Inside This Issue:

  • Under the guise of “Saving Nemo,” Radical Activists Push Legislation to Eliminate the Aquarium Trade and Hobby
  • Plot to Smuggle $1.2AU in Australian Reptiles Foiled
  • Zookeepers' Special Routines for Their Special Needs Animals
  • Are Dogs Becoming Victims of RTO Policies?
  • A Rabies Reminder

Under the guise of “Saving Nemo,” Radical Activists Push Legislation to Eliminate the Aquarium Trade and Hobby

Radical activists opposed to keeping aquariums are pushing legislation that would end importing and fishing for aquarium fish. Dubbed the Saving NEMO Act, HR 6447 purports to prevent imports or collection of marine aquarium organisms that are collected or raised using destructive practices, or species that have poor survival rates in captivity. However, the bill, introduced by Congressman Ed Case of Hawaii and pushed by the same activists that shut down the Hawaii aquarium fishery, creates impossible-to-meet legal requirements for fishers, exporters, aquaculture and mariculture facilities, and importers. These unreachable standards are not a well-meaning yet short-sighted attempt to raise standards of care for animals or protect the environment. This legislation will, by design, block the import of wild-sourced, aquacultured, and maricultured species, and it will shut down aquarium fishing – effectively ending the marine aquarium trade and hobby in the United States.

Under the guise of “Saving Nemo,” Radical Activists Push Legislation to Eliminate the Aquarium Trade and Hobby

★     Brazil Shortsightedly Proposes Zebra Pleco for CITES Appendix I Listing
★     March 2022 CITES and USFWS CITES Delegation Report



Plot to Smuggle $1.2AU in Australian Reptiles Foiled

The shingleback skink, or "sleepy lizard" can only be exported from Australia with a federal permit. It is a popular target of poachers.

Illegal reptile trafficking is rampant around the world, and Australian species are in high demand due to their unique characteristics. The illegal trade of Australian reptiles involves capturing and exporting these animals without proper permits, which leads to population declines, ecosystem disruptions, and the spread of diseases.

Australia has strict regulations in place to control the trade of wildlife, including reptiles, but that did not stop four individuals from trying to smuggle 257 Australian reptiles into Hong Kong. The shipment would have been worth AU$1.2 million or about $800,000 USD. Luckily, the sting operation resulted in charges for those involved. Australian authorities, including the Australian Federal Police and the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, actively work to combat wildlife trafficking. Enforcement efforts involve monitoring international trade, conducting inspections, and prosecuting individuals involved in illegal activities. A task force is now in operation in Australia to help stop these illegal shipments since Australian animals are so highly sought after. The animals seized in this sting, mostly lizards, will be evaluated by zoo and veterinary professionals before being released back into the wild.

‘Cold-blooded': 4 charged over alleged plot to smuggle AU$1.2 million in Australian reptiles

★     This ‘romantic’ lizard is one of Australia’s most trafficked animals
★     Lizard in your luggage? We’re using artificial intelligence to detect wildlife trafficking


Zookeepers' Special Routines for Their Special Needs Animals

Opossums aren't an animal people expect in zoos, but a one-eyed ambassador opossum lives at the Smithsonian Zoo's Small Mammal House.

Zoos around the world showcase incredible rare exotic animals that we can learn about in person; animals we wouldn’t normally get to see up close that are from far away or maybe a different continent altogether. But what about our own wildlife here in America? We have some special creatures not found in other places like hummingbirds, condors, mountain lions, and ringtails. Zoos house and care for them, too, and step in when these animals need to be rescued or rehabilitated.

Some zoo collections include animals that are unable to return to the wild. These animals include a wide variety – from some of the dolphins and manatees in Florida aquariums, to black bears and bobcats. Zoos keep these unreleasable animals not only to help them and provide for their unique needs, but to teach the public about human-wildlife conflict. Keepers at Smithsonian’s National Zoo have animals with special needs in their care from opossums to bald eagles. Staff have been able to make their lives more comfortable and give them a quality of life they would not have had in the wild. The bottom line is, there are few limits to what a dedicated team of zookeepers can and will do for the animals in their care. Make sure to watch each of the videos in the article – they are sure to warm your heart.

How the Zoo Cares for Animals With Impairments

★     Bald eagle with one wing who has been at a Kentucky zoo since 1985 dies
★     Animals with Disabilities; How we can overcome their challenges.



Are Dogs Becoming Victims of RTO Policies?

It's time to go back to the office... but maybe not for everybody.

