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Elephant Who Never Forgot Her Human Helpers Amazes Them

Elephant Who Never Forgot Her Human Helpers Amazes Them

Staff at an animal sanctuary in Kenya were surprised by a newly born elephant calf whose mother brought her there just after she gave birth. Galana the elephant was raised at a sanctuary managed by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust for seven years. Galana had been discovered weak and fragile all alone in the Kenyan Bush. In 2011 the Trust came to the conclusion that Galana was ready to be released back into the wild where she could lead a normal life like the rest of her species.

Stayed close

Despite being released into the wild Galana never strayed too far away from the humans that helped with her recovery. In fact, she never forgot their impact on her life and made visits back to the sanctuary periodically.  At the start of the month she amazed staff at the sanctuary by showing off her new born calf that was born in the wild not far from the sanctuary.

According to the Trust’s Facebook page: “She was escorted by five wild bulls and our dependent orphans Laragai and Narok were able to be the first nannies to the tiny baby once they left the confines of the night stockades.”

Sharing the good news

The trust added that the elephants were celebrating the new life by charging around and trumpeting. Sanctuary workers named the new born Gawa which means Share in Swahilli. Gawa is an appropriate name for an animal whose mother felt the need to share her birth with the humans who helped to save her life.

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Giant Panda No Longer Considered An Endangered Species

Chinese Zoo Welcomes Rare Birth Of Panda Triplets

A leading global conservation group has removed the giant panda from its endangered species list as a result of decades of panda protection. Despite that fact, China voiced its disagreement with the decision, saying that it did not view the panda’s status as being any less serious. The giant panda is a national symbol in China that is beloved by the people of that country.

Vulnerable not endangered

A report that was recently released by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) says the giant panda is now considered to be a vulnerable species instead of an endangered one. The change reflects the fact that the number of wild pandas in Southern China is growing. The population of pandas in the wild leapt to 1,864 in 2014 from 1,596 a decade earlier. The results are due to the efforts of Chinese agencies which enforced bans on poaching and sought to expand forest reserves.

Climate change a major threat

The report expressed concerns about climate change. Whilst it did agree that better forest protection has helped lead to a resurgence in wild panda numbers, climate change will result in the elimination of over 35 per cent of the giant panda’s natural bamboo habitat over the next 80 years. China’s State Forestry Administration says it does not agree with the change in classification because the natural habitat of the panda has been fragmented by both natural and human causes. Pandas live in isolated groups that are few as 10 and as a result find it difficult to reproduce and could risk going extinct.

“If we downgrade their conservation status, or neglect or relax our conservation work, the populations and habitats of giant pandas could still suffer irreversible loss and our achievements would be quickly lost,” the forestry administration said. “Therefore, we’re not being alarmist by continuing to emphasize the panda species’ endangered status.”

Reason to be happy

Nevertheless, conservation groups have lauded the recovery of the iconic black and white bear that has long been a symbol for both China and the global conservation movement. During the 1980’s the panda population fell to an estimated low of under 1,000 as a result of deforestation and poaching. In response the Chinese government threw its full weight behind conservation efforts. In 1980, the government of China and World Wild Life Fund established the Wolong Nature Reserve in Sichuan province. As the country cracked down on trading of body parts and expanded its protected forest areas, numbers have slowly started to recover.

Hard work does pay off

The Chinese government in partnership with international groups have worked very hard to save wild pandas and have sought to breed them at enormous cost. Those efforts have often been criticised, with some organisations arguing the money would have better spent on trying to save other species that face extinction. The IUCN for example points to the fact that over the last two decades, the population of the Eastern gorilla has fallen by over 70 per cent. Contrastingly WWF, whose logo is the giant panda said it was thrilled by the reclassification and added that it proves that aggressive investment does pay off.

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Female Rhino Attacked And Killed By Males For Refusing To Mate

Kenya Raises The Stakes In The Fight Against Poaching

A female rhino was killed by two male rhinos who attacked her following her refusal to mate with either of them. The unfortunate incident occurred at the Jaldapara National Park in the Indian state of West Bengal. The state is very well known for its large population of one-horned rhinos. According to news reports, the female had apparently lost her calf just a few days before the attack and was wandering across a part of the park when the two bulls attempted to run her off their territory.

