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Posted on Aug 25, 2016 in Abuse, Browse by Name | 0 comments

Camelottaspots Bengal and Savannah Cattery

Camelottaspots Bengal and Savannah Cattery

Chris and Arden Morley

860 Quail Crest RD
Kingman AZ 86409

Name they go by for their business is

Exotic Heritage Cat Association of America
http://www.exoticheritagecat.com/

Ever wonder what a hybrid breeder’s facilities are like?  Here is one eye witness account of Camelottaspots Bengal and Savannah Cats:

“I’m hoping you can help me with 8 serval cats that are in need of rescue from Arizona. These poor cats are being kept by 2 people that claim they use them for breeding and have the rights to keep them. But I know first hand after working for them that these poor cats need to be saved. Right now they are locked in a 8’x8′ cage at all times. Only time they see anyone is when they are fed 1 a day or their cage gets cleaned…

They are kept on concrete floors so they have leg and feet problems and need help. There is a few that are real bad with feet problems and I’m so worried about how these cats are cared for. Please help me save them!! They deserve to live their lives with people who care about them and not see them as a $ sign.

I was working the up until yesterday when the couple would not pay me for my time. They would not allow us to take photos talk about their business nothing after I started. I thought all that was odd.

They also have 12 Savanna cats there too.

There are many other cats there also. There are over 300 house cats at this place. Some in the main house where they breed and sell the kittens. The rest are kept down back in a building they call the shelter or the outside pens. Just in the outside pens there are over 112 cats. The shelter has even more close to 150 cats. The main house has over 80 cats and kittens.

We just know this not ok and we want to help all these animals have a better life. – name withheld

Camelottaspots-Serval-9 Camelottaspots-Serval-8 Camelottaspots-Serval-7 Camelottaspots-Serval-6 Camelottaspots-Serval-5 Camelottaspots-Serval-3 Camelottaspots-Serval-2 Camelottaspots-Serval-1 Camelottaspots

 

 

 

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Posted on Aug 24, 2016 in Abuse, Browse by Name | 0 comments

Mark Schoebel Timbavati Wildlife Park fka R-Zoo

Mark Schoebel Timbavati Wildlife Park fka R-Zoo

Mark Schoebel Timbavati Wildlife Park fka R-Zoo

Legal Name (DBA):
MARK SCHOEBEL (R-ZOO)
Customer No: 2424
Certificate No: 35-B-0033
Certificate Status: ACTIVE
Status Date: Jan 2, 1960

2011 Census of Timbavati Wildlife Park aka R-Zoo

1 AARDVARK ALL OTHER COVERED SPECIE
1 AMERICAN BISON ALL OTHER COVERED SPECIE
17 BLACK MUNTJAC ALL OTHER COVERED SPECIE
1 BROWN FOREST WALLABY ALL OTHER COVERED SPECIE
9 COMMON BROWN LEMUR ALL OTHER COVERED SPECIE
2 COMMON ZEBRA ALL OTHER COVERED SPECIE
7 DOMESTIC BACTRIAN CAMEL ALL OTHER COVERED SPECIE
1 GIANT ANTEATER ALL OTHER COVERED SPECIE
3 GIRAFFE ALL OTHER COVERED SPECIE
1 HOFFMANNS TWO-TOED SLOTH ALL OTHER COVERED SPECIE
4 NORTH AMERICAN PORCUPINE ALL OTHER COVERED SPECIE
4 RED FOX ALL OTHER COVERED SPECIE
5 RED KANGAROO ALL OTHER COVERED SPECIE
1 SOUTHERN LONG-NOSED ARMADILLO ALL OTHER COVERED SPECIE
2 SPOTTED HYENA ALL OTHER COVERED SPECIE
1 STRIPED SKUNK ALL OTHER COVERED SPECIE
8 COMMON MARMOSET NONHUMAN PRIMATES
10 SQUIRREL MONKEY NONHUMAN PRIMATES
11 GOAT OTHER FARM ANIMALS
3 LION WILD/EXOTIC FELINES
18 TIGER WILD/EXOTIC FELINES

Mark Schoebel plead guilty to several wildlife trafficking offenses in 1986, the worst being trafficking bears for their gallbladders. He would apparently breed the bears, use them for petting/photos, then sell them to a friend who killed and dismembered them before shipping the carcasses to Korea, where the gallbaldder was used as a “medicinal” remedy. His plea agreement for that case starts on page 5 of this pdf.  wi-markschoebel2001

We believe he paid a fine and was put on probation as punishment for the charges.

He also sold tigers to Kapp and Lantz of Operation Snowplow infamy, but wasn’t charged in that investigation because he claimed that he didn’t know the buyers planned on killing the cats. Which may be true, but given his previous history, you have to wonder if he actually “didn’t know”, or if he would have even cared.

