Conservation Watch’s news round-up: October 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

Charles writes open letter to William and Harry ahead of key wildlife conference
Survival International, 10 October 2018
Charles Nsonkali has written to Princes William and Harry calling for urgent action to stop horrific atrocities committed by the conservation industry against the Baka people of Cameroon. Charles is Program Supervisor at Okani, a community-based indigenous organization located in the East Region of Cameroon.
Charles writes that eco-guards patrolling the protected conservation zones in central Africa “torture Baka people here and make their lives hell. They strip Baka naked and beat them, they humiliate them, forcing them to crawl on all fours and destroy their camps and possessions.”

Prince William shows conservation still has a problem with ‘white saviours’
By Hannah Mumby, The Conversation, 18 October 2018
Prince William recently spoke at one of the largest illegal wildlife summits ever held in London. He said, “Poaching is an economic crime against ordinary people and their futures.”
The quote could have been better. Poachers, after all, are merely the corner boys of the global illegal wildlife trade, the ones who benefit least financially and risk most, usually their lives. They’re ordinary people too, and vilifying them is not getting to the heart of the issue.

[India] Assam: Indian cricket team Vice-Captain Rohit Sharma wants to meet KNP forest guards
North East News, 22 October 2018
Rohit Sharma, Vice-Captain of Indian cricket team, who is also the World Wildlife Fund (WWF-India) Brand Ambassador for rhino conservation, said he will do everything to spread awareness for the protection and survival of the rhino and help make this world a better place for them.
A report published in the The Telegraph stated that Rohit on Sunday opened the batting for his country and scored a century in the one-day international against West Indies in Guwahati (Read India won the match against West Indies and Rohit Sharma helped India win the match along with captain Virat Kohli). A WWF official based in Guwahati stated that Rohit has “expressed his desire” to visit the Kaziranga National Park (KNP) — the abode of the one-horned rhinoceros – where he would like to meet the forest guards. “My association with WWF-India stems from my love for the species. Being in Guwahati, the land of the rhinos, is indeed a pleasure and I am grateful for this opportunity that I have to make a difference to the animal and the land they inhabit,” Sharma was quoted in a statement issued by WWF-India.

Protected areas

[Philippines] Kalinga nat’l park scores high in suitability assessment
By Peter A. Balocnit, Philippine Information Agency, 2 October 2018
The Balbalasang-Balbalan National Park (BBNP) passed the Protected Area Suitability Assessment (PASA) conducted by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) with a score of 97/100.
The assessment is part of the process for its enrolment in the Expanded National Integrated Protected Area System (ENIPAS) and a needed document for Congress’ approval.
The findings and observations are deduced from series of ground validations, immersions, interviews with Key Informants and Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) members, and other stakeholders.

Pasture expansion driving deforestation in Brazilian protected area
By Mike Gaworecki, Mongabay, 4 October 2018
Climate scientists were wary when the Brazilian government announced in August that its 2020 goals for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions had already been met. Brazil has certainly reined in deforestation and associated climate-cooking emissions since the early 2000s, but scientists warned that, with large-scale deforestation on the rise in the country once again, it might be too early to declare those 2020 emissions reduction targets a foregone conclusion.
Lending credence to those concerns, it appears even Brazil’s protected areas aren’t currently safe from forest destruction.

Land Purchases Expanding Vital Atlantic Forest Protections in Brazil
By Alyssa Wilse-Ahmad, Rainforest Trust, 4 October 2018
This year, Rainforest Trust has helped purchase two additional land parcels for a total of 225 acres — twice the size of the Vatican City — in the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro’s Lagoinha Valley. The area contains high-quality Atlantic rainforest and the Guapiaçu watershed, which offers verdant scenery with abundant streams of fresh water. The international conservation organization teamed up with its long-time Brazilian partner REGUA, from whom the protected area gets its name, to complete these purchases that are now under the local partner’s conservation management portfolio.

[DR Congo] Deforestation surges in Virunga National Park in the wake of violence
By Benji Jones, Mongabay, 5 October 2018
In recent months, large chunks of lush tropical forest have been cleared from Virunga National Park, a reserve famous both for its resident mountain gorillas and for the paramilitary groups that have long spread violence throughout the region.
That’s according to new data from the forest monitoring platform Global Forest Watch. From May to September, the satellite-based system detected more than 1,100 hectares (2,720 acres) of tree cover loss—representing a sharp increase from the previous four months, which saw close to none. In August alone, tree cover loss was spotted in around 430 hectares (1,060 acres) .

Brazil scraps 11 new Amazon protected areas covering 2,316 square miles
By Sue Brandford, Mongabay, 8 October 2018
On 25 September, state deputies in the Legislative Assembly of Rondonia, after less than an hour of discussion, abolished 11 protected areas, covering about 600,000 hectares (2,316 square miles), equivalent to about 3 percent of the total area of the state. The measure was pushed through in record time – the bill was presented to the Assembly in the morning and by the afternoon it was approved.

Colombia creates the world’s largest tropical rainforest national park
By Gavin Haines, Postive.news, 11 October 2018
Colombia’s Serranía de Chiribiquete has been declared the world’s largest tropical rainforest national park. In news welcomed by conservationists around the world, the park was enlarged by 5,800sq miles in July, bringing its total size to 17,000sq miles.
The Serranía de Chiribiquete has one of the highest rates of biodiversity in the northern Amazon. It is home to thousands of species – many threatened – including jaguars, giant otters, giant anteaters, lowland tapirs, woolly monkeys, macaws (pictured) and the endemic Chiribiquete emerald hummingbird.

Experts slam tourism overexploitation plan for Vietnam national park
By Vo Thanh, VN Express, 14 October 2018
Experts have slammed a resort planned in the Bach Ma National Park, saying it will destroy and pollute the environment.
The central province of Thua Thien Hue had approved a VND1.5 trillion ($66 million) project for a resort complex that would see two cable cars built in the Bach Ma National Park.
The province had approved the plan in 2014, and a company partly funded by a foreign investor has been selected for the project.

[Cambodia] Committee to relocate national park villagers
By Voun Dara, Phnom Penh Post, 15 October 2018
The Ministry of Environment and Siem Reap provincial administration have formed a joint committee to deliberate the relocation of 5,000 people from Kulen Mountain following deforestation in the tourist area.
Ministry spokesman Neth Pheaktra said on Sunday that the livelihood of the people affects the environment and natural resources.
“In the past, the clearing of forestland which occurred on mountains caused a loss of natural resources and impacted natural and historical tourist spots,” he said.
The joint committee arranged an appropriate spot for relocation not far from the national park.

Cameroon’s First Marine & Terrestrial National Park Announced
By alyssa Wiltse-Ahmad, Rainforest Trust, 15 October 2018
The government of Cameroon announced last Friday the creation of its first marine and terrestrial national park, an effort that was made possible by Rainforest Trust and local partner Cameroon Wildlife Conservation Society (CWCS).
The declaration upgraded the Douala-Edea Wildlife Reserve, first created in 1932, to national park status, and it approved a nearly 350,000-acre expansion that includes mangrove forests, rivers, wetlands and marine habitats. Collectively, this expansion and conversion actively safeguard a total of 741,000 acres, almost the size of Yosemite National Park.

[South Africa] Mpumalanga moves to grant coal mining rights in protected area
By Neels Blom, Business Day, 16 October 2018
The Mpumalanga government is taking steps to exclude part of the water-critical Mabola Protected Environment from a mining prohibition to pave the way for the development of a coal mine.
The Mabola area near Wakkerstroom is part of the Enkangala Drakensberg Strategic Water Source Area that constitutes the headwaters of several critically important rivers, including the Vaal. Mabola is part of one of 21 strategic water resource areas which together form the catchments for 50% of the country’s freshwater supply.

