Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Irregularities in the death of Cecil's son Xanda

 Original Article by Conservation Action Trust.

The death of Cecil’s son, Xanda at the hands of trophy hunters on 7 July is mired in confusion. He was shot just outside Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park, near the spot his father had been killed by American bow hunting dentist, Walter Palmer.

It was claimed that Xanda was shot legally as part of an approved quota – seven lions are allowed to be hunted per year in the area outside the park. Yet, like the death of his father, questions have been raised surrounding the circumstances of Xanda’s death. The lion just six years old was considered fair game however, he had a GPS collar and was the head of a pride with several cubs that resided within the protection of the national park that prohibits hunting.

A statement released by the Zimbabwe Professional Hunters and Guides Association stated that Xanda had been ousted from his pride and had moved permanently out of the park. However, this is contradicted by researchers from the University of Oxford who had been tracking Xanda, and say that the six-year old lion was the head of his own pride consisting of three lionesses and had seven young cubs between 12 and 18 months old.

It also seems clear that Xanda’s killing contravenes the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority policy, which states that male lions of any age known to be heading prides or known to be part of a coalition heading prides with dependent cubs of 18 months old or less, should not be hunted. Neither should any lion fitted with a collar.

As a result, the Humane Society International (HSI), has sent a letter to Oppah Muchinguri, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Environment, Water and Climate of Zimbabwe, calling on her government to investigate these irregularities.

Audrey Delsink, Executive Director of Humane Society International/Africa, said: “With so many irregularities shrouding the killing of Xanda, we urge the Government of Zimbabwe to hold the people involved in his death accountable if they are found to have acted in an illegal manner.”
The death of Xanda also means that his seven offspring face an unlikely future. “Sadly, Xanda’s death means his cubs are vulnerable to infanticide leading to further unnecessary loss of animals already threatened with extinction,” says Delsink.

Currently, there are fewer than 30,000 lions left in Africa whose range has been reduced to 8 percent of their former range primarily as a result from loss of habitat, poaching and poorly regulated trophy hunting. A report conducted by Economists at Large found that trophy hunting is not economically significant in African countries, with the total economic contribution of trophy hunters at most estimated at 0.03 percent of gross domestic product in the countries studied.

Delsink says this latest incident in Zimbabwe “just highlights further the destructive nature of the trophy hunting industry. At minimum, Zimbabwe must conduct a full investigation and not allow Xanda’s remains to leave the country as a trophy.”

The HSI letter has also requested that Zimbabwe officials bring legal action against the trophy hunters if warranted, prevent the export of the trophy and establish a five-kilometer no-hunting zone around Hwange National Park.

Trophy hunting is just so illogically stupid, It's like killing the goose that lays the golden egg.
And what right does a trophy hunter have to deprive me of my right to see that same lion?

A young lion in Ruaha Tanzania

Friday, 30 June 2017

Lion bone trade promotes canned lion hunting

According to a Conservation Action Trust report in 2016, according to Panthera, 90% of lion carcasses found in the Limpopo National Park in Mozambique all had their skulls, teeth, and claws removed while rates of poisoning lions specifically for bones increased dramatically in Niassa National Reserve in northern Mozambique. In Namibia, 42% of lions killed in the Caprivi had their skeletons removed.

According to wildlife investigator, Karl Amann, the trade is fueling the demand in Asia. The south-east Asian country now dominates the lion-bone market.
Amann says the CITES trade data base shows that  between 2009 and 2015 Laos has bought over 2000 complete lion skeletons from South Africa. This excludes the 2 300 bones and 40 skulls sold separately as incomplete skeletons”

Lion bones arrive in Laos but are then illegally exported to Vietnam without the requisite CITES export permits. Here they are boiled down, compacted into a cake bar and sold at a price of around US$1000 (currently R12 830 - R12.83/$) to consumers who add it to rice wine.

South Africa has just given permission for the export of 800 lion skeletons, ostensibly from the canned lion hunting industry. But will this encourage poachers to leave the wild lion population alone?  In any case, canned lion hunting is abhorrent. People are worse than animals. 

Monday, 12 June 2017

Thousands of poachers arrested in Tanzania over the last year

A TOTAL of 3,185 poachers have been caught in the act and apprehended. Among them 1,539 have been arraigned in courts of law since July 2016, according to the Permanent Secretary with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, Major General Gaudence Milanzi.

