Posts Tagged With: USA

Elephant Size awareness in Times Square

In 2013, a massive campaign for awareness was launched. The goal: a giant digital billboard in Times Square, New York to raise awareness to the massive crisis of elephant and rhino poaching.

elephant in times square

The campaign raised the necessary $25,000 and the billboard ran for a month, once every 2 minutes, 24 hours a day, exposing the message to thousands of people.

Now two years later, Times Square will serve as the center of attention again for the New York ivory crush. 1 ton of ivory will be pulverized today as a symbol of the USA’s commitment to stop wildlife trafficking.  According to the Fish and Wildlife Service, most of the pieces are large statues and tusks confiscated in seizures in Philadelphia and New York.

ivory crush denver

Denver, Colorado ivory crush in 2013

This is the second public crush for the US, the first was a destruction of 6 tons in Colorado in 2013.

According to the group ’96 elephants’, since 1989, 13 nations have burned and crushed almost 150 tons of confiscated ivory, which represents slightly more than 13,600 elephants.

 

 

 

 

 

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Your purchase and donation makes a difference for Rhinos!

ol pejeta babies

Caring for orphans at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya

RPU 3 on patrol

RPU on patrol, keeping rhinos safe in Indonesia.

rhino tracking VA

Tracking rhinos by Vision Africa in South Africa

We can’t all be in the field working with rhinos, but we CAN help the people who do. Educating communities, tracking rhinos, providing around the clock care and food for orphans, and keeping rangers safe with equipment as well as necessities…it takes funding

Last quarter, we helped
*Vision Africa Wildlife to secure the last piece of software they require to complete the development of their rhino tracking product and to provide body armour for their tracking dog
*helped provide GRU (Game Reserve United) with key software and the purchase of a quad bike for security and monitoring
*purchased veterinary and nursing equipment for Thula Thula Rhino Orphanage
*provided over $1000 usd to Ol Pejeta for daily costs

The only funding we can give them is what you help us with. The Art for Rhinos Auction, and individual donations help keep these people active in their jobs of caring for rhinos.  Without them, rhino conservation would only be a dream.

after the mudwallow closeup

After the Mudwallow up for AUCTION now!

 

Help us in the war on poaching! Auction ends June 9th at 11:55pm est. But donations are needed anytime.

Categories: Making a Difference, Poetry & Art, Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Art Auction for Rhinos – the time is now!

AUCTION IS UP AND RUNNING NOW!

JUNE 1st at 10:00 am EST

The auction is held through Bidding Owl and will last until 11:55pm on June 9th.

bidding owl 2

*Register at any point before bidding. Registering does not obligate you to bid.

*Shipping price included with art piece.

If there are any questions or concerns about bidding, the site or the art, please contact us at fightforrhinos@gmail.com

IF you do not see a piece you want or can purchase, please consider donating. EVERY donation helps and is greatly appreciated! You can donate on the Bidding Owl site or on our fightforrhinos.com site.

Good luck rhino lovers & thank you for helping us help them!

rhino closeness christof schoeman

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Ivory Trade In our own backyards

Mention wildlife crime and poaching, and the topic generally turns to China, Vietnam and the Asian communities. Their high demand for wildlife in medicinal and mythical remedies seems to be the root of the evil.

Yet while quick to focus on the Eastern part of the globe, we’re missing what’s closer to home. The US is the second largest ivory market in the world. In 2011 a TON of ivory was seized in a single raid in New York alone.

illegal ivory trade in US

by: IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare)

 

The Fish and Wildlife Service has about 200 agents across the U.S., and just one  ivory or rhino horn investigation can occupy up to 30 agents and take 18 months. Severely understaffed and in many cases lacking training, the current laws aren’t enforceable. It is estimated for every crate or shipment that is confiscated, at least ten get through.

