Archive for the ‘poaching’ Tag

Sorry, But Wolf Slaughter Is Not American   9 comments

October 28, 2013 by JAMES WILLIAM GIBSON

Graphic Photo: Vigilantes in Wyoming Enact “Justice” Against Wolves

masked wolf hunters

“Fed Up in Wyoming” reads the caption under this stunning photograph posted on a hunter’s Facebook page (reproduced here under Fair Use). The photo is yet more evidence that, two years after political reactionaries led a successful campaign in the House of Representatives and then the Senate to remove the North Rocky Mountain gray wolf from the endangered species list, the slaughter of wolves continues to escalate as wolf hunters fall deeper in their paranoid fantasy that the wolf represents a liberal conspiracy against rural communities.

The Facebook page  that originally posted the image belongs to two Wyoming hunting outfitters, Colby and Codi Gines. The Gines run CG Wilderness Adventures, headquartered in a highly remote part of Wyoming’s Bridger Teton National Forest, bordering on the southeast section of Yellowstone National Park.  “Wyoming is God’s country, and we invite you to come see it for yourself,” says the Gines’ website.

Their invitation evidently does not extend to wolves. Driven extinct in most of the continental US in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the wolf returned to the American landscape in 1995, when the US  Fish and Wildlife Service reintroduced 66 wolves captured in the Canadian Rockies to Central Idaho and Yellowstone National Park. Conservationists saw as the return of the wolf as a crowning accomplishment to renew the wilderness, and millions of Americans came to celebrate the wolf’s comeback. But by 2009 a virulent opposition movement opposed to the wolf had formed. Made up of hunters and outfitters, ranchers, and far-right groups, these forces coalesced around a cultural mythology in which  wolves became demons — disease ridden, dangerous foreign invaders  — who served as icons of the hated federal government. (Read Cry Wolf, our in-depth report on this issue.)

With the Klan-like hoods and the ostentatious display of the American flag, the photo is a glimpse into the mentality of those behind the anti-wolf campaign. There is, apparently, a cohort of people who view the destruction of wild nature as something to be celebrated, something quintessentially America. They are play acting at both patriotism and rebellion. And, in their play-acting, they reveal a great deal about the paranoid fantasies that have gripped some people in the age of Obama.

The Facebook comments following the photo are especially revealing. Among those who LIKE this page is Sportsmen Against Wolves, a group whose “About” statement is, “Sportsmen against illegally introduced Canadian Gray Wolves.”  Here’s one wolf-killing friend, J. Weeks, commenting on the photo: “Kill all federally funded terrorists. ” To some, the reintroduction of wolves represents Washington’s treason against civilization itself: “Yet another brilliant bleeding heart program…reestablish the bloodthirsty critter that every civilization from the dawn of time has tried to eliminate,” says Johnny W.  To Sarah H., the wolf killing is just self-defense: “I imagine they don’t want any wolfies to come after them or their families!” Then Haines complained that only one had been killed — there “should be a pile of them tho!”

The white hoods, with their echoes of Jim Crow-era terrorism, were actually celebrated by some commenters.  “Redneck KKK” wrote Austin T. One fan, Julia G., argued that the wolf hunters should be more brazen, posting,  “Next time they go full REGALIA.”

For their part, the Gines prefer to call the hoods the sign of “Vigilantes,” a way of “Trying to make a statement!…Frontier Justice! Wyoming hunters are fed up!” John  P. concurred, “Yeehaw…looks like modern day Wyoming rangers taking care of business!!!!!”

Some commenters suggested that the wolf hunters wore hoods to protect themselves from government persecution. One supporter of masked men posted, “I fully understand the masks…Keep on killing guys.”

It would seem that wolf hunting is the wildlife version of George Zimmerman’s vigilantism – self appointed keepers of order waging a battle against an imaginary enemy.

Or maybe it’s worse, and the wolf hunters with their KKK masks are more like shades of Timothy McVeigh. The cammo gear, the rifles – it’s as if the wolf hunters were  fighting a guerrilla war against Washington. As if they were worried that at any moment a US Fish and Wildlife Service black helicopter would swoop down and a SWAT team emerge, assault rifles blazing.

