Monday 30 May 2022

East African Prosecutors to Crack Down on Wildlife Crimes

State prosecutors from 11 East African countries have vowed to tighten their cross border cooperation and tackle money laundering crimes, to combat wildlife crimes and other emerging transnational crimes.

The commitment was made during the closing of the East Africa Association of Prosecutors' (EAAP) technical committee meeting in Nairobi, Kenya. The partnership is expected to strip wildlife traffickers of their ill-gotten gains, disrupt networks, and send the message that wildlife crimes won't prevail.

EAAP members include Burundi, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

Wednesday 16 February 2022

Rhino poaching in South Africa decreases but the truth is something different


Barbara Creecy, Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, recently released the latest rhino poaching statistics. The stats claim that poaching in South African National Parks (SANParks) reserves has decreased.  

While the DA has nothing but praise for the efforts of our brave rangers and anti-poaching teams who have worked so hard to stem the poaching, the reality regarding rhino poaching numbers is far bleaker than what is being alleged.

The reality is that rhino numbers in SANParks reserves have decreased by 75% over the past 10 years. The most likely reason that the poaching numbers in SANParks reserves appear to be slightly lower on the raw data is simply because the overall numbers of rhinos are continuing to drop. 

If one compares the population with the incidents of rhino poaching in SANParks reserves, there is an average increase in poaching and not a decrease as alleged. SANParks reported that 247 rhinos out of approximately 3,500 remaining wild rhinos were poached in 2020, which works out to 7% of the wild rhino population. The numbers for the middle of 2021 indicate that 209 wild rhinos were poached out of a population of +-2,800, which is 7.5% of the remaining wild rhino population.

SANParks is still unable to adequately account for the decline in wild rhino numbers from 3,500 to 2,800 in one year. If one subtracts the 247 rhinos poached that year, there are still approximately 400 rhinos missing with no explanation given. These rhinos cannot simply disappear.

It is also concerning that no estimate of rhino numbers is provided for the end of 2021. There are unofficial estimates of fewer than 2,000 rhino in SANParks reserves at present and the DA calls on SANParks to provide the latest estimates as soon as possible to combat the growing concern and uncertainty.

Wednesday 11 August 2021

Rwanda's lion population is increasing

 Rwanda on Tuesday, joined the global community in celebrating the World Lion Day which is observed every year on August 10 to raise awareness about lions and mobilise support for their protection and conservation.

In Rwanda, according to Drew Bantlin, the Conservation and Research Manager at Akagera National Park, the lion population in the park has grown five times to 35 since 2015, when seven lions were translocated into the park in 2015.

Great news but this is still an isolated population and will need help to maintain genetic viability

Tuesday 10 August 2021

Mozambique: No elephants poached in Niassa for third consecutive year


Good news about Elephants for a change.

Maputo — Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi announced on Saturday that, for the third consecutive year, no elephants have been poached in the Niassa National Reserve in the far north of the country, or in the Gorongosa National Park in the central province of Sofala.
Speaking in the Niassa Reserve, during celebrations of World Ranger Day, Nyusi attributed this success to the combined efforts of the forestry and wildlife rangers, the defence and security forces, the bodies of the administration of justice and the local communities, in the fight against environmental crimes.
"Mozambique will continue to transform itself into a natural reserve for elephants, and we shall extend our genuine love to all other animals - and, as a priority, to lions, which are now under great threat from poachers in Mozambique", declared the President.
 lets hope the good news continues. Mozambique could become a great safari destination

Rhino population in Kenya on the UP

 Nairobi — The Rhino population in Kenya has risen by 11pc due to a continuous decline in poaching incidents in the last eight years.

In a statement, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) Regional Director for East Africa, James Isiche noted that the rhino numbers rose from 1,441 in 2019 to 1,605 in 2020.

IFAW said the pandemic elicited fears of an increase in wildlife poaching as tourist revenues used to pay wildlife rangers reduced drastically.

However, measures put in place by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and partners like the IFAW ensured the safety of these pre-historic animals highly sought after for their horns.

"We congratulate all wildlife security partners and agencies for this major achievement in fighting wildlife crime and keeping Kenya's rhinos safe. We are glad that the rhino population in Kenya has increased and for the first time in a long time had no rhinos die due to poaching," stated James Isiche, IFAW's East Africa Regional Director.

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.