Conservation in the news: 18-24 September 2017

Conservation Watch’s round-up of the week’s news on national parks, protected areas and conservation in the Global South.

For regular updates, follow @conserwatch on Twitter.

18 September 2017

Pursuing a decent life for all on a sustainable planet
By Michael Painter and David Wilkie (WCS), Mongabay, 18 September 2017
Mounting evidence reminds us how human actions have begun changing the climate and forced an awareness of global warming’s impact on the quality of human life. That awareness will be top of mind for participants in the 72nd Regular Session of the UN General Assembly taking place in New York City this week.
General Debate in the assembly this year considers the theme of “Focusing on People: Striving for Peace and a Decent Life for All on a Sustainable Planet.” That topic deliberately invites discussion about the inter-connectedness of all the world’s people and our dependence on a shared planet if we are to thrive and prosper. A critical dimension of this is our collective responsibility to sustain the integrity of the natural ecosystems upon which our aspirations for peace and a decent life for all depend.

Rhino horn is smuggled in trinket form, conservationists say
AP, 18 September 2017
International traffickers have tried many ways to smuggle African rhino horns to Asia, concealing them inside wooden Buddha statues, stashing horn pieces in lobster heads kept in a refrigerated container and disguising horn portions as the bases of painted statues.
Now, conservationists say, some criminal groups are processing rhino horns into powder and trinkets before export, a trend that could reflect changing consumer tastes and make it harder for police to intercept the illegal cargo.

Twenty years after peace accord, indigenous Bangladeshis still attacked over land
By Sohara Mehroze Shachi and Eva Gerharz, Reuters, 18 September 2017
Ripon Chakma’s octogenarian parents were visiting the village of Manikjor Chhora in the southeast of Bangladesh for a religious ceremony when the arson attack took place in early June.
Chakma’s parents survived, but an elderly neighbor, Gunamala Chakma, succumbed to the flames that engulfed her mud-walled home.
Police said settler Bengalis – the majority ethnic group – set light to more than 200 homes and shops of the indigenous Pahari people in the Longadu area of Rangamati, one of three districts that comprise the Chittagong Hill Tracts region, where most of Bangladesh’s ethnic minorities live.

Fossey Fund locates more Grauer’s gorillas in Congo’s Maiko Park
The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, 18 September 2017
Results of a recent wildlife survey led by the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund in the Democratic Republic of Congo suggests there are twice as many Grauer’s gorillas in parts of Maiko National Park than originally predicted. This is especially welcome news given that Grauer’s gorillas are among world’s most-endangered apes and face numerous threats to their survival, with only a few thousand still remaining. Their population is estimated to have plummeted as much as 80 percent in recent decades.

Mozambique to extradite Tanzanian citizen over poaching
News Ghana, 18 September 2017
Mozambican justice authorities said here on Sunday that they are preparing the extradition of a Tanzanian citizen condemned for falsification of documents and involvement in the poaching of animals in Mozambique’s national reserve.
The 39-year-old Tanzanian, identified as Matso Chupi, is said to have committed several crimes including the killing of elephants in Tanzania and Mozambique.
Tanzanian police have been seeking to arrest him since 2013, according to a press release issued by the national administration of conservation areas.

Tanzania: US-Made Drone Set to Help in Protection of Katavi Wildlife
By Zephania Ubwani, The Citizen, 18 September 2017
Full scale surveillance against poachers using drones will commence at the Katavi National Park before long.
This follows approval of the American-made Super Bat DA-50 version of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) as the most viable among the drones tested in the country since 2014.

Google Doodle Explores Thailand’s First National Park
TIME, 18 September 2017
It was 55 years ago Monday when Thailand established its first natural protected area, Khao Yai National Park. To mark the birth of this tropical treasure, Google has created an interactive Doodle that lets users explore the Southeast Asian kingdom’s natural beauty.
Google’s animated slideshow celebrates the park’s diverse wildlife and lush landscapes; from a mother and baby elephant, the national animal of Thailand, to the cascading natural waterfalls so sought by travelers to the country.

[Zimbabwe] ‘Big Five’ massacred, driven to extinction
By Andrew Kunambura, Daily News, 18 September 2017
Zimbabwe is home to some of the world’s most iconic wild animals, but rampant poaching might wipe them out forever.
Authorities have often been caught napping as poachers take advantage of the dry period from September to December when watering holes dry up, forcing animals to congregate in small pockets that still hold the precious liquid, thus rendering them extremely vulnerable.

