Friday, December 21, 2012

African Environmental Police: Ugandan rebels poaching elephants to finance war

African Environmental Police: Ugandan rebels poaching elephants to finance war: United Nations — The UN Security Council has demanded an investigation into reports that Lord's Resistance Army rebels are killing elephants...

Ugandan rebels poaching elephants to finance war

United Nations — The UN Security Council has demanded an investigation into reports that Lord's Resistance Army rebels are killing elephants for ivory to raise cash. The 15-member council also called for an inquiry into sources of financing and supplies for the rebel band led by Joseph Kony, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes. A council statement ordered UN leader Ban Ki-moon to draw up plan to reinvigorate the international hunt for Kony by the end of February. The statement also called on the United Nations and African Union "to jointly investigate the LRA's logistical networks and possible sources of illicit financing, including alleged involvement in elephant poaching and related illicit smuggling." While nations believe they have Kony on the run, his rebels are still causing deadly chaos across remote jungle areas of Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and South Sudan. A recent UN report said the rebels were responsible for the deaths of 39 civilians in at least 180 attacks this year. The UN says about 450,000 people have been displaced in areas where the rebels operate. The LRA has turned to ivory trafficking and also extended its area of operations, a UN Security Council meeting was told Tuesday. "There are credible reports of the LRA poaching elephants in DR Congo and illegally trafficking ivory," said Jeffrey DeLaurentis, a deputy US ambassador. Most poaching has been reported around the Garamba National Park in DR Congo, according to the rebel-tracking group Resolve. One woman who escaped the LRA in April reported that rebels in Garamba "were ordered by Kony to kill elephants and send their tusks to him," said a recent Resolve report. Park rangers reported finding three dead elephants and having confiscated tusks from suspected LRA forces after a battle, the group added. This year, the LRA has carried out attacks as far west as Bangassou in Central African Republic, where scores of men, women and children were abducted in September.

African Environmental Police: Senior ranger murdered by Mai Mai militia in DR Co...

African Environmental Police: Senior ranger murdered by Mai Mai militia in DR Co...: December 2012. Atamato Madrandele, the chief ranger of Congo's Upemba National Park, has been murdered by Mai Mai militia as he was returnin...

Senior ranger murdered by Mai Mai militia in DR Congo

December 2012. Atamato Madrandele, the chief ranger of Congo's Upemba National Park, has been murdered by Mai Mai militia as he was returning on a motorbike back to his park headquarters at Upemba National Park. Emmanuel de Merode, chief warden of Virunga National Park, who was a close friend and colleague of Atamato, said: "Atama was the first ranger I met when I came to Congo as a young researcher in 1993. We worked together in Garamba National Park for several years, and it was in his company that my love for Congo's wildlife grew alongside my affection for its people. He began as a junior ranger, not for lack of education or competence (he was a qualified teacher before joining the park service), but slowly steadily climbed through the ranks. In 2001, when I moved to Virunga he came with me and together we began our work of rebuilding the park. He was the commanding officer at Ishango, built the airstrip and trained up a unit of rangers. It was our first attempt at bringing Virunga back to life, and it gave me some of the most challenging and rewarding moments of my life. I appointed Atama as Sector Warden in Mutsora in 2008 as the first nomination I made. He was a critical support for me and for his men during those difficult days leading up to the CNDP war. Two of his rangers were killed by Mai Mai militias in separate incidences in the weeks that followed his nomination, and he confronted his responsibilities with the leadership that his men needed and a deep compassion towards the broken families of his fallen rangers." Please contribute towards supporting his family Atamato is one of around 150 rangers who have been killed in Congo in the course of their work in the last 15 years. Atamato leaves behind a widow, a young daughter and a son. If you would like to contribute towards supporting his family, and the families of other rangers who have been killed, please go to the Virunga National Park site. Source: Wildlife Extra

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Zimbabwe Alert: please circulate widest

----- Forwarded Message ----- From: Johnny Rodrigues To: Undisclosed recipient Sent: Tuesday, 18 December 2012, 22:31 Subject: ZCTF Report - Dec 2012 ZIMBABWE CONSERVATION TASK FORCE Only after the last tree has been cut down. Only after the last river has been poisoned. Only after the last fish has been caught. Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten. Cree Indian Prophecy 18th December 2012 ELEPHANTS EXPORTED TO CHINA We have received a very disturbing report that on the 25th November 2012, 4 elephants were exported to Bejing. The elephants were transported by road, a trip that took 12 hours from Hwange to Harare Airport where they were loaded onto an Air Emirates aeroplane and flown to Dubai. This flight took 10 hours and from Dubai, they are allegedly being flown to Bejing. The total weight of the elephants was 3,9 tons which implies they were very young and the handling was done by AGS. The fact that these elephants are juveniles indicates that they are being taken away from their mothers and family units are therefore being destroyed. It is further reported that another 14 elephants are being held in a boma in Hwange, also awaiting exportation in January 2013. It is said that the final destinations of the elephants are 2 zoos in China. We are very concerned because we believe this constitutes cruelty to animals. Some elephants do not survive the stress caused by such long trips, not to mention the fact that the ones that do survive will subjected to a life of captivity in a Chinese zoo. It is a well known fact that Zimbabwe has a serious poaching problem and to compound that, live animals are also being sent out of the country. Johnny Rodrigues Chairman for Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force Landline: 263 4 336710 Mobile: 263 712 603 213 Email: galorand@mweb.co.zw Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/ZCTF-Zimbabwe-Conservation-Task-Force/246013052094585 Website: www.zctfofficialsite.org. The Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force relies soley on public donations. Your donation can help to preserve the wildlife in Zimbabwe. If you would like to assist, please contact us.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Poachers kill 7 rhino, 3 elephants in just 10 days

MORE than three elephants and seven endangered rhino have been killed by poachers in the Northern Circuit, ten days after the Kenya Wildlife Services concluded the wildlife census. Isiolo county commissioner Wanyama Musiambo yesterday ordered the security personnel, including the regular police, APs, KWS rangers and conservancy scouts to track down the poachers. Musiambo said the recent killings of seven rhinos at Lewa conservancies and three more elephants within the circuit is alarming and called for urgent measures to end poaching. He warned poachers that there days are numbered. He said they will be arrested and prosecuted. The commissioner said the suspects will be paraded at Isiolo town to shame before being prosecuted. "We are going to come up with a coordinated security intelligence to arrest the suspects," Musiambo said. He was addressing the public at Isiolo Stadium durin Jamhuri Day celebrations . The commissioner attributed the killings to increased demand for trophies and asked the policymakers to address the challenges facing wildlife to promote tourism. Last week, the KWS conducted an aerial count of elephants and endangered grevy Zebra within the larger Laikipia, Samburu, Isiolo and Marsabit complex. The census recorded a drastic fall in the number of elephants and Zebra in three years. KWS director William Kipkoech Kiprono, who announced the results of the count at Isiolo Sarova Shaba, said the number of elephants has reduced from 7,415 in 2008 census to 6,361 while that of Gravy Zebra have gone down from 2,400 in 2008 to 1,870. Kiprono attributed the sudden fall of the figure to increased poaching due to high market demand for ivory, drought, climate change and lack of pumps and signs along Isiolo-Moyale highway where several zebras were killed. The killings of the rare Rhinos at Lewa conservancy comes two days after the director declared total war against the poaching and outlined urgent security measures to curb the menace. The director regretted that illegal poaching has been on increase due to easy access to sophisticated arms in the last past years where a herd of elephants in parts of Kwale were massacred. He said the Kenya Wildlife services will come up with a strategic plan including acquiring an advanced radio, step up operations and working closely with the members of the community to support in the war against the illegal poaching and other issues that affect the wildlife. " I will not accept to supervise as director where animals were killed in masses, i rather resign and watch from outside," said the Director after dispatching 2012 results in Isiolo last week. He said the Kenya Wildlife Services will modernize its service to control the menace to zero percent tolerance to poaching and spread officers all over the vast areas to combat the killings. During the occasion, Mr Kiprono said the role to protect wildlife should not be left to KWS alone but other security agents, community and partners must take responsibility in safeguarding and protecting the animals. " We want everybody to stand up for this, because the world should not keep quite while consumers have gone to the next level," said the director in his key note speech. He said the census is meant to assess endangered species in the region in order to check on its trend and come up with remedial measures including mobilizing resources and put in place stringent security measures to minimize illegal killings. Mr Kiprono said the data will enable Kenya Wildlife Services and other organizations dealing in conservation management to tackle emerging challenges and come up with right approach towards addressing issues affecting the sector. The region has second largest population of elephants and the largest 90% of gravy Zebra population in Samburu, Isiolo Conservation area and is therefore important for continued monitoring to provide long term data for better coordination and sound management. Source: AllAfrica.com

Saturday, December 15, 2012

African Environmental Police: Africa lions face extinction

African Environmental Police: Africa lions face extinction: JOHANNESBURG (AP) — The lions that roam Africa's savannahs have lost as much as 75 percent of their habitat in the last 50 years as humans o...

