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Found 43 results

  1. I was very pleased to read the following story in the Daily Telegraph this morning, it would appear from looking up this story on their website that they are moving towards being a subscription only site so you may not be able to read the full story. However I have found the same story in the Sun so I will provide a link to that as well. British Army Gurkha 'super-tracker' hunting poachers in Gabon to save last remaining elephants The Gurkhas are extremely well trained in the art of jungle warfare mainly in Brunei but I presume also in Belize and when it comes to tracking Corporal Rai is clearly the best of the best, the British Army has actually been involved in ranger training in Gabon since 2015, I hope that the skills that Corporal Rai can pass on will really start to turn the tide. Forest elephants have been taking a real hammering in recent years and evidence shows that they reproduce very slowly and that the effect of poaching is even worse than it is for their savannah cousins and could cause their extinction and without intervention certainly will cause the extinction of some populations. Like the lowland gorillas that share these forests the forest elephant is a vital component of the ecology of the rainforests of Gabon and the wider Congo Basin distributing the seeds of many different tree species. Their loss would have a huge impact on the fauna and flora of this region. Besides the ecological impact, if Gabon is ever to seriously get its act together and develop a proper wildlife tourist industry then it needs to ensure that it's elephants are safe so that tourist will be able to visit and see them as I did. It is the sad reality of poaching in Africa that rangers need to have not only excellent tracking skills but also proper combat training to deal with the people that they are up against and I am extremely glad that the British Army is helping to provide the necessary training, in particular some of our Gurkha soldiers. ONE-MAN TUSKFORCE ‘Super tracker’ soldier deployed to Africa on a mission to save elephants from cold-blooded poachers
  2. Today at 12:30 BST Prince William will be giving a keynote speech on wildlife crime at Tusk’s Time for Change event at The Shard anyone who wants to listen can do so via the Tusk’s Facebook page Tusk
  3. The title of this thread was the title of a posting I read on Facebook from a group called Informante, which seems to be a Namibian newspaper. Apparently, a group of men opened fire indiscriminately on a herd of elephants peacefully grazing on the Angolan side of the banks of the Okavango River that divides Angola from Namibia. A posting on Facebook by Informante, which was re-posted by Wildlife At Risk ("WAR") described a horrific scene which was witnessed by guests staying at a tourist lodge on the Namibian side of the river. According to this posting on Facebook from 11 hours ago: https://www.facebook.com/informantenam/photos/a.277814335618867.64085.183476948385940/1086967078036918/?type=3&theater Informante posted an update about 3 hours ago. According to a witness It sounds like in addition to the three killed, a number of other elephants may have been wounded: This is the update from which the latter quotes came: https://www.facebook.com/informantenam/posts/1087174298016196 These attacks took place in what is supposed to be a protected area in Angola, Luiana National Park. The second post indicates Namibian police are crossing the river to help Angolan authorities investigate, but this is just horrific to read about. I wonder what will become of the poor wounded elephants.
  4. Kenyan Port Is Hub for Illicit Ivory Trade http://www.wsj.com/articles/kenyan-port-is-hub-for-illicit-ivory-trade-1447720944
  5. I've just seen on the BBC the awful news that a British helicopter pilot Roger Gower who was working for the Friedkin Conservation Fund has been killed by poachers in the Maswa Game Reserve in the southern Serengeti. While attempting to track down an active group of elephant poachers they fired on his helicopter as he approached one of the fresh elephant carcasses, they must have hit him and he then died from his injuries after crash landing his chopper. I only hope that this tragic incident will persuade the Tanzanian government that they really need to get tough and do something about the dreadful scourge of elephant poaching that has really got out of hand in the country in recent years. It is clearly a major problem in Maswa, an incident like this is not good for Tanzania's image I don't suppose it will deter tourists from visiting but perhaps it will wake a few people up to the damage that poachers are doing and that if they don't do something there may come a time when tourists don't want to come anymore. Tanzania elephant poachers kill British helicopter pilot Friedkin Conservation Fund
  6. It was Leonardo da Vinci, the great Renaissance-era mathematician, architect and artist, who said: “He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards a ship without a rudder and compass, and never knows where he may cast.” It is this same rash approach that is being used by the proponents of trade in rhino horn, argues Professor Alejandro Nadal, in his co-authored critique of pro-rhino horn trade literature. By IAN MICHLER. This is a review of a recent paper on the rhino horn debate - read Ian's full article here: http://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2014-06-12-leonardos-sailors-seeking-new-solutions-to-sas-rhino-poaching-crisis/#.U5llr42Sxsj And for those who are interested in the whole paper, I have attached a pdf: WP5-Nadal and Aguayo-Leonardos Sailors-2014.pdf Surely this must now be the final nail in the pro-trade coffin and we can get on with conserving rhino's. This entire trade argument has had disastrous consequences for rhino already.
