Elephant Poaching in Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, ...)

Tue May 28, 2013 5:52 pm

And interesting read can be found here

Summary and Recommendations from that document:

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http://www.unep.org

Re: Elephants in the Dust

Tue May 28, 2013 6:06 pm

Thanks for that, Mel! O0

Notice the Chinese connection again... O/

Re: Africa: Elephants in the Dust

Thu Jun 06, 2013 3:58 pm

Africa's elephants threatened
06/06/2013

With militia groups in Africa suspected of arming themselves through the illegal ivory trade, elephant poaching is not only causing concern among conservationists, it is also a security problem.

There is an uneasy calm in Cameroon's Bouba Ndjida National Park. Military helicopters and hundred of soldiers have been deployed to protect the park and its animals following a bloody incursion into the park last winter during which poachers killed some 300 elephants for their ivory .

Army spokesperson Colonel Didier Badjeck told DW they have been carrying out air and land patrols in the course of which they seized ten horses, quantities of war munitions and 88 elephant tusks, which have subsequently been handed over to the Ministry for Forestry and Wildlife.

The soldiers say they have been working together with the population to obtain information about the whereabouts of the poachers, but most local people appear to have left the area.

Local chief Ousmaila Toukour said the soldiers had not told him the reason for their presence, but he had heard that they had come to protect the elephants.He also told DW correspondent Moki Kindzeka that the military's presence had had some impact. "Many people came here with war weapons to kill elephants. Now they no longer come," he said.

Source of funding for armed groups

In a report to the UN Security Council last month, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said elephant poaching was a growing security concern, particularly in Cameroon, the Central African Republic (CAR), Chad and Gabon.

He said the illegal trade in ivory may be an important source of funding for armed groups including the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) of fugitive warlord Joseph Koney.

Ban said there was concern that poachers were using more and more sophisticated weapons which "might be originating from the fallout in Libya."

Jules Caron from the World Wide Fund for Nature ( WWF) Central Africa section said elephant poaching has been reported in the north of the Democratic Republic of Congo. He also says the poachers have links to the Sudanese Janjaweed.

On Monday, a report issued by four watchdog organizations including the Enough Project and the Satellite Sentinel Project said the LRA had turned to elephant poaching "as a means to sustain itself" and the militia uses money from the illegal ivory trade to acquire food and other supplies.

In February Ugandan troops operating in the CAR discovered six elephant tusks believed to have been hidden in the bush by the LRA.

Elephant orphanage

In Kenya one month earlier, an entire family of elephants - 11 adults and a calf - was slaughtered in the worst single incident of its kind to have occurred in the country since the 1980s, an event described as “an unimaginable, heinous crime” by the Kenyan Wildlife Service.


The founder of an elephant orphanage in Kenya, Daphne Sheldrick, said she was seeing an upsurge in orphaned elephants because of the poaching crisis.

Robert Godec, the US ambassador to Kenya, fed bottles of synthetic milk to some of the baby elephants on Wednesday, June 5, World Environment Day.

The worry is that if African governments don't adopt a zero tolerance policy to elephant poaching, the magnificent animals could become extinct one day.


DW.DE

Re: Africa: Elephants in the Dust

Sat Jun 08, 2013 9:15 am

Incessant Killing of Elephants is Killing Africa's Future
28 May 2013

Dr Bradnee Chambers:

More civil unrest in Africa, another coup d’état, more reports of child soldiers in the front line, foreign troops involved, the poorest of the poor losing what little they have – and all the while the proceeds of a country’s wealth are diverted from much needed social and economic development to financing death and destruction.

It’s an all too familiar tale, a previous though somewhat different chapter of which was brought to the attention of a wider audience through Edward Zwick’s film “Blood Diamond”. Zwick recounted the story of the civil war in Sierra Leone, where the conflict was financed through the illegal trafficking of precious stones. National Geographic and WWF have already likened this trade to recent developments. Now, however, it is not Africa’s mineral wealth but its wildlife resources that are being misused – for “blood diamond” read “blood ivory”. And it is the blood of Africa’s fast diminishing population of elephants that is being spilled.