Bolivian coca crops follow a planned highway through indigenous lands
By Iván Paredes Tamayo, Mongabay, 19 October 2018
Matilde Noza says she has never chewed a coca leaf. Noza, an indigenous woman, lives in the Nueva Galilea community of the Isiboro Sécure National Park and Indigenous Territory, better known by its Spanish acronym, TIPNIS. She respects the coca plant, she says, but it’s not part of the traditions of her community or others nearby, and she wants an end to its spread within the protected area.

Environmental delegation blocked from entering Bolivian national park
By Miriam Telma Jemio, Mongabay, 22 October 2018
After being held for five hours by members of the Indigenous Council of the South (CONISUR), a commission from the International Rights of Nature Tribunal abandoned an effort to enter the Isiboro Sécure National Park and Indigenous Territory (TIPNIS) as planned.
The commission had planned a discussion with leaders of the TIPNIS regarding the construction of a highway that would cross through the protected area. Some of the leaders are in favor of the highway, while others are opposed.

Protected marine areas seem a good idea – but they may have insidious political effects
By Sue Farran, The Conversation, 23 October 2018
Zones of ocean known as Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are all the rage. They have no single or agreed definition, but essentially they are areas of sea in which human activity is restricted or prohibited in order to preserve and protect marine habitat and species. They may be small coastal areas or very large offshore expanses of ocean. MPAs are established by local or national governments in order to address actual or potential threats to the marine environment, to create “blue corridors” and to safeguard the breeding and feeding grounds of various marine species.

[Cambodia] Ratanakkiri gov’t to ban land sale in protected areas
By Mech Dara, Phnom Penh Post, 23 October 2018
While the Ratanakkiri provincial administration will not recognise illegal land transactions in the province’s protected areas, an NGO says its action is not effective and forest crimes continue unabated.
The administration’s letter dated October 19 and obtained by The Post on Monday came after Minister of Interior Sar Kheng strongly criticised forestry laws and lashed out on senior officers for allowing illegal timber trafficking under the pretense of clearing the bottom of the Lower Sesan II hydropower dam.
The administration warned that all land transfer documents pertaining to the protected natural area will become null and void in accordance with the law.

Peru seizes plane with 30kg of cocaine in Bahuaja-Sonene National Park
By Vanessa Romo, Mongabay, 25 October 2018
A joint operation by law enforcement agencies in Peru managed to seize 30 kilograms (66 pounds) of cocaine from a plane intercepted in Bahuaja-Sonene National Park last month.
The operation on Sept. 25 built on intelligence reports from earlier in the week that identified a clandestine airstrip inside the protected park, in an area near the district of San Pedro de Putina Punco, in Sandia province. The agencies involved in the operation included the Peruvian armed forces; the office of the National Prosecutor under the Public Ministry; and the special investigation unit of the police’s anti-narcotics directorate, known by its Spanish acronym, Dirandro.

Communities and conservation

Communities hold the key to expanding conservation impact in Africa
By Fred Nelson and Rosie Cooney, IUCN Crossroads Blog, 12 October 2018
Conservation efforts in Africa today face huge challenges. Africa’s human population is forecast to quadruple by the end of the century, and already intensifying pressures around the use of land, water, and natural resources are having an impact on the region’s extraordinary wildlife. The high-level statistics on wildlife decline are now familiar: elephant numbers across Africa declined by a third in the past decade, while lion populations have dropped by 50% over the past 30 years.

[Botswana] Poaching aside, elephants destroy lives
By Enole Ditsheko, Weekend Post, 15 October 2018
Two of my elder sisters have established their homes in the New Stands Kazungula. Paved roads and basic amenities like electricity and water have turned the thick Chobe forest into a residential hamlet.
But New Stands Kazungula is not habitable, even after twenty years down. Still, the residents have devised all assortments of warding off wildlife especially elephants and buffaloes from invading their homes: they parry hands, rev engines until fuel runs out; they encircle homesteads with chili-pepper and keep the flames burning throughout the nights.
Over time, the big five became accustomed to all these techniques, and in a calculated move of revenge, the beasts have bullishly adapted where their invasion is the surest way to visit destruction on human life, livestock, crops, and property.

New Zealand drone company helps in fight against South Africa rhino poachers
By Wilhelmina Shrimpton, Newshub, 16 October 2018
More than 7000 African rhinos have been poached over the past 10 years.
But while it’s a problem nearly 12,000km away, Kiwi drone company Aeronavics says the solution may be right here in New Zealand.
“They’ve got ground troops, they’ve got vehicles, and now they’ve got this drone that allows them to see from the sky,” says founding director Linda Bulk.

Power to the Indigenous Peoples!
By David Wilkie and Michael Painter, Wildlife Conservation Society, 23 October 2018
In the wake of the recent Global Climate Action Summit, we need to replay and reinforce the message that Indigenous Peoples and traditional communities  —  by exercising their rights, securing their wellbeing, and maintaining their cultural identities  —  will play an enormously important part in keeping forests intact and helping humanity avoid a climate change catastrophe.

Botswana soldier killed by elephant
Xinhua, 26 October 2018
The Botswana Defense Force (BDF) has confirmed an incident in which a soldier was attacked and killed by a herd of elephants on Thursday morning.
According to BDF’s spokesperson Fana Maswabi, the incident occurred at one of their operational bases around 06:30 hours local time. The name of the deceased soldier is still withheld pending notification of his family.
“Investigations surrounding the circumstances which led to the attack are ongoing and we request the public to accord the family and friends of the deceased the respect and privacy they deserve to mourn their loved one,” Maswabi said.

Conservation

What’s threatening the Congo Basin’s peatlands?
CIFOR Landscape News, 1 October 2018
With a 145,500-square-kilometer swath of peatlands in Central Africa newly identified as an important storage of carbon, researchers, decision-makers and practitioners are now discussing the likelihood of and means for keeping this water-logged area intact.
“There’s a lot of carbon in those peatlands,” says Dr. Greta Dargie, a forest ecologist who co-authored recent articles with a team of scientists and served on the technical advisory group of the upcoming Global Landscapes Forum Digital Summit spotlighting the issue.

[India] Conservation is everybody’s business
By Nilanjan Ghosh (WWF), The Hindu, 1 October 2018
Valuation of ecosystem benefits is key to making firms and the masses know that conservation is critical to their survival
For a large component of the business and civil society in India and the developing world, the concerns of growth and short-term profits are so large that very often the policy-making machinery becomes oblivious to the broader ecological concerns of biodiversity conservation.

Former Patagonia CEO on conservation efforts in South America
CNBC, 2 October 2018
Kristine Tompkins, Tompkins Conservation co-founder, president and former Patagonia CEO, discusses her efforts to keep South American parks protected.

The planet does not wait
By José Luis Ávila, Conservation International, 2 October 2018
Recent images of plastic pollution in our oceans have shocked the world. The global president of Conservation International, Jennifer Morris, talks exclusively with Vogue about the main environmental problems and the urgency of passing the call to action.
Conservation International is a titan with presence in 30 countries and three decades of work for the environment. Recently, the organization was in the news for the success of its campaign Nature is Speaking, in which the voices of famous figures such as Salama Hayek, Harrison Ford and Julia Roberts, among many others, represent some of the natural resources to convey the message: Nature doesn’t need people, people need nature.

Prince William Visits United for Wildlife Project At the College of African Wildlife Management, Mweka in Tanzania
Wildlife Conservation Society press release, 2 October 2018
The Duke of Cambridge, Prince William has visited Tanzania’s College of African Wildlife Management (CAWM), Mweka, as part of his current visit to Africa as President of United for Wildlife.
The Duke included a visit to the College of African Wildlife Management on September 29th where he took part in an exercise as part of SMART training at the college being supported by United for Wildlife and implemented by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). The project aims to establish CAWM as a regional center for SMART-focused protected area management training in East Africa and will build on the initial support provided to the programme by United for Wildlife.

