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Poaching Wars

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Re: Poaching Wars

Post  whitestarling on Sat Apr 18, 2015 6:11 pm

Sorry my question was confusing Chris. What I was trying to ask was how many of the increased population of Rhinos are allowed to roam free wherever they want, which I realise is a bit difficult as they need so much protection from poachers. What I was trying to get at, is have the numbers only increased to provide more opportunities for the trophy hunters ? If this is the case then in my mind that has nothing to do with conservation. It is really the equivalent of farming, where animals are bread, and raised just to be sent to the slaughter house for profit, only in this case the slaughter house is brought to them.
If that is the case, then as much as it saddens me to say I have to agree with Safariman, that I would rather see the Rhino go extinct, than be reduced to that.

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Re: Poaching Wars

Post  whitestarling on Tue Apr 21, 2015 11:41 pm


Professional trophy hunter trampled to death by elephant
news/2010_jan/elephant_trophy_hunter
The news from Chifuti Safaris that one of their professional game hunters had been trampled to death by the bull elephant he was stalking in Zimbabwe, has caused a global reaction and put the rights and wrongs of trophy hunting under the spotlight.

The company explains that professional hunter Ian Gibson and his client had been on the tracks of the elephant bull for approximately 5 hours when they decided to take a break and allow the client to rest. Ian and his tracker Robert then continued to follow the tracks in hopes of getting a look at the ivory and Robert warned Ian the bull was in musth, a time when they were are particularly aggressive.

“They eventually caught up to the bull, spotting him at about 50-100 meters. The bull instantly turned and began a full charge. Ian and Robert began shouting in order to stop the charge. At very close range, Ian was able to get off one shot before the bull killed him.”

The news has caused debate on both sides, with people commenting on social media and the news items.




Read the comments about this article and leave your own comment

One for the Elephants
It's great to here that the elephants are starting to get there own back on humans hunting them all people who know about wildlife knows you don't interfear with elephants in musk. Sorry for the so called hunter but well done Mr Elephant.

Posted by: Eddie Williams | 21 Apr 2015 14:05:52
Elephant 1 - Hunter 0
This guy got his deserved outcome , shame on the government for allowing the practice of hunting endangered animals by rich people , if they are a problem why not relocate them and if the rich really want to get involved they should put up their money for a great cause and be rewarded with participation in any relocation events .

Posted by: Russ | 21 Apr 2015 00:06:11
One for the elephants
He did get what he deserved and I hope that one shot missed the bull elephant. Endangered species should be protected NOT HUNTED!

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Re: Poaching Wars

Post  Chris-AWD on Wed Apr 22, 2015 10:09 am


WS - just to get back to our previous discussion - as you know habitat loss for wild animals will continue indefinitely and there is limited scope to enlarge state-protected areas.
One thing you need to understand here is that using land for conservation is not popular in the post-apartheid climate of South Africa, where 30% of land is targeted for redistribution to black South Africans.

Conservationists are therefor increasingly turning to private landowners for solutions to this problem. They do contribute to conservation by maintaining natural areas of habitat and the reintroduction of white rhinos is one success story.

I think you and Safariman may have a wrong perception about what a game farm / ranch is. You can’t simply compare it to a cattle farm which have a sole objective to breed the animals only. Some of the ranches are very large and facilitate very good rhino habitat where they can roam freely over a wide range.

I can never agree with your sentiment that that you would rather see the Rhino go extinct but hopefully we can respectfully disagree on that point.

The story above relates closely to this issue of whether you are for or against hunting.

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Re: Poaching Wars

Post  Laikipia on Wed Apr 22, 2015 7:09 pm

Against 100%

As for the ele killing the hunter, I am sorry for his death but I would be a hypocrite not to say that I believe in karma and what goes around comes around.

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Re: Poaching Wars

Post  whitestarling on Tue Apr 28, 2015 1:02 pm

I understand the encroachment problem Chris its happening all over the world, not just SA, and also that most of SA is in National Parks private games reserves, and ranches. But my bottom line is that if Rhinos are just being bred to be shot then that's a no for me, just to increase numbers so that more can be shot, that does nothing at all to conserve the Rhinos. I have a saying that there are times when friends have to agree to disagree, so its no problem

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Re: Poaching Wars

Post  whitestarling on Thu Apr 30, 2015 6:13 pm

Thai officials seize 4 tonnes of ivory as US bill proposes sanctions on smuggling countries

news/2010_jan/ivory
Thousands of elephant tusks are still being illegally trafficked every year around the world and contribute significant sums of money to terrorism


As reports come in of more than four tonnes of ivory being seized in Bangkok by Thai officials, a US Congressman, Peter DeFazio has introduced legislation to be considered by Congress that would impose trade sanctions on countries that facilitate ivory and rhino horn trafficking.

