Many songbirds in Southeast Asia are now on the list of threatened bird species, having been decimated largely due to incessant capture for trade. Liberec Zoo in the north of the Czech Republic is coordinating an EAZA (European Association of Zoos and Aquaria) conservation campaign involving some 200 European zoos which are striving to save these species from extinction. I spoke to the zoo’s spokeswoman Barbara Tesařová and began by asking her to explain why so many songbirds in Southeast Asia are threatened.
Young Czech scientist Hana Svobodová has devoted her entire career to protecting and saving endangered sea turtles. Since 2010, she has been regularly visiting Indonesia to work as a volunteer in turtle conservation centres and later established her own NGO focusing on their protection. Her NGO recently won an important victory, when they succeeded in hunting down a group of sea turtle egg poachers.
The Prague Animal Protection Association is an NGO which helps abandoned, injured, sick and abused animals, mainly in and around Prague. One of their projects is the Kocour Felix cat shelter, located in the town of Klecany, just north of Prague on the eastern banks of the Vltava river. Hana Janišová, who heads the Association, very kindly agreed to show me around the shelter.
Tereza Mináriková is a zoologist, who spent a number of years heading the Conservation Policies Unit of the Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic. She is now with the NGO Alka Wildlife, serving as a manager of research projects; she is also a specialist in carnivorous wildlife, and has a particular passion for lynxes.
Deputies in the lower house are set to debate a bill that would ban fur farming in the Czech Republic. A petition in favour of such a move has been signed by 50 deputies across the political spectrum, but a seminar preceding the debate revealed that it still has many opponents. I spoke to animal rights activist Lucie Moravcová from the NGO Freedom for Animals in order to find out more about the problem – such as how many farms are currently in operation and in what conditions the animals are bred.
Twenty lawmakers from across the political spectrum are backing a proposal to ban fur farms in the Czech Republic. The draft bill envisages a ban on the setting up of new fur farms as of 2017 and would force existing ones to close a year after that. But the ban would not affect rabbit farms where the fur is a by-product.
Drivers on Czech roads may soon come across a new, perhaps somewhat surprising, traffic sign: a moose crossing. The non-profit organisation Česká Krajina or Czech Landscape has proposed that the road management authorities place the traffic signs in regions where an encounter with these rare animals is most likely to happen. I spoke to Miloslav Jirků of the Czech Academy of Sciences, who is one of the people behind the initiative:
Animal rights activists from OBRAZ are holding a week-long protest in front of the Agriculture Ministry where they have put up a large cage, inhabited day and night by some of its members. The aim is to draw attention to the plight of animals kept in highly questionable conditions on some 11 fur farms in the Czech Republic. For the activists, there is no middle ground: they argue that fur farming, in the 21st century, should be a thing of the past.
Animal rights activists have staged a protest before the Agriculture Ministry in Prague to draw attention to the plight of animals farmed for their fur. Activists set up a cage before the ministry, in which members will sit or stand for eight hour shifts. The protest event will wrap up on Friday this week. At the weekend, an additional demonstration is to take place on Wenceslas Square. Activists charge that there are 11 fur farms in the Czech Republic breeding foxes, mink and chinchillas, allegedly in poor conditions. Animal numbers are reportedly not recorded but the animal rights group OBRAZ estimates that some 10,000 – 13,000 specimens are killed annually.