May 5, 2021Lu Shegay & Zihao Yu

Animal Rescue Organizations in South Korea Work to Save 50 Abandoned Dogs at a Former Slaughterhouse


April 20, 2021

Korean animal protection groups have joined forces to save 50 dogs from being euthanized on a dog meat farm in Yongin city after the facility was closed down by the authorities. The dogs were found by the rescuers locked up in barren metal cages without water or proper food, after the four farmers running the farm had moved off the property following a demolition order by local officials. The farm had been operating in breach of the national Animal Protection Act.

Some of the dogs were caged next to animals that were being slaughtered and were traumatized from watching and hearing the dogs being killed. All of the animals, including jindos and mastiffs, which are breeds often promoted as “meat dogs” by the industry, are now receiving veterinary care and vaccinations.

Many of the dogs were suffering from malnutrition, as well as painful skin diseases and sore feet due to standing on wire cage floors. Others had also been left with painful and untreated head and ear wounds. A number of the animals were extremely afraid of people, left tightly curled up and trembling in the back of the cage.

Commentaries of IALA

There are approximately 2 million dogs kept and raised for dog meat in South Korea. The Animal Protection Act of South Korea covers dogs and prohibits cruelty against them. Unfortunately, dog farming is conducted in violation of the Act, and, currently, only Seoul, the capital of South Korea, is a dog meat-free city. Humane Society International Korea has already shut down 17 dog meat farms in the country. Also, according to the recent poll, approximately 84% of South Korean respondents said they will not or do not eat dog meat, and 60% of respondents supported the ban of the dog meat trade.

Hunger, Disorientation Blamed for Pilot Whale Mass Stranding in Indonesia


April 21, 2021

Lung damage, hunger, and disorientation have been cited as the factors that led a pod of 52 pilot whales to a mass stranding on an Indonesian island earlier this year.

The experts said the cause of death of the alpha pilot whale, a female, was shortness of breath caused by damaged air sacs in her lungs, and hunger. Dehydration and exhaustion were found to be the cause of death for the rest of the pod. They also found severe inflammation in the alpha whale’s melon, which most likely disrupted her ability to navigate and subsequently led her and the rest of the pod to wash ashore. Pilot whales are very social animals that travel in groups.

The Indonesian fisheries ministry has called for necropsies to be carried following future stranding incidents, saying the accumulated findings will help improve efforts to handle strandings. Marine mammal experts often cite water pollution, extreme weather, and shipping activity as among the possible causes of whale and dolphin strandings. These, and other indicators of ocean health, remain quite low for Indonesia, said T.B. Haeru Rahayu, the fisheries ministry’s director-general of marine planning.

Commentaries of IALA

Mass cetacean stranding cases are common in Indonesia, which has the longest coastline in Asia and thus serves as a habitat for lots of aquatic creatures. Unfortunately, such strandings have become often in many countries across the globe. Aquatic animals face a lot of threats at the present time, both direct and indirect human activities, which include water pollution, climate change, fishing. There is an urgent need to consider our everyday habits, recycle, reduce, reuse, and eliminate animal consumption.

Asia for Animals Meet Goes Virtual for the 1st Time This Year


April 21, 2021

The Virtual Conference 2021 was held virtually on April 24 and 25, with the theme: For A Better Tomorrow, Together, hosted by the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organizations (FIAPO), Blue Cross of India (BCI), and the Asia for Animals (AfA) Coalition. “We will be talking about the meat markets in Asia and what we are going to do to deal with them as they are the breeding ground for many diseases and also one of these places from which Covid-19 emerged.” 

The biennial conference, which has been hosted in various countries across Asia will feature 45 speakers from across the world, including English primatologist and anthropologist Jane Goodall. “The aim is to share knowledge and discuss policies in Asia, brainstorm how to improve networking between animal welfare organizations across Asia, discuss best practices, and get all animal welfare organizations together to improve the lives of animals across Asia.”

The highlights include sessions that explore the challenges organizations and activists face while combating the cat and dog meat trade, and how organizations can help tourist operators (elephant camps, circuses, animals used in selfie tourism, etc.) move away from animal tourism to alternative models. 

Commentaries of IALA

Asia has the largest population of animals including wildlife animals as well as animals used for agriculture. The activities of animal welfare organizations across Asia are an important part of the global animal protection movements. There might be historical political tensions among Asian countries, but for the cross-border animal protection issues including illegal trade and transportation and the challenge of climate change. In 2021, there are two multilateral conferences, the UN’s Convention on Biological Diversity convenes in October in Kunming, China, and the UN’s 26th climate change Conference of the Parties or COP 26, meets in Glasgow, Scotland, which are important for the animals in Asia and their habitats.

GPS Tracking Could Help Tigers and Traffic Coexist in Asia


April 23, 2021

A group of conservationists in Nepal by placing GPS collars on tigers living near roads to have a better understanding of how transportation infrastructure affects tiger biology and ecology. Their initial focus is on Bardia and Parsa national parks, where transportation development could severely hamper tiger recovery. Nepal has long been a world leader in tiger research and conservation. The Smithsonian-Nepal Tiger Ecology Project, an international collaboration that started almost 50 years ago, was one of the first to use radio telemetry collars to track tigers for conservation research. 