In February 2012, around 200 elephants were killed in Cameroon’s Bouba N’Djida National Park. Outgunned by well-armed militiamen the rangers were powerless to protect the animals, which were killed for their valuable tusks.

In January 2013 an entire family of elephants - 11 adults and a calf - was slaughtered in the worst single incident of its kind to have occurred in Kenya since the 1980s, an event described as “an unimaginable, heinous crime” by the Kenyan Wildlife Service.

Two months later 86 elephants were reported killed in the course of a single week in south-western Chad on their migration to the Central African Republic and Cameroon. The poachers were armed with AK47s and used hacksaws to remove the tusks.

The latest incident to reach the ears of the world’s media in April 2013 has seen at least 26 elephants killed at Dzanga Bai, a clearing in the forest which acts as a wildlife viewing site in Dzanga-Ndoki National Park in the Central African Republic. The site is inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List and is located near the borders with Cameroon and the Republic of Congo.

Disaster fatigue is a real danger here. We cannot just shrug our shoulders and no longer be shocked by the human and environmental disasters unfolding before our very eyes.

A recent international conference organized Their Royal Highnesses the Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge focussed world attention on the urgent need to win the battle against the illegal trade in wildlife to avoid “an irreversible tragedy”. Wildlife crime, often perpetrated by the same shady networks that traffic arms, drugs and people, has become a serious threat to the security, political stability, economy, natural resources and cultural heritage of many countries. The response required to address this threat effectively is often beyond both the capacity and sole remit of environmental or wildlife law enforcement agencies, or even of one country or region alone.

For those instigating and perpetrating these acts, the phrases “sustainable use,”, “harvesting” and “livelihoods for local communities” are not part of their vocabulary; these are totally alien concepts to their way of thinking. Like the sea-faring raiders of old, they pillage and burn, taking what they want, leaving behind devastation before moving on to the next place to plunder. Spurred on either by the need to fund their political cause or just out for financial gain, they are encouraged in their wantonness by the high prices that ivory currently commands, fuelled by record levels of demand in emerging markets in Asia.

The Wildlife Conservation Society estimates that in the central African country of Gabon alone, some 11,000 elephants have been killed illegally since 2004, but here at least, political leaders are showing the will to resist. Stockpiles of confiscated ivory were torched on the orders of national president, Ali Bongo Ondimba, emulating a similar act in Kenya some years before. President Ondimba has now offered his country’s support to his counterpart in the Central African Republic, Michel Djotodia. The renowned conservationist Mike Fay has been despatched as head of a team to combat poaching and to make the Dzanga-Ndoki National Park safe enough for conservation work to carry on.

The international community can also act. The scene of the latest massacre is a National Park, which is part of a transboundary World Heritage Site shared by the Central African Republic, Cameroon and the Republic of the Congo. Irina Bokova, the Director-General of UNESCO has already called on the three governments to collaborate in combating the growing threat of poaching in the region. Parties to CITES, the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species, at their Conference in Bangkok earlier this year signalled that they meant to get tough, placing eight countries – both supply and consumer States - on notice to get their house in order and take the requisite steps to eradicate the illegal trade in ivory products.

The Convention on Migratory Species has a strong mandate to conserve endangered migratory species and such as elephants. Most of the Range States of the two species of African Elephant are Parties to CMS and are therefore are obliged to try to improve these animals’ conservation status, and maintain and restore their habitats. If the population of African Elephants in this region were put on CMS Appendix I, it would commit parties and all Range State Parties to afford the species strict protection, including the prohibition of all taking. CMS is unique in having this nature of obligation to strictly protect species inside a country. CMS also has an agreement on West African Elephants that could act as a regional institutional framework for consolidating actions.

