Friday 18 October 2019

Criminal elephant sales in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwean wildlife activists are in a race against time to stop the government from selling 35 baby elephants to China and Pakistan after it emerged that the state was planning to secretly trade the young jumbos.
Lenin Chisaira, Director of Advocacy4Earth, an environmental lobby group which is suing the government over the sale, alleging that government has been trying, since last year, to nicodemusly sell the baby elephants to China but were delayed by a High Court application which they filed in May this year.
"The ongoing case has been that the state wants to sell the elephants through the backdoor and we have reliable information that they can fly out tomorrow and Thursday.

Tuesday 24 September 2019

Rhino poaching upsurge in Botswana

Poachers have raided the pristine Mombo Concession in the Okavango Delta, killing three rhinos and stealing their highly sought after horns within a period of one month. On Tuesday security agents discovered two carcasses of rhinos, one fresh and the other seven months old.
Unconfirmed reports indicate that a team was dispatched from Mombo camp on Thursday to check three other suspected rhino carcasses. Should they be confirmed the total number of rhinos killed in Mombo will increase to six in a space of a month. Two weeks ago, the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) anti-poaching unit shot and killed two suspected poachers they encountered while tracking a wounded female rhino. The suspects, who had shot the rhino, were ambushed and killed on sight.

Thursday 15 August 2019

Green Mile Safaris has hunting permit revoked in Tanzania

Tanzania has revoked a hunting permit for Abu Dhabi-based Green Mile Safari, which runs safari hunting operations around Lake Natron, for alleged violation of game hunting rules.

The firm is linked to the United Arab Emirates' ruling family.

Natural Resources and Tourism Minister Dr Hamisi Kigwangallah announced the ban, citing violations of wildlife hunting regulations, including killing of wild animals not specified in its hunting licence.

The ministry further accused the UAE firm of failing to pay the local communities concession fees amounting to Tsh329 million ($144,000) in the past two years.

The company is further accused of employing minors.

n 2014, the Tanzanian government suspended the Green Mile operations in key wildlife reserves before restoring the permit in 2016.

Former natural resources and tourism minister Lazaro Nyalandu revoked the licence, accusing the company of haphazard killing of wildlife in hunting expeditions based on a video circulated on the Internet.

The video, which angered conservation groups, showed hunters, including minors, using automatic weapons from moving vehicles, capture of young animals and torture of dying ones, and using baits and lights at night to attract animals.

Mr Nyalandu said the company violated the Wildlife Conservation Act (No. 5 of 2009), which prohibits safari and amateur hunters from chasing and shooting wild animals, and killing young ones.

Friday 2 August 2019

Horrifying video of big cats being bred for their bones in South Africa

Credit: Conservation Action Trust

 National Council of SPCAs made yet another deeply shocking discovery. No words can aptly describe this cruelty.

Breeding big cats for their bones to make wine. Department of Environmental Affirs it is high time to shut this industry down.

BREAKING NEWS: NSPCA  did a follow-up visit to the same farm in the North West Province, only to find more lion cubs in a devastating physical condition.
On further investigation, the NSPCA found a chest freezer with approximately 20 carcasses of lion and tiger at varying ages. The NSPCA removed a further five carcasses for post mortem examinations to determine the cause of death, and will be laying further charges in terms of the Animals Protection Act No 71 of 1962.
This comes after 108 lions, caracal, tigers and leopards were found in filthy and parasitic conditions in April this year and charges were laid against the owner, which also happens to be a South African Predator Association member.
This video was taken of a cub on site.
#BLOODLIONS comments on this news:
"It appears the extent of cruelty and neglect has no boundaries within the predator breeding industry in South Africa. We strongly urge the public, tourism and government bodies to put a stop to this industry.
Read the full Blood Lions statement here:
And let the government hear your voice by emailing:
# Hon.Minister Creecy of Environment -
# Head of Communications for Environment - Mr Albi Modise:
# SA Predators Association -

Tuesday 23 July 2019

Plight of the Lions: Always worth listening to Dereck and Beverly Joubert

Twenty nine cheetah cubs confiscated in Somaliland

In Somaliland on the horn of Africa 29 cheetah cubs have been rescued from the wildlife smuggling trade. They were destined for the illegal pet trade in the middle east.

The orphaned cubs were confiscated in Somaliland, which is known to be the main transit route for cheetahs trafficked out of East Africa .