The following is an excerpt from Stewart Metz, M.D. docmetz@att.net on VegSource.com

Let’s look at the facts. Schoebel has been an animal “broker” for decades, trading or selling animals (some exotic, rare, and highly endangered) between individuals and between organizations including zoos. He has also provided animals for canned hunts. A “canned hunt” is essentially a cowardly form of animal assassination; animals are hunted not in the wild but in restricted areas where hunters can be virtually guaranteed a “kill”. No kill, no pay! Note that the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (with which the Irvine Park Zoo is, not surprisingly, unaffiliated) specifically states that “animals shall not be disposed of to organizations…that allow the hunting of these animals or their offspring” (AZA Acquistion/Disposition Policy). Yes, indeed, Mr. Schoebel “takes care” of his animals!

The rap sheet of alleged offences committed by Schoebel is as long as my arm. Much of it is documented in Alan Green’s highly acclaimed book Animal Underworld: Inside America’s Black Market in Rare and Exotic Species, winner (in 1999) of the award for best investigative book from the National Conference of Investigative Reporters and Editors. Astonishingly, Schoebel is mentioned at least 13 times in that book. More outrageous is the alleged “cozy” relationship between Schoebel and the Irvine Park Zoo! To quote Green (pp. xxii-xxiii):

“For as long as anyone can remember,the Irvine Park Zoo in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin has a curious relationship with Mark Schoebel…Babies are born at the small municipal zoo…No one but Schoebel seems to know where the animals go when he takes them away. For years city officials would not say….City officials have been reluctant to Discuss the matter publicly. Members of the local zoological society once requested documents that might have exposed the exact nature of the arrangement but the parks and recreation department [ie, Flaherty’s department] at first stonewalled and then imposed search and copying fees so high they put the documents out of reach. What’s more, the zookeepers were ordered to not discuss Schoebel’s
activities with anyone….Wisconsin zoos actually protect Schoebel, a state wildlife official says.”

The stench of a possible cover-up seems to be beginning to waft and may well help to explain why everyone involved in the case of these parrots is not talking–or explaining!

So what offences has Schoebel committed, or been alleged to commit, that are so repugnant? Well, among them is the following. In 1986, he was accused of using his infamous “R-Zoo” to illegally transport bears and other wildlife across state lines (Green, p. xv).

“Evidence gathered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service revealed that Schoebel ad supplied bears to the owner of an Illinois game farm who was charged with shooting the animals, dismembering and decapitating them, packing the carcasses in dry ice and shipping them…to Korea, where the gall bladders are used…Federal agents uncovered evidence that two dozen bears had also been sent from R-Zoo to Korea via a California broker…and turned up receipts showing the sale of yet-more bears to an exotic-meat dealer. ..Schoebel pleaded guilty to four counts of wildlife infractions and in return received a fine and four years probation.”

Yet still, the Irvine Park Zoo continues to do business with this convicted animal trafficker. What ever happened to the mission of zoos to show dignity to animals, help to conserve them, in a selfless way? This zoo ought to be ashamed of dealing with a convicted, insensitive, self-promoting individual.

What else do we know about Schoebel? According to Green (p. 65), Schoebel supplied animals to Thomas Nichols, a Georgia dealer sentenced to a year in jail for illegal trafficking in animals. He also sells animals at auction (Green, p. 151), which shows no more concern about the animals’ special needs and their fate than does the transfer of the African Grey Parrots to Schoebel’s “care”. Once again, note that selling at auction violates the standards set by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association: “Animals shall not be disposed of at animal auctions.”

Worse still, epidemiologists traced infected prairie dogs to Schoebel. These rodents carried tularemia, a human disease which can cause paralysis or death. Even after he promised not to make any more shipments, Schoebel allegedly (Green, p. 190) sent shipments to Vanderbilt University and two animal dealers, thereby putting more human lives at risk.

But the alleged offenses do not stop there. In an article by Steve Barney (an animal advocacy group), on July 12, 1999, approximately 15 sooty mangabey monkeys died at Soebel’s R-Zoo in Neshkoro, WI, allegedly of electrocution. Mangabeys are protected as an endangered species under international law (including strict regulations on trade). Like African Grey parrots, mangabeys are very social animals.

Assuming that this story is true, how can the Irvine Park Zoo possibly justify doing “business” with such an unscrupulous broker who flaunts violations of the very protection of endangered species which zoos are supposed to vouchsafe? The answer appears to be that they can’t, and that may be why lips are sealed.

 

http://web.archive.org/web/20070814205831/http://www.vegsource.com/animal/concerns/messages/21596.html

More about R-Zoo

  • R Zoo was owned by Mark Schoebel
  • Evidence was gathered by US Fish & Wiildlife that revealed Schoebel supplied bears to the owners of an IL game farm who were charged with shooting the animals, dismembering, and decapitating them. They would pack the carcasses in dry ice and shipped via NY to Korea.
  • Every year he would farm out the babies to Reston Animal Park which led to the Zoos (AZA and others) for their crowd pleasing babies for the visitors to see.
  • He had a relationship with the Irvine Park Zoo in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin.
  • Schoebel would arrive at the Irvine Park Zoo to pick up some of the babies of the adults that he had on loan to this Zoo.
  • The US Fish and Wildlife declared for a 2 yr period R Zoo bought 74 bears but sold 132. Where did the other 58 bears come from.
  • Schoebel also owned a fur farm.
  • Schoebel contributed to can shoots whereas the animals are put in a 5 acre pen, hunted and killed.
  • Schoebel took delivery of 1400 prairie dogs which he sent to pet stores and Medical research labs.
  • He claimed he had 8,000 baby animals for sale.
  • He worked with the Racine Zoo and Duluth’s Lake Superior Zoo which are both AZA Zoos.
  • The Wisconsin Zoo protected Schoebel because he would take their aging, unwanted surplus of animals.

