Tuesday, 16 February 2021

Recent rhino poaching stats in South Africa are far WORSE than they would appear

To the JOURNALISTS: Please do not keep copying and pasting the rhetoric press releases that the South African government spits out. The internet is filled now with headlines that claim rhino poacing has declined - as if we can all kick back now and celebrate - rhino poaching figures are down because there are not many rhino left!

Recent reports on rhino numbers in South Africa’s Kruger National Park reveal a far larger loss of rhino life than previously thought, dropping by 70% in the last decade. This national park in South Africa is the largest repository of rhino in the world so the implications are grim for the species.
A lot of fingers have been pointed at Kruger staff, some of that is justified but for the vast, vast majority of Kruger’s field staff, these are people up against ridiculous odds. They are underpaid, understaffed, surrounded by dysfunction and corruption from their own as well as surrounding governments who do not prioritize this issue. They are threatened by sociopathic criminals and confronted with their own limitations on a daily basis as they confront carcass after carcass.
They have had to watch their most effective poaching court be closed down in 2019, experts agree due to the influence of corrupt magistrates in cahoots with the very syndicates this court was successfully prosecuting.
Kruger’s most effective rangers have been targeted with smear campaigns and false charges, their families threatened. What kind of message must this send to the field personnel at Kruger? This is a heartbreaking job for most of these men and women and they deserve our support. Most signed up to be conservationists, not soldiers, policeman, lawyers or forensic pathologists. We need to be asking how we can support them, not demonize them.
That said, unless the courts are cleaned up, there is no solution in sight. rhinos will be the ultimate victims.

Credit: Jamie Joseph of Saving the Wild for this article.

Sunday, 31 January 2021

Six more rangers klilled in Virunga National Park

At least six rangers were ambushed and killed by armed men in Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on Sunday.

Famous for its mountain gorillas, the UNESCO World Heritage site has been the site of persistent unrest as a wide variety of armed groups battle for control of oil and other rich mineral deposits.

"Mai-Mai carried out an ambush at Nyamitwitwi in the far end of the park. The provisional toll is six park rangers killed along with two Mai-Mai," local government delegate Alphonse Kambale told AFP. Another park warden from the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature (ICCN) was also seriously injured. Mai-Mai is an umbrella term for community-based militias.

With a multi-ethnic population of over 100 million, the Democratic Republic of Congo is Africa's second-largest territorial state after Algeria and is almost seven times the size of Germany. It is also home to the largest remaining rainforest areas in Africa.

Virunga park itself was created in 1925 and covers some 7,800 square kilometres (3,000 square miles). It is home to about a quarter of the world's critically endangered population of mountain gorillas, many of whom live within a protected area at the foot of the Nyiragongo volcano.

The park is guarded by 689 armed rangers, at least 200 of whom have been killed in the line of duty over the past decade. In April 2020, a dozen rangers and 4 civilians were killed by a still unidentified group.

Friday, 29 January 2021

Infamous ivory trafficker extradited to US to face trial

 

Infamous ivory, rhinoceros horn poacher and drug trafficker Abubakar Mansur Mohammed Surur alias Mansour was extradited from Kenya to New York over the weekend, coming just months after he was arrested at Moi International airport.

New York District Attorney Audrey Strauss revealed on Monday that Mansour is part of an international syndicate engaging in the illicit trade that has been evading law enforcement officers for years.

The suspect was arrested on July 29, 2020 by detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) immediately when he landed at the airport after a chartered flight from Yemen.

Mansour is wanted in the US for allegedly conspiring to sell 10 tonnes of elephant ivory and more than 181kg of rhinoceros horn across a seven-year period.

The US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York has said the trafficker was part of a transnational criminal enterprise known as the "Enterprise" based in Uganda and surrounding countries.

Namibia : What has been done to avert a wildlife 'crime'

Namibia cuts accidental seabird deaths by 98%

Namibia's fishing fleet, working along the country's 1,500 kilometre-long coastline, was until recently considered among the most deadly in the world for seabirds. But in 2015 Namibia adopted new regulations that require all hake fishing vessels to use bird-scaring lines and other measures to protect birds from fatal encounters with fishing gear. The result? The accidental deaths of seabirds, including endangered albatrosses, has been reduced from up to 30,000 per year more than a decade ago to just 215 at the last count.