Category Archives: Uncategorized

Call on Japan to Ban Ivory Trade

WildlifeDirect recently became aware of the scale of laundering of illegal ivory in the ivory markets of Japan through its contact with the Japanese NGO Tears of the African Elephant. Please see more about the interview we did on NTV Wild via this link:https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Cvsj21F_FI4 . We have joined forces with other conservation organizations in Africa and Japan to take the opportunity provided by the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) conference happening here in Nairobi, Kenya to publish a joint appeal to Japan to ban all trade in ivory trade, following the lead of China and the USA.

Japan is one of Africa’s most important development partners. They have made major contributions and commitments to support conservation. Now the conservation community call for 5 actions to be agreed at TICAD:

  1. Japan to permanently close legal domestic markets of ivory, and aggressively close down online trading sites that deal in ivory, all to crush demand.
  2. Japan to suspend ivory registration immediately, to prevent loopholes that allow fraudulent registration and laundering of illegal ivory.
  3. Japan to support the Elephant Protection Initiative.
  4. Japan to strengthen cooperation on elephant conservation initiatives and combating the trafficking of ivory to Japan through joint investigations and mutual legal assistance.
  5. Japan’s Prime Minister and First Lady to jointly issue statements to discourage the selling and buying of ivory in Japan and to initiate an education and outreach campaign to Japanese citizens on the importance of saving elephants by stopping poaching and ending ivory trade.

We urge Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is the head of the Giants Club of African presidents supporting elephant conservation, and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinz? Abe, to seize this unique opportunity at TICAD6 to discuss the issue as part of their duty towards the development agendas of Africa and Japan.

We also urge the H.E. the First Lady of Japan, Akie Abe, an ardent conservationist, to join H.E. the First Lady of Kenya, Margaret Kenyatta in raising awareness about elephants and their conservation needs.

You can access the English and Japanese versions of the joint statement here: Joint Statement-TICAD6

 

 

 

 

Notorious Kenyan Ivory Trafficker Jailed for 20 Years and Fined USD 200,000

On Friday, a Mombasa law court sentenced Feisal Mohamed Ali to 20 years in jail after finding him guilty of illegal possession of ivory worth 44 million shillings (US $440,000). The court also imposed a fine of 20 million shillings.

This landmark ruling by the Kenyan court is the end of a long story that began with the seizure of 2 tonnes of ivory at Fuji Motors car yard in Mombasa in June 2014.

Read more about this story on The Guardian

Calling the World to help save African Elephants

 

African Elephants

 

WildlifeDirect supports the African Elephant Coalition (AEC) in the call to the world to help save African elephants.

As an organization that has been in the forefront calling for a total ban on all ivory trade, WildlifeDirect urges other African countries not represented at the meeting held in Montreux, Switzerland from 24 to 26 June 2016 to join AEC in this call to save the our iconic species that are in danger of extinction if nothing is done.

In a press release by AEC, 29 member states call on all governments, inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations for their support, and calls on citizens around the world to ask their respective governments and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) representatives to support the five proposals and to help the Coalition in its mission to list all elephants in Appendix I.

The Coalition of 29 African member states submitted to CITES five proposals designed to reverse the poaching crisis facing elephants and to put an end to the ivory trade to afford elephants the highest protection under international law.

The five proposals are:

  1. Listing all elephants in CITES Appendix I
  1. Closure of domestic ivory markets
  1. Ivory stockpile destruction and management
  1. The Decision-Making Mechanism for a process of trade in ivory (DMM)
  1. Restricting trade in live elephants

AEC agreed to launch a social media campaign in a bid to gain support for the five proposals to the 17th Conference of the Parties (CoP17) of CITES in September-October in Johannesburg, South Africa. We invite you to use the hashtags #WorthMoreAlive, #EndIvoryTrade and #Vote4Elephants to support the campaign.

Speaking at the meeting in Montreux, Bourama Niagaté from Mali, a member of the Council of the Elders for the Coalition noted that there was need for all relevant stakeholders to pull together for the sake of Africa’s elephants.

Kenya, a member state of AEC has taken a zero tolerance approach to poaching and ivory trafficking.

In April this year, Kenya took a bold step in burning 105 tons of ivory and 1.5 tons of rhino horn. This is reportedly the world’s largest stockpile of elephant ivory and rhino horns ever to be burnt. The historic burn demonstrated Kenya’s commitment to seeking a total global ban of ivory and rhino horns.

