Archive for Tanzania

ORGANIZATION OF THE DAY: Selous Rhino Trust

Posted in Africa: Rhinos, Organization of The Day with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 1, 2010 by Dori G

Devastated by the poaching frenzy of the 1980’s, black rhino populations are dangerously close to extinction. This period of heavy poaching killed off 98% of the black rhino population and saw the massacre of some 90,000 elephants in Tanzania’s 50,000 km² Selous Game Reserve, the second largest area of the world set aside for wildlife (second only to Antarctica). Today, just barely over 100 of these rhinos are left in this World Heritage Site. Their prized horns are highly valuable in the black market and are used in the Middle East and Asia for medicinal and ornamental uses.Only man is to blame for this atrocity, and it is only man who can reverse the situation. When trying to establish a safari lodge within the Selous Reserve, Lizzy Theobald recognized the immediate need for conservation action to save this rhino species and founded the Kidai Rhino Project in 1995.

Tragically, her vision was cut short two years later when malaria claimed her young life. Her legacy lives on through the Selous Rhino Trust formed in 2000, having one key goal: “to stop the black rhino from becoming extinct in the Selous Game Reserve”. The Trust works with the Tanzanian Wildlife Division to form the Selous Black Rhino Protection Project, a team of twelve rangers and rhino specialists committed to protecting the rhinos (and other wildlife) from poachers. The remote nature of the Reserve and its rough terrain gives poachers many places to hide and makes locating their activities challenging. To overcome this obstacle, the Project uses aerial surveillance and monitoring to identify poaching threats. When found, location information is radioed down to a team on the ground who moves in to apprehend the poachers. The use of aircraft allows for vast tracts of land to be covered in a timely fashion, while also serving as a deterring reminder of the team’s presence.

(Credit: Piet Payer)

There have been no signs of rhino poaching in the last four years at the Reserve, but signs of elephant and hippo poaching are increasing despite the committed efforts of this brave team. Aerial monitoring also aids in the Trust’s surveying activities by identifying prime rhino habitat and quantifying the number of rhinos within the Reserve. Areas identified by air are then surveyed and studied extensively by a team on foot. The Trust also conducts monitoring activities to identify population numbers and to track movements of individual rhinos across the Reserve. On the ground, rangers rarely see the rhinos, but seeing them is not necessary to estimate the size of their population. They use two non-invasive techniques to achieve this task. Dung is collected for DNA analysis, which identifies individuals, their sex, and allows for genetic linkages to be made between individuals. However, DNA analysis is an expensive and lengthy process. Another way to identify individuals on the spot with minimal costs is by tracing rhino footprints.

(Credit: Brandon Daniel)

Each rhino has a distinct footprint, and, when found, the team traces the print onto a transparency sheet and compares it to all previously-catalogued footprints. This allows the team to determine if the rhino is a new individual or is one they already know about. Many of Selous Rhino Trust’s methods and techniques have not been used before in Tanzania, but it is because of the rangers’ developed skills and knowledge of these techniques that their efforts have been so successful. Ranger training takes place at the ranger post, and the Trust often works with other rhino organizations and programs to share ideas and skills. If it weren’t for the Selous Rhino Trust, the Reserve’s black rhino population would undoubtedly be gone. The actions of these brave rangers and their dedication to preserving this majestic species gives hope to keeping the unique and rich Selous Game Reserve wholly intact.

(Credit: Fernando Quevedo)

To learn more, please visit their website

Tsavo National Park: Past, Present, and Future

Posted in Africa: Elephants, Africa: Rhinos, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 7, 2010 by kendickjerkins

Tsavo National Park is Kenya’s largest national park with 20,812 square kilometers and is home to incredible biodiversity.  However, the early years of the park were marred by unchecked poaching of many of the native species including rhinos and elephants.  In 25 years of poaching over 90% of the countries rhinos and elephants were illegally killed for their horns and tusks.  However, in the mid 1990s CITES finally recognized what had been going on and listed rhinos and elephants as as Appendix I animals and a moratorium on all elephant and rhino products was enacted.

A local Kenyan who lives on the border of Tsavo National Park

In 1989 in a show of good faith Kenya burned 12 tons of ivory worth $1 million dollars.  Tsavo National Park is now facing new types of pressures; when the park was first founded the population of Kenya was approximately 1 million people, it is now over 40 million people.  This means that the edge of the park and human settlement is now a very obvious line of settlement on one side of the line and wild park line on the other side.  Climate change, trade in arms between war torn states and the bush meat trade  are now all major concerns for the Kenyan government and Tsavo National Park.  Another problem is that as soon as animals cross the border into Tanzania they lose much of their protection as the Tanzanian government is not nearly as strict in their anti-poaching enforcement.

Elephants in Tsavo National Park

Black rhinos that had a population of 6000 in the 1970s is now down to about 50 individuals.  The same story is true for elephants: 36,000 in the 1970s and only 6000 now.  The future of Tsavo National Park is going to depend on some creative thinking of conservationists and government officials.  It is obvious that the park and animals that call it home can not survive if a way is not found to have the park benefit the locals who live around its borders.  With the price of ivory so high in China and other eastern countries the lure of poaching is just too strong.

