CITES Partner Spotlight: INTERPOL’s Project WEB combats online wildlife crime

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“As the CITIES conference comes to the end of its first week, I thought I would just add the video in along with this post. Born Free’s CEO Will Travis, talks about some of the issues raised. Although I can’t believe the bid to halt the polar bear trade, was just swept under the table…WTF… Russia, Canada & the US…really have left the polar bears out in the cold…literally! I’m disgusted with their decision; same goes for the poor manatee!! I can’t wait to see what rubbish they come up with next week, for protecting species round the world; who are just about hanging on with their teeth!! Do the delegates from their respective country, actually know the danger some species are in?? I have my doubts given the first weeks bungles, honestly some of them are about as much use as a chocolate fire guard. Take about 30 of us animal advocates from face book, stick us round a table; & I’m sure we could come up with plans to help those in need!!”

Today saw the launch of the first ever internationally coordinated enforcement investigation into the online ivory trade.

Following the International Fund for Animal Welfare’s (IFAW’s) recommendation and with our support INTERPOL undertook Project WEB, an investigation into the online ivory trade within the EU.

Summing up week one at the CITES meeting in Bangkok

Published on 8 Mar 2013

Will Travers, CEO of Born Free, sums up week one at CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) meeting, covering secret ballots, elephants, rhino, polar bears, manatees and turtles.

The report revealed that there were hundreds of ivory items conservatively valued at approximately EUR 1,450,000 for sale during a two-week period on Internet auction sites in nine European countries.

During this survey of sites by enforcers, more than 660 advertisements for ivory on 61 different auction sites were analysed and as a result of the surveillance, six national and three international investigations were launched in cases where ivory was described as new or where ivory was being traded from abroad.

Project WEB by the numbers:

Estimated €1.45 million worth of ivory

Found in 9 Countries

Across 61 auction websites

In 660 online advertisements

Containing 100s of items made from ivory

Over a 2 week period

Leading to 6 national investigations

And 3 international investigations

This week sees the 16th meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)

The 177 countries that are Party to CITES have already agreed, thanks in part to IFAW’s lobbying efforts, to investigate and prosecute wildlife criminals trading online as well as evaluate or develop their domestic measures to ensure they are sufficient to fight online wildlife crime.

While at least one country has strengthened their legislation to specifically target online wildlife crime and a small number of countries have started to develop strategies for tackling illegal wildlife sales on the internet, many more countries need to deliver on their promise and stamp out online wildlife crime.

Since 2004 IFAW has been highlighting the growing global threat posed by online wildlife crime to endangered wildlife.  A series of IFAW investigations have repeatedly shown that there are thousands of wild animals and wildlife ‘products’, such as ivory, available for sale on the internet all over the world.

Stop The Ivory trade

IFAW has found live primates, big cats, birds and reptiles advertised online while animal parts from rhino’s, elephants, sharks, Tibetan antelopes and sturgeon have also been available to purchase on the internet.

In January 2012, IFAW’s online monitoring found 17,847 ivory products listed on 13 Chinese websites, even though none of these products had the necessary Government approval.

Meanwhile, a four-week investigation in the United Arab Emirates and some neighbouring Arab countries in the same year found 796 adverts featuring live wildlife over 11 websites. None of the adverts had any documentary proof to demonstrate that the sales complied with the law.

In Europe an IFAW investigation in 2011 found a thriving trade in ivory items. The investigation tracked 43 sites in the UK, France, Portugal, Spain and Germany for a two-week period and found 669 advertisements for ivory.

The statistics are disturbing but can be hard to comprehend so let me give you one example that shows the horrors of this illegal trade.

In 2010 a British couple admitted 12 counts of illegally exporting, three of illegally importing, seven of illegally selling and two of illegally possessing specimens under the Customs and Excise Management Act.

The couple in question had been selling animal body parts from owls, a baboon, macaque monkeys, a python, an African penguin, an African lion cub and a Malaysian flying fox.

These items were kept in a store room full of skulls and other animal body parts which, when I saw the pictures, made me think it as a room of death for wildlife.

