Posts Tagged With: elephant

A tragedy larger than Harambe

harambe zinci zoo

Harambe, Cincinnati Zoo

A silverback gorilla, a toddler, and a decision to be made. The untimely demise of Harambe is stirring debate across the country.

Forced to act quickly, the zoo’s response team was in an unenviable position. Animal behavior is unpredictable, they’re wild. But so are people.

In 1996 at the Brookfield Zoo a toddler fell into the gorilla exhibit, in 1999 a man was found dead with a killer whale at Sea World, in 2009 a woman jumped into the polar bear enclosure at the Berlin Zoo, in 2012 a toddler fell into an African Wild Dog enclosure; the list goes on.

It makes you wonder, should enclosures be made to keep animals in? Or to keep people out?

Since 1990, animals died during escapes or attacks 42 times in U.S. zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, 15 zoo incidents resulted in the loss of human life, and 110 resulted in injury according to Born Free, USA.

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Gugu the Panda @Beijing Zoo

People entering enclosures range from “accidental” like the toddler in the Brookfield Zoo and the current case with Harambe, to suicidal, and downright deranged. The Beijing Zoo has had multiple occasions of people entering  Gugu the Panda’s exhibit to “hug” him. He’s bitten them every time, but it hasn’t seemed to stop the incidents.

So what is the point in zoos? Do they contribute to conservation? Spark appreciation? Or are they outdated and unnecessary?

When bringing my son to the zoo, we would meander from one exhibit to another, observing the animals; discussing each one, explaining their habits, their likes and quirks. We bonded over our love for animals. He learned appreciation, respect, and the connections all of us as living beings have in the world.

In the age of cell phones, selfies, and convenience, are zoos an insignificant place where the awe and wonder of animals are taken for granted? Is conservation just a trend on twitter? What is more endangered, the animals or our empathy and connection with our world?

phily zoo 1874

The oldest zoo in America is the Philadelphia zoo, opened in 1874. The first animal was a raven.

 

 

 

 

Categories: Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Burn baby burn

I spoke to Chinese visitors who were astounded to see these mountains of ivory. After explaining where the tusks come from and the burn they agreed to pose with a tusk. It’s raw form is not beautiful or shiny; it is smelly, dirty and has hack marks on it. I explained why. At first she had no words. she just stared at the stacks. Then she called her friend and said, “I will tell Chinese people not to buy ivory”.

This was the experience of Paula Kahumbu, conservationist and CEO of Wildlife Direct, discussing Kenya’s upcoming ivory burn.

10000 dead elephants keny burn

The largest burn in history: 106 tonnes of ivory, 10,000 dead elephants (or to put in in perspective a 30 mile train of elephants trunk to tail) will be destroyed April 30th in Kenya

More than a “display”, the burn will transpire after a much larger event, the Giant’s Club Summit. African leaders, corporate leaders, members of the UN, USFWS (US Fish and Wildlife Service), and conservationists are among some of the approximate 200 invitees.

This event demonstrates not only the commitment of the Kenyan government to protecting its wildlife, but also gives hope and encouragement to neighboring countries, and the world.

Kahumbu believes Kenya has “turned the corner” in its ongoing struggle with poaching. Elephant poaching has decreased by a whopping 80%, and rhino poaching by 90% in the country. Although the battle is far from over, conservationists are finally beginning to even the playing field.

THIS

Elephant herd in Amboseli. photo: FFR

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Making a Difference, Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Ranger Emmah

Name: Emmanuel

Age: 24 years old

Location: Tanzania Mwanza region

Emmah ranger

Ranger Emmah

I choose to be a ranger because when I was young I got interested in wild and domestic animals.  The issue of conservation is in my blood and was also my dreams, because my father also is a veterinary.

When the time goes and the population of human beings increase, so does the issue of poaching of animals such as elephants and rhinos and antelopes. That activity make me unhappy so I told my father that I want to study in a College of Wildlife Management; when I was studying my ambition was to be working in a National Park or Game reserve.

What has been your most rewarding and most difficult moment as a ranger?

As a ranger my most rewarding time is during Summer season because of the infrastructure of road is good when moving from one place or one point to another point. The most difficult time as a ranger is during the Winter or rain season because of the infrastructure is not suitable.