Can Milton Friedman Help Save Wildlife?
By David Wilkie, Ray Victurine, and Todd Stevens, Wildlife Conservation Society, 3 October 2018
A recent article in the Economist got us thinking about a novel way to overcome the challenge that almost all small enterprises in developing countries face  —  access to affordable capital.
A number of conservation-linked enterprises have arisen over the past decade to help communities in developing nations secure household income by marketing sustainably produced wildlife friendly goods. For example, Ibis Rice is a premium jasmine rice produced by rural farmers in Cambodia in ways designed to protect the wetland habitat of the Critically Endangered Giant Ibis  —  Cambodia’s national bird. Ibis Rice buyers purposefully use their purchasing power to help finance wildlife conservation and improve the lives of poor families.

Jungle habitat for jaguars in Belize under threat of deforestation
Breaking Belize News, 3 October 2018
The Wildlife Conservation Charity World Land Trust (WLT) has launched an urgent campaign to save jungle habitat in Belize threatened by deforestation.
According to the WLT, they are working with a local partner organisation, the Corozal Sustainable Future Initiative (CSFI) who manage two reserves in northern Belize that provide an important section of a habitat corridor for wildlife.

Can pastoralists benefit from payments for ecosystem services?
By Linda Ppappagallo, Pastres, 5 October 2018
Payments for ecosystem services (PES) schemes are gaining popularity as an environmental and development policy tool, linked to poverty reduction as well as enhancing ecosystem sustainability. Spurred by environmental motives, different financial and non-financial incentive schemes are designed, theoretically to create positive social and environmental impacts. For example, as part of the European Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), payments for agri-environmental measures are offered.

[India] Conservation benefits humans and wildlife in Bihar’s Valmiki Tiger Reserve
By Gurvinder Singh, Mongabay, 8 October 2018
Mithilesh Kumar has been employed as a member of the patrolling team of the Valmiki Tiger Reserve (VTR) in Bihar for the past six years. He earns a monthly salary of Rs. 9500, which he mostly spends on the education of his children. The additional income from farming helps him keep the wheels of the family running. The 26-year-old who stays close to the Manguraha range of the reserve sounds happy despite not having a well-paying job.

[South Africa] Sustainable use has put conservation in a straitjacket
By Chris Mercer, IOL, 9 October 2018
The untimely death of Edna Molewa means that someone else must now be appointed minister for the environment. This seems an appropriate time to assess the state of conservation in South Africa.
Molewa was highly regarded in ANC circles as “a good comrade”. She no doubt did her best to discharge her duties within the straitjacket of the doctrine of sustainable use.
However, she never attempted to escape that straitjacket to put animal welfare on the agenda and to assume a broader responsibility for preserving the natural environment.

IUCN and Newmont partner on biodiversity conservation to advance knowledge sharing and best practices
Newmont Mining Corporation press release, 10 October 2018
IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, and Newmont Mining Corporation (NYSE: NEM) (Newmont or the Company) have established a three-year collaborative agreement to identify ways the Company can meet its global targets to achieve no net loss in biodiversity, and net gains where possible.

[Indonesia] West Papua kicks off conservation campaign
Jakarta Post, 10 October 2018
Three years have passed since the declaration of West Papua as the province of conservation. Since then, the province has started campaign activities in six regencies and cities.
The conservation campaign is supported by Conservation International (CI) Indonesia through a folk party comprising fun activities connected by the educational theme of conservation. It is therefore named the People’s Party for Conservation.

Earth Algebra
By Bill Adams, Thinking Like a Human, 11 October 2018
It is the time of year when newly arrived students gather around the university in uneasy groups, shuffling like swallows waiting to migrate. All have passed, quite recently, through the trial of school exams. Meeting them, I remember all too well the shock of exam papers whose questions bore little relation to anything I had learned. The key thing my teachers told me was not to panic: read the rubric on the paper, check you know how many questions to answer, and finish each question off as best you can.

Protecting elephants’ habitats as important for their survival as beating poachers
By Max Graham (Space for Giants), The Independent, 11 October 2018
One stretches from northern Tanzania into southern Kenya, linking the Masai Mara and the Serengeti. In southern Tanzania, linking the Selous to Mozambique’s Niassa, there’s another.
And, perhaps most importantly, there’s one that stretches from Angola’s central highlands, through Namibia, and into the Kalahari and Okavango in Botswana.
These are the vast, connected, continuous, protected cross-border landscapes that are the world’s last major refuges for Africa’s endangered elephants. They are known as transboundary or transfrontier areas, or, more simply, green corridors.

Melania Trump’s pith helmet is not just a hat
By Jacqueline L. Scott, The Conversation, 14 October 2018
Sometimes a hat is just a hat. But not when it’s a pith helmet worn by a white politician visiting Africa. Pith helmets are relics of colonialism and its big game hunting tradition. So why would Melania Trump wear one?
On a solo tour of Africa, the United States first lady stopped in Ghana, Kenya, Malawi and Egypt. She went on safari. The pictures of her in a pith helmet and looking rather inscrutable went around the world. Although the first lady said: “I want to talk about my trip, not what I wear,” it is impossible to not talk about the ways race and space collide in this image.

It Will Take Millions of Years for Mammals to Recover From Us
Ed Yong, The Atlantic, 15 October 2018
The story of mammals is one of self-destruction. They first arose roughly 200 million years ago, and after eons spent scurrying in the shadow of the dinosaurs, they finally cut loose and evolved into a breathtaking variety of shapes and sizes, including the largest creatures to ever exist. And after all that, it took barely 100,000 years for one relatively young member of the group—us—to bring everything crashing down.

Global wildlife conservation efforts focus of major conference in Al Ain
By John Dennehy, The National, 15 October 2018
Protecting giraffes in Kenya, penguin awareness at Ski Dubai and improving access to zoos for people with disabilities are just some of the topics under discussion in Al Ain this week.
Representatives from zoos, aquariums and conservation groups from across the globe have gathered in the garden city for a major event dedicated to their work.
The biennial International Zoo Educators Association (IZE) conference was launched on Monday by the Minister of Climate Change and Environment, Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi.

Conservation Basics: An Elephant in the Forests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
By Ethan Freedman, Rainforest Trust, 18 October 2018
Here at Rainforest Trust, we use data – a lot of data – to conserve habitats for endangered species. We need to know where the species lives, how many of them there are and how best to conserve said species.
But that knowledge is always changing. Our Rainforest Trust scientists are constantly reflecting on the central question: How do we determine the most effective strategies for conservation when we can’t be certain of everything that might affect those strategies?

Former WWF president reflects on her career, individuals’ roles in environmental protection
By Anna Gotskind, The Chronicle, 19 October 2018
Individuals should contribute to abating climate change and protecting wildlife, one environmental advocate said Thursday.
Yolanda Kakabadse, the former president of the World Wildlife Fund International from 2010 to 2017, spoke to students about her career during a lecture Thursday afternoon. The lecture is the first of a speaker series called “Innovation and Leadership in Latin America,” launched by Duke’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies.

Two rhinos die in Chad after being relocated from SA
AFP, 21 October 2018
Two of six critically endangered black rhinos have died of unknown causes five months after being flown from South Africa to Chad in a pioneering project to re-introduce the animals, officials said Sunday.
Rhinos in Chad were wiped out by poaching nearly 50 years ago, and the six rhinos were intended to establish a new population in the country after intensive anti-poaching measures were put in place to protect them.
“We can confirm that these two rhinos (a male and a female) were not poached,” the South African environment department and Chad government said in a joint statement. “However, the exact cause of death is not yet known.”

