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Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced Saturday, Jan. 14, that it plans to close forever in May after a 146-year run (Monica Akhtar/The Washington Post)


When Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced late Saturday that it would permanently end all of its performances this May after a 146-year run, there seemed to be a collective gasp online, along with a smattering of nostalgia for “The Greatest Show on Earth.”

The show has been, after all, nearly synonymous with “the circus” in the United States since the 1800s, when showman Phineas Taylor Barnum partnered with ringmaster James A. Bailey to produce an exhibition of animals and human oddities. Meanwhile, five brothers from the Ringling family in Wisconsin had set up their own variety act. By Amy B Wang. Read more on The Washington Post.

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China to Shut Down Its Ivory Trade by the End of 2017

Categories: Asia, Planet, Recommended Reading, Wildlife, Wildlife
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Advocates applaud the move by the world’s largest consumer of ivory, saying it could help save Africa’s remaining elephants.

With African elephant populations plummeting because of poaching for the ivory trade, China's announcement that it will phase out its legal market by the end of next year comes as welcome news to advocates. PHOTOGRAPH BY BRENT STIRTON, GETTY IMAGES, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE

With African elephant populations plummeting because of poaching for the ivory trade, China’s announcement that it will phase out its legal market by the end of next year comes as welcome news to advocates.
PHOTOGRAPH BY BRENT STIRTON, GETTY IMAGES, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE

China will shut down its domestic ivory trade by the end of 2017, according to an announcement made today by the Chinese government.

The announcement comes more than a year after China’s President Xi Jinping and United States President Barack Obama pledged to enact “nearly complete bans” on the import and export of ivory, an agreement Wildlife Watch reporter Rachael Bale described as “the most significant step yet in efforts to shut down an industry that has fueled the illegal hunting of elephants.” – By Jani Actman. Read more on National Geographic

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How a lame baby pachyderm inspired an art project that has raised millions for elephant care

After a decade of touring the world to raise funds for Asia’s pachyderms, the Elephant Parade art exhibition is back in Chiang Mai where it all started and celebrating its tenth anniversary with 89 colourful statutes of elephantine tykes on display all around the city. Mike Spits, the co-founder, recently opened the Elephant Parade studio in Chiang Mai, and was happy to share the success story with his supporters. By Phoowadon Duangmee, The Nation. Read more.

The Elephant Parade on display at Maya shopping mall in Chiang Mai province. Photo credit: Phoowadon Duangmee

The Elephant Parade on display at Maya shopping mall in Chiang Mai province. Photo credit: Phoowadon Duangmee

 

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Outrage over Miss Universe candidates swimming with endangered whale sharks

Categories: Asia, Planet, Recommended Reading, Sea, Wildlife
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The Philippines' bet for the Miss Universe pageant, Maxine Medina, and other candidates swam near the whale sharks. PHOTO: courtesy of Sergei Tokmakov (via CNN Philippines on Twitter)

The Philippines’ bet for the Miss Universe pageant, Maxine Medina, and other candidates swam near the whale sharks. PHOTO: courtesy of Sergei Tokmakov (via CNN Philippines on Twitter)

LOOK: Miss Universe candidates go whale watching in Oslob, Cebu

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Controversy shrouded the visit of the 12 Miss Universe 2016 candidates to Oslob, Cebu on Tuesday.

One of their activities was to watch the endangered whale sharks or butanding. Miss Universe-Philippines Maxine Medina was also photographed swimming with a whale shark.

Environmentalists and past beauty queens expressed their outrage, saying the Miss Universe pageant organizers made an unethical choice of having the contestants swim with whale sharks.

The said tourist attraction has been controversial due to the negative impact on the animals caused by human interaction. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) listed the butanding as an endangered species. It reported last July that the “growing human pressure” on whale sharks are putting the species at an increasing risk of extinction.

CNN Philippines correspondent Isabella Montano contributed to this report. Read more.

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New bird species and giraffe under threat – IUCN Red List

Categories: Americas, Fauna, North, Recommended Reading, Wildlife
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Photo

Photo credits: D. McCoy

The giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) is now threatened with extinction.

Photo credits: IUCN Photo Library, Alicia Wirz

Spring wild oat (Avena fatua) is among the crop wild relative species assessed for this update.

Photo credits: Stephane

Cancun, Mexico, 8 December 2016 (IUCN) – Over 700 newly recognised bird species have been assessed for the latest update of The IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM, and 11% of them are threatened with extinction. The update also reveals a devastating decline for the giraffe, driven by habitat loss, civil unrest and illegal hunting. The global giraffe population has plummeted by up to 40% over the last 30 years, and the species has been listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. – By IUCN. Read more.

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Airport wildlife tracking tool launched to combat illegal wildlife trade

Categories: Planet, Recommended Reading, Wildlife, Wildlife
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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has announced the launch of an Airport Wildlife Trafficking Assessment Tool which aims to help defeat smugglers of endangered species. Developed in partnership with the World Customs Organization (WCO) with support from the USAID ROUTES Partnership, the assessment tool is being piloted at Mozambique’s Maputo International Airport in November 2016. A global rollout is planned for 2017. The tool helps airports assess their supply-chain security, intelligence and risk management, staff awareness, and reporting processes, alongside air cargo and passenger screening policy and procedures.

Find more information at the Wildlife section of the IATA website. Read more on Travindy. 