The 739 ivory tusks confiscated in Thailand, estimated to be worth about USD $6.2 million, were reportedly smuggled from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The final destinations for the ivory were believed to include not only smugglers in Thailand but also China and Vietnam.

The day of the seizure was the final day in the period designated by the Thai government for Thai citizens to declare their personal ivory holdings or face a fine of up to three million baht. So far more than 150 tonnes have been registered with officials.

As one of the world’s most lucrative criminal activities, valued at US$19 billion annually, the illegal wildlife trade which includes in large part ivory from elephant tusks and horn from rhinos, ranks fifth globally in terms of value.

This is just behind the trafficking in drugs, people, oil and counterfeiting, and the proceeds fund organised crime and terrorist organisations.

Most illegal ivory is destined for Asia, in particular China, where it has soared in value as an investment vehicle and is coveted as ‘white gold’.

Availability of legal ivory in China purchased from the stockpile sale in southern Africa in 2008 has had the effect of boosting demand, and thus encouraging illegal ivory trade and the poaching of elephants to meet market needs.

It is in response to these illegal activities that US Representative DeFazio has formulated his bill, the Targeted Use of Sanctions for Killing Elephants and Rhinoceros (TUSKER) Act.

“More than 20,000 elephants and 1,200 rhinos were slaughtered in 2014 alone and over 1,000 park rangers have been killed trying to protect endangered wildlife,” he says.

“The illegal wildlife trade funds the operations of gun, drug and human trafficking crime syndicates. It also funds extremely dangerous terrorist groups that threaten regional stability in Africa and national security in the United States.

"We need to choke off the access to the market. My legislation sends a strong message—if countries permit this illegal trafficking, there will be economic consequences.”

Adam M Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA and the Born Free Foundation applaudes the proposed new legislation.

He says: "Congressman DeFazio deserves the full support of all Members of Congress for tackling this significant issue head-on.”

Speaking of the recent Thai impoundment of ivory, Jason Bell, Director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, says: “Thailand is starting to take responsibility for its role in the international trafficking of ivory. Its legal market has long made it the ideal place to smuggle in illegal ivory from African elephants.

“The responsibility to fight the international wildlife trafficking syndicates must be shared. Both because the tentacles of the illegal ivory trade extend across the globe, and also because the animals behind the products are part of our shared natural heritage.”

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Re: Poaching Wars

Post  Chris-AWD on Wed May 13, 2015 10:40 am

A surprising article I notices today.

IFAW and WCS conducted a  “snapshot investigation” of ivory sales looking at Craigslist sites in major cities such as New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Honolulu.

They found ivory for sale on several sites, with ads listing 456 ivory products, including complete tusks; another 84 items that appeared to be ivory; and 75 related products such as a footstool made from an elephant’s leg.

No surprises there but the statements that surprised me in the article was:

All four those USA metropolitan areas are known hubs of the illegal ivory trade.

and

This investigation hammers home a sad fact: The United States is the world’s second- or third-largest market for products directly linked to the slaughter of wild elephants. “People are kind of shocked when you start talking about the fact that the U.S. is a major market for ivory,” Calvelli said.


I never realized that fact. This forum post many times about the problem in Asia like WS did above.

I was always under the impression that the problem was mainly in the East.

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Re: Poaching Wars

Post  Laikipia on Thu May 14, 2015 10:16 am

And so was I Chris.

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Re: Poaching Wars

Post  whitestarling on Thu May 14, 2015 10:49 am

Thanks for that Chris, I have heard snippets of information about this, and by coincidence I received an email confirming this yesterday that the USA is the second largest user of Ivory.

Rock guitarist SLASH writes song for the elephants

Rock guitarist and songwriter, SLASH has  released a song and video called Beneath The Savage Sun to raise awareness of the slaughter of elephants.

British-born SLASH, who until the age of five lived in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, has partnered with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) to draw attention to the widespread poaching of elephants.

While on tour in South Africa, SLASH and the lead singer of his band, Myles Kennedy, witnessed the elephant crisis first-hand and felt they had to act. Together, they wrote the song from the perspective of an elephant whose family has been wiped out and is a highlight on the SLASH Featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators group’s current album ‘World On Fire’.