Speaking at the burn, President Uhuru Kenyatta said, “by destroying ivory we declare once and for all that our national heritage is not for sale”. The only value that ivory has is tusks on a live elephant.

It is this commitment from the highest level of government and collaboration with conservationists and law enforcement that has seen Kenya achieve 80 percent reduction in deaths of elephants in the last three years.

 

You can download the Press Release Here

Mayes and Mactavish score sensational Safari Rally podium

Geoff and JamieSafari guide and wildlife photographer Geoff Mayes and Scottish born Jamie Mactavish successfully guided their SPV class V8 rally raid car to a top twenty overall position and third in class on the just finished KCB Safari Rally.
This years event saw crews face two and a half challenging days in the Great Rift Valley over terrain more suited to a Dakar event than a flat out motor rally. Attrition was high as cars succumbed to rocks, ruts, dust and even encounters with wild animals but through it all the Landrover continued. Mayes and Mactavish did have their own dramas, an unmarked ditch in the organisers notes saw the raid car flung into the trees at high speed, emerging with body damage but only minimal time loss.
Mayes, “this is our second safari finish and probably more fun. We had the perfect car for the weekend but not being able to recce meant we had to be more cautious. The car was faultless and full credit must go to my team. To my sponsors, Purdy Arms, Punda Milias and Que Pasa, an enormous thank you! We bashed the suspension a lot and it never broke, which is testimony to Team Magic. We hit a lot of rocks, some whilst very sideways, and didn’t get a single puncture so thank you Maxxis Tyres. And finally a huge thank you to my title sponsors SilversprNo Ivory On Boardead Team Meru, without whose support I would never have even made the start of this prestigious event!
This years KCB Safari Rally was won by reigning champions Jassi Chatthe and Gugu Panesar in a Mitsubishi Evo X. Only 21 cars finished from a start list of 42, with Mayes and Mactavish finishing 19th overall and 3rd in class.
Photos courtesy Suzanne Zwager

Kenyan Government Issues a 21 Day Amnesty on Ivory and Wildlife Trophies

The Kenyan government has issued a 21 day amnesty for the surrender of any wildlife trophy without Kenya Wildlife Service permit. Those who take advantage of the amnesty, which took effect from March 30, 2016 will not be punished. Speaking during the launch of site preparations for the historic burning of elephant ivory and rhino horns, Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Regional Development, Prof.  Judi Wakhungu said, “Anybody holding any ivory, rhino horns or any other wildlife trophies, jewellery or trinkets to surrender to the KWS Director General at the KWS headquarters. The items can also be surrendered to the Assistant Directors at KWS regional offices in Mombasa, Voi, Nyeri, Marsabit, Nakuru, Kitale and Meru National Park.”

 

Prof. Wakhungu stated that the government of Kenya, led by President Uhuru Kenyatta will on April 30, 2016 set ablaze the world’s largest stockpile of elephant ivory and rhino horns ever to be burnt. The government has attached great significance to this State event and to this end, the president has invited dignitaries from all over the world who will come to express solidarity with Kenyans in conservation efforts. Although the destruction of ivory and rhino horns will not in itself put an end to the illegal trade in these items, it demonstrates Kenya’s commitment to seeking a total global ban of ivory and rhino horns.

 

Speaking to the media at the same event, our Chief Executive Officer Dr. Paula Kahumbu also emphasized the importance of not attaching economic use to ivory and rhino horns. WildlifeDirect continues to work towards change of hearts, minds and laws to protect elephants. Our current campaign dubbed HandsOffOurElephants focuses on raising awareness and political support to stop poaching, trafficking and buying of ivory.

 

As a build up to the upcoming Ivory and Rhino Horn Burn, WildlifeDirect is working in collaboration with other partners including KWS and USAID to hold a Conservation Media event that will rally people around the globe to make commitments to act to save the elephants and rhinos.

 

Prof. Wakhungu further stated that the poaching of elephants and rhinos and illegal wildlife trade continues to be a major problem in Africa and threatens the very survival of these iconic species. Poaching is facilitated by international criminal syndicates and fuels corruption. It is important for the public to know that the poaching undermines the rule of law and funds other criminal activities that not only harm local communities but also national economies.

