Category Archives: Wildlife

EU resells tigers for cooking in China

On International Tiger Day 29th July more bizarre details of Europe‘s ties with dubious tiger traders come to light. Research conducted by international animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS shows that at least 1,412 live captive-bred tigers from the EU were legally exported between 1999 and 2016. It is believed that several of these animals have ended up in Asian tourist areas or were killed for traditional Chinese medicine. However, even in Europe tigers are slaughtered. On 16th July Czech authorities discovered a dead tiger as well as tiger skin, claws, bouillon cubes and broth – also called tiger wine – made from tiger bones on a property near Prague.

FOUR PAWS petition now calls on the EU Commission to ban the trade in captive-bred tigers https://help.four-paws.org/en/ban-tiger-trade

The world has already lost more than 90% of its tigers. There are only about 3,900 tigers and in the wild, yet the number of tigers held in captivity is unknown. The new findings and the extent of the tiger trade in Europe are therefore more than shocking. We call on the European Commission to protect the endangered tigers and ban commercial trade in captive-bred tigers. Tiger traders and their cruel business should no longer have a place in the EU,says Kieran Harkin, Head of Wildlife Campaigns at FOUR PAWS.

https://twitter.com/fourpawsint/status/1022818936981733376

The global trade of the endangered big cat and its body parts is flourishing. According to FOUR PAWS investigations and Czech authorities, a living tiger attracts up to 22,000 euros (USD26,000). A kilo of tiger bones is available for about 1,700 euros (USD2,000) and a litre of tiger wine – an allegedly healing broth made from tiger bones – can be found for 85 euros (USD100) on the black market. Between 1999 and 2016, 862 live tigers were legally imported into the EU and 1,412 were exported, which means that Europe’s tiger business is worth more than 50 million euros (USD59 mln) – although this troubling figure is estimated to be higher. During the same period, 8,278 illegal tiger products, such as tiger bouillon cubes, teeth and claws, and 57 illegal live tigers were confiscated in the EU. This horrific trade in endangered tiger parts is wide reaching, with evidence of illegal activity across France, Italy, Belgium, Slovenia, Spain, Denmark, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Germany and the Czech Republic.

Shocking findings in the Czech Republic
In recent raids near Prague, Czech authorities discovered a dead tiger as well as tiger bones, tiger broth and other remains last week. To not damage the skins, the arrested suspects apparently killed the animals with gunshots in the eyes. The suspects include the well-known zoo owner Ludvik Berousek. At a meeting with FOUR PAWS undercover investigators in June 2018, which was filmed with a hidden camera, Berousek told the investigators that he helps Asian buyers to get the necessary documents for the transfer of the tigers. The zoo owner also bragged that he had already sold a few tigers to China in the last two months. Additionally, the Czech authorities raided the Vietnamese Sapa market in Prague, finding tiger meat products available for sale.

Tigers as a tourist attraction, party trick and photo prop
The findings in the Czech Republic are not isolated cases. FOUR PAWS investigations show that in the past four years, animal traders have exported at least five live tigers from Germany via the Czech Republic to Vietnam, Thailand and South Korea. Further research in Vietnam revealed that at least two of the tigers ended up in the hands of a convicted wildlife trafficker. Also, the trade within the EU often leads to mistreatment of the big cats. In Spain, a zoo called “Zooexoticoskiko” is currently offering wild animals, including tigers, for photo shoots. Also, erotic images can be made with the animals. In some European countries it is also possible to hire tigers for private parties.

Lack of transparency in the EUfe
In the EU, the trade in wild tigers is forbidden, but not the trade in captive-bred tigers. Regulation and enforcement, however, is severely lacking. As a result, the exact numbers of captive and traded tigers in Europe is unknown, as movements within the EU do not require CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) import or export permits. Hence, there are hardly any official documents proving who sells tigers, when, to whom and for what purposes.

FOUR PAWS has therefore launched a petition that enables supporters to call on the European Commission to ban the commercial trade in captive-bred tigers to protect the endangered species from cruel exploitation: https://help.fourpaws.org/en/ban-tiger-trade

Russia regards bears as ‘strategic good’

Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation put forward a proposal of recognizing the bears as a strategically important resource of the country and prepared a draft of a relevant government resolution. The document was published on the federal portal of draft normative legal acts.

