Posts Tagged With: safari

Unusual Rhino Encounter in Kenya

Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Kenya: Guests were in for a rare treat on safari. They happened upon this group of rhinos. The unusual part? It was a black rhino mom and calf meeting up peacefully with a white rhino mom and calf.

white and black meet at lewa april 2016 4

white and black meet at lewa april 2016 1

white and black meet at lewa april 2016 3

white and black meet at lewa april 2016 2

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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

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Rhino “Safekeeping” in Question

runnin rhinos

It’s no secret that South Africa has been gunning for legal trade in rhino horn. This has been their agenda all along. But with the recent CITES convention, independent analysis from varying groups and global public pressure; it’s evident they may not get their way.

Yet rhino continue to be slaughtered. So what options do they have?

They could have stricter laws against poaching. Straight jail time with no chance at a lessened sentence or parole would be a good start. Prosecutors who specialize in poaching and trafficking crime, who have no choice but to implement the stricter law, and a shoot-to-kill policy for their rangers, combined with immunity for those rangers put in a shooting situation.

Zuma could direct funding toward supplies for rangers and APUs, and work in tandem with other countries to stop the massacre. As President, he has the power to set the tone by conveying a no tolerance policy.

BUT instead they choose to send the rhinos away. Mr. Zuma “Is it really easier to change locations for hundreds of one ton animals instead of changing laws?”

zuma meme 2

Still, this move could almost be applauded if they were only being moved to a country like Botswana, a country with a no-tolerance, shoot-to-kill policy against poachers. A country where trophy hunting is now obsolete, a place further away from the scourge of poachers thriving in Mozambique.

BUT losing out on the money that legal trade would’ve given them, they have to make it up somehow. So half of the rhino being moved, are being sold to hunting safaris. (This move, which was denied repeatedly by SANParks and Edna Molewa, has been in the works since November of 2013 according to Oxpeckers)

hunter in sun

Winterhoek , Chapunga and Steyn Safaris are the three in contract with the rhino purchases.

Like a bad episode of Lost, the twists and turns in the rhino saga continue to respond to questions with yet more questions. The corruption and mere incompetence continue to leave the world shaking their heads and wondering at the outcome.

Is there really no super power to swoop in and save the day? Can no one step in, take the reins from these bumbling fools and say “Enough!”?

Attorney Christopher Bean, Terri Stander, Shadow Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs, and Allison Thomson of OSCAP have requested an urgent investigation into these contracts with the hunting safaris.  Hope for a more reasonable outcome lies with them.

For more on the rhino move, see SANParks Allegedly Sold Rhinos to Hunting Farms for ‘Safekeeping’

Wildlife SA cartoon WAR

via WAR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Molewa with rhino

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Lissa’s Story

Palm Beach, FloridaThe Lion Country Safari is home to Lissa, a white rhino. What started out as a sore at the base of her horn turned out to be cancer. She has endured five surgeries including chemotherapy.

Click here for more: SAVING LISSA

Lissa

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Opportunity of a Lifetime: Don’t Miss It!

We are really excited to launch the details of our inaugural Helping Rhinos Exclusive Safari.  This is your chance to go on a trip of a life time, while at the same time making a practical contribution to rhino conservation.  Plus a significant amount of the money from your safari will directly fund Helping Rhinos/Fight for Rhinos in our field projects.

You’ll have the chance to take part in a rhino darting and chipping procedure, go tracking rhinos with telemetry and go behind the scenes at the world famous Kruger National Park to see the work being done to put a stop to the poaching crisis!!

See all the details below, but hurry if you would like to come along.  This really is an exclusive trip and there are just 6 places available.  To book your place call our travel partner Native Escapes on +44 (0)1342 834 700.

This trip is available to US and UK residents! If you have any questions, please contact Helping Rhinos OR Fight for Rhinos (fightforrhinos@gmail.com)

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South Africa Tourism: A Catch 22

international rhinoOf the world’s most popular travel destinations, South Africa ranked #21. Tourism supports 1 out of every 12 jobs in South Africa,  in total contributing 9% to the total GDP (gross domestic product).

Among the top ten travel hot spots within the country, half are eco-tourism destinations, including the #1 ranked Kruger National Park.

Understandably, the government aims to increase its tourism industry,  in turn fueling the economy.

According to the S.A. tourism director, Ambassador Kingsley Makhubela, “Going forward, we would like to contribute half a trillion rand into South Africa’s economy and create 225,000 jobs (in tourism) by 2020.”

