Thursday, December 4, 2014

STOP CARVING!

 

Soldiers arrange a pyre of elephant tusks and thousands of pieces of worked ivory as they prepare to burn ivory stocks corresponding to roughly 850 dead elephants, in Libreville, Gabon, (Joel Bouopda Tatou/Associated Press)

John Gruetzner is the managing director of Intercedent, an Asian-focused investment advisory. He recently researched for the World Wildlife Fund its fund-raising options within China. The views here expressed are personal.

Chinese basketball star Yao Ming’s new documentary The End of the Wild will, ideally, have the impact in Asia that Silent Spring by Rachel Carson had on environmental awareness in the West.

For this shift to happen in sufficient enough time to save the elephant is contingent on major changes in government policy and also empowering Chinese citizens to join the war against poaching of elephants.

Chinese government indifference still sadly permits the legal carving of elephant tusks that drives the poaching of 70 per cent of the 33,000 African elephants killed annually.

If the wealthy could purchase Panda skins legally, this would rightly offend the Chinese people and be strongly condemned. Elephants are just as important culturally, and as natural a symbol as the Panda.

Wildaid’s slogan is Stop the Killing Now. A corollary is to achieve must be Stop the Carving Now. China’s ivory carving’s industry defense is that it relies only on legally sourced tusks. Incontrovertible evidence proves there is widespread mixing of legal and poached ivory.

Carving of dead elephant parts and all retail sales of ivory of any kind to lower total demand need to be banned worldwide starting in China. Funding the retraining of unemployed carvers will prevent the industry from going underground. Closing down the sale and carving of ivory at the 37 approved factories and 145 retail sites would be a major disruption to the total global demand for tusks.

Bold action long these lines would set a positive example to other countries in the same business. Sending a clear message to tourists that lowers off-shore purchases from Chinese will reduce the amount of tusks that are poached. Further work within China to educate people of the consequences such as supporting of terrorism tied to of smuggling illegal wildlife is essential.

READ FULL STORY HERE

Sunday, November 30, 2014

NEW: FIGHT WILDLIFE SMUGGLING APP


Ever thought of using your smartphone to contribute to environmental science or crack down on wildlife smuggling? Turns out there are mobile apps for that, though just how useful they are often depends on where you live or travel.

The use of apps for eco-science and eco-crimefighting is still in its infancy, but the potential is there. Take the area of wildlife smuggling — only a few apps exist, and for limited regions, but the need extends across the globe, says Heidi Kretser, a social scientist with the Wildlife Conservation Society who recently co-authored a study of wildlife conservation apps.

"Mobile apps have the advantage of being able to operate without connectivity" if properly designed, notes Kretser. "Websites require connectivity. Phones? Again connectivity is required."


The Wildlife Alert app from the Wildlife Conservation Society is meant to help U.S. military users quickly identify furs, horns and other animal products that can't be legally taken out of Afghanistan.



Sunday, November 23, 2014

HOW ELEPHANT TEETH AND THE EXISTENCE OF EXTINCTION

 

How Elephant Teeth Taught Scientists Extinction Exists
SARAH LASKOW, The Atlantic
NOV 14 2014

At the end of the 18th century, Georges Cuvier was thinking quite seriously about elephant teeth. He was working in Paris, in the National Museum of Natural History, where he had unusual access to bones collected from faraway, exotic places—Asia, Africa, Russia, America.

Plenty of people had seen African elephants, which look like this...

…and Asian elephants, which look like this…


…and concluded that they were more similar than different. But Cuvier looked more closely, and he saw that they were two different species. As Elizabeth Kolbert writes in the New Yorker:

'It is clear that the elephant from Ceylon differs more from that of Africa than the horse from the ass or the goat from the sheep,' he declared. Among the animals’ many distinguishing characteristics were their teeth. The elephant from Ceylon had molars with wavy ridges on the surface, 'like festooned ribbons,' while the elephant from the Cape of Good Hope had teeth with ridges arranged in the shape of diamonds.

One reason that Cuvier was so interested in elephants's teeth was that European explorers had turned up similar, but distinct teeth in the swamps of what would become Kentucky and in Siberia. Cuvier looked closely at the jaw of the Siberian "elephant" and found that its teeth were, like the teeth of the Asian and African elephants, different from the other species's. They belonged, Cuvier eventually concluded, to a distinct type of elephant—a giant one, whose kind no longer existed on the planet. A mammoth.

Before Cuvier made this case, a few other scientists had toyed with the idea that there were animals that had once lived on Earth but were now gone. Cuvier, though, became the foremost advocate for the idea of extinction. His contention, controversial at the time, that in the past the planet had played host to a different cast of creatures, upended the idea that God had created a bunch of animals, plopped them down on Earth, and there they'd lived forever after.

