Happy New Year’s, or is it for Africa’s wildlife?

New Years – a time of renewal, resolutions, hope.

I had hoped my New Year’s message would reflect that, but it doesn’t.

Since the birth of the New Year the poaching epidemic has blossomed with a vengeance, and I don’t even know where to begin.

What I do know is this: I need your help in stopping the transfer of 14 infant elephants to Chinese zoos.

These babies were stolen from their families. IMG_2125

This is taking place in Zimbabwe.

So now not only are the Chinese lusting for ivory they want baby elephants.

One transfer has already been completed with one of the four infants already dead.

These infants are young – under two years old.  It’s a fact that elephant babies are milk dependent until at least the age of two.

It also is a fact that a specialized formula is needed to help these infants thrive. Dame Daphne Sheldrick can attest to that.

And it’s a fact, that these babies much like humans bond with a parent figure. There are no parent figures in this case.

China’s climate is also not suitable for African elephants.

Zimbabwe CITES Official has ruled that, “The CITES Management Authority of Zimbabwe shall only grant an export permit when it is satisfied that the elephants were obtained in accordance with national law, the CITES Scientific Authority of Zimbabwe has advised that their export will not be detrimental to the survival of that species and the CITES Management Authority of Zimbabwe is satisfied that any living specimen will be so prepared and shipped as to minimize the risk of injury, damage to health or cruel treatment.”

Shipping to China IS detrimental for the survival of these infant elephants.

These infants need to stay with their families. The living environment they are going to is intolerable for elephants of this age, and most will perish.

Below is a contact list of individuals who need to be mailed as soon as possible because the decision to send these babies will be made within the next few days.  We need to let Zimbabwe authorities know that the global community will not tolerate this.

PLEASE SEND THE EMAILS TO:
echidziya@zimparks.co.zw
pangeti@gmail.com
environment@gta.gov.zw
hmadzikanda@zimparks.co.zw
omufute@zimparks.co.zw

These are the officials being emailed:
Mr. Edson Chidziya, Director General  of Zimbabwe Parks Authority
echidziya@zimparks.co.zw

Mr. George Pangeti, Chairman of Zimbabwe Parks Authority
pangeti@gmail.com

Minister Nhema, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Management
environment@gta.gov.zw

Dr Hilary Madzikanda, Chief Ecologist of Zimbabwe Parks Authority
hmadzikanda@zimparks.co.zw

Mr. Omufute, Zimbabwe CITES authority
omufute@zimparks.co.zw

For further information please go to the Save Queenie Save Elephants page on facebook.

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Mother rhino poached while giving birth

Yesterday in South Africa a mother rhino was poached while giving birth.  It seems as the year goes by poachers are becoming more and more twisted to the point where the word “human” no longer defines them – not that it ever did.

On the Outraged South African Citizens Against Poaching face book page the count of rhinos poached is now at 629 for 2012.  If poaching continues at this rate I shudder to contemplate what 2013 will bring.

According to the State Department, and conservationists who have testified in front of Congress regarding the global poaching epidemic the war is on, but if something is not done soon it will not matter!

Awareness and money seem to be key components in stopping this war.  Global public outcry is imperative to spur governments into action bypassing the political rhetoric. Money is imperative to fund the front-line defenses against these wildlife terrorists who are becoming more high-tech and brazen as time goes on.  They are probably sitting in the African bush right now laughing at the rest of the world because they get by with this cruelty time and time again.

This new year is the time to act!   2013 needs to be the year where we can look back and say “yes, collectively we made a difference and our wildlife became secure.”  It can be done!  We need the financial clout and voices!

Meanwhile until we can get Pass the Torch for Rhinos and Elephants literally up and running for 2013, three conservation organizations that could use your help are Big Life Foundation and Lewa Conservancy in East Africa, and Palala Rhino Sanctuary in South Africa.

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Today is World Wildlife Conservation Day

Today, December 4th, is the first ever World Wildlife Conservation Day as decreed by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

To view her statement please click on State Department

It’s encouraging to learn that the State Department is becoming more involved in the global war against poaching, but I feel that rhinos and elephants are already teetering on the edge of an abyss.

That said, I noticed when I clicked on www.wildlifepledge.org and scrolled to the bottom of the page that various conservation oganizations have partnered together to stop the atrocities against wildlife.