Highlighting the problem of this trade is an important first step but IFAW has been going one stage further and engaging website companies, law enforcers and Governments in our campaign to stamp out online wildlife crime.

After our 2008 Killing with Keystrokes investigation, where we found ivory was the number one wildlife product being traded online, we encouraged eBay to ban the sale of ivory on their websites and IFAW was very pleased to see them announce this ban in January 2009.

Meanwhile other websites have since followed suit including Alibaba (www.taobao.com) in China, the world’s largest business-to-business and outsource portal site for traders.

However, while banning the sale of wildlife products on websites does restrict unscrupulous traders’ ability to easily profit from these products, there is clearly a need for enforcers to ramp up their efforts.

We have seen traders time and again attempting to disguise their wildlife products to avoid detection by police, customs or website companies such as eBay.

In addition to working with INTERPOL IFAW is working with enforcement agencies across the world to catch online wildlife criminals by sharing the findings of our online investigations, facilitating international enforcement operations and by bringing together website companies and enforcement agencies in order that they can work in partnership in their fight against illegal wildlife sales on the internet.

–TM

Please sign petition:- Take action to help end the trafficking of wildlife online now, click here. 

News Link:-http://www.ifaw.org/united-kingdom/news/cites-partner-spotlight-interpol%E2%80%99s-project-web-combats-online-wildlife-crime

A National Geographic Video: Explaining The Wild-Blood Ivory Trade

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“This is a follow on, from the previous post. I wanted to show the full extent of the ivory problem, to as many people as possible. I want people to fully understand the problems, faced by elephants, due to the high supply & demand of ivory. Then hopefully, after viewing the video, one might want to go back to the previous post & carry out the instructions or click the link at the bottom of this post, that will take you to the page. It’s only 3 steps. 1 send an email letter (the template & email addresses are included) 2. sign 2 petitions (links are there) 3. to simply share it with everyone you know; we all need to do our bit, to help save the elephants.”

“The National Geographic film is 45 minutes long…but well worth 45 minutes of anybody’s time. I have watched many videos on the subject, but believe this one  gives a very real & disturbing insight into all areas of the ivory trade. From the poachers to customs & excise, even the Chinese government! This racket is definitely very shady; undercover agents were told things that really puts this expensive trade; into perspective!”

“As previously stated in the prior post, the sixteenth Conference of the Parties (CoP16) in March 2013 is so important in stopping the ivory trade. The scientific community, global intelligence agencies and wildlife trafficking authorities warn that the African Elephant is on the precipice of extermination due to the unmitigated slaughter of tens of thousands of elephants each year.”

” One interesting fact pointed out in the film, is that some Chinese people, believe ivory comes from the elephants teeth, which they presume just grows back! Therefore, education is a big factor here, the Chinese government need to get their ass into gear & make the Chinese aware of what ivory really is & the despicable, heinous way, in which it is taken from the elephant, often leaving many baby elephants to die also!”

“One big problem, is something used by many Chinese people…ivory chopsticks! Now I know that their not all made of ivory, but do up market restaurants use them; if so  imagine how many chopsticks China gets through in week? How many elephants are killed just to support the demand for chopsticks??

Please note: Viewer Discretion is Advised (more so in the fist 10 minutes)

Help the elephants CITIES CoP 16 Link; everthing you need is included in this link :-http://www.elephantectivism.org/p/ivory-action-1-2-3.html

National Geographic:-Wild-Blood Ivory Smugglers

Published on 18 Jun 2012

National Geographic:-Wild-Blood Ivory Smugglers

Elephants Need Us – Countdown To CITIES CoP16: Please Follow The Instructions In This Post

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EMAIL ACTION1_SQHR

ACTION FOR FEBRUARY 2013

With 35,000 elephants a year being slaughtered for their tusks, the fate of the African Elephant hangs in the balance. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) prepares for the sixteenth Conference of the Parties (CoP16) in March 2013. The scientific community, global intelligence agencies and wildlife trafficking authorities warn that the African Elephant is on the precipice of extermination due to the unmitigated slaughter of tens of thousands of elephants each year.

Please click the link below to find out exactly what you need to do!!