By 1812, Cuvier had identified 49 extinct animals. This is no small feat. It's actually quite hard, Ruth Graham reported recently in the Boston Globe, to pin down how many species have gone extinct:

About 1.5 million plant and animal species have been named, but estimates of how many actually exist vary from 2 million to 100 million. Those numbers change every year: New species are discovered, and others wink out of existence, often without us ever knowing they were there at all. So when scientists talk about thousands of species going extinct in a year, they aren’t counting disappearances: They’re making extrapolations based on estimates of habitat loss, and of how many species currently exist, and how many have existed in history.

Since 1600, according to Graham, there have been 800 documented extinctions. And we have even witnessed some of those extinctions in real time: the dodo and the passenger pigeon, for example.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

WHY ELEPHANTS NEVER FORGET

https://www.goodsmiths.com/little-lemon-bee-designs/8x10-elephants-never-forget-print

FROM TED-ED

It’s a common saying that elephants never forget. But the more we learn about elephants, the more it appears that their impressive memory is only one aspect of an incredible intelligence that makes them some of the most social, creative, and benevolent creatures on Earth. Alex Gendler takes us into the incredible, unforgettable mind of an elephant.


http://amaraconservation.org/how-to-help/donate

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Elephants and Rhinos need us to help put an end to poaching. Help Amara gain sponsorships by liking us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

To stay informed please read our home page Http://amaraconservation.org/

#ivoryforelephants #stoppoaching #elephants for #ivory #animals

Saturday, November 8, 2014

CHINA'S ADDICTION EXPLAINS THE NEW WORLD ECONOMY

 

How China’s ivory addiction explains the new world economy
By Ana Swanson, New York Times
November 7, 2014

Tanzania, the world’s biggest source of illegal ivory, lost an average of 30 elephants per day in 2013, contributing to a trend that has seen half of the country’s elephant population die in the last five years, some to natural causes and others to poaching, according to a report released Thursday by the London-based Environmental Investigation Agency. Fueling these killings is an upsurge in demand for ivory in China, the world’s largest market for illicit elephant tusks. The trafficking chain between Tanzania and China has become the biggest conduit for illegal ivory in the world, according to the report.

Why exactly is China fueling the ivory trade? Here are the five top reasons.

1. China’s poorly regulated system for legal ivory sales. China views ivory carving as part of its cultural heritage. It has sanctioned a small industry for products made with ivory obtained in legal auctions. A complex system of permits regulates the companies that carve and sell ivory, including some that are state-owned.

In practice, however, this legal industry cloaks a massive black market. Those who have obtained government licenses can generate huge profits by laundering illegal tusks into the stock of more expensive legal ivory. This makes it virtually impossible for buyers to distinguish between the two.

Just like with the drug trade, there’s a long-running debate about whether establishing a regulated market or banning the product entirely would be more effective at limiting the ivory trade. Some argue that banning ivory in China would drive up the price in the underground market and fuel poaching. Yet, even in its current state, China’s system provides camouflage for an illegal industry.

A new report that accompanies this video by the Environmental Investigation Agency says Tanzania is the hub of a resurgent elephant poaching industry thanks to growing demand for ivory in China. (Environmental Investigation Agency)

2. Growing ties with Africa and porous Chinese borders. China became Africa’s largest trading partner in 2009. Ivory accompanies shipments that move between China and Africa, buried in containers of dried fish, plastic waste and grains.

People traveling between Africa and China also can carry ivory in their luggage. More than one million Chinese, from businessmen to factory workers to chefs, have moved to Africa over the past decade. Chinese officials say that 90 percent of ivory seizures involve individuals concealing ivory in their suitcases.

According to the EIA report, diplomatic channels are also often used to smuggle ivory. The report alleges that that bags of ivory were loaded onto Xi Jinping’s own plane during a visit to Tanzania in March 2013, presumably without the Chinese president’s knowledge.

3. Gift-giving and corruption. The ivory trade has close ties to Chinese practices of giving expensive and exotic trinkets, which is sometimes linked to business and official corruption.

One United Nations report suggests that Chinese demand for ivory might be driven, counterintuitively, by the high price of ivory -- just like other expensive status symbols like watches and diamonds.

The chart below shows the price and quantity of imports into China and Hong Kong have increased as the price has gone up. The report offers two explanations: that mammoth ivory is subject to some kind of speculative price bubble, or that it is what economists call a “Veblen good.” (A Veblen good refers to any product for which demand rises as its price goes up -- contrary to the law of supply and demand.)

If this is true, the Chinese government’s current crackdown on corrupt government officials might help to dampen sales of ivory as it chills questionable behavior -- as it has done for watches and luxury cars.

4. The suppression of the Chinese environmental movement. Toxic air, water and food products mean environmental issues are increasingly on Chinese minds. However, limitations on free speech and collective organizing have greatly hampered a nascent environmental movement.

Environmental organizations and activists are subject to government surveillance and hampered by restrictive laws; some have been arrested or detained for inciting social unrest.

