Tag

World Wildlife Fund Archives - Rhino Review

Zim gazettes laws to protect animals

By Antipoaching, Conservation
Sifelani Tsiko, The Herald | April 3, 2020

Read the original story here

Zimbabwe has promulgated new regulations to protect endangered animal species and curb illegal wildlife trade in animal and animal products.

The Government gazetted SI 72 of 2020 and SI 71 of 2020 recently as part of efforts to strengthen the Parks and Wild Life Act to deal with poaching and the illegal trafficking of endangered species that include pangolins, that have emerged as one of the most trafficked mammals in the country.

These regulations were cited as the Parks and Wild Life (Specially Protected Animals) regulations of 2020.

The list of the Specially Protected Animals include the Aardwolf (mbizimumwena in Shona or Inthuhu in Ndebele), bat-eared fox, cheetah, gemsbok, pangolin, rhinos, roan, wild or hunting dogs and the Lichtenstein’s Hartebeest (a rare type of antelope).

Original photo as published by The Herald

“These are part of new measures to protect our endangered animals which include pangolins, which are one of the most trafficked animals,” said Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokesperson Tinashe Farawo.

“The regulations seek to strengthen existing laws in the fight against poaching and the illegal trafficking of endangered animals.

“Pangolins are the most threatened and the laws are part of our new regulations to help prevent, detect and penalise wildlife crimes.”

According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), a leading organisation in wildlife conservation and endangered species, trade in the elusive pangolin mammals is now staggering with an estimated 1 million pangolins trafficked over the last decade.

The global animal agency reports that more than 195,000 pangolins were trafficked in 2019 alone.

Zimbabwe is moving to strengthen its legal frameworks to prevent and address the illegal harvest and trade of wildlife species. Zimbabwe and most other African countries are facing an unprecedented spike in poaching and illegal wildlife trade, which is threatening to decimate the continent’s rich wildlife resource base.

Poaching is threatening the survival of elephants, rhinos, cheetahs, lions, hippos and a whole list of other animals still found on the continent. Wildlife crime is now prevalent across Africa with a complex web of highly dangerous international networks.

Wildlife and animal parts are being trafficked to various parts of the world.

The poaching of elephants for ivory and other wild animals for their skins and bones has taken on new and deadly dimensions, with poachers using chemicals such as cyanide to poison wildlife.

Countless other species such as turtles, pangolins, snakes and other wild plants and animals are being caught or harvested from the wild and then sold to buyers who make food, pets, ornamental plants, leather, tourist ornaments and medicine.

Tusk Trust, a wildlife organisation, reports that 100,000 elephants were killed in the past few years, leaving a population of about 400,000 — half what it was more than two-and-half decades ago.

Rampant poaching in the sub-Saharan range has resulted in the deaths of 100,000 elephants from 2011 to 2013, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Tanzania’s elephant population plummeted by 60 percent to 43,330 in the five years ending in 2014, according to the Great Elephant Census, carried out by a coalition of wildlife groups, while Mozambique lost half its elephants in the same period, falling to 10,300.

Wildlife campaigners say the statistics “underscore the toxic mix of determined criminal gangs, corrupt Government officials and a strong market for smuggled ivory in Asia — particularly in China — which has deepened its economic ties to Africa in recent years.”

More than 300 elephants have been killed due to cyanide poisoning since 2013 as Zimbabwe continues to battle with the worrying scourge of poaching which is threatening the country’s wildlife heritage.

A total of 59 people have been arrested for poaching by the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Authority (ZIMPARKS) as from January this year to date.

Of the 59, nine have since appeared in court and sentenced to 9 years in prison.

Cyanide poisoning is the deadliest tactic used by poachers who place salt laced with cyanide near wildlife watering holes. The chemical kills the body’s cells by starving them of oxygen.

In mammals, the poison is most harmful to the heart and brain — organs that depend heavily on oxygen supplies.

Elephants die no more than 100m from where they drank poisoned water or used salt licks drenched in cyanide.

VMDIFF 2020 / Kifaru – The rhino’s last stand

By Conservation, Education
Scout Mitchell, Headstuff | March 11, 2020

See link for photo & videos.

We’ve all read the headlines and watched the David Attenborough documentaries. By now it should be no secret that human greed has catapulted our world into the midst of an extinction crisis.