Kenyan and Tanzanian anti-poaching units with suspected poachers

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BUSH WARRIORS RHINO WEEK…….

Posted in Africa: Elephants, Asia: Rhinos, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 31, 2010 by Dori G

One of the most endangered species on our planet is the Rhino. These extraordinary creatures  are in danger of extinction in the wild, due mostly to rampant illegal slaughter for their horns and increasingly to habitat loss. If not for conservation efforts, there would be no wild rhinos alive today.

There are five species of Rhinos on our planet:
BLACK

WHITE


INDIAN – Greater one horned

JAVAN


SUMATRAN

As a celebration of these majestic animals we would like to announce this week as a Rhino Week in Bush Warriors. We have teamed up with Saving Rhinos to bring you up to date information about these majestic creatures including posters and fact sheets. Feel free and please share these fact sheets and posters with everyone you know.

As part of the Rhino week, this week’s theme in Photo Of The Day Contest will be Rhinos as well….. so if you have rhino photos that you would like to share with us pls Click Here to go and upload your photos to our Photo of The day Contest page…

Have a GREAT Week.

Dori & The Bush Warriors Clan

Black Rhinos Back in the Serengeti

Posted in Africa: Rhinos, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 24, 2010 by kendickjerkins

The black rhino population in the Serengeti in Tanzania was decimated by poachers in the 1960s and 70s; the population crashed from around 1000 to just over 70.  However,  7 black rhinos were removed and taken to South Africa to start a breeding program, which is now up to 50, so that they could be reintroduced. 32 critically endangered East African black rhinos are set to be flown from South Africa back to their habitat in Tanzania’s Serengeti Park, and so far 5 have made it as of Friday.  The Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete warned of past events of an example of what can go wrong and pledged to not allow history to repeat itself.  A special force of law enforcement officers have been trained to help take care of these rhinos and to not let the poaching cause this species to go extinct in the Serengeti…again.

One of the black rhinos that is being transported back to it’s homeland.

The elusive Black Rhino with gray-crowned cranes flying past (Credit: Stuart Barr)

A black rhino horn and the arrested poacher who was found carrying it.

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Ivory Wars: Tanzania Government Officially committed to fighting ivory and poaching

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 13, 2010 by kendickjerkins

Mr Edward Kishe, the acting director general of the Tanzania National Parks (Tanapa), is worried about the rampant poaching in his country and the image that other countries have about Tanzania’s anti-poaching efforts.  Last year alone at least 10 tons of Ivory were seized in Far East that had originated in Tanzania, as well as 70 species of live reptiles.  The Tanzanian government says that they are committed to increasing their law enforcement agencies as well as their cooperation with other governments on curbing the poaching that is occurring in their country.  The Lusaka Agreement task force, that was formed in 1994, is an organization that fights cross border illegal trade in flora and fauna; one of its founding members is Tanzania, and the government hopes to continue with these kinds of projects.

A poached elephant carcass found in a Tanzanian National Park

Park rangers around a dead elephant carcass in Tanzania

Poachers camp in Tanzania

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Will Tanzania Destroy Seized Ivory Stockpiles?

Posted in Africa: Elephants, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 10, 2010 by kendickjerkins

Kenyan Prime Minister Mr. Raila Odinga is recommending that Tanzania destroy their stockpiles of ivory.  Tanzania petitioned CITES in March to allow them to sell ivory stockpiles to the Asian market, but CITES refused citing the escalating poaching problem in Tanzania and saying the government was not doing a good enough job deterring poachers.  Mr. Odinga says that in the 1990s when Kenya was trying to really clamp down on poaching they destroyed stockpiles of seized ivory; he is adamant about this demand as he feels that the poaching of elephants in Tanzania that cross back and forth across the Tanzanian-Kenyan border is negatively impacting the tourism trade in Kenya.  Tanzanian officials, however, are accusing Kenya, and Mr. Odinga in particular, of working against East African Solidarity, which Mr. Odinga strongly denies.

Rooms full of seized elephant tusks in Tanzania

Two recently removed, bloody tusks left behind by poachers

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Tanzania: 31,000 Dead Elephants and Counting

Posted in Africa: Elephants with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 4, 2010 by kendickjerkins

In 2009, Aidan Hartley, a British journalist investigated black market elephant ivory in Tanzania.  He we extremely disturbed to find that he could find pretty much find as many kilos of elephant tusks as he wanted on the Tanzanian streets.  However, he said that the slaughtering of elephants that occurred in Selous National Park is what really spoke to him of the horrors that poaching wrought.  In the last three years 31,000 elephants have been killed in Tanzania alone while their bullet ridden carcasses are left to rot where they are shot.  Hartley also found that the Tanzanian government did little to nothing to stop the slaughter.

An elephant in Selous National Park.

A collection of illegally hunted elephant’s tusks, poachers guns, knives, and axes to remove the tusks from the skulls.

Poached elephant

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