Friday, May 31, 2013


You can SAVE ELEPHANTS via  Lori Bergemann's Amara Conservation Group . They work towards preservation of the African Elephant, still massively endangered by ivory poachers. My own visit to Kenya (LINK) demonstrated firsthand what effort it takes to safeguard assorted wildlife.

Each rhinoceros required its own personal guardian with an AK-47 or UZI, tactfully hidden behind bushes when tourists approached. One can't just dehorn or detusk animals still in the wild to prevent their loss of life to poachers: these animals need their horns and tusks to protect themselves and their young.

The Amara group also is championed by Retrokimmer, see her LINK about the Ann Arbor, Michigan connection, also famed guitarist Steve Hunter's blog on the Amara Elephant Blog LINK.


Retro Kimmer

Thursday, May 30, 2013


$140m ivory intercepted (Zambia)By PRISCA JANGAZYA and CHATULA KAMPO , 

The Times of Zambia May 29, 2013 An inspector in the Zambia Police Service and eight other suspected poachers have been arrested for illegally being in possession of Government trophy amounting to more than US$100 million. ZAWA Board chairperson Guy Robinson said 27kg of elephant ivory tusks worth $140 million suspected to have been poached were intercepted at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport after an attempt to illegally export them to China.

Mr Robinson said the ZAWA anti-poaching patrol under the Western command arrested the suspects and confiscated two AK47 rifles with 32 rounds of ammunition, six pieces of elephant ivory tusks, three elephant tails, 915kg of dried game meat, two bicycles and 29kg of dried warthog meat. Speaking during the official signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the African Wildlife Foundation conservation project in Lusaka yesterday, Mr Robinson said stiff measures should be implemented to conserve wildlife.

He said senior wildlife police officers in collaboration with the Zambia Police Service and Zambia Army would work together to determine the sources of crime and bring the alleged perpetrators to book. “With a great sense of frustration, the increasing involvement of public officers allegedly found committing wildlife and related economic crimes whilst using Government transport to conceal their activities is a source of concern. “Our patrols are on the increase and our staff of wildlife police officers will be empowered to inspect vehicles suspected to be conveying Government trophy contraband,” Mr Robinson said.

He said from the period January to April 2013, ZAWA conducted 2,675 law enforcement operations which resulted in 56,047 patrol man-days. He urged men and women in the uniformed forces to work with ZAWA to eradicate the abuse of ammunition sourced from official stocks.

Monday, May 27, 2013


 We had a fantastic week with students from Purdue University

Amara Conservation = A decade of hard work bringing lasting solutions to elephant poaching and preserving the Africa we love. Purdue University recently sent staff and students to Kenya to study Amara's educational techniques. It’s pretty hopeless to stop elephant poaching in Africa unless you get local buy-in,” said Iain Douglas-Hamilton, one of the world’s most celebrated elephant researchers.

At a night film show at Ghazi,  A big thumbs up guys for visiting Amara! We all were happy and enjoyed the time  spent with you. Jacob Dadi


Retro Kimmer



Retro Kimmer



Some 20 years ago one of my best friends (RIP) was employed by a large airline as station cargo manager in Nairobi, Kenya. I went to see him 3 to 4 times a year during the 4 years he spent there. Kenya and nearby Tanzania were by far the best places in the world to watch the big guys, and I mean big : hippos, rhinos and of course elephants.

There were plenty of elephants then, though the ivory trade and the associated slaughter was already big. I even remember the story of the president of Kenya having a bonfire with elephant tusks to show that Kenya had a firm position against ivory trade and poachers.

My best memory is by far when, during one of our early morning safaris, we encountered a rhino and an elephant strolling together.

I wish I would have kept this great picture I took at that time but I still have the vivid memories of stopping our car, turning the engine off and just looking. Looking at the beauty and at the strength that mother earth put in front of us. I wonder if my son will someday have a chance to feel what I felt that day... other than through animal TV shows.

I wonder if people will realize that it feels better to see animals moving in their own environment rather than having ivory necklaces around your neck. I wonder if people will realize that there are medications out there that make you feel much more of a man than using powder made from elephants' tusks. If need be, bite your own nails and leave the elephants alone.


