Colorado Wild Animal Sanctuary Euthanizes ALL Its Animals Following Relocation Dispute

If you ever needed another reason to believe that our world grows a little darker each day, this is a good one. A wild animal sanctuary in Colorado has euthanized all its animals after a relocation dispute.

The Lion’s Gate Sanctuary put down its three lions, three tigers and five bears on April 20 after local county commissioners denied their request to move about 20 miles from its site southeast of Denver. The sanctuary owner and local psychologist, Dr. Joan Laub, said that she had “no other option” as the site had repeatedly flooded over the past two years–making it impossible for them to care for the animals properly.

The Elbert County Commissioners said that they were “shocked” and “saddened” by the decision after the sanctuary’s owners had promised to continue to care for the animals at the center if their proposal was turned down. “The decision by the operators of Lion’s Gate to euthanize all their animals comes as total surprise,” they said in an official statement.

“Only two weeks earlier, the operators of the facility assured the County in a public forum that if the application was denied, they would still continue to operate at their current location as they had for the previous 10 years.”

Laub, however, vehemently denies ever giving such an assurance, calling the statement a “blatant lie”. In a statement to an online publication, Laub stressed “We want to be clear we did not put our animals down because we were denied by the Elbert County Commissioners. We put our animals down because it was NO LONGER SAFE FOR THEM AND NO LONGER SAFE FOR THE PUBLIC. This was made abundantly clear to the Elbert County Commissioners. The commissioners were not concerned with the safety of residents around the Sanctuary–only the residents at the relocation site.”

The commissioners added that the nearby Keenesburg Wildlife Sanctuary, which is home to 450 animals, had publicly offered to care for the animals at their facility if Lion’s Gate was unable to do so.

The founder and executive director of Keenesberg park, Pat Craig, mentioned that Lion’s Gate had so few animals that “they would easily be able to place every animal with another wildlife sanctuary”. This comes along with his surprised reaction that the owners of Lion’s Gate did not try to find a new home for their animals.

“Given these facts, the news that Lion’s Gate euthanized all 11 animals at the same time and so shortly after the decision to deny the move comes as an absolute shock” the county commissioners added.

Dr. Laub argued that she was not able to move the animals–some of which were endangered–to another sanctuary because they were already old and vulnerable. “We did think long and hard about relocating these animals,” she said “However, due to their ages and disabilities, they would not have survived a move to a new facility. Our vet agreed to this.”

Given this information, it is unclear why she would have asked to have the animals relocated to begin with. The Colorado Parks and Wildlife official Facebook page says that their purpose was to “rescue and protect exotic animals” but said that the sanctuary owners are within their legal rights to work with their vets to decide when to put down animals.

All 11 animals have since been buried since being euthanized.

Plausible Sightings of Extinct Tasmanian Tiger Sparks Search in Queensland

Zoologists in Queensland are in a tizzy. It seems that plausible possible sightings of a Tasmanian tiger in Northern Queensland has triggered scientists to undertake a search for the species long thought to have died out more than 80 years ago.

The last Tasmanian tiger was thought to have died in Hobart Zoo in 1936. It was also widely believed to have become extinct on mainland Australia at least 2,000 years ago. As of late, sightings of some large dog-like animals that are neither dingoes nor foxes have spiked in the recent decades despite the common skepticism that surrounded the accounts.

It was the recent eyewitness accounts of potential thylacines in the far Northern Queensland that became the catalyst for scientists from James Cook University to launch a search for the animal.

It is Professor Bill Laurance said that he had spoken, at some length, with two people about the animals they had seen in Cape York peninsula that could potentially be Tasmanian tigers. The accounts of the sightings were quite plausible as the descriptions of the animals were quite detailed.

One was a long standing employee of the Queensland National Park Services and the other was a frequent camper in the north of the state. The professor said all the potential sightings to date had been at night. “In one case, four animals were observed at close rage–about 20 feet away–with a spotlight.”

The detailed descriptions of the eyes, shape, and behavior were inconsistent with the known attributes of other large species in the north Queensland. The common animals in the area are dingoes, wild dogs, or feral pigs.

The sightings occurred at two separate locations on the Cape York peninsula but the specific details of the locations are being kept confidential. “Everything is being handled with strict confidence,” says Laurance.

He mentioned people who claimed to have seen a thylacine were “quite nervous about relating their tales for fear of being branded kooks or fringe types”.

Even English ethologist, evolutionary biologist and author, Richard Dawkins has tweeted hopefully regarding news of the study. “Can it be true? Has Thylacinus been seen alive? And in mainland Australia not Tasmania? I so want it to be true.”

Sandra Abell, a researcher with James Cook University’s Center for Tropical Environmental and Sustainability Science who was leading the field survey has said that they had been contacted with more possible sightings since their intentions were made known to the public. She was in the process of deciding on sites for more than 50 cameras that will be set up on Cape York peninsula. Their target date shall be at the onset of the dry season in April or May.

Abell also said even if a thylacine was not detected, the survey would inform the center’s understanding of the status of rare and endangered mammal species on the peninsula. It seems that several mammals, including the northern bettong, were at risk from introduced predators.

“It is a low possibility that we’ll find thylacines, but we’ll certainly get lots of data on the predators in the area and that will help our studies in general,” she said.  It was “not impossible” there were thylacines to be found. “It is not a mythical creature. A lot of descriptions people give, it’s not a glimpse in the car headlights. People who say they’ve actually seen them can describe them in great detail–so it’s hard to say they’ve seen anything else. I’m not ruling it out at all, but to actually get them on camera will be incredibly lucky.”