My concern is that several of these organizations seem to be more focused on parties, political posturing and shuffling bureaucratic paperwork then seriously pursuing wildlife crimes…

In the end, I hope that the State Department and these organizations can once and for all put aside politics and posturing to actually work together ending the poaching holocaust before the last vestige of wildlife slips into eternity.

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AEFF’s film is pivotal for Kenya’s elephants

The weary war rages on bathed in angst and urgency 

Statistics reflect a poaching holocaust worse than the 1980s 

China’s lust for ivory seems insatiable 

Ivory is now funding terrorism

Six Kenya Wildlife Service rangers have been killed this year fighting poachers  

Just two days ago one of Amboseli Trust’s much loved matriarchs, Qumquat was butchered along with two of her daughters. The youngest daughter was rescued and taken to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. And as far as I know a 6-month-old grandson is still missing.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) has the power to stop this slaughter. The catalyst will be African Environmental Film Foundation’s (AEFF) film “White Gold.”

Still in production, the film will be released at the CITES March conference in Bangkok, Thailand.

“White Gold” is similar to another AEFF film produced 10 years ago called “Wanted Dead or Alive,” which then had a dramatic impact at the CITES conference. The hope is that this project will be as effective prompting international delegates to vote in favor of Kenya’s elephants.

Ian James Saunders who is a producer of the film and with the Tsavo Trust says it best,

 “The international illegal trade in ivory and the huge demand from countries such as China could ultimately result in the destruction of a the earth’s largest land mammal and have a huge negative impact on the economies and internal security of some of the world’s most impoverished countries. The effects of this illegal trade could very well be felt by the world’s industrial nations as international terrorist and organized crime syndicates increasingly use the illegal trade in natural commodities to fund their activities.”

To view the trailer of this powerful film – click on White Gold

For further information on AEFF and “White Gold” please check out their website.

 

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Director of the Kenya Wildlife Service just resigned – now what?

Julius Kipng’etich, director of the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), resigned yesterday and with his exit many issues go unresolved.

He says his departure is in pursuit of personal interests, but is it really?

With March elections looming was this cleaning house so-to-speak? And is this just the beginning of more resignations?

One of my readers commented on yesterday’s article. He said he wants to know the “true why.”

I agree. I think we should be concerned why Kipng’etich really left, especially now with Kenya’s wildlife in such a state of turmoil.             

As of this writing another rhino in Chyulu Hills is now gone. His body riddled with bullets.

That said, the reason why Kipng’etich left may play a role in who fills the director’s boots next.

One can only pray that whomever takes over will push any ideas of corruption aside, and work together with the global community in unity to decimate poaching and poachers once and for all.

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Skype and its impact on wildlife conservation

A month or so ago I wrote an article about Skype in the classroom.

It’s a global project that incorporates hundreds of thousands of students who take part in a variety of shared experiences such as talking with authors, athletes, motivational speakers and entrepreneurs; discovering new cultures and learning new languages.

After I posted the story all I could think of what this could mean for wildlife conservation.

Consider:  the impact if Skype partners with some of the leading researchers and conservationists in the field such as Dame Daphne Sheldrick, Cynthia Moss or Iain Douglas-Hamilton.

The implications are huge, and wildlife needs all the partners it can get!

Teachers can register their classrooms by clicking on SKYPE

 

Maasai Mara elephant

 

 

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Kenya’s cheetah controversy rages on and sheds light on wildlife for hire

The 66 page report involving Kenya’s orphaned cheetah cubs was released a couple of weeks ago.

It exposes allegations against the Kenya Wildlife Service and several individuals. It brings Kenya’s illegal pet trade to the forefront, and provides damaging information proving that the Nairobi National Park Animal orphanage is unfit for animals.

 

Two cheetah cubs in their enclosure photo via Sybelle Foxcroft

 

Then just a few days ago an upscale Nairobi hotel hired a cheetah from said orphanage for an event. Needless to say when the photo of the cheetah in front of the property was published, public outrage ensued. Consequently the photo vanished from the hotel’s face book page. The photo is posted on my face book page.

But the damage was done.

The Tribe hotel was on my “to stay” list and one property that I felt would be a great option for clients, but not now.

I have written much about the good that the Kenya Wildlife Service does as custodians of Kenya’s precious wildlife, but lately what is going on? How can they permit the hiring of wildlife for birthday parties and events? 

