Conservation Watch’s news round-up: September 2018

Conservation Watch’s round-up of the month’s news on protected areas and conservation in the Global South.

For regular updates, follow @conserwatch on Twitter.

The news links are grouped under the following sub-headings:

Human rights

Peruvian villagers face murder and intimidation from land traffickers
By Rajmonda Rexhi and Matthew Weaver, The Guardian, 3 September 2018
Shortly after sunset, along an isolated stretch of highway leading out of a dusty hamlet in northern Peru, a band of five weary farmers clad in reflective neon vests and armed with traditional whips made of bull penises set out on a solemn march.
The Ronderos – self-governing peasant patrols – are resuming their nightly rounds five months after the brutal killing of their lieutenant governor, Napoléon Tarrillo Astonitas.

Uganda: Museveni Condemns Killing of Poachers
By Felix Ainebyoona, The Monitor, 23 September 2018
President Museveni has condemned the killing of four unarmed poachers in Queen Elizabeth National Park and promised to arrest the perpetuators he vilified as ‘wild’ and ‘stupid’.
The President, who was addressing a rally at Katerera playground in Rubirizi District on Thursday, described the killing of unarmed poachers as terrorism and described poachers as “thieves” who should be arrested and not killed.

[Zimbabwe] Gunned down ‘poacher’ was a teacher
By Thupeyo Muleya, The Chronicle, 25 September 2018
A 44-YEAR-OLD suspected poacher who was killed in a shootout with National Parks and Wildlife Authority rangers at Bubye Conservancy in Beitbridge last week, has been identified as a teacher based in Gwanda.
Ndabezinhle Majajama and an accomplice who is still at large were intercepted tracking a rhino at around 6PM on Saturday last week. They were armed with a 303 rifle- (serial numbers PC183) fitted with a telescope and a man-made silencer.
Sources said the duo opened fire when they saw National Parks rangers who retaliated.

Maasai Villagers Win a Major Victory in the East African Court of Justice in Case Against Tanzanian Government
Oakland Institute, 27 September 2018
On September 25, 2018, the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) awarded a major victory to four Maasai villages fighting for their rights to their land in northern Tanzania. The case revolves around violent government-led evictions of Maasai villagers in Loliondo – which included burning their homes, arbitrary arrest, forced eviction from their villages, and confiscating their livestock – that took place in August 2017, as well as the ongoing harassment and arrest of villagers involved in the case by the Tanzanian police. The four villages named in the case are legally registered owners of their land.

Protected areas

[India] National park judgment in Forest dept.’s favour
The Hindu, 1 September 2018
Twenty-nine writ petitions claiming ownership of the 2,400 acres of forest land in Mahavir Harina Vanasthali National Park at Mansoorabad village of Saroornagar Mandal have been disposed of by the High Court in favour of the Forest department, a press note from the department informed.
The writ petitions were filed successively since last year by 1,500 persons, allegedly by miscreants, intending to grab the land high in real estate value.

[India] Politics over Western Ghats
By Kalyan Ray, Deccan Herald, 2 September 2018
A magnificent mountain range next only to the Himalayas, the Western Ghats is a biological treasure trove. Both the Madhav Gadgil-led Western Ghat Ecology Expert Panel and the High Level Working Group, chaired by space scientist K Kasturirangan stressed on the neeed to protect and conserve its unique ecology and pristine forests, although they proposed two different approaches to doing so.

Tanzania: Conservation – Remembering Converted Wildlife Poachers
By James Mpinga, Tanzania Daily News, 3 September 2018
One of our renowned environmentalists, Prof Raphael Mwalyosi, describes the Selous Game Reserve as a driver for sustainable development giving long-term benefits to Tanzania and its people. Tanzania needs increased energy to help drive its development.
The government has set out its 2025 energy vision in the Tanzania Power System Master Plan (2016 update). WWF opposes developments in protected areas that (could) negatively impact on their ecological core values – in the case of World Heritage Sites – which is called its Outstanding Universal Value.

[Cambodia] Oddar Meanchey animals threatened
By Soth Koemsoeun, Phnom Penh Post, 4 September 2018
All species of animals in the Sorng Rukhavoan Wildlife Sanctuary are facing danger no thanks to night hunters, despite concerted efforts to stop the crimes, say activists and environment officials.
The 30,254-hectare sanctuary spans across the Sorng Rukhavorn and Rattanak Rokha community forests, as well as areas flooded by the Stung Treng II hydroelectric dam in Oddar Meanchey province’s Anlong Veng district.
Sorng Rukhavoan community forest head, the venerable Bun Saluth, told The Post on Monday that the sanctuary had been vulnerable to hunting, illegal logging and land clearing before it was designated a protected area.

[India] Kali Tiger Reserve in Uttara Kannada district slashed open by roads, bridges
By Amt S Upadhye, New India Express, 4 September 2018
The Western Ghats, a bio-diversity hotspot, is slowly but steadily being chipped away by the politician-contractor-bureaucracy nexus. New highway projects slicing through the Ghats in Karnataka are expected to swallow more than 7 lakh trees. While the recent floods in Kerala and Kodagu demonstrated the danger of toying with nature, the National Green Tribunal’s direction to the Centre to notify eco-sensitive areas in Western Ghats may perhaps pause this senseless destruction.

[Indonesia] National park with largest orangutan population being cleared for palm oil and illegally logged
Environmental Investigation Agency, 4 September 2018
Sebangau National Park in Indonesia – home to more than 5,800 critically endangered Bornean orangutans and the biggest protected peatland in Central Kalimantan – is suffering encroachment which is destroying its forest and peatland, as revealed in the latest report with our Indonesian partner the Independent Forest Monitoring Network (Jaringan Pemantau Independen Kehutanan, or JPIK).
Documented in The Loss of Our Forest and Peatland, JPIK’s monitoring of the park from 2016-18 found areas being cleared and planted with oil palm and illegal logging occurring to supply local timber industries.

[Australia] Protected areas alone won’t save all threatened species
University of Queensland, 5 September 2018
Protected areas alone are not enough to save Australia’s threatened species, according to research from the Threatened Species Recovery Hub.
The research team, led by University of Queensland PhD candidate Stephen Kearney, investigated major threats facing threatened species and considered how protected areas could alleviate such threats.
“The key finding is that simply reserving land will remove all threats to very few species – only three per cent in fact,” Mr Kearney said.

[India] Goa’s environment faces problems from infrastructure boom
By Pamela D’Mello, Mongabay, 12 September 2018
Goa’s much-highlighted opencast iron ore mining has resulted in significant destruction of tree cover in the iron ore belts, where all vegetation is shaved off to scoop out top soil from hills and access the ore. The destruction left in its wake is well documented.
A report by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in 1997 estimated that 2500 hectares of forests were lost due to mining between 1988-1997. The India State of Forest Report 2017, said “forest cover within the recorded forest area has decreased by 9 square km (900 ha) due to mining and other developmental activities” within two years from its 2015 assessment.

[Thailand] Cross-border national park management cooperation explored
The Nation, 13 September 2018
The National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department is exploring opportunities to work with its partners in neighbouring countries to step up efforts to protect national parks with transboundary features.
The department has invited forestry officials from Laos to join the two-day workshop on transboundary protected area management, which was kicked off today. It would then invite those from Malaysia to attend a similar workshop next week. The department’s National Parks Office’s director Dr Songtam Suksawang said Thailand has at least 11 national parks next to protected areas of Cambodia, Myanmar, Malaysia and Laos.

[Cambodia] Trees planted to counter deforestation in Sihanoukville
By Pech Sotheary, Khmer Times, 17 September 2018
Preah Sihanouk provincial officials on Friday planted 5,500 trees in the Kbal Chhay protected area in order to compensate for a decline due to forestry crimes.
The officials planted a mixture of common and Rosewood trees, which could fetch up to $2,500 on the market for one cubic metre.
Provincial Governor Yun Min said on Friday that the move was made in order to replenish the tree population in the area.
“We have to protect the forests together regardless of how much it costs,” Mr Min said.
After the planting, Mr Min warned that those involved in the destruction of the Kbal Chhay protected area will face legal action.