But it’s a phony rebellion against a phantom menace. The wolves aren’t actually any danger to people or much of a threat to ranchers’  livestock. And the US government permits them to be killed. There’s no real transgression here requiring a mask. It’s all theater meant to self-impress.

In April, 2011, the House and Senate sponsored a “rider” on a federal budget bill that removed gray wolves in the Northern Rockies from the protection of the Endangered Species Act. Here’s the very long story in short: Democratic Senator Jon Tester faced a rough challenge in the 2012 Montana election, and sacrificing wolves as expendable was deemed politically expedient to win the race. Wolf hunts renewed in Idaho and Montana that fall. Legal challenges by environmental groups against the delisting failed.

Wyoming took until 2012 to win full federal approval for a plan to declare the lands near Yellowstone a “trophy zone” with wolf quotas. In most of the state, wolves can be killed year round without limits. The Gines’ hunting operation is in “Wolf Hunt Area 3.” In late October they reported killing two wolves, filling its quota of three wolves (one had been hunted earlier). Whether the wolf in this photo is one of the three legally killed is not known.

The Northern Rockies have become an unsupervised playpen for reactionaries to act out warrior fantasies against demonic wolves, coastal elites, and idiotic environmentalists — the members of these latter two categories being “two-legged” wolves. The sheer extremity of the hatred shown to wolves, and the bizarre juxtaposition of the KKK-like hoods and American flag, plainly expose this movement for what it is: A scapegoating of the wolves by men and women who have succumbed to their own rage against imagined enemies. And while the failure of federal, state and local political leaders to denounce the anti-wolf movement illuminates their moral failure, history offers encouraging instances of public indignation creating change from below.

Take, as just one example, the eventual take-down of Senator Joe McCarthy. After years of cynical Red-baiting, including accusing high ranking military and intelligence officials of treason, McCarthy was eventually brought to a kind of justice. McCarthy  accused the US Army of harboring Communists and, in June 1954, in the course of a televised Senate investigation of the Army-McCarthy conflict, McCarthy accused a young lawyer working for Army counsel Joseph Welch of being affiliated with communism. After McCarthy repeatedly pressed his accusations, Welch savaged McCarthy: “Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator. You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?” Welch’s indignation broke the spell McCarthy had cast upon the nation and ended his political career.

Perhaps this latest wolf snuff photo will bring a similar kind of justice and force the public to declare, in no uncertain terms, that wolf killing is un-American. Maybe it will force people to ask:  When will this indecent killing come to an end?


Source

P.S. This is what it would look like if wolf management was left to stateside hunter’s association groups and not in federal care! I’m in no way claiming that USFWS have no faults but I’m quite sure that the U.S. would have even more trouble with poaching, trapping etc, than they do today. This is my personal opinion. Colbby and Codi Gines Facebook page does not exist anymore, although their website does: http://www.cgwildernessadventures.com/index.php?page=home

I took it upon myself to write a shocontact infort e-mail to them in which I conveyed my own point of view to them and how utterly disgusting I think their line of business is. If there is anyone else out there who feel like doing the same you will find their contact info on the last page.

It makes me sick to see such a majestic animal murdered in cold blood!

Hunters Say Trophy Hunting Helps Animals. Here’s Why They Are Wrong.   2 comments

October 05, 2015 Source

Ever since the death of Cecil the lion, the world’s been looking at trophy hunting a bit more closely. While many people have condemned the practice as cruel, ardent big game hunters have stood up to defend it, arguing that it’s a selfless act of conservation and that both animals and local people benefit from the hobby.

But with wildlife populations in Africa continuing to plummet — and with iconic species at risk of disappearing in our lifetime — these defenses don’t hold up. Here’s why.

Shutterstock

“The money goes to local communities.”

Big game hunters say they help support local communities and conservation efforts by paying for big game hunts. However, while hunters pay roughly $200 million each year for big game hunts in Africa, only around 3 percent of those funds go to local communities, and the amount dedicated to conservation efforts is nearly negligible. The overwhelming majority of hunting fees ends up lining the pockets of middlemen, large companies and local governments.

“Hunting helps wild populations.”

Big game hunters argue that killing can help a species by removing older animals from the population, or say that they trust governments to set sustainable hunting quotas.

