Adopt an Animal - News

For The Third Time In History White Giraffe’s Spotted

giraffe status changed

For just the third time in the history of mankind, extremely rare white giraffes have been spotted and filmed in Kenya recently. Conservation rangers were stunned to discover the albino giraffes near the Ishaqbini conservation area in Garissa County. The rangers had heard rumours of a pair of white giraffes and finally spotted them earlier this year.

The animals were calm

Hirola Conservation Project experts who had witnessed the sighting wrote in a blog post that they managed to get very close to the animals who seemed to be extremely calm and undisturbed by their presence. According to the experts the giraffes have a condition known as leucism which is a loss of the pigmentation of the original skin colour of the animals.

The condition is known as leucism

During the sighting, the rangers managed to film close-ups of the patterns which were barely there and are known as reticulates which are usually found on the skin of a giraffes. The rangers said whilst they were observing the magnificent long necked animals looking at them, they could not help but notice that their skin was filled with reticulates that had faded. It was obvious that the colouration, particularly with the mother giraffe was not as conspicuous as with her offspring.

Sightings have occurred over the last year

As stated earlier, this is only the third time in history that a white giraffe has been spotted. The first sightings came in January 2016 in Tanzania’s Tarangire National Park. Later that year in March a second sighting was reported in the same area where the mother giraffe and her calf were seen during this year.

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Rescued Tiger Cub At San Diego Zoo Gets A New Friend

tigers

Last month a teenager was caught allegedly trying to smuggle a tiger cub into the United States from Mexico and the cub was sent to the San Diego Zoo. Fortunately for the seized cub, he has a new friend. A 9-week old male Sumatran tiger cub from the National Zoo in Washington D.C. was flown in to join the Bengal tiger cub that was confiscated at the Mexican border. The Sumatran tiger cub has been fed by humans since the start of August because the mother stopped feeding it either because she wasn’t producing enough milk or had completely ceased milk production altogether.

Cubs mother stopped displaying maternal behaviour

The Sumatran tiger mother who is called Damai started displaying aggressive behaviour towards her offspring when the little fella tried to nurse, officials at the National Zoo said. This meant the cub had to be separated from his mother and whilst the cub did express a desire to see his mother, she failed to reciprocate. Craig Saffoe who is the big cat’s curator at the National Zoo said he hand his team felt mixed about sending the cub to San Diego.

Cub’s caretakers did everything they could to keep mum and son together

Mr Saffoe said as the cub’s caretakers, his team has done everything it could to enable him to survive and socialise with his mother so he can grow up to be a big strong tiger. Now that his mother has ceased all maternal behaviour, the best option was to pair the critter with the cub at San Diego. Mr Saffoe says having another cub that is the same age to interact with will help both animals. They will be able to play with one another and learn how to be tiger’s together.

Bengal tiger seized at the US border

As we have reported on this blog, the Bengal tiger was rescued at the end of August by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials who found the cub whilst they were inspecting a vehicle attempting to enter the United States from Mexico. Wildlife officials then took the 2-month old cub to the San Diego Zoo where vets examined him and found him to be in excellent health. He has remained at the zoo ever since. The teenager who allegedly tried to smuggle the cub in was later charged in Federal court for the offence.

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Teenager Buys Bengal Tiger Cub For $300 On Streets Of Tijuana

amur tiger

A teenager from California who claims he purchased a Bengal tiger cub on the streets of Tijuana for US$300 was arrested as he tried to enter the United States with the tiger cub in his 2017 Chevy Camaro. Luis Eudoro Valencia was charged with attempting to smuggle a Bengal tiger into the United States after the furry cub was found lying on the floor of the passenger side of his vehicle during an inspection by Customs and Border Protection agents.

Tigers seized in Mexico

Pete Flores director of field operations for Customs and Border Protection said officers of the agency often come across unusual situations. The 18-year-old US citizen said he purchased the cub for $300 from someone who was walking a full-grown tiger on a leash in Tijuana court documents reveal. A number of Bengal tigers which are native to South Asia have been seized recently by authorities in Mexico.

Tigers on leashes

US Fish & Wildlife Service officials took custody of the cub and then handed over the cub to the San Diego Zoo. Earlier in the year, Mexican authorities seized a Bengal tiger in Tijuana after a resident reported to police that a man was walking a full-grown tiger on a dog leash through the neighbourhood. According to officials involved in the seizure, the tiger had been living in a private residence with children.