It’s very easy & simple…everything you need is in the link below, including a pre-drafted letter; you just need to find the people to send it to from where you live, the email addresses are included for each country (just below the letter)

PLEASE HELP...sign share of FaceBook & Twitter. On March 16th WE MUST have an international ban on Ivory; before these magnificent & gentle giants leave this earth…via mans bloody hands!!!

FOLLOW THE LINK to Send 1 Email, Sign 2 Petitions, 3 Share the actions with all your friends:

Help the elephants CITIES CoP 16 Link; everthing you need is included in this link :-http://www.elephantectivism.org/p/ivory-action-1-2-3.html

Please Note – Viewer discretion is advised

Dying For Ivory

Published on 11 Apr 2012

The copyrights to the music and lyrics are reserved by the artist. We hold them in deep respect. Video created and produced by Elephant Advocacy. The images in this video are not the property of the producer, but belong to the photographers who have been credited for their beautiful work. This video was made as a contribution to the salvation of the African Elephant. It is only for non-profit educational purposes, without any intention of commercial advantage or private financial gain. There is no intention of copyright infringement. We offer our deepest gratitude to the organizations listed who work heroically on behalf of the African Elephant.

*WWF URL FOR PETITION IShttp://action.panda.org/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1773&ea.campaign.id=17713

Elephants Dying in Epic Frenzy as Ivory Fuels Wars and Profits

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“Please watch the video, at the link below that accompanies this news – Note -there are some graphic images of poached elephants.”

Published: September 3, 2012

GARAMBA NATIONAL PARKDemocratic Republic of Congo — In 30 years of fighting poachers, Paul Onyango had never seen anything like this. Twenty-two dead elephants, including several very young ones, clumped together on the open savanna, many killed by a single bullet to the top of the head.

There were no tracks leading away, no sign that the poachers had stalked their prey from the ground. The tusks had been hacked away, but none of the meat — and subsistence poachers almost always carve themselves a little meat for the long walk home.

Several days later, in early April, the Garamba National Park guards spotted a Ugandan military helicopter flying very low over the park, on an unauthorized flight, but they said it abruptly turned around after being detected. Park officials, scientists and the Congolese authorities now believe that the Ugandan militaryone of the Pentagon’s closest partners in Africakilled the 22 elephants from a helicopter and spirited away more than a million dollars’ worth of ivory.

“They were good shots, very good shots,” said Mr. Onyango, Garamba’s chief ranger. “They even shot the babies. Why? It was like they came here to destroy everything.”

Africa is in the midst of an epic elephant slaughter. Conservation groups say poachers are wiping out tens of thousands of elephants a year, more than at any time in the previous two decades, with the underground ivory trade becoming increasingly militarized.

Like blood diamonds from Sierra Leone or plundered minerals from Congo, ivory, it seems, is the latest conflict resource in Africa, dragged out of remote battle zones, easily converted into cash and now fueling conflicts across the continent.

Some of Africa’s most notorious armed groups, including the Lord’s Resistance Army, the Shabab and Darfur’s janjaweed, are hunting down elephants and using the tusks to buy weapons and sustain their mayhem. Organized crime syndicates are linking up with them to move the ivory around the world, exploiting turbulent states, porous borders and corrupt officials from sub-Saharan Africa to China, law enforcement officials say.

But it is not just outlaws cashing in. Members of some of the African armies that the American government trains and supports with millions of taxpayer dollars — like the Ugandan military, the Congolese Army and newly independent South Sudan’s military — have been implicated in poaching elephants and dealing in ivory.

Congolese soldiers are often arrested for it. South Sudanese forces frequently battle wildlife rangers. Interpol, the international police network, is now helping to investigate the mass elephant killings in the Garamba park, trying to match DNA samples from the animals’ skulls to a large shipment of tusks, marked “household goods,” recently seized at a Ugandan airport.

The vast majority of the illegal ivory — experts say as much as 70 percent — is flowing to China, and though the Chinese have coveted ivory for centuries, never before have so many of them been able to afford it. China’s economic boom has created a vast middle class, pushing the price of ivory to a stratospheric $1,000 per pound on the streets of Beijing.

