Adopt an Animal - News

Animal Tourism In Asia Results In Elephants Being Kept In Cruel Conditions

WWF Helps Break Up Major Ivory Trafficking Network

Animal welfare group World Animal Protection says that Asia’s tourism industry makes use of hundreds of elephants that are kept in extremely cruel conditions. Scrutiny of animal tourism in Asia has been stepped up over the last few years particularly in light of the scandal in Thailand at a tiger attraction where wildlife authorities discovered dozens of dead tiger cubs.

Poor living conditions for domesticated elephants

World Animal Protection says that 80 per cent of the 3,000 elephants at tourist venues are located in countries such as India, Cambodia, Nepal, Laos, Thailand and Sri Lanka suffer and from extremely poor living conditions and diets. The poor animals are also over worked. In Thailand alone, it is estimated that there are 4,000 domesticated elephants many of which work in the tourism industry. There are a further 2,500 wild elephants in the country as well.

Changing the attitudes of tourists

Jan Schmidt-Burbach, a wildlife expert at World Animal Protection says the organisation wants to change the demand by tourists to experience an elephant ride or take in an elephant show. Instead the organisation wants tourists to gravitate towards more elephant friendly activities such as simply observing the animals. In an interview with Reuters, Mr Schmidt-Burbach says if you have the ability to ride an elephant or take a selfie with one, it is highly likely that is cruel to the animal.

Tourist attractions reject the accusation of cruelty

Thailand is experiencing record numbers of foreign tourists, and since 2010 there has been an increase of 30 per cent in the number of elephant tourism venues. Ittipan Khaolamai, manager of the Royal Elephant Kraal in Ayutthaya province, which servers as home to about 90 elephants defends the use of elephants as tourist attractions. He says that caretakers treat their animals well adding that in general most mahouts look after the animals because their livelihoods depend on their welfare.

"Please note, any prices mentioned in the adopt an animal blog are correct at the time of posting. Please check the relevant website for the latest pricing information."

New Zealand’s Iconic Yellow-Eyed Penguin Is On The Brink Of Extinction

Penguins Only Have Bitter And Salty Taste Receptors

The yellow-eyed penguin is one of the most endangered penguin species on the planet, so it is deeply concerning that nearly half of its breeding population has disappeared in one part of New Zealand. Many conservationists believe the reason for the disappearance is commercial fishing. This species of penguin lives on the South Island of New Zealand and some sub Antarctic islands. Presently there are between 3,200 to 3,600 wild yellow-eyed penguins, down from 7,000 in 2000.

Alarming discovery

New Zealand’s department of conservation recently surveyed the island sanctuary of Whenua Hou and were alarmed when they discovered that nearly half the island’s breeding population of the penguin species had simply vanished. Elsewhere around the country, the species population is at the lowest level in 27 years. Kevin Hague, a noted conservationist says that the island used to be free of predators, so the evidence suggests that the birds are being caught in the nets of commercial fishing trawlers and subsequently drown. Only 3 per cent of commercial trawlers fishing in the region have observers onboard to report bycatch deaths.

Commercial fishing is probably to blame

According to Mr Hague, in previous years, the reason for population declines were disease and high temperatures causing death on land. This year he believes that most deaths take place out at sea. He adds that there is an active set net fishery operating within the penguins’ sanctuary in Whenua Hou and the indicators suggest that nearly half of the population of this island has been caught by one of these nets and drowned.

Heading towards extinction

Last year there were 24 recorded nests on Whenua Hou. This year the conservationists could only find 14. Whenua Hou is not the only island in New Zealand where numbers have fallen. There have been population declines in other parts of the South Island as well. Researchers rather unsurprisingly are worried that this iconic species of penguin for New Zealanders, whose image appears on the NZ$5 note is heading towards extinction. Every effort is being made by conservation groups to save the species, but there are multiple threats ranging from fishing nets, dogs, disease and climate change.

"Please note, any prices mentioned in the adopt an animal blog are correct at the time of posting. Please check the relevant website for the latest pricing information."

Lion Pride Attacks And Kills South African Poacher

Lions To Return To Rwanda after Twenty Year Absence

We guess you could call this a case of someone getting what they deserve. A suspected poacher in South Africa was attacked, killed and eaten by a pride of lions. The lions left very little for police to go on, and all that was remained of the body was just its head. According to reports, the man could be heard screaming for help at the Ingwelala Private Nature Reserve in Hoedspruit, outside Phalaborwa. Despite his screams, the lions rapidly killed their prey and ate most of his body before being chased away. The only remaining body part was the victim’s head, which the police are using to try to identify him.

Initial theory was incorrect

Initially the police believed the dead man was a simple tractor driver employed by the game reserve. However, that theory was debunked after they established the man in question was still alive and it was more likely the victim was a poacher. South African police have confirmed they are investigating the likelihood that the victim may well be a poacher because of the presence of a hunting rifle that was found close to his remains.

Lion poaching has reduced the population by 42 per cent over two decades

Police officers in Limpopo contacted the Department of Home Affairs to seek their assistance in identifying the victim. According to a police spokesperson, it appears as if the victim was more than likely poaching in the game park where the lions attacked and killed him. So far, the reserve has refused to provide any comment citing the fact that the police investigation is still underway. According to estimates about 250 people every year in Africa are killed by lions. The IUCN conducted research which found that between 1993 and 2014 the lion population in Africa fell by a whopping 42 per cent.

