Poachers kill four rhinos in G’town reserve

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FOUR rhinos were found lying side by side  in the veld near Grahamstown yesterday  with their horns cut off. 

KILLING FIELDS: Police investigators conduct tests on the four rhinos that were found in the veld with their horns cut off near Grahamstown yesterday Picture: DAVID MACGREGOR

An early morning drive at Lalibela Game Reserve turned to a horror show for a group  of tourists and their guide when they came  across three rhinos lying dead and a fourth  “kicking and frothing from the nasal cavity” as it clung to life – a mere 500m from the  busy N2.

There was initial suspicion that a nearby  watering hole may have been poisoned,  however later yesterday it was confirmed  the animals had in fact been darted.

A team of at least 20 police, Green Scorpions and conservationists yesterday took  blood from the dead rhino and water samples from eight nearby dams on the 7500  hectare reserve to determine if the watering  holes had been poisoned, which could have  posed a risk to the other Big Five game on  the property.

Devastated Lalibela head ranger Kelly  Pote said the way the rhinos were found lying side by side in the bush was very  strange.

Pote described a heart-wrenching phone  call to majority shareholder Rick van Zyl  and Eastern Cape Nature Conservation to  get consent to put the suffering eight-year- old female out of her misery. “It was very  upsetting for the whole team of rangers.”

Although 388 rhinos have been poached in  South Africa this year the Eastern Cape has  up until now got off relatively lightly – with only three other rhinos poached in one  incident at nearby Kariega Game Reserve  several months ago.

The latest incident brings the number of  rhino poached in the Eastern Cape this year to seven – with just one rhino, Thandi,  surviving the ordeal.

Lalibela marketing manager Susan Pattison-Wait said poachers braved lions and other wild animals to get to the rhino.

Reserve shareholder Vernon Wait said  the lure of money had led to sophisticated  poaching syndicates taking amazing risks to get their hands on rhino horns, which sold  for huge prices on the black market in the  Far East. He said senior provincial police  had vowed to allocate massive resources  and staff to try and solve the case.

Sunshine Coast rhino campaigner Jo Wilmot, who raised thousands of rands at World Rhino Day over the weekend to fight poaching, said she was shocked when she  heard the news.

The poachers are believed to have accessed the property from the nearby N2  during the night and speculation is they used sophisticated night vision equipment to prevent detection as they worked under  the cloak of darkness. —  david@livewire.co.za

News Link:http://www.dispatch.co.za/poachers-kill-four-rhinos-in-gtown-reserve/

From Kariega Game Reserve Face Book

During the course of the day, the professionals who conducted the investigation managed to piece together what occurred at Lalibela Game Reserve last night.

Poachers entered Lalibela, probably in the early hours of the morning, and darted and tranquilized the 4 rhino. The rhino grouped together in a typically protective formation and collapsed under the effects of the tranquilizer.

Most likely, whilst still alive, they were all de-horned by the poachers using saws. 3 of the 4 rhinos were dead when they were discovered at 08:30 this morning. The 4th, a pregnant cow, was still alive but barely so.

We communicated this to the Dept. of Environmental Affairs and were given the go-ahead to euthanize the cow. Our head ranger, Kelly Pote, was given the unpleasant task of putting the cow out of her painful misery. The loss of these 4 rhinos is a devastating blow for rhino conservation.

Those are the facts but they do not, in any way, express the absolute sense of loss, devastation and outrage felt by the staff at Lalibela, by our past guests, by our friends and colleagues in the conservation industry, and by the public at large.

We are so grateful for the deluge of messages of support received during the day from all over the world. We are mindful that the loss of 4 of our rhino today constitutes only 1% of the total number of rhino poached in South Africa this year.

As custodians of these creatures, we appeal to you to tell whoever you can about the plight of the rhino and to do whatever you can to stop the carnage.

We apologise if this photograph offends you – but this is the reality of what occured.


Poachers take to poisoning jumbos

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“These elephants have to be protected at whatever cost, what sort of world do we live in where wild animals can not be wild for fear of humans killing them!”

If a poacher guns down any wildlife animal there is a chance the gunshot will be heard by game warden, and that places him at risk of being traced.

