Wednesday, September 2, 2015

YES!! MAJOR US CIRCUS TO STOP USING WILD ANIMALS!!


CONSERVATION GROUPS DO MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

We applaud Bill Cunningham - owner of Carden International Circus (the largest producer of US Shrine circuses) - who announced with PETA that he’s retiring all wild animal acts due to “immense psychological stress to the animals.”

James Hamid of Hamid Circus, agrees circuses “must keep up with the modern audience. … we see all circuses moving to non-animal productions.” ADI urges Hamid to commit to humane entertainment.

Earlier this year, ADI  Animal Defenders International presented circus suffering evidence to Jerry Gantt, Imperial Potentate for Shriners International, urging the organization toward entertainment more consistent with its stated principles of love, relief, and truth. YES!!!


Monday, August 24, 2015

KENYA: BLOOD IVORY RING LEADER'S BAIL REVOKED!


 **UPDATE**  We know as of today is that Feisal Mohammed Ali is still under arrest until Wednesday Aug 25th when the high court will make a decision on the bail he was granted by a lower court – AFTER the Kenyan High Court had stated he was not eligible for bail as he was a high flight risk….



Mombasa, Kenya, Aug 24 – A court in Kenya on Monday suspended the release on bail of a suspected ringleader of an ivory smuggling gang following an appeal by government prosecutors.

Kenyan national Feisal Mohammed Ali, who figured on an Interpol list of the nine most wanted suspects linked to crimes against the environment, was arrested by international police agents in Tanzania in December after fleeing Kenya and was extradited to face charges in the port city of Mombasa.

In March, bail was granted on medical grounds, but Kenyan prosecutors successfully appealed that decision at the High Court.

On Friday, magistrate Davis Karani again granted him 10 million shilling ($96,900/85,800 euro) bail, but that was again suspended on Monday.

Prosecutor Alexander Muteti repeated his argument that Ali was a flight risk.

“Mohamed fled from justice when he knew he was being sought for,” Muteti told the court.

The next ruling on the bail application is scheduled for Wednesday.

Ali is charged with possession of and dealing in elephant tusks weighing more than two tonnes — equivalent to at least 114 slaughtered elephants and worth an estimated $4.5 million (4.2 million euros).

Prosecutors allege he is a key player in the organised crime network stretching from African parks to Asian markets, where demand for ivory is high. He has denied all charges.

The haul was discovered by Kenyan police in June 2014 when they raided a car dealership in Mombasa, after which Ali fled to Tanzania.

The case is seen as a key test of Kenya’s resolve to tackle poaching.

A recent five-year study of wildlife cases before Kenyan courts, carried out by conservation organisation Wildlife Direct and published in 2014, found that only seven percent of those convicted of offences against elephants and rhinos actually went to jail, despite the crimes carrying a maximum 10-year sentence.

Save the Elephants estimates an average of 33,000 elephants have been lost across Africa to poachers each year between 2010 and 2012.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

FEISAL ALI MOHAMMED ON TRIAL FOR POSSESSING BLOOD IVORY


A man counts ivory pieces at the KWS offices in Mombasa on August 17, 2015 before the proceedings of a case against businessman Feisal Ali Mohammed and five others. PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By GALGALO BOCHA
More by this Author

The 314 pieces of ivory, allegedly found in possession of Mombasa businessman Feisal Ali Mohammed, were extracted from 160 elephants, a court heard on Wednesday.

The trophies, weighing 2,152 kilograms and valued at Sh44 million, were harvested from elephants of different age brackets, according to Dr Ogeto Mwebi, an animal heritage scientist.

Dr Mwebi is a senior research scientist and head of osteology at the National Museums of Kenya.

“In the forensic analysis I conducted, I (found) all of them to be elephant ivory of different ages. I estimated they belonged to 160 elephants. I put them as juvenile, mature or adults,” said Dr Mwebi.

He, however, explained that his analysis did not focus on establishing which country was home to the elephants.

He was testifying in the ongoing trial of Mr Mohamed and four other people for alleged possession of the ivory and dealing with the tusks without a licence.

The other suspects are Mr Abdul Halim Sadiq, Ghalib Sadiq Kara, Praverz Noor Mohamed and Mr Abdulmajeed Ibrahim.

