Tag Archives: African elephant

WildlifeDirect and UNDP hold project inception meeting in Amboseli

On Wednesday, WildlifeDirect initiated a new community enterprise project funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and in collaboration with the Her Excellency, The First Lady Margaret Kenyatta in Imbirikani, Amboseli.

The project inception meeting was held at the Big Life foundation bringing together over 100 women from three different groups in the area and representatives from UNDP and the community.

The greater Amboseli landscape plays a major role in Kenya’s tourism industry, however its biodiversity particularly its magnificent its elephants is threatened by habitat degradation and issues of human-wildlife conflict and poaching. The communities in this area practice livestock farming and this is their major source of income. Both livelihoods, as currently practiced, are unsustainable, in terms of both natural resource degradation and the extent to which they conflict with the natural movements of wildlife, in particular, elephants are heavily persecuted due to the damages they inflict on crops.

Under this tremendous project, the women groups will be empowered and trained to come up with new ideas which will be funded by UNDP for a period of one year, in a community where men are considered leaders of household with women playing very little roles. This project proposes to empower the Maasai women to take control of their future and have the capacity to plan and implement their own income generating activities.  It will result in the development and marketing of three women’s enterprise utilizing existing groups in the Mbirikani conservancy that are linked to the sustainable use of natural resources.

There is an urgent need to diversify livelihoods in the communities away from both pastoralism and agriculture towards sustainable management of natural resources and other conservation- related activities, so that both wildlife and the communities may continue to co-exist in greater harmony and the ecosystem can be restored to health, providing critical ecosystem services, robust against climate change. This project will help identify potential markets for the women groups and also connect them with buyers for their products.

‘’We need to look at this project at a larger scale and give it the urgency it deserves, we want to make sure at the end of this one year we should have achieved our set goals’’, Paula Kahumbu, CEO WildlifeDirect, said.

‘’it is very important that we quickly agree on the project projects that we need to implement within the stipulated project time that will turn out to be profitable businesses and so I want to thank all the men and women who have come to support this women in this project’’

WildifeDirect will help the women groups in the implementation of the project under the leadership of Community Project Officer, Robert Kaai and Dr.Kahumbu promised to give the women groups enough to ensure the project is a success.

David Githaiga, Team Leader, Energy, environment and Climate Change, UNDP Kenya promised the women groups that UNDP is very much committed to the project, promising the funds for the project  are already available. He said the project is a very good initiative to empower women in this region and said the funds will be released in four quarters immediately after identifying the enterprise to invest in.

 

Women groups, WLD and UNDP staff after the meeting

Women groups, WLD and UNDP staff after the meeting

New Chairman for WildlifeDirect Kenya

Press Statement
14 November 2014, Nairobi
Philip Murgor is Appointed as the new Chairman of WildlifeDirect Kenya
The Board of Directors of WildlifeDirect is happy to announce the appointment of Philip Murgor as the new Chairman of the board of WildlifeDirect Kenya.
Murgor’s appointment was made at a board meeting held at the Amboseli National Park in early November 2014. The international board was in Kenya to mark the first anniversary of WildlifeDirect’s flagship campaign, Hands Off Our Elephants.
This appointment will greatly strengthen the organisation, given his wealth of experience gained over two decades, working in both local and international litigation, serving as formerly as a State Counsel, as Kenya’s Director of Public Prosecutions and currently as the managing partner of Murgor and Murgor Advocates.
WildlifeDirect is committed and dedicated to changing laws and people’s behaviour and attitudes related to wildlife crime in Kenya and throughout Africa. In the last year, WildlifeDirect, through its Hands Off Our Elephants campaign, was in the forefront in championing the passing into law of the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act 2013. Currently, the organisation is conducting a study into the enforceability of the new law in relation to wildlife trafficking crimes in Kenya.
Philip Murgor’s contribution towards this end will not only be felt in Kenya but across the entire African continent where the Hands Off our Elephants campaign will go to.
Other members of the Kenyan board include development expert Irungu Houghton and Ali Daud Mohamed, the Climate Change Advisor in the office of the Deputy President.
The First Lady Margaret Kenyatta is the patron of the Hands Off Our Elephants campaign, launched to advocate for the protection of remaining elephant populations.