Source: http://chimpanzeeinformation.blogspot.com/2011/02/alan-green-and-animal-underworld-part-2.html

 

Timbavati to replace Riverview Park.

The Timbavati Wildlife Park is moving from Storybook Gardens in Lake Delton to Riverview Park in Wisconsin Dells.

The park, run by Mark Schoebel, will take over some of the Riverview site, except the go-kart tracks and candy store. The Wisconsin Dells City Plan Commission, Wednesday, approved a conditional use permit for Schoebel, who is leasing about 25 acres of the 60-acre park to house animal displays. The motion to approve the conditional use permit passed unanimously, and it goes to council for its approval Monday.

The commission received an e-mail from Inna Larsen, who signed the e-mail, “volunteer with Dane Co Friends of Ferals and Dane Co Humane Society and domestic cat owner.” Larsen asked the commission not to approve the permit, accusing Schoebel of “various violations of animal import and care.” She also said in the e-mail, “We urge you to deny the expansion and pass a city ordinance that would prohibit Timbavati, Kalahari and Chula Vista in showing lion and tiger cubs.”

A letter from Jim Mattei, at Storybook Gardens, where the park has been located, praised Schoebel’s care of the animals and the site.

Schoebel, who participated in the meeting by telephone, said in response to a question by the commission that he had never been fined for violating the animal welfare regulations enforced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and had never lost his license.

Schoebel said only juvenile big cats would be at the wildlife park. Larsen had said in the e-mail that once the cats become adults Schoebel sells them for parts and hunting.

Commissioner Dan Anchor asked what happens to the juvenile cats when they get too big.

Schoebel said they are returned to his farm near Princeton.

Donald Kalberg of Sweetbriar Drive, asked to speak while the commission was discussing the wildlife park. He was given permission to do so by Mayor Helland, although he said Kalberg should have raised his questions during the public hearing.

“My main concern is the safety thing,” Kalberg said. “I don’t want to walk out and find a tiger on my deck.” Other concerns were about odor, the care of the animals, what would be done if an animal got loose and whether someone injured at the park could sue the city. Kalberg said he is not against the park, but is just concerned about safety and the animals. “I am an animal lover myself.”

The commission put six conditions on the permit, and one is providing the city with proof of insurance. Others are to hold a USDA license, be responsible for removing solid waste and ensure that the park has no odor or other nuisances, that it resolve any stormwater issues, that it resolves any unforeseen nuisance problems with neighboring properties and that it and Riverview address any parking issues. The permit approval also specifies that no development be done in a point on the river that is not in the 200 foot conservancy zone that protects the river front.

Schoebel said the animal enclosures would have double gates and comply with USDA regulations. His proposal presented to the commission said the entire area would be enclosed with an 8 foot high fence.

Commissioner Shaun Tofson asked whether the law enforcement has the ability to deal with any escaped animals and would officers receive training.

The Lake Delton Police know who they are and how to get in touch with them, Schoebel said, and Dells Police would be supplied with contacts for the park. “Nobody is more concerned with safety than we are.” He said he is not aware of any training for police and he and his staff have “an array of capture equipment. We would definitely be in the lead.”

As to concerns about odor, Schoebel said the pens are cleaned daily or more often if needed. In the past Veolia has provided a dumpster and disposal of waste.

Schoebel said he plans to remove the waterslides and in his first year will use that area and the area of park up to the wooded area.

In other action, the commission approved a site plan for an addition to the Trapper’s Turn Clubhouse, gave permission to allow a house to be remodeled rather than be torn down and consider changes in the city’s zoning map.

The addition would be 38 feet by 38 feet and would have another bar and addition restaurant seating.

Tanya and Eddie Krause, owners of Amber’s Hideaway at Broadway and Highway 16, received permission to not tear down a house on the motel property. The city had set as a condition on the permit for the remodeling of the motel that the house be torn down.

Public Works Director Mike Horkan, a member of the commission, said he talked with Tanya Krause, pointing out to her that the house is currently not safe or sanitary. To fix it up the floors would have to come out and it would require a lot of work. “I went through it and it and she didn’t bat an eye,” he said.

Horkan said Tanya said she has fallen in love with the architecture of the house and the Krauses intend to remodel it, starting first with the exterior. Then in another year of remodeling would move here and live in the house. He said the couple has done a good job of remodeling the motel and have gone beyond the city’s expectations with their work there.

Helland said the couple has done what they said they were going to do and the city is happy to have them as part of the community.

Assistant Public Works Director Chris Tollaksen presented the commission with a revised zoning map showing the zoning classifications for six areas annexed into the city since 2007, when the current map was adopted. The map also shows the zoning classifications for three areas where zoning changes were made and corrections to two areas were mistakes were made in the making the current map.