Act as actors of the earth and the earth will give it back to you, just like she did to me that long time gone morning.

Eric Pouille 


Love this picture - thanks for sharing!! Very cool indeed. Looks like hundreds turned up and I know this will grow in time thanks to the good work of people like you and Amara's whole team!Heidi Barcaloca

How Male Elephants Bond By Caitlin O'Connell-Rodwell

At Namibia's Etosha National Park, male elephants form long-term friendships. (Susan McConnell)

Male elephants have a reputation as loners. But in Amboseli National Park in Kenya, where the longest-running studies on male elephants have been conducted, bulls have been observed to have a best friend with whom they associate for years.

Another study, in Botswana, found that younger males seek out older males and learn social behaviors from them. In my previous field seasons at Mushara, I’d noticed that males had not just one close buddy but several, and that these large groups of males of mixed ages persisted for many years. Of the 150 bulls that we were monitoring, the group I was particularly interested in, which I called the “boys’ club,” comprised up to 15 individuals—a dominant bull and his entourage.

Bulls of all ages appeared remarkably close, physically demonstrating their friendship. Read more: 

Amara Conservation= Lasting solutions to elephant poaching and preserving the Africa we love. 

You can help save the elephant from distinction.... Donate to fund the Amara Conservation Organization...

Tuesday, May 21, 2013



China is not the sole perpetrator of underhanded ivory trade, as a new study finds; the US is in second place for the largest ivory market in the world.

The study was published by British-based conservation group Care for the Wild International (CWI), and was conducted by Esmond Martin, a conservationist and researcher, and Daniel Stiles, an anthropologist and wildlife trade investigator. They investigated thousands of retail outlets in 16 American cities between March and December 2006 and March and May 2007, according to an article in National Geographic.

The most common types of ivory items found for sale were netsukes (miniature sculptures), human figurines, and jewelry, most originating from China and Japan. Americans purchasing ivory from China also feeds their demand; so the U.S. has partial blame for the huge Chinese ivory market as well.

There are loopholes in the United States African Elephant Conservation Act and  Endangered Species Act that make it possible for black market traders to "legally" import ivory products to the States.
One that is commonly used is to claim the ivory product as an antique, which somehow makes distribution legal.

The U.S. law states that any ivory product at least 100 years old supersedes the law's restrictions. But as you might have guessed, ivory traders aren't the most honest folk; they tend to lie about when the ivory goods were made, and falsify the required documents.

"Nearly one-third of the items we found, about 7,400 pieces, likely had been smuggled in into the U.S. since the 1990 ivory trade ban," Esmond Martin said in the Nat Geo article.

Another loophole in the law is tusks from hunted African elephants can be brought into the United States only as a game trophy. Hunters who go over to Africa to slaughter elephants legally, end up selling it in the states illegally - further feeding the ivory trade.

The CWI report also notes that there are more ivory crafters in the U.S. than in Europe, and that the ivory is acquired through the internet, auctions, and estate sales; which are largely unregulated by U.S. officials.

"The most common types of ivory items manufactured by U.S. ivory craftsmen are scrimshawed knife handles and tusk tips or plaques, pistol grips, billiard cue inlays, jewelry, parts for musical instruments, and Nantucket baskets, or baskets decorated with ivory," the report says.

Demand for Religious Trinkets Bolsters Elephant Poaching

Elephant poaching and the use of ivory in jewelery and other crafts have been banned globally for years now, starting in 1990. However, despite the world wide ban and the taboo of carrying ivory products, elephant killings are still continuing. In fact, the demand for ivory has been higher than in a decade, and the primary market are for religious crafts.

Illegal elephant killings in Africa are now higher than ever according to the article published in the most recent National Geographic issue entitled “Blood Ivory”. The illegal slaughter of elephants are hard to estimate, but scientists are projecting that these would account up to 25,000 elephant deaths a year to satisfy the demand of the global religious market.


