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Juvenile elephant condemned to a living hell by the EU   Shamefull EU set to condemn young elephants to a life of hell…

THIS WEEK, in a landmark decision, 46 governments voted in committee to end the barbaric practice of capturing live wild baby and juvenile elephants, mainly in Zimbabwe, for trade to zoos and circuses around the world, at the UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Shockingly, and shamefully, the European Union appears intent on overturning this historic decision by voting against it when it comes back to the Convention for ratification. NGOs, celebrities and government representatives worldwide are doing everything they can to sway what could be one of the most controversial decisions in wildlife history.

Originally the ban, which would apply to elephant populations in Zimbabwe and Botswana, was passed by the required 2/3 majority vote in Committee I of CITES largely because the EU was unable to vote due to a procedural issue (it had not yet filed its credentials). However, the European Union — which spoke against the 'ban' before the vote, and now has its credentials in order
looks set to vote against it.

With its 28-strong voting bloc, if it proceeds with this decision at the CITES Parties plenary vote next week, it will condemn wild-caught elephants to a lifetime in unnatural captivity just so that zoos and circuses in China, the US, the EU and elsewhere can continue to have a steady flow of live elephants from the wild.

Howard Jones, CEO of international wildlife charity Born Free: "We face a knife-edge decision on the future security of African Elephants and the rights of elephant families not to be hunted, or mothers killed while their babies are kidnapped for live trade to captivity in China, Russia and any other country prepared to pay.

"It's shocking that EU nations are poised to do the unthinkable and vote against this right, which will then allow Zimbabwe and Botswana to continue this appalling trade. It can't be right, it isn't right, not now or ever, and the people of Europe must speak out against this horror and pull their leaders back from the edge."

Mark Jones, Head of Policy at Born Free, added: "Over the last 20 years, close to 200 predominantly young elephants have been forcibly removed from their families and herds in southern Africa, and shipped around the world to live miserable and often short and lonely lives in zoos and other captive facilities, predominantly in China. We have long campaigned against this heinous trade.

"The export of live, wild-caught African elephants for exploitation in zoos and other captive facilities does nothing for conservation or elephant management. Instead it causes immense suffering among both the individual captured elephants, and the family groups from which they have been taken.

"The international community is on the brink of taking a hugely progressive step by bringing an end to this trade from Zimbabwe and Botswana, but unbelievably the European Union could stand in its way. We need European governments to wake up to public opinion and expert advice."

An open letter has now been sent to all EU environment ministers and the Finnish presidency representing the EU voting bloc at the CITES meeting in Geneva, reflecting the position of the majority of African elephant range states, the great majority of EU citizens, and leading elephant experts and supporting the proposal to end the export of wild-caught elephants for captive use.

"It's also been signed by a wealth of celebrities including Alan Carr, Bill Bailey, Bryan Adams, Joanna Lumley, Judi Dench, Paul O'Grady, Ricky Gervais, Simon Pegg, and Thandie Newton to name but a few: worldanimalprotection

Between 1990 and 2015, at least 1,774 live, wild-sourced African elephants were reported to have been exported internationally, mostly to non-range states for captive use.

Since 2012, China has imported more than 100 elephants from Zimbabwe, including 34 in December 2016, and at least 14 more in August 2017. Video footage suggests that most of these elephants were dependent calves aged between two and four, and a number have since been filmed displaying stress-induced behaviours.

A total of 17 elephants were exported from Swaziland to three zoos in the United States in March 2016; the group reportedly included a pregnant female in violation of international transport rules. One juvenile died prior to transfer, and a further juvenile reportedly died under anaesthesia in September 2017.

Recent media reports suggest that a further 37 young elephants have been captured in Zimbabwe, and are being held in enclosures in Hwange National Park while they await export to captive facilities in China and Pakistan, pending the outcome of a legal challenge against their export that has been brought by a local group of lawyers.

The negative impact on individuals, families, larger social groups and the wider ecology associated with the capture of live elephants from the wild is well documented.

The trade has been condemned by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, by the 31 African countries that are members of the African Elephant Coalition, and by many eminent elephant biologists.

Howard Jones concluded: "Bringing an end to this trade would be a hugely progressive step, and we will do all we can to ensure the original vote is upheld next week. To do this we urgently need the UK delegation, and those of other European Union member states, to change their position and support an end to the suffering of elephants."

About Born Free
Born Free was founded by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, who starred in the movie classic, Born Free (1966), together with their eldest son, Will.

Born Free's mission is to ensure that all wild animals, whether living in captivity or in the wild, are treated with compassion and respect and are able to live their lives according to their needs. Born Free opposes the exploitation of wild animals in captivity and campaigns to keep wildlife in the wild.

Born Free promotes Compassionate Conservation which strives to enhance the survival of threatened species in the wild and protect natural habitats while respecting the needs of and safeguarding the welfare of individual animals. Born Free seeks to have a positive impact on animals in the wild and protect their ecosystems in perpetuity, for their own intrinsic value and for the critical roles they play within the natural world. For more information about Born Free please visit: bornfree.

