Saturday, June 29, 2013

KENYA TO HIRE 500 NEW RANGERS FOR TSAVO



Garissa — The Kenyan government plans to recruit 500 rangers from the National Youth Service (NYS) and deploy them to wildlife parks in August as part of a wider effort to crack down on poachers.

President Uhuru Kenyatta announced the move on June 7th, when he approved the Wildlife Conservation and Management bill. The bill raised fines for poaching to 1 million shillings ($11,800), legislated the confiscation of offenders' properties and outlined penalties for government officials found guilty of conniving with poachers.

"The youth at the NYS have already had some crucial training, including physical and legal training. We will subject them to further training for the ranger jobs," said Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) Director William Kiprono, adding that the recruitment would be closed to the public.


 "If we were to recruit directly from the public, it would take nine months to train them, but with the NYS, it would take at most two months," he told Sabahi. he NYS was established in 1964 to train youths in tasks of national importance, including service in the armed forces, national reconstruction programmes and disaster response.

Recruits must have high school diplomas and no criminal records, Kiprono said, adding the KWS will also try to strike a balance with gender and region of origin. Recruiting rangers from the NYS is necessary because they urgently are needed to help tackle poaching,



Kiprono said. "It is an all-out war against poaching activities. Failure is not an option," he said. Poachers killed 360 elephants and 19 rhinos in 2012, according to KWS statistics.

In the first half of 2013, poachers killed 137 elephants and 24 rhinos, and harvested 5,842 kilograms of ivory and rhino horns. To date this year, authorities have arrested 123 suspects in connection to poaching activities. The KWS plans to deploy most of the new recruits to the Tsavo National Parks, where poaching is rampant, Kiprono said. He praised the government for boosting its support of the wildlife service. READ MORE

CRIMINAL NATURE: ORGANIZED CRIME


Today, the International Fund for Animal Welfare released our report Criminal Nature: The Global Security Implications of the Illegal Wildlife Trade, in order to highlight how the poaching epidemic has serious ramifications not just for endangered species, but also for nations and communities around the world. At $19 billion per year, the illegal wildlife trade ranks as the fourth most lucrative criminal activity internationally, behind only narcotics, counterfeiting, and human trafficking.


It includes everything from the slaughter of elephants for their ivory, to the sale of great apes and exotic birds as pets, to caviar, decorative tiger pelts, and rhinoceros horns used for carvings and traditional medicines.


 Whatever the end product, the results for animals are tragic and are leading to widespread population declines of many endangered species. Anyone who has seen the fallen carcass of a once-majestic elephant, tusks hacked off, can attest to the fact that poaching is cruel commerce.
 
Worse, it is driven by some of our basest impulses: the desire for status symbols and trophies. Sadly, the prices for animal items are skyrocketing: ivory costs up to $1,000 per pound. Rhino horn is more valuable than gold or platinum. Pangolins (a small nocturnal, scaled anteater) can fetch $1,000 each. Huge profits, combined with soft penalties for lawbreakers and lax enforcement, have created a perfect situation for organized crime to move in.
 
Criminal Nature – the dangerous links between poaching and organized crime By: Beth Allgood, IFAW June 24, 2013 

Friday, June 28, 2013

RISING DEMAND FOR IVORY HAS CAUSED POACHING CRISIS


Margaret Kenyatta

Kenya’s First Lady Margaret Kenyatta on Tuesday backed efforts by the country’s conservationists to save elephants, urging people across Africa to stop ivory trade to save the wildlife. Kenyatta also joined other wildlife conservationists in the ivory walk aimed at sensitizing Kenyans and the world to save elephants and other endangered species from extinction.


  Speaking at Mount Kenya Academy in Nyeri before embarking on the walk, the First Lady blamed the continued poaching of elephants in Kenya and Africa on countries of the world and individuals who provide ready markets for Ivory.

 “I want to appeal to buyers of ivory to consider ending the trade on tusks in order to discourage poaching and save elephants from distinction,” Kenyatta said in central Kenya.

Wildlife conservationists said rising demand for ivory and rhino horn in Asia has caused a poaching crisis in recent years across Kenya in particular and Africa as a whole with over 1,000 rhinos having been killed on the continent in the last 18 months.


  The poaching menace has brought renewed attention to a crisis that has persisted for decades—the steady decline of Africa’s wildlife due to growing human populations and poverty that has put agricultural communities at odds with wildlife for resources. Conflict between land for wildlife and land for farmers and pastoralists in Kenya has also reached crisis level with rampant killing of lions and elephants among other types of important wildlife. FULL STORY HERE


President Obama’s Tanzania Visit Brings Hope for Elephants



President Obama’s Tanzania Visit Brings Hope for Elephants and Wildebeest Susan Hack, Conde Nast Traveler June 28, 2013 Elephants play in a mud hole in northern Serengeti National Park. Conservationists say poachers are killing as many as 30 elephants a day, mainly in the Selous National Game Reserve.

