Tag Archives: Elle MacPherson admits to taking powdered rhino horn

Oh No-No, not the Aye-Aye now!

Aye-Aye (photo by Mark Carwardine)

Oh no, no no, it’s the Aye-Aye on the way out now!

Bet you’ve never heard of an Aye-Aye. It is the most unusual little fellow, living in Madagascar and is a type of lemur. Sadly, its days are numbered and it is rarely seen these days.

Deforestation and an unjustified fear of the little fellow has caused their demise.  Superstition surrounds the Aye-Aye’s elongated middle finger which it uses to probe into the bark of trees to extract  tasty grubs.

In fact, the Aye-Aye looks remarkably like ET (remember ‘ET phone home’?).  It has a cat’s body, a bat’s ears, a beaver’s teeth, a long bushy tail like that of a squirrel, a middle finger like a long dead twig and enormous, bright, beady eyes.

The Aye-Aye is the world’s largest nocturnal primate. It sleeps during the day, but comes out after dark to move nimbly about the treetops in the forest canopies of Madagascar. It has a good head for heights. It also has a positive approach to sexual equality because the females wear the trousers in the Aye-Aye’s world, exerting dominance over males and having first pick of all the best sources of food.

Read about the Aye-Aye here http://www.bbc.co.uk/lastchancetosee/sites/animals/ayeaye and see the video clip of the Aye-Aye searching for grubs with its amazing ET finger!

Last weekend I saw a programme by Stephen Fry called Last Chance to See  http://www.bbc.co.uk/lastchancetosee.

The animal featured was the Amazonian Manatee. 

It is a mammal and had the most amazing teeth. Because it is a vegetarian and eats 10% of its body weight in plant life every day, the plants have retaliated by adding a lot of silica to their structure. This silica wears down the Manatee’s teeth. However the Manatee have a self sufficient dental system. They have a conveyor belt of teeth. As teeth wear out they are replaced by new teeth which move in from the back of their jaw.  How handy! And wouldn’t it save a fortune in dental bills?

They are very large sea creatures – like a sea elephant – and very strange in appearance, so much so that they have been mistaken for mermaids.

Although the Amazon used to teem with them, they are sadly very rarely sighted these days.  They were over hunted, have drowned in fishing nets and have suffered from deforestation of the Amazon jungle and dam building.

They are gentle, slow moving creatures and the world will be a poorer place without them.  Fortunately, there are some very dedicated people working to save the manatee from extinction but they have their work cut out for them.  In the Stephen Fry episode that I saw, they were rehabilitating a manatee that had sustained a number of machete cuts.

Read about them on http://www.bbc.co.uk/lastchancetosee/sites/animals/manatees

Australia has their own Manatees – the Dugong or Sea Cow. In fact, the Dugong and the Manatee are the representatives of the living species of the order Sirenia. Strangely, the Dugong and the Manatee are related to the elephant.

The Dugong

The Dugong can be found in warm coastal waters from East Africa to Australia, including the Red Sea, Indian Ocean, and Pacific.

Just like the Manatee, Dugongs make an easy target for coastal hunters, and they were long sought for their meat, oil, skin, bones, and teeth. The Dugong is a protected mammal from all but Aboriginals and unfortunately it is considered to be an Aboriginal rite of passage to kill one so the future for the Dugong does not look bright.

Dugongs are vegetarians. Dugongs graze on underwater grasses day and night, rooting for them like a vacuum cleaner with their bristled, sensitive snouts and chomping them with their rough lips.

I discovered an interesting blog by someone else on this matter http://bighappynothing.wordpress.com/2010/07/14/lets-hope-dugongs-wont-be-dugone-someday/

Read more about them on http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/dugong.

So many beautiful and fascinating animals, fish, birds and even insects, are on the verge of extinction. All that will one day be left will be cockroaches I suppose.

It’s all very well for us all to say that it’s sad but unfortunately, jungles and forests are being hacked down at unprecedented rates and there are such huge amounts that are paid for the parts of certain animals (read  https://roslynmotter.com/2010/06/23/one-hell-of-a-beauty to see what special contribution Elle MacPherson has made to the conservation of the rhino (I jest of course)) that there is not really much hope. In this case the forces of evil are stronger than the forces of good.



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Look in the Mirror!


