Category: 2 February

Week 9 Earthrace Conservation (Argentina/International)

According to the above news article, two endangered Franciscan dolphins were swimming near an Argentinian resort last week when they were taken from the water and “manipulated by tourists to photograph.”

Footage shared by Vida Silvestre and local news sources shows a mob of tourists passing around one of the tiny dolphins, while swarming to take photos of it and with it.

“One of them ended up dying,” … “Like other dolphins, they can not stay long out of the water because its thick skin provides internal heat, quickly causing dehydration and death.” 

There isn’t much that humans won’t destroy to make their Facebook friends jealous, it seems. 

Wake up people! No animals are objects for your entertainment.

It is too late for this individual dolphin, but how best to help others? I researched and originally  planned to donate to Vida Silvestre, which was once an independent conservation organisation in Argentina, but it is now an arm of WWF.

I have just read Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything and am quite sus on larger conservation organisations as it seems they are very often having a threesome in which conservation is the minor partner, kicked down amongst the foot sweat at the bottom of the bed, while corporate industry  (that members of the board often have a history with) gets the Fairtrade chocolates on the pillow.

It seems that 75% of WWF spending goes on sometimes good, sometimes questionable projects, while 25% is blown on fundraising and admin expenses.  This ratio is considered acceptable by charity industry standards (make no mistake, charity IS an industry), but I think I could make better use of my wasted 25% or $13, thank you very much!…maybe I could ‘save the enviroment’ by buying a cask of wine instead?!…

-3L SlimCasks are equal to 4x750mL glass bottles, so there is less material used.
-Reducing environmental footprint – It takes 11 trucks to carry the same number of empty bottles as 1 truck of flattened 3L SlimCasks to our winery.
-That represents an 11-fold reduction in fossil fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions to ship the 3L SlimCasks.
-There is less potential for breakage both in-store and at home.
-Less energy is used to produce the cardboard and oxygen-proof inner bag than with the production of glass.

I’ll drink to that! Emoji Just ignore the unrecyclable plastic bag and voila!! I’m an eco-warrior without having to sacrifice anything!!  See how good it feels to be greenwashed 😉 (Pats self on back and drives to distant shop where casks are $1 cheaper)

Sorry! Just like poor sea creatures are being dazed and confused by the increasing man-made noise in the oceans, I’ve also veered off from the most important subject of this whole sad story.

I am sorry little dolphin, may your death in the name of vanity not have been in vain.

Emoji

 

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Earthrace Conservation: Argentina

I can’t believe I feel I need a disclaimer before making a donation…but I am finding the deeper I look at many charities, the deeper the quagmire of questions…arrghhhhhh!!! 

Disclaimer: Earthrace is a frontline activist organisation run by former Sea Shepherd volunteer and captain, Paul Bethune. Paul Bethune was the captain of the Ady Gil, the beautiful black trimaran used by Sea Shepherd at the time of its much covered 2010 collision with a Japanese whaling boat.

I remember my response at the time was horror at their allowing such a generous donation to be destroyed so quickly. It felt even worse than the time I left my tricycle in the driveway and dad ran over it and said ‘that’ll learn ya to be more careful with your things’.  It did learn me good too, but I am not so sure that Sea Shepherd took home the same message…

A recent court finding, following a case brought by their cheesed off benefactor, Mr Ady Gil, has revealed some terrible behaviour was perpetrated by Sea Shepherd: the deliberate sinking of the damaged vessel after the accident.  That is even worse than wasting a cask of wine or a tricycle.

Disclamation of Disclaimer: However. In spite of such apparent news-coverage hungry insanity, Sea Shepherd and Earthrace do a lot of good on the frontline that most organisations are unable or unwilling to do. 

So with my goon glass half full, this week I am choosing to support the Argentinian chapter of Earthrace. 

Earthrace Argentina

Protecting the oceans and their species.

Killing the captive industry
There are two remaining aquariums in South America that will be targeted with campaigns to encourage the public not to pay to visit them.

Mundo Marino in Buenos Aires holds 13 dolphins as well as lonely killer whale, Kshamenk, who has been held in this tiny pool, since being ‘rescued’ from a stranding in 1992.

Shocking shark fin record
While Argentina banned the removal of shark fins at sea in 2009, it still manages to hold a shocking 5th position in the world ranking for exporting shark fin.

That’s not good and our Argentina crew plan on doing plenty in the next year to get this country off the list of those dealing in shark fin altogether.

Beach clean up in San Isidro
Fernando and the crew have also been busy cleaning up local beaches in San Isidro.