The facts are devastating. According to the World Wildlife Fund scientists are estimating that between 0.01% and 0.1% of species are becoming extinct each year (that’s between 200 and 2,000 on the lower rate and 10,000 and 100,000 on the higher estimate). It’s truly infuriating to ask ourselves how we’ve let it get this far. And even scarier to ask the question: Is there any going back?

Documentary filmmaker David Hambridge offers an incredibly personal insight into this topic in Kifaru, which tells the story of the last standing male white rhino, Sudan, and his caretakers who are dedicated to fighting for his species. The connection between humans and animals, the reality of animal poaching and what it means to be a “free” animal are all ideas that are explored in this documentary. Somehow both heartbreaking and encouraging, Kifaru documents the urgency of wildlife conservation through the eyes of those willing to make sacrifices for these beautiful animals.

Captured over approximately four years, the majority of Kifaru is set in the Ol Pejeta wildlife conservancy located in central Kenya. “Kifaru” is Swahili for rhinos and these animals are the main focus of this film: Sudan, his daughter Najin and granddaughter Fatu. At the film’s beginning, these are the only three white rhinos left in the world. They live under 24-hour surveillance at the conservancy. The risk of poachers is far too high should they be released into the wild.

Sudan is named after his place of birth and was originally rescued and relocated to a zoo in the Czech Republic. In his old age he was moved to Ol Pejeta along with his captive-raised daughter and her offspring.

It’s clear that these animals don’t have the freedom they deserve and it’s dangerous that they are so trusting of the humans who look after them. But the facts are that the commercial value of rhino horn is incredibly high in a country where many families are surviving on the equivalent of $1 USD a day. Freedom is not an option for these animals so Ol Pejeta is the next best thing. Jojo (Joseph) and Jacob are amongst some of the caretakers we get to know in this film who have pledged their lives to the wellbeing and survival of these rhinos.

It’s by no means an easy job. Working on the range for 10 months of the year is hard. Jojo makes the point that he often feels like a stranger in his own home upon return. We see the impact that this kind of living has on these men.

Jojo is anxious to be near the maternity ward for the birth of his first child and Jacob struggles to pay the fees for his son’s education — he manages to make up enough to ensure his son will remain in school until at least the next time he is home from Ol Pejeta. These men make a lot of sacrifices in order to do the work that they do. However, it’s clear that the connection they have to the rhinos makes the hardship worthwhile.

Early on in the documentary, they are alerted to sightings of an orphaned baby rhino and immediately take in ‘Ringo,’ a young male who struggles with the absence of his mother. Eventually the other rhinos warm to him: this is due to the persistence of Jojo who makes sure that Ringo remembers that he is, in fact, a rhino and needs to learn to act like one. It’s the perseverance of these men that means these animals have any chance of survival.

The conservancy also gets a lot of tourists, eager to catch sightings of the last standing male white rhino. You could say Sudan is somewhat of a celebrity. The caretakers welcome such tourism as it gives them business and it raises awareness of Sudan’s predicament. However, when watching this film it’s hard not to be reminded that age is something one cannot defy. At 45 years old, Sudan has already outlived the average life-span of a rhino.

All of the publicity and awareness resulting from tourism can’t freeze his youth. The caretakers are aware of this and it’s in the back of their minds as he continues to get older and develop health issues. One of the goals of their care is to allow enough time for scientists to be able to develop a method that would allow them to clone the species from Sudan’s DNA. It may seem unorthodox, but science may allow us a chance to undo the mess we ourselves have created.

A heart-rending but necessary watch for anyone who feels passionate about wildlife conservation. Kifaru is not afraid to shine the light on the ugly parts of our society: that of an excessive greed for wealth. This is the resulting impact.

Kifaru screened at this year’s Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival.

Conservation, technology boosted tourism

By Antipoaching, Conservation, Science and technology
Lilian Kinyua, The Daily Nation | March 3, 2020

Read the original story here

Falling wildlife numbers are driven by causes ranging from poaching and illegal trade to disease, habitat destruction and other effects linked to climate change. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) estimates the illegal wildlife trade to be worth about $20 billion a year, underlining the scale of the issue.

Elephant tusks, rhino horn and pangolin scales are among the goods predominantly trafficked from Africa with the continent’s iconic species being illegally commoditised by an increasingly sophisticated poaching industry.

And now, several African countries are not only deploying high-tech solutions but looking to upgrade their tourism appeal through unique, sustainable wildlife exploration offerings.

