Kenya: President Uhuru Calls for Ivory Trade Ban
BY JOHN MUCHANGI, The Star
27 JUNE 2014
President Uhuru Kenyatta has asked the United Nations to initiate measures to reduce global demand for illegal ivory. He said Kenya and other African countries cannot effectively combat poaching as long as the external demand is high.
"Global demand is strong enough, and the poachers ruthless enough, to require a joint effort if our security and heritage are to be preserved," Uhuru said.He was speaking during the official opening of the United Nations Environmental Assembly in Nairobi yesterday.
The forum discussed ways to curb poaching and illegal trade in wildlife. Uhuru called for the development of organisations to help improve the lives of people living near national parks.
"I trust that the prosperity and livelihoods of the communities living close to wildlife reserves will receive urgent attention globally,"he said. An Interpol report released earlier at the meeting largely blamed criminal groups in East and Central Africa for rampant poaching of elephants and rhinos.
Kenya has lost 97 elephants and 59 rhinos to poachers this year, mostly in private conservancies.The United Nations Environmental Programme said the more than 100 ministers attending the high-level meeting will recommend a coordinated global effort to reduce poaching.
"Participants might consider the options of addressing illegal trade in wildlife during the next session of the UN General Assembly, for example through a resolution," Unep said in a statement. Uhuru welcomed the upgrading of Unep as the premier global organisation for environmental matters.
He said Kenya will follow a sustainable development path in its efforts to be a middle-income country by 2030. "That is why my government is taking concrete steps towards a green economy. We have an ambitious programme to revamp our five national water towers and tree planting in the entire country,"Uhuru said.
Saturday, June 28, 2014
Friday, June 27, 2014
Purdue Students Helping Kenyan Children – by Peter Towett of Amara PT 2
We also visited Shetani Lava Flow and Mzima Springs. Mzima Springs are a series of natural springswith a reservoir under the Chyulu Hills. The Chyulu range is composed of volcanic lava rock and ash, which is too porous to allow rivers to flow. The water from the spring flows out at a rate of 282,000 liters per minute, and a pipeline from Mzima provides water to 100s of 1,000s of people in Kenya all the way to Mombasa.
It’s an amazing thing to see this lush oasis in the middle of dry Tsavo!Mzima pic/sThe students from the University enjoyed interacting with Kenyan students and also had a chance to visit Mlilo Primary School prior to the trip where we showed them how Amara does its work. We also visited Ore primary school where we had an interactive film show and a tree planting session withall students.
The Purdue students were entertained by the school performing Taita traditional singing and dancing, which was awesome. Afterward, the US students donated the hoes and watering cans to the school.On the last evening, to wind up the program, we had a hill climb that is quite steep and rocky but with beautiful views into Tsavo and as far as Mt. Kilimanjaro, followed by a night film show in Mbulia Community.
We are really grateful to these Purdue University students for their efforts and we urge others to join us. There is nothing like seeing the faces of kids who have learned something important they will never forget, and loved doing it!
Purdue Students Helping Kenyan Children – by Peter Towett of Amara
We would love to be able to give every single student in Kenya the opportunity to visit Kenya’s National Parks, but it’s an expensive endeavor. Seeing wild animals in their own habitats helps the children understand the vital heritage we have and the importance of protecting them.
We have been thrilled to have groups of students from Purdue University fund raise to make this dream come true for the kids! Having given an educational trip to Tsavo National Park for 2 other schools last year - this time in May 2014, Mlilo Primary School had all the smiles for the opportunity of a lifetime to visit these wonderful places and learn more about wild animals.
We registered the students and school to join WildlifeClubs of Kenya, allowing them special rates to enter the park and the chance to be involved in other events with WCK. We rented a big bus and brought lunch for everyone.
The Purdue students came to Kenya to join Amara Conservation. We toured Tsavo West National Park, located in the Coast Province of Kenya covering an area of 9,065 sq. km. Students were able to see: elephants, buffaloes, giraffes, hippos, lesser kudu, waterbuck, impalas and the most rare sight in Tsavo – they actually saw a leopard!
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Britain's Prince William and footballer David Beckham have launched a campaign to help stigmatise the buying of ivory and rhino horn.
"Our children should not live in a world without elephants, tigers, lions and rhinos. Enough is enough," Prince William said as he convened the United for Wildlife group, a coalition of global conservation groups.
"It is time to choose between critically endangered species and the criminals who kill them for money."
The sports-themed slogan - #WhoseSideAreYouOn - aims to highlight the slaughter of tens of thousands of animals a year that feeds the illegal trade. It is supported by a host of big names, including tennis player Andy Murray, Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton, cricketer Rahul Dravid and basketball ace Yao Ming, whose campaign against shark finning is credited with slashing consumption in China.
The United for Wildlife campaign set out its commitment to improve enforcement in February. The initiative launched on Monday is aimed at increasing public pressure on consumers of ivory and other illegal wildlife products.
"We knew we needed to do more to bring the illegal wildlife trade into the open," said Prince William. "It thrives because it is hidden, often invisible, making it easy for criminals to expand their violent greed. We wanted to find a way to show the world what was happening."