There is hope with the current trend, as state by state the US is banding together to crack down on selling and possession of ivory and horn. Presently there are 2 states with laws passed, and fourteen states with legislation introduced. But increased funding for staffing at the ports is necessary to carry out these laws.

prince william elephant

Prince William urges EU to take a stronger stance on wildlife laws. Photo: Getty

Europe is also highly culpable. As the worlds biggest exporter of so-called “old” ivory, recent figures indicate the trade is not only alive in  Europe, but growing.  It is estimated there are 25,000 wildlife products dealt in the EU every year.

In 2013 a two-week  Interpol investigation revealed hundreds of ivory items for sale in European countries, conservatively valued at approximately EUR 1,450,000. The internet is a major source for the easy access.

INTERPOL is working closely with international enforcement agencies on shutting down the viral access to wildlife. During an online investigation, they discovered  more than 660 advertisements for ivory on 61 different auction sites, estimated to have a total volume of approximately 4,500 kilograms of ivory. The Project Web report calls for specific e-commerce legislation regulating wildlife trade to be introduced in the EU.

Current laws in all countries need immediate examination, loopholes must be closed and ALL ivory must be banned. Only with global unity can we stop the decimation of our elephants and rhinos, and slow the escalation of wildlife trafficking for other species.

Elephant cartoon

by: Matt Davies

 

 

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Another Terrorist Attack funded by poaching

Violence begets violence.

FACT: Elephants are poached by terrorist groups in order to obtain ivory to fund their terrorist operations.

A swarm of gunmen stormed a Kenya university before dawn Thursday, opening fire and taking hostages.

At least 70 people were killed at Garissa University College, the Kenyan Interior Ministry said.More than 500 students remain unaccounted for at the campus that had about 815 students, according to the Kenya National Disaster Operation Center.

The Somalia-based Al-Shabaab militant group claimed responsibility for the assault.

Kenyan defence force

The Kenyan Defence Force outside the university in Kenya. (the NewDaily)

 This is NOT a rare happening. The kidnapping of Nigerian girls , the Westgate Mall attack in Kenya …these attacks are funded by elephant poaching. Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab, Al-Qaeda…they make up to 40% of their organizational funding for weapons, training, and basic supplies; through ivory.

The demand for ivory and horn stems from the Asian market; using both ivory and horn for medicinal purposes, in carvings, artwork, jewelry, and as a status symbol. The devastating effect on both elephant and rhino populations is making the product more difficult to come by. High demand, low supply equal ludicrously high product value. And THIS is the attraction for the terrorist groups.

Paying poachers less than $100 usd to do the dirty work, they gain approximately $2000/kilo in the sale of the ivory. Rhino horn is also a valued commodity for the terrorists, at a whopping $65000/kilo on the black market. An easy cash flow with little risk.

Shouldn’t the buyers of ivory and horn be held responsible for the deaths of innocent victims? At the very least they are accessories to the crime.

 It’s time to stop looking at poaching as simply an “animal rights” issue or an “African problem”. With terrorist attacks plaguing the US, Europe and African countries alike, this is a global concern demanding immediate action from every country. It’s time to get serious.

terrorism

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The Voice of Reason

The permission has been granted for the American trophy hunt of a Namibian black rhino. The stance of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is that by killing this “old bull” it will aid in conservation. But I invite the director Daniel Ashe to listen closely to the people who know best, the men and women on the ground.

black rhino alamy

Namibian black rhino (by Alamy)

 “In forty years of close association with black rhinoceros, I have NEVER known of a free ranging wild old male past his breeding period targeting, and killing, rhino females and calves but, rather, the odd fights have only, in my own experience, occurred amongst breeding competing males, as is common in other species.

In Africa old age is respected: by extension, it is un-African and basically unethical not to allow an old male that sired many calves a peaceful retirement, in the same way as breeding bulls in the cattle world are put out to pasture, not sent to the butcher, once they stop being productive. It is equally unethical to use two sets of measures for poachers, who shoot a wild animal for financial gain, and are arrested or shot, and for a wealthy legal hunter who can pay a fortune for the pleasure to kill it, and is congratulated instead? In both cases a dead endangered animal is the end product. This auction is cruel, ill-timed, and to be condemned.