Africa lions face extinction

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — The lions that roam Africa's savannahs have lost as much as 75 percent of their habitat in the last 50 years as humans overtake their land and the lion population dwindles, said a study released Tuesday. Researchers at Duke University, including prominent conservationist Stuart Pimm, warn that the number of lions across the continent have dropped to as few as 32,000, with populations in West Africa under incredible pressure. "Lion numbers have declined precipitously in the last century," the study, published Tuesday by the journal Biodiversity and Conservation, reads. "Given that many now live in small, isolated populations, this trend will continue. The situation in West Africa is particularly dire, with no large population remaining and lions now absent from many of the region's national parks." Fifty years ago, nearly 100,000 lions roamed across the African continent. In recent years, however, an ever-growing human population has come into the savannah lands to settle and develop. That has both cut down the amount of land lions have to roam, as well as fragmented it, researchers said. Using satellite imagery, the researchers determined the amount of land now available for lions that remains wild and minimally impacted by human growth. Those lands are rapidly diminishing, and more territory will likely be lost in the next 40 years, the report said. Five countries in Africa have likely lost their lions since a 2002 study was run, the report said. Only nine countries contain at least 1,000 lions, while Tanzania alone has more than 40 percent of the continent's lions, it said. "An obvious caveat is that areas for which we detect little conversion of savannahs to croplands may still suffer human impacts that make them unsuitable for lions," the report said. "Over-hunting for trophies, poaching — of lions and of their prey species — and conflict with pastoralists may not have any visual signal to satellites. Even where there are low human population densities and areas designated as national parks, there (may) not be lions within them." The report calls for more mapping and studying to be done to ensure the lions' protection. Source: Huffington Post ___

African Environmental Police: Google-funded drones for anti-poaching war in Afri...

African Environmental Police: Google-funded drones for anti-poaching war in Afri...: Google has awarded a $5 million grant to the World Wildlife Fund to use and adapt new technologies to combat animal poaching around the wo...

Google-funded drones for anti-poaching war in Africa

Google has awarded a $5 million grant to the World Wildlife Fund to use and adapt new technologies to combat animal poaching around the world. According to NBC News, the WWF has incredible plans on how to put the money to good use. One of their plans is to use the money to develop camera-equipped drones to monitor poaching in Africa. Crawford Allan, head of wildlife trade organization TRAFFIC North America is one of the WWF’s on-call experts. He told NBC News: “We needed to find other ways where we could detect and deter poachers. It’s been fairly rudimentary in places where there are very precious species to protect.” Despite efforts to stop them, poaching operations have continued to grow in both scale and sophistication. Rhinos used to be poached at a rate of 15 or 20 per year in Africa. Thanks to the high demand for rhino horn coming primarily from Asia, the number of poached Rhinos has grown to over 600 this year alone. The number of poached elephants and tigers are equally as heart-breaking. Allan continued by saying:“We could have just gone on business as usual, making small steps. But now that we have a major partner in Google, we can finally take some big steps.” Of course, part of the money has to go to much needed logistical concerns like updating laptops, buying gas for patrols, and making sure that the people on the ground are safe and well-supplied. However, the $5 milllion grant also means that the WWF can finally deploy technologies that it’s been waiting on for years. For example, the camera-equipped drones. Not fully autonomous ones, but human-piloted drones that can relay information like acoustic signals and infrared imaging to their operators and patrols on the ground in real-time. Allan said: “With the aerial vehicles, we have not selected any particular system, and we may be looking to tailor one to our needs. But we’re not going to be using a $200 hobby-shop device. We’re probably looking in the tens thousands of dollars range.” A drone like that would need to strike a balance between cost, capacity, noise, portability and many other factors. The WWF is doing initial aerial platform testing at sites in Namibia and Nepal, and is hoping to partner with interested local governments. Source: ABC News

Friday, December 14, 2012

African Environmental Police: Tanzanian safari operators boost anti-poaching ope...

African Environmental Police: Tanzanian safari operators boost anti-poaching ope...: A GROUP of 10 hunting operators donated equipment worth 42m/- to boost anti-poaching campaigns in the country. In the meantime, the compan...

Tanzanian safari operators boost anti-poaching operations

A GROUP of 10 hunting operators donated equipment worth 42m/- to boost anti-poaching campaigns in the country. In the meantime, the companies made special request to the government to increase the hunting period from five to around 20 years, which could be considerable for the firms to invest in key infrastructures like roads and bridges for easy access into the wildlife areas. Northern Hunting Enterprise (T) Limited Managing Director, Muhsin Abdallah, made the plea on behalf of the 10 hunting firms at Rungwa Game Reserve, Kizigo/Muhuwesi Game Reserve and Ecosystem, during the handing over ceremony in Dar es Salaam. The facilities donated include 15 tyres and three batteries for anti-poaching vehicles, 12 Australian made front and rear shock absorbers, one injector pump, six injector nozzles, 10 tents, two satellite phones and 10,000 litres of diesel. The companies which made the donation are Northern Hunting Enterprises (T), Palahala Safaris, Rungwa Game Safaris, Wembere Hunting Safaris, Robin Hurt Safaris, Bushman Safaris, Marera Safaris, African Buffalo Trackers, TAWICO and Wildfoot Prints. "Conducting patrols in the country's wildlife which is approximately 120,000 kms, requires enough budget and incentives to the game wardens...this fact that calls for all stakeholders to team up against the ravaging malpractice," he said. To increase patrols in wildlife areas. Mr Muhsin said his firm and other two counterparts have ordered three helicopters to facilitate the surveillance in Rungwa Game Reserve, Kizigo/ Muhuwesi Game Reserve and Ecosystem. "Conservation of wildlife resources has become an expensive undertaking due to the vastness of the area, as well as the increasing demand of the trophies from some Asian countries," he said. Manager of the Rungwa Game Reserve, the second after Selous, Mr Julius Kibebe said according to international standards, each game warden is supposed to patrol an area of about 25 kms but due to insufficient human and financial resources they oversee a region of between 280 and 300 square kms. Deputy Assistant Director of Wildlife Division Twaha Twaibu pleaded for cooperation from all citizens to reveal the poachers. He challenged other companies which secured hunting blocks in the period of 2013-18 to emulate their colleagues in support of the government efforts to protect the wildlife for the present and future generations. Source: Tanzania Daily News

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Zim rangers shoot three more elephant poachers, recover rifles,3 mortar bombs

ZIMBABWE Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) rangers have shot and killed two suspected elephant poachers in Mushumbi Pools in the Dande Valley, a senior official confirmed yesterday. Report by Moses Matenga The suspects — Andrew Mapfumo and Last Stephanie — were allegedly shot after slaughtering six elephants recently. “Investigations reveal that Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority Rangers observed a human spoor of five suspected poachers in the park, and quickly made a follow up and it is during a contact that the two armed poachers were killed,” Zimparks spokesperson Caroline Washaya-Moyo said. “The other three poachers ran away and items recovered included one 3008 calibre hunting rifle, one 3008 spent cartridge, three live 3008 rounds and six Pairs of elephant tusks weighing 51,4kg valued at $12 850 and three mortar-bombs.” Washaya-Moyo added that the poachers started a veld fire in a bid to cover their tracks after leaving the park. “Mapfumo has been involved in elephant poaching since 2005 and was convicted of elephant poaching and served a custodial sentence at Guruve and Bindura prisons,” she said. Their bodies were taken to Guruve Hospital where a post mortem was conducted on December 3. They were buried on Wednesday last week. It is understood that the poachers were killed when they were having lunch and according to their relatives, who condemned Zimparks rangers for the killing, the suspected poachers were shot at close range when they had not resisted arrest. Relatives of the deceased who spoke to NewsDay said they were not happy with the way their relatives were killed and post-mortem results did not indicate their cause of death. Meanwhile, Washaya-Moyo said a suspected Zambian poacher was also killed in Katombola, Hwange National Park, on Sunday while four others escaped. “Two rifles, 14 rounds of ammunition and foodstuffs with Zambian labels were recovered. Much as we are resource-constrained, rangers are more than willing and ready to bring the country’s conservation efforts back on track,” she said. Source: Newsday

Monday, December 10, 2012

African Environmental Police: Zambian poacher shot dead in Zim's Kazungula Natio...

African Environmental Police: Zambian poacher shot dead in Zim's Kazungula Natio...: GAME rangers shot and killed a suspected poacher at Kazungula National Park on Saturday – the second fatal confrontation in a month, police...

Zambian poacher shot dead in Zim's Kazungula National Park

GAME rangers shot and killed a suspected poacher at Kazungula National Park on Saturday – the second fatal confrontation in a month, police said on Monday. Four other poachers escaped in the early morning raid on their camp in the Matetsi Unit Six area, a subdivision of the sprawling game reserve. Matabeleland North police spokesman Inspector Billie Dube said on December 7, the rangers deployed at Quebec base in Matetsi received information from Econet engineers working on a facility along the Victoria Falls-Kazungula road who heard two gun shots in the area. Inspector Dube said: “The rangers made a follow up and came across human tracks about 800m from the Econet facility and started tracking until it got dark. “The rangers then camped for the night before resuming the search for the suspected poachers early the next morning. “At about 6AM, the rangers intercepted five poachers at Camp 21. They saw one of the poachers seated by a huge tree and opened fire on him, killing him on the spot. The other four poachers managed to flee in different directions.” Two loaded assault rifles were recovered along with three elephant tails, two cooking pots and a mobile phone with two Zambian SIM cards. The dead poacher, who has not been named, had seven bullet wounds. The dead man’s body is at the Victoria Falls Hospital mortuary. Inspector Dube said game rangers were authorised to shoot to kill in a high stakes game with poachers who are always armed to the teeth and have previously fatally wounded rangers. Source: New Zimbabwe.com

African Environmental Police: Zimbabwean lioness sets world record by giving bir...

African Environmental Police: Zimbabwean lioness sets world record by giving bir...: A LIONESS in Zimbabwe has set a world record by giving birth to EIGHT cubs in a single litter despite being on the PILL. Dr Hillary Madzika...