Buenos Aires Zoo ’embrace’
In December 2014, Earthrace Argentina joined a huge protest at the Buenos Aires Zoo after an employee revealed the terrible treatment of animals there including neglect, starvation and hidden deaths.

Earthrace has international chapters and features in its own TV show, the Operatives.

Thank you Earthrace for helping animals and raising people’s consciousness.

Please be good.

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P.s.

If someone asks you why whaling is so bad compared to all the other mass slaughter on earth, agree with them that they are all awful. A particularly terrible thing about whaling is the fact that unlike most creatures whales cannot go unconscious once pain gets too extreme; these social animals are aware throughout the whole slow and tortuous process.  Their pod members sometimes try to hold them afloat when they have been harpooned, to save them from drowning. Emoji

… and another thing, why, when a fisherperson is lost to the sea, do they receive tearful media coverage and costly search and rescue deployment, but noone ever spares a thought for all the sea creatures that had, and would have, suffered a similar horrible end (in a reverse direction) at their hands? Emoji

 

 

References:

Charity Navigator – WWF

Way Beyond Greenwashing: Have Corporations Captured Big Conservation?

Sea Shepherd/Paul Bethune

Trimaran Ady Gil

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Week 8 Kilmore Wildlife Shelter (Australia)

Last week, on his way to work, my partner crested a hill to see a large kangaroo trying to drag itself across the road with a shattered leg.  As is sadly so typical, there was no sign of the driver who had done the damage and continued apathetically on their way.

We are extremely grateful to Kilmore Wildlife Shelter for responding to my partner’s pre-dawn call;  at an hour when most of us are still working on our bed hair, they had the generosity of heart to sincerely thank him for calling 🙂

Why don’t people who are caring for our animals ever get any recognition at Australian of the Year awards?

What should you do if you see injured wildlife? 

I previously asked another carer about this and she said you can ring Triple Zero if in Australia, I haven’t done this and would advise using your discretion, but if it is a large animal, that requires immediate attention, especially if it may cause a ‘traffic hazard’, this seems like a good option, which has the advantage of being nationwide and 24 hour.

Save the number of local wildlife rescuers in your phone under ‘W’ for wildlife.  It is good to have a few numbers as these  organisations are overworked and under resourced and may not answer the phone immediately.

If an animal is small enough that you can safely and carefully move it, most vets will accept and care for injured wildlife free of charge – please call them first though.

Oh and please consider making a donation to a charity to thank them for care given or as an alternative gift for someone.

 

‘Kilmore’ may not be the best name for a town which boasts not one, but two wildlife shelters; maybe the town could change its names to ‘Savemore’ instead?!  (Of course humane euthanasia is another extremely valuable service that wildlife carers also provide in a worst case scenario…if only we humanimals could legally access something similar…)

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Kilmore Wildlife Shelter

Kilmore Wildlife Shelter's profile photo

The Kilmore Wildlife Shelter is operated by Dr. Robyn Coy who has spent a lifetime involved in the study and care of Australian wildlife. The shelter is now one of the largest in Victoria, attending to hundreds of animals each year and controlling over 600 acres of land dedicated to wildlife conservation. Robyn is assisted by a small but dedicated team of volunteers.

The shelter has excellent facilities for all types of wildlife from tiny marsupial mice and bats, to lizards and turtles, echidnas, birds of prey, parrots, possums, wombats, wallabies and kangaroos. Robyn has specialized in the care of kangaroos and wallabies for many years, and has the experience and expertise to handle and care for these large marsupials which few in Victoria can match.

An Emergency Treatment and Training Centre was established at the shelter following the Black Saturday fires, when the shelter was called on to care for hundreds of injured wildlife without access to any wildlife hospital facilities.

 

 

Save them or kill them?

<p>Illustration: Geoff Richardson

Text: Eleanor Nurse

Our kangaroos are hunted in the largest commercial slaughter of land-based wildlife on the planet and hunters are permitted by law to take not only males but also females with joeys in pouch and dependent young. 

The roo meat industry treats these joeys as collateral damage in the hunt for profits. 

Under the relevant industry Codes of Practice that govern the hunts, shooters are instructed to “euthanase” the joeys of any female who is killed either by decapitation or a single blow or shot to the head. 

Those who are not caught and killed will most likely die as a result of starvation, exposure or predation without the protection of their mothers.

All of this happens in the wild and at night, hidden from public view. 

This might be why so many Australians are on board with kangaroo meat. The kangaroo industry has escaped the scrutiny levelled against many of Australia’s other meat industries in part because it is nearly impossible to get a look at the killing. 

Unlike most animals killed for food who are pre-stunned and slaughtered in abattoirs, kangaroos are shot in rural areas, usually from afar, and in complete darkness. 

