Friday 25 July 2014

Smaller Elephants in Ruaha?

I have recently returned from Ruaha and Selous in Tanzania. I had a great 10 day safari with fantastic and very knowledgeable guides. I renewed previous acquaintances and friendships and spoke to a lot of people about the current poaching problems.

Among the many observations that were made was the apparent decrease in average size of elephants in Ruaha. I can attest to this as I also noticed that they seemed a little smaller than the ones I'd seen in Tarangire in 2013.

                                                       Small looking elephant in Ruaha

Smaller elephants with smaller tusks, and quite a few tuskless ones as well. The prevailing thought is that most of the bigger older Tuskers have been shot, and consequently the genes for large Ivory are not getting passed on. Whether this 'selection' is resulting in smaller elephants as well is anyone's guess. Maybe they are just younger animals in Ruaha.

I have no science to back this up. Just what my eyes are telling me.

                                         Tarangire elephants seem to be a little bigger on average

Rhino Poacher gets 77 years jail

A Rhino Poacher has been sentenced to 77 years in Prison. His name is Mandla Chuke and he was caught in the Kruger NP in 2011 where he had killed three rhino calves. He was sentenced at Nelspruit Magistrates Court on the 22nd July.

A good result - but he's just a small fish in the game. With the current price of Rhino horn ($70000 per kilo at the retail end)  the middle men will  still be offering enough cash to temp yet more desperate youths to have a go.

Far better if the South African Government made serious efforts to address the problem and its links to big business in the country.

Friday 18 July 2014

Call for trade embargo against Mozambique for failure to address poaching issues

Two international environmental organizations have called on the US government to implement trade sanctions against Mozambique for its official complicity in the ongoing rampant slaughter of elephants and rhinos by Mozambican nationals not only within Mozambique but also in South Africa and Tanzania.

The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and the International Rhino Foundation (IRF) filed the petition under the Pelly amendment – which authorizes the US to impose sanctions on any country that contravenes an international conservation agreement, in this case various CITES agreements.

Since 2010, Mozambican poachers have been involved in the the deaths of almost 1 900 rhinos in South Africa, as well as tens of thousands of elephants poached for their ivory in Mozambique and Tanzania. At the CITES meeting in March 2013, Mozambique was singled out for their lack of action to tackle poaching – and has narrowly avoided CITES backed sanctions by passing (but failing to implement) improved wildlife legislation.

Wednesday 16 July 2014

South African hunting operators connected to poaching activities

South African hunting operators have been connected to trans-border poaching activities. According to independent intelligence sources who have been scrutinising these hunters since 2011, they have informed the South African government of the operators’ activities, but have received no feedback on whether the issue has been investigated.
Currently it seems more attention is being focused by the Department of Environmental Affairs on attempting to push through an application to legally sell its 18-ton stockpile of rhino horn, than to enforce any real action against poaching.

Friday 11 July 2014

More Elephant Cyanide Poisoning Cases in Zambezi

Four elephants have died from cyanide poisoning at Zambezi National Park.

Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority rangers discovered the dead animals in the park just outside Victoria Falls along the Zambezi River early this week, an official confirmed.

Zimparks public relations manager Caroline Washaya-Moyo said the killing of the animals comes as a shock, a year following a similar poisoning incident left more than 100 jumbos dead at the Hwange National Park.
She said the parks authority learnt that the elephants were poisoned from a natural salt lick in the park, which had been laced with cyanide.
"Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority confirms that four elephants died from suspected cyanide poisoning in Zambezi National Park," said Washaya-Moyo.

I wonder how many other animals were also killed as a result of this. Vultures and scavengers almost certainly.

Thursday 10 July 2014

USAID announces more than $210 Million for Conservation projects

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Rajiv Shah has announced more than $210 million to conserve nature in more than 50 countries, including an anticipated $40 million to combat wildlife trafficking, as a first measure in the Agency's first-ever Biodiversity Policy. The Biodiversity Policy ensures that USAID focuses its work on globally-significant biodiversity, from the Amazon basin to the coral reefs of Southeast Asia, to the vast grasslands of East Africa, applying scientific and research-motivated approaches to support sustainable biodiversity conservation and development outcomes.

Kenya Poaching Numbers

According to KWS Poachers have killed 97 elephants and at least 18 rhinos in Kenya so far this year while 59 rhinos and 302 elephants were killed last year.