Ivory Trade Video: Suspected Poachers in Kenya Kill Two Wildlife Rangers

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July 19th –NAIROBI, KENYA — The Kenya Wildlife Service says two wildlife rangers were killed Thursday responding to dozens of suspected poachers in the Kipini Conservatory game reserve on Kenya’s coast. 

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Officials say the suspected poachers were armed with AK-47 rifles and opened fire on several rangers who were responding to a poaching incident inside the reserve.

Kenyan Wildlife Service spokesman Paul Mbugua says the rangers were actually attacked twice and one of the two men killed was a commander. One poacher was also killed.

“Then after that particular incident the rangers made a tactical withdrawal and then later they moved in to collect the body of the fallen ranger, and as they moved in to collect the body, the poachers were lying in wait,” he said. “They actually set up an ambush, and the rangers together with the police they were fired at, and during that second incident, which occurred at five in the evening, one of our officers who was actually the officer commanding the team actually went down.”

Mbugua said poachers are getting bold and patient. He said that after the first shooting incident, poachers had to lie low for up to five hours, waiting for the rangers to come back, knowing eventually they will come to collect the body of their fallen ranger.

“They are extremely brave and this is what we have been communicating, and you can see they are very sophisticated. One particular poacher had 208 rounds on him, he had three magazines for his firearm and he had other rounds of ammunitions of course in his possession,” he said. “And that tells you that these guys are willing to go to any length to ensure that they get their way.”

According to a recent United Nations Environment Program study, the number of elephants illegally killed in Africa has doubled over the last decade, reaching 25,000 killed in 2012, while the ivory trade has tripled in size.

Experts say the poaching of African elephants is at an all-time high, raising the possibility that the species could become extinct this century.

Trade in ivory was made illegal in 1989. Demand for ivory remains high in Asia, however, where it is used for ornaments and traditional medicine.

News Link:http://www.voanews.com/content/suspected-poachers-in-kenya-kill-two-wildlife-rangers/1705521.html

Petitions to sign please, also in above menu:-

Petition to Save Africas Elephants Ban Thai Ivory Trade

Published on 13 Jan 2013

Every day in the savannas and forests of Africa, elephants are being gunned down for their ivory tusks. Across the continent, tens of thousands of these majestic animals are being slaughtered each year. In many places the species has already been poached to extinction. If we don’t act now there may be no wild elephants left.
Elephant poaching is being driven by demand for ivory carvings and trinkets in Asia where many consumers think “elephant teeth” simply fall out and re-grow without hurting the animal. The truth is that ivory comes from dead elephants.
In Thailand, elephants are revered as sacred. There is a saying that there would be no Thailand without the elephant. But Thailand is also the biggest unregulated market for ivory in the world. Although it is against the law to sell ivory from African elephants in Thailand, ivory from domestic Thai elephants can be sold legally. As a result, massive quantities of illegal African ivory are being laundered through Thai shops. 
To save Africa’s elephants it is essential that Thailand closes this legal loophole.

Join us in asking Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to ban all ivory trade in Thailand.
Representatives from 176 governments will be meeting in Bangkok March 3-14 to discuss global wildlife trade issues, including the elephant poaching crisis. While the eyes of the world are turned to Thailand, we want to present 1 million signatures to Mrs Sinawatra.

Sign the petition and tell the Thai Prime Minister to ban ivory trade and save Africa’s elephants!

“Dear Prime Minister Sinawatra, we are greatly concerned about the record levels of elephant poaching in Africa. Demand for illegal ivory products could drive the species to extinction in Africa, and Thailand’s elephants could be next. You can save them. We urge you to ban all ivory trade in Thailand to give elephants their best chance of survival.”
For more information:
http://www.wwf.or.th/killthetrade
http://www.panda.org/ban

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Rhino: No Horn Of Plenty

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“This is a long post, but if you are interested in Rhino, this is a must read & well worth the time needed to read it!!”

More rhinos will be killed in the next two years than will be born, so those charged with saving the endangered animal are considering radical and previously unimaginable solutions.

