Archive for the ‘IUCN Red list’ Tag

British Photographer wins Award drawing attention to “South Africa’s Rhino War”   Leave a comment

From:  SA people News

December 15, 2014 By

British photographer Richard Humphries, who recently won an award for his graphic photographic portrait of “South Africa’s Rhino War”, describes the poaching scenes he witnessed in the Kruger National Park as nothing less than a “full-on war”.

Rhino Poaching in South Africa

Photo: Richard Humphries

Richard has a history with South Africa, having lived in the country, with his wife Jill, for three years from 2009 to 2012 (and they “LOVE it”), but when he visited earlier this year, from their new base in Malaysia, he was shocked by what he came across.

Richard told SAPeople that he returned “for a visit with the intention to explore the Rhino story while I was there.

“Nothing could have prepared me for what I saw. I can only describe it as a full-on war – a war between the anti-poaching teams, and well-armed, well-funded, criminal syndicate gangs.”

Rhino Poaching in South Africa

Photo: Richard Humphries

He cites Limpopo and Mpumalanga province as representing the front line of this Rhino War, with the small town of Hoedspruit – where he was based with Protrack anti-poaching unit – as being the “Forward Operating Base” for anti-poaching teams, thanks to its proximity to the Kruger.

Rhino Poaching in South Africa

Photo: Richard Humphries

In his entry, which won him the Neutral Density Photo Award for Special Photographer of the Year, Richard explains that “Anti-Poaching teams provide security for the game parks within the Kruger area by using highly trained units to patrol large game areas,” but he adds that “despite being well trained, heavily armed, and connected to a deep intelligence network, the Anti-Poaching units often find themselves one step being the criminal gangs.”

Rhino Poaching in South Africa

Photo: Richard Humphries

Richard’s award-winning photos were all taken in January and February this year in the Kruger Park area…and reveal some of the true horror of the poaching that is driving a species to extinction.

In “South Africa’s Rhino War”, Richard points out that:

  • The Tragic Numbers
    A record 1,004 rhinos were killed in South Africa in 2013, up from 668 in 2012, a 50 per cent increase in just one year. If this trend continues in 2014 we will reach the tipping point for Rhinos by the end of the year. By the end of 2014 we will start to be in the negative in terms of deaths and poaching outstripping birth, and the population will start to decline very quickly.
  • The Endangered Lists
    According to the 2013 IUCN Red List the Southern White Rhino is near threatened and the Black Rhino is critically endangered.
  • The Insatiable Demand
    A seemingly insatiable demand for Rhino horn from the medicine markets of Vietnam and China is feeding this madness. Driven by a common belief in Asia that ground-up rhino horns can cure cancer and other ills, the trade has been embraced by ruthless criminal syndicates that normally traffic drugs and guns, but have now branched into the underground animal parts business because it is seen as a low risk, high profit enterprise.
  • The Value
    Rhino horn is now worth more than gold and cocaine on the black market.

As Richard writes, “rhino poaching is fast becoming an epidemic, and one of the most pressing conservation issues in the world today.”

Let’s hope that more international figures like Richard bring attention to this crisis in our land, and on our planet, and that we can turn the tide and save the Rhino. We need all the help we can get…

View more of Richard Humphries’ award-winning “South Africa’s Rhino War” photographs here. 

 

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Serow: Eaten to the brink   1 comment

From:  The Star Online

BY TAN CHENG LI

Endangered species: Serows in a zoo. Already rare in the wild, they are now in further decline due to poaching. — Filepix

Endangered species: Serows in a zoo. Already rare in the wild, they are now in further decline due to poaching. — Filepix

 

Serows are being hunted and traded in Peninsular Malaysia, in violation of strong wildlife laws.

We all know about tigers, elephants and rhinos going extinct. But there is one little-known animal that is just as endangered – the Sumatran serow (Capricornis sumatraensis). This antelope-like mammal inhabits mainly an unforgiving habitat of steep forested mountains, limestone hills and quartz ridges, and so have remain little-studied.

However, they have not escaped the scrutiny of poachers. Just like tigers, pangolins, turtles, tortoises, sun bears, rhinos and deer, serows, too, are hunted for their meat and body parts.

The easy availability of serow meat in exotic meat restaurants, as well as seizures of serow body parts (used in traditional medicine and for purported magical purposes) from smugglers reveal that hunting of this species might well be rife.