5. Lack of knowledge about the ivory industry. Many Chinese who buy ivory may not realize that the trade is illegal, or that elephants have to be killed in order to obtain their tusks. And Chinese thinking on animal rights is still an early stage compared to Western countries.

This is changing, slowly. Both dog ownership and Buddhism, which values animals and often involves vegetarianism, are increasingly in vogue among Chinese urbanites. And public education about endangered animals is on the rise.

Yao Ming, the Chinese former star of the Houston Rockets, joined with WildAid, a San Francisco-based charity, to make a series of successful commercials in 2011 that urged Chinese to stop eating shark fin soup. Yao and WildAid partnered again on a documentary that was screened in China in August about the mass slaughter of the ivory trade.

In the long run, this kind of education is probably the most effective way to reduce China’s massive purchases of ivory, since it pushes down the demand for the good. This may be far more effective than just attacking supply, since limiting ivory imports will only push the value of them up.

Friday, November 7, 2014

GOOGLE FUNDS DNA LAB TO STOP POACHERS!

 
Kenya: Google Funds DNA Lab to Catch Poachers
By Geoffrey Kamadi, The Star
November 7, 2014

Google will fund the new system to trace origin of illegal wildlife products to the tune of Sh255 million ($3 million).The DNA barcode tracing system for the country's endangered species will be up in a year's time in an electronic library at the National Museums of Kenya (NMK) headquarters in Nairobi.

The project is led by the NMK and the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS). Supervision will be conducted by the Consortium for Barcode of Life (CBOL), under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institution, which is the world's largest museum and research complex.

This barcode system works much the same way as a supermarket scanner. The scanner reveals details of an item, such as pricing, name and manufacturer when it is passed before it.

"If someone is caught with a wildlife trophy, we as the wildlife forensics experts will get its DNA and scan it against the DNA data base in the library which will immediately tell us what species of the animal it belongs to," explains Dr Hastings Ozwara, a molecular biologist at the NMK's Institute of Primate Research (IPR).

The library will have an initial data base of at least 200 species of Kenya's critically endangered plants and animals. This number will increase with time, to include all wildlife species.

"The new forensics technology will eliminate doubt in evidence produced in cases involving wildlife crimes," adds Dr Charles Musyoki, the senior scientist, Department of Species Conservation and Management at the KWS.

Trade in endangered wildlife not only involves ivory and rhino horns. Some of the little-talked about animal and plant species are equally threatened by illegal trade.

"There are 60 cases of sea turtles being poached in one area of Watamu at the Kenyan coast in the last three years, but nobody is talking about it," says Salisha Chandra of the Kenya United Against Poaching (KUAPO).


Friday, October 24, 2014

MORE PHOTOS: TREE PLANTING WITH PURDUE UNIVERSITY STUDENTS


 POST FROM JACOB DADI
In May of this year, Purdue University students planted more than 75 trees at Ore Primary School near Tsavo West. Such events help inspire the young students in Primary schools to become responsible and take care of the environment.


Amara Conservation paid for ten thousand litres of water to be delivered to the school for watering the trees a few weeks afterward. The school patron of the wildlife club at Ore primary school selected two pupils to take care of each tree every day to make sure the tree grows well.


On 23rd September I visited the school to check on the trees and they are doing very well. Every pupil told me he/she was very keen about the trees, some could even tell the date and time when the tree started producing new leaves!


This was encouraging and I saw how the pupils were happy to have Amara Conservation be part of them in school. The dry season has taken over in Tsavo now - so it was impressive to see the trees growing so well.


The pupils had put a local fence around the area where the trees were planted and also surrounded each tree with sticks to prevent goats or cattle from eating them.


When I was there, the school patron of the wildlife club informed me that they had registered with wildlife clubs of Kenya and they were asking Amara Conservation to help them get a field trip to the park.


I discussed this with Lori and we were hoping to find someone to fund this. Meanwhile I asked Mr Mulati from Sheldrick Wildlife Trust if they could help out, and they said yes!


On October 8th, only two weeks since our discussion, more than 25 Ore primary school pupils are enjoying being in the Tsavo East National Park right now. They informed me on the phone that the kids are very happy today to see a live lion in its habitat, among many other wild animals. One could feel the joy of the students in the bus on the phone when I was talking to the head teacher.JACOB DADI

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Interpol To Help E. Africa Build Wildlife Crime Database



The International police organization, known as Interpol, pledged Monday to assist the East Africa region to build a regional intelligence database as part of effort to combat wildlife crime.

Interpol Assistant Director in charge of the Environmental Security Sub-Directorate David Higgins told a media briefing in Nairobi that the information will help dismantle criminal wildlife syndicates.

"We want the region to rely on intelligence analysis to eliminate illegal wildlife crime," Higgins said during the launch of the Interpol Environmental Security Office regional bureau.