In similar vein, a total of 270 guns and 1,058 rounds of ammunition have been seized by the Tanzania Wildlife Authority (TAWA) during the period under review.

It seems there is so much more government buy in since John Magafuli was elected.

Major ivory smuggling ring broken

A cross-border African task-force has arrested several key members of an ivory smuggling pipeline that covertly moved tons of elephant tusks from Africa to Asia.

Details of the intensive six-week clandestine operation were released in Nairobi on Friday, the culmination of a crackdown by the Lusaka Agreement Task Force (LATF) and its multi-agency partners.

Seven key players of a syndicate that smuggled 1 ton of elephant tusks from Uganda to Singapore via Kenya in one instance alone, were among those arrested.

The operation was the culmination of 18 months of investigation in 8 countries by numerous agencies.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Major ivory trafficker jailed in the DRC

Northern Congo’s notorious elephant poacher and ivory trafficker Daring Dissaka, 39, has been convicted and sentenced to five years imprisonment. Connected to international ivory networks, Dissaka’s imprisonment represents another significant step forward for the Republic of Congo’s justice system and forest elephant conservation in Central Africa.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

White-backed vultures poisoned

Around 94 white-backed vulures have died in what appears to have been a poisoning incident brought about by poachers near the Zimbabwe Mozambique border.

The poachers had poisoned an elephant (probably with cyanide)   and the vultures had fed off it.

This is a common practise in the area. Poachers poison waterholes to kill elephants and unfortunately anything else that either drinks the water or eats the meat suffers as well.

As it is the peak breeding season for the vultures this may be a double blow as many chicks may have also been lost.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Nine rhinos found butchered in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi reserve

Nine new rhino carcasses have been found at the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park in South Africa.

The gruesome find adds weight to fears that the park, which was where white rhino conservation started when they were on the brink of extinction,  has become the new ground zero in the battle to save the species. Deaths of rhinos have increased as poachers are finding it more difficult to operate in the Kruger. 

This is despite the fact the domestic ban on rhino horn trade was effectively lifted when the Constitutional Court, in April, rejected a government appeal to preserve a 2009 ban on the domestic trade.

Conservationists have long argued that rather than stem the poaching of rhinos, the lifting of the ban would just encourage the demand for rhino horn and escalate the problems they are facing.

It appears that South Africa has learned no lessons from the debacle of the 'one off' ivory sale in 2008 which was going to depress the price of ivory and put an end to serious elephant poaching and help save the species.  Once again the might $$$ beats all common sense and the rhinos are now in even more danger.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Rhino poaching King Pin arrested in Viet Nam

Good news from Viet Nam: A suspected rhino horn kingpin, Nguyen Mau Chien, was arrested on 27 April 2017 along with two members of a wildlife trafficking ring. Chien is suspected to be a leader of a major criminal network that traffics rhino horn, ivory, tiger parts and other high-value illegal wildlife products into Viet Nam

Over the past five years, he has been expanding his operation into Africa where his networks have been focusing mainly on rhino horn, elephant ivory and pangolin scales.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Huge rhino horn seizure in Thailand

Twenty-one rhino horns worth an estimated $5m have been seized in Thailand after being found in luggage sent from Ethiopia in the biggest such haul in years.
The seizure comes days after 300kg of elephant ivory was also impounded in the country.
Thailand is seen as a transit point for the illegal trafficking of wildlife.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

China sees sharp decline in Ivory smuggling in 2016

The amount of smuggled ivory tracked down in China fell 80 percent in 2016 from previous peak years, the State Forestry Administration (SFA) said Sunday.

Liu Dongsheng, deputy head of the SFA, made the remarks at the opening ceremony of a wildlife protection campaign, without specifying detailed numbers.

China will stop commercial processing and sales of ivory by the end of this year. Last year, it imposed a three-year ban on ivory imports in an escalated fight against illegal trading of wild animals and plants.

The number of illegal wildlife trade cases has been on the decline since last year, said Liu.

Meanwhile, the numbers of critically endangered species in China, including giant pandas, crested ibis, Yangtze alligators and Tibetan antelopes, have been increasing steadily, he said.

China's newly-revised law on wild animal protection took effect at the start of this year, imposing harsher punishment on overkilling and illegal utilization of wild animals. 
 Now let's not forget the fate of the pangolin in all this good news.