Take the pledge to keep them Wild ‘n Free

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Lisbeth
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Local rockers pledge to keep our carnivores Wild ‘n Free – will you?

Post by Lisbeth » Wed Aug 08, 2018 7:00 pm

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8 August 2018

n the build up to World Lion Day on 10 August, the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), a champion of conservation in Africa, has launched an exciting new project, entitled Wild ‘n Free. Through this initiative, the EWT is calling on all South Africans to be the voice for the voiceless and join the fight against keeping carnivores in captivity for petting, walking-with, photo-tourism, captive hunting and the trade in their body parts. Members of the public unwittingly play an enormous role in an industry that thrives off keeping carnivores like Lions, Cheetah, Leopards and African Wild Dogs behind bars, often for nefarious reasons. Local artists WONDERboom, who were recently announced as the opening act for Guns N’ Roses’ South African tour, are among the first to show their support for this campaign, and are calling on others to do the same. If you stop the visits, you stop the exploitation.

In recent years, South Africa has seen a rapid increase in so-called predator or wildlife parks, which are most often part of the industrial scale production of carnivores for commercial purposes. This is particularly prominent for Lions and Cheetahs. Wild ‘n Free aims to keep carnivores where they belong – in the wild – by promoting the value and role of wild carnivores in natural free-living conditions.

A Wild ‘n Free environment is one in which large carnivores are not reliant on humans for their daily needs, are free to use open space and hunt prey naturally, and can carry out natural social behaviours like mating, holding territories and interacting with competitors. This ensures that they are functional components of a natural system. By keeping our carnivores Wild ‘n Free, we are also conserving larger tracts of land and hundreds of other species of plants and animals, keeping food webs intact. Wild carnivores are the icons of Africa, and attract millions of tourists and their foreign revenue and associated benefits to our country every year. South Africa is the only country in Africa that has a thriving industry of commercial carnivore production, which has tainted our image as a global conservation leader and ecotourism destination. There is no conservation value to be derived from this industry and it is up to all South Africans and visitors to our beautiful country to instead, stand up for our Wild ‘n Free natural heritage.

We’re calling on everyone to take the Wild ‘n Free pledge: “I pledge to keep all carnivores Wild ‘n Free by not petting, walking, feeding or taking selfies with them. I vow to become an ambassador for wild carnivores and to honour their right to live a natural life. I encourage others to do the same.” Pledge cards can be downloaded and shared to social media to show support for this campaign.As WONDERboom’s lead singer, Cito, explains, “The more we find out the truth behind these commercial wildlife parks and canned hunting facilities, the more we should stand together, in solidarity, and boycott them. Any international visitor will tell you how blessed South Africa is to have the wildlife we have, in its natural habitat. I pledge to not support any of these facilities and I publicly condemn such businesses. We have the choice and power to make a difference in SA's wildlife welfare.”

The project is focusing on three key themes:

Wild ‘n Free Space
This theme addresses the need for carnivores to have safe space to meet their biological needs. Under this theme, we actively find new space for wild carnivores through reintroduction projects that directly improve their conservation status. As a result of these interventions, there are currently 351 more Cheetahs on 1.15 million ha of Wild ‘n Free space and 227 more Wild Dogs on 584,000 ha of Wild ‘n Free space in South Africa. These reintroductions are expanding to other countries like Malawi and Mozambique, ensuring that Wild ‘n Free space is not confined by political or geographic boundaries.
We also work with farmers to implement ways in which livestock production can be done in harmony with carnivores, for example by providing livestock guarding dogs that protect livestock from predation, removing the need for the farmer to shoot carnivores. We have 197 livestock guarding dogs actively guarding livestock and making 500,000 ha of farmland safe and Wild ‘n Free for carnivores. This also makes farming more profitable and ecologically sustainable.

Wild ‘n Free Animals

This theme addresses the need for carnivores to be valued (both aesthetically and financially) in the wild, not in cages. Under this theme, we promote the need for carnivores to be Wild ‘n Free, and are working with the tourism industry to ensure that Wild ‘n Free destinations and activities are promoted. We are very proud of the Waterberg Wild Dog Tourism Project that generates tourism revenue for landowners who live in harmony with Wild Dogs in Limpopo. Find out more about this ground-breaking project and see the pups at the den at www.waterbergwilddogs.com.

Wild ‘n Free Legislation

This theme addresses the need for legislation that promotes wild carnivores and effectively regulates and ensures compliance of captive facilities. Under this theme, we drive legislative reform and promote compliance to current legislation. We contribute to and drive processes to guide effective legislation to regulate captive carnivores more effectively and promote Wild ‘n Free. We are leading discussions to review what is considered sustainable use in light of captive breeding of Lions for the parts.

Dr Kelly Marnewick, Senior Trade Officer and lead on this project, says: “This project will be a success when carnivores are valued by society in a Wild ‘n Free environment, with no commercial demand for captive animals or their body parts. Wild carnivores play an integral role in nature, where they contribute to conservation and are not vulnerable to exploitation. They do not belong behind bars.”