The cheetah pet trade is thriving due to the high demand of wild animals as status symbol pets, particularly in the Gulf States. Many of them die on the way, or of malnourishment once in the hands of their new owners.

About 300 cheetahs are poached and smuggled into the Arabian Peninsula each year, for sale in the illegal pet trade. There are fewer than 7 500 cheetahs in the wild today, although there was a population of 100 000 a century ago.

Lack of space is one of the biggest problems for them, along with persecution by livestock farmers in Southern Africa.

Saturday 22 June 2019

Mass poisoning of vultures in Botswana and the increasing elephant poaching problem

Poachers have poisoned three elephant carcasses which have then subsequently killed hundreds of vultures and eagles in Northern Botswana, a country that just foolishly lifted the ban on hunting.

The massacre took place just south of  Chobe National Park. Two tawny eagles and 537 vultures were found dead near the carcasses, which had their tusks chopped out. The poisoning killed 10 Cape, 4 lappet-faced, 17 white-hooded, 28 hooded and 468 white-backed vultures.

Vultures will circle above a dead animal and give its position away, before landing to feed. This is a giveaway for poachers wishing to remain in the area, so the birds are being poisoned to stop them signaling anything to the authorities.

The incident is further evidence of a  growing problem of elephant poaching in Botswana which is of extreme concern for a country where 20% of its income is generated from wildlife tourism. Botswana is home to one-third of Africa’s savanna elephants – 130,000 and up till now they have been pretty well protected, until a new government was elected.

A recent study found 156 elephants with their tusks hacked out, a huge increase over the previous survey. It estimated 385 poached for the whole country. All carcasses were under a year old and within five “hot spots”.

Poaching has been on a rapid increase since 2017.

This is what you get when you weaken the protection given to wildlife, as is happening in Botswana under the Masisi regime. It won't be long before the industrial scale poaching seen in East Africa arrives in the country, and the elephant population is decimated. I wonder if that's what the government actually wants , and do they see it as a solution to the HWC problem? 

Great way for them to get elephant numbers drastically reduced without officially culling anything.

Friday 14 June 2019

Elephant poaching on the increase in Northern Botswana

I've warned about it for years. I said once east Africa was depleted the poachers would head South. The South Africans et al. were alsways a bit smug saying they had no problem. Well it's on its way.

Elephants Without Borders survey results habe been peer reviewed and published. The salient points are:

  • In northern Botswana, fresh elephant carcasses increased by 593% from 2014 to 2018
  • In 2018, we confirmed 156 elephants as poached for ivory based on damage to skulls
  • Fresh elephant carcasses were clustered in 5 hotspots where elephants have declined
  • We estimate that a minimum of 385 elephants were poached in Botswana in 2017–2018
    Of course President Masisi and his government don't want to accept this. It doesn't suit their political ambitions.

Friday 17 May 2019

Massive pangolin scale seizure in Vietnam

Eight tonnes of smuggled African pangolin scales seized in Vietnam port
An eight tonne shipment of pangolin scales was seized at the northern Hai Phong port in March, the city’s customs department said this week.

Dr. Dang Tat The of Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources, a wildlife expert, said that this was the largest seizure of pangolin scales ever in Vietnam.

Pangolin trafficking is not rare in Vietnam, where it is legally protected and categorized as endangered.

The shy, tiny creature, which resembles a scaly anteater, is the world's most heavily trafficked mammal despite bans. Pangolins are hunted in Vietnam and its neighborhood for their meat and the alleged medicinal properties of their scales.

A December 2017 study by wildlife trade monitoring group Traffic and Australia’s University of Adelaide found that of the 10 countries and territories with the largest number of trafficking incidents, seven are in Asia – China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Thailand, Laos, and Indonesia.

Friday 19 April 2019

Massive ivory haul seized in China

In one of the biggest busts in recent years, Chinese officials have seized 2,748 elephant tusks weighing more than 7 tonnes, the General Administration of Customs announced earlier this week. The ivory was confiscated during a joint operation by customs authorities and police across six provinces on March 30.

Most of the ivory, which had been smuggled from Africa, was found hidden inside several wooden boxes in an abandoned factory, Sun Zhijie, director of the administration’s anti-smuggling bureau, told local media at a press conference. Some 20 suspects have been detained for questioning.

“This is the biggest amount of ivory seized in a single case independently investigated by the anti-smuggling bureau of the General Administration of Customs,” Sun said, according to the South China Morning Post.