Mexico prohibits ownership of exotic pets

In another incident later in the year, officials in Mexico seized a nine-month old Bengal tiger again in Tijuana after the cub fell from a terrace on the third floor on to the patio of a neighbour. The tiger apparently survived the fall and was in good health. Circuses in Mexico have been trying to get rid of their exotic animals following the enactment of a law in 2015 which prohibits their display. Drug lords in the country have also been known to keep big cats as pets.

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Police Shoot And Kill Escaped Bengal Tiger In Atlanta Suburb

Tiger Poaching On The Rise

Police in the US state of Georgia has to go big game hunting earlier this month. The Georgia police shot and killed a Bengal tiger after the animal nearly made a meal of a homeowner’s dog authorities said. The wild ride began following 911 calls by at least two people who reported that they had seen the big cat lurking in the Atlanta suburb of Stockbridge at about 6 a.m. said police department captain Joey Smith.

No time to waste

The police then alerted animal control offers after spotting the tiger however there was no time to wait after the tiger suddenly tried to attack a dog in someone’s backyard. Captain Smith said this resulted in officers using force to put the tiger down. The tiger was shot and killed and so far, it is not known how the tiger came to be in the area.

Pet dog went nuts

The owner of the dog Ms Brittney Speck said her dog was going nuts in her backyard when she was awoken by the flashing lights of emergency vehicles. Ms Speck said she caught a glimpse of the tiger which she said was full grown and was in her neighbour’s yard minutes before it attacked her dog. She adds that the police began firing rounds taking the tiger down and returning her dog to her in the aftermath.

First time for everything

Captain Smith who has 24 years of law enforcement experience said it was the first time he has ever had such an encounter whilst on the job. He added that over the years he had received some weird calls but this particular call was definitely unusual. Authorities added there were no reported injuries as a result of the incident.

Unable to locate tiger’s owner

Mark McKinnon a spokesperson for Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division said his agency is working with other state and local authorities to find the owner of the tiger. He said investigators are working on a number of active leads but so far have been unable to locate the individual. He added that there are no records of there ever having been an escaped Bengal tiger in Georgia.

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Baby Rhino Swept Away By South Asian Floods Rescued

Kenya Raises The Stakes In The Fight Against Poaching

An endangered one horned rhino that had found itself caught up in the flooding and was swept across the Nepali border into India has been found and brought home. The rhino which is a young female was rescued around 42 kilometres in away from its home in the Chitwan National Park. The rhino ended up near the Indian village of Bagah and was very lucky to be found because there are four more rhinos that are still missing with one dead following the devastating flooding in the region.

Widespread damage

Intense monsoon rains have resulted in widespread damage across South Asia including Nepal, Bangladesh and some parts of Northern India over the last few weeks. In the Chitwan Valley of Nepal which serves as home to the National Park and its more than 600 rhinos, the effects of flooding have been bad. A couple of weeks ago, dozens of elephants and rafts were sent to rescue approximately 500 people who had become trapped in the area. A team of 40 Nepali officials were sent to rescue the two-and-a-half-year-old rhino and bring her home from India.

Indian forestry officials helped

The park’s Deputy Warden Nurendra Aryal said that they were successfully able to bring the baby rhino back with the assistance of Indian forestry officials and hundreds of people came out to watch. The rhino was found at a sugarcane farm near the Northern Indian village and was sedated with the help of a tranquilliser dart and was then brought back in a truck Mr Aryal said.

Rhinos still missing

There are still four rhinos missing though officials say that two are located inside a protected tiger conservation in India that borders the Chitwan district. Two others are also in sugarcane fields in the Nepali district Nawalparsai. Unfortunately, another baby rhino was found dead. According to Mr Aryal the remaining rhinos in India would be rescued when the flooding recedes. Every year the monsoon season takes place between June and September and causes floods across the region. In the Indian state of Assam six rhinos have drowned following flooding at the Kaziranga National Park.

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Baby Elephant Euthanized At Pittsburgh Zoo

elephant calf had to be euthanized

A baby elephant that was born at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium died last month despite the efforts of caretakers who tried to save it after the calf was rejected by her mother. The calf was born prematurely in June and could not nurse. This led to the decision by her handlers to euthanize her after she was unable to regain health. Usually a female African elephant stays in her mother’s womb for an average of 645 days. In this case however, the female calf was born after 615 days and weighed just 184 pounds which is 50 pounds less than average. At the time of her birth, the mother did not have any milk which led to the rejection of the calf.

