Jimmy the “pet” rhino

In 2007, photographer David Hulme came across a baby black rhino near the body of his poached mother. He took the little orphan to family friends, Anne and Roger Whittall, in Zimbabwe.

They named him Jimmy. Incredibly, they successfully raised him, and he quickly became a part of the family, bonding with Anne and befriending the family dogs. Even years after he was released, he still came to visit them regularly.

Jimmy Rhino at dining table by caters news agency

Jimmy rhino at kitchen window by caters news agency

Jimmy Rhino still visits Carters News Agency

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Because every so often hearts need to be lifted

This video is three years old. Ntombi’s not so little anymore, but this bit of footage still serves as my reminder of what we fight so hard for, and as medicine to settle my often broken heart.

 

 

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Could gun control help curb poaching?

Recently a research organization in Switzerland called the Small Arms Survey reported on weapon trends in relation to elephant and rhino poaching. Here are the highlights from that report (via Rachael Bale @ National Geographic):

No one’s tracing guns. The Small Arms Survey found that weapons and ammo collected at poaching sites are rarely entered into Interpol’s firearms tracing system, even though doing so could help law enforcement track criminal networks as well as build cases against major players.

“It’s difficult,” Carlson said. “A lot of African countries do not have the capacity to carry out the types of forensic activity that is required.”

Governments need to do a better job securing seized weapons. There have been at least a couple of cases where guns seized by police in Mozambique later showed up at poaching sites. That means either the police did a pretty bad job of storing the weapons in the first place, or they actually helped leak the weapons to the poachers.

kws with seized firearms by tony karumba

KWS (Kenya Wildlife Service) with confiscated guns and ammo from poachers. photo: Tony Karumba

It’s just too easy to get a gun in Africa. Aside from leaky stockpiles of seized weapons, there are plenty of other ways for poachers to get guns. Wealthy Sudanese businessmen have been known to provide guns, night vision goggles, and other equipment to poaching teams, the survey researchers were told. Sometimes it’s the military itself using state-issued guns to do the illegal killing. And there are plenty of people willing to trade guns for ivory. A 2015 National Geographic investigation found support for the claim that Sudan’s military trades guns to the brutal Lord’s Resistance Army in exchange for ivory, and other armed groups in Central Africa are also suspected to be trading ivory for guns.

Military-style rifles are cheaper. Large-scale poachers tend to prefer hunting rifles—with their long range and ability to take down an elephant or rhino with a single shot—the report says. But assault rifles and light machine guns are really growing in popularity, especially among the highly organized poaching groups. Military-style weapons in the vein of Kalashnikovs are cheaper (so is their ammo) and easier to come by than hunting rifles. Guns have been documented coming from Libya, Angola, Burundi, Mozambique, Sudan, and South Sudan.

 

 

 

 

 

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We need you! Sorry for technical difficulties.

mom and baby at umlamiAttention: Paypal is currently experience a technical issue.

We thoroughly appreciate and need donations. Please check back to DONATE.

 

 

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Waiting Game

ranger in tall grass

photo: unknown

Broken laces,

Thin soled boots

Uniforms worn as second skin.

Rifle at ready

Watching, waiting, listening

Time ticks

As silence invites to be broken.

Night’s campfires can’t warm,

Day’s heat smothers like a thick blanket

Minds wander, sleep beckons

Time ticks

Yesterday a success

for death found neither

ranger nor rhino and

life resumes.

Will tomorrow bring the same?

The hours will tell

Time ticks

as shift draws toward a close.

Back home families wait

and wonder.

 

By Tisha Wardlow

 

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What would Trump’s presidency mean for wildlife?

Trump’s opinion on the Environmental Protection Agency:

TRUMP: Environmental Protection, what they do is a disgrace. Every week they come out with new regulations.

Q: Who’s going to protect the environment?

TRUMP: We’ll be fine with the environment. We can leave a little bit, but you can’t destroy businesses.

Source: Fox News Sunday 2015 Coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Oct 18, 2015

Trump and son Justin Appenzeller

Trump and son at an interview with Field & Stream. photo: Justin Appenzeller

On the governmental budgeting and handling of public lands, Trump eludes to leaning on his sons (avid trophy hunters and defenders of the killing of Cecil the Lion) for advice:

 “..the good thing is, I’m in a family where I have—I mean, I’m a member of the NRA, but I have two longtime members of the NRA. They’ve been hunting from the time they were five years old and probably maybe even less than that. And they really understand it. And I like the fact that, you know, I can sort of use them in terms of—they know so much about every single element about every question that you’re asking. And one of the things they’ve complained about for years is how badly the federal lands are maintained, so we’ll get that changed.”

During the same interview, his son Donald Trump Jr commented: “It’s really all about access. I mean, I feel like the side that’s the anti-hunting crowd, they’re trying to eliminate that access—make it that much more difficult for people to get the next generation in.”