High-ranking officers in the People’s Liberation Army have a fondness for ivory trinkets as gifts. Chinese online forums offer a thriving, and essentially unregulated, market for ivory chopsticks, bookmarks, rings, cups and combs, along with helpful tips on how to smuggle them (wrap the ivory in tinfoil, says one Web site, to throw off X-ray machines).

Last year, more than 150 Chinese citizens were arrested across Africa, from Kenya to Nigeria, for smuggling ivory. And there is growing evidence that poaching increases in elephant-rich areas where Chinese construction workers are building roads.

“China is the epicenter of demand,” said Robert Hormats, a senior State Department official. “Without the demand from China, this would all but dry up.”

He said that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who condemned conflict minerals from Congo a few years ago, was pushing the ivory issue with the Chinese “at the highest levels” and that she was “going to spend a considerable amount of time and effort to address this, in a very bold way.”

Foreigners have been decimating African elephants for generations. “White gold” was one of the primary reasons King Leopold II of Belgium turned Congo into his own personal fief in the late 19th century, leading to the brutal excesses of the upriver ivory stations thinly fictionalized in Joseph Conrad’s novel “Heart of Darkness” and planting the seeds for Congo’s free fall today.

Ivory Coast got its name from the teeming elephant herds that used to frolic in its forests. Today, after decades of carnage, there is almost no ivory left.

The demand for ivory has surged to the point that the tusks of a single adult elephant can be worth more than 10 times the average annual income in many African countries. In Tanzania, impoverished villagers are poisoning pumpkins and rolling them into the road for elephants to eat. In Gabon, subsistence hunters deep in the rain forest are being enlisted to kill elephants and hand over the tusks, sometimes for as little as a sack of salt.

Last year, poaching levels in Africa were at their highest since international monitors began keeping detailed records in 2002. And 2011 broke the record for the amount of illegal ivory seized worldwide, at 38.8 tons (equaling the tusks from more than 4,000 dead elephants). Law enforcement officials say the sharp increase in large seizures is a clear sign that organized crime has slipped into the ivory underworld, because only a well-oiled criminal machine — with the help of corrupt officialscould move hundreds of pounds of tusks thousands of miles across the globe, often using specially made shipping containers with secret compartments.

The smugglers are “Africa-based, Asian-run crime syndicates,” said Tom Milliken, director of the Elephant Trade Information System, an international ivory monitoring project, and “highly adaptive to law enforcement interventions, constantly changing trade routes and modus operandi.”

Conservationists say the mass kill-offs taking place across Africa may be as bad as, or worse than, those in the 1980s, when poachers killed more than half of Africa’s elephants before an international ban on the commercial ivory trade was put in place.

We’re experiencing what is likely to be the greatest percentage loss of elephants in history,” said Richard G. Ruggiero, an official with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

Some experts say the survival of the species is at stake, especially when many members of the African security services entrusted with protecting the animals are currently killing them.

“The huge populations in West Africa have disappeared, and those in the center and east are going rapidly,” said Andrew Dobson, an ecologist at Princeton. “The question is: Do you want your children to grow up in a world without elephants?”

Read the rest of this informative & alarming post of the elephant Ivory Trade :-http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/04/world/africa/africas-elephants-are-being-slaughtered-in-poaching-frenzy.html?_r=2&pagewanted=all

Petition to stop Ivory trade:-http://www.bloodyivory.org/petition

Would Anyone Buy Ivory If They Had Witnessed This Cruel Slaughter?

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Posted 23 August 2012 

I’ve had so many wonderful days in Africa, there was bound to be tough one.

Former Chinese NBA player and WildAid ambassador Yao Ming observes the carcass of a poached elephant in Namunyak, Kenya. Photograph: Kristian Schmidt/WildAid/EPA

Earlier this week, I witnessed how illegal ivory was obtained, along with Peter Knights, executive director of WildAid , with whom I’ve worked for several years now. With the help of Kenya Wildlife Service, we travelled via helicopter to access the carcasses. Iain Douglas-Hamilton of Save the Elephants  had spotted the bodies from the air in his small plane, and marked the spot for our pilot to bring down the chopper in a dry riverbed. It was so tight we did a little hedge trimming on the way down.