Twenty-four-hour watch: An anti-poaching team guards a de-horned northern white rhinoceros in Kenya in 2011. Photo: Brent Stirton

The battle to save the African rhinoceros has all the ingredients for a Hollywood thriller. There are armed baddies with good guys in hot pursuit. There is a hint of glamour. And the drama is played out against a backdrop of a beautiful, bloodstained landscape.

It is a story that begins, perhaps improbably, in Vietnam soon after the turn of the 21st century. A Vietnamese official of some influence, so the story goes, lets it be known that he, or perhaps it is his wife (for the sake of the story it matters little), has been cured of cancer. The miracle cure? Rhino horn powder.

With disconcerting speed, the story shifts to southern Africa, where a series of gunshots ring out across the African plains. This is followed by the hacking sound of machetes – it takes little time to dehorn a rhino because its horn consists not of bone but of keratin fibres with the density of tightly compressed hair or fingernails.

The getaway begins, armed rangers give chase. Once the horn leaves the flimsy protection of the national park or game reserve, where its former owner lies bleeding to death, it may never be found.

White Rhinoceros with a calf at Lake Nakuru national Park in Kenya. Photo: Martin Harvey/WWF

Its new owners never brought to justice. Sometimes they are caught. Sometimes they get away. Either way, another rhino is dead in a war that the bad guys seem to be winning.

The story shifts again, back to Vietnam where even the prime minister is rumoured to have survived a life-threatening illness after ingesting rhino horn. More than a cure for the country’s rich and powerful, however, rhino horn has by now crossed into the mainstream. Young Vietnamese mothers have taken to keeping at hand a supply of rhino horn to treat high fevers and other childhood ailments.

It is also the drug of choice for minor complaints associated more with the affluent lifestyle to which increasing numbers of Vietnamese have access; rhino horn has become a cure-all pick-me-up, a tonic, an elixir for hangovers.

With this new popularity has come the essential paraphernalia common to lifestyle drugs the world over, including bowls with specially designed serrated edges for grinding rhino horn into powder. In a short space of time, rhino horn has become the latest must-have accessory for the nouveau riche.

The sudden spike in Vietnamese demand, the miraculous fame of a saved official or his wife, and rhino horn’s emergence as a symbol of status all came at a time when legal stockpiles of rhino horn were at an all-time low. Demand and supply. This is the irrefutable law of economics.

Or, as one expert in the illegal trade in rhino horn put it: ”It was a perfect storm of deadly consumption.”

The rhinoceros is one of the oldest creatures on earth, one of just two survivors – the other is the elephant – of the megaherbivores that once counted dinosaurs among their number. Scientists believe rhinos have changed little in 40 million years.

The rhino’s unmistakable echo of the prehistoric and the mystery that surrounds such ancient creatures – this is the animal that Marco Polo mistook for a unicorn, describing it as having the feet of an elephant, the head of a wild boar and hair like a buffalo – have always been its nemesis.

As early as the first century AD, Greek traders travelled to the east, where the rhino horn powder they carried was prized as an aphrodisiac. But the rhino survived and, by the beginning of the 20th century, rhino numbers ran into the hundreds of thousands.

They were certainly plentiful in 1915 when the Roosevelts travelled to Africa to hunt. Kermit, the son, observed a rhinoceros ”standing there in the middle of the African plain, deep in prehistoric thought”, to which Theodore the father is quoted as replying: ”Indeed, the rhinoceros does seem like a survival from the elder world that has vanished.”

The Roosevelts then proceeded to shoot them.

Rhinos are epic creatures, gunmetal grey and the second-largest land animal on earth. Up to five metres long and weighing as much as 2700 kilograms, the white rhino, the largest of all rhino species, can live up to 50 years if left to grow old in the wild. In an example of advanced evolutionary adaptability, the black rhino will happily choose from about 220 plant species, eating more than 70 kilograms of plants a day.

These impressive numbers, combined with some of the rhino’s more limiting characteristics – it has very poor eyesight – have added to the myth that surrounds it.

