Friday, February 28, 2014


 Born Free stars Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers

The actress and conservationist Virginia McKenna has urged Anglican and Catholic leaders to tell their devotees that to crave ivory is to "crave death".

The 82-year-old, who played Joy Adamson in the 1966 film Born Free, is the latest conservationist to warn that demand for legal and illicit ivory threatens to make the elephant extinct. In the Philippines, Catholics use elephant tusk to make religious artefacts and the new middle classes in China are fuelling demand for ivory trinkets.

"Anyone who is in a position of influence, whether it's the Church, politicians or leaders of society, you have to persuade all those people that seem to crave these little bits of carved teeth, that what they crave is a piece of death," McKenna told The Times.

Although it was a lion cub called Elsa that first brought her to Kenya when she played Adamson, it was an elephant she met in 1968 that led her to set up an animal charity and devote her life to conservation.

The United States, which was the second largest ivory market in the world, announced a ban on domestic sales this month. McKenna said it was time for Britain to follow suit.

"There are markets in London awash with ivory for sale. That's got to stop," she said. "Whether it belonged to great aunt Mary and has sentimental value, the sentimental value of a little piece of ivory is nothing compared to the sentimental value of an elephant's life. "You can have a piece of marble. There's tons of things to carve. Elephants are living art."

McKenna starred alongside her late husband Bill Travers, who played the game warden George Adamson in the film about a lioness that is reared by people and released into the wild.

It was not until they returned to Kenya in 1968 to film An Elephant Called Slowly, that they met the twoyear-old elephant called Pole Pole, which eventually changed their lives. There were more than 35,000 elephants in Tsavo, where the film was shot. Today there are 11,000. "It's a click of the fingers in time, but if it goes on like this there will be no elephants left in the wild," McKenna said. "Is that what we want to do to our great-grandchildren? What a shameful thing to do to the world."

In parts of central Africa the slaughter has been far worse, activists fear, but it often goes unchecked.
According to the iWorry campaign, an elephant is poached in Africa every 15 minutes and unless more is done to control the scourgte the animals will be wiped out in the wild by 2025.

Pole Pole's death in 1983 inspired the couple to launch Zoo Check, which later became the Born Free Foundation.McKenna, who has 11 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, said she feared her descendants might never know the privilege of living in the wilderness that the Adamsons knew. "It feels even more special now, because it's getting more difficult to find unspoilt environments."




More than 30 business leaders in China have taken a public stand against the ivory trade by signing a pledge to never purchase, possess, or give ivory as a gift.

The group includes Charles Chao, CEO of Sina Corp., China’s largest Internet portal, Liu Chuanzhi, Chair of Lenovo, and 10 individuals from the Forbes 2013 China Rich List including Jack Ma, founder of the Alibaba Group. "As China grows up, Chinese companies should do the same and take on more social responsibility,” said WildAid China Chair, Huang Nubo who spearheaded the campaign. “This is why we are joining efforts to protect our planet's wildlife. We hope this ethic becomes engrained in us and is passed down to future generations."

The Chinese government crushed more than six tonnes of its ivory stockpile earlier this year and is considering ending legal ivory sales, which have been shown to enable laundering of poached ivory.

Ivory Pledge

In recent years, poaching as a result of the trade in illegal ivory is posing enormous threats to the survival of elephants. I'm aware of the following:

1. Each year around 25,000 African elephants are killed for their ivory2. The population of elephants has declined 62% in the last 10 years3. Rampant elephant poaching is having negative impacts on the economy, tourism, and national security of many African nations4. Terrorist groups in Africa are being supported in part through the illegal ivory trade5. According to official reports and statistics, China is the largest importer of illegal ivory, and Chinese nationals are increasingly involved in the illegal ivory trade6. Illegal ivory trade is damaging China's international reputation. Because of this, I pledge the following: 1. I will not purchase, possess, or give ivory as a gift2. I will encourage friends, family, and employees to not purchase ivory products Signatories
Cao Guowei (Charles Chao) – CEO, Sina Corp


曹國偉(曹國偉) - 總裁,新浪股份有限公司

Thursday, February 27, 2014


Seventy-two boxes — that is all that was left of 100 African elephants, killed for their tusks. Confiscated from an office in New York City’s diamond district in 2012, the 72 office boxes were filled with small ivory beads, figurines, charms and toys.

Demand for these trinkets, often from consumers unaware the ivory comes from animals recently and illegally killed, is what drives the mass slaughter of elephants.

In a recent interview, a convicted poacher who spent a decade running a gang in Kenya admitted to personally killing more than 70 elephants.

“My attacks were so frequent that the elephants could not mate and have calves. There were not enough male bull elephants left,” he said.

