Activists rescue deposed Kyrgyz dictator’s starved leopards

Posted on Earth Times : Fri, 28 May 2010 10:48:55 GMT

Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan – Activists have rescued 23 starving wild animals, including bears and wolves, from a private menagerie belonging to deposed Kyrgyz president Kurmanbek Bakiyev, but said Friday they arrived too late to save a couple of snow leopards.

The animals, neglected since Bakiyev’s ouster early last month, were trucked from Bakiyev’s former luxury compound at Jalal-Abad in the south of Kyrgyzstan to a nature-protection site at Karakol, said Leif Miller, head of German nature group NABU.

Among the survivors was one snow leopard, but two were already dead when the NABU staff arrived. There are estimated to be only 350 snow leopards left in the wild in Kyrgyzstan. Birds of prey in the collection included two black kites and an eagle.

“The animals don’t seem to have been fed since he was overthrown,” said Miller from NABU’s office in Berlin. Bakiyev has fled to Belarus.

Bakiyev was not the only regional leader with a menagerie: Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov reportedly owns lions and rare Siberian tigers.,activists-rescue-deposed-kyrgyz-dictators-starved-leopards.html

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  1. NZ’s pure image rotting – environmentalist

    By PAUL EASTON – The Dominion Post Last updated 05:00 25/06/2010

    ANDREW GORRIE/The Dominion: Barbara Maas visits Lower Hutt’s Waiwhetu Stream, which has been having a massive cleanup. She is calling for a central environmental agency, with regulatory teeth.Relevant offers New Zealand’s clean, green brand is starting to “rot from beneath” on the international stage, an environmental expert says.

    We are not living up to the 100% Pure New Zealand brand trumpeted overseas, according to wildlife biologist Barbara Maas.

    “New Zealand needs to decide if it’s serious about its environmental credibility, or if it’s just a marketing campaign. People come here because of New Zealand’s clean image.

    “But things are starting to rot from beneath. Once it’s gone, it will be very difficult to restore.”

    Dr Maas heads international species protection for German conservation group Nabu.

    She earned a PhD in wildlife from Cambridge University and is a former chief executive of Care for the Wild International.

    Nabu is working to save animals in the developing world, including tigers in Indonesia, elephants in Kenya and snow leopards in Kyrgyzstan. It has now turned to New Zealand.

    “You’re not a developing country, but you’re behaving like one in some areas.” New Zealand’s record on species extinction, river pollution, and plans to mine conservation land was shocking, Dr Maas said.

    “There are a lot of problems, really high nitrate levels in your water, because of fertiliser going into the oceans. Ninety per cent of your wetlands have been destroyed.”

    In Kyrgyzstan, Nabu rescued starving animals from the private zoo of ousted president Kurmanbek Bakiyev, including a snow leopard and bear cubs. “Having a snow leopard at home is seen as a status symbol. It’s like having a Lamborghini in the garage,” Dr Maas said.

    This month, The Dominion Post reported pollutants were still pouring into New Zealands’s rivers, two years after a national inquiry proposed changes to help clean our water. Two years was too long to wait, Dr Maas said. She called for a central environmental agency, with regulatory teeth.

    Dr Maas will meet Conservation Department and Fisheries Ministry officials, to push more protection for Hector’s and Maui’s dolphins – both threatened species.

    Maui’s dolphins are critically endangered, with an estimated population of just 111. “Unless there is fundamental change, a marine mammal is going to go extinct on your watch,” Dr Maas said.

    A Tourism New Zealand spokeswoman said 100% Pure New Zealand was not an environmental promise.

    “It is a tourism campaign line established to convey the 100% Pure New Zealand experience visitors can expect when they get here.”

    Ad Feedback Tourism New Zealand research showed visitors were “highly satisfied with our environmental credentials”.

    Environment Minister Nick Smith said Dr Maas’s criticism was “poorly informed”. International studies had ranked New Zealand’s environmental performance highly.

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