”A slight movement may bring on a rhino charge,” reported nature writer Peter Matthiessen in the 1960s. ”Its poor vision cannot make out what’s moving and its nerves cannot tolerate suspense.”

Thus it was that the rhinoceros became a permanent member of the ”big five”, the roll-call of the most dangerous animals in Africa as defined by professional hunters.

But respect has always been tinged with derision. ”I do not see how the rhinoceros can be permanently preserved,” Theodore Roosevelt is reported as wondering, ”save in very out-of-the-way places or in regular game reserves … the beast’s stupidity, curiosity and truculence make up a combination of qualities which inevitably tend to ensure its destruction.”

In the 1960s, one eminent scientist described the rhinoceros as ”a very pathetic prehistoric creature, quite unable to adapt itself to modern times. It is our duty to save and preserve this short-tempered, prehistorically stupid but nevertheless so immensely lovable creature.”

Such disparaging remarks aside, they were, of course, right to be worried.

We have been here before when it comes to saving the rhino. In 1960, an estimated 100,000 black rhinos roamed across Africa, absent only from tropical rainforests and the Sahara. By 1981, 15,000 remained. In 1995, there were just 2410 left on the continent. In 2006, the western black rhino was declared extinct.

In Kenya, the numbers of black rhino fell from 20,000 at the beginning of the 1970s to 300 within a decade. This catastrophic fall in rhino numbers was the consequence of a poaching slaughter that consumed the country’s wildlife as lucrative ivory and rhino horn was consumed to meet the growing demand in Asia; rhino horn also made its way to the Arabian Peninsula, where it was used to fashion the handles of traditional Yemeni daggers.

It was in Kenya’s south, in the Tsavo National Park, that the war against rhinos reached its nadir – the park’s rhino population fell from 9000 in 1969 to less than 100 in 1980.

Since then, rhino numbers have rebounded thanks to a combination of legal protection – the trade in rhino horn was declared illegal under the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in 1975 – and beefed-up security.

When I visited the Tsavo West Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary three decades after the massacre, I was met by guards in full military fatigues and armed with machineguns. ”These rhinos in here,” one guard told me, ”they receive more protection than many African presidents.”

Kenya’s population of black rhinos grew to about 600, with the continent-wide figure thought to be 10 times that number. Efforts to save the white rhino proved even more successful, with more than 20,000 in South Africa alone. A corner had been turned, it seemed, and the battle to save the rhino was counted among the great conservation success stories of our time.

And then Vietnam acquired a taste for rhino horn.

In 2007, 13 rhinos were killed in South Africa. In the years that followed, the rate of killing grew steadily. From 2007 to 2009, one quarter of Zimbabwe’s 800 rhinos were killed, and Botswana’s rhino population has fallen to just 38. In South Africa, home to 90 per cent of the world’s white rhinos, armed guards patrol the parks.

Even so, 448 rhinos were killed in 2011. The following year, the number rose to 668. In the first 65 days of 2013, poachers killed 146 rhinos. At current rates the figure for this year will be close to 830.

As a result, rhino populations could soon reach a tipping point that may prove difficult to reverse. The rhino death rate will exceed its birth rate within two years on current trends, according to Dr Mike Knight, chairman of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s African Rhino Specialist Group. ”We would then be eating into rhino capital.”

Chief scientist of South Africa’s National Parks Hector Magome agrees: ”If poaching continues, the rhino population will decline significantly by 2016.”

The importance of saving Africa’s black and white rhinos is given added weight by the negligible numbers for the world’s other three surviving rhino species – the almost 3000 Indian rhinos live in highly fragmented populations, while just 220 Sumatran and fewer than 45 Javan rhinos survive. Vietnam’s last population of Javan rhinos was declared extinct in October 2011.

It is proving far easier to quantify the threats faced by Africa’s rhinos than it is to arrest the decline for one simple reason: what worked in the past no longer holds.

