Friday 13 June 2014

Poaching Onslaught from all sides in Garamba National Park DRC

African Parks has intensified its anti-poaching efforts in eastern DRC to counter the poaching onslaught that has beset Garamba National Park in the past two months. A total of 68 elephants have been poached since mid-April, representing about 4% of the total population.

In mid-May, African Parks reported that 33 elephants had been killed in the five weeks prior, indicating a concerted attack on the park’s elephant population.

Despite intensified anti-poaching efforts since then, the total has risen to 68 elephants in the past two months, at least nine of them shot from a helicopter. On one occasion hand grenades were used against the Park’s rangers by Sudanese poachers. For the first time the brains of elephants have also been removed, together with tusks and genitals.

African Parks’ investigations have revealed that the poaching is emanating from four different sources: Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) insurgents, armed groups from South Sudan, poachers operating from a helicopter, and renegade members of the Congolese Armed Forces (FARDC).

Wednesday 4 June 2014

Ol Jorgi Ranch Ranger Killed in Laikipia (Kenya) Raid

A Kenya Wildlife Service Ranger attached to Ol Jorgi Ranch in Laikipia North Sub-county was shot dead by suspected poachers on Monday night. Paul Harrison Lelesepei, 25 was with other rangers  guarding the sanctuary when they were attacked by suspected rhino poachers.
According to the KWS senior warden in charge of Mountain region Aggrey Maumo, the rangers were patrolling the ranch at the border with Loldaiga hill ranch when they were apprehended by the poachers. Maumo said there was a gun battle and the ranger was shot and died while being taken to Nanyuki Teaching and Referral Hospital. The Director said there were two gangs of poachers in and around the ranch that night.
"One gang was inside the ranch already while another was outside. Our rangers had no information about the other gang that was inside and were caught unawares during the shootout with the other that was outside" Maumo said. The poachers managed to flee without any arrest made so far, with Maumo saying that they have leads. He said that all rhino sanctuaries in Laikipia have become a target for poachers with Ol Jorgi experiencing several attacks where five rhinos have been killed in the past six months.

These rangers are absolute Heroes. They have my deepest admiration.

Tuesday 3 June 2014

One ton of pangolin scales from South Africa seized in Hong Kong

Hong Kong Customs authorities have seized just over one ton of pangolin scales from a shipping container which arrived from South Africa.

This is the second interception in Hong Kong of a shipment of pangolin scales from the African continent in just eight months, following the seizure of 320 kilograms of pangolin scales in October 2013. In this case, 40 bags totaling 1 000 kilograms of pangolin scales were detected in a container (declared as “plastic pet”) at the Kwai Chung cargo examination compound. While the scales are presumably those of African pangolins, the precise species is not known at this time.

In 2013, an estimated 8125 pangolins were confiscated in 49 instances of illegal trade across 13 countries.