The Elephant Man: Paul Allen’s quest to save the planet from itself
By Hannah Weinberger, Crosscut, 22 October 2018
On the evening of Sept. 12, Orca Network Co-Founder Susan Berta got a call: A Seattleite wanted help IDing a whale pod he’d photographed while visiting Rosario Strait in northern Washington. But this was no ordinary citizen reporting an orca sighting: More than 200,000 followers could share in his enthusiasm for the famously endangered J-pod.

Habitat of endangered Malayan tigers vanishing
The Star Online, 23 October 2018
The Hulu Sempam area which has been cleared for durian plantation is vital to the survival of the Malayan tiger, which is now considered critically endangered.
The area, said WWF’s Siti Zuraidah Abidin, had also been identified as an Expected Tiger Habitat under the National Tiger Action Plan for Malaysia 2008-2020 and its surrounding forests a confirmed tiger habitat.
“Land clearing at Hulu Sempam can cause the wider forests to be fragmented, which in turn can affect the wildlife movement,” she said.

Protections for African wildlife face growing threat: a lack of money
By Olivia Desmit, Conservation International, 24 October 2018
Some 90 percent of the almost 300 protected areas in Africa are underfunded, according to a recent study, The New York Times reported this week. These combined deficits — totaling at least US$ 1 billion — mean that iconic fixtures of Africa’s permanent landscape, such as lions, could face severe population declines if no action is taken.

Tonga is leading by example with forest conservation, says Harry
Press Association, 26 October 2018
Conserving forests is a simple but effective way to restore and respect the environment, the Duke of Sussex said.
Harry was speaking as he and Meghan, who was wearing a collared Veronica Beard dress, unveiled plaques to commemorate two forest reserves being dedicated to the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy Project (QCC).
The QCC is a project which sees countries of the Commonwealth designate areas of indigenous forest to be preserved in perpetuity, with 42 of the 53 member countries already taking part.

How rhino project, group of former poachers revived Assam forest
By Abhishek Saha, The Indian Express, 29 October 2018
In the 1990s, Budheswar Boro was a “poacher” at the Manas National Park (MNP), a UNESCO World Heritage Site forest stretching across 850-sq km on the Indo-Bhutan border in Assam. He lost his right hand in 1998 after a injured wild boar, which he had shot at, charged back at him.
Boro, 48, still carries a rifle and spends the day in the forest — but as a “conservation volunteer”. He is a member of the NGO Manas Maozigendri Ecotourism Society (MMES) and, along with three other former poachers, assists an official forest guard in keeping vigil inside the MNP.

Five countries hold 70% of world’s last wildernesses, map reveals
By Lisa Cox, The Guardian, 31 October 2018
Just five countries hold 70% of the world’s remaining untouched wilderness areas and urgent international action is needed to protect them, according to new research.
Researchers from the University of Queensland (UQ) and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) have for the first time produced a global map that sets out which countries are responsible for nature that is devoid of heavy industrial activity.

Financing conservation

African govts urged to partner with the private sector in conservation efforts
CNBC Africa, 1 October 2018
On the sidelines of the 13th annual Kwita Izina ceremony we spoke to the Senior Vice President for Africa Field Division at Conservation International, Michael O’Brien Onyeka on the role of Non-government organisations towards conservation. The SVP urges African governments and private sector to get involved as there is an urgent need for a paradigm shift.

Uniroyal Tires Drives Support for World Wildlife Fund’s Program to Double Wild Tiger Population
Uniroyal Tires press release, 1 October 2018
Today Uniroyal® Tires, the brand that offers the iconic Tiger Paw® tire line, is launching a new month-long campaign to help World Wildlife Fund (WWF) save wild tigers.
At participating Uniroyal dealers through Oct. 31, for each set of four passenger car or light truck tires purchased at participating dealers, Uniroyal customers will be eligible for a $40 mail-in rebate. For every Uniroyal tire rebate redeemed during the promotional period, Michelin North America will donate $20 to WWF’s wild tiger efforts, with no set limit. The Uniroyal customer will receive a a WWF/Uniroyal co-branded “Save the Tiger” kit, which includes a plush tiger, a tiger decal, a species card and a save-the-tigers-themed reusable tote bag.

The Disney Conservation Fund Awards $5 Million to Conservation Organizations and Names its 2018 Disney Conservation Heroes
Disney Conservation Fund press release, 2 October 2018
The Disney Conservation Fund (DCF), continued its more than 20-year commitment to conservation this month by awarding more than $5 million in grants to support 76 organizations working to protect the magic of nature around the world. The fund also recognized 13 people across the globe with the Disney Conservation Hero award, for their tireless efforts to save wildlife, protect habitats and inspire communities to take part in conservation efforts.

Newday Investing and Conservation International Partner In Donation Campaign To Protect Rainforests
Newday Investing press release, 2 October 2018
Newday Investing and Conservation International today announced they are partnering in Conservation International’s mission to protect nature as a source of food, fresh water, livelihoods, and a stable climate. As part of that effort, Newday is donating $5 to Conservation International’s “Protect an Acre” rainforest conservation program for every new investment account opened through Newday, beginning today through October 31, 2018.

Economist Group Joins Partnership that Uses Advertising Funds to Support Conservation
By Catherine Benson Whalen, IISD, 2 October 2018
The Economist Group announced it will join ‘The Lion’s Share,’ an innovative partnership through which media groups contribute funding when they feature an animal in an advertisement. The UN Development Programme (UNDP) hosts the initiative in partnership with the FINCH production company.

Pay-for-success pilot in Latin America makes the business case for forest conservation
By Jessica Pothering, Impact Alpha 3 October 2018
Conservation International and The Nature Conservancy have secured $1 million in development finance to introduce a series of pilot programs to improve forest conservation in Latin America.
Forest loss has been decreasing globally, but commercial activities like logging and agriculture still contribute to net losses each year. In Latin America, 67% of carbon emissions stem from land use and deforestation.
Conservation International and The Nature Conservancy are designing a pay-for-success program designed to encourage hydroelectric plant owners to invest in forest conservation.

[Uganda] “Expand this new conservation funding model across Africa” – Kamuntu
By Ephraim Kamuntu, Th Independent, 12 October 2018
Anyone who has visited Uganda will tell you that it is one of Africa’s most welcoming and friendly countries, with some of its most beautiful landscapes, and incredible and uncrowded wilderness areas.
In our National Parks, Wildlife Reserves, and Forest Reserves, we host the Big Five, the animals most visitors on safari want to see: the lion, the leopard, the elephant, the buffalo and the rhino. We have one of the world’s last remaining populations of mountain gorillas. In Lake Victoria, we have so many marine species.

DfID seeks wildlife & conservation charities in £20m UK Aid Match round
UKFundraising, 15 October 2018
DfID has launched a new £20 million UK Aid Match round, and is inviting applications from charities working for sustained poverty reduction, and to achieve the Global Goals, and from wildlife and conservation charities.
DfID is particularly looking for applications that support the development objectives associated with ending the illegal wildlife trade. Projects will need to demonstrate how they will be able to reduce poverty and improve the quality of life amongst populations affected by the illegal wildlife trade.

[USA] New tool helps align investment with objectives in biodiversity conservation
Arizona State University, 18 October 2018
One of the balancing acts faced by conservation agencies is how to conserve and protect as many species as possible from extinction with limited funding and finite resources. In the U.S., conservation agencies are supported and guided by the Endangered Species Act, the seminal wildlife conservation tool signed by President Nixon in 1973, but which is currently being reviewed by Congress.

In Africa, ‘Paper Parks’ Are Starved for Cash
By Rachel Nuwer, The New York Times, 22 October 2018
As if illegal mining, logging and poaching weren’t bad enough, Africa’s national parks face another dire threat: They’re vastly underfunded.
According the most comprehensive analysis of conservation funding to date, 90 percent of nearly 300 protected areas on the continent face funding shortfalls. Together, the deficits total at least a billion dollars.
Failing to address this deficit will result in severe and ongoing declines of such iconic species as lions, researchers warned on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Some parks will likely disappear altogether.