The extirpation of species outside protected areas
University College London press release, 20 September 2018
Land-based bird populations are becoming confined to nature reserves in some parts of the world – raising the risk of global extinction – due to the loss of suitable habitat, according to a report led by UCL.
Researchers analysed biodiversity in the area known as Sundaland, which covers the peninsula of Thailand, Borneo, Malaysia, Sumatra, Java and Bali, one of the world’s most biologically degraded regions.

[India] 519 projects cleared in ‘protected areas’ since 2014; activists say hasty decisions risk endangered species
By Prerna Singh Bindra, FirstPost, 22 September 2018
In the middle of the railway tracks that cut through the core of Maharashtra’s Melghat Tiger Reserve in the forested heart of India, lay a blob of carnivore scat – two or three days old, blackish, bristling with sambar hair, enough to fill a quarter plate.
Tiger!
It could be leopard – a DNA test could tell – but was more likely to have come from a tiger, given their consistent presence in the Wan Wildlife Sanctuary that forms part of Melghat. Foresters in the nearby range office spoke of regular sightings of at least one male and two female tigers. One tracker said he had seen a tigress with cub, about a year old, crossing the track just beyond Wan tunnel about a month back.

[India] In Modi’s Constituency, a Wildlife Sanctuary is Quietly Being Erased
By Bahar Dutt, The Wire, 24 September 2018
Freshwater turtles may be small, but they are proving to be a big stumbling block for the government’s plans to dredge the Ganga for a multi-crore inland waterways project that will pass through Varanasi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency, and end in Haldia in West Bengal.
The ‘Kachhua’ or Turtle Wildlife Sanctuary (TWS), the world’s only protected area dedicated to freshwater turtles, is now set to be wiped off the conservation map of India. The state government has submitted a proposal to the Government of India asking for the Kachhua sanctuary in Varanasi to be ‘denotified’ following a meeting of the State Board of Wildlife of Uttar Pradesh on August 30, 2018.

[Cambodia] Families protest Srepok forest grab
By Soth Koemsoeun, Phnom Penh Post, 25 September 2018
Some 100 families from Pichreada district’s Pu Chrey commune in Mondulkiri province said a private company continues to clear forest in the Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary even after the authority made the firm sign a contract promising to stop its activities.
A representative of the Pu Chrey Protected Area Community who wished to remain anonymous claimed the Heang Ly Company had pulled out stumps and damaged 1,063 trees on forest land adjacent to the community in the commune’s Pu Tang village.

[China] Ministry acts to prevent encroachment on nature reserves
China Daily, 27 September 2018
China’s top environmental watchdog warned eight local governments on Wednesday about the invasion and destruction of nature reserves by illegal construction projects and told them not to seek economic growth at the expense of the reserves.
The Ministry of Ecology and Environment said there are still many illegal construction projects associated with mining, tourism, aquaculture and real estate in seven nature reserves that have caused great damage to the reserves and impaired their ecological functions.

ICCF reception with H.E. President Nyusi of Mozambique
By Achim Steiner, UNDP, 27 September 2018
Your Excellency, Filipe Nyusi, President of Mozambique, ICCF Chairman David Barron, distinguished friends and colleagues.
It is my great honour to join you in this reception with a focus on one of my favorite countries, Mozambique, to discuss a topic equally close to my heart: protected areas and sustainable development.
Over the last 15 years alone, UNDP has supported 130 countries in implementing over 250 protected area projects, improving management effectiveness of over 2,504 conservation areas including indigenous and community conserved areas.

Communities and conservation

Q&A: How to work with indigenous communities and conserve the environment
By Malia Politzer, Devex, 6 September 2018
A recent report to the United Nations General Assembly has revealed a radical increase of violent attacks, human rights abuses, criminalization, and threats against indigenous people around the world. According to the report, written by Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, the U.N. special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, these attacks have drastically accelerated over the past five years, and are associated with large-scale private sector and development projects — extractive industries, agribusiness, infrastructures, hydroelectric dams, and logging — in territories where indigenous people typically reside.

Dayak wildlife researcher uses indigenous knowledge for conservation efforts
By S. Indramalar, Star2.com, 7 September 2018
Even as a teenager, June Rubis knew that she wanted a career in environmental conservation.
Growing up in Sarawak, she remembers European environmentalists descending on her home state, tying themselves to tractors, waving banners in protest of logging in Borneo.
“I must have been about 14 or 15 at the time and I remember being really interested with the protests by Greenpeace in the 1990s. All these Europeans were in Sarawak protesting and I remember wanting to have these conversations but no one was quite interested,” recalls Rubis.

Securing Intact Forests and Indigenous Livelihoods in DR Congo
By Deo Kujirakwinja and Michael Painter, Wildlife Conservation Society, 10 September 2018
In eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Batwa people have played a critical role in preserving the integrity of the intact forests of the Kabobo Massif, which is the source of fresh water and associated electrical power for hundreds of thousands of people.
In recent years, however, violent civil conflict has undermined the Batwa’s stewardship, leading to large-scale population movement and poor local governance. In response, local people — supported by the provincial government and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) — have worked for a decade to re-establish local control of the area through the creation of protected area and community forestry concessions.

Designs on the range: corridors, grabs and extractions at the pastoral margins
By Jeremy Lind, Pastres, 10 September 2018
The past ten years have seen the spread of large-scale investments in infrastructure, resources and land across pastoral areas of eastern Africa. In the past, these areas were insignificant to states in the region and large capital from beyond – at least compared to the region’s agrarian highlands and Indian Ocean coast. Yet, the recent rush to construct pipelines, roads, airports, wind farms, and plantations – to give a few examples – signals a new spatial politics that binds the pastoral margins ever closer to state power and global capital.

Protect Indigenous Rights and Culture in the Amazon to Confront the Climate Crisis
By Lilian Painter, Widlife Conservation Society, 11 September 2018
This week in San Francisco, government and business leaders, investors, and average citizens are gathering to inspire large commitments towards addressing climate change. Among the key issues to be discussed is the role ecosystems must play in mitigating climate change and building global resilience.

Indigenous Peoples Are Vital to Curtailing the Climate Crisis
By Cristián Samper (WCS), Scientific American, 13 September 2018
Spanning the border between Bolivia and Peru, the magnificent Madidi-Tambopata landscape rises from dense lowland Amazon upward to Andean peaks at almost 6,000 meters. No other protected area on the planet spans such a gradient. Not surprisingly, this wilderness boasts more plant and animal species than any other protected area in the world.
That extraordinary biodiversity derives in large part from the fact that Madidi is one of the last great intact forests on Earth. Critical to that status is the presence there of six indigenous peoples’ territories. In 2013, I met with representatives of one of them, the Tacana, recipients of the Equator Prize at the 2015 U.N. Paris climate conference for their commitment to forest protection.

Historic first as communities in Democratic Republic of Congo gain legal rights over their local forests
Rainforest Foundation UK, 20 September 2018
The Rainforest Foundation UK (RFUK) is celebrating, as a group of local communities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is being granted legal rights to protect their local rainforests. In what represents an important achievement for the rights of forest peoples in DRC, five communities in the country’s western Equateur Province saw their community forest applications approved this month by the provincial government.
During a special ceremony to award the community forests this week, Kiri Asubwa, a member of the village of Mibenga, declared: “Some thought our forests had been sold off, but today we have this title that secures our land. We now have our community forest. Let us unite to use this forest that has been granted to us.”

[India] NGOs Protest Against Maharashtra’s Shoot-at-sight Order For Tigress
Republic World, 22 September 2018
A group of animal welfare organisations protested against Maharashtra Forest Department’s recent shoot-at-sight orders for a man-eater tigress in Pandharkawda forest.
The non-governmental organisations (NGOs) which staged the protest included People for Animals, Friends of Snakes and World Wildlife Fund.

Conservation

Outrage over Zimbabwe’s 10 white rhino ‘donation’ to DRC
By Sipho Mabuza, Zim Live, 3 September 2018
A decision by Zimbabwe to “donate” 10 endangered white rhinoceros to the Democratic Republic of Congo has sparked outrage.
The Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) says the donation is designed to “enhance the rhino regional conservation programme”.
The 10 rhinos are being translocated from Lake Chivero Park, Kyle Recreation Park and Matopos National Park, according to Zimparks Public Relations Manager, Tinashe Farawo.
David Coltart, a former Cabinet minister, described the plan as “disgusting”.