How much do you work, what is your schedule like?

I work day and night, summer and winter, all seasons of the year to ensure that our wild animals who are mostly sought after by poachers are surviving and are not killed.

ugali-nyama

Ugali is a dish of flour cooked with water to a porridge- or dough-like consistency.

What’s your favorite meal?

Ma favourite meal is Ugali,Rice and meat or fish

Where would you like to travel someday?

 Here in Africa I would like to travel to South Africa and see how rhino are protected and conserved there. But the other place which I would like to travel is Europe, in a country such as the UK or France.
 
What do you think we can do to make a difference and ensure a future for rhinos?
 
 To ensure a future for our Rhino we need  to make sure that we have enough tools and equipment such as guns, cars, shoes, combat essentials, and communication equipment such as satellite phones or radios; and enough funds for the ranger for training and  good knowledge and experience in conservation issues.
 We also need to make sure that villagers and local people are well-informed about the importance of wild animals; and to destroy the market for rhinos in Asian countries.
All in all we must tell the world that only Rhino wear horns.
Emmah ranger 3

   Emmah

Categories: Ranger Heroes, Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Respect the Rhino

Rhino attacks on humans are extremely rare. By nature they are mainly solitary animals and will only charge if feeling threatened, something more common in the case of a mother protecting her calf.

Animals rarely, if ever attack without warning. The key is to be aware of the signs they exhibit. In the case of rhinos, they will show their irritation with curled tails, snorts, or stomping/digging at the ground.

When they get irritated enough, the first charge is often a “mock” charge, stopping short of a full on attack.

We were once charged by a male rhino who was following a female and calf, in hopes of breeding. The warning given to us was a quick snort and prolonged stare in our direction. He charged at the vehicle but stopped short of any real damage.

Needless to say, we apologized and left very quickly.

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The male in the front was hoping for further “romantic” pursuit with the female in the back. Unfortunately we were intruding. This was the last shot before he lifted his head and let his displeasure be known. photo: Fight for Rhinos

In the case of the rhino, and more commonly heard of elephant “attacks”, it is almost always the fault of humans getting too close and not respecting the signs of the animals.

Following nature’s rules is a matter of common sense.
1. Never get too close, maintain a respectful distance; especially in the case of a moving animal. If he is coming in your direction, don’t block the way.
2. Be quiet. The beauty of being in close proximity is in being a part of the environment. Do not make loud sounds or unnecessary noise.
3. Pay attention to an animal’s body language. Gauge the situation, if an animal is in musth or has a little one close by, back off.

Remember this is THEIR home. You are the guest.

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In a more comical “attack”, this baby elephant flared his ears, shook his head and mock charged us, while his family continued to browse around him. photo: Fight for Rhinos

 

 

 

 

Categories: Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Amazing Lammie

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Lammie resting in the shade. photo: Fight for Rhinos

There are no limits to the variety of residents taken in at the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre. With a specialty in cheetahs, they also house a feisty zebra, retired circus lions and poaching survivors Dingle Dell and Lion’s Den.

But in 2014 a special little rhino was brought to the centre; Gertje, or little G, as he affectionately became known. The orphaned little rhino was traumatized after witnessing his mother brutally poached. Even with the diligent compassion and nurture from his human caregivers, he needed something more.

At 3 weeks of age, Lammie was brought to the Centre and introduced to Gertje. The unlikely duo quickly formed a bond, following each other by day, sleeping together in the evenings.

Not long after, Matimba, another orphaned rhino was rescued and introduced to the duo. Once again, without hesitation, Lammie welcomed the new orphan, the odd little family grew to three.

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Feeding time means three heads often vying for the same bowl. Lammie seems to have no concept that she is somehow the smallest of the three. Photo: Fight for Rhinos

This last year has seen the family grow again, with the addition of orphan rhinos Stompie and Balu. And with the photos of the quartet, as always she is a familiar face never far off.

gert matimba stompie balu lammie

Gertje, Matimba, Stompie, Balu and Lammie. Photo: HESC

She is not partial to rhinos, as she recently showed with her mothering skills of Amanzi, the baby elephant.

lammie with ele

Click photo for video. Lammie and Amanzi via Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre

 

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Lammie photo: Fight for Rhinos

The now 2 year old lamb has been an integral part to so many lives; part watchdog, part companion, part mother-she is a special girl; playing a larger role in the rehabilitation of her endangered companions.