One of those areas was around Sweetbriar Drive which was changed to commercial, and Tollaksen said it should be residential.

However, Adam Makowski, who lives on Sweetbriar said he though the area surround the northern part of the street should be commercial.

Tollaksen said he would look at the area again and check with residents there before bringing the map back to the commission at the April 13 meeting.

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Posted on Aug 11, 2016 in Abuse, Browse by Name | 9 comments

Black Jaguar White Tiger

Black Jaguar White Tiger

How can anyone be a follower of Eddie Serio when they see him kick a small cat and mock the cat’s worried owner in this video? https://www.facebook.com/astiffany

Here is a great article from 2016 https://projecticarus2015.wordpress.com/2016/07/01/cubs-cubs-everywhere-and-with-them-oh-the-funds-well-snare/

This blog is devoted entirely to watching his posts and sharing those that show abuse, or indicate breeding or buying of cubs: http://bigcatawareness.tumblr.com/

Where do celebrities go to pet cubs?  There are a few backyard breeders in the U.S. but the place that attracts the most, and ignorant celebrities is Black Jaguar White Tiger in Mexico.

You know the public opposes cub breeding and handling when Gizmodo goes after the perpetrators of such cub petting schemes with a vengeance like this article.

This is another well considered article that exposes the lies:  https://projecticarus2015.wordpress.com/2016/03/21/a-rescuer-is-supposed-to-rescue/

Yahoo Celebrity News understands why it’s wrong: https://www.yahoo.com/celebrity/celebs-favorite-animal-sanctuary-raises-serious-004456713.html

And bloggers speak out against using cub petting as a way to end cub petting. #BJWT (we had to remove the link to this article because she said she was being threatened and harassed by the BJWT gang.

Artemis Grey calls out Eddie Serio when he tries to act like he’s answering the questions people have, but really isn’t  https://projecticarus2015.wordpress.com/2016/01/20/with-a-sleight-of-social-media-hand-how-black-jaguar-white-tiger-continues-to-choose-slander-over-answers/

Black Jaguar White Tiger

We get a lot of questions about Black Jaguar White Tiger, asking if it is a legitimate sanctuary.  We don’t think so for the reasons listed below.

Sadly, it’s starting to become popular among animal lovers, despite their extremely unprofessional practices.  Like not knowing how to bottle feed a cub and having her blow milk out her nose, which leads to pneumonia:

Black Jaguar White Tiger is a newly-founded private “rescue” for big cats, which started about a year or so ago in a wealthy area of Mexico City. It’s owned and operated by a Mr. Eduardo Serio. While he seems to have good intentions, they are paired with some very questionable practices.

Serio appears to “rescue” his animals by buying them from circuses and private zoos, usually as young cubs. Very young cubs.  Cubs that still have a lot of lucrative weeks left in them for the abusers.  This, of course, is a counterproductive strategy in the long run, because it only encourages the bad breeders to keep breeding. He claims to have “saved” over 30 cats in his first year of operation, which is scary. I know he probably wants to “save them all”, but at that rate, things are going to get out of hand very quickly. Unless he has a lot of resources or learns to say “no”, I’m worried it’s going to turn into a hoarding situation. Serio supposedly has 100 acres of land, but the enclosures are already starting to look pretty crowded, if this video is anything to go by.

Serio states that he does not spay or neuter his animals. My best guess for the reason, given his other opinions, is that he probably believes that it is “cruel” to do so because it would deny them the “natural life” he’s trying to provide (some domestic pet owners still believe this). Unsurprisingly, his cats appear to be breeding like rabbits. On July 16, he posted a video on Facebook of a new litter of lion cubs.  In response Serio has said that someday he will use contraceptives, but there are no safe contraceptives for use in big cats.  Any zoo can tell you horror stories (if they are honest with you) about the cancers and other health issues that are caused by using pharmaceutical solutions to over breeding.

If you are running a sanctuary and want the cats to not breed and live long happy, healthy lives, then you spay and neuter.  Doing it when they are younger increases the cat’s ability to survive the procedure and recover, so there is no excuse not to do it, especially if you have males and females living together.

And in this video, a poor lion can’t even eat without having 3 young tigers trying to steal his food (although I don’t know the origin of the tigers – they may have been “rescued” (i.e. bought). Unlike other breeders, however, Serio does not sell cubs because he firmly believes that nobody should “own” an animal. Nobody except him, of course, because he “loves” them. So all of the cubs are just piling up at his ranch and causing serious overcrowding issues. While he does occasionally invite people (especially famous people) to pet them, he hasn’t turned it into a business… yet. He really seems to hate the people who breed cubs for photo props, having “rescued” several malnourished cubs from photo displays. However, his site does mention that he is planning a “volunteer” program, which conjures up images of those places in South Africa where people essentially pay to play with big cats.