Forced mating

As they sought to impose their will on the female, the two males attempted to force her into mating, however she rejected their advances which resulted in the attack said a senior park official. The official said the dead rhino was a sub-adult aged between five or six years old and suffered fatal injuries as the dominant male rhinos overpowered her for mating. Rhinos have teeth that are both incredibly strong and sharp and often attack females if their sexual advances are rejected.

Attack more about food than sex

A ranger that was apparently at the scene of the incident attempted to stop the attack by firing his rifle into the air, however that attempt failed. Experts reckon that the attack was more about the female looking for food in the territory of the males rather than her rejecting their advances. These kind of attacks are common during the summer when food if more difficult to come by. More often than not however, the weaker animal will attempt to escape rather than continue to fight.

Rhino is endangered

The Indian rhino can be found in a few parts of the North of India and Nepal. It is now an endangered species because it has been rampantly poached for its horn. Chinese and Vietnamese traditional medicine uses the horn to treat a variety of ailments.  During the early 2000’s the popularity of rhino horn powder fell, however by 2008 its popularity began to rise again after rumours began to spread that the powder had the ability to cure cancer. At present, there are roughly 2000 Indian rhinos left in the wild.

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Tiger Queen Dies In India

Tiger Poaching On The Rise

Wildlife officials in India say the country’s most famous tiger, a 19 year old named Machli has died. The tigress was known as the Queen of Ranthambore, has been described as one of the most photographed wild tigers in the world. Machli was easily recognisable due to the distinctive fish shaped markings she had on the left side of her face. She was the star of many documentaries and amazed the internet when she fought a 14-foot crocodile and killed it.

Major tourist attraction

Machli was a major tourist attraction for the thousands of visitors to the Ranthambore National Park. India serves as home to more than half the world’s wild tigers and in the latest estimate, there were 2,226 tigers roaming the country. According to officials, Machli was found starving and lying on her side near the boundary of the park in Rajasthan. Officials say she had not eaten for days.

“We were trying to provide her treatment but she died,” Ranthambore tiger project director Yogesh Kumar Sahu told AFP news agency. “It was a natural death linked to her age.”

Many fans

According to the park’s website, over the last few years, Machli had significantly slowed down and lost almost all her teeth. Rather unsurprisingly her death had made headlines in India and fans have paid their respects to the Queen of Ranthambore on social medial. Machli gets her name from the markings on her face which as we said earlier resemble a fish. Machli is the Hindi word for fish.

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Oldest Known Killer Whale Turns 105

Killer Whale

This orca was swimming in the ocean before the Titanic made its ill-fated voyage across the Atlantic. This means she has survived two world wars and her existence pre-dates than women’s right to vote. The orca name J2 Granny was spotted last week and estimates put her age at 105 years old. According to the Orca Network, J2 Granny was spotted swimming in high spirits just of the coast of Washington state.  News reports suggest the Orca is thought to have been born in 1911 which would make her the oldest known living killer whale.

Margin of error

The Orca Network has said there is a margin of error of about 12 years surrounding her age. This means J2 Granny could be as young as 90, however that would still far exceed the average lifespan of a killer whale in the wild which ranges from between 60 to 80 years. During her lifetime J2 Granny has been seen swimming up the coast of Washington and Canada. She has even managed to dabble in politics in between her migrations. Granny was recently awarded the title of Honorary Mayor of Eastound Washington and gave a mayoral address back in June.

Whales should be left in the wild

Whilst her age is impressive, Granny is not a loner she is frequently spotted travelling with the J-pod which is a group of approximately 25 killer whales the Orca Network says. Researchers are able to tell her apart from the other whales by her dorsal fin which has a grey patch right behind it. Many have held up the ancient orca as reason for keeping whales out of captivity and allowing them to remain in the wild. According to the Orca Network, killer whales rarely survive more than ten years in captivity as a result of extreme stress and injuries.