UNESCO celebrates 70 years of nature conservation with IUCN
UNESCO, 4 September 2018
On 30 and 31 August 2018, the 70th anniversary of IUCN was celebrated at Fontainebleau, France with the theme “The Future of Landscapes: A New Relationship for People and Nature”. It is at the Chateau de Fontainebleau, a World Heritage site, that in 1948 the founding assembly convened at the invitation of UNESCO to create the International Union for the Protection of Nature (IUPN), later to become the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Political ecology of tiger conservation in India
By Nitin D. Rai, Tor A. Benjaminsen, Siddhartha Krishnan, and C. Madegowda, NMBU, 4 September 2018
Protected areas have had significant impacts on local communities primarily through the physical removal of people. In some instances, people continue to live within protected areas due to the inability of the state to evict them. The restrictions on livelihoods placed on people living inside protected areas lead to in situ displacement. We show how conservation enclosures in the Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple Tiger Reserve have produced a class of people that the state ‘lets die’ by banning customary practices such as fire use, hunting and harvesting of forest produce. Using longitudinal ethnographic, socio‐economic and ecological data, we demonstrate that conservation policy has alienated indigenous forest dwellers from their agricultural and forest‐land. The outcomes of conservation policy include dispossession through increased crop losses, reduced income from agriculture and forest produce, as well as a forest that is dominated by weeds due to fire suppression. The ban on hunting in particular has increased wildlife densities, which has enabled the state to accumulate revenues through the establishment of wildlife tourism facilities. All in all, centralized protected area governance has changed the relationships among people, forest and the state in a way that has produced adverse effects for both livelihoods and the ecosystem.

Rwanda urges use of new technologies in nature conservation
Xinhua, 4 September 2018
Rwanda’s annual conversation on conservation forum opened here on Tuesday with a call on environmentalists to adopt new technologies in nature conservation.
The two-day event, which brings together more than 500 conservationists from around the world, aims to create a unique platform linking conservation with sustainable tourism.
Participants include conservation and tourism experts from around the world discussing, debating, and seeking solutions to the challenges facing conservation.

Conservation International Names James Roth Senior Vice President of Global Policy and Government Relations
Conservation International, 5 September 2018
Conservation International today announced the appointment of James Roth as Senior Vice President for Global Policy and Government Relations, overseeing its U.S. Government Relations and International Policy teams. Roth begins his new role on September 17.
Roth will lead outreach to the U.S. Congress, the Executive Branch and governments worldwide to promote policies critical to Conservation International’s mission, with a focus on elevating policies supporting the preservation and restoration of nature as an immediate, scalable and cost-effective solution to mitigating climate change.

China key to Africa conservation bid
By Kaddu Kiwe Sebunya, Daily Nation, 7 September 2018
This week, Chinese President Xi Jinping chaired the 2018 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Beijing. The summit discussed how to “build a stronger community of a shared future between China and African countries”.
Beyond the conference jargon, interesting trends emerged that African leaders and citizens should pay attention to. The news release said the summit was aimed at synergising China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) with the African Union’s Agenda 2063.

Gorillas Named by Pop Stars, President at Rwandan Ceremony
By Saul Butera, Bloomberg, 7 September 2018
Rwanda named 23 endangered mountain gorilla babies in a traditional naming ceremony that honored people including former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and Nelson Mandela’s widow, Graca Machel.
In an annual event known as kwita izina, tourism authorities borrow from a Rwandan tradition of giving names to children at between three months and one year after birth. The 23 babies were born into 12 gorilla families in the past year, with the youngest only two months old, and the eldest about 14 months old.

Curious Nature: Jane Goodall’s legacy of conservation goes beyond studying chimpanzees
By Lizzy Owens, VailDaily, 8 September 2018
She is an icon in so many ways, with a recognizable image: Dressed in olive green or khaki with her gray hair pulled back into a ponytail, she sits with a chimpanzee. You know Jane Goodall, but what do you really know about what’s she’s done — not just for chimpanzees, and species conservation, but her impact on environmental stewardship and the fight against climate change?

These Animals Are About to Disappear From the Planet Forever
The Street, 9 September 2018
When a species becomes extinct, it’s gone for good: the last surviving member has died.
Earth is currently experiencing the worst wave of species die-offs — a mass extinction of plants and animals — since the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, according to the Center for Biological Diversity. Scientists say that nearly all of the thousands of currently threatened species — mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians, plants and invertebrates — are at risk because of human activities, including habitat loss, introduction of non-natives, and the effects of climate change.

Quality, Not Just Quantity, Matters When It Comes to Conservation
By Jason Daley, Sierra, 9 September 2018
The Half Earth Project is one of the most exciting movements in conservation. The idea is simple: Set aside 50 percent of all the land outside Antarctica and half of the oceans to protect Earth’s biodiversity. Still, such a global project creates a variety of complex, and monumental, political, financial, and scientific problems. Could such a project meet its goal of protecting 85 percent of species on Earth? A new study in the journal Science Advances suggests that it’s not the acreage that matters when it comes to species conservation. It’s all about location.

As Colombia battles deforestation, other post-conflict regions show there’s hope for conservation
By Andrew Wight, NBC News, 9 September 2018
The tropical forests stretch across this country like an unbroken green ribbon, linking the steamy Amazon with the chilly Andes — but in the country’s fragile peace, deforestation is speeding up, destroying the region’s valuable biodiversity at an alarming rate.
In 2016, after over 50 years of bitter civil conflict, the leftist guerrilla group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) signed a peace deal with the Colombian government to disarm and demobilize their jungle bases.

Indonesia power project threatens Sumatra’s Tapanuli orangutans survival (video)
By Stella-maris Ewudolu, AEC News, 9 September 2018
Teetering between life and death as a species, Sumatra’s recently discovered Tapanuli orangutans are facing constant threat of habitat loss, and survival. Comprising just 800, they are the world’s rarest species of great ape.
To the dismay of many, bulldozers are now clearing part of the Batang Toru Forest in North Sumatra province for the construction of a 510-megawatt hydroelectric dam, the construction of which will significantly impact 8 per cent of the remaining 10 square kilometres (about 4 square miles) of forest where the endangered Tapanuli orangutans dwell.

Johan Rockström Joins Conservation International as Chief Scientist
Conservation International press release, 10 September 2018
Internationally renowned scientist Johan Rockström has been named Chief Scientist of Conservation International, CEO Dr. M. Sanjayan announced today. Rockström will take on his new role in October and will speak at Conservation International’s dinner taking place Wednesday, September 12 in San Francisco, CA just prior to the Global Climate Action Summit.

Half the planet should be set aside for wildlife – to save ourselves
By Michael Le Page, New Scientist, 13 September 2018
If we want to avoid mass extinctions and preserve the ecosystems all plants and animals depend on, governments should protect a third of the oceans and land by 2030 and half by 2050, with a focus on areas of high biodiversity. So say leading biologists in an editorial in the journal Science this week.
It’s not just about saving wildlife, says Jonathan Baillie of the National Geographic Society, one of the authors. It’s also about saving ourselves.

[Cambodia] Gibbons facing threat
By Khouth Sophak Chakrya, Phnom Penh Post, 13 September 2018
While hunting in the Kingdom’s wildlife sanctuaries has abated, the use of traps have become widespread. That, coupled with deforestation, has caused grave concerns among conservationists who fear the extinction of the endangered yellow-cheeked crested gibbons.
The rare gibbon species – native to Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia – live in tropical forests and swing from tree to tree foraging for fruits.
In 1995, they were found living in the southern part of Laos and Vietnam and did not have a large presence in Cambodia.

To Prevent ‘Major Extinction Crisis,’ Scientist Call for Designating Half of Planet as Protected Areas by 2050
By Jessica Corbett, Common Dreams, 14 September 2018
A pair of leading scientists is calling on the global community to spend the next few decades working toward formal protections for at least half of the world’s oceans and lands, warning that as the human population nears its projected 10 billion by mid-century, several species will face a heightened threat of extinction.
The demand comes in the form of an editorial published in the journal Science on Friday by chief scientist of the National Geographic Society Jonathan Baillie and Chinese Academy of Sciences biologist Ya-Ping Zhang.

