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Another Northern White Rhino Died, Leaving Only 4 Left on Earth
After the deaths of a male Northern White Rhino at the San Diego Zoo last year and now a female, Nabiré, at a Czech Republic zoo Monday, the Northern White Rhinos are truly on the brink of extinction. Nabiré was 31 when she died from complications of a ruptured cyst, according to a statement from the zoo.
"It is a terrible loss. Nabiré was the kindest rhino ever bred in our zoo. It is not just that we were very fond of her. Her death is a symbol of the catastrophic decline of rhinos due to a senseless human greed. Her species is on the very brink of extinction," said Přemysl Rabas, the director of the zoo.
— FONDATION B. BARDOT (@FBB_World) July 28, 2015
Nabiré was one of the only four Northern White Rhinos bred in captivity. The species is now extinct in the wild due to poaching and conflicts in their native home in Africa.
"The four remaining rhinos include Nola, an elderly female living at a zoo in San Diego, and Sudan, an elderly male living with two females—Najin and her daughter Fatu—on the Ol Pejeta reserve in Kenya," reports The Guardian.
The Czech zoo still hopes to be able to breed the remaining Northern White Rhinos. Nabiré could not conceive naturally due to a large amount of cysts in her utero. But the zoo staff saved Nabiré's one healthy ovary as "it was hoped she might become a donor of eggs for in vitro fertilization which could result in an artificially made embryo," says the zoo.
"It is our moral obligation to try to save them," said Rabas. "We are the only ones, perhaps with San Diego Zoo, who have enough of collected biological material to do so. We are aware that our chances are slim, but the hopes are still alive."
The prospects for other species of rhinos are not a whole lot better. There are fewer than 5,000 Black Rhinos left in the wild as of the beginning of this year. They are being poached to extinction, losing 96 percent of their population between 1970 to 1992. Like the Northern White Rhinos, conflicts in countries like Sudan, Rwanda and Somalia have only hampered conservation efforts. And the Javan Rhino is only a few years away from where the Northern White Rhinos are today. There are a mere 57 Javan Rhinos remaining in Ujung Kulon National Park in Java, Indonesia, according to the World Wildlife Fund.
Rhino poaching along with poaching of all animals has skyrocketed in recent years. Figures released earlier this year by the South African Department of Environmental Affairs show that 1, 215 rhinos were illegally killed last year, an increase of 21 percent over the 1,003 killed in 2013, and an overall increase of 9,300 percent since 2007. Most of the illegal activity takes place in Kruger National Park, where 827 rhinos were killed in 2014. To address the wildlife poaching crisis, World Wildlife Fund enlisted actor/director/musician Jared Leto, who's also a dedicated human and animal rights activist, to draw attention to and hopefully stop the crisis.
In response to the report put out by the South African government, Dr. Morné du Plessis, CEO of World Wildlife Fund South Africa, said: “We ... will need everyone to work together to combat these threats if we are to achieve a tangible reduction in rhino losses. There is no time to lose.”
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As a growing number of states move to pass laws that would criminalize pipeline protests and hit demonstrators with years in prison, an audio recording obtained by The Intercept showed a representative of a powerful oil and gas lobbying group bragging about the industry's success in crafting anti-protest legislation behind closed doors.
Speaking during a conference in Washington, DC in June, Derrick Morgan, senior vice president for federal and regulatory affairs at the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), touted "model legislation" that states across the nation have passed in recent months.
AFPM represents a number of major fossil fuel giants, including Chevron, Koch Industries and ExxonMobil.
"We've seen a lot of success at the state level, particularly starting with Oklahoma in 2017," said Morgan, citing Dakota Access Pipeline protests as the motivation behind the aggressive lobbying effort. "We're up to nine states that have passed laws that are substantially close to the model policy that you have in your packet."
Big Oil is now using its political power to try and criminalize protests of oil & gas infrastructure.— Friends of the Earth (@foe_us) August 19, 2019
"This legislation has potential to punish public participation and mischaracterize advocacy protected by the First Amendment."https://t.co/bmiHjONEhy
The audio recording comes just months after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law legislation that would punish anti-pipeline demonstrators with up to 10 years in prison, a move environmentalists condemned as a flagrant attack on free expression.
"Big Oil is hijacking our legislative system," Dallas Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network said after the Texas Senate passed the bill in May.
As The Intercept's Lee Fang reported Monday, the model legislation Morgan cited in his remarks "has been introduced in various forms in 22 states and passed in ... Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Missouri, Indiana, Iowa, South Dakota, and North Dakota."
"The AFPM lobbyist also boasted that the template legislation has enjoyed bipartisan support," according to Fang. "In Louisiana, Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the version of the bill there, which is being challenged by the Center for Constitutional Rights. Even in Illinois, Morgan noted, 'We almost got that across the finish line in a very Democratic-dominated legislature.' The bill did not pass as it got pushed aside over time constraints at the end of the legislative session."
Many of the state bills restricting the right to protest have been "drafted by companies and passed through groups like ALEC, the secretive group of corporate lobbyists trying to rewrite state laws to benefit corporations over people." @greenpeaceusa https://t.co/ZxpTjWdrwT— Stand Up To ALEC (@StandUpToALEC) May 6, 2019
Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.