Can you give a forever home to the UK’s most inseparable lovedogs this National Dog Day?

TWO CLOSE-KNIT 'lovedogs' are looking for a forever home, after warming the hearts of a local community on their journey back to full health at a pet rescue centre in Doncaster.

Can you give a forever home to the UK's most inseparable lovedogs this National Dog Day? Monday 26 August is National Dog Day, and marks Samir and Sabiha's 225th day in a rescue: canine couple Samir and Sabiha have been in a rescue together since the New Year. The pair, affectionately named the 'lovedogs', were left cold and starving in a field, but are now lookingvfor loving new owners after being nurtured back to health.

Samir and Sabiha

Abandoned, cold, starving and frightened, the two lurchers, Samir and Sabiha, who are thought to be between three and five years old, were taken in by Tia Rescue in January after being found by a local dog warden, stranded in a nearby field.

With their tails tucked under, fur thinning, ribs showing, and sores all over their hurting bodies, all they had in the world for comfort was each other — but they never gave up hope.

Due to the bitterly cold January weather, volunteers at Tia Rescue believe the pair may not have survived alone in the field for much longer, had they not been rescued at that time, huddled together for warmth — but seven months on, the transformation in both Samir and Sabiha has been incredible.

Slowly building up their confidence and inner strength, Samir and Sabiha the 'lovedogs' (a name affectionately coined by the rescue in recognition of their togetherness) cuddled and comforted each other through the winter, spring, and on into the summer, putting on healthy weight and wagging their tails for the first time in a long time.

Throughout their struggles, volunteers say the two never left each other's side. Huddled together constantly and grateful for every ounce of food and love they were given, Tia Rescue describe them as the 'perfect dogs'.

While in care, the inseparable duo also spent time greeting visitors in Tia Rescue's cafe, going on school visits and representing the rescue at local fundraising events. However, the perfect new owner is still yet to walk into their lives.

Although the pair also spent a week in a local dog pound before arriving at Tia, it is not entirely known for sure where they came from originally, how long they have been together, or even how long they were stranded in the field.

However, the journey to where they are now began from day one at Tia, with a serious, much-needed dose of TLC, and according to rescue volunteers, the pair are now visibly happier, and in a far better condition.

In 2018, Tia Rescue was awarded a £50,000 grant from Support Adoption For Pets, the UK's largest grant giving animal charity, to help towards upgrades to its kennel facilities. The construction of a brand new rehabilition block has also meant the rescue has been able to offer the very best level of care for dogs such as Samir and Sabiha, giving them a second chance of happiness.

Amy Angus, charity manager for Support Adoption For Pets, said: "It has been a real privilege to be able to help such an important rescue centre that works tirelessly to care for and rehome pets in need.

"SAFP truly believes that every pet deserves a forever home and we are doing everything we can to help Samir and Sabiha find their forever home.

"What they have been through is sadly not uncommon for pets coming into rescues — but what is truly remarkable about these two is their unique bond. We are appealing for a loving owner to come forward for this gentle pair."

Tia Rescue, based in Doncaster, can house up to around 100 dogs, mainly greyhounds and lurchers, at any one time, and often has another 30-40 on the waiting list.

Debra Rothery, owner of Tia Rescue, said: "As far as we know, Samir and Sabiha have always been together. They were in an extremely bad way when we first found them, and they might not have even survived for much longer had we not — but they have both truly blossomed together.

"Since they've been with us, we've been able to closely monitor their weight, skin condition, exercise levels, and general progress thanks to our special vet and kennel facilities.

"It's been nothing short of amazing watching them develop together. They're more than ready to be rehomed now, but they're absolutely inseparable — you just couldn't possibly imagine them ever being apart.

"We've had several families interested in Sabiha over the past few months, but these two are a pair and they always will be. They are the perfect pets for a family who are looking for two peaceful additions to their lives."

Volunteers at Tia Rescue believe that a retired couple could be the most suitable owners for Samir and Sabiha.

Debra added: "All our rescue pets get a loving pat on the back every night before bed — I just hope this tradition can continue wherever they end up living.

"They both love their food, and they're so grateful for anything they are given. They've both got such loving, calm personalities. They have never caused us any trouble, and they really are a joy to be around."

In 2006 Pets at Home founded the charity Support Adoption For Pets. Since then it has helped more than 1,000 rehoming centres and animal welfare organisations across the UK. In addition to its fundraising work, it also runs dedicated adoption centres in Pets at Home stores.

To find out more about Samir and Sabiha, or to enquire about adoption, please visit tia-rescue or call 01302 772 935.

To find out more about Support Adoption For Pets, or to donate to the charity to help more pets like Samir and Sabiha, visit supportadoptionforpets.

Volvo puts UK customers first with new Test Drive+ service...