Conservation program serves as lifeline for rhinos
By Benyamin Cohen, From the Grapevine, 17 September 2018
It’s a girl!
Israel’s Ramat Gan Safari, a 250-animal reserve, just announced the birth of a healthy female baby rhinoceros. The new calf, born three weeks ago, has not yet been named. It’s the 30th birth of a rhino baby in the safari since its creation on the outskirts of Tel Aviv back in 1974. Their first baby rhino – named “Shalom” – was born exactly 40 years ago today.
Israel is part of an international breeding program for rhino conservation, which is organized by the European Endangered Species Program (EEP). It’s a population management program for animals of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria, of which Israel is a member. The Ramat Gan Safari, with 13 rhinos, is the largest herd of the entire program – which includes more than 300 rhinos across 78 zoos.

[India] 11 lions found dead within few days in Gujarat’s Gir forest; forest officials say lung infection, infighting likely cause of death
First Post, 21 September 2018
At least 11 lions have died at Gir forest’s East division in last few days, forest department officials said on Friday. The sudden deaths of these lions have prompted the state government to initiate an investigation into the matter.
Speaking to ANI, Hitesh Vamja, veterinary forest officer of Gir Forest West said, “Most of the lions have died due to the lung infection. It was found that in some of them, the infection had also spread to other organs leading to death.”

[USA] Rhino Deaths Per Year Have Skyrocketed In The Past Decade — But This Bill Could Help Save Them
By Aaron Jordan and Ana Popovich, Bustle, 21 September 2018
This spring, Sudan, the last male Northern White rhino, died in Kenya, dooming his subspecies to extinction. The Ol Pejeta Conservancy, which served as Sudan’s home, wrote on its social media page, “Fare thee well Sudan. You have done your work to highlight the plight of rhino species across the world; now the onus is on us to ensure that rhino populations thrive across our planet.” And indeed, as we celebrate World Rhino Day on Sept. 22, there is crucial legislation in the works that could save these animals’ lives.

Protecting the world’s remaining rhinos: finding hope in adversity
By Margaret Kinnaird, WWF, 22 September 2018
Today is World Rhino Day, dedicated to these impressive prehistoric animals that once roamed in great numbers across the Asian and African continents. For some, the rhino is a creature that captures the imagination, with its armour-like skin and horn. For others, it is a symbol of strength and resilience, a favourite emblem for sports teams. Many dream of seeing a wild rhino, while others make it their lives work to protect them.

Nepal tigers now number 235
Nepali Times, 23 September 2018
The Nepal government announced the total number of wild tigers in the country had reached 235, nearly double of what it was in 2009. This means Nepal will be the first country to attain the TX2 target of doubling its wild tiger population adopted at the St Petersburg Tiger Summit in 2010.
Nepal conducted a tiger census between November 2017 and April 2018 with camera traps. The last tiger survey in 2013 had estimated the tiger population at 198.

When Conservationists Kill Lots (and Lots) of Animals
By Emma Marris, The Atlantic, 26 September 2018
The desert of south-central Australia is crenellated with sandstone hills in shades of ivory, crimson, and apricot. The ground is littered with dead trees and tree limbs, big hunks of transparent mica, dried cow dung, and thousands of stone spearheads and blades made by the Aboriginal people who lived here for tens of thousands of years—and live here still. Around the few water holes are the doglike tracks of dingoes, wild canines that were brought to Australia thousands of years ago and are now the country’s top predators.

[USA] As hunting dwindles, who will pay for wildlife conservation?
By Brandon Keim, Anthropocene Magazine, 26 September 2018
For more than a century, hunters have played an important part in conserving wildlife in the United States and Canada. Government-based conservation in particular relies on revenues from hunting — but the number of hunters is fast declining. So where will funding come from? Will people who love wildlife, but don’t hunt, foot the bill?

SA plays lead role in global biodiversity protection drive
By Heather Dugmore, Business Day, 26 September 2018
The recent adoption of the Key Biodiversity Areas Standard is a major breakthrough for global conservation.
It has brought together 12 of the largest conservation nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) worldwide to promote the identification of the most important sites for conserving biodiversity, which is rapidly declining.

Shifeta shares Namibia’s conservation success story
The Patriot, 28 September 2018
Minister of Environment and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta says good conservation and wildlife management efforts are key when it comes to the sustainable use of natural resources.
He said this earlier this week in the United States of America while speaking at the US Fish and Wildlife Conservation Council Meeting on Sustainable Wildlife Management for the Benefit of People and Species where he shared some of the concepts and efforts on sustainable wildlife Management for the benefit of people and species adopted by Namibia.

Rwanda partners with Yale University to advance environmental conservation
New Times, 28 September 2018
The Government of Rwanda and Yale University have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to foster greater cooperation and collaboration in the areas of education and research in sustainable development and environmental protection and conservation.
The signing of the agreement took place during a visit by Minister for Environment, Vincent Biruta, to the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Affairs.

Financing conservation

[Philippines] Manila to host Asean Biodiversity Heroes forum
By Jonathan L. Mayuga, Business Mirror, 2 September 2018
The Asean Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) will hold the Asean Biodiversity Heroes Regional Forum in Manila on September 4 and 5.
The forum will be conducted at a hotel in Makati City, in collaboration with the Biodiversity Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and with support from the European Union.

Leonardo DiCaprio’s star-studded auction raises $11 million for environmental causes
By Meg McConahey, The Press Democrat, 16 September 2018
Actor Leonardo DiCaprio, surrounded by a bevy of other A-list celebrities, raised $11 million for environmental causes in a Saturday night auction in Santa Rosa featuring works by some of the top names in the contemporary art world.
The Leonard DiCaprio Foundation teamed up with Jackson Family Wines to put on the star-studded, invitation-only event.

Jordan Barrett’s Instagram appeal: #KnotOnMyPlanet
By Astrid Taemets, The Courier Mail, 16 September 2018
Jordan Barrett is putting his fame to good use.
The hunky 22-year-old Gold Coast-born model has joined forces with Tiffany & Co and Knot On My Planet ambassador Doutzen Kroes in a bid to raise money and awareness on the plight of elephant poaching.
In a video posted to his Instagram account, Barrett, Kroes and Naomi Campbell appear in a black and white clip that promotes the anti-poaching initiative #KnotOnMyPlanet.

[South Africa] Rhino Tears wine raises R2 million in the war against poaching
IOL, 19 September 2018
John Hooper, director and founder of Rhino Tears wine, saw an opportunity to make a difference , when his passion for wildlife and conservation led him to create a wine that donates proceeds to help fight the war on rhino poaching.
Rhino Tears is produced at the Mt. Vernon Estate and is available in two variants; a delicious red blend as well as Sauvignon Blanc. R15 from each bottle sold goes directly to the SANParks Honorary Rangers to support the fight against poaching and protecting the rhino for future generations.

UK pledges £2.1m to save Asian tigers and African chimpanzees
By Sandra Laville, The Guardian, 21 September 2018
The UK’s international development secretary has announced funding to help protect Sumatran tigers and west African chimpanzees.
It is estimated that only 400-500 tigers are left in Indonesia as their forest habitats disappear, while in Liberia the illegal wildlife trade and loss of habitat threatens the survival of the chimpanzee.

Want To Buy A Rhinoceros? These 21 Are Going To Auction
By Cecilia Rodriguez, Forbes, 30 September 2018
The 21 rhinoceros were first spotted last month “roaming” around various iconic London landmarks including Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden and Kensington Palace gardens.
Next up, they will be auctioned on October 9 at a Christie’s event timed to coincide with the gathering of world leaders in London for the International Conference on the Illegal Wildlife Trade hosted by the British government and expected to offer an opportunity for governments to commit to end the global trade in illegal wildlife.

Wildlife trade

FOCAC: China-Africa cooperate on sustainable infrastructure, illegal wildlife trade
CGTN, 3 September 2018
Senior delegates from China and Africa highlighted the need for more collaboration to ensure minimum damage to the environment while developing mega infrastructure projects. They also discussed an enhanced monitoring system to combat illegal wildlife trade in African countries during a side-event at the 7th Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) on Sunday.

Delay on full ban of ivory trade in Hong Kong could encourage elephant poaching, study shows
By Ernest Kao, South China Morning Post, 5 September 2018
The shutdown of mainland China’s domestic ivory market last year may be shifting more of the trade across the border to Hong Kong where a citywide ban is to come into effect in three years, according to a study.
The mismatch in timing of the two bans may be inadvertently widening the window for illegal trading and smuggling, fuelling the poaching of elephants in Africa, researchers suggested.

