Africa’s overall elephant population has seen the worst declines in 25 years, mainly due to poaching over the past ten years – according to IUCN’s African Elephant Status Report launched at the 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES, in Johannesburg, South Africa. The report is an authoritative source of knowledge about the numbers and distribution of African elephant populations across their 37 range states in sub-Saharan Africa. Full story
African rhino conservation has seen a major boost with the launch of the continent-wide African Rhino Conservation Plan, led by South Africa and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Species Survival Commission’s African Rhino Specialist Group (IUCN SSC AfRSG). The plan focuses on areas where African rhino range states can work together to enhance rhino conservation, such as sharing and analyzing intelligence information, re-establishing rhino across boundaries, and enhancing effective funding for conservation. It does not seek to duplicate existing national plans, but rather complement them. Read more
The IUCN Antelope Specialist Group (ASG) is working with the Czech University of Life Sciences to organize a conference on Antelopes, Giraffids and Hippos, to be held in Prague, Czech Republic, 20-24 February 2017. Preliminary details can be found on the conference website here . The founding Chair of ASG, Dr Richard Estes, will be one of the keynote speakers. The proceedings of the last antelope conference, held at ZSL in London in 2011, have just been published by Wiley-Blackwell. Antelope Conservation: from Diagnosis to Action. (Eds. Jakob Bro-Jorgenson and David Mallon). ISBN 9781118409640
The paper Sustainable Use & Livelihoods paper: From Poachers to Protectors pulls together core thinking on how interventions to combat wildlife trade can affect individual level incentives to “poach” or to “protect” wildlife. It provides a simple conceptual framework to help thinking and planning toward more nuanced and integrated responses to IWT that address core drivers at the local level, including issues of rights and responsibilities, equitable benefit-sharing, and human-wildlife conflict click HERE.
The elephant poaching crisis does not harm elephants alone, it is bad for the economy too, according to a new study. The loss of elephants to wildlife trafficking is costing African countries about $25 million a year in lost tourism revenue, the study found. The tourism revenue lost due to declining elephants exceeds the anti-poaching costs necessary to stop the decline of elephants in east, west and southern Africa, the researchers found. More HERE on Mongabay or download the study from Nature Communications
With its vast bio-diverse forests and key great ape habitat, Cameroon is being eyed as a prime site for oil palm production, making it a center of agro-industry development in Africa. Conservationists in Africa are working to implement oil palm standards that will limit deforestation, protect biodiversity, limit carbon emissions, and benefit smallholders, while also supporting economic growth and job creation. A key to Africa’s sustainable oil palm production is the implementation of mutually agreed upon industry-wide, and possibly nationwide, sustainable standards for siting and development of plantations. More details HERE on Mongabay
On October 4, a park ranger, Munganga Nzonga Jacques, was killed in Kahuzi Biega National Park while trying to protect the park’s rare Grauer’s gorillas. He is the second ranger to be killed in Kahuzi Biega in the last six months. Kahuzi Biega National Park is believed to be the last stronghold of Grauer’s gorillas, so the murder of Jacques has conservationists worried about the future of the rangers, their families, as well as the gorillas
Brazzaville-issued mining permits dip into Congo’s flagship park. In 2016 the Ministry of Mines and Energy issued at least seven permits that allow companies to prospect or begin mining for gold inside the Republic of Congo’s largest national park. Odzala-Kokoua became a national park in 2001 by presidential decree, which does not allow mining. Congo’s pivot toward mineral extraction as an economic development strategy may mean that the government could change the park’s borders to allow mining if it is “in the public interest”. More details HERE on Mongabay
Kenya’s coastal forests are part of the Eastern Africa Coastal Forests ecoregion, with high levels of biodiversity and several species of plants and animals found nowhere else in the world. An influx of migrants into the region has meant more human pressure on forests, with the region losing upwards of 10 percent of its tree cover in 15 years. Major infrastructure and industry developments are also planned for the area, leaving conservationists worried about their environmental impacts. More details HERE on Mongabay
About five percent of Africa’s workforce – about 20 million people – are employed by the charcoal or firewood industry. Traders say that a large part of their operating expenses go to bribes, payoffs, and security. Despite health risks, charcoal remains a popular and cost-effective option for household cooking. More details HERE on Mongabay
An 66 year Italian tourist was trampled to death by an elephant at Swara camp in the Tsavo National Park near the Sabaki River. while trying to get a good picture. A 43-year-old farmer from Silare, Nyahururu, Laikipia County, has lost his leg after he was attacked by an elephant on his farm. The farmer kept vigil every night in order to scare away elephants which have become the greatest threat to farming. In Lamu, a farmer in Lamu has been attacked and killed by a stray buffalo while he was fetching water from a swamp at Kililana. The incident comes days after a herder from Bar’goni Village escaped death narrowly after he was attacked and bitten by a hippo. (Sources: AllAfrica.com)
Kenya’s elephant population has declined by almost 80 per cent (from ca. 170,000 in 1970’s to about 35,000 now) over the past fifty years according to the Living Planet Index (LPI) 2016 Report by the Wild Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature. In 70’s there were about 20,000 rhinos in the country, now there are 678 left. This decline has mainly been caused by the intense pressure food production has had on the ecosystems and various species.
