News From And About Africa
Compiled by Gerhard R Damm
Africa – Ivory
Carbon-14 measurements on 231 elephant ivory specimens from 14 large ivory seizures (≥0.5 ton) made between 2002 and 2014 show that most ivory (ca. 90%) was derived from animals that had died less than 3 years before their ivory was confiscated. More details HERE
Africa – Giraffe
In the past 30 years, giraffe numbers have plummeted by 40 percent from around 157 000 individuals in 1985 to 97,500 in 2015. With this decline, the world’s tallest animal is under severe pressure in some of its core ranges across East, Central and West Africa.” More details HERE
Survival International has given its “Racist of the Year” award for 2016 to President Ian Khama. President Khama allegedly said that Kalahari Bushmen live “lives of backwardness, a primitive life of deprivation and a primeval life of a bygone era” calling into question the legitimacy of the Bushmen’s existence and suggesting that they are lower down the evolutionary ladder than other people. General Khama’s government has continually denied the Bushmen access to their ancestral lands. Most of them still live in poverty in government eviction camps despite a 2006 High Court ruling which said they had the right to their land. They are accused of “poaching” when they hunt to feed their families, despite the country’s highest court ruling that this was equivalent to condemning them to death.
When boiled, donkey skin produces a rubbery, gelatin-like substance, known as ejiao, believed to cure coughs, relieve insomnia and revitalize blood. CTM manufacturers are now focusing on Africa’s donkey populations. Niger exported 80,000 donkeys to China in 2016, Burkina Faso’s donkey traders sold 18,000 animals to international buyers in the first quarter of 2016, and in Kenya, a special donkey abattoir was opened in Naivasha. Niger now banned donkey exports, and Burkina Faso implemented similar regulations. More details HERE.
The State Council of China announced on December 30th that it was introducing a phased ban of all processing and sales of ivory throughout 2017. The decision by China follows growing international and domestic pressure. In a first step, a designated group of legal ivory processing factories and businesses will be forced to close by March 31 2017. Under the new rules, people who already own ivory products can keep them or give them as gifts, and owners can sell them at supervised auctions after getting official approval. More details HERE.
Hong Kong – Ivory
The city’s Executive Council approved a three-step plan to phase out the local ivory trade by 2022. Hong Kong will introduce an immediate ban on the import and export of hunting trophies and certain ivory carvings. Within three months of Hong Kong will also ban the import and export of Asian ivory acquired before 1975 and African ivory before 1976. In a final step all possession of ivory for commercial purposes will be banned on Dec. 31, 2021.
Hong Kong – Hippo Ivory
Records of CITES show that between 2004 and 2014 Hong Kong reported importing almost 60 tons of teeth from wild hippos for commercial purposes—nearly half from Uganda. Under CITES a regulated legal trade in hippo ivory is allowed, and trade figures show that the source countries are now predominantly Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Malawi. IUCN classifies hippos as vulnerable because threats of illegal, unregulated trade in their teeth, demand for their meat, and habitat loss
The Namibian Government issued a permit for a white rhino bull to the Lamprecht family of Hunters Namibia Safari for a bona fide international hunter from China for a hunt on 12 November on their private farm in eastern Namibia under the supervision of a senior conservationist from the ministry of environment.
Professional Hunter Jofie Lamprecht said “Namibia’s white rhino population is thriving and their sustainable use is the only way that rhino owners can generate revenue to cover the very high costs ofowning these wonderful creatures currently, and that the Constitution of Namibia formally enshrines ‘the sustainable utilization of our natural living resources’ – that is the right to hunt.”
The Sahelo-Saharan Interest Group (SSIG) will be in Saint-Louis (Senegal) from May 4 to May 6. A dynamic 2-day meeting will be followed by a visit to the Guembeul National Reserve. Transfers between Dakar and Saint Louis (before and after the meeting on May 3 and May 7, respectively) as well as the hotel reservations will be coordinated by SSIG. For more detailed information about the conference, click HERE
Southern African Development Community (SADC)
The Head of European Union (EU) Delegation to Botswana Alexander Baum said in November that the EU is in the process of finalizing a Euro 35.5 million regional program on wildlife conservation for SADC as part of the response to the poaching crisis.
The EU is currently providing technical assistance for the establishment of the Wildlife Enforcement Network of Southern Africa (WENSA) and the implementation of the recently approved SADC Law Enforcement and Anti-Poaching (LEAP) strategy. More details HERE
Nedbank, one of South Africa’s leading commercial banks, has announced that they will no longer “finance any activity constituting captive breeding of mammalian predator species for hunting (also known as ‘canned shooting, especially lions) or the exotic pet trade”. The move came after the bank’s management “attended a number of workshops and engaged with interested and impacted stakeholders”, most notably the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT).
The canned shooting providers were already dealt a major blow, when the US Fish and Wildlife Services announced in October that lion trophies may only be imported if evidence is provided that the hunts benefit the long-term survival of the species in the wild (Source: News24 – see also PHASA Newsflash dated December 6th, 2016)
The South African Hunters and Game Conservation Association (SAH&GCA) has welcomed recommendations by IUCN that call for better management and regulation of selective and intensive breeding of large wild animals for commercial purposes. The IUCN motion refers to current trends in the breeding practices of wildlife for commercial purposes to produce animals with specific traits.
The Association is also still waiting for a clarification from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) and Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) following the addition of twelve wildlife species to the list of tame and domesticated animals regulated under the Animal Improvement Act (No. 62 of 1998). More information HERE
The rewilding of the 332,000ha iSimangaliso Wetland Park and World Heritage Site in KwaZulu-Natal, arguably the most diverse park in Africa, is well under way with major ecosystems restoration and the introduction of historically occurring species. All key terrestrial animals occur, including lion, cheetah, wild dog, hyena, rhino, tsessebe, and oribi. Marine life includes protected whale and shark populations, coelacanths, turtles, as well as a myriad of species on the coral reefs. The economic impact of the park creates over 7,000 permanent tourism jobs and other benefits to local communities and contributes about 7% of KwaZulu-Natal’s tourism gross domestic product.
