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…

Animal Planet set to double your tiger donations

The David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation ( DSWF ) and its TigerTime Campaign are aiming to create a huge ROAR for wild tigers around the world this autumn as part of the US-based 2014 R.O.A.R. Matching Campaign. The four-week campaign, launched by Animal Planet’s non-profit initiative R.O.A.R (which stands for Reach Out. Act. Respond) is hosted by GlobalGiving and runs from 2pm (BST) Monday September 8th to  Midnight Tuesday October 7th 2014. “We’re delighted to have been chosen as one of eight principle partners for this great fundraising campaign that gives our supporters the chance to have their donations matched dollar for dollar up to $100,000 from the proceeds of Animal Planet products,” says DSWF, CEO Sally…

Revival Virunga

Revival Virunga

Find out what make the Virunga National Park so special and why it needs support from the global community. This video (13:59) offers a special insight into the global gem.

Warnings of extinctions on International Vulture Awareness Day

The world’s biggest conservation Partnership – BirdLife International – has announced that vultures have rapidly become one of the most threatened families of birds on the planet. In a bid to stop this important family of birds slipping towards extinction in Europe and Africa, they have launched a global campaign asking for public support to Stop Vulture Poisoning Now. Following recent catastrophic declines of vultures in Asia that left landscapes littered with carcasses, vultures in Europe and Africa may be set to follow unless we act now – warn conservationists from BirdLife International. Vultures are important and essential for our health: “Vultures play a fundamental role that no other birds…

Critically endangered Mascarene Petrel discovered at sea and unique image captured of bird with its egg

An expedition to find the Critically Endangered Mascarene Petrel at sea has returned with new information on one of the world’s least-known seabirds. Incredibly they have photographed a female bird where the egg is an obvious protrusion in the contour of her underbody. This is thought to be the first record of any bird photographed in flight with an obvious egg inside the body. The sighting has given new insight into the timing of the breeding season of the species which will help with future searches for its breeding grounds on Réunion Island, the only known place for the species in the world. The search for the elusive petrel is…

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…

Tusks from at least 94 dead elephants seized in Cameroon

Officials at Yaounde-Nsimalen International Airport yesterday seized 200 tusks after locals provided the officials with a tip-off about the shipment. No arrests have yet been made and police are currently investigating the case. The supervising officer explained that it seems the tusks originated from the Southern part of Cameroon and possibly the border region with Gabon. The number of tusks suggested that at least 94 forest elephants had been killed. Cameroon has seen large-scale killings of its elephants before but with sentences for poachers being relatively light – maximum of three years in prison – there is little disincentive for poachers to stop operating. While tusks of any elephant is…

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:…

New ebook: on African Elephant / Conservation

A new – and free – 51 page ebook about elephants is available for download from iTunes. Rich in media including video the ebook aims to explain the distribution, physiology and social life of this long-lived, intelligent animal.  You will see the elephant living its natural life in original photography and video clips. Given the dire predictions about future survival, it is important that we all understand and appreciate this magnificent animal and act to save it. Written for the non-specialist of all ages, this book aims to make a small contribution to the elephants’ conservation. This e-book is intended for the iPad and shows the African elephant in the…

Asian countries commit to tackling wildlife crime at second annual meeting

The three-day Second Annual Meeting of the South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network (SAWEN) culminated today in Kathmandu, Nepal, where the eight South Asian countries finalized and endorsed the SAWEN Statute and updated their collaborative roadmap for fighting wildlife crime in South Asia. “Strengthening transboundary cooperation and collaboration for intra-country law enforcement initiatives through intelligence sharing on poaching and trade trends, along with exchanging knowledge and skill for fighting wildlife crime across South Asia” was the unequivocal concern of the representatives of the South Asian countries at this meeting that was held from 26-29 August 2014. This push from the SAWEN member countries places the region firmly in the spotlight of…

Oil or smoke – what’s killing the whales and dolphins of Ghana?

