Tuesday, 16 February 2021

Recent rhino poaching stats in South Africa are far WORSE than they would appear

To the JOURNALISTS: Please do not keep copying and pasting the rhetoric press releases that the South African government spits out. The internet is filled now with headlines that claim rhino poacing has declined - as if we can all kick back now and celebrate - rhino poaching figures are down because there are not many rhino left!

Recent reports on rhino numbers in South Africa’s Kruger National Park reveal a far larger loss of rhino life than previously thought, dropping by 70% in the last decade. This national park in South Africa is the largest repository of rhino in the world so the implications are grim for the species.
A lot of fingers have been pointed at Kruger staff, some of that is justified but for the vast, vast majority of Kruger’s field staff, these are people up against ridiculous odds. They are underpaid, understaffed, surrounded by dysfunction and corruption from their own as well as surrounding governments who do not prioritize this issue. They are threatened by sociopathic criminals and confronted with their own limitations on a daily basis as they confront carcass after carcass.
They have had to watch their most effective poaching court be closed down in 2019, experts agree due to the influence of corrupt magistrates in cahoots with the very syndicates this court was successfully prosecuting.
Kruger’s most effective rangers have been targeted with smear campaigns and false charges, their families threatened. What kind of message must this send to the field personnel at Kruger? This is a heartbreaking job for most of these men and women and they deserve our support. Most signed up to be conservationists, not soldiers, policeman, lawyers or forensic pathologists. We need to be asking how we can support them, not demonize them.
That said, unless the courts are cleaned up, there is no solution in sight. rhinos will be the ultimate victims.

Credit: Jamie Joseph of Saving the Wild for this article.

Sunday, 31 January 2021

Six more rangers klilled in Virunga National Park

At least six rangers were ambushed and killed by armed men in Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on Sunday.

Famous for its mountain gorillas, the UNESCO World Heritage site has been the site of persistent unrest as a wide variety of armed groups battle for control of oil and other rich mineral deposits.

"Mai-Mai carried out an ambush at Nyamitwitwi in the far end of the park. The provisional toll is six park rangers killed along with two Mai-Mai," local government delegate Alphonse Kambale told AFP. Another park warden from the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature (ICCN) was also seriously injured. Mai-Mai is an umbrella term for community-based militias.

With a multi-ethnic population of over 100 million, the Democratic Republic of Congo is Africa's second-largest territorial state after Algeria and is almost seven times the size of Germany. It is also home to the largest remaining rainforest areas in Africa.

Virunga park itself was created in 1925 and covers some 7,800 square kilometres (3,000 square miles). It is home to about a quarter of the world's critically endangered population of mountain gorillas, many of whom live within a protected area at the foot of the Nyiragongo volcano.

The park is guarded by 689 armed rangers, at least 200 of whom have been killed in the line of duty over the past decade. In April 2020, a dozen rangers and 4 civilians were killed by a still unidentified group.

Friday, 29 January 2021

Infamous ivory trafficker extradited to US to face trial


Infamous ivory, rhinoceros horn poacher and drug trafficker Abubakar Mansur Mohammed Surur alias Mansour was extradited from Kenya to New York over the weekend, coming just months after he was arrested at Moi International airport.

New York District Attorney Audrey Strauss revealed on Monday that Mansour is part of an international syndicate engaging in the illicit trade that has been evading law enforcement officers for years.

The suspect was arrested on July 29, 2020 by detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) immediately when he landed at the airport after a chartered flight from Yemen.

Mansour is wanted in the US for allegedly conspiring to sell 10 tonnes of elephant ivory and more than 181kg of rhinoceros horn across a seven-year period.

The US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York has said the trafficker was part of a transnational criminal enterprise known as the "Enterprise" based in Uganda and surrounding countries.

Namibia : What has been done to avert a wildlife 'crime'

Namibia cuts accidental seabird deaths by 98%

Namibia's fishing fleet, working along the country's 1,500 kilometre-long coastline, was until recently considered among the most deadly in the world for seabirds. But in 2015 Namibia adopted new regulations that require all hake fishing vessels to use bird-scaring lines and other measures to protect birds from fatal encounters with fishing gear. The result? The accidental deaths of seabirds, including endangered albatrosses, has been reduced from up to 30,000 per year more than a decade ago to just 215 at the last count. 

Wednesday, 2 September 2020

Zimbabwe: lions poisoned in Gonarhezu NP

Three lion carcasses were recently recovered in the wildlife-rich Gonarezhou National Park, south-east of the Lowveld amid fears that poachers from Mozambique were using cyanide to poison animals.

The recovery of the carcasses preceded a raid by a joint team comprising members of the army, police and rangers from ZimParks, on a makeshift camp set up by suspected poachers in Gonarezhou, which led to the discovery of lion skulls and canine teeth, whose carcasses have not yet been accounted for.

