The Kenyan government is pushing to build a road through Nairobi National Park

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“I have copied & pasted this directly from an email received by my fellow animal warrior, Jill who lives in South Africa”

Dear friends across Africa,

The Kenyan government is pushing to build a road through Nairobi National Park — putting the future of this unique wildlife sanctuary at risk. But the head of the Environment Authority can stop this disaster. Sign the petition now to give him to public mandate he needs to save the park, then forward this email to everyone:

The Kenyan government has just approved the construction of a road that slices through the unique Nairobi National Park. But massive public opposition can give the new head of the Environment Authority the backing he needs to stop this outrageous decision.

Nairobi National Park is an international gem — home to over 100 species of mammals and a sanctuary for the endangered black rhino. But the government’s plans to build a giant bypass through it would set a dangerous precedent, putting all national parks at risk of development. Kenyan biologist Paula Kahumbu is taking the government to court to try and stop the road, but despite the pressure, they are still pushing the Environment Authority to approve this park-killing plan.

If we now add a wave of public opposition, we can strengthen the hand of Environment Authority head Geoffrey Wahungu to defy the government and end the highway plan. Sign the petition now to call on Wahungu to save Nairobi National Park! When we reach 50,000 signatures, we’ll deliver the petition directly to Wahungu and the Kenyan government:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/Save_Nairobi_National_Park/?vl

The national park is under enormous stress from a growing city, and conservationists say that this road project could set a precedent for further attempts to expand into the park– if opened to development, this sacred parkland would be worth millions. All the while, alternative routes that avoid the national park have been dismissed without serious investigation. The government says they’ll give the park replacement land, but none has yet been secured and a major road would disrupt the park’s precious ecosystem.

Just last year, public opposition helped defeat a plan to build a road through the heart of the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. The Kenyan government was strongly opposed to that project on environmental and tourism grounds — but are now applying a double standard.

The government is already under legal pressure, and a public outcry can be the final push that saves Nairobi National Park for good. Sign the petition now to save the park:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/Save_Nairobi_National_Park/?vl

The Avaaz community is winning on issues just like this all around the world. Just last year, we joined with Indigenous people in Bolivia to stop a highway that would have sliced through the heart of the Amazon rainforest — and won. Together, we are changing how politics works around the world, and now we can do so again.

With hope,

Alex, Paul, Emily, Ricken, Marie and the whole Avaaz team

PS: This campaign was started by Avaaz member, Mike. You can create your own campaign in just 5 minutes here: http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/start_a_petition/?bv14939

SOURCES:

NEMA threathens to Bypass project (The Star)
http://www.the-star.co.ke/national/national/78286-nema-threatens-to-stop-bypass-project

Kenya government taken to court by conservation fraternity (eTN)
http://www.eturbonews.com/29349/kenya-government-taken-court-conservation-fraternity

Kenya: Tanzania Cancels Road Building in Serengeti (AllAfrica.com)
http://allafrica.com/stories/201106300106.html

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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

Rhino Crisis Round Up: Three Rhino Killers Arrested in India & More

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A rhino-killing attempt has been thwarted in India’s Pabitora Wildlife Sanctuary, thanks to a joint team of forest guards and police.

India’s Business Standard reports that a four-member gang accessed the Diplung forest range to kill rhinos in the wee morning hours, but three were nabbed following an exchange of gunfire with forest guards.

TwoCircles.net adds that a .303 rifle and ammunition were recovered.

Rhinos killed in Tanzania

A mother rhino and her calf were slaughtered in Serengeti National Park, and apparently, the tragedy occurred nearly a month ago — but went unreported by park staff.

According to Reuters, four senior wildlife officials and 28 game wardens have now been suspended, including Serengeti’s chief warden and the acting director of the country’s national parks authority.

The female rhino was one of the five critically endangered Eastern black rhinos (Diceros bicornis michaeli) translocated to Tanzania from South Africa in May 2010, as part of the Serengeti Black Rhino Repatriation Project sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s “Wildlife Without Borders” program, along with international partners.

Only three of the five rhinos are still alive, as “George” was killed for his horns in December 2010.