The recent upsurge in poaching has taken place in spite of the CITES regime of international legal protection. Security is also tighter than it has ever been.

In South Africa’s Kruger National Park, home to almost half the world’s white rhinos, 650 rangers patrol an area the size of Israel or Wales. This falls well short of the one-ranger-per-10-square-kilometres ratio recommended by international experts, and more than 100 rhinos have already been killed in Kruger this year.

Thus, those charged with saving the rhino are considering radical and hitherto unimaginable solutions. One such approach gaining traction is the controversial plan to legalise the trade in rhino horn, dehorn thousands of rhinos and flood the market with newly legal horns.

Were this to happen, supporters of the proposal say, the price of rhino horn – which reached $65,000 a kilogram in 2012 – would fall, and the incentive for poaching would diminish.

Dehorning has long been opposed by conservationists – rhinos use their horns to defend themselves and while feeding. But the failure of all other methods has convinced some that the time has come to contemplate the unthinkable.

”The current situation is failing,” Dr Duan Biggs, of the University of Queensland and one of the leading advocates for legalising the trade in horns, said recently. ”The longer we wait to put in place a legal trade, the more rhinos we lose.”

Dr Biggs and others point to the legalisation of the trade in crocodile products as an example of how such a plan could work.

Critics counter that any legalisation of the trade in rhino horns is unenforceable. They also argue that lax or ineffective legal controls in Vietnam – where trading in rhino horn is already illegal – and elsewhere ensure that it will be impossible to separate legally obtained rhino horns from those supplied by poachers.

”We don’t think it would stop the poaching crisis,” says Dr Colman O’Criodain, of the World Wildlife Fund. ”We think the legal trade could make it worse.’

The debate about saving rhinos is riddled with apparent contradictions: that we must consider disfiguring rhinos if we are to save them; that rhino numbers have not been this high in half a century but the risk of their extinction has never been greater.

And so it is that the story of the rhinoceros has reached a crossroads. It is a story that pits, on one side, a creature that has adapted to everything millions of years of evolution have thrown at it, against, on the other, the humans that will either drive the species to extinction or take the difficult decisions necessary to save it.

News Link-http://www.theage.com.au/world/no-horn-of-plenty-20130514-2jknt.html#ixzz2TKNlQary

Breaking News: DPP Takes Over The Dog Porn Scandal Case

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Earlier, it was reported that Christopher Weissenrieder and the group of girls alleged to have been taking part in dog pornography were not going to be charged with bestiality when they were arraigned before a Mombasa Law Court Tuesday morning.

The Mombasa court even released the girls on a KSh100,000 bond each while Chris was released on a Ksh1 million bond and their case set to be heard in July.

However, the Director of Public Prosecution has taken up the case and is said to have added the charge of “Unnatural act with a dog.”

Announcing this new development, blogger/journalist Dennis Itumbi lauded the DPP on the move.

Earlier, there was discomfort among Kenyans who aired their grievances via social media after it became apparent that both Chris and the girls were not going to face bestiality charges.

News Link:-http://www.ghafla.co.ke/news/tv/item/8945-breaking-news-dpp-takes-over-the-dog-p0rn-scandal-case

Elephants really do grieve like us: They shed tears and even try to ‘bury’ their dead – a leading wildlife film-maker reveals how the animals are like us

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The pictures of a baby elephant in Borneo, nudging and nuzzling the body of its dead mother in obvious distress and bewilderment, cannot fail to move us.

Allegations that up to ten pygmy elephants were poisoned, perhaps by local farmers, are upsetting — perhaps because elephant emotions seem so like our own, so heartbreakingly close to human sorrow and grief.

Any scientist knows how dangerous it is to project human feelings on to an animal, to force them into human moulds or ‘anthropomorphise’ them, but it’s equally dangerous to ignore a wealth of scientific data based on decades of observation in the wild.

Heart-rendering: An African elephant mother mourns her calf, a victim of the three consecutive years of drought in East Africa

We may never know exactly what goes on inside the mind of an elephant, but it would be arrogant of us to assume we are the only species capable of feeling loss and grief.

