When Animal Rights Sabotage the Natural World

“It is becoming more and more apparent that HSUS has little understanding of the natural world, and even less understanding of conservation and wildlife management.”– Andrew Wyatt

strange behaviors

Deer-herd-web-2-26-06My latest for Takepart.com:

There are times—too many times, in truth—when understanding and protecting the natural world demands that we band together to stop the killing: The macho practice of shooting wolves in the American West comes to mind as an example. So does the relentless slaughter of elephants and rhinos in Africa. But at other times, protecting the natural world requires us to kill, and this is the painful reality some animal rights activists refuse to understand.

It’s not a failure to communicate. Animal rights groups are often brilliant at communicating. It’s a failure to reason in the face of scientific evidence, and it comes up almost endlessly for people who do the real work of protecting the natural world.

The latest case happened in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The city wanted to cull a booming deer population that is destroying the forest understory, damaging local landscaping, and…

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White Tiger: The Color of Controversy

“An interesting reassessment of white tiger genetics and the politics surrounding the issue.” — Andrew Wyatt

Doc Antle's Tiger Tales

Royal White Bengal Tiger ~ ©Rare Species Fund Royal White Bengal Tiger ©Rare Species Fund

White Tigers are NOT Genetically Defective
There is no evidence of a genetic defect inherent in the white color variant of the Royal White Bengal Tiger, notwithstanding the erroneous claims to the contrary by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). White tigers have a normally occurring, simple recessive genetic color variant known as leucism, much the same as the leucistic (white) deer common to the Carolinas. Leucism and albinism are not the same. White tigers are not albinos and do not carry the genetic weaknesses associated with albinism. According to a recent study published in Current Biology, the gene, known as SLC45A2, is a naturally expressed color variant that was common in wild tiger populations prior to extirpation by poachers, hunters and habitat fragmentation in the 1950’s.

White Bengals result from genetic mutations that are part…

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My Perspective on Cecil the Lion and Misguided Outrage

“An interesting perspective on lion conservation in Africa in the wake of the death of Cecil the lion.” ~ Andrew Wyatt

TWP BLOG

I have traveled and worked in over a dozen African countries in the zoo and wildlife industry for more than 35 years. Africa has fascinated me for as long as I can remember, and through my travels over the years, the fascination for Africa’s people and its wildlife is in my blood, making me feel as if I’m coming home every time I travel there.

To most Americans, Africa is referred to as a “country” rather than a huge complex continent encompassing every climatic zone, 56 countries, and well over 4,000 individual cultures. Due to this immense diversity, Africa’s wildlife conservation issues vary widely throughout the continent, with wildlife holding its own in some countries while suffering greatly in others.

There is no easy, one size fits all solution that’s works to fix the challenges facing wildlife’s survival. We here in the west tend to have an easy “solution” for…

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Who’s Really Responsible for the Killing of Zimbabwe’s Lions and Other Wildlife?

In the wake of Cecil the Lion being poached in Zimbabwe, some are placing symbolism over substance. But that seems to be the preferred method of addressing wildlife issues when the underlying realities are unpleasant or complicated. ~ Andrew Wyatt

TIME

Earlier this month, a 55-year-old American dentist named Walter Palmer went on a safari holiday in western Zimbabwe, where, over a 40-hour period, he maimed, cautiously tracked, and finally killed a lion. Palmer, a veteran big-game hunter, insists that he had secured the necessary hunting permits, unaware at the time that his target was the most famous lion in Africa.

Hwange National Park is Zimbabwe’s oldest and largest wildlife reserve, and the lion Palmer killed was its star attraction. It even had a name: Cecil. For killing Cecil, Palmer has become a figure of global hate, and the lion depicted not so much as a bloodthirsty killer himself but a sort of cuddly mascot, who would affably tag alongside caravans of delighted tourists. #CecilTheLion was a top trending topic on Google and Twitter around the world throughout Tuesday — although nobody seemed to notice that he bore the same first…

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IRF Statement on Hunt of Namibian Black Rhino

How conservationists believe one old black rhino bull can help save the species in Namibia. ~ Andrew Wyatt

The International Rhino Foundation Blog

 SUMMARY

  • While the International Rhino Foundation does not condone the hunt of a Namibian rhino bull under the permit auctioned by the Dallas Safari Club, it is legal under Namibian and United States law, as well as under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
  • We respect Namibia’s efforts to maintain a healthy rhino population and raise money for the important work of conserving the species, even when its decisions are controversial.
  • The fate of one hunted rhino pales in comparison to the nearly 500 rhinos lost to illegal poaching in South Africa alone this year and to escalating poaching losses in Namibia and other range countries where rhinos once thrived but now are barely hanging on.
  • We stand to lose a century of rhino conservation success in Africa in the next few years if we can’t stop, or slow, rhino poaching now

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SCI Foundation’s HLF Aid Anti-Poaching Efforts in Tanzania

Hunting Group Donates $100,000 to Anti-Poaching Efforts in Tanzania. ~Andrew Wyatt

First For Wildlife

tanz trucks

(Washington, DC) SCI Foundation’s Hunter Legacy Fund (HLF) donated $100,000 to provide the Wildlife Conservation Foundation of Tanzania (WCFT) with vehicles to be used by anti-poaching patrols.

SCI Foundation has outfitted anti-poaching units with two fully equipped Toyota Land Cruisers to monitor the Selous Game Reserve. These new Cruisers will allow teams to locate and track areas most susceptible to poachers.

“I am very sure that the elephants and other wildlife are more secure today and we already see the difference in the bush,” WCFT Trustees and Executive Vice President Eric Pasanisi said. “On behalf of the Wildlife Conservation Foundation of Tanzania, I would like to sincerely thank you for your generous donation to our fight to preserve our wildlife in Tanzania.”

The US Fish and Wildlife Service’s recent decision to ban elephant imports from Tanzania has limited conservation funding considerably; but SCI Foundation’s grant has allowed the WCFT to…

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In Major Setback for Anti-Hunting Efforts; FWS Rejects Attempts to Stop Lion Hunting

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rejects claim that African lion merits listing as an Endangered Species under the ESA ~ Andrew Wyatt

First For Wildlife

2SCI-foundation-Logo

For Immediate Release: October 27, 2014

Washington, D.C. — Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) rejected the claim that the African lion merited listing as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act.  After a long and comprehensive review of the species status, which included information from the foremost lion researchers in the world, the FWS concluded that the African lion simply is not on the brink of extinction and did not merit listing as an endangered species.

The FWS concluded “[s]port-hunting was not found to be a threat to the species at this time.” This conclusion is a blow to the anti-hunting rhetoric put forward by organizations such as the Humane Society of the United States and International Fund for Animal Welfare. The FWS’s conclusion contradicts the assertions made by these anti-hunting organizations in the petition they filed with FWS to have the lion listed as endangered…

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