Category Archives: Wildlife

Sami ask for UN protection from Russian hunting club

Sami, an indigenous people living in the Murmansk region, in north of Russia, appealed to the United Nations (UN) with a complaint against the actions of the regional government. Representatives of the Sami community complained about the transfer of the pasture lands of the state farm in a long-term lease to the Belgorod Hunting Club (BEZRK).

The management of the Olenevod state farm, specialized in reindeer, and the Sami Heritage and Development Fund state in their appeal underlined that the auction for the right to use the land was held without the consent of the indigenous population living compactly in this territory. As a result, the right to the free use of lands necessary for traditional farming, guaranteed by the Federal Law, was violated.

Sami accused officials of violating a number of articles of the International Convention on Indigenous Peoples and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, writes Novaya Gazeta, specifying that the lands on the Ponoi River, where the reindeer migrate and where the wintering grounds for pregnant female moose are located, were transferred to the Belgorod hunting club “BEZRK” this winter.

Earlier Sami activists filed a similar complaint with the Russian presidential administration. They asked to keep the so-called “maternity hospital” for the Ponoi elks in the Lovozero in the Murmansk region, drawing the authorities’s attention to the fact that it would be destroyed by the transfer of land to the hunting club. However, local officials claim that there are no permits for the use of land by reindeer herders, no contracts have been concluded with them, and no official permits have been issued for reindeer herders on the disputed land plots. Having received zero aid from the administration of Vladimir Putin, the Sami decided to apply to the UN.

At present there is a hunting boom among Russian nouveaux riches who dramatically lack political, social and cultural sophistication, confusing killing of wild animals for noble occupation, contributing to upgrading their status. There are numerous avid hunters among members of Russian Duma, an also among Federation Council, reflecting interests of hunting lobby, led by senator – avid hunter Andrei Klishas. The situation explains the decision of the Sami community to address the United Nations because only very few would believe they could win against all-powerful hunting lobby, pursuing the interest  to kill the best of wildlife.

Saami or Sami, Laplanders, Kild are a small Finno-Ugric people,  living in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. The habitat of the Sami settlement stretches from the eastern tip of the Kola Peninsula through the north of Finland and Norway to the central part of the Scandinavian Peninsula.

The Sami, 1770 people  in 2010, have a clear national identity, their own flag and anthem, and their rights are represented by elected bodies of cultural self-government – the Sami parliaments.

The main occupations of the Sami have been reindeer herding, fishing, sea and land hunting.

Russian hunting club invasion into their territory is the second blow to Sami people after they suffered a defeat from Norway government in the end of March, deciding to move on with copper mine construction in their traditional habitat. The resolve came after years of Sami struggle in different fora.

Pigeon auctioned for €1.25m

A champion pigeon has been auctioned for a record €1.25m ($1.42m/£1.07m).

Auction house Pipa called Armando the “best Belgian long-distance pigeon of all time”. He’s also been dubbed the “Lewis Hamilton of pigeons“.

Before this epic sale, the record was €376,000 (£321,800). However, Pipa representative explains the record was beaten within a day of Armando being put up for bids. The champion bird (5 years), is now enjoying his retirement and has already fathered a number of chicks. Reportedly the happy new owner of the bird is a Chinese pigeon amateur. (Image above: illustration).

STOP Malta birds massacre!

MEP Anja Hazekamp (The Netherlands) asked the Commissioner for Environment K for action against Malta, refusing to put an end to the spring hunting of migratory birds.  The MEP picketed the main entrance of the European Parliament in Brussels at Simone Veil Agora to display the sign of ban for migratory birds killings.

    • Malta is a hosting place for some 170 species of birds migrating between Europe and Africa. But poachers kill or capture up to 200,000 wild birds every year — a problem widespread across the Mediterranean.
    • In particular, illegal trapping of birds such as finches continues to persist in Malta, despite the European Court of Justice ruling against Malta for allowing the trapping of protected species.
    • To legalize finch trapping within the framework of European law, Malta used a legal maneuver called a derogation by claiming that finch trapping was a traditional practice in the country.
    • Such legal derogation is being used as a smokescreen to illegally trap finches and other protected species not just in Malta but in other countries as well.