Abuse-MinneapolisZoo_TigerCubsBy far, the biggest problem I have with Serio’s new “Foundation” is that it’s constantly churning out photos and videos on Instagram and Facebook. I’m sure you’re well aware of this, but these photos show Serio patting adult lions on the head, “play-wrestling” with tigers, pushing jaguars around in wheelbarrows, hugging lionesses, and other inappropriate (and unsafe) behaviors. He even has videos of exotic cats living peacefully in his house like a pet, which only encourages the pet trade. Serio (and his followers) often refer to the cats as “kids”, and visitors to the ranch are invited to “play” with 500-lb. adult lions – not a good idea.

Serio claims on his website that the reason his cats don’t attack people (and I’m not making this up) is “the bond of pure and innocent love that keeps us living harmoniously among one another”. It’s the very same fantasy that has doomed so many big cats to life as “pets” – people so desperately want to believe that as long as they have “love”, everything will be OK.

Hundreds of the people who have been mauled and killed by captive big cats thought they were special too and thought that their love for their big cat “friends” was all they needed.  http://bigcatrescue.org/big-cat-attacks/

Of course, gaggles of well-meaning animal lovers (the same kind who would fall for cub-petting schemes) have nothing but praise for Serio and his “amazing bond.” They think that this is the way a real sanctuary is run, to say nothing of the hundreds who express their wishes for their very own pet big cat, or at least the chance to touch one. An ironic message for Serio to be sending, since he says he doesn’t believe that animals should be property.

We reached out to Serio a year or more before this post, because we thought he was doing himself a huge disservice by posing with cubs. We told him that no animal protection group would accept him or even think him a good person unless he stopped acting in such a hypocritical way. We tried to reason with him and didn’t expose him for a long time because we thought he was just foolish and not trying to be cruel. We could not continue to ignore him though when he began trotting celebrities through and having them pose with cubs because people will stupidly mimic celebrities without thinking about the consequences for the cats. We really tried to be nice and still want him to do the right thing.

Overall, I’d say that Black Jaguar White Tiger is nothing more than an ego project from a well-meaning, but seemingly delusional man. He often posts about the “horrible conditions” his cats came from and about how “happy” they are to live with him – and his followers eat it up, calling him an “angel” and praising him profusely for “saving” the animals. And of course, the celebrity snapshots and cute cub pictures have made him a rising star on Instagram. But I don’t think he’s only in it for the glory – he genuinely seems to think he’s “saving the world” by “rescuing” every circus cub in Mexico.

Sadly, like so many animal hoarders, he can’t see the harm he’s doing. This situation is only going to get worse, I’m afraid, especially with the lack of laws in Mexico regarding exotic animals as pets.

When Big Cat Rescue’s founder and CEO was in Mexico in 2015, Eduardo refused to speak to her or allow her to step foot on the property, because he knows that we do not condone posing with big cats.  What else does he have to hide?

Here is a good list of articles about #BJWT

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Posted on Aug 10, 2016 in Browse by Name, Most Wanted | 0 comments

St Augustine Wildlife Reserve

http://www.staugustinewildreserve.org/About.htm
Website photos of founder walking tigers on leashes etc
On their tours page their text seems to glamorize white and tabby tigers.
They do not allow photos, even with cell phones.
AND they seem to do cub photo events http://www.staugustinewildreserve.org/Events.htm
More info is needed on where they get their cubs and where the cubs go when they can no longer be used.
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Posted on Aug 8, 2016 in Abuse, Browse by Name | 0 comments

Karachi Zoo

Karachi Zoo

Karachi Zoo Abuse

This is the experience of one brave big cat lover, who asked to be referred to as SN, who lives in Karachi and went undercover at the Karachi Zoo in Pakistan on July 27, 2016 to find out what’s really going on there.

‘Death by negligence’ – these words are now nearly synonymous with the fates of the numerous animals unfortunate enough to call the Karachi Zoo their home.

Established in 1878 and originally called the Mahatma Ghandi Garden, it wasn’t until the independence of Pakistan, in 1947, that it was renamed the Karachi Zoo. Once the biggest attraction for people of all backgrounds in the city, to say that the zoo now is a shell of its former self would be a colossal understatement.

The Karachi Zoo as of August 2016 is still visited by millions of people every year. However, its reputation as a legitimate zoological institution is all but gone in the eyes of most that have had the misfortune of visiting it. The zoo today, is nothing short of a torture house that keeps its animals in a similar manner to that of prisoners of war.

Karachi Zoo Abuse Cougar

In light of hearing recent news that one of the two Bengal tigers there, had died of ‘sudden kidney failure’ – a diagnosis that has no scientific credibility due to sheer impossibility of waking up one morning to find that a perfectly healthy kidney has failed – I took it upon myself to see the conditions of the animals in this zoo first-hand.

Karachi Zoo Abuse White Lions
On the morning of the 27th of July 2016 – the day of my visit – getting inside this zoo was all too easy, despite it being located in a city where even shopping malls and certain stores have scanners as well as guards frisking visitors, to make sure no harmful items get into their premises. The effects of the lack of security were evident once inside the park; as it was unmistakably clear the zoo grounds were also being used for drug dealing and illegal prostitution.