The collars connect to GPS satellites many times daily, providing detailed information on tiger locations. Information from the GPS collars can also help reduce tiger-human conflict and improve law enforcement.

The team is eager to help make transportation infrastructure more tiger-friendly, such as providing advice on aligning roads and railways to avoid high-priority habitats, targeting habitat and prey restoration activities in areas that tigers use frequently or are important for reproduction, and designing and locating wildlife crossings to help tigers traverse roads and railways.

Commentaries of IALA

Today tigers are endangered, with only about 4,000 tigers left in the wild decreased from more than 100,000 tigers ranging across Asia a century ago. The threats they face are habitat loss and degradation, illegal hunting, and declines in their prey. The expanding infrastructure has a negative impact on tigers’ daily life. The growing network of transportation infrastructure in Asia including upgraded and expanded railways and highways. 

By taking the ecological factors into consideration, a better design of the transportation infrastructure can help the tigers for their communication and life. However, the tiger-friendly infrastructure is just an idealized concept, and the main concern behind the decision will still be the cost-benefit analysis.

Turning the Spotlight on Asia’s Smallest Feline—the Elusive Rusty-Spotted Cat


April 26, 2021

Recently, Wildlife SOS published a report on multiple reunion efforts for Rusty-spotted cats in the Journal of Threatened Taxa (December 2020). According to the report, a total of 26 rusty-spotted kittens were reunited with their mothers in 18 reunion events between 2014 and 2019 by Wildlife SOS and the Maharashtra Forest Department. Their estimated ages ranged between 30 and 60 days and all the reunions occurred within the Junnar forest division in Pune District.

Information on the maternal care and development of Rusty-spotted cats in the wild is lacking but our studies have shown that the kittens were spotted by villagers and farmers in sugarcane fields when the mother had left them for a brief period for hunting and feeding. In each of these events, the rescue team members made efforts to communicate with the villagers and farmers involved and relayed information about the wild cats that shared their territory. The team also requested the villagers not to handle and remove the kittens on their own and that they immediately informed forest department officials about their presence.

Wildlife SOS has been working actively in the field of leopard conservation since 2007, with the support of the Maharashtra Forest Department. We also conduct regular capacity-building workshops with local communities and the Forest Department and aim to minimize human-wildlife conflict.

Commentaries of IALA

The Rusty-spotted cat  (Prionailurus rubiginosus) is one of the smallest cat species in the world, weighing a mere 2. This species can be found in India, Sri Lanka, and Nepal. Due to their size, speed and agility, They are often referred to as the “hummingbird of the cat family.” The total population size is suspected to be below 10,000 mature individuals and is listed as ‘Near Threatened’ in the IUCN Red List. Common threats to this species include deforestation, cultivation, poaching, hunting, and even are also victims of the illegal pet trade. 

The scrub forests of Maharashtra provide a suitable habitat for this rare and elusive species, and their range often overlaps with that of leopards and jungle cats. However, a growing population, expanding farmland, and depleting forests have pushed the margins of human habitations closer to the existing forest areas. This has led to a parallel existence of wild animals in close proximity to the villages and a manifold increase in man-animal conflicts in the area. These cats are also often mistakenly persecuted as Leopard cubs and are hunted for their skins or meat, and killed by feral dogs.

Death of a Sri Lankan Icon Highlights Surge in Elephant Electrocutions


April 30, 2021

On March 9, Revatha, aged 45, was killed. But it wasn’t another elephant that dealt the fatal blow. It was an electric fence that had been set up illegally around a cornfield.

In the first three months of 2021 alone, 100 elephants were killed across Sri Lanka, 21 of them from electrocution, according to the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC). 18 died from eating explosive-packed bait known as hakka patas or “jaw exploders,” and 12 were shot dead. The cause of death for the remaining elephants wasn’t immediately known.

Annually, nearly 400 elephants and 50 people are killed in HEC incidents in Sri Lanka. But while hakka patas and shootings are typically the main cause of unnatural elephant deaths, the surge in electrocutions so far this year has led to calls to better regulate electric fences.

A solution to preventing crop-raiding by elephants is community-based seasonal electric fencing, according to the CCRSL. These are managed by a community rather than individual farmers, and pilot projects carried out in several villages have been successful, according to the CCRSL.

A newly crafted national action plan for mitigating human-elephant conflict was presented to Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in December 2020. It recommends community-based fencing to protect villages and crops and to ensure villagers and farmers have access to standardized equipment that are safe and effective.

Commentaries of IALA

Sri Lanka has the highest density of the species of the Asian elephant and electric fences are common across the country. Due to this factor, human-animal conflict is widely spread. Generally, such fences serve to stun animals, but according to Sumith Pilapitiya, a former head of the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC), the fence that killed the elephant was illegally wired up, to the overhead power line.

➦ Share