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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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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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