They have all denied committing the offence on June 5 last year at the business premises of Fuji Motors East Africa Limited, on Tom Mboya Avenue, Tudor Estate, in Mombasa.

READ MORE HERE

Friday, August 14, 2015

BEYOND CECIL: ILLEGAL WILDLIFE TRADE CONSEQUENCES


As the world agonized over the death of Cecil the lion late last month, poachers in Kenya’s Tsavo West National Park – less than 300km from the UN Environment Programme world headquarters in Nairobi – illegally slaughtered five elephants, plundered the carcasses and fled the country with their ivory prize. Compared to Cecil, the slaughter barely registered on the world’s radar.

The slaughter of five elephants in Kenya was no anomaly – it’s a symptom of a global epidemic. Estimates show some 100,000 elephants out of a population of 420,000–650,000 were killed in Africa between 2010 and 2012. In 2014, poachers slaughtered 1,215 rhinos in South Africa alone, an increase of over 9,000% from 2007. Great apeslost to illegal activities number in the thousands worldwide.

These killings are extremely upsetting. But while we often view them as an aesthetic loss or an ethical shortfall, we frequently fail to see how such tragedies reverberate deep within our societies.

The global illegal trade in wildlife has very real consequences for the world, beyond an ethical quandary. It ruins ecosystems, destroys livelihoods, undermines governments, threatens national security and sabotages sustainable development.

The illegal wildlife trade is deeply disruptive to our ecosystems. A dramatic population collapse triggers knock-on effects throughout the entire system. Removing elephants in large numbers, for example, means that plant seeds are not spread widely. Other species, whose diets rely on plant diversity, must endure this shift. As species populations dwindle, their genetic diversity decreases and disease is more easily spread.


If the animals are the first victims of these criminals, then good governance and the rule of law are not far behind

And the changes are equally unbalancing for communities. Those reliant on their immediate surroundings for sustenance find themselves suddenly facing inhospitable environments. Where magnificent animals like rhinos and gorillas attract tourists, those who rely on the tourism industry suffer the animals’ absence. Where tourism drives the economy, the effect is devastating.

A look at the money involved explains why. A recent report by the United Nations Environment Programme (Unep) and Interpol estimated the value of transnational organised environmental crime, including illegal exploitation of wildlife and forest resources, at up to US$213bn (£137bn) annually. This economic loss is particularly felt in developing countries where natural resource wealth represents a foundation for sustainable development. That this revenue instead goes to line the pockets of criminals compounds the issue.


Where crime flourishes, corruption blooms. As the rule of law is undermined, criminality multiplies. If the animals are the first victims of these criminals, then good governance and the rule of law are not far behind.

Indeed, illicit wildlife trade supports organised crime and non-state armed groups. Ivory funds militias in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic, and horse gangs in Sudan, Chad and Niger. READ MORE HERE

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

Thursday, August 13, 2015

WHO IS BUYING IVORY? YOU MIGHT BE SURPRISED


By Mark Strauss, National Geographic
August 12, 2015

The majority of people who buy products made from ivory say they would support banning the sale of ivory.

That conflicting sentiment is one of several surprising findings in a new international survey published Wednesday by the National Geographic Society and GlobeScan.

The study represents an effort to better understand what motivates people in the United States and Asian countries to continue purchasing ivory, despite years of efforts to raise awareness about how the illegal trade is fueling the mass slaughter of elephants.

This tragedy, however, can’t compete with the allure of “white gold”—especially among young fashionistas in low- to middle-income brackets who see ivory as a way to project an image of wealth and social status, the survey finds.

In the United States and the Philippines, concerns about the plight of elephants are offset by the perception that governments ultimately will make sure the animals don’t become extinct. By contrast, Vietnamese believe that the elephant population is declining so rapidly that they had better buy as much ivory as possible before the supply disappears. Read Full Story Here

Thursday, August 6, 2015

TROPHY HUNTING SALES: FUNDING AFRICAN LION BONE TRADE IN ASIA!!


In the first full research report of its kind, the trophy hunting industry in South Africa has been exposed as the main source of Asia’s rapidly expanding lion bone trade. The implications are that thousands of lions are being raised in South Africa to shot in cages, stoking a market for lion bone medicine that ultimately threatens the last 2,300 wild lions in the country.