Zimbabwean lioness sets world record by giving birth to 8 cubs

A LIONESS in Zimbabwe has set a world record by giving birth to EIGHT cubs in a single litter despite being on the PILL. Dr Hillary Madzikanda, the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority's head of scientific services gushed: “This has never happened in the history of lions, the world over. It is actually a world record.” The previous known highest number of cubs in one litter was recorded in China only in July this year when a lioness gave birth to six cubs. Dr Madzikanda explained: “Normally, you get two cubs per litter and getting four is even very lucky. This one is a record. It is an achievement for this lioness. “Surprisingly, the lioness was on a contraceptive pill.” The lioness, named Pasha, gave birth on November 4 at the Lion and Cheetah Park on the outskirts of Harare, although parks officials only announced the rare event on December 10. Anthony Newall, the wildlife sanctuary’s general manager, said Pasha had given birth to two cubs earlier this year, and had been immediately put on the pill to control her breeding. One employee at the Park said: “How Pasha got the eight cubs is still a mystery to everybody.” Pasha was understandably a little tired and frail after giving birth to such a large litter and was receiving some extra treats to boost her health. The gamekeepers were also bottle feeding milk to the cubs. Said one worker: “We are suckling them from the bottle each time they wake up from sleep. “They still need a lot of milk and warmth and we are keeping an eye on them every minute.”

Saturday, December 1, 2012

African Environmental Police: 215 pieces of African ivory seized in Dubai

African Environmental Police: 215 pieces of African ivory seized in Dubai: Dubai Customs have foiled an attempt to smuggle a large consignment of ivory hidden in 40 boxes containing green beans. The customs author...

215 pieces of African ivory seized in Dubai

Dubai Customs have foiled an attempt to smuggle a large consignment of ivory hidden in 40 boxes containing green beans. The customs authorities estimated the ivory, that was seized at the Jebel Ali Port. to be worth some £2.5 million. The consignment was en route from an unspecified African country. The customs inspectors manually searched the boxes of beans and found that they contained ivory from at least 108 poached elephants of various ages. Poaching has caused a decline of African elephants from millions to a few hundred thousand individuals in the past decades. Source: Online

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Namibia deploys army in crackdown as elephant poachers rampage through Caprivi

RUNDU – The Ministry of Environment and Tourism, besieged by a recent increase in elephant poaching in the Caprivi Region, has enlisted the services of the Namibian Defence Force (NDF) to track marauding poachers. James Sambi, a game warden in the Bwabwata Game Park and other reliable sources in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, confirmed the deployment of NDF troops on a mission to capture marauding poachers. Four people have already been arrested in connection with the poaching of elephants in the Caprivi Region after they were reportedly caught with several elephant tusks that they had obtained through illegal hunting in the region, which is teeming with wildlife. Officials in the tourism ministry recently discovered 18 elephant carcasses in the north-eastern region, killed by poachers for their precious ivory, which is in high demand in Asian countries. The Caprivi Region is the only region where poaching is considered a serious problem, probably because it is straddled by four neighbouring countries. In the adjacent Kavango Region the problem has not reached crisis proportions yet. At least 13 of the elephants were killed in the Mamili National Park over the past four months. “For now the situation is not so critical, therefore there is no need to implement measures like in the Caprivi, but we can consider it if it becomes critical,” Sambi told New Era concerning the NDF deployment. Speculation is that a poaching syndicate, made up mostly of Zambian and Chinese nationals who work in cahoots with Namibians, is operating in the region. Nevertheless, Sambi says local people tend to hunt any wildlife in sight, because they do not know the endangered status of the species. “Right now there are hunting concessions for buffaloes, and hunters complain there are not enough species in the park. This is a concern because concessions are an income-generating method for the park and it helps the communities in the area,” said a worried Sambi. Joao Muyuka (38) and Johannes Shitumbo (51), two men arrested for elephant poaching, appeared in the Rundu Magistrate’s Court on four poaching-related charges last month. They are charged with being in the Bwabwata Game Park without permission, hunting protected game and being in possession of ammunition and firearms without a licence. They were caught with an AK-47 assault rifle and a 30.8 rifle. They have also been denied bail because their case involves elephant tusks. Their next court appearance will be on December 06 at Mukwe.Most of the poached ivory leaves Africa through the Indian Ocean seaports on the East African coastline, primarily from Kenya and Tanzania, going to China and Thailand, the two primary destinations for illegal ivory consignments. Neighboring South Africa is also battling with an escalation in rhino poaching, with estimates of at least one rhino killed each day. With an ivory stockpile of over 30 000 kg, Namibia was recently among countries lining up to get permission from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to sell its large ivory stockpile. Source: New Era, (Nam)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

African Environmental Police: BDF arrests two Batswana, four Zimbabweans for poa...

African Environmental Police: BDF arrests two Batswana, four Zimbabweans for poa...: Members of a Botswana Defence Force anti-poaching unit shot and injured a Motswana man in the Chobe National Park three weeks ago. The man...

BDF arrests two Batswana, four Zimbabweans for poaching at Chobe National Park

Members of a Botswana Defence Force anti-poaching unit shot and injured a Motswana man in the Chobe National Park three weeks ago. The man was allegedly shot and wounded as he and four others attempted to flee after being spotted by the army unit in the park that hosts Africa's largest population of elephants in both size and concentration. The game patrol unit of the BDF was trekking down poachers who had killed an elephant hours earlier when they spotted the six-men party in the wild. When they were finally arrested, the men were allegedly found with rifles and elephant tusks. The shooting and wounding of the Motswana man happened in the same week that President Ian Khama announced an unprecedented anti-poaching measure of putting a freeze on hunting in 2014. Addressing a Kgotla meeting at Sankoyo Village on October 25, Khama said six poachers had been arrested in the Chobe National Park the previous day. "Two of them are Batswana from Satau and Mabele, while four of the men are from Zimbabwe," Khama said. In the wake of the incident, allegations have surfaced that members of the army anti-poaching unit are under instructions to shoot poachers on sight. The soldiers allegedly remove their identification tags when they go on patrol in the wild. Mmegi was still waiting for a response to these allegations from the army's public relations office at the time of going to press. Source: Mmegi (BW)

African Environmental Police: Zim politician embroiled in Save Valley Conservanc...

African Environmental Police: Zim politician embroiled in Save Valley Conservanc...: One of the ZANU PF 'beneficiaries' of conservancy land leases and hunting licences is reportedly being investigated for poaching, as the fut...

African Environmental Police: Zim politician embroiled in Save Valley Conservanc...

African Environmental Police: Zim politician embroiled in Save Valley Conservanc...: One of the ZANU PF 'beneficiaries' of conservancy land leases and hunting licences is reportedly being investigated for poaching, as the fut...

Zim politician embroiled in Save Valley Conservancy poaching scam

One of the ZANU PF 'beneficiaries' of conservancy land leases and hunting licences is reportedly being investigated for poaching, as the future of the Save Valley Conservancy remains unclear. Former ZANU PF Minister and 'war vet' Shuvai Mahofa, referred to as the Masvingo 'Iron Lady', is reportedly being investigated after a butchery she allegedly runs in Gutu was raided by police. According to a NewsDay article, three buffalo carcasses and other game meat was discovered. Mahofa was one of a group of mainly ZANU PF linked individuals who were granted a hunting licence by National Parks in August. She and the group of so-called 'indigenous farmers' were given the licences and 25 year land leases as part of the ZANU PF led indigenisation campaign. Those who were handed leases at Save Valley include war vets leader Joseph Chinotimba, Major General Gibson Mashingaidze, Major General Engelbert Rugeje, Masvingo Governor and Resident Minister Titus Maluleke, ZANU PF Masvingo provincial chairperson Lovemore Matuke, the late Higher Education Minister Stan Mudenge, Health Deputy Minister Douglas Mombeshora; ZANU PF central committee member Enock Porusingazi and ZANU PF MPs Alois Baloyi, Abraham Sithole, Samson Mukanduri and Noel Mandebvu. The group last year formed the 'Masvingo Initiative' which led a campaign of intimidation and harassment against various land owners in the province. During this campaign Mahofa seized the Savuli Ranch and this year evicted the owners and their employees. Mahofa has since given permission to some safari operators to hunt on Savuli Ranch, granting them hunting quotas according to her newly issued licence. Mahofa's brother is understood to be a known bush meat trader and sources have told SW Radio Africa that their butchery business in Gutu has been thriving ever since Mahofa was given her hunting licence. Some observers have suggested that targeting Mahofa is a result of ZANU PF infighting she has now become tangled in. The saga around the Save Valley has already pitted some members of ZANU PF against each other, with the Walter Mzembi led Tourism Ministry facing off against Environment Minister Francis Nhema. Mzembi has suggested that the licences should be withdrawn until a full investigation is done. It's understood his position is one of damage limitation ahead of the scheduled UN World Tourism Organisation conference set for Victoria Falls next year. The situation at Save Valley Conservancy has added to widespread criticism of Zimbabwe acting as the host of the international meeting. Nhema meanwhile has previously backed the handing over of the licences as a progressive move for indigenisation. He has slammed Mzembi in interviews for trying to change the situation. Both Ministers were meanwhile part of a committee set up by the ZANU PF politburo to try and calm tensions around the situation at the conservancy. The committee was asked to look into the possibility of turning the conservancy into a national park, which would effectively see the leases being withdrawn. But, since its appointment, the committee has failed to meet. Johnny Rodrigues, the chairman of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, told SW Radio Africa that withdrawal the leases and putting a moratorium on hunting was the best way to tackle the ongoing problem of poaching and illegal hunting. He said a proper audit needs to be completed to ensure hunting is controlled. He meanwhile said that plans to turn the Conservancy into a national park are part of efforts by the authorities to "hoodwink" people, into believing that the situation is under control. "They are trying to show the world that they are in control, particularly with the UN meeting happening next year. But the reality is if the situation is not brought under control, then we won't have any wildlife left," Rodrigues warned. Source: Online

African Environmental Police: Cameroon deploys Special Forces to counter poachin...