Original photo as published by Daily Nation: Zebras at Lewa Conservancy. PHOTO | FILE| NATION MEDIA GROUP

Technology

Technological innovation has proven a vital tool in wildlife conservation efforts. Technology has enabled conservationists to better understand wildlife, as well as the threats it faces.

In Kenya, the Ol Pejeta conservancy, in partnership with Fauna & Flora International (FFI), Liquid Telecom and Arm, last year launched a state-of-the-art wildlife protection technology laboratory.

Ol Pejeta is home to two of the world’s few remaining northern white rhinos and takes the lead in black rhino conservation.

There, rhinos can now be fitted with horn implants for real-time tracking, replacing the bulky traditional collars.

Conservationists can now monitor all animals 24 hours a day, as well as track their health, body temperatures and migratory patterns.

Poaching

The Kifaru Rising project — a multi-year collaboration between the WWF and thermal camera manufacturer FLIR Systems — will deploy thermal imaging technology to eliminate rhino poaching in 10 parks in Kenya by 2021. The cameras have heat sensors capable of detecting tiny differences in temperature, making it easy to detect experienced poachers, who often work at night.

According to the WWF, when the project was piloted at the Maasai Mara national park in 2016, some 160 poachers were arrested in two years.

As governments in Sub-Saharan Africa prioritise infrastructure and industrialisation, wildlife’s contribution to GDP and sustainable growth, primarily through responsible or high-end tourism, cannot be overlooked.

Rwanda’s unique approach to developing its gorilla tourism industry has turned it into one of the most upmarket holiday destinations on the continent. Permits for the experience for non-residents cost $1,500 and, despite the hefty price tag, visitors to the gorilla hotspot have increased by over 80 per cent over the past decade. The industry is estimated to generate $500 million annually.

Tourism

Recognising the revenue-generating potential of sustainable wildlife tourism could drive more robust government commitment to protecting it.

The crux of such an endeavour lies in seamless inter-agency cooperation, backed by technological innovation, and is premised on collaboration with revenue authorities, customs departments and law enforcement more broadly.

Such synergies, coupled with the potential for regional information and best practice exchange, can prove to be game changers in wildlife protection.

Ms Kinyua is a senior communications and sustainability consultant at Africa Practice East Africa Ltd. lkinyua@africapractice.com.

 

Want to Stop Poaching? Build a Smart Park

By Antipoaching
Jennifer Leigh Parker, Forbes | December 24, 2019

Read the original story here

Matt Yardley has just heard his favorite sound. It’s a radio dispatch in Zulu telling him that roughly three miles away, two alpha male lions have killed a giraffe, and are ravenously wolfing it down. Naturally, his trained ranger response is to chase this sighting at full speed in our Land Cruiser across the achingly wild, verdant expanse known as the andBeyond Phinda Private Game Reserve in the KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa.

What we come upon, two gluttonous brothers resting after the feast, is almost as interesting as what we’ve passed along the way. A dazzle of zebras, journey of giraffes, herd of elephant, and a crash of rhino. But not just any rhino. Black rhino—of which there are roughly only 5,000 in the world, according to the World Wildlife Fund. That’s a fraction of the estimated 100,000 that existed a few decades ago.

Original photo as published by Forbes: Rhinos at andBeyond Phinda Private Game Reserve. (PHOTO BY JENNIFER LEIGH PARKER)

In Phinda, black rhino are thriving in large part because of Tara Getty’s family trust. The grandson of the late oil tycoon J. Paul Getty passed us in his own Land Cruiser, either leaving or returning from the rentable enclave known as the Phinda Zuka Lodge. “He’s the private jet guy,” says Yardley, a senior game ranger for the luxury travel company andBeyond, which is owned by multiple shareholders, including the Gettys. “Ever seen the movie All the Money in the World?”

I haven’t. But the sheer beauty and scale of this teeming-with-game landscape evokes the film’s title. In 1991, the Gettys helped turn what was pineapple and cattle farmland into Phinda, which means “the return” in Zulu. Without the Gettys, Phinda probably wouldn’t exist. And if this massive 28,555 hectare (70,560 acres) park wasn’t surveilled on a 24-hour basis by andBeyond conservationists, the rhino wouldn’t be here either.

Poaching in South Africa is as bad as it’s ever been, which reflects the country’s 29% unemployment rate. Just next door, Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park is facing severe government budget cuts, and losing hundreds of rhino a year to poachers. The impact is sobering.