On his sons’ trophy hunting:

trump boys kill leopard by hunting legends

Trump sons in one of several known trophy hunts. photo: Hunting Legends

“My sons love to hunt. They are members of the NRA, very proudly. I am a big believer in the Second Amendment. Eric is a hunter and I would say he puts it on a par with golf, if not  ahead of golf.”

Source: Daily Mail

On the building of the “wall” separating the US and Mexico:

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service predicts that a solid barrier running along the entire U.S.-Mexico land border, like the “great, great wall” that Donald Trump wants to build, would affect 111 endangered species, 108 migratory bird species, and four wildlife refuges and fish hatcheries. That would be an ecological disaster..

Source: Slate.com

Trump on Circus elephants:

TRUMP circ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trump on climate change:

Throughout the campaign Trump has challenged the urgency of addressing climate change using a variety of explanations from saying that the issue was “created by and for the Chinese” and that he believes climate change is merely weather. His energy policy proposals—to the extent that he has any—suggest a similar view. He has promised to “cancel” the Paris Agreement to address climate change and to expand the use of coal.

Source: Time

AYR, SCOTLAND - JULY 30: Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump drives a golf buggy during his visits to his Scottish golf course Turnberry on July 30, 2015 in Ayr, Scotland. Donald Trump answered questions from the media at a press conference held in his hotel. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Although Trump has called climate change a hoax, he recently set out to build a seawall to protect his golf course from it’s effects. Photo: Jeff Mitchaell/Getty images

 

 

 

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Terrorists and the Rhino

With terrorism overshadowing our daily lives on a global level , it’s easy for the poaching epidemic to take a backseat on the list of top concerns. Yet, there is an undeniable link between the two.

For groups like Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab, Al-Qaeda, *up to 40% of the organizational funding for weapons, training, basic supplies and operational costs; come from ivory.

terrorists

Getty Images

These groups are often the “middle men” along the chain of trade. Paying poachers less than $100 usd to do the dirty work, they gain approximately $2000/kilo in the sale of the ivory. Rhino horn is also a valued commodity for the terrorists, at a whopping $65000/kilo on the black market. An easy cash flow with little risk.

Stopping the actual poachers is meaningless, if others along the chain are not sought out. And in this case, stopping the middle men means ending the bloodshed for more than just rhinos and elephants.

victims of terrorism cartoon

*Investigation by  Nir Kalron (Founder & CEO of Maisha Consulting) and Andrea Crosta (Executive Director & Co-Founder of the Elephant Action League)

 

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A “Bullet” for future poachers

The anti-poaching units work long hard hours in harsh conditions. They are tough, skilled, dependable and absolutely imperative to the survival of our remaining rhinos. And some of them aren’t even human.

Welcome Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centres newest recruit: Bullet.

Bullet

Bullet is an 8 week old Malinois. He will already begin his training within the week! Anti-poaching dogs are HIGHLY effective in the war on poaching, but can cost up to $10,000 for one animal!

We have so far raised approximately $400 toward Chloe’s training, and are looking to further help Bullet and other members of the canine APU team at HESC.

Your help is needed and appreciated! DONATE via Paypal and please help spread the word! With your help, someday soon Bullet will be able to easily sniff out ammunition and gun powder just like Chloe!

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Update on Chloe

Thank you to everyone who’s donated or purchased a tee. So far we have raised $270 toward Chloe’s anti-poaching class!

She has started her training, but still needs $852 to cover the total ($1152.00) Here’s a glimpse of her hard work-this is Chloe identifying rhino horn:

Please consider donating through our Paypal link.

 

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Endangered Animals: the new “collectible” in China

Rhinos horns have been coveted as a use in traditional Chinese medicine for over 2000 years.

Over the last few years, rhino horn powder has trended as a status symbol in Vietnam. It is used as a “party drug” for the elite.

rhino horn powder afp getty

Woman grind horn into powder. photo: AFP/Getty

Now, rhino horn, along with pangolin scales, tiger bones, and ivory are being kept as collectibles.

China’s social elite is stockpiling the products in anticipation of their extinction. They  prefer wild “products” over farm-raised,as they see more worth in them. Wild animals are thought to be more potent as well.

tiger bone wine

Tiger wine, made from their bones, is being kept or “aged” with hopes of increased value if they become extinct. photo: unknown

Endangered species have become the new collectible. According to John R Platt,  as more collectors have entered the market, killing endangered species has grown increasingly profitable. Ivory wholesale prices, for example, have shot up from $564 per kilogram in 2006 to at least $2,100 today.

Just one rhino horn nets about $100,000. Helmeted Hornbill beak can fetch over $6,000 per kg, and a tiger skin rug is worth $124,000.

helmeted hornbill by species on the brink

Helmeted hornbills, from Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia, are so rare, numbers are not quantified. Their beaks worth more than ivory. photo: Asian Species Action Partnership

Investing in the death of our world’s wildlife is a greedy, unforgivable endeavor. The faster the rich wipe out our animals, the poorer we all become.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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