African Environmental Police: Cameroon deploys Special Forces to counter poachin...: November 2012. Cameroon has mobilized its Special Forces units in an effort to prevent Sudanese poachers from entering its territory to ...

Cameroon deploys Special Forces to counter poaching gangs

November 2012. Cameroon has mobilized its Special Forces units in an effort to prevent Sudanese poachers from entering its territory to hunt elephants for their ivory, in an operation it called "a first of its kind". WWF congratulates the Cameroonian government for taking concrete steps to address poaching and illegal wildlife trade, a lucrative criminal activity that undermines the sovereignty, security and economic prospects of the Central African region. Killed hundreds of elephants in 2012 According to information obtained by WWF, this is the same group of poachers that in early 2012 travelled more than 1,000 km on horseback from northern Sudan across the Central African Republic and Chad to kill over 300 elephants in the Bouba N'Djida National Park in northern Cameroon. This information says that the group had decided to return earlier than usual this year in order to take advantage of the greater ground cover available during the rainy season and to catch the park guards by surprise by arriving sooner than expected. Rapid Intervention Battalion On Friday, high ranking officials of the Rapid Intervention Battalion (BIR), Cameroon's special forces, told WWF that the high command had as a priority "the conservation of biodiversity, including the fight against cross-border poaching." "We are committed to avoid a repeat of the elephant massacre of early 2012," a BIR official said. "We are already on the ground, we know the poachers are coming, and we have forces deployed in the reserves. "It is highly unfortunate that the military had to be called in to address this situation, but the reality is that we are dealing with well-armed and highly trained individuals, who do not hesitate to terrorize local populations to achieve their aims." "It should be noted that this is one of the top priority missions that the BIR is dealing with at this time, and the operational and logistical scale of this operation is the first of its kind," the BIR representative said. Elephants numbers down by at least 50% since 1995 High demand for ivory coupled with porous borders and weak law enforcement capacity is seriously threatening the survival of elephants in the region. Although concrete numbers are hard to come by, it is estimated that the population of elephants in the Central African region was cut in half between 1995 and 2007, with the number of elephants killed still increasing. "The elephant killings in Bouba N'Djida earlier this year put the crisis on the map. But over the past decades, poachers have already wiped elephants across large swaths of the Central African Republic," according to Bas Huijbregts, head of policy on illegal wildlife trade for WWF Central Africa. 40,000 elephants have disappeared "The elephant population in the north-eastern parts of Central African Republic, which used to number around 35,000 in the seventies, has effectively been massacred, with only some 50 individuals remaining. And in neighbouring Chad, in the Zakouma National Park, elephant populations collapsed by 90 per cent compared to the levels that were recorded in 2006, with only 450 animals left in 2011," Huijbregts explained. "This is literally the last stand of elephants in these parts of Central Africa, and the operations of the Cameroonian Special Forces are indispensable to address this crisis," Huijbregts added. Ivory trade across borders is currently banned under international law. But rising income levels and increased demand in Asia, primarily China and Thailand, is pushing ivory prices to record levels, fuelling illicit trade. "Poaching is a harmful practice on so many fronts. Besides endangering wildlife, it degrades fragile ecosystems, corrodes respect for the rule of law, and weakens national security. It threatens the livelihoods and economic growth opportunities of local communities. Any nation that turns a blind eye to poaching essentially invites transnational criminal organizations to operate freely, bringing with them a host of other related problems and tainting the country's international standing," said Greg Thorne, Chargé d'Affaires at the US Embassy in Cameroon. "The United States applauds Cameroon's announced efforts to combat and eliminate poaching. These efforts, once launched, will have numerous positive benefits, including preservation of natural patrimony, strengthening of law enforcement and border security, and reduction in crime," he said. Chad and the Central African Republic are collaborating with Cameroon to fight this poaching threat, and are currently in the process of finalizing a tri-national urgency action. WWF is campaigning for greater protection of threatened species such as rhinos, tigers and elephants. In order to save endangered animals, source, transit and demand countries must all improve law enforcement, customs controls and judicial systems.
WWF is also urging governments in consumer countries to undertake demand reduction efforts to curb the use of endangered species products. Source: Wildlife Extra

Friday, October 26, 2012

African Environmental Police: Record ivory seizure in Hong Kong

African Environmental Police: Record ivory seizure in Hong Kong: In a joint operation involving Hong Kong and Guangdong customs officials, 1,209 pieces of ivory tusks and 1.4 kilogrammes of ivory ornamen...

Record ivory seizure in Hong Kong

In a joint operation involving Hong Kong and Guangdong customs officials, 1,209 pieces of ivory tusks and 1.4 kilogrammes of ivory ornaments, weighing about 3,813 kilogrammes, were found inside two containers shipped from Tanzania and Kenya to Hong Kong. The total seizure is worth about $26.7 million. This seizure comes just 2 months after Kenyan authorities seized two tons of ivory at Nairobi airport. The ivory was destined for Malaysia. African elephants are being slaughtered at a faster rate than at anytime since the 1980s when as many as 100,000 were killed every year. Certainly 10s of thousands are being killed, often in the most brutal ways, by gangs of well armed and organised poachers with modern weapons, communication equipment, and in at least 1 case, helicopters. 792 tusks Acting on information provided by Guangdong Customs, Hong Kong Customs monitored the two suspicious containers. On October 16, Customs officers located one container arriving from Tanzania which was declared as containing "plastic scrap". Upon examination, the officers found 972 pieces of raw ivory tusks, weighing about 1,927 kilogrammes, and 1.4 kilogrammes of ivory ornaments inside 91 bags of plastics scraps, with an estimated value of about $13.5 million. 237 tusks On the following day, Hong Kong Customs inspected another container from Kenya which was declared as containing "roscoco beans". Upon examination, a total of 237 pieces of raw ivory tusks, weighing about 1,884 kilogrammes, were found inside 50 bags of "roscoco bean", with an estimated value of about $13.2 million. Wildlife trafficking The Head of Ports and Maritime Command, Mr Lam Tak-fai, said at the briefing that Hong Kong Customs will continue to work closely with the Mainland Customs to combat against transnational smuggling activities. In addition, Hong Kong Customs will continue to co-operate with Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department to enforce the Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance and deter the trafficking of wildlife. Under the Import and Export Ordinance, any person found guilty of importing unmanifested cargoes is liable to a maximum fine of $2 million and imprisonment for seven years. Under the Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance, any person found guilty of trading endangered species for commercial purposes is liable to a maximum fine of $5 million and imprisonment for two years. Source: Wildlife
Extra

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

African Environmental Police: Temic poison used to wipe out at painted dogs at N...

African Environmental Police: Temic poison used to wipe out at painted dogs at N...: Notugre is a conservation area near the Tuli Block in Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park. This is Andre Synman's personal account of the poiso...

Temic poison used to wipe out at painted dogs at Notugre wild dog camp

Notugre is a conservation area near the Tuli Block in Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park. This is Andre Synman's personal account of the poison attacks: Recent illegal activities inside Notugre have resulted in the termination of the last remaining wild dogs. With the death of two wild dogs at Talana Farm still fresh in our minds (20th May 2012), the last remaining pack members, including the alpha female, have been poisoned to death by local Motswana men. During the end of June 2012 the alpha female of the pack started showing signs of pregnancy. The pack then settled in the northern section of Luenza property in what looked like a possible denning area. Around the 4th & 5th of July the female gave birth. Number and sex of pups were unknown. Tragically on the 6th of July two men from a nearby cattle post walked into the den site and laced carcasses with highly poisonous Temic in a deliberate attempt to kill these carnivores. After investigation of the site, two wild dogs, a large male leopard, African wild cat and an African Hawk Eagle was found dead within a 70m radius of the den. An impala - and a goat carcass was found laced with Temic. The goat carcass was found high up in a Leadwood tree, cached by a leopard. The spoor of the cat was quickly traced and the body of the leopard found not 30m away. The tracks of two men were easily traced back to a nearby cattle post and apprehended. Reports indicate that these men apparently lost two goats to predators on the 5th of July 2012, possibly by the wild dog pack, but it could also be from spotted hyaenas. The men then returned to their cattle post to fetch Temic-poison, which they apparently bought from someone at Talana Farm. The men then went back to the two goat carcasses and carried it closer to the den site, which they admitted knowing was there. They were also after a large male leopard, which they knew were walking along a specific drainage line, close to the den. They then laced both carcasses with Temic but then found the remains of an impala carcass close to the den, which they then also laced. What happened next is what we could figure out from tracks and spoor. The male leopard walked along the drainage line and found one of the goat carcasses. It then dragged it to the nearest tree and cached it up there. While the leopard was feeding on this poisoned carcass, the wild dogs then returned to their den, having been scared off by these poachers, and presumable fed on the last remaining poisoned scraps of the impala carcass. Needless to say, every animal that fed on these carcasses died within 30m of each. These include the African Hawk Eagle and African wild cat. These are only the animals we could find and it is believed that there could be more dead predators in the surrounding area. Regarding the pups, I personally crawled into the den with a torch to search for any pups, but I found none. The second poisoned goat carcass was apparently burned by these culprits, on hearing the commotion of vehicles from their crime scene. What will happen to these men? Will the penalties for these poachers be severe enough, or will they just get a slap-on-the-wrist from the authorities? They are both between the ages of 24 to 26 and live with their parents at this cattle post. It's located just north of the Lentswe Le Moriti four ways crossing. What makes matters ever worse is that in 2007, Rex Masupe from Mashatu Anti-poaching, found a dead cheetah at this cattle post. Killed by this same family. You have to wonder, how long have these people been poisoning and killing our carnivores? This right under our noses. In 2008 a single lioness was found dead along the main road past this cattle post. Cause of death was poisoning. Furthermore, in 2010, between 4 to 5 spotted hyaenas and one leopard carcass was found scattered along the main road past this same cattle post - all carcasses were poisoned. Coincidence, I think not... This senseless act of hatred towards carnivores is a major setback and waste of countless hours of research, financial support, political backup and commercial publicity and marketing. If people are going to live inside Notugre with livestock, our predators are in serious peril. They will not survive. If not for the use of GPS collars, we would have never known the fate of these animals. How many more do we not even know about? It was Armageddon for the wild dogs. What's next, our lions? Cheetah? Regards, Andrei Snyman Source: Zimbabwe Conservation Taskforce