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Researchers Optimistic Wild Tiger Numbers Can Double

Tiger Poaching On The Rise

A new study suggests that wild tiger numbers could be on course for doubling. Research published in the journal, Science Advances used the latest satellite technology to study the decline in wild tiger numbers in 13 countries between 2001 and 2014. The results of the study suggested that the loss was far less than was expected. The study was ambitious, taking in vast tracts of land that spanned multiple jurisdictions which proved to be challenging. Nevertheless, the researchers are hoping they have found a solution not just for tigers but other species which are also being threatened.

Monitoring required

During a 2010 conference on tigers held in St. Petersburg many countries and conservation groups came together and set the goal of doubling the wild tiger population. Delegates to the conference identified 76 tiger habitats of which 29 were highlighted as being critical requiring monitoring at east every couple of years. Whilst that is fine in theory, the question was how this monitoring should take place. Whilst most countries have made efforts to comply, the approach has been rather piecemeal and there is now wide ranging study that considers all tiger habitats until now.

Technology has made more things possible

As technology has leapt forward it is now possible to undertake complex analysis of vast areas of land. The researchers have clearly taken advantage of this fact and are now laying a foundation for popular participation going forward. The researchers made use of information that was freely available from NASA satellite as well as the processing power of Google Earth. The scientists said what they found was remarkable with just 7.7 per cent of tiger habitat was lost to conversion during the period of study.

Lots of work needs to be done

There were a couple of reasons why predicted habitat loss had been higher than in reality. Firstly, there were 13 countries involved, some so which are the fastest growing economies in the world. Secondly the 29 highest priority tiger habitats are surrounded by the highest rural population densities on the planet. The stunning result shows that government and park authority efforts have been real. Had that not been the case, then there would have been much greater loss the study authors said. It goes without saying however that whilst the news was good, much work remains to be done.

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Indian Wildlife Officials Arrest 18 Lions In Hunt For Man Eater

Lions On The Lose In Nairobi

Indian wildlife officials have “arrested” 18 lions as they seek to determine which of the lions is a man eater that its alleged to have killed three people. Forestry officials in Gujarat, which is a state in India where the county’s last remaining Asiatic lions live will conduct tests on the lion’s excrement and paw prints in order to identify the killer lion. Once the lion has been identified it will be moved to a zoo where it will spend the rest of its life. The other lions will be released back to the Gir Sanctuary officials say.

Responding to attacks

So far there have been six attacks near the sanctuary and in response, JA Khan Gujarat’s top forest official said the only response was to arrest the lions over the last couple of months. The animals are all being housed in separate cages whilst experts carry out their tests. Mr. Khan says they believe they have identified the lion in question but before they draw any conclusions they are waiting on the results on a further nine lions.

Tests being conducted

Ruchi Dave a wildlife experts said the lions are being tested by studying their faecal matter and pug marks. Officials are also checking out the behaviour of the animals because man eaters tend to become aggressive when they see human beings. Revtubha Raizada who is also an expert on lions said the offending lion would have to remain in captivity for the rest of its life because it is simply not safe for a man eater to be released back into the wild.

Conservation efforts have been too successful

The Asiatic lion population has been thriving in the Gir forest leading some experts to claim that the success of the protected population is the reason behind some of the unusual behaviour the animals have been displaying. Govind Patel who was formerly the top wildlife official in Gujarat said that the Gir Forest could only sustainably accommodate 270 lions, this has resulted in some prides locating outside the sanctuary grounds.

Lions ordered to be relocated

The Supreme Court of India has recently ordered that some of the lions in Gujarat must be relocated to other states to avoid the possibility that that entire population could be wiped out as a result of some disaster. Gujarat is reluctant to obey the order and has so far not complied.

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Wild Elephant Seeks Help For Bullet Wound

Hong Kong Customs Bust Illegal Ivory Shipment

An elephant that was shot in the head was forced to wander around a wildlife park in Zimbabwe for weeks before it was able to receive treatment for the injury. When he finally came across some humans he essentially motioned for their help. The elephant is being called Pretty Boy and was shot in the forehead which experts say was too high for a kill shot. Assistance was provided inside Mana Pools National Park.