The office, based in Nairobi, will serve 13 countries including Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Sudan, South Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Seychelles and Djibouti. It will work on a number of environmental issues with a particular focus on addressing the illegal trafficking of ivory and rhinoceros horn.

The region's population of elephants and rhinos has been threatened with extinction as a result of illegal wildlife trade.

"We will ensure the region launches targeted responses against the criminal networks," the director said, adding that illegal wildlife crime is a transnational crime that requires greater collaboration among countries.

Interpol is planning to expand its presence in Eastern Africa so as to help national governments combat poaching and other forms of environmental crime. Interpol's Environmental Security Office will assist in enhancing cooperation between government, the private sector and NGOs, and thus boost the capacity of law enforcement agencies to act against the illicit wildlife trade

Kenya Wildlife Service Communication Manager Paul Udoto said that Kenya is seeking collaboration with regional and international partners to eliminate illegal wildlife crime.

Kenya has emerged as a major source and transit point for illegal wildlife crime. "We want to leverage on Interpol's experience on combating other crimes in order to save our wildlife species," Udoto said.

Kenya's tourism industry depends on its wildlife resources and beach destinations, and conservationists have blamed the continued poaching on the ready markets for the criminal networks that harvest the ivory.

The demand mainly emanates from Asia, which has pushed the price of a 1 kg of ivory from 100 U.S. dollars in the 1970s to over 1,500 dollars currently in the black market.

Kenya: Step Up War On Poaching, State Urged


Conservationists​ ​have called for serious measures to tackle porous borders responsible for trafficking of ivory, drugs and other criminal syndicates.

Speaking during the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos on Saturday, participants urged the government to step up security patrols and coordinate with neighbouring countries to tackle poaching.

The march took place in 136 cities and a host of towns across six continents. In Kenya, it started at the National Museums of Kenya and ended at the historic Uhuru Gardens.

Conservationist warned that rhinos and elephants may be wiped out in the next 10 years, if poaching is not addressed. "This march educated the public on the need to protect our ecosystem, which is the main foreign earner as well as source of jobs for our young people," Paula Kahumbu, Wildlifedirect executive officer said.

Kenya has lost about 116 elephants and 26 rhinos to poachers. Comparatively, the country lost 384 elephants and 30 rhinos in the year 2012 and about 289 elephants and 29 rhinos in 2011.

The march followed a recent report, Out of Africa: Mapping the Global Trade in Illicit Elephant Ivory, which detailed how ivory is smuggled into the market.

The report by Born Free USA, said the Mombasa Port registered the most illegal ivory seizures worldwide in 2013-2014, replacing Dar es Salaam Port.

"Mombasa has the highest number of seizures globally by volume, some 18 tonnes between 2009-2013, but despite a large number of containers seized in Asia and known to have originated from Tanzania, very few seizures are actually made at Tanzanian ports, likely due to mismanagement and corruption at port facilities," says the report.

It states that nearly all the ivory nabbed came from neighbouring countries. KWS director William Kiprono has been advocating for a sustained awareness campaigns on the plight of the rhinos.

Speaking during the World Rhino Day celebrations in Nyanyuki, Kiprono said deterrent and severe penalties will be applied for poachers and dealers of rhino products to robustly tackle the current high poaching threat to rhinos.

Article link found here:
http://allafrica.com/stories/201410060696.html

Monday, October 6, 2014

Amara Conservation Joins Global March for Elephants and Rhinos in Nairobi!


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Elephants and Rhinos need us to help put an end to poaching. Help Amara gain sponsorships by liking us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest


To stay informed please read our home page Http://amaraconservation.org 

#ivoryforelephants #stoppoaching #elephants for #ivory #animals









Saturday, October 4, 2014

KENYA TO HOST INTERPOL SECURITY OFFICE

 

Kenya will host the Environmental Security Office of the international police organization, known as Interpol, said a statement from the Australian High Commission in Kenya received on Saturday.

It said the office, which will be based in Interpol's Regional Bureau for East Africa in Nairobi, is aimed at enhancing both national and international efforts towards the protection of wildlife.

The office will work on a number of environmental issues with a particular focus on addressing the illegal trafficking of ivory and rhinoceros horn.

"Interpol's Environmental Security Office will assist in enhancing cooperation between government, the private sector and NGOs, and thus boost the capacity of law enforcement agencies to act against the illicit wildlife trade," the statement said.

It said the office will be launched on Monday at a ceremony presided over by Kenya's Cabinet Secretary for Environment Judi Wakhungu in conjunction with the head of Interpol's Environmental Security Sub-Directorate, David Higgins, as well diplomats from Britain and Australia.


In June, Higgins said Interpol will deploy more personnel at its regional bureau in Kenya by the end of October.

"We want to stimulate the follow of intelligence, so that we can defeat the criminal networks, who are now using modern technology to escape detection," Higgins said during the UN Environmental Assembly held in Nairobi on June 27.

