News From And About Africa
September 2015, Volume 13-4

Pedro vaz Pinto reported from Cangandala and Luando about the Giant Sable project. In Cangandala, Mercury, the dominant bull has now fully matured, and the team observed him at close distance grazing very relaxed. The trap camera showed that the females seem healthy and should be calving in July. The two main herds are increasing in number and most of the animals are very young. The prospects are good for Cangandala in the short term. In Luando our objectives were hindered by the very long grass. At the water holes checked by the team poaching signs were not evident. But generally poaching pressure is not diminishing and the rangers feel helpless to counter-act increasing numbers of well-armed and organized poacher groups. Photos can be downloaded at Pedro’s site.

Malinois, the short-haired version of the Belgian Shepherd, are used on the periphery of Odzala-Kokoua National Park in the Congo by African Parks and Application of Law for Fauna (PALF) to sniff out ivory, bushmeat and weapons. Recently they found 380 kg of bushmeat (mainly giant pangolin and water chevrotain) at SICOFOR – a Chinese-run logging concession in southern Congo. The PALF sniffer dogs have been fundamental in many arrests in the Congo. Source Africa Geographic

European Union
In July 2015 the EU became the 181st party to join the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). The European Commission services have started the preparatory work for an EU Action Plan against wildlife trafficking, for which the EU accession to CITES constitutes an important milestone. The EU has been a major supporter of the CITES Convention for many years, especially in relation to elephant poaching and ivory trade.

Malawi and Zambia signed a Trans-Frontier Conservation Area (TFCA) treaty to protect their common biological resources in a unique conservation and development area along their boundaries. Malawi President Mutharika said that the treaty is of mutual socio-economic benefits to the peoples of both countries particularly those living within and adjacent to the TFCA and that the right to utilize natural resources comes with the obligation of doing it in a responsible manner that safeguards their continued existence of posterity. Zambia President Edgar Lungu said the treaty will bind the two countries in the cause of conservation and management of the natural resources.

The Mail and Guardian South Africa reported about the blatant rape of Mozambique’s old growth forest by Chinese timber traders. A former rural subsistence farmer turned illegal logger, who cuts about 40 trees per day, said he was lured into this illegal work by Chinese who visited the area and offered him a high salary. He and his two helpers earn between 160 and 300 Mozambican meticais (between R60 and R100) cutting high value trees. Tens of thousands of tree trunks sit on the compounds at Beira waiting to be shipped to China. Read the full article HERE.

South Africa
The socio-economic development model of the South African Hunters’ and Game Conservation Association (SAHGCA) that promotes the development of economies of scale through partnerships between communities, private sector and government in nodes of concentrated extensive wildlife areas is gaining widespread support. It was presented at the recent workshop for the development of South Africa’s National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) and accepted as NBSAP flagship project. As the only representative of the Wildlife Industry at the SANBI workshop, SAHGCA ensured the inclusion of the role of game farmers and hunters in the national strategy. The MoU between SAHGCA and PAMISH has also been signed to promote the local wildlife economy in and around Mayibuye Game Reserve, Mkhambathini Municipality, and Ophathe Nature Reserve. SAHGCA would be providing technical support and guidance in the establishment of responsible wildlife related activities, income streams, including hunting and downstream value chain enterprises associated with these areas.

South Africa
A new study by researchers from Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCru), TRAFFIC and the University of Witwatersrand, were published in Bones of Contention: An assessment of the South African trade in African Lion bones and other body parts. The study finds there is little evidence that the Lion bone trade in South Africa is currently adversely impacting wild lion populations there, but warns the situation needs to be closely monitored and that too little is known about the situation elsewhere in Africa. From 2008 to 2011, the official number of skeletons legally exported with CITES permits totaled 1160 skeletons (about 10.8 tons of bones), 573 of them in 2011 alone, with 91% of them destined for Lao PDR. The North West, Free State and Eastern Cape, all home almost exclusively to captive-bred Lions, were the only provinces to issue export permits. The authors recommend Lion breeding facilities are closely monitored to restrict opportunities for abuse of the system for financial gain (Source TRAFFIC).

USA – China – Africa
US Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said in July that Beijing and Washington are both working to end commercial ivory trading. Jewell met in Beijing with Vice Premier Wang Yang and Forestry Administration head Zhao Shucong.

USA (New York)
Senate Bill 4686 backed by animal “rights” groups, seeking to ban the importation, possession, sale or transportation of “Big Five African Species” (meaning the African elephant, African lion, African leopard, black rhinoceros and white rhinoceros and including hunting trophies) was successfully blocked by New York lawmakers. Opponents argued that the bill would not only prevent hunters in New York from participating in legal hunting activity and bringing home their trophies but also have a deleterious impact on these species (Source Ammoland).

USA (Texas)
Dallas Safari Club has entered the ranks of IUCN MEMBER by a vote of the Council Committee and the Council Plenary! Also admitted are the Swiss and French hunting associations.

Compiled by Gerhard R Damm