rhino-fws

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 –…

Smaller kudu

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…

science-lab

Are environmental scientists holding back the science?

A new study seems to indicate the environmental science is not as effective or advancing as much as it could and it’s the scientists themselves that are holding the science back. The study by Michigan State University says that while environmental scientists are happy to share their results in publication they are not so happy to share the raw data. By holding back on the raw data the researchers at Michigan propose that compared with more open sciences, such as genomics, environmental science is advancing at a much slower rate. The researcher point to the open data of the Human Genome Project as a driving force for the rapid advancement of…

The killing fields of India – rangers under attack

Badly paid, ill-equipped and under resourced the wildlife rangers of India are now operating in the most dangerous place on Earth to be a ranger. A new survey released today says that so far in 2014 there has been 24 deaths of rangers and in the last 3 years 72 forest rangers have been killed either by poachers or wild animals The revelation comes just a few days after the Union Environment and Forests Minister Prakash Javadekar said that India may consider offering life insurance to wildlife rangers at Kaziranga National Park. To put into perspective the scale of killings of foresters and wildlife rangers in India during 2012 there was…

Network for Animals slammed by South African animal welfare organisation

British wildlife charity, Network for Animals, has been rebuked by the National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) for publishing misleading information on their website and fundraising campaign which could undermine a major elephant cruelty prosecution and have also been accused of trying to raise funds with claims of involvement in the case when they have played no role in the prosecution. The National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) have been in contact with the Network for Animals previously in order to get the information corrected but no action has been taken to correct the information. In order to correct the situation the National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) has now published an open letter to…

The most exciting wildlife art competition in the UK opens for entries on Monday 1st September.

The most exciting wildlife art competition in the UK opens for entries on Monday 1st September. Now in its 8th year, this well-established competition continues to attract some of the best wildlife artists in the world both professional and amateur and gives a fantastic platform for emerging young artists with its Young & Wild category. Nine categories to suit all styles, a £10,000 prize purse, a week-long exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London and all profits donated to support wildlife conservation make up an irresistible palette of prizes. Entry is open from Monday September 1st to February 13th 2015. For more information and entry forms (online and postal) see:…

Terrorism link to missing pilot discounted

The search continues for missing US pilot Bill Fitzpatrick but a link to a terrorist attack on Kano Airport in Nigeria has been discounted by those involved in the search. Radio communications confirm that Fitzpatrick had left Kano Airport successfully. Bill Fitzpatrick went missing on Sunday evening on 22nd June. He was working for African Parks as a pilot on anti-poaching patrols. On the night he was on route from the United States and transporting a new spotter plane for the organisation. It was due to go on anti-poaching activities at the  Odzala-Kokoua National Park in the Republic of Congo. On the Sunday evening he took off from Kano Airport in…

Tour operator hunted over double murder in tiger reserve

Could a gift of a vehicle to the forestry department at the Panna Tiger Reserve have led to a double murder of a park ranger and a forest guard. That appears to be one of the most likely motives as police in India hunt the owner of a tour operator business. The forest department used to hire a vehicle from the tour operator for tiger monitoring and other tasks in the famous tiger reserve. However earlier this year a wildlife charity donated a vehicle to the reserve and the contract with the tour operator came to an end on June 30th. Without the contract the operator’s vehicle had no pass…

End of an era as BBC plan to dumb down wildlife documentaries

For the last 30 years or so nature lovers across the world have been spoiled by the BBC and its high quality nature programming. All that is now to change as the BBC gets set to ‘dumb down’ its nature programming moving away from science and facts towards populist hyperbole and emotional anthropomorphism. In a piece in todays Daily Telegraph the BBC has confirmed that the scientific and factual approach of wildlife programming that led to the BBC dominating nature documentary production with global admiration is to come to an end. The head of the corporation’s Natural History unit, Wendy Darke, said in the piece that the BBC will not…

New initiative to protect Africa’s forests

A new multi-national initiative has been launched at the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) to try and protect what remains of east African forests and combat an illegal timber trade thought to be worth up to US$100 billion a year. The new action will involve Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda working together with Interpol and various UN agencies. The East Africa Initiative on Illegal Timber Trade and REDD+ will see multi-agency actions that aims to tackle illegal logging, timber and charcoal production. Africa’s forest cover is estimated at 675 million hectares, or 23 per cent of the continent’s total land area continent but is being lost at  staggering rate. It is estimated…

Chinese business commits to saying no to wildlife gifts

A new guide has been launched by TRAFFIC in China with the backing of 30 top influential business people to encourage businesses to stop using wildlife products as gifts. Despite being a relatively new phenomena the gifting of wildlife products plays a major role in wildlife crime in China. The new guide called  “Good for business, great for wildlife worldwide” hopes to reduce the impact of the practise. The guide was launched at Gu Cang, a 600-year-old barn converted into a trendy business lounge. Its owner was one of those taking part in the event calling for a change to business practices. “The environment and wildlife are very important to us,…

