Sunday 26 January 2014

Kenya Rangers to use Drones in Poaching War

In collaboration with the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in northern Kenya, Airwave has begun testing a drone surveillance system that it says will enable park rangers to monitor wildlife and be alerted to the presence of poachers. The Ol Pejeta Conservancy is the largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa. But even in a designated sanctuary, rhinos are not safe from poachers. In 2013 alone, 50 rhinos were killed within Ol Pejeta.
Airwave’s “Aerial Ranger” project is designed specifically to observe, track and protect wildlife by delivering video and thermal imaging feeds to teams on the ground, Ol Pejeta Conservancy said in a statement.”

Huge fine for Chinese Ivory Smuggler

A Chinese man accused of trying to smuggle ivory in a suitcase was arraigned in a Nairobi court this week. Under the law that came into effect on Jan. 10 and that the Kenya Wildlife Service had spent years been lobbying for, the man has been fined a record $230,000. If he can't pay he faces 7 years in jail. In the past, such poachers and smugglers could walk out of court with a fine of less than $1,000.

Good start but he's only small fry in this business.

Thursday 9 January 2014

Tanzanian Officials Suspended over Poaching Claims

Tanzania’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism has suspended 21 Wildlife Department staff for allegedly colluding with poachers to kill elephants. Deputy Minister Lazaro Nyalandu told reporters that the suspended employees join their colleague in Singida Region, Augustino Lori, who was recently suspended over poaching and corruption allegations. He said investigations have shown that there are certain members of the ministry’s staff who were directly involved in wildlife sabotage acts in collaboration with criminals, warning that they would be exposed and charged in court.

The suspended staff include 11 from the Anti-Poaching Unit in Arusha, four from the Rukwa-Lwari Forest Reserve, one from the Anti-Poaching Unit in Bunda, three from Maswa Forest Reserve, one from Selous Forest Reserve and one from the Lukwika-Lumesule-Msanjesi Forest Reserve.

“The ministry won’t hesitate in dealing with employees who use their position to sabotage the country’s natural resources or anybody partnering with poachers to kill wild animals. Tougher measures are going to be taken against them without any delay,” he said.

Sunday 5 January 2014

Tough new Anti Poaching Law in Kenya

In Nairobi President Kenyatta has assented to the new Wildlife Conservation and Management Bill, making it the law of the land with immediate effect.

Under the new law, poachers, their financiers and the traders will face substantially higher fines, confiscation of property and long prison terms. Most significantly, those arrested at airports, in possession of ivory or other prohibited wildlife items, will face fines of not less than a million Kenya Shillings and prison terms of not less than five years.

Many smugglers have been caught over the past years at Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, the majority of them Chinese citizens.

Wednesday 1 January 2014

President Kikwete promises to resume Anti Poaching Operations in Tanzania

President Kikwete promised to resume the controversial anti poaching operation ‘Tokomeza’ which was halted in November after it became known that officials on the ground had subverted the objectives of anti poaching and took aim at pastoralists and cattle herders.

Only last week Deputy Minister Nyalandu told a press conference that at least 60 elephants had been killed in various national parks and game reserves in the country after the suspension of operation tokomeza which was aimed at fighting poaching and those behind the callous trade.