The vast majority of these birds, including white storks (Ciconia ciconia) and black storks (Ciconia nigra), are strictly protected under the European Union’s Birds Directive of 1972. But in Malta, poachers kill or capture up to 200,000 wild birds every year: shooting them for food, taxidermy or simply target practice, or trapping them to keep as pets or live hunting decoys.

As they come in to magnificent Malta islands, the migratory birds are confronted by 10,000 hunters with the a cynical motto, “if it flies… it dies,”  launching the massacre. So far the Maltese Government not only tolerates but encourages and protects the abuse of the EU law on wildlife protection, referring to centuries old ‘cultural’ tradition. The referendum (2015) showed the public opinion divided; the pro-hunting camp had won by 2,200 votes, with 126,434 votes in favour of keeping the spring hunt alive and 124,214 against. (Image below: trapped bird).

Malta bird

Ukraine animal welfare activists appeal to MEPs

“Appeal of Ukraine animal welfare activists to
the Members of the Inter group for animal welfare of the European Parliament
February 14, 2019
 
Animal welfare and animal rights activists of Ukraine and compassionate citizens thank you for your support in saving wild animals from Igor Padalko zoo in Pokrovsk, Ukraine – the worst zoo of Europe.
We express special gratitude to Stefan Eck who reacted first to the problem of animal suffering and stretched his hand, we thank the chair Sirpa Pietikäinen, who took emergency measures to save dying animals, Anja Hazekamp, ​​who provided an opportunity to raise our concerns at the meeting of the Inter group, John Flack, who was ready to go to Pokrovsk immediately, and his colleague Rupert Matthews, who took the sufferings of the animals close to his heart. We highly appreciate the support that you provided by responding to our petition asking for help, signed by more than 30 thousand citizens of Ukraine.
We felt your support and, apparently, the officials of the Ministry of Ecology, too, because after five years of the failed attempts, things started to move. Unfortunately, we have to admit that it would be irrelevant to talk about success, because the situation with a handful of animals saved from Pokrovsk zoo has not been legally or practically resolved yet.
 
The evacuation of animals at the end of December last year was canceled by the Ministry of Ecology, and around hundred zoo animals disappeared without a trace, including primates, wolves, foxes, raccoons, donkeys, llamas, a camel and rare birds. The old blind lion and two bears vanished, a young lion was starved to death From hunger the bears tore off their fur to eat it, it was a hideousness abuse. To date, 11 bears and five lions have been evacuated. The fate of other animals is unknown.
According to local residents, during five years, hundreds of animals died and went missing in the Padalko Zoo. On the territory of the zoo there are still exhausted horses and dogs on chain, who do not even have bowls, they just  lick snow replacing water and food.

 
The sad epilogue of the Pokrovsk zoo story is that  laws to protect animals can’t be implemented, and officials do not regard animal welfare as a serious matter, making efforts not to save animals, but to hush up the scandal. Veterinary examinations and transportation of animals of Pokrovsk were paid from donations of citizens of Ukraine, the Ministry of Ecology did not allocate a penny to the evacuation of the animals of Pokrovsk.
The evacuated animals are not microchipped, relevant documentation is missing.
Alas, according to the Deputy Minister of Ecology, Mr. Vasil Poluiko, there are 60 zoo in our country, similar to the Padalko’s concentration camp, subsequently the problem of keeping wild animals in captivity requires systemic resolution.
 
As you know, the majority of Ukrainian citizens choose the European path, so striving for European values ​​is a sincere choice of people who do not want cruelty, they advocate for the emancipation of society, sharing humane views on harmonious coexistence with the other earthlings: domestic and wild animals.
 