Zoo keepers heartbroken

Dr Barbara Baker who is president of the zoo and its CEO said the death has been devastating and that the calf’s caregiver’s hearts were broken. Dr Baker added that in just a short period of time, the calf touched so many people and the zoo did everything it could to care for her but unfortunately it just wasn’t enough in the end. Initially the calf stopped eating because she had started to teeth, so her handlers tried to keep her alive by inserting a feeding tube. The calf who was never named responded well to the treatment to begin with but failed to gain a significant amount of weight.

The calf could not gain weight

The zoo consulted with international experts to see how the calf could be helped. At first the officials were assured it was normal for elephant calves to lose weight after birth because calves who are teething generally lose their appetite resulting in weight loss. The zoo was also warned that if the calf is unable to recover from the weight loss, they will usually die.  According to the zoo when the calf failed to gain weight, zoo veterinarians began to suspect a genetic abnormality such as malabsorption syndrome which was preventing the calf from absorbing nutrients. The vet team will be conducting a full necropsy which it is hoped will offer some insight into the problem Dr Baker said.

Expecting a public backlash

The zoo said it expects to face public backlash following its decision to euthanise the calf. However, Dr Baker said that the zoo fully stands behind the informed and calculated decisions made by a team of experts who cared for the calf. The zoo’s keeper and veterinary staff demonstrate extreme dedication to the welfare of all the animals at the zoo every single day and always act in the best interest of every individual animal that calls the zoo home.

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Huge Cache Of Pangolin Scales Seized In China

pangolin scales

The authorities in China have seized more than 3000 kilograms of pangolin scales in the city of Shanghai in what is thought to be the biggest case of smuggling of the animal’s body parts. It is estimated that between 5,000 to 7,000 pangolins may have been slaughtered in order to produce such a large amount of scales. Many experts describe the pangolin as being the most trafficked animal in the world. The intensity of poaching and the robust trade in their body parts has pushed the animal towards the brink of extinction.

Trade in pangolins is heavily restricted

At a recent CITES conference which is the largest convention on wildlife trade, delegates voted heavily to restrict trade in the animal. There are eight different species of pangolin and all of them have been included as part of CITES appendix 1 which does provide some additional level of protection by allowing trade only in very exceptional circumstances. However, as the seizure in China indicates, there is still plenty to do to help pangolins in the fight against trafficking.

Why pangolins are trafficked

The eight species of pangolin live in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia, they feed on ants and termites which they consume using their extremely long and adhesive tongue. Over the last few years many charities have expressed concern for the pangolin as the number of animals being poached and illegally traded has risen. According to a recent study, scientists estimated that between 21,000 kilograms of scales and 23,109 pangolins were trafficked between January 2008 and March 2016. That would seem to suggest that during that period, 66,000 pangolins were killed.

Hunted for meat and ‘medicinal’ qualities

In Africa the species is often hunted for bushmeat and is also used in traditional African medicine, However, the real threat comes from Asia, in particular China and Vietnam where their meat is considered a delicacy and its consumption is believed to deliver health benefits such as nourishing the kidneys. Pangolin scales are also used as an ingredient in traditional Asian medicine for treatments ranging to help women lactate, to curing cancer and psoriasis.

China and Vietnam need to step up

Due to the intense demand from Asia, African pangolins are increasingly being transported there and sold. In the case of the latest seizure, the pangolin scales had been packed in bags and hidden in a timber consignment originating from Africa. Despite the fact that the will exists to protect the species, it is unlikely the situation will change without robust efforts by the governments of China and Vietnam to implement the law and ensure traffickers face justice.

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Tasmanian Tiger May Not Be Extinct After All

Tasmanian Tiger May Still Be Around

There have been several reports of sightings of the Tasmanian Tiger that have begun to flow in from regular Australians. Multiple people have recently made the claim they have seen the animal which in actual fact is not a tiger at all. Despite the fact the Tasmanian Tiger closely resembles a dog, it is not of canine lineage either. Instead the Tasmanian Tiger is a carnivorous marsupial. Spotting an interesting animal in Australia is nothing out of the ordinary, however the problem with the reports that have been emerging in particular is the Tasmanian Tiger is apparently extinct.

