Archive for Congo

UN Helicopters Successfully Rescue Baby Gorillas

Posted in Africa: Primates with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 30, 2010 by kendickjerkins

UN peacekeepers from the Congo have successfully airlifted endangered baby gorillas out of the conflict zone where they were rescued.  The four babies were flown from the conflict zone in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the Kasugho Sanctuary in the North Kaivu province on Tuesday.  Six other gorillas are to be flown into the sanctuary on June 10 in an attempt to help the the other four form a sustainable, viable population back in their natural habitat.  The illegal trade in bush meat and live baby gorillas has been a boon to local militant groups, and this rescue mission is hoped to be a first step in both saving the gorillas and helping to stop the war.

Human conflict in Congo is constantly claiming casualties

A gorilla mother and her baby.

Baby gorilla rescued from Illegal trafficker

To read the full article about the air lift click here

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Environmental Crime and Conflict in the Congo Basin: The Last Stand of the Gorilla – A report by UNEP & Interpol

Posted in Africa: Primates with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 12, 2010 by kendickjerkins

Gorillas, the largest of the great apes, are under renewed threat across the Congo Basin from Nigeria to the Albertine Rift: poaching for bushmeat, loss of habitat due to agricultural expansion, degradation of habitat from logging, mining and charcoal production are amongst these threats, in addition to natural epidemics such as ebola and the new risk of diseases passed from humans to gorillas.

Alarmingly, parts of the region are experiencing intensified exploitation and logging of its forest, in some cases even within protected areas. In the DRC, many of these activities are controlled by militias illegally extracting natural resources such as gold, tin and coltan as well as producing charcoal for local communities, urban areas, camps for people displaced by fighting and sometimes even to communities across the border.

A victim of the human conflict between militia & conservation groups

These militias are located, motivated, armed and financed directly by this illegal extraction of minerals, timber and charcoal. A network of intermediaries including multinational companies or their subsidiaries, neighboring countries and corrupt officials, are involved in the transportation and procurement of resources which stem from areas controlled by militia, or for which no legal exploitation permission exists.

Rangers destroying a charcoal kiln in an effort to fight deforestation and illegal exploitation of resources by militia

To read the full report from The United Nations Environment Programme, click here

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The new secret weapon in the anti-poaching war: DNA Barcoding

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

Researchers at the American Museum of Natural History in New York have discovered what they term the “Barcode of Life” which is a genetic sequence that is specific to each individual species. By analyzing this “Barcode of Life,” they can determine if the skin is from an endangered animal or one that’s allowed to be hunted.

George Amato, an evolutionary biologist who helps oversee the DNA library, inspects a crocodile skin briefcase. Even after the skin has been processed, the bumps contain bits of bone the lab uses to extract DNA.

Julie Feinstein, collection manager of frozen tissue lab at AMNH, removes a rack of samples from one of the liquid nitrogen-cooled storage vats. She’s wearing special gloves so that, as she puts it, she doesn’t stay attached to the vat.

This system enables customs agents, and other regulatory agencies, to send samples of seized products to the lab in order to have them tested to see whether the produces has a from an endangered species or not.    The Museum has over 70,000 samples and growing,  there is a “constant influx” of samples so the number constantly grow.

Leather products found at a crafts market in Brazzaville, Congo. They may have originated from Mali, as similar products were found in the shop of Malian leather workers who illegally ship in Nile crocodile and other skins to Congo.

Click here to read more  about “The Barcode Of Life” for the full article

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The Last Stand of the Gorilla: Guerrilla Warfare has beocome a MAJOR threat for Mountain Gorilla Survival

Posted in Africa: Primates with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 26, 2010 by kendickjerkins

Scientists warn that all gorillas could be killed in the Congo River Basin by the mid 2020s if action is not taken.  Militias in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have greatly exacerbated the poaching problem by smuggling bush meat through the same channels as timber, diamonds, and gold.  The UN Environmental Program (UNEP) warms that the current rate of habitat destruction and poaching on gorillas is well above a sustainable level.

An orphaned gorilla from near the Loanga National Park

Malnourished Orphaned baby gorilla for sale in local market

Current distribution of gorillas in Africa

A gorilla being butchered for sale at a bush meat market

Click here to read the full article

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Rare Animals Are Being ‘Eaten to Extinction’

Posted in Africa: Primates with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 24, 2010 by kendickjerkins

Research in the Congo River Basin has determined that 3 million tons of bushmeat are being removed every year, the equivalent of butchering 740,000 bull elephants.  Malnutrition and the ease of access to weapons has caused the rate of poaching to increase dramatically.  Most animals taken are small antelopes, but even monkeys are gorillas are being killed for their food.