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Poachers abandon 8kg elephant tusk haul

Police have recovered three elephant tusks weighing 8kg that were abandoned by five fleeing poachers at the Mandaza Islands along the Zambezi River. The value of the tusks is yet to be established. Police spokesperson Superintendent Andrew Phiri yesterday confirmed the incident. He said police also recovered about 50 kg of game meat, an axe, 5 x 5-litre empty containers, a blanket and a bedsheet. “On 14 September, police from Kazungula were patrolling along the Zambezi River at the Mandaza Islands. Poachers frequent the area in search of wild animals,” he said. “At around 7pm, the police saw five suspected poachers carrying luggage and they opened fire at the poachers. Sensing danger, the poachers abandoned the goods,” he said. Supt Phiri urged the public, especially those in conservancy areas, to alert the police when they see suspected poachers. The Government gazetted replacement value for each elephant is US$50 000. Recently, a man was arrested together with three accomplices for illegally possessing two elephant tusks in Harare. Source: The
Herald

Friday, September 14, 2012

African Environmental Police: Suspected Namibian poachers kill 19 elephants in B...

African Environmental Police: Suspected Namibian poachers kill 19 elephants in B...: At least 19 carcasses of elephants have been found in the Kasane area since the shooting of two alleged Namibian poachers by the BDF anti-...

Suspected Namibian poachers kill 19 elephants in Botswana

At least 19 carcasses of elephants have been found in the Kasane area since the shooting of two alleged Namibian poachers by the BDF anti-poaching unit on July 17, Mmegi has established. "Ever since the July shooting of two Namibian poachers, our anti-poaching officers have found 15 carcasses of elephants with tusks removed," the Commander of the Botswana Defence Force (BDF), Lieuetenant General Gaolathe Galebotswe, said at his inaugural press briefing at Sir Seretse Khama Barracks yesterday. "Just this morning, I received another report that four carcasses were found over the past few days with tusks missing." Galebotswe stated that poachers are on the prowl along the country's borders with Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa. He said that the poachers use sophisticated methods that should be met with a response of the same magnitude. "The problem is that unlike in the past,there is money involved in modern poaching," he said."Our grandparents used to poach to put food on the table; not for commercial purposes. But all that has changed." GeneralG
alebotswe said the BDF has a good relationship with its Namibian counterpart and have carried out joint operations and exercises since the beginning of this year. Meanwhile, the new army chief commander has vowed to fight for improved working conditions for his men and women. Addressing journalists yesterday, he said soldiers should view the army as "the best place to be" and that that can only be achieved if the soldiers have better remuneration and accommodation. He said that the army continues to lose non-commissioned officers and professionals such as doctors, nurses and engineers to other competitors who offer better working conditions than the army. The problem, he said, is that salaries are often linked to rank irrespective of qualifications, hence the need to pay in accordance with the market offers. 'We are losing a lot of non-commissioned officers at the rank of Lance Corporal who are still young and eager to explore other opportunities or pursue other interests," he said. "So we intend to de-link the remuneration from one's rank and pay the equivalent of what others in the industry are paying. "But it will still be a challenge because our officers are on duty 24/7 but their counterparts in other institutions work normal hours and are free to travel outside their workstations any time. In the army, one can only travel outside one's workstation if one is on leave or off-duty." Source: Mmegi

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

African Environmental Police: DR Congolese man caught with 21 elephant tusks

African Environmental Police: DR Congolese man caught with 21 elephant tusks: HARARE - A Democratic Republic of Congo refugee who was caught with 21 elephant tusks was arraigned before the Harare Magistrates’ Court...

DR Congolese man caught with 21 elephant tusks

HARARE - A Democratic Republic of Congo refugee who was caught with 21 elephant tusks was arraigned before the Harare Magistrates’ Court. Daniel Mpa, 64, is facing unlawful possession of unregistered or unmarked ivory as defined in section 128 of the Parks and Wildlife Act. The court heard that on August 27 this year at Roadesville Shopping Centre in Harare, police detectives acting on a tip-off found Mpa in possession of 21 elephant tusks which were wrapped in black sheeting hidden under some cabbages and oranges at the back of a Toyota Hilux pick-up. The value of the ivory is $62 250 and all was recovered.
Magistrate Anita Tshuma remanded Mpa in custody to September 14 as the state had to look for a Lingala speaking interpreter to start his case. — Court Writer Source: Daily News

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

African Environmental Police: Chiefs demand reversal of seizure of Save Valley C...

African Environmental Police: Chiefs demand reversal of seizure of Save Valley C...: CHIREDZI chiefs have demanded that the government reverse the controversial indigenisation of Save Valley Conservancy which has sparked publ...

Chiefs demand reversal of seizure of Save Valley Conservancy

CHIREDZI chiefs have demanded that the government reverse the controversial indigenisation of Save Valley Conservancy which has sparked public clashes between cabinet ministers and drawn threats of aid cuts by the European Union. Environment minister Francis Nhema recently directed that owners of the prized 3,400 square-kilometre wildlife reserve in the south-east Lowveld region take on some 25 individuals, most of them senior Zanu PF officials, as partners in order to comply with the country’s indigenisation policies. The beneficiaries include higher education minister Stan Mudenge, Masvingo governor Titus Maluleke, senator Josiah Hungwe, MPs Ronald Ndava, Alois Baloyi, Abraham Sithole and former legislator Shuvai Mahofa. But the decision appeared to cause divisions in the cabinet with Tourism minister, Walter Mzembi, accusing his party and cabinet colleague of promoting greed by “empowering people who are already empowered severally in other sectors, such as farming, ranching, sugar cane farming, mining”. And on Monday, traditional leaders from the area, Chief Gudo, Chief Tshovani and Chief Sengwe, called on the government to reverse the decision, accusing Nhema of empowering a few individuals at the expense of their communities. “The adopted programme, which sadly prioritises a few individuals is against the concept of broad-based economic empowerment of communities,” the chiefs told reporters at a press conference in Harare. “It has allocated vast resources in Chiredzi to a few individuals. The option that the governor and his clique have adopted, under which they partner the sitting tenants, has caused a lot of destruction to the wildlife.
“The option we had proposed would, instead, see the owners teaming up with local communities who would own 51 percent of the project in line with the country's indigenisation programme.” The conservancy’s owners deny allegations that the project is controlled by foreigners and warn that Nhema’s decision could lead to its complete collapse. "Two-thirds of the stakeholders of the conservancy are black,” Wilfried Pabst, a German businessman who is vice-chair of the conservancy said recently. "(The park) is a working example of how something really special can be a success, by including all sectors of the community, especially the rural poor who have previously got nothing out of wildlife.” Still, the new partners have since vowed to stay put and dismissed claims their involvement would threaten wildlife and leave thousands of jobs at risk. “What we are trying to do is correct the historic imbalances caused by colo­nialism and opening up opportu­nities for blacks in Zimbabwe,” said Baloyi. “We are the rightful players in the Save Valley Conservancy because we have the leases and the other guys do not have anything.”

Thursday, August 16, 2012

African Environmental Police: ZAMBEZI SOCIETY SENDS OUT SOS FOR MANA POOLS WORLD...

African Environmental Police: ZAMBEZI SOCIETY SENDS OUT SOS FOR MANA POOLS WORLD...: AUGUST 2012 APPEAL TO SAVE MANA POOLS WORLD HERITAGE SITE FROM MINING: NO MINING IN MANA POOLS WORLD HERITAGE SITE” The Zambezi Society wi...