Over the last few years the number of whales and dolphins that are dying along the coast of Ghana have increased. Locals claim that deaths started to happen following oil drilling in the region while the country’s Environment Protection Agency (EPA) is claiming that local are killing the creatures and smoking them for sale as fish. The latest whale to wash ashore in the Western region of Ghana brings to a total of 21 whales since 2010 and 26 since 2008. The locals claim that the whale deaths have increased since the Jubilee Oil Field was opened and it is the drilling which is causing the large number of deaths. Oil…

First ever illustrated world bird classification published

Lynx Edicíons and BirdLife International have published the first ever Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. The checklist classification uses new criteria and recognises 462 new species which were previously treated as ‘races’ of other forms. The new total of 4,549 non-passerines implies that previous classifications have undersold avian diversity at the species level by as much as 10%. As a result today the world has 46 ‘new’ species of parrot, 36 ‘new’ hummingbirds and 26 ‘new’ owls. The work uses new criteria for determining which taxa qualify as species. These criteria are intended to create a level playing field, by which all bird species can be assessed…

Elephant population triples in Serengeti Maasa Mari – are they fleeing poachers?

Are elephants fleeing Kenya for the relative safety of Tanzania in the Serengeti? That is the question being posed as a new survey released this week shows that elephant numbers in the Tanzania sector of the vast eco-system have tripled in just 28 years. The areal survey was conducted by Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI), the Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) and the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and was targeting the populations of elephants and buffaloes in the world’s largest ecosystem. The result was surprising with elephant populations in some areas of the Serengeti tripling in number since the last large-scale survey was undertaken in 1986. In the Serengeti-Mara region there was…

Parts of 2800 bears seized in Asia over a 12-year period

A new TRAFFIC analysis of hundreds of seizures sounds the alarm on Asia’s ongoing widespread bear trade and the need for immediate international action. The findings are published in Brought to Bear: an Analysis of Seizures across Asia (2000–2011) which studied bear seizures made over a 12-year period in 17 countries and territories across Asia and found that a staggering illegal trade in bears and their parts persists in the region. The analysis of close to 700 seizures revealed that a minimum of 2,801 individual bears would have been traded for their parts and derivatives between 2000 and 2011. The majority of reported seizures involved Cambodia (190), China (145), Viet…

Over half of South Africa’s ‘evacuated’ rhinos head to hunting ranches

The Public Protector has been requested to investigate the sale of 260 rhinos by SANParks to hunting companies. On the 20th July 2014 the Sunday Times published an article about the relocation of 500 rhinos out of Kruger National Park (KNP). SANParks vehemently denied these allegations but on the 12th of August Minister Edna Molewa confirmed that cabinet had given its approval on the 6th August 2014 for the evacuation of 500 rhinos for their continued safety. On the 13th August 2014, Oxpeckers.org released further information that 260 of these rhinos had been sold to three hunting safari companies in the Northern Cape: Winterhoek Safaris, Chapunga Safaris and Steyn Safaris. Apparently…

UK rejects claims of funding ivory stockpiles

The Foreign Office has rejected claims made by Tanzanian officials, including ministers, and reported in the media that the UK was to fund the storage costs of Tanzania’s ivory stockpile for 10 years. The information from the Africa Desk confirms that the UK will fund an inventory of Tanzania’s stockpile but will not be funding any treatment of the tusks or any storage costs of the estimated 120 tonne stockpile. This is at odds with some claims made publically by Tanzanian officials that the UK tax-payer would meet the costs of storage for 10 years ‘while a study is undertaken to determine the impact of poaching on the elephant population’.…

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…

Minister Molewa refuses to disclose members of public panel

On Tuesday Minister Edna Molewa announced SA’s intention to implement an integrated management strategy to reducing rhino poaching – but the failure to change legislation related to the issue, the delay in signing a formal agreement with Mozambique following the signature of a MoU between the two countries, and the lack of decisive action against trafficking in rhino horn has conservationists questioning whether the government is truly committed to winning the war against poaching. According to the Minister, the strategy will  include boosting crime-fighting capacity in Kruger, establishing an Intensive Protection Zone in the hardest-hit areas of the park, translocation of rhino to lower-risk areas of the country and neighbouring…

Whale sharks bring in $10 million a year to the Maldives

One of the classic dive locations in the world is producing more income for the Maldives than previously thought. The whale shark population at South Ari atoll Marine Protected Area attracts an incredible 77,000 visitors each year and they spend US$9.4 million a year. The whale shark population at  South Ari is one of the few whale shark locations in the year where divers can be sure of experiencing these massive but gentle fish. The population is a resident year-round one and this small group of sharks account for nearly half of all Maldive shark tourism spend. The value of shark tourism to the Maldives has always been assumed to be high but…