The slaughter of elephants, rhinos, tigers and other species has surged in the last decade, driven by a lucrative illicit trade estimated to be worth up to US$20 billion a year.
Only drugs, people and arms trafficking earn more for criminals. More than 1,000 rangers have been killed in the last decade and the corruption and violence accompanying wildlife crime takes a heavy toll on local communities. FULL STORY HERE
Saturday, June 7, 2014
PBS: Ivory tusks are off ‘Antiques Roadshow’
June 7, 2014
LOS ANGELES — PBS says “Antiques Roadshow” is dropping appraisals of ivory tusks.
The tusks won’t be shown in new episodes or in segments drawn from previously aired shows, PBS said Wednesday.
The popular public TV series features a variety of items brought in for professional assessment. Amara is thrilled with this decision. This is an important step in ensuring elephant ivory tusks and their “assumed monetary value” are not glorified on TV. Ivory poaching is decimating the ranks of Africa’s endangered elephants.
PBS said items that include ivory elements, such as musical instruments, will continue to be appraised to inform “Antiques Roadshow” viewers about “the larger issues at hand.”
Thursday, June 5, 2014
UK troops sent to Kenya to help in fight against ivory poaching by Al Qaeda terror group behind Nairobi shopping centre massacre
By Ian Drury, Mail Online
4 June 2014
British soldiers have been deployed to Kenya to join the fight to stop ivory poaching by terrorists.
Extremists linked to Al Qaeda are funding their attacks by selling the valuable elephant tusks and rhino horns on the £12billion-a-year black market.
Al Shabaab, the militant Islamist group behind the Westgate shopping centre massacre in Nairobi last year, is believed to be one of the key players behind the rise in poaching.
Al Shabaab, the militant Islamist group behind the Westgate shopping centre massacre (pictured) in Nairobi last year, is believed to be one of the key players behind the rise in poaching
A total of 25 troops from the 3rd Battalion The Rifles will be sent to Nanyuki, 160 miles north of Nairobi, to provide training to Kenyan rangers, but will not be involved in operations against poachers.
Already in the past year, 60 wardens and 38,000 elephants have been killed by poachers as ivory prices spiral.
Brigadier Duncan Francis, the Defence Attache based in Nairobi said: ‘This is an excellent example of the British Army taking positive action on an issue that is close to many people’s hearts.
‘The soldiers involved in this training will be making an immense contribution to securing the future of some of the world’s most endangered species.’
The Kenyan government has said every rhino in the country will have a microchip implanted in its horn to help stop the trad
Hillary Clinton warned that money from the wildlife crime could have funded the attack in Nairobi
In the past year, 60 wardens and 38,000 elephants have been killed by illegal poachers.
Because the price of ‘blood ivory’ - illegally poached tusks – is spiraling in Africa, poaching gangs are developing fresh techniques to slaughter animals in huge numbers, such as poisoning watering holes.
It is estimated that Al Shabaab can earn £400,000 a month in the sickening trade - enough to pay their jihadists £75 a week.
In a bid to quash the business, Hillary Clinton unveiled an $80million plan to tackle elephant poaching in September last year.
She warned that money from the wildlife crime could have funded the attack in Nairobi plus a spate of other atrocities, a theory supported by elephant conservation groups.
Rhinos are also highly prized by terrorists, with the price of single horns higher than its weight in cocaine. The horns are highly sought after in Asia, where it is used in traditional medicines.
The Kenyan government has said every rhino in the country will have a microchip implanted in its horn to help stop the trade.
Big Thank You to Purdue University student Jen Pereles for working with her family and friends to gather a generous donation for Amara Conservation that she brought to us here in Kenya! Thank You so much Jen!
$1 from every "Do No Harm" shirt sold will be donated to Amara Conservation so get yours now (1st run is limited!)
Shirts are $25 plus shipping and handling and you can email the printer at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
A Philadelphia man has been jailed for 2½ years for smuggling African elephant ivory into the United States, in a case that resulted in one of the largest seizures of illegal ivory in US history.
Victor Gordon, 71, was also ordered by US District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto in Brooklyn to pay a US$7500 (NZ$8912) fine and forfeit US$150,000, along with roughly one ton of elephant ivory that federal agents collected from his art store in April 2009.
The sentencing caps an eight-year investigation that has resulted in nine convictions in Brooklyn for illegally importing elephant ivory, prosecutors said.
The slaughter of African elephants for their ivory remains a major threat to their survival, according to conservationists, and the illegal trade has gained attention in the United States in recent years.
Brooklyn US Attorney Loretta Lynch said in a statement that the prosecution of Gordon was emblematic of the United States' commitment to prevent the flow of illegal ivory within its borders.
"The illicit trade in elephant ivory has created an environmental crisis in Africa and is fuelling the development of organised criminal groups around the world," Lynch said.
Prosecutors said Gordon acquired over a nine year period more than 400 pieces of carved elephant ivory worth US $800,000.
Daniel-Paul Alva, Gordon's lawyer, did not respond to a request for comment. In court papers, Alva had asked that Gordon receive no jail time. He also said that while Gordon collected ivory, it was not the central part of his business or life, and he was not the "criminal mastermind" portrayed by prosecutors.