19 September 2017

How the internet of things, a mobile phone network and a herd of zebras could save the rhino
By Lynsey Chutel, Quartz Africa, 19 September 2017
The internet of things could become the Internet of animals too, as data is harnessed to save Africa’s wildlife.
A combination of IBM’s Internet of Things, MTN’s 3G and 4G networks and a herd of zebras could be the latest defense against rhino poaching. On Sept. 19 at the Welgevonden game reserve in South Africa, IBM and MTN began a new data analysis program that they hope will prevent rhino poaching.

Snow leopards no longer endangered after 45 years, 19 September 2017
After being listed as an endangered species for the past 45 years, the snow leopard’s population is steadily improving.
As confirmed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which monitors the conservation status of wildlife, the majestic feline has been reclassified from endangered to vulnerable category.

Jewellery demand creates a new market for rhino poachers
TRT World, 19 September 2017
Long threatened by the belief that rhino horns cure an assortment of ailments, Africa’s rhino populations are now threatened by a demand in Vietnam and China for jewellery made out of the horn.
A report released in South Africa’s capital city of Pretoria on Monday by The Wildlife Trade Monitoring Network (TRAFFIC) reveals that criminal networks are processing the horns of poached rhinos into beads, bracelets, bangles and powder to evade detection and provide ready-made products to consumers in Asia, mainly in Vietnam and China.

[India] Now, villagers in DNP area to get all basic amenities
By Vimal Bhatial, Times of India, 19 September 2017
It seems there is finally good news for villagers residing in the Desert National Park (DNP) area. After the news was published in the Times of India on June 27 about how hundreds of villagers in the DNP area are living in pathetic conditions, development works will soon being here as around 1,034 works have been sanctioned. According to the Supreme Court guidelines, the management plan has been approved and population of DNP will get all the basic amenities. Due to strict rules of forest department, the villagers were not getting basic facilities. People were forced to live in appalling conditions with no proper roads, electricity or even potable water. There were no hospitals and Anganwadi centres.

[Namibia] Poachers denied bail in Zambezi
By Lugeretzia Kooper, The Namibian, 19 September 2017
The Katima Mulilo Magistrate’s Court yesterday denied bail to four men found in possession of eight elephant tusks, a firearm without a licence and entering Namibia at an undesignated point of entry.
The four men – Sydney Malosi (29), Joseph Muyanbango (45), Rubata Mungawi (28) and Zambian national Kamiru Musehi (28) – were arrested last Thursday at Kongola.
They allegedly killed four elephants in Botswana and removed their tusks. The case was postponed to 23 November for further investigations and to allow the suspects to apply for legal aid.

[South Africa] Mozambican sentenced for poaching in Kruger
By Mariana Balt, Low Velder, 19 September 2017
Mozambican Vasco Mathe Ndlovu (34) was sentenced to an effective 20 years in prison in the Skukuza Regional Court last Thursday.
Ndlovu was found guilty on four of five counts by magistrate Dries Lamprecht. On a first count of entering the country illegally, he was sentenced three months. On a second count of trespassing in the Kruger National Park (KNP) he was sentenced two years. On a third count of illegally hunting in the KNP he received 10 years, and on a fifth count of possessing a firearm with the intention to commit a crime, he was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment.

[USA] Local lawyer and radio host spent weeks in Africa helping rangers protect rhinos, elephants
By Larry Bonko, The Virginian-Pilot, 19 September 2017
Norfolk lawyer, author, lecturer and motorcycle enthusiast Mike Imprevento, who is heard Saturday afternoons on WNIS-AM 790, is back home after volunteering in the Zimbabwean bush with the International Anti-Poaching Foundation’s Green Army.
The mission: Protect African wildlife and wilderness.
Imprevento, 60, went on patrol every day with the IAPF rangers, trudging over sandy and rocky terrain. They set up observation posts to detect poachers who slaughter elephants and rhinos for their tusks and horns.