Went extinct in 1933

That last know Tasmanian Tiger was caught in Australia way back in 1933. The animal lived briefly in a zoo for a few years before it died. The death of that animal is long thought to be the final nail in species coffin. Over the years however a number of Australians on occasion have claimed to have spotted the species, though the sightings have been rare and most scientists have attributed the sightings to little more than misidentification. That has changed now because there have been a number of plausible sightings that are beginning to give the theory that the animal never went extinct some traction.

Looking for the Tiger

As a result, scientists in Queensland are now looking for evidence that the Tiger still exists. If they can confirm the theory, the discovery would be absolutely monumental given the history of the species. The Queensland team intends to set up cameras in parts of the state where sightings have been reported in the hopes that the claims will be confirmed.

Hunted to extinction

During the late 19th century, there were bounties placed on Tasmanian Tigers in Australia and as a result, the species was hunted to very near extinction before action was taken. By then the species was believed to be doomed and when the last captive tiger died it was assumed that was it. Now it may well be that was never the case at all.

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Celebrate World Orangutan Day

Indonesian Wildfires Threatening Orangutans Of Borneo

August 19th is World Orangutan Day, this great ape is known as the old man of the forest and lives in the rich rain-forests of South East Asia. However, as a result of deforestation caused by the palm oil industry, these magnificent creatures are on the brink of extinction. World Orangutan Day was established in order to raise awareness amongst the general public about their situation in the hopes that they will lend their support in protecting them.

History of World Orangutan Day

You will only find orangutans in two places in the world, Borneo and Sumatra. There are actually two species of orangutan that live in the rainforests of Indonesia but they are considered a single species. According to research, these two species did in fact used to be a single species, but diverged about 400,000 years ago.

Some facts

Orangutans have huge arms that span about 2.1 metres long from tip to tip. This is astonishing when you consider that the height of an orangutan is only 1.5 metres above the ground. Occasionally an orangutan will actually stand upright and when they do that, their hands almost brush the ground! Their arm length suits their arboreal lifestyle enabling them to leap from tree to tree, where they spend 90% of their time. This of course means that deforestation is devastating for their lifestyle because it is in the tree tops where they forage for food. World Orangutan Day is designed to raise awareness about the people of the forest who require our protection before they disappear forever.

How to celebrate International Orangutan Day

You should take the time to learn everything you can about these fascinating animals. Find out where and how they live. They have extremely interesting familial lives and develop complex social relationships. Once you have done that you can make a donation to help their conservation by adopting an orangutan with WWF. Tell your friends and family about what you have learned and ask them to consider adopting an orangutan as well. If you do that, there is hope that this amazing species will live on for a good while yet.

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Global Warming Poses Additional Threat Of Polar Bears Being Hunted

New Home Could Be Found For Sad Polar Bear

Polar bears already face the threat of receding ice levels and declining sources of food in the Arctic. If that is not enough, they face additional dangers as a result of global warming because they are now prey for killer whales and sharks. As the Arctic ice recedes, polar bears find it increasingly difficult to hunt for seals that make up the vast majority of their diet and this means they are being forced to swim ever greater distances.

Time in the water puts polar bears at risk

The fact that the polar bear now has to spend more time in the water puts them at risk of both killer whales and Greenland sharks which are migrating northwards with the melting of the ice. Kit Kovacks who is a professor of marine biology at the Norwegian Polar Institute has said he has seen a polar bear jaw in the stomach of a shark, though he does not know whether the shark killed the bear or whether the bear was already dead.

Arctic sea ice acts as a barrier to killer whales

Killer whales also feed on bowhead whales, beluga whales, narwhals and seals, most of which are usually protected by the thick sea ice for the vast majority of the year. Killer whales tend to avoid ice because it causes damage to their long fins. Now the ice has melted, there is no protection left. In fact, it has been estimated that within the next two decades there will be no ice left in the Arctic whatsoever. In the Hudson Bay, it is estimated that there are 57,000 beluga whales who are at risk of being hunted down as prey for killer whales.

Killer whales at the top of the food chain

Steve Ferguson a researcher from Manitoba University recently attended the ArcticNet scientific conference where he told the audience that ultimately the killer whale could find itself at the top of the food chain in the Arctic. That means more bad news for polar bears who can expect to see their population decline by a third by 2050.

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