I have been filming animals in the wild for more than 20 years, and that has often meant being around elephants: they live across a huge range of habitats. But mass poaching has put them into terrible declinearound 40,000 elephants a year are killed by poachers and, according to some estimates, since the Sixties the population has been culled from 3.5 million to just 250,000.

I am certain that the behaviour I have witnessed so often stems from real emotion. Understanding it is the biggest challenge for a wildlife cameraman. We have to get inside the heads of the animals, see how they are reacting and predict what they will do next, or we won’t get the shots we need.

Perhaps the most dramatic and emotional sequence happened in our current BBC1 series, Africa, narrated by David Attenborough. We filmed an elephant mother’s desperate attempts to keep her calf alive during the worst drought in 50 years in Kenya.

These animals were not dying of thirst: they were starving. Some volcanic springs were still flowing, so the animals could get water; what they couldn’t get were nutrients.

By that time, the drought was well into its second year and mother and baby were trying to survive on dry twigs. There was no hay in Kenya, there was a sense of utter helplessness, and we felt the most important thing was to document what was happening.

Cameraman Mark Deeble had been following the family for days. He saw that the mother stayed with her baby and felt she was distressed, trying to lift up the dead body and move it with her feet, before standing over the prone calf for about an hour, seeming to come to terms with the situation.

Whether you were actually there or watching events unfold on the screen, it was impossible to keep your emotions separate from what you were seeing. The mother’s bereavement transmitted itself so strongly.

In a more benign environment, an elephant might mourn for longer. I have heard of animals staying beside the bodies of dead friends for three days and nights, refusing to move.

This mother didn’t do that, possibly because she had been exposed to a lot of death around her. Fifteen thousand head of game died in that reserve during the drought. More than 400 elephants perished, including 60 per cent of all the matriarchs — a herd’s female leader. It was a terrible time for that population, and I think death had become familiar to them. You could draw a parallel with humans in wartime. The mother had to move on for her own survival.

We couldn’t save her baby, but we felt it was essential to put its death in context: Africa is infamous for its droughts and famines, and yet we very rarely see how seriously that affects its wildlife.

Scientists have observed extraordinary displays of emotion from elephants. When one tame animal called Abu died at a safari outfit in Botswana, his keepers brought the other elephants to say ‘goodbye’. One female, Cathy, was seen crying from both eyes, tears streaming down her face.

That doesn’t mean elephants know what death is. They can’t anticipate death in the way we can or imagine it as an abstract concept. Their grief is different: it’s simply about loss.

Dr Kate Evans, of the Elephants For Africa research foundation, has told me that on several occasions she has watched grieving elephants exhibit almost a sense of puzzlement.

They pick up, hold and examine bones, balancing a jawbone on their tusks or putting it in their mouths, as if they are saying to their dead friend: ‘Is that you?’ Perhaps the discredited myth of the elephant’s graveyard, a secret place where the animals supposedly went to die, had its origins in the fact that elephants interact with their dead.

Dr Evans has observed mourning among wild elephants that she knew well. On one occasion, a young bull came across three skulls. He ignored the first two, but paid particular attention to the third skull, from an elephant he had been friendly with. In Kate’s words, he seemed to know who the skull belonged to

Another time, a matriarch collapsed and died in the bush. Over the next three weeks, several lone males visited her body and spent time by her side.

Back in the Forties, George Adamson (the naturalist who, with his wife Joy, was the inspiration for the film Born Free) recalled how he once had to shoot a bull elephant from a herd that kept breaking into the government gardens of northern Kenya.

Adamson gave the elephant’s meat to the local Turkana tribesmen and then dragged the rest of the carcass half a mile away. That night, other elephants found the body, took the shoulderblade and leg bone, and returned the bones to the exact spot where the elephant was killed.

According to Charlie Mayhew, of the Tusk Trust, elephants will ‘bury’ their dead, covering carcasses with branches and even taking the tusks to be placed at a different spot. We cannot guess the precise meaning of that, but it’s clear that elephants are large-brained and social animals that live in complex groups. They recognise each other and, of course, they have marvellous memories.