The condition of the zoo was a rude shock to my system as soon as I stepped foot within the facility. The zoo, touted by many as being the pride of Karachi for the longest time, was now just a run down, dilapidated facility that was poorly maintained and lacked any form of sanitation. Litter, most probably belonging to previous visitors, lay sprawled across the walkways as if a carpet covering the cracked and paan-stained tarmac and the immediate smell was that of filth and animal waste, which made it agonizing to even breathe. (Paan is a chewable preparation of areca nuts with betel leaves that produces foul smelling, red coloured saliva, which is usually spit out. In most cases, due to a general lack of civil sense in the public, this means spitting on public property like roads and footpaths). There was also an abundance of empty alcohol bottles (a substance that is banned here, seeing that Pakistan is an Islamic country) and syringes lying under trees and in the corners near empty exhibits. This first impression by the Karachi Zoo made it immediately apparent that I was not about to encounter the best cared for animals, to say the very least.

Karachi Zoo Abuse

Upon voicing my difficulty to a zoo keeper regarding my inability to get clear photographs from behind the visitor barricades, which surrounded the thick iron bars on the many cages, I was referred to see the Chief Security Officer, Mr Suleman Sajjad Hussain.

Knowing that I would most definitely not be given permission to get closer to the animals as a regular visitor looking to highlight the true horrors of the establishment, I took an incredibly risky gamble and pretended to be a newly recruited journalist for a local newspaper on assignment at the zoo. In Mr. Sajjad’s office, after what felt like a few hours of sheer inner-panic and nail-biting anxiety during which I wasn’t sure what the outcome would be, Mr Sajjad agreed to take me behind the visitor barricades. I was shocked that my lie and improvisation had paid off but it was at this point, that I was in a hurry to get the images I needed and leave as soon as I could before anyone found out my real identity. What I was doing was immensely unwise, knowing the people I was dealing with.

Karachi Zoo Abuse Lion

Right away I was taken to the big cat exhibits, which are the centerpiece of the zoo as they draw the largest crowds. The condition of what I refuse to call these ‘exhibits’ was absolutely appalling. The majority of the cages were nothing but unhygienic concrete and iron rooms, devoid of any forms of animal enrichment or natural features such as plants, bedding, water features, toys or even rocks to ease the animals being housed in them. Their lone female Bengal tiger who was nothing but skin and bones, lay absolutely motionless on her ‘bed’ – which was just a rusted metal slab fitted into a wall. Upon some questioning, I learnt that the animals were only being fed at the most, three times a week due to budget constraints from the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) – who own the zoo and are in charge of municipal services in Karachi.

The lack of feeding was the most probable explanation for the incredibly weak physical state the big cats were in. The cage itself had not been cleaned in what appeared to be weeks as she, along with the many other big cats at the zoo were living in their own excrement, since the concrete floors would not allow for the waste to seep through unlike if it were on grass or dirt. There was not a single source of clean drinking water available to her and that, alongside the sweltering heat of Karachi, did not give me a bright outlook for her future at the zoo.

A guard in charge of operating the cage doors added that the zoo had two Bengal tigers till just two weeks before my visit, when their male, by the name of Alex, died of ‘sudden kidney failure’ at just sixteen years of age. It was this very death that had sparked my curiosity to see what was really going on behind the scenes. Upon asking the zoo officials I was with during my visit about the reason for Alex’s death, all claimed that he had already exceeded his life expectancy as a Bengal tiger and that tigers only to live to be about twelve. Mr Sajjad added that animals live for a much shorter period of time in captivity as compared to the wild and informed me that Mr Muhammad Faheem Khan, the director of the Karachi zoo had already submitted a tender for a new male Bengal tiger to the KMC. It was as if they were indifferent to the death of their tiger who, for them, was nothing more than just a moneymaking machine.

Being a medical student, biology is by no means a subject I find difficult to comprehend, and being as passionate about animals as I am, I knew the reasons given to me for Alex’s death were a sign of sheer negligence on the zoo’s part, along with a blatant denial to accept their mistakes. If one does a quick web search, it is very easy to see that tigers can live for up to twenty-six years in captivity and it doesn’t take much more than basic common sense to know that an animal lives much longer in captivity than it does in the wild, where they receive no veterinary care and protection from predators, poachers and, at times, the unforgiving weather conditions. Animals also fare much better in captivity due to an abundance of food and clean drinking water, which is not always readily available in their respective wild habitats.

Alex’s death is not the first case of an animal dying due to the zoo’s questionable ways of caring for their animals and their overall negligence, which I had now experienced first-hand. I learned that within the last five years alone (2011-2016), numerous animals have either died or gone missing at the zoo.

Karachi Zoo Abuse Puma

On the 6th of August, 2011, four lion cubs were born in the Karachi Zoo. However, just six days later, on the 12th of August, three of the four cubs were found dead in their enclosure while the fourth went missing. According to numerous zoo sources, the reasoning for why the lion cubs died was very conflicting. Some claimed that the cubs drowned in their enclosure after a night of heavy rain, while others claimed that due to the lack of space in the exhibit, their mother had trampled on them when moving around. Their bodies were sent to the Dow University of Health Sciences for individual autopsies. However, the results of these post-mortems were never published for the public to see. Meanwhile the reasoning for the cub that went missing was never fully explained and remains a mystery to this day, with the director of the zoo at the time claiming that it was eaten by the mother – the zoo’s go to excuse for cases like these.