African range lions have declined alarmingly over the last several decades due to rampant poaching, trophy hunting and habitat loss.

However, the report, which is jointly compiled by WildCru, the same Oxford University Research Unit studying Cecil the Lion before he was shot, and Traffic, an international wildlife monitoring trade network administered by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the World Conservation Union (IUCN), has noted that things could be getting worse for lions.


Highly prized ... the growing market for lion bones offers breeders a way of boosting their earnings. Photograph: Alamy

In 2008 Asian traders began taking an interest in Africa’s lions when the decline in tigers became acute. Tiger wine, made using powdered bones, is a much sought-after elixir in Asia. It allegedly cures a variety of ills and increases strength and wellbeing. With the demise of tigers, lion bones are now filling the gap with a sharp increase in lion products in the markets of Vietnam, China and especially Laos.

The South African Department of Environment (DEA) has raised concerns that the demand for lion bones could potentially threaten South Africa’s 2,300 wild lions.

South Africa, though, finds itself in a unique situation. Apart from the population of wild lions found mainly in the National Parks and smaller private reserves, there are also around 174 captive lion breeding facilities in the country where, at any given time, 7,000 lions are in breeding facilities exclusively used for trophy hunting.

Lion Bones are a Boost to Trophy Hunting Sales


A lion breeder in South Africa can get paid anywhere from U.S. $5,000 to $25,000 per captive-bred lion shot, but now, according to statistics released by the DEA, a breeder can boost his earnings by selling a lion skeleton, which is worth another $ 1,260 to $ 1,560 per set without skulls, and up to $ 1,890 to $ 2,100) with skulls (depending on the size of the skeleton).

Skeletons are sold to Chinese dealers in Durban or Johannesburg, then shipped to Asia where the product, once boiled down and bottled, could fetch a market value exceeding $20,000.

According to the South African Biodiversity Management Plan (BMP) on lions not only is the practice of selling lion bones legal but it is fully endorsed by government, which views lion bones as economically viable and actively “promotes sustainable legal trade in lions and lion products” using a CITES (Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species) regulated permit system. READ MORE

The Blood Lions story is a compelling call to action to have these practices stopped.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

SUSPECTED POACHERS ARRESTED IN TSAVO ELEPHANT KILLINGS

 

Kenyan wildlife authorities Wednesday arrested two suspected poachers in the slaughter of five elephants in Tsavo National Park. But a major manhunt was still underway to catch the rest of the killing gang after the carcasses of a female adult and four young adult elephants were found with their tusks missing, Agence France-Presse reported.


The five elephants were killed in Tsavo West National Park, which covers about 3,500 square miles and harbors some 11,000 pachyderms including rhinos, hippos and elephants. The reserve is near the border with Tanzania and is Kenya’s largest elephant sanctuary.


An illegal ivory stockpile is burned at the Tsavo National Park in Kenya on July 20, 2011, approximately 350 kilometers southeast of the capital Nairobi. TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images

"The suspected gang is believed to comprise ... four Tanzanians who operate across the Tanzania-Kenya border assisted by some Kenyans from the local area. They are believed to have used motorbikes to escape with the tusks," the Kenya Wildlife Service, which operates the park, told AFP.


Tsavo West and Tsavo East national parks together form one of the largest national parks in the world and cover 4 percent of Kenya’s total land area, making them a prime location for tourists and poachers.

Trophy hunting has been illegal in Kenya since the 1970s, but the lucrative ivory trade has fueled a demand for elephant tusks. Ivory is reportedly bought at $45 per pound from poachers and sold for thousands of dollars in Asia.

The combined Tsavo parks saw the elephant population plummet from more than 60,000 in the early 1970s to fewer than 6,000 in the late 1980s. The establishment of the Kenya Wildlife Service and an international ivory trade ban in 1989 have helped slowly revive Tsavo’s elephant population, but there has been an unprecedented rise in poaching across the African continent since 2009. READ MORE

Monday, August 3, 2015

CECIL THE LION'S DEATH BRINGS GLOBAL AWARENESS


In the ever evolving scheme of the wickedness of Wild Life Crime , the death of Cecil the lion, barely registers on the most sensitive Wildlife Crime Richter scale.

