News From And About Africa
Pedro vaz Pinto reported that rains in Cangandala had been quite generous, constraining so much the researchers’ movements. They could only access the park between late January and early February to reach the trap cameras. This time they couldn’t approach the giant sable inside the sanctuary. As positive surprise the photos showed that an old giant sable bull often called Ivan the Terrible had reappeared after having last been recorded in November 2014. Researchers had speculated that the bull had probably been killed in a poaching incident. In the last three months he was photographed on five independent occasions. The reasons for his long absence are unknown. See more photos HERE
March 27 marked twenty years since the Central Kalahari Bushmen first brought their plight to the UN. In 2006 Botswana’s High Court ruled that the Bushmen had been evicted from their ancestral homelands in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve “wrongfully and unlawfully and without their consent.” The Botswana government was asked to “clarify the matter” in 2014 by UN Special rapporteur on cultural rights Farida Shaheed. Shaheed had found that “the fear amongst affected people is that once the elders have passed away, nobody will be entitled to live in the reserve.” In March 2016, Botswana’s Foreign Minister reportedly told the UN Human Rights Council that Shaheed’s observations were “inconsistent with the relocation and the ruling on the CKGR case. The Government did not forcefully relocate Basarwa from the CKGR.” Read more HERE
The Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Tshekedi Khama, has pulled a last minute no show on communities who had wanted to meet with him over the hunting ban. Ngamiland communities resolved to request Khama’s ministry to exempt buffalo and elephant from the hunting ban as these species have not been affected by the wildlife declines which resulted in the imposition of the hunting ban in 2014. According to the Aerial Census of Animals of Botswana, carried out by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) in 2012, Ngamiland has the highest number of elephants in Botswana standing at 126,474 as well as the highest number of buffaloes at 53, 424. Read more HERE and HERE
After an absence of more than 25 years, scimitar-horned oryx are once again present on Chadian soil. On the evening of March 14, 25 oryx were unloaded from a chartered Ilyushin 76 at Abéché airport. The oryx, drawn from the world herd have been assembled by the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD) in the United Arab Emirates. The pre-release pens are in the vast Ouadi Rimé-Ouadi Achim Game Reserve. The vast bulk of Chad’s oryx were lost in a brutally short period between 1979 and 1982. The species and finally became extinct in the wild in 1989. The vast majority of the world’s remaining oryx, possibly some 20,000 in number, are descended from the 60- 70 animals captured in Chad during the 1960s. For more information on Scimitar Horned Oryx see also http://www.saharaconservation.org/IMG/pdf/Sandscript_19_Spring_2016_Standard.pdf
Congo, Democratic Republic
Grauer’s gorillas are poached and pushed out of their habitat in northeast DRC. Their numbers have dwindled to under 4,000, a 77% drop in 20 years. The plummeting population has prompted a number of conservationists and their NGOs to call for Grauer’s gorillas to be designated “critically endangered”. Conservationists propose the disarming of miners that are illegally settled in the gorillas’ core areas, stop illegal mining, better training, equipping and motivating rangers and working more closely with communities to provide them with alternative livelihood opportunities so they don’t have to hunt gorillas and species for survival. (Source Voice of America)
Congo, Democratic Republic
In April elephant poachers killed three wildlife rangers and wounded two more in a shootout in Garamba National Park, reported African Parks. All five victims were members of African Parks. Garamba — once a stronghold for elephants and other wildlife — has been hard hit by poaching and violence against conservation workers. Last year five park guards and three members of the Congolese Armed Forces were killed by poachers in three incidents
The Kenyan government torched more than 100 metric tons of ivory, much of it seized from traffickers, in an effort to deter illegal poaching. But in Amboseli – as in other parts of Kenya, such as the famed Maasai Mara national reserve – farmers and herders trying to protect their livelihoods kill or injure more wildlife each year than criminal poachers. They are finding conflict increasingly difficult to avoid, killing the animals that raid their crops and eat their livestock. They also retaliate when the animals [are killing people]. “If human-wildlife conflict is not mitigated, it will lead to whatever species being eradicated sooner or later,” said Richard Bonham, of Big Life Foundation, “any tourism operation that relies on wildlife that creates conflict will end up with no product.” As long as humans continue to encroach on the natural habitat of lions, elephants, and other potentially dangerous animals, human-wildlife conflict will be a perennial problem to mitigate. The future of wildlife “will depend on how we can reconcile the competition between humans and animals for space and resources,” Big Life said in a recent statement. “Otherwise, it is a battle that wildlife will surely lose.” (Source Newsday.com)
The Kunene Regional Community Conservation Association (KRCCA), representative of 29 communal conservancies held a peaceful demonstration at Opuwo in April, during which they handed over a petition to be channeled through the relevant offices of members of the European Parliament. “Our livelihoods will be disrupted by a [trophy hunting] ban, and we can’t sit idle,” the chairperson of the KRCCA said. According to him, conservancies have managed to prevent the poaching of elephants and black rhinos in the region through funds generated through trophy hunting to pay game guards. The KRCCA also argues that some parts of the Kunene region are dry and unattractive to tourists and community development, and thus survive solely on trophy hunting. The request of the association to the EU is to visit the conservancies and see how conservation has contributed to the increase in wildlife, as well as how the income generated from trophy hunting has changed lives. Source Namibian
Police Commissioner du Toit warned that visiting hunters should not leave firearms and/or ammunition with private persons when leaving the country after safari. Under the law temporarily imported firearms must leave the country with the importer or handed over to the police if not being taken with until the owner sells legally relinquishes these firearms to an authorized person.
