Category Archives: Wildlife

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.

Congo national parks threatened by oil drilling

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) government  has taken decision to open up parts of two protected national parks Virunga and Salonga, habitat to endangered species such as mountain gorillas, to oil drilling.

Lifting of the protection of endangered species habitat evoked fierce opposition from environmental activists, who say drilling would place wildlife at risk. Many blame irresponsible attitude to the national parks to a weak democratic institutions in Congo, unable to protect the UNESCO protected sites in favor of oil industry.

Experts also fear it will release huge amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, contributing to global warming.

DCR government has defended its right to manage resources of Congo, and said it was mindful of protecting animals and plants in the two UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Cabinet said it had approved the establishment of commissions charged with preparing plans to declassify sections of the parks, including 1,720 sq km (664 sq miles), or 21.5% , of eastern Congo’s Virunga.

 

Namibia in search of Human-Wildlife Conflict resolution

Ministry of Environment and Tourism of Namibia has revised the national policy on Human Wildlife Conflict in efforts to prevent incidents that have escalated over the years.

Cases of human wildlife conflict in the country become more frequent over the years with communities and farmers expressing concern regarding the issue, said the Environment Ministry spokesperson, Romeo Muyunda.

“In this regard, we have revised the 2009 Human Wildlife Conflict policy to look at new strategies to better address the situation,” Muyunda  added.

Human wildlife conflict is any event in which animals injure, destroy or damage human life or property and are killed, injured, captured or otherwise harmed as a result both humans and animals suffer from the interaction with each other.

Muyunda informed that the policy which deals with human deaths, injuries, livestock losses and crop damages by wildlife will be officially launched next week by the Environment Minister, Pohamba Shifeta.

Meanwhile last year the Ministry launched the North-West Human Lion Conflict Management Plan with specific strategies to manage lion incidents with humans, while farmets routinly indudlge in retaliatory killings and poisoning of losing their habitat big cats.

Gradually Namibia became notorious for  lion’s killings, increasingly attracting attention of researchers raising their concerns about the brutality of extermination of country’s lions population.

 

 

Petition to Zuckerberg to ban ivory trade on Facebook

As many other goods ivory trade moved online, and in many cases it is sold via Facebook. The animal defenders have launched a petition addressed to the Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg  to ban ivory trade from social media.

Did you know that thousands of Facebook posts promote the sale of elephant ivory, rhino horns, tiger teeth, and other endangered species’ parts? The easy trade of wildlife body parts on Facebook is fueling the brutal poaching industry, encouraging hunters to keep slaughtering Earth’s most vulnerable animals in horrifically brutal ways.

“Animals endure excruciating deaths at the hands of poachers. Elephants, for example, are attacked with poison arrows, and take an agonizing 15 to 20 minutes to die after being hit. Once the elephant is dead, the poachers hack off their tusks. Because the rest of the elephant is “worthless” to them, the poachers often use battery acid to eat away the elephants’ flesh when they are done.

“Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has admitted that more could be done to stop wildlife traffickers from using the network for their sales, but fails to see the urgency, stating they will solve the problem “over time.”

“Facebook is contributing directly to the rapid extinction of some of the world’s most highly threatened species, and undermining international trade laws designed to preserve animals on the brink of disappearing forever.

“Sign this petition to urge Mark Zuckerberg to treat this dire situation with the weight it deserves, and take swift, effective action to stop all wildlife trade on Facebook.”

Link to the Petition here:

https://ladyfreethinker.org/sign-facebook-stop-selling-poached-animal-parts/

 

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