A statement released by USFWS shortly after George’s murder said that plans to translocate another 27 black rhinos to Tanzania were being “re-assessed”

Arrests in Southern Africa

Meanwhile, Angola Press released the name of a Vietnamese national arrested in Mozambique with seven rhino horns.

Doan Minh was headed to Hanoi via Bankok on a Kenya Airways flight when he was apprehended at Maputo’s main airport.

At least two suspects were arrested this week in South Africa for dealing in rhino horns.

In South Africa, a suspect identified by IOL as Dennis Struis was arrested for attempting to sell a rhino horn and was released on R5000 bail. He is expected to appear in court on July 24th.

Another suspect, Johan Masakwani Mundhlovu, was arrested and his case postponed until July 7th. Police confiscated a rhino horn, copper cables, two butcher knives, an axe and a 9mm pistol with twelve rounds of ammunition.

In addition, a gang of four suspects arrested in 2011 and linked to six rhino killings at Thabazimbi, Pienaarsrivier, Mokopane and Naboomspruit appeared in court.

The South African Police Service (SAPS) says that Chico Malesa, Johannes Malesa (brothers), Innocent Matjakesa and Archford Moyo are in custody while they await another appearance scheduled for June 19th.

Finally, South African safari operator Marnus Steyl, professional hunter Harry Claassens, and their Thai accomplices will be in court on Monday, June 4th.

Steyl and three Thai nationals — Chumlong Lemtongthai, Punpitak Chunchom and Tool Sriton — were arrested last year for using prostitutes to pose as trophy hunters in an illegal rhino horn laundering scheme.

Claassens was arrested earlier this month, and Steyl has also been linked to South Africa’s lion bone trade.

At least 227 rhinos have been killed in South Africa since the beginning of the year.

One-horned rhinos of Asia

Although once widespread throughout Asia, from Pakistan to the Myanmar border and possibly into southern China, greater one-horned rhinos (Rhinoceros unicorns) now exist in just two countries: India and Nepal.

Thanks to the efforts of the International Rhino Foundation and their partners, the population of greater one-horned rhinos is on the rise.

IRF’s efforts to increase rhino numbers are also underway in Indonesia, home to the world’s only known population of Javan rhinos (Rhinoceros sondaicus) — which is close to just 40 individuals. Vietnam’s subspecies of Javan rhino (Rhinoceros sondaicus annamiticus) was declared extinct in 2011.

At one time, Javan rhinos were found throughout Southeast and Southern Asia and southern China.

Learn more about IRF’s work with these two rhino species — and how you can help — in this exclusive interview with the Executive Director of IRF, Dr. Susie Ellis: The podcast of “Saving the One-Horned Rhinos of Asia” is also available on iTunes.

Podcast & Source: Planetsave (http://s.tt/1dfYB)

News Link:-http://planetsave.com/2012/06/01/rhino-crisis-round-up-three-rhino-killers-arrested-in-india-more/


Serengeti MP aghast at rhino killing with ease

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Serengeti MP Dr Kebwe Steven Kebwe has described the recent killing of two rhinos by poachers in the Serengeti National Park as an act of economic sabotage.

He told a press conference yesterday in Dar es Salaam that killers of these animals get easy access to the national park, reaching the special integrated project area in the park known as ‘MORU’ where the animals were located.

The incident was a serious reversal of progress that Tanzania was making to raise the mammal’s population, he said, citing poor security in the area as explaining the poachers’ act of sabotage.

He urged the government through the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism to boost security in the area, as the current number of game rangers in Serengeti stands at 461 and is not enough to ensure focused security duties in an area of 14,000 square kilometers of the MORU project zone specifically.

The government must increase efforts to guard the rhinos and if possible it should double the number of game rangers stationed in the area, he said.

Killing the two rhinos hit at efforts being made by the government and other parties to boost the population of the endangered animal by bringing more rhinos to the Serengeti, one of their principal ancestral homes, the legislator noted.

He was surprised to see that no one up to now is being held by law enforcers to account for the brutal slaughter of critically endangered black rhinos.