Eighty-one rhinos have been poached thus far (17th May 2016) since the beginning of this year and most of these poaching incidents occurred at the Etosha National Park. (Source https://www.newera.com.na/2016/05/17/sms-responses/)
The Namibian Ministry on Environment and Tourism states on the difference between ‘Poaching’ and ‘Trophy Hunting’: Poaching in simple terms refers to the illegal killing of wildlife and takes the wildlife value out of the country providing no local benefits and undermining conservation and tourism development. Trophy hunting refers to the legal, well-managed conservation hunting of indigenous resources in healthy environments. Trophy hunting is based on scientific principles and sound knowledge. Offtakes are carried out according to annual quotas based on sustainable harvest rates and are controlled through permits and reporting requirements.
Trophy hunting is a conservation methodology that will assist not only the ministry but the entire country to keep and grow healthy wildlife populations. [It] provides benefits in terms of incentives or revenue generation particularly to the local communities, private farmers and to the state. Trophy hunting generates revenue in three ways: In trophy hunting areas in conservancies revenue generated goes to the communities. On average conservancies generate N$20 million to N$22 million a year. For trophy hunting in national parks and on other state lands, revenue goes to the Game Product Trust Fund [and is] invested back to conservation. On average it generates around N$10 million for the government. In some parks like Bwabwata, the ministry shares the revenue generated on a 50/50 basis with the community. Two hunting concessions exist that generate about N$4.6 million annually. This is shared with the community. Revenue generated through this method is invested into the Game Product Trust Fund. It is then reinvested into conservation by means of support to human wildlife conflict mitigation, anti-poaching and infrastructure development such as water provision to game, amongst others. For trophy hunting on commercial farms revenue generated goes to the farm owners and the prices are set by them. Read more HERE
An extensive SCF survey in March across key habitat for the addax (Addax nasomaculatus) was able to identify just 3 animals, the IUCN reported in May. Oil operations in Niger, chiefly those of the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), have decimated addax populations IUCN said, mostly due to poaching by the military personnel hired to protect CNPC’s operations. Even in the Termit & Tin-Toumma National Nature Reserve in eastern Niger, Africa’s largest protected area, poaching has increased drastically. SCF used cutting-edge technologies, including infrared capture and ultra-high resolution cameras, and covered more than 3,200 km of transects across key addax habitat. After 18 hours of flight time, however, the SFC researchers had not found one single addax. The ground team searched over 700 km and sighted one small group: “3 very nervous addax individuals,” as IUCN reported. A few thousand of the animals live in captivity or semi-wild conditions in zoos, nature reserves, and breeding programs in Africa, Europe, Japan and Australia and there are also several hundred addax living on private ranches in Texas — where they are legally hunted. Get more information on Addax HERE.