Wednesday 10 April 2019

Second 12-tonne haul of pangolin scales seized in less than a week in Singapore

SINGAPORE - Less than a week after a record 12.9 tonnes of pangolin scales were seized from a container by the authorities here, another 12.7 tonnes have been uncovered in a joint operation by the National Parks Board (NParks), Singapore Customs and the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA).

The 40ft (12m) container that was on its way by ship from Nigeria to Vietnam was declared to contain "cassia seeds" but was found on Monday (April 8) to be holding the animal parts, estimated to be worth about $51.6 million, in 474 bags at the Pasir Panjang Scanning Station.

The haul came from two species, the white-bellied tree pangolin (Phataginus tricuspis) and the giant ground pangolin (Smutsia gigantea) and are likely to have come from 21,000 pangolins.

The scales of the pangolin, believed to be the world's most highly trafficked mammal, are in high demand in Asia for use in traditional Chinese medicine despite there being no proven medical benefit from their use.

Monday 8 April 2019

Massive rhino horn seizure in Hong Kong

Hong Kong customs seized HK$16.5 million (US$2.1 million) worth of rhino horns in transshipment cargo at the airport on Friday, marking a record haul of products related to the endangered species.

The smuggled items from South Africa were declared as vehicle parts destined for Malaysia. X-ray images of the cargo had raised suspicions and officers acted on a tip-off. Authorities found 82.5kg of suspected rhino horns and body parts in the consignment.

No arrests were made, and a senior customs source said they believed no local offenders were involved in the case.

According to the source, authorities have been monitoring smuggling trends with rhino horn being sought after in China and Southeast Asia for its perceived medicinal properties. “South Africa is home to most of the world’s rhino population and therefore, is a common source of smuggled rhino horns,” the source said.

Seizures of wildlife products have been on the rise last year and totalled 270 tonnes, a threefold increase in quantity from the year before.

Wednesday 3 April 2019

People's indiscriminate land use is wrecking the Maasai Mara

New research shows how activities like farming, erecting fences and settlements are hemming in the core protected areas of Kenya's  Maasai Mara. This is putting huge pressure on the environment. Grasslands are being reduced and becoming fragmented, and more prone to damage by the stress of climate change.

Between 1977 and 2016 The number of fenced plots has increased by more than 20% since 2010 outside of the core protected area. The number of new bomas was rising in parts of the Mara by up to three new bomas per square kilometre per year. There was also a massive increase in the number of sheep and goats (276.2%) and a slight decrease in the number of cattle (9.4%) in the Narok region in Kenya.

Livestock paths were prevalent and visible up to 5km or more inside te core areas. This illegal grazing is in competion with the wildlife and reduces the quantity and quality of food available.

From 1977 to 2016, illegal incursions into the Maasai Mara national reserve by cattle increased by 1053% and by sheep and goats by 1174%.

The numbers of resident wildlife species declined by between 40% and 87%. In addition, 63.5% fewer migratory wildebeest used the reserve.

Saturday 30 March 2019

Large scale elephant poaching is still alive and well

Customs officials at Da Nang’s Tien Sa Port in central Vietnam on Tuesday seized 9.12 tons of elephant tusks hidden in timber containers.

This is the biggest ivory seizure in recent years, police say. Preliminary investigations show that the containers were imported to Tien Sa from Congo, Africa. Last October, police and customs officials in Da Nang seized 10 tons of elephant tusks and pangolin scales trafficked from Nigeria to Tien Sa.

The seizure provides yet more evidence that organised criminal syndicates continue to exploit Vietnam as a hub for illegal wildlife trade ...

Vietnam outlawed ivory trade in 1992, but the country remains a top market for ivory products prized locally for decorative and medicinal purposes, according to conservation groups.

The country is also a busy thoroughfare for tusks trafficked from Africa destined for other parts of Asia, conservationists say. A report from the Environmental Investigation Agency, a London-based NGO, last year ranked Vietnam among the top 10 countries for ivory smuggling.

Wednesday 27 March 2019

Finally: justice for rhino paochers after 10 years

Three poachers are finally convicted of killing a rhino in KwaZulu-Natal: A magistrate lost his patience after a decade of delays -- prosecution and defence sources estimated that somewhere between 12 and 25 defence attorneys had been engaged and later dismissed by the accused.