 

In the past three years, Kenya has redoubled its efforts and put measures in combating elephant poaching and illegal trade in elephant ivory within and across its boarders. In 2014, 164 elephants were poached in the country which significantly reduced to 96 elephants in 2015. Also in 2014, 35 rhinos were illegally killed compared to 11 in 2015. Another key milestone that was highlighted was the national audit of the stockpile of ivory and rhinoceroses horn for enhance monitoring and management purpose. The audit recorded 135.8 tonnes of elephant ivory and 1.5 tonnes of rhino horns.

Leakey interview in SWARA and on NTV Wild Talk at 10 pm

NTV Wild Talk, broadcast an interview with Richard Leakey about the past and the present for wildlife and heritage in Kenya. It aired on Tuesday March 15 on NTV at 10 pm.
I also want to draw attention to the new article in SWARA here  in which he states

“Parks will only be sustainable if Kenyans want them to be sustainable. Middle class Kenyans who own TV sets watch international soccer, international vanity shows and news but none of them watch wildlife programmes because they’ve never been put on air in this country.”

Richard Leakey

This sentiment is the reason that we created NTV Wild. For those who have not been able to catch previous episodes, NTV Wild is a partnership between NTV, WildlifeDirect and KWS to broadcast wildlife documentaries made in Kenya and Africa on national Television for the first time in our history to inspire Kenyans to visit our parks and appreciate our spectacular wildlife heritage. The program airs on Saturdays and a discussion program on Tuesdays.
This is the list of all the NTV Wild documentaries so far on Saturday’s at 8 pm
1. Mzima Haunt of the River Horse – Mark Deeble and Vicky Stone
2. The Last Lions – Derek and Beverly Joubert
3. African Cats – DisneyNature
4. Here be Dragons – Alan Root
5. Battle For the Elephants – Nat Geo
6. The Queen of Trees – Mark Deeble and Vicky Stone
NTV Wild Talk on Tuesdays at 10 pm

 

Launching the series with Jonathan Scott

 

NTV Wild Talk S1 E1 “The mystery of Mzima”

 NTV Wild Talk S1 E2 “Kenya-US relations in protecting wildlife”

NTV Wild Talk S1 E3 “Stopping wildlife trafficking through Kenya”

NTV Wild Talk S1 E4 “Saving Kenya’s big cats”

NTV Wild Talk S1 E5 “Safeguarding Karura Forest”

 

TV Wild Talk S1 E6 “Wildlife Newbies & Champions”

In this episode: Kitili Mbathi shares the challenges & successes at KWS, Lena Munge tells of how she hopes to transform the Masai Mara, Najib Balala explains why he jumped off a plane for conservation & 12 yr old Luca Berardi stresses the importance of wildlife for future generations.

Both the documentaries and the talk shows have been trending on twitter since we began 7 weeks ago and people are telling us that they are setting their alarm clocks to catch the programs. We are already on week 7 and we have 45 more  to go! Enjoy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

REVIEW MEETING OF THE WILDLIFE & CONSERVATION MANAGEMENT ACT PROPOSED REGULATIONS, NAIROBI

The objective of this two day meeting was to analyze the proposed Regulations and suggest any necessary amendments to the team of consultants, who drafted these Regulations. Initially the expected number of Regulations was 24 but the consultants reviewed them and came up with 22 Regulations.
Major stakeholders who attended the meeting included KWS Board of Trustees and expert staff, Wildlife Direct, ICIPE, National Museums of Kenya, NACOSTI, Ministry of Agriculture, Researchers and representatives from Conservancies.

The meeting was chaired by Dr. Richard Leakey, Chairman of Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).
Day One the following regulations were discussed:
• Access and Benefit Sharing,
• Bio prospecting,
• Wildlife Research,
• Establishment of Wildlife Data base,
• Wildlife Compensation,
• Community Participation,
• Conservancy and Sanctuary Regulations,
• Activities in Protected Areas.

On day two:
• Licensing of Trade in Wildlife Species,
• Endangered Species Management,
• Implementation of Treaties,
• Game Trophies,
• Joint Management of Water Towers,
• Marine Protected Areas,
• Mining Regulations,
• Protected Wetlands and
• Security Operations.

Several recommendations were made and noted down by the consultant to be included in the next draft of the Regulations. Discussions on Endowment Funds and Security Operations Regulations were deferred until the board seeks further consultation. The Chairman stated that there will be another review meeting after the consultants have incorporated the proposed changes.