“Conservation doesn’t pay for itself. Tourism alone can’t cover all the costs, so most game parks must rely on donors,” says Simon Naylor, Phinda Reserve Manager. “We pay fixed leases every month, which are very high. Security is the most expensive aspect. It’s about 8 million rand [$560,000 USD] annually to secure Phinda. So when we talk about investing in tech, it’d better be worth it, hey?”

Currently, Phinda is equipped with satellite tags, ultra-high frequency (UHF) ear tags manufactured by African Wildlife Tracking, UHF receivers, and a cloud-based storage platform called CMORE that receives incoming data, and displays it on a screen that resembles Google Earth maps. Ear tags were deployed here in May 2019, and are designed to inform drones that fly over the reserve and send back location data—that is, if thick forest cover doesn’t get in the way, or the tag’s battery hasn’t died.

The Biggest Threat is Internal

Management says dehorning the rhino (a major production involving vets, helicopters, immobilizing drugs, and expert rangers) is still the most effective weapon against poaching. Having recently increased their rhino count from 150 to over 200, you can see why they take that view. Perversely, Phinda’s biggest poaching threat comes from its own staff, which includes roughly 80 full time field rangers with boots on the ground. Naylor explains: “Often, someone inside is approached by syndicates and is blackmailed into providing information. Some just want the money.

The goal is to catch them before they do it.”

You’d think all the money in the world could put an end to poaching. But the reality is not that simple. You also need best-in-class security, law enforcement, and advanced technology to track not just the animals in the park, but people too. Enter big data and, for the first time in the African conservation industry, artificial intelligence. When you need cameras to decipher the difference between images of trucks, animals, safari guests and poachers, AI is the way forward.

“Increasingly, people are seeing the power of tech to support law enforcement. We’re a long way off from cyborgs doing it all for you. Until we get there, it’s a partnership between people,” says Craig Reid, manager at Malawi’s Liwonde National Park for African Parks, a well funded NGO operation that manages 16 National Parks and protected areas across Africa. Many conservationists are looking to them to lead the way.

The Rise of Smart Parks

When I speak with Reid, it sounds like he’s calling from paradise. With birdsong in the background, there is a warm honey lilt in his Namibia-born voice, shaped by a life spent outdoors in the African bushveld. He’s just come back from an afternoon tracking black rhino on foot, despite having access to Liwonde’s high-tech control room that could have done the job for him. In fact, it did.

“I knew where he was by looking at our computers. You know, I’ve been in conservation for nearly 30 years, and to see where our rhino are in real-time just by logging in is just incredible,” says Reid.

Right now, African Parks is testing a newly installed “low power wide-area network” in Liwonde, which follows its first “smart park” installation in late 2017, inside Rwanda’s Akagera National Park. These networks capture all the data from the park’s tracking devices, and feed it into a platform called EarthRanger by Vulcan Inc. Essentially, it’s data visualization and analysis software designed to “bridge the data gap” in wildlife conservation. African Parks is a fan of EarthRanger, because it allows a huge number of assets to be detected and analyzed in real-time.

To cover Liwonde National Park’s 540 square kilometers (133,437 acres), African Parks has set up 11 towers equipped with “gateways,” which are surveillance gadgets receiving messages from devices in the park. For example, if there is a transmitter on a cheetah’s collar, that collar will transmit the GPS location to the tower, which will be received in the control room. This enables African Parks to embed GPS long range (LoRa) sensors into rhino horns.

In and of itself, this strategy represents a major shift in game park management, because it ends the need for expensive satellite transmission fees. “We’re still paying off the construction of these networks. But, overtime, you can track your assets without satellite. That is the long term savings,” says Geoff Clinning, IT manager for African Parks. He’s known as the organization’s tech guru.

When I ask him why these networks exist only in two of his 16 managed parks, he says: “You have to prove the tech first before you adopt it everywhere. A smart park is one tool in your toolbox, that can have massive benefits. It’s not a silver bullet, but it makes your toolbox far more powerful.”

Of course, stopping poachers isn’t just a matter of knowing where your game is. It’s knowing where poachers are, too. This is where AI comes in. “Poacher Cams” are placed throughout the park. When the camera takes a picture, triggered by a motion detector, an algorithm analyses the picture and if it decides if it’s a human form. Inside the 24-hour control room, an alert pops up on EarthRanger, with the image attached. Operators then inform management and a response is initiated. This strategy has consistently led to the successful conviction of criminal poachers. South Africa’s Kruger National Park, one of Africa’s largest game reserves, is having similar success using radar cameras they call “meerkats,” which function much the same way, using night vision and artificial intelligence.

