Dedicating 56 years of his life to animal welfare and conservation, South African vet Hymie Ebedes became world-renowned for his expertise and pioneering work across not only the African continent, but also in countries such as China, Israel, Australia and Spain. Therefore, the 24th November 2015 will not just be the day a family unite to mourn the loss of a husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, but the day the world mourns the loss of one of its finest forerunners of veterinary care.
The future of elephants in Tanzania is bleak and it isn’t going to improve. But, there is a gleam of light in this ever so, proverbial, dark tunnel. The light comes in the form of Honeyguide Foundation. Founded in 2007, Honeyguide’s inception began with a small team of people looking to improve tourism in northern Tanzania that would be beneficial to local tribes and villages. Jobs were created, revenue was raised and as the foundation grew. So did their responsibilities and capabilities. Now, Honeyguide protects several parts of northern Tanzania and works across five of its community-based conservation areas.
The planned destruction of 2.6 tonnes of ivory was blocked yesterday by Tanzanian authorities who argued that the tusks were needed as evidence for prosecution of suspected poachers. The ivory in question had been seized by Malawi Revenue Authority in 2013 from two wildlife traffickers, Patrick and Chauncy Kaunda, and the High Court of Mzuzu had ordered its destruction as part of the sentencing on 28th July this year.
An ancient Egyptian raptor mummy from Iziko Museums of South Africa in Cape Town has yielded a world first when researchers discovered the remains of at least two house mice and a small sparrow in its stomach.
Last Tuesday two brothers were fined MK2.5 million ($5,500) each for trafficking 2.6 tonnes of ivory by the High Court of Malawi. Patrick and Chancy Kaunda pleaded guilty to charges of ivory trafficking and money laundering and chose to pay the fine instead of serving the 7 year jail term. ‘To say we were disappointed with the sentence would be an understatement.’ said Hon Werani Chilenga, MP, the Chair of both the Natural Resource Committee and the newly formed Malawi Parliamentary Conservation Caucus (MPCC).
Cecil the lion is dead, killed illegally in Zimbabwe by Walter Palmer, an American dentist and recreational big-game hunter who paid about $55,000 for the privilege. The details of Cecil's killing are disturbing — and they're important for understanding why this has become such a controversy. The majestic lion was lured out of a national park with food, shot with a crossbow, tracked for 40 more hours, then finally killed with a gun the following morning, before being beheaded and skinned.
University of Washington biologist Samuel Wasser is a pioneer in using DNA evidence to trace the origin of illegal ivory and help police an international trade that is decimating African elephant populations. The broadest application yet uses DNA from tons of ivory samples associated with large-scale trafficking. Results show that over the past decade, ivory has largely come from just two areas in Africa -- one each for the forest and savanna elephants. The findings are published June 18 in the journal Science.
Thirty oiled African penguins and four orphaned African penguin chicks were admitted from Bird and St. Croix islands over the past three weeks, after being rescued by rangers from the Marine Section of the Addo Elephant National Park (SANParks). The first seven penguins will be heading back into the wild on 20 June at Seal Point Lighthouse (Cape St. Francis) after being succesffully rehabilitated and approved for release by SANCCOB’s veterinary team.
An undercover survey of the Port of Mombasa by the Elephant Action League & WildLeaks reveals important vulnerabilities and weaknesses in shipping security procedures and confirms how corruption facilitates the role of the port as a major hub in ivory trafficking, with serious national and international security implications.
The German foundation KfW Stiftung has split the environmental award KfW-Bernhard-Grzimek-Preis 2015 and the prize money of 50,000 euros, awarding one half to Emmanuel de Merode, director of Virunga National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the other half to the scientist and economist Pavan Sukhdev.
Africa Point, together with the African Conservation Foundation, launches three dedicated Conservation Safari Itineraries featuring world-class game viewing that will visit and directly benefit several essential Conservation projects in Kenya.
In November 2014, the Environmental Investigation Agency released its report Vanishing Point, revealing how a combination of criminality and corruption in Tanzania had caused the country to lose more elephants to poaching than any other African nation. Figures in the report made for sobering reading. According to the Government’s own figures, the elephant population in the Selous ecosystem had crashed from 38,975 in 2009 to just 13,084 by late 2013. The population in the Ruaha-Rungwa ecosystem declined from 31,625 to 20,090 during the same period, making it home to more elephants than any other region of Tanzania.
The Government of Congo will incinerate nearly five tons of seized ivory, fuelled by seized timber, in a strong show of Africa’s opposition to wildlife crime. The ceremony will precede the announcement, in Brazzaville, of the first pan-African strategy to combat the illicit trade in flora and fauna. The document and a draft action plan will be taken to the African Union Summit to be held in Durban in June.
African Heads of State, government representatives and experts are gathering at the International Conference on Illegal Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora in Africa where they will develop a common roadmap to end wildlife trafficking on the continent. The Conference will seek to advance the first-ever Africa-wide strategy and action plan to tackle the illegal trade in wild fauna and flora, to be further considered at the next African Union Heads of State Summit later this year.
Last Thursday Malawi’s World Wildlife Day commemorations caught the attention of the world when the President, His Excellency, Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika, stepped out to lead the country’s biggest demonstration of support so far in the fight against wildlife crime. And whilst the planned burning of 4 tonnes of ivory was postponed, there were strong words from His Excellency on the Government’s intentions. “Today we will not burn the ivory, I am told there is a court case on the same and once that is concluded, we will burn all the 6.6 tonnes together. The destruction of the ivory stockpile is not merely an action of government to protect the future of the country’s dwindling elephant population but also to send a strong signal to the rest of the world about Malawi’s commitment to the fight against wildlife crime.”