Lucky there were vets present

According to AWARE’s Facebook page, the elephant approached veterinarians Dr. Keith Dutlow and Dr. Lisa Marabini. The two vets who work for the Animal and Wildlife Area Research and Rehabilitation Trust or AWARE, examined the elephant and then tranquilized the animal so they could obtain X-ray images in order to get a better understanding of the injury. Upon examination of the elephant they found that the bullet was located just 5 centimetres away from the open wound in the animal’s forehead.

They wrote on Facebook: “The X-ray, which in our opinion, confirms the presence of a ‘mushroomed’ bullet that has glanced off the skull and lodged under the skin – which has caused a fracture of the sinus turbinate bones at the level of the entry wound. The opacity in the sinuses adjacent to the entry wound is suggestive of pus in that area.”

The elephant is going to be okay

Dr. Marabimi added that Pretty Boy was very lucky because the bullet must have ricocheted of the surface of his skull and following the shot the elephant must have turned to flee. Whoever is responsible for the attack must have fired a second shot aimed at the animal’s heart because Pretty Boy had a second abscess in his shoulder. Once Pretty Boy recovered from the tranquilizers he slept for another half an hour with his head pressed up against a tree. The elephant is recovering inside the park and the vets will return for routine checkups.

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Tiger Poaching On The Rise In India

Tiger Poaching On The Rise

Whilst the numbers of tigers in the wild is rising, poaching has also risen at the same time says the Wildlife Protection Society of India. A recently released census report shows that the number of illegally poached tigers in the country this year is already higher than the total tally for 2015. The results of the survey show that as of April, there were at least 28 tigers that had been captured or killed which is 3 more than last year’s final count.

The results are alarming

Many conservation groups find the results extremely alarming and as a result they have intensified their efforts in the fight against illegal poaching. Guardians of the Wild an environmental agency launched an initiative to train as many as 7000 wildlife protection officers in 2011 which at the time was a third of India’s total anti-poaching forces. The guards had a mandate to investigate poaching activity in India, Bhutan and Nepal. Tito Joseph the group’s program manager said he was deeply troubled by the statistics.

The good news is tiger numbers are also rising

Tiger body parts are used in traditional Chinese medicine and are sold on the black market. The big cat’s pelts are also traded as a luxury good. The Wildlife Protection Society of India says that poachers use a number of techniques to kill their prey including guns, steel traps, electrocution and poison. The results of the census come less than a year after as another report claimed that the global population of wild tigers could be rising.  In 2015 conservation groups counted 3,890 wild tigers which is higher than the 2010 count which estimated there were just 3,200 wild tigers which was an all-time low.  To put that into context at the turn of the last century there were at least 100,000 wild tigers says WWF.

Coordinated enforcement is needed

As of the last census, India has the world’s largest wild tiger population with over 2,200 roaming the country. Penalties for poaching in India can include up to three years in prison and fines of as much as hundreds of thousands of dollars. For his part Mr. Joseph says that poaching can only be halted when there is a coordinated intelligence led enforcement operation. This is because the illegal wildlife trade involves citizens of many countries making it a transnational organised crime.

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Hugging Your Dog Causes It Stress

Hugging Your Dog Causes It Stress

New research suggests that dog lovers should stop cuddling their pets because the animals tend to find it uncomfortable and stressful. According to Dr Stanley Coren a canine behaviour scientist at the University of British Columbia, pet owners who regularly hug their pets are mistaking signs of anxiety for affection. Dr Coren said owners were blindly posting photos on social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram of themselves hugging their dogs without understanding their pets are displaying clear signs of discomfort.

Clear signs of distress

Dr Coren looked at 250 images and found that in 80 per cent of the pictures he looked at, the animals were displaying obvious signs of distress. In a paper published in Psychology Today, the researcher said that people posting such pictures online, tend to do so to demonstrate the love they feel for their pets, however it is clear that the dogs are looking into the camera and thinking they would really rather not participate.

Stifling evolution

The Canadian university professor says dog gestures such as raising a paw, yawning or even licking an owners face are often mistake for being affection when instead they were really signs of stress. Dr Coren adds that dogs feel uncomfortable when they are cuddled because the act prohibits their natural response to escape from danger. The basic animal response to situations which are considered stressful or threatening is to run away. When owners hug their dogs, they are taking away the ability of the animal to respond in the fashion that evolution designed them to respond, the professor said.

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