Archive for Cameroon

Organization of the Day: Limbe Wildlife Centre

Posted in Organization of The Day with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 2, 2011 by Bush Warriors

 

Illegal trade in bushmeat and pets is an intense and growing problem threatening wildlife. Limbe Wildlife Centre (LWC) is a wildlife rescue and rehabilitation project dedicated to the conservation and rehabilitation of wild animals. Founded in 1993 by the Pandrillus Foundation, other NGOs, and the government of Cameroon, Limbe Wildlife Centre has become a successful sanctuary for a variety of wildlife; including monkeys, chimpanzees, gorillas, reptiles and bird species. Cameroon is also home to a largely diverse amount of plant species and LWC is concerned with the conservation of plant life as well. The Centre plays an active role in the implementation and enforcement of national wildlife protection laws, providing a place for seized animals to recuperate and received medical attention if needed.

Photo credit: Markus Betz

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Feathered Extinction: Habitat Loss and Illegal Trade Threaten Doom for Africa’s Parrots, World Parrot Trust Africa to the Rescue!

Posted in Biodiversity, Birds with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 4, 2011 by drsteveboyes

Originally featured on 17 December, 2011.

Parrots have the largest number of threatened species of all bird families. Over 100 of the 332 known parrot species are threatened with extinction in the wild, and the declines of about 78 of these are being fueled by habitat loss and fragmentation. Roughly 39 are heavily pressured by capture and nest poaching for the wild-caught bird trade.

Photo credit: Chuck Bergman

Cavity-nesting forest specialists, like our African parrots, are particularly sensitive to forest degradation due to their reliance on large hardwood trees for sustenance and nesting opportunities. Deforestation rates in Africa are the second highest world, claiming over four million hectares of forest cover every year. Logging, wildfire, tree felling for use as fuel, the booming charcoal production industry, civil unrest, and conversion of land for agriculture and expansion of the human population are the primary forces driving the rampant destruction of critical African parrot habitat.

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Feathered Extinction: Habitat Loss and Illegal Trade Threaten Doom for Africa’s Parrots, World Parrot Trust Africa to the Rescue!

Posted in Birds, World Parrot Trust with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 17, 2010 by drsteveboyes

Parrots have the largest number of threatened species of all bird families.  Over 100 of the 332 known parrot species are threatened with extinction in the wild, and the declines of about 78 of these are being fueled by habitat loss and fragmentation.  Roughly 39 are heavily pressured by capture and nest poaching for the wild-caught bird trade.

Photo credit: Chuck Bergman

Cavity-nesting forest specialists, like our African parrots, are particularly sensitive to forest degradation due to their reliance on large hardwood trees for sustenance and nesting opportunities.  Deforestation rates in Africa are the second highest world, claiming over four million hectares of forest cover every year.  Logging, wildfire, tree felling for use as fuel, the booming charcoal production industry, civil unrest, and conversion of land for agriculture and expansion of the human population are the primary forces driving the rampant destruction of critical African parrot habitat.

Deforestation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (photo credit: Daniel Beltra)

A recent review of the Meyer’s Parrot range revealed that 15 of the 18 nations this species inhabits had undergone significant losses in forest cover.  Deforestation rates of 15% and higher were not uncommon and several countries, such as Kenya and Malawi, have less than 1% of their original forested area remaining.  Unfortunately, a lack of records over the last 30-40 years prevents us from being able to assess the effects of deforestation on bird populations.  We simply do not know how well African parrots are adapting to their rapidly changing environment.

Meyer’s Parrot (photo credit: Cyril Laubscher)

The World Parrot Trust Africa seeks to coordinate a continent-wide survey of all African parrot species over the coming years to determine which species are of immediate priority for conservation intervention.  The goal is to secure healthy populations of all African parrot species and sufficient suitable habitat, while also providing them adequate protection.

Photo credit: Steve Boyes   

Unregulated trade in African parrots peaked in the 1980s and ’90s, and still exists today.  This lucrative black market industry is fueled by profiteering middlemen who exploit wild bird populations.  In 2005, the Senegal Parrot was the most traded bird on the CITES Appendix II, with over 45,000 individuals being removed from forests each year.  In Namibia, cross-border trade in wild-caught Ruppell’s Parrots in the 1990s resulted in their disappearance from many parts of this species’ distributional range where they were once abundant. Today, African parrots remain among the most traded in the world.