During President Obama's African tour, anti-poaching activists hope he will talk wildlife conservation strategy with President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania when he visits the country July 1 and 2.

The issue is suddenly more pressing because Tanzania has earmarked funds in its 2013–14 national budget to plan and design a controversial gravel road across the northern sector of Serengeti National Park.

The on-again, off-again Serengeti Highway, which wildlife activists have been fighting for years, would link the Indian Ocean coast to Lake Victoria and beyond to Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, opening direct routes to ports and neighboring states for Tanzanian’s inland gold mines and soda ash extraction industry.

But conservationists fear construction and industrial traffic will displace and devastate the annual migration of more than a million wildebeest, who calve at the southern end of the park from December through March and then follow rains north through the Serengeti into Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve, where the great herds have now begun arriving.

Read Full Story Here

Thursday, June 27, 2013

PHOTOGRAPHER WALT MILLER ON STOPPING POACHING


While on safari to Tanzania to photograph these beautiful animals i was overcome at how Sociable they are not just with other Animals ,but with us humans. ( that's my camp in the background on the left ) yet all the while there is a air of sadness just knowing that if it weren't for places like this these animals would be wiped out.


The long term answer is in our hands . WE must change the way WE think about the use of Ivory. For as long as it is Acceptable for Ivory to be a Fashion item .

Photographer Walt Miller

We must Stop the Demand for Ivory Trinkets and the Poachers will stop. The Government of Tanzania has come down HARD on Traffickers but they need our help. Once you look into an Elephants eyes ...How can you look away and not stop the killing? Walt Miller


**NEW VIDEO** "ELEPHANT'S CAN'T TALK"


A few weeks ago we asked Jesse Xavier to compose a protest song about the tragic slaughter of the African Elephants for their tusks. Jesse created a beautiful song. Today Kim finished the slideshow to go with Jesse's song. Many thanks to Jesse and Kim for this lovely message...

Jesse Xavier added a post from June 27, 2013. you heard it right here on the J.X.B Channel..i am going to give Lorie Bergemann and the AmAra conservation 75 percent of the my copy rights to the song Elephants cant talk..because the elephant will disappear within 10 years they say,,this is urgent..effective immediately ..my contribution to help stop the genocide of an innocent..

PHILIPPINES : DESTROYED 5 TONS OF ILLEGAL IVORY!

Philippines Ivory Burn

Just last Friday, the largest non-African ivory burn took place in the heart of the Philippines. The city of Manila witnessed the destruction of more than 5 tons of ivory, valued at an estimated $10 million.

The ivory was crushed and burned. This huge amount of tusks were the conglomeration of smuggled ivory collected since 2009. The act of destruction represented the Filipino government's strict stand against the illegal ivory trade, and their commitment to fighting the smugglers.

The Huffington Post reported: "This not only sends a message to wildlife traffickers that the Philippine government is taking firm action against the illegal ivory trade, but also takes a stand against corruption by burning their ivory stockpile so it cannot be stolen then sold into the black market," said Steven Galster, director of Bangkok-based Freeland Foundation.


Ivory has a habit of disappearing from government held stockpiles all over the world, as corrupt officials are tempted to steal this somewhat absurdly valuable animal product. This was the case in 2006 when 3.7 tons, the largest single shipment of ivory, mysteriously vanished from the inventory, according to an international network that tracks the illegal trade.


The Philippines is a known transit point for the buying and selling of ivory, but also has an expansive carving industry which produces religious sculptures and artifacts. According to The Elephant Trade Information System, along with Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Malaysia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, China and Thailand -- the Philippines is identified as being one of the most heavily implicated countries or territories in the illegal trade. The Huffington Post Article can be found here.

WHY ELEPHANTS EVOLVED INTO EATING GRASS


Steve Connor, The Independent 26 June 2013

The change in feeding behaviour had been a scientific mystery, as it occurred three million years before elephants evolved to have teeth better-suited to eating grass Scientists may have solved an evolutionary riddle of how the ancestors of elephants changed their diet from soft leaves to relatively tough grasses and in the process became one of the dominant herbivores of the African savannah.

A study of the fossils of animals with tusks and trunks, such as elephants and mammoths, has revealed that the crucial change in diet occurred about 3 million years before elephants had actually developed the big teeth needed for a grass diet.


Professor Adrian Lister of the Natural History Museum in London said that the fossils, which cover a period of 20 million years, indicate that the ancestors of today’s elephants changed their feeding behavior long before they acquired the high-crowned teeth needed for chewing tough grasses. A study, published in the journal Nature, found that about 8 million years ago various species changed their diet and feeding behavior by switching from a diet based on browsing for leaves from trees to one based on grazing the ground for grass.