The Professional Hunters Association of South Africa (PHASA) is “profoundly disappointed” in the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) decision to extend the zero quota for the hunting of leopard to 2017. According to PHASA there is currently no reliable scientific evidence to substantiate the zero quota for a second consecutive year. DEA’s statistics show a legal offtake of only 42, 37 and 36 leopards during the 2013, 2014 and 2015 season, far less than the approved quotas. The country’s leopard populations is very conservatively estimated at 5 000 leopards and the annual legal harvest is therefore less than 1%. However, there are concerns that illegal offtake and poaching for cultural and religious ceremonies exceed legal harvests. Source PHASA PR of 20th January 2017
Game ranchers have a responsibility to ensure that game meat taken from their farms, whether carcasses from hunts or animals harvested (culled) for their meat is free of possibly harmful residues and safe for the consumer. For example the immobilizer M99 was never intended to be used on animals for human consumption. The half-life of M99 in some game species seems to be about 240 hours or 10 days. For safety sake a withdrawal period of two months (6x the half-life) should be implemented from the time an animal was darted until it may be used for human consumption.
However, veterinarians who immobilize and/or tranquilize game animals often use a cocktail of drugs, making [a withdrawal period] more difficult to advise on. Source: SA Hunters
On 4 November 2016 the South African Government (Chief Director: Animal Production and Health, Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries) invited public comment on the proposed Game Meat regulations in terms of section 12 of the Meat Safety Act, 2000 (Act No. 40 of 2000). All South African hunting and game ranching associations as well as industry interest group (WRSA, PHASA, CHASA, HAWASA and SA Hunters, etc) jointly rejected the proposed regulation in totality because of lack of scientific base and glaring impracticality.
The interest groups consider the draft of the Department wrong and flawed. They jointly submitted comments and amendments based on the science, research and practical tested facts supported by the South African wildlife industry, major retailers, representative organizations and other stakeholders. Source: Industry Letter with Attachments to DAFF dated 29th November 2016.
Tanzania – USFWS
In October Conservation Force released a new report on the enhancement (benefits) for lion generated by licensed, regulated hunting in Tanzania. That report, along with over 2,700 pages of back-up information and a binder of other documents, was sent to USFWS.
Conservation Force reported that the Tanzanian hunting industry was losing its U.S. client base and as a consequence operators are being forced to return concessions or hunting blocks. This may lead to a massive loss of wildlife habitat, anti-poaching services by the safari operators, and community benefits.
27 Tanzanian safari operators maintain year-round anti-poaching operations and deploy anti-poaching units addressing the concession’s specific poaching threat. All anti-poaching units of six to eight members contain at least one government game scout because only the scouts have the mandate to arrest poachers.
Operators fund their anti-poaching primarily from hunting revenue and secondarily from hunter contributions. From 2013 to 2015, the 27 operators spent $6.7 million on anti-poaching and road opening and paid over $28 million in government fees which fund the Tanzania Wildlife Division’s operating budget and ca. 80% of the ordinary government anti-poaching program. (Source Conservation Force Tanzania Hunting Operator Enhancement Report)
Zambia – USFWS
Zambia submitted lion data to USFWS together with an extensive non-detriment finding for lion including the conservative lion quota as well as the adoption of age restrictions to achieve a positive enhancement finding of the USFWS.
Through the help of COMACO (Community Markets for Conservation) and its Government partners, Zambian rural communities have allocated over 1.2 million hectares as community conservation areas. Using community defined regulations, enforced by traditional chiefs with local penalties for violators, communities are slowly turning around an ill-fated future of land degradation and loss of natural treasures. Read more HERE
The High Court in Bulawayo has thrown out charges against Theodor Bronkhorst, who allegedly assisted American dentist Walter Palmer to kill Zimbabwe’s most famous lion. Bronkhorst’s lawyer said there was no full trial but the [High Court] judge had decided that the charges – as they were brought at the time – were not properly constituted.
Zimbabwe – USFWS
USFWS has not yet acted on lion or elephant permit applications from Zimbabwe. But Zimbabwe authorities and FWS met multiple times during the CITES Conference in early October 2016. Zimbabwe agreed providing details from the new Elephant Management Plan. Conservation Force has contracted with an elephant expert to prepare prioritized action items from the Action Plan.
Zimbabwe – USFWS
The CAMPFIRE Program review was mandated by the Zimbabwe government and is funded by the European Union. “We are [funding] an evaluation based on a broad consultation of a wide range of stakeholders, which, we hope, will lead to some recommendations to be validated CBNRM stakeholder conference in early 2017,” said EU Ambassador van Damme, adding that the “EU is prepared to help the Government to comply with the new regulations, thereby ensuring a constant flow of trophy hunting revenues which can be shared with the communities and reinvested in conservation and the fight against poaching and wildlife trafficking”.
Zimbabwe – USFWS
Zimbabwe will submit an updated non-detriment finding for lion to USFWS. USFWS implied that they may be making an enhancement finding for Zimbabwe similar to the one made for South Africa. Conservation Force has submitted hundreds of pages of information showing the benefits of well-managed lion hunting in Zimbabwe, including several reports from hunting operators detailing their anti-poaching and community support, with data supporting a positive enhancement finding, and Zimbabwe’s lion quota reduction, adoption of age restrictions and new lion hunting regulations.