Recently, my Jordanian friend Basel, wrote to me thus –

When I was a child I was one time somewhere in a zoo, and there was a huge sign written Here you see the most dangerous animal on earth.  All visitors watched in a mirror and saw themselves. And you see it worked, I still remember this! Animals are not calculating like humans, so they have a better character.  (Basel’s words).

Today I took my dog to the vet’s and I was chatting to everyone who was waiting with their pet.  A young man came into the clinic with his one year old Laborador/Staffie cross. The dog was a friendly dog despite the fact one of its back legs was in a plaster cast. The man told me that his home was burgled recently and when the dog barked at the intruders, they set upon it with a hammer, smashing its back leg and its teeth.  The police weren’t particularly interested in the case and didn’t take any DNA samples.  I suspect that this event is all too common or why would burglers be carrying hammers?

It certainly takes a ‘special’ sort of person who could set upon a living creature with a hammer.

Max with plaster cast (not the dog at the vet's)

Well, the newspapers are full of such stories, and if you follow my blogs you’ll read quite a few similar stories.  Just read my last blog on private and public zoos to see how disinterested some people are in animal rights.

Elle MacPherson’s recent admission that she relies on rhino horn makes you wonder what she sees in her mirror.  Rhinos are critically endangered because of people like Elle, who basically put a contract on a rhino’s life by demanding its horn. Apparently Elle thinks that her beauty, as skin deep as it so obviously is, is so important to the world that it is worth the  lives of any number of endangered animals. Elle is the genius who is quoted as saying that she wouldn’t have any books in her home unless she’d written them.  Well, hello Elle, did you know that the trade in rhino horn is illegal?

However, as with yin and yang ie good/bad; light/dark; night/day – there are also many people who are concerned about the lives and welfare of animals.

IN a real-life fairytale, an American millionaire has bequeathed $8 million to the Mannum-based Wombat Awareness Organisation.

The millionaire, whose family has requested anonymity, unexpectedly visited the team of volunteers about two years ago to see the southern hairy-nosed wombats in the wild.

“I took him out into the wild population and showed him wombats with mange, wombats that were starving to death and wombats with burrows from motorbike tyres,” the director said.

The millionaire, who worked in the horse-racing industry, was captivated by the volunteers’ tireless efforts to save what may be becoming an endangered icon.

The Director, Brigitte Stevens,  who currently works to help pay bills, including last year’s $70,000 vet fees – wants to buy two properties in the Murraylands and run a 24-hour free vet advice phone clinic.

Read more: http://www.news.com.au/business/us-millionaire-leaves-estate-to-wombat-awareness-organisation/story-e6frfm1i-1225927067804#ixzz10xO6totL

Pity the poor wombat.  They are the farmer’s enemy because they dig burrows on their farms.  In NSW farmers can apply for permits to shoot wombats that burrow under fences. In parts of Victoria, wombats are treated as vermin and no permit is required to shoot them. Is there any native animal that pleases a farmer – I ask you? I doubt it. Kangaroos, wombats, sulphur crested cockatoos, flying foxes, dingoes and the rest are all animal non grata for farmers. They poison them, shoot them and trap them. 

A biologist, Erin Roger, is also working to draw attention to the plight of wombats – this time in protected reserves.

According to the Sun-Herald, 18th July, 2010 , at least 3,000 wombats are killed each year on 800 kilometres of NSW highway that fall within the wombat’s reserved optimal habitat.

Each year, over 13.6% of the common wombat population living in the optimal habitat of NSW’s protected reserves, are run over by cars and trucks.

You’d think that the wombats would be safe in specially designated wombat reserves, wouldn’t you?  Well, just as they do with koala colonies,  the government cheerfully builds highways right through wombat habitats. 

I have already discussed this matter in my post roslynmotter.com/2010/03/11/pity-about-the-australiankoala

It is heartbreaking to see so many native animals – wombats, possums, parrots, kangaroos and koalas – squashed on the roads every morning. There is no device in place to stop kangaroos jumping over the highway on the outskirts of Canberra for starters. It also breaks my heart to see the dozens of dead sulphur crested cockatoos on the M7 Motorway every morning. This is because the motorway was built right through their habitat.

Working to save the microbat, is Dr Brad Law from the science and research division of industry and investment of NSW. NSW is home to an unknown number of microbat species. Microbats play an important part in the ecosystem due to the large numbers of insects they consume – up to 1.5 times their own body weight in one night. Their numbers are falling as urban development encroaches on their habitat.  (Sun-Herald 27th June, 2010)

Female Phasmid (photo by SJ Fellenberg)

An entomologist who is doing marvellous work saving the Lord Howe Island phasmid (stick insect), is Dr. Stephen Fellenberg.  However, due to the escape of rats from a sinking ship, many species native to the island have been wiped out.

