Archive for Travel

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

ORGANIZATION OF THE DAY: The Colobus Trust

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 30, 2010 by Dori G

At one time the Angolan Black and White Colobus monkey’s range spanned the entire East African coastal stretch from Somalia to Mozambique, but today they can only be found on the southern coast of Kenya and the northern Tanzanian highlands. In some areas, populations have declined by as much as 50%. Their decline is mainly due to the fragmentation and loss of their forest habitat, but can also be attributed to road kills, electrocutions from power lines, poaching, pet trade, and conflicts with humans that result in lethal pest management practices.

The Colobus Trust (CT) was formed in 1997 in the Kenyan coastal area of Diani because of public outcry about the dramatic increase in deaths of Angolan Colobus monkeys in the area. The Trust works closely with local communities and businesses to promote conservation of the species and encourage protection of both the monkeys and their associated coastal forest habitat, a globally-recognized biodiversity hotspot. CT conducts research on the species to better understand its biology and interactions with its ecosystem. The results of their many research projects provide them with valuable information that can be applied to their conservation efforts in order to best achieve their goals.

They actively work to secure the last remaining patch of primary forest, which is critical to this primate’s (and others’) survival, with forest surveys, reforestation projects, and offering sustainable alternatives to the use of the forest resources. They promote eco-tourism by conducting tours for visitors to see the forest and its beauties, as many visitors come to Diani because of its ecological appeal. CT provides rescue action for monkeys that have become a problem of conflict with humans, and also rescues monkeys suffering injury from vehicle collisions, electrocution, poisoning, and dog bites.

Animals brought to CT receive medical attention at their veterinary clinic. After treatment, the monkeys are carefully rehabilitated so as to successfully return them to their natural habitat. CT also accepts pet monkeys and provides them with a way to interact with other monkeys and their habitat, so that they can eventually be released into the wild too. CT releases troops of monkeys together so that the monkeys can work together to be successful. To reduce road kills, CT constructs and installs “colobridges”, providing monkeys with a safe way to move across roads. The bridges have significantly reduced the number of road kills each year. The Trust conducts weekly education workshops for local primary and secondary schools to come learn about primates, the environment, and conservation. CT also conducts environmental workshops for local businesses and residents to learn about how they can lessen conflict with the monkeys and reduce their negative impacts on the ecosystem as a whole.

To reduce deaths and injuries caused when monkeys attempt to use un-insulated powerlines to navigate the forest, CT works with Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) to cut back and remove vegetation from the areas around powerlines on a weekly basis. The Trust also patrols forest patches every week and destroys every snare it finds. Students often accompany CT on these patrols so that they can see firsthand how this activity is affecting the Black and White Colobus population (as well as other wildlife species). The Colobus Trust is a valuable commodity to the conservation of the last remaining Black and White Colobus monkeys, and greatly contributes to the protection of the global biodiversity hotspot in Kenya’s southern coastal forest biosphere.

To learn more, please visit their website

Lion poaching on the increase…

Posted in Africa: Lions, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 27, 2009 by Dori G

With dwindling numbers,  rapid habitat loss including poisoning by farming communities, increasingly high numbers of  lions are being both targeted and have become victims of  reckless snaring. Below are some heart breaking images:

Video of poachers caught in the Mara Triangle with a young freshly skinned lion. As you can see his main has not fully developed yet.

Snared lioness

Bushmeat in Eastern Africa

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 3, 2009 by Dori G

The actions of many people across eastern Africa are having an enormous impact on wildlife populations. Recent studies have officially determined that across Southern Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya there is a widespread, growing, illegal trade in wildlife for meat and money. This over-hunting is causing a reduction in numbers and diversity of wildlife.

In Kenya bushmeat hunting snare hunting is widespread with thousands of snares being recovered each year from protected areas and game ranches. Wildlife policy is under review and going by the current debate, there is no sign that bushmeat management will be given the attention it deserves.

In Southern Sudan bushmeat hunting with rifles is widespread in and around protected areas where many citizens rely on bushmeat as a source of protein and income. Lack of capacity to manage over-hunting has resulted in decline of many wildlife species including elephant, buffalo, zebra and giraffe.

In Tanzania trophy and subsistence hunting is legally allowed in wildlife areas outside the National Parks and Ngorongoro Conservation Area. This type of consumptive wildlife utilization is controlled through quota and permit system, however, with limited capacity to manage illegal hunting.

In Uganda studies have shown declines in wildlife populations including hippopotamus, buffalo and elephant in protected areas due to hunting.

Illegal Bushmeat Trade Video

Posted in Africa: Primates with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 25, 2009 by Dori G

We first of all would like to Thank you all to the overwhelming response to the blog and our tweets. Keep it coming and pls Share it with everyone you know and sign up to our email updates.

Here is a video with some graphic footage by Jane Goodall Institute about the Bushmeat trade.

More photos and videos to come.

Casualities of the Bushmeat Trade …………

Posted in Africa: Primates with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 20, 2009 by Dori G

No words needed:

What is the Bushmeat Trade?

Posted in About, Africa: Primates, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 19, 2009 by Dori G

The bushmeat trade is the illegal, over-hunting of wildlife for meat and income.

Already in West and Central Africa this trade has resulted in declines and local extinctions of many wildlife species and the economic, cultural and ecosystem services they provide. In addition, a number of human health threats have emerged from the trade in bushmeat including linkages to  HIV/AIDS, ebola and the threat of anthrax.

Bushmeat trade is not regulated or managed by any authority. Economic benefits from the trade go mainly to hunters and traders. If current trends continue, future generations of citizens in Africa will not have the opportunity to access benefits from wildlife. Using wildlife to meet protein and income demands cannot be supported in the long term.

The immediate threat of loss of economic opportunity, cultural and ecological services, and other values to a wider community must be addressed today.

(Taken From: www. bushmeatnetwork.org)

Here are some images from the Bushmeat Trade for you to get an idea of what we are talking about:


Smoked Gorilla Meat