Zambia: Lusaka residents panic over sale of main water source
By Glory Mishinge, DW, 19 September 2017
For decades, Lusaka East Forest Reserve Number 27 has been classified as a protected area in Zambia. Not only is it home to some of the freshest water in the region, but it is also incredibly biodiverse and serves as a recreation space for the local population.
However the government’s recent decision to distribute parts of the land to private owners could spell bad news for the future of the forest. Residents are mostly concerned about the impact this may have on the region’s water collection system: from the forest, the water feeds into the Chalimbana River and other reservoirs which is then piped into households.

20 September 2017

‘Trophy’ Filmmakers Explain How The Film Became More Than an Anti-Trophy-Hunting Exposé
By Jean Bentley, IndieWire, 20 September 2017
When filmmakers Shaul Schwarz and Christina Clusiau first set out to make their stunning documentary “Trophy,” about the complex industry of big-game hunting and conservation in Africa and the U.S., they thought it would be an exposé.
“We really wanted to shame the industry,” Clusiau said in a Q&A after a screening of the film at the International Documentary Association’s annual documentary screening series. “And then we realized it’s not so black and white.”

When residents take charge of their rainforests, fewer trees die
By Mistin Crane,, 20 September 2017
When the government gives citizens a personal stake in forested land, trees don’t disappear as quickly and environmental harm slows down.
A new study from The Ohio State University has found that policies called “community forest concessions” have proven effective in preserving Guatemalan rainforests.
While giving forest property and management rights to residents doesn’t eliminate deforestation, it appears to lower it as much as almost 8 percent compared to areas without community oversight and ownership.

Commons and Contradictions: The Political Ecology of Elinor Ostrom
By Derek Wall, Entitle Blog, 20 September 2017
Elinor Ostrom (1933-2012) won a Nobel Prize in Economics in 2009 for her work on the commons. Her work is hugely inspiring but difficult to fit into established categorized. Some political ecologists have criticized her as too conservative or managerial. Here, I will attempt here to outline why, despite these criticisms, I feel Ostrom is a key thinker for political ecologists, and how her work relates to other approaches to political ecology.

Rhinos Are Hunted By A Myth
By Luke Folb, Huffington Post, 20 September 2017
Rhinos are being poached by a myth, with 529 of the African giants having already been cut down in the first six months of the year. In the recently released independent film, “Hunted by a Myth”, director Daniela Henao Cardenas tries to showcase how different points of view might lead to the survival of the species.
Cardenas explains how she wanted the title of her film to highlight that it’s myths that are actually killing rhinos, as well as for it to be a thought-provoking introduction for the viewer. “The myth is basically that in China and Vietnam, the rhino horn can cure cancer or acts as some sort of aphrodisiac,” she said.

[Mexico] Poaching in conservation regions remaisn big problem
By Diego López, Riviera Maya News, 20 September 2017
Poaching continues to be a huge problem in Riviera Maya with the continual decline of protected species.
Researchers and activities are concerned about the impact poaching is having on species that are protected in the state of Quintana Roo. Román Weikop, president of the Mexican Organization of Rescue and Rehabilitation of Wildlife A.C. (Orgfas), says that they estimate that between eight and 12 jaguars have already been killed within the first eight months of the year.

[Myanmar] Conservationists to work with China to curb wildlife trafficking
By Si Thu Lwin, Myanmar Times, 20 September 2017
The Myanmar Wildlife Conservation Society is to work with their Chinese counterpart to put to a halt the burgeoning illegal trade of wild animals at the two countries’ shared border, officials said.
“We will be carrying out prevention of illegal wildlife trade along the Mandalay-Lashio-Muse Road, which is known as the main route for illegal animal trade, together with the Wildlife Conservation Society (China),” said U Aung Kyaw from Myanmar Wildlife Conservation Society.

‘Only 50 lions, 100 gorillas left in Nigeria’s game reserves’
By Oladimeji Emmanuel Olushola, Daily Trust, 20 September 2017
The National Park Service (NPS) has reiterated its commitment to conserving biotic and abiotic resources amid revelations that only 50 lions are now left in two game reserves – Kainji and Yankari Game Reserves – and only 100 gorillas in the forest bordering Cameroon.
The revelation was made by the Director General of the World Conservation Society, Andrew Dunn, at a round table meeting for donor support to NPS and trans-boundary collaboration initiative held recently in Abuja.