“An elephant is killed every 15 minutes for its ivory and the result is the elephant population has declined 95% in the past century,” explains SLASH. “Seeing that these majestic animals are on the path to extinction, possibly within the next decade, we wrote ‘Beneath The Savage Sun’ and partnered with IFAW. Donate to IFAW’s work to take action and protect elephants.”

IFAW’s CEO, Azzedine Downes, expressed gratitude to SLASH and Myles Kennedy  for calling attention to the current elephant poaching crisis. “To save elephants from this senseless slaughter, we need everyone to stand up and demand stronger protection and we need to help fund action on the ground in Africa and Asia. We are grateful to Slash, Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators for reaching out to their fans to share this important message.”



Not my type of music, but if it gets the message across to a new audience all the better

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Re: Poaching Wars

Post  Safariman on Sat May 16, 2015 11:04 am

It does not particularly surprise me Chris as Europe is also a major hub for the ivory and trade. It is very much like drugs, where there is a demand there will always be a supply. There is also a trend for Western countries to adopt a "Holier than thou" attitude without looking in their own backyard first. You will only eliminate the poaching if you eliminate the end user and that is not going to happen anytime soon.If there is money to be made there is always someone willing to take a chance.
There was an interesting programme on UK tv last night about the poaching problem in SA. It concerned an all female anti-poaching unit set up in the Balule Reserve adjacent to the Kruger, which I have visited several times, called the Black Mambas!! However hard they try and they are provided with high powered weapons they are really fighting a losing battle and only nibble at the edges of the problem. The big problem is endemic corruption which starts with the park rangers and guides themselves who are willing to tip off the poachers as to the location of rhinos for money. The poachers claim they only need 20 minutes to carry out there work!! They also interviewed a smuggler who told how he carried rather than smuggled suitcases full of rhino horn through customs etc both in SA and then in Pakistan and China without any problems as all the officials had been well bribed and therefore allowed him through without question. There is so much money now involved in smuggling rhino horn that the profits are better than smuggling drugs!!
The poacher looks at it from the point of view of needing to feed his family and the risks are worth while. He sees the reserves and parks as places only for rich white people and that they are of no benefit for him therefore if the rhino become extinct so what!! It is also difficult for an ordinary out of work African to see the difference between a wealthy white man shooting a lion or rhino for fun and calling it conservation and him doing it for money to feed his family. I tend to agree with him.
There is too much hypocrisy in the west, telling other people what to do while doing the same thing themselves but under a different umbrella!!

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Re: Poaching Wars

Post  Chris-AWD on Sun May 17, 2015 3:10 pm

WS like you I will probably not buy that music but I do appreciate that video - it reaches an audience that IFAW will probably not reach by themselves.

SM - although the picture you paint is a rather bleak one - we have that type of TV program here every week - there are numerous efforts like the Black mambas which gives hope. Those young woman incorporate an important component in the fight which it is to involve the local community. They do that dangerous job unarmed and they do have an impact with no rhinos poached during the last +- year in that reserve.


In the meantime there are only one male northern white rhino left on our planet. If he does not mate successfully soon with one of two female northern white rhinos  they will be extinct. The problem is he is getting old at 42 and breeding efforts have so far failed. The only two other northern white rhinos in the world are females in zoos.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/may/12/last-male-northern-white-rhino

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Re: Poaching Wars

Post  whitestarling on Wed May 27, 2015 10:33 am

SM does indeed paint a bleak picture, and most of it is true. The question is what do we do are we saying this is a war we cannot win. Do we stop all government protection , pull out all the NGO's in Africa disband all the wardens, and rangers, in effect saying those that have already died were wasting their time. That would be like having your house burgled a number of times, and switching off all the security devices, not ringing the police, and not replacing anything that was taken. You'd end up living in an empty shell, and Africa would be the same, and empty shell of wildlife, because you can be sure these people will not stop when the Rhino, Elephant, and Lions become extinct, they will just find or create other markets for other species, like they have already done with Giraffes. No species would be safe until, Africa is an empty shell of wildlife

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Re: Poaching Wars

Post  whitestarling on Mon Jun 01, 2015 12:13 pm

Battle to stop illegal wildlife trade taken online by China's leading ISP
news/Hands_on_computer

Tencent, a leading provider of Internet services in China, has launched a joint campaign with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to combat the illegal online wildlife trade.

The joint campaign - Tencent for the Planet – will involve Tencent’s Weixin, QQ, and microblog platforms.