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This restaurant uses invasive species for its sustainable sushi

Categories: Americas, Culinary Travel, North, Recommended Reading, Wildlife
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sushi invasive-species-sushi-miyas-sushi-3a-jpg-662x0_q70_crop-scale                   © Miya’s Sushi

The rise of sushi as a cuisine with global reach has accelerated in recent years. In many metropolitan areas, you may even find pre-made sushi takeout in supermarkets. This growth in sushi’s popularity has resulted in an enormous and unsustainable strain on marine wildlife populations, food safety concerns, and even sushi fraud at restaurants. No wonder many conscientious sushi-lovers are either cutting back or foregoing sushi altogether. By Kimberly MokRead more.

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Buying Marine Life Souvenirs

Categories: Non-Profit, Planet, Recommended Reading, Wildlife
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Although it’s natural to want to take a bit of our vacation home with us as remembrance, buying marine life souvenirs is never a good idea.

Souvenirs souvenirs_cover

Most of us never want our dive vacations to end. Leaving those sun-soaked beaches and post-dive afternoon naps is often a hard pill to swallow. So it’s natural that we want to bring home souvenirs to remind us of our trip. A beach-seller’s bracelet is a remembrance of carefree days once you return to the daily routine, and supporting local traders is a worthwhile goal. But as tourists, we must make responsible choices when it comes to shopping, taking care particularly to avoid buying marine life souvenirs. By Chloë Harvey, Programs Manager, The Reef-World Foundation. Read more.

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Films That Will Spark Your Wanderlust

Categories: Green Tips, Planet, Uncategorized, Wildlife
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Thinking about what to watch this weekend? Here are four films that will deepen your appreciation of the world and inspire you to explore it.

PLANET EARTH

“Four years in the making, this is the earth celebrated as never before.

Scale majestic mountains, explore waterways and caves, starlit deserts and spectacular ice-worlds. See awe-inspiring landscapes from all across the globe and incredible footage of the rarely spotted, almost mythical creatures that live in these habitats. 

The Blue Planet blew audiences away with its footage of the alien-like depths of the ocean. Now track great migrations, witness split-second actions, and watch amazing footage of land-based animals in their natural habitats, whether on a mountain top, in the remotest of deserts, or the darkest depths of the forest floor. 

This is the definitive look at the diversity of our planet, narrated by Sir David Attenborough. 

Prepare to be overwhelmed by the beauty of Planet Earth.”  (Source: http://www.bbcearth.com/shows/planet-earth)

Note: The sequel, Planet Earth II is coming out soon! Click here for the epic trailer.


LIFE


“Packed with excitement, revelation and entertainment, this breathtaking ten-part blockbuster relates 130 incredible stories from the frontiers of the natural world.

Life explores the glorious variety of life on Earth and the spectacular and extraordinary tactics animals and plants have developed to stay alive. This is evolution in action, individual creatures under extreme pressure to overcome challenges from adversaries and their environment, pushing the boundaries of behaviour.

Witness unprecedented, astonishingly beautiful sequences: birds running and dancing on the water’s surface in dazzlingly intricate displays of courtship and fidelity, fish outwitting predators by using their fins to take flight, and flies competing in a mesmerising eyeball-inflation contest.

More than four years in the making, filmed over 3,000 days, across every continent and in every habitat, this is life as you’ve never seen it before.” (Source: http://www.bbcearth.com/shows/planet-earth)


BARAKA

“Originally shot in 25 countries on six continents, Baraka brought together a series of stunningly photographed scenes to capture what director Ron Fricke calls “a guided meditation on humanity.” It was a shoot of unprecedented technical, logistical and bureaucratic scope that would take 30 months to complete, including 14 months on location, with a custom-built computerized 65mm camera.

“The goal of the film,” says producer Mark Magidson, “was to reach past language. nationality, religion and politics and speak to the inner viewer.”” (Source: http://www.barakasamsara.com/baraka/about)


SAMSARA

“Prepare yourself for an unparalleled sensory experience.  SAMSARA reunites director Ron Fricke and producer Mark Magidson, whose award-winning films BARAKA and CHRONOS were acclaimed for combining visual and musical artistry.  

SAMSARA is a Sanskrit word that means “the ever turning wheel of life” and is the point of departure for the filmmakers as they search for the elusive current of interconnection that runs through our lives.  Filmed over a period of almost five years and in twenty-five countries, SAMSARA transports us to sacred grounds, disaster zones, industrial sites, and natural wonders.  By dispensing with dialogue and descriptive text, SAMSARA subverts our expectations of a traditional documentary, instead encouraging our own inner interpretations inspired by images and music that infuses the ancient with the modern.” (Source: http://www.barakasamsara.com/samsara/about)

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TripAdvisor Halts Ticket Sales to Cruel Wildlife Attractions

Categories: Recommended Reading, Uncategorized, Wildlife, Wildlife
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The travel website, which came under pressure earlier this year for promoting and profiting from inhumane tourism activities, also plans to educate users on animal welfare.

TripAdvisor 01-trip-advisor-dolphins-swimming-adapt-590-1

TripAdvisor’s booking company, Viator, will no longer sell tickets to certain activities, including swim-with-the-dolphin experiences, that pose animal welfare and conservation issues.

TripAdvisor, the popular travel review website, and its ticket sales company, Viator, said Tuesday they no longer will sell tickets to hundreds of tourist attractions that are widely accepted as cruel to wild animals, reversing a policy under which the companies had resisted considering the welfare of animals when promoting trips. By Read more for the original article on National Geographic.

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