ZAMBEZI SOCIETY SENDS OUT SOS FOR MANA POOLS WORLD HERITAGE SITE

AUGUST 2012 APPEAL TO SAVE MANA POOLS WORLD HERITAGE SITE FROM MINING: NO MINING IN MANA POOLS WORLD HERITAGE SITE” The Zambezi Society wishes to publicly express its deep concern regarding the threat of mining exploration for Heavy Mineral Sands Deposits (and possibly other minerals) in major tributaries of the Zambezi River in the Mana Pools/Sapi/Chewore area of Northern Zimbabwe. The Mana Pools/Sapi/Chewore region not only encompasses one of Zimbabwe’s largest National Parks and two Safari Areas, but is also internationally recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site with “Outstanding Universal Value”, a Biosphere Reserve, an international Important Bird Area (IBA), and a vital component of a proposed Trans Frontier Conservation Area (TFCA). We believe that there should be NO MINING (prospecting or exploration included) in this area because of potential impacts on its biodiversity, wildlife and sensitive eco-systems, which are globally important, and on its wilderness areas which are valuable to international tourism. Furthermore, World Heritage status is not awarded lightly. There are less than 200 sites worldwide on UNESCO’s ‘natural sites’ listing; and in the Society’s view, Zimbabwe’s national interests will be best served by maintaining the integrity of the area, and prohibiting activities such as mining that will result in its degradation and possible loss of its World Heritage status. A media statement in early July 2012 issued by a Zimbabwe-based mining company, Habbard Investments (affiliated to Geo Associates) announced its intention to carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for prospecting for Heavy Mineral Sand Deposits (HMSD) in the Ruckomechi and Chewore Rivers in northern Zimbabwe. It called for comments to be sent to an EIA consultancy company IMPACO by a deadline of 17th July 2012. The Ruckomechi River lies within the Mana Pools National Park and the Chewore River forms the boundary between the Sapi & Chewore Safari Areas. Both rivers are within the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Biosphere Reserve and the Important Bird Area (IBA)boundaries (see BACKGROUND NOTES 2, 3 & 4 attached to this statement). Prior to submitting an objection by the required date, The Zambezi Society met with Mr Paul Chimbodza, CEO of Geo Associates, the proponent of the project, who explained that in September 2011 his company had been issued two licences to undertake exploration activities for HMSDs in these rivers, covering an area from the escarpment to the Zambezi River (45km for Ruckomechi and 65km for Chewore). The licences are due to expire in September 2012, but are renewable (see BACKGROUND NOTE 5 attached to this statement). The HMSDs covered in the prospecting licence include copper, lead, zinc, manganese, tungsten, magnetite, tantalum, and titanium group minerals. If exploration was successful, the subsequent mining methods to extract these minerals from the riverbeds would include dredging and earth moving on a large scale, with sands being transported away in heavy machinery for processing at a nearby urban centre. The Zambezi Society questions why such heavy impact operations need to target ecologically-sensitive protected areas like the Zambezi Valley when there are alternative sources elsewhere, in less vulnerable areas. The Zambezi Society’s investigations in July 2012 showed that the company, IMPACO , was not listed by Zimbabwe’s Environmental Management Agency as an “approved” consultancy to conduct EIAs. The Zambezi Society has drawn the attention of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee to this issue. This Committee has the power to list a World Heritage property as being “In Danger” if it is considered to be threatened by any of the following criteria: depletion of wildlife resources through poaching, deterioration of natural beauty through mining impacts, threats to its integrity through increased human encroachment, lack of an adequate or implemented management plan.
In the opinion of The Zambezi Society, all of these apply. (For a more detailed list of the “World Heritage In Danger” criteria, see BACKGROUND NOTE 6 attached to this statement). The Society has also expressed its concern about this situation to its international contacts. Media reports and petitions against the threat are appearing in the local and international media. The international tourism industry is issuing statements of alarm. These could well impact upon next year’s meeting of the UNWTO being hosted by Zimbabwe and Zambia in Victoria Falls in August 2013. A social media Facebook community page called SAVE MANA POOLS has been launched to campaign against the mining threat at http://www.facebook.com/SaveMana It is fast gaining momentum. If you are on Facebook, please go to the page and "Like" it. The message is clear for Mana Pools/Sapi/Chewore: NO COMPROMISE. NO MINING IN A WORLD HERITAGE SITE! Source: Zambezi Society

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

African Environmental Police: Zim elephant poacher shot, sentenced to 16 months ...

African Environmental Police: Zim elephant poacher shot, sentenced to 16 months ...: An elephant poacher, who was shot and wounded by game rangers in February before police arrested him, was last week jailed for 16 months by ...

Zim elephant poacher shot, sentenced to 16 months in prison

An elephant poacher, who was shot and wounded by game rangers in February before police arrested him, was last week jailed for 16 months by a Karoi magistrate. Magistrate, Mr Obidience Matare suspended eight months of the two-year sentence on Nobody Mukombwe (28) of village 3, Dzebonde under Chief Chundu in Hurungwe. Prosecutor Mr Benjamin Negato proved that on February 26 this year Mukombwe, in the company of Douglas Feremingo and Useni brothers Hedge, Givemore and Andriya, armed themselves with a 303 Lee-Enfield rifle, axes and kitchen knives before they entered Mukanga National Park for hunting elephants. Around 5pm on the same day, they established a base in the park before killing a female adult elephant. After removing its tusks, they retired to a spot along Kachowe River where they made a fire and started preparing their supper. An employee at Kachowe Hunting Camp heard gunshots while fishing along Kachowe River and alerted Mukanga National Parks rangers on patrol. The rangers found the fresh foot prints of the five and tracked them until they came to the fresh elephant carcass. After the rangers trailed further, they heard some low voices and saw smoke drifting from a spot along the Kachowe River.On drawing closer, they saw two of the five poachers sleeping close to a fire with the others preparing supper. The rangers opened fire and killed the two Useni brothers Givemore and Hedge. Mukombwe escaped with gunshot wounds and was arrested at Karoi Hospital a few days later while seeking treatment. The other two poachers are still at large. The rangers recovered the rifle with seven rounds of ammunition in its magazine, a pair of tusks, axes and kitchen knives. Source: The Herald

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

African Environmental Police: Zim rhino poacher gets 15 years in jail

African Environmental Police: Zim rhino poacher gets 15 years in jail: CHIREDZI — A 57-year-old rhino poacher was last week jailed for 15 years following his conviction on two counts of invading Humani Ranch and...

Zim rhino poacher gets 15 years in jail

CHIREDZI — A 57-year-old rhino poacher was last week jailed for 15 years following his conviction on two counts of invading Humani Ranch and Senuko Safari Ranch in Chiredzi and killing the endangered animals. Elasto Dhobho last Thursday left the court in stitches when he accused one of the complainants of fabricating the poaching allegations to ensure he got incarcerated while the ranch owner took over his wife. However, the court dismissed the claims as baseless. Charges against Dhobho were that on June 8 last year, he trespassed into Senuko Safari Ranch and gunned down a black rhino but failed to remove its horn after the animal regained consciousness and staggered off before it collapsed three kilometres away from the scene. It was discovered by game scouts after three days with its horn intact. The rhino was valued at $120 000. The following month, but on a date not known to the State, Dhobho went to Humani Ranch where he shot and killed another black rhino. He chopped off its horn and went away. The animal’s decomposing carcass was only discovered two days later and nothing of value was recovered. The rhino was valued at $75 000.Spent cartridges recovered from the two incidents were sent for ballistic tests and found to be matching Dhobho’s rifle. Magistrate Langton Ndokera ordered Dhobho to pay $195 000 restitution to the ranchers while the rifle was forfeited to the State. Source: Newsday, Zimbabwe

African Environmental Police: WHITE FARMER TEAMS UP WITH ZANU PF IN CHIREDZI CON...

African Environmental Police: WHITE FARMER TEAMS UP WITH ZANU PF IN CHIREDZI CON...: HARARE – Tourism minister Walter Mzembi has sought President Robert Mugabe and his deputy Joice Mujuru’s help in a vicious fight against top...

WHITE FARMER TEAMS UP WITH ZANU PF IN CHIREDZI CONSERVANCY INVASION

HARARE – Tourism minister Walter Mzembi has sought President Robert Mugabe and his deputy Joice Mujuru’s help in a vicious fight against top Zanu PF chefs who have invaded wildlife conservancies with the backing of some top army officials. Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi (left) seen here with Zimbabwe Tourism Authority boss Karikoga Kaseke (right) who had just been involved in a road accident while carrying models in his car to Kariba. Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi (left) seen here with Zimbabwe Tourism Authority boss Karikoga Kaseke (right) who had just been involved in a road accident while carrying models in his car to Kariba. Highly placed sources told the Daily News Mzembi has been involved in a nasty fight with Shuvai Mahofa, a former Zanu PF MP and deputy minister over the invasion of a wildlife conservancy and poaching. Mzembi fears anarchy prevailing in the conservancies will dent the country’s image ahead of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) general assembly conference which Zimbabwe is co-hosting with Zambia next year. Wildlife conservation activists claimed in interviews with the Daily News that Mahofa had strong backing from serving and retired military commanders, some of whom have interests in the conservancies where poaching is rife. Parks and Wildlife director general Vitalis Chadenga confirmed that poaching is rampant in the conservancies under dispute. Mzembi says he wants Mahofa, feared war veteran Francis Zimuto aka Black Jesus and a white farmer identified as Ken Drummond stopped from decimating animals in the lucrative ranch. A letter sent to Mugabe and Mujuru and seen by the Daily News states that Mahofa is acting illegally. “The High Court of Zimbabwe has ruled to suspend Mahofa’s lease agreement and that Forever African Safaris are the rightful occupiers of the ranch in the Save Valley Conservancy,” reads the communication. “The World Tourism Summit is scheduled for 2013 in Victoria Falls Zimbabwe, yet National Parks director Vitalis Chadenga and Natural Resources minister Francis Nhema continue to ignore the fact that Savuli has been invaded on the strength of ‘documents from their offices’.” “The nation has been witnessing the blatant abuse of well-meaning policies by greedy individuals who have benefited ‘70 times seven times’ from virtually every empowerment policy that has been pronounced,” he said. Chadenga said poaching was widespread. “People are hunting without permits but we have instructed our Masvingo office to act,” he said. He however defended Mahofa, saying whites in the area were the ones causing problems. “As far as we are concerned Mahofa has a valid lease and the problem that is in the conservancy is to do with co-existence. Mahofa got a 25-year lease under the Wildlife Best Land Reform Policy that seeks to open conservation to black Zimbabweans. “It is true I have received protests from in particular the German ambassador but my response was that what we have is a co-existence issue and nothing more,” Chadenga said. Chadenga rubbished Mzembi’s claims that the dispute could affect the tourism event. “There will be a greater threat to the UNWTO general assembly if we do not allow Zimbabweans with valid leases to co-exist with former white owners,” he said. A spokesperson for Forever African Safaris, Wilfred Pabst told the Daily News Zimbabwe’s hosting of the UNWTO general assembly is in danger. “The situation is so bad and it is highly likely that several European countries could declare a tourism moratorium on Zimbabwe categorising the country as a danger to wildlife,” he said. He added the firm has two High Court orders against Mahofa that authorities are ignoring. Nhema was unavailable for comment, but minister of State in Mujuru’s office Sylvester Nguni was angry at how the Daily News got hold of the documents. “I am disappointed that people seeking our help see it fit to involve the media, waylaying the deputy president of the country into a media trap? “They have already passed judgement that we will not be of much help so you are not going to get a comment from us and I am not sure they will get much help,” an angry Nguni said. Mahofa denied the allegation. “These people are South Africans and I cannot be fighting foreigners. It is my property and I do not want to see anyone. I was supposed to share it with retired Colonel Claudius Makova but he refused and now it is mine alone and I do not even want to see a soldier. “I surrendered all other farms that I had to my children and they have their own leases. The poaching that is so prevalent in the conservancy is because whites are resisting sharing with blacks,” said Mahofa. Nhema said Mahofa was the rightful owner of the property. Daily News

Sunday, July 22, 2012

African Environmental Police: International vory cartel to be created to sell iv...