Walter Palmer, the dentist from Minnesota has attracted outrage and anger from people around this planet.

In African areas where conservancies have collapsed, wildlife has largely been wiped out, and wildlife is worth more money dead than alive.

The good news about the death of Cecil is that he has raised world wide awareness of conservationists pleading for help in reversing the global politics that endanger the key stone species in Africa.

FOLLOW 

The African Elephant population is dwindling to near extinction due to the massive blood ivory trade. Without the elephant, all forms of African wildlife are at risk of extinction as well... Without the elephant to provide water, the big cats and other wildlife can not survive.


Amara Conservation has been contributing immensely with awareness around communities living adjacent to the National Parks and private owned sanctuaries in Tsavo Kenya, conservation education enables people to realize how natural resources and ecosystems affect each other and how resources can be used wisely.

Through conservation education, people develop the critical thinking skills they need to understand the complexities of ecological problems. It also encourages people to act on their own to conserve natural resources and use them in a responsible manner by making informed resource decisions.


The communities with scenic landscapes that are easy to access and have adequate infrastructure can make enough from eco/photo tourism to be viable. But other landowners are returning to cattle, goats and crops in order to educate and fend for their children.

Wildlife on these lands has largely gone, along with its habitat - back to the degraded agriculture landscapes from years back when wildlife use including hunting became legal.

Lions and other wild animals that were on these farmlands are long gone, and those that remain in national parks are shot as problem animals as soon as they leave the park. With this reckless human interference, the natural order of life is disrupted and the whole animal kingdom suffers for it.
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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Monday, July 27, 2015

MOMBASA KENYA: GATEWAY TO AFRICAN WILD ANIMAL POACHING

Mombasa's major landmark is a pair of tin arches made to look like elephant ivory. Given to the city by Princess Margaret in 1956, it is now an ironic and dark reminder of Mombasa’s place as Africa’s most active ivory trafficking hub. Credit:Briana Duggan

Tourists visiting Kenya’s steamy coastal city of Mombasa will likely pose in front of what is perhaps the city’s most iconic symbol, two giant arches made of aluminum and designed to look like elephant tusks. Given to the city by Britain’s Princess Margaret in 1956, the structure was meant to celebrate Kenya’s abundance of wildlife. But today it has become something of an ironic emblem of the city.

Last year, activists defaced the sculptures, smearing them with dripping red paint and the phrase, “Mombasa Not 4 Ivory Export.”

Relative to its neighbors, Kenya has been lauded internationally for its anti-poaching initiatives. The country imposed a strict new wildlife act that imposes life sentences or heavy fines for poaching. With the help of international donors, the Kenya Wildlife Service recently opened a wildlife forensic and genetics laboratory to aid in wildlife crime prosecution. However, even with these advancements, Kenya has one serious weakness.

The port of Mombasa, the country’s largest coastal city, is the single most active ivory trafficking hub in Africa, funneling ivory from East and Central Africa on its way, overwhelmingly, to Asian markets. This trade through Mombasa has increased in recent years, leading to a grim statistic: Since 2009, studies estimate the port of Mombasa has funneled the ivory of 25,000 elephants.

Approximately 188 metric tons of ivory is believed to have passed through the port of Mombasa between 2009-2014. Credit: Briana Duggan

The ivory passing through Mombasa has been labeled as decorating stones, declared as peanuts, and stashed with tea leaves. It has been intercepted in Singapore, Thailand and at the Kenyan port, sometimes in quantities of 1,000 pounds or more.

Experts say the level of sophistication required to move such large quantities over such long distances indicates the involvement of organized crime.

“It’s a heightened degree of professionalization that is required to actually move this contraband across this very long and very diverse supply chain,” says Jackson Miller, lead analyst for wildlife and environmental crimes at C4ADS, a security analysis NGO. “You need contacts within thousands of miles of bush, access to transport routes, then as you get out of Africa, access to outside transport and retail. It’s a big mission.”

Reports have linked the illegal wildlife trade with the funding of armed groups. While it’s unclear exactly how much it may be funding Kenya’s central security threat, the Somali-based group al-Shabaab, non-profits, government officials, and researchers have found real links between the wildlife trade and conflict in Africa.