The industry codes do stipulate they must be shot in the “brain”, but this is not an easy job. 

In 2002, the RSPCA estimated that 120,000 kangaroos are  “body shot” each year, wounded but not killed.

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If you want to understand just how brutal these killing sprees are, watch the Australian cult classic film ‘Wake in Fright’.  It is real footage and it is sickening.

 

Week 7 Save Me Reptile Rescue (South Africa)

I’m a celebrity…get me out of here…

Image result for i'm a celebrity bugs snakes

…so how do they think the animals feel then?!

Confinement, fear, injuries…what fun! what entertainment! This show has it all – for the animals ritually exploited in this predictable format.

A ‘ploise explain’ question for Chris Brown…How can you, as a vet who is supposed to care for ALL animals, countenance a show that treats creatures as objects of entertaiment, just because we humans have deemed them to be ‘disgusting/ worthless’?

With the notable exception of the ‘celebrities’, every single animal on this show has evolved to perfection over millenia, filling its own vital niche in the real world wide web.

Even much maligned mosquitoes are an essential part of the world’s ecosystem, providing food for other animals at all stages of their lifecycle.

Of course mozzies are vectors for some serious diseases and are about as popular in the bedroom as a snorer/farter combined. All farmers/gardeners will sometimes feel like ‘it’s us against bloody &*%$ them’ (from experience!). But these are individual battles and each should be chosen wisely…noone wins if we are always at war with the ‘other’…and this also includes how we treat humans who are different to us.

Some ways to treat insects and reptiles better…

  • store buckets etc upside down so critters don’t get stuck inside and die,
  • put spiders and flies outside (a glass and a piece of paper works for spiders, a large soft cloth like a t-shirt is a good way to catch flies at a window;
  • try not to wash insects down the drain, and if you see one drowning, rescue it;
  • snakes are much more beautiful with their head attached to their bodies, and they will get away from you a lot more quickly this way too!
  • don’t keep reptiles as pets unless you really know what is best for the animal.

Let’s show integrity…instead of dumb fear!

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This week I would like to offer my apologies to the animals and people of South Africa for what we are inflicting on them.  (I would also like to offer an apology to the critters that end up as the food for carnivorous rescue animals of all types 😦 …I have had mice, rats and crickets as companions, they were all lovely, and definitely individuals with different favourite rest spots and foods… I will try and do something nice for them later!)

Save Me Reptile Rescue

 

Background to Save Me Reptile Rescue

I have been rescuing animals all my life. Even as a child people would bring injured cats, dogs and birds to me. All my life I have been doing my best to rescue rehabilitate and rehome animals. The number of animals, I have rehomed over the years are countless.

One day I fell in love with a bearded dragon I named Draco. Draco was with me all the time, he went shopping, visiting friends, on holiday, to the bush. Draco died of old age at 10 years old, and I miss him every day.

Over time I have come to realise there is a need for reptiles and exotics to be rescued. There are many institutions who rescue cats and dogs. It’s also easier to find a cute kitty or puppy a home rather than a “scary” lizard or  a snake

It brings me great pleasure when I meet a person who “would never touch a snake” and ends up leaving with the thought that “its actually quite beautiful”. I want all people to understand that snakes are not evil. In fact they are vital to our eco system.

Save Me Reptile Rescue

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So to paraphrase from their site…all creatures great and small…let’s love them all!

 

P.S. Speaking of reptiles, this morning I went out before sunrise with a torch to pick some grapes and was surprised by a velvet gecko up in the vine, munching away on them…maybe it’s a closet vego…haha!!

 

 

Week 6 Marie Stopes – Family Planning (International)

 

This week I almost got tricked.

The news this week covers the shooting down of a helicopter and unfortunate death of a its pilot while he was performing an anti-poaching patrol in Tanzania.

I thought that sounded like a very worthy cause to follow up.  I went to the conservation fund’s website and it all seemed to tick all the boxes, so I went to the donations page to check that I would be be able to donate internationally.  It had no options for Paypal, so I Googled the name of the charity and ‘donation’ to see what other avenues I could find.  And suddenly things looked a bit different.

It turns out that their major (and I mean tens of thousands of dollars) major sponsors…are a number of big North American hunting safari organisations. Ouch.

So it’s ‘ out of the poaching pan and into the line of fire?!’ …

It seems that in this brand of ‘conservation’ African animals are to be saved from being killed by poor people, so they can be killed by rich people instead…

Justifying their support to the ‘conservation foundation’ (who has their logo on its donated microlight patrol plane), a major hunting sponsor says…

In theory, anti-poaching efforts also increase the trophy quality of animals. If mature males of any species are considered trophies, then by providing the opportunity to achieve mature status will translate to more quality animals.