Africa to get $25 million support for wildlife protection
By Apolinari Tairo, eTN Tanzania, 23 October 2018
The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) will invest $25 million over the next four years to support African governments and local communities to protect wildlife and wild lands on the continent.
AWF President Kaddu Sebunya made the pledge at the Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT) conference held in London recently, saying poaching and illegal trade in wildlife products poses an acute threat to Africa’s rich heritage of natural wealth that is critical to the continent’s development prospects.

Lion conservation efforts severely underfunded, study shows
By Kara Manke, Berkeley News, 23 October 2018
The first comprehensive budget analysis of the protected areas in Africa where lions live shows that the vast majority – about 90 percent — are significantly underfunded. The study, which examined 282 national parks and reserves across 23 African countries, showed that an investment of at least $1 billion dollars annually is needed to manage these areas. Current support totals $381 million.

Seychelles raises $15 million with world’s first blue bond
Reuters, 30 October 2018
Seychelles has raised $15 million by offering the world’s first blue bond, raised from investors to finance ocean-based projects, to expand its marine protected areas and boost its fisheries sector.
The Indian Ocean archipelago’s economy is dependent on the ocean and on fisheries for food, nutrition and livelihoods, marine habitats, and other blue economy sectors like tourism.

Wildlife trade

[Cambodia] Kingdom committed to combat wildlife trade
By Niem Chheng, Phnom Penh Post, 2 October 2018
The Ministry of Environment has expressed its commitment to combat wildlife crimes, Environment Minister Say Sam Al said. He invited all stakeholders to take part in the effort.
Speaking at the British Ambassador’s residence on Sunday to discuss awareness of the illegal wildlife trade, Sam Al said the Kingdom already has mechanisms and laws in place to tackle the issue.

Activists Aghast After Kenya Removed from Illegal Ivory Monitor
teleSUR, 2 October 2018
DNA sampling has tracked ivory shipments back to Kenya, Uganda, and Togo, a recent report from Science Advances said.
To the dismay of animal conservationists, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) announced it was removing five countries from the illegal ivory trade monitor Tuesday.

Ministry to burn seized ivory, illegal wildlife parts
By Myat Moe Aung, Myanmar Times, 3 October 2018
A plan by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation to burn elephant tusks and other seized wildlife parts sparked criticism on Thursday.
The ministry said the parts that will be burned include ivory, antelope antlers, python skins, pangolin scales, as well as leopard, bear and tortoise parts.
This will be the first time the ministry will destroy such items, it added.
U Win Naing Thaw, director of the Nature and Wildlife Conservation Department, said, “We won’t burn all of them, as some will be kept in a museum.”

Symposium Urges Strengthened Legal Frameworks to Tackle Wildlife Crime
By Catherine Benson Wahlen, IISD, 4 October 2018
The Symposium on Strengthening Legal Frameworks to Combat Wildlife Crime in Central and West Africa brought together criminal justice authorities and national wildlife management authorities to discuss ways to strengthen legal frameworks to tackle illegal trade and improve control of legal trade. Five UN entities shared their expertise on illicit trafficking in wildlife and strengthening wildlife legislation.

This corrupt, illegal war on wildlife makes losers of us all
By Dominic Jermey (Zoological Society of London), The Guardian, 4 October 2018
Civil war is devastating. Until the Taliban booted me out of Afghanistan in 1998 – I was the last western diplomat to go – I had a front-row seat on the impact that sustained war has on a people and an economy. I returned to work in Afghanistan twice in the years after that expulsion, and by the time I left Kabul last year, after a stretch as the British ambassador to Afghanistan, I had seen change for the better.
Coming to the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), I have a front-row seat on a different kind of war: the war on wildlife. The illegal wildlife trade has catastrophic impacts on people and animals. The annihilation of wildlife by organised criminal gangs is violent, bloody, corrupt and insidious.

[Gabon] President Ali Bongo: “Our resolve to protect elephants has never been stronger”
By Ali Bongo, The Independent, 5 October 2018
The illegal trafficking of wildlife and wildlife products is a blight on humanity. It is cruel, driving species to extinction, and depriving developing countries of their natural heritage and opportunities for future prosperity.
This trade – estimated by the European Commission to be worth some 17 billion pounds per year- is big business, run by ruthless networks that thrive on, and create, lawlessness. It is linked to the trafficking of weapons, drugs and the spread of terror.

Myanmar taking steps against illegal wildlife trade
Xinhua, 5 October 2018
Myanmar burnt confiscated ivory and wildlife parts in the capital of Nay Pyi Taw Thursday aiming to combat illegal wildlife trade in the country.
The authorities ceremonially destroyed seized wildlife parts, including 277 ivory, 227 elephant and other wildlife bones, 45 pieces of different wildlife skins, 1,544 various horns, 45.5 kg of pangolin scales and 128 varieties of other wildlife parts with total estimated weight of 849.26 kg.

[UK] Grisly Heathrow seizures building shows shocking extent of illegal wildlife trade
By John Ingham, Daily Express, 6 October 2018
The illegal wildlife trade is worth more than £17billion a year – the fifth biggest category of organised crime in the world.
On Thursday a conference in London hosted by Environment Secretary Michael Gove is expected to set up a Finance Task Force under former Tory leader Lord Hague to turn the screw on the criminal masterminds behind it.
The illegal trade ranges from poaching of iconic animals to the destruction of rainforests and the harvesting of endangered orchids.

CITES lets world’s worst elephant poaching countries off the hook
By Janine Avery, IOL, 8 October 2018
Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, China, Thailand and the Philippines, some of the world’s worst countries for poaching and illegal trade in ivory have been allowed to exit a key international initiative set up to curb the mass slaughter of elephants.
They have been allowed to exit the National Ivory Action Plan (NIAP) process at a recent meeting of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species), because they have supposedly substantially achieved their National Ivory Action Plans.

The missing link: communication to combat wildlife crime
By Naysan Sahba, The Independent, 8 October 2018
Last month, conservationists near Botswana’s Okavango Delta wildlife sanctuary stumbled upon a shocking discovery. The carcasses of 87 elephants – most of them poached only for their tusks – scattered among the forest deep inside the country.
Described as the last sanctuary for elephants in Africa, poaching in Botswana had been infrequent until now. While surrounding countries have seen elephant populations dwindle at the hands of ivory poachers in recent decades, Botswana’s well-managed and heavily armed anti-poaching units kept most of their 130,000-member herd alive.

Int’l protections not stopping pangolin overexploitation in Cameroon
By John C. Cannon, Mongabay, 8 October 2018
Pangolins living in Central Africa aren’t feeling the effects of a landmark decision in 2016 to protect them from a ravenous international trade, a report published in July has found.
The decision to protect the eight pangolin species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) Appendix I in 2016, outlawing their international trade, was seen as a win for the scaly anteater-like animals, considered to be the “most illegally traded wild mammal” by the IUCN’s pangolin specialist group.

Deadly Forces, Complex Issues Sabotaging Elephant Protection in Chad
By Rachel Nuwer, Newsweek, 10 October 2018
When Rian and Lorna Labuschagne arrived in Chad’s Zakouma National Park in early 2011, experts had written off the elephants as doomed. A steep rise in the demand for ivory had led to a drop in elephant populations throughout Africa, including Zakouma, home to one of the largest herds on the continent. In less than a decade, Janjaweed poachers on horseback reduced the park’s herd from 4,000 to 400; it seemed just a matter of time before the rest of the animals were killed too.

