Lion Aid

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Lion Aid last won the day on June 30 2012

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  1. Safari Club International and Kingdon are the "experts"? Really? Grant's gazelles (Nanger granti) and their various genetic subtypes have long been studied by Peter Arctander's group at the University of Copenhagen, and they have come up with some fascinating conclusions. Including that these gazelles evolved differences in allopatry - the recent distributions have resulted from climatic amelioration after the last glacial period. They really are a fascinating group and we could not believe our eyes when the first results bacame available. Those really interested can write to Eline Lorenzen at the UC and get the latest... Meanwhile, have a look here for some initial info:
  2. OK, so we celebrate the discovery of new species in out of the way places like the jungles of Vietnam, the mountains of Nepal (the hopeful Yeti remains elusive) and the deep depths of the oceans. So why is this called crypotozoology? It is just the journey of biological discovery. The Yeti will probably not be discovered, but perhaps many other species new to science (though not to the people who lived with them - the example of the Vietnam "ox" was hunted for very many years by people living in the forests - and was "discovered" by a zoologist who took some samples back to the west) will be "discovered" in the future. Biology has always been a journey of discovery, but I'm convinced we will never find mythological creatures like the griffon, the centaur, the minotaur. Sorry about that Karl Shuker...
  3. The Masai Mara has many community conservancies that benefit local people. Go there.
  4. Studies have shown the following: About 60 percent of all human diseases and 75 percent of all emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic, according to the researchers. Most human infections with zoonoses [animal diseases communicated to humans] come from livestock, including pigs, chickens, cattle, goats, sheep and camels. Avoid those animals on your safari and you will be fine
  5. To all - this just goes to show the level of ignorance about rabies versus the current recommendations. There is NO reason for anyone to receive a prophylactic rabies (pre-exposure) rabies vaccination. This is a complete waste of money. If you should be bitten by any animal you can receive a very highly effective post-exposure series of vaccinations. See here: How many people do you think died of rabies in recent years in the USA where rabies is endemic? About 2-3 each year, and I know from having worked at the Rabies Section at the USA Centers of Disease Control in Atlanta that virtually all of those are due to bites by rabid bats. Out of a potentially exposed population of 315 million. How many people die from lightning strikes in the USA? 73 per year What is the largest cause of human mortality in the USA from an animal source? Bees. Thus my recommendation in terms of a very costly prophylactic rabies vaccination would be ... spend it instead on a happy vacation. If you should be bitten by an animal, the post-exposure vaccines will completely protect you.
  6. How about this question - what percentage of my money I spend on my safari goes to wildlife conservation and the realistic involvement of communities in terms of financial gain from your operations?
  7. The moratorium was partial, covering only some of the hunting concessions. Yet the dismissal of Director General Edwin Matokwani and four (unnamed) others is telling. Another name that keeps coming up is James Chungu of the Lusenga Trust who seems to have the ear of Minister Masebo. Telling is that Minister Masebo had this to say: “There is a lot of cheating and corruption surrounding the wildlife hunting business which the Government has just banned. It is a lucrative sector which has seen a few individuals reap from supper profits from wildlife products. “The Government is getting little in terms of revenue and the areas where this business is being conducted has for many years remained under-developed without any form of empowerment to the local people” Ms Masebo said. It is the same old story....
  8. LionAid estimate of lion numbers remaining in Africa based on our Conservation Perception Rank of lion range states and other considered parameters
  9. Let's see if it disappears from the official CITES website under their list of proposals to CoP16?
  10. "Comrades"? 257 people arrested - stiff sentences? Yes, 40 years to Chumlong Lemtongthai (under appeal) but what about the 256 remaining? No mention of "pseudo-hunting", lion bone trade, canned hunting? Note he also makes a big distinction between "Africans" and South African whites in several places. So much for the "rainbow nation".
  11. I really liked reading Jochen and pault's analogies about cats, but there is an item missing. Pault - let's say you only fed your cats occasionally, but kept a big store of cat food in your wardrobe. I promise you every one of your cats would be attempting new and inventive ways to break in, despite any occasional negative reinforcement you might give them. As soon as your back is turned, the cats would be inventing and using screwdrivers, hammers and power saws to get their food! You could of course put the food in a safe with a combination lock to keep the cats out, but that is not really an appropriate analogy to livestock and bomas. Sooner or later, the cat food (the livestock) have to be released from their wardrobe because they have to graze. And believe it or not, the herders are often children... So even if you dissuade the "cats" (lions, leopards, hyenas and similarly nasty animals with big teeth and a liking for meat) when the cattle are protected at night, they have to come out during the day. Jochen, if your canary had to hop around the house all day to get food, and there were cats always hiding behind the sofas waiting to pounce, what chance for the canary? It is a fallacy to state that lions, leopards, hyenas and