These groups like to validate themselves by equating hunting dollars with ongoing conservation.  They may or may not have a case.  I will leave you to Google, there is a lot there about it.

Dave Mustaine from Megadeth deserves the last word though, for this great song…

Countdown to Extinction

Megadeth

Countdown To Extinction

Endangered species, caged in fright
Shot in cold blood, no chance to fight
The stage in set, now pay the price
An ego boost don’t think twice
Technology, the battle’s unfair
You pull the hammer without a care
Squeeze the trigger that makes you Man
Pseudo-safari, the hunt is canned …
The hunt is canned

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I considered instead supporting another genuinely big hearted organisation, The Australian Rhino Project, that is seeking to protect rhinos by translocating a viable number of them to open plain zoos in Australia.

Rhinos are beautiful and sensitive.  Their horns, which poachers gouge out of their faces, contain nothing more than keratin, which you can chew your own fingernails for…

Baby Rhino and Lamb playing

…But I have thought long and hard about this in the past and I wonder…if a species no longer has a place for it in the wild, is it really any better, from the individual animal’s perspective for them to be kept just ticking along in captivity, so that humans don’t have to bear the shame of causing yet another extinction?  It is a tricky one.

What I have taken from this is there are people whose motives are pure, people whose motives appear to be pure and aren’t, and people whose motives are pure in another way…either pure greed (the organised crime gangs behind most poaching), pure selfishness (the wealthy people who continue to buy poached products), or pure survival (the usually very poor people who actually do the poaching).

What I have also taken from this is everything to do with animals is now also actually to do with humans. We truly are living in the Anthropocene epoch.

So this week, I thought, why not approach the main problem facing animals from its roots (literally!).

There are too many people for the earth to support, and we’re expanding (in more ways than one).  

A tremendous change occurred with the industrial revolution: whereas it had taken all of human history until around 1800 for world population to reach one billion, the second billion was achieved in only 130 years (1930), the third billion in less than 30 years (1959), the fourth billion in 15 years (1974), and the fifth billion in only 13 years (1987). 

http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/

The human population of the world today is about 200,000 people greater than yesterday.

World population counter – The world counts

We are currently adding a new billion people every 13 years or so.  Following current trends, we are projected to reach the 8 billion mark in 2024.

So there is not much room left for wild animals, and a lot more room will needed for the cruel, intensive production of food animals as consumption rises.  (The ‘average’ human consumes about 35 tonnes of food in a lifetime).

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If someone has the desire or the capacity to have and care for a child, they should absolutely be supported in doing this.

If someone has no desire or no capacity to successfully have, or care for a child, they should absolutely be supported in avoiding an unwanted birth.

So today I am hoping to do something for the earth, its animals and humans by donating to

Our mission is to give people a choice: the choice of when and whether to have children, the choice of what type of family planning methods to use, and the choice of where and how to get them.  We’ve been delivering family planning and maternal health services for over 35 years.

In 2013, 15.6 million women using a method of family planning provided by Marie Stopes International.

We have more than 600 centres in 37 countries around the world where clients can access these services, but the majority of our work is carried out by clinical outreach teams in remote, inaccessible and under-served communities that cannot reach our centres.

 

Shareasimage 3

 

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Speaking of being tricked, another thing I learnt yesterday, is that week in, week out many of us are also being tricked by a low price point into supporting the Italian mafia and slave labour…I always wondered how those tins of Italian tomatoes were so cheap, and here is the answer, courtesy of the Weekend Australian 30-31 Jan 2016.  There is actually a lot of information about this on the internet going back years.  I am shocked to only learn this now.

Agriculture is widely accepted to be the Italian economic sector most scarred by organised crime, enmeshing supply chains all the way from the fields to the supermarket

The caporali , (the ‘corporals’) can make thousands of euros a day while their “slaves” receive just €20 ­before costs are removed. “They refuse to allow workers to bring food or water, they force them to pay €5 each for transport to the fields and to ­return to the ghettoes to sleep at night. They sell food, panini for €3.50 and bottles of water for €1.50.

Often they take workers’ ­papers, if they have any documents at all, using this as leverage to keep them from fleeing and making them a kind of slave.

They charge them rent in the ghettoes. They even make them pay for old tyres to burn for heat and warmth in winter.”

Italian tomatoes the product of migrant ‘slave labour’

Another great reason to grow your own, buy from farmer’s market and buy Australian!!

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If you are thinking of visiting or volunteering in Africa, here is a list to help you decide where to go…

African Organisations – good, bad and ugly