At Home and in London, Nigeria Tackles the Illegal Wildlife Trade
By Andrew Dunn, Wildlife Conservation Society, 10 October 2018
If there is one country in the world that needs help in tacking illegal wildlife trade, it is Nigeria. In a country of 200 million people, it is no surprise that there is now very little wildlife left outside of national parks and the odd game reserve. One sees wildlife smoked as bushmeat and hanging for sale by the side of the road more often than alive in the safety of a national park.

Prince of Wales issues stark warning to anti-poaching conference
Press Association, 10 October 2018
The Prince of Wales has warned humanity is “hell bent” on destroying what is left of the planet’s biodiversity as delegates geared up for a major anti-poaching conference.
Charles said the illegal wildlife trade was a multibillion-pound enterprise being run by organised crime which threatened the peace and security and countries.
The heir to the throne also praised the wildlife conservation work of his sons the Duke of Cambridge and Duke of Sussex as they helped launch the Illegal Wildlife Trade conference in London.

Leaders urge ‘follow the money’ to combat wildlife trafficking
AFP, 11 October 2018
Prince William and US Attorney General Jeff Sessions called on Thursday for the international community to crack down on trafficking that is driving elephants and tigers to extinction.
The Illegal Wildlife Trade conference drew royals, presidents and ministers from 80 nations to London to debate how to save endangered animals and better track financial transactions from wildlife smuggling gangs.

Wildlife Trafficking Takes Center Stage in London
By John Calvelli, Wildlife Conservation Society, 11 October 2018
World leaders are gathering this week in London, joined by high-level experts in criminal trafficking, law enforcement, and trade. But the topic is not weapons or narcotics or even human trafficking, though it’s equally serious: wildlife crime.

WWF, TRAFFIC Data Show Positive Effects of China’s Ivory Ban
By Ana Maria Lebada, IISD, 11 October 2018
New data published by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and TRAFFIC show that China’s ivory trade ban has had positive effects since coming into force at the beginning of 2018, but the studies emphasize that further action is needed to influence key segments of society. The two reports were released in advance of the London Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade in October, which focuses on ways to mobilize global efforts to address the poaching crisis endangering elephant, rhino, and other species populations.

Wildlife Trafficking’s New Front: Latin America
By Elizabeth L. Bennett, Wildlife Conservation Society, 11 October 2018
The devastating decline began long ago. There were an estimated 100,000 tigers at the turn of the 20th century, but a series of threats have taken their toll — from widespread loss of habitat and sport hunting to the recent demand for their exotic pelts and body parts, valued in traditional medicine, which has put these big cats squarely in the crosshairs of wildlife poachers and the criminal networks that sustain them. Altogether, fewer than 4,000 remain in the wild.

The Illegal Wildlife Trade conference highlights the economic benefits of conservation
By Christopher Vandome, Independent, 11 October 2018
The illegal wildlife trade (IWT) has a negative impact on African economies and their development. It destroys ecosystems and biodiversity, undermines institutions, and channels scarce state resources away from critical social programmes.
In Africa, Elephant poaching alone is estimated to cost between £3-5 billion per year in lost natural capital. But, the difficulty of quantifying the value of healthy ecosystems means that the full economic cost of IWT are often underrecognised.

UK closes global wildlife conference with UK aid pledge to protect critical forest habitats
Department for International Development, 12 October 2018
The UK has signalled its global leadership and commitment to tackling the Illegal Wildlife Trade with a landmark announcement of UK aid money to draw this week’s conference to a close.
Today, the International Development Secretary has committed £35 million of UK aid to protecting critical forest habitats and species threatened by extinction, including the chimpanzee, gorilla, orangutan and tiger.

[Pakistan] Endangered animals: Body formed to curb trade on social media
By Asif Mehmood, The Express Tribune, 20 October 2018
The Punjab Wildlife Protection Department has decided to take action against those involved in the buying and selling of endangered animals and birds on social media.
The department’s deputy director Naeem Bhatti said the list of social media handlers will be sent to the FIA so that the rare species of animal and birds can be saved from extinction. He added that the department has formed a committee to deal with people involved in the purchase and sale of rare animals and birds through social media. Apart from taking action, the committee will also write to the FIA and request for an action against them, he said, adding that illegal traders utilise the social media site and Facebook’s pages to buy and sell such animals.

Indonesia’s Aceh sees harshest penalty yet for a wildlife crime
By Junaidi Hanaflah, Mongabay, 22 October 2018
A court in Indonesia’s Aceh province has sentenced two men to four years behind bars for attempting to sell a tiger skin, in the toughest ever penalty handed down for a wildlife crime there.
Sarkawi Bin Warigo, 41, and Sabaruddin Bin M. Yusak, 45, were arrested last July. During the trial, they refused to be accompanied by a lawyer, court records show. In addition to the jail sentence handed down on Oct. 18, the court also ordered them to pay 50 million rupiah ($3,300) each in fines or serve an additional four months in jail.

Namibia: Law to Protect Wildlife, Special Areas Expected in 2019
New Era, 22 October 2018
A law to protect wildlife and protected areas is expected next year following consultations in this regard.
Environment and Tourism Minister Pohamba Shifeta revealed this on Thursday during a consultative meeting. “This Bill has gone through a series of consultations with stakeholders and the general public already and changes and improvements have been made in the process. Where specific provisions are properly captured, we should accept and move on. Where there is still a need for improvements, let’s discuss, agree and move forward,” he noted. It would repeal the Nature Conservation Ordinance of 1975.

China legalizes rhino horn and tiger bone for medical purposes
By Dina Fine Maron, National Geographic, 29 October 2018
In China, rhino horn and tiger bone may now be legally used in medical research or traditional medicine following a controversial announcement by the government this morning. The animal specimens may be obtained only from farms, according to the announcement, but conservationists say this surprising move may open the floodgates for a surge in illegal activity and threaten vulnerable animal populations.

Rhino horn: Alarm as China eases 25-year ban on rhino and tiger parts
BBC News, 30 October 2018
Animal conservationists are alarmed over China’s decision to partially reverse a ban on the trade of tiger bones and rhino horn.
Rhinos and tigers are both endangered in the wild and China prohibited their trade in 1993.
But on Monday it said parts from captive animals would be authorised for scientific, medical and cultural use.
Experts worry this will increase demand for the animals and jeopardise efforts to protect them.

China Just Eased a Ban on Rhino and Tiger Parts. Here’s How Organized Crime Fuels Illegal Poaching
By Billy Perrigo, Time, 30 October 2018
On Oct. 24 in a New York courtroom, two kingpins of Kenya’s illegal wildlife trade pleaded guilty to crimes that carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. Baktash and Ibrahim Akasha had been connected to seizures of over 30 metric tons of illegal ivory in Mombasa.
The illegal wildlife trade is worth as much as $23 billion each year, and has led to the deaths of 7,000 rhinos and 200,000 elephants over the last decade. The guilty pleas of the Akasha brothers, however, had nothing to do with their role in the trade. Instead, they were in court on charges of conspiring to traffic massive quantities of heroin and methamphetamine into the U.S., as well as bribing officials, and possessing heavy weaponry.

Poaching

James Bond technology deployed to save ELEPHANTS and rhinos from poachers
By Stuart Winter, Daily Express, 1 October 2018
One of James Bond’s most famous gadgets is to become the secret weapon in the battle to save elephants and rhinos. High-flying autogyros – as flown by 007 in You Only Live Twice – are to be deployed against poachers in the African bush.
Agile, stealthy and capable at flying a low speed, the new generation of autogyros – known as Dragons – will give rangers a vital lift in tackling the desperate gangs killing 55 elephants every day.
British-based charity Born Free has launched an appeal to give frontline wildlife protectors aerial advantage in the war to stop the iconic creatures being driven towards extinction.