Elephant skin poaching on rise in Myanmar, spurred by Chinese demand
By Chihiro Inoue, Kyodo News, 10 September 2018
Poaching of endangered Asian elephants for their skin is soaring in Myanmar, driven by huge demand in China where it is being used for medicines and jewelry.
British wildlife conservation group Elephant Family warns that the trend poses “a new threat” to their survival as, unlike tusk poaching, not only males but also females and juveniles are being targeted.

Thai FB wildlife sales rife: report
By Taylore McDonald, Asean Economist, 11 September 2018
A wildlife monitoring group says there has been a sharp rise since 2016 in Thai Facebook groups trading in endangered animals.
Traffic said many of the species on sale, despite having international protection, were not native to Thailand, and so trading them was unregulated.
The monitoring group’s research found 1,521 animals for sale in 12 Facebook groups in Thailand over a month of monitoring in 2016. Follow-up research in July said at least nine were still active in July this year, with one becoming secret, and their overall membership rising to 203,445 from 106,111.

WWF urges Japan to regulate online ivory trade
NHK World, 13 September 2018
A non-governmental organization working for environmental protection says a number of elephant ivory products are for sale on Japanese online auction websites.
The World Wildlife Fund Japan studied online trade of ivory tusks and ivory products on about 60 shopping websites for Japanese consumers from June to July.
The group says there were few ivory items sold by major online retail outlets, which voluntarily banned sales of ivory on their websites last year. But about 4,500 such items were sold on Yahoo Japan’s auction website.

Exposing the Hydra – the threat to elephants from Vietnam’s flourishing wildlife crime gangs
Environmental Investigation Agency, 13 September 2018
Our new report Exposing the Hydra: The growing role of Vietnamese syndicates in ivory trafficking documents the findings of a two-year investigation.
Successfully infiltrating several ivory trafficking syndicates and gaining the confidence of key players, our undercover investigators were able to construct a comprehensive picture of how they are structured, how they co-operate with one another and how they diversify to traffic other endangered species such as rhinos and pangolins.

‘Poached’ offers a deep, disturbing look into the illegal wildlife trade
By Sarah Zielinski, ScienceNews, 14 September 2018
Perhaps the most unsettling scene in Poached, by science journalist Rachel Love Nuwer, comes early in the book, in a fancy restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The author and two friends sit down and are handed leather-bound menus offering roasted civet, fried tortoise, stewed pangolin and other delicacies made from rare or endangered species. The trio makes an abrupt exit, but only after seeing a live cobra gutted at one table and a still-living civet brought out to feed another group of diners.

A nuanced treatise on illegal wildlife trade misses some opportunities to advance the conversation
By Rosie Cooney, Science, 17 September 2018
In a Hanoi restaurant, a cobra lashes its body in a desperate attempt at escape while a waiter expertly slits its belly and extracts its beating heart, sending a stream of blood into a waiting vessel to the delight of the onlooking French diners. This scene hints at one of the factors that drive the illicit trade in wild species. But why is it conducted with such apparent impunity? And why have attempts to address it been so ineffective?

South African Corruption Fuels Killing of Rhinos and Rangers Protecting Them
By Miranda Saunders, The Globe Post, 21 September 2018
The number of rhinos brutally hacked and murdered for their horns in South Africa in 2017 increased nearly eighty times from the number poached just a decade ago, according to the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) estimates. Last year alone, 1028 rhinos were poached, a dramatic increase from the 13 poached in 2007.
South Africa is home to 80 percent of the African rhino population, which includes both white and black rhino. The WWF reports that between 1960 and 1995, the black rhino population dipped 98 percent, reaching its lowest point at approximately 2,500 remaining.

Incentivizing Whistleblowers Can Help Combat Trafficking of Rhino Horn
By Mary Jane Wilmoth, Whistleblower Protecion Blog, 22 September 2018
Today, September 22, is World Rhino Day. Rhino numbers have declined dramatically over recent years as a result of poaching for their horns, which is believed to have medicinal value in some Asian countries. Whistleblower reward laws are a crucial tool for halting illegal wildlife poaching and trafficking, and can be especially important to protecting rhinos.

Rhino Horn and Tiger Wine: How the Illegal Wildlife Trade Is Growing Bolder
By Lindsay Kneteman, Smithsonian.com, 24 September 2018
Wildlife trafficking is the vast criminal network expanding in plain sight. Illicit animal products are increasingly for sale in store windows and on public websites, mocking would-be prosecutors. While law enforcement agencies focus their efforts on quelling the sale of drugs and weapons, poachers and exotic animal traders have quietly grown wildlife trafficking into a global industry worth $7 to $23 billion annually.
“The world is dealing with an unprecedented spike in illegal wildlife trade,” according to the World Wildlife Fund. But the WWF’s warning doesn’t capture the full picture of gangs and terrorist organizations fueling the shady business. An unethical buyer can purchase illicit ivory, rare lizards, whole tiger skeletons or even a live bear ready to be butchered and cooked to the diner’s preference.

Together we can end illegal animal trade
By Zac Goldsmith and John Scanlon, The Times, 24 September 2018
Corals, elephants, rhinos, rosewood, parrots and pangolins have something in common. They are among the 7,000 species of wild animals and plants being illegally traded, according to the United Nations, fuelling a $20 billion-a-year illicit market that is driving some of our most cherished species to extinction.

[Cameroon] Taste for gorilla and chimp meat fuels illicit trade
By Barbara Fraser, CIFOR Forests News, 24 September 2018
Gorilla meat remains a delicacy in Cameroon, even though hunting great apes is illegal in the country. And while the existence of a market for the illicit game has been no secret, until recently, little was known about the buyers and sellers.
A new study lifts the curtain on the great ape meat trade around the Dja Biosphere Reserve in southeastern Cameroon, revealing a chain of hunters, traders, transportation workers and consumers in rural and urban areas.

Prince William visits Africa to talk conservation ahead of U.K. wildlife conference
AP, 25 September 2018
Britain’s Prince William is in Africa this week to discuss threats to conservation ahead of a London conference on the illegal wildlife trade.
The Duke of Cambridge was in Namibia on Tuesday and will visit Tanzania and Kenya. On Monday he met Namibian Vice-President Nangolo Mbumba. The prince’s weeklong trip ends Sunday.
Kensington Palace says Prince William is making the “private working trip” as president of the United for Wildlife group and patron of Tusk, another conservation organization.

In China, Ivory Seems to Be Losing Appeal
By Rachel Bale, National Geographic, 28 September 2018
China’s ivory trade has now been illegal for nine months, and it appears that fewer people are interested in buying ivory. A new survey of more than 2,000 people in China conducted by GlobeScan, a public opinion research firm, and funded by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), found that 72 percent of respondents would not buy ivory, compared to 50 percent when the poll was conducted last year, before the domestic trade ban went into effect.

DRC president Joseph Kabila torches ivory stockpile
AFP, 30 September 2018
Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila on Sunday set light to an ivory stockpile to highlight the problem of poaching in the central African country.
The president also released five grey parrots and set light to a stockpile of pangolin scales in a ceremony at the Nsele Nature Park on the outskirts of Kinshasa.

Poaching

Is this the solution to South Africa’s rhino poaching problem?
By Todd Pitock, The Telegraph, 1 September 2018
As the sun drifted down over the rolling hills in the heartland of South Africa, rancher Manie Van Niekerk sat with his fingers clasped in his lap. At 52, he wore his hair cropped, which, along with a stolid physique, gave the impression of a man who could not be easily shaken. But now he looked mournful. People were gathering at his farm to take away his 32 rhinoceros the next morning. He did not want to part with them.

AI is helping humans do a better job bringing poachers to justice
By Jackie Bischof, QuartzAfrica, 3 September 2018
What do drones, dogs travelling by helicopter, and military veterans have in common? They’ve all been used in the fight against poaching and wildlife trafficking, garnering attention-grabbing headlines along the way. Now it’s artificial intelligence’s turn.
Conservationists are teaming up with computer scientists in the hopes that AI technology can help them keep up with poachers decimating the world’s wildlife populations. Cornell University announced this week that its Elephant Listening Project (ELP), which tracks African forest elephants in dense, remote parts of central Africa, has started seeing promising results from its work with Conservation Metrics, an artificial-intelligence startup.