In the absence of functional institutions and effective mechanisms for the protection of animals in our country, we consider the participation of MEPs in promoting the best European practices as a unique opportunity to reform our society in a meaningful way, bringing it closer to the European Union.
That is why we hope for your support of the civil society of Ukraine, which is committed to reforms, in particular, with regard to the welfare of animals, and their protection from cruelty.
We hope that Article 13 of the Lisbon Treaty will be a subject of the EU Enlargement policy in negotiations with our government, which promises European way for our country.
We also hope that we will have the opportunity to personally meet with you and highlight the full range of problems faced by animal welfare movement of Ukraine. We are convinced of the importance of our cause for the emancipation and progress of society.

The story of Padalko zoo confirms: a human does not have two hearts, the animal abuser Igor Padalko was arrested accused of child abuse. The tragedy could have been avoided if five years ago the authorities had listened to the Pokrovsky animal welfare activists.

Animal protection is the protection of humanism. We hope that you can explain that to your counterparts in Verhovna Rada. They will not ignore your opinion as they ignore ours.”

The petition  to the European Parliament asking MEPs to save Pokrovsk zoo animals was singed by more than 30 thousand people. Please find further information on problems of Wildlife in Ukraine in groups #SaveUkraineBears #МишкиПокровск #LionDonetsk

 

 

MEPs call Rada Dyriv to save Pokrovsk zoo animlas

The ongoing Padalko zoo (Pokrovsk, Donetsk region, Ukraine) horrendous animal abuse continues to cause sharp criticism of the whole spectrum of the European political forces. The Members of the European Parliament joined an initiative of John Flack (UK, ECR) addressing an open letter to Anotolii DyrivFirst Deputy Chair of Committee on Environmental Policy of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine

padalko zoo cages

The Members of the European Parliament have called the Ukrainian Parliament Rada to act without delay to save the animals.

We in The European Parliament, and  I know that also my political colleagues in the United Kingdom wish to encourage Ukraine to forge closer links with the Western family of nations” John Flack MEP (UK, ECR) wrote.

“We in the west take the humane treatment of animals very seriously and would urge all in the Ukraine to follow best practice. It is not only the right thing to do but will encourage future
investment” he underlined.

 MEP (UK, ECR), who initiated the letter, regrets he can not leave for Porkovsk immediately, to accept the invitation of the animal welfare groups in Ukraine, but out of his own convictions and the wish of his electorate to monitor the situation closely, he is considering a trip to Ukraine in the nearest future to see how the situation with Padalko zoo abused animals has been resolved, and what are the conditions of the other animals in private, and public zoos.

Mr.Flack urges Mr.Dyriv and the Rada committee he chairs to use the “considerable influence to protect the vulnerable and abused animals”.

In relation to Pokrovsk zoo MEPs call Mr.Dyriv to “arrange for unrestricted access by qualified veterinarians to all animals”. But not only, due to the scale and gravity of abuse and cruelty, MEPs call for “police to investigate the fate of missing Lions and Bears”, that were listed on the zoos inventory at the beginning of November 2018 but are now missing without explanation.

“If crimes have been committed then their should be prosecutions, both to punish the perpetrators but also to encourage correct behaviour in others” the open letter continues.
There is also a request to arrange for permission to be granted for International and Ukrainian animal welfare charities to
“both visit and then to monitor the conditions at all Ukrainian zoos”.

European politicians ask Mr.Dyriv to consider  “urgently”  whether Pokrovsk zoo is a “fit and proper place” to keep animals and whether it would be in “national interest” the Padalko zoo to be closed forthwith and the animals transferred to other reputable facilities.

“With elections due shortly in Ukraine I am sure that many of your people will be closely watching the fate of these defenceless animals.
I and my colleagues would welcome the opportunity to visit you in the Ukraine and to see for ourselves the improvements you are able to bring about” the letter concludes.

