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Testimony For SB-1487 Iconic African Species Protection Act

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By: Sam Jojola

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Introduction

In 2011, the world’s population reached 7 billion and is now 7.6 billion.  Many stressed ecosystems leave larger mammals vulnerable like elephants, giraffes and both African rhino species. Serious trophy hunters seek quarry like black maned lions and rare African elephant tuskers.  Genetic viability can be impacted coupled with demand for body parts in traditional medicine.

Widespread corruption plagues Zimbabwe and South Africa with little or no jail time for most offenders.  My 2003 investigation on allegations of illegal lion hunting in Zimbabwe revealed their poorly written laws prevented federal prosecution of suspect U.S. trophy hunters, including a similar instance like Cecil the Lion.

Lesson in extinction

In the early 1800’s, Passenger Pigeon numbers were several billion and by 1900 none survived in the wild.  History does repeat itself with extinction.

Larger Species Vulnerable

Lions, elephants, rhinos, leopards, and hippo parts are exploited in the global online black market of illegal wildlife.  Large social media companies profit from the illicit wildlife trade of rhino horn, elephant ivory, including lion and tiger claws.  Stephen Kohn, renowned whistleblower attorney documented extensive illicit trade through sting operations detailed in this month’s WIRED Magazine.  These social media companies are reportedly at the center of the global trade in endangered species.

Trafficking in illegal wildlife parts is akin to taking a stolen vehicle and selling the parts individually that are worth more than the whole.

Growth of illegal wildlife trade

The illegal wildlife trade estimate ranged from $10 billion annually in 2011 to $23 billion in 2014 and now $115 billion after a recent month long crackdown in 92 countries.

Overnight parcel shipping venues have been a platform for decades that support trafficking a host of illegal wildlife parts and products including live reptiles shipped overnight from around the globe.

Wildlife Crime supports Transnational Criminal Syndicates and Terrorism

In 2015, my colleague, Bryan Christy in Nat Geo’s “Warlords of Ivory” chronicled the elephant ivory trade to transnational criminal syndicates and suggested evidence of ivory trafficking used to forge links between several African based terrorist groups.  Other independent reports support his assessment.

Think Globally Act Locally

With Jane Goodall’s support of SB-1487 and the supporting evidence of 21st century impacts on the illegal wildlife trade, California legislators have an opportunity to make a difference with this key legislation in a proactive unified effort.

Thank you all kindly for the opportunity to speak in support of this critical legislation.

Sam Jojola

 

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Testimony For SB-1487 Iconic African Species Protection Act

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By:  Sam Jojola

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Summary

In late June, I was humbled when asked to testify before the California State Assembly in Sacramento in support of the above critical legislation initially proposed by Senator Henry Stern.  I am very thankful for Judie Mancuso, Founder, CEO and President for Social Compassion In Legislation (SCIL) who believed in me and asked me for my support in SB-1487.

Nicholaus Sackett, a Sacramento attorney who is instrumental in SCIL’s continued success with legislative issues also provided key testimony for SB-1487.

Two opponents who represented interests of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and Safari Club International (SCI) also testified.

For years I have felt like a voice in the wilderness echoing concerns based on my professional expertise and opinion of the illicit wildlife trade’s continuous and unabated expansion across the globe. More

Smoke and Mirror Phone Scams Part II

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By: Sam Jojola

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“Today’s news proves Congress has not their job.  Reports of 18 billion unwanted calls in 2017 by Seattle based tech company HIYA prove that.  Reportedly, over 4 million people complained last year to the federal government about robocalls.

Last month, a reported 2.7 billion robocalls were reported.  Consumer groups have complained the U.S. government is not doing enough.”

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Letter to Congress

Update

Last month, I sent correspondence to two Senators and a Congressman in California regarding the need for tougher penalties for robocallers and telemarketing fraud.  Though I have yet to receive a personal response to my letter below, I do believe other members of Congress have moved forward recently this month to introduce similar legislation that was never enacted in 2016:  https://bigislandnow.com/2018/04/18/senators-introduce-legislation-to-fight-illegal-robocalls/.

