Mar 052015
 

Feld Entertainment statement (and below) More coverage here and Tampa Tribune (Richard Mullins)

Reaction and coverage: PETA says Ringling shouldn't wait :: Humane Society :: Friends of Animals :: Buckles Blog (Circus history) :: Meyer Glitzenstein & Crystal release (law firm that represented animal rights groups in years-long ESA challenge to Ringling's treatment of elephants) :: Associated Press commentary (Tamara Lush) :: N.Y. Times editorial: "Why Not Retire the Circus Elephants Now?" :: Chicago Tribune commentary  ::  East Bay Express

Here is the news release from Feld Entertainment:

Feld Entertainment Announces Unprecedented Changes to Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus

Ringling Bros. Herd of Asian Elephants Will Be Moved to the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation in Florida

March 5, 2015 (Ellenton, Fla.) - The Feld Family, owners of Feld Entertainment, Inc., the parent company of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey®, announced plans today to remove Asian elephants from their traveling circus performances. Under the plan, 13 elephants currently traveling with the three Ringling Bros. circus units will be relocated to the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant for Conservation® in Florida by 2018. There they will join the rest of the Ringling Bros. herd of more than 40 elephants.

The Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation is already home to the largest herd of Asian elephants and the most successful breeding program for this endangered species in the Western Hemisphere. The circus will continue to feature other extraordinary animal performers, including tigers, lions, horses, dogs and camels.

This unprecedented change in the 145-year old Greatest Show On Earth®will allow the company to focus on its Asian elephant conservation programs, both here in North America and through its partnership with the island nation of Sri Lanka. The company will also continue to collaborate with other conservation organizations working to preserve this magnificent species for future generations. For example, the company has placed elephants at eight zoos, either on loan or through donations, and will continue to support the Smithsonian Institution’s research lab working to find a cure for diseases that impact juvenile elephants.

“This is the most significant change we have made since we founded the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation in 1995. When we did so, we knew we would play a critical role in saving the endangered Asian elephant for future generations, given how few Asian elephants are left in the wild,” said Kenneth Feld, Chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment. “Since then, we have had 26 elephant births. No other institution has done or is doing more to save this species from extinction, and that is something of which I and my family are extremely proud. This decision was not easy, but it is in the best interest of our company, our elephants and our customers,” he added.

“Our family has been the proud steward of the American institution that is Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, and our elephants, for 45 years. It is a legacy that we hold near and dear to our hearts, and as producers of The Greatest Show On Earth, we feel we have a responsibility to preserve the esteemed traditions that everyone expects from a Ringling Bros. performance while striving to keep the show fresh and contemporary for today’s families,” said Nicole Feld and Alana Feld, Ringling Bros. producers and Executive Vice Presidents with Feld Entertainment. “As the circus evolves, we can maintain our focus on elephant conservation while allowing our business to continue to meet shifting consumer preferences,” they added.

Additional information on Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation can be found online at www.ringling.com and www.elephantcenter.com.

Feb 112015
 

The same day the Justice Department unveiled a new strategy for combating illegal wildlife trafficking, four animal protection groups petitioned the Fish and Wildlife Service to increase protection for the African elephant by elevating its status to endangered.

Pic from IFAW web site

"Since the African elephant was originally listed as threatened in 1978, the species’ population has declined by about 60 percent, primarily due to poaching for the ivory trade," they said in their news release. "Habitat destruction and unsustainable trophy hunting also contributed to the decline. Scientists say elephant mortality is outpacing the natural birth rate, fixing the species in a pattern of ongoing decline."

Here are the groups: the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW; www.ifaw.org), the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS, www.humanesociety.org), Humane Society International (HSI, www.hsi.org) and The Fund for Animals (www.fundforanimals.org).

Petition exec summary

Dec 192014
 

Opinion and order (latter embedded below) in Humane Society of the U.S. . Jewell (13-00186-BAH, D.D.C.)

Howell, in D.C., reinstates protections
in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin

In a news release, the Humane Society said that in her opinion, U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell "chided the USFWS for failing to explain why it ignored the potential for further recovery of wolves into areas of its historic range that remain viable habitat for the species.  The court also noted that the USFWS has failed to explain how the “virtually unregulated” killing of wolves by states in the Great Lakes region does not constitute a continued threat to the species."

HSUS complaint  ♦  Final rule delisting Great Lakes wolf (12/28/11)  ♦  FWS Western Gray Lakes gray wolf page  ♦  ECOS page  ♦  CBD page  ♦  "Policy Issues Regarding Wolves in the Great Lakes Region"  ♦  Dateline Minnesota  ♦  AP (in Detroit News)  ♦  Selected court documents:  FWS brief  ♦  HSUS brief  ♦ Minnesota brief  ♦  Minn. 2012 wolf rules  ♦  HSUS opp. to AFWA amicus request  ♦  Declaration of Edward K. Boggess

From AP story about Minnesota:

ST. PAUL, Minn. — State officials say Minnesotans can no longer kill wolves unless their lives are in danger.

The change was brought about by a federal judge's ruling Friday effectively restoring gray wolves to the endangered species list in Great Lakes states.

Department of Natural Resources spokesman Chris Niskanen says that means farmers and ranchers concerned about wolves preying on cattle can't kill the wolves themselves. Instead, they should call conservation officers.

U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell's decision could also halt Minnesota's wolf hunting and trapping seasons. But Niskanen says the federal government's stance could change again before the state sets its wolf hunting season next summer.

Photo links to Legal Times story in unrelated case