The open letter was initiated (23.01.2019) and singed by the Member of the European Parliament  (MEP) John Flack MEP, who is the Vice President European Parliament Animal Welfare Intergroup, and British Conservative Spokesman for Regional Development; and Rupert Matthews MEP,  Member for the East Midlands (U.K),  at present the letter circulates in the Europarliament, collecting signatures of the politicians. 

The scandal broke out when the pictures of the animal abuse hit social media, provoking a wave of indignation in Europe, and across the globe, launching a international campaign to save Porkovsk zoo animals from Padalko zoo.

MEPs Stefan Eck, Sirpa Petiekainen, Anja Hazekamp, and legendary Brigitte Bardot have already addressed the issue, calling President Petro Porkoshenko, and Minister of Ecology Ostap Semerak to save the Porkovsk  zoo animals from abuse, however in vain so far. One more lion died from hunger after the transportation to another private zoo with an ambivalent reputation, and a number of animals have vanished without trace.

All the proposals of charities to transfer animals to sanctuaries were rejected by the owner of the zoo Igor Padalko, who is hoping to recover the animals after his zoo is rebuilt from public funds.

There are around 100 animals in private zoo in Pokrovsk, owned by Mr.Padalko, who denies veterinarians and activists the access to the dying animals. A few of them have been transported to another private zoo. Mr.Padalko is supported by the Mayor of Porkovsk Ruslan Trebushkin, and the governor of the Donetsk region Olexander Kutz.

The Ukrainian activists called for a demonstration in Kiev on the 24 of January opposite the Ministry of Ecology to protest against the animal abuse, and inaction of the Minister of Ecology Ostap Semerak, the petition for demanding his resignation has been circulation online, collecting the first hours two thousand signatures.

Ukrainian minister plagued by lions abuse scandal

Ukrainian animal welfare and animal rights groups demand the resignation of the Minister of Ecology and Natural resources Ostap Semerak (pictured), after the international scandal broke out regarding the horrendous systemic abuse of wild animals in a private Zoo in Pokrovsk. The minister did not respond to an ongoing international campaign for liberation of the lions and bears from torture conditions in Igor Padalko private zoo, in Donetsk region. After three month of relentless efforts, more than 600 hundred complains from the Ukrainian citizens, the requests of renown international wildlife charities, Members of the European Parliament, and stars,  Mr.Semerak did not do anything to save the animals from the horrendous abuse, and ensure an adequate veterinary care.

The animal rights groups were indignant to discover that the lions jammed into rusty self-made cages, freezing to their own urine and feces, were fed by grain, and well as all the other animals in the zoo, disrespectful to their natural needs.

Mr.Semerak broke his promise to the citizens, and did not order the evacuation of the abused, exhausted animals to specialized sanctuaries, and rehabilitation centers, while they were ready to receive the lions and bears, and even organize the transport themselves.

Till present one more lion died, while denied treatment in a veterinary clinic, one more lion from Padalko zoo vanished, as some others, including two bears, who were sitting in cages without a possibility to stretch themselves.

Ukraine does not need the Minister of Nature, indifferent to it, tarnishing the image of Ukraine abroad, unresponsive to citizens, and disrespectful to European values, the activists say in a petition launched online, collecting signatures for resignation of Ostap Semerak.

The Minister does not comment or react to the appeals of the animal rights groups, deleting all the requests and comments on the Ministry sites. “It is useless to write to him, because he is useless. He does not want to serve Ukrainian people, he simply does not care. Semerak should resign!” activists write in Twitter micro blog.

Apparently the Minister has forgotten that his major task is to ‘serve the people of Ukraine’, as a an executive should in a democratic country.

The manifestation for saving the animals of Porkovsk, who are between life and death, will take place in Kiev next to the Ministry  of Ecology on 24th of January at 10:30-15:00.

save pokrovsk animals

 

 

 

MEPs concerned with Ukrainian zoo cruelty

The January hearing of the Intergroup on the Welfare and the Conservation of Animals in Strasbourg chaired by Anja Hazekamp (NL, GUE/NGL)  opened the floor with the discussion of the devastating situation of lions, and bears in Porkovsk private zoo of Igor Padalko (Ukraine, Donetsk region).