Compounding the problem is Mombasa’s reputation for mismanagement, lax security and corruption. It’s been called a “liability for Africa,” where wildlife products and drugs can be moved with impunity.

“This is one of the ports of convenience in the world,” says longtime Kenyan maritime consultant Andrew Mwangura. “You can do anything,” he says. He calls the port’s rule of thumb: see no evil, hear no evil.  READ MORE HERE

Sunday, July 12, 2015

CHINA AGREES TO PHASE OUT IVORY INDUSTRY

llegal ivory is crushed in Beijing, China, Photograph: Li Xin/Xinhua

China has committed to phasing out the domestic manufacture and sale of ivory products for the first time. Conservation groups said the announcement was “the single greatest measure” in the fight to save the last African elephants from poaching.

At an event in Beijing where foreign diplomats witnessed 662kg of confiscated ivory being symbolically destroyed, Zhao Shucong, head of China’s State Forestry Administration, said: “We will strictly control ivory processing and trade until the commercial processing and sale of ivory and its products are eventually halted.”

This is the first time China has committed to phase out its legal, domestic ivory industry. Lo Sze Ping, CEO of WWF’s China division applauded the Chinese government’s strengthening resolve to reduce demand in the world’s biggest market for trafficked ivory. READ MORE

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

US REFUSES BRITISH MUSEUM'S IVORY ART



The US Fish and Wildlife Service blocked the importation of six Byzantine ivory pieces due to come to the US on a loan from the British Museum for the travelling exhibition Saints and Dragons: Icons from Byzantium to Russia. The show, currently on view at the Museum of Russian Icons in Clinton, Massachusetts and due to travel to the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, Virginia, this autumn, centres on icons that are normally hidden away in storage at the London museum.

Laura Garrity-Arquitt, the registrar at the Museum of Russian Icons, which organised the show, says that despite the age of the religious works (dating from the 9th through the 12th century) any animal remains entering the US must be cleared through the federal Fish and Wildlife Service. The head of the organisation denied permission, though “they didn’t really give a concrete reason why they wouldn’t allow them”, Garrity-Arquitt says, although she did add that it was likely due to the “whole issue with elephant poaching”.

The works never left the British Museum, it turns out. In a statement, a representative for the London institution told The Art Newspaper that “a potential risk to the shipment of six British Museum objects was identified and it was agreed to remove the works in consultation with the borrower”. The exhibition has been in the works since 2013, but the Massachusetts museum did not find out about the importation problem until March of this year, just two months before the show opened.

The ivory pieces, whose subjects include the Nativity, the Archangel Michael and Saint John the Baptist, were meant to demonstrate the high value Byzantine culture placed on luxury items. The Museum of Russian Icons has borrowed an ivory piece from the Worcester Art Museum in Worcester, Massachusetts instead.

Saints and Dragons: Icons from Byzantium to Russia is at the Museum of Russian Icons until 12 September and travel to the Chrysler Museum of Art, 1 October-10 January 2016.

RINGLING BROTHERS: ELIMINATE ELEPHANT ACTS NOW NOT 2018!!


Ringling Bros. Circus Mistreats Animals:
Join the July 2015 Protests in Los Angeles, CA!

In Defense of Animals The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is coming to Los Angeles soon, and the animals need your help! Please help put an end to this carnival of cruelty by joining IDA (In Defense of Animals), PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), Animal Defenders International, and Compassion Works International to rally against the use of all animals in circuses.

If you plan to come to one night, please attend opening night! Media will be there and they would appreciate a strong presence.


Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Protests

Thursday, July 9th - 11:45 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. and 5:30 - 8:00 p.m.
Friday, July 10 - 10:45 a.m. - 12 noon and 6:00 - 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 11 - 10:15 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, July 12 - 10:15 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Monday, July 13 - 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, July 14 - 10:45 a.m. - 12 noon and 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

Staples Center, 1111 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, CA 90015
(Please meet at the intersection of S. Figueroa Street and Chick Hearn Court; see the map.)