Combined, this managed tech is one way to avoid having to de-horn the rhinos in the first place. It’s a reactive strategy, to be sure. The logic is that the combination of real-time location data and smart poacher cams will not only result in convictions, but also act as a strong deterrent. “This is all relatively new in the conservation space. We’ve just done a major introduction of rhinos into the park, and we’re pushing to get the horn transmitting right. Within six to 12 months, we’ll be off satellite tracking altogether. It will all be done through the wide-area network,” adds Craig Reid.

If he’s right, African Parks will have changed the world of safaris.

Already, the top rated luxury safari outfitters in the world, including andBeyond and Wilderness Safaris, are watching these developments very closely. In Rwanda’s Akagera National Park, for example, Wilderness Safaris’ Magashi Camp shares its game sightings data with African Parks, using similar software. Yet healthy skepticism remains, even among the most passionate conservationists.

“It’s critical that managers don’t look to technology as a panacea,” says Dr. Neil Midlane, Group Sustainability Manager at Wilderness Safaris. “Traditional strengths such as sufficient numbers of well-equipped personnel must first be in place. Then, the criminal justice system needs to be intact and functional. Once these elements are in place, strategic deployment of surveillance technology, along with appropriate data aggregation structures, can significantly increase the effectiveness of law enforcement efforts.”

All the money in the world doesn’t buy you a successful smart park. It takes will, dedication, and focused collaboration to save Africa’s endangered species. And if AI is acting as our eyes and ears, it’s clear we still need the human heart.

 

Azamara expands partnership with World Wildlife Fund

By Conservation
Alex Smith, Cruise & Ferry | December 23, 2019

Read the original story here

Azamara is expanding its partnership with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) by offering a new collection of ‘People to Planet’ voyages and excursions.

Starting in early 2021, six conservation-themed voyages operated by the cruise line will sail in South Africa. Onboard programming will feature WWF experts discussing issues relating to sustainability and conservation. Additionally, guests will be able to take part in WWF-themed trivia sessions and enjoy five South African dishes at an interactive ‘Chef’s Table’. There will also be a South African ‘dish of the day’ available throughout the cruise at one of the onboard restaurants.

Original photo as published by Cruise & Ferry: Guests on Azamara’s new shore excursions will be able to experience South Africa’s diverse range of wildlife. (Image: Azamara)

“At Azamara, we partner with organizations that share our commitment to our planet, its people, oceans, land and wildlife, and we are thrilled to further our partnership with WWF to reinforce our commitment,” said Larry Pimentel, president and CEO of Azamara. “We are also honoured to have the opportunity to donate a total of US$100,000 from all ‘People to Planet’ voyages and US$30 from each ‘People to Planet’ excursion purchase to WWF in support of its conservation efforts.”

The selection of shore excursions will launch in autumn 2020. Options will include a dining experience at a local farm in Cape Town, South Africa, where guests will learn about sustainable agriculture and food practices. Passengers will also be able to experience local wildlife in a two-day stay at Phinda Mountain Lodge in Richard’s Bay, South Africa, where they will have an opportunity to track the highly endangered Black Rhino.

“WWF-South Africa is delighted to partner with Azamara to provide passengers a peek into the vital work we are undertaking to protect our natural resources,” said Morné du Plessis, CEO of WWF South Africa. “Our partnership assists WWF achieve its aim of creating a future where people live in harmony with nature, by bringing guests closer to nature and promoting a greater understanding and respect for the role nature plays in our daily lives.”

 

Let Iman’s fate not be in vain (Malaysia)

By Conservation
Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, Opinion/Letters, The New Straits Times | November 29, 2019

Read the original story here

As we are still mourning the death of Iman, the country’s last Sumatran rhino, we must bear in mind that more animals will be extinct if no drastic steps are taken to address issues affecting our wildlife including killing and poaching.

The female rhino, estimated to be around 25 years old, died last Saturday at the Borneo Rhino Sanctuary in Tabin Wildlife Reserve in Sabah.

Original photo as published by New Straits Times: To ensure our endangered wildlife do not become extinct there must be greater awareness.

In May, Malaysia’s last male Sumatran rhino died after suffering organ failure.

The rhino is listed as critically endangered by the World Wildlife Fund. The International Rhino Foundation estimates that there are less than 80 alive in the world.