With that being said, “Why doesn’t the government take a stronger stand on poaching and conservation?”

Canned Hunts

The cover page on the South Africa tourism site shows “The Big Five” under the photo of a lion.  Ironic considering that although lions are listed as threatened,  SA is home to  the shameful atrocity of canned hunts. (see: Shooting Fish in a Barrel)

There are now officially more lions in captivity than in the wild. From 2006 to 2011, canned hunts of lions increased by a whopping 122%, with no signs of slowing. In the last 6 years, the number of farm lions has grown by 250%.

Is anything being done to stop this? It would appear not.  In 2010 the South African Supreme Court struck down a law which would have restricted the practice.

bachmanIf the recent outcry of protests against Melissa Bachman (the US hunter shown in a photo with a dead lion after her hunt) is any indication, the majority clearly do not favor or support this practice.

Poaching

With South Africa being home to 83% of the world’s remaining rhinos, the country is holding all the cards when it comes to saving the rhino from extinction. There has been an escalation in poaching over recent years to the toll of 2-3 rhino being killed per day.

rhino poaching stats 2013

In 2013, although there have been 310 arrests,  how many are actually convicted? The justice system seems inadequate in handing down speedy or consistent sentences. Those who are sentenced, are often released with a minimal fine, only to go out and poach again.

Granted, poaching is a multi-faceted issue which needs to be combated through combined routes of education, economy, and the justice system. But time is not on the rhinos side.

With the lack of action, and decrease of wildlife, some in the tourism industry are fearful of negative repercussions.

Chris Roche of Wilderness Safaris said “Tourist boycotts are harmful and have adverse effects contrary to their intentions,” says Roche. “We would not advocate any real consideration of this as a mechanism in exerting influence on governments. Rather, we believe that the opposite is a far more meaningful action; that tourists actually travelling to locations where poaching, especially of ivory and rhino, is prevalent is the best possible contribution.”

While that is true, it is a catch 22.  No one will pay for wildlife safaris to see grass and trees. Tourism is the jewel of South Africa’s economy. If the tourism industry is to survive, then so must the rhinos, elephants, and lions.

A conservation agency will spend Sh7 million to install new technology to fight poaching in the Maasai Mara.
Read more at: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/thecounties/article/2000099996/conservation-group-to-spend-sh7m-on-anti-poaching-drive
A conservation agency will spend Sh7 million to install new technology to fight poaching in the Maasai Mara.
Read more at: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/thecounties/article/2000099996/conservation-group-to-spend-sh7m-on-anti-poaching-drive
A conservation agency will spend Sh7 million to install new technology to fight poaching in the Maasai Mara.
Read more at: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/thecounties/article/2000099996/conservation-group-to-spend-sh7m-on-anti-poaching-drive
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Lifestyles of the Rich and Heartless

Trophy hunting is big business. The industry employs ranchers, outfitters, professional hunters, gun manufacturers, and taxidermists alike. People with time, money and a propensity for killing, keep the business going at the rate of 200 million a year.

rhino hunt55% of trophy hunters bring home an annual salary over $100,000. This makes it easy for them to afford the hunt. Here’s a breakdown of one camp’s cost for an average hunt:
*$450 per night for accommodations
*$200 per night for non-hunting day(s)
*$550 per gun per day
*$14,500 for a buffalo or $22,000 for a lion (trophy fees vary according to animal)
*Air transport, taxidermy, trophy packing and shipping EXTRA

SCIIn addition some hunters have group memberships ($1500 membership fee) to elite clubs such as Safari Club International. (These clubs sponsor killing competitions. There are awards given to the most animals slaughtered.  and they even keep a record book listing names of who killed what animal, when.)

Good news if you make a living out of dead animals, bad news for the environment, for the safari/tourism industry, and the animals.

Each year tens of thousands of animals are killed by US hunters in foreign countries. The body parts are legally imported back into the US. (While the Endangered Species Act only allows importation of endangered species for scientific research, there are loopholes allowing trophy imports.)

Pro-trophy hunters argue this is GOOD for conservation. Their stance is that the money spent on the hunt is poured back into the community for conservation efforts.

In reality, research published by the International Council by Game and Wildlife Conservation (a pro-hunting group), shows only 3% of revenue from hunts goes back to the communities.