For More Information, Please contact CEO of WildlifeDirect Dr Paula Kahumbu on 0722 685 106 or the Communications Manager Bertha Kang’ong’oi on 0720 712 730

UNDP partners with Kenya’s First Lady to combat poaching

25, 2014/in First Lady, News, Press /by PSCU

 

 

First Lady, Margaret Kenyatta with the Administrator UNDP, Ms. Helen Clark

First Lady, Margaret Kenyatta with the Administrator UNDP, Ms. Helen Clark

Nairobi June 25, 2014 (PSCU) United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has entered into a partnership with the office of the First Lady Mrs Margaret Kenyatta on wildlife conservation and anti-poaching in the country.

Under the partnership, UNDP will sponsor the First Lady’s ‘Hands Off Our Elephants campaign’ to the tune of USD 100,000

UNDP will also scale up its support for wildlife conservation initiatives by communities and other stakeholders involved in the campaign to protect elephants and other endangered wildlife species in the country.

Speaking during the launch at State House Nairobi, UNDP Administrator Ms Helen Clark stressed the need for all stakeholders to collaborate in maintaining the global momentum of awareness campaigns, especially in countries where wildlife trophies are sourced and the consumers.

“UNDP will do all it can to combat poaching in Kenya and other parts of the world. As a result of the spirited campaign, there is international consensus on wildlife conservation,” she said.

The UNDP Administrator commended the First Lady for her efforts to conserve wildlife through her ‘Hands Off Our Elephants’ campaign, and pledged her continued support to the initiative.

The First Lady welcomed the UNDP’s support, saying that the battle on poaching and illegal wildlife trophies trade cannot be won by a single entity.

“We still need to get the poachers before they strike. We cannot win this battle alone. We should work hand in hand. We all stand to benefit when we conserve our heritage because we all have a stake in it”, she said.

She called for closer partnership with all stakeholders to strengthen advocacy for community, national and global solutions to combat wildlife poaching.

At the same time, the First Lady, called for the harmonization of regional wildlife conservation legislation to combat cross-border poaching and smuggling. She said the harmonization would deepen cooperation in the region, especially in jointly combating the ivory trade.

The First lady noted with appreciation that the ‘Hands Off Our Elephants’ campaign she launched last year to raise awareness on the poaching menace both in Kenya and on the global stage was bearing fruit.

“The campaign to end the menace of wildlife poaching especially elephants and rhinos is close to my heart as it is to all Kenyans,” the First Lady said.

As a result of the campaign, she added, an increase of illegal trophy seizures in Kenyan ports has been witnessed and for the first time more seizures have been made on the African continent than in Asia.

The First Lady said the campaign has brought together of communities to conserve wildlife.

However, she regretted the increased poaching of elephant and rhino.

She insisted that that Kenya was home to some of the world’s most beautiful flora and fauna, and that it was ‘our duty’ to conserve and share it with the rest of the world.

The First Lady said over 300,000 Kenyans were directly employed in the tourism sector with many more as indirect beneficiaries.

http://www.president.go.ke/undp-partners-with-first-lady-to-combat-poaching/

 

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V I C TO R Y!!!

96E

 

The New York State Legislature stood up for elephants!
They passed a bill banning the sale and purchase of ivory and rhino horn.

We are so grateful to all of you for being a true coalition and supporting the efforts in New York with dedication and perseverance.

We look forward to working with you to make this a reality in all 50 states!