The ivory is particularly sought after in Asian and some African countries, where they are carved into various religious artefacts: ivory baby Jesus statues and figurines of saints for the Christians in the Philippines, Islamic prayer beads and Coptic crosses for Muslims and Christians respectively in Egypt, amulets and decorative carvings for Buddhists in Thailand, and Buddhist and Taoist carvings in China. China is currently one of the largest consumers of ivory in the world, with investors paying top money to obtain elephant ivory religious paraphernalia.


It seems that the wealthy are driving a new demand for elephant poaching. And, despite the alarming decline in elephant numbers authorities can rationalize sales to “preferred buyers”, largely from Asian markets.

Political correctness sanctions ivory use in many western countries on the grounds of its use in traditional medicines. The faithful the world over “need” their carved ivory icons and artifacts. Buyers don’t care that their greed is driving another species to the brink of extinction.

They don’t care that these intelligent and emotional animals suffer as they and their family members are murdered. They are oblivious to the pain endured as elephant societies disintegrate. Please show that there are some human beings who prize life before luxury. Help stop the purposeless slaughter of our fellow creatures.  CHRIS KLONDIKE MASUAK

Thursday, May 16, 2013



“I’ve never really understood how we as a species/race of intelligent humans could covet parts of a dead animal as opposed to the living animal itself. Ivory is a commodity and luxury of the rich. One tusk can sustain a family in the jungle for months if not years.

If the demand is not there, the supply would be meaningless. If you have ever stood next to an elephant, as I have, you could not comprehend the slaughter of such a magnificent animal simply for its tusks.

It’s too bad the same amount of money that goes into trading ivory, can’t be used to protect these animals. I guess all we can do is save as many elephants and other animals slaughtered for their body parts, by whatever means possible.

Lori Bergemann is certainly doing her part, and deserves our support.”

Steve Hunter-2013

Lori Bergemann Executive Director Amara Conservation

Many thanks to the legendary guitarist and star Steve Hunter for his kind words in support of our work at Amara Conservation in Kenya.

Steve’s virtuosity has contributed more to rock and roll than most people could imagine –

We at Amara work to emulate Steve's level of skill and influence in our work for saving the elephants, people and ecosystems who depend upon them. Thank you Steve and Karen Hunter!
 ~ Lori 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Poetic justice was served in Zimbabwe when an unlucky imbecile, Solomon Manjoro, was trampled to death after charging a jumbo elephant he was attempting to hunt in the Charara game reserve.

According to a May article in The Telegraph, Manjoro's mangled remains were found by park rangers earlier this month. The state-controlled Sunday Mail reported: "The poacher was recently trampled to death by an elephant after he failed to gun down the jumbo during a hunting expedition."

His poaching buddy, Noluck Tafuruka, 29, was later arrested inside the park and charged with illegal possession of a firearm and contravention of local wildlife laws.

Noluck appears to possess some luck -- he avoided being squashed into a bloody pulp between the elephant's toes, as was the fate of his accomplice. The weight of a 15,400 pound elephant stomp would annihilate you immediately, however the poacher's subsequent demise does seem slightly deserved. The elephant has every right to defend itself, and is within full protection of the law.


Allegedly, the two poachers confidently charged the elephant while firing their guns, but instead of collapsing, the humungous elephant charged back. It is believed Manjoro and Tafuruka encountered the elephant after entering the game reserve at the end of April. A third man, Godfrey Shonge, was also arrested over the incident, but his affiliation is unknown.

Nothing has been reported regarding the fate of the elephant who was attacked, but whether he became a victim of the poachers attempted slaughter or not, he didn't go down without a fight.

Ivory Belongs to the Elephants!

Kenyan people, carrying anti-poaching posters, walk on the street in Nairobi, capital of Kenya, Over 300 citizens carried out an anti-poaching patrol in Nairobi on Tuesday, appealing to stop poaching elephants and rhinos. [Xinhua]

Kenya: Anti-Poaching Walk in MaraKiplang'at Kirui, The Star14 May 2013 

An anti-poaching protest walk was staged on Saturday at the Maasai Mara Game Reserve. The anti-poaching awareness campaign is dubbed 'Ivory belongs to elephants'. Elephant Neighbours Centre executive director Jim Nyamu said they want to create awareness on the elephants' value by educating local communities on the danger of poaching.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Whatever actions are taken to resolve this crisis, the larger issue is the underlying incentive for the elephant poaching: high demand and high ivory prices. The malady is human selfishness and ignorance that produces the market that causes all of this demand.

