these unlikely partners  joining forces for a very important Weeklong Event called the:    Reject and Protect Campaign.

This page says it all:   Call to Action

The group is called the Cowboy and Indian Alliance from Nebraska and they have organized what will be a week of events from April 22-27, that will culminate in Washington, D.C.

And if you are now asking what the connection is to this Blog about Wildlife,  oh, it is only life, simply put, ALL LIFE, in these affected areas,  is depending on what happens with the dreaded Keystone Pipeline.

If this continually failing, leaking, rupturing, disastrous mess called the Keystone Pipeline is allowed to run through this country unimpeded,  it will, when it fails, as is has repeatedly done throughout its history, kill every living thing in its path, Human, plant and animal alike, they will all succumb to the deadly toxins that this pipeline will carry across our country.

This is a monumental, devastating decision that is about to be made and the wrong one spells death for millions.

We must never forget what lies directly under this pipeline on its journey,  the Ogallala Aquifer  and the life-giving water it brings to millions of those in the affected states.

Once water is contaminated, it’s all over.

How long can you politicians, masquerading as Humans, making these life altering decisions, drink sand?

Oh, I forgot, the people in Washington, D.C.  making these critical decisions, will never have to worry about having  clean water, to drink, they can always buy it in bottles, as they are quite well compensated for their few days annually of so-called work!

But for the millions of Indigenous People and other just average Americans, who are now living in the states where this pipeline will run, this may,  or may not be an option.

Many of them, especially on Reservations, are already living at or below the poverty level and will not have the extra money to run to the store and buy bottled water, when theirs becomes poisoned with  dirty tar sands crude oil.

Can we now talk about the Wildlife that will be affected by all of this?

The beautiful Sandhills of Central Nebraska,   a place I have been to many times,  are  home to my beloved Sandhill Cranes  by the millions,  as well as countless other threatened Wild animals.

The numbers that will die if this pipeline is put in, will be in the millions, think BP and the Gulf!

Now these Wild animals and the many poor Native people and others, who will be devastated by their decision,  are not at the top of any politicians list in Washington, I can  promise you.

Why you ask?

Because, Wildlife do not vote, or write big campaign checks, so whether they live or die is not a high priority to Politicians.

And Native Americans will never support any candidate or politician, who poisons the very  lifeblood of their people,  the Ogallala Aquifer.

If you are able, perhaps you might join them in April in their desperate efforts to stop this Environmental train-wreck,  known as the Keystone Pipeline.

 

Here are a few places to learn more:

Keystone XL pipeline may threaten Aquifer

3 Nebraska Senators sign letter urging rejection of Keystone

Keystone XL opponents express concerns

 

 

 

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