Posts Tagged With: South Africa

Miracle rhino gives birth (again)!

Thandi’s a mama (again)-watch the video

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First glimpses of mama and baby from Ranger Daniel @ Kariega.    

Read about Thandi’s Story and about her first baby, Thembi, It’s Official, Thandi’s a mum! 

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Dogs are changing the world for rhinos

One of our greatest passions at Fight for Rhinos is in helping canine anti-poaching units. Dogs are a huge game-changer in the poaching war!

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Rhino Wrap up 2016

What a year! While rhino poaching persists, so does the war to stop it. This year thanks to the generosity and concern from all of you, we have managed to provide much needed help to the following:

Kruger Park APU

$2370.00 usd to human tracker training— We received a plea for help from a ranger who was part of a smaller APU in southern Kruger. They had been hit by the poaching of rhino in their area and felt they needed to be better equipped to prevent being hit again.

We were able to provide human tracker training where they learned more about early detection in suspicious human activity, (i.e. poaching camps, tracks, snares) apprehension of suspicious individuals,and gathering intelligence and evidence.

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Some of the APU involved in tracker training.

Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre

$5500.00 usd to APU canine training–The centre specializes in cheetahs and various wildlife rehabilitation, but with the large number of rhinos being poached, there is a huge need for help rehabilitating the rhino orphans.

Having taken in several rhinos, the need for increased security includes initiating a canine unit for their APU. We started with Chloe, one of the APU dogs for the entire Kapama area (of which HESC is a part). From there, we were able to help with HESC’s own canine unit, including Zee and Bullet.

The training includes the advanced levels for all dogs, including a trainer from the Centre who will accompany them.

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Zee and Bullet @HESC

  Ol Pejeta Conservancy

$3000.00 usd to anti-poaching supplies— Home to the largest black rhino sanctuary in east Africa, as well as the last three Northern White Rhinos on the planet, security is probably THE most urgent need for Ol Pejeta. Everything from boots and tents to training and upgrades are needed to benefit the APUs. (More details to follow).

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OPC rangers take part in regular trainings to keep their skills sharp.

Thank you for fighting with us in this poaching war. Your donations are not taken lightly. For each amount given leads to action taken to protect rhinos and to keep rangers safe. Please continue to work with us, together we ARE making a difference!

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Protecting rhinos with 4-legged rangers

We are pleased to announce with YOUR generosity, we have been able to fully fund the training of Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre’s APU canine unit!

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Trainer, Corlet; photo: HESC

A word to all of you from our friends at HESC:

Words cannot sufficiently express our gratitude towards Fight for Rhinos for being one of our most ardent and loyal supporters.

Fight for Rhinos generously committed to assisting with the successful care and training of our anti-poaching canines at HESC – both for the protection of our rhinos and the rangers.

Over the past few months, Fight for Rhinos has managed to successfully raise an amazing ZAR80 000 (5500 usd) which they’ve donated to HESC’s Wildlife Conservation Trust.

We are so thrilled by their effort and generosity. A BIG thank you to Fight for Rhinos and each and every person who contributed towards the campaign.

You can continue protecting rhinos by sponsoring our canine units at HESC and Ol Pejeta Conservancy with a monthly OR one time donation. Every dollar is a help toward keeping them safe.

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Zee and Bullet with handler, Simon. photo: HESC

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So little can mean so much

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Ol Pejeta rangers with anti poaching dogs.

A monthly gift can make all the difference for our canine APUs.

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A one time gift of $25 purchases kong balls and rope (positive reinforcement toys)

A one time gift of $50 purchases dog shoes (for bush terrain training)

Simply go to the DONATE button and select the MONTHLY option.

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HESC canine APU

We currently work with Hoedspruit Endangered Species Center and Ol Pejeta APUs. With black and white rhinos, both wild and rehabilitating, canines are a critical part of success at keeping poachers at bay.

We are happy to provide end of year statements for your tax deductions.

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CITES Recap: the good, the bad and the ugly

The CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) 2008-2020 vision states
*they will be contributing to the conservation of wildlife as an integral part of the global ecosystem on which all life depends,
*as well as promoting transparency and wider involvement of civil society in the development of conservation policies and practices

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Are they following their vision?