Even if we are to take the word of the zoo, despite the highly unlikely reasons provided for the death of the three cubs and the one that went missing, it is very easy to see that the zoo is still at fault. If the cubs did indeed drown because of heavy rainfall, why were necessary precautions not taken to make sure the cubs were safe during the rainstorm? Why was there no adequate shelter and roofing provided to the cage housing the lions if there was a chance of flooding? Why were no drains installed? Also, if the mother did indeed trample on her own cubs, why is the zoo continuing to bring in more animals, if there is a very obvious lack of space due to budget constraints?

The cubs were born to two African lions, Sarah and Alfred, who had been bought by an individual by the name of Irfan Ahmed in Karachi. The two lions were seized at the airport by customs authorities claiming that import of big cats was illegal in the country and that the cats were now the property of the Karachi Zoo.

According to a report, Irfan Ahmed claimed that the missing lion cub was most probably sold in the black market by the zoo for a profit. There were numerous instances during my visit as well where it was implied to me that the zoo was buying from and selling animals to the black markets of the world and thus, supporting the illegal wildlife trade.
A case that seems to add to the evidence suggesting this was of three jackal pups that went missing only a day after their birth in April 2012. This was not the first time an instance like this had been reported at the zoo and yet again, the director of zoo operations at the time, Mr Bashir Saddozai claimed that their mother had eaten the pups.

Apart from the fact that this was the same excuse used for the missing lion cub the year before (August 2011), it was highly unlikely that the mother ate all three jackal pups overnight. Mr Bashir also added that his staff running the zoo had minimal knowledge on animal husbandry and were not qualified for their jobs as zookeepers and that this may have been an accident on their part. Once again there were numerous rumors to suggest that the jackal pups had been sold for a profit as no further investigation was launched into the matter by the zoo.

In August of 2012, the KMC, who own the zoo, spent over ten million rupees (around ten thousand US dollars) on acquiring a pair of white lions from a private collector. However, they claimed that despite the frequent expensive purchases of new wildlife (as is also the case in 2016 for Alex, the Bengal tiger’s replacement) they do not have sufficient funds to invest into the zoo. When I had asked Mr Sajjad about the lack of funds for the zoo during my visit, all the blame was put on the KMC not setting aside enough capital for animal welfare and staff training. The zoo currently earns well over forty-five million rupees (around forty five thousand US dollars) a year. However one would be hard pressed to believe that were the case when looking at the state of the zoo as well as the animals and exhibits in it.

Just in 2016 alone there have been an incredible number of deaths and missing animals at the zoo. In June 2016 three mountain lion cubs were born in the zoo of which two died just weeks after birth to neglect and malnutrition. Just a month later in July, the last remaining puma cub disappeared mysteriously and yet again, as per the standard protocol at the zoo, the father of the cub was blamed for the missing body. Not only does this raise eyebrows and suggest that there may be illegal deals being struck regarding the sale of exotic wildlife from the zoo to individuals in the public or other parts of the world, but if indeed we are to give the zoo the benefit of the doubt, it would suggest that the animals are so starved that they are repeatedly willing to eat their own cubs in one sitting. The very same month (July 2016), the zoo also lost their three-year-old Bactrian camel (a species cited as being critically endangered on the IUCN red list) to malnutrition and infections.

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In April 2016, the zoo lost five black bucks, which had been taken from the wild, to a pack of stray dogs that managed to break into their exhibit. The zoo was questioned on their lack of care and information regarding the safety features on their cages and exhibits and their response was that they did not have enough funds to build better cages and that they were doing the best with what the had. In a similar fashion to this incident, the zoo also lost their black bear who was stoned to death in her own exhibit by the visitors who would throw rocks and bottle caps at her in order to get her to move. The zoo, however, did not even once try to do anything about this issue such as replacing the cage bars with glass walls or by enforcing stricter security measures to remove such visitors from their grounds.

Just last month as well (June 2016), the zoo hosted a magic show for children in which the host magician killed over a hundred wild caught snakes in just five days. The magician, who went by the name of ‘Talib’ bit the snakes on their head, skinned them alive and drank their blood straight from their mutilated bodies in front of a crowd consisting mainly of children and families. According to a report by a local newspaper, DAWN News, Talib was not stopped by the zoo during his performances, with the zoo director Muhammad Faheem Khan even supporting him and saying that it was just for the entertainment of the visitors and would only last a few days. Unfortunately, the current wildlife ordinance of 1972 in Sindh, Pakistan doesn’t offer protection status to snakes, lizards or frogs and doesn’t have any bill covering the issue of animal cruelty.

