Archive for Botswana

Bringing Conservation Into Focus: The Last Lions

Posted in Africa: Lions, iLCP: Bringin Conservation Into Focus with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 1, 2011 by ilcpcommunications

In the new wildlife adventure, The Last Lions, filmmakers Dereck and Beverly Joubert follow the epic journey of a lioness named Ma di Tau (“Mother of Lions”) as she battles to protect her cubs against a daunting onslaught of enemies in order to ensure their survival.

The gripping real-life saga unfolds inside a stark reality: Lions are vanishing from the wild. In the last 50 years, lion populations have plummeted from 450,000 to as few as 20,000. The Jouberts weave their dramatic storytelling and breathtaking, up-close footage around a resonating question: Are Ma di Tau and her young to be among the last lions? Or will we as humans, having seen how tough, courageous and poignant their lives in the wild are, be moved to make a difference?

So, what will you do?

Here are three simple things you can do to help lions:

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Organization of The Day: Elephant Pepper Trust

Posted in Africa: Elephants, Organization of The Day with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 28, 2010 by kendickjerkins

When human-wildlife conflict results in the deaths of wildlife, the outcome can be far-reaching for those populations. Such situations are further amplified when they lead to human deaths as well. Human-wildlife conflict can be caused by a number of factors, but is most commonly agriculture-related. In Africa (and Asia), farmers often find themselves in a gruesome battle defending their livelihood against relentlessly hungry elephants that raid their crop fields.

From beating drums to deploying fireworks to attempting to chase elephants away (which frequently results in human deaths), farmers are often left sleep-deprived and profitless from their agricultural investments. That is until 2002 when stars aligned and a chance meeting between Australian businessman, Michael Gravina, and elephant biologist, Dr. Loki Osborne, resulted in the Elephant Pepper Development Trust (EPDT) and gave new hope to small-scale farmers plagued with elephant problems. Methods for deterring the hungry elephants are only effective if they involve minimal costs and provide long-term solutions. EPDT struck gold when they discovered that elephants are inherently repelled by the smell of chili peppers.

Chilies are easy to grow as they survive in some of the more extreme conditions found in Africa that other crops cannot survive in, are money-making cash crops, and are unpalatable and revolting to most mammal “pests”. EPDT trains local farmers how to implement the use of chilies into their farming practices in a number of ways. Chilies can be planted to create an elephant-repellent buffer zone between valuable crops and wooded elephant habitat. Farmers can also saturate simple string fences with chili grease to discourage elephants from entering. At night (the time when crops are typically raided by the giant pachyderms), briquettes made of chilies and elephant dung can be burned to keep elephants away. Though often skeptical at first, once farmers see the success of these methods playing out for their neighbors, they become sold on these sustainable ideas and seek help from EPDT immediately.

Currently, the Trust is working with communities in areas of Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Kenya, and Namibia with great success, and uses Educational Demonstration sites to educate farmers about their methods.To increase benefits from the use of chilies, EPDT has joined with African Spices Pvt Ltd. to buy surplus chilies from the farmers which are then used to create delicious chili-based, “uniquely African” blends that are sold commercially as an organic, fair trade product. In this way, the farmers profit from the crops that have been protected by the chili methods, from the chili crop, and from the peace of mind brought to them as a result of all of these factors. Elephant conflicts become almost non-existent, preventing the death and injuries of both humans and elephants in a win-win situation.

10% of profits from “Elephant Pepper” products are given back to EPDT to be used for improving and expanding their program to more farmers and communities. This program also provides a way for the global community to become involved with elephant conservation by purchasing the delicious products and supporting the cause. EPDT’s problem animal control methods help to eliminate serious human-wildlife conflicts and can be used to do the same in other areas of the world where elephants and humans have been battling to the death.

To learn more, please visit their website

Are elephants an ‘African natural resource’ or of deeper value?

Posted in Africa: Elephants with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 27, 2010 by kendickjerkins

Following the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species on Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) held in Qatar, Botswana has threatened to pull out of the convention, and remove elephants from the list of species under protection. As expected, the elephants issue dominated this year’s CITES debate and further divided African countries. It has also emerged that Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries are unhappy with CITES. The convention banned the ivory trade. Pulling out, which is defined as reservation by species, has been mooted as a possibility, which will allow the countries to sell their ivory stockpiles.

SADC states, including Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe, will meet throughout April, in Malawi to work out a strategy. The possibility to go into reservation follows on the proposal backed by 23 other elephant range nations that would have extended the trade moratorium on ivory trade to 20 years, from the current nine years.

Botswana has about 18 tonnes of legal ivory in its stocks and spends over P700 000 annually to secure the stock. At the last sale the country earned over US$7 million. The decision by CITES to reject Zambia’s proposal has been described as “a ban on the use of African natural resources”. According to the IMWC World Conservation Trust, these decisions mean that “significant ivory stocks will now be left in storage instead of generating revenue for use in elephant conservation. Africans are effectively being barred from utilizing their own natural resources.”

As the war on poaching rages on and the subject of ivory remains highly controversial many questions are raised regarding the fate of elephants. Are they, as some say a natural resource…better yet a national resource or do elephants hold a higher, irreplaceable and invaluable spot in this world?

(Credit: Chas Rob)

(Credit: Miha Krofel)

To read the full article, click here

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Botswana: Horrible Giraffe Poaching Incident

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 19, 2010 by kendickjerkins

This is a news update taken from the Elephants of Botswana blog on Wildlife Direct

“Yesterday afternoon Sim and I headed up to Tubu Lodge (our neighbours) to help advise on an elephant that keeps digging up the water pipes. They are only 16km away as the crow flies but it takes a good 90 minutes to drive there and more when you have issues to deal with on the way.

After we had crossed most of the deep water crossings and headed for the truck road that would take us to Tubu we smelt something dead and just by the road we could see vultures and marabou storks feeding on the carcass. We approached and found it be to a giraffe. After checking for predators I got out the car as something did not look right – on closer inspection it was obvious that this giraffe had not died of natural causes, he had been poached. Chased on horseback to the point of exhaustion and then killed. He had torn off the skin off one of his knees, so he must have hit the ground with huge force to do that. Both of his ears had been cut off, which we presume is for muti (traditional medicine).  It was heart breaking to see him like this and imagine his last minutes of life.

We radioed it through to the office who informed the Department of Wildlife and National Parks, but there was little they could do about this incident, except add it to the list of poached animals found in the area, as it was already a day or two old and the trial for the poachers would be long gone.

To visit their blog, or view this article…Click Here