These examples, sad but unfortunately all too common, reveal the international ivory trade at its most brutal. An estimated 35,000 elephants and more than 1,000 rhinos were killed last year alone. At this rate we are on a path towards the extinction of both elephants and rhinos on the African continent.

This is an ecological and moral disaster. But that is not all. Illegal poaching and trafficking also represent an economic and security challenge in Africa and beyond.

We have seen Al Shabaab from Somalia, the Janjaweed from Sudan, the Lord’s Resistance Army in east Africa and other armed groups move into illegal wildlife trafficking. It has become a multibillion-dollar business, facilitated by the same sophisticated criminal networks that are dealing in drugs, taking hostages on the open seas, and financing illegal arms sales and terrorist groups.

In recent years wildlife trafficking has become more structured, more lucrative and more ruthless than ever before. Poachers now use helicopters, automatic weapons, night-vision goggles and satellite phones to overwhelm and even kill park rangers and other local authorities. More than 1,000 wildlife rangers across the world have been murdered by these groups in the past decade.

These criminals are spreading instability, undermining the rule of law and threatening the tourist trade that is the lifeblood of so many African communities.

On both sides of the Atlantic, the scourge of wildlife trafficking has been centre stage recently. This month the White House announced a ban on new commercial ivory sales in the US and released a national strategy to address the illegal exploitation of elephants, rhinos and other wildlife.

In London, the Duke of Cambridge, the Prince of Wales and the UK government hosted an international conference to address the wildlife trafficking crisis. Delegates from 46 countries and 11 UN organisations signed a declaration promising to improve cross-border cooperation and strengthen laws and policing.

We strongly endorse a complete ban on ivory sales in the US. The global ban agreed in 1989 was successful in stemming a previous killing spree. Over time, however, exceptions have eviscerated the international ban and illegal ivory is now routinely bought and sold under one or more loopholes, providing cover for illegal traffickers. These need to be closed and sanctions imposed on countries that continue to trade in ivory products.

We are proud of the steps the US is taking and encouraged by the declaration made in London. But governments cannot end this crisis alone — private-sector action is needed as well.

At the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting in September last year we brought together a coalition of African states, conservation organisations and other concerned parties to announce an $80 million (Dh290.4 million) commitment to action, called the Partnership to Save Africa’s Elephants. Our goal is to “stop the killing, stop the trafficking and stop the demand”. With more than a dozen partners, we are scaling up anti-poaching enforcement at 50 sites; strengthening intelligence networks; imposing tougher penalties for violations; and more.

Ultimately, saving Africa’s elephants depends on consumers everywhere. We need to connect the dots for people between the ivory goods they see in stores and the carcasses of dead elephants half a world away. FULL STORY



Taita Taveta, Kenya:

The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) personnel have arrested a man described as a notorious poacher in the sprawling Tsavo National Park. The suspect was arrested on Monday at his hideout in Matalani and was found in possession of sophisticated rifles and elephant tusks after a year on the run.

Tsavo East National Park Senior Warden Dickson Too said KWS wardens recovered rifles, three rounds of ammunition and two pieces of elephant tusks. “The suspect has been involved in various poaching incidences in the Tsavo Park for a long time. He has been engaging in poaching related activities in Emusaya, Kasumuke, Daba Duke, Galana and Kulalu ranches. He hails from Matalani in Kilifi County,” he said. Read more



Photo credit: Yao Ming for WildAid. Photo by Kristian Schmidt.

BEIJING – Business leaders in China took a public stand today against the ivory trade by signing a pledge to never purchase, possess, or give ivory as a gift. WildAid China Chair, Huang Nubo, spearheaded the effort by 36 prominent Chinese to raise awareness of the ivory poaching crisis. The group includes Charles Chao, CEO of Sina Corp., China’s largest Internet portal, Liu Chuanzhi, Chair of Lenovo, and 10 individuals from the Forbes 2013 China Rich List including Jack Ma, founder of the Alibaba Group.

"As China grows up, Chinese companies should do the same and take on more social responsibility,” said Nubo. “This is why we are joining efforts to protect our planet's wildlife. We hope this ethic becomes engrained in us and is passed down to future generations." FULL STORY HERE

北京 - 商業領袖在中國通過簽訂承諾從未購買,擁有,或給象牙作為禮物送給了今天的公開立場,反對象牙貿易。野生救援協會中國主席,黃怒波,帶頭努力了36突出的中國,以提高象牙偷獵危機意識。該集團包括曹國偉,新浪公司,中國最大的互聯網門戶網站,柳傳志,聯想集團的主席,並從福布斯2013年中國富豪榜10人,其中包括馬雲,阿里巴巴集團的創始人兼首席執行官。



Friday, February 21, 2014


Meet Towett!