As such strategically important goods and resources, the draft resolution proposes to determine all populations of brown and Himalayan bears, as well as musk deer, taking into account their high demand in illegal foreign markets, which requires the establishment of special legal protection measures,” says the explanatory note.

On June 27, President Vladimir Putin signed the law passed by the State Duma earlier this month on amending this article of the Criminal Code, providing for criminal liability for the smuggling of strategically important goods and resources, including especially valuable wild animals.

According to the document, now “for certain types of strategically important goods and resources determined by the government of the Russian Federation, their value exceeds 100 thousand rubles.”

The draft of this law was submitted to the State Duma in January 2018 by a group of deputies who proposed amendments to the Criminal Code in the field of countering the smuggling of parts and derivatives of wild animals.

Earlier in June, the Prosecutor General’s Office of Russia sent a letter to the government proposing to include brown and Himalayan bears in the Red Book of the Russian Federation. According to the agency, this will help protect the spice from “illegal extermination” for the sake of selling “their parts and derivatives.”

In the letter, the Prosecutor General’s Office referred to official data, according to which “in 2016-2017 the customs authorities of the Trans-Baikal, Primorsky Krai, Amur Region and the Jewish Autonomous Region seized or confiscated 189 paws of bear, 23 of them Himalayan, 122 canines, 54 claws, over 2 kg of bile of a bear in a dried form”.

At the end of last year, the Federal Security department for Transbaikal reported the detention of a local resident, who found 468 bear paws and 37 facial parts of elk heads in his car. This is the largest batch of animal derivatives seized in recent years, noted in the special services.

According to the department, the “goods” were intended for resale to Chinese citizens and smuggling to China. “To get such a number of bear paws and elk heads, the poachers had to kill more than 150 animals.

The letter of the Prosecutor General’s Office also included information from the Ministry of Natural Resources of the Russian Federation on the reduction in the number of brown bears in Russia from 225.1 thousand individuals in 2015 to 143.7 thousand in 2017. “Despite the significant decrease in the number of brown bears, the limit of its permitted production is increasing every year,” the supervisory agency noted.

Bear gallbladder, liver, bile and testicles are prized in Chinese medicine, mostly as aphrodisiacs. A gall bladder can fetch up to $3000. Most bear parts are smuggled into China, Taiwan, and Korea from the Russia, Canada and Alaska (U.S.).

Bear meat is valued by Chinese as sexual-performance and health booster. A bowl of bear paw soup—prized delicacy at restaurants in China, Hong and Taiwan sells for hundreds of dollars.

Live animals are also highly praised in China for ‘bear banquet’. The bear is tortured to death in front of the diners. They enjoy the process explaining it makes the meat taste better. the coast of the bear banquet starts from  $10 000, depending on size of the animal to be consumed, conservationists report.

 

 

 

Criminal tiger trade in Europe florishes

Prague, 18 July 2018 – Recent police raids in the Czech Republic as well as research by the international animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS show that tiger trade is not only an issue in Asia: The lucrative commercial trade with a highly protected species and their parts is happening right in the centre of Europe as wellOn Monday 15th July the Czech police along with custom officers raided properties in Prague and in central and northern Bohemia in suspicion of illegal killing of tigers and possession of tiger products.

On the 18th July the Czech authorities announced that they seized a recently killed tiger at one of the properties and that one of the suspects was processing tiger bones and other tiger products. The suspects were shooting the tigers in the eyes to not damage the skins and that the tigers were killed and used to make tiger broth. Furthermore, the Czech authorities also raided the Vietnamese market, Sapa in Prague and discovered tiger meat and products on sale.

One of the target facilities raided this week belonged to well-known circus leader, Mr. Ludvik Berousek. FOUR PAWS research conducted in June show a meeting with Mr. Berousek where he proudly showed his tiger breeding facility near Prague and discussed the sale of tigers to Asia. Mr Berousek offered to sell the tigers to Asian buyers and to help facilitate the documents and transfer and boasted that he had already sold tigers to China in the last three months.