We’re seeing the symptoms being played out in Africa.

At the end of the day, one of two things will end poaching. Either there is no more demand for ivory trinkets, or there are NO MORE elephants. The choice is up to us.

Poaching decimated African elephant populations from ~ 1.3 million to 500,000 individuals in the eight years between 1979 and 1987, prompting an international ban on new ivory sales. However, current poaching rates now exceed those PRIOR to the ban.






Monday, May 13, 2013

FRAMED? Kenyan Conservationist Charged for Ivory Possession

Robert Ntawasa Susan Soila

Kenyan conservationist charged for ivory possession (AFP) – 5 hours ago NAIROBI — A top official in a Kenyan conservation group was Monday charged with illegal possession of 19 kilogrammes of elephant ivory worth more than $20,000. Susan Soila, 50, deputy director of the community development wing of the Amboseli Trust for Elephants, a not-for-profit organisation conserving wildlife in one of Kenya's most famous national parks, was arrested on Sunday along with her son.

Both Soila and her son, Robert Ntawasa, 30, were charged on three counts of having ivory without permission, found in their car when police arrested them in Emali, some 150 kilometres (90 miles) southeast of the capital Nairobi. They pled not guilty to all charges and were released on a bail of $2,350 (1,810 euro) each.

They allege that they were framed by members of the state-run Kenya Wildlife Service. "The accused have been ... spear heading conservation efforts," lawyer Philip Murgor said. "This seems to have rubbed the Kenya Wildlife Service the wrong way." The case will be heard on June 17. Last year poachers slaughtered 384 elephants in Kenya, up from 289 in 2011, according to official figures, from a total population of around 35,000. This year, poachers have already shot dead more than 75.

African Elephant: Most Endangered Animals in Africa

The African Elephant is one of the most endangered animals in Africa. Researchers at the University of Washington recently said the elephant death rate from poaching was currently 8 per cent, higher than the 7.4 per cent rate which led to the international ivory trade ban in 1989.

Samuel Wasser, one of the researchers, warned that African elephants – largest living land animal- are being pushed into extinction and could be extinct by 2020. The African Elephant, which can easily consume up to 225 kilograms of fruit, grass, and leaves in a day, is divided into two subspecies: The African Bush Elephant (Loxodonta africana), and the African Forest Elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis).

The differences between the two are merely on the physical aspect – The African Forest Elephant tends to have rounder ears and is significantly smaller than its counterpart. Besides poaching, African Elephants faces another major challenge: The calves have chances of dying in a drought, or falling prey to lions and crocodiles.

The population in the 1980s was around 1 million, with around 70,000 elephants being killed a year. The total African elephant population is now less than 470,000.

**NEWS UPDATE** China's Ivory Craze is Killing Africa's Elephants

By Juliet Fuisz, CNN May 10, 2013

Many of us believed that the ban on ivory, more than two decades ago, had ended the illegal ivory trade and saved Africa's elephants. But instead, the magnificent creatures are again in danger of extinction because of a resurgent soaring demand for ivory half a world away in China.

Twenty-five thousand elephants were killed in 2011 – poaching levels that had not been seen in more than ten years. The U.S. government describes a new sort of ivory organized crime that spurs on these massacres by heavily armed militias. In many parts of the African continent, murder rates now exceed population growth, meaning that the African elephant could simply disappear altogether.

In the video above Christiane Amanpour previews a National Geographic documentary called "Battle for the Elephants," in which reporter Bryan Christy investigated how Asia's booming ivory industry is keeping African poachers in business.

