Summer 2015

Summer 2015 AWI Quarterly - Cover, Photo by Zach Baranowski
Volume
64
Number
3
About the Cover

A frog of the genus Mantella (Mantella ebenaui or M. betsileo). The International Union for Conservation of Nature describes 16 species in this genus, all native only to Madagascar. The populations of 11 of those are listed as “declining,” with seven “endangered” or “critically endangered.” Habitat loss is cited as a primary factor. For some, however, another threat looms large: collection for the pet trade.

The situation is bleak the world over for frogs and their amphibian kin. Hundreds of millions of amphibians are plucked from the wild each year, to be traded as pets, eaten, sent to laboratories, or dissected in classrooms. See page 6 for more about the global onslaught on wild amphibians to feed an international trade that is cruel, wasteful, and not remotely sustainable.

Photo by Zach Baranowski

Table of Contents

Wildlife

Emirates, the world’s largest international air carrier, announced in May that it would no longer ship hunting trophies of elephants, rhinos, lions, and tigers. In August, in the wake of Cecil the lion’s trophy-hunt killing...
In a tragedy that made international headlines, Cecil the lion, a 13-year-old pride leader described as the “biggest tourist attraction” of Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park, was killed by American trophy hunter Walter James Palmer in...
In May, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) proposed what could arguably be considered two of the most detrimental changes ever to the listing process under the Endangered...
The Exotic Wildlife Association (EWA) and groupelephant.com have hatched a plan to fly 1,000 of South Africa’s orphaned white rhinos—about 6 percent of that country’s white rhino population—to private ranches in South Texas.
The White House unveiled a National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators on May 19. The strategy seeks to arrest the catastrophic decline of such pollinators as honey bees and...
That amphibians are the most imperiled class of vertebrates in the world is largely beyond debate. Such threats as habitat loss and overexploitation for meat or the pet trade are decimating amphibian species worldwide.
A Hawaii souvenir shop’s owner, employees, and business partners were indicted on 21 counts in June for illegally trafficking in whale bone, elephant and walrus ivory, and black corals.
Surveying nesting raptors provides important information on population productivity. Since raptors occupy spots near the top of the food web, they are also often good indicators of ecosystem health. But surveying raptor nests using traditional...
A case currently on appeal in federal courts could have serious implications for the scope of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The case involves the Utah prairie dog ( Cynomys parvidens ), a species listed...
The government of Zimbabwe has sold 24 elephant calves captured late last year in Hwange National Park to China. The young elephants—who were forcibly separated from their families—are headed to what has been described as...

Animals in Laboratories

A recent retraction of a paper describing a study involving squirrel monkeys at the now-closed New England National Primate Research Center (NENPRC) shows once again that poor animal welfare leads to poor science.
As the USDA considers a Petition for Rulemaking to establish criteria to promote the psychological well-being of primates, a discussion concerning regulations based on “performance standards” as opposed to “engineering standards” is timely.
An increasing number of scientists have been proposing that empathetic behaviors are not limited to human beings. They argue that animals are aware not only of themselves, but also of the emotional states of their...

Government Affairs

The 114th Congress has been an active one when it comes to animal welfare measures, both good and bad. A few of the most prominent good ones are summarized below. The outcome of the appropriations...
HB 3231, a bill proposed by AWI that provides for additional penalties when animal abuse is committed in front of a minor, passed the Illinois legislature (unanimously, in both chambers!) and was sent on June...
The North Carolina legislature really doesn’t care to know about animal abuse on farms. In May, it sent an ag-gag measure (HB 405) to Governor McCrory for his signature, but at the urging of thousands...
“That’s a wake-up call.” These words were uttered by the chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), after hearing about the numerous animals killed by horrific body-gripping traps.
Two bills recently signed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott mean good news for animals. HB 1579 prohibits buying and selling shark fins in the state, and makes Texas the 10th state to institute such a...

Marine Life

For 16 years­—the past two for AWI—Dr. Naomi Rose has been a member of the International Whaling Commission’s (IWC) Scientific Committee. She is an invited participant on the sub-committees on whalewatching and environmental concerns, and...
AWI and Defenders of Wildlife filed a petition on May 28 with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to list the Northwest Atlantic population of the thorny skate ( Amblyraja radiata ) as threatened or...
On June 5, a 3-week-old female beluga at Georgia Aquarium died. Just over a month later, another 3-week-old female beluga—born prematurely—died at SeaWorld San Antonio. The Georgia Aquarium birth had been hailed as a milestone,...
Ontario has become the first province in Canada to ban the breeding, purchase and sale of orcas. The new law, titled the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, passed the legislature...
A tragedy is unfolding in Mexico’s Upper Gulf of California. Fatal entanglements in shrimp and fish nets—many of them cast by poachers—are driving the world’s smallest cetacean to extinction.
In 1995, Robert Small and Douglas DeMaster calculated annual survivorship rates (ASRs) in captive orcas and compared these results to the ASRs of wild orcas living in the Pacific Northwest of North America.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) issued its latest ruling in April in a decades-long dispute between Mexico and the United States over “Dolphin Safe” labeling of tuna caught in the Eastern Tropical Pacific (ETP). The...
Each year, from roughly September through April, more than a thousand dolphins are removed from the wild during the unspeakably cruel Taiji, Japan, dolphin drive hunts. Most are herded into the shallows and violently slaughtered...

Farm Animals

On May 13 the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) proposed an amendment to its regulation requiring the immediate humane euthanasia of nonambulatory cattle.
AWI works every day to improve the lives of farm animals. We endeavor to get animal welfare laws and regulations passed, pressure the agriculture industry to improve its standards, and educate the public through reports...
The Trouble with Chicken, a Frontline documentary that premiered on PBS in May, exposes the dangers of microbial pathogens in poultry, and the lack of laws protecting the public. Following the show’s airing, two bills...

Reviews

In the summer of 2013, a young filmmaker from California named Jonny Zwick set out on a three-month journey around Iceland, intent on understanding the contradiction that makes the country both a burgeoning whalewatch center...
Saving the Pryor Mountain Mustang: A Legacy of Local and Federal Cooperation , chronicles the lengthy and evolving struggle of one local community to preserve an isolated wild horse herd on the Wyoming/Montana border.
Each year, using taxpayer dollars and very cruel methods, the USDA’s Wildlife Services program kills anywhere from 1.5 million to more than 5 million animals. What is especially frightening about the program is its lack...

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