When one animal dies, they will each need to assess how their social group has changed and how to re-evaluate themselves within this new hierarchy. The whole dynamic changes, and they need to know where they fit in within the crowd.

Those are not the only emotions they display. If you look at an elephant calf, chasing cattle egrets through the long grass, it is playing — it exhibits joy. In another episode of the Africa series, we showed a young bull elephant in ‘must’ or on heat — he was throwing his weight around, clearly in a heightened emotional state. We called it a ‘sexual fury’.

Elephants in zoos have reportedly shown symptoms of depression. The first African elephant to be taken to London Zoo, in the 1860s, was called Jumbo, and he posed problems for his keepers, who tried to keep him happy and amused.

For humans, the most complex and important emotion is love, and we describe it in a multitude of ways. The powerful bond between a mother elephant and her calf is an easy one for us to understand. But unlike humans, elephants don’t seem to have any notion of romantic love. You don’t get courting elephants — when they mate, it can be a pretty brief encounter.

Their society is a very female-based hierarchy, and the loyalty that a herd shows to a matriarch is intensely strong. They will follow her wherever she goes: perhaps that is a manifestation of love of a different sort.

Emotion requires communication, and the vocalisations of elephants are incredibly sophisticated.

They operate on some sound frequencies we can hear — trumpeting and grumbling — and others that we can’t. Much of their long-distance communication occurs through vibrations that are inaudible to us.

Low-frequency (or infrasonic) sounds are transmitted constantly, a deep rumble somewhere between  15-30 Hertz. The normal human range of hearing is between 20Hz and 20,000Hz.

These low frequencies can be sensed through the elephants’ trunks and even their feet, like vibrations on the skin of a drum.

They can talk to other elephants 50 miles away through the ground, communicating in ways that we are only just beginning to understand. It is possible that each elephant can recognise up to 100 other individuals by their infrasonic ‘voice’.

When we’re working with elephants, we can never let down our guard. I have been with populations that were utterly relaxed around humans; they just looked at us as being another kind of primate. Once, in the Okavango Delta in Botswana, on foot, I was part of a three-man camera team when we were surrounded by a herd of elephants.

That felt pretty scary — we were miles from our camp and could do nothing but crouch low beside a termite mound and keep murmuring, making small movements to show the animals that we were still alive. These were elephants very much in their natural state; they had never been hunted, and they were simply curious. In turn, three mothers brought their babies to show us to them. It appeared to be for their education — as if the mums were saying: ‘Come here, kids, and look at this!’

The babies approached us to within about five or six metres, wiggling their trunks and looking in all directions, and then they would suddenly lock on to us. We could hear these rumblings between mother and calf, as if they were discussing us. This happened three times within about ten minutes, before the matriarch led the herd away. That really was a magical experience.

When we’re on foot, especially in the forests of western Africa, we often have to use their trails. The only pathways are those made by elephants, so there is always a chance of an encounter. If one is coming head on, our only option is to get off the path: we have to rely on our guides because they know much more about the habits of those particular elephants than we do. And they will probably hear them coming a lot sooner.

You might imagine you could see an elephant coming a mile off, but it’s amazing how easy it is for an elephant to disappear. Give them a few small bushes and they can vanish completely. They are incredibly stealthy for their size.

Sadly, the impact of poaching is changing their behaviour. Some populations are becoming more aggressive because of it. Though I can’t prove it, I would readily accept that the elephant who wanted to shake our cameraman out of a tree was an animal who might have been hunted. All the others in the herd seemed relaxed, but this one was grumpy.

Why was that? Who can say how an individual elephant will respond to the loss of a close family member to poachers? All this feels particularly poignant as we examine in the next and last episode of Africa the future of the continent’s wildlife, and ask what the next few years hold for elephants.

Apart from the poaching crisis, elephants are coming into increasing conflict with farmers and expanding human populations. The incident in Borneo highlights that it’s not just an African problem.  One thing is certain: there will be many more dead elephants to mourn in the coming months.

