Category Archives: Wildfare

Mozambique ivory seized in Cambodia

Cambodian customs have seized more than three tons of elephant tusks from Mozambique following a notice from the US Embassy. The demand for ivory from China and Vietnam is a driving factor in Cambodia’s illegal wildlife trade.

The elephant tusks were hidden among marble in a container that was abandoned,” Sun Chhay, director of the Customs and Excise Office at the Phnom Penh Autonomous Port, told the AFP news agency.

The official said the ivory was sent from the southern African nation of Mozambique and it arrived in Cambodia last year. He also said the owner of the shipment did not show up to collect the cargo.

Officials said the tusks were discovered after a tip-off from the US Embassy in Phnom Penh.

It was unclear whether the smuggled ivory was destined for markets other than Cambodia.

 

 

 

Kenya Olympics replaced ritual lion hunting

Kenyan warriors of young generation are no longer pursuing lions to show off their hunting prowess and bravery, they are competing for monetary prizes in javelin throwing at the Maasai Olympics instead.

We have changed the outdated lion hunting culture, as there was a time before the Maasai Olympics when we were killing animals, but now we are protecting them as we coexist in harmony,” 22-year-old Moran Joseph Tipape Lekatoo said.

Lekatoo was competing for his Mbirikani Manyatta group in the fourth edition of the Maasai Olympics, where youthful morans, or warriors, from four Manyattas (settlements) — Rombo, Mbirikani, Kuku and Elselengei — gather to compete.

If you compare me to the past warriors, they used to go and kill lions and that does not help you in anyway,” said Moses Ntimama, another warrior and participant in the Olympics at the Sidai Oleng Wildlife Sanctuary at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro, near Kenya’s border with Tanzania.

Government-run Kenya Wildlife Services informs there are about 2,000 lions in the East African country, and the biggest threat to them and other carnivores is conflict with humans.

 

 

Vietnam poachers killed more than 40 lions

Eight Vietnamese suspects will appear before a South African court to face charges of illegal possession of game products including lion parts and a tiger’s carcass, police said.

Police agents found lion bones, lion meat, a tiger skin, gas cylinders, gas burners, containers, a saw, knives and other equipment when they intercepted the suspects’ two vehicles headed to an unused farm in the North West province.

“As far as how many (lions), from our side there’s been no definite number really… but its quite a few of them,” Captain Tlangelani Rikhotso told AFP.

There were different parts of the lion that were there… so you can’t exactly tell if its the stomach or whatever, but the lion in its entirety was chopped up basically.”

Local media reports at least 40 lions were killed in 48 hours.

Conservation groups in East and southern Africa say that during the past three years, increasing numbers of lions have been killed and mutilated for their claws and teeth, likely to satisfy demand in China and Southeast Asia, where the parts appear to mainly be used as pendants and amulets.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which regulates the global wildlife trade, prohibits commercial trade in the parts of wild African lions. But South Africa, which has thousands of captive-bred lions, can legally export their parts—up to 800 lion skeletons a year. According to CITES, most go to Laos and Vietnam, where the bones are used as a substitute for tiger bone wine, considered a status symbol and used for treating various ailments and giving the drinker the “strength of a tiger.”

Ten rhinos in Kenya died after transfer

Kenya’s wildlife minister apologized for being rude with  his critics, and  sending them to “hell” while he  comes under mounting pressure over the death of 10 rhinos during a botched transfer.

Tourism and Wildlife Minister Najib Balala had directed the comments to those calling for his resignation over the fiasco during a press conference:

“People need explanations about the rhinos… people are angry. I am also angry,” Balala told. “I have emotions and I reacted. I feel let down by my system that did not act quickly to stop the death of the rhinos.”

Kenyans have been outraged after 10 of 11 rhinos being transferred from Nairobi and Lake Nakuru national parks to Tsavo East died after the operation.

The 11th was attacked by lions, and is recovering.

Balala has blamed Kenyan Wildlife Service (KWS) officials involved in the transfer for “negligence”, suspending six senior officials.

An initial enquiry indicated that the rhinos may have become dehydrated and died after drinking saline water in their new habitat.

