Reposted from Conservation India
by Ganesh Raghunathan
Chosen as Picture of the Week
Man-made structures such as open water tanks and open wells are death traps for wildlife — from tortoises, frogs and snakes to elephants. Conservation volunteers near forest areas should map these and work with the Forest Department to close or barricade them to avoid incidents like this.
It was that time of the year again, when elephants slowly started marking their presence. Like every year, there were incidents of households getting hit here and there, thankfully, nothing major though. What is always interesting to note every year is the consistency they maintain in terms of their movement patterns, and also in the damage sites they choose! Early that morning I decided to take off from my daily routine in front of my Macbook’s hypnotizing screen. I went to one of the restoration plots with my colleague Vijay when I got a frantic call informing us about an elephant that had fallen into a tank. There wasn’t a moment to waste. After months of adrenaline rush created by leopards and gaurs, the elephants were back to continue their annual schedule. I rushed to the field with Anand and Vijay. Kulbhushan and Bhagyashree who were visiting also hopped in with us to the rescue mission.
As expected, she was one of our study individuals, part of one of the herds M. Ananda Kumar and our team have been monitoring for the past decade. Her panic-stricken calf, was trumpeting loudly and running around in the vicinity until the forest department staff got close to her. It was no easy task indeed, even for the elephant to attempt a climb. What was fortunate was that the tank was amidst a forest patch, away from houses, which made the tough part of crowd control fairly easy. For a minute, I paused and processed my memories and remembered that the herd was last sighted in that area two days ago. The thoughts of the elephant being in the tank all that while bothered me.
The immediate move by the forest department staff was to demolish the side of the tank so she could use the rubble to climb out, which was also the only practical thing to do there. We set up a go pro camera belonging to Varun Nayar who was in Vaparai as a part of a documentary. You can see the video of how the elephant climbed out of the pit!
Ganesh Raghunathan and M. Ananda Kumar of the Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF) have been working on mitigating Human-Elephant conflict in the Valparai plateau in the Anamalai Hills of the Western Ghats.
About the author
Ganesh Raghunathan currently works on understanding and resolving Human-Elephant conflict.
Tags: animal rescue, elephant, elephant rehabilitation, forest department, human-elephant conflict (HEC), Human-Wildlife conflict, NCF, tamil nadu, tea / coffee estates, valparai
By Tammy Gray
A heated meeting regarding the introduction of Mexican gray wolves south of Interstate 40 highlighted the efforts by the Arizona Game and Fish Department to push the federal government to create a management plan for the wolves.
Winslow City Councilman Marshall Losey reported that the federal plan has no cap on the number of wolves and does not include any sort of plan for managing the population, including attacks on livestock. He noted that, according to information presented at the Oct. 15 meeting, Arizona Game and Fish is working to find a balance between the $28 million federal wolf recovery program and the concerns of local residents.
“I believe they are trying to do the best they can for all of us,” he said. “I believe they are trying to help ranchers as much as possible to manage it.”
Losey noted that the general consensus is that the program cannot be stopped and the wolves are going to be released throughout Arizona, so the best course of action is to try to establish a plan that will limit the population and provide compensation for lost livestock.
“The thought is that there’s going to be a wolf rule one way or the other, so we better get on the right side of this,” he said.
Game and Fish had previously reached an agreement with the Cattleman’s Association for a cap of 100 wolves, but the department has now asked to increase that number to between 300 and 325. According to Losey, Game and Fish officials feel that the federal government will not accept a cap of 100.
“The feds have determined that 100 is not a viable number,” he remarked.
Approximately 35 area residents attended the meeting, which was sponsored by Arizona Game and Fish, and of those around 25 were directly involved in ranching. Some ranchers were opposed to the release of any wolves in the area, while others agreed that the best course of action is to work with the federal government to limit the number of wolves.
“Arizona Game and Fish’s stance is that an unmanaged wolf program will be disastrous. They are looking toward a compensation program for farmers and ranchers,” Losey said. “It’s a matter of trying to manage it rather than buck it.”
The current plan calls for the release of wolves across most of Arizona, including the areas south of Interstate 40 in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest.
“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is advocating releases to extend across the entire state as a means to ensure recovery,” Losey said.
The Navajo County Board of Supervisors recently sent a letter to the federal agency protesting the lack of cooperation with state and local governments in creating a plan for managing the wolves. The letter notes that although meetings were held with state and local agencies, no real cooperation or input was allowed. Navajo County contends that the agency is not complying with the requirements of the Endangered Species Act by refusing to work with affected government agencies.
“Specifically, to date, the service actions, or lack thereof, do not represent a genuine good faith attempt to develop an agreement, or even to actually work with the state and tribal agencies, local governments and stakeholders,” the letter notes.
Losey noted that the action could have a significant impact on many area residents.
“This is a great concern for many ranchers, farmers and outdoorsmen as an increase in the wolf population could have a significant impact on their livelihood,” he said.
He explained that although there may be little chance of changing the plans for the wolf program, the best hope is to work for changes to the Endangered Species Act, which was passed in 1976.
“I encourage people to contact their Congressmen,” he said.
Español: Lobo en el zoo de Kolmården (Suecia). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A story published by The Guardian states that rhino horn is in less demand. This news comes at a time when rhinos have reached the ‘tipping point’ – when rhino numbers are declining from poaching faster than rhino are reproducing.
“A poll conducted by Nielsen for the Humane Society International (HSI) and the Vietnam Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites) found that Rhino horn demand in Vietnam dropped by more than a third in one year.”
Efforts to curb trade in rhino horn appear to be gaining traction
A year long public information campaign to try to deter people from buying and consuming rhino horn was conducted in Vietnam, a key market for the trade of rhino horn.
The public information campaign, done through business, university, school and women’s groups in Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital, focused on dispelling the myth that rhino horn has medicinal value.
Following the campaign, only 2.6% of people in Vietnam now continue to buy and use rhino horn, a decrease of 38%, the report stated.
And there has been a 25% decrease in the number of people who think rhino horn, which is made of the same material as fingernails and hair, has medicinal value. However, 38% of Vietnamese still think it can treat diseases such as cancer and rheumatism.
One Person Can Make a Difference
One woman, an Australian named Lynn Johnson, raised money to launch a series of advertisements in Vietnam that warn people rhino horn is harmful to them and is a bad choice as a status symbol.
Advertisements have appeared on buses and billboards, and an HSI book called I’m a Little Rhino has been distributed in schools.
Ms. Johnson is a business woman with no prior experience in conservation efforts. To that I say, well done.
“The messaging has gone up significantly in Vietnam over the past year which is fantastic,” Ms. Johnson said. “Our campaign targets the users directly but overall the amount of information aimed at Vietnamese has increased markedly.”
Although there are a lot of questions still to be answered in how this data was obtained – for instance, how many people did they poll to come up with these statistics?; has the supply side of the poaching chain slowed down yet? – it’s a hopeful sign that in a short period of time, through education, a focused campaign in the right areas, and the help of individuals like you and me, public perception can be changed.
Behavior then usually follows.
Yes, it appears things are finally heading in the right direction, but this doesn’t mean we can not afford to stop anti-poaching efforts. If anything, these findings only confirm that our efforts are working and that maybe there is a chance to halt demand for rhino horn and save the African Rhino after all.
Read more: http://africainside.org/2014/07/21/beverly-derek-joubert-african-rhinos/
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