If the person bidding to shoot the rhino bull has that spare cash available, why not DONATE it to the cause and leave the poor rhino alone? The old rhino does not deserve a bullet.

– Kuki Gallmann; Conservationist, author, founder of The Gallmann Memorial Foundation and honorary game warden.” 

 

Please tell the USFWS how your feel (civilly)    USFWS

Email: dan_ashe@fws.gov
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/usfws
Twitter: @DirectorDanAshe @SecretaryJewell
‪ #‎ShameUSFWS‬ ‪#‎KillTheTrade‬

 

– See more at: http://africageographic.com/blog/kenyan-rangers-moving-letter-to-american-rhino-hunter/#sthash.2r4GBqvU.dpuf

 

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In the Eye of the Storm

Tornado

by: Sarah Soward

 

The Debate

Trade talks are going strong in South Africa. The DEA’s (Department of Environmental Affairs) specially appointed “Committee of Inquiry” is hearing both sides in an ongoing debate on a topic that is irrelevant and distracting.

In a spot on observation by Allison Thomson, founder of OSCAP:

South Africa’s authorities need to understand that a trade proposal is the wrong way to go. It does not have the support of Asian rhino range states who indicated their wish to retain the trade ban in the Declaration from the First Asian Rhino Range States Meeting which took place in Indonesia on October 2013. Any proposal which might be put forward at the next CITES meeting, which will take place in South Africa in October 2016, is highly unlikely to succeed, which will be a huge public and political embarrassment for South Africa on home turf.

If the government put nearly as much effort into current, day-to-day anti-poaching strategies imagine the impact! Yet, anti-poaching strategies COST the government, whereas legal trade would give them a generous payout.

Perhaps no-one said it better than Chris Bean (Attorney) to the DEA:

“Should you manage to change direction of this ship then posterity will hail all of you as heroes.,” said Bean. “If you dither around and achieve nothing then you and the others in the Department of Environmental Affairs will be known as the corrupt losers who tried to rearrange the deckchairs on the Titanic just before it sank.”

The Hunt

Just in yesterday:  the American trophy hunter who applied for the permit to kill the Namibian black rhino, in the name of conservation made news again. As the USFWS (United States Fish and Wildlife Service) issued permission for the hunt to go ahead.

The agency, as well as pro-hunting advocates claim killing the older, less viable rhinos is necessary to promote healthy populations.

In a statement from Daniel Ashe, the USFWS director, “United States citizens make up a disproportionately large share of foreign hunters who book trophy hunts in Africa. That gives us a powerful tool to support countries that are managing wildlife populations in a sustainable manner and incentivize others to strengthen their conservation and management programs.”

With this in mind, the death of this rhino should then make way for the birth of more. Is there proof in this theory?

In the midst of it all, do pro-trade (which will not likely come to fruition without CITES or Asian support), or the killing of one or two black rhinos amount to measurable conservation? All smoke and mirrors, a distraction to the poaching and corruption. The focus needs to be on strategies that make a real difference. Relocation efforts, stepping up anti-poaching initiatives, and strengthening laws.

Let’s remember what matters most…

black rhino by jan hrbacek

Photo by: Jan Hrbacek

 

 

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Dear Ms. Edna Molewa,

We are an US-based non-profit dedicating efforts to secure a future for the world’s rhino. Half-way across the world, and not part of the all-important “South African” voters. But concerned citizens of the world none-the less.

We understand very well that the issue of wildlife poaching will not be easily or quickly solved. It is a multi-faceted issue involving anti-poaching strategies, education in Asian communities, and legal commitment from various countries. It is the last part of this puzzle which perhaps is the most frustrating.

Legal commitment can only be changed, affected or implemented by governments. Being home to the majority of the world’s remaining rhinos, it is South Africa’s responsibility and obligation to set the tone by enacting strict regulations, restrictions and ultimately consequences to combat poaching.

