Tuesday 22 December 2015

Tanzania sentences four Chines rhino horn smugglers to 20 years in jail

Mbeya — Four Chinese were yesterday sentenced to 20 years in jail after being convicted of smuggling 11 rhino horns worth Sh902 million.

The Chinese nationals were also ordered to pay Sh10.8 billion in fines

They were detained  on 17th November  last month at the Tanzania-Malawi border post of Kasumulu in Kyela District and were found to be hiding the horns in a fake fuel tank in the Toyota Hilux that they were driving from Malawi.

May there be many more sentences like that one handed out.

Good news from Kenya

Since 2013, according to the latest estimates, elephant deaths from poaching in Kenya are down by 80% and deaths of rhinos by 90%. This is a success story that deserves to be more widely known.

Attributable to: 

Implementation of the new 2013 Wildlife Act which raises poaching to the level of a serious crime, and dishes out fines and jail sentences accordingly

Community involvement and a new sense of  Kenya's wildlife being a National Treasure and an important economic resource.

Government Buy in. Reorganization of KWS and money available to recruit more rangers. A new commitment to Conservation.

Realization the Ivory poaching not only funds terrorism but can destabilize whole countries.

Social media has spread the word effectively and more people care and therefore voice their concerns.

Monday 21 December 2015

Lions given protection by the Endangered Species Act in the US.

Five months after a lion named Cecil was shot and killed in Zimbabwe by a Minnesota dentist, the Obama administration has decided to place lions in Africa under the protection of the Endangered Species Act, an action that will set a higher bar for hunters who want to bring lion trophies into the United States.

Lions in Central and West Africa will be listed as endangered, according to the Fish and Wildlife Service, which is expected to announce the change today. Lions in southern and East Africa will be classified as threatened, with a special rule that prods countries to regulate sport hunting of lions in ways that promote conservation.

The Importing of lions from countries where they are endangered will be almost completely prohibited.

From Countries where they are threatened the hunters  will have to show that the imports were “legally obtained” from countries that have “a scientifically sound management programme that benefits  the subspecies in the wild,” according to the US wildlife service.

Latest estimates are that there are only around 900 lions in  Central and West Africa and around 20000 in the wild in Southern and East Africa.

Tuesday 8 December 2015

The price of illegal ivory has almost halved

The price of illegal raw ivory in China has almost halved over the past 18 months, according to
new research to be published by Save the Elephants.

Raw ivory prices had tripled in price between 2010 and 2014. The value of raw Ivory was up to
$2100 per kilo, meaning the average elephant was carrying tusks worth around $32000. But by
November 2015 the price had dropped to $1100 per kilo. Still a very expensive and lucrative
commodity, but indicating that perhaps it was getting difficult to sell and maybe it was not
quite such an attractive proposition.

Ivory carvers and sellers are reporting a slump in sales, probably due to increased awareness
by the public of how ivory is obtained, coupled with a downturn in the economy and increased
government efforts to stop illegal ivory sales and regulate the trade.

During President Xi Jinping’s September visit to the USA, he issued a historic joint statement
with President Obama stating that their two governments will halt the commercial trade in ivory. However no timetable was given and it needs to be implemented sooner rather than later.

In Africa there is no indication that the ivory poaching crisis has slackened, even though in
some areas some progress is being made, and time is running out for many elephant populations.

The Chinese government’s strong statements could have been a major driver in the drop in price
but this would likely be reversed if words aren't put into deeds very soon.

For instance the situation in Selous in Tanzania seems to have stabilised (with a low level of
elephants left), but no one really knows what is going on in Ruaha where 1000 elephants a month
were being lost in 2014, and poaching seems to be spreading south and west, with more reports
from Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia coming in.

The last thing we need now is for any dumbass politician to suggest selling off their ivory
stockpile. This would only serve to fan the flames which may be starting to die down a little.

Friday 4 December 2015

Lewa head of anti poaching wins Tusk award

A Kenyan ranger from a conservancy in Laikipia has won the inaugural Tusk Wildlife Ranger Award by Prince William for his war against poaching.

The head of anti-poaching unit at Lewa and the Northern Rangelands Trust, Mr Edward Ndiritu,
received the prize from His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge in London last week.

Mr Ndiritu said that he would like to thank his team back at Lewa and the Northern Rangelands
Trust for this award. Were it not for them and their bravery, he said he would not be standing
there today.

In 2014, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and the Northern Rangelands Trust brought their anti-
poaching operations under a centralised command.

This has enabled more effective responses to incidents and better sharing of intelligence and
it has also allowed community conservancies to benefit from Lewa's anti-poaching resources.

Glad to see Kenya is making concerted efforts to combat elephant and rhino poaching these days. The formation of the Community Conservancies in the Northern Rangelands has been a huge step forward in empowering local people to look after their national resources.