 

WildlifeDirect Legal Team with KWS Chairman

WildlifeDirect Legal Team with KWS Chairman

 

 

 

Good Things Happening at WildlifeDirect

During the month of October, WildlifeDirect is embarking on a new adventure.

We have teamed up with Ol Tukai Lodge in Amboseli http://www.oltukailodge.com, Sunworld Safaris http://www.sunworld-safari.com/en, Kenya Wildlife Services http://www.kws.go.ke

We will be sharing more information on the work we will be doing in 2016 soon. Meanwhile, you can start guessing what the adventure will be.

We are priviledged to have excellent partners:

Kenya Wildlife Service has granted us access to the Amboseli National Park; Ol Tukai Lodge offered full board accommodation; Sunworld Safaris graciously donated the use of an excellent vehicle during this exercise and Two amazing women, Usha Harish, an exceptional photographer and Soila Saiyalel – an excellent Elephant expert have spent hours photographing elephant families in the park.

We look forward to seeing what they have gathered soon

Vehicle donated by Sun World Safaris

Vehicle donated by Sun World Safaris

 

Selfie with the Elephants?

Selfie with the Elephants?

 

With the Staff of Ol Tukai Lodge and Elephants in the background

With the Staff of Ol Tukai Lodge and Elephants in the background

 

Usha & Soila with the Staff of Ol Tukai Lodge outside the Lodge

Usha & Soila with the Staff of Ol Tukai Lodge outside the Lodge

 

Soila doing what she does best - Observing and Identifying Elephants

Soila doing what she does best – Observing and Identifying Elephants

THANK YOU TO ALL OUR PARTNERS

We wish to thank all our partners below for their immense support! Asante Sana!!

KWS_LOGO                 MENWAR Logo

STE logo           awf-logo-web                  big-life-foundation-logo

 

 

 

DSWT       FrHorizLogo5           UNDP logo

 

 

Whitley Fund         KWCA Logo              JTI Logo              Judiciary Logo

 

Nature Kenya Logo   Elephant Voices logo

 

 

 

 

ACC Logo               Freeland Logo                 C4 logo

 

 

ANAW Logo              EAWLS Logo              Tsavo Trust                        Space for Giants Logo             Tusk Logo                   Rhino Ark Logo               Gallman logo            ZSL Logo Ol Tukai Logo

 

 

Coulson Logo     ARM Logo

 

 

The Perfect World Logo      Brookhouse logo    Banda School

Coop bank logo                 KQ       Safarilink Logo

 

Amarula Logo     Nakumatt

 

 

11149361_948437908524042_275060798629842193_n               Galleria

WildlifeTracks: Our pick of main activities for July 2015

Dr. Kahumbu discusses elephant conservation with U.S President Barack Obama

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WildlifeDirect CEO during the Kenya Civil Society meeeting with US President Barack Obama (Credit:White House)

WildlifeDirect CEO Dr.Paula Kahumbu was among the members of the Kenya Civil Society who met the U.S President Barack Obama during his Kenyan visit. The meeting, which was held at the Kenyatta University, brought together members of civil society to address critical issues affecting the country. Dr. Kahumbu spoke on wildlife crime.

‘’I started the Hands Off Our Elephants under my organization WildlifeDirect together with the Kenyan First Lady Margaret Kenyatta to empower and mobilize Kenyans and Africans to conserve African Elephants’’ Dr. Paula told the President.

‘’Our work has changed the hearts and minds of Kenyans and also the laws. We have been at the centre of judicial reforms in this country’’

She asked President Obama to invite the American people to help by saying “No” to buying ivory and ivory products. She also requested the American government to take the lead by pursuing wildlife crime with the same vigor as drugs traffickers, and by strengthening their mutual legal assistance role in demand source and transit countries.

Watch the meeting here.

WildlifeDirect and UNDP hold project inception meeting in Amboseli

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Project inception meeting in Amboseli

This Month, we initiated a new community enterprise project funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and in collaboration with Her Excellency, Margaret Kenyatta, The First Lady of the Republic of Kenya in Imbirikani, Amboseli. The project inception meeting held at the Big Life Foundation center brought together over 100 women and representatives from UNDP and the community leaders.

We seek to empower Maasai women by developing business ideas that are linked to the sustainable use of natural resources. Robert Kaai is managing the project.