[South Africa] Has rhino poaching decreased, or are we running out of rhinos?
By Janine Avery, IOL, 1 October 2018
A strategic report on poaching just released by the Department of Environmental Affairs shows that fewer rhinos but more elephants are being killed. Of concern, however, is what it leaves out.
Until August this year, 506 rhinos were poached in South Africa, 333 in the Kruger National Park. That’s 185 fewer than the same period last year. At the same time poaching incursions into KNP increased from 1 702 last year to 1 873 this year.
Taken together – higher incursions and fewer kills – it’s bad news, meaning there are fewer and fewer rhinos left to hunt. And as rhino kills decline, elephant poaching has increased, with 58 shot this year.

Tanzania: Prince William Calls for Community Engagement in Wildlife Conservation
Tanzania Daily News, 1 October 2018
UK’s Prince William has called for close involvement of local communities in wildlife conservation to intensify anti-poaching crusade in the country.
The Prince made the remarks over the weekend after visiting Mkomazi National Park in Same District, Kilimanjaro Region.
“Active participation of local members surrounding the national parks is vital and can play significant role in the ongoing war against poaching in the country,” he said.

[Tanzania] Fighting back on poaching: Fitting tracking collars to wildlife
By Tim Sandle, Digital Journal, 1 October 2018
As part of its conservation work, the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WFF) is fitting Tanzanian Elephants with satellite-trackable collars. The aim is to track the movement of the elephants at all times.
Elephants are in constant danger from poachers, who will kill the animals for their ivory tusks and sell the ivory via illegal means. Back in 1989, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) listed African elephants under measures intended to restricts international trade of their parts.

Fighting back on poaching: Fitting tracking collars to wildlife
By Tim Sandle, Digital Journal, 1 October 2018
As part of its conservation work, the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WFF) is fitting Tanzanian Elephants with satellite-trackable collars. The aim is to track the movement of the elephants at all times.
Elephants are in constant danger from poachers, who will kill the animals for their ivory tusks and sell the ivory via illegal means. Back in 1989, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) listed African elephants under measures intended to restricts international trade of their parts.

[South Africa] Mpumalanga police bust for hijacking‚ rape and rhino poaching
By Naledi Shange, Time Live, 3 October 2018
Mpumalanga police commissioner Lieutenant General Mondli Zuma is concerned about a spate of crimes in the province involving police.
At least five officers have been arrested in the past three weeks in the province for crimes including hijacking‚ rape and rhino poaching.
In one of the most recent incidents‚ an officer in Balfour was arrested after handing himself over for being involved in a hijacking.

Indian scientists creating DNA database of over 3,000 rhinos to curb poaching, trade of animal parts
Mirror Now News, 5 October 2018
In a first for India, the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) in Uttarakhand has managed to create a DNA database of rhinos from across the states of Assam, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal. The compilation is part of a larger DNA database of 3,300 rhinos in India which was proposed by the Dehradun-based Institute earlier this year.

Sudanese militias moonlight as poachers in Central African Republic’s badlands
By Jack Losh, The National, 5 October 2018
It was not the hippo carcass that troubled the wildlife rangers the most. Nor were they especially surprised to uncover a cache of powerful assault rifles in this volatile region awash with uncontrolled arms.
The most unsettling find from their counter-poaching raid in Chinko, a vast wildlife reserve in the Central African Republic (CAR), was a handful of identity cards belonging to soldiers from Sudan’s paramilitary forces – a discovery suggesting that Khartoum’s fighters are moonlighting as poachers hundreds of miles beyond its borders.

[Thailand] Senior district official arrested for alleged poaching in national park
The Nation, 7 October 2018
A group, including a deputy district chief, who allegedly camped out overnight and shot a binturong at the Sai Yok National Park in Kanchaburi province over the weekend, has been arrested.
An informed source said park officials checked the group after finding that they had entered the park on Saturday and did not come out on the same day. The park does not allow overnight camping. The group allegedly used six off-load vehicles and one of them was found to have contained a rifle with a silencer, two other guns, ammunition, and a binturong carcass, according to the source.

Tanzanian rangers harness new technology to fight poachers
By Jackson Njehia, Reuters, 10 October 2018
In Tanzania’s Grumeti Game Reserve, next to Serengeti National Park, elephants roam, rangers sleep more peacefully at night, and poachers have been put on notice, thanks to new technology designed to protect one of the world’s most endangered species.
In response to the surge in ivory poaching in Africa, where the elephant population fell by around 20 percent between 2006 and 2015, U.S. philanthropist and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and technologists from his company Vulcan Inc. have developed EarthRanger.

UK Military To Develop Anti-Poaching Force With £900k Of New Funding
Forces Network, 11 October 2018
A new British military counter-poaching task force is to be developed after £900,000 of funding was announced by the UK Government.
The new funding will be used next year and will see the Army deployed to train African park rangers in more effective counter-poaching techniques.
This year Army personnel deployed to two national parks in Malawi to teach local rangers intelligence, tracking and medical techniques.

Botswana: Masisi Dismisses Media Reports
By Mooketsi Mojalemotho, Botswana Daily News, 12 October 2018
President Mokgweetsi Masisi has dismissed as untrue media report that link poaching and government decision to withdraw certain types of weapons from the Department of Wildlife and National Parks and Anti-Poaching Unit.
He said when giving a key note speech during the Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT) conference at Battersea Evolution in London that the decision to withdraw the arms was merely to rectify an administrative oversight and re-assert the country’s commitment to the rule of law.

[DR Congo] Poaching eradicated in one of Africa’s wildlife crime hotspots
By Tom Bawden, iNews, 12 October 2018
One of Africa’s most notorious poaching hotspots has virtually eradicated wildlife crime in just two years after doubling the number of wardens and arming them. In the past few decades, the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Garamba National Park saw 20,000 elephants and numerous rangers killed as marauding armed gangs plundered the area. But in 2016 funding from the EU and the US enabled the park to double the number of rangers to 250, give them weapons and train them how to use them – at a cost of around £10m a year.

Cambridge surveillance technology sets trap to catch wildlife poachers
By Tony Quested, Business Weekly, 14 October 2018
Cambridge Design Partnership has unveiled surveillance technology to help detect and snare illegal poachers of endangered animal species.
CDP’s ‘Instant Detect 2.0’ system is a satellite connected camera and sensor system that can be deployed in the most remote and inaccessible locations to provide sensor alerts and images in near real-time.
It will bolster the work of park rangers protecting endangered animals such as gorillas, elephants, tigers and rhinos against the illegal wildlife trade, as well as enhancing the efforts of conservationists worldwide monitoring various species.

Meet the Kenyan environmentalist on a gruelling mission to save Africa’s elephants
By Mildred Europa Taylor, Face 2 Face Africa, 14 October 2018
Elephants are keystone species that maintain the local system and removing them leads to a deterioration of the ecosystem. In other words, the loss of elephants from a particular site would mean that all the biological interactions and ecosystem processes in which they are involved, would also be lost, according to scientists.
Yet, the very existence of these wonderful species into the future is currently unknown, no thanks to the long history of poaching.

Poaching of 55 elephants daily leaves extinction a decade away
By Gilbert Koech, The Star, 15 October 2018
As world leaders and conservationists descended on London last week for the Illegal Wildlife Trafficking Conference, the burning question in their minds was: How can trade in ivory, especially in Asian countries be contained?
The fear is that Africa’s elephants could go the way of dinosaurs. Some 20,000 jumbos are killed each year — 55 every single day — mostly for the illegal ivory trade.

[South Africa] Pipe bomb found at Kruger National Park was homemade
By Iavan Pijoos, Time Live, 17 October 2018
South African National Parks confirmed on Wednesday that a pipe bomb found last week near the Kruger National Park was homemade.
“We have discovered that it [pipe bomb] is actually homemade‚ according to the latest report that we have. It was found outside the park‚ on the boundaries where we normally do patrols‚” said SANParks spokesperson Isaac Phaahla.
Phaahla said rangers who were patrolling with dogs spotted two “suspicious individuals” hiding in a pipeline underneath a railway line last Friday.