[South Africa] 79 rhinos poached since 2007 in the Eastern Cape
The Citizen, 20 September 2017
The going price for rhino horn is a staggering R900,000 per kilogram.
Over the last decade rhino poaching in the Eastern Cape has gone from non-existent to a consistent number of incidents across the province each year.
“Seventy-nine rhino were poached in the Eastern Cape between the 1 January 2007 and the 31st of December 2016,” the Eastern Cape Director of Compliance and Enforcement (DEDEAT), Div de Villiers said. De Villiers said that the statistics do not include the deaths of young rhino calves.

[Thailand] Nine more Cambodian illegal loggers arrested
The Nation, 20 September 2017
Troops, police and park officials arrested nine more Cambodian illegal loggers in Thap Lan National Park in Nakhon Ratchasima province after they were captured committing the alleged crime by online cameras.
The nine were arrested on Tuesday morning. On Monday night, Thai authorities had arrested nine other Cambodian suspects. The first group of suspects were arrested after the NCAPS (Network-Centric Anti-Poaching System) cameras detected their alleged illegal activity and alerted officials.

[Zimbabwe] Over 400 arrested for poaching so far in 2017
By Munesu Nyakudya, News Day, 20 September 2017
A total of 408 people have so far been arrested for poaching since the beginning of the year, the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Authority (ZimParks) has said.
In a status report, ZimParks also said that a total seven people were killed during poaching, six of them locals while one was a foreigner.
ZimParks spokesperson Tinashe Farawo said they lost two rangers due to retaliation by armed poachers.
“It’s unfortunate that two lives have been lost after suspected poachers exchanged fire with our well-trained rangers in Matusadona Mountains,” he said.

21 September 2017

World rhino day: Scenes from a war zone
By Simon Caterson, Daily Review, 21 September 2017
Friday is World Rhino Day. Of all the days of the year that have been designated special in the name of one cause or another, few for me are more urgent, and personally upsetting to contemplate than World Rhino Day.
The day is not so much a celebration or commemoration as it is a way of marking yet another year in the cruel and bloody war that is threatening a species which poses no threat to humans with extinction within a few years.

The fight against poaching must shift to empowering communities
By Annette Hübschle, BizCommunity, 21 September 2017
Wildlife crimes – like rhino poaching, overfishing or the harvesting of cycads – were once considered a “green” matter. But this has changed. Such crimes have moved higher up on global security and policy agendas.
This is partly linked to concerns about the extinction of species and the demise of ecosystems. It’s also been sparked by the involvement of organised criminal networks in illegal wildlife supply chains.

Scientists study wildlife rangers, what motivates them?, 21 September 2017
Wildlife rangers are on the front lines protecting our most iconic species—tigers, elephants, gorillas and many others. But their challenges involve more than confrontations with wild animals and poachers.
“Generally, rangers are highly undertrained, undersupported and not respected,” said Barney Long, former director of species conservation for the World Wildlife Fund and now with Global Wildlife Conservation. “We put people in charge of these valuable resources and yet we don’t look after the people who are taking care of them.”

Africa poaching now a war, task force warns
By Gregory Walton, AFP, 21 September 2017
The fight against poaching must be treated as a war, Africa’s leading anti-poaching coalition said Thursday, as it called for the illicit wildlife trade to be monitored like global conflicts.
Enact, an EU-funded anti-poaching analytical taskforce that includes Interpol, called for the expansion of a media tracking system to track poaching incidents similar to established conflict monitoring methods.

Nine Elephants in Botswana Are Electrocuted by Power Line
By Christine Hauser, New York Times, 21 September 2017
Nine elephants were electrocuted near a village in eastern Botswana this week after they came into contact with a fallen power line near a water source, officials said.
The country’s government said in a statement on Wednesday that the Botswana Power Corporation detected problems on Monday in the power system that serves an area near the eastern village of Dukwi, and sent an official, Thabo Nlashiki, to investigate.

[India] Kappatagudda back in focus with ‘search for gold’ move
by Girish Pattanshetti, The Hindu, 21 September 2017
Just a few months after the declaration of Kappatagudda as a conservation reserve, a mining company has applied for permission to extract gold from the reserve.
Kappatagudda, an expansive forest range, was at the centre of a nearly year-long confrontation between locals and the State government. Last week, Ramgad Minerals and Mining Ltd. (RMML), a Baldota group company, had applied for 39.9 hectares (around 98.6 acres) of forest land for setting up ‘Sangli gold mines’ at Jelligere in Kappatagudda, Gadag district. Permission for forest clearance was submitted on September 15 to the Ministry of Environment and Forests. While the State government had declared 17,872.248 hectares area as Kappatagudda Conservation Reserve on April 11, the RMML had challenged this in the High Court, seeking the exclusion of 800 hectares (encapsulating their mining area).

