It’s no secret I’m a lover of all things nature- and wildlife-related. I’m a die-hard environmentalist and I’m not afraid to let people know it or challenge them on their preconceived notions on those subjects. So I think it’s really important that the issues surrounding the environment and wildlife are shared around the world. You can’t fix a problem if you’re not aware there is one, right?
So here’s a look at some of the wildlife stories I found in the first two months of 2017. Some are success-stories, highlighting important work done by amazing people, others are frustrating and make me want to punch someone (preferably an orange-wigged, compulsive tweeting someone).
– Last August, 16 members of a lion pride in Zambia were poisoned. Over the next 20 hours, several wildlife organisations rushed to save them. One of the worst cases was a pregnant female, who not only managed to survive, but carried her babies to full term and recently gave birth to them.
– Anyone looking for a pet chinchilla? As of January 1st, Croatia has banned all fur farms within the country. The chinchilla was the only species being bred exclusively for fur, and a project to find homes for those cute critters now saved from a horrific fate is expected go ahead.
– The United Arab emirates has now banned keeping wild animals as pets, including cheetahs, leopards and tigers. The big cats have been seen as status symbols for a long time, but now private ownership and dealing in them has been outlawed.
– Not technically a wildlife story, but one I feel is important to share. The solar industry in the US now employs more people than the oil, coal and gas industries combined. While a lot of this is due to the construction of the new solar infrastructure, if traditional fossil fuels were phased out and renewable energy sources increased, the number of construction workers necessary would soar.
– And finally, a too-cute-to-be-true story for you: a couple of premature baby goats were too weak to stand by themselves, so carers made two swings to help them with their balance and increasing their strength. It’s ridiculously cute.
– The US House of Representatives recently overturned a federal rule outlawing several disgusting and horrific wildlife “management” practices on national reserves in Alaska. The marginal vote means that killing hibernating bears and wolf pups in their dens, using steel-jawed traps and snares, and spotting bears from helicopters before landing to shoot them, are all lawful practices now. The purpose of this is to drive down predator numbers in these areas so that more caribou and moose are available for hunters. It’s now up to the Senate and Trump to stop this, but I don’t have high hopes for that.
– Speaking of Trump… In his second repeal of regulation finalised during Obama’s time (please come back), he has overturned a rule preventing mining companies from dumping waste into nearby water systems. He called it a “major threat to your jobs” and said “we’re going to fight for you”. Pity he doesn’t think toxic waste in water supplies is a threat.
– Australia is batshit insane when it comes to wildlife. From having most of the world’s deadliest snakes, massive spiders and adorable but…ahem….unique mammals, Australia really is unlike anywhere else in the world. And I love it for that. So it doesn’t seem all that surprising when a red-bellied black snake and a brown snake were found wrestling each other by a passerby in South Australia. The brown snake is the second deadliest snake in the world, but that didn’t stop the red-bellied from swallowing it whole.
– Another ridiculous story from Australia: a bottlenose dolphin was reported being seen with a shirt wrapped around it in Western Australia after Australia Day. The Aussies are just as bad as the Irish for getting way too drunk and doing stupid shit. But it saddens me to think what that poor dolphin had to go through – being manhandled by hammered “blokes” is no one’s idea of a good time. This happened in the same week that a baby dolphin in Argentina died after being stranded because the beach-goers chose to take selfies with it instead of putting it back in the water. Ugh, now can I punch someone, please?
I'm a traveller and zoologist who is passionate about seeing the world and the incredible creatures who inhabit it. I love planning new adventures, working with wildlife around the world and promoting ethical animal encounters and volunteer opportunities.
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