On the last stop during my visit, at the elephant exhibit, I learnt that the African elephants at the zoo were caught from the wild in Tanzania as newborns eleven years ago (2005) after being removed from their mothers. I was also outraged to learn that they have been living in the same cages their entire lives. The cages, barely eight meters by ten meters in size, were big enough only for the elephants to take two steps in either direction and for them to turn around. They showed severe signs of distress such as pacing around their cages, and showed a great deal of bruising and swelling on their bodies – probably from the physical abuse used when trying to ‘train’ them. Their front two legs were also deformed due to the numerous years they spent being chained in solitary confinement, a practice that is condemned by the American Association of Zoos. The elephants also lacked tusks and when asking the elephant tamer about the lack of these tusks, he replied saying that they keep falling off – which can only mean that they are being denied proper veterinary and dental care, or, the more likely explanation being that the tusks are being constantly sawed off and sold for ivory.

Karachi Zoo Abuse Elephant

Before preparing to leave the zoo, after feeling that I was beginning to push my luck a little too much, I asked Mr Sajjad where the animals in the zoo were being bought from. He responded saying that there is a contractor in South Africa who arranges for the ‘black animals that are needed.’ The name and details of this contractor were not provided to me and it is only likely that he does not have the most ethical or legal ways of obtaining these animals. When asked about his opinion on private big cat ownership in Pakistan and how numerous pet stores (which are the only ways of obtaining these big cats without permits) have a hand in the illegal wildlife trade, Mr Sajjad responded saying that the animals in stores are sold for too much and that he’d be willing to sell someone a tiger for a much cheaper price.

 

The Karachi zoo is in dire need of being shut down. Zoos like these should not be allowed to operate because they contribute more to the destruction of wildlife and the bio diverse ecosystems around the world, than they do to help them. The Karachi Zoo is a fine example of how numerous zoos around the world use the illusion of conservation to profit off of the distress of the very same animals they swear to protect. It is evident that the Karachi zoo is involved in the illegal selling and buying of wild animals to and from the black markets of not just Pakistan, but the rest of the world, and that it is far more worried about making a large profit than it is about educating the public on the importance of the species they exhibit.

I, as an individual, am very limited in my ability to do much to change the situation. However, I feel that the more the truth about this horrific torture house is spread, and the greater the international awareness it gets, our chances of rescuing these animals and putting an end to places that exploit life for money also increase drastically.

 

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Posted on Aug 2, 2016 in Abuse, Browse by Name | 0 comments

Vincent Von Dukes Tigers AKA Jordan World Circus AKA Clyde Bros Johnson Circus

Vincent Von Dukes Tigers AKA Jordan World Circus AKA Clyde Bros Johnson Circus

Who is Vincent Von Duke?

 

and why can’t he be found under any of these names he uses in USDA’s records?

 

He is licensed in Florida to operate out of a Sarasota P.O. Box under ESA # 16769 which was issued on 10/2/11 with his location listed as P.O. Box 1418 Sarasota, FL 34230-1418 and a phone number of 941.938.2138.  His Florida state license states that he and Georgina Donoho are at 14969 Beckett Road in Seagoville, TX 75159.  His email address is listed as vincentvonduke@aol.com

 

In 2004 he reportedly had a USDA license issued to Clyde Bros Johnson Circus Seagoville TX using that same email address above but there is no current USDA license number in that name or any of his other names listed here.  He was said by USDA to have had 6 tigers back in 2004.

 

Despite having a traveling show that appears at second rate fairs there is no explanation for how he is displaying tigers legally.  None of the reporters who have covered his appearances have done their homework to find out who he is, whether or not he is actually licensed to be taking tigers out in public and if so, under what name.

 

On a circus site I was able to discern that Georgina Donoho AKA Pom Pom Donoho was a circus performer and upon searching her name discovered this little old lady has a USDA license in her name 58-C-0788 and, low and behold, it is registered to the same P.O. Box 1418 Sarasota, FL 34230-1418.

 

In Nov 2011 Vincent Von Dukes AKA Georgina Donoho cited for an inadequate perimeter fence at their P.O. Box (no location given) and the report said they had just acquired new lion and tiger cubs and did not have vet care guidance for them.  The report gave them until December 2011 to correct the dilapidated fence, but there was no follow up inspection or report.  The inspection said that they should send in photos of their traveling act cage, but compliance is unknown.

 

 

USDA-VincentVonDukes-2011-Nov-15

 

In Vincent Von Dukes April 2011 inspection report there was no adult available to allow an inspection and apparently no itinerary filed with USDA.  Traveling acts are supposed to file an itinerary with USDA so that USDA can send an inspector to the location where the animals will be performing if there are complaints.  Most traveling acts only send these right before traveling because they do not want animal protection groups to know where they will be exploiting animals.

USDA-VincentVonDukes-2011-Apr-16

 

In Vincent Von Dukes February 2011 inspection they were cited for inadequate perimeter fencing and given until April 2011 to correct it, but by the November 2011 inspection it still had not been done.

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In Vincent Von Dukes February 2010 inspection at the Tulsa State Fairgrounds he was cited for not following his veterinarian’s prescribed diet for the 8 tigers in his act.

USDA-VincentVonDukes-2010-Feb-26

 

 

 

To update your search go USDA inspection reports.

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