Wild birds are sometimes smuggled in plastic bottles.

According to the most conservative estimates, over three million African parrots have been snatched from the wild over the last 25–30 years.  As can be seen in Table 1 (below) there are, several species, such as the African Grey Parrot, have been almost exclusively sourced from the wild over the last few decades.  Immense and insatiable demands from China, Taiwan, Singapore and other parts of Southeast Asia are driving international trade in African parrots.

In South Africa, a legal loophole allows these birds to be legally imported into the country, as long as they have been checked and approved by a South African veterinarian before leaving the source country.  This allows for thousands of wild-caught African Greys to be imported into South Africa every year, from sources like the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and West Africa.  Most of these parrots then enter the local market, but the best specimens are re-exported to the fast-growing markets in the Middle East and, especially, in the Far East.

African Greys seized from illegal trade (photo credit: PASA/WPT)

There are three things we need to do to protect all wild populations from the devastating impacts of this trade.  First and foremost, we must minimise the number of African parrots being taken from the wild.  Secondly, we must also support captive breeders that adhere to strict guidelines and standards concerning the animals’ care and well-being.  Finally, it is imperative that we get out into the African forests and determine whether the continued removal of parrots from their habitat poses a serious threat of extinction or if it is, in fact, sustainable.

 

Jardine’s Parrot for sale in west Africa (photo credit: Greg Shaw)

 

Africa’s parrots are charismatic, colourful, and larger than life. They have found their way into the hearts and minds of private collectors, parrot enthusiasts, and aviculturalists around the world.  Most African parrot breeders that I interact with are extremely passionate about these birds and have specialized in raising our Poicephalus parrots, Agapornis lovebirds, and the iconic African Greys.  The connection fostered between bird-keepers and captive birds can be profound, and can provide us with insights that cannot be achieved through field research.

Lillian’s Lovebird (photo credit: Dominique Schreckling)

We need to use this resource to the birds’ advantage and draw on the keepers’ passion for these animals to stimulate positive change for wild populations of African parrots. Bird-keepers and aviculturalists must realize the important role they can play in the conservation and research of the forest icons.  I would like to call upon global birdkeepers to join World Parrot Trust Africa and become part of this constructive movement towards a future that holds healthy African parrot populations in the wild, attained with the support of a well-managed captive community of feathered ambassadors around the globe.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

We, on the African continent and around the world, are the proud custodians of a unique group of parrots native to the forests and savannas of this wild and primordial continent.  We must recognise our responsibilities as stewards of these “forest ambassadors”, and take action to ensure a bright future for them.  Please help World Parrot Trust Africa support them on this rapidly changing continent.

Photo credit: Cyril Laubscher

To join the World Parrot Trust Africa, and for more information on how you can get involved in or contribute to African parrot conservation projects (e.g. Cape Parrot Project), please contact me at: boyes@worldparrottrust.org or PO Box 149, Hogsback, 5721, South Africa.

 

Learn about Bush Warriors’ alliance with World Parrot Trust by clicking here.  Together we are on a mission to raise awareness about the plight of the world’s parrots, with goal of changing the future for these majestic creatures and preventing their extinction!

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Organization of the Day: Limbe Wildlife Centre

Posted in Organization of The Day with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 26, 2010 by Dori G

Illegal trade in bushmeat and pets is an intense and growing problem threatening wildlife. Limbe Wildlife Centre (LWC) is a wildlife rescue and rehabilitation project dedicated to the conservation and rehabilitation of wild animals. Founded in 1993 by the Pandrillus Foundation, other NGOs, and the government of Cameroon, Limbe Wildlife Centre has become a successful sanctuary for a variety of wildlife; including monkeys, chimpanzees, gorillas, reptiles and bird species. Cameroon is also home to a largely diverse amount of plant species and LWC is concerned with the conservation of plant life as well. The Centre plays an active role in the implementation and enforcement of national wildlife protection laws, providing a place for seized animals to recuperate and received medical attention if needed.