Dozens of elephants killed near Botswana wildlife sanctuary
By Alastair Leithead, BBC News, 3 September 2018
Carcases of nearly 90 elephants have been found near a famous wildlife sanctuary in Botswana, conservationists say.
Elephants Without Borders, which is conducting an aerial survey, said the scale of poaching deaths is the largest seen in Africa.
The spike coincides with Botswana’s anti-poaching unit being disarmed.
Botswana has the world’s largest elephant population, but poachers have been breaching its border.

The Role of Whistleblower Protections in Wildlife Conservation
By Beth Allgood, International Fund for Animal Welfare, 4 September 2018
In the region of East Africa, poachers are slaughtering elephants at a rate faster than these elephants can reproduce. In fact, thousands of elephants are cruelly killed each year to meet the seemingly insatiable demand for ivory. The people and communities that live closest to these majestic animals pay a high price as a result of this illegal activity. This is just one example of the critically urgent need to protect animals from illegal killing and to protect those brave enough to come forward with information to stop this wildlife crime before it happens.

BBC’s Chilling New Rhino Poaching Doccie Exposes Massive KZN Corruption [Video]
2 Oceans Vibe, 4 September 2018
South Africa is home to almost 80% of Africa’s rhino population, but there are only roughly 25 000 rhinos left in our country.
The reason for their dwindling numbers has a lot to do with poaching. Almost 1 000 rhino are killed every year for their horns, most of which are destined for Asia, where they are used in traditional medicines.
The horns are worth more in weight than cocaine, meaning that the industry is a lucrative one. As commissions of inquiry into state capture are slowly revealing, when it comes to cash, anyone is corruptible in South Africa.

An anti-poaching technology for elephants that is always listening
By Marianne Messina, Mongabay, 5 September 2018
Working under cover of night in parks as large as US states, poachers are skilled in avoiding detection. If they kill with silencers on their rifles, the animal’s death is not likely to be noticed right away, even if it is wearing a tracking collar. Monitoring an animal’s tracking data is sometimes more of a check-in than continuous surveillance. Before rangers reach the location and confirm an animal has been poached, the poachers have fled the area.
This is the scenario that Vanderbilt University researcher Ákos Lédeczi and his team are trying to solve with an acoustic shockwave detection system.

Rhino poachers nabbed after 60km chase into Mozambique
By Tony Carnie, Times Live, 5 September 2018
It started late at night‚ when rangers heard the crackle of gunfire shatter the peace of the Kruger National Park.
It took until after sunrise before the ensuing drama ended‚ following a gruelling 60km hot-pursuit operation deep into Mozambican territory.
Two more rhinos lay dead‚ with part of their faces hacked off – the latest casualties in the rhino wars that have claimed the lives of more than 7‚000 rhinos and an undisclosed number of human casualties over the last decade.

WATCH: Botswana govt rubbishes elephant poaching reports
News24, 6 September 2018
Botswana has rubbished reports that nearly 100 elephants were killed by poachers in recent weeks, saying the claims were “unsubstantiated and sensationalist media reports”.
According to BBC on Monday, the conservation group Elephant Without Borders reportedly discovered at least 87 dead elephants near a wildlife sanctuary, many of which had been killed for their tusks.

Tanzania collaring 13 elephants in 10 days as part of anti-poaching drive
The Citizen, 6 September 2018
Dar es Salaam. Tanzania government in partnership with WWF expects to fit 13 adult elephants with satellite collars in the next 10 days as part of efforts to protect the dwindling elephant population.
The anti-poaching drive is being implemented by the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (Tawiri) in Mikumi National Park and Selous Game Reserve, according to a statement issued by WWF late Wednesday.

[South Africa] Alleged EC rhino poachers denied bail
By Gareth Wilson, Herald Live, 7 September 2018
Six suspected rhino poachers arrested in the Eastern Cape less than two months ago have been denied bail by the Grahamstown Magistrate’s Court.
The men, all Zimbabwean nationals who have never been named as police were still confirming their identities, appeared in court on Thursday.
Provincial police spokeswoman Colonel Sibongile Soci said that since their arrest on July 31, police had established that some of the men – who had been arrested previously – had given different names.

[India] Uttarakhand HC orders CBI probe into deaths of tigers at Corbett reserve, asks agency to look into officials’ ‘connivance’
By Ankita Virmani, First Post, 8 September 2018
The Uttarakhand High Court has directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe the death of tigers at the Corbett Tiger Reserve in the last five years and the possibility of ‘complicity’ and ‘connivance’ of the officers/officials with the poachers.
In its order dated 4 September, 2018, the court said, in view of the data placed on record by the petitioners and the transfer of officers/ officials of Haridwar Forest Range after their involvement in destruction of evidence, that “the present case is the rarest of the rare cases (sic) where the expertise of CBI is solicited.” The bench directed the agency to submit its report within three months.

How AI can help protect India’s tigers
By Souma Das, The Indian Express, 10 September 2018
Tigers are one of the most majestic and widely recognised big cats across the world. With a dwindling population of only 3,8901 across the globe, these apex predators stick to the tropical rainforests, evergreen forests, mangrove swamps, grasslands and savannahs of Asia. Though they are the national animal for India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, South Korea, Myanmar and Vietnam; tigers have lost 93 per cent2 of their historical range due to the destruction of their habitat, human-wildlife conflict, climate change and poaching. Tiger population has plummeted 95 per cent3 in the last century, putting the animal on the global endangered list, with some sub-species extinct in the wild.

[Botswana] Khama punches holes in anti-poaching policy
By Tebogo Kgalemang, Weekend Post, 10 September 2018
Former President Lt. Ian Khama who is an Ambassador of Tourism and a Distinguished Fellow of Conservation International says the disarming of Department of Wildlife and National Parks in May this year, led to a ‘Bulela Ditswe’ of elephants resulting in 87 allegedly being killed in one incident recently.
Government had taken a decision to withdraw military weapons and equipment from the Department of Wildlife and National Parks in May this year. This was only a month after Khama handed over a baton to his successor President Mokgweetsi Masisi. Speaking in an interview with WeekendPost on Thursday, Khama said it was unfortunate that the anti-poaching units were disarmed.

Italy boosts Uganda’s anti-poaching drive
By Cecilia Okoth, New Vision, 11 September 2018
The Minister for Tourism, and Antiquities, Ephraim Kamuntu has called on the international community to help the country to combat illegal wildlife trade, saying the challenges faced today can be collectively addressed.
Speaking at a cocktail event in Kampala, where he commended the Italian Carabinieri (Police) for strengthening Uganda’s capacity to tackle terrorism and wildlife crime, Kamuntu said more needs to be done to fight poaching, protect the environment and safe guard the country’s natural assets.

The Kenyan Elephant Man Who Has Walked Across Tanzania, Zambia By Foot Now In Zimbabwe
By Takudzwa Hillary Chiwanza, The African Exponent, 11 September 2018
Jim Nyamu has walked across Tanzania and Zambia by foot and is now in Zimbabwe, before he proceeds to Botswana and then South Africa finally. He is raising awareness on the plight of elephants in Africa due to poaching.
Just imagine what you can go through in order to push a certain cause, a good cause. This is what Jim Nyamu, now popularly known as “elephant man” is doing, with his 4,200 kilometres walk from Kenya to South Africa dubbed East-Southern Africa Elephant Walk. He is doing this to raise awareness on the plight of elephants.

‘Two-thirds of the world’s five rhino species could be lost in our lifetime’
Down to Earth, 12 September 2018
Two-thirds of the world’s five rhino species could be lost in our lifetime, says a report by the International Rhino Foundation, a Texas-based charity, ahead of World Rhino Day on September 22.
The ‘State of the Rhino 2018’ presents an overview of the current status of the White Rhino, Black Rhino, Greater One-horned Rhino, Sumatran Rhino and Javan Rhino.

Angola launches new wildlife protections to curb poaching
Africa Times, 12 September 2018
Angola’s Ministry of Environment is launching a new wildlife conservation initiative to assess the impact of poaching, and strengthen legal protections and enforcement.
Aristófanes Fontes, the director of the National Institute of Biodiversity and Conservation Areas, tells state news agency ANGOP that national training, a licensing program and a law enforcement database are all part of Angola’s advances in protecting endangered species on the CITES list.