Dimension Data and Cisco announced a partnership to save rhinos. The technology deployed by the companies will track vehicles and people entering a reserve that is located near the Kruger National Park. The primary goal of the pilot project dubbed “Connected Conservation” technology is to stop people entering the reserve illegally. In the second phase, plans are to incorporate CCTV, drones with infrared cameras, thermal imaging, vehicle tracking sensors as well as seismic sensors on a secured intelligent network. Source IB Times UK
South Africa will host the 17thconference of the parties (COP 17) to CITES in September and October 2016. At the conference, South Africa was aiming to propose legalizing the international trade in rhino horn in a bid to control the escalating rhino poaching. South Africa withdrew the proposal in April 2016. Jeff Radebe, Minister for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation said cabinet approved the recommendations made by the Committee of Inquiry on the feasibility of trading in rhino horns as one of the options to preserve the country’s rhino population. “The recommendations endorse South Africa’s integrated strategic management approach to resolving the poaching of rhino and illegal trade in rhino,” Radebe added and “the committee recommends that the current mode of keeping the country’s stock levels be kept as opposed to the trading in rhino horns. The recommendations were endorsed by the Interdepartmental Technical Advisory Committee and the Inter-Ministerial Committee appointed to investigate the possibility of legalizing commercial international trade in rhino horn, explained Radebe. Source FIN24
South Africa is in the possession of a fairly significant stockpile of ivory confiscated from poachers or collected following natural deaths. Currently, the country’s stand on legal ivory trade is “officially undecided, with huge internal debate”, says Ross Harvey from the South African Institute of International Affairs. There’s a strong chance that South Africa will come out in support of legalizing trade in ivory, says Chris Galliers, from the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa. There is “quite a prominent ideological stance that ‘this is our ivory and we should be able to capitalize on it” Read more HERE
South Sudan authorities arrested an army major at Juba International Airport for allegedly trafficking with 27 pieces of cut ivory and a Chinese oil worker engineer who had luggage 10 kilograms of frozen pangolin meat his arrival in Juba from the Paloich oil fields.
The Kingdom of Swaziland submitted a last-minute proposal to CITES to down-list their population of Southern white rhinos, which would essentially allow them to trade in rhino horn. This proposal will open the debate on rhino horn trade at CITES CoP17 later this. Swaziland has a population of 73 white rhinos in the Hlane and Mkhaya Game Parks at present.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism and the Board of Directors of the College of African Wildlife Management – Mweka have resolved to turn the institution into a center of excellence. Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism, Prof Jumanne Maghembe and CAWM Board Chairman, Prof Faustine Bee, projected investment in improvement of the college infrastructure.
Secretary General Mike Angelides of Tanzania Hunting Operators Association (TAHOA) confirmed that Tanzania has resumed the exporting all trophies with immediate effect after a brief temporary interruption due to an internal clerical issue.
United States of America
The DC Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that hunters taking captive bred scimitar-horned oryx, dama gazelle and addax in the US do not need to obtain Endangered Species Act permits. Safari Club International announced they had won the suit after more than a decade of legal wrangling. The fight began in 2005 when USFWS listed the three exotic antelope as endangered but also created a special rule that exempted ranch owners and hunting clients from obtaining ESA permits for captive bred populations in the United States. Finally, the US Congress stepped in, passing the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014, including Section 127 directing USFWS to reinstate the special rule exempting the three species from the ESA permit requirement. Anti-hunting groups went back to court challenging the constitutionality of Section 127. SCI intervened and on June 3, the court decided that the US Congress did not violate the US Constitution in passing the law. You can read a detailed history on this fight on SCI’s website here (Source The Hunting Report)
Zambia and Zimbabwe
During the 63rd General Assembly of the CIC International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation the members voted to accept the applications of the Zimbabwean Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate and of the Zambian Ministry of Tourism and Arts to become State Members of the CIC. Both ministries will cooperate with the CIC to develop of African-based wildlife policy approaches.
The Dande Safari Area in the Zambezi Valley of Zimbabwe forms a vital wildlife corridor between the Chewore Safari Area in the west and the country of Mozambique in the east. Without safari hunting this wildlife refuge would simply cease to exist. The Conservation Imperative posted the video “Custodians of Wilderness: Zambezi Valley, Zimbabwe” on https://vimeo.com/165256789. This is the story of a wildlife sanctuary on the edge. More of The Conservation Imperative’s excellent work can be found at http://theconservationimperative.com/
Zimbabwe has a stockpile of more than 90 tons, worth nearly US$13 million, obtained mostly from elephants that died a natural death. Rather than being able to earn from it, Zimbabwe spends almost the same amount ($13 million) every year on retrieving, preserving, transporting and storing ivory, an expenditure the government cannot afford. Moreover, the US ban against imports of legally hunted ivory has reduced earnings which could have used for conservation efforts, says Zimbabwe’s Environment, Water and Climate Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri. In the absence of options, communities resort to poaching. In 2015 alone, 11 suspected poachers were shot dead, 2,139 incursions were detected, and 1,354 local poachers and 129 foreign poachers were arrested. (Source http://www.downtoearth.org.in/coverage/should-ivory-trade-be-legalised–53564)