Researchers from Traffic, the wildlife trade monitoring group, have raised concerns that poaching is driving the species to decline in Peninsular Malaysia.

A paper, Observations of Illegal Trade in Sumatran Serows in Malaysia by Traffic South-East Asia regional director Dr Chris R. Shepherd and programme manager Kanitha Krishnasamy, states that “despite robust legal protection, widespread poaching and illegal trade continues”.

“Few people know what serows are or are even aware of their existence, and therefore this remarkable animal receives little attention from conservationists, researchers or enforcement agencies,” they say.

Of the six species of serow found worldwide, only one occurs in Sumatra, Peninsular Malaysia and southern Thailand.

Though found throughout the peninsula, they appear to be concentrated largely in the north, especially in the states of Kelantan, Perlis and Perak. Many of the populations are believed to be small and isolated.

Wildlife sanctuary

In 1936, the Klang Gates Quartz Ridge in Ulu Klang, Selangor, was gazetted as a wildlife sanctuary chiefly to protect the serow.

The species, however, is rarely seen there now due to hunting. It suffers a similar fate in Bukit Takun, Selangor, and also Genting Highlands.

Aside from being hunted for trade, the species is also threatened by habitat destruction caused by limestone quarrying, logging and habitat fragmentation by roads, plantations and other human-altered landscapes.

All these have pushed the species to the category of “vulnerable to extinction” in the Red List of Threatened Species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

A wildlife officer with serow body parts seized from a bomoh couple in Kampung Ulu Jepai, Lenggong, Perak, in 2007. — Filepix

A wildlife officer with serow body parts seized from a bomoh couple iin Kampung Ulu Jepai, Lenggong, Perak, in 2007. – Filepix

 

In order to highlight the threats to the serow and its conservation needs, Traffic had compiled information on illegal hunting and trade of the species between 2003 and 2012. Serow meat is prized among consumers of wild meat.

In a 2012 survey of restaurants serving such fare, Traffic researchers discovered serow to be the most commonly observed totally protected species on the menu, being sold for up to RM30 per serving. Of the 165 restaurants that were surveyed in Peninsular Malaysia, 18 offered serow meat: Johor (six), Pahang (five), Perak (three), Malacca (three) and Selangor (one).

Based on seizure reports, the researchers found that at least 10 serows were hunted in the Belum-Temengor forest in Perak between 2009 and June 2013. Serow hunting is known to be both targeted and opportunistic. In forests where wildlife poaching is common, the species is also threatened by snares, which indiscriminately kill a wide range of species.

In April 2012, Traffic staff had encountered a man who had a serow head soaking in oil, at a rest stop along the East-West Highway, some 15km from Belum-Temenggor forest. The following month, Traffic researchers detected a serow hunter on an online forum frequently used by army personnel. The hunter had explained in detail how he tracked the elusive animal in the Temengor forest, the weapons used, and hunting hotspots.

Totally protected

The serow is totally protected under the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010. So, anyone found guilty of hunting, taking or keeping serow parts or derivatives is liable to a fine of between RM100,000 and RM500,000. The minimum fine goes up to RM200,000 if the offence involves a female serow, and RM150,000 if it is a juvenile serow. Offenders also face a possible jail term of up to five years.

Also, the serow cannot be traded internationally, as it is on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Under the International Trade in Endangered Species Act 2008, anyone caught importing or exporting serow parts can be fined between RM200,000 and RM1mil, and can be jailed for up to seven years.

Despite laws with bite, there has been minimal prosecutions. The Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) has recorded only 10 confiscations of serow parts in the 10 years from 2003 to 2012, and only five cases resulted in convictions (see table).

One of the goriest find was that of six chopped up serows, which were being boiled by a couple who were both bomoh (shaman) in March 2007, in Lenggong, Perak.

However, for reasons unknown, the couple, said to have been using serow parts for healing rituals for over 35 years, were not prosecuted.

Information on illegal trade of serows which has been collected by Traffic has been passed on to Perhilitan for action.

Unfortunately, the researchers say the outcome of these reports is not often known or made publicly available. They urge Perhilitan to intensify monitoring of restaurants selling wild meat, traditional medicine shops and faith healers, and to take action against violaters. They also call on the judiciary to issue maximum penalties to offenders, to serve as a deterrent.