Kate Fitzgerald
Strategic Partnerships
96 Elephants
Wildlife Conservation Society

Ndovu + Music = Ndovu Music Contest

Juliani with Basilinga

Juliani with Basilinga

Article by Njambi Maingi

The month of June, heavily marked and highlighted on the Safaricom Calendar in the WildlifeDirect office in Nairobi, was a definite illustration of the numerous midyear activities planned out for the Hands off Our Elephants Campaign. None of them bigger than the biggest collaboration in Elephant Conservation this year!! What am I talking about,you ask?? The day Kenyan Music Celebrity Juliani and Dr Paula Kahumbu met over lunch at Art Café to discuss everything-Hands off Our Elephants. On this day the ground beneath the elephant poachers feet must have shook.
There is no denying that the best way to reach out to the masses when conveying a message is through the arts, especially through music. It is a powerful tool that easily seeps into our souls, tugging on our heartstrings for our minds and ears to listen. Music and Elephant Conservation were now united, brought together for a common cause, to sing to the world that the fight against poaching will not only be fought on the ground by armed rangers, but alternatively through the power of words and musical instruments in our studios.

With this new concept in mind ,PCI MEDIA Impact , an international leader in Behavior Change Communications, WildlifeDirect and local celebrity Juliani have joined forces to bring to a Kenyan and International Audience, the first ever Anti-Poaching Themed Music Contest, known as THE NDOVU MUSIC CONTEST(Ndovu being the Swahili word for Elephant). This contest will be for the young and old alike from all over the Country, to contribute to conservation through their creativity in song writing, where original elephant conservation songs are to be submitted online to www.ndovumusic.com. This contest intends to inspire the Kenyans to take action in the protection of Elephants and all wildlife, our heritage, through use of musical talents and more.

To commemorate the conception of this great initiative, the Hands off Our Elephants team, treated Juliani to an amazing one-on-one visit with the orphaned elephant calves at The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. He got to experience firsthand, the lives of these victims of slaughter, that were rescued from the wild, abandoned for various reasons that include but not limited to human-elephant conflict and poaching which decimates herds of elephants around Kenya, leaving behind traumatized young elephants, uncared for.

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At first, cautious of his movements around the calm elephants, Juliani quickly became acquainted, moving between individuals, playing with them, listening to their stories from the care givers(surrogate mothers), he was even comfortable enough to bump heads with a few of the older ones, taking in all their force and energy!

It was love at first sight, as some would put it. But this encounter made it ever more obvious to Juliani and the team, that the poaching scourge is a looming dark reality not only for the African Elephants but also for Kenya’s Economic Future.

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Raising Awareness for Wildlife Plight

By Brodie Owen

Kenyan Night May 10 2014 Hall Photos 007

The Ambassador (wearing HOOE armband) receiving a gift from District Governor Geoff Tancred D9700

 

Kenya’s Ambassador to Australia made his first diplomatic trip outside of Canberra to Wagga on a mission to protect African Elephants and Rhinos from greedy international ivory markets

Ambassador Isaiya Kabira, a former journalist in his home country has been in the top job for about two months and is determined his appointment will be defined as one that raises about the beauty of the animal with tusks, sharp and strong.

“In the 1990s we had about three to four million elephants roaming Africa. Today we are talking about a number closer to 500,000”, Ambassador Kabira said on Saturday.

“With a growing middle class, particularly in Asia, we’re seeing a lot of demand for ivory…it’s seen as a status symbol”

The cause to raise awareness of animal poaching across the plains of Kenya is being championed by Rotary International Australia which is planning a trip to Kenya within the next year.

The Coolamon Rotary branch has taken particular interest to curtailing the ivory demand. There are fears the level of demand threatens the very survival of African elephants.

Rotary District Governor Geoff Tancred compared the plight of African wild Elephants and Rhinos to Australia’s Tasmanian tiger which was hunted to extinction in the 1930s.

“The numbers of wild elephants and also rhinoceros in the wild in Africa is depleting at an alarming rate,” he said

Ambassador Kabira said Australians should view Africa’s wildlife as international heritage

“We should work together  here in Australia to ensure that there is no demand at all for ivory,” he said

“Only Elephants should wear ivory”

Exchanging business cards, Wagga Mayor Rod Kendall and member for Riverina Michael McCormack agreed to work closer together with Ambassador Kabira

Crying Rhino

 

 

