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Tigers, leopards, bears and more seized in Interpol raids

Hundreds of animals have been seized and more than 160 arrests made in Interpol co-ordinated raids across Asia. Under the PAWS (Protection of Asian Wildlife species) programme law enforcement officials from 13 Asian countries moved in on wildlife traffickers. While the operation led to the seizures of high profile species such as tigers the focus of the operation was on the lesser known but still highly profitable species such as pangolins. The operation did not just cover street traders and markets but also online traders with social media sites also under investigation. The operation made major seizures of a range of living animals and also dead wildlife products. Included in…

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Specialist anti-poaching air squadron set to launch in Tanzania

Speaking at a hand over of donated 4×4 vehicles the Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism in Tanzania, Lazaro Nyalandu, has announced that a special air squadron of 5 helicopters is set to take to the skies in the New Year as the country continues its fight against poachers. Despite the loss of a helicopter which crashed last month killing 4 staff, the Ministry has said that the new squadron will be ready to take on the poachers within weeks. The crashed helicopter is covered by insurance and will be replaced. A second helicopter is currently on the way to Tanzania and once new pilots have been trained in South…

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Permitting Crime: How Palm Oil Expansion Drives Illegal Logging in Indonesia

The clear-cutting of forests to make way for oil palm plantations is driving a wave of illegal logging in Indonesia, fundamentally undermining efforts to bring much-needed reform to the nation’s forestry and timber sectors.  A new report released by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), Permitting Crime: How palm oil expansion drives illegal logging in Indonesia, reveals how a widespread culture of corruption and poor law enforcement is generating a flood of illicit timber as plantations surge into frontier forests. In-depth case studies of blatant violations of licensing procedures and other laws in Central Kalimantan – a hotspot for forest crime – detailed in the report include: outright violations of plantation…

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Anthrax, witchcraft and rhino poaching – the death of a wildlife ranger

The air over Sesfontein this time of year is usually a peculiar metallic hue, tinged by the talcum-fine dust whipped by the harsh desert wind blowing from the Skeleton Coast, 250 kilometres away to the west.  But today, the white heat seemed bleaker than ever, and another metallic taste stirred in the air: that of blood, redolent of greed and betrayal, of witchcraft and a strange death by anthrax. Boxer was dead.  As the oldest and most experienced tracker of the three-man Save the Rhino Trust’s (SRT) Damara-speaking team, Daniel Alfeus //Hawaxab – aka Boxer – was by all accounts an exemplary employee. At age 37, he had spent his…

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African Parks takes on the Chinko Project in the Central African Republic

African Parks has taken on the management of the Chinko Project in the Central African Republic (CAR). The Chinko Project, through a public private partnership with the Central African Republic Ministry of Forestry, the Environment and Tourism, has a mandate to manage this important protected area for 50 years. This brings to eight the number of national parks and protected areas that African Parks manages through public private partnerships with governments, wildlife authorities and communities and the total area of land under its protection to 5.9 million hectares. It also brings the organisation closer to its expansion goal to manage 20 strategically-selected national parks and protected areas by 2020 across…

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Chinese zoos plundering Zimbabwe’s wildlife

The Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force (ZCTF), a non-profit wildlife organization , has issued a disturbing report claiming that wildlife in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park is being abducted and shipped to Chinese zoos.  ZCTF first highlighted this issue in April earlier this year when they were tipped that an Australian national in collaboration with a Zimbabwean were looking for elephants in Hwange to earmark for Chinese zoos. Now eye-witness reports from tourists visiting the park are coming in about blatant live captures of baby elephants. The elephants are then taken to Mtshibi Capture Unit about 7 kilometres from Hwange’s Main Camp. So far 34 baby elephants between the ages of 2…

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Two African Parks teams to run the grueling Le Treg ultra-marathon in Ennedi, Chad