Prince William to Fight ‘Global, Senseless Crime’ of Poaching on Upcoming Africa Trip
By Erin Hill, People, 13 September 2018
Prince William is heading back to Africa to help save wildlife species endangered by poaching.
The prince, 36, who will visit Namibia, Tanzania, and Kenya later this month, spoke of his passion for the continent and its animals at a reception Wednesday evening in London for the Royal African Society.

Nepal Research Centre Uses Comprehensive Database to Crackdown Tiger Poaching
Nepali Sansar, 13 September 2018
In a new breakthrough for police investigations on tiger-killings, Nepal Centre for Molecular Dynamics (CMDN) has come up with a comprehensive database.
The Story Behind: In December 2015, when Nepal’s Central Investigation Bureau (CBI) was conducting its investigation, it sensed that something was fishy concerning the country’s tigers.

[Botswana] BBC report of 87 elephant poaching deaths wrong, say leading conservation scientists
Survival International, 13 September 2018
Three leading conservation scientists in Botswana have released a statement saying they “find no scientific basis for the dramatic assertions made in the recent BBC report” of the deaths of 87 elephants in Botswana, allegedly by poaching. This follows a statement from the Botswana government last week which also claimed the BBC report was inaccurate.
The scientists released the statement in response to the article ‘Dozens of elephants killed near Botswana wildlife sanctuary’, written by BBC Africa Correspondent Alastair Leithead, and published on the BBC News website on September 3rd, 2018. Leithead’s report is based on data and interviews given by Dr Mike Chase of conservation NGO Elephants Without Borders (EWB).

Slaughtered rhino embodies S.Africa’s poaching crisis
France24, 14 September 2018
The mutilated carcass of a female white rhino, who had given birth just months ago, lay rotting on a hill beside a road that meanders through South Africa’s Kruger National Park.
Insects feasted on the 18-year-old animal, whose horns had been cut off, causing a foul smell to fill the humid air.
“We found one .458 casing and it seems like there is a bullet inside the carcass. There’s nothing else left here,” said Frik Rossouw, a senior investigator in South African National Parks (SANParks) service.

[South Africa] Anti-poaching breakthrough leads to 27 arrests
Times Live, 16 September 2018
A suspected rhino and lion poaching operation has been dismantled with the arrest of 27 people in operations carried out in Hluhluwe‚ Acornhoek and Phalaborwa.
The South African Police Service’s National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure said on Sunday that the suspects were arrested over the past week.
“Remains of known endangered species were recovered‚” said Lieutenent Colonel Katlego Mogale.

[USA] Tufts talk on elephant poaching: “Conservation has to be ‘pay to play’”
By Paula J. Owen, Telegram.com, 16 September 2018
Reports of 87 elephant poaching deaths in Bostswana recently shed a light on the plight of the world’s largest land mammal. Though the Bostswana government and some conservation scientists say those reports are inaccurate, conservationists and others around the globe are talking about what can be done to combat poaching as President Trump moved to lift a ban on the import of animal head from trophy hunting in Africa earlier this year.
Marc E. Goss, CEO of The MARA Elephant Project (MEP), gave a talk to the packed Varis Lecture Hall at Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in North Grafton Friday on “Combating Poaching and Solving Human-Elephant Conflicts in the Maasai-Mara.” The seminar was part of the fall 2018 Animal Matters Seminars: Human-Wildlife Conflict Seminar Series presented by Tufts Center for Animals and Public Policy with Tufts Elephant Conservation Alliance.

[South Africa] Anger as rhino trade kingpin released from SA jail
ENCA, 17 September 2018
Conservationists expressed shock on Monday after a Thai kingpin of the illegal rhino horn trade was released from jail after serving just six years of his 40-year sentence.
Chumlong Lemtongthai was freed on parole in Pretoria last week and immediately flew back to Bangkok, government officials told AFP.
Lemtongthai pleaded guilty in 2012 to running bogus rhino hunts as a cover to source horns to sell on the lucrative black market.

[South Africa] KNP anti-poaching unit’s morale drops over lax sentences
By Amanda Watson, The Citizen, 18 September 2018
A leaked complaint to the justice department noted a drop in the severity of sentences and repeat offenders getting bail, among other things.
Morale among members of the critical environmental crime investigation services (ECIS) at Kruger National Park (KNP) is reportedly flagging over concerns of repeat poaching offenders being given bail and minimal sentences being handed to poachers.
When called for comment over the leaked complaint from KNP to the department of justice and constitutional development, KNP spokesperson Ike Phaahla confirmed that the mood was dark regarding uncertainty over the courts.

AxxonSoft is leveraging AI to prevent poaching in Africa
Africa Outlook, 18 September 2018
AxxonSoft is changing the world, leveraging the latest technologies to proactively prevent poaching across Africa.
“Coming from South Africa, growing up surrounded by majestic animals and the exquisite plains of the African continent, seeing the destruction that poaching has imposed on my country and the region is a gruesome atrocity.”
Colleen Glaeser, Head of Global Marketing and the southern African region at security and intelligence company AxxonSoft, is a leading advocate of the increasingly prominent anti-poaching campaign.

Can Uganda bring back rhinos poached to extinction?
DW, 18 September 2018
In Uganda, there are no rhinos left in the wild. But one conservation organization is using a special breeding project to reintroduce the endangered animals to the country where they once roamed free.

Africa’s three biggest elephant poaching cartels exposed using DNA from illegal ivory shipments
By Josh Gabbatiss, The Independent, 19 September 2018
DNA taken from massive shipments of ivory has been used to identify the three largest wildlife trafficking gangs operating at the height of Africa’s elephant poaching epidemic.
Ivory tends to be shipped around the world from African ports in bulk, and scientists have used genetic evidence gleaned from intercepted batches to reveal their origins.

Kenya seeks help of Jack Ma’s entity to protect wildlife using Artificial Intel
By Kimani Chege, The Exchange, 19 September 2018
Kenya has sought the help of Chinese technology for the conservation and monitoring of wildlife through the deployment of both artificial intelligence and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies and will specifically dwell on both elephant and rhino conservation.
Alibaba Cloud, the cloud-computing arm of Alibaba Group, and the Kenya’s Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife have agreed to explore a strategic collaboration to deploy Alibaba Cloud’s technology to support the Kenya Wildlife Protection Project.

Synthetic rhino horns are supposed to disrupt poaching. Will they work?
By Adele Peters, Fast Company, 21 September 2018
When 1,028 rhinos were poached in South Africa in 2017–8,000% more than a decade earlier–most of their horns were smuggled into Vietnam and China, where some pieces of horn end up at parties, ground into a powder that hosts give to guests to mix into drinks in the mistaken belief that the horn prevents hangovers. Others are made into traditional medicine or carved into decorative objects and jewelry.

The fight against rhino poaching needs to be stepped up a gear
UN Environment, 21 September 2018
World Rhino Day on 22 September celebrates the world’s five species of rhinoceros. It is an opportunity to take stock of global poaching activities ahead of the Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference in London on 11 and 12 October.
“Rhino calf found cowering alongside mother killed for her horns by ivory poachers in South Africa.”
These kind of headlines – this one from a newspaper on 31 August 2018 – are shocking and may be helping to change mindsets on poaching, but more needs to be done to tackle the root causes of the scourge: poverty and unemployment among burgeoning populations, weak judicial systems and a seemingly insatiable demand for rhino horn products.

[South Africa] POACHING SYNDICATES: VIDEO: Seven arrested in 123-man operation
By Arisa Janse van Rensburg, Low Velder, 21 September 2018
Notorious poaching accused, Joseph Nyalunga (33) and Petros Sidney Mabuza (53), dubbed Big Joe and Mr Big respectively, were rearrested by a heavily armed task force in a massive crackdown that started at sunrise on Tuesday. Various law-enforcement agencies participated in making the massive arrests, which are expected to result at least a 70 per cent decline in rhino poaching countrywide.
Another suspect who is believed to be high up in the syndicate ranks, Clyde Mnisi (33), was also arrested. Two active police officers, and one who was fired from the force earlier this year, were arrested the same day for allegedly assisting the members.

South Africa rhino poaching drops significantly
By Eric Oteng, Africa News, 22 September 2018
Over 500 rhinos were poached for their horns in South Africa in the first eight months of 2018, a 26 percent fall from 691 in the same period last year, the Department of Environmental Affairs said on Friday.
This maintains a downward trend since 2014, when a record 1,215 rhinos were poached in the country, but the scale of the slaughter suggests demand remains strong in Asian markets where the horn is prized as an ingredient in traditional medicines.