Not 20 yards away, I saw the body of an elephant poached for its ivory three weeks ago. Its face had been cut off by poachers and its body scavenged by hyenas, scattering bones around the area. A sad mass of skin and bone. The smell was overwhelming and seemed to cling to us, even after we left.

I really was speechless. After seeing these animals up close and watching them interact in loving and protective family groups, it was heart wrenching and deeply depressing to see this one cruelly taken before its time.

People, like Iain, have spent their lives studying and living intimately with these animals and now, just like in 1989 before the international ivory trade was banned, they must spend their lives looking for bodies, using metal detectors to find bullets and conducting autopsies.

Before the international ivory trade ban, in addition to legal ivory from natural deaths, huge amounts of illegal ivory were laundered into the trade despite years of attempted regulation. This “regulated” trade led to the halving of elephant numbers from 1.2 million to around 600,000 in two decades. West, central and east Africa were hardest hit, while southern African populations remained stable and even increased.

Post-ban, the price of ivory fell to a quarter of its previous levels as markets in the US, Europe and much of the world, collapsed. For a number of years, elephant numbers stabilised and poaching declined. Some South African countries pushed for re-opening ivory trade for their stockpiles, but each time this was done, poaching increased again on speculation of a renewed market.

Theoretically, I’m told we could have a market in ivory supplied from elephants that die naturally. But unfortunately, with the high amount of money at stake, few will wait for the elephant to die to make a profit. There are too many people with access to weapons to do the killing here and too many people ready to buy the ivory without questioning how it was obtained.

Read the rest of this News Link:-http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2012/aug/23/ivory-slaughter-yao-ming

Using Chinese star power to fight ivory poaching in Africa – August 28, 2012

The biggest demand for ivory is in China, so conservationists are trying to teach Chinese consumers about poaching – with the help of Chinese celebrities like Yao Ming.

Former NBA star Yao Ming visits an elephant orphanage in Nairobi, Kenya.

The former athlete is urging his fellow Chinese to stop purchasing ivory products.

William Davies/Special to The Christian Science Monitor.

He is one of a dozen of China’s most famous actors, athletes, talk-show hosts, and musicians lending their names to recent conservation campaigns inside their homeland.

Many are directed by WildAid , a charity based in San Francisco, which uses slick television advertisements featuring these superstars and the simple slogan, “When the buying stops, the killing will too.”

Such ads are now common on Chinese television. Anti-poaching posters with similar slogans fill billboards in Chinese cities, including one hoisted above a subway station serving Guangzhou city’s famous Ivory Street.

“To win this battle against poaching, we need multiple approaches,” Yao told the Monitor during his visit to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust , which runs the elephant orphanage.

“What I am trying to do is to raise people’s awareness, to show them the reality of the ivory business. When the killing of elephants happens 10,000 miles away from you, it’s easy to hide yourself from that truth. If we show people, they will stop buying ivory. Then elephants will stop dying.”

Traditionally, the fight against poachers has been carried out by rangers patrolling Africa’s savannas and forests, and by sniffer dogs and customs officials scouring its air- and seaports.

Read the rest of this news:-http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Africa/2012/0828/Using-Chinese-star-power-to-fight-ivory-poaching-in-Africa

Unimaginable horror as helicopter-borne poachers massacre 22 elephants before hacking off their tusks and genitals  PUBLISHED: 23:35, 24 April 2012 | UPDATED: 23:53, 24 April 2012

In a scene of inconceivable horror, these slaughtered elephant carcasses show the barbaric lengths poachers will go to in their hunt for nature’s grim booty.

The bodies were among a herd of 22 animals massacred in a helicopter-borne attack by professionals who swooped over their quarry.

The scene beneath the rotor blades would have been chilling – panicked mothers shielding their young, hair-raising screeches and a mad scramble through the blood-stained bush as bullets rained down from the sky.