[India] Kaziranga National Park to open for tourists from October 2
Times of India, 21 September 2017
Kaziranga National Park in Assam, home to one-horn Indian rhinos, will reopen for tourists on October 2 next after it was closed in May this year.
The internationally-acclaimed, UNESCO-declared world heritage site will reopen at 5am at Mihimukh under Kohora Range of the Park in presence of Assam Forest Minister Pramila Rani Brahma and local MLA-cum-Agriculture Minister Atul Bora, KNP Divisional Forest officer Ruhini Ballav Saikia said here on Thursday.

[Malaysia] Sabah striving to attain 3rd Ramsar status with Klias wetlands
By Avila Geraldine, New Straits Times, 21 September 2017
Sabah is looking at turning the Klias wetlands into the state’s next potential Ramsar Site, striving to make it its third wetland to attain international recognition.
Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said the state now has two wetlands of international importance after the KK Wetland was finally bestowed with Ramsar status in Dec, last year.

[South Africa] Legislation, without enforcement, is useless in combating poaching in Africa: expert
The Citizen, 21 September 2017
Researchers say the impact if illicit trade in wildlife is far-reaching on the continent.
Passing legislation, which is not backed up by competent law enforcement on the ground, will not save Africa’s wildlife from the scourge of poaching, an expert said on Thursday.
Speaking at ENACT’s World Rhino Day seminar of the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) and Interpol, panellist Tapuwa O’bren Nhachi, a research co-ordinator for the Centre for Natural Resource Governance in Zimbabwe, said that sometimes the custodians are to blame for the onslaught on Africa’s game.
“Poachers don’t go where they can be easily caught, they go where they can easily get the animals without challenges. In Zimbabwe it is a bit difficult to access arms that is why you see these guys (poachers) using cyanide,” Nhachi said at the ISS in Pretoria.

22 September 2017

World Rhino Day 2017: Is this the year the political tide has changed?
By Dr. Margaret Kinnaird, WWF, 22 September 2017
Every year since 2010 when it was first announced by WWF South Africa, World Rhino Day has provided a rallying point for the global rhino conservation community to unite around all five species of rhino: black, white, greater one-horned, Sumatran and Javan.
But could 2017 kick start the much needed political support worldwide which is so essential to the survival of these species?

Documenting Africa’s poaching epidemic: Q&A with the director of ‘The Last Animals’
By Isabel Esterman, Mongabay, 22 September 2017
After years of documenting some of the world’s bloodiest conflicts, a vacation in Kenya inspired photojournalist Kate Brooks to turn her lens to a different kind of violence: the slaughter of elephants and rhinos to feed black-market demand for ivory and rhino horn.
Poaching is having a devastating impact on Africa’s wildlife.
From 2006 to 2015, the population of African elephants is estimated to have declined by around 110,000, leaving just 415,000 still alive in the wild. The situation is no better for the continent’s rhinos: demand for their horns as decorative items and in traditional medicine has caused more than 7,100 to have been poached in the last decade, leaving a population of just 25,000.

[India] Floods, not poachers, proved deadlier for Assam rhinos this year
By Utpal Parashar, Hinudstan Times, 22 September 2017
Assam witnessed its worst floods in over three decades this year, which not only claimed 160 human lives but also led to the deaths of hundreds of wildlife in the state’s protected forests.
While floodwaters killed 31 one-horned rhinos in Kaziranga national park this year, only two deaths were reported due to poaching, the park’s director, Satyendra Singh, said.
Last year too, the park — spread across 430 sq km — saw 32 rhino deaths due to flooding compared to 18 deaths due to poaching.

[India] Kaziranga forest guards kill rhino in self-defence
By Anup Duttal, Times of India, 22 September 2017
Kaziranga National Park (KNP) forest guards on Thurdsay killed a rhino in self-defence when they fired at the pachyderm which was charging at them.
The incidenttook place in the Agoratoli forest range when forest guards on duty came face to face with the rhino during regular patrolling near the Tunikati anti-poaching camp. Finding no other alternative, forest guards opened fire at the rhino to save their lives. The rhino succumbed to its injuries on Thursday. Top forest officials visited the place and termed the incident ‘unfortunate’.