The scandal intensified when the former chairman of the KWS board, the world-renowned anthropologist Richard Leakey, released a statement revealing that the board had on three prior occasions blocked the transfer.

He said this was due to “a deep concern about the lack of vegetation in the sanctuary that could sustain rhino, and also, the real issue of available and safe water.”

He also indicated that no new KWS board had been set up in the three months since the one he chaired expired, leaving the decision to carry out the translocation entirely up to Balala’s ministry.

The indignant Kenyans demanded via social media to see the horns of the dead rhinos, KWS displayed the 20 horns to the media last week to allay suspicions.

In yet another blow to the country’s rhino population, the KWS said that a 12-year-old male had been killed by poachers for its horn in Nakuru National Park this week.

South Africa advances exports of lion’s skeletons

The export of lion skeletons is fuelling the business of these criminal enterprises and South Africa should be held to account for encouraging them, conservationists say. The issue came to public attention after the decision of South Africa officials to double quota of exports of skeletons of lions in captivity.

Dr Paul Funston, the senior director of the lion programme at Panthera, the global wild cat conservation organisation, believes South Africa’s contentious lion bone trade came to a point to start endangering the continent’s dwindling wild lion populations.

I can’t understand why the government is being so stupid and ignorant by making decisions and supporting an industry that is clearly not supported by the world one that is having a massive knock-on effect on the poaching of wild lions in other African countries” – Funston said.

Funston was reacting to the announcement this week by Environment Minister Edna Molewa that she had approved an annual export quota of 1500 captive-bred lion skeletons – nearly doubling last year’s 800-skeleton quota.

What we’re seeing now in many other African countries is that they poach the lions and just cut the face and feet off for the teeth and claws as trinkets,”  the conservationists regrets. Conservation organisations like Panthera have maintained there is significant evidence that South Africa’s legal trade in lion bones is accelerating the massacre of wild lions for their parts in neighbouring countries and increasing demand for wild lion parts in Asia, where they are used as a substitute for tiger bone wine and other products.

Elephant language of survival

Nowadays Researchers believe that migration is just one survival mechanism elephants have developed in response to poaching, conflict, urbanization, agriculture, and other pressures in Africa.

In 2016, one elephant made a treacherous 209 km journey over three weeks from the relative safety of Kenya to conflict-ridden Somalia, all under the cloak of darkness. Morgan, as the researchers called him, remained in Somalia for just a day and a half before turning back.

“We don’t know the precise reason for his migration into Somalia,” says Iain Douglas-Hamilton, founder of Save the Elephants (STE), a UK charity headquartered in Nairobi that conducts research on elephant behavior and ecology, “but we suspect it was to mate.”

“Moving by night was an extreme form of survival in a region where elephants are under threat from poaching,” adds Douglas-Hamilton. “He was the first elephant on record to visit in Somalia in 20 years.”

Inspired by the elephant’s journey, researchers at the University of Twente in the Netherlands worked with Save the Elephants to conduct a study last September on African elephant migratory patterns. They found that some elephants in sub-Saharan Africa have started travelling at night to avoid the threat of poaching that usually occurs during the day.

Elephants also have developed sophisticated gestures, sounds, infrasound, and chemical secretions  to relay messages to one another for survival purposes. “Through various means, elephants can suggest that the group moves on, that they sense danger, or that they are in distress,” says Douglas-Hamilton.

Sibuya: lions ‘execute’ rhino poachers

A ranger with guests at the Sibuya Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape on a safari drive on Tuesday afternoon discovered human remains close to a pride of lions.

We suspect two were killed, possibly three,” Sibuya owner Nick Fox said.

An axe and three pairs of shoes and gloves were found later when police and an anti-poaching unit arrived. The lions had been heard making a commotion in the early morning hours.

 

We thought they must have been rhino poachers but the axe confirmed it,” Fox said. “They use the rifle to shoot the animal and the axe to remove the horn.”

South Africa is home the biggest population of the world’s rhinos, whose numbers has been depleted by poaching for buyers in Vietnam and China where rhino horn is coveted as an ingredient in traditional medicine as an ‘effective remedy’ from impotence and prostate cancer.

More than 1,000 rhinos were killed in South Africa last year.

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