Two teams, one comprising nine African Parks managers, and the other, a dedicated team of six runners from Zakouma National Park in Chad, are to participate in the punishing 2015 Le Treg Ultra-Marathon. The marathon is run in the beautiful, but unforgiving terrain of the Ennedi Plateau located in north-east Chad, in the middle of the Sahara Desert. The aim of the two teams is to demonstrate African Parks’ commitment to the Chadian Government in establishing Ennedi as a national park and to raise awareness and funds for anti-poaching initiatives at all the parks managed by the organisation. A designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ennedi is famous for its towering…

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Put squeeze on Mozambique to stop slaughter of elephants

In the dead of night a group of men hack the meat from a corpse using rusted machetes and pocket knives. Together they’re like a machine systematically tearing flesh from bone, slashing and sawing with blunted instruments. By morning all that’s left for the vultures are stalactites of flesh that cling stubbornly to the ribcage, which gapes like a maw where the heart and lifeblood of the elephant once pulsed The slaughter is documented in a series of grisly photos that emerged from the northern Mozambican game reserves of Quirimbas National Park and Niassa National Reserve in October this year. They highlight the routine slaughter of elephants in that area…

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Cumbrian zoo and owner fined for bird escapes

A zoo in Cumbria and its owner has been fined by magistrates courts for allowing Sacred Ibis birds to escape. They were convicted under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 Sec. 14(1). The Sacred Ibis is an exotic bird species that is a known risk to UK bird populations if it becomes established in the wild. The South Lakes Wild Animal Park Ltd (SLWAP) of Dalton-in-Furness, and its owner David Stanley Gill, 53yrs, were both convicted of three counts of allow the bird to fly freely outside the park. The zoo was fined £5000 plus £370 costs and David Gill was fined £2000 plus £870 costs. The case arises from a series…

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Rhino poaching smashes last years record

Rhino poaching in South Africa has smashed through last years record number. So far in 2014 1,020 rhinos have been killed for the horn. That smashes last years record for rhino deaths of 1,004. With 6 weeks of 2014 still to go the question is how high will the figure go? Todays rhino stats released by South Africa Department of Environmental Affairs have declared that the current official figure for the country has continued to grow. “Unfortunately the threat of poaching has continued to escalate while various multi-faceted interventions are being implemented by South Africa,” the Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa said. “We are concerned that poaching is part…

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Reducing the king of beasts to easy prey for ‘hunters’

Lions are majestic animals, the alpha predators of the African bush. We think of them as roaming wild and free across the plains. But this is far from the reality. South Africa has a population of about 2750 lions in national and private game reserves – and almost twice that number caged in pens. Since 2007 the conservation spotlight has been focused on rhino poaching. But looming as large is the intensive breeding of lions and other predators for the hunter’s bullet. These animals are being bred specifically to be shot in relatively confined or enclosed areas with little to no chance of escape. Canned hunting or ‘captive hunting’ as the…

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Manta parts worth $615 million to Indonesian tourism industry intercepted

The  Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries of the Republic of Indonesia and the WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society’s) Wildlife Crimes Unit have made their largest seizure of manta ray gills and arrested one person. The 103kg of gill plates represented 85 manta rays and each was worth $7.8 million to the Indonesian dive industry over its lifetime. The raid took place on 7th November when officials, working on part of a larger investigation, at a house near to the  Pengambengan Negara fisheries landing area in Bali. The latest raid follows on from follows three arrests earlier this month and in October involving illegal trade of manta ray meat and gill…

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A million dollars of ivory stolen from Uganda’s stockpiles

It’s being reported that President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda has launched a special investigation after it was discovered that ivory worth more than $1 million was stolen from protected stockpiles in the country. Routine checks by the Uganda Wildlife Authority noted that there was a shortfall of 1.33 tonnes of tusks recovered from poachers. The special investigation has been launched amid fears that staff from the Uganda Wildlife Authority are working closely with traffickers to remove seized ivory. The investigation is being led by the Ugandan Inspectorate General of Government – the country’s anti-corruption specialists. UWA chief Raymond Engena said the agency “remains committed to the fight again illegal wildlife trade…

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Interpol launches public appeal to track down environmental criminals