Liberian park protects Critically Endangered western chimpanzees
By John C. Cannon, Mongabay, 22 September 2017
The Liberian government designated a new national park in August 2017 that will protect an important population of Critically Endangered western chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes verus), as well as several other species of large mammals.
The rainforests of the new Grebo-Krahn National Park in southeastern Liberia are home to some 300 western chimpanzees, according to the Wild Chimpanzee Foundation (WCF), based in Leipzig, Germany. A decade in the making, the 961-square-kilometer (371-square-mile) park won the approval of Liberia’s legislature on Aug. 22. Now, it only requires signatures from the president and the Minister of Foreign Affairs — formalities, WCF says — to become officially designated.

North Korea said to be revitalising African wildlife trafficking
By David Pilling, Financial Times, 22 September 2017
When Mozambican police detained a suspected North Korean spy and taekwondo master along with Pyongyang’s political attaché to South Africa, they found $100,000 in cash and 4.5kg of rhino horn stashed in the diplomats’ Toyota.
After Pyongyang’s ambassador to Pretoria intervened, the two were quietly released and later allowed to return to North Korea at the end of last year.
The 2015 arrest, recounted in a report by the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime and corroborated by the Financial Times, is part of what researchers say is a revitalised web of North Korean state-sanctioned criminal activity focused on rhino horn, ivory and minerals in Africa.

South Africa: More Suspects Being Arrested and Convicted for Rhino Poaching
South African Police Service press release, 22 September 2017
Over the past week, 18 suspects were arrested and one fatally wounded while five others who were involved in rhino poaching were found guilty and sentenced to a collective 30 years and none months imprisonment.
The South African Police Service and game rangers throughout South Africa refuse to give up on the on-going battle against rhino poaching. In the effort to reduce this scourge, 18 suspects have been arrested in Skhukuza, Hluhluwe, Barberton, KwaMsane, Nongoma and Gluckstadt during this past week.

Conservationist: South Africa the main target of rhino poaching
By Monique Mortlock, EWN, 22 September 2017
A conservation developer says South Africa has become the main target of rhino poaching.
Friday is World Rhino Day a first announced by the World Wildlife Fund-South Africa in 2010.
The Environmental Affairs Department says that South Africa has the largest population of rhino in the world, with an estimated 20,000 black and white rhino.
Conservation developer Kevin Leo-Smith says without the poaching epidemic the rhinos in South Africa would increase, on average, by about 1,320 animals per year – faster than the current rate of poaching.

[South Africa] Interpol joins global war against poaching
By Tony Carnie, Times Live, 22 September 2017
With South Africa in 2017 likely to record 1000 rhino killings for the fifth year in a row, conservation and security experts are calling for smarter strategies to track down the big fish who drive global wildlife crimes.
Rather than focusing mainly on the armed foot soldiers who enter state and private nature reserves to shoot an average of three rhinos a day, researchers from the Pretoria-based Institute for Security Studies believe there is still a lack of data on transnational criminal syndicates that profit from the poaching of rhino and other wildlife species.

[UK] Ex-Marine’s African adventure to stop poaching
By Rachel Howarth, Wigan Today, 22 September 2017
A former Royal Marine from Hindley Green is using his military skills to help train safari rangers protecting some of Africa’s most endangered species.
Dale Edwards is travelling to South Africa where he will volunteer with Veterans For Wildlife, a charity which pairs veterans with anti-poaching programmes.
The 30-year-old will be one of two veterans offering basic tactical and first aid training to rangers at Nambiti Game Reserve in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal Province.

[UK] 7-year-old Frankie teams up with conservation experts in Cambridge to save the white rhino
By Mike Scialom, Cambridge Independent, 22 September 2017
Earlier this year the Cambridge Independent interviewed Frankie Benstead, the seven-year old from Cambridge who started his own campaign to save the northern white rhino, of which there are just three left in the world.
The danger to rhinos has spiked horribly: in the last 10 years 7,100 of them have been illegally killed, with more than 11,000 tusks – 32 tonnes worth – still unaccounted for. But conservation organisations are fighting back, with Cambridge playing a significant role in ensuring the rhino’s plight remains in the public eye.

