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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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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The desire for equality must never exceed the demands of knowledge

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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.
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Re: Take the pledge to keep them Wild ‘n Free

Post by Lisbeth » Fri Nov 02, 2018 4:25 pm

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As the end of the year draws closer, many of us may be starting to consider our holiday plans. If you’re thinking about taking the family or those overseas visitors to your local ‘animal sanctuary’, where interactions with captive carnivores are offered, please think again. Our #WildnFree campaign is still in full force, and for good reason! Unless we stop the visits, we will never stop the exploitation of these animals. There are also some interesting statistics, shared in the below infographics, that should give all visitors to these facilities pause for thought. Along with the very real concerns related to the future of any captive carnivore, the statistics captured in this infographic serve to highlight the significant risks posed by interactions between humans and these animals, and it is worrying that despite this, the sector remains ineffectively regulated. Captive carnivores have likely lost their innate fear of humans, and interactions with these animals are dangerous. So be sure to make the responsible choice. Take the pledge to keep them #WildnFree by visiting www.ewt.org.za

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While we’re chatting about holiday plans, we’re also heading into that time of year when fireworks usage tends to sky rocket, if you’ll pardon the pun. Please remember that whatever the occasion, fireworks frighten the life out of us wild creatures too! We urge everyone to show compassion and consider that all animals, domestic and wild, are at risk when it comes to the effects of fireworks and crackers. These loud noises cause terrified animals to flee from their dens and nests, with disoriented birds often flying into buildings and becoming injured, and ground animals being hit by cars should their attempt to escape the noise take them onto roads. Many young birds and mammals are also orphaned during this time of year, leaving them unable to fend for themselves. I’m sure you’ll agree, it’s just not worth it.

‘Til next time
Mwitu
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Re: Take the pledge to keep them Wild ‘n Free

Post by Lisbeth » Thu Dec 06, 2018 12:32 pm

One of Africa's largest operators pledges against wildlife exploitation in tourism

2018-12-04 14:00

n yet another push towards ethical and sustainable tourism, Thompsons Africa has signed the 'Born to Live Wild' pledge.

The global leader in travel and tourism, dedicated the entire day to watching the award winning feature documentary, Blood Lions, with over 100 employees in attendance - and then committed to signing the pledge not to support exploitative wildlife interactive tourism.

Blood Lions, together with key partners around the world, have made great strides in their efforts to raise global awareness around captive lion breeding, ‘canned’ (captive) hunting and the lion bone trade to Asia. Upholding the values of responsible tourism, Thompsons Africa’s pledge formalises their stance against these activities.

"We are very proud to partner with Blood Lions in creating awareness around the canned hunting industry. It is important that our people understand why we say no to our customers when they request experiences involving walking with lions, cub petting and other forms of animal interactions.

"Tourism in South Africa is about our wildlife and nature and we want to keep it that way! We want generations of families from all over the world to continue to see our wonderful wildlife in their natural habitat… not caged or being handled by hundreds of people each day. We pledge our support to the Blood Lions campaign and we pledge to continue to create awareness in holding up the values of sustainable tourism," says Alessandra Alleman, CEO Thompsons Africa.

Thompsons Africa support Blood Lions and its aims and acknowledge the following:

- The established predator research and scientific community do not recognize any of the breeders or operating facilities as having conservation merit.
- In marketing themselves as breeding facilities, these entities confuse the conservation messages and priorities, specifically with lions, which in turn results in a misdirection of vital funding that negatively impacts wild lion populations.
- There is sufficient evidence to show that their activities put additional pressure on wild lion populations: intensive breeders have illegally acquired new genetic stock from the wild, and the burgeoning lion bone trade remains a risk because of an illegal demand for bones from wild lions.
- We are deeply concerned about the welfare conditions of the animals kept in these facilities.
- Canned hunting does not reduce the hunting pressure on wild lions and is unethical.
Furthermore, Thompsons Africa commit to the following:
- To not knowingly book or otherwise support any breeder or operator that contributes to the cycle of breeding, exploitation and senseless killing of predators. This includes all petting and ‘walking with lion’ facilities.
- To continue our support and promotion of the formal conservation community in their endeavours to secure the survival of Africa’s predators in the wild. Without wild lions and the rest of the predator guild extant in functioning ecosystems, there will be no African tourism industry; a calamitous situation for many economies.
- To continue in our own endeavours towards wildlife conservation and economic development wherever we operate across Africa.
- To continue supporting an ethical and responsible interaction with Africa’s wilderness and wild animals.
- To continue promoting Africa as an authentic, wild and rewarding tourism destination.

“To have one of the largest tourism operators in Africa stand behind the ‘Born to Live Wild’ pledge and commit to promoting ethical and responsible tourism in South Africa is a huge step forward for the industry. We commend Thompsons Africa for pledging against these exploitative wildlife activities. Blood Lions is proud to partner with them in this campaign.” says Pippa Hankinson, Blood Lions Producer.
"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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