Now, a new poaching strategy has been crafted – poisoning. This strategy is meant to kill an animal without seeking to use the meat.

Wiping out elephants in Tanzania’s wildlife reserves is back in full swing as poachers have been killing close to two dozen jumbos for their tusks each month through poisoning.

Reports say the suspects were nabbed at Mbulumbulu Village in Karatu District while allegedly plotting to kill elephants through poisonous pumpkins and watermelons, a short distance from the conservation area.

Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) acting conservator Shaddy Kyambile, said the suspects had intended to use poisoned watermelons and pumpkins to kill elephants. “Game rangers on patrol set a trap and arrested the suspect at Sahata River,” he told reporters in Ngorongoro on Tuesday. “This is the third incident involving suspected poachers using poison to kill animals,” he stated.

According to Kyambile, it takes about five hours for a poisoned elephant to die after eating the pumpkins or watermelons laced with chemicals.

Another official, Amiyo Amiyo, said an elephant suspected to have been poisoned, collapsed and died at the NCAA gate late last month.

Recently, 14 elephants were found dead near Lake Manyara National Park and it was suspected that the jumbos were poisoned.

In April, poachers poisoned eight rare elephants near Tarangire national park in western Arusha, raising the death toll of jumbos to 87 in four months. Wildlife officials say for about four years a well-organized group of poachers has run amock in various national parks, slaughtering elephants for ivory to sell in markets in the Far East.

Ms Nebo Mwina, Acting Director of Wildlife, says between 2008 and 2012 poachers have killed a total of 776 elephants in various national parks. Ms Mwina says that way back in 2008 poachers killed 104 elephants, while in 2009 and 2010 they slaughtered 127 and 259 jumbos respectively.

In 2011 poachers were responsible for killing 276 and 2012 up to mid April they have decimated 87 elephants.

“This trend is caused by a sharp rise in the appetite for wildlife trophies, particularly elephant ivory in Vietnam and China,” Mwina explained. It is understood that the country spends $75,000 annually to secure its stockpile of 12,131 tusks – weighing 89,848.74 kg worth $12 million in the Asian markets.

The price for raw elephant tusk in China for instance has tripled in the past year from around $270 a pound to $900 a pound.

“It appears poachers have overwhelmed game rangers. We need to deploy the army to curb the trend in all game reserves,” Kikwete said.

The military was successfully used in the 1980s, resulting in the arrest of hundreds of poachers and the impounding of scores of weapons. “We are going to do the same,” the president vowed.

Read the full post:-http://www.ippmedia.com/frontend/index.php?l=42686

The Zoochotic Report – Look At What We Are Doing To Animals??

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“Not ashamed to say this video made me cry, what are we doing to the poor animals we incarcerate in zoo’s? It’s just not right to make animals live in an un-natural environment with nothing to stimulate them. The same can be said of circuses, the animals suffer for our entertainment, an its wrong! We imprison them, to make money, to poke fun at; what right have we got to do this? I’m sure if I was locked in a cage with nothing to do, I too would go mad!”

“This is 2012, if you want to see a lion, go on a safari to Africa. For those that are kept for conservation reason’s, we must make sure we provide them with everything they would have if still wild. We have the ability to replicate any landscape, the only thing we can’t do is ensure the weather is correct for a certain species, but that’s easy fixed. Don’t have polar bear conservation in the UK, have it only in Countries that have exceptionally cold weather etc.”

“We have got to start thinking less about our needs, as entertainment & more about the animals. If one can’t afford to visit Africa to see a lion, there are some awesome wildlife programs on TV…so we really don’t need zoo’s anymore, do we??”

The Zoochotic Report – Quite simply, madness!


Published on 24 Apr 2012 by 

Zoo Check Charitable Trust (now the Born Free Foundation), 1993.

Video observations by the late Bill Travers, taken over 3 years in over 100 zoos in Europe, North America and the Far East, the Zoochotic Report raised serious concern about the effects of captivity on wild animals. The Report helped form the philosophies for the Foundation and its animal welfare objectives.

“In every zoo I visited when compiling the Zoochotic Report, I witnessed some sort of abnormal behaviour” Bill Travers, Co-Founder of Zoo Check

Agonising death of the King of the Jungle: Young lion doomed to starve after poacher’s snare got caught so tightly round his neck he couldn’t eat.