Although she seems to have no idea. She is simply content with her share of the love, always there to “help” clear the food bowls and receive her pat on the head.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Rhino Ramblings, Rhino Spotlight | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The heart of a rhino

                                                                                                                                                                              

Did you know the heart of a white rhino weighs approximately 22 lbs,

while the smaller Sumatran rhino heart is 10-12 lbs?

white rhino heart weighing 22 lbs

White Rhino Heart: William Perez’s Veterinary Anatomy Facebook

In comparison, an elephant heart weighs 26-46 lbs, and a human heart merely 11 ounces.

white rhino duo at Lewa

White rhino duo at Lewa Conservancy in Kenya

Categories: Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ranger Coulran

Name: Coulran

Age: 28 years old

Location: Mpumalanga, SA

I did my field rangers course at one of the best college in southern African, SOUTHERN AFRICAN WILDLIFE COLLEGE AND AFRICAN FIELD RANGERS TRAINING SERVICES,  I’m proud to have been a product of them thanks to the opportunity they offered me and other rangers, though it was not an easy road.

Coulran in bush

Coulran on duty

What has been your most rewarding and most difficult moment as a ranger?

The most rewarding moments as a anti poach ranger is when I spend more months without poaching within the reserve and believe me I wish I can spend my whole life without poaching activities. That motivates me as it shows that me and my colleagues we doing a marvelous job.

The difficult moments is when I wake up in the mornings and wear my uniforms with the thought that I may not make it back to the camp as I may occur a battle contact with poachers. When I don’t arrest poachers when they trespass our reserve as they are one step ahead of me and my unit members.

How much do you work, what is your schedule like?

The way I work can’t be really specified as it’s not a daily routine but what I can say is it all depends on my ops manager and what schedule he brings that day or night. I work 9 hour mornings or nights. It’s like 2 weeks on nights,  2 weeks on days and 2 weeks bush camp. In total I work 42 days and get 14 days off.

I do patrols and ambushes during work.

Where would you like to travel someday?

I would like to travel to Asia and Botswana. In Asia I would want to see where are they selling this rhinoceros horns,  and in Botswana to learn how they keep the low rate of illegal rhino poaching because they are doing a great job.

What’s your favorite meal?

My favorite meal has to be pap and bull brand beef as it keeps me strong during those hard and long hours during work in the bush; and I won’t forget my grannie’s cooking I adore everything she cooks.

What do your friends/family think of your profession?

Couran on dutyMy family, especially my granny couldn’t understand why I chose anti-poaching while I could’ve been a doctor or some good office work, as I did very well in my matric and my other dream was to be a charted accountant.  But I had a soft spot for this species.But they support me and always call me to check if I’m still okay. As for my friends; those who know me they do support and wish me the best of luck.

I strived so hard to be where I am as it was not an easy journey to be an anti-poaching ranger. I dedicate my life for the animals and I’m proud to be a ranger .LET THE ROAR OF THE AFRICAN LION BE HEARD!

Categories: Ranger Heroes, Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

There is a little lion in all of us

cat lion gif

For all who see the beauty in lions, elephants, rhinos, giraffes…there is a little wild magic in our hearts…we are brothers and sisters; our hearts will always beat to an African drum. -TW

Categories: Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

World Elephant Day

elephant world cartoon

“What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, man would die from a great loneliness of spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to man. All things are connected” -Chief Seattle

Categories: Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Cecil’s Final Roar

The killing of Cecil the Lion demonstrated the reality of “Big Five” trophy hunting, and struck a chord with the world’s conscious.

The fact is that trophy hunting is not only legal, but encouraged in countries as a means of making money. As the adage goes “Money Talks”.

With public criticism and disdain for the hunts,  money is undoubtedly the bottom line with the recent decisions of seven major airlines, who declared they will no longer transport animal parts on their flights.  No airline wants to be seen as complicit in the practice.

This is an example of how public opinion and pressure can fuel change. YOUR voice, YOUR choices do have an impact.

This is a major victory, and we commend the following airlines for taking a stand:

thank you airlines

Photo: Lobby for Lions

Categories: Good News, Making a Difference, Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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