The company has already made a concerted effort to protect the public and wildlife by clamping down on malicious and illegal activities online.

It has observed the steady growth of illegal wildlife trade on the Internet through recent user complaints. As a result, in March Tencent shut down a group of social media accounts which were proven to be involved in illegal online wildlife business activities.

The rapid development of online media has put a lot of wildlife species at risk and has created huge losses for the global ecosystem and humans, as criminals have used the Internet for secret, fast and convenient communications and transactions.

This partnership is the first time Tencent has worked with conservation organisations to combat illegal online wildlife trade and protect elephants and other species.

Continued high demand for illegal wildlife products has greatly endangered many species like elephants, rhinos, and tigers, leaving some facing imminent extinction.

The world is experiencing the worst poaching crisis in history, rivalling that in the 1980s, when more than 800 tons of ivory left Africa every year and the continent’s elephant populations plunged from 1.3 million to 600,000.

Scientists estimate that only 430,000 African elephants remain today with one elephant killed every 15 minutes for its ivory.

As one of the world’s most lucrative criminal activities, valued at US$19-billion annually, illegal wildlife trade ranks fifth globally in terms of value, behind the trafficking in drugs, people, oil and counterfeiting.

The IFAW report of its 2014 investigation into online wildlife trade, Wanted: Dead or Alive, Exposing the Online Wildlife Trade, reveals that over 33,000 endangered wildlife and wildlife parts were available for sale online in a short six-week period.

“Although the Internet provides a platform for illegal wildlife business, it also offers the tremendous hope for saving endangered species,” says Grace Ge Gabriel, Asia Regional Director, IFAW.

"IFAW welcomes Tencent’s move to take positive actions to prevent wildlife crime via social media."

“It is a win-win partnership, as Tencent has the most widely used social media services while TNC and IFAW have deep knowledge of conservation and international influence,” says Kaitian Guo, Chairman of Tencent Charity Funds Council and Senior Vice President of Tencent.

“The move signals a great collaboration of Tencent’s resources with TNC and IFAW’s conservation expertise. Tencent is committed to leading change in this Internet era in an ecologically harmonious way.”

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Re: Poaching Wars

Post  whitestarling on Mon Jun 15, 2015 9:41 am

Preloved bans ivory sales
news/2010_jan/antique_ivory_figures_trending
The second-hand online marketplace Preloved has banned the sale of all ivory on its website, a move welcomed by animal welfare charity, the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

“The decision to ban ivory sends a strong message to Preloved’s two million users and the wider world that when there is no more demand for ivory products, there will be no value in obtaining raw ivory,” said UK Director of IFAW, Philip Mansbridge. “More than 100,000 elephants have lost their lives to ivory poachers in the past three years alone.”

Antique worked ivory (pre-1947) that was traded into the UK before the international ban in 1989, is legal to trade within the UK along with proof of provenance. However, due to growing demands for raw ivory within the current global commercial markets, Preloved has made the decision to ban the sale of ivory. The classified ad site has taken measures to update its advert moderation process and tighten its regulations as part of the ban, including dedicating time to review all suspect ivory adverts.

Along with updating its advert moderation processes as part of the ivory ban on site, Preloved has also taken the opportunity to tighten up its regulations for other species protected under CITES law. Animal parts from any species listed as endangered are not permitted for sale on Preloved. The site has reviewed its processes and taken measures to tighten up regulatory processes accordingly.

Despite efforts to protect elephants from being hunted across many parts of Africa and Asia in the 1970s, growing demand for ivory continues to drive populations of elephants into decline. In an attempt to reverse the continuing trend of legal and illegal hunting of elephants for their ivory, the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) banned the international trade of ivory in 1989. However the illegal ivory trade still thrives today.

As specified in Preloved's listing guidelines, this excludes the sale of antique (pre-1947) pianos and furniture with ivory elements when advertised with proof of age documentation as provided by an official antiques

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Re: Poaching Wars

Post  whitestarling on Tue Jul 28, 2015 5:56 pm

Trophies back on board as South African Airways reverses its ban

Three months after announcing a ban on the transportation of certain hunting trophies (rhino, elephant, tiger and lion), South African Airways are once again allowing hunting trophies on their planes.

“In April conservationists and animal lovers around the world were applauding SAA for a principled decision to combat illegal trafficking of wildlife by putting an embargo on transporting certain hunting trophies, said Jason Bell, Director of International fund for animal Welfare Southern Africa.

