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Unchained: Mountain lion returned to forest after life in back of circus pick-up truck

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Mufasa the mountain lion lived for 20 years chained in the back of a pick up truck amongst rusting circus equipment.  Despite Peru’s ban on wild animals in circuses, there seemed little hope for Mufasa as the circus went undetected, on the run, moving between remote villages.

Then in a dramatic raid earlier this year, wildlife officials and Animal Defenders International (ADI) rescued Mufasa and he is believed to be the last wild animal in a South American circus.

A new video shows how the elderly mountain lion, whose rescue marked the end of a cruel industry, has gone home to an enclosure in the Peruvian forest.

Animal Defenders International President Jan Creamer who led the rescue team in Peru said, “It was heartbreaking to see Mufasa chained among the circus equipment, living on the back of a pickup truck. A heavy harness and chains were wrapped around his body and as we cut them away, he stretched, free, for the first time. It is magical to see him moving about in and out of the trees in his own piece of protected forest. Mufasa was torn from the wild and has endured the worst possible life and will need special care so I hope people will help us give him a wonderful retirement by making a donation today.”

In April, Animal Defenders International (ADI) received a tip-off that Circo Koreander was illegally operating with wild animals in an isolated village in northern Peru. ADI, police and wildlife officers moved in for a surprise raid but were met by hostile resistance.  An eight hour stand-off saw riot police and a Public Prosecutor called in before Mufasa – Peru’s last wild animal in a circus – was handed over, along with a condor.

Mufasa was cut from his circus chains and taken to ADI’s Spirit of Freedom rescue centre near Lima to rehabilitate. His appetite and coat condition have improved after receiving specialist veterinary treatment. It is believed that Mufasa was taken from the wild as a baby.

After being nursed back to better health, Mufasa made a 3-day journey by road and boat to his forever home on the edge of the Tambopata reserve in the Amazon rainforest. At the Taricaya Ecological Reserve he joins an endangered spectacled bear, three woolly monkeys, two spider monkeys and a macaw also saved during ADI’s Peruvian rescue operation.

ADI is providing complete logistical support to Peruvian officials to enforce a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses and tackle the illegal wildlife trade.  Nearly 100 animals have been rescued including bears, monkeys, lions, a tiger, and birds, and most have been rehomed to ADI facilities in Peru.  The mission will culminate with the world’s biggest airlift taking 33 rescued circus lions to a new life at Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary in South Africa.

The entire year-long mission, known as Operation Spirit of Freedom, has been funded by donations, and is expected to cost Animal Defenders International over £1 million in total, with the biggest single cost being the Spirit of Freedom flight to take the lions to their forever home.

Jan Creamer:  “Mufasa’s story symbolises the suffering we have ended.  He was kept for years in chains in a truck, sleeping on metal, barely able to move. An unbearable torture. Now, in his twilight years, I hope people will help us give him back the life the circus stole from him.”

Please donate to help Animal Defenders International care for Mufasa and almost 100 other animals saved during Operation Spirit of Freedom.

Environment

Build, Buy, Or Retrofit? 3 Green Housing Considerations

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green housing techniques

Green housing is in high demand, but it’s not yet widely available, posing a serious problem: if you want to live an eco-friendly lifestyle, do you invest in building something new and optimize it for sustainability, or do you retrofit a preexisting building?

The big problem when it comes to choosing between these two options is that building a new home creates more waste than retrofitting specific features of an existing home, but it may be more efficient in the long-run. For those concerned with waste and their environmental footprint, the short term and long term impacts of housing are in close competition with each other.

New Construction Options

One reason that new construction is so desired among green living enthusiasts is that it can be built to reflect our highest priorities. Worried about the environmental costs of heating your home? New construction can be built using passive solar design, a strategy that uses natural light and shade to heat or cool the home. Builders can add optimal insulation, build with all sustainable materials, and build exactly to the scale you need.

In fact, scale is a serious concern for new home buyers and builders alike. Individuals interested in green housing will actively avoid building more home than they need – scaling to the square foot matter because that’s more space you need to heat or cool – and this is harder to do when buying. You’re stuck with someone else’s design. In this vein, Missouri S&T’s Nest Home design, which uses recycled shipping containers, combines the tiny home trend with reuse and sustainability.