African Environmental Police: International vory cartel to be created to sell iv...: July 2012. A new report examining possible mechanisms for future international legal trade in ivory has proposed the creation of an ivory sa...

International vory cartel to be created to sell ivory stocks?

July 2012. A new report examining possible mechanisms for future international legal trade in ivory has proposed the creation of an ivory sales body modelled on the De Beers diamond cartel. The report, Decision-Making Mechanisms and Necessary Conditions for a Future Trade in African Elephant Ivory, is to be discussed at the 62nd meeting of the Standing Committee of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), in Geneva, Switzerland from July 23-27. 2011 the worst year for elephants? But the London-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) accuses the authors of failing to fully comply with the terms of reference and of effectively loading the dice to produce a report clearly biased in favour of creating a global trade in ivory - despite 2011 being branded the worst year for elephants since the current ivory trade ban was put in place in 1989. EIA has been investigating the illicit ivory trade for more than 20 years, and believes any ‘legal' trade in ivory sends mixed messages which confuse consumers and provides an opportunity to launder black market ivory onto the market. There is no evidence to indicate, as advocates of trade predicted, that supplies of ivory derived from ‘legal' sales of stockpiles in 1999 and 2008 have either satiated demand or reduced prices to the point where poached ivory has become financially untenable. In fact, the opposite has happened, with demand stimulated and poaching out of control. 'legal and illegal' sales "EIA remains deeply concerned that any more ‘legal' sales - or discussion of ‘legal' sales - of ivory will further stimulate the ivory market, supporting the perception that international trade has resumed and increasing demand for illegal ivory," said EIA Executive Director Mary Rice. "In addition, the availability of ivory from both legal and illegal sources further challenges law enforcement agencies in their efforts to tackle the criminal networks behind the trade. In light of mass poaching of African elephants, the increase in illegal trade in ivory and the fact that the legal sales have clearly failed to reduce illegal trade, EIA urges the Standing Committee to shelve any further discussion on a future international trade in ivory." EIA strongly recommends that the Standing Committee rejects the recommendations of the report for failing to address the core issues identified in the terms of reference and the fundamental reasons for the failure of the current legal ivory trade system. Instead, the committee must call for a review of the enforcement gaps and needs that have led to the failure of the current ivory trade control and regulation system. "The consultants behind this report are seeking to put in place a mechanism for decision-making without providing or discussing vital information such as the ecological sustainability of an international ivory trade, the impact of such a trade on illegal killing, enforcement challenges and linkages between legal and illegal trade," said Rice. During the 1980s when legal trade in ivory was allowed, the African elephant population declined from 1.3 million to 600,000 in a decade. "Parties to CITES must recognise that in the current climate of poor enforcement, lack of resources, failure of political will and corruption, there is no likelihood that any form of regulated trade could be workable and this document certainly should not provide the basis for any further discussion on this issue," added Rice. Source: Wildlife Extra (UK)

African Environmental Police: SA police seize 46 elephants tusks at Cape Town ai...

African Environmental Police: SA police seize 46 elephants tusks at Cape Town ai...: July 2012. While on a routine inspection, South African customs officials spotted a suspicious activity at a Cape Town airport storage facil...

SA police seize 46 elephants tusks at Cape Town airport

July 2012. While on a routine inspection, South African customs officials spotted a suspicious activity at a Cape Town airport storage facility, and upon further investigation they came across parcels indicating the presence of elephant tusks. After the police were notified, an operation was conducted which led to the discovery of 46 tusks concealed in two different containers. The consignment appears to have been destined for Hong Kong. Two male suspects aged 36 and 43 respectively are being detained for the illegal possession of elephant tusks after members of the South African Police Hawks and Crime intelligence acted on information received from Custom officials. The suspects, both from Cape Town are due to make a court appearance once they have been charged. The value of the seized items will be established at a later stage after the Department of Nature Conservation have taken various aspects into account, such as weight and age. The circumstances surrounding the discovery are being investigated, and the possibility of further arrests is not ruled out.

African Environmental Police: South Africa vets and hunters colluding with rhino...

African Environmental Police: South Africa vets and hunters colluding with rhino...: July 2012. There is increasing evidence of the involvement of a series of vets in the poaching of rhinos in South Africa. Several vets ha...

South Africa vets and hunters colluding with rhino poachers

July 2012. There is increasing evidence of the involvement of a series of vets in the poaching of rhinos in South Africa. Several vets have recently been found to be supplying M99, a drug 1000 times more powerful than morphine, and used to drug very large mammals. The use and supply of M99 are very restricted, yet it appears that it has been relatively easy to acquire in parts of South Africa. The well documented case of rhino poaching kingpin Dawie Groenewald, his wife and their alleged co-conspirators, is the best known case. The carcasses of 20 rhinos were found buried on Groenewald's property in late 2010. The rhinos were missing their horns, which are of high value on black markets in Asia, particularly Vietnam. Groenewald and his wife operate a safari tour company and according to investigators, they are said to be the masterminds behind the killings. Other suspects in the case include veterinarians and veterinary assistants, professional hunters and a helicopter pilot. Head Kruger vet arrested Two veterinarians and a professional hunter have been arrested in connection with the wrongful possession and distribution of veterinary drugs commonly used in rhino poaching. The accused Dr Douw Grobler, formerly head of the Kruger National Park's wildlife capturing and veterinary services unit, private vet Dr Johannes Gerhardus Kruger, and professional hunter Hugo Ras are accused of supplying a rhino-poaching syndicate with tranquillisers. In March 2012, Christoffel Jacobus Lombard, Eugine Petrus van der Merwe and William Theuns Jooste were arrested and charged with possession of M99; Illegal entry upon land with a weapon; conspiracy to commit a restricted activity and fraud. Corrupt vets, game farmers and hunters According to Rhino Conservation; Instead of joining South Africa's battle to protect its rhinos, a corrupt minority of game farmers, professional hunters, and wildlife veterinarians have chosen to exchange their ethics for ill-gotten financial rewards. Indeed, this cesspool of deceit has catapulted South Africa into the unfortunate position of being the lead supplier of illegal rhino horn for the rapacious black market. Although hundreds of arrests have been made, South Africa's conviction rates for rhino crimes remain deplorably low across the board - consistently less than five percent and even as low as 2.6% in 2010. And despite indications unethical members of the conservation field are contributing to the carnage, only five percent of the summed 397 rhino-related arrests made in South Africa between 2010 and 2011 (as reported by the World Wildlife Fund ) were "white guys". Since 2006, 29 "white guys" have been arrested in connection with rhino crimes, and of them: - Only 2 were sentenced to jail time (the same individuals also seem to be the only ones that have ever been denied bail) - Over 93% were granted bail, which has ranged in amounts from R3,000-R100,000 (US $397-$13,236) - 17% were repeat offenders - More than 20% worked in the veterinary field - More than 20% were professional hunters - Around 17% were safari operators - At least about 72% own, were employed at, or work closely with game farms - Cases against at least 34.5% of the suspects seem to still be pending, and only half of them are have been scheduled for an upcoming court date - Cases against at least 17% of the accused have seemingly vanished - Cases against nearly 14% were thrown out of the courts - At least 2 have publicly lobbied for the legalization of rhino horn trade Repeat offenders - Six of the 29 individuals arrested since 2006 had faced prior charges for contravening conservation laws, many of them rhino-related. - Gideon van Deventer was actually out on bail for illegally trading rhino horns in 2006, when he was caught red-handed slaying rhinos just three months later. - Professional hunter, Peter Thormahlen, had been hit with a "token fine" in 2006 for illegally hunting a rhino (on behalf of a Vietnamese client), before he was brought to court again two years later on identical charges. (Thormahlen is associated with John Hume, who appears to be a figurehead amongst aspiring rhino horn capitalists in South Africa and, according to iolNews, he also coincidentally owns the world's largest private collection of rhinos.) - Professional hunter, Christaan van Wyk, had already been twice convicted of rhino horn offenses when he was found guilty of illegally hunting a rhino (also on behalf of his Vietnamese client) in 2010. - Eight years before being collared in 2011 on suspicions that he may have been supplying rhino assassins with controlled veterinary drugs, wildlife veterinarian Dr. Douw Grobler was fired as head of Kruger National Park's game capture unit. - South African television news show, Carte Blanche, reported that Grobler was found guilty on nine of thirteen misconduct charges stemming from multiple suspicious, unethical business transactions he made with a game farmer that had been contracted by KNP to undertake a controversial buffalo breeding project on his property. Prior to the 2011 arrest of professional hunter and game farmer, Hugo Ras, for unlawful possession of scheduled veterinary drugs and an unlicensed firearm, the man had thrice been fined for assault and "crimen injuria" convictions, as well as for contravening conservation and customs laws. Suspected syndicate mastermind Dawie Groenewald's criminal history is remarkably extensive - including a long list of international complaints, lawsuits, and criminal allegations and convictions - and far pre-dates his 2010 rhino-related arrest. Among other things, he was terminated from his job as a police officer for involvement in an organized crime ring that was smuggling stolen cars into Zimbabwe and also has a felony conviction in the US for unlawfully importing a leopard trophy (a violation of the Lacey Act). Apparently, the leopard, unbeknownst to the hunter at the time, had been illegally hunted, as Groenewald never had the required permits necessary to kill the animals. Despite there being verifiable evidence, it seems he has not been charged in South Africa for conducting this illegal hunt. Source: Wildlife Extra (UK)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

African Environmental Police: Five men in court over illegal posession of 16 ele...