In contrast, ecotourism is a $77 billion global industry; employing tour operators, guides, lodge and restaurant employees, vehicle drivers, park guards and people who benefit from the sale of souvenirs.

elephant tourismConservation is about protecting a species and environment. Killing seems a complete contradiction. Serious about conserving?  Put the money toward donations or a safari trip where the only shooting is with a camera.

Taking conservation seriously is the only way to protect the rhino, lion, and elephant among others, is to ban hunting of endangered species all together, at least until trade in parts is under control. With poaching so widespread, it is too difficult to distinguish so-called legal horn or tusk from illegal.

The Safari Club International protects the hunter via lobbying the US Congress to weaken the Endangered Species Act and petitioning the Fish and Wildlife Service not to list certain species as threatened or endangered.

But with the Endangered Species Act open to thrill seeking hunter lobbyists, who protects the animals?

disregard for species cartoon

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Philan”trophy”

The Dallas Safari Club is making headlines for their decision to auction off a permit to shoot a rhino in Namibia. Their mentality: “kill a rhino to save the rhino” doesn’t need much argument as to why it’s ridiculous. Watch the following video:

The Word: Philantrophy

stephen colbert

Colbert Report : The Word Philantrophy

Please read, sign and share the following:

Dallas Safari Club: Stop the Auction

Absurd Practice: Don’t Kill Them to Save Them

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There “used to be” Rhinos

Just back from Kenya. What an amazing experience-getting to see, hear and live the culture I’ve heard so much about! I’ve learned new things, made new friends, and of course was “over the moon” seeing all the magnificent wildlife I love so much.

My prized memory was at Ol Pejeta; seeing a black rhino in the distance. After a bit, he came galloping out of the bush at us. He stood there for minute or so as if sizing us up, then turned and ran back. It was incredible.

DSCF2388There were a few rhino in the Lake Nakuru area as well. But, having been to Samburu, Amboseli, and Masaai Mara, the one disturbing theme was “There used to be rhinos here.” There are now none in Samburu or Amboseli, and rare spottings in the Mara.

With poaching stats at almost 800 for this year alone, it’s no wonder they’re so hard to find. Being there in person, and searching so eagerly for them, it really brought it home-they are living on borrowed time.

There’s no time to debate or discuss trade, no time to hope CITES comes around and enacts sanctions on the guilty countries responsible for demanding the slaughter of a species. Certainly no time for rhino activists to argue and squabble amongst themselves.

Action is needed. Poisoning the horn to prevent poaching should be widespread (see: Rhino Rescue Project ) “Shoot to kill” needs to be the universal policy. More community incentives need to be in place to encourage the people to care for their own wildlife; like the Lowveld Rhino Trust has done (see: Zimbabwe Leads the Way)

Less talk, more action; the clock is ticking!

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Rhino Girl On Safari!

I’m in Kenya! Looking forward to sharing my adventures with you and hopefully lots of photos.

on safari

In the meantime, here’s a bit about the where I’ll be…

Samburu National Reserve,

Samburu Reserve

Located on the banks of the Ewaso Ng’iro River, the Samburu Reserve was one of the places in which Elsa the famous lioness was raised by Joy and George Adamson. It is also home to Kamunyak, the lioness famous for adopting oryx calves.
In addition it is home to all three big cats, elephants, hippo and buffalo, among others.

lake naivasha

Lake Naivasha

Part of the Great Rift Valley, Lake Naivasha is a freshwater lake west of Nairobi. The name means “rough water”, due to the storms that can suddenly arise in the area. It is at the highest elevation in the Valley.
There are a variety of wildlife here, including 400 species of birds and a large population of hippo.

masai mara game reserve 2

Masai Mara game reserve

Covering 1500 sq km, the Masai Mara is primarily open grassland, and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Kenya. There are 95 species of mammals, amphibians and reptiles, and a variety of birds. Of course, the “Big Five” (elephant, rhino, leopard, buffalo and lion) are among them all.
The Great Migration is a monumental wildlife event to behold on the Mara from July through October.

black rhinos ol pejeta

Ol Pejeta Conservancy

Ol Pejeta-the place I’m especially excited about-is East Africa’s largest black rhino sanctuary. This is also the home of the only four surviving northern white rhinos on the planet! These people do amazing work in the conservation of wildlife and outreach to the community.
In addition, it is home to a population of chimpanzees.

amboseli national park

Amboseli National Park

Spreading over both Kenya and Tanzania, the Amboseli National Park is well-known for elephant viewing. Mt. Kiliminjaro and the “Big 5” can be seen here as well.

More to come…when I’m back!

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