other nasties only hunt at night. They are perfectly capable of hunting during the day and do so regularly. So here's the scenario. Cattle are herded into their bomas at night where they could be protected by their wardrobe. The nasties can't get in so they bide their time. Come dawn, they have their chance when the food is released onto the plains of the living room. Assuming Jochen likes his canary much better than his cats, Jochen will soon get tired of having to protect his canary at all daylight hours and might get frustrated to the point where he says - Right! It is the canary or the cats! Guess who is going to leave the house given my canary is my livelihood? (I'm not saying that Jochen takes an attitude to his canary similar to the attitude a Maasai might take to cattle, but you get the point. Jochen might actually be breeding canaries for sale and his yearly income could be dependent on that, but let's not go there) You get the point. Alezsu, I really like the careful consideration of the factors you list and your algorithm. I think you have outlined it perfectly and better than many others have in the past. I would like to see Type A working really well and type D therefore become defunct. However, I am hestitating to be convinced that the nasties can live side by side with their food and not eat it. Occasionally, regularly, often - the nasties are still a pain in the butt, and they will always be a huge frustration to owners of livestock. It becomes a question of tolerance, and that is a slippery measure. I truly hope that lions can live in the presence of livestock and only prey on wild species. After all, in Kenya 70% (or so they say) of wildlife lives outside protected areas. I do hope that your long-term studies can reveal the real situation as I think far too many resources are being spent on a hopeful scenario that is not all that realistic. Call me a pessimist, but lions belong in protected areas where they are not at risk of causing conflict. What we should be spending time, funds, and energy on is protecting the protected areas rather than hoping that wardrobes will protect canaries....
  12. Alezsu: The only way that negative conditioning works is by constant reinforcement. A strengthened boma with flashing lights, etc is not negative conditioning, it is a hopeful fortress. Negative conditioning means a situation where predators are dissuaded from trying again by strong aversion. One weak boma in the area will reinforce the predators' perception that if they keep trying they will eventually win. Attempting to bar access to livestock by predators with bomas is not negative conditioning, it is merely attempting to block them with variable success. Negative conditioning means the predators who have taken home their lesson(s) will never try again. With the bomas they will keep trying. Predator dissuasion mechanisms are still in their infancy. That is why they must be carefully evaluated rather than be prematurely touted as a cure-all - as flashing lights and reinforced bomas are now. You say large predators can live alongside livestock? Prove it with a long-term study of the effectiveness of fortresses and real information on increased tolerance levels of people within walls living with lions?
  13. BTW Safaridude, CITES records show the following trophy/rhino horn exports to Vietnam: 2004: 3 2005: 12 2006: 58 2007: 74 2008: 50 2009: 99 2010: 113 The 2011 records have not been compiled yet. In April 2012 the South African government woke up and refused to issue more "hunting permits" to Vietnamese nationals. The dealers are well ahead of the game and now use "proxies" from Czech Republic, Poland, Russia, Denmark - where there are significant Vietnamese communities. "Hunters" from the USA are also on the increase. These are minimum numbers, but the trend started in 2005.
  14. The proliferation of sarcoptic mange (an ubiquitous challenge) is largely due to a failure of an animal's immune system. Other factors are nutrition and level of exposure. Mange is caused by mites and requires intimate contact for spread. Mange mites are relatively specific to a group of species - cats, dogs, etc. It is very unlikely that mange (if true) affecting wildebeest could spread to cheetahs?
  15. Armchair - it all comes down to effectiveness. Lights, noises, aversive conditioning. Yes, all can be tried and could well be effective for a while. But like I said, unless there is constant negative conditioning, the birds and the jackals and the lions will see through such efforts. So what is needed? People say that lions prefer wild prey. In Botswana my studies showed that lions ate wild prey when they were plentiful, but turned to livestock when wild prey migrated out of their territories during the wet season. In Kenya lions are presented with a mosaic of animals. Being wonderful opportunists, they prey on what is available. A wildebeest in November and a cow in December. They do not differentiate, really, meat is meat. Can lions be durably dissuaded from preying on livestock? Is it possible for people to "live with lions" if they have reinforced bomas with lights and radios playing? That is a question that needs to be answered with evaluation of the effectiveness of long-term protection measures. I tend to lean towards the view that lions will only be sufficiently protected in areas without humans and livestock. Living with lions is hopeful but I question whether it can work long-time? What will ultimately be the best protection of lions is protected areas. Around the fringes we might try various methods like reinforced bomas. Essentially I'm saying that lion populations outside protected areas have a short life expectancy and certainly will not long-term contribute to conservation of species' numbers. The real conservation of dangerous predators cannot involve hopeful ideals of their integration with humans and livestock. Much better to ensure the sanctity of protected areas (no more cattle invasions) to provide hope for a durable survival of lions?

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