Adopt an Animal - News

UK Retailer Seeking To Highlight The Plight Of Orangutans Has Had Its Ad Banned


British supermarket chain Iceland has had its Christmas television campaign pulled from television screens because the regulator felt the advertisement breached political advertising rules. The discount retailer came together with Greenpeace who had already created an animated short film that highlighted the threat to the orangutan whose rainforest habitat is being destroyed to make way for palm oil plantations. Iceland rebranded the film to make the public aware that it would not be selling in-house branded products that use palm oil.

First retailer to take action

The retailer became the first major supermarket chain in the United Kingdom to make the pledge that it would no longer sell in-house palm oil-based products earlier in the year. Palm oil plantations are responsible for destroying orangutan habitats in countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia and have had such a devastating effect that the species is now officially classified as critically endangered. Despite that fact, the regulator Clearcast which vets advertisements before they are broadcast said the advertisement was in breach of the 2003 Communications Act.

Emotional film

Malcom Walker who founded the supermarket chain says the film was made by Greenpeace and voiced by acclaimed actress Emma Thompson. He adds that the retailer received permission from Greenpeace to remove the group’s logo and use the film as part of its Christmas advertising campaign. Mr Walker says the short film is very emotional and would have blown the competition out of the water. Unfortunately, the broadcast code prohibits advertisements on television that are “directed towards a political end”

Advertisement failed to comply with rules

A spokesperson for Clearcast says the regulator and broadcasters have not been able to clear the advertisement because it fails to comply with the political rules of the broadcast code. The spokesperson added that the creative that was submitted to the regulator is linked to an activist group and as such the group has been unable to demonstrate that the film complies with the rules. For its part Iceland is continuing with its effort but will only be airing 10-second clips designed to show the public that it is stocking palm-oil free products.

Gave their best shot

Richard Walker, son of Iceland founder Malcom Walker and who leads the company’s charge to switch to more sustainable retailing says the company wanted the film to be its signature campaign. He adds that the company is not opposed to palm oil, instead it seeks to prevent the rampant deforestation caused by clearing land for new palm oil plantations. Mr Walker concludes that Iceland thinks the story is a massive one that the public needs to be made aware of and that the retailer was always cognisant of the fact that the advertisement may not receive clearance but was willing to give it its best shot.

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Indian Officials Need To Listen To Tiger Conservationists

roaring tiger

Recently Boris Johnson went on safari in Indian’s Ranthanbhore tiger reserve and made the bold proclamation that the goal of 10,000 tigers in the wild by 2050 should be set. That may sound a little radical but if we are to save this magnificent species from extinction in the wild there needs to a major shift in the minds of everyone involved in tiger conservation. This includes politicians, policy makers, scientists and conservationists all of whom have conflicting opinions on how best to save the species in India.

Political infighting not good for conservation

The sniping and petty politics is perhaps just as great a threat to the tiger’s survival in India as poaching and habitat loss is. Stakeholders undermining one another and not listening to diverse opinions has had a terrible effect on wildlife conservation in India. A new book by respected conservationist Dr Raghu Chundawat has levelled a number of accusations. The book titled “The Rise and Fall of the Emerald Tiger” is the culmination of one of the longest scientific research programmes on tigers in India’s Panna National Park.

Silencing criticism

Dr Chundawat alerted the management of the tiger reserve to the disappearance of tigers he was studying at the start of the millennium. The management failed to takes his findings seriously, were not proactive and did not cooperate with investigations into the disappearance’s. The park officials became increasingly hostile, not only did they want to sweep the bad news under the carpet, they also wanted to silence the respected scientist. What happened to Dr Chundawat is not an isolated case, with many other reports of victimisation throughout India over the years. Many are simply not publicised because the victims fear retribution and this is bad news for both private and public tiger conservation initiatives.

Tigers will be the losers

Despite many people in the wildlife conservation community choosing to remain silent, Dr Chundawat did not mince words and described his ordeal at the powers that be in quite some detail. The usually soft-spoken scientist says he received both veiled and overt threats from officials and was subjected to searches. The mistreatments eventually resulted in the termination of his very important research program and this represents a massive loss not just for the tigers in Panna but for conservation in general.

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King Penguin Colony Decimated

penguins 1

Conservationists have sounded the alarm by saying the Earth’s largest colony of king penguins has seen its population decline by nearly 90 per cent over the last thirty years. The colony resides on Île aux Cochons which is a remote island half way between Africa and Antarctica. The last time researchers visited the island, there were 2 million penguins. Recently satellite imagery and photos suggest that the population has collapsed and there are less than 200,000 remaining.

Conservationists don’t know the reason yet

The reason for the dramatic decline is not known, with researchers saying that it was wholly unexpected and extremely significant because the colony constitutes nearly one third of the entire global population of king penguins. Climate change is probably an important factor. In 1997 El Niño warmed the waters of the Southern Indian Ocean which for a brief period pushed the fish and squid which is the main diet of the king penguin South, well beyond the range the colony feeds in typically. That event probably caused the population to fall and can be blamed for lack of success in breeding for all king penguin colonies in the region.