THE INTRODUCTION of Volvo's new Test Drive+ programme across its retailer network is designed to provide an authentically premium service, one that's tailored to meet customers' needs and preferences throughout the process from a convenient booking service to providing the car they are interested in at a location and for a length of time that suits them best.

Test Drive+ allows customers to choose to have a test drive at a retailer or a specific location, such as their home or place of work, lasting up to one hour to ensure a thorough introduction to the car. Alternatively, an extended test drive can be booked, offering flexibility of delivery and collection, for up to four days.

Volvo Test Drive+

The difference in the Test Drive+ experience begins right at the point of the initial car booking, with a convenient registration and reservation system that can be accessed online (via smartphone and laptop/desktop computer) or by calling Volvo's team of Test Drive+ agents.

Customers can view a real-time calendar to see what dates and times are available, and can use an online chat service if they need support or have immediate questions.

Once a reservation has been made, customers receive an email confirmation of the request. If the test drive is taking place at a retailer, the attention to detail includes providing specific, reserved parking for the customer when they arrive.

Volvo wants to ensure the test drive experience is relaxed and gives people the best possible introduction to a new car. The Test Drive+ hosts are product specialists whose aim is to ensure the customer understands everything they need to about the car, including its state-of-the-art technology and world-class safety credentials, in order to maximise their test drive.

Kristian Elvefors, Volvo Car UK Managing Director: "The test drive is a critical element when people are making the important decision about whether or not to buy a new car, so we want to make sure it's an experience that makes them feel at ease and valued as a customer, and which also reflects the premium quality of our brand. With Test Drive+ we have looked at every aspect from the customer's point of view to make it as flexible and informative as possible. We want people to enjoy an ideal introduction to our cars, one which is completely designed around them."

Test Drive+ is available nationwide, initially for the multi-award-winning Volvo XC40 compact SUV — one of Britain's most in-demand premium models. The programme is set to extend to further cars in the Volvo range, beginning with the newly-launched S60 saloon.

Participants in Test Drive+ must meet Volvo Car UK's eligibility requirements.

Find out more at Volvo Cars

Chernobyl Sky Original drama Chernobyl explores the truth surrounding the disastrous nuclear power plant explosion in 1986 — a story of incredible heroism and sacrifice, but also shocking lies and conspiracy...

THE RESULT OF EXTENSIVE RESEARCH, Chernobyl seeks to tell the stories of those directly involved in causing the catastrophe, and those affected by the nuclear fallout felt across the world.

Jared Harris (Mad Men, The Crown) stars as Valery Legasov, a nuclear physicist who is one of the first people to grasp the scope of the nuclear disaster. Ulana Khomyuk (Emily Watson: Apple Tree Yard; The Theory of Everything) is a scientist committed to getting to the bottom of the cause, while Lyudmilla Ignatenko (Jessie Buckley: Wild Rose, Beast) is the wife of a firefighter who was first on the scene. Stellan Skarsgård (Mamma Mia, Thor) plays Soviet Deputy Prime Minister Boris Shchergina, leading the government commission from a safe distance.

Directed by The Walking Dead's Jonas Renck, the five-part series is committed to a realism that refuses to shy away from the horrors, both physical and psychological, inflicted upon the victims of this uniquely horrifying event.

A deeply moving story about how individuals act when faced with something inexplicable, this drama seeks to honour the spirit of those who helped stop the devastation from spreading even further.

The BBC calls it "TV that doesn't just get you thinking, it stops you sleeping" ***** and the Irish Independent says: "Devastatingly powerful — no piece of dramatised non-fiction has ever felt this authentic" *****

Investigating the lengths to which governments will go to cover up atrocities and suppress the spread of information, Chernobyl also acts as a timely warning that the truth will out.

Chernobyl will be available digitally to download and keep from 4 July, then as a two-disc set on DVD 15 July, and on Blu-ray 29 July 2019.

"Riveting — and utterly horrifying… beautifully crafted… one of the best television dramas so far this year" *****The Telegraph

"Gripping, weighty drama is a triumph… timely, bleak, intelligent and compelling" *****The Independent

"A drama so powerful you can almost feel the radiation pumping out of the screen" *****The Times

"Compelling, vital television… a staggering, unmissable achievement which will haunt you for weeks… one of the most affecting and haunting shows to emerge this century" *****Metro

Ana Vitorino beachwear from Boux Avenue The sun’s high-balling, the sky brilliant blue — it’s officially that time of the year again...

WITH ALL THE FASHION CHAT going on, don't forget one very important add-on that always takes your beach/pool-side look from hot to FIRE — sizzling beachwear.

High waisted, belted, neon, crinkle — you name it and you've probably read about it in the last few weeks.

Whether you're relaxing poolside or soaking up the sun in style, Boux Avenue’s collection of beachwear and beach cover-ups are the perfect holiday essentials you need when escaping to the tropics this summer.

So for a sweet few weeks Leave the UK and try to forget Brex-it; instead think Bikini-it!

And check out Boux Avenue — it's your summertime Go To.