  7. The prevailing notion in the media that the U.S. is the second largest market in the world behind China for illegal ivory is patently false. How the notion came about is a tale of hilarity, but that it so easily propagated unchecked in the media is alarming. (1) The notion actually morphed from the U.S. being the second largest ivory market to the U.S. being the second largest illegal ivory market. The distinction is important. Bear with me. Here is a quick refresher… The 1989 international ivory ban only prohibited inter-country trading. Because pre-ban ivory is deemed to be legally grandfathered in-country (subject to stricter Endangered Species Act and state provisions in the U.S.), statements about the size of the ivory market in the U.S., or anywhere else, without regard to the legal/illegal distinction, are moot. (Most countries in the world have similar legal stances on ivory.) (2) No one has conducted a comprehensive study on the size of ivory markets around the world. If we are simply talking about the size of the ivory markets without regard to the legal/illegal distinction, the U.S. would certainly rank high (though not necessarily second… read on…) on the list simply because it has a free market system and lots of historic (legally grandfathered) ivory, much of it being pawned around today. Other countries that have lots of historic legal ivory include China, U.K., Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Japan, Egypt, etc. The U.K. was the dominant consumer of ivory for a better part of the 19th century. Unbeknownst to many, the U.S. was the top consumer of ivory at the turn of the 20th century. (Ivoryton, Connecticut was the ivory trading capital of the world for a brief period. It should come as no surprise then that there are lots of old ivory items being pawned around today in the U.S.) Japan dominated the ivory scene just prior to the 1989 international ban. (3) The relevant question, then, is what countries are consuming new (illegal) ivory, which is responsible for the current elephant-poaching crisis? China is, without a doubt, the largest market for illegal ivory today (and since about the early ’90s… note that this situation arose post-ban). Thailand is believed to be a distant second. It is believed there is another significant drop-off from second to third (Vietnam? Philippines? Malaysia?). The infamous “Gang of Eight”, so coined at about the time of the last CITES conference, include China (including Hong Kong), Vietnam, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya. Note the absence of the U.S. on that list. (4) The genesis of the false/moot notion that the U.S. is the second largest ivory market in the world (which notion, through the game of “telephone”, somehow evolved into even a “falser” notion that the U.S. is the second largest consumer of illegal ivory (per even the New York Times)) can be traced to a report written by Esmond Bradley Martin and Dan Stiles back in 2008. In this report, Martin and Stiles (“the surveyors”) visited 16 cities in the U.S. and recorded their findings of ivory items for sale in various stores. In one summary table, the surveyors compare their findings in the U.S. with those of other countries in which market surveys were also conducted. In this table, the U.S. comes in second to China/Hong Kong (the two were combined) in terms of ivory items seen by the surveyors. The problem with this table is (i) it does not speak to whether the items are legal or illegal; (ii) the surveyors spent vastly differing amounts of time surveying ivory in different countries. For instance, Martin and Stiles surveyed only four cities in China/Hong Kong (Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong) as opposed to 16 cities in the U.S. In the U.K., where one would expect to see tons of historic ivory being pawned, the surveyors visited London only; and (iii) the surveyors only cite a limited number of countries in which they or others conducted ivory surveys. In fact, the list is fairly random. The ivory market ranking in the summary table goes thus: China/Hong Kong, U.S., Thailand, Zimbabwe, Germany, Angola, Sudan, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, U.K., Japan, South Africa. Unfortunately, with respect to the summary table, the surveyors state: “The USA most likely ranks second in scale after China (including Hong Kong) in the size of its ivory market at the global level, followed by Thailand in third place.” But this statement is based on selective and vastly skewed sampling techniques. This is akin to one’s visiting 100 kindergartens in Uruguay and 10 kindergartens in Brazil and concluding that there are more children in Uruguay. Fortunately, there is a footnote accompanying the summary table: “However, the sampling intensity was not equal between countries and the total number of items seen is therefore biased towards those countries where more cities and outlets were visited… If sampling intensity and the number of large cities are taken into consideration, China would be even further in first place. Also, the U.K., Japan and Nigeria would move up in the rankings. It must also be stressed that the Table represents the number of items, not the estimated weight of the ivory observed.” It is, again, important to note that the summary table and the statement do not address (and probably were not intended to address) the legal/illegal distinction. But elsewhere in the same Martin & Stiles report, the surveyors do state