Sybelle Foxcroft – Savage

Live Encounters Sybelle Foxcroft Savage Volume Four December 2015

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Savage (and she is not referring to animals) by Sybelle Foxcroft,
Director of Conservation & Environmental Education 4 Life (CEE4Life)

There is something terribly wrong in the world of conservation and animal ethics. It is nearly as if somewhere in time there was a split in the human humane genes that resulted in three distinct types of people.
1. Human beings that care deeply for animals and nature and will actively work to wards protection and sustainability,
2. Human beings that sit on the fence and ultimately do nothing, and
3. Human beings that destroy animals and nature.

Of course there is always going to be good and bad in every corner of the world, but these days we are witnessing some of the most atrociously cruel, intensely murderous and deliberate focused genocidal acts being unleashed upon animals, and it is sickening.

From the slaughter of the Taiji dolphins, the spearing of bulls, the massacre of elephants for ivory, crush videos, fake traditional medicines, the abusive live export, tiger farms, puppy farms, canned hunting, horror zoo situations, animal prostitution and raping, etc.

The list is so long, so brutal, so inhuman. If you try and learn how these people work and why they commit these acts without any real emotion, it means allowing your psyche to walk into a very dark and twisted place where you can never un-see or un-hear these things again.

It takes a special kind of person to do animal rescue work as one must have a strong grip on their emotions due to the things that are seen and the job that must be done. But also because the situations can vary immensely from a relatively easy rescue or rehome, to the opposite of walking into the depths danger and high risk. Yes, it takes a special type of person to do these things.

There are the successes but on many occasions, in order to bring humane care or protection to a suffering animal or an animal in peril, the path to rescue or safety is filled with a gauntlet of obstacles ranging from political reasons, corruption, ignorance, lack of education regarding animal welfare or ethics, and one of the main one’s is simply and horribly the lack of the care factor or sensitivity chip towards the animals we share the earth with.

Why is it so hard to help a suffering creature or an animal in a dire situation?

For example, the case of Melani the Sumatran Tiger, who was poisoned with formaldehyde tainted meat due to human’s saving money and buying cheap festering meat, and then left to suffer for years. How did those who had her in their care ignore this? And why did it have to take begging politicians to allow that help… And having to prove that she was in dire need even though any one could visually see the suffering let alone what was actually going on inside Melani’s body. And only after the massive international outcry did a ministerial order follow. And finally after 5 years of suffering, aid was granted to this beautiful critically endangered tiger. This is insanity.

Then there are the cases of the numerous wild animals being hunted to extinction because of poaching syndicates slaughtering iconic species for the 3000 year old myths of the fake traditional Chinese medicine that uses animal body… Turning beautiful living beings into a bottle of lies sold as fake magical cures for thousands and millions of dollars.

Or the relentless slaughter of elephants for their Ivory, cutting off their faces and leaving their dead bodies to rot in order for humans to own morbid trinkets and decorations. This list of sickening human activities against animals is endless.

But in order to stop these things or bring an end to the suffering of animals whether they are wild or captive, evidence must be gathered and presented. That in itself is an enormous, difficult and often a dangerous job to do.

The amount of conservationists, animal rescuers, researchers and animal loving humans that have lost their lives trying to protect creatures from extinction or aid a suffering animal, is mortifying. It should be clearly understood that people who do this work could quite easily lose their lives at any time. The blasé manner in which some people think of environmental and animal protectors as “tree hugging hippies” living the good life, is the furthest thing from the truth.

Right now, friends of mine are risking their lives out in the night in areas of Africa, Arabic countries, USA, Australia, SE Asia, India and many other places.

This danger has been happening for years – Dian Fossey – Rwanda, George Adamson – Kenya, Jairo Mora Sandoval – Costa Rica, Gregory Gibbard – Zimbabwe, Dr Ymke Warren – Cameroon, Prajob Naowa-opas – Thailand, Shehla Masood – India, Jopi Teguh Lesmana Perangin-angin – Indonesia, between 2002 – 2013 448 Brazilian environmentalists were killed, the list is endless.

To rescue or protect animals, especially the iconic and critically endangered animals, the conservationist or rescuer needs skills that go beyond any normal job.

Once there was a tiger who I worked with in SE Asia who lived in a facility and whose eyes were being eaten away by infection and ulcers. I conveyed the tiger’s condition to the attention of the staff and head of this place, naively thinking that they didn’t realise how bad this tiger’s condition was. Unfortunately, I was to find out that the staff knew about the tiger’s condition for a few years and that only a small amount of veterinary treatment was given to her. It was evident the minor treatment did not work and that she needed a higher level of treatment. When I asked if they would help her I was informed that too much money had been spent on her already and that the facility was not going to spend any more money on her. This sent me into a desperate search to raise money for the treatment. The operation was $1200 AU, I had $1140 AU and couldn’t get the last $60. This tiger suffered until her eyes were eaten away, right to the nerves.

Many other tigers in this facility were suffering and as I looked further into the situation it became obvious these tigers were for money only. Then came the discovery of the other physical abuses, then the wildlife trade. Then came the decision to try and help them, the gathering of evidence, the massive obstacles, the threats, the liaison with authorities, disappearing tigers, corruption and the dark campaign to end this suffering continues.

Yes there is something terribly wrong in the world of conservation and animal ethics. Do not take those that are on the ground doing this work for granted. It is very hard to achieve the positive outcomes, and sadly more often than not, it is savage. Bless the animal lovers and conservationists of the world, keep them safe, and keep them in your heart.

Live Encounters Magazine Sybelle Foxcroft Volume Four Conservation December 2015
Photographs by Sybelle Foxcroft of illegal sale of wild life in Indonesia. Investigations are ongoing. On sale are Ligons, tigers, deer, exotic birds etc. The tiger, right hand bottom corner, is the one who has eyes were eaten away by infection/ulcers due to lack of proper medical care.

© Sybelle Foxcroft

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