If you can make it on opening night, Thursday, July 9, IDA will be there, so please stop by to say "hello" and to help yourself to posters and leaflets which will be provided. Note that reserved parking will not be available, and please also make sure to be prepared for the weather. Outreach events are fun and effective ways to help animals as well as meet local advocates, so be sure to invite others.


Contact: Dr. Toni Frohoff at elephants@idausa.org if you have any questions.

Even though Ringling has announced that it will phase out the use of elephants in acts by 2018, their abuse needs to end now.

Also, don't forget that legislation to ban the bullhook (SB716) in the state of California will be heard in the Assembly Committee on Public Safety today on Tuesday, June 30. To find out more about how you can help go here.

Monday, May 4, 2015

RICHARD LEAKEY IS BACK HEADING KENYAN WILDLIFE SERVICES

Richard Leakey in 1989 during his last fight against the elephant poachers.

WILDLIFE NEWS UK

Kenya has called on the services again of Richard Leakey to combat the elephant poaching in the country. Under Presidential orders Leakey has been made chairman of the Kenya Wildlife Services and told to tackle the poaching crisis.

Richard Leakey played an instrumental in combatting elephant poaching in Kenya during the 1980’s as head of the Kenya Wildlife Service. Using controversial techniques such as using helicopter gunships and the legendary Masai warriors he was able to bring a poaching epidemic to an end.
Now 30 years later and at the age of 70 the Kenyan government is hoping that Richard Leakey can once again rise to the challenge and bring the killing of elephants and other wildlife in the country to an end.

A government notice was released today stating that by Presidential Order of Uhuru Kenyatta Richard Leakey would be made chairman of the Kenya Wildlife Service to deliver direction on anti-poaching and wildlife conservation activities.

His responsibilities as chairman will be to produce new policies and activities on poaching and to guide the general direction of the organisation. The day-to-day management of the Kenya Wildlife Service will remain in the hands of the directors.


GO TEAM AMARA!

 

I would like to recognize the staff of Amara for all the hard work they put into the recent Ivory Belongs to Elephants Walk! It was a very hot, long and hard journey – mostly walking 437 kilometers. They needed to be there to help Jim Nyamu find his way to all the communities. We provided our vehicle, which sustained a couple of injuries itself – but the guys worked very hard!

Isaac Maina was there for at least 3 weeks of the walk – from the start, with a respite, and the last 3 weeks full time. He fixed broken generators, speakers and cables, as he is a natural engineer (besides having a university degree in engineering!). He spoke and advised and provided his inimitable spirit of collaboration and his deeply heartfelt desire to make conservation work in this country! Isaac has been supporting Amara from it's inception, and I am deeply grateful to him.

Peter Towett was Mr. All About. He did most of the driving – included a few unplanned trips to mechanics for repairs. He took most of the photos. He helped sort out the equipment, and I'm sure that he kept everyone in good spirits and on their toes.

Jacob Dadi was the leader of the Tsavo Team. He was on the committee that organized all the food and water donations, he planned the walk through Taveta and Taita – the majority of the events. He manned the loudspeaker on top of the car during the day. He introduced Jim to all the schools and communities where we work, and he continued putting forth Amara's information about the value of conservation. He is a great ambassador indeed. He walked every step that Jim did.

The whole team deserves a medal for all of their work. I know that while he hasn't said so, Jim must know that he could not have done this event without the Amara team support. I hope that the attention he has gained will filter down to people understanding the value of the community outreach that we do,and have been doing for many years now in collaboration with KWS and all local people in the Tsavo Conservation Area. We provide information where it is most needed, through showing films in Kiswahili, holding meetings and barazas and doing capacity building, including tree nursery construction training. We liaise between the different interest groups. Going forward we plan to be able also to provide project support for community efforts to protect their livelihoods whilst protecting their environment.

GO TEAM!! Congratulations to you all! Lori Bergemann

PURDUE STUDENTS VISITED ORE AND MLILO PRIMARU SCHOOLS

Purdue group 2014

Having Purdue University students visit every year is not only a pleasure to us at Amara but also a privilege to school students in Taita Taveta County.

A vast majority of Kenyan children have never seen an elephant before or a lion, or even the most common of wildlife species. Entering a Park requires a vehicle and the ability to pay entrance fees for the people and that vehicle. For most living on the boundaries of the rural Parks, these are costs that cannot ever be met. Being able to go into the Parks and see wildlife and the landscapes are life-altering events for the children.