“An embargo removed any “grey area” between illegal and legal trophies. It quite simply ended trophies of rhino, elephant, lions and tiger from being transported by SAA at all. Illegal trafficking of wildlife is one of the world’s most lucrative criminal activities, valued at US$19-billion annually. It ranks among damaging and dangerous global crimes such as trafficking in drugs, people oil and counterfeiting.”

The charity believes that the hunting lobby has prevailed in persuading the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) to put pressure on the airline to withdraw its ban on transporting certain hunting trophies.”

SAA had implemented its embargo after its cargo division was fined by the Civil Aviation Authority for an incident in which hunting trophies were allegedly shipped to Australia falsely labelled as “mechanical equipment”.

Tlali Tlali, South African Airways spokesperson, said: “We have decided to lift the embargo after extensive engagements with the DEA [Department of Environmental Affairs] and the commitment we received that the compliance and inspection areas will be strengthened to ensure that the risk of shipment of illicit goods and falsification of permits and documentation is eliminated.”

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Re: Poaching Wars

Post  Laikipia on Wed Jul 29, 2015 8:19 am

That's not good news at all, but somehow not at all surprising! Thanks for updating us WS.

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Re: Poaching Wars

Post  whitestarling on Tue Oct 06, 2015 10:54 pm

24,000 elephants killed in 2015
news/2010_jan/elephant_2
More than 24,000 elephants have died at the hands of poachers since the start of 2015, The Born Free Foundation have reported
.


According to Born Free’s monitoring of reports, over 24,300 elephants have been estimated killed since the beginning of this year. Further figures reveal that over 129,000 elephants have been poached for their ivory since the start of 2012.

Born Free Foundation Policy Adviser, Dominic Dyer, said: “Greed, corruption and ignorance is leading to the brutal, cruel destruction of Africa’s elephants and rhinos at a rate not witnessed in the history of human civilisation. Unless the international community takes urgent action to shut down the global ivory and rhino horn trade and provides more training, equipment and financial resources to African states to better protect their precious elephants and rhinos from poachers, we will be the last generation to see them in the wild.”

Born Free Foundation and Born Free USA CEO, Adam M. Roberts, said: “Elephants and rhinos are the victims of an illegal wildlife trafficking enterprise that is more organised, militarised, and lucrative than ever before. An estimated 129,000 elephants have died at the hands of poachers since January 2012. As documented in Born Free USA’s groundbreaking reports, Ivory’s Curse and Out of Africa, poaching is not only a wildlife conservation and animal welfare issue, but also is intrinsically linked to terrorist networks and global criminal syndicates that use bloody ivory money to fund their violent activities, threatening national security.”

“Rhinos are similarly suffering as casualties of the disturbingly high global demand for their horns. More than 1,200 black and white rhinos were killed in South Africa alone in 2014. Africa’s black rhinos in particular are critically endangered, with a population of fewer than 5,000. Only 3,000 one-horned rhinos remain in India and Nepal, and Southeast Asia’s Sumatran and Javan rhinos number only in the hundreds and tens, respectively

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Re: Poaching Wars

Post  Laikipia on Sun Oct 11, 2015 12:16 pm

That doesn't make for good reading at all, poaching hasn't been this bad for years now. I wonder if it will ever end or will we just find in 10 years that there are no longer rhinos or eles on this planet?

Thanks for sharing WS

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Re: Poaching Wars

Post  whitestarling on Mon Oct 12, 2015 11:21 am

No it doesn't Lai, the poachers have even got into Samburu, which was safe for a while as we saw on Sabas TV series. Different Government, and NGO agencies are catching some poachers, but as I've said before until they all join together, including an international police force like Interpol as on umbrella organisation to track the criminal organisations funding the poachers, it will not be stopped

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Re: Poaching Wars

Post  Laikipia on Mon Oct 12, 2015 1:19 pm

Sadly true WS.

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Re: Poaching Wars

Post  Chris-AWD on Tue Oct 13, 2015 12:25 pm

Last year I started researching an elephant poaching page I wanted to create on my site but it got so dark and depressing to do the research that I abandoned the idea midway.

This not going to end soon because too many people don't give a damn. They prefer the dead ivory ornament to the living one.

Interestingly protecting elephants is an important part of fighting climate change.

The reason is that they disperse billions of seeds, many of which will grow into the forests thereby stabilising our climate. So we can protect elephants to save the forests to save the climate but who really cares?