The raid led to the arrest of five suspected poachers who will soon be arraigned before the courts.

Feed them cyanide if convicted, I say.

Thursday, 27 August 2020

Poacher in DRC gets 30 years


Authorities in Republic of the Congo have put a notorious poacher behind bars for 30 years for the attempted murder of park rangers and ivory trafficking, according to a wildlife conservation group.

Mobanza Mobembo Gerard, commonly known as Guyvanho, is thought to have killed more than 500 elephants since 2008 during poaching expeditions, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) said.

"This unprecedented conviction in the criminal court is a major milestone in the protection of wildlife in the Republic of Congo," said Emma Stokes, WCS director for Central Africa.

Thursday, 13 August 2020

Deliberate fires started at Tsavo West

The Kenya government is in a race to end national park fires following several cases that have put wildlife and vegetation at risk of being wiped out.

Fires broke out at Tsavo West National Park, Mgeno and Lumo conservancies on Saturday night. Tsavo West has been a grazing ground for illegal herders who sneak in their livestock in search of water and pasture.

Recently, KWS said the fires were caused by locals living adjacent to the park.

Teams from government agencies and non-governmental wildlife organisations as well as residents joined Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) firefighters in putting out the fires.

Elephants almost extinct in Nigeria


Andrew Dunn, Country Director of Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in Nigeria, says elephants are almost becoming extinct in Nigeria.

Mr Dunn made the disclosure in an interview with journalists in Calabar while commemorating the World Elephant Day.

The World Elephant Day is an international annual event marked on August 12, dedicated to the preservation and protection of the world's elephant population.

He said that the number of elephants in the country had continued to dwindle at a frightening pace following negative human activities.

He further appealed that all hands should be on deck to prevent the total extinction of elephants, adding that it was worrisome that Nigeria was a leading source of elephant tusks sale worldwide up till last year.

"The international ivory trade which is a major cause of the extinction of elephants is still booming in Nigeria, particularly in Lagos.

"Poachers are daily going after the tusks of the elephants to enrich the sale of ivory in foreign markets.

"There are less than 500 elephants remaining in Nigeria, so we should not allow our elephants to go extinct.

"We need many more people to supports elephant conservation by regularly visiting the Cross River National Park, Yankari Games Reserve and other parks in the country where some of these animals are," he said.

Wednesday, 12 August 2020

Tanzania hands out 100 year+ prison sentences to poachers


Manyoni District Court has sentenced five poachers to jail terms ranging between 60 and 180 years for their role in poaching activities within Chamwino District, Dodoma City and Manyoni District in Singida Region.

They are Jonathan Joseph, alias Baraka Mlungushi, who was jailed 180 years, Noah Sajilo, Shukran Nyang'a alias Patrick and Hassan Juma, alias Mpembee Mjendwa, who were each sentenced to 100 years imprisonment and Gabriel Akyoo, who was jailed a total of 60 years.

Resident Magistrate Stella Kiama imposed the sentences last week against the poachers after convicting them of the offences they were charged with.

She ruled that the prosecution, led by State Attorneys Salim Msemo, Patrida Muta and Tulumanywa Majigo, proved the charges beyond reasonable doubt.

The charges preferred by the prosecution against them included unlawful possession and dealing in government trophies, unlawful hunting of a scheduled animal, unlawful possession of weapons in certain circumstances and failure to keep safe custody of firearms.

Sunday, 5 July 2020

Elephant and rhino populations on the UP in Tanzania

During the past few decades elephants and rhinos populations have been enlisted as the most vulnerable and endangered animal species.
However, in Tanzania, both animals' populations have recently begun to tremendously bounce back, thanks to robust anti-poaching measures by the government.
Moving a speech to dissolve the Parliament in Dodoma last Tuesday, President John Magufuli said the number of Jumbos roaming national parks and other conservancies had risen from 43,000 in 2015 to 51,000 last year.
The rhino population, which in the recent past, decimated from over 10,000 individuals to just about 100 rhinos, rebounded from 162 in 2015 to 190 in 2019, he revealed.
The President, who was giving an overview of the tourism sector performance, attributed the resurfacing of the otherwise endangered species to the government's crackdown on criminal networks involved in industrial-scale poaching.

He said the establishment of the paramilitary force was the government's strong commitment of controlling poaching and depletion of natural resources in the country.
The departure from civilian to paramilitary system by the Tanzania National Parks (Tanapa), Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA), Tanzania Wildlife Management (Tawa) and Tanzania Forest Services Agency (TFS) not only seeks to protect natural resources, but also instill discipline in the institutions which fall under the Tourism and Natural Resources Ministry.

Interestingly, in Botswana, the new government did away with the paramilitary force, and poaching of rhinos, has skyrocketed.