A disheartening Fortune* article says that dogs are being surrendered to shelters by employees who have been called back to the office after years of working remotely. “Return to the office, rehome the dog” stories have been told in the news, and we know of anecdotal examples, as well. And frankly, it makes practical, if grim sense: leaving a dog home alone for 10 hours a day Monday through Friday is a bad time for everybody, and hiring a pet sitter or dog walker is a luxury many people can’t afford. In some cases, it's probably an inevitability. However, there is precious little research on this topic thus far, so we aren’t ready to jump on the bandwagon and call it a crisis just yet.

If there is a bright side to this article, it is a survey that was cited near the end that showed the sacrifices people are willing to make in order to stay near their dogs. Reduced benefits and vacation. Pay cuts. Even changing jobs to work for “dog friendlier” companies. OK, maybe “bright side” is taking it too far – we certainly don’t want anyone to suffer a major pay cut just to spend more time with their dogs! But this does speak to the vital importance of the human-animal bond, and lets dog lovers know that even if some people think their life choices are crazy, there are a lot of like-minded folks out there, too!

* we are sharing the Yahoo! Finance reprint, as it is not behind a paywall

Return-to-office mandates have created a surge in unsuspecting victims: Dogs

★     Americans Willing To Take 10% Pay Cut In Order To Work Remotely With Their Dogs
★     Utah CEO under fire after praising employee who sold their dog to return to the office



 A Rabies Reminder

Don't try this at home (this is the hand of a wildlife rehabber). Also, this famous rabies reservoir, the big brown bat, is actually pretty small!

Rabies is a viral infection that affects the nervous system of mammals. Despite it being very rare in this country, it is a disease that strikes fear into our hearts, and for understandable reasons. Even if we haven't seen Old Yeller, we all know the story, and know that once symptoms of rabies appear, all hope is lost. No matter how strong, intelligent, or wealthy you are, you'll never beat rabies in a fair fight.

Rabies is usually transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal, often through a bite. Rabies can be found in both wild and domestic animals. Common carriers include bats, raccoons, foxes, and skunks. Domestic animals, such as dogs and cats can also transmit the virus. Experts from Texas State and Auburn have written an updated rabies information article on how to prevent the transmission of rabies to animals and people. This is timely, as rabies infections have risen since the pandemic. The article's authors believe this is because there was a vaccine shortage during that time – one that coincided with an increase in feral animal populations, as well as rabies-spreading socioeconomic and environmental factors. Yikes! Thankfully, rabies is still very rare in the USA. Of the few cases of human rabies reported in the USA, more than a quarter were acquired while out of the country (this ties into NAIA's support of the Healthy Dog Importation Act, by the way, but that's for another newsletter).

Vaccines are absolutely the way to go for rabies prevention in both humans and animals. Wild animal populations can successfully be given oral vaccines to prevent them from catching it from other animals of their species or vector species like bats or foxes. In the United States, bats are the leading cause of rabies deaths in humans, worldwide, domestic dogs are responsible for up to 99% of all cases of human rabies. As a friendly reminder, never pick up a bat. Call local authorities first. Animal control officers and certified wildlife rehabbers are vaccinated against rabies for their jobs and have the proper equipment to handle bats. If you suspect you've been exposed to rabies, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Prompt and appropriate medical care can prevent the onset of symptoms and save lives.

Rabies is an ancient, unpredictable and potentially fatal disease − two rabies researchers explain how to protect yourself

★     CDC: Rabies
★     How a dog bite in India almost cost me my life




Also in the News...

★     5 reminders for protecting pets in cold weather (Lists I: Timely Lists & Reminders; Helpful Advice)
★     Cows put to sleep after crash on North Lee Highway (Cows I: Fire & Rescue Stories; Cow Collision Aftermath)

★     Mark Zuckerberg facing backlash over raising cows on beer and macadamia nuts on Hawaii ranch (Cows II: Billionaire Beef Ranches)
★     135 chickens, dog confiscated from Memphis duplex (Animal Rescue; Cruelty Charges & Ongoing Investigations)
★     Evans Road residents against TimberKnolls Spirit Cove's special-use permit (Therapy Dogs & Horses; Wait... This Is Going in MY Backyard?!)
★     'Is this a ... joke???' Louisville councilwoman slams choice for Animal Services director (Animal Welfare & Rights Infighting; Politics as Usual)
★     15 Animals With Misleading Names (Lists II: Nomenclatively Challenged Lists; Red Panda? More Like Bronze Weasel!)

Click here to see what is happening legislatively

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