Posts Tagged With: Nigeria

Nigerian Kidnappings: The Link to Poaching

Rhino and elephant poaching is detrimental not only to the rhino and elephant, but to global security. Poaching profits fund terrorist activity, like the kidnapping of over 200 girls in Nigeria.

funding terrorism

On April 16, armed men took 223 girls from their beds in the middle of the night at their school in Nigeria.  They disappeared into the dense forest near the Cameroon border, and have not been seen since. Boko Haram is the Islamic extremist group responsible. They especially oppose the education of women, and it is believed the militants are selling the girls to be brides of their tormentors.

The Nigerian based  Islamic extremist group fights with advanced weaponry and equipment, which is in high contrast with the poor surroundings of the country. Their funding is vast and somewhat unknown.  In part, they may be receiving funding from other terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda, they also reap benefits from robberies, and poachings.

Boka Haram poaching activity is connected to both rhinos and elephants and spans Cameroon, Somalia and Zimbabwe.

boko harem by reuters

Boko Harem (by: Reuters)

In addition to Al-Quaeda, they are linked to the Somali group, Al-Shabaab, who claimed responsiblity for the Westgate mall attack in Nairobi in 2013. A major portion of that groups’ activities are reportedly funded by poaching as well. Claims are that up to three tons of ivory are bought and sold every month through a coordinated supply chain.

Andrea Crosta, executive director of the Elephant Action League (EAL), has studied Al-Shabaab activity and states that the group makes enough through ivory to support around 40 per cent of the salaries paid to militants.

The issue of poaching is being recognized as a global threat. In 2013,  US President Obama took a strong stance on poaching, issuing an executive order to combat wildlife trafficking.obama

“The survival of protected wildlife species such as elephants, rhinos, great apes, tigers, sharks, tuna, and turtles has beneficial economic, social, and environmental impacts that are important to all nations,” it reads. “Wildlife trafficking reduces those benefits while generating billions of dollars in illicit revenues each year, contributing to the illegal economy, fueling instability, and undermining security.”

One of the methods governments utilize to defuse terrorist organizations, is through tracking their funding. Knowing they are using the wildlife to fund themselves should be reason enough to enact tougher tracking and penalties for poaching. Obviously stopping poaching will not put an end to terrorism, but it would stop enabling them, making it more difficult for them to carry out their inhumane activities.

In the meantime, there are hundreds of families in Nigeria desperately awaiting news on their daughter’s lives. Peace and prayers go with them.

Please sign the petition to draw attention and action to the kidnapped girls: Bring Back Our Girls

where are our chibok girls

Nigerian women demonstration, looking for help to free the girls.

 

(*African Daily News, Huffington Post, The Washington Times)

 

 

 

 

Categories: Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

King of the Jungle Dethroned

Africa’s rhino and elephant aren’t the only animals facing extinction, the African Lion is threatened. It is extremely rare to see a lion over 3 years of age in the wild.??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

*Over the last 50 years, the lion population has plummeted from 200,000 to less than 25,000

*Sadly, the rate of decline is accelerating. While the countries of Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire and the Congo have already lost their lions, Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda expect them to be gone within ten years.

lion map

FACTORS EFFECTING LION POPULATION

Habitat loss and human conflict is partially to blame for their loss. The loss comes from the gradual depletion of the savannah. In an ecosystem that was once larger than the United States, there is only about a quarter of that left today. From this shrinking habitat, comes a population growth which increases human/lion conflicts. People move into an area, bring in livestock which is inadvertently bait for the lions; then when the lions come in and do what their predator skills dictate they do,  the people kill the lions. It’s  a losing situation on both sides.

Trophy hunting/canned hunting is also a factor. (See previous post: https://fightforrhinos.wordpress.com/2013/03/17/shooting-fish-in-a-barrel/). This is entirely preventable. There are currently 160 farms in South Africa alone who legally breed lions just to be hunted. Although the hunts are not completely confined to bred animals, as some ranches capture wild lions and smuggle them in. In a five-year span ending in 2011, there have been 4,062 lion trophies exported out of  South Africa.

These lions were bred to be killed at a ranch that offers canned hunts.

These lions were bred to be killed at a ranch that offers canned hunts.

Canine distemper and tuberculosis have also been widespread.  In 1994 and 2001 there were major Distemper outbreaks  resulting in a the demise of a third of the population.  Tuberculosis  started with infected cattle and moved to buffalo which was ingested by the lions. About 25 lions die each year from TB. Just as importantly, it  has an effect on social behavior, as males are weakened by the chronic disease, leading to a faster territorial male turnover and consequent infanticide, eviction of entire prides and a decrease in  lion longevity.

lions storm

NEGATIVE AFFECTS OF LION DISAPPEARANCE

If this top predator disappears, it will devastate an entire ecosystem. Lions play an integral role in the food chain, regulating the herbivores (i.e zebra, buffalo). Without the big cats, the “prey” will out-compete other animals, causing a reduction in biodiversity and eventual extinction.

Tourism will become non-existent. People go on safari to see not only the lions, but the lion’s prey (zebra, gazelle, buffalo). At the current rate of decline with  Africa’s big 5 (lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo, and leopard) there will be NO safaris.

It seems difficult for people to grasp that the “King of the Jungle” is vulnerable and needs help. But without human intervention, it seems the lions may be a species of the past, only to be seen in pictures. We can’t let that happen.

For more information on lions and how to save them please go to these organizations:

 http://www.lionaid.org/

http://lionalert.org

extremely rare to find a male lion older than the age of three – See more at: http://right-tourism.com/issues/cruel-sports/canned-hunting/#sthash.OsWKD5HF.dpuf
extremely rare to find a male lion older than the age of three – See more at: http://right-tourism.com/issues/cruel-sports/canned-hunting/#sthash.OsWKD5HF.dpuf
Categories: Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Blog at WordPress.com.