Unfortunately, in practice these arguments don’t hold up. For one, some governments are more interested in how much a dead lion can bring them than in establishing sustainable hunting limits. For example, there are around 20,000 to 35,000 wild lions left in Africa, depending on whom you ask, and big game hunters legally kill around 600 each year. That’s an annual population loss of 2 to 3 percent, which is entirely unsustainable, even if you don’t add in deaths due to poaching and livestock protection.

And while nature likes to pick off the weakest members of a population, big game hunters target the largest, strongest members of a population. For lions, that means the male pride leader; for elephants, the oldest elephant with the biggest tusks. Killing these animals, who play a crucial role in their societies, puts the rest of their families at risk.

Shutterstock

For example, killing a male lion with an impressive mane leaves his fellow pride leaders open to challenges from other males. If a new male does come in, they could kill an entire generation of cubs, which means that the permit for one lion hunt leads to the death of several animals.

And the loss of older elephants means leaving male or female youngsters without guidance — which can actually lead to so-called teenage delinquents who are more likely to have negative interactions with humans, and therefore be killed.

The loss of any animal also means the loss of any offspring they could have parented, a knock to conservation that goes far beyond taking just one animal out of the population. And while some proponents of big game hunting advocate for only killing animals who have already contributed their genes to the population, most animals will continue to propagate until they die.

Of course, the biggest rebuttal to the hunting-helps-populations argument is in the numbers. Lions have lost 95 percent of their population since the 1940s. The African elephant population has dropped from several million at the turn of the century to roughly 500,000 today. During the past century hunting has been the primary — if not only — method of conservation, but the perilously low numbers of these animals proves that hunting is ineffective as a conservation method.

And even with these reduced populations, trophy hunters still kill around 105,000 animals in Africa every year, including 600 elephants and 800 leopards, at a time when every individual is crucial to the survival of the species.

Shutterstock

“Canned hunting helps repopulate animals.”

Some hunters tout canned hunting — an unsportsmanlike practice in which lions and other animals are bred in captivity then released into pens where they can’t escape so hunters can shoot them — as a sustainable alternative, arguing that canned hunting incentivizes captive breeding, which can be used to repopulate wild populations.

But animals bred at canned hunting facilities are completely unsuitable for release. Taken away from their mothers at just a few days old and raised by humans, the lions are incapable of surviving on their own. Many of them are inbred, which means breeding with wild lions could weaken the species’ gene pool. And releasing a captive-bred lion into wild lions’ territory could lead to fighting, upsetting the delicate balance — and the safety — of existing prides.

Shutterstock

“Hunting helps protect locals.”

Local communities often find themselves at odds with African wildlife. Elephants destroy crops; lions and other predators can target people or livestock. These animals are often killed — and tourism hunting is often encouraged — in the name of protecting humans from African wildlife.

But as human lands continue to increase, animals continue to be pushed into smaller and smaller territories. In many cases these negative interactions are the result of animals simply trying to survive. Iconic African wildlife is at risk of disappearing, and the solution is to learn to live with animals, not keep killing them.

Shutterstock

“It’s an industry that Africa couldn’t do without.”

While trophy hunting does bring in some capital to African countries, it makes up as little as 1.8 percent of tourism revenues. The majority of tourists come to see Africa’s wildlife, not kill it. And if big game hunting continues to deplete that wildlife, it could take down the other 98 percent of Africa’s tourism income.

An individual animal, particularly if it’s a member of the more iconic species, is worth far more to a country alive over the course of his lifetime than dead. Need proof? Look at Botswana. Beginning in January 2014, the country banned almost all hunting after comparing the conservation cost of big game hunting with the income generated from photo tourism: The photo tourism season is longer, makes better use of animals and employs significantly more locals. In the first year of the ban, the country brought in around $344 million from nonlethal tourism.

Of course, changes can take getting used to, but in an age when iconic species are at risk of being lost forever, killing any individual animal for sheer pleasure — especially in the name of conservation — is highly counterproductive.

To find out more, watch Blood Lions on Wednesday, Oct. 7 at 10 p.m. ET on MSNBC.

The views expressed here are The Dodo’s and do not necessarily reflect those of MSNBC.

By Ameena Schelling – Email: ameena@thedodo.com – Twitter: @amschelling

———–

Poacher survives buffalo attack   2 comments

From:  Nehanda Radio.com

Jan, 01, 2015 by admin

A 36-year-old man, Given Ndlovu from Jambezi under Chief Shana in Victoria Falls has been admitted at Mpilo hospital after he was attacked by a buffalo.