As a vehicle for fostering international cooperation within the framework of the United Nations, CMS stands ready to answer our member governments’ call to act. It is still not too late. But it will be soon.


Dr Bradnee Chambers, Executive Secretary, Convention on Migratory Species

Re: Africa: Elephants in the Dust

Sat Jun 08, 2013 9:20 am

Two-thirds of forest elephants killed by ivory poachers in past decade
The threat of extinction is growing for African forest elephants, according to a study released at the Cites summit in Bangkok

Damian Carrington, Bangkok
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 5 March 2013 11.23 GMT

The forest elephants of Africa have lost almost two-thirds of their number in the past decade due to poaching for ivory, a landmark new study revealed on Tuesday. The research was released at an international wildlife summit in Bangkok where the eight key ivory-trading nations, including the host nation Thailand and biggest market China, have been put on notice of sweeping trade sanctions if they fail to crack down on the trade.

"The analysis confirms what conservationists have feared: the rapid trend towards extinction – potentially within the next decade – of the forest elephant," said Samantha Strindberg of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), one of 60 scientists on the research team.

There are about 100,000 forest elephants remaining in the forests of central Africa, compared with about 400,000 of the slightly larger savannah elephants. The total elephant population was over 1 million 30 years ago, but has been devastated by poaching driven by the rising demand for ivory ornaments in Asia.

Prof Lee White, head of the National Parks Service in Gabon, once home to the largest forest elephant population, said: "A rainforest without elephants is a barren place. They bring it to life, they create the trails and keep open the forest clearings other animals use; they disperse the seeds of many of the rainforest trees – elephants are forest gardeners at a vast scale."

Forest elephants have suffered particularly badly because they range across central Africa, which has been left lawless in large areas by war, and where poachers have ready access to guns. Furthermore, the tusks of forest elephants are longer, straighter and harder than savannah elephants, making them particularly sought after. "A lot of carvers prefer forest elephant tusks," said WCS's vice president, Elizabeth Bennett.

Although deforestation is taking place, loss of habitat is not the principal problem for the elephants, according to another of the scientific team, John Hart of the Lukuru Foundation. "Historically, elephants ranged right across the forests of this vast region of over 2m sq km, but they now cower in just a quarter of that area. Although the forest cover remains, it is empty of elephants, demonstrating that this is not a habitat degradation issue. This is almost entirely due to poaching."

The new study, published in the journal Plos One, took nine years to complete and the team spent over 90,000 person-days in the field, walking over 13,000 km and taking 11,000 samples. They found the population fell by 62% between 2002 and 2011 and was now less than 10% of its potential size.

Last month, Gabon announced the death of about 11,000 forest elephants in the Minkébé national park between 2004 and 2012. Gabon's president, Ali Bongo Ondimba, says: "Our elephants are under siege because of an illegal international market that has driven ivory prices in the region up significantly. I call upon the international community to join us in this fight. If we do not reverse the tide fast the African elephant will be exterminated."

The 178-nation summit of the Convention on the Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) began in Bangkok on Monday and has already seen the eight countries identified as key to the ivory trade threatened with trade sanctions if they do not tackle failures in protection against poaching in Africa and failures in seizing illegal ivory along trade routes to China. The nations, including the states which most ivory passes through – Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Malaysia, Philippines and Vietnam – and where most ivory is bought – China and Thailand - must come up with concrete action plans or face a ban on millions of dollars of trade in animals and plants, including crocodile skins and orchids.

The Thai prime minister opened the Cites summit by pledging to outlaw Thailand's domestic ivory trade which is currently legal. But she was criticised for failing to set a deadline.

Proposals to the Cites summit supporting and opposing more "one-off" sales of ivory will not succeed, the Guardian has been told. A previous "one-off" sale in 2008 was criticised by some as driving up demand, but defended by others as providing funds for elephant protection.

Cutting the demand for ivory, as well as fighting poaching, is seen as crucial, with African elephant deaths running at 25,000 a year. Bennett said better education programmes in China would be a vital part of the action plans: "A lot of people don't actually know that you have to kill elephants to get ivory."