[South Africa] Sex, gambling, bribery in KZN courts see Rhino poachers get off – report
The Citizen, 22 September 2018
A new amaBhungane report paints a frightening picture of corruption at the heart of the SA justice system.
A report by Sam Sole for investigative journalism collective amaBhungane has exposed the alleged bribing of court officials in KwaZulu Natal by rhino poachers and other criminals.
KwaZulu-Natal regional court president Eric Nzimande could be suspended over the allegations, which have risen from a three-year investigation driven by four women – Thinake Gumede, Teresa Swart, Jamie Joseph and a fourth woman whose identity is not known.

How to Stop Poaching and Protect Endangered Species? Forget the ‘Kingpins’
By Rachel Nuwer, New York Times, 24 September 2018
In 2003, enterprising criminals in Southeast Asia realized that they could exploit a loophole in South Africa’s hunting laws to move rhino horns legally across international borders. Normally, North Americans and Europeans account for the bulk of South Africa’s rhino hunting permits. But that year, 10 Vietnamese “hunters” quietly applied as well.
Hunters are allowed to transport legally obtained trophies across borders under various international and domestic laws. The Vietnamese hunters each returned home with the mounted horn, head or even whole body of a rhino.

South Africa: To stop poachers, provide them with an alternative income
DW, 24 September 2018
Johnson Maoka is park manager at Pilanesberg National Park in South Africa. The park which is outside of the country’s capital, Pretoria, has recently been targeted by poachers looking for rhinos. Maoka spoke to DW about the challenges of his job, the future of wildlife protection and why we should provide poachers with an alternative source of income.

Botswana elephant poaching debate: Wildlife vet speaks his mind
By Erik Verreynne, Africa Geographic, 25 September 2018
Driving on the white gravel road from Seronga, past Eretsha, Betsa and Gudigwa, to the village of Gunostoga in the northwest of Botswana marks the boundary between the flood plains of NG12 to the south and the dry mopane veld of NG11 and NG13 in the north. The Namibian border is roughly 80km to the north. To the north from here, along the Caprivi strip, is one of the areas reported to contain the so-called strewn carcasses of the many poached elephants.
There is no better area to seek perspective on the BBC article where Elephants without Borders raised the alarm on a large numbers of elephants being poached in Botswana.

[India] Madhya Pradesh: Poaching suspect commits suicide in custody of forest department
By P Naveen, Times of India, 26 September 2018
A 32-year-old man who was arrested in connection with poaching of cheetal hanged himself in the custody of Madhya Pradesh forest department.
The deceased has been identified as Fuhup Singh, a resident of Sarastal village in state’s Dindori district. He committed suicide on Tuesday morning at the Eco Centre where he was kept for interrogation.

[Botswana] That Viral Elephant Poaching Story Has Gotten a Lot More Complicated
By Maddie Stone, Earther, 27 September 2018
t had the makings of a media sensation: “Scores of dead elephants”, their brutalized corpses rotting in plain sight. Victims of a poaching crisis spiraling out of control in the last African stronghold—perhaps as a result of the government’s recent decision to de-militarize wildlife patrols.
And yet this story—the story of 87 elephants killed in a recent “poaching frenzy” in Botswana—has become more and more dubious ever since it was broadcast across the world (including by Earther) several weeks back.

Prince William visits Tanzania to push for anti-poaching
Xinhua, 27 September 2018
The UK’s Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, on Wednesday began a three-day visit to Tanzania as part of his mission to fight poaching and tackle illegal trade in wildlife.
A statement by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism said Prince William was visiting the east African nation as president of United for Wildlife, which fights illegal trade in wildlife, and patron of Tusk, which promotes conservation.

Meet the ‘Brave Ones’: The women saving Africa’s wildlife
By Rachel Nuwer, BBC, 27 September 2018
Kelly Lyee Chigumbura was 17 years old when, she says, she was raped near her family’s home in Zimbabwe’s Lower Zambezi Valley. After realising she was pregnant with her rapist’s child, Chigumbura dropped out of school and put aside her dream of becoming a nurse. “My goals had been shattered,” she says. “It was like I couldn’t do anything more with my life.”

Tanzania, once Africa’s elephant graveyard, takes fight to poachers
National Post, 29 September 2018
It is a sight that has made Tanzania’s savannah a Mecca for wildlife tourists. When the sun had climbed high enough to warm their backs, four dark grey shapes lumbered leisurely out of a thicket and began, without much urgency, to graze.
But this family of elephants is lucky to be alive — survivors of what has been described as one of the most catastrophic poaching sprees in history. “If they were from the Selous reserve, they’d keep their distance and they’d be quite aggressive,” said Raymond, a guide. “There they have learnt that humans are dangerous.”

Militarisation of conservation

[Ghana] Forestry Commission and Military clamp down on illegal forest activities
Ghana Business News, 30 September 2018
The Forestry Commission and the Military are undertaking a joint operation in the Western Region to clamp down on illegal forest activities.
Dubbed ‘Halt 3’, the operation being conducted in the Sefwi Wiawso area in the Western Region, started on September 13, 2018, and will end on October 4, 2018.

Tourism

African tourism alarmed by rhino and elephant losses
Business Live, 17 September 2018
Animal conservation in Africa has suffered several setbacks, prompting experts at an African tourism conference last week in Cape Town to warn about the cost to the travel industry.
“Obviously it’s negative,” said the African Tourism Association’s MD Naledi Khabo, who spoke at the inaugural event organised by Airbnb.
Kenya was thrust into the conservation spotlight when an effort to move endangered black rhinos between national parks, launched with great fanfare in June, left 11 of the animals dead.

[Tanzania] Let’s unlock the tourism potential of Mafia Island
The Citizen, 20 September 2018
Tanzania’s Mafia Island in the Indian Ocean is home to giant whale sharks which attract tourists , thereby generating revenue for the country.
Eighteen-metre whale sharks weighing more than 20 tonnes are common, to say nothing of other equally-exotic marine creatures, underwater cliffs, tidal channels, coral reefs and sea-grass meadows. This is exceptional biodiversity.

Fewer tourists visiting Rwanda’s gorillas
9 News, 29 September 2018
Gorilla tourism is an important income source for the African country of Rwanda, but a recent increase in permit fees for safaris has meant a steep decline in visitors.
Earlier this year the World Wildlife Fund conservation group said the mountain gorilla subspecies was making a comeback, with numbers above 600 from an estimated 480 in 2010 in the Virunga Massif, a mountainous area encompassing parts of Rwanda, Uganda and Congo.

You Can Have A Luxe Singita Safari And Help Others
By Laurie Werner, Forbes, 31 August 2018
As anyone who has stayed in a Singita safari lodge knows, these African lodges set the standard for quality. But an additional altruistic/philanthropic element called “Safaris with a Purpose,” a slant very much in line with current ways of thinking in the industry, is now setting the standard in another way. Different conservation projects undertaken with the Singita Grumeti Fund based on the 350,000 acre Grumeti reserve in northern Tanzania allow guest to take part in a meaningful way, to give back to the area that has enriched their experience.

Big game hunting

Trophy hunter who has killed 100 species across continents insists she is HELPING animals
By Jenny Desborough, Irish Mirror, 19 September 2018
Olivia Opre, a hunter who has killed across six continent, has insisted she is actually helping animals and species to survive by killing them.
The debate began on This Morning after hosts Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby showed an image of Brittany Longoria, who was holding up a huge leopard she shot dead in Namibia.
Olivia said she had tried herself to shoot an “incredibly elusive” leopard, however she has hunted on six continents, in eight different countries, having killed 100 species altogether.

‘You are a vile, evil excuse of a human being’: Female trophy hunter is harassed online after defending her hobby
By Kerry Justich, Yahoo!, 20 September 2018
Trophy hunter Olivia Opre made an appearance on ITV’s This Morning on Wednesday to talk about her “adventures” as a big game hunter. Within hours, people all over social media were calling her “vile, evil,” and even sending her death threats.
The former Miss Nebraska spoke to the U.K.-based show’s hosts, Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby, via satellite from her home in Montana, where viewers could see an array of animals that she had killed and had stuffed in the background.
 

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