Value of environmental crimes dwarfs global international aid

The scale of the problem of environmental crime was revealed today with the publication of a joint report from the United Nationals and Interpol. Globally environmental crimes have a value of up to US$213 billion a year – compare that to a combined global total of US$135 billion a year spent on overseas aid and the scale of the problem becomes very real. The Environmental Crime Crisis: a rapid response assessment was released on the opening day of the first ever United Nations Environment Assembly currently being held in Nairobi, Kenya. The report looked into the full range of environmental crime from elephant poaching to illegal logging, mining and toxic waste dumping.…

No funds allocated for Natural World Heritage Sites in 2014-2015

Taking a look through some of the accounts of the World Heritage Committee it is surprising to see that there has been no funds allocated for international assistance for natural world heritage sites. This at a time of a poaching epidemic when more resources presumably are needed to keep the wildlife within World Heritage sites (WHS) safe. The blame can not be put on the WHS committee though as only one request was submitted (which was rejected) for help from the funds. The application that was rejected was a request from the DR Congo for funding of a youth educational programme for the protection of the environment. The application was…

Natural world sites being recommended for listing as new World Heritage Sites

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) have begun the 39th meeting of the World Heritage Sites Committee in Doha, Qatar. Over the next few days the members will be looking at the state of the world’s prime wildlife and natural world sites. They will also be looking at naming a number of new sites which are of particular importance for protecting the natural world. The following sites are being recommended for inclusion onto the list because of their importance to the natural world. Okavango Delta, Botswana. The Okavango Delta is a stunning wetland in Africa. It is a river delta that is classed as an endorheic delta –…

SOCO International and WWF reach compromise over Virunga National Park

Following mediation at the UK National Contact Point (NCP) for the OECD Guidelines, oil exploration company SOCO International and conservation group WWF have reached a settlement. SOCO International has confirmed that once the Lake Edward seismic testing has been completed shortly they will not undertake the next stage of oil exploration unless agreement is allowed by UNESCO and the DRC government as being acceptable within the park. In exchange WWF agree to drop their claim against SOCO International at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development for breaching good business practice guidelines. The statement released by SOCO International states: SOCO International plc (SOCO) has agreed with WWF in a joint statement…

Of jaguars and loggers: new film to showcase one of the least-known regions in the deep Amazon

In August, three young filmmakers will go on the expedition of a lifetime. Tristan Thompson, Declan Burley, and Chris Butler plan to spend six months filming in one of the most remote, most spectacular, and most endangered ecosystems on the planet: the Las Piedras River system in the Peruvian Amazon. This unprotected swathe of Amazon jungle contains massive anacondas, prowling jaguars, a weird floating forest and even uncontacted indigenous people. The crew of Uncharted Amazon, which has just set up a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the film, plans to not only focus on the amazing wildlife of the region, but the people too. Setting their documentary a part from…

Major in South Sudan Wildlife Service feared kidnapped

Local radio in South Sudan is reporting that a major in the South Sudan Wildlife Service has gone missing with reports that he may have been kidnapped. His last known movements was traveling on a motorcycle to the service headquarters to pick up wages for staff. Major William Kuol Angui is the commander of wildlife services in the Bazia region. The incident is reported to have happened on Sunday night as he travelled between Taban and Busiri in Wau County. Currently there are limited details and no official confirmation has been made by the authorities. The Bahr el Ghazal region where the major went missing is found in the west…

2 arrested over Dexter Chilunda murder

Two men have been arrested in connection with the killing of Dexter Chilunda, the head of law enforcement at Liuwa Plain National Park. Dexter was shot by suspected poachers while investigating gunshots heard by park rangers in the park on Friday, 23 May 2014. The men were apprehended in the town of Lukulu, 35 kilometres from the park on Sunday, 1 June 2014, and are to appear in court at a date that has not yet been established. The arrests resulted from the combined efforts of the Zambian police, ZAWA and five Liuwa Plain law enforcement officers following leads by supportive local communities who were devastated by his death. An…

Highlights of the World Heritage Sites 2014 Agenda

In a little over 2 weeks the 38th Session of the World Heritage Sites Committee will take place. On the list of properties under review are 15 natural world properties. The committee will be looking at what steps have been taken to try to protect or conserve these globally valuable habitats. The provisional agenda for the meeting which takes place in Doha, Qatar between 15th and 25th June has been published. Of the 15 sites being examined two are being recommended for inclusion on the ‘in danger’ register. The two most common threats to sites being examined this year appears to be tourism and dams. Of the 15 natural world WHS…

Tributes paid to conservation giant

African Parks sadly announces that Dr Anthony Hall-Martin, African Parks’ co-founder and conservation director, passed away on Wednesday, 21 May in Cape Town after a prolonged struggle with cancer. He was 68 years old. As tributes pour in from around the world, those who knew Dr Hall Martin have described him as a conservation giant whose impact was felt throughout the African continent and whose legacy will resonate for generations to come. Dr Hall-Martin leaves behind his wife, Catherina, and grown-up daughters Vega and Cate. Dr Hall-Martin leaves behind a list of formidable achievements in a conservation career that spanned nearly 50 years. During this time he tirelessly championed the…