All parties should learn a lesson from the extinction of Sumatran rhinoceros in the country and take up the responsibility to protect all endangered species.

The Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) has said that this is important to ensure the matter does not recur in the future for other endangered animals.

Among the main factors related to the extinction of our wildlife is the loss of their original habitat due to deforestation as well as poaching.

Other factors include weak monitoring and enforcement, lack of public awareness and scientific studies, inadequate financial allocation and expertise for management of wildlife.

Existing laws should be tightened while the enforcement measures strengthened to help protect endangered species such as the tiger, elephant, seladang, tapir, sun bear and orang utan.

All enforcement agencies must also strengthen cooperation to tackle this problem. Wildlife trafficking takes place around the world with countries with high biodiversity like Malaysia being the source, transit areas and hubs for smuggled species.

The United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime estimates that the global wildlife trafficking industry is worth between US$7 billion and US$23 billion annually.

It is unfortunate that a 2016 report by Wildlife Justice Commission revealed that Kuala Lumpur is the easiest port to move illegal wildlife.

It also revealed that it costs traffickers 50 per cent less to move contraband through KLIA and klia2, compared with Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport.

There is an urgent need to review and tighten all existing laws, especially those pertaining to animal poaching. The government should expedite its plan to amend the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 to imprison poachers for more than 10 years and fine them up to RM5 million upon conviction.

Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) has also made a clarion call that without serious action, the Bornean pygmy elephant will suffer the same fate as the Sumatran rhino.

The killings of Bornean pygmy elephants for their tusks have shown how serious the poaching problem is, as well as the continuing irresponsible land exploitation in Sabah.

Despite harsher punishments and improved wildlife enforcement capabilities under the new Act, poaching continues to be rampant.

SAM believed this was because of the absence of arrests of high-level individuals in connection with these seizures. The government should therefore consider mandatory imprisonment not only for poachers but also those charged and proven guilty for abetting the culprits.

We must also take into account the police’s recommendation for mandatory whipping for criminals involved in wildlife smuggling and tighten conditions for the issuance of firearms licence and hunting permits.

Treat wildlife crime seriously as stiffer penalties alone are not enough. The government should strengthen enforcement agencies collaboration to check and prevent poaching activities. We should not allow more species to face the same fate as the Sumatran rhino or that of the leatherback turtle, Malayan tiger and gaur which are in peril.

Protecting wildlife and our nature’s treasure trove is not only the responsibility of the enforcement agencies but requires collaboration across non-governmental organisations, government, corporate stakeholders and local communities.

We must take immediate action to help conserve our biodiversity. The authorities must also tackle wildlife roadkill and smuggling activities which have affected their population. Development projects also have an impact on wildlife. For example, the construction of the East Coast Rail Link which will cut through and dissect hundreds of hectares of protected forests in the Central Forest Spine.

Unless adequate and effective measures are taken to protect wildlife in the affected areas, the project will have a huge impact on our environment and eco-system.

For the relevant laws to succeed, there must be public education and awareness efforts.

Such efforts are also in line with the theme for this year’s Earth Day celebration which is “Protect Our Species”, intended to educate and raise awareness about the accelerating rate of extinction of various species of fauna and flora.

Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye is an animal welfare activist in Kuala Lumpur.

Watch: Sweet baby rhino ‘protects’ its mother from vets. What’s the sad truth behind its concern?

By Uncategorized
Scroll In | November 15, 2019

Watch the video here

In an adorable yet disheartening video, a baby rhino squeals and charges at the vets treating his injured and seemingly unconscious mother. While the baby rhino’s fierce attempts are winning hearts, the mother’s story appears to be a heart-breaking one.

Glimpsed in the video is the area of her head where her horn should be, but appears to have been gouged out (presumably by poachers). Rhinos have been relentlessly poached for their horns, to the point where all five surviving species of rhino are now classified as critically endangered.

Another catalyst to their extinction has been a rapid loss of habitat, while the murky rhino horn trade does not appear to be subsiding. In fact, it has been found that rhinos in the wild who have had their horns removed stand a statistically significant higher chance of surviving.

Screenshot from video published on Scroll In.

Here is a comprehensive list of the five species, and their current endangered population figures. The only three remaining northern white rhino were kept under 24-hour guard in Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya.

Of them, the last male, Sudan, died at the age of 45 in 2018, and only two females (his daughter and granddaughter) remain. In May of 2019, Malaysia’s last male Sumatran rhinoceros, named Tam, died at a wildlife reserve, leaving just one surviving member of the subspecies, a female.