Barbaric: In a scene too graphic to show in full, the carcasses of some of the 22 massacred elephants lay strewn across Garamba National Park in the Congo after being gunned down by helicopter-borne poachers

When the shooting was over, all of the herd lay dead, one of the worst such killings in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo in living memory.

Conservation group TRAFFIC, which monitors the global trade in animals and plants, said 2011 was the worst year for large ivory seizures in the more than two decades it has been running a database tracking the trends.

Conservationists say there was a spike in the mid 1990s driven by emerging Chinese demand that bubbled for a few years, then dropped off as red flags were raised.

Endangered: A White Rhino and her calf walk in the dusk light in Pilanesberg National Park. More than 180 have been killed in South Africa so far this year Zimbabwe-based Tom Milliken, who manages TRAFFIC’s Elephant Trade Information System, said since 2004 ‘the trend has been escalating upwards again, dramatically so over the last three years.

‘Ben Janse van Rensburg, head of enforcement for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the international treaty that governs trade in plants and animals, said: ‘The biggest challenge is that in the last few years there has been a big shift from your ordinary poachers to your organized crime groups.

‘This was on display in Congo last month, where investigators determined the poachers shot from the air because of the trajectory of the bullet wounds.

Helicopters do not come cheaply and their use points to a high level of organization. Ken Maggs, the head of the environmental crimes investigation unit for South African National Parks, said one person recently arrested for trade in rhino horn had 5.1 million rand ($652,400) in cash in the boot of his car.

South Africa is the epicentre of rhino poaching beecause it hosts virtually the entire population of white rhino – 18,800 head or 93 per cent – and about 40 per cent of Africa’s much rarer black rhino.

As of the middle of April, 181 rhinos had been killed in South Africa in 2012, according to official government data.At this rate, more than 600 will be lost to poachers this year compared with 448 in 2011.A decade ago, only a handful were being taken.

Read The Rest News Linkhttp://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2134696/Scene-unimaginable-horror-helicopter-borne-poachers-massacre-22-elephants.html#ixzz24VEQyMBX

Published on 10 Aug 2012 by 

Warning: Contains Graphic Images

Over 300 elephants were killed between January and March 2012 when heavily-armed foreign poachers invaded Cameroon’s Bouba N’Djida National Park. Entire elephant populations could be wiped out from Central Africa if ivory poaching and wildlife trade continue unabated. Tens of thousands of elephants are killed each year for their tusks which are in high demand in Asian black markets.

Help WWF Stop Wildlife Crime! Visit http://www.worldwildlife.org/sites/stop-wildlife-crime/index.html

We need your help to save wildlife and people from becoming victims of wildlife crime. Join our campaign and help us:

  • Push governments to protect threatened animal populations by increasing law enforcement, imposing strict deterrents, reducing demand for endangered species products and honoring international commitments made under CITES.
  • Speak up on behalf of those on the frontlines being threatened by armed poachers so they are properly equipped, trained and compensated.
  • Reduce demand for illegal wildlife parts and products by encouraging others to ask questions and get the facts before buying any wildlife or plant product.

Together we can stop wildlife crime.

Link:-http://worldwildlife.org/pages/stop-wildlife-crime

Petitions:-

http://www.bloodyivory.org/petition

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/no_more_bloody_ivory/

http://www.avaaz.org/en/protect_the_elephants/

http://www.change.org/petitions/cambodian-government-stop-the-illegal-ivory-trade

https://www.change.org/petitions/stop-killing-african-elephants-for-illegal-ivory-trade

Poachers Kill 40-years Old Elephant In Semiliki National Park

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“I apologise for the distressing picture, it’s both horrific & heartbreaking to see such a magnificent beast slaughtered like this! Humans can be so malevolent, this life taken, all for a little trinket of ivory, it makes me so bloody mad. Seeing it only fuels my anger & makes me want to help as much as I can…hopefully you will feel the same! Elephants are protected, so it’s about bloody time they were…we must make more of an effort to make our voices be heard…so please sign the petition below, it is one of many but the best in terms of helping to stop these atrocities!”

A 40 year old male elephant believed to be the oldest and most peaceful in Semliki wildlife reserve  in western Uganda has been killed by suspected poachers.