Poacher survives buffalo attack

 

Zimbabwe Parks and Wild Life Management Authority, Caroline Washaya Moyo said it has since been established that Ndlovu and three other people who are at large were poaching buffaloes when he was attacked at night.

The accused and his accomplices are alleged to have met a group of buffaloes which they tried to fight using spears leading to his attack by the animals.

Ndlovu faces charges of contravening the Parks and Wildlife Act chapter 20.14 and will appear in court when he recovers.

 

Tips sought in Ione-area elk poaching case   Leave a comment

From:  The Spokesman-Review

Dec. 16, 2014 by Rich Landers

Around midnight on Dec. 2, 2014, a spike bull elk was unlawfully killed by someone using a spotlight and high-powered rifle at about milepost 2 on Sullivan Lake Road near Ione.  (Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife)

Around midnight on Dec. 2, 2014, a spike bull elk was unlawfully killed by someone using a spotlight and high-powered rifle at about milepost 2 on Sullivan Lake Road near Ione. (Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife)

POACHING — Washington Fish and Wildlife Police are asking the public for tips to help solve an elk poaching case in Pend Oreille County near Ione.

Around midnight on Dec. 2, 2014, a spike bull elk was unlawfully killed by someone using a spotlight and high-powered rifle at about milepost 2 on Sullivan Lake Road.

According to officer Severin Erickson:

 A full size pickup (unknown color) possibly with an extended cab was seen spotlighting the elk herd.  One shot was fired from the suspect vehicle. This was the only bull left in this herd after hunting season. The suspect vehicle was then seen leaving the area. Sheriff’s deputies arrived on scene within 15 minutes, but were unable to locate the suspects. The suspects did not return.  It is unknown why the suspects left the elk to waste.

These types of poachers are stealing from all of us ethical sportsmen and women.

  • If anyone has any information that might lead to an arrest,  contact Officer Severin Erickson on his cell phone at (509) 671-0086.
  • Poaching activity also can be reported by calling 1-877-933-9847, or by emailing WDFW atreportpoaching@dfw.wa.gov.

You always have the choice to remain anonymous when reporting.

Violator information that leads to a conviction, could be eligible for a cash reward (up to $500), or hunting bonus points (up to 10 points). Hunting bonus points provide a greatly improved chance for drawing special permits for hunting.

In addition to these rewards offered by WDFW, the Pend Oreille County Sportsman’s Club is also offering a $500 reward for information leading to an arrest in this case.

Map of Washington highlighting Pend Oreille County

Map of Washington highlighting Pend Oreille County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Great Lakes Wolf Patrol – WOLF PATROL LAUNCHES REWARD PROGRAM IN RESPONSE TO WOLF POACHING IN MICHIGAN   Leave a comment

From:  GoFundMe

UPDATE #36

December 11: A Michigan based group, Great Lakes Wolf Patrol announced today that it was offering a $1,500.00 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone who illegally kills a wolf in Michigan, Wisconsin or Minnesota. The announcement comes in response to recent wolf killings in the Upper Peninsula and an upsurge in Facebook sites that promote illegal wolf killing, such as “Wisconsin Wolf Hunt & Wisconsin Wolf Hunting” whose public comment logs encourage readers to “SSS” (Shoot, shovel and shut-up) and kill wolves out of season.

Organization members will be circulating reward posters in the areas where two dead wolves were recently found near Newberry and the the town of Gulliver with the hope that the cash reward will provide an incentive for residents to come forward. “We want to assist Michigan and other states’ conservation officers in their investigations of illegal wolf killing.” said Rod Coronado, the group’s founder.

Great Lakes Wolf Patrol was founded this year to document and investigate the recreational hunting of gray wolves in Montana and Wisconsin. The group monitor’s hunters and trappers during each state’s wolf hunting seasons and worked with Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources this Fall to investigate illegal wolf trapping during the October hunt. Last week, Wolf Patrol members documented this nation’s only hound hunt for wolves in northern Wisconsin.

Video footage of their monitoring projects is available online at: wolf patrol.org and Facebook:
Wolf Patrol.

WANTED
Information leading to the arrest and conviction of poachers responsible for killing wolves in Mackinac and Schoolcraft Counties.