Photo credit: Markus Betz

Rescuing animals is at the core of their purposes and all of the animals they take in are victims of illegal bushmeat activities, have been orphaned, or were kept as pets. As a result, these animals arrive in very poor condition and LWC rehabilitates these unfortunate animals through their Veterinary Care program. After they are quarantined for health risks, the animals are introduced to a group of their own species in order to make a transition into the more natural, wild way of life. LWC also believes that the success of conservation of plant and animals depends highly on education.

Their Centre has an amazingly large number of native visitors, which is uncommon in that area of the world. When they come to the facility, they are able to observe these wild animals and gain respect for them. They also facilitate nature clubs, a school outreach program, and conservation workshops to encourage the youth of the country to get involved in and support conservation. It is through education that they hope that their conservation efforts will be carried on through the future. Limbe Wildlife Centre gives hope to animals that may not otherwise stand a chance at survival and contributing to the proliferation of their species. Their rehabilitation work is extraordinary and extremely important to conservation efforts for Cameroon’s wildlife.

To learn more, please visit their website.

The Last of Cameroon’s Grey Parrots

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on June 9, 2010 by kendickjerkins

Grey parrots are found only in the rainforests of West and Central Africa, but they’re prized as pets in countries around the world. People are captivated by their beautiful colors, gentle nature and ability to mimic humans. But demand for the birds could be threatening their very existence.

The Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) estimates that 450,000 of the birds were captured and exported from Africa between 1994 and 2003. The number would be even higher if it included illegal exports. Seeing the danger of extinction, many countries in Europe, North America and Africa have banned trade in grey parrots. Cameroon issued a ban three years ago. But conservationists say the measures have failed to reduce the trade. Illegal operations have continued and have even increased.

Ofir Drori is the director of LAGA, a wildlife law enforcement group that’s helping the government of Cameroon. He says despite the ban, at least 1,000 parrots are exported from Cameroon every month. Traffickers go through the Gulf of Aden. By moving the birds from one country to the other, the traffickers can eventually get them to Europe and the United States and designate them as locally bred.  “Trafficking in African grey parrots has become an organized crime,” says Drori. “It is a very, very lucrative trade. The margin of illegal revenue from trade in this species is very high, sometimes more than trade in ivory, which has a better international profile.

To read the full article, click here

Snail farming may save African apes from poaching

Posted in Africa: Primates with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 28, 2010 by kendickjerkins

Only about 300 apes survive in Nigeria’s Cross River National Park on the Cameroon border. Poaching from nearby poor villagers searching for food or meat to sell has reduced the rare apes’ numbers to about one-tenth of their population a century ago. “These are some of the most endangered apes in Africa,” says James Deutsch of the Wildlife Conservation Society. “The people are poor and protein is hard to find, so they will eat gorillas.”

Over the past six months, though, a pilot effort has trained and equipped eight poacher families to farm African giant snails, a local delicacy about 5 inches across, with funding from the Arcus Foundation of Kalamazoo, Mich., a great-ape conservation group. “Hunters will eat anything they find,” Deutsch says, but the likely profit from snail farming, about $413 a year, exceeds the profits from bushmeat trade, for which one gorilla’s meat earns poachers about $70.

Chimp infant, Cross River N.P, Nigeria (Credit: Cyril Ruoso)

African Giant Snail

To read the full article, click here

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Rare Congo Otter being Poached for Witchcraft Purposes

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 2, 2010 by kendickjerkins

A Skye-based animal charity has come to the aid of an abandoned rare otter being cared for by missionaries in the Democratic Republic of Congo. According to the IUCN Otter Specialist Group, this extremely rare species is hunted for bush meat and for the use in witchcraft in parts of Cameroon as well. The locals also use part of the body as a witchcraft material and as an aphrodisiac, as well as the skin for drums.

African Witchcraft Doctor

The Congo clawless otter cub was found in the remote area of Kikonga and handed over to Rita and Glen Chapman.

A Congo clawless otter cub

A full grown adult clawless otter; their thick warm fur, rich meat, and use in witchcraft practices have drastically reduced their numbers.

Click here to read the full article

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