The issue of Porkovsk zoo came to attention of the MEPs due to a Petition launched by Ukrainian animal welfare activists, who said they are not heard by their own government in Kiev, asking the European Parliament to take action to save animals from an ongoing horrendous abuse in Padalko private zoo. In a few days the Petition gathered 25 thousand signatures, and continues to circulate. The activists requested to freeze the EU micro-financial aid to Ukrainian government until the European values are respected, namely the Article 13 of Lisbon Treaty, stating that animal welfare is “European value“, and animals are “sentient beings.”

It has been years that Ukrainian activists have been struggling for liberation from a horrendous abuse of six lions, 11 bears and around 100 of other animals in Pokrovsk zoo , suffering in tiny filthy self-made cages, unable even to stretch their paws, stamping in their own feces, not removed for weeks.

MEPs present at the hearing were appalled by the cruelty to the wild animals, but also concerned by the inaction of the Ukrainian Ministry of Ecology, and the other relevant instances, who did not assume their responsibility.

padalko lion abuse

They also reminded that Stefan Eck, the vice-president of the group, has already called (5.12.2018) President Poroshenko to act in line with the European norms and save Padalko animals from abuse. So far the call remained unanswered, and Ukrainian activists informed about death of the second exhausted lion frozen alive in his urine in his cage (- 11C°). Soon after his death the corpse vanished.

Concluding the discussion the MEP sent a a letter from Intergroup to the  Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn, seeking his support, and reminding that the EU and Ukraine regularly reaffirm their strong partnership based on their association agreement and pledge to strengthen the political association and economic integration of Ukraine with the EU. As part of Ukraine’s ambitious reform agenda which is financially supported by the EU, “it would be desirable that also the respect of animal welfare concerns would be taken into account“.

The Intergroup has also written a letter to the Ukranian Minister for Ecology Ostap Semerak, asking him to take an immediate action to rescue and re-home the animals of Padalko zoo:  “…We call on you as the Ukrainian Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources to intervene as a matter of urgency in order to rescue and re-home the animals from this zoo. Be assured that any action you will take in this regard can be supported by NGOs who can offer help for re-homing the animals”.

The local animal welfare activists claim Igor Padalko kept animals in the abominable conditions for years with a purpose to collect money all over Ukraine via social networks: for “food for lions“, and for “cages construction“. Nobody saw any improvements for animals, however the Padalkos acquired for their son a comfortable apartment in Kiev.

The other lucrative activity was in receiving bus excursions of schoolchildren from the region, supposedly to learn about wild nature. Many teachers complained that children were crying, while looking at suffering on animals jammed in small filthy cages.

Although cruel and abusive towards animals, who had bruises and broken jaws from beatings with rods, unable even to stand up from hunger and exhaustion,  Padalko has been continuously accumulating social capital in local community – offering Ukrainian military from the front line the beautiful beach on river-side, and tea-houses for recreation on his 25-hectare territory; organising from time to time free dinners for elderly locals; and even adopting children. The remarkable social skills helped to establish connections, and even patronage, making all the attempts of the animal rights groups to liberate the lions and bears from the torture conditions ineffective.

Reportedly the adopted children were taken away from Padalko, presumably after numerous complains about his cruelty, the question remains, how such a character received the orphans in first place. Lately Padalko threatened to shoot activists, if they dare to enter the zoo. Local police asked to avoid any contacts with him, but also refused any complains of animal abuse. In spite of numerous frauds, and abuses, thanks to his connections Padalko stays “untouchable“.

Animal rights groups presume that Padalko counts on sympathy of the governor of the Donetsk region Oleksander Kuz, who send his employers to Kiev to hash up the scandal, and demand subsidies for the zoo renovation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

« Older Entries