On 11/26/14, a wolf that had been shot, was dumped near the Mackinac-Luce County line, southwest of the town of Newberry. In a separate incident, a radio-collared wolf that was part of a wildlife study was killed, and its collar disposed of, near Gulliver in Doyle Township.

A reward is being offered for information that leads to the arrest of the subject or subjects involved. Anyone with any possible information on these cases is asked to call the Report All Poaching Hotline at 800-292-7800, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or to contact their local DNR office or conservation officer. Information may be left anonymously. Callers may remain anonymous and still be eligible to receive a reward.

Contacts: Debbie Munson Badini, 906-226-1352 or Lt. Skip Hagy, 906-293-5131, ext. 4100, MI DNR

*$1,500 REWARD*
*In addition to any reward offered through the Michigan DNR reward program. Great Lakes Wolf Patrol will pay $1,500 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of anyone who illegal kills a wolf in the state of Michigan.

 


 

Friends of the Wolf,
My name is Rod Coronado and I’ve organized the only citizen monitoring project in the nation, whose aim is to document and lobby to end the recreational hunting of gray wolves in the Great Lakes region. We are a 100% volunteer group comprised of citizens from all walks of life, who are united in our opposition to the state management of wolves.

Our goal this Fall is to document the Wisconsin wolf hunt, which begins on October 15th. We will be present in the field with not only our own documentation crew, but two independent video journalists as well who are working on international news stories. We also support the indigenous nations of the Great Lakes, who are united in their opposition to the wolf hunt.

With your support, we will repeat what we were able to achieve in Montana this September, where we generated national media attention on the recreational killing of wolves outside of Yellowstone National Park (see Yellowstone Wolf Patrol, or our website/Facebook sites: wolfpatrol.org and Wolf Patrol) Our aim is to create a citizen-led movement dedicated to monitoring public activities on our public lands. We do not believe that wolf recovery has been achieved, and are greatly concerned that state management of wolves is dangerously reducing wolf populations to levels that could once again, threaten their viable existence in their traditional territory in the lower 48 states.

We need funds to pay primarily for our transportation costs and food to maintain an encampment in Wisconsin’s wolf hunt zones, where we will remain as long as our support can be maintained. Please consider joining our campaign by supporting this project so the wolves of the Great Lakes will have physical representation for the duration of the 2014-15 wolf hunting season.

GREAT LAKES WOLF PATROL IS A LEGAL COALITION OF CITIZENS COMMITTED TO NONVIOLENT OBSERVATION, DOCUMENTATION AND MONITORING OF PUBLIC POLICIES ON PUBLIC LANDS. WE DO NOT INTEND TO HARASS OR INTERFERE WITH WISCONISIN DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES PERSONNEL OR LAW-ABIDING HUNTERS.

Wishlist: Bottom of article

 

 

Three held with leopard skin   Leave a comment

From:  Business Standard

Three suspected wildlife smugglers were arrested from Premnagar area of the city after being found in possession of a leopard skin.

Anil, Sajid and Sartaj were arrested late last evening on a tip-off from Premnagar when they were about to deliver the leopard skin to someone in the tea estate area, police control room said here today.

The leopard skin is two-months-old and it is being sent to the Wildlife Institute of for examination.

3_leopard-skin-India

 

 

Abalone poacher on Mendocino Coast sent to prison   3 comments

From:  The Press Democrat

 

A Sacramento man was sentenced Friday to state prison for poaching abalone on the Mendocino Coast, a rare punishment for the crime.

Dung Van Nguyen, 41, was sentenced to 32 months in state prison and taken into custody, Mendocino County Deputy District Attorney Tim Stoen said.

Nguyen, a previously convicted abalone poacher, pleaded guilty in September to a misdemeanor count of poaching abalone for commercial purposes and a felony count of falsifying an abalone report card. In doing so, he admitted to falsely claiming he had not taken any abalone on an original abalone report card in order to obtain a duplicate card, said Stoen, who files a majority of the county’s abalone cases as a coast-based prosecutor.

Stoen said he’s sent just three other people to prison for abalone poaching-related crimes in Mendocino County because poaching alone — even in egregious cases — is just a misdemeanor.

