Wildlife Conservation News
Peter Fearnhead, CEO, African Parks Network, South Africa
Category: Rhino Conservation
Do you agree with the statement:
Rhino horn belongs only to rhinos?
If you do agree with it, please sign the African Wildlife Foundaton’s pledge, saying “Rhion horn belongs only to rhinos”.
World Rhino Day takes place on 22 September, and the AWF says we must make one thing clearer than ever: Rhino horns are not for sale.
Let’s make it very clear: Rhino horns do not cure cancer or hangovers or any ailments.
But the demand for rhino horn is there, as people believe it has medicinal benefits and is a symbol of high social status.
Rhino horn is made of keratin – as human nails are – and it is as effective as curing cancer as chewing on your fingernails is.
RHINO HORN BELONGS ON A RHINO.
There are less than 6,000 critically endangered black rhinos left. Unfortunately, poachers, traffickers and consumers don’t care. We must stop them.
Please give rhinos your support on this World Rhino Day. Join one of 50,000 wildlife advocates and fight for these rhinos.
All I can say about this petition is PLEASE READ IT, SIGN IT AND SHARE, SHARE, SHARE.
How can anyone shoot animals for SPORT for goodness sake? The organisers of the petition have asked people to share the text below this banner.
I signed a petition on Action Network telling Donald Trump, President of the United States to STOP Shooting Endangered Black Rhinos.
BACKGROUND The US government has issued a permit to US trophy hunter Chris D. Peyerk of Shelby Township, Michigan to shoot a Namibian black rhino for ‘sport’ and bring back its skin, skull and horn into the US.
Black rhinos are critically endangered. Just 5,000 remain in the wild.
It follows a case brought by trophy hunting lawyer John J Jackson, who runs an organisation called ‘Conservation Force’. Jackson is a former President of Safari Club International, the world’s largest trophy hunting group.
‘Conservation Force’ campaigns for hunters to bring home trophies of threatened species. It also lobbies for changes in the law to make it easier to hunt vulnerable species - including lions, leopards, cheetahs, elephants and polar bears, as well as rhinos.
It sued Delta airlines when they previously refused to carry a black rhino trophy. It also sued the state of New Jersey when it tried to stop hunting trophies of threatened species coming in through its air and sea ports.
Jackson has been on at least 38 elephant hunts alone. His trophy room includes the heads and bodies of giraffes, zebras, bears, buffaloes, cougars, leopards, rhinos, lions, wolves, and numerous species of deer and antelope. Several large elephant tusks form the centrepiece of his collection.
He has written the following about trophy hunting:
“Nothing has been so consistently fulfilling to me as my hunting.
“It has stirred an insatiable appetite for more. Without it I would somehow be incomplete.
“I can plainly see the African lion that has leaped into the air the moment its head snaps backward and explodes with smoke from my bullet.”
‘Conservation Force’ has made a number of donations to IUCN and has secured positions on key IUCN committees. Despite not being a scientist, Jackson has been a member of IUCN’s Lions specialist group.
IUCN, through it’s ‘Traffic’ initiative, lobbied CITES delegates to vote AGAINST the proposal to protect giraffes at the recent Geneva wildlife trade conference – as did Safari Club International. The Species Survival Network, an alliance of 80 conservation groups around the world, strongly supported the measure which was proposed by a number of African nations.
The conference also voted to double the number of black rhinos that can be shot by trophy hunters for so-called 'sport'. John Jackson and other ‘Conservation Force’ lobbyists were present at the CITES conference.
These animals need our help and all our voices.
There’s good news from Tanzania. Elephant and rhino numbers have started to rebound after the government cracked down on organised criminal networks who were involved in industrial-scale poaching. These networks were dismantled.
You may have heard about a well-known Chinese businesswoman who smuggled the tusks of over 350 elephants to Asia. The “Ivory Queen” got 15 years in prison as a result.
A special task force was launched in 2016 to fight wildlife poaching.
Elephant numbers had been 110,000 in 2009 but their numbers tumbled, with conservation groups blaming poaching. Ivory turned into jewels and ornaments had caused poaching to surge, thanks to a demand from countries such as China and Vietnam.
Tanzania Travel Guide from Lonely Planet
However, a presidential statement stated last week that elephant numbers have gone up to 43,330 in 2014 (according to the 2015 census) to over 60,000 at the moment.
Rhinos had gone up from only 15 to 167 in the last 4 years. This number 15 is at variance with the CITES estimation of 133 in 2015. Mind you, either way it means the number of rhinos has gone up.
It just shows the damage poaching can do to wildlife numbers – and how that damage can be reversed, with real effort.
Tourism is the main source of hard currency for Tanzania. Wildlife safaris, Indian Ocean beaches and Mount Kilimanjaro are its most famous “attractions”.
Revenues from it were up from $1.9 billion in 2015 to $2.5 billion in 2018.
Tanzania has set aside 32% of its total land area for conservation projects. I must say this doesn’t sound a very high percentage to me, given the amount of land wildlife used to have, but then if it’s for specific projects maybe that makes it better.
Unfortunately, it’s dismissed criticism from environmentalists about a $3 billion hydropower dam project in the famous Selous Game Reserve – which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Still lots of room for improvement, then, Tanzania.
The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy had much to celebrate at the end of 2018 so I thought I'd pick out two things which they are celebrating to tell you about :-)
The Conservancy is located at the foothills of Mount Kenya, and it works to protect and manage of species, initiate and support community conservation and development programmes, and educate neighbouring areas in the value of wildlife.
So here are a couple of successes Lewa had in 2018
17 Rhino Births and ZERO poaching
With their landscape partner Boran Conservancy, Lewa is now home to over 170 rhinos! They are looking forward to reaching the 200 rhino milestone!
The rhinos moved from Lewa to the Sera Community Conservancy are also thriving with rhino birds and no poaching.
There were 17 rhino births in 2018
© Lewa Wildlife Conservancy
The plan is to remove fences between Lewa, Borana and Il Ngwesi Community Conservancy so that there's a secure space for their growing population.
Increase in the survival rate of Grevy's zebra foals
Previoulsy, predation lessened the number of foals who survived into adulthood. This slowed population growth. The good rains in 2018 provided healthy pasture needed for the foals and other wildlife to survive and thrive. There are just 2,800 Grevy Zebra left in the world, and 11% are found on Lewa, so this increase is important.
Lewa recorded an increase in the survival rate of Grevy's zebra foals
©Lewa Wildlife Conservancy
Lewa has also been busy educating 400 Northern Kenya students, teaching them about land degradation and human-wildlife conflict and what they can do to address these challenges. In 2018, 400 students and their teachers visited Lewa and they received lessons on things such as reforestation, water harvesting and wildlife protection.
Find out more about the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and how you can help