February 26, 2021Lu Shegay & Zihao Yu

Orangutan Boncel is Rescued Due to Loss of Habitat in Indonesia

Source: worldanimalnews.com

February 1, 2021

An adult male orangutan, that was given the name Boncel, was recently rescued for the second time in West Kalimantan Province (Indonesian, Borneo). The Wildlife Rescue Unit (WRU) of the Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA Kalbar) and International Animal Rescue (IAR) teamed up to help capture Boncel after he wandered into a village. He was then taken by the rescue team to a more remote part of the forest to ensure that he doesn’t return to the village.

In mid-August of last year, Boncel had been translocated from land belonging to residents in the village of Sungai Besar, to the surrounding forest. The translocation was done in order to mitigate conflict with local villagers and release the orangutan safely back into its forest home. Although these translocations save the lives of individual orangutans, these actions are only a temporary solution.

The operation, which took more than seven hours, went smoothly. IAR’s veterinarian examined Boncel’s condition and stated that the orangutan, who is estimated to be around 30-40 years old, is thankfully in good health.

Commentaries of IALA

This is not the first of rescuing orangutans in the country - threats were caused by the widespread fires that led to habitat destruction and fragmentation in 2019. Apart from those factors, logging and the palm oil industry are among the reasons for the threats. In Indonesia, wild animals are protected by a few legal instruments, such as Law No. 18, Regulation No. 95, and Act No. 5. Although the law protects endangered species of wild animals, it allows using animals for breeding, hunting, market, exhibition, etc.

Qatar Airways Cargo Saves Wildlife with “WeQare” Initiative

Source: worldanimalnews.com

February 1, 2021

Qatar Airways Cargo announced today that it is launching Chapter 2 of ‘WeQare: Rewild the Planet.’ The cargo carrier is committed to preserving wildlife and endangered species and has pledged to transport these animals back to their natural habitat, free of charge. Through them, Qatar Airways Cargo aims to raise awareness of such issues among its customers and air cargo stakeholders. All the chapters of ‘WeQare’ are based on the core pillars of sustainability – environment, society, economy, and culture, and are supported by the employees of Qatar Airways Cargo.

Commentaries of IALA

Wildlife trafficking is one of the types of the largest illegal trade and currently is one of the most widespread forms of international crime across the globe. It is estimated to be worth $7-$23 billion per year. Traffickers smuggle illegal wildlife by hiding wildlife in cargos, boarding passengers, etc. The trade occurs in a dozen cases, such as endangered species of animals and plants. Purposes include medicine, jewelry, decorations, etc., and this may have negative consequences and impact on global conservation.

South Korea to Give Free COVID-19 Tests to Pets If They 'show symptoms'

Source: republicworld.com

February 9, 2021

Seoul, South Korea’s capital, announced that it will give pet dogs and cats free coronavirus tests in case they come in contact with an infected member and begin to show symptoms on Tuesday. Seoul’s official told an online briefing that the health authorities are ready to conduct the COVID-19 tests on pets for free and will isolate those animals that depict symptomatic infection, sending them under a 14-day quarantine in a government facility.

“Seoul metropolitan government will offer coronavirus tests for pet dogs and cats," Yoo-mi, Seoul city’s official handling disease control, said at a press conference.

Commentaries of IALA

Despite the quick response from the Korean government to the coronavirus outbreak, the country still experienced the third wave of the increased cases of infected citizens. Pets are especially susceptible to the virus due to close contact with humans, and, thus, need special attention and care with regard to COVID-19 tests. However, according to the CDC United States, “there is no evidence that animals are playing a significant role in the spread of COVID-19. Based on the limited information available to date, the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is considered low. However, because all animals can carry germs that can make people sick, it’s always a good idea to practice healthy habits around pets and other animals.”

Learn more at CDC.

‘Major stones unturned’: COVID Origin Search Must Continue After WHO Report

Source: nature.com

February 10, 2021

After a team of the World Health Organization (WHO) month-long investigation China announced no answers to key questions about how the coronavirus started infecting people, scientists say the investigation for the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic has to continue.

At a press briefing on 9 February in Wuhan, China, members of the WHO team reported conclusions from their month-long investigation into the origin of the coronavirus, which was first reported as cases of ‘viral pneumonia’ in Wuhan in December 2019. The researchers largely discounted the controversial theory that the virus accidentally leaked from a laboratory, and suggested that SARS-CoV-2 probably first passed to people from an animal — already a leading hypothesis among researchers. But the team also offered two hypotheses promoted by the Chinese government and media: that the virus, or its most recent ancestor, might have come from an animal outside China, and that once it was circulating in people, it could have spread on frozen wildlife and other cold packaged goods.

Commentaries of IALA

Although the SARS-CoV-2 shares the similarity with the virus found in bats, the origin of the pandemic is still unclear with regard to how the virus jumped from animals to human beings. The WHO team in China is still investigating the origins in Wuhan and nearby areas, and the idea that the virus leaked from a lab was found unlikely. Further investigations might be conducted in the possibility of the transmission of a virus from frozen wildlife to human beings, and the relevant virus was found in bats in such countries as Japan, Cambodia, and Thailand.

Southeast Asian Wild Pigs Confront Deadly African Swine Fever Epidemic

Source: mongabay.com

February 12, 2021

Since the emergence of African swine fever in China in 2018, viral diseases have swept Asia, leaving traces of economic destruction. It has a lethal effect on pigs, but it is harmless to humans. At least 100 million pigs have been cut down by African Swine Fever or culled in the rigorous campaign to prevent this disease.

A new study in the journal Conservation Letters warns that African swine fever, which killed millions of pigs on the Asian continent since 2018, now threatens 11 wild pig breeds living in Southeast Asia. The species has a very low population naturally and they are threatened by hunting and loss of habitat.

Commentaries of IALA

The wild pig species are confined in some cases to just a few islands among a lot of islands in

Southeast Asia and these species tend to have naturally small populations. With such small populations, these species cannot be easily survived from the huge impact of natural disasters or diseases. The wild species have no developed immune response which makes the vital disease more dangerous for them.

White Tiger Cubs Likely Died of COVID-19

Source: independent.co.uk

February 13, 2021

Two tiger cubs who recently died in a Pakistani Zoo appear to have been killed by Covid-19, officials have said. The two 11-week-old white tiger cubs who lived at Lahore Zoo died four days after beginning treatment for feline panleukopenia virus, a common virus affecting cats’ respiratory systems. However, an autopsy has revealed severe lung damage, with pathologists concluding they died from Covid-19.

In December two Himalayan brown bears were airlifted out of the Islamabad Zoo to a sanctuary in Jordan. That rescue came weeks after an elephant, Kaavan, was moved from a Pakistani zoo to a sanctuary in Cambodia, the culmination of a years-long campaign that included pop icon Cher amongst its supporters.

Commentaries of IALA

The white tiger is the man-made hybrid between the species of Bengal tigers and Siberian tigers that could be previously found in the wild in some states of India. Currently, there are no white tigers remained in the wild - the last species was shot by a trophy hunter in 1958. In captivity, it is estimated that there 200 white tigers, the outcome of nine generations of inbreeding. The breeding continues to occur due to the market demand.

Some animal rights activists in Pakistan claim that animals in the zoo are neglected due to the death of four giraffes in 2020 and two lions that suffocated due to the fires, however, the zoo representative argued that animals are kept in good conditions and that the zoo is always open for animal rights activists and animal organizations.

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