He said that China, Brazil, Netherlands, France are among the countries that will provide personnel to boost responses to environmental crime.

Rampant poaching of rhinos and elephants forced Nairobi to revise its laws to give stiffer penalties for poachers and other wildlife offenders.

Kenya's tourism industry depends on its wildlife resources and beach destinations, and conservationists have blamed the continued poaching on the ready markets for the criminal networks that harvest the merchandise.

Elephant is recognized as a flagship species representing the magnificent diverse wildlife resources in the continent.

Wildlife crime and related illegal trade is now globally ranked as one of the most serious international crimes.

Recent reports from wildlife conservationists indicated that proceeds of wildlife crime are also used to finance other international crimes including proliferation of illegal firearms, human trafficking and terrorism cartels of which no country or agency can single-handedly manage.

Interpol is planning to expand its presence in Eastern Africa so as help national governments combat poaching and other forms of environmental crime.

ANTI POACHING GROUP USES GRAFFITI FOR MESSAGE


Vandals Deface Iconic Mombasa Ivory Tusks With Anti-Poaching Message
The Star, Kenya
October 3, 2014

The elephant tusks that welcome visitors to Mombasa were painted red early Friday morning with a strong message denouncing ivory trade.

"Mombasa not 4 Ivory export," read the message.

The vandals, said to have defaced the property on Moi Avenue street at around 2.30am, are unknown.



The county government has issued a strict warning against those undermining the county's beautification project. Wildlife activists, however took to social media supporting the message and the action.

"This is a gud (sic) message for people who still conduct ivory trade, to get the tusk the elephant has to bleed. Bloody tusks, just like the bloody diamond," CM Jimmie posted on the Kenya For Wildlife Facebook page.


"While everyone is complaining about this, someone actually made an effort as an individual to stop poaching or to fight for the rights of animals. Fantastic idea and kudos to the team and the creative thought that may have sparked it. Time to put your money where your mouth is," Fatima Ali Mohamed wrote.


Article can be found here:
http://allafrica.com/stories/201410031328.html

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

JOIN THE GLOBAL MARCH OCTOBER 4!


We are gearing up for the Nairobi Global Elephant March this Saturday! It will be a big day and we hope the worldwide marches and attention will help us all to do our job and SAVE THEM!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

MONTANA IVORY TRACKING DOGS HEADED TO AFRICA

http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/article_a9efb434-4377-11e4-8018-636ca1329e08.html

Rescue dogs head to Africa to fight illegal ivory trade
LAURA LUNDQUIST, Bozeman DAily Chronicle
September 24, 2014

By the end of this week, a pair of ebony dogs from Montana will be hunting for ivory relics in Africa, joining the battle against illegal poaching and trafficking.

Steve and Ruger, two homeless black Labrador retrievers, avoided uncertain futures when they were brought to the attention of the Working Dogs for Conservation.

For 14 years, the Three Forks-based organization has adopted and trained more than 35 dogs, mostly rescue animals, to sniff out everything from weedy woad plants to pika poop in order to augment conservation work.

Since June, the two dogs have trained in a junkyard south of Bozeman, learning to search automobiles for ivory of any sort: unfinished tusks, figurines, jewelry or piano-key tops.

The dogs need to know their jobs well, because on Wednesday, they leave for their new homes in the South Luangwa region of Zambia, Africa.

Members of the South Luangwa Conservation Society will take over their care and training as they try to stem the illegal ivory trade that has surged in the past few years, threatening to send African elephants and rhinos into extinction.

Illicit trade in ivory rose in 2011 to the highest levels in 16 years. In 2013, ivory shipments rose another 20 percent over 2011 levels, according to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

Poachers killed more than 25,000 African elephants in 2011, another 22,000 in 2012 and the slaughter continues unabated. Asian elephants are not immune.

Tanzania has the highest rate of poaching, according to a February Interpol report, but Zambia also has problems.

The ivory is then smuggled through Uganda and Kenya on its way to Asia or Europe.

China is the primary destination for illegal ivory, but the U.S. is the second-largest market.

WDC wants to stop the ivory before it leaves Africa.

“Searching vehicles is a new thing for us. We have not worked on trafficking,” said WDC executive director Pete Coppolillo. “But because of the rise in ivory poaching and the lack of response of other management authorities who work on trafficking issues – they have been resistant to including wildlife products in their screening – we somewhat reticently are now in this business to stop wildlife trafficking.”

The problem is not limited to wildlife trafficking.

After last year’s bombing of a Kenyan mall, investigations into al-Shabaab, a Somali terrorist group associated with al-Qaida, revealed that wildlife traffickers are the same people who traffic in narcotics, guns and people.

An Elephant Action League report claims that the illegal sale of ivory funds up to 40 percent of Al-Shabaab’s operations.