John Glassford (wearing HOOE T-shirt) H.E. Ambassador Kabira & Mrs. Kabira

John Glassford (wearing HOOE T-shirt) H.E. Ambassador Kabira & Mrs. Kabira

WildlifeDirect wishes to thank:
John Glassford
Chair 2013 -2014
Proposed RAG for Endangered Species
Rotary Club of Coolamon District 9700
New South Wales, Australia

http://www.endangeredrag.org/

Uhuru Kenyatta speaks out about ivory and terrorism

      This article appeared in

The Path to Defeating the al-Shabaab Terrorists

The jihadists who struck my country should be fought militarily but also financially. Let’s work together.

    the Wall Street Journal
    By
  • UHURU KENYATTA

The weekend brought encouraging news in the international fight against Islamic terrorism, news that was particularly welcome in Kenya, the country I lead. American commandos in Libya seized Abu Anas, a suspect in the 1998 bombings of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. In Somalia, U.S. Navy SEALs targeted a senior leader of al-Shabaab, the al Qaeda-affiliated group responsible for the horrific recent attack on the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi. The raid in Somalia was reportedly abandoned, to avoid harming civilians, before the al-Shabaab leader could be captured. Some al-Shabaab members were killed, but it wasn’t immediately clear whether the targeted senior leader was among the casualties.

All of us who strive to fight Islamic militancy should applaud these efforts. In particular, it is clear after the Westgate attack that the world must unite as never before in the fight against the spread of violence by al-Shabaab outside Somalia.

European Pressphoto AgencySoldiers on guard inside the Westgate shopping mall after a shootout in Nairobi, Kenya, 21 September 2013.

Before the Islamist militants’ attack in Nairobi, the Kenyan military along with our partners in an African Union force last year successfully removed al-Shabaab from Kismayo, a coastal town in Somalia, allowing the democratically elected Somali government to take control. This port was a crucial source of money for the terrorists, who extorted legitimate traders. Yet al-Shabaab was still able to strike Nairobi, the business heart of East Africa, where Africans, Americans, Europeans and Asians live side by side. Al-Shabaab appears to be shifting from a strategy of insurgency to sporadic terrorist attacks both within and beyond Somalia’s borders.

As I vowed last week in the wake of the attack, Kenyan troops will remain in Somalia to defend the government until al-Shabaab no longer poses a threat to its future and to regional security. But countries in Africa and beyond who might be targeted by al-Shabaab’s exported terrorism must consider what else should be done to combat the group. Why do young men and women join al-Shabaab and its wider networks? How can we cut off funding for this terror organization?

Though it is not always the case with Islamic terrorists, one of the root causes for Somalians to join al-Shabaab is poverty. For those who are young and poor and searching for identity, religious fanaticism can prove alluring. The testimony of former members of al-Shabaab reveals that many were groomed through offers of money or the simple promise of a daily meal, while their minds were bombarded with a violent and distorted world view.

For this reason it is crucial that foreign business investment continues to flow to Kenya and its fellow members of the East African Community, Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. It is through economic empowerment that young people in the region who might be vulnerable to the al-Shabaab message will have hope for a better life. At the same time, we in Kenya are increasing security measures to reassure international investors and their staff located in Nairobi.

Al-Shabaab preys on the poor for recruitment, but the group itself is well-financed. Kenya and our international partners have identified three routes of funding: the illegal trade in ivory, the diversion of international remittances intended for others, and the theft of money intended for mainstream Muslim organizations.

Only weeks before the attack on Westgate, the government of Kenya launched a campaign calling for a global moratorium on ivory trading. While we are already investing more in antipoaching measures, this illegal trade—for which al-Shabaab acts as a facilitator and broker—cannot be curtailed without an offensive against overseas buyers. The support of foreign governments and nongovernmental organizations in this effort is essential. In the coming months, Kenya will seek to bring all these participants together to devise and implement a global plan to end a business that endangers our wildlife and bankrolls attacks on our people.

Regarding the diversion of remittances, banks in the U.S. and Britain are already curtailing many money-transfer services to Somalia and East Africa. It is important that innocent East Africans living abroad are not denied the opportunity to send money to their families, on which many rely. That means the banking systems of Kenya and the region must formulate a more sophisticated and integrated relationship with the international financial community to ensure that only those who seek to harm us are financially suffocated.