that most of the ivory items they saw in the U.S. “probably were legally for sale” and also that “relative to the size of the USA's population and economy, little raw ivory enters the country legally or illegally (based on seizures). From this perspective, the U.S. ivory market does not appear a significant threat to elephant populations.” But hey, who reads footnotes and details these days? The media, knowingly or unknowingly, ran with this second largest ivory market thing, IFAW quoted this in its 2014 ivory market report in bold letters, and it has now somehow morphed into the notion that the U.S. is the second largest consumer of illegal ivory. So, what is the level of illegal ivory activity in the U.S.? There are certainly many “pawn shops” carrying presumably old, legal ivory items. The trouble is, it is not always possible to tell what is old and legal ivory versus what is not. Circumstantial evidence, however, seems to suggest that the level of illegal ivory activity is extremely low. Illegal ivory seizures at U.S. ports are rare and mostly of small worked ivory items. Raw ivory seizures are practically non-existent now. Apart from die-hard antique collectors, there just doesn’t appear to be much demand for ivory. In addition, ivory experts indicate that there is a huge spread in ivory prices between the U.S. and China (ivory being much more expensive in China). Under these conditions, an illegal ivory dealer would have to be “a Homer Simpson” to try to push ivory into the U.S. instead of into China. And if you talk to some of those pawn shop owners, they will tell you that the buyers of ivory are often visiting Chinese tourists. If anything then, old, legal ivory may be leaving the U.S., as opposed to new, illegal ivory entering the U.S. In any case, the most important question is: does the level of illegal ivory activity in the U.S. contribute significantly to elephant poaching? The answer is a resounding “no”. All this is not to suggest that the trading of old, legal ivory is perfectly innocuous. If the demand for old, legal ivory outpaces supply, the laws of economics dictate that the shortfall will be filled, to the unwitting buyer, by illegal ivory being posed as legal ivory. I just do not see this happening in the U.S., however. The moral of this story, to me, is how easily myths can spring up, morph themselves into convenient narratives and endure in this “Wiki-ized”, “Twitter-ized”, have-unpaid-interns-do-the-research world. And the media, so desperate for a juicy story, politicians, so eager for PR, and NGOs, so thirsty for “elephant money”, all knowingly or unknowingly – I find both distasteful – propagated this particular myth. Truth is always better than myth. Look not beyond the rhino-cancer cure myth for an extreme example. Oh, and please don’t get me wrong… I am “all in” for enforcement against whatever illegal ivory activity there is in this country. “Shoot to kill”, if we must (relax, it’s metaphorical… maybe).
  8. I don't remember I've seen the following article on the website. It was published in the 2015 September issue of the National Geographic magazine I read in the afternoon. I follow the situation very carefully in Central Africa, but I did not realize the magnitude of the challenge that APN was facing in Garamba, Chinko and Zakouma. This article was devastating for me. I really admire the bravery of APN. Cutting the traffic is clearly the key to make peace in this remote corner of Africa... http://www.nationalgeographic.com/tracking-ivory/article.html
  9. A letter from Ron Thomson who was Game Warden-in-charge of Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe, in relation to the recent suspension of Ivory import to the USA from Sport hunted elephants in Tz and Zimbabwe for 2014. It is a long, indepth and detailed read from someone with a vast knowledge of game management in Southern African countries. It is worth brewing a tea and reading rather than skimming through. I ask you to read it with an open mind, as I have done and share your thoughts below. Matt.
  10. A fascinating article from National Geographic
  11. This is the title of an article of Nat Geo of the interview with Minister Nyalandu. I will quote large parts of the interview, which is available on the link below: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/07/150713-elephants-poaching-ivory-tanzania-africa-world/
  12. I was waiting for such a news, it is clear that with such an amount of meat available, lions have plenty of food and thus conflicts between the clans are lower than usual. According to experts working in Niassa, the lion population increased due to elephant poaching, a new estimate will be done this year. I guess lions in Selous and Ruaha landscapes are thriving, but when elephants will be extirpated or either poaching controlled, the population will likely go back to the carrying capacity of these ecosystems. http://africageographic.com/blog/niassa-lions-benefit-elephant-poaching/
  13. http://news.yahoo.com/mozambique-burns-seized-ivory-rhino-horn-anti-poaching-073500989.html;_ylt=AwrXgSKmQJ1VJzwABhDQtDMD;_ylu=X3oDMTByc3RzMXFjBGNvbG8DZ3ExBHBvcwM0BHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzcg-- This article from Reuters quotes the Wildlife Conservation Society as stating that Mozambique's authorities burned 2,400 kilograms of ivory and 193 kilograms of rhino horn. Mozambique's environment minister said that the action indicated that Mozambique will not tolerate poachers.
