Tuesday, August 4, 2015

SUSPECTED POACHERS ARRESTED IN TSAVO ELEPHANT KILLINGS

 

Kenyan wildlife authorities Wednesday arrested two suspected poachers in the slaughter of five elephants in Tsavo National Park. But a major manhunt was still underway to catch the rest of the killing gang after the carcasses of a female adult and four young adult elephants were found with their tusks missing, Agence France-Presse reported.


The five elephants were killed in Tsavo West National Park, which covers about 3,500 square miles and harbors some 11,000 pachyderms including rhinos, hippos and elephants. The reserve is near the border with Tanzania and is Kenya’s largest elephant sanctuary.


An illegal ivory stockpile is burned at the Tsavo National Park in Kenya on July 20, 2011, approximately 350 kilometers southeast of the capital Nairobi. TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images

"The suspected gang is believed to comprise ... four Tanzanians who operate across the Tanzania-Kenya border assisted by some Kenyans from the local area. They are believed to have used motorbikes to escape with the tusks," the Kenya Wildlife Service, which operates the park, told AFP.


Tsavo West and Tsavo East national parks together form one of the largest national parks in the world and cover 4 percent of Kenya’s total land area, making them a prime location for tourists and poachers.

Trophy hunting has been illegal in Kenya since the 1970s, but the lucrative ivory trade has fueled a demand for elephant tusks. Ivory is reportedly bought at $45 per pound from poachers and sold for thousands of dollars in Asia.

The combined Tsavo parks saw the elephant population plummet from more than 60,000 in the early 1970s to fewer than 6,000 in the late 1980s. The establishment of the Kenya Wildlife Service and an international ivory trade ban in 1989 have helped slowly revive Tsavo’s elephant population, but there has been an unprecedented rise in poaching across the African continent since 2009. READ MORE

Monday, August 3, 2015

CECIL THE LION'S DEATH BRINGS GLOBAL AWARENESS


In the ever evolving scheme of the wickedness of Wild Life Crime , the death of Cecil the lion, barely registers on the most sensitive Wildlife Crime Richter scale.

Walter Palmer, the dentist from Minnesota has attracted outrage and anger from people around this planet.

In African areas where conservancies have collapsed, wildlife has largely been wiped out, and wildlife is worth more money dead than alive.

The good news about the death of Cecil is that he has raised world wide awareness of conservationists pleading for help in reversing the global politics that endanger the key stone species in Africa.

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The African Elephant population is dwindling to near extinction due to the massive blood ivory trade. Without the elephant, all forms of African wildlife are at risk of extinction as well... Without the elephant to provide water, the big cats and other wildlife can not survive.


Amara Conservation has been contributing immensely with awareness around communities living adjacent to the National Parks and private owned sanctuaries in Tsavo Kenya, conservation education enables people to realize how natural resources and ecosystems affect each other and how resources can be used wisely.

Through conservation education, people develop the critical thinking skills they need to understand the complexities of ecological problems. It also encourages people to act on their own to conserve natural resources and use them in a responsible manner by making informed resource decisions.


The communities with scenic landscapes that are easy to access and have adequate infrastructure can make enough from eco/photo tourism to be viable. But other landowners are returning to cattle, goats and crops in order to educate and fend for their children.

Wildlife on these lands has largely gone, along with its habitat - back to the degraded agriculture landscapes from years back when wildlife use including hunting became legal.

Lions and other wild animals that were on these farmlands are long gone, and those that remain in national parks are shot as problem animals as soon as they leave the park. With this reckless human interference, the natural order of life is disrupted and the whole animal kingdom suffers for it.
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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Monday, July 27, 2015

MOMBASA KENYA: GATEWAY TO AFRICAN WILD ANIMAL POACHING

Mombasa's major landmark is a pair of tin arches made to look like elephant ivory. Given to the city by Princess Margaret in 1956, it is now an ironic and dark reminder of Mombasa’s place as Africa’s most active ivory trafficking hub. Credit:Briana Duggan

Tourists visiting Kenya’s steamy coastal city of Mombasa will likely pose in front of what is perhaps the city’s most iconic symbol, two giant arches made of aluminum and designed to look like elephant tusks. Given to the city by Britain’s Princess Margaret in 1956, the structure was meant to celebrate Kenya’s abundance of wildlife. But today it has become something of an ironic emblem of the city.

Last year, activists defaced the sculptures, smearing them with dripping red paint and the phrase, “Mombasa Not 4 Ivory Export.”

Relative to its neighbors, Kenya has been lauded internationally for its anti-poaching initiatives. The country imposed a strict new wildlife act that imposes life sentences or heavy fines for poaching. With the help of international donors, the Kenya Wildlife Service recently opened a wildlife forensic and genetics laboratory to aid in wildlife crime prosecution. However, even with these advancements, Kenya has one serious weakness.

The port of Mombasa, the country’s largest coastal city, is the single most active ivory trafficking hub in Africa, funneling ivory from East and Central Africa on its way, overwhelmingly, to Asian markets. This trade through Mombasa has increased in recent years, leading to a grim statistic: Since 2009, studies estimate the port of Mombasa has funneled the ivory of 25,000 elephants.

Approximately 188 metric tons of ivory is believed to have passed through the port of Mombasa between 2009-2014. Credit: Briana Duggan

The ivory passing through Mombasa has been labeled as decorating stones, declared as peanuts, and stashed with tea leaves. It has been intercepted in Singapore, Thailand and at the Kenyan port, sometimes in quantities of 1,000 pounds or more.

Experts say the level of sophistication required to move such large quantities over such long distances indicates the involvement of organized crime.

“It’s a heightened degree of professionalization that is required to actually move this contraband across this very long and very diverse supply chain,” says Jackson Miller, lead analyst for wildlife and environmental crimes at C4ADS, a security analysis NGO. “You need contacts within thousands of miles of bush, access to transport routes, then as you get out of Africa, access to outside transport and retail. It’s a big mission.”

Reports have linked the illegal wildlife trade with the funding of armed groups. While it’s unclear exactly how much it may be funding Kenya’s central security threat, the Somali-based group al-Shabaab, non-profits, government officials, and researchers have found real links between the wildlife trade and conflict in Africa.

Compounding the problem is Mombasa’s reputation for mismanagement, lax security and corruption. It’s been called a “liability for Africa,” where wildlife products and drugs can be moved with impunity.

“This is one of the ports of convenience in the world,” says longtime Kenyan maritime consultant Andrew Mwangura. “You can do anything,” he says. He calls the port’s rule of thumb: see no evil, hear no evil.  READ MORE HERE

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