Just today the KWS director was to meet with Maasai Morans regarding the increasing human/wildlife conflict, specifically lion killings. But he didn’t show. Perhaps there is a legitimate reason why he didn’t show up, but as I write this it is being reported that six to ten elephants have been speared in retaliation. This is unconfirmed.

It seems an organization that used to be a problem solver is now the problem. Why? What happened?

This is not just an issue in Kenya. It is worldwide.

Aren’t humans supposed to protect wildlife?  Instead of destroy, exploit or decide to use them as pets?

Aren’t we the superior species? 

The Bible says we should have dominion over all animals – well I believe some of us are practicing the wrong kind of dominion.

If solutions are not brought forth and implemented soon, none of this will mean a thing. Wildlife will be gone, and the world will have crossed the tipping point.

Click on MAASAI to view the video of the Maasai Morans

To read the report in its entirety click on REPORT

 

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Tragic update on the three cheetah cubs

 

One cheetah cub died today in Nairobi National Park’s orphanage. An article regarding what is happening is on examiner.

The last two cubs need to be released to the Mara Conservancy immediately!

Kenya’s wildlife is so precious, so for this tragedy to occur while these cubs remain in the custody of the Kenya Wildlife Service does not bode well.

 

 

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International ramifications of poaching

Poaching: It’s not Kenya’s problem, nor South Africa’s nor every other country where the vile act is occurring. It is everyone’s problem.  A worldwide issue.

Therefore, this morning the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations held a hearing labeled:

Ivory and Insecurity: The Global Implications of Poaching in Africa.

Dr. Iain Douglas-Hamilton, the internationally renowned founder of Save the Elephants testified along with two other witnesses.

I have been sending clients on safari since 1982. Kenya’s tourism industry is essential to the country. Without it devastation will reign, leaving the United States and other countries with no recourse but to intervene financially. This is one of the many scenarios that could happen if poaching is not brought under control. 

For those who missed the live video, the testimonies can be downloaded.  Please click on ELEPHANT.

 

Amboseli Elephants

Amboseli Elephants taken by Mary Purvis

 

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Cheetah cub update: courtesy of Kenya Wildlife Service they now are in an orphanage

The Kenya Wildlife Service has relocated the three cheetah cubs to Nairobi National Park’s orphanage. The latest video portrays the cubs in a cement cell. Even if they are moved within the orphanage is this in their best interest?      

Unless dire circumstances dictate, every option should be explored and implemented to keep wildlife in the wild. After all that is what the name wildlife means.

In this situation the option to move the cubs to an orphanage instead of rehab and reintroducing them into the wild within the Mara Conservancy as conservancy officials were in the process of doing may backfire.

The international outcry over this debacle is enormous and one can only think that perhaps tourism dollars will be lost as a result. My safaris will never include Nairobi National Park’s orphanage unless clients request a visit to the Sheldrick orphanage.

The following is a statement from Sybelle Foxcroft, wildlife biologist and CEO of an Australian based organization www.Cee4life.org

“The situation with the cubs from Mara conservancy is tragic, not just for the cubs themselves, but also regarding the law which KWS is bound by. The very definition of conservation means to protect wildlife and the environment, both plants and animals sustainably. This is both the law which KWS work by and which Mara Conservancy work by. Ironically, each organisation involved in this has done their job exactly inside the laws which both are bound by. KWS has adhered to their law, and Mara Conservancy adhered to the conservation and protection of the Mara Triangle that they are deemed to do. There is a gap between the framework in which KWS has to operate and places such as the Mara Conservancy. And it is that gap which has resulted in 3 protected cheetah cubs taken for a release program and put into the Nairobi Animal Orphanage, which has a history of no animals being released. This is the tragedy as these 3 cubs were vital for the gene pool of the Mara Serengeti area. Now that the problem area has been identified, it must be fixed. Cee4life is willing to work with KWS Director to bridge the gap between KWS wildlife law structure and a create mandated cheetah release program. In the meantime, an urgent agreement must be made to ensure that these cubs are returned to Mara Conservancy as soon as possible so the cubs can continue their journey towards release into the wild. This benefits the cubs and all parties concerned. The Cheetah are IUCN listed vulnerable species, every cheetah counts.”

There still may be time for these cubs.  Please go to the petition site to sign the petition 

Photo courtesy of anonymous

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