The Robocall Enforcement Enhancement Act of 2018 is the current legislation this month and the 2016 legislation that was never enacted was S. 3026 ROBOCOP Act mentioned in my letter dated March 23, 2018 to Congress below.

RoboKiller  App works for colleague who detailed positive personal experience

In late February, a colleague and major philanthropist in the wildlife world e-mailed me his following experiences with the RoboKiller App which I am passing on to readers:

“One way on minimizing these calls is using an app called RoboKiller.  It’s not free and cost $29 a year. The system has about 202,255 numbers in its database.  Any call from these numbers will be answered by a bot call from your phone without you even knowing.  The phone will not ring or vibrate. You can choose a random pre-recorded answer, or a specific one, or record your own.  If you are clever how you do it, they will take back your recording and will take them sometime to realize it. If rarely you get a call from a number not in the robocall list, you can add the number yourself, and help the community by adding a new number to the system.  You can also allow calls to come in if they were identified as spammer by mistake.” More

Smoke and Mirror Phone Scams

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Sam Jojola

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“On January 31, 2018, at 12:09 P.M. (PST), I received a 47 second message on my land line from a private number advising that a close family member they named was referred to their office for “legal action” including the “filing of a lawsuit or a “complaint” with “the court”. The articulate male caller said that “you” need to “immediately contact the legal department at (844) 744-7375 and reference file number 00-268”xxx. The caller concluded “this is a time sensitive matter” and “my calls are logged in, submitted as proof”.

“The court.” “The legal department.”… How stupid could they possible be?”

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Summary

Phone scams are getting more sophisticated with bogus debt collectors, fraudulent IRS calls, charity fraudsters, and bogus computer technicians claiming “your Windows program is infected”. Having experienced these calls prompted me to share my thoughts on what I learned from them, my response and how I will contact both the FTC and the California Attorney General’s Office with the most recent event.

I am also contacting Congressman Ted Lieu, along with Senators Dianne Feinstein and Senator Kamala Harris and see if I get a response with any action they plan to take.

Cancer Charity Fraud

Google “cancer fraud telemarketers” and a disturbing series of pages appear that chronicle untold millions of dollars scammed from innocent victims:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2015/05/20/187-million-cancer-charities-scam-5-reasons-why-it-took-the-feds-so-long-to-catch-on/?utm_term=.dca79f762c55

My experience with a telemarketer claiming to raise money for cancer several years ago led me to contact the California Attorney General’s office with a detailed complaint after I obtained very specific information from the low level fraudster who told me too much about who was behind the fund he was working for, including who was running the scam and the address where they really lived and where they were calling from. I Googled the name of the cancer fund they represented and a host of fraud reports appeared that prompted me to follow through with my complaint.

Many weeks later, I did receive correspondence from the California Attorney General’s Office regarding this fraudulent organization and what action was taken.

Bogus IRS Treasury Tax Scam and a link to report IRS scam calls More

Daylight Saving Time Debacle

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Sam Jojola

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“In the interim, Congress or the President could roll back DST to stop on Labor Day and/or for once have the President and Congress agree to eliminate this forced campaign that reportedly cost the U.S. 1.7 billion dollars annually http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=2144.

Ultimately, voters in each of their respective states should have the final say if their respective legislators sink in a bureaucratic quagmire of self-serving political debate.”

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The debate of DST continues every year here and around the globe. Why can Congress act with warp speed when it comes to certain issues, like H.J. Res. 69 to eliminate the regulations that banned certain predator control hunting methods for bears, wolves and coyotes in Alaska in 2017? Or resolve DACA and the security of our nation going forward without shutting the government down?

The government shutdown reads like a scene out of Ron White’s “You can’t fix stupid.”

When it comes to anything beneficial for the public at large, Congress always exhibits paralysis by analysis. Many opinions abound for and against DST.

Personally, falling back means it is an hour earlier and I have a choice of getting more work done or sleeping an extra hour. The days seems longer and more productive. Maybe it’s just me getting older and wiser. Everyone is different, but we need change.

