Wednesday 27 August 2014

192 Elephant Carcasses found in Maasai Mara

The World Wide Fund for Nature has raised the red-flag after 192 elephant carcasses were found in the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem during an aerial survey.
Of the carcasses with no tusks, 117 are on the Kenyan side while 75 in Tanzania.
Robert Ndetei from WWF said 84 per cent of the carcasses were outside the Masai Mara Game Reserve.
"An aerial report released on Thursday in Arusha has revealed a worrying number of elephant carcasses in the world famous Mara-Serengeti ecosystem," he said in Naivasha yesterday.

This makes me Question the KWS figures quoted only a couple of weeks ago - see "Kenya Poaching Figures", published on 15th August, below.

A new Report from Born Free

A new report reveals that, between 2009 and June 2014, there were more than 90 large-scale ivory seizures, collectively weighing almost 170 tons, which bear the hallmarks of international organized crime. At a 10% interception rate, this would amount to approximately 229,729 elephants killed and trafficked in fewer than six years.
Today, the ivory trade is operating at its highest level since the 1989 commercial ivory trade ban. 2013 appears to have been the worst year on record, with nearly 50 tons of ivory seized that were linked to organized criminal networks.

Friday 15 August 2014

Kenya Poaching Figures

KWS said that so far this year they have lost 26 Rhino and 111 Elephants

Thursday 14 August 2014

South Africa to Increase Anti Rhino Poaching Measures

Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa says South Africa will build on its robust measures to curb the incidence of rhino poaching within its borders.

Minister Molewa said government is cognisant of the fact that rhino poaching is a multibillion dollar worldwide illicit trade. This, she said, was the reason they would put in more emphasis on the Integrated Strategic Management approach to save rhinos from poachers.

"... That is why we will continue to strengthen holistic and integrated interventions and explore new innovative options to ensure the long-term survival of the species," Minister Molewa said.
She added that forensic technology, including DNA analysis, in the judicial process will be introduced to support the successful prosecution of alleged wildlife criminals.

National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega said she has directed a team of detectives trained in wildlife crime investigations, forensics experts, the SA Police Service air wing, the flying squad and the dog unit to assist the SANParks Board with current investigations on poaching.

"This additional team will attend to all the outstanding and new crime scenes and continue to do proper crime scene investigation and management," said Phiyega.

She pleaded with communities living around game reserves to continue playing their role in helping police arrest the poachers.

Wednesday 13 August 2014

South Africa may move 500 Rhinos from the Kruger national Park

South African authorities have announced a plan to move up to 500 rhino from Kruger National Park to other area areas where they are at less risk from poachers.

The operation will focus on areas of high poaching activity within Kruger, such as the park’s eastern border with Mozambique, where desperately poor people from villages in the area are easily tempted to poach rhinos for their horns by the prospect of quick money.

The rhino could be moved to other state-owned provincial parks, private parks and communal areas. The environment ministry said nearby countries, such as Botswana and Zambia, may also be the recipients of some of them. Botswana is an ideal home for the rhinos, as it has vast  remote areas of sparsely-populated wilderness that are difficult to access.

Wednesday 6 August 2014

Elephant Killed with Spears in Laikipia

A 30-year-old elephant was killed by poachers at the Laikipia Nature Conservancy ranch yesterday.(Monday) Its tusks and tail were taken.

The conservancy's director, Kuki Gallman, said that the carcass was found deep in the forest by patrolling security guards.

"The carcass was still fresh by the time we arrived there," she said.
She said the killers have changed tactics as they realised guns are noisy and attract attention and they killed the elephant with spears dipped in poison.
Gallman said poachers are hiding among illegal herders in Laikipia county.
"These herders are causing a lot of problems. Aside from escalating poaching activities, they are also grazing on local people's crops and stealing livestock," she said.

The poachers who killed the elephant are thought to have entered the ranch via the southern route bordering Baringo to evade the guards.

Tuesday 5 August 2014

African leaders meet to Discuss Poaching

This week is the US African Leaders Summit, bringing together 50 African leaders and President Obama. Topics of discussion during the three-day summit include security, trade and governance.
During the wildlife trafficking discussion, Tanzania’s President, Jakaya Kikwete, seemed frustrated over the lack of unity throughout neighboring countries. The elephants are killed in Tanzania,” said Kikwete, “but the consignment [of ivory] came from Kampala, Uganda. And moved through Mombasa,” the main port of Kenya. “So there is definitely need for working together.”
The President of Togo, Faure Gnassingbe, expressed concern over elephant poaching, which is ironic as there are no elephants there. He stated tusks confiscated in Hong Kong and Malaysia were traced back to Togo.

After months of investigating the source of ivory was discovered. He said “Many of those tusks came from…(he then turned apologetically toward his left to Gabon’s President, Ali Bongo Ondimba)….my friend’s country.”
Gnassingbe went on to say that until the US brought this up, Gabon had never mentioned the issue of poaching. In fact, this is the first time many of them have had this discussion in a group setting. This begs the question “Why is there no continental strategy to end poaching?”

When asked what they would like from the US to combat poaching, the overall consensus was equipment. The ranger death toll is escalating, as they are deep in a war in which they are outmanned, outgunned and under trained.
 Namibia asked for helicopters, Tanzania requested night vision goggles, Togo wants infrared scanners, and Gabon-military support.

But in addition, Ondimba apprehensively brought up the “elephant in the room”; diplomatic pressure on China, stating-

 “Let’s kill the market. We’ll save the animals, we’ll also save human beings.”

A Question

How is it that the World Bank and various governments can find $200 million in a matter of weeks to Combat the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, and yet it takes years of lobbying and campaigning to raise even a few million to help save Elephants from Extinction?

It saddens me to know that the money is there and could be used to make a huge amount of progress to stop the Slaughter that is taking place every day.

When will the Governments of the Western World get serious about stopping the killing.

Monday 4 August 2014

More Elephant Poaching in the Kruger NP

Another elephant has been killed for its tusks by poachers in Parfuri,  in the Northern sector of the Kruger National Park, a few kilometers from the Mozambican and Zimbabwean borders.

Nobody has as yet been arrested in connection with the crime, as the poachers are no doubt long gone across the border. Only a couple of months ago another elephant was killed in the area, and still the SA government denies that there is a poaching problem.

There is an urgent need for committed action from the SA government to stop the escallation of poaching in the country.

“Elephant poaching has been happening for a while now in Mozambique and Zimbabwe, so we did expect that it would at some stage reach our area,” said SANparks spokesperson William Mabasa. The Parfuri region of KNP is particularly open to penetration by poachers because it is so close to the Mozambican and Zimbabwean borders.

A report in July 2013 concluded that rogue South African hunting operators were orchestrating poaching operations in the area, particularly rhino. Independent intelligence sources  uncovered documents implicating local safari units in aiding and abetting Mozambican poachers by supplying them with ammunition, finding buyers for the horns and bribing South African officials and Mozambican politicians. They claim to have passed on the information to South African authorities, but have heard nothing more about it.

It's just a trickle at the moment but it could so easily become a flood.