elephant

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…

Elephant-baby-steps-Francis-Garrard

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…

rhino

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…

elephant

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…

forest elephants

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…

eia - elephants tanzania report

Chinese criminal syndicates & corruption behind Tanzania’s elephant meltdown

A new report reveals that Chinese-led criminal gangs are conspiring with corrupt Tanzanian officials to traffic huge amounts of ivory, a trade which has caused half of Tanzania’s elephants to be poached in the past five years – even diplomatic visits by high-level Chinese Government delegations have been used to smuggle ivory.  In the major new report Vanishing Point – Criminality, Corruption and the Devastation of Tanzania’s Elephants, released on the eve of a major regional wildlife crime summit in Tanzania, the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) details how the country’s elephants are being slaughtered in vast numbers to feed a resurgent ivory trade in China.  In December 2013, an official…

rhino

Net closes on the Groenewalds as rhino poaching reaches 899

As the net closes in on the Groenewalds and their safari company Out of Africa Adventurous Safaris the South African government has announced that the latest rhino poaching stats for the country stands at 899. With just 10 weeks left in 2014 the number is set to beat last years record 1004 rhinos killed for their horn. Yesterday the Groenewald brothers were charged in the United States with a range of indictments including fraud and selling illegal rhino hunts to US hunters and also the illegal trade in rhino horns. The brothers have a long history of dubious rhino hunts with claims that they have worked with land grabbers in…

forest-elephant-poaching

United Nations launches emergency appeal for elephants of the Congo

The United Nations Rapid Response Facility has launched an emergency appeal to raise funds to fight elephant poachers in the Garamba National Park in the DR Congo. The launch comes just days after Mr. Martin Kobler, who heads the UN Organisation Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) said more international help is needed to stop the poachers. Kobler visited the Garamba National Park last week and said, “Armed group activity is eastern DRC is largely funded by the proceeds from illegal trade and trafficking of the country’s rich natural resources. Our efforts to track down these negative forces must also address the drivers of the conflict,” Despite increase action by…

gorilla

Cameroon officials catch traffickers with gorilla, chimp and elephant bones

Cameroon gendarmerie officers have intercepted 2 wildlife traffickers carrying a number of bones from endangered species and are hunting the woman who ordered the items. Chief warrant officer, Ngouloure Oumarou from Tombel Gendarmerie post described the haul of the catch as containing 9 pieces of bones. The bones came from gorillas, chimpanzees and included the skull of a mature elephant. The age of the elephant is estimated to have been about 50 years old. The other bones are thought to have come from mature animals ranging in age between 30 and 40 years old. The two traffickers were caught at a hotel in Tombel, south wet Cameroon. They were discussing…

rhino

Interpol launches specialist wildlife crime unit in Africa

Interpol has announced the formation of a specialist team to be based in Nairobi, Kenya, which will target wildlife criminals such as ivory poachers and rhino horn smugglers. The team will be an extension of the established Environmental Crime Unit based in Lyon, France. The dedicated team will help to co-ordinate activites of law enforcement agencies across Africa and build intelligence networks and information sharing capacity to reign in the activities of major criminal gangs and terrorists who use wildlife as a source of income. The unit will be based at Interpol’s Region Bureau for East Africa in Nairobi. With the illicit trade in ivory and rhinoceros horn a major…

rhino-and-giraffe

Anti-poaching spokesman to be charged with rhino poaching

A senior ranger for South Africa National Parks is to be charged with rhino poaching. The sector ranger had also featured in press articles advising young people to stay away from poaching and criminal gangs. Now Lawrence Baloyi is set to be charged with two others for rhino poaching in the Kruger National Park. Baloyi, Andrea Mabunda and Shakes Baloyi were caught on 22nd September when four police officers were investigating an old rhino carcass in the Kruger Park. While examining the body of the rhino the police heard gunshots and used their helicopter to search the area. A dead rhino was found and the police called in special dog units…

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…

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’.…

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…

Mock Ivory Burn sends clear signal to South Africa

All over the world today people who care are paying homage to the greatest of earth’s animals, the Elephant. In Cape Town, conservationists, sports stars and celebrities gathered in Blaauwberg Nature Reserve to celebrate World Elephant Day by igniting a fire of mock ivory against the backdrop of Table Mountain to raise awareness of the ongoing slaughter of African Elephants. They may face extinction in the wild with at least 20,000 elephants killed for their tusks last year, although many conservationists believe the death toll to be far higher. “The Cape Town Burn pays homage to the tens of thousands of elephants who have died needlessly to satisfy greed and…

Conserve living elephants don’t preserve the dead

It is the final fight to save elephants in the wild. Countries around the world are becoming more aware of the role that ivory stockpiles play in fuelling poaching and the deaths of elephants. Over the last 12 months countries have stepped up to the mark and destroyed or are destroying their ivory stockpiles to take the tusks of dead elephants out of the market place for good. Even China and Hong Kong, the two major destination countries of tusks have started to destroy their stocks. Other countries, in particular the United States, have gone further and introduced legislation that has effectively shut down the ivory trade in their borders…

Poachers running amok as rhino kills hit 618 for 2014

The South African rhino poaching epidemic continues unabated as the latest figures released today show that the killings have surged through the 600 barrier and now number 618 dead rhinos so far this year. That is an increase of 60 rhinos since the last figures published on July 11th. Looking back on the figures for July it shows a devastating loss of the rhino in South Africa – 122 of the creatures have been killed this month. It could have been worst as the first 11 days of the month say 62 kills. another 60 rhino have been killed since 11th. The latest stats have been released on World Ranger…