For this reason Amara arranges free field trips into Tsavo East and West National Parks whenever we are able to fund them. We enroll the kids and their school in Wildlife Clubs of Kenya, so they have a local wildlife club of their own. It also provides reduced entry fees into the Parks. Seeing wild animals in their own habitat helps the children to understand the fascinating and vital heritage we have and gives them a strong understanding of the importance of protecting the wildlife.

Play time with the kids

This year students from the University will be taking Mbela Secondary students on an all-day game drive into Tsavo West National Park. They will visit the school prior to the trip where we will show them how Amara does its work. The school is located in Kishushe just bordering Mbulia Conservancy. The community-owned Conservancy, managed by African Territories has a beautiful lodge named Kipalo Hills, where the US students will stay during their visit.

On the final day with Purdue students, we will have an interschool soccer match competing with three other schools around the Conservancy. The winning team/ school will be handed gifts brought by the kids from Purdue.

Last year Purdue students visited Ore and Mlilo Primary Schools. We also planted tree seedlings at Ore. They saw the joy in the faces of the young kids, and their eagerness to learn and mingle with the University students. They even performed a traditional Taita song and dance for us. It is a memory forever etched in the hearts of the Purdue students, and one the Kenyan kids will treasure forever.

Shetani lava in Tsavo West

Viewing Mzima Springs

Ore primary school entertaining the university kids.

Group photo: Mzima springs (Tsavo West)

We believe that exposing young school kids to wildlife in such a positive way, helps them grow to respect and value conservation in their daily lives.

We welcome everyone on board to assist us with making this once in a lifetime opportunity available to the young generation! Amara would like to be able to give every single student in the Tsavo Conservation Area the opportunity to visit the parks. The impact of that would be enormous!

POST BY PETER TOWETT

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

BILLY JOEL SPEAKS AGAINST BLOOD IVORY

Billy Joel by Kevin Mazur

To whom it may concern:

I wholeheartedly support the ivory sales ban bill pending in New York State. I am a piano player. And I realize that ivory piano keys are preferred by some pianists. 

But a preference for ivory keys does not justify the slaughter of 96 elephants every day. There are other materials which can be substituted for piano keys. But magnificent creatures like these can never be replaced. Music must never be used as an excuse to destroy an endangered species. Music should be a celebration of life – not an instrument of death.

Billy Joel

READ MORE HERE

Friday, April 10, 2015

AMARA CONSERVATION IN THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC VOICES FORUM


Photograph courtesy of Elephant Neighbors Center.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC VOICES SAVING ELEPHANTS
Q&A: Walking for Elephants: One Man’s Journey Across Kenya
By Maraya Cornell

On March 14, Jim Justus Nyamu, a 39-year-old Kenyan conservationist and elephant research scientist, completed a 283-mile-walk (455 km) from Emali to Voi in Kenya. Nyamu passed through the Amboseli and Tsavo ecosystems, both critical refuges for Kenya’s elephant populations. By walking for elephants as part of his Ivory Belongs to Elephants campaign, Nyamu hopes to raise awareness and better involve rural Kenyan communities in wildlife conservation.

Many of the community members Nyamu spoke with had questions and concerns about Kenya’s new Wildlife Conservation and Management Act, in place since January 2014. The act stiffens penalties related to wildlife crime, but it also gives communities more authority to manage natural resources locally. It specifies compensation to individuals and families for wildlife-related death, as well as injury and damage to property.

Since 2013, Nyamu has walked nearly 2,500 miles (4,000 km) in Kenya and 560 miles in the U.S. as part of the campaign. Nyamu is the founder and executive director of the Nairobi-based Elephant Neighbors Center.

Nyamu spoke via Skype after his recent walk.

Last month, you finished a 455-kilometer (283-mile) walk in Kenya, the latest in your Ivory Belongs to Elephants campaign. What was this campaign about?

The Ivory Belongs to Elephants walk is a grassroots education campaign geared to engage the local communities who live with the wildlife outside protected areas on how best they can manage and benefit from the wildlife. The other thing is to raise awareness and educate the communities about the new Wildlife Conservation Management Act.