“If you’ve got a network of people, who cares if you’re moving heroin or rhino horn, except that rhino horn is worth more. And they do nasty things like making the people they’re trafficking carry the rhino horn so they won’t get caught,” Coppolillo said.

WDC co-founder Megan Parker has overseen the dogs’ training and will accompany them to Zambia for a month, making sure the handlers are as trained as the dogs.

She was pleased with the donated junkyard training grounds.

“This whole place has been a dreamland for me. I could not design a better place to train dogs,” Parker said as she wandered through the maze of old car and truck bodies, inserting donated pieces of ivory into random compartments. “There are so many scents and rabbits and marmots that could throw them off if they don’t stay focused on their work.”

But after three months, the dogs have no problem staying on task, although each has a little different technique.

Three-year-old Ruger, found on a Montana reservation, is almost blind so he searches methodically, going from car to car, sniffing almost every part before moving on.

One-year-old Steve, whose owner died suddenly of cancer, is more high-energy but will sit stock-still and expectant once he’s found his target.

Since their reward is being allowed to play, the dogs were trained to the scent of ivory by first finding their chew-toy placed behind a piece of ivory.

Eventually, they can search for the ivory itself and are taught to sit when they find it. They are immediately rewarded with their toy.

The dogs’ behavior needs to be continually reinforced and handlers need to avoid rewarding the dogs for other things. To make sure the dogs are doing their jobs, WDC members will return to Zambia periodically for the next 10 years.

At some point, the dogs will probably also be trained to sniff out ammunition to detect poachers trying to enter protected areas.

Some WDC dogs, such as 8-year-old Peppin, have been trained to recognize as many as 20 scents. The only hitch is that the dogs will search for all those scents all the time so trainers have to be selective, Coppolillo said.

“Since 9/11, we’ve learned more about dogs and how they work than we ever did before. In April, we were in D.C., training on the newest techniques for searching vehicles. And a lot of it is adapting military stuff regarding explosives. So that information is out here but it’s not getting across the pond. So that’s what we’re doing,” Coppolillo said.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

GLOBAL MARCH FOR ELEPHANTS AND RHINOS OCT 4

On October 4th people in cities throughout the world will march as one voice to save Elephants and Rhinos. The countdown to their extinction has begun. Unless action is taken now, we will lose these majestic, highly intelligent, and emotionally sentient creatures FOREVER.


More than 35,000 elephants are being killed every year so their tusks can be carved into ivory trinkets. A rhino is slaughtered once every 9-11 hours for its horn. Their only hope for survival lies in an immediate end to the ivory and rhino horn trade (both "legal" and "illegal") and the chance to recover from decades of mass slaughter.

Please join the global march to call for an end to the killing and a ban on ivory and rhino horn before it's too late.


Lori Bergemann and all of us at Amara Conservation support the International March for Elephants and encourage everyone to get out and help save the elephant from extinction..

Saturday, September 20, 2014

TUSKER DAY 2014 KENYA



Tusker Day 2014 (Kenya)
Tim Sandle, Digital Journal
September 19, 2014

A new campaign day has been established to help highlight the plight of African elephants. The event is called Tusker Day and it takes place on September 22nd.

The date for Tusker Day (also known as Elephant Appreciation Day) has been selected in honor of Satao, Africa's largest elephant bull, slain by poachers on May 30th 2014. Digital Journal spoke with Akinyi Adongo, the organizer of the event.

Adongo explained that “Satao belonged to an elite group of elephants called Tuskers because his tusks were so big they almost touched the ground.”
As to the need for a day devoted to elephant protection, Adongo went onto explain “Tuskers and elephants are facing imminent extinction in 15 years unless we act. We hope that this day will create more awareness on the plight of Tusker elephants.”

This year's inaugural event will take place at Seven Restaurant in Village Market, Nairobi. The campaign is focused on the slogan “Annual Drinking Holiday”. To mark this ,a suitably branded beer will be promoted. Tusker is also the name of one of Africa's most well-known beer brands. In terms of fundraising, for every Tusker Beer sold during the event, 50 Kenya shillings will be donated towards conservation of Tusker elephants in Tsavo.

Raising money is important, given the current situation. As Adongo outlines: “Out of a population of 11,000 elephants in Tsavo, there are less than 20 known Tusker elephants, one less with Satao's demise. Tsavo is the last place on earth with a viable gene pool of Tusker elephants.”

Poaching in some areas in Africa shows no signs of abating. According to the World Wildlife Fund: “in countries where wildlife management authorities are chronically under-funded, poaching still appears to be a chronic, significant problem.”

Summing up the mix of beer and conservation, Adongo summarizes: “why not appreciate African elephants, African beer, African people and friends of Africa by celebrating Africa's first annual drinking holiday for a good cause on Tusker Day.”