  14. This via Space for Giants. A fascinating article in Science claims that most illegally poached African elephant ivory can be traced back to just 2 areas in Africa. Poaching of elephants across Africa is now occurring at rates that threaten the species with extinction. An estimated 100,000 elephants were slaughtered between 2010 and 2012. The authors of this paper used a genetic analysis approach to determine the origin of 28 large scale ivory seizures (amounts over 500kgs) between 1996 and 2014. Ivory seizures of this scale "reflect the involvement large transnational organised crime syndicates." - Dr. Wasser. If the illegal ivory network is to be disrupted it is in these countries where aggressive law enforcement initiatives must be aimed. Ivory across Africa has very specific 'fingerprints' - and by comparing these fingerprints to a known database it is possible to to pinpoint from which country, sometimes even which National Park the ivory was taken. After analyzing all the data there were 2 clear poaching hotspots - Africa's killing fields. The majority of forest elephant deaths had occurred in or close to the protected area known as the Tridom (Tri-national Dja-Odzala-Mikebe) one of Africa's biodiversity hotspots which encompasses parts of Gabon, the Republic of Congo and Cameroon. This result was not unexpected given that forest elephants have decreased by 61% between 2002 and 2011. The Tridom is the last stronghold for forest elephants in Africa - and slaughter continues unabated. The majority of Savannah elephants killed in Africa originated in Tanzania and northern Mozambique. This was the biggest poaching hotspot of all. This is directly in line with Tanzania's recent announcement that they had lost 60% of their elephants in the last 5 years. The hope is that the international community, the public, private donors and many more are outraged by these results and that governments are finally held accountable for what is happening under their watch. S. K. Wasser, L. Brown, C. Mailand, S. Mondol, W. Clark, C. Laurie, and B. S. Weir. Genetic assignment of large seizures of elephant ivory reveals Africa’s major poaching hotspots. Science, 18 June 2015 DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa2457 Map: Mongabay.com
  15. I'm confused... There has been a lot of publicity given to the crushing of 1 ton of ivory in New York this week. In The Guardian coverage they said Surely by crushing ivory you are reducing the supply and therefore, without doing anything to reduce the demand, you are forcing those who desire ivory to go out and find more to replace what was destroyed. The only way they will get more ivory is to poach more elephants. Doesn't that defeat the purpose of crushing the ivory in the first place?
  16. a pretty doom laden article from David Smith in the Guardian click here to read it
  17. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-cristian-samper/with-a-new-crush-china-ap_b_7465908.html
  18. a cause for optimism? or just cynical politics? http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/may/29/china-agrees-to-phase-out-its-ivory-industry-to-combat-elephant-poaching
  19. very sad http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-32887688 and a more detailed article in The Guardian
  20. Another very sad story http://www.dailyjournal.net/view/story/165537268e804847b35c6fd273cf9f3b/AS--Indonesia-Sumatran-Elephant/
  21. I saw this alarming article in The Times today >>Ivory sales in China are skyrocketing, conservationists warned yesterday, as investors bet that prices will continue to rise as the African elephant is poached to extinction. Huge demand for ivory in China has seen retail prices in Beijing increase by a factor of 13.5 since 2002, according to research by the charity Save the Elephants. In Shanghai, the price rose eightfold over the same period. << Unfortunately, as I do not subscribe to The Times online I could not view the full article. here's the link - http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/environment/wildlife/article4292532.ece China is the biggest market for ivory and far from cutting back on their demand because of international pressure they are grabbing all they can in anticipation of elephants becoming extinct. The way I see it, is that this anticipation of extinction will lead to an increase in poaching not a decrease as traders and collectors try to grab as much as they can in the knowledge that it is just going to keep going up in value.
  22. Read the full article from the Huffington Post
  23. This article about the African Elephant Summit makes pretty gloomy reading. I found it in The Guardian but I think they picked it up from Agence France-Presse
  24. Reports www.dailymail.co.uk To read the full article click here.

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