Award-winning documentary hopes to raise awareness on rhino poaching
By Sameer Naik, IOL, 20 October 2018
Award-winning South African film-makers Susan Scott and Bonné de Bod have spoken about the sacrifices they made to bring their award-winning documentary on the rhino poaching crisis to life.
The two had to sell their houses, leave their jobs and move in with their mothers. “There were sacrifices and plenty of them,” said Scott. “We wanted to keep this film independent and that meant finding our own funding.
“So we crowd-funded and applied for filming grants. It was a difficult process. We had to throw ourselves completely financially into the filming and I never thought I would be living with my mother again at this age.

[South Africa] Eight suspected poachers arrested in Kruger National Park
By Lindi Masinga, IOL, 23 October 2018
The South African National Parks (SANParks) said on Tuesday that eight suspected rhino poachers were arrested during counter poaching operations inside the Kruger National Park (KNP).
SANParks said the arrests were made on Monday.
“During the operations three heavy calibre hunting rifles, ammunition as well as various other poaching related equipment were recovered.”
SANParks said the rhino poaching related arrests took place in three different sections of the KNP and were a joint effort by their rangers, special rangers, K9 and Air support units.

SAPS and the dirty truth around rhino poaching
By Simon Bloch, news24, 24 October 2018
Fresh charges of a cover-up around possible government links to rhino poaching and organised crime networks have surfaced again.
This after details confirming the arrest of a highly-trained police officer from an elite police unit bust for rhino poaching two weeks ago were only released to the media on Sunday, just one day before his bail hearing this week.
Last Monday, Constable Sizwe Buthelezi, 36, was charged for unlawful possession of a firearm; unlawful possession of ammunition; unlawful possession of protected endangered species (rhino horn) and unlawful possession of a dangerous weapon.

4 Ways Tech Is Helping Protect Elephants From Poachers
By Dan Nosowitz, New York Magazine, 31 October 2018
According to a 2016 study by the IUCN (the group that makes the red lists showing which animals are endangered), the African elephant population had reduced by about 100,000 over the previous ten years. The widespread death of any species isn’t a good thing, but elephants are especially vital to the ecosystems where they live. Their long tusks dig for water during the dry season, providing pools for other animals; in the forests, elephants eat trees, allowing younger and stronger trees enough sunlight to grow; in the savanna, they knock down larger trees to allow the grassland ecosystem to flourish; and they are vital seed-dispersers for a wide variety of plants. Without elephants, the balance of the various ecosystems in which they live are dramatically altered.

Tourism

Melania Trump wore a hat associated with colonialism when on safari in Kenya
By Greg Evans, The Independent, 5 October 2018
First lady Melania Trump is currently on a trip of Africa and on Friday she took in a safari in Nairobi, Kenya.
In what should have been an otherwise routine press call for Melania, she managed to stir controversy by simply wearing a hat.
The 48-year-old opted to wear a white pith helmet at the David Sheldrick Wildlife, Trust which invoked unfortunate memories of Africa’s colonial past.
That particular hat was widely used by European militaries and visitors to the continent and India in the early 20 century.

Tigers forever: a wildlife hike in north-east Laos
By Claire Boobbyer, The Guardian, 12 October 2018
The camp was dark save for the fire and the more muted glow from a tablet about to reveal the secrets of the forest. We crowded over images – covertly captured on camera traps in jungle barely trampled on by human feet. On the screen, the mammals and birds of this remote Laos forest flickered into life: stump-tailed macaques, a silver pheasant, a snuffling sun bear, an Asian antelope, an Indian mongoose, a couple of sambar deer, and a pair of white spectacled Lao leaf monkeys. This photographic bounty was an animal jackpot up here in sky-scraping terrain on the Laos-Vietnam border.

Big game hunting

[UK] City boss on board of conservation charity pictured with slaughtered animals from African big game hunt
By Robert Mendick, The Telegraph, 2 October 2018
The longest serving FTSE 100 boss has been photographed with trophy kills, shot on hunting holidays in Africa ­despite sitting on the board of a big cat conservation charity.
Mark Bristow, the chief executive of Randgold, a mining conglomerate, ­appears in promotional newsletters on the website of Hunters & Guides Africa, a South Africa-based professional hunting tour operator.
The newsletters, ranging from 2005 to 2014, show him holding a rifle and posing with dead elephants, buffalo, zebra, hippo, lion and a leopard.

[USA] Hunting groups get win with veto fo California anti-safari legislation
By Chris Eger, Guns.com, 2 October 2018
Gov. Jerry Brown on Sunday scuttled a bill that would have pre-empted federal conservation efforts by going after African species trophies.
Brown, a Democrat, vetoed SB 1487, which would have prohibited the possession of various parts or products of a wide range of animals including the African elephant and black rhinoceros by any individual or association in California. The bill passed the state Senate 27-11 and the Assembly 55-20 with a thin measure of bipartisan support in August.
Writing in his veto message to lawmakers, Brown said that, “Even though I share the sentiments of the author, this bill, if enacted, would be unenforceable.”

Botswana reviews ban on hunting
By Giorgio Berti, African Business Magazine, 3 October 2018
In June Botswana MP Konstantinos Markus spearheaded a motion that would review and reconsider the ban on hunting within areas not designated as national parks or reserves.
The motive behind Markus’ decision to challenge the hunting ban stems from the costs of increasing human-wildlife contact and conflict and has led to discussion over the benefits and challenges of conservation hunting. The aim behind lifting the ban is to protect the livelihood of many farmers, but it could also support a burgeoning “conservation hunting” industry. Yet detractors argue that the potential damage to Botswana’s reputation and the elephant population as a whole far outweigh the positive consequences.

Petition – Stop the mass slaughter of Zambia’s hippos!
Rainforest Rescue, 4 October 2018
It will soon be open season on hippos in Zambia: The government claims that the population is out of control and damaging the river ecosystem. It wants to allow wealthy big-game hunters to kill 2,000 of the iconic river creatures. A conservation measure? This is all about big bucks. Speak out for the hippos!
he scene of the future crime against nature is Zambia’s world-famous Luangwa Valley. Trophy hunters would be allowed to kill up to 2,000 hippos there within the next five years. Umlilo, a South African operator, has safaris in its program that would allow each hunter to shoot up to five hippos. The cost: $14,000 per person.

[USA] Fish and Game commissioner hunts ‘family of baboons’ in Africa, faces calls to resign
By Chadd Cripe, Idaho Statesment, 12 October 2018
Idaho Fish and Game Commissioner Blake Fischer shared photos of his guided hunting trip in Africa with friends and colleagues when he returned last month, expecting they’d appreciate his success.
Instead, several former Fish and Game commissioners are pushing for his resignation — with a photo of a “family of baboons” that Fischer shot with a recurve bow prompting most of the outrage.

Hunters Who Shot And Killed An Elephant Get Charged By The Herd
By Rachael Grealish, LadBible, 17 October 2018
A pair of hunters in Africa felt the anger of the animal kingdom after they shot and killed an elephant, only for the rest of the herd to charge at them.
In a video, that has now gone viral, two men are seen attempting to sneak up on a herd of elephants, in Namibia, armed with enormous rifles.

Overseas trophy hunters let loose in British ‘conservation park’
By Adam Theofilatos, Metro, 19 October 2018
Foreign hunters are paying up to £9,000 to shoot dead magnificient red stags at a British deer park that boasts of its conservation record, campaigners claimed today.
Trophy-hunters from the USA, Denmark and Finland are travelling to Woburn Abbey Deer Park, Bedfordshire, which claims to be ‘the largest conservation park in Europe.’
There they are allowed to shoot nine species of deer, including the endangered Père David, which the park boasts that it has helped conserve, animal rights activists claim.

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