Post  by Peter Towett

My name is Peter Towett. I grew up in Nairobi where the allure of the wild was always beckoning, in a family of five siblings. I never really learned what it meant to just be a kid. And I certainly never learned how to relate to other children.

Accustomed to being around adults, I was always mature for my age. Even my own friends often annoyed me during my adolescent years. I did well in school, often knowing how to do complex math problems before the concept had even been introduced to our class. Looking back, I’m sure I was quite smug, although I didn’t realize it at the time. Unfortunately, self-awareness wasn’t something I learned until many years later.

In high school, I began to tire of the pressure placed on me by my family and their high expectations. I gradually stopped my extra-curricular activities, including athletics and art lessons, and chose to work instead. I graduated at the top of my class, although I wasn’t valedictorian—perhaps because I didn’t want to give my overbearing family the satisfaction.

In college, I was involved in a few outside activities. I was tourism club patron, pledged a fraternity and even served as its president, but only after several of my sisters convinced me I’d be great at it. I visited Nairobi National Park - that opened my eyes to the beauty of the vast reaches of the wilderness.

After college I joined a safari company. While working for this company I had a chance to visit Tsavo East National Park where the DSWT elephant orphanage release stockades are; this was my first time to touch an elephant. They were so amazing and also close to humans. Another job came through a friend Joseph Njoroge “Mole” who introduced me to Lori Bergemann, who heads Amara Conservation.

I started working part time in 2005. Now, after working for many years as part-time job for this organization and part time doing safari work, I had a family and needed a full time job, which led me to Dubai as there were no good jobs in Kenya.

Having worked there for five months, Amara Conservation offered me a permanent job so I came back to work to conserve our environment. This was a blessing because I wanted to be back to what I love and have a passion for doing, and I would be near my young family and my colleague Jacob, whom I had found to have a similar approach and passion for conservation.

Jacob and I have been working in the field doing awareness through film shows, which is Amara’s Conservation objective. We get to meet other people who also have a passion and I am thrilled that there are more who are willing to go the extra mile to salvage our wonderful heritage. The unique skill set in our “education for conservation” program is rare to find, and I am sure Amara Conservation will achieve it’s goals and enable the communities bordering and around the parks to become the epitome of preservation.



In mid-February Lori was invited to attend an important meeting of the Council of Elders of Taita Taveta County (Njavungo). They surprised her by making her a member of the Taita tribe, they even gave her a new Taita name, Malemba.

This means, as closely as we can tell, “green leaf of a special medicinal plant that will save the Taita People”. Amara has worked with the Taita people around Tsavo for 10 years now, and are thrilled that they appreciate what Amara does so much.

Taita Taveta County covers a large area of over 6,500 sq.miles, that includes much of the Tsavo National Parks, and human population of over 300,000.

The Elders are planning a more formal ceremony in the near future to which friends and family will be invited. This is a rare and very special honour indeed.


There are some 1,200 objects made with ivory in the royal collection. Their possible destruction is welcomed by wildlife campaigners, but not by some art enthusiasts

The Duke of Cambridge wants to strip all the ivory from Buckingham Palace and destroy it, The Independent on Sunday can reveal, in a move conservationists hailed as "extremely significant" in the fight against elephant poaching.

Some 1,200 items containing ivory are listed in the royal collection, including a throne from India that incorporates elephant-ivory plaques. The move would seek to encourage other heads of states to give up their ivory stocks and collections.

The revelation comes days after the Duke attended the world's largest ever conference on the illegal wildlife trade, which called for an end to the £12bn trade in animals and their parts, including ivory. At least 45 tons of ivory were seized in 2013, believed to be the biggest annual haul in a quarter of a century. FULL STORY HERE


Photo: Steve Garvie/Flickr

President Obama bans ivory sales in an effort to save elephants from the highest poaching rates in Melissa Mahony @mahony128 • February 13, 2014 

An undercover agent walked into a jewelry store office in Midtown Manhattan two years ago and discovered a ton of illegal ivory—an actual ton.

The ivory was all that was left of more than 100 elephants slaughtered for their tusks. Considering that only three state wildlife investigators cover all of New York City, the sting was a lucky break—but perhaps not a surprising one. New York, and the country as a whole, has an illegal ivory problem, one that President Obama wants to end with a complete ban on the commercial sale of ivory.

The ban is part of an executive order against the illegal wildlife trade that the White House announced Tuesday. Owning ivory will still be OK—assuming it was purchased legally in the first place—but selling the white stuff will be a big no-no, unless it’s a “bona fide antique” of over 100 years old (a fact sellers will have to prove). FULL STORY HERE

You Help Is Needed ...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...