News Linkhttp://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2270977/Elephants-really-grieve-like-They-shed-tears-try-bury-dead–leading-wildlife-film-maker-reveals-animals-like-us.html#ixzz2JzKmOKP8
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Why Are Elephants Dying for Religion?

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“Please note, the link below contains some petitions to sign regarding elephants & other wildlife!”

Figurines and statues have been a part of Christianity since its inception, but should we be killing animals to make them?

This Jesus figurine is made of elephant ivory. (DeAgostini Library/Getty Images)

This Jesus figurine is made of elephant ivory. (DeAgostini Library/Getty Images)

Sadly, religion figures heavily in the demand for ivory, something Noah probably didn’t have in mind when he marched those animals onto the ark.

Despite the efforts of multiple organizations and governments throughout the world, the killing of elephants for their tusks continues at an alarming rate.

Just last week, Kenyan authorities seized two tons of illegal elephant ivory at the Kenyan port of Mombasa that was bound for Indonesia. And earlier this month, custom agents in Hong Kong discovered 779 elephant tusks hidden in the false bottoms of shipping crates from Kenya, which represented at least 389 elephant deaths.

Last September, Oliver Payne, a National Geographic journalist, decided to tackle the lust for tusk from a different anglethe God angle. According to Payne, “The religious use of ivory is among the least publicized and seemingly most easily correctable drivers of the massive elephant slaughter now taking place across Africa.”

Payne wrote to Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican’s press office, to see if “the Vatican would take a leadership role regarding the use of ivory by Catholics.”

Contacted for comment, Father Lombardi sent TakePart a lengthy letter dated January 22 that was addressed to “Oliver Payne and friends of the elephants.” It stated, in part, that “regarding animals, the position of the Catholic has always been that, even if these certainly do not have the same level of dignity and thus of rights as human beings, they are living beings and of a higher perfection than plant life, especially those more evolved animals that are capable of relationships and sensations, of feeling pleasure and pain, for which they merit respectful treatment. They cannot be arbitrarily killed or made to suffer.

He also noted that in his experience the Church has not encouraged the use of ivory for devotional objects. “We all know that there are ivory objects of religious significance, mostly ancient, because ivory was considered a beautiful and valuable material. There has never, however, been encouragement on the part of the Church to use ivory instead of any other material.”

“Nevertheless, we are absolutely convinced that the massacre of elephants is a very serious matter, against which it is right that everyone who can do something should be committed.”

Father Lombardi then went on to outline three things he thought could be accomplished by “a program of information and empowerment through some ‘Vatican’ organizations.” These include:

1) “To bring this issue to the attention of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, which is the Vatican dicastery responsible for studying precisely those problems associated with justice and peace, but also with the environment.”

2) “To propose to the sections of Vatican Radio that prepare programming for Africa (in English, French, Portuguese, and Swahili) to investigate into this topic and to speak about it in radio programs in order to encourage the ecclesial communities it addresses to engage in the fight against poaching and the illegal ivory trade, as well as to propose informational material to the other sections of Vatican Radio in order to raise awareness among their audiences.”

3) “To make the contributions of the research of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on environmental issues and biodiversity more widely known.”

Father Lombardi ended his letter by saying that, “The slaughter of elephants will not stop because of these initiatives, but at least we are working together to seek practical solutions to stopping it with the possibilities of information and training available to us.”

The Catholic Church has publicly condemned the use of ivory for religious figurines.

Do you think religious organizations should be more actively involved in trying to stop the slaughter of elephants?

Petitions to sign & News Link:-http://www.takepart.com/article/2013/01/23/elephants-and-ivory-vatican-hopes-we-can-all-live-together-perfect-harmony

WATCH: heartwarming return of an elephant calf to her mum, and a word of thanks

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“You’ve probably seen this, but I just got round to this email. If you haven’t seen it, enjoy…It’s a break from the heartbreaking stories. Besides I’m sure there are many IFAW supporters out there, it’s nice to know our donations can help the little guy’s too!!”

