Posts Tagged With: government

Rangers thoughts on ‘shoot-to-kill’

On average 2 rhinos and 96 elephants are slaughtered each day.
In the last ten years over 1,000 rangers have been killed.

Should there be a shoot-to-kill policy? Would it help? The controversy is widely debated.
But what do the rangers think?

apu

I spoke to several rangers to get their thoughts.

One ranger said,

“Most of the poachers are poor locals surrounding the wildlife reserves and they see the reserves as their source of income. What is needed is to empower people near the reserves economically, pass on scheme of goats, dairy cows, sending poor children to school… they will become role models to the community and people will begin to appreciates the importance of conserving animals.

We can shoot ten poachers a day, suppose they are all men- surely their families will suffer and later become poachers as means of survival. We shoot at poachers when our lives and that of our friends are in danger but shooting down any poacher it’s not solution.”

poacher-caught-in-garamba

Apprehended poacher in Garamba.

Another who works in a large reserve said,

“I don’t think it will help because we normally look for deep information & investigations on a suspect caught that may lead to their middlemen, bosses etc.”

poacher-caught-in-2014-acquiited-caught-again-2017

These Limpopo poachers were acquitted of rhino poaching in 2014, and just caught for rhino poaching again this month, in January.

But overall most of them were in favor of the policy.

“Keeping them alive sometimes does not help because the source of poaching is dealing with big people, often from government offices. So it’s a bit risky for the rangers who arrest them.”

“This thing of arrest, it throws us backwards to winning this war of poaching. The more that are arrested, the more they are replaced by new poachers.”

“In courts things turn ugly for most of our rangers who killed poachers due to poachers kingpins paying prosecutors money to let their associates off the hook. (If it were a policy, the government would support rangers without the extensive interrogation)

“Yes, yes, yes! They should be shot. Because the rhinos are killed, but also the rangers. I think it is the only way to win this war.”

cameroon-ranger-shot-dead-by-poachers

Cameroon park ranger Bruce Danny Ngongo was shot dead in a poacher confrontation this past December. photo: Cameroon Wildlife Service

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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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Successes in the Poaching War?

Kenya

Graph 1 Kenya

Kenya has been successfully slowing the rate of poaching over the last 2 years. Government is motivated and serious; in 2013 enacting the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act, helping to strengthen the judicial system.

Although there is still work to be done, the overall numbers are promising. Elephant poaching is down 80%, and rhino poaching down 90%.

South Africa

Graph 3 South Africa

South Africa’s poaching rate has seen a slight decrease in reported numbers for the first time since 2008; yet remains dangerously high. Home to 80% of the world’s remaining rhinos, Kruger National Park sees the most poachings. Yet incidents outside the Park are on the rise, with poachers attacking smaller, more vulnerable private owners.

White rhinos @Kruger National Park

White rhinos @Kruger National Park

India

Graph 2 India

In 2015, there were 17 reported poaching in Kaziranga National Park; the largest of  four wildlife parks and sanctuaries in Assam, India; home to 90% of the remaining Greater one-horned rhinos.

Poaching seems to fluctuate here. One of the main triggers of higher poaching directly correlates with encroachers around the Kaziranga National Park. The more widespread the number, the higher the poachings.

Nepal
Graph 4 Nepal

                                The red is poaching deaths, the green is natural mortality.

2015 marked the third year of Zero poaching in Nepal (2011 and 2013 were the other two)

With 10 national parks, 3 wildlife reserves and 6 conservation areas, Nepal is setting the standard for conservation efforts worldwide. The government is committed to conserving it’s wildlife. With emphasis on community involvement, Nepal has entrusted about one third of it’s forests to the people. With local “policing” of the land and animals, not only has poaching stopped, there has been a reduction of poverty as well.

The absence of poaching has led to a 21% increase in the species of the greater one-horned rhinos.

greater one horn and baby assam forest

Greater one-horn (or Indian) rhinos @Kaziranga National Park

Graphs from: Poachingfacts

 

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

2015 poaching stats: what do they mean?

South Africa DEA (Department of Environmental Affairs) has released the “official” 2015 rhino poaching statistics – 1175. This is a decrease from 2014 which was 1215.

Reason for optimism?

Keep in mind the following: Kruger is the size of Israel, not all carcasses are recovered in a timely manner, or at all.  The statistics also do NOT include the following:

One of the first babies of 2016 to have lost his mom to a poacher.

One of the first babies of 2016 to have lost his mom to a poacher.

  • poaching survivors (like Hope)
  • orphans whose mothers are killed, but they are NOT rescued and do not survive alone
  • unborn baby rhinos

While the DEA pat themselves on the back for a “decline” in numbers, reality is this month, there have already been 37 poached at the time of this post, and the orphanages are seeing no shortage of rescued orphans.

In fact there had been a 10% INCREASE in poaching activity in Kruger National Park, where the majority of poachings occurred.

Instead of taking the numbers as a fact, we must look at them as only an estimate. Any way you look at it, that’s 1175 too many. So while the government celebrates, we will continue fighting for change one day at a time.

 

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

The Key to stop Rhino Poaching

In a recent article, a frustrated prosecutor in South Africa made a comparison that rhino poaching cases are treated similarly to shoplifting cases.

Prosecutor Ansie Venter has been working poaching cases in the heart of rhino country for six years. With a high conviction rate, things should be looking up. But instead Venter says “I think it’s still getting busier by the day, but our hands are virtually tied”.

Last December there were 38 poaching cases in the court in just one day in Skukuza!

poached mom rhino with baby near

Rhino poached , her baby orphaned-a familiar scene in South African parks.

South Africa IS the epicenter of the rhino poaching war, but does not have specific legislation designed to address rhino poaching. To say laws need to be strengthened and government needs to become more focused is an understatement. But when the DEA (Department of Environmental Affairs) refuses to even release poaching stats, due to being “too busy”, the incompetence leaves little hope of change from the current party.

In addition to stiffer sentences, Terri Stander, the shadow Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs, believes this:

Terri Stander

Terri Stander

“I believe there are three key areas (to stop poaching):

1. Intelligence needs to be strengthened to disrupt organised crime syndicates
2. There needs to be a concerted focus on demand reduction campaigns in consumer countries
3. Communities surrounding National Parks need service delivery to create an environment for job creation, but also education/awareness campaigns that renew the lost value of being responsible for SA wildlife.”
A multi-faceted, huge mountain to tackle, but not impossible. There is much at stake with winning this war. As Stander puts it  “I see rhino as the face of all wildlife crime – if we can get it right with the rhino – we can get it right with everything else.”
Categories: Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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