He also cautioned the government to look at working conditions of game rangers as they conduct a miserable and pathetic life due to low salaries they obtain.

Few housing facilities and unfavorable location involving large distances from their working point was an exacerbating factor fueling mischief that could harm their employers’ properties.

Modern security measures like those used in South African national parks are needed, despite that this could be more costly than current arrangements, he said, noting that otherwise it is hard to figure out how the prized rhino is going to survive.

One method is by using small airplanes flying over which could take note of culprits penetrating into the zone, he said.

This is the second time rhinos have been killed at the Serengeti, as last year a rhino named ‘George’ was killed, one among five eastern black rhinos transferred from South Africa to the Serengeti, where they were received by President Jakaya Kikwete.

The survival of rare wildlife species that are the main magnet of the multi-million dollar tourism industry was under threat, according to a recent study.

The report was prepared under the auspices of the Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) in the wake of the killing of a black rhino relocated in Serengeti from South Africa.

“This is a terrible setback for the project and an alarming incident as it could mean that the poaching wave that currently rocks South Africa is beginning to spill over to Tanzania,” lamented Dr Mark Borner, head of FZS Africa Department.

The rhino transfer project was jointly undertaken by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, the Tanzania National Parks (Tanapa), the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (Tawiri), the South African National Parks (SANParks) and the Grumeti Fund.

News Link:-http://www.ippmedia.com/frontend/index.php?l=41962

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

Say NO to the Ivory Trade

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Say NO to the Ivory Trade

Photo Ofir Drori - LAGAIllegal ivory seized in Cameroon

In 1979 there were an estimated 1.3 million African elephants. A decade later, widespread poaching had reduced that figure by half. Just 600,000 African elephants remained.

Africa’s savannahs and forests were no longer sanctuaries for elephants; they had been turned into graveyards.

In 1989, a worldwide ban on ivory trade was approved by CITES. Levels of poaching fell dramatically, and black-market prices of ivory slumped.

CITES had saved the African elephant. Or had it?

Since 1997, there have been sustained attempts by certain countries to overturn the ban. In 1999, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe were allowed an ‘experimental one-off sale’ of 49,437kg of ivory to Japan. Then in 2002, a further one off-sale was approved, which finally took place in 2008 – and resulted in 105,000kg of ivory being shipped to China and Japan.

Today, levels of poaching and illegal trade are spiralling out of control once again. In many areas, rates of poaching are now the worst they have been since 1989. In 2009, over 20,000kg of ivory was seized and countries have started to report localised extinctions of very vulnerable elephant populations.

Despite this, in March 2010, Tanzania and Zambia tried to reduce the level of protection their elephants are afforded by CITES (by downlisting their elephant populations from Appendix I, which bans commercial trade, to Appendix II, which allows regulated trade subject to certain conditions). They also sought approval for a one-off sale of over 110,000kg of ivory.

The Tanzania and Zambia Proposals were in direct contravention of the spirit a nine-year moratorium on ivory trade, agreed by all range States in 2007.  The final wording of that moratorium unfortunately had a loophole which Tanzania and Zambia tried to exploit.

Had these proposals been approved, many feared for the future survival of many of Africa’s more fragile elephant populations that simply could not withstand any more poaching pressure. For Sierra Leone’s elephants it may already be too late – the Government of Sierra Leone announced at the end of 2009 that it feared its last few elephants had been lost to poachers.

The African Elephant Coalition is formed of 23-African elephant range States (the majority of countries with wild African elephants) who strongly opposed the Tanzanian and Zambian Proposals. They instead called on the international community to support a proposal by Ghana, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Mali, Kenya, Liberia and Sierra Leone to close the loophole in the moratorium, and extend it to twenty years. They believed that only resolute action of this kind could increase the security for Africa’s beleaguered elephants.

This website is intended to be a central portal of information about ivory trade, elephant poaching and the impact of CITES decisions on Africa’s elephants.

It provides those without a voice to join in the battle to protect elephants across Africa. They still need your support. Don’t delay – take action today!

Click this link to sign petition:- Say NO to the Ivory Trade »

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