Three Bay Area residents accused of taking 59 abalone for commercial purposes last month face only misdemeanor charges, he noted.

The per-person daily limit on abalone is three. The annual limit is 18.

Stoen said it is difficult to get felony charges filed against poachers. It requires convictions either for filing false documents, as in Nguyen’s case, or conspiracy to take abalone for commercial purposes, Stoen said.

Abalone poaching is a major problem on the Mendocino Coast.

“It’s a scarce resource. It’s terrible when these people just come up here and abuse it,” District Attorney David Eyster said during a recent interview.

Stoen said he filed 313 abalone poaching cases last year.

Some of the cases resulted in lifetime fishing bans and large fines for the defendants. Eighteen abalone poachers arrested in a black market sting last year recently were ordered to pay more than $139,000 in fines. Eleven were given lifetime bans from fishing, according to Fish and Wildlife officials.

Stoen commended state Fish and Wildlife officials for their efforts to halt abalone poachers. But he’d like to see their hard work result in harsher penalties to better deter the crime.

“They should definitely be made more strict,” Stoen said of the penalties.

You can reach Staff Writer Glenda Anderson at 462-6473 or glenda.anderson@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @MendoReporter

Reward Offered in Wolf Poaching Cases   2 comments

From:  WILX.COM

Posted: Thu 2:14 PM, Dec 04, 2014

A reward is being offered for information that leads to the arrest of whoever is responsible for killing two wolves in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

The first case happened on November 26, near the Mackinac-Luce county line, close to M-117 southwest of Newberry. The wolf was found near County Road 468, dead from a gunshot wound. Investigators determined it had been killed at another location and then dumped there.

The second poaching happened in Schoolcraft County near Gulliver, also on November 26. In this case, the wolf— which was part of a wildlife study– was killed and the tracking collar was removed and thrown away.

Wolves are a protected species in Michigan and cannot legally be killed except in the defense of life.

If you have any information that can help investigators, call the Report All Poaching Hotline at 800-292-7800, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or to contact their local DNR office or conservation officer. Information may be left anonymously. Callers may remain anonymous and still be eligible to receive a reward.

The maximum penalty for poaching a wolf is 90 days in jail or a fine of up to $1,000, or both, plus reimbursement of $1,500 to the state for the animal. Poaching convictions also usually include a suspension of hunting privileges for a period of four years.

 

ISS: Poachers without borders   2 comments

From:  Airbus Defence & Space

Written by ISS Africa, Wednesday, 19 November 2014

A poached rhino.

Worldwide, the value of organised environmental crime is estimated to be between US$70 and US$213 billion annually. Global development assistance, by comparison, is estimated at US$135 billion per annum.

Developing states are losing much-needed revenue and opportunities to environmental crime, and this crisis should be at the heart of the both the development and security debates in Africa. Central to this is the often transnational nature of environmental crime.

The recent indictment in the United States (US) of the infamous Groenewald brothers has again shown how criminal networks and syndicates often use multiple countries to further their trade in wildlife, particularly in Africa.

The brothers, whose syndicate was made up of a number of professional hunters and veterinarians, tried to use loopholes and fraud to circumvent South African and US laws. One of their methods was to have American hunters kill rhinos (which the hunters were told was legal), after which the brothers would sell the horn to lucrative markets in Asia. Multiple countries and nationalities were therefore involved in the supply of the horn to Asia.

While the brothers’ syndicate already faces numerous charges in Pretoria, US lawmakers have initiated additional charges against them, including wildlife crime, mail fraud and money laundering, using the Lacey Act of 1900. The Lacey Act is a powerful piece of legislation that prohibits violations of US and foreign wildlife laws, and can enact harsh penalties as well as financial restitution.

Environmental crimes are notoriously difficult to prosecute across borders given the manner in which crimes are legislated. Environmental crime law is made up of international treaties and conventions, national laws, provincial laws and even city and district by-laws. Unlike, for instance, the trafficking of drugs, it is far harder to separate the legal from illegal in environmental crimes. For example, abalone caught in South Africa has, in several cases, easily been passed off as legal abalone from a neighbouring country.

Diplomatically, South African government officials have experienced a mixture of successes and failures in investigating and prosecuting such crimes. While some governments, such as the US, have been accommodating, the reception from many East Asian countries and other African countries has been less than welcome, as environmental crime is not seen as a priority issue.