We’re all hoping the rediscovery of a thriving Tasmanian tiger, aren’t you?

Some Animal Species Declared Extinct in 2016

It’s no secret that our planet has become increasingly uninhabitable over the last hundred years. There are several factors that contribute to this: industrialization, overpopulation, the inherent disassociation of people with the problems they’re causing, etc.

Not everything seemed so bleak with several communities of people gathering for the sake of protecting animals species that were nearing extinction. There have some degrees of success. The beloved Giant Panda of China is no longer considered to be endangered. Despite this, other organizations that aim to protect endangered species  seem to be fighting a losing battle. Sadly, in 2016, there were several animals that went extinct. We list them here today.

Two species of Bettongs

Bettongs are these tiny rodent-like marsupials are commonly called rat-kangaroos that are indigenous to Australia. Two species of Bettongs were officially declared extinct in 2016:

Nullabor Dwarf Bettong

The Nullabor Dwarf Bettong (Bettongia pusilla) was a species of Bettong that was endemic to the Nullabor Plain in Western Australia. It is known only from subfossil material but is considered to have been extant at European settlement.

Desert Bettong

Scientifically known as Bettongia anhydra. It was originally described as a subspecies of B. pencillata, the Desert Bettong was only recently recognized as a full species. Sadly, it was not fully known how abundant this species was before its extinction. It was thought to have been driven to extinction because of predators that were introduced to its habitat like Red Foxes and feral domestic cats.

Lesser Stick-nest Rat

The last two specimens of Lesser Stick-nest Rat (Leporillus apicalis) were collected near Mt. Crombie, Australia in July 1933. Stick-nest Rats constructed large nests of sticks and sometimes stones, depending on available construction materials. Some remaining in caves in breakaways in the Gibson Desert and near the Finke stock route in the southern Northern Territory are more than 3 m by 2 m by 1 m high.

The construction of stick-nests shows that shelter was important; the nests probably provided an ameliorated microclimate and some protection from predators. A nest may have sheltered several individuals, with records of up to ten in a nest. However, there were several records of events where the nests were burned–although the reason for this is unclear.

Ridley’s Stick Insect

The oddly named Ridley’s Stick Insect (Pseudobactricia ridleyi) was native to Singapore. With Singapore’s massive industrialization spike, most of its forest has been removed. Ridley’s Stick Insect is known from just one specimen collected in Singapore more than 100 years ago. As almost all natural forest in Singapore has since been cleared, extensive searches of the remaining forest have failed to reveal any more specimens of this species, genus or subfamily. Exhaustive surveys have also been carried out in neighboring countries which have failed to reveal any evidence of the species.

Contomastix Charrua

This is a small lizard that lived on the small island of Cabo Polonio, Paraguay. It seems to have met its extinction because of the massive increase of human settlement on the island. While there is some discussion over whether or not it may just be a color variant of the Contomastix lacertoides, there hasn’t been any new specimens found to develop conclusive findings.

What the Paris Agreement Can Do For Our Fish Stock

In recent decades, our planet’s temperature has been rising, bringing with it some pretty disastrous consequences. Sea levels rise and species of marine wildlife have been dislocated. Climate change is expected to force fish and other species to migrate toward cooler waters. The sheer number of species of fish caught in different parts of the world will impact local fishers where such species are usually found. This will make fishery management to become increasingly difficult as the temperatures continue to rise.

Thomas Frölicher, a principal investigator at the Nippon Foundation-Nereus Program and senior scientist at ETH Zürich, has said that changes in ocean conditions that affect fish stocks, like temperature and oxygen concentration, are primarily related to atmospheric warming and carbon emissions. He also stated that for every metric ton of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere, the maximum catch potential decreases by a significant amount.

This is a crucial point that should come up whenever the Paris Agreement is discussed. The Paris Agreement is an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) concerning greenhouse gases emissions mitigation, adaptation, and finance starting in the year 2020. If countries abide by the Paris Agreement global warming target of 1.5 degrees Celsius, our fish stock and fish catches could increase by six million metric tons per year.

Studies wherein the Paris Agreement 1.5C scenario was compared to the currently pledged 3.5C found the simulated changes to be quite drastic. The results showed that for every degree Celsius decrease in global warming, the potential fish catches all around the world could increase more than three metric million tons per year. Previous researches reflected that today’s global fish catch is roughly 110 million metric tons. So obviously, we can only gain by doing solid actions to insure this goal now.

Initial studies regarding the Paris Agreement suggest that the Indo-Pacific area will more than likely see a 40% increase in fishery catches at a 1.5C warming rather than at 3.5C. The Arctic region would have a greater influx of fish under the 3.5C scenario but will lose more sea ice and face pressure to expand fisheries.

The sheer number of the projected yield should ideally be more than enough incentive for countries and the private sector to substantially increase their commitments and actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We all need to work on this together—if even just one country opts out of the Paris Agreement, there will be a clear reduction of the otherwise global positive effects we should all be getting.

Our population is only climbing higher and we’re running out of resources to reasonably sustain us all. Some oceans are more sensitive to changes in temperature and will have substantially larger gains from the Paris Agreement. Tropical areas are among the places where in the most yield increase will be felt. This is quite a significant point for them to consider given that tropical areas are those who are highly dependent on fisheries for food and livelihood.

If we want to continue to enjoy living on this blue globe of ours as the dominant species, we need to ensure that our descendants should have their share of continued food and fair temperature.

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