23 September 2017

The Earth this time — wake up
By Cyril Christo, Santa Fe New Mexican, 23 September 2017
We came face to face with a bull elephant at 10 feet, on foot. Our guide, unique in Africa, trusted us. We trusted the elephant. And, more importantly, the elephant trusted us. Then our guide went through the bush and gingerly plucked six hairs from a bull’s tail and ran back to us with a gift unlike any other. It was a playful antic the bushmen have been enacting for more than 50,000 years. It is a gesture, but as playful as any on Earth, that honors the elephant’s great stature.

[India] Won’t change Kappatagudda’s tag: High Court
By Subhash Chandra, The New Indian Express, 23 September 2017
The High Court has refused to meddle with the conservation tag awarded to Kappatagudda reserve forest in Gadag district.Hearing a petition by Ramgarh Mines and Minerals Limited (RMML) on Thursday, the division bench comprising Chief Justice Subhro Kamal Mukherjee and Justice P S Dinesh Kumar refused to quash the notification as sought by the petitioner.
The bench has directed the firm to make a fresh representation for the mining lease in the conservation reserve, but at the same time. has said that the views of the Conservation Reserve Management Committee (CRMC), which comprises of local people and representatives, Forest Department officials and the non government organisations.

Indonesia on rhino emergency status
ANTARA News, 23 September 2017
Indonesia is in Rhino emergency status after this protected animal habitat declined to three from eight locations which all are conservation areas.
“We are racing against time to save Indonesian rhinoceroses, so that their fate would not be the same as that of Javanese Tiger,” Indonesian WWF (World Wildlife Fund) Conservation Director Arnold Sitompul said in Jakarta on Friday (Sept. 22).

[Kenya] Country hails anti-rhino poaching efforts
By David Muchui and Mwangi Ndirangu, Daily Nation, 23 September 2017
The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy on Friday celebrated four years of decline of rhino poaching.
Under the theme “Extinction is Forever, Time for Action is Now”, residents and conservationists celebrated the World Rhino Day at Lewa by walking alongside rangers to learn how rhinos are shielded against poachers.
The Lewa-Borana landscape is home to 157 rhinos, 74 white and 83 black rhinos, translating to about 14 percent of the country’s rhino population.

24 September 2017

WWF-funded patrols ‘evict and kill’ African tribes
By Jonathan Leake, The Times, 24 September 2017
Anti-poaching patrols funded by WWF, the global conservation organisation, have been accused of committing “atrocities” when evicting African rainforest tribes from their ancestral lands to “protect wildlife”.
An investigation by Survival International, a UK-based campaign group for indigenous peoples, alleges that the WWF’s wildlife patrols “harass, beat, torture and kill” people of the Baka (or Bayaka) tribes.
“The anti-poaching squads that commit these atrocities are funded and equipped by some of the world’s largest conservation organisations, like the WWF [formerly the World Wildlife Fund for Nature],” a report by Survival will say this week.

[Myanmar] Passage for elephants blocked
By Pinaki Roy and Mohammad Ali Jinnat, Daily Star, 24 September 2017
The natural corridors for around 50 wild elephants in Ukhia’s reserve forest area have been blocked by temporary camps set up for the helpless Rohingya refugees.
Experts say the animals, which come from Bandarban’s Naikhyangchhari usually during the winter, might face the threat of extinction if the situation does not change.
They say many parts of the 30,000 acres of forest land in Ukhia have already been razed to the ground and the Rohingya settlement could be the final nail in the coffin for the large mammals.

[Tanzania] Human Rights Crimes Following Illegal Evictions Continue in Loliondo Despite Stop Order
By Susanna Nordlund, View from the Termite Mound, 24 September 2017
What could not be allowed to happen again, happened, and like in 2009 the Maasai in western Loliondo division of Ngorongoro district again suffered a violent and illegal arson attack. From 13th to 26th August 2017 hundreds of bomas were burned to the ground by rangers from Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Conservation Area assisted by local Loliondo police – and others, namely OBC and KDU (anti-poaching, close to OBC) rangers – and thousands of people were left without food or shelter. Cows were dispersed during this extreme drought, and there was terror and panic everywhere.

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