What was a typical day like?

Our day would start from five in the morning. We would do the breakfast, we would knock down the camp, do the packing. I would visit the first school as early as 6:30 or 7 in the morning, and then we’d begin marching. I would walk with five, six, seven schools in a day. In between the schools, I would meet with maybe five different community groups. People would be out, waiting for our convoy, ready to ask questions, ready to support us, ready to criticize us. The last hour would probably be 8 in the evening because we also wanted to show a video in the community center or school centers.

What were some of the questions people asked?

They were asking about the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act. The compensation [for wildlife injury and property damage] only [applies to] last year. Who is going to pay for the past losses they’ve incurred from the wildlife? And they wanted to know the procedure on how they should report the incidents, how long should they wait before they’re compensated.

Who accompanied you on the walk?

I had 17 to start, and this was comprised of the Kenya Wildlife Service, the Kenya Police, the [county] administration police. I would also get support from the community game scouts who would come along and walk with me, as well as my support team and institutions like Amara Conservation.

You walked alongside Amboseli National Park and around the southern border of Tsavo West in Kenya. Why did you choose this particular route?

I chose this area because the Tsavo ecosystem is the largest in Kenya, accommodating 11,076 elephants, according to the Kenya Wildlife Service’s 2014 aerial census data. The other thing is Tsavo is known for one of the highest levels of human-elephant conflict. It borders five different community user groups—agriculturalists, pastoralists.

One of the difficulties was that the walk coincided with the dry season, when the conflict was very high. Ten elephants were killed while I was walking in this area. Four people were killed by elephants, and two were injured by elephants. So people would find it not very convincing that I’m talking about conserving and protecting elephants when they are experiencing human-wildlife conflict which was very high. Read Full Voices Article Here

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

6 TONS OF IVORY TO BE DESTROYED IN DUBAI!

Image Credit: Courtesy: Dubai Municipality
 Dubai: Dubai Municipality will by the end of this month destroy six tonnes of ivory seized from smugglers over the years, an official said.

Aisha Al Muhairi, head of the municipality’s marine, environment and wildlife section, said the ivory will be crushed and mixed with sludge to render it useless.

The confiscated ivory — in various forms such as elephant tusks, polished, rough, or as bracelets — is worth “millions of dirhams”, she added.

It will be the first time in the Middle East that such a large amount of confiscated ivory will be destroyed, in line with international regulations, according to Aisha.

Ivory trade is illegal in the UAE under Federal Law No 11 of 2002, the municipality said in a statement on Sunday.

The United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites) uses its Appendix I — for species that are threatened with extinction and that are or may be affected by international trade — to regulate the ivory trade.

International trade in species listed under Appendix I — such as the African elephant that is poached for ivory — is not allowed. The seized ivory is stipulated to be rendered unusable by destruction, the municipality added.

The contraband had been confiscated during routine inspections over “a long time, a number of years” in Dubai, Aisha said. It was held by the municipality in storage until further directions from the Ministry of Environment and Water, she added.

Following its transfer to the ministry, the directions have now come for it to be destroyed — crushed and mixed into sludge — which will take place towards the end of April, Aisha said.

“This will be a major national event, not just for Dubai but for the UAE. We, the municipality and the ministry, are partners. It’ll be a first of its kind event in the Middle East,” she added.

“Before it had not been easy to crush. The developing countries usually burn the ivory, but that’s not OK for us to do, [especially] with such a huge amount.” READ FULL STORY HERE


Saturday, April 4, 2015

AMARA CREW ARE VISITING KIPALO HILLS


Lori, Jacob and Towett are at Kipalo Hills on Mbulia Conservancy working with Tamsin.

We are so grateful to the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund for giving us a Rapid Response Grant to help us with the Kipalo Camp and Mbulia Conservancy​ fence! The fence is under construction to protect the conservation area and ease human wildlife conflict, and to allow KWS to keep the area in full access to Tsavo West.

We have wheels in motion to obtain the rest of funding needed, but at this grant is critical right now. On behalf of the people who own and live around the conservancy, and the elephants who have used this area on a regular basis since time immemorial - Thank You Disney!

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