Furthermore, the level of interaction between different governmental institutions has been notably low. The signing of memorandums of understanding (MOUs) between the governments of South Africa and Mozambique on biodiversity protection, as well as previous MOUs with countries such as Vietnam, are a step in the right direction. However, South African officials continue to lament the lack of international cooperation in wildlife crime.

The failure of governments to act may, in part, be due to corruption. Equally, a lack of state capacity and political will could also contribute. Yet, environmental crime ought to be placed at the centre of both the development and security debates in Africa. Failing to respond effectively to these crimes may have a host of disastrous consequences.

One example is illegal fishing and the dumping of hazardous waste being linked to the growth of piracy on the east coast of Africa. It has been argued that fishermen, unable to survive due to rampant illegal overfishing and water pollution, had to turn to piracy as a means to survival. Another significant example is the reliance of many African militias and armed groups on environmental crime such as illegal logging, resource theft and poaching. Armed conflicts like those in the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are heavily funded by the proceeds of environmental crime.

Making environmental crime a priority area in diplomacy, and developing legislation similar to the Lacey Act, must be treated with urgency across the continent. Taking the profit out of crime and providing embattled countries with restitution for the exploitation of natural resources is an essential step.

Importantly, legislation should be expanded and harmonised to support prosecutions. A recent Africa Prosecutors Association workshop on environmental crime also recommended that specific environmental crime legislation, in line with the African Union Model law on Universal Jurisdiction and international guidelines, should be promulgated.

While these steps will not cover all stages and locations in the supply chain, it is an important phase in prioritising environmental crime and framing this crisis as part of a broader debate on development.

Written by Khalil Goga, Researcher, Transnational Threats and International Crime Division, ISS Pretoria

Republished with permission from ISS Africa. The original article can be found here.

 

Poaching and Civil War Aren’t the Only Threats to Africa’s Dwindling Population of Mountain Gorillas   1 comment

From:  Vice News

By Elaisha Stokes

November 5, 2014 | 8:35 pm

Wildlife poachers and the African continent‘s seemingly perpetual civil wars were long thought to be the greatest threats facing the last remaining population of mountain gorillas in the world. Now, say conservationists, disease transmission from humans to primates might pose an even greater danger to their existence.

“Gorillas are not immunized against a lot of the viruses we get as humans,” explains Eddy Kambale, a veterinarian with Gorilla Doctors, a group founded in 1986 and dedicated to treating sick or injured gorillas in the wild. “One virus can kill an entire population.”

Mountain gorillas are critically endangered, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Fewer than 900 of them remain in the lush forests that straddle the borders between the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda, and Uganda. Kambale and the Gorilla Doctors aim to ensure that the population remains healthy and stable.

VICE News caught up with Kambale in the Virunga National Park in the DRC. He was checking up on a family of gorillas, but was particularly anxious to locate an injured adult male named Mawazo, who he treated two weeks previously.

Eddy Kambale, a veterinarian with Gorilla Doctors, records data on a family of mountain gorillas. (Photo by Elaisha Stokes)

Gorillas share about 95 percent of their genetic make up with humans. This makes disease transmission between the two species particularly easy. The recent outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, which may have originated from infected bushmeat, is just the latest instance of how the health of humans and wildlife are sometimes intimately connected.

But the problem cuts both ways.

“The most common illness we see in gorillas is respiratory disease, like influenza,” Kambale told VICE News. Gorillas, he adds, are most likely to pick up the virus from visiting tourists. Because of this, wildlife enthusiasts, who want to catch a rare glimpse of a gorilla in its natural habitat, must wear a face-mask covering the mouth and nose. The stakes are high — infectious disease accounts for about 20 percent of gorilla deaths in the wild.

Kambale has worked with gorillas since 2004 and is accustomed all sorts of setbacks. He’s been charged by angry primates and detained by rebel armies that patrol the contested eastern region of the DRC. But, standing in the lush Virunga National Park, a different sort of problem has frustrated his search for the injured gorilla — bush elephants, which cut a huge path through the jungle, obscuring the mountain gorillas’ tracks.

South African Environment Minister: We appreciate western help against poaching but we need Asia’s. Read more here.