Poaching - corruption scandal in Kenya

Tue Jun 11, 2013 8:28 pm

Poaching - corruption scandal in Kenya

(2013-06-10) News broke Saturday evening that the Kenya Wildlife Service has suspended at least 32 senior personnel, now suspected to have participated in poaching or aided poaching gangs through various means across Kenya.

KWS Executive Director William Kiprono confirmed the development when presiding over the annual Mt. Longonot Wheel Barrow Race and reaffirmed that should the internal investigations now underway find those accused guilty, they would be dismissed and charged in courts of law to face justice.

Kenya’s elephant and rhino population but also other species have come under increasing threat in recent years, when poaching was re-kindled to levels last seen in the late 1970’s and 1980’s. In recent weeks have several massacres among the elephant population, and the killing of several rhinos in one single week, raised public alarm and triggered action on several levels, including on the political front.

Kenya’s cabinet last week sanctioned a package of measures to introduce to parliament for amendments to the Wildlife Act, aimed at increasing fines and raising jail terms for those found poaching, trading and otherwise being involved in illicit trade of rhino horns, blood ivory and other trophies.

Only two weeks ago did KWS in conjunction with other law enforcement agencies launch a major manhunt for poaching gangs and has since also stepped up monitoring and intelligence gathering, thought responsible for the action.

Source: tourexpi

Source:http://www.clubofmozambique.com/solutions1/sectionnews.php?secao=international&id=28902&tipo=one

Re: Africa: Elephants in the Dust

Tue Jun 25, 2013 5:03 pm

Born Free: "The elephant poachers kill rangers then mutilate their bodies
On patrol with the tusk force stopping Africa's cruel ivory hunters

By Susie Boniface 24 Jun 2013 00:00

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Lying in the bush after suffering a sickening death, this mutilated elephant shows the depths of cruelty ivory poachers will sink to in a bid to make a fast buck.

But the brave patrols who dedicate their time trying to stop the barbaric killings are no match for the heavily armed gangs hunting to satisfy a growing lust for the “white gold” in China, where tusks sell for £1,200-a-kilo.

One, headed by Daouda Ouedrago, has to rely on three ancient rifles and two AK47s - one of which has been deactivated – for protection. Their transport is three bicycles for transport and one of those has no saddle.

Each member of the patrol has a pair of handcuffs, a water canteen, and a map. They go into the bush for 48 hours at a time, tracking poachers who will shoot on sight if caught.

The youngest is just 17 - and they are all putting their lives on the line. If they are shot, or bitten by a snake, they will almost certainly die before they can get to the nearest hospital.

Daouda, 45, says: “We search for poachers but we cannot hope to fight them. We are there more as a deterrent. But there is a lot of money involved, and sometimes when they kill rangers they will mutilate the bodies afterwards as a message to others.”

The Mirror joined Daouda’s patrol in Burkina Faso to witness first hand the carnage caused by the poachers and the courage of those trying to stop them. His unit, one of three, consists of seven men including two volunteers.

Elephants here are unlike those anywhere else in Africa.

In Botswana, South Africa or Kenya, safari trucks can drive right up to grazing herds of several dozen mothers and babies and not cause a stir.

They are in protected reserves and feel safe in the presence of tourists.

In Burkina, they run. It is the only way to survive. Elephants are shot, poisoned and maimed by poachers who use chainsaws to carve off the still living animals’ faces to get at the ivory.

The illegal trade has brought west Africa’s elephant population to the brink of extinction. Burkina is thought to be home to around 5,000 of the creatures, but there hasn’t been a proper census for a decade.

A new smuggling route, and massive demand from the fresh wealth of China, has seen 106 killed in the past year alone.

During two days in the heart of Park W, a sprawling area of uninhabited bush the size of Yorkshire on the border with Benin and Niger, we saw just one still alive.

The lone bull was grazing amid thick cover when our guide spotted the outline of his spine. But as we grew close the wind changed direction, and at the first whiff of man he turned tail and fled.

The same was true of every animal we saw – baboons, warthogs, antelope, even birds were terrified of us.

Shelley Waterland of the Born Free Foundation says: “Ivory poachers don’t just kill elephants. They poach hippos and warthogs for smaller tusks, slaughter buffalo for food, and lions and cheetah for their skins. They set fires to stop anyone following them, and the flames burn for weeks. They’re heavily armed and they terrorise local communities.”

The Mirror travelled to Burkina Faso to work with Born Free. It is overseeing a drive to cut poaching using cash donated by readers of our sister paper the Sunday Mirror during a campaign to free Anne, Britain’s last circus elephant, who was abused by her handlers.

Readers donated more than £23,000 during a long campaign to free Anne. She was finally rescued and rehomed at Longleat Safari Park last year.

Now that money can be used to protect other elephants in the wild. Abga Bourema, who runs an eco-lodge in the park and is our guide, says: “Two or three years ago there were many elephants here. But then the poachers came.

“Now there are very few and those that remain are very scared. The elephants run away when they see you, they’re more likely to attack if cornered.

“Elephants are the gardeners of the bush. Their dung fertilises it, encourages growth, brings in small animals and the larger ones that follow. Without them, it is empty. There is no bush.

“Perhaps if we can stop the poaching, the animals will return. Then we can have tourists and that will pay for more anti-poaching patrols and help the communities here.”

The poachers responsible for this terror are a combination of desperate men from neighbouring countries and local villages.

The average wage is less than £1.60 a day, whereas even a small tusk weighing only four kilos is worth £10,000 to customers in China. Demand there has rocketed since 2007 when officials allowed the sale of an ivory stockpile.

The poachers – known as braconniers in this French speaking country – operate in groups of between two and six people, armed with powerful weapons, living rough in the bush for days at a time as they track the few elephants left.

After killing an animal and digging deep into its skull for the tusks they sell them on to a local trader for perhaps £250 or £300. A new smuggling route has opened up in nearby Togo, using container ships with lax security checks.

The middle men include gun runners, drug gangs, and Islamic fundamentalists as well as corrupt customs officials, who each take a cut and increase the final price. Although we did not see many elephants, there was plenty of signs of poaching.

We found carcasses, bonfires, forest fires and at one point were shot at as a warning to stay away.

In his bid to try to deter the poachers, Daouda sees his wife, Rose-Marie, and their two young sons just once every two months.

He says she is worried he will be killed protecting the elephants. The ranger adds: “I tell her I have been well-trained and not to worry. I chose to come here from a much safer office job because I believe it is important to look after the wildlife. This is a vocation for all of us. Without the right equipment it is very dangerous for the team, but we all make sacrifices to do this job.”

He says the elephants are killed by foreigners and by locals, but villagers are too terrified to name those responsible. Daouda adds: “With the money you have given us my patrol will be much safer.

“We can do a better job and educate people about why we need to stop the poaching. My wife will be a little happier too.”

The village of Kabougou sits on the edge of the park, and its residents farm crops right up to the edge of the protected area.

There is a history of conflict with the elephants according to farmer Oumpounini Ouoba. The 35 year-old says: “There were many here a few years ago. Sometimes they would come and destroy our crops, a year of work gone in one night.

The soil here is very hard and dry, it takes a lot of effort to make things grow. It makes people angry.”

So it is easy to see how villagers might decide to kill a problem elephant and raise a little cash at the same time, although Oumpounini insists he knows nothing about poaching.

He admits though that if they hear of an elephant who has been shot they harvest the carcass for the meat, fat, and intestines in the belief eating it will make them strong.

But Oumpounini also wants the elephant population to be protected. He says: “The ranger patrols are a good thing because they provide jobs for the community.

“If poaching stops there will be tourists and more activities in the park, which will be good for us. In the past we didn’t understand the benefits of a good environment, but the team here are teaching us that if the elephants are happy in the park, they will not come and eat our crops.

“We want to live happily with the elephants if we can.”

Valentin Tiendega, of the Ministry of the Environment, adds: “It is very difficult to persuade people to help the elephants and provide money for anti-poaching patrols.

“We hope that with the money you have donated we will get results which will not only protect those animals that remain, but will boost morale and make the government see more money would be an investment.

“If we lost the elephants here we would have lost them all over this part of Africa. It would be a great tragedy, and we are glad the readers of the Mirror think it is as important as we do.”

Re: Africa: Elephants in the Dust

Wed Jun 26, 2013 9:43 am

Sickening! :evil:

Re: Africa: Elephants in the Dust

Wed Aug 14, 2013 6:00 pm

This is basically a compilation and summary of several other newspaper articles,
but I thought it was quite good as it had the facts collated together:

Will elephants be extinct within 12 years?
Aug 14, 2013 by JOE GANDELMAN, Editor-In-Chief

Here’s a fact: every 15 minutes of every day an elephant is killed because of its ivory. And here’s what an expert contends is a fact-to-be: within 12 years elephants will be extinct, the victim largely of poachers who sell their ivory and customers who buy it.

The expert: Dr Dame Daphne Sheldri, talking from charity’s base in Nairobi National Park, in Kenya. Monday was World Elephant day — and if she’s correct there may not be too many of them left:

Conservationist Dr Dame Daphne Sheldrick revealed an elephant is being killed every 15 minutes in Africa to supply an insatiable and unsustain-able demand for ivory. From her charity’s base in Nairobi National Park, she said: “Today is World Elephant Day but in 12 years’ time there may not be any elephants left in Africa to celebrate. “A world without elephants is hard to comprehend, but it is a real possibility. Against a submachine gun or poacher armed with a spear, they stand little chance.”

About 36,000 elephants in Africa were slaughtered last year despite a ban on ivory. They fall victim to highly organised and well-armed gangs. In Kenya, 162 elephants out of a population of 35,000 were killed by poachers between January and July. Ivory is in soaring demand in the Far East for trinkets. Dame Daphne, 79, said that in just two raids last month Kenyan authorities seized 4½ tons of ivory. In Hong Kong at the same time, Customs obtained more than 1,100 tusks.

Dame Daphne, who heads the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust named after her late husband, said captured contra-band is thought to equate to just 10 per cent of actual smuggling. She picks up the pieces of this grisly trade by helping orphaned elephants.

The main culprit?

China:

“When it comes to elephant killing, and indeed most of the illegal trade in wildlife, all roads lead to China,” writes Philip Mansbridge, CEO of Care for the Wild International, on HuffPo. “Some of you may think that this is a sweeping generalisation, but the truth is it’s not. Yes – there are many other markets for ivory right now, but the biggest and most insatiable appetite comes from China without any shadow of a doubt – this is common fact.

“Whilst China should be recognised in some part for stepping up their fight against wildlife crime recently, they should also be condemned for their inability to even partially quash this demand, which has increased rapidly with the emergence of a new, wealthier, middle class.”

Want to help organizations take action? Visit Care for the Wild International and the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust to learn more.

Mansbridge’s post begins with this:

It’s hard to imagine that anyone reading this blog isn’t already aware that right now elephants are in crisis. For many years, leading global conservationists and charities have been doing all they can to stop the killing of elephants to fuel the illegal ivory trade – some behind the scenes and some in the public eye, but all fighting a common cause.

Over the last few years the issue has escalated beyond any experts’ predictions, and the elephant slaughter has increased at a truly unprecedented rate. This dramatic escalation coupled with the press-friendly voices of celebrities such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Yao Ming (one of China’s most widely known public figures), Kristin Davis, and more recently high profile politicians such as Barack Obama, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton, has now, thankfully, brought this tragic story back to the front of the public’s mind.

So, on World Elephant Day, just how bad is this crisis?

It’s bad.

Elephant poaching across Africa has reached an unprecedented high and now looks set to wipe out our beloved elephants from the planet in as little as 20 years. Some reports are now suggesting that up to 40,000 elephants are being killed for their tusks each year in Africa alone. That is almost five per hour, every hour, every day. Can you imagine this – five per hour – think for one minute about how that equates to your day. What will you do in the next 12 minutes? Maybe read this blog, surf the net, clear a couple of emails, make a coffee… bang. Another magnificent elephant hits the ground.

In minutes his tusks will be removed, usually by cutting most of the face off, often by chainsaw. An intelligent, social elephant with complex communication and family structures, that may have walked around its land in peace for the last 60-70 years, now dead and soon to be a trinket. This is not only unsustainable and cruel – it is barbaric.

But it’s not just elephants that are at risk due to poachers: Rinos could also be wiped out. This week the AP had this:

Kenyan Wildlife Service officials say armed poachers shot and killed a white rhino and cut off its horn in Nairobi National Park, the first poaching death of a rhino in the urban park in six years. The killing brings to 35 the number of rhinos killed in Kenya so far this year, a sharp rise from the 29 killed in total in 2012.

A key market to blame for the market for these butchered animals? Celebrity icons:

How celebrity fashion icons fuel illegal poaching and leopard extinction is a controversial topic because once again in the news Wednesday, August 7, 2013 a mother load of ivory tusks, rhino horns, and leopard skins was seized by Hong Kong customs officials. Leopard skins, ivory tusks and rhino horns displayed during a press conference fuel controversial questions like how can this crime against wildlife and humans continue? How can we stop celebrity icons and their need for fashion fur?

Customs officials at the Kwai Chung cargo examination compound seized the five million dollar haul containing 1,120 ivory tusks, 13 rhino horns and five pieces of leopard skin after searching a container declared as wood from Nigeria.

Leopard skins bound to be made into high ticket garments no doubt to drap over the shoulders of celebrities like Kate Moss, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and Kim Kardashian.

A new tool against poachers: drones.

Unmanned aerial vehicles are being deployed to stem the killing of rhinos in Africa. The exact location of the anti-poaching operation is secret, as is the number of rangers who will be on duty. Also confidential: where the drones will fly as they search out poachers intent on slaying rhinos for their horns – one killed every 11 hours in South Africa alone. But over several days, Tom Snitch thinks that his project, at a private game farm adjoining South Africa’s famed Kruger National Park, will prove that unmanned aerial vehicles can end the scourge of rhinoceros poaching.

Demand for rhino horn has boomed in recent years, with criminal syndicates offering as much as US$30,000 (RM96,000) a pound (450g) for the horns. Poachers have already killed 515 rhinos in South Africa this year; last year, 668 endangered rhinos died for their horns.

They’re sold in Asia, particularly in Vietnam, where ground-up horns are touted as a cure for hangovers, cancer and other ailments, and where rising incomes have made the horns accessible to more people and their possession a status symbol. Save the Rhino International, a conservation group, won’t talk about the street value of rhino horn, saying that any mention “stimulates poaching”.

And so the war to preserve the elephants, and the rinos from the people who kill them and sell parts of their bodies, and the rich people who buy the products made from the dead animals, goes on. Those battling to save the animals include Wildlife Works rangers in East and Southern Africa.

Here’s another fact:

If this battle is lost, there is no possibly of a comeback.

Re: Africa: Elephants in the Dust

Sun Aug 18, 2013 6:28 pm

The last article is fine, but draws many strings together. China is coining it, as they have the access points and government collusion in many African states, IMO.

An interesting point is that elephant poaching is moving South, ie to Kruger eventually...


But taking tusks out is far more time-consuming than chopping off rhino horns, no matter what the article says...chainsaws in the bush draw attention fast!

Elephant are also more difficult to kill, obviously!