But in a 500 million acre region of the Congo Basin stretching into eight countries, hunting has reached an unprecedented scale. Researchers from the Overseas Development Insititute calculated that 3.4 million tonnes of bushmeat is removed every year from that area alone, equivalent to the weight of 40.7 million men.

Two baby bonobo chimpanzees in a sanctuary

Poacher with Colobus Monkey that was just shot

A bushmeat market in Africa.

Freshly Killed Mandrill For sale on the side of the road

Gorilla Bushmeat

Click here to read the full article

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Congo: An Elephant War Zone

Posted in Africa: Elephants with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 19, 2010 by kendickjerkins

The poaching of elephants in Democratic Republic of Congo has “dramatically increased” since 2006, a group of researchers said. The findings were based on data gathered from 11 parks and reserves throughout Congo and compiled by a group of American and Canadian researchers affiliated with the TL2 conservation project in central Congo.

Most elephant deaths came at the hands of organized armed groups, the researchers said in a statement on March 16. Congo is recovering from more than a decade of war that left millions dead, and armed groups in the east of the country still use national reserves as hideouts.“The large scale commercial based poaching exploded in 2009, and is comparable to levels in the 1980s which led to a major decline of Congo’s elephants,” the researchers said.

Congo’s elephant population is now around 20,000, down from an estimated 100,000 a decade ago, the statement said.

The rare Congo forest Elephants

Ranger displaying confiscated ivory

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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Stopping wildlife trafficking in Congo

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

The bushmeat trade in the Congo basin has been widely publicized but poorly addressed. While fines and sentences exist for wildlife trafficking, they have traditionally been poorly enforced due to corruption, poor governance, and attentions focused on other priorities. Major traffickers, who tend to be rich and well-connected, trade with impunity, knowing that a well-placed bribe or a phone call can get them off with little more than a slap on a wrist.

A leopard skin and gorilla hands confiscated from poachers

More confiscated items including carved and uncarved ivory, hides, and other animal products

To read the full article click here

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The Lusaka Task Force: Fighting Poaching & Wildlife Crimes

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 21, 2010 by kendickjerkins

The Lusaka Agreement on Co-operative Enforcement Operations Directed at Illegal Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora was the brain-child of Wildlife Law Enforcement Officers from eight Eastern and Southern African countries meeting in Lusaka, Zambia in December 1992, under the auspices of Zambia’s Ministry of Tourism. This was followed up with working group meetings involving CITES, Interpol and US Fish & Wildlife Service special agents, as well as London University lawyers of the Foundation for International Environment Law Development (FIELD). The development of this African initiative a year later led to formal inter-governmental negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). This led to the adoption of the Lusaka Agreement on Co-operative Enforcement Operations Directed at Illegal Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora on 8th September 1994, with UN Secretary General, New York  the Depositary.
The Agreement came into force on 10th December 1996 with the ratification, or formal acceptance, by four signatories. Currently, there are six Parties to the Agreement: The Republics of Congo (Brazzaville), Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and the Kingdom of Lesotho. Republics of South Africa, Ethiopia and the Kingdom of Swaziland are signatories.
The Agreement provides for setting up of a permanent Task Force that would implement its objectives. Consequently, the Lusaka Agreement Task Force (Task Force) was launched on 1st  June 1999, with its headquarters located in Nairobi, Kenya.

The Lusaka Agreement Task Force (LATF) working jointly with the Tanzania Wildlife Division (TWD) and Interpol National Central Bureau (NCB) Dar es Salaam on 17th December, 2009 managed to arrest the main suspect in connection with illegal export of 769 pieces of elephant tusks, weighing 2005.6 Kg seized at the port of Hai Phong, Vietnam in August 2009. The contraband was disguised as sea shells and believed to have originated from Zanzibar. This arrest followed intensive investigation coordinated by LATF that started in September 2009. The arrested suspect Ramadhani Pandu Makame (alias Babu Rama) was indicated the exporter on the contraband’s accompanying documents. The investigation (ongoing) has also enabled collection of intelligence on the modus operandi, trade routes and possible destinations of elephant tusks in the Far East from the Region.

To learn more about the Lusaka Task Force you can visit their page on Wildlifedirect or their homepage.

Chinese Nationals Arrested in Brazzaville for Ivory Smuggling

Posted in Africa: Elephants with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 21, 2010 by kendickjerkins

Four men were arrested in Brazzaville for Ivory Trafficking. One of the Chinese admitted to being the leader of the group and responsible for all the Ivory, he is still detained and is the first Chinese national to be prosecuted and jailed for Ivory Trafficking in Central Africa.  The other three men have been released on bail because they were considered to just be accomplices to the leader.  Two of the men only had small amounts of ivory on them when arrested and the third had none at all.

Thanks to WildlifeDirect for the news update