Interpol has called on the public to help them track down 139 fugitives who are wanted for environmental crimes. Under the guise of Operation Infra (International Fugitive Round Up and Arrest) Terra the international police organisation has asked the public to look out for the first 9 of 139 wanted criminals. Crimes committed by the 139 fugitives targeted by Operation Infra Terra include forestry and illegal logging, fisheries crimes, disposal of toxic waste and traders in ivory and other illegal wildlife parts. It is the first INTERPOL fugitive operation targeting individuals specifically wanted for crimes concerning the environment. The first nine targets chosen by Interpol in the operation are: Adriano Giacobone –…

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Hundreds of important sites for nature threatened with destruction

More than 350 of the planet’s most important sites for nature are threatened with being lost forever according to a new report by BirdLife International. Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) are places of international significance for the conservation of the world’s birds and other nature, with over twelve thousand identified worldwide. IBAs are the largest and most comprehensive global network of important sites for nature conservation. Now, 356 of these – known as ‘IBAs in Danger’ – have been identified in 122 countries and territories as being in imminent danger of being lost. About half of these are legally protected, which highlights the importance of improving the management effectiveness…

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Wild Uncovered – Exciting talent supporting conservation in the heart of London

An exciting new exhibition from talented young wildlife artists Emily Lamb, David Filer and Simon Max Bannister opened in London on Tuesday evening (November 11). Showcasing the extraordinary work of three exceptional artists Wild Uncovered excited and delighted at the private preview at The Old Truman Brewery in Shoreditch.  From the splintered simplicity of Simon Max Bannister’s recycled sculptures, the dramatic softness of David Filer’s graphite portraits to the explosive mixed media of Emily Lamb’s canvasses the show is designed to inspire and raise vital funds for conservation.  It runs until 7pm on Saturday November 15 with 50% of sales supporting the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation’s conservation projects. You can view the online…

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International protection increased for 31 species

The so called ‘Shark COP’ – or the 11th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) (COP11) – concluded yesterday in Quito, Ecuador. The result is that 31 species have been given greater international protection including 21 species of sharks and rays. The conference was the largest ever for the Convention with over 900 delegates attending the 6 day conference. Government officials, NGO’s, academics and media people swarmed around the conference location as species were subject to intense scrutiny before being placed on either Appendix I or Appendix II of the convention. The conference was termed the Shark COP…

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UN troops set to ‘march for days into the jungle’ in the Congo

The head of the United Nations mission in the DR Congo, Special Representative Martin Kobler, has told the Security Council that the UN troops in the DR Congo are ready to ‘march for days into the jungle’ in pursuit of rebels and militia. He said that the mere presence of UN troops in danger areas is no longer sufficient to protect civilians. While much of the Democratic Republic of Congo is becoming more stable after peace talks and agreements the east of the country is still experiencing civil war and atrocities. Rebels and militia are still undertaking mass murders – mainly of women and children – before escaping into safe…

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Bear bile farming surges in Lao PDR

The number of bears held in bear bile farms in the Peoples Democratic Republic of Lao has surged in recent years. In 2008 there were just 40 bears held captive but by 2012 the number had tripled to 122. With no breeding facilities at the farms the assumption is that the growth of bear bile farms is at the expense of wild bear who are captured to stock the farms. The growth of bear bile farms in Lao PDR is recorded in a new study that has been published. The study was undertaken by independent researcher Emily Livingstone and Dr Chris Shepherd from TRAFFIC. The paper was published 29th October in conservation…

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Kimberley Process is no model for legal rhino horn trade

South Africa is almost certain to try to push through a legal rhino horn trade at the CITES meeting in 2016. Those in support of a legal trade say a highly regulated system could raise money for rhino protection and slash poaching rates. Often those is support of a legal rhino horn trade point to the Kimberley Process of tackling ‘blood diamonds’. A report from a Panel of Experts at the end of last month on the conflict in Central African Republic demonstrates that the Kimberley Process is not as effective as thought and is pretty weak when it comes to trying to end the trade in conflict or blood diamonds.…