One of the world's longest rhino poaching trials came to a swift and decisive conclusion on Monday, 25 March when a Durban magistrate lost patience after nearly 10 years of "deliberate and unreasonable delays" by three men who tried, but ultimately failed, to drag out their trial indefinitely.
Convicting all three poachers based on the "overwhelming evidence" placed before him, senior Regional Court Magistrate Logan Naidoo declared that it would have been a travesty to allow the three men to continue holding the justice system to ransom any longer.

The three men, Muntugokwakhe Khoza, 50, Ayanda Buthelezi, 40, and SANDF officer Mduduzi Xulu, 51, were arrested on 26 August, 2009, hours after a rhino was gunned down in the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve -- the world cradle of white rhino conservation, where this species was brought back from the brink of extinction almost a century ago by the Natal Parks Board.

Monday 18 February 2019

Biggest ever seizure of pangolin parts

On the 11th of February 2019  the biggest ever seizure of pangolin parts was made from two locations in Sabah, Borneo.

From the two locations, authorities uncovered 29.8 tonnes of pangolinsand their parts.

The haul included about 1,800 boxes full of frozen pangolins stuffed inside three refrigerated containers, 572 more frozen pangolins in six freezers, 61 live pangolins in cages and in a car boot and 361 kg of pangolin scales. Two bear paws and carcasses of four flying fox were also recovered.

Pangolins, a group of unique African and Asian scaly mammals, are considered to be one of the most heavily trafficked wild mammals in the world. They are hunted and traded for their meat, scales, and other body parts, and used as traditional medicines in parts of Africa and Asia.

Of the eight pangolin species, four are found in Africa. These are the white‐bellied, black‐bellied, giant, and Temminck's ground pangolin. Three of these species live in Central African forests. The tree-dwelling white-bellied and black-bellied pangolins, weighing approximately 1.5 to 3kg (comparable to a small rabbit), and the ground-dwelling giant pangolin can weigh up to 33kg (the weight of a small Labrador dog).

For Central African forests in Cameroon, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Democratic Republic of Congo and Republic of Congo, we estimated that at least 400,000 pangolins are hunted annually for meat.

Monday 4 February 2019

Head of Tanzania's Anti-poaching Unit suspended.

The head of Anti poaching in northern Tanzania , Mr Said Mnkeni has been suspended from duty. Allegations are that he has colluded with poaching gangs by giving them a heads up as to the anti poaching units plans and schedules of where they will be in the area.

Arusha Regional Commissioner (RC) Mrisho Gambo said Mnkeni's suspension was a result of his conniving with the poaching suspects, leading to the killings of 35 giraffes in the Longido district over two years.

Mr Mnkeni was a member of a committee investigating wildlife deaths in the region.

According to Mr Gambo, arrested poaching suspects were walking scot-free under Mr Mnkeni's watch.
"His office was also issuing contradicting reports on the rate of giraffe and other wildlife killings," he alleged.
Mr Gambo was referring to an incident where the KDU northern zone office put the number of giraffe killings at three, while the Longido Wildlife Officer registered nine killings.

 Corruption is alive and well - more needs to be done to root it out as one criminal at this level can do untold amounts of damage to conservation efforts. But it's better than it was five years ago.

Thursday 31 January 2019

Biggest ever seizure of pangolin scales

Hong Kong Customs seized a container en route from Nigeria to mainland China with ivory and pangolin scales worth HK$62 million

The container was believed to be destined for mainland China, for use in traditional medicine and  sculptures.

The haul included more than 8.2 tonnes of scales from thousands of endangered pangolins, with an estimated street value of HK$42 million.

It was the biggest seizure of pangolin scales, by value AND weight, ever in the city.

 Somebody please nuke China

Tuesday 29 January 2019

Poaching threatens to wipe out some species in Angola

Mbanza Kongo — some animal species under protection regime with highlights to elephants and African forest buffalo, are on the verge of extinction due to poaching, said on Friday in Mbanza Kongo, the head of the Forest Development Institute (IDF), João Domingos.
Speaking to ANGOP, the official pointed out the corridors of Casa da Telha / Soyo and Musserra / Rio Loge as the main localities of the province where the indiscriminate killing of these animal species is frequently verified.
According to the source, these hunters are operating outside the law, since the IDF General Directorate suspended the hunting license issued five years ago to allow the repopulation of protected animals in the region.