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“This is so tragic, a beautiful beast, reduced to this, by the hands of humans, is both disgraceful & heartbreaking!. More must be done to protect the few wild carnivores left on this, human poached earth!”  I am presuming whoever took this photo didn’t have a tranquilizer or some other gun… if they had,  surely they would have used it! I hate to say it, but it would have been kinder to put the poor  animal to sleep, than leave it to die a slow, painful death”. 

It is a heartrending sight.

Wire snare caught so tightly around his neck he cannot eat, this young male lion is doomed to die a slow and agonising death.

Within a matter of days he will be lying in the African bush gasping his last breath.

Nor is he alone in his grim fate. The sight is increasingly common in parts of the continent when a growing number of lions have fallen victim to poaching.

Some wander by mistake into snares that are meant for other animals such as antelope which are hunted by poachers for bushmeat.

Desperately injured: The young male lion cub was spotted in Mikumi National Park in Tanzania with a poacher’s snare twisted cruelly round his neck
Doomed to die: The wire was twisted so tight that the lion was unable to eat

Others, whoever, are being deliberately poached for their body parts.

There is now a growing demand for lion claws and bones in parts of the Far East for use in traditional medicines.

The huge animals are hunted more and more as a substitute for tigers, whose body parts have traditionally been used for the Chinese medicine market.

Tigers are now so scarce in the wild that poachers have turned to a another target.

A sharp increase in the lion bone trade suggests that these are being swapped for tiger bones. Pelts and claws are also being used.

Dr Pieter Kat, from LionAid, said: ‘There has been a huge jump recently in the value of lion bones driven by the traditional medicine market, seeing as we have so few tigers.

‘Since tiger bones are now so difficult to obtain there has been a switch to lion bones.’

The final journey: The lion slopes off into the long grass of the park where he would soon die either of starvation or infection

In the 1990s, 1kg of lion bones were worth just $10, but now that has massively increased to $300 in 2010.

And its reflected in the figures that show the populations of lions are on a serious decline. There were an estimated 200,000 lions in Africa in the sixties. This has dropped massively now to just 23,000- 25,000

A source said: ‘Only a few weeks ago we saw this lion with a snare around its neck in Mikumi National Park in Tanzania.

‘The park rangers tried to track it with the intention of trying to remove the snare from around its neck, but by the time they arrived at the location, the lion had disappeared into the bush.

‘It wouldn’t have survived for many more days. Already the wound was gaping, open to infection and covered in flies.

‘And it was so tight around its neck that it would have found it impossible to eat. It would have either died from infection or starvation.’

Just several days before that, two lions were found dead in Mikumi National Park, in Northern Tanzania, with their claws removed.

Tanzanian National Park Authorities have anti-poaching patrols, but with 25 per cent of Tanzania’s land set aside for conservation purposes, the area is a large area to police.

There are projects such as the SANA Project in Tanzania, set up by the Saadani Safari Lodge, to allow poorer communities to develop whilst protecting the national park areas.

It is hoped that projects such as these will help protect and preserve the wildlife for the future.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2147630/Lion-poachers-wire-neck-Tanzania.html#ixzz1vaqohNTM

White Orca named Iceberg

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A one-of-a-kind white killer whale has been spotted by scientists – and they’ve named him ICEBERG.

It is believed to be the first known totally white member of the species and was seen swimming with a pod of 12 fellow orcas off the coast of Kamchatka, Russia.

The scientists were working for the Far East Russia Orca Project (FEROP), which is dedicated to researching and protecting orcas in the waters of Kamchatka and the Commander Islands.


FEROP co-director Erich Hoyd told CBC News: “In many ways, Iceberg is a symbol of all that is pure, wild and extraordinarily exciting about what is out there in the ocean waiting to be discovered.

“The challenge is to keep the ocean healthy so that such surprises are always possible.”


Published on 10 Apr 2012 by 

ICEBERG — the one and only – ever seen all white adult ORCA bull in the wild. Iceberg has been found to live in a family unit, also called a pod, with 12 relatives based on research by the Far East Russia Orca Project (FEROP).

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