Mozambique – European Union
The EU Scientific Review Group has approved importation of lions from Mozambique’s Niassa National Reserve. The decision was made at the 76th meeting of the SRG on trade in wild fauna and flora on June 27. The SRG maintained a negative finding for lion elsewhere in Mozambique as well as for elephant from there and Tanzania. Source Hunting Report August 2016
The country completed its National Elephant Action Plan this past May. Mozambique is hoping to meet the requirements for importation approval by the SRG and US Fish & Wildlife Service. Source The Hunting Report August 2016
The second African buffalo symposium, organized by CIRAD and the IGF Foundation under the auspices of the Antelope Specialist Group of IUCN was held during the 9th International Wildlife Ranching Symposium (IWRS), in Windhoek in Namibia in September. Interesting and stimulating communications & presentations and extensive discussions on many topics related to the African buffalo, its ecology, genetics, conservation and management made the symposium a success. The third symposium will not be linked to the IWRS. Plans are to hold it in the first semester of 2019. Dr. Kevin Robertson from the Southern African Wildlife College has offered to host it at the college, close to the Kruger National Park where a lot of buffalo work has happened in the past and is happening currently. African Buffalo Interest Group (AfBIG) was set up within ASG in 2014 and will launch its own website soon
The Ekuri Initiative, a forest stewardship organization run by one of the indigenous communities whose land lies in the path of the Cross River Superhighway, has already delivered 253,000 signatures to the federal government asking for their ancestral forests to be protected. Several protected areas, including the Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary, the Afi River Forest Reserve, Cross River National Park, Cross River South Forest Reserve, and Ukpon River Forest Reserve, would also be impacted by development of the highway. A number of threatened species live in these protected areas, including forest elephants, Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzees, drills, Preuss’ red colobus monkeys, pangolins, slender-snouted crocodiles, African gray parrots, and many others. More details HERE on Mongabay.
Mobile telephone apps that track wildlife sightings in South Africa’s Kruger Park have caused a rise in road rage, roadkills and speeding as tourists rush to animal sightings, and South African National Parks (SANParks) said it was exploring how to restrict use of the apps, saying that they “induce an unhealthy sense of eagerness for visitors to break the rules”. The apps share information between tourists on where elephants, lions, leopards and other animals have been spotted, allowing other users to drive quickly to the scene.
Director of US Fish & Wildlife Service Dan Ashe has announced that lion trophies from captive bred populations in South Africa will not be accepted for importation to the United States. However, wild and wild-managed lions from South Africa will receive import permits. The captive bred lion breeders do not meet the requirements for true enhancement sought by USFWS, which include transparency, scientific management and effectiveness in protecting and enhancing wild lion populations. The World Conservation Congress in Hawai’i had earlier this year passed Motion 009 – Terminating the hunting of captive-bred lions (Panthera leo) and other predators and captive breeding for commercial, non-conservation purposes. The CIC International Council has now adopted this motion as its official position on captive lion breeding and shooting
In July, the Government of Tanzania decided to apply the national Value Added Tax (VAT) of 18% to all services rendered to foreign tourists. The new tax applies also to hunting tourism and to foreign hunters visiting Tanzania. Starting in 2016, youths less than 18 years of age are not allowed to hunt, even if accompanied by parents.
Conservation Force made an extensive submission to the US Fish and Wildlife Service in support of applications for permits to import lion trophies from Tanzania. This submission documents the clear enhancement/benefits generated by safari lion hunting in Tanzania. The submission explains Tanzania’s lion management plan, regulations, and policies to show that lion hunting is well-managed and how the hunting addresses the three primary threats to lion. Most importantly, the submission includes the reports of 27 Tanzanian safari operators. These Operator Enhancement Reports detail and document the operators’ contributions to habitat and prey protection, anti-poaching, and community tolerance. They also explain the operators’ responsible stewardship of prey base species and lion, and the critical role U.S. hunters play in sustaining these efforts. This is a short video about the recently documented sample of the unmeasured benefits (social and eco-system services) of safari hunting is available at https://vimeo.com/190055022. More details at Conservation Force.org
President John Magufuli has appointed retired Chief of Defense Force General George Marwa Waitara, the board chairperson of the Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA). During the impromptu visit to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism the President also ordered the arrest of all poachers and other suspects who are connected with the illegal business regardless of their positions and seniority after he was shown 50 tusks and motor vehicles which were seized between in the three days preceding his visit. The anti-poaching unit also arrested eight poaching suspects.
Compiled by Gerhard R Damm