For further information on elephants please see Save the Elephants' web site at


兩萬五頭大象被殺害,2011年 - 偷獵十餘年未曾見過的水平。美國政府介紹了一種新型的象牙有組織犯罪,由全副武裝的民兵馬刺這些屠殺。在非洲大陸的許多地方,謀殺率超過人口的增長,這意味著非洲象可以簡單地完全消失

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Western Black Rhino Declared Extinct

Western Black Rhino

by Blake Deppe / People’s World 

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Africa’s western black rhino is now officially extinct. After being a victim of increasingly devastating poaching and seeing little to no conservation efforts, the species is now gone, and others – including the northern white rhino and Asia’s Javan rhino – are expected to swiftly follow unless efforts to stop the senseless killing of them prevail.

The black rhino had not been seen in West Africa since 2006, and had been on the IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species since then.  Read Full Story

These animals have gone extinct since the start of the 21st century. The Baiji Dolphin (Lipotes vexillifer) , West African Black Rhino (Diceros bicornis longipes) , The Golden Toad (Bufo periglenes) , Spix's Macaw (Cyanopsitta spixii) , Po'o-uli (Melamposops phaeosoma) , Kama'o (Myadestes myadestinus) , Hawaiian Crow (Corvus hawaiiensis) , Pyrenean Ibex (Capra pyrenaica pyrenaica).

The Many Uses for Elephant's Trunks!

A nose, an arm, a hand, a voice, a straw, a hose and much more - the elephant's trunk is surely the most versatile and useful appendage on the planet! The trunk is an essential tool for social behavior and virtually all close elephant interaction involves the trunk.

They use them to eat, smell, touch, stroke, explore, caress and embrace. The trunk is an extremely flexible muscular organ which can be used with the finest touch. With the two finger-like points on the end of its trunk, an African elephant can pick up fruit the size of a marble -- or a branch a foot thick OR to knock over an entire tree!

A mother will wrap her trunk protectively around her baby, close family members and friends will put the tips of their trunks in each others mouths, juveniles will play by trying to wrap up their friend's trunk in theirs and potential mates will touch and feel the more private areas of the object of their affection.

Watching a baby elephant learn to use this large appendage is quite funny as you see them trip on their trunk, throw it around, and work to figure out how to use the confounded thing.

Elephants use their trunks to rub an itchy eye or scratch an ear. Trunks are also used to threaten, and to throw objects. The trunk plays a vital part in its life. In fact, it is almost impossible for an elephant to survive if its trunk becomes damaged.

The trunk is also used in more confrontational situations both aggressive and defensive. It is used to chastise, discipline or control. An elephant will often wave its trunk or hold it in the air as a warning of aggressive intent. 

At the first hint of danger, an elephant will raise its trunk to smell any reason for the threat. 

However when confronted by an elephant, the real danger sign is when he rolls the trunk up and tucks it under his chin. This signals that an elephant is preparing to charge (while protecting it’s most sensitive and important appendage!)

Contrary to what is often believed, the elephant does not use its trunk to drink through - it uses the trunk to draw water and then sprays it into the mouth. A typical trunk can hold around four litres of water, although studies have shown that the trunk of a big bull can hold up to 10 litres!

The ability to spray water is also an important part of basic hygiene and health care. Elephants use the trunk as a shower with various pressure settings. It can either send a power blast jet of water or offer a more gentle alternative! 

Elephants also use the trunk to transfer a layer of dust or mud to their bodies, which protects them from insect bites and the ravages of a hot sun. When elephants are very hot and water is not readily available, they will often put their trunks in their mouths, obtain large amounts of saliva and spray it on their bodies. It is not advisable to stand beside or behind and elephant when they are engaged in this activity!

During the dry season, when water is low, an elephant will dig holes to find underground springs. The water holes also give elephants access to important mineral sources buried deep below the surface. While these open wells provide a water source for thirsty elephants, other wildlife also depend on them for survival. After elephants leave an area, smaller creatures rush to the watering holes dug by the elephants. 

Plucking fruit from trees with their flexible trunks, elephants feed themselves -- and help forests regenerate. After having walked many miles, the elephants excrete the seeds of the fruit, which sprout in fertile dung piles and create new trees in other parts of the landscape. Recent studies have shown that 90 different tree species depend on hungry elephants in order to prosper.

Without elephants, Africa would look vastly different.

You can help save the elephant from extinction....

You Help Is Needed ...

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