Category Archives: Wildlife

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

Filmmaker dies after accident with giraffe

Award-winning filmmaker Carlos Carvalho (47) died a week after an accident while shooting a game lodge in South Africa. He was tragically injured when a giraffe attacked him while he was getting a close shot of the animal.

Carvalho had been shooting the majority of a series about a British family who have set up a game lodge in South Africa. While he was attempting a closeup the animal became “inquisitive” and headbutted him sending him 16 feet in the air and causing massive head injuries.

After the attack, Carvalho was airlifted to Johannesburg’s Milpark Hospital. He died  from the multiple injuries. The announcement of his death was made via a statement on the film crew agency CallaCrew’s Facebook page:

“It is with a very sad heart that we have to announce the passing of Carlos Carvalho‚ one of our favourite DOP’s. Carlos was filming a feature at Glen Afric and had a fatal run in with a giraffe on set. He was flown to Milpark Hospital but succumbed to his injuries 20:50 last night. Our thoughts and condolences go out to Carlo’s family and friends during this very sad time. He will be sorely missed.”

The animal would not be killed in retribution, as it happens in the zoo and circus, when they  attack people.

 

Rangers murdered in Virunga National Park

Five rangers and their driver are found murdered at the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), an official said.

The group was murdered in an ambush by suspected rebels operating in the park, police reaffirms.

Virunga boasts Africa’s most diverse wildlife habitat and is home to endangered mountain gorillas.

Some of Congo’s armed groups are also based in the park, where they often poach animals.

Virunga is home to about a quarter of the world’s remaining 880 mountain gorillas, as well as lions, elephants and hippos.

More than 130 park rangers have been killed in the park since 1996.

Grace Mugabe faces ivory smuggling charges

The former First lady of Zimbabwe, Grace Mugabe, is suspected of smuggling ivory worth millions of dollars.

Tinashe Farawo, speaking for Zimbabwe‘s Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, said “we opened our investigations and realized that former first lady Grace Mugabe was illegally dealing in ivory.”

Grace Mugabe, the spouse of former President Robert Mugabe, faced accusations on raids of the country’s ivory stockpiles during her period at power as First lady and sending the pieces as gifts to high-profile personalities in the Middle East and Asia.

Ms.Mugabe defends her actions, describing smuggled ivory items as ‘diplomatic gifts’.

Poachers poison vultures in Mozambique

In Mozambique in just two years poachers killed nearly 150 hippos, and other protected species.

A total of 144 hippos, 111 buffalo, 54 elephants, four crocodiles and two lions – were killed between 2015 and 2016 in a small part of Tete province.

Dozens of monkeys, warthogs and antelopes were also victims to poaching.

Sadly, the numbers could be even higher, because at present poaching is reduced in the area thanks to wardens working with the Tchuma Tchato community wildlife management programme.

 

They went out on about 3,000 patrols during the period, intercepting 260 poachers, including Mozambicans, Zimbabweans and Zambians.

During the anti-poaching operation wardens seized 13 automatic weapons, 154 artisanal firearms, 16 spears, 34 axes, and more than 3,200 snares of various types, along with other items, like poison.

 

#BigCats: EU keeps an eye on endangered spieces

This year the European Commission celebrate on It has taken action and joined up efforts with to fight trafficking of endangered species in the EU and globally.

The EU has already confirmed its leadership in tackling the illegal trade in natural resources by adopting ambitious policies on timber and fishery products. This EU Action Plan demonstrates that the EU is ready to live up to international expectations and commitments, and that it is raising the level of its ambition as regards action against the illegal trade in wildlife. The bloc will also help to ensure that the significant investments made over the last decades through EU development support for wildlife conservation worldwide will not be undermined through criminal activities.

Wildlife trafficking has a devastating impact on biodiversity, threatening to eradicate some species. Moreover, it both creates incentives for corrupt practices and is enabled by them, thereby undermining the rule of law. Notably in some regions in Africa, it has a very negative impact on the potential for economic development.

Wildlife trafficking is very attractive to criminals, as it is highly lucrative and, in most countries it has lower enforcement priority by comparison with other forms of trafficking, so the risk of detection and penalties is very limited. Links with money laundering and other forms of organised crime, such as trafficking in drugs and firearms, have been regularly reported . The UN Security Council has acknowledged that wildlife trafficking in Central Africa is fuelling conflicts and threatening regional and national security by providing a source of funding to militia groups.

 

Cheetahs confiscated in Somaliland

This cheetah family includes young adults and adorable cubs were rescued from the illegal wildlife trade. Confiscated in Somaliland, the cheetahs were being sold as exotic pets, their mothers no doubt killed by poachers. (Image: illustration)

Happily they all now live at Born Free Foundation rescue centre Ensessa Kotteh in Ethiopia and one day there is a hope some of them will be returned to the wild, but for time being the fund will help provide their food and care.

However the youngest because of their age do not know how to hunt so will need to be supported for the rest of their lives.

From the times of pharaohs of Ancient Egypt cheetahs were used as noble hunting animals by African rulers, unfortunately in the XXI century they become must-have luxury accessories for rich young Arabs to flaunt alongside diamonds and sports cars.

Poached animals often die in transit because they are transported by criminals who show no regard for their welfare. According to charity the Cheetah Conservation Fund, only one in six cubs survive being trafficked.

More than 7,100 cheetahs survive in the wild and the CCF says at least 300 animals are sold each year on the ­illegal exotic pet black market.

 

 

 

 

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