Category Archives: Wildlife

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/

 

MEPs demand to stop ivory trade

Despite the international ban on ivory trade imposed by CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) in 1989, global demand for ivory is fueling elephant poaching. Any legal domestic and international market for ivory stimulates the demand and allows the laundering of illegal ivory. While the EU has been a leader in supporting international initiatives to fight illegal ivory trade, it is clearly facing difficulties to close its own domestic ivory market.

According to EU regulations, the sale of ivory goods is only allowed for antique ivory, acquired before March 1947. But new ivory pieces are being treated to look antique and permits are forged to launder illegal ivory from poaching. Moreover, the EU Member States are used as transit countries to smuggle illegal ivory from Africa to Asia.

Ivory trade is a global phenomenon and the failure from the EU to prevent illegal trafficking would hamper the international effort to put an end to the poaching of elephants and to its ecological, economic and societal consequences. The European Parliament has adopted three Resolutions  calling on all EU Member States to introduce a full ivory trade moratorium. In March 2018, more than 30 African countries called on the EU to shut down its ivory market, stressing that the antique ivory exception is used to smuggle newer ivory to Asian markets and feed global demand.

The Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals met on Thursday 31 May to discuss ivory trade in the European Union. The poaching of elephants and trade of their ivory threaten the very existence  of the species. The European Commission will announce in July its response to a recent consultation on ivory trade as part of its review on the implementation of the EU Action Plan Against Wildlife Trafficking.

The Intergroup meeting will be chaired by Jacqueline Foster MEP (ECR – United Kingdom), Vice-President of the Intergroup, who has extensively worked on the issue of wildlife trafficking during this parliamentary term.

International outcry to stop hippos cull in Zambia

Zambian authorities face international pressure to reconsider their decision to overturn the  2016 decision on suspension of  the brutal culling of up to 2,000 hippos in the world-famous Luangwa Valley over the next five years. The cull is once again being promoted to trophy hunters as a prey, this time by the South African hunting outfitter Umlilo Safaris.

Wildlife charity, Born Free, who led efforts to stop the slaughter in 2016, is calling for the authorities to urgently re-consider and cancel this barbaric agreement that only benefits private safari hunting companies and trophy hunters, while cause long-term damage to nature, and local communities, who could enjoy benefits of developing of wildlife tourism.

Born Free President, Will Travers OBE, stated: “Our sources reveal that the government has moved swiftly to reinstate the cull, perhaps hoping this would go unnoticed. Far from it! They are, apparently, using the same flawed rational for the slaughter as last time – a preventative measure to avoid a future outbreak of anthrax, combined with an assertion that low rainfall will exacerbate the situation.”

“They also appear not to have informed key stakeholders in the Luangwa Valley, including the Luangwa Safari Association and the District Commissioner. The negative consequences for thousands of hippo and Zambia’s reputation as a wildlife tourism destination – the proposed cull site can be seen from the internationally renowned Chichele Lodge – cannot be underestimated”, the statement concludes.

There is a general disbelief that the official motives of the decision to allow massive culling of animals is genuine, there is no other opinion among the biologists, and conservationists about the anthrax disease being a fig  leaf to disguise private hunting companies interest to gain swift profits at cost of devastating future of local communities, destroying their chances to promote a sustainable wildlife tourism.

The authorities had neither provided evidence demonstrating that there is an overpopulation of hippos in the Luangwa River nor proof such a hippo cull of healthy animals would prevent a future outbreak of anthrax, Travers continued. He also added that wild hippo numbers across Africa are under increasingly pressure with a maximum estimate of just 130,000 animals – about one-third of the number of the high-profile African elephant.

Furthermore, as efforts increase to end the trade in elephant ivory, hippos are being increasingly targeted for their ivory as a replacement. Latest data confirms that in the decade to 2016, more than 6,000 hippo teeth, 2,048 hippo tusks and a further 1,183 hippo ‘trophies’ were exported to EU Member States alongside thousands of other ‘parts and products’. International trade records show that from 2004-2014 around 60,000 kg of hippo ivory were imported into Hong Kong.

Anthrax is a life-threatening infectious disease caused by Bacillus anthracis that normally affects animals, especially ruminants such as goats, cattle, sheep, and horses. Anthrax can be transmitted to humans by contact with infected animals or their products.

Hippo calf

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