Author Archives: Paula

Wildlife trade will cause extinction for many species

In an article titled “Another inconvenient truth” (a convenient title I must admit), Elizabeth Bennet states that “A continuing global failure to crack down on a booming trade in body parts from endangered animals could soon cause some species – including rhinos and tigers — to “wink out” of existence, a conservation advocate warns. But a couple of recent developments, including a recent United Nations decision to make combating wildlife crime a core concern, and a “potentially powerful” new International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC) – could spur needed action.

She says, wildlife criminals are getting away with murder, and she’s right. Stories of illegal traders getting light penalties for killing, transpoting, tradeing and buying illegal species abound including hollywood suppliers , US businesses, veterinarians in South Africa, and even government officials.

Now governments are saying that they are going to get serious about this and bring an end to the illegal trade and threats to endangered species through, wait for it, yes, MORE ENFORCEMENT.

well, I disagree! I just witnessed the burning of 5 tons of contraband ivory from Zambia and Malawi in Kenya that was seized in Singapore in 2002. The scary thing was that this ivory came from government stockpiles that had been raided! Secondly, it was headed for China and Japan, both countries are authorized by CITES to trade in ivory because they can “control the illegal trade”. This was the 19th shipment from southern Africa. The solution demands that Africa invests in high tech enforcement to save species that are in demand in China and Japan. It is garbage that the revenues raised from legal sales through CITES ‘help’ to conserve these charismatic species. In fact, the legal trade triggers demand and leads to unmanageable illegal trade. With China’s growing status in Africa, we know that regardless of penalties in Africa, Chinese nationals are getting off scot free. The solution is not greater enforcement – that is just driving up an arms race that African countries simply can’t win. So long as there is a demand for trade in those countries elephants and rhino’s will continue to die. The solution is to destroy the trade, remove China and Japan as trading partners for ivory, destroy the supply, and kill the demand by changing cultures in China and Japan. We all know that these two countries can do it but they simply don’t have the will.

Was this conflict or a pesticide in careless hands?

By Enoch Mobisa

One, two, three….twenty five we counted! I remember how difficult it was for me during my preparatory school days when I painfully counted the number of vultures lying on the ground in Maasai mara’s Siana group ranch area. Everyone suspects pesticide poisoning!

One of the 25 dead Vultures

One of the 25 dead Vultures

We were alerted on Friday that there has been yet another poisoning incidence in the Mara by Predator aware officers, our conservation partners on the ground. We immediately responded by driving there to witness and try establishing the possible cause of the deaths. On Sunday Morning, led by Mr. Sammy Nkoitoi, we got to the vulture massacre site and found a local police officer and Maasai Mara rangers already there. Together with these guys, we formed a team and after taking samples, we decided to gather the carcasses and destroy them. KWS Veterinary officer and the research team in Segenani joined us later on and took part in destroying the carcasses to avoid any chances of cross contamination. The samples have been taken for testing to establish the actual poison. Initially we had counted twenty one but as we set out to gather them, the local community members who were with us discovered four more, increasing the number to twenty five. A pink substance, which we suspect was used for poisoning was spilt on the ground next to the wildebeest carcass which was probably what the vultures fed on. Probably a predator may have fed on the wildebeest carcass as it was very well eaten; all the bones shattered beyond what the vultures would manage. According to the local people, it is suspected the poisoning was intended to kill the hyenas or lions that take people’s livestock. But on this occasion there was no particular conflict. It is not clear who did it.

Here we destroy the dead vultures by burning

Here we destroy the dead vultures by burning

The chief led the local youths to condemn the act and requested for support for awareness creation and education to mitigate any future poisoning. They all promised to keep monitoring the situation and incase they find any information leading to the establishment of the truth or any more deaths, they would inform us.

The Community is giving a hand in destroying the carcass

The Community is giving a hand in destroying the carcass

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