One of those species, a rare stick insect (Phasmid), was originally thought to be extinct. When a few survivors were found on the island, Dr Fellenberg agreed to breed them so that the island population could be restocked.

His wife, Lynn Bowden, is also doing marvellous work helping Australian native animals – this time the koala. She has been working with a group of scientists, volunteers and the local community in the south west Sydney region to study a small population of koalas.

She told me that there is an organisation called Koala Retreat which is  dedicated to establishing a tree planting program to supply good quality of leaves to koalas in zoos and wildlife parks and to extending the natural corridors for koalas in the wild.

So what can you do? I support organisations such as Wires, which protects Australian wildlife.

You could also start your own animal sanctuary http://www.startananimalsanctuary.com/54/working-with-animals-do-what-you-love/

The government has some ideas http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/kids.html However I find any suggestions that they make as laughable considering they give farmers carte blanche to shoot anything that bugs them/ and also are actively building highways through their habitats.  Developers give donations to major political parties which don’t go unrewarded and some politicians have close personal links with developers who steal habitat from native animals.

However, look in the mirror and see what you can do to help Australian wildlife.

To see some great animal shots (some tragic) go to https://mail.google.com/mail/?shva=1#inbox/12b5bca5be92f014




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One Hell of a Beauty

Have any of you environmentalists been wondering who the culprits are who are using rhino horn powder and driving the poor creatures to extinction?

I understood it was the Chinese who created the demand for the rhino horn to put in their medicines.

However, there is another person who has the big bucks necessary for the purchase – Elle Macpherson.

To quote a recent article in Woman’s Day Magazine (28th June, 2010) –

Elle Macpherson, 47, is on the hunt for a new youth elixer after ditching her favourite treatment – rhino horn powder, which she describes as tasting “like crushed bone and fungus”. Her change of heart came after learning rhinos are endangered.

I thought my eyes must be deceiving me!  How amazing!

As opposed to jet setting Elle, I am just an ordinary person with no celebrity network, but even I know that rhinos are on the brink of extinction because of the insane demand for their horn.
Since this has been the case for decades, I have to ask what planet Elle has been living on – guess it’s Planet Elle. I wonder if she pondered on why the price was so high?

Trade in rhino-horn powder has been banned since 1995.

To quote Richard Kay of the Daily Mail: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1286313/Alan-Bennett-1-500-pickpockets.html#ixzz0rYDrJD6W

Veteran ­environmentalist Tony Fitzjohn, from the George ­Adamson Wildlife ­Preservation Trust, tells me: ‘This is incredibly irresponsible. I have never been so disgusted in my 40 years of trying to save wildlife.

‘Her remarks mean that people will come after these scarce and ancient animals with guns.

‘Men die protecting them, and the well-being of countries that rely on tourism and wildlife are diminished.

I certainly now have a very negative view of a beautiful woman who is so insecure about her looks that she would be instrumental in killing such a magnificent creature so that she can erase a couple of wrinkles.

I just hope that someone tells her that tigers are endangered and so are most exotic animals these days just in case she hears that they can prolong her beauty too.

It’s rather sad when a wealthy and beautiful woman starts to panic about aging.  Besides the fact that I doubt that rhino horn makes one iota of difference to her face, I really wonder if the good her beauty does for the world is worth the lives of the many rhinosauruses that have been killed for it! If she can’t age gracefully why not do what everyone else seems to be doing and have botox or a facelift?

 I think Elle was the genius who said that she wouldn’t have a book in her house unless she’d written it. What a shame, if she had read a couple of other people’s books she might know that rhinos are endangered. However, she is quite a canny business woman and I think she might have worked out that there was a reason that she was paying thousands of dollars for an ounce of the powder.

Sadly, the beauty and fashion industries are two of the major reasons that so many magnificent creatures are in demise.

Every time I see snake skin boots, belts, shoes and handbags I wince. How many boas have been killed to service that fashion?

The musk deer has been driven to the point of extinction by the perfume industry for their musk.

Watch any old movie and you’ll see tiger skins as rugs and leopard skin and jaguar hats and coats on the actresses.

I have always thought that the only fair thing would be if animals were issued with guns to protect themselves.  Now that would be interesting.

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