The need for artificial reproduction for these species may be the best way forward. Foundations like World Wildlife Fund (WWF) have also been working on rhino conservation by expanding protected areas, improving management, security and policies regarding these areas.

Moreover, if the exploitative horn trade industry continues to thrive, the demand for which is driven by the perceived medicinal value of the rhino horn and the status symbol of owning one, current numbers will never match the fight against poaching.

Below are two videos, one of the last two Northern White Rhinos on earth in August 2019, and one of baby rhinos in sanctuaries during playtime as they learn to charge at each other.

Fight against wildlife trafficking gets boost (Namibia)

By Antipoaching, Conservation
Albertina Nakale, New Era | October 10, 2019

Read the original story here

WINDHOEK: The United States of America continues to boost assistance towards Namibia’s fight against wildlife trafficking.

This week, United States Ambassador Lisa Johnson handed over two Toyota Land Cruisers to the project “Combating Wildlife Trafficking in Namibia”, through a donor-funded project managed by the Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF).

One vehicle will be used by NNF in the Windhoek area and the other by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism in Kunene.

The project is the third in a series of three projects funded by the Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL).

Namibia is known around the world for its natural beauty and diverse wildlife. Tourists flock here in thousands every year for a chance to see rhinos, cheetahs and elephants roaming wild and free in the Land of the Brave. But in the last few years, Namibia has begun to confront a new kind of environmental challenge.

Poaching in one form or another has been around for decades, but trafficking in endangered wildlife products, particularly rhino horns and elephant tusks, has increased sharply in Namibia in just the last few years.

Original photo by Robin Moore

The U.S. funded project also aims to reduce poaching and trafficking of protected animals and their body parts originating from Namibia.

It also works to strengthen Namibia’s domestic criminal justice institutions to successfully carry out enforcement, investigation and prosecution of wildlife crimes. The project directly supports the Ministry of Environment and Tourism and the Namibian police to implement a comprehensive set of on the ground anti-poaching interventions.

The Ministry of Justice, the Prosecutor Generals-Office, and the Ministry of Finance are other important government partners in the fight against wildlife crime. The vehicles will be used to improve the projects team mobility in Northwest Namibia as well as that of the project management unit.

Johnson said the fight against wildlife trafficking requires a partnership among organisations like the NNF, governments, and communities.

“Working together, we will be able to save Namibia’s most endangered species,” she noted.
Executive Director of the NNF Angus Middleton explained the INL funding became available at a critical point in time, especially when rhino poaching picked-up in Namibia.

“Through providing targeted support to a number of Namibian government agencies and field partners, poaching incidents have been reduced and arrests have increased. This is important nationally not just because of wildlife and tourism but because criminal syndicates target wildlife, just as much as they are involved in other illicit activities such as drugs and human trafficking,” Middleton said.

Middleton further stated that this funding also underlines the need for international collaboration to combat wildlife crime and to conserve common global heritage.

He added they remain grateful to the United States government for not only supporting Namibia but joining it in solidarity for conservation and development.

In celebration of World Rhino Day last month, Johnson joined the Ministry of Environment and Tourism and the World Wildlife Fund to call for protection of Namibia’s rhinoceroses’ population.

“Together, we must save Namibia’s rhinos from illegal poaching,” she said in Khorixas at a ceremony to mark Rhino Day, which occurs on September 22. The U.S. Agency for International Development (Usaid) provides funding to the WWF through the Combating Wildlife Crime Project, which protects the black rhino population in northwest Namibia. The project is a five-year initiative, begun in 2017, and partners with both the Namibian government and local communities.

Johnson mentioned in her remarks several rhino conservation projects in the Kunene Region sponsored by the U.S. government, including through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement.

“We’ve shown that Namibia’s rhinos can be saved through a collective effort by our governments, communities, and partners in conservation,” Johnson said.

On World Rhino Day, she reaffirmed to all Namibians the United States’ commitment to the precious wildlife.

Conservation to reassess relationship (South Africa)

By Conservation
The Hazyview Herald | October 1, 2019

Read the original story here

Conservation practitioners from government, NGOs and the private sector recently gathered to share their experiences of working with communities which live on the boundaries of protected areas and are affected by the illegal wildlife trade.

The World Wide Fund for Nature’s (WWF) Khetha Programme, with support from the United States Agency for International Development, brought them together in Tzaneen.

