Monday 31 March 2014

Botswana says NO to canned hunting

In a statement recently published on the official website of the Republic of Botswana Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism the country declares its position on the practice of canned hunting and its plans to ban the practice. The statement reads as follows:
Botswana is opposed to “canned hunting” the practice in which large carnivores such as lions or other wildlife species are raised in captivity and hunted in small camps with no room for escape or to elude the hunter. These animals are often raised in inhumane conditions in close contact with humans.

The Government of Botswana is committed to conserving our biodiversity, large carnivores included and does not tolerate cruelty to our wildlife in any form. Efforts are underway to strengthen legislation to ensure that this abhorrent and unethical practice does not find its way into Botswana under any guise. Botswana will closely scrutinize all requests to export wildlife to any destination.

I hope they make the President of Botswana a Saint.

Wednesday 19 March 2014

Pangolins in danger of being wiped out

Chinese demand for the pangolin, a scale-covered anteater, is forcing the endangered animals closer to extinction. Pangolins are disappearing in China and across their ranges in East and Southeast Asia. They have become the most frequently seized mammal in Asia's illegal wildlife trade, as smugglers sell the creatures to meet culinary and medicinal demand.

Traders are importing pangolins into China from as far away as Africa, where four of the eight known species of the anteater live.

Pangolins have been a staple of traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years, but growing human populations and greater wealth across China have increased demand. Pangolin fetuses, scales, and blood are used in medicine, the meat is considered a delicacy, and stuffed pangolins are sold as souvenirs.

The creatures are often kept alive without food or water while individual scales are pulled off them as required.

The decline in pangolin populations and intensified efforts to curb the illegal trade have led to rising prices for pangolin products - further enticing organized crime rings to smuggle the endangered animals. A kilogram of pangolin scales that earned only 80 yuan (US$10) in the early 1990s would now yield 1,200 yuan ($175) on the black market, according to Zhang Yue, a wildlife trade expert in China's State Forestry Administration.

An estimated 25,000-50,000 wild pangolins lived in China in 2000, according to a national survey. Populations in Guangdong and Hunan provinces have since dropped as low as 10 percent of the 2000 estimate, and populations in Hainan, Henan, and Jiangsu provinces are likely extinct.

China - again.

Monday 17 March 2014

R255 Million Donation to fight Rhino Poaching

The Howard G. Buffett Foundation, a private foundation in the United States, the Nature Conservation Trust, a South African public benefit organization and South African National Parks announced an historic R255 million (US$23.7 million), three-year initiative to combat rhino poaching in Kruger National Park and test anti-poaching tactics that can be applied in other regions of Africa.

The effort in Kruger will create an Intensive Protection Zone (IPZ) using sophisticated detection and tracking equipment and infrastructure on the ground and in the air, elite canine units and highly-trained ranger teams and improved intelligence gathering and observation and surveillance systems.