Editor’s note –

This email of thanks came in from Dr. Vicki Fishlock, a member of the Amboseli Trust for Elephants research team, longtime International Fund for Animal Welfare grantee.

The video Vicki includes shows her and her teammates helping a young female elephant calf escape entrapment in a shallow Maasai well, and then help to reunite the frightened calf with her mother.

While rescues like this are outside the ATE’s normal activities, Vicki and Dr. Cynthia Moss continue their work running the world’s longest elephant research project which studies the elephant families of the Amboseli National Park ecosystem in Kenya.

Hi everyone,

I had to write and say thank you, because IFAW helped make this happen too.

Keeping my study car on (or off!) the road and people on the ground means so much to us, over and above the research we’re doing with your support, and of course your work in the wider Amboseli ecosystem.

And here is why, watch….

Published on 12 Oct 2012 by 

We rescued this young eight months old calf early this week. Luckily the report came in early in the morning and we were able to get there quick before the mother was forced to leave by herders arriving to water their cattle. It was a happy ending as we were able to reunite the calf with her mother, Zombe.

This well has now been made safe, and we are mapping the other new wells that have not yet been reinforced to make them safe for the elephants.

Again, thank you.

–VF

News Link:-http://www.ifaw.org/united-states/news/watch-heartwarming-return-elephant-calf-her-mum-and-word-thanks

 

INTRODUCING A MOBILE PREDATOR-PROOF BOMA TO SAMBURU

Comments Off on INTRODUCING A MOBILE PREDATOR-PROOF BOMA TO SAMBURU

 

Born Free recently partnered with Ewaso Lions to help secure a future for lions in the Samburu region of Northern Kenya (link to previous article). This partnership aims to help minimize conflict between people and predators, while engaging Samburu warriors (‘morans’) in conservation through the Warrior Watch project.

Traditionally, Samburu morans do not attend school and spend most of their time in the bush, alongside wildlife. The Born Free / Ewaso Lions partnership aims to supplement morans’ traditional knowledge with conservation awareness by means of informal education.

Demostrating how to fix the door

Since morans are best placed to act as an ‘eye’ for the community, observing and reporting carnivores’ movements, they can help people to avoid grazing their livestock in areas with lions and hyenas, and thus greatly reduce conflict with these predators.

In August, the Born Free team visited the Warrior Watchgroup in Samburu and trained them in the construction of lion-proof bomas which will also help to avoid conflict with hyenas.

Over four days, the team, morans and rangers discussed lion conservation in Kenya, how Born Free and its partners are addressing this issue and how the warriors could help to save the remaining lions in the country. The concept of a model mobile lion-proof boma was examined and the participants watched a very informative film Living with Lions. The film explains in Maasai/Samburu how to construct a lion-proof boma and its benefits to the community.

Outside a completed hyena-proof boma

A practical session was then conducted, with participants constructing a mock mobile lion-proof boma.  The morans then had an opportunity to share what they had learned and have their questions answered.

Following this preparation, the morans put what they had learned into practice under the guidance of the Born Free team – an existing traditional boma was selected by the community and the morans upgraded this to a boma which prevents hyenas, as the main threat to livestock in the area, from gaining entry. In some cases the lions are killed even though the hyenas are the culprits of attacks on livestock, so that adapting the boma design to repel hyena attacks means that lions in the area will also be protected.

To test if the constructed boma was appropriate for the nomadic lifestyle of the Samburu community, the boma was then dismantled and the materials were transported to a different area. So far, they seem to have worked well, and the Samburu morans (in collaboration with Born Free) will monitor and evaluate them as they are distributed to the communities.

Please keep following us here to get the latest news on what Born Free and its partners are doing to secure the future of lions in Kenya.

News Link:http://www.bornfree.org.uk/index.php?id=34&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=1116&cHash=cfb4f829d8&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+BornFreeNews+%28Born+Free%3A+Latest+News%29

 

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