Park authorities said the elephant was named Baraka, a Swahili word meaning peace, because it was approachable.

They said most of the visitors to Semliki would almost be sure of an encounter with Baraka. The age of an elephant varies from one area to another. In East Africa, the oldest are normally about 70-75 years, while in South Africa they reach between 60 and 65 years. The world’s known oldest elephant died at 86.

The headless carcass of the peaceful elephant was discovered within Semliki near Kitika in Ntoroko recently. “We heard gunshots one afternoon in the park and we suspected it was either Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) officials chasing after poachers or poachers taking down a kill,” said Peter Mwanja, a manager at Wild Places. “After failing to get help from UWA, we called the UPDF in the reserve and during the search we came across this elephant’s carcass,” he added.
It is believed Baraka was killed for his huge tusks by poachers. “This was a cruel death. It seems they sliced off the head using a chain saw,” lamented one conservationist.  In a separate incident, Mwanja said about a week ago, while on routine patrol, they found another carcass of young elephant, still with no tusks. “It is very rare to find a young one moving on its own. This is very suspicious. We need more surveillance and investigations,” he said. Semliki has lost seven elephants since January, according to Charles Tumwesigye, the conservation director at the UWA. The last census in the reserve put the population of elephants at only 40.
Tumwesigye said elephant poaching has been increasing over the last two years, pointing out that the rampant killing of elephants is raging in Kenya, Tanzania and Congo. Apart from elephants, Mwanja said other animals such as Uganda Kob were being poached and loaded in small cars like goats. “They even sell the meat on goat stalls,” said, Mwanja adding that poaching was common in Kitika and near the sand river in the Semliki game reserve.
Elephants are protected according to national arid international laws. The Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of wild flora and fauna has for the last two decades listed African elephants in the region as endangered species. But poachers kill elephants for ivory, which is highly sought after in Asian countries such as China for making ornaments.
“Please, sign this petition, this has to stop, the more people that scream, the better we will be heard!”

Amboseli Trust for Elephants

www.elephanttrust.org
The Amboseli Trust for Elephants aims to ensure the long-term conservation and welfare of Africa’s elephants in the context of human needs and pressures through scientific research, training, community outreach, public awareness and advocacy.

Born Free Foundation

www.bornfree.org.uk
The Born Free Foundation is an international wildlife charity working to stop individual wild animal suffering and protect threatened species in the wild.

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)

www.cites.org
List of all CITES CoP15 Proposals.

Gabon’s Ivory Will Go Up in Smoke

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In a dramatic statement of principle, the Central African nation of Gabon will today burn its 4.8 tonne elephant ivory stockpile – a move which has been widely applauded by the international conservation community.

The Born Free Foundation believes this landmark gesture by Gabon sends a clear and unambiguous message to the criminal networks involved in international wildlife crime: that illegal trading in elephant ivory will no longer be tolerated.

“This is a momentous day for Gabon and speaks volumes about the seriousness of the elephant poaching situation today said Will Travers OBE, Chief Executive Officer of the Born Free Foundation.  “I hope that Gabon’s decisive action will alert consumers of ivory in China, decision-makers in Brussels and those who believe the ivory trade should be legalised, to the hard truth – that demand is wiping out Africa’s elephants”.

Wildlife trade analysts described 2011 as an annus horribilis for the African elephant and many experts now believe poaching stands at its highest level for 20 years.  Last week, a report submitted to CITES (the 175 nations that have ratified the International Convention on Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora), identified China as the primary destination for this illicit trade.

Ian Redmond OBE, Wildlife Consultant to the Born Free Foundation exclaimed: “Gabon’s ivory bonfire (a true bonfire of the vanities, given the uses to which ivory is put) sends a clear signal to the world – the ivory trade must end.  Why is this so important?   Because the elephant is not only an icon of African wildlife and culture.  They are also widely viewed as a super-keystone species or “mega-gardeners of the forest”.   Their role as seed dispersal agents and landscape gardeners is critical to the health of their forest, and their forests are in turn critical to global climate stability.”

Please read the rest:- http://www.bloodyivory.org/news/gabon-ivory-burn

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