Creating a Generation of Wildlife Warriors event

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Creating a generation of Wildlife Warriors event was a unique opportunity to discuss and document ideas on how young people of Kenya can become leaders, champions and defenders of our wildlife heritage

On 4th July, WildlifeDirect hosted Wildlife Warriors at Brookhouse School which attracted people from many sectors and corners of the country to discuss the role of young people in conservation using Open Space Technology. More than 300 people attended ranging from diplomats, scientists, rangers, university and primary school students and children from slums, and officials from counties.

It was a unique opportunity to discuss and document ideas on how young people of Kenya can become leaders, champions and defenders of our wildlife heritage.

Watch our video here.

WildlifeDirect taking part in the inventory of Kenya elephant ivory and rhino horn stockpile

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Environment Cabinet Secretary Prof. Judi Wakhungu inspecting the ivory during the Commissioning of the inventory exercise of elephant and rhino horn stockpile

WildlifeDirect was proud to officially partner with the government in the first ever digital inventory of elephant ivory and rhino horn in the country commissioned by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS). The Stocktake involved a number of organizations including Stop Ivory and Save the Elephants. Due to the sensitive nature of the work we cannot provide further information until the full official report is distributed.

KWS, Kenya Land Commission and Kenya Railways sign deal for Standard Gauge Railway to pass through the Nairobi National Park

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The railway will be elevated for 1 km across the 9 km length in the park. This will allow animals to pass underneath it and no land will be lost from the park

The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), Kenya Land Commission (KLC) and the Kenya Railways this month signed a an agreement to allow the new Standard Gauge Railway to pass through the northern edge of the Nairobi National Park.

The railway will be elevated for 1 km across the 9 km length in the park. This will allow animals to pass underneath it and no land will be lost from the park. The KWS Chairman Dr. Richard Leakey, reassured WildlifeDirect that no part of the Nairobi National Park will be reduced contrary to the previous reports in the media which had indicated that several acres would be degazetted for the new railway. WildlifeDirect had launched a petition to stop the railway from encroaching on the National Park.

 

HIGHLIGHTS

WildlifeDirect’s Jim Karani wins scholarship to study animal law at Lewis and Clark

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WildifeDirect’s Jim Karani and Natasha Dolezal when he received the scholarship

WildlifeDirect’s Legal Assistant Jim Karani has won a scholarship to study Animal Law at the Center for Animal Law Studies (CALS), at the Lewis & Clark Law School in the United States.

On completion, he will be the first African attorney with an advanced degree in animal law.
Congratulations to him. Jim leaves for USA at the end of August.

Dr. Jane Goodall Celebrates 55 Years of Pioneering Research with Wild Chimpanzees

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Dr.Paula Kahumbu joind Dr. Jane Goodall in cutting a cake to celebrate 55 years of pioneering research with chimpanzees at Gombe National park in Tanzania.

On July 14, 2015 WildlifeDirect CEO Paula Kahumbu joined Dr. Jane Goodall as she celebrated 55 years of pioneering research with chimpanzees at Gombe National park in Tanzania.

Platinum Dancers perform anti-poaching play

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Platinum Dancers

Known for winning one of the biggest regional dance shows in East Africa, Sakata, Platinum dancers from Kibera performed an anti-poaching play in the SPA completion, a Christian dancing competition.

Branded in Hands Off Our Elephants T-Shirts, the group won the second round and will be performing in the finals in August. They danced to Tusimame, an elephant anthem composed by four African artists including Emmanuel Jal, Syssi Mananga, Juliani and Venessa Mdee. This is part of Jal’s “We Want Peace Initiative”

Watch them perform the anti-poaching play here

Eyes In The Courts

‘This month our legal team has been following up on the long awaited trial of suspected ivory kingpin Feisal Mohamed Ali which started the 9th of July 2015. Feisal Mohamed Ali and five others are accused of possession of ivory contrary to the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act of 2013. Feisal’s bond application at the high court was denied and the court ruled that he should attend his trail while in custody unlike his co-accused. The main trial will start on the 17th of August 2015 for 3 consecutive days at the Mombasa law courts. If convicted, Feisal faces up life imprisonment or a fine of not less than 20 million shillings.

Eyes in the court room project is also following two huge seizures of ivory from Kenya in Singapore and Thailand earlier this year. The seizures led to the uncovering of a cartel the Mombasa port and consequently several employees of Kenya Ports Authority are facing charges in relation to the seizures.