Adopt an Animal - News

Last Polar Bear In South Korea To Be Moved To UK

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South Korea’s last polar bear will be sent to the United Kingdom so that he no longer has to contend with the stifling humid summers of the Asia Pacific and can live his life in more appropriate surroundings his keepers say. Tongki is a 23-year-old male polar bear who takes his name from a 1980’s Japanese cartoon character currently lives in a 3,500 square foot enclosure at the Everland theme park on the outskirts of Seoul. He was born in captivity and is the only bear at the zoo after another bear died three years ago.

Moving to the UK

In November, Tongki will be moved to the Yorkshire Wildlife part in the Northern part of the United Kingdom. The park has impressive facilities, boasting a 40,000 square metre polar bear reserve that has been purpose built to replicate the Arctic summer habitat of the species complete with a number of lakes.

Better environment

His present handler Lee Kwang Hee says he hopes Tongki spends his final years in a better environment and is much happier. Currently there are four polar bears residing at the Yorkshire Park, Victor, Pixel, Nissan and Nobby. Unfortunately, their keepers do not know whether the group will accept the new addition to the reserve. The hope is that over time the group slowly become accustomed to Tongki and will eventually accept him as a member.

Tongki will not be replaced

Everland says it will not add another polar bear and no other zoos in South Korea have any plans to bring the species to their facilities. Polar bears are classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of endangered species as being vulnerable. South Korean animal rights groups have longed called on zoos in the country to stop keeping polar bears and rather unsurprisingly have welcomes the decision by Everland. One campaign group calling itself Care says that the long hot summer in South Korea is tortuous for polar bears. Tongki is about 80 years old in human years and has lived a long life in isolation without family and friends for far too long the group says.

"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."

More Tigers Owned As Pets In The United States Than In The Wild

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Conservation agency Smithsonian estimates that there may be thousands more captive tigers in the United States alone than anywhere in the wild. Estimates of the US captive tiger population range from between 5,000 to 7,000. In contrast, the population of wild tigers is just 3,900 says WWF. Just how things got so bad is difficult to explain and arriving at an estimate of the pet tiger population in the United States is difficult because so many owners hide them.

Lack of laws

Experts say that many US states do not have laws preventing people from owning exotic animals as pets. In states where ownership is regulated, the rules are rarely enforced. Many tiger breeders operate freely throughout the country at a time when wild tiger populations are declining. The kind of individual who owns a tiger as a pet must be wealthy enough to have enough land for an enclosure. Usually they will have seen someone else with a tiger as a pet and decide they want one as well.

Turning tigers into roadside attractions

Some people turn their tigers into roadside attractions or treat them as a luxury item for showing off to their friends. Some captive tigers will end up in circuses or other groups that use them as a source of entertainment which generates profit. In general, a would-be tiger owner will get one as a cub when the tiger is far cuter and less dangerous. At that point an exotic pet owner may falsely believe they have what it takes to care for a tiger throughout the course of its life which they can’t.

Captive tigers are a tragedy

Full grown tigers are extremely needy in terms of nutrition, space and the drive to learn how hunt, all of which private owners simply cannot provide. As a result, these tigers end up looking completely diminished and unhappy in comparison to wild tigers and are wholly unprepared for a life in the world. The best-case scenario for a tiger that has been rescued from private ownership is a home in a responsible sanctuary.

Policy has to be changed

Unless policy is changed substantially, it will probably be impossible to get a precise estimate of the number of tigers owned as pets in the United States. Experts say that big cat ownership should be banned outright in the country and there is a bill that has been introduced in Congress promising to do just that. Unfortunately, the progress of the bill has been stalled nevertheless funding should be increased to enforce the law experts say. Unless the law is enforced, they are meaningless.

"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."

Scientists Can Now Track Penguin Huddles In Real Time

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On Antarctica’s harsh frozen landscape, emperor penguins huddle together to defend themselves from the cold and windy weather. The huddling allows the penguins to pool their warmth and conserve energy during periods between forages and breeding. This behaviour has been documented for a long time but now scientists have the technology to observe the evolution of a penguin huddle. The study revealed the main trigger prompting penguins to huddle and reaffirmed the purpose of the behaviour.

Remote sensing has changed the game

Because huddles are located great distances away from permanent research stations in icy and windy conditions, it is extremely challenging to obtain information one of the researchers says. Now because there are remote sensing observatories that have instruments linked to the internet it is possible for researchers to go online any time they want and see exactly what is happening in the emperor penguin colony.

Huddling for Warmth

In May 2014 remote sensors observed the shape and total areas of huddles and then estimated the number of individual penguins within each huddle. Other instruments were simultaneously used to record the wind speed, ambient temperature, solar radiation and relative humidity. By using that data and comparing it with the penguins huddling behaviour, researchers found that penguins were much more likely to huddle when it gets extremely cold, when the phase transition temperature drops to −48.2°C.