“It is shocking how the EU does so much to combat the trade in wildlife in other parts of the world, but we have turned a blind eye to protecting an endangered species on our own doorstep. FOUR PAWS is calling on the European Commission to protect all tigers and to ban the commercial trade in live captive bred tigers. The EU should take a leading role in protecting these endangered species and ban all commercial trade ensuring tiger traders and businesses have no place in the EU” – Kieran Harkin, Head of Wildlife Campaigns at FOUR PAWS, stated.

Tigers: A highly endangered species
In the 20th century the world already lost over 90 per cent of its tigers with current estimates indicating that there are only about 3,900 tigers left in the wild. The relentless demand for tigers to be displayed commercially and traded for their body parts to be used in traditional Asian medicines significantly contributes to this decline. Shockingly, tigers born in captivity in Europe can still be traded for commercial purposes such as circuses or for private keeping or for photo opportunities. In some European countries it is not only possible to buy tigers but to also rent tigers for private parties.

How can this happen in an EU-country?
The European Union does not only lack effective regulation concerning the trade of tigers or their parts, there is also no clear overview of the actual number of captive tigers and trade of these animals. No authority, organisation or country knows how many tigers are currently kept in Europe, where they are moved during their lifetime or how they are used for entertainment purposes, where they die and finally whether in worst cases these animals are being turned into tiger bone wine or traditional medicines. Only by ensuring there is no market for tigers and their parts in Europe the European Commission can be serious about contributing to protecting wild living tigers in Asia and playing a positive role in fighting the illegal trade of all wildlife. FOUR PAWS has launched a petition today through which all supporters can call on the European Commission to ban the commercial trade in tigers: https://help.four-paws.org/en/ban-tiger-trade
ABOUT FOUR PAWS
FOUR PAWS is an international animal welfare organisation with headquarters in Vienna, Austria. Founded by Heli Dungler in 1988, the organisation strives to help animals in need with sustainable campaigns and projects. The work is based on substantiated research and scientific expertise as well as intensive national and international lobbying. FOUR PAWS focuses on animals that are directly under human influence: stray dogs and stray cats, farm animals, companion animals and wild animals including bears, big cats and orangutans kept in inappropriate conditions. With offices in Austria, Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, South Africa, Switzerland, United Kingdom and USA, FOUR PAWS aims to help animals in need directly and quickly. www.four-paws.org

Image: FOUR PAWS below

Prague tiger

Image: FOUR PAWS: illegal tiger trade in Czech Republic

Malta nominates Bird Hero 2018

Nimrod Mifsud, a BirdLife Malta volunteer for over ten years, has shown passion and drive in his efforts to help birds migrating over Malta leave safely without being trapped or killed by hunters in line with island’s an ancient tradition of hostility against birds.

“Nimrod demonstrates a passion and drive for ensuring birds migrating over Malta leave our islands safely without persecution”, says Mark Sultana, BirdLife Malta’s CEO. “He has suffered verbal and physical abuse while out monitoring illegal hunting. Thanks to his interventions, illegal hunters and trappers have been brought to justice. He is an excellent mentor for new volunteers, keeping the group motivated at difficult times. His willingness to go above and beyond also means he is always on hand to provide extra support when it comes to ensuring that birds are protected. Nimrod is also skilled in transmitting his passion to nature protection to others and is an essential asset during campaigns and educational events.”

 

China Yulin dog meat festival – hell on earth

In spite of massive protests of animal rights activists worldwide Chinese Yulin dog meat festival takes place this week in in China’s Guangxi Autonomous Region, continuing the chain of the eight year unprecedented dog torture, launched in 2010, by local dog traders keen to boost their profits in a promotion event.

When first launched, as many as 15,000 dogs were killed during the core festival days, but Chinese and international pressure has seen this figure cut to about 3,000, although the figure does not correspond to the animal right groups goal to diminish it to zero.

“Earlier this week in Beijing, Humane Society International (HSI) handed over a letter signed by more than 235,000 people calling for an end to the annual Yulin dog meat festival.