THE HOW AND WHY OF BANNING IVORY

 

Banning ivory: The why and the how
Judith McHale and David J. Hayes, The Hill
September 20, 2014

A shocking new peer-reviewed study documented that 100,000 elephants were killed in Africa for their ivory from 2010 to 2012, and that a burgeoning illegal ivory market has continued to feed high, unsustainable rates of killing into 2013 and 2014. Africa’s forest elephants are being wiped out, and the continued viability of the continent-wide population is now in doubt.

The potential extinction risk of one of the world’s most iconic species demands our attention, regardless of its context. But there is more. As the presidents of Tanzania, Gabon, Namibia and Togo candidly confirmed at the recent U.S.-Africa Summit, the international criminal networks that are orchestrating the killing, gathering, transporting and selling of ivory other wildlife parts are corrupting officials in their governments and funding terrorist organizations. National security also is at stake.

What can be done to stop the killings? Clearly, as the administration has recognized, a comprehensive strategy that addresses the entire supply chain is needed. It must begin in Africa by stemming the killings and working with local communities to protect their wildlife. But so long as there is a strong market pull for illegal ivory in Asia, Europe and the U.S., criminal syndicates will find a way for the killings to continue.
Addressing the demand side of the elephant crisis means stigmatizing new demand for ivory and enforcing the international ban on ivory trading. Only a ban on commercial trade in ivory can protect elephants when they are on the razor’s edge. This is why the U.S. Congress responded to a previous spike of elephant killings in the 1980s by slapping an indefinite moratorium − effectively, a ban − on the import of ivory under African Elephant Conservation Act of 1989. The international community followed suit in 1990, enacting a ban on the commercial import and export of ivory and ivory products under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). These actions cooled off the ivory market and enabled elephant populations to rebound.

Tragically, however, enforcement attention on the ivory ban has faded over time. Meanwhile, demand for ivory has sharply increased over the past five years -- particularly from consumers in newly wealthy Asian nations. Traffickers took advantage of the combination of market confusion and lax enforcement to meet the new demand, killing more than 100,000 elephants in the process.

The recent breakdown in the effectiveness of the ban on the commercial ivory trade prompted the president to call on his administration to revisit and reinvigorate ban. It also is why some leading states, including New York and New Jersey, are passing their own bans on trade in ivory.

The administration’s renewed commitment to the ivory ban has raised hackles in some quarters as U.S. regulatory authorities have increased scrutiny on ivory imports and on individuals and retailers who are purporting to sell legal ivory. None of the concerns undermine the imperative to end commercial trade in ivory. They reflect understandable anxieties that can be addressed by new rules that the Administration is preparing to release.

By way of example, sensible rules can ensure that the existing ban on importing ivory does not inhibit the easy cross-border transport of older musical instruments that contain small amounts of ivory for performances, or museum collections for exhibition. Likewise, individuals who own very old ivory pieces that may be exempt under the Endangered Species Act should have an avenue to establish their authenticity as “antiques,” perhaps through third party experts, working under government-approved guidelines. Finally, with questions being raised around older items that contain a very small, incidental amount of ivory, query whether the federal government should follow the lead of New York and New Jersey, whose strong new bans do not extend to those items.

By taking these types of sensible approaches, we can cut out the background noise, reinforce and reinvigorate the commercial ban on ivory, and ensure that our limited governmental resources are focused on the sophisticated traffickers who are pushing illegal ivory into commerce. At the same time, we need to recruit leading retailers, internet search engines and trading platforms, banks, and transportation providers to help disrupt ivory supply chains and market opportunities here in the U.S., and abroad. And we need academic and marketing experts to help us change consumer behavior and reduce the demand for ivory and other wildlife parts.

By taking strong actions at home to close down illegal ivory markets, we can – and should -- insist that other nations do the same. Indeed, if other countries fail to enforce the international ban on commercial trade in ivory and allow illegal domestic ivory markets to thrive, we should not hesitate to move against them with trade sanctions under U.S. and international law. There is no time to waste.

McHale and Hayes are the chair and vice-chair of the President’s Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking.


Friday, September 5, 2014

ELEPHANTS IN THE ROOM: WONKY TUSK AND WELLINGTON

Baby Wellington on left, Mama Wonky Tusk center, and sister older sister on right

Elephants in the Room

At a five-star lodge in Zambia, an elephant family waltzes through the lobby each year. While elephants can be violent in the wild, here they grace past reception without bumping a chair. But why? Cameraman Nathan Pilcher is on a mission to find out...

This show was really good....take a look...

http://www.smithsonianchannel.com/sc/web/full-episodes/titles/32995/elephants-in-the-room

Thursday, September 4, 2014

CLINTONS WORK TO STOP IVORY DURING FASHION WEEK

 The artist Tristin Lowe’s reminder of the plight of African elephants. 


Over the next week, as the fashion world heads to Milk Studios in West Chelsea to see one of Made Fashion Week’s 15 runway shows, it will be greeted by a guest: a giant pink elephant.