African Environmental Police: Five men in court over illegal posession of 16 ele...: Five men appeared at the Harare Magistrates’ Court yesterday charged with unlawful possession of ivory after being found in possession of...

Five men in court over illegal posession of 16 elephant tusks

Five men appeared at the Harare Magistrates’ Court yesterday charged with unlawful possession of ivory after being found in possession of 16 elephant tusks weighing 107kg valued at $26 750. The arrest came after officials from the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority in conjunction with Border Control and the Police Minerals Unit intercepted the ivory in Harare last Friday following a tip-off. The five men — Chaita Enock Mahuya (41), Farisai Mudzimba (38), Nkosilathi Sibanda (18), Samson Mutereko (45) and Wilson Mazwi (32) — appeared before provincial magistrate Tendai Mahwe who remanded them in custody to August 9 for trial. The accused are facing charges of contravening section 82(1) of the Parks and Wildlife Management Act which criminalises unlawful possession of ivory. Recently, the Authority reviewed upwards compensation fees for hunting of animals and fish as well as payment for trapping of wild animals after a surge in cases of offenders arrested for violating the Wildlife Act. Of major interest, is the increase in compensation fees for major or prime species such as buffalo, leopard, lion, cheetah, elephant and zebra, to mention but a few. These species, some of which constitute the big five, have of late been the target of heightened poaching. Gift Zumbika prosecuted. Source: Newsday, Zimbabwe

African Environmental Police: Appeal to save prestigious "Presidential Herd" of ...

African Environmental Police: Appeal to save prestigious "Presidential Herd" of ...: Dear Minister Nhema, I’m writing to you on behalf of the Presidential Elephants of Zimbabwe, the flagship clan of elephants that President...

Appeal to save prestigious "Presidential Herd" of elephants from new mining activities in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe

Dear Minister Nhema, I’m writing to you on behalf of the Presidential Elephants of Zimbabwe, the flagship clan of elephants that President Mugabe re-pledged to protect in May of 2011. There is now constant talk of mining interference in the key home-range of the Presidential Elephants; not just coal mining now, but diamond mining too. It is known that some areas, right here where the Presidential Elephants roam daily, have already been ‘pegged’ for mining. On behalf of the Presidential Elephants of Zimbabwe, I formally request your Ministry to act now, pro-actively, rather than wait for a situation that has already occurred in the Gwaai. I request – for the good of the environment and tourism too, as well as for the Presidential Elephants of Zimbabwe – that you indicate now to the Mines Ministry that no environmental impact studies will be approved for mining in the key areas between Gwaai and Hwange town. In addition, on behalf of the Presidential Elephants, I ask that you obtain the support of the President’s Office (since the situation in the Gwaai appears to suggest that the Mines Ministry holds environmental impact studies in low or no regard) – reminding the President’s Office of the Reaffirmation of the Presidential Decree signed just last year - to ensure that no mining activities be allowed to even be considered, within a sensible radius of this key photographic tourism / wildlife area, bordering Hwange National Park, where the Presidential Elephants roam. It is nothing but common sense to pro-actively ensure that these areas are not unnecessarily interfered with for mining greed, to the detriment of this country’s key wildlife and tourism areas, and its internationally renowned and protected flagship herd of elephants. The Presidential Elephants of Zimbabwe request the full support of your Ministry, and that of The President's Office, to put a stop, now, to any plans for mining this area. Copied here is Wildlife Environment Zimbabwe (WEZ), and just a few photographic tourism lodges that share an interest in the preservation of the Presidential Elephants. With grateful thanks, Sharon Pincott, Presidential Elephant Conservation Project, Hwange Sourced from contacts in Minister Francis Nhema's Office

Monday, July 16, 2012

Jumbos in danger as water shortage looms at Hwange National Park

BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
BULAWAYO — The Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) has warned that dozens of elephants at Hwange National Park could die from thirst due to a shortage of water, as available wells continue to dry up. The authority is now seeking funds to buy at least 20 000 litres of diesel to pump water, between now and the rainy season. The water would be pumped to elephant drinking points in the park to avert a repeat of the 2011 scenario when close to 80 animals died of thirst between June and October, resulting in a loss of US$4 million. Hwange National Park has no year-round rivers and little natural surface water and therefore depends on wells that pump water to artificial watering holes, known as pans. Caroline Washaya-Moyo, the ZimParks public relations manager, said the authority was sourcing for funds and engaging interested stakeholders in a bid to ensure that wildlife would not be lost due to shortages of water. “The ever-increasing temperatures last year left wildlife succumbing to heat,” Washaya-Moyo said. “In terms of the value of elephants that we lost in 2011, it is calculated using the compensation value of an elephant, pegged at US$20 000 in 2011 and has since been reviewed upwards in 2012 to US$50 000. “This applies to all categories, be it a calf, adult or sub-adult.” Watering holes and other sources of water that are fed through pumping, dried up last year, resulting in the alarming rate of deaths of elephants. Currently, Hwange National park has an elephant population of over 45 000 against its carrying capacity of 30 000, putting a severe strain on available resources, especially water. Source: The Standard (Zimbabwe)

Asian medicine poachers shift attention to Zimbabwe's rare ant-eaters

HARARE, Zimbabwe — An animal welfare group in Zimbabwe says poachers are now targeting rare anteaters because of a growing demand for exotic animal parts for Asian traditional medicine. The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said Thursday that the outer scales of a young male pangolin, a rare type of anteater that is legally protected, were recently removed by poachers in northwestern Zimbabwe. The body of the anteater was recovered from poachers. The scales appeared to have already been sold, the group said. It was one of three incidents reported this year involving poaching of the endangered nocturnal creature seen by many Zimbabweans as a symbol of power and mystery. The scales are thought to have value in Asian medicine as a traditional remedy for a host of conditions. Source: Online

Monday, July 9, 2012

African Environmental Police: Zim loses 71 elephants, 11 rhinos as Asian-driven ...

African Environmental Police: Zim loses 71 elephants, 11 rhinos as Asian-driven ...: The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority’s Public Relations Manager, Caroline Washaya Moyo has revealed that an estimated 151 wi...

Zim loses 71 elephants, 11 rhinos as Asian-driven poaching crisis worsens

The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority’s Public Relations Manager, Caroline Washaya Moyo has revealed that an estimated 151 wild animals, worth $5,294,000, were killed by poachers between January and April. This includes one white rhino, 10 black rhinos, and 71 elephants. Moyo’s battles are huge: a shortage of resources to protect wildlife, a president who encourages the killing of elephants to feed starving voters when elections are close, and organised crime, based in the East, that has access to helicopters, professional hunters with powerful night-vision rifles, and what appears to be almost diplomatic immunity from prosecution. It is believed there are 90% fewer animals in Zimbabwe now than there were before independence.It seems there are two driving factors: In Vietnam there is the rumour that rhino horn cures cancer. The other is the massive demand for animal parts from China. The story of Audrey and Seymour Well, once upon a time ‘Audrey II’ (Asia) sat quietly in her corner vaguely dissatisfied with communism, until ‘Seymour’ (the West) spotted her potential for making his dreams come true, and identified her as the consumer market of the future. Seymour showed Audrey II all the things she’d never had, didn’t need and couldn’t afford – the lifeblood of the West: brands, cars, holidays, machines to do the work of people, democracy, materialism! He made her want them with a passion. ‘FEED ME, SEYMOUR!’ she screamed. She had to find a way to get them…cue Fu Man Chu frowning in concentration with one long-nailed finger pointed to his evil cheek. Seymour’s blood turned Audrey II into a consumer monster. She needed more resources: rhinos, minerals, trees, corporations, countries! We all know the end of this story. Poor Seymour signed his own death warrant, and coincidentally, the death warrant of the animals. Audrey II grew simply enormous, gobbled up Seymour, and spilt out all over the stage, looking for MORE! MORE! MORE! None of this helps the poor rhinos though. They’re just collateral damage in the battle for world domination. After the economic crisis of 2008, Robert Mugabe turned to his old friend Audrey II, who turned out to be a friend with benefits (and an ulterior motive). The benefits were mining rights and an invisibility cloak where the law surrounding endangered species is concerned. Chinese mineworkers earn $50 per month in Zimbabwe, but opportunities for enriching (and feeding) themselves are walking around the bush. Imagine a rhino with a horn of gold, just strolling around unprotected. Each horn is worth over $65,000 – it can buy a Rolex, a car, an Armani suit, a Gucci bag and a lot of status. Traditional Chinese medicine is not the main culprit; greed and the longing of the have-nots to have more is. Many Chinese traditional healers don’t use rhino horn any more; its use was banned in China in 1993, and the substance is easily substituted. Wealthy Easterners give rhino horn as a prestige gift to each other because they have so much money, they literally don’t know what to do with it. Organised crime sells it on the black market, and some countries use it in decorative dagger handles. If you’re still mystified as to why the quantities of rhino horn are so big, look at the population of China. Audrey II is scary big. Source: The South African