Legal trade has been an agenda on the table in your office for a lengthy amount of time. Without getting into all the of usual points of debate (as I’m sure you’re aware), ultimately  it is not something agreeable by CITES or much of the general public. It has also been historically shown as a dismal failure in the past when after the last “legal” trade on ivory occurred, poaching had actually risen. Repeating the same action bears the probability of devastating consequences to remaining rhino and elephant populations.

We recently sent you a tweet on the matter, only to be blocked. Tell me how we are to have faith in your government’s system when a simple tweet offends/upsets/annoys you? WE are upset, we are passionate, and we only want answers.

On behalf of Fight for Rhinos, we support Terri Stander’s request to receive updated information on poaching arrests and convictions.

Too much has been denied, hidden, changed and twisted in the news to convince us that the government is doing what is in the best interest of wildlife. Yes, you have South African issues, but THIS is a world issue. And the world needs its wildlife. Firstly it is about the rhinos, but it also about the elephants, lions, and the entire environment. As Minister of ENVIRONMENTAL Affairs, surely you must understand the importance of it all.

Please explain why the government continues to pursue trade…what is actually being DONE, not just talked about? What can the world do to help you?

Sincerely,

Tisha Wardlow
Fight for Rhinos

Rhino and babe by chris minihane

photo by Chris Minihane

 

 

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Ivory Bans Gaining Traction in US

96 elephants a day

3 rhinos a day

At the current rate, without intervention, extinction would be imminent in the near future.

The insatiable appetite for ivory and horn extends beyond the borders of China and Vietnam. The US is the second largest market for ivory. But since President Obama’s Executive Order to stop wildlife trafficking, the preservation of elephants and rhinos is finally gaining momentum. The US is taking positive and proactive steps to preserve wildlife and combat global trafficking.

mom and babe ele

Both New York (previously the first largest state for ivory imports) and New Jersey have bans on ivory imports. Now the following states are introducing bans as well:

  • Hawaii (third largest state for ivory imports)
  • Oklahoma
  • California (second largest state for ivory imports)
  • Massachusetts
  • Florida
  • Washington

The federal rules include banning all commercial imports of African elephant ivory regardless of age. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is in the process of finalizing additional rules that could ban interstate trade of ivory, with some exception for antiques, and limit the number of tusks and ivory that may be brought into the U.S. by sports hunters.

Although these steps will provide better protection for the lives of elephants and rhinos, not everyone is over the moon with these motions. Antique dealers and the NRA (National Rifle Association) are concerned.  According to an NRA spokesperson, Catherine Mortensen “Consequently, many priceless personal effects will be rendered valueless.”

Black rhin mom and babe

 

 

 

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Possible Game Changer in Poaching War

from Tiger Skins and Rhino Horns:Can a trade deal halt the trafficking?
by: Jackie Northam

The Obama administration is now trying to tackle wildlife trafficking by incorporating rules into the Trans-Pacific Partnership, known as the TPP. This is the massive multilateral trade agreement currently being negotiated among a dozen Asia-Pacific nations, including the United States.

TPP

Potential Trade Sanctions

Michael Froman, the U.S. trade representative, says if it passes, countries found to be involved in illegal wildlife trafficking could face trade sanctions.

“What we’re doing through the Trans-Pacific Partnership is first of all making sure environmental issues are central to the agreement, including things like wildlife trafficking, and then making them fully enforceable just like any other provision of the trade agreement,” he says.

The U.S. is also trying to make this part of a trade deal with the European Union.

But Leigh Henry, senior policy adviser for the World Wildlife Fund, says the Asia-Pacific trade deal is key because much of the demand for the endangered wildlife comes from Asian countries negotiating the TPP.

“Vietnam is huge. They are the primary consumer of rhino horn that’s driving this increase in rhino poaching in South Africa,” Henry says, adding that Malaysia is a huge transit route for the illegal wildlife trade.

Henry says when it comes to fighting wildlife trafficking, international law has no teeth. She hopes the TPP will change that.

The U.S. is trying to better coordinate with international law enforcement agencies and hopes to beef up customs and borders patrol, and the number of fish and wildlife inspectors, if the TPP agreement is signed.

sanctions

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