Why We Sleep by Dr. Matthew Walker, PhD reveals Sleep Loss Epidemic & Health Issues

Recently I listened to Dr. Matthew Walker on a news channel discuss the epidemic of sleep loss in the U.S. There are many factors that contribute to this epidemic and he goes into great depth about these issues into this fascinating book. On page 169, he mentions how “1.5 billion people are forced to reduce their sleep by one hour or less for a single night each year” and details impacts of changing the clock that results in more heart attacks and traffic accidents.

Dr. Walker refers to DST as a “global experiment”. I believe its time to eliminate the experiment imposed on society.

Google “DST Health Problems”

There are many articles and studies that detail the detrimental health issues caused by Daylight Saving Time. When one finds such compelling documentation, evidence and studies, why then has Congress, the current President and former Presidents failed to make a change for the benefit of everyone, including themselves?

Indecision and a paralyzed government seems to prevail in these times of discord and dissension. The public is tired of it and they want decisiveness. More

Decades of Political Meddling Threaten GYE Grizzlies

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Sam Jojola, USFWS Special Agent (retired)

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Research Illuminates Historical Threats for Grizzlies in the GYE

The 23 years covert experience in federal wildlife law enforcement always reminds me to look deep behind the curtain of puppet master politics that often manipulate the strands of negative decisions that hamper long term protection of key wildlife species in our country and around the globe. Recent research has further illuminated past and present political threats of oil, gas, with alliances from SCI and the NRA that appear to be a multi-prong threat. This detailed 2014 report describes these alliances and how they can work to compromise key biological and wildlife resources:

https://cdn.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/IndustryInfluenceReport.pdf

Foreign mining interests are looming over the GYE. Google “mining opportunities in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem” and a host of articles appear. Gold mining interests have friends in “high places”. When states are left to take the lead in managing these interests, the “golden rule” will often apply. “He who hath the gold rules”, and ecosystems and wildlife will suffer by political meddling. Déjà vu all over again reminds me of my experience in the 1980’s in Nevada with foreign precious metal corporations and migratory bird deaths from cyanide heap leach operations.

Trophy hunting Grizzlies in the GYE could be the coup de gras with oil, gas and mining interests contributing to the “big picture” of multiple ongoing serious threats.

Recent court decision reveals flaws with delisting GYE Grizzly

The recent court decision based on a lawsuit by the Humane Society of the United States revealed serious flaws behind the Grizzly delisting in the GYE:

https://www.courthousenews.com/wolf-ruling-has-agency-wrestling-with-grizzlies/

I strongly believe the HSUS decision that affects the GYE grizzly bear final rule should require the Service to re-evaluate the delisting of the GYE grizzly bear population and examine this species as a whole across the remaining U.S. grizzly bear ecosystems. This court decision shows USFWS is acting in haste to separate listed species into distinct populations and delisting them. The GYE Grizzly delisting exposes the blatant hypocrisy of this bizarre and reckless strategy that goes against the long term protection of all grizzly bear populations. More

Dynamics of Wildlife Conservation between Oppositions & Donations to Nonprofit Organizations

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Sam Jojola

USFWS Special Agent (retired)

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SCI the NRA and other alliances

These are very strong alliances that have had considerable historical and present influence over Congress regarding their unified agendas. Other lesser known organizations that support hunting and trophy hunting with SCI and the NRA are the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the Wild Sheep Foundation.

These groups are completely unified in their focus and cause. Other opposition animal and wildlife conservation organizations could be more formidable and much more influential if they worked more closely together as a coalition if they followed the template that works for SCI, the NRA and other related entities.

It is an example of the “United we stand, divided we fall” philosophy that makes them so successful in their endeavors whether you support or don’t support these agendas.

Conservation NGOs should focus on coalition concept on key wildlife issues

It is often mentioned in articles over the years that SCI and the NRA are a very small special interest group and how can they be so successful in pushing through their unified agenda in support of trophy hunting across the globe. It appears they often advance ahead of those conservation groups that collectively have greater numbers.

Opposing conservation organizations could really learn from that concept to pursue long term protections for animals and wildlife across the globe. Some are working together on certain wildlife issues, but more need to unify collectively to make a difference if imperiled wildlife resources are going to have future protection, particularly in the legal arena. More

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