Thursday 29 October 2015

Some facts about hunting Lions in Zimbabwe with reference to the killing of Cecil

From an interview with lion researcher Brent Stapelkamp who worked with Cecil in Hwange.

First, there was no hunting quota on lions this year in the Gwaai area. The minimum age of lion
that can be hunted is six years. Last year in 2014 only one lion out of the five shot in the
area was above the age of six. One of those lions was just 2 years old. So this year, the hunters were penalised, and the quota was removed from the landowners. Cecil was supposed to be 100% safe because there was no lion hunting allowed this year.

Second, the Zimbabwe law says that if you’re hunting a lion you must have a parks ranger with
you. There was no parks ranger present.

Third, the hunter shot Cecil with a compound bow. The law says you must have a special permit
for that, as well as ranger present on a bow hunt.

Fourth, the hunt permit was bought on a quota swap, which is illegal. The hunting operator
bought the permit from an area elsewhere in the country, which had no lions. Then he came to
the area next to Hwange and hunted Cecil with an illegal permit.

Fifth, there were no hunt return forms, no tax invoice, and no one in an official position in
parks knew they were hunting – all of which is illegal.

- See more at:

Does anyone honestly believe that Walter Palmer didn't know any of this when he arranged to 
shoot Cecil by baiting him with a carcass in a private area right next to the reserve? 

Given that the story goes that the other pride male - Jericho - fed from the carcass first, but
the hunters didn't try for him, it would suggest that they knew exactly what they were doing and which lion they wanted to kill. Could they have failed to notice his collar? No, Cecil's demise was well planned and badly executed. Eleven hours between being shot and dying is a long time to be in pain.

So why did the Government of Zimbabwe drop the call for the extradition of Palmer? Because they don't want to lose the flow of dollars from foreign hunters. Stuff the legality.

Meanwhile the strongest and genetically the best equipped to survive lions continue to be 
killed, thus ensuring the that the genes from the weaker and less fit lions get passed on. And
there is the fallout from killing a pride male where another male will move in and kill all the 
cubs left by the previous incumbent. 

And then the hunters can put another bait out at a later date and kill him too.

It's complete lunacy.

Tuesday 27 October 2015

Some good news about rhinos

Zimbabwe appears to be winning the battle to save its  rhino population against  poachers as the number killed has gone down significantly from 60 animals in 2013 to six in the past 15 months.

Figures released by wildlife organisations  to mark the World Rhino Day, show that
rhino poaching is on the decline after the government and conservation experts adopted a raft
of measures including stiff prison terms for convicted poachers.

Dehorning the rhinos and satellite tracking has also helped curb poaching, in the process
boosting the country's tourism.

In the late 1980s, Zimbabwe had a rhino population of about 2,000 but the numbers have crashed
to around 760.

The International Rhino Foundation, which has been working with a local conservation trust, the
Lowveld Rhino Trust (LRT), said the decrease in rhino poaching can be attributed to anti-
poaching efforts, tracking and monitoring.

Many rhinos have also been moved from high-risk areas in Hwange and the Zambezi Valley
to safer areas in the Lowveld and private conservancies while local communities have also
cooperated in building support for rhino conservation.

Over the last three to four years, the rhino population has been growing annually between five
and 10 percent, which is great news for the species future in Zimbabwe.

Cyanide Poisoning of elephants in Zimbabwe

A Zimbabwe parks official says that 22 more elephants have been killed by cyanide poisoning in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park.

This brings the number of elephants poisoned by poachers in October in this southern Africa country to 62. In early October, the parks reported three incidents in which 40 elephants were killed by cyanide poisoning. Three were killed in the Kariba area because they ate oranges laced with cyanide. The rest were killed in Hwange National Park

In 2013, more than 200 elephants died from cyanide poisoning in Hwange. Cyanide is an indiscriminate killer as, if added to a waterhole it will kill anything that drinks there. It has killed a large number of game animals and birds - and will even kill vultures if they feed off the carcasses.

Cyanide is widely used in Zimbabwe's mining industry and is easy to obtain.

Elephant poaching on the increase in Kruger

At least 19 elephants have been killed in Kruger National Park since January, and 12 of those were killed in September and October.

This is compared to only two elephant deaths in the KNP in 2014.

The first elephant poaching incident in 10 years occurred in the Pafuri section of the park in May last year.

It's coming - now that East Africa has been decimated the poachers are moving to where there 
are bigger herds left.

Thursday 8 October 2015

"Queen of Ivory" arrested in Tanzania

A Chinese woman who has been dubbed "The Queen of Ivory" has been arrested in Tanzania

She was amongst a number of high level Chinese ivory traffickers who have been arrested. The woman, named Yang Fen Glan, has been observed by a wildlife trafficking unit from Tanzania's National and Transnational Serious Crimes Investigation Unit for more than a year before the arrests were made.

She is thought to be the head of a network which trafficked a huge amount of ivory going back at least as far as 2006. She has confessed to many crimes and could face 20-30 years in jail.

Hopefully she will provide information leading to the arrest of other major traffickers and corrupt government officials.

Let's not let corruption and bribery screw this one up.

Tuesday 6 October 2015

Zimbabwe: More elephants killed by cyanide poisoning

11 elephants have died as a result of another cyanide poisoning incident in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe.

Also a number of vultures have died after feeding offthecarcasses. Possibly other scavengers have died as well.

Whether the tusks have been removed or not by poachers has not been made public as yet.

Last month three elephants died in Kariba after eating cyanide laced oranges.