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Re: Poaching Wars

Post  whitestarling on Wed Oct 14, 2015 11:13 am

I agree Chris its easy to get despondent about how things are going. Never thought about the climate change seed aspect that's really interesting, and as to who cares, theres millions of people care, but no leadership that's where issue the should be addressed

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Re: Poaching Wars

Post  Laikipia on Wed Oct 14, 2015 2:30 pm

I Agree Chris and I Agree WS - there are plenty of people who care we just need more people to care and the government's to listen and take action.

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Re: Poaching Wars

Post  littlewid on Sun Oct 18, 2015 4:06 pm

Sorry I am late in on this one. It is very depressing isn't it and as WS says it has even got into Samburu now, such a magnificent male killed, that case was really sad as he hadn't died instantly either......there was another case in the paper last week of a male being killed by some idiot who had paid to shoot him......just what is going to happen to these animals????......as it has been said the organisations need to join up to be a stronger force and the word needs to keep being spread as the extent of the devastation....the trouble is most people just read it in the paper, think it's sad and then move on the next article or bit of celebrity gossip.......I didn't think about Elephants helping with climate change Chris and it is another way to try and help preserve the Elephant but again there are lots of people who don't give a true damn about climate change either......we live in a world that just thinks everything will keep on going as normal....there's no real thought or understanding that our creatures and planet is at risk of being no more and that man is at the root cause of it all.......however we can all keep doing our bit and spreading the word as much as we can and support the agencies that are at the front line of it all.

littlewid-x-

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Re: Poaching Wars

Post  whitestarling on Sat Jan 30, 2016 10:41 am

South Africa stabilises rhino poaching as threat spreads across the region

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Black Rhino by Martin Harvey, WWF
South Africa today announced its first decrease in rhino poaching since 2007, but this slight improvement was offset by an alarming increase in the number of rhinos killed in neighbouring countries.

South Africa’s Minister of Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa, revealed that 1,175 rhinos were lost in South Africa in 2015 – slightly down from the record 1,215 in the previous year.

However, at least 130 rhinos were poached in Namibia and Zimbabwe during the same period – up almost 200 percent from 2014.

“After seven years of increases, a decline in the rate of rhino poaching in South Africa is encouraging and the result of the government's leadership and the tireless efforts of so many committed people,” said Carlos Drews, WWF Director, Global Species Programme. “However, the rate remains unacceptably high – and soaring poaching levels in Namibia and Zimbabwe are cause for serious concern”.

While poachers are still focusing primarily on South Africa, official figures from Namibia and Zimbabwe suggest that criminal networks are expanding their reach across the region – targeting rhinos in previously secure areas.

In Namibia, 80 rhinos were lost to poachers in 2015 – up from 25 in 2014 and just 4 in 2013. In Zimbabwe, 50 animals were killed – more than double the previous year’s total.

These three countries are home to nearly 95 per cent of all remaining African rhinos.

“We desperately need co-ordinated international efforts by police and other law enforcement agencies to combat the organised criminal syndicates trafficking rhino horn across southern Africa and beyond,” said Jo Shaw, Rhino Programme Manager for WWF-South Africa. “Major transit and consumer countries, such as Mozambique and Viet Nam, need to take urgent law enforcement steps to stop the trafficking of, and reduce demand for, illicit wildlife products.”

Last week, the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Standing Committee ruled that Mozambique and Viet Nam should report on a range of activities targeted at stopping rhino crimes by 30 June 2016, including improved prosecutions and the use of specialized investigation techniques to expose those organizing the illegal trafficking.

The poaching figures were released a day after the South African High Court dismissed the government’s application to appeal an earlier ruling lifting a moratorium on the domestic sale of rhino horns.

“Reopening South Africa’s national rhino horn trade would go against CITES which urges all Parties to adopt and implement comprehensive legislation and enforcement controls, including internal trade restrictions and penalties, aimed at reducing illegal trade in rhino horn,” said Drews. “It would also make it even harder for already overstretched law enforcement agents to tackle rhino horn trafficking.”

WWF emphasises that stopping rhino poaching is not just a law enforcement response, but also requires the involvement of local communities around protected areas.

“The infiltration of these communities by sophisticated criminal gangs not only threatens rhinos, it also compromises the safety and sustainable development of the people living in these communities,” said Shaw.

“Local communities can help tackle wildlife crime, but only if they see themselves as active partners in conservation with a real stake in protecting wildlife, not just as pawns in a fight between law enforcement officers and international criminal syndicates.”

WS

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Re: Poaching Wars

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