Professor Lister said that the change – identified by analyzing carbon isotopes in the fossils – was relatively rapid and occurred at a time when there were still plenty of trees and forests, indicating that it was a behavioral “choice” rather than a necessity. Yet it took another 3 million years for the elephants to evolve the high-crowned teeth that were better suited to dealing with the grittier, grassy food. FULL STORY HERE

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

LORI BERGEMANN'S AMARA CONSERVATION= LONG TERM SOLUTIONS TO POACHING


Simply removing snares (which is helpful, but limited) and arresting poachers isn't enough. Long term change comes from changing people's minds, attitudes and understandings - i.e. education - so they have a motivation NOT to poach for undeniable reasons they have actually understood.


captured poacher

That's the GOOD WORK!!! And you are right - Lori Bergemann is a champion of this, as are you Jacob and all the Amara teams that help!! You are all heroes to me. Heidi B



Lori Bergemann and Jacob Dadi of Amara Conservation

Monday, June 24, 2013

EVERYTHING YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE ELEPHANT!


CAPTURED POACHERS

PLEASE WATCH THE ENTIRE VIDEO.....


Retro Kimmer

EXTINCT ELEPHANTS


The elephant taxonomic order, proboscidea, has only 3 members today, but it used to have over forty. Most of these thrived until the end of the last glacial period 12500 years ago. These creatures were generally similar in size to modern Asian elephants, although there were tiny dwarf elephants and the humongous deinotherium, 4.5m tall and weighing 14 tons.

For comparison, the largest African bush elephant recorded was 4m tall and weighed 12 tons. Within proboscidea, the mastodon family mammutidae contains modern elephants and the very famous mammoths.

Mammoths had long curved tusks and were much hairier than even modern Asian elephants. The last mammoth to go extinct was the woolly mammoth, whose numbers had dwindled as the climate warmed and was finally hunted to extinction in Europe, Asia, and the Americas 12000 years ago, although some populations isolated from humans persisted until as recently as 4000 years ago.

READ FULL STORY HERE
 
Retro Kimmer

HISTORY OF THE ELEPHANT SINCE THE 1960'S


In the late 1960s, there were approximately 35,000 elephants in the Tsavo ecosystem (40,000 sq. km). This population has suffered two population crashes. The first was the drought in the early 1970s when an estimated 6,000 individuals died and over the next 4 years with low rainfall and lack of vegetation a further 3,000 died.

 
The majority of these deaths were females and young elephants. Unlike pregnant females, females nursing a calf or young calves, independent bulls were able to travel greater distances in search of vegetation and their mortality was lower. 


The second crash was due to the killing of elephants for their tusks. The large bulls who survived the drought were the first victims for their large and heavy tusks. When the remaining bulls were difficult to find, the large females were targeted (their calves died as a results) and then whole families. By the late 1980s, at the height of the ivory poaching era, about 6,000 elephants remained in the entire Tsavo ecosystem.
Retro Kimmer

Friday, June 21, 2013

AMARA CONSERVATION FOUNDER LORI BERGEMANN: A PERSONAL JOURNEY


Lori Bergemann

A look at the early work of Lori Bergemann founder and executive director of Amara Conservation, a non-profit based in Kenya that focuses on stopping ivory poaching, wildlife conservation and education. Some Footage Generously Provided by Simon Trevor of the AEFF.Written & Produced Christopher Cook, Edited by Matt Zacharias, Music by Ian Gray.


Retro Kimmer

WE CAN SAVE THE ELEPHANT FROM EXTINCTION!!


You can help with just a BUCK or TWO.....


Retro Kimmer

ELEPHANT KILLINGS SURGE AS IVORY FUNDS TERROR GROUPS



Elephant killings surge as tusks fund terror Mark Quarterman, CNN June 20, 2013

Editor's note: Mark Quarterman is the research director of the Enough Project, a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. (CNN) --

The accelerating pace of the slaughter of elephants for their tusks has put African elephants at catastrophic risk in the coming decades. To make matters worse, some of the region's most notorious armed groups are taking tusks to finance their atrocities.


 
The Somali terrorists of al-Shabaab, the Sudanese government-supported janjaweed militia that has been responsible for much of the violence during the Darfur genocide, and the Lord's Resistance Army, which has kidnapped hundreds of boys and girls across central Africa to be fighters and sex slaves, are participating in this illegal trade.

 
These groups typically kill elephants using the automatic weapons that they also use to kill people. And as the militants become more involved in the poaching business, they apply the same lack of discrimination in killing elephants that they have demonstrated with their human victims. 