The Simple Retrofit

From an environmental perspective, there’s an obvious problem with building a new home: it’s an activity of mass consumption. There are already 120 million single-family homes and duplexes in the United States; do we really need more?

Extensive development alone is a good enough reason to intelligently retrofit an existing home rather than building new green structures, but the key is to do so with as little waste as possible. One option for retrofitting older homes is to install new smart home technology that can automate home regulation to reduce energy use.

Real estate agent Roxanne DeBerry sees clients struggle with issues of efficiency on a regular basis. That’s why she recommends tools like the Nest Thermostat, which develops a responsive heating and cooling schedule for the home and can be remotely adjusted via smartphone. Other smart tools for home efficiency include choosing Energy Star appliances and installing water-saving faucets and low-pressure toilets. These small changes add up.

Big Innovations

Ultimately, the most effective approach to green housing is likely to be aggressive retrofitting of everything from period homes to more recent construction. This will reduce material use where possible and prevent further aggressive land use. And finally, designers, activists, and engineers are coming together to develop such structures.

In the UK, for example, designers are interested in finding ways to adapt period houses for greater sustainability without compromising their aesthetics. Many have added solar panels, increased their insulation levels, and recently they even developed imitation sash triple glazed windows. As some have pointed out, the high cost of heating these homes without such changes will push these homes out of relevance without these changes. This is a way of saving existing structures.

Harvard is also working on retrofitting homes for sustainability. Their HouseZero project is designed for near-zero energy use and zero carbon emissions using geothermal heating and temperature radiant surfaces. The buildings bridge the gap between starting over and putting up with unmanageable heating and cooling bills.

It will take a long time to transition the majority of individuals to energy efficient, green housing but we’re headed in the right direction. What will your next home be like? As long as the answer is sustainable, you’re part of the solution to our chronic overuse – of land, energy, water, and more.

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Environment

How the Auto Industry is Lowering Emissions

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auto industry to clean air pollution

Currently, the automotive industry is undergoing an enormous change in a bid to lower carbon emissions. This has been pushed by the Government and their clean air plans, where they have outlined a plan to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040.

Public Health Crisis

It is said that the levels of air pollution lead to 40,000 early deaths in the UK, with London being somewhere that is particularly bad. This has led to the new T-Charge, where heavy polluting cars will pay a new charge on top of the existing congestion charge. Other cities have taken action too, with Oxford recently announcing that they will be banning petrol and diesel cars from the city centre by 2020.

Eco-Friendly Vehicles

It is clear that the Government is taking action, but what about the auto industry? With the sale of petrol and diesel plummeting and a sharp rise in alternatively fuelled vehicles, it is clear that the industry is taking note and switching focus to green cars. There are now all kinds of fantastic eco-friendly cars available and a type to suit every motorist whether it is a small city car or an SUV.

Used Cars

Of course, it is the cars that are currently on the road that are causing the problem. The used car market is enormous and filled with polluting automobiles, but there are steps that you can take to avoid dangerous automobiles. It is now more important than ever to get vehicle checks carried out through HPI, as these can reveal important information about the automobile’s past and they find that 1 in 3 cars has a hidden secret of some kind. Additionally, they can now perform recall checks to see if the manufacturer has recalled that particular automobile. This allows people to shop confidently and find vehicles that are not doing as much damage to the environment as others.

Public Perception

With the rise in sales of alternatively fuelled vehicles, it is now becoming increasingly more common to see them on UK roads. Public perception has changed drastically in the last few years and this is because of the air pollution crisis, as well as the fact that there are now so many different reasons to switch to electric cars, such as Government grants and no road tax. A similar change in public opinion has happened in the United States, with electric car sales up by 47% in 2017.

Progress

The US is leading the way for lowering emissions as they have declined by 758 million metric tons since 2005, which is the largest amount by far with the UK in second with a decline of 170 million metric tons. Whilst it is clear that these two nations are doing a good job, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done in order to improve the air quality and stop so many premature deaths as a result of pollution.

With the Government’s plans, incentives to make the change and a change in public perception, it seems that the electric car revolution is fully underway.

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