The inflatable 10-foot-tall elephant, designed by the artist Tristin Lowe, is part of a collaboration between Made Fashion Week and the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation to raise awareness about the Clintons’ latest cause: ivory trafficking and the killing of African elephants.

“We have about 15,000 people flowing through the doors this week,” said Keith Baptista, a managing partner at Made Fashion Week.

The idea for the alliance with Made apparently started when Chelsea Clinton was chatting about the issue with Diane von Furstenberg and Oscar de la Renta at a party for the outgoing mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in early December. (“They’re two of our closest family friends,” Ms. Clinton said of the designers, adding that she and her mother had dinner with them on Tuesday night.)

Ms. von Furstenberg and Mr. de la Renta suggested that Ms. Clinton reach out to Anna Wintour, who in turn directed the Clinton Foundation to the Council of Fashion Designers of America. That’s when an introduction was made to Made.

“We feel that if we can build platforms around fashion and music and art, why can’t we also do something that has a political message?” Mr. Baptista said.

This year, Made Fashion Week will produce more than 30 runway shows and presentations (there will be shows at sites other than Milk Studios), including those by Public School, Jeremy Scott and Ohne Titel.

The Clintons wanted to target Fashion Week because of the sorts of people going to shows (“the press, the buyers, the influencers,” Mr. Baptista said) and the social media reach they have. READ FULL STORY

YAO MING IS TRYING TO PERSUADE CHINA TO GIVE UP IVORY!


Yao Ming aims to save Africa's elephants, by persuading China to give up ivory
By Simon Denyer, Washington Post
September 4, 2014

BEIJING — As a shy, nervous 22-year-old NBA rookie, Yao Ming confronted the concentrated power of Shaquille O’Neal for the first time — and came out a winner.

Now, more than a decade later and long retired from the game, the former Houston Rocket faces a challenge perhaps as daunting as it is radically different: to wean the Chinese nation off its love of ivory, and save Africa’s dwindling elephant population.

In the past three years alone, about 100,000 elephants have been poached for their tusks, according to a new study: a mass slaughter propelled by an ever-rising Chinese demand for ivory from an ever-richer nation. Yet the player once nicknamed the “Great Wall of China” aims to stop that flood, through the power of persuasion.

The metaphors are perhaps too easy: basketball’s gentle giant aiming to save Africa’s gentle giants; the man who built a bridge between China and the United States now trying to bridge another vast cultural divide, between his nation’s nouveau riche and the people and animals of Africa.

The 7-foot, 6-inch Yao, 33, said in a recent interview that he had connected with Africa particularly because “many animals there are bigger than me.”

The former NBA star teamed up with the wildlife protection group WildAid to help publicize the loss of African elephants and rhinoceroses to poachers. READ FULL STORY


Monday, August 25, 2014

GOVERNOR JOHN MRUTTU ENDORSES AMARA CONSERVATION

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Photo: Official from KWS, Amara Executive Director Lori Bergemann andthe Javungo group of elders meets Governor Eng. John Mruttu in his office.
The Taita Taveta County Government

Cases of Human Wildlife Conflict, Poaching and deforestation in the County are expected to be minimized significantly, as result of the ongoing creation of awareness and familiarization of the locals on the newly enacted law. There is a popular saying that,- “Information is power”, hence Amara Conservation and Javungo elders seem to understand this very well; thus dedicating their time to educate people on the importance of peacefully coexisting with Flora and Fauna.

Speaking in his office when he met the officials from the Kenya Wildlife Service, Executive Director of the Amara Conservation Madam Lori Bergemann and the Javungo group of Elders, H.E. the Governor, Eng John Mruttu, said it’s important for the people to be educated on the Wildlife Act 2013. According to Eng. Mruttu , this is an initiative in the right direction hence needs to be supported under all cost.

The Group lead by the Kenya Wildlife Service and Amara Conservancy, have been encouring the youth; to look for alternative methods of getting an income rather than being involved in illegal activities like Poaching.

In the same meeting, Chairman of the Javungo Council of Elders- Mr. Ronald Mwasi Shake outlined the importance of our county citizen being familiar with the Wildlife Act 2013. He said that the penalties are just too severe to befall one, just because of his or her ignorance.

The County Government in this financial year plans to conduct a Civic Education on the news Wildlife Act 2013. People who are mainly from the Civic Society have been trained on the same Act.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Amara Meeting with the People of Tsavo

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Amara is taking part in 2 weeks of meetings in different places around Tsavo bringing together the Elders to talk about how tribal ways protect the environment-

Then we explain ecosystems and how people-water-plants-air-wildlife depend on one another. Then about value of tourism. Then we explain that the people own all those resources.....


Today's Meeting, Tamaduni Za Kiafrica Zaboresha Uhifadhi in Mwakitau
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