“It’s difficult to find the real trail, the one that belongs to the gorilla,” he told VICE News, as the roar of several elephants echoed through the trees. “Not to mention, elephants are very aggressive. They can kill you.”

Park rangers tasked with tracking the gorillas join Kambale on each of his expeditions, providing assistance and security. They’re armed in case of stumbling upon angry elephants, or worse, a poacher.

Kambale says that with so few gorillas remaining in the wild, national park officials check up on the animals every day. But the daily interaction between trackers and primates, like the presence of tourists, comes with the risk that the trackers might infect gorillas with some sort of sickness.

After hours of trekking through towering groves of bamboo and avoiding vicious army ants and thorny bramble, Kambale and his team locate Mawazo and the family over which he presides. The group has eight gorillas, most of which are males. Mawazo and another silverback named Kidogo, says Kambale, are at war over the few females in the group. While Mawazo had consistently emerged the winner, the fights are taking a toll. On Kambale’s last visit, a chunk of skin hung from above Mawazo’s left eye, making him more susceptible to infection.

Mawazo suffered a wound when fighting with another silverback, making him more susceptible to illness. (Photo by Elaisha Stokes)

When an gorilla gets sick, Kambale and his team might administer an injection of antibiotics using a dart gun. In critical cases, the team sometimes separates an injured gorilla from the rest of the group in order to suture wounds. It’s risky work — family members often become enraged when one of their kin is isolated, sometimes becoming aggressive and charging at the veterinarians.

“It’s hard to make the decision to intervene,” Kambale told VICE News. “In life, there is never zero risk, anywhere.”

Kambale takes notes on the health of each individual. He monitors the pace of their breaths and scans their eyes and nose for any liquids that might indicate the onset of illness. Everyone seems healthy, says Kambale, snapping a few photos of the group, particularly Mawazo, whose wound seems to be healing well.

A young scientist makes a remarkable discovery in New York City. Read more here.

An hour has passed since finding Mawazo and his group and the sun is beginning to slip behind the mountain. It’s time for Kambale and his team to make the trek back home. The gorillas too must start to build their nests where they will sleep for the evening.

Kambale will return in a couple weeks to check upn on Mwazao. By then, he may have lost his fight to Kidogo. Either way, Kambale says he will be there to help keep the family healthy.

In the last 25 years, Gorilla Doctors has performed over 400 medical interventions. This year alone they have treated two outbreaks for respiratory disease among mountain gorillas. Neither resulted in casualties. With the right approach to veterinary care and a well-managed tourism program, Kimbale remains hopeful that these animals will continue to inhabit Virunga National Park for generations to come.

“Our job is to save the gorillas, one at a time,” he said.

Elaisha Stokes is a 2014 International Women’s Media Foundation reporting fellow in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Follow Elaisha Stokes on Twitter: @ElaishaStokes

Image via Flickr

 

Opulence

Luxury, Sustainability, and Beauty.

Jen Dionne's Website

One Family's Adventures in Windsor, CO

One Mom's Journey with CrossFit

Relentlessly Pursuing Excellence in CrossFit & In Life

AtoZMom's Blog

Where God, Life, & Community Meet UPDATE: BSF'S ONLINE CLASS REGISTRATION OPEN HERE: https://www.bsfonline.org/

Stigfinnaren i Älvsund

vägen inåt är vägen framåt

Wildlife in Deutschland

Naturfotografie von Jan Bürgel

MyYellowFeather

Your guide to style! 💛

European Wilderness Society

Our passion is Wilderness and its wildlife

The Divine Masculine

Striving for the balance between Anima and Animus

On Life and Wildlife

Thoughts on a wild life in wild places

CBS Denver

News, Weather & Sports For All Of Colorado

Busiga mor

My Home My Place My Life My Story

emmzeebee.wordpress.com/

A self-confessed blogaholic since January 2017

THE OBSESSIVE WRITER

Because life is too overrated to ignore

Hugh's Views & News  

A man with dyslexia writing about this and that and everything else!

Discover

A daily selection of the best content published on WordPress, collected for you by humans who love to read.

Mrs S. London

She's Whiskey In A Teacup

Sizzles & Strings

Hostel-friendly recipes from an aspiring little chef. Fire Burn & Cauldron Bubble.

Over the Border

Man made borders not to limit himself, but to have something to cross. ~Anonymous

%d bloggers like this: