In September this year I interviewed David Stanton, Executive Director of the ‘Foundation for the Protection of the Arabian Leopard in Yemen‘. An erudite and passionate man he talked of his hope for the survival of the Yemen Leopard, a Critically Endangered (and quite distinct) race of Leopard that he was working hard to save from extinction.
This morning I received an email from him and a link to a YouTube video he’d found which was uploaded in May which – genuinely – has brought tears to my eyes: I can only imagine how David must have felt when he first saw it. It shows a terrified Arabian Leopard tied up, lying on a floor, being tormented and abused – tortured in fact – by several Yemeni men. Cruelty like this is sadly all too commonplace in our world, and is certainly not confined to the one region or another, but rarely is it filmed and then posted for everyone to watch.
PLEASE read the mail below and do as David asks – the people in this film can be tracked down and brought to justice. It will no doubt be too late for the Leopard, but if we act now we may be able to help stop another of these beautiful animals being treated in the same, horrible way.
“Dear Friends of the Arabian Leopard,
It has just been brought to my attention that a video of an Arabian Leopard captured in Yemen was posted on YouTube on May 28, 2011:
|PLEASE NOTE: AS OF JAN 2012 THIS EXTREMELY DISTURBING VIDEO HAS BEEN REMOVED FROM YOUTUBE BY THE USER. A COPY SAVED BY FPALY IS AVAILABLE TO WATCH HERE|
The animal being tormented in the video is one of the most critically endangered mammals on Earth (up to 16 times rarer than the Giant Panda and 30 times rarer than the Bengal Tiger). As Yemen’s National Animal (as of Yemen Cabinet decree on April 29, 2008) this animal should be fully protected by law. From the video it is obvious that the law is not working. Can you please take ten minutes from your day at the first opportunity to perform the following actions:
1) Watch the video and click “dislike” so that the person who posted the video, and everyone who subsequently watches it, begins to get the message that what the video depicts is unacceptable.
2) Write a message to Mr. Omer Ahmed Baeshen ( email@example.com), Director of the Endangered Species Unit of the Yemen Environmental Protection Authority and the CITES officer for Yemen demanding that the Endangered Species Unit at the EPA fully investigate this “incident.”
3) Encourage your friends, family, colleagues, students etc. to do the same.
4) If you are Yemeni and can tell from the accents, clothing or any other clues the governorate where this took place, contact me immediately with this information. It is impossible to tell at this point when and where the video was taken, but knowing where and when it was captured will contribute to the effectiveness of future actions on the part of the Foundation.
David B. Stanton
Executive Director of the Foundation for the Protection of the Arabian Leopard in Yemen
P.O. Box 7069
Sana’a, Republic of Yemen
If you would like more information about the Foundation for the Protection of the Arabian Leopard in Yemen please have a listen to the interview I had with David, which was originally uploaded as part of a Conference Call but is here posted as a stand-alone podcast:
The Foundation for the Protection of the Arabian Leopard in Yemen (FPALY) (http://www.yemenileopard.org/) was licensed by the Yemen Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour in November 2009. This effective conservation NGO has an active and committed Board of Trustees headed by former Prime Minister Dr. Abdul Karim Al-Iryani and staffed by former Minister of Water & Environment Abdulrahman Al-Eryani, Yemeni business leader Haitham Alaini, Yemeni artist Adnan Jumman, and 50-year Yemen resident Marco Livadiotti.
FPALY has a greater than 80% success rate in getting its projects funded by conservation donors and all three of the proposals that it submitted to World Bank/GEF on behalf of the Yemen Ministry of Water & Environment have been approved by the GEF council.
Although founded and directed by an expatriate, David Stanton, the Foundation, which has five full-time Yemeni staff, will be nationalizing its leadership within the next year and rebranding to more obviously reflect its broad conservation mandate.