Well, here’s a recap. The animals who reaped ‘benefits’ from increased protection are:

*Pangolins (trade was completely banned, and the most highly trafficked animals in the world were given highest protection status)

*African Gray Parrots (trade was completely outlawed)

*Sharks and Rays (Thirteen species of rays and Thresher and Silky sharks were given highest protection status)

In addition, proposals to grant legal trade in ivory and/or horn in Namibia, Zimbabwe and Swaziland were denied.

But the disheartening news was the denial of CITES to grant the highest level of protection to:

*Elephants 

*Rhinos 

*Lions 

An added issue for lions is the trade in captive bred lion parts remains legal. This perpetuates the Asian demand, and serves as an added incentive for South Africa to continue breeding farms. (Currently there are approximately 7,000 lions kept on 200 breeding farms throughout South Africa.)

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© Data from UNEP-WCMC

In theory wild lion parts are not legally traded. Yet, there is no way to tell the difference between a wild lion bone and a captive lion bone. If money is to be made, bones will likely be obtained. Like a fenced in yard with surrounded by only  three sides, protection for Africa’s lion is incomplete, and proves worrisome to an even  faster decline.

In the end, the negligence to protect one species casts a shadow over the decision to protect others. It also casts doubt on the credibility and intentions of our CITES delegates.

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President Zuma at CITES. South Africa has been accused of “selling out” both elephants in lions in their votes against added protection. Photos by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth

 

There is no necessity in trading lion parts, wild or captive. To perpetuate a market and feed a false cultural perception is not only ethically questionable, but also sends a mixed message in the overall trade of wildlife products. Why is one species an acceptable “commodity” over another? And if a species becomes “captive bred”, is the door open for that species to be traded as well?

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Currently there are approximately 7,000 lions kept on 200 breeding farms throughout South Africa photo: One Green Planet

For Appendices ratings, just how low do the numbers have to get for us to act? The Northern White Rhinos are a perfect example of the error in waiting too long. There are 3 left. They were never afforded protection in time. Why isn’t their predicament enough; does history teach us nothing?

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Only three Northern White Rhinos remain, all living in Kenya at Ol Pejeta Conservancy. photo: Brent Stirton/Nat Geo

(It is important to note that upgrading lions to the Appendix I status would ONLY have affected wild lions, and would not have afforded protection to their captive cousins.)

 

 

 

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Relentless

This must be one of the most brutal fortnights yet in the history of the rhino poaching war, in our province. At least 14 deaths were discovered in various protected areas in as many days. (I can’t go into detail at this time but it’s getting even more savage, as if that’s possible.)
Yesterday honestly rates as one of the lowest points in my life as a wildlife vet, pretty much an emotional breaking point – but it’s not the first time; it’s something that is happening far too often. I don’t think it is possible to explain to somebody who hasn’t experienced this nightmare, what even one death scene does to you. It’s traumatic and haunting, and cannot ever be erased from your mind. I’ve attended over 400!!

-From wildlife vet Dave Cooper

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Planting crosses for fallen rhinos in South Africa. So far, there are an estimated 731 of them this year.

The slaughter is real, the poachers are relentless. In this incident, Dr. Cooper attended a death scene of not just one more rhino, but four!

We need to be just as relentless in our efforts to curb the poaching and protect our rhinos. If you’ve ever thought about helping, there is no better time than now. Please DONATE to support APUs in Kenya and South Africa.

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photo: Max Waugh

 

 

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Small birds with their Big friends

Some lovely photos from our friend Jo:

 

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Building a Canine APU

Earlier we requested your help in putting Chloe through her anti-poaching class. Her training is complete! She now helps protect the Kapama area near the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Center (HESC) and Kruger National Park.

The HESC current recruits are Bullet and Zee. The duo is the core of the Centre’s program; with Zee successfully done with initial training and Bullet going through  puppy training.

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Bullet and Zee

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The next step will be for them to undergo advanced training. The cost of the course is R20 000 per dog and another R20 000 for the trainer to attend and have her with the dogs at all times. That’s approximately $4,162 usd total.

We are committed to assisting with the successful care and training of the dogs; both for the protection of rhinos and the protection of the rangers. If you are able, please donate via PayPal.

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Philippa, Lions Den and Dingle Dell; 3 of the rhinos @ the Centre.

 

 

 

 

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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.

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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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