For example, poachers thought to be janjaweed from Sudan, working with Chadians, allegedly killed at least 86 elephants, including calves and 33 pregnant females, over the course of a WEEK. The International Fund for Animal Welfare found that at least 400 elephants were slaughtered between January and March 2012 at the Bouba Ndjida National Park in Cameroon.

Animal rights groups say poaching is WORSE than it's been in decades. They say it may be even worse than it was in the 1980s, BEFORE the international ban on ivory was put in place. Typically, the elephants are killed only for their tusks.READ FULL STORY ON CNN


You can help with just a BUCK or TWO.....


Retro Kimmer

HOW CELL TOWERS COULD SAVE FOREST ELEPHANTS


Elephants are probably not the first animal you think of when picturing the rainforest--they’re generally seen roaming the savannahs of Africa, or traipsing across the grasslands of Southeast Asia.

But there is a subset of elephants that live in the rainforests of Central Africa, and they’re in trouble. At least 1 million of these animals lived in the rainforest at one time; today, there are just 100,000.


 
The Elephant Listening Project, an initiative that records elephant vocal exchanges in an attempt to figure out what they’re doing, is engaged in the tricky work of eavesdropping on these animals without encroaching upon their remote habitats. Peter Wrege, director of the Elephant Listening Project--a project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology--explains part of the problem in a post on the O’Reilly website:

 
Forest elephants spend most of their lives walking a network of paths through the forest, finding food and perhaps engaging in social interactions about which we know nothing. ELP is trying to pair video camera traps with acoustic recording units to piece together what is happening--but a network of acoustic and video sensors produces a lot of data and we don’t have an efficient way to get it out of the forest. Cell phone towers can help in some instances, but getting data from the recorders in the forest to the cell towers--and then to Cornell’s computers--isn’t easy.

 
Another problem: marking elephants from a safe distance. Tranquilizing them and adding tracking collars isn’t an option; the mortality rate is too high. When the elephants come to a clearing, the ELP can use thermal imaging.

But this isn’t a permanent solution. Wrege writes: Never before have we been able to see so clearly what before we could mostly only hear –-and now it’s possible to put together the sounds with the relevant behavioral interactions.READ FULL STORY


You can help with just a BUCK or TWO.....


Retro Kimmer

CONVERTING POACHERS TO PROTECTORS OF THEIR ECO-SYSTEMS


A group of former poachers told Amara Conservation's Jacob Dadi that they wanted to stop their poaching activity after they heard him speak and saw some of the films we at Amara Conservation screened.


One film is called “Carcasses” and is about the bush meat trade – a film made from a play written by Kenyatta University students. These former poachers wanted to try and produce a play similar to ours for themselves.


THEY DID JUST THAT! The reformed poachers were invited to perform at recent Madaraka Day (akin to Independence day in the USA) Celebrations in Taveta.


The Chief guest at the function, the Taita Taveta County Representative, was so impressed with their performance about the benefits of wildlife to communities that she gave them 30,000 Kenya Shillings as encouragement to them to do more, and promised to look for donors to support their work! They want to write and perform many more such plays and take them everywhere in their localities.

 Sowene

Sowene is a former expert poacher who has been in the business since 2007. He is a resident of Kimala Location, Jipe division in Taveta district. He went to primary school and dropped out of school when he was in class eight, due to financial problems.

He started working as a small-scale farmer, with little knowledge about how to invest income from the shamba. Soon thereafter he joined a former expert poacher who told him he could make more money from poaching than farming.


During Sowene's poaching activities he killed many wild animals including eland, dik dik, giraffe, impala, duiker, etc. As a poacher, he faced several challenges including:

1. Threats from dangerous animals, e.g. elephants, snakes, buffalo.
2. He was jailed by KWS rangers several times.
3. He couldn’t trust anyone, not even his neighbors.

He was recently caught by KWS rangers yet again with 1700kg of meat from 27 impala and 30 dik dik. He came across a Kenya Red Cross group volunteer in Kimala who was working with Amara providing conservation and environmental awareness to the communities, who told him about the importance of wildlife.


Weighing each side he decided to surrender the poaching job and joined the KRC group and Amara Conservation to help educate the community members about how they can benefit from wildlife, even directly from eco-tourism.

 He and a group of 10 other former poachers who worked under his guidance, have formed a theatre group and are using music and enacting their own dramatic plays and performances to teach people. He has visited Riata, Madarasani, Njoro, Rekeke, and Mata -reaching out to communities and schools. He is looking for funding to be able to reach more people.

Contributors:

Lori Bergemann
Jacob Dadi
Sowene

You can help with just a dollar or two.....


Retro Kimmer

ARTISTS LOVE THE ELEPHANT


 








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