 

Behind the Fur Coat: The Story of Chinchillas in 20 Photos   Leave a comment

From:  People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

To celebrate the excellent news that Sweden’s last chinchilla fur farm has just been closed down, we decided to take a closer look at these sweet animals – and how they suffer at the hands of the global fur trade.

  1. Swedish animal rights group Djurrättsalliansen rescued the 243 surviving chinchillas from the farm in Enköping, Sweden, which was closed down following alleged breaches of animal welfare laws.
    Rescue shot
  2. The group is now working with the police to press charges against the owner of the fur farm.
    Chinchilla in cage (blurry)
  3. The chinchillas are being transferred to new homes. Some needed veterinary treatment for sores from being forced to wear painfully tight collars around their necks.
    Highlighted sore neck copy
  4. Progress! In 2000, there were 25 chinchilla farms in Sweden – now, there are none, thanks to tireless campaigning by Djurrättsalliansen and other groups.
    Baby in hand
  5. But around 80,000 chinchillas are still being farmed for fur across Europe – and many more globally.
    Single cage
  6. Chinchillas originate from the Andes in South America, where their thick fur allows them to survive cold mountain temperatures.
    CC Chinchilla wild
    DSC05341” by Chris Smith Ronnie Shumate / CC BY 2.0
  7. Sadly, that same fur has led to millions of them being killed so that hard-hearted humans can turn their skins into coats, scarves and throws.
    pcases_422.11_015
  8. In the wild, chinchillas are now critically endangered as a result of humans hunting and trapping them for their fur.
    Chinchilla on rock
    Chinchilla” by qiv / CC BY-SA 2.0
  9. Chinchillas are quiet and shy, with a natural lifespan of 10 to 20 years.
    stock chinchilla
  10. On fur farms, they’re typically killed when they’re just 8 months old – often, in horrible ways.
    pcases_422.11_011
  11. One PETA US investigation documented a farmer breaking chinchillas’ necks with his hands as they squealed in terror. In Europe, they’re usually electrocuted before being skinned.
    pcases_422.11_007
  12. More than 200 chinchillas may be killed to create just one fur coat.
    Chinchilla fur coat.
  13. Chinchillas are highly social, and in the wild, they live in colonies with more than 100 other individuals.
    2 together
  14. On fur farms, they’re likely to be kept in tiny individual cages, piled on top of one another, where they are never able to interact with other members of their species.
    Cages piled
  15. Their natural behaviour includes taking dust baths, exploring rocks and crevices, playing and jumping up to 6 feet.
    Chinchilla in house
  16. In barren fur-farm cages, chinchillas can do none of these things.
    pcases_422.11_001
  17. With their huge dark eyes and kooky big ears, chinchillas are ADORABLE.
    CC Chinchilla RSPCA
    Living in the RSPCA” by Daniel Hall / CC BY-SA 2.0
  18. They’re also notable for being kind to one another. For example, if a chinchilla mum has problems producing milk to feed her babies, another female will often step in to assist, while male chinchillas will often help out with babysitting.
    Wildpark_Klosterwald_Chinchilla_01
    Wildpark Klosterwald Chinchilla 01” by  cherubino / CC BY-SA 3.0
  19. One day, hopefully, humans will learn to be kind to chinchillas, too, and stop slaughtering them in order to make gruesome pieces of clothing.
    CUTE
  20. Be part of the solution by pledging never to wear fur and speaking out against retailers that still sell it.
    Take Action Now
    Sad one

Images 1-5, 13-15, 19-20: Djurrättsalliansen

Panthera pardus saxicolor   Leave a comment

Such a lovely cat being very unlucky around people. Saddening!!

First Light Productions

In the past 40 days alone, seven rare Persian leopards have been killed or injured in Iran by poachers, food poisoning and cars, according to Iranian media reports.

The leopard most recently harmed was found in a forested area in the north of Iran with one front leg cut off by a foot-snare trap. After transporting the large male to a veterinary center, radiography showed he was suffering from more than 50 small pellets and bullets scattered throughout its body and could not move due to spiral cord damage. His prognosis is dire.

The Persian leopard, one of the mascots of the Sochi Olympics and the largest member of the cat family in Iran, is considered an endangered subspecies on the IUCN Red List.

An unreliable estimate of the leopard population in Iran is 550-850 individuals. Little scientific data about them has been collected. It is known that their population…

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