Body parts are highly prized

There are now less than 20,000 lions left in Africa and their body parts are much sought after for use in traditional Eastern medicine. Lion skeletons can fetch in excess of £7,000, whilst lion teeth can cost upwards of £500 and a lion skin can sell for up to £3,000. The latest attack on a poacher follows a few months after another poacher in Namibia was charged at and killed by a rhino he was hunting for its horn. All’s well that ends well we say!

"Please note, any prices mentioned in the adopt an animal blog are correct at the time of posting. Please check the relevant website for the latest pricing information."

Black Bear With 3 Kilogram Tongue Has It Surgically Removed

New Study Finds Grizzly Bears Able To Use Tools

Recently a bear was forced to have emergency surgery to remove its tongue after it had grown so large and become so heavy that it lolled from its mouth and was being dragged along the floor. Veterinarians familiar with case say that the bizarre swelling which resulted in a tongue that weighed 3 kilograms is entirely without precedent. One vet who has been working with bears for more than a decade said she had never seen anything like it and was completely astonished.

Rescued by monks

The Asian black bear, which is more commonly referred to as a moon bear because they have a golden crescent on their chest is named Nyan htoo. He was rescued by monks following his abduction from his mother by traffickers from Myanmar who were planning to send him to China. In China there is massive demand for bear gall bladders which are used as treatments in traditional Asian medicine.

Monks contacted vets

The monks of course immediately noticed the size of the bear’s tongue and contacted a local vet who in turn alerted another vet from the UK. She along with a number of other specialists travelled to the monastery in rural Myanmar where the bear was being cared for. Since the bear was less than two years of age, the vets believe the condition could be congenital or a form of elephantiasis which is a parasitic infection transmitted by mosquitos. The latter thesis however is less likely because no other species has ever been affected by it.

The first treatment attempt failed

Last year the team of vets visited the bear and attempted to remove some of the excess tissue in order to ease the swelling. That proved to be unsuccessful because over time, the tongue continued to extend which meant a more aggressive approach was necessary. There was a lot of discussion and debate within the team because the procedure is a major surgery which cannot be undone. In the end it was concluded that quality of life was most important and removal was the best way for the bear to live a normal life as possible.

The bear will need to adjust

The vet who treated the bear said it is not normal to have to carry a tongue that weighs 3 kilograms which is a lot of weight on both the jaw and head. Additionally, the tongue was being dragged around on the floor and that is simply unhygienic. Furthermore, the bear was unable to close his mouth. Now the tongue has been removed he is able to close his mouth and manipulate food. There will be a period of adjustment and adaptation following the procedure, but in the end, it’s probably the best solution to the problem the vet concluded.

"Please note, any prices mentioned in the adopt an animal blog are correct at the time of posting. Please check the relevant website for the latest pricing information."

Polar Bears Likely To Become Extinct Sooner Than Expected

New Home Could Be Found For Sad Polar Bear

A new study has confirmed that polar bears are indeed starving and suggests the species could face extinction much faster than previously anticipated. Researchers participating in the study attached collars to nine bears and recorded their activity levels for almost two weeks. The results confirmed what is already known, the species is suffering from extreme food shortages that are the product of climate change which has caused the Arctic sea ice to melt. This means polar bears are forced to travel further and expend more energy to hunt.

Struggling to survive

The study was conducted over a three-year period by researchers from the US Geological Survey and University of California, Santa Cruz. The results indicated that polar bears are moving 1.6 times more than what was found by previous studies. The increased activity caused by the search for food means they have larger calorie deficits. The report makes the depressing finding that if climate change continues, the species will struggle to survive.

Polar bears are slowly starving

According to the study an adult polar bear requires 12,325 calories per day to maintain its energy level which is the equivalent of one ringed seal every 10 days. Over the time period when the collars were attached to the polar bears, all nine bears were unable to consume their calorie requirement and lost a combined mass of 20 kilograms. Another way to put the situation is that polar bears are now living under conditions of famine. WWF estimates that polar bears spend more than half their time hunting and are only successful less than 2 per cent of that time.

Climate change is to blame

The US Fish and Wildlife Service classifies polar bears as an endangered species and the protection program repeatedly highlights the role climate change plays. Experts say unless the problem of a warming Arctic can be mitigated the long-term fate of the polar bear is far from certain. Arctic sea ice measured at the end of last year was recorded at its lowest level since 1979 according to data from the United States National Snow & Ice Data Center.

Population has fallen dramatically

Researchers estimate that the polar bear population has fallen by as much as 40% over the last ten years, however researchers add that it is difficult to study the behaviour of the species in such harsh environments. There is now technology that allows researchers to learn how polar bears move on the ice, monitor their activity patterns and estimate their energy needs. This means we can better understand the implications of changes that are happening to the Arctic sea ice.


"Please note, any prices mentioned in the adopt an animal blog are correct at the time of posting. Please check the relevant website for the latest pricing information."

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