Climate change probably didn’t help

El Niño is cyclical, taking place every two to seven years, however it’s effect can be amplified as a result of global warming which also produces the same sort of results over a longer time frame. An older climate change study suggests that the island chain that Île aux Cochons is part of will no longer be habitable for king penguins by the middle of the century. The penguins will not be able to migrate either because there are no other suitable habitats within travelling distance.

A few other possibilities remain

Other suggestions for reasons behind the population drop is avian cholera, but until researchers return to the colony next year, they will not be able to say for sure. Invasive species such as cats, mice and rats may have also ended up on the island threatening the population. The king penguin which can stand a metre tall is the second largest penguin species after emperor penguins. Instead of building a nest, the species lays a single egg at a time and carry it with them on their feet which are covered by a flap of abdominal skin. Parents alternate incubating the egg, switching every two weeks over a two-month period.


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We Are Losing The War For Elephant Conservation

Rare Elephant Twins Born At South African Game Reserve

Over the past seven years, according to a survey conducted in 2016, nearly one in three African elephants has disappeared. That means there are less than 400,000 elephants left and conservationists say that if the poaching is not stopped it is very probable that the species will become extinct across several African countries in the coming decade. It is notoriously difficult to get accurate elephant population statistics because the most recent census took place two years ago. Nevertheless, African elephants are still considered a vulnerable species according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

90 per cent of the population exterminated

WWF estimates there are approximately 415,000 wild African elephants and whilst that number is higher than the last census, the prognosis is still not good with more than 90 per cent of the population having been exterminated in the last century. According to WWF approximately 20,000 African elephants are poached for their ivory which is an average of 55 every day. Over the last dozen years, elephant populations have been wiped out in several African countries.

Some conservation efforts have been successful

It’s not all bad news though, countries such have Kenya have put in a lot of hard work and effort in order to stop poaching and stabilise their elephant populations. Their success has been double edged however because there is increasing conflict between humans and elephants so a lot of effort is being spent on trying to prevent elephants from travelling to areas populated by humans.

Different dynamic in Asia

In Asia the situation is worse with only 40,000 to 50,000 wild Asian elephants left. The population has fallen by more than half over the last three generations though for different reasons to those that drove the population down in Africa. In Asia the level of poaching is far lower than Africa and when elephants are killed in Asia it is usually as a result of human elephant conflict. Humans encroach in the habitat of elephants and the disappearing habitat has meant that elephant populations are spread out over smaller areas.

Technology is being deployed for conservation

WWF has some terrifying statistics and claims that more African elephants are being poached than born and argues the species is facing the worst crisis in conservation since the ban on ivory was first imposed in 1989. The organisation has begun to tag and track both elephants and rhinos with GPS technology which will allow rangers to monitor and protect them. Google has given money to establish a special Wildlife Crime Technology Project which uses drones for surveillance. Thermal imaging cameras have also been placed at waterholes and other places with poachers may try and hunt elephants and rhinos.

"Please note, any prices mentioned in the adopt an animal blog are correct at the time of posting. Please check the relevant website for the latest pricing information."

Sea Turtles Face Fresh Challenge From Climate Change

turtle 1

It’s not enough that there is an existential struggle to save the endangered sea turtle, but new challenges continue to occur. In Florida the species all but vanished four decades ago. Fortunately, there was a coordinated response from conservationists, government and volunteers which saved the species from extinction in that part of the world. However, it would appear the fight is far from over and a new trend has emerged that threatens the turtle’s survival, male turtles seem to be disappearing.

Experts are worried

Experts who study Florida’s sea turtle population say they are worried by what they are witnessing amongst turtle hatchlings. Over the last twenty years or so, there are fewer years where males emerge. Seven out of the last ten years have recorded results where no males have been found whatsoever. The trend cannot be attributed to genetics because the determinants of a sea turtle’s sex is the temperature of the sand.

Warmer nests

Temperatures that equal or exceed 29 degrees will produce predominantly female hatchlings. When it gets too warm, males don’t show up and if it gets too cool females don’t appear. Turtle nests are getting warmer largely as a result of climate change. As the beaches of Florida get warmer the species is bound to suffer and sea turtles as well as alligators who also respond to changes in nest temperatures will start to shut down.

The odds are against them

Recently experts released hundreds of hatchlings into the ocean to the widespread admiration of dozens of turtle aficionados who turned up to witness the event. The researchers however know that the odds for this prehistoric species are not in its favour to begin with, leave alone when the effects of climate change are added to the equation.

Not possible to predict what will happen

Scientists say the species may have some resilience that may have not yet been discovered, however they remain pessimistic because the rate of change today is so much faster than what occurred in the past. Simply put whatever mitigating factors may be at play may longer be enough. The sea turtle does not reach sexual maturity until it is at least 25 years old. This means it is not possible to determine the impact of disappearing males for at least another generation.

"Please note, any prices mentioned in the adopt an animal blog are correct at the time of posting. Please check the relevant website for the latest pricing information."

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