Read the EWT’s full perspective on captive carnivores here.
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Lisbeth
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Take the pledge to keep them Wild ‘n Free

Post by Lisbeth » Fri Aug 31, 2018 11:46 am

PROJECT NEWS

In recent years, South Africa has seen a rapid increase in so-called predator or wildlife parks, which are most often part of the industrial scale production of carnivores for commercial purposes. This is particularly prominent for Lions and Cheetahs. With this in mind, and in an extension of our ongoing work to fight this exploitation, the EWT (Endangered Wildlife Trust) has launched an exciting new project, entitled Wild ‘n Free. Wild ‘n Free aims to keep carnivores where they belong – in the wild – by promoting the value and role of wild carnivores in natural free-living conditions.

Through this initiative, the EWT is calling on all South Africans to be the voice for the voiceless and join the fight against keeping carnivores in captivity for petting, walking-with, photo-tourism, captive hunting and the trade in their body parts. Members of the public unwittingly play an enormous role in an industry that thrives off keeping carnivores like Lions, Cheetah, Leopards and African Wild Dogs behind bars, often for nefarious reasons. If you stop the visits, you stop the exploitation.

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"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela
The desire for equality must never exceed the demands of knowledge

User avatar
Lisbeth
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Re: Take the pledge to keep them Wild ‘n Free

Post by Lisbeth » Fri Oct 05, 2018 11:40 am

Social media’s role in advertising illegal wildlife trade, including cheetah trafficking

September 28th 2018 - Press release from Cheetah Conservation Fund

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Eight cheetahs were seized in two raids in Somaliland in August © Cheetah Conservation Fund

An analysis of Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) research establishes that dozens of cheetahs are being advertised for sale each year via popular social media platforms. Further, it infers the Internet’s role in driving the trade of cheetahs is prominent, and engaging social media companies should be part of any solution. The analysis, which covers the period between January 2012 and June 2018, aims to determine the extent to which illegal cheetah trade exists online and to document the most relevant threats.

Cheetahs are listed under Appendix I of the Convention of International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES). This means trade in wild-born cheetahs is permitted only in exceptional circumstances. However, CCF data analysis shows that 1,367 documented cheetahs were offered for sale through 906 adverts, which is approximately one-fifth (20%) of the world’s remaining wild cheetah population. Cheetahs are on a swift decline, dropping from an estimated 100,000 individuals a century ago to fewer than 7,500 today.

The most utilised platforms are Instagram, 4Sale (a mobile app) and YouTube, comprising fifteen countries. However, the Gulf Cooperation Council accounted for over 90% of the adverts, with Saudi Arabia totalling more than 60% of those. The analysis focused on the three top sellers, all of whom are based in Saudi Arabia and posted 20% of all adverts. Of these sellers, one alone accounted for 12% of all adverts analysed and was found to offer multiple species that include lions, tigers, jaguars, wolves, gibbons and chimpanzee.

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These two cheetah cubs, kept in appalling conditions, were confiscated in Somaliland © Cheetah Conservation Fund

“The illegal trade in live cheetahs impacts the smaller, fragmented populations in East Africa most. Mitigating the threat requires a concerted effort by governments to not only to confiscate the animals, but to embark on a major awareness campaigns to reduce demand for endangered species as pets”, said Dr Laurie Marker, CCF Founder and Executive Director. “Already vulnerable cheetah populations, particularly those in Ethiopia and Somalia, are at risk of local extinction because of poaching for the illegal pet trade”.

CCF estimates put the number of smuggled cheetahs out of East Africa at 300 per year. Many more die before being shipped to the Middle East.

“CCF maintains a ‘safe house’ in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland, where a team of animal keepers are caring for eleven confiscated cheetahs. Eight were confiscated within a three-week period, and two were just three-weeks-old when intercepted. One of the youngest died a few days after confiscation”, said Patricia Tricorache, CCF’s Assistant Director of Illegal Wildlife Trade.

CCF has been working to counter poaching and trafficking since 2005. Since 2011, CCF has assisted the Somaliland government with the surrender or confiscation of 50 cheetahs. On 28 August, a landmark victory was achieved in Somaliland courts when two subjects charged with wildlife trafficking were sentenced to three years in prison and fined $300 USD and their vehicle seized – the first conviction for illegal cheetah trade in Somaliland.

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Dr Laurie Marker with the surviving cheetah cub rescued from poachers in Somaliland © Cheetah Conservation Fund

About CCF

Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) is the global leader in the research and conservation of cheetahs. Founded in Namibia in 1990, CCF maintains a research programme studying the biology, ecology and genetics of the cheetah and operates the only fully-equipped genetics laboratory at an in-situ conservation site in Africa. CCF has created a set of integrated programmes based on this research that address threats to the cheetah and its entire ecosystem, including human populations. CCF operates from the principal that only by securing the future of the communities that live alongside the cheetah can you secure a future for the species.
"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela
The desire for equality must never exceed the demands of knowledge

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