Original photo as published by Hazy View Herald: Conservationists and community members discuss conflict with wild animals in communities adjacent to game parks.

The workshop focused on the western boundary of the Kruger National Park, known as the Greater Kruger, where communities experience the negative impacts of the illegal wildlife trade or conflict with wild animals.

Communities living in the Greater Kruger continue to bear the brunt of rhino poaching, driven by criminal syndicates. Organisations, the private sector and the government have stepped in, investing human and financial resources to disrupt illegal wildlife trade.

Community engagement and inclusion are increasingly recognised as essential in these efforts.

Conservationists today have inherited the results of social injustices committed in the past in the name of conservation. The forced removal of people from their land and their homes to create protected areas for the exclusive benefit of the wealthy has created poor relationships between communities and protected areas.

Many policies and programmes work to rectify this by creating opportunities for people living on the boundary of conservation areas to share in the benefits. These include environmental education, sports and food programmes, access to parks for recreational purposes or sustainable resource harvesting, training and skills development, jobs, and to some extent, land ownership and co-management.

The Khetha workshop allowed for tough reflection on whether these conservation activities are adequately inclusive of communities and of benefit to them. It was clear that concepts of community engagement, and inclusion and benefits, should be reconsidered from the community perspective.

WWF Khetha community development and learning lead, Nelisiwe Vundla, said, “Gone are the days of doing conservation for people instead of with people. We agreed that we need to stop placing bandages on the root causes of the current challenges, such as the historical displacement of people and their exclusion from conservation. We need to listen to people who live the closest to wildlife and establish a common ground for conservation and community engagement between all parties.”

Following the workshop, WWF South Africa is establishing a Khetha learning hub. It will provide knowledge and tools to community and conservation practitioners to better co-design and implement programmes and projects that provide adequate mutual benefits for communities and conservation.

Protected Areas wildlife management bill in final stages (Namibia)

By Conservation, Uncategorized
Albertina Nakale, New Era | September 30, 2019

Read the original story here

WINDHOEK: The Ministry of Environment and Tourism has announced that the Protected Areas and Wildlife Management Bill is in the stages of finalisation.

This was revealed by environment deputy minister Bernadette Jagger during the World Rhino Day celebrated in Khorixas over the weekend.

Original photo as published by New Era Live

She confirmed that once passed, the Bill will enable the prosecution of poachers and stiffer sentences for those who benefit from illicit wildlife trade.

Equally, Jagger explained that the ministry is busy revising the National Strategy on Wildlife Protection and Law Enforcement.

“The revised strategy will respond to new challenges posed by poaching and illegal wildlife trade. To address both the supply of and demand for illegal wildlife products, institutions and law enforcement must be strengthened at all levels, across all affected regions and close cooperation with neighbouring countries,” she said.

Wildlife trafficking is a multi-billion-dollar business that is decimating Africa’s iconic animal populations. Many iconic species such as the African rhinoceros face the risk of significant decline or even extinction.

According to latest statistics, a total of 9 273 rhinos have been poached in Africa between 2007-2018. World Rhino Day is an international event celebrated annually on September 22. In Namibia the day is an opportunity for the government, non-governmental organisations and communities to come together to celebrate this magnificent species and create more awareness about it.

This year’s event was celebrated under the theme “I am a Rhino Friend Forever”. The event was hosted by the Namibia Nature Foundation and Save the Rhino Trust, under the Rhino Pride Campaign, supported by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the World Wildlife Fund in Namibia (WWF).

The partnership between the United States and Namibia includes the USAID-funded Combating Wildlife Crime Project. This five-year initiative began in April 2017. It is being implemented by WWF in Namibia, in partnership with a consortium of 12 non-governmental organisations that are supporting the government and communities to combat wildlife crime and illegal wildlife traffic.

In Namibia, wildlife tourism is a growing and increasingly important industry that brings benefits to the national economy. Therefore, the Namibia Nature Foundation feels decimating wildlife species and destroying natural ecosystems threaten this prosperous development sector and improved livelihoods for communities.

The event also highlighted the contribution of the Rhino Pride Campaign towards safeguarding rhinos.

The Rhino Pride Campaign encourages a sense of pride in living with rhinos and fosters the notion that wildlife crime is economically damaging to the region and the nation.

U.S. Ambassador Lisa Johnson said she is happy to report that their hard work together is already paying off.

“I am so encouraged to hear that zero rhinos have been poached over the last two years in the north-western communal areas of Kunene,” she said.