“The letter was circulated by HSI and Care2 and supported by 87 Chinese animal protection groups, including Capital Animal Welfare Association, Zhejiang Animal Protection Association, and Hainan Small Animal Protection Association” – the HSI spokesperson said.

Many experts insist that only worldwide boycott of tourism to China is an adequate tool to stop the dog meat festival, because the losses will be much bigger than gains for local dog meat traders. There is a little hope the dog torture will stop, unless a coordinated international action takes place, the experts underline.

Yulin dog meat festival takes place from 21 to 30 June, ending in thousands of skinned and boiled alive dogs to biggest joy of Chinese visitors, appreciating freshly cooked dog meat.

Yulin dog

MEP: “We should ask Mr.Putin, why humanist is in jail!”

Member of the European Parliament (ALDE, Lithuania) Petras AUŠTREVIČIUS expressed his shock, on the breaking news on arrest and jailing of Russian leading animal rights activist Yuri KORETSKYH, who was calling authorities for humane treatment of stray animals in Russian cities, brutally culled ahead of the World Cup championship.

“We should ask Mr.Putin, why a humanist is in jail!”, MEP said, underlining that the only concern of animal rights activists was promotion of humanism to stray animals in Russian cities. These cats and dogs were condemned to death instead of constructing shelters to resolve the problem of stray in a civilised way, the activists are promoting, MEP continued. “The animals did not commit any crime, it is a responsibility of authorities to build shelters”, MEP said.

The jailing of KORETSKYH shows the real face of Russian power, which is able of “abusing anyone” AUŠTREVIČIUS continued. “They go against any logic, any common sense for already last two decades”, MEP said, suggesting the situation with attitude towards animal rights activism in Russia is contrary to the European trends, aiming at raising welfare standards of animals.

“We invest tens of millions, or may be more, to ensure humane treatment of animals”, AUŠTREVIČIUS underlined, pointing out that European governments at highest level support animal welfare movements as conducive to public good. He also concluded that animal rights groups in Russian should get support from their European counterparts protecting stay in urban environments. “I’m sure Russian authorities will get a strong response for culling stray for hosting World Cup. I can promise it!”

 

World Cup: leading Russian animal rights activist arrested

The leading Russian animal rights activist and a chairman of the Alliance for animals, Yuri Koretsky (Юрий Корецких) has been arrested in Moscow on his way to a meeting in memory of culled street dogs #Killed4WorldCup. The moment of silence was planned in Moscow and the other Russian cities, where the mass killings of stray animals took place ahead of the World Cup. ” I’m in police van. Police is next to the clock” – he tweeted.

In absence of infrastructure, in absence of shelters and responsible civil servants in each municipality, the killings of animals will go on. We hoped that FIFA World Cup 2018 will bring joy and festivity to Russia, but our government destroyed the celebrations by killings of tens of thousands of dogs and cat in hosting cities. They broke the promise. It is a grim day for us and for sports– Koretsky said in a distributed ahead of the action press-release.

“People are gathering next to the ‘football clock’ to remember animals killed ahead of the Championship” – the activist wrote shortly before his arrest, retweeting photos in his microblog.

The NGO led by Koretsky invited journalists and all those who care about animals to join the moment of silence next to the World Cup clock.

The Alliance invites press to join our event ‘Killed for World Cup dedicated to brutally taken away lives of homeless dogs and cats in cities hosting FIFA World Cup. The animal rights defenders call Russian government to respect right for life of street animals, to treasure life as such of all sentient being, especially of those, who contribute immensely to humankind like dogs and cats. The Alliance reterierates its call for moratorium on killings of street animals, which will be conducive to public good, while spreading humane and civilized practises”.

However Koretsky had no chance to participate in the event #Killed4WorldCup himself, being arrested without any explanation on the way to the meeting. At present the animal rights activists are very much concerned about his ‘preventive‘ arrest. They communicated that Koretsky is kept in custody until Court hearing in the morning.

15/06 22:00 AMENDMENT: Yuri Koretsky jailed for eight (8) days for his attempt to draw public attention to stray dogs killings in Russia. All the demonstrations and actions during World Cup are strictly prohibited.

Killed4WorldCup

 

 

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