Penguins as proxies

The transition temperature is basically a combination of four weather parameters into a single metric that is measured in degrees. This is able to serve as a proxy for the success penguins can expect when foraging for food. This means that if the temperature warms and for some reasons the penguins huddle in response, it suggests the penguins have less energy to keep themselves warm. The findings are consistent with the thesis that penguins huddle for warmth rather than protection from predators.

Tracking climate change

Continuous data has been available since 2013 and researchers point out that the huddling behaviour of penguin’s tracks changes to the Antarctic biome in response to global warming. The researchers say it is important to know which colonies are going to be the worst affected by climate change because it allows conservation efforts to be targeted and measures like marine protected areas to be established to help keep them protected.

"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."

US Lifts Ban On Elephant Trophy Hunting Angering Millions

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There has been an angry line drawn in the sands of the Southern part of the African continent. On one side you will find a pack of conservationists and biologists demanding action and on the other are a group consisting of politicians and hunters refusing to compromise. Recently the United States lifted its ban on the importation of wildlife trophies such as elephants and this has led to the outbreak of all out war between the two groups who both claim to represent the best interests of wildlife.

What is best for elephant conservation?

Conservationists and animal rights groups argue that the lifting of the ban will lead to increased hunting of a species already under threat and is virtually impossible to regulate on a continent that is riddled with corruption. Hunting advocates claim that the new rules will better manage wildlife populations ultimately leading to better elephant conservation. They also suggest that the cost of hunting an elephant at between US$4,000 to $50,000 will produce revenue which fund better conservation.

Not all of it is down hunting and poaching

In 1972 there were 200,000 wild elephants in Zambia, tragically that number fell to 21,000 in 2016. It is important to remember that you cannot apportion all the blame to legal hunting. In Africa there has been a reduction in both water and food as well as climate change over the last few decades and this has had a significant impact on survival for many species. So, despite the fact that the international community has fought back against the trade in ivory, climate change plays a significant role in the threat of extinction for elephants.

Take action by adopting an elephant

So, what is the best course of action if you care about elephants? The best thing you can do is convert your frustration into action by signing one of the many petitions that are circulating seeking to ban trophy hunting again. You could also purchase a t-shirt from the #BeKindToElephants launched by Ellen Degeneres with all proceeds being donated to conservation of the iconic species. Or you could simply sponsor an elephant with WWF. Regardless of what you do, you need to make sure your voice is heard for the sake of the entire species.

"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."

Asian Elephants Face New Threat From Growing Chinese Demand For Skin Products

WWF Helps Break Up Major Ivory Trafficking Network

A UK based conservation group says that growing Chinese demand for elephant skin products is resulting in greater poaching of the protected species. The increased demand poses an even greater threat to the wild elephants of Asia than even the illegal trade in ivory the group claims. The Elephant Family released a report which suggests that the threat to the Asian elephant is most severe in Myanmar and also warned that if conditions continue to worsen, the species could vanish from half the areas they currently inhabit.

All elephants are in danger

The report goes on to add that the threat posed by the trade in elephant skin products is greater than that of the ivory trade because poachers can target any elephant, rather than just those with tusks, which means those living in poorly protected areas are in grave danger. The conservation group says its studies have yielded results which show that elephant skin is ground down into fine particles and then sold in China as a treatment for stomach ache. Elephant skin is also being used in jewellery and other products which are sold both in stores and online.

Trade is taking place online with government blessing

A spokesperson for Elephant Family told journalists in Bangkok that the group began monitoring Asian elephants in 2014 and since then there has been a dramatic increase in advertising campaigns and sales of products. The group was able to identify at least 50 individual Chinese traders through social media. Product information and prices are quoted in Mandarin and apparently even China’s State Forestry Administration has approved permits for products containing elephant skin.

Trying to raise awareness

The group says it was troubled and found it perverse that whilst China has show a commitment towards ending trade in ivory, it was simultaneously creating new and legal demand for elephant skin products. The spokesperson said the group had contacted officials in China and is working with officials in Myanmar to raise the issue. Elephant Family estimates that the current population of wild elephants in Myanmar is approximately 2000.

Illegal elephant poaching is on the rise

Myanmar’s department of forests says that wild elephant deaths have risen over the last few years from 26 in 2013 to 61 in 2016 and according to Elephant Family most of those deaths were caused by illegal poaching. The spokesperson adds that quite a lot of skin can be harvested from a single elephant and if a group of 25 are killed as was the case on one occasion in Myanmar, that is a lot of product. The ivory trade poses less of a problem because on male Asian elephants have tusks. Elephant skin on the other hand can be harvested from males, females and juveniles which means no elephant is safe.

"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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