In Kenya, we are aware that monies intended for honorable purposes, such as schools and welfare provision, are sometimes extorted to fund al-Shabaab, which seeks to harm all Kenyans, regardless of their faith. We must ensure Muslims are safe in Kenyan society to freely practice their religion without interference. They must know that donations they make to assist their communities are not diverted for malicious ends.

Al-Shabaab wants Kenya to turn inward and the world to withdraw its investment and support. We must show those who attacked Westgate that they have achieved the opposite, with Kenya and its allies working more closely than ever. Our common goal should be a more prosperous, united Kenya, and al-Shabaab’s defeat.

Mr. Kenyatta is the president of Kenya.

A version of this article appeared October 6, 2013, on page A17 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: The Path to Defeating the al-Shabaab Terrorists.

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The Poop Will Tell Us: Do Elephants and Rhinos Compete for Food?

By Michelle Dohm, EveryONE
July 22, 2013

A recent study of the two animals in Addo Elephant National Park, called “Shift in Black Rhinoceros Diet in the Presence of Elephant: Evidence for Competition?” suggests the answer is yes.

Scientists interested in helping endangered species like the African elephant and the black rhinoceros would like to know whether these animals compete for resources in the wild, as such food contests could impact the population and health of both species. Unfortunately, our favorite rough-skinned big guys have IUCN statuses of vulnerable and critically endangered, respectively, so competition for food between them may present a bit of an ecological puzzle.

To gain evidence of food competition, researchers from Australia and the Centre for African Conservation Ecology took a close look at elephant and rhino poop (no, seriously) across different seasons to identify the types of plants each herbivore  was eating. Poop collecting was performed at times of the year when rhinos and elephants ate in the same region, and then again when only rhinos grazed in the area (in the absence of elephants). Variations in the plant types found in the feces were counted as indicators of dietary differences.

While it’s been shown that the presence of elephants can help some herbivores with habitat and food access, limited studies have been conducted on how the elephants’ foraging behavior may affect that of specifically megaherbivores. The authors state that there is clear evidence that elephants hog and monopolize food, a behavior that they suspected would affect the diets of other large herbivores. Indeed, the results of this study revealed that resource use was clearly separated by season, and rhinos munched on different grasses depending on whether or not the elephants were present. Without elephants around, rhinos ate more diverse plants, like woody shrubs and succulents, but in their presence, rhinos restrained themselves and consumed more grasses. This may not seem like a big deal, but rhinos are known to be strict browsers (read: picky about their food choices), so this dietary difference discovery was surprising to researchers.

The authors go on to suggest that elephants living at high population densities in certain regions may significantly affect the foraging opportunities of other grazers, and these close living quarters may have long-term effects on the overall fitness of the other animals. These behaviors may have particularly important consequences in smaller or fenced-in wildlife parks, where populations tend to grow at the same time that food availability goes down.

Citation: Landman M, Schoeman DS, Kerley GIH (2013) Shift in Black Rhinoceros Diet in the Presence of Elephant: Evidence for Competition? PLoS ONE 8(7): e69771. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0069771

Hillary Rodham Clinton’s new cause: Combating Elephant Poaching

Hillary Rodham Clinton has agreed to take up the public fight of saving African elephants, who are being slaughtered in large numbers to supply the growing demand for ivory in China and other Asian countries.

Clinton, who met privately with representatives from a dozen environmental groups and National Geographic at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Central Park Zoo on Monday, pledged to use her political connections as America’s former secretary of state to enlist other world leaders in the effort to curtail the illegal ivory trade.

Cristian Samper, WCS president and CEO, said in an interview that elephant poaching has reached such a crisis point that the world’s leading conservation groups are launching a coordinated strategy to address the problem.

Clinton agreed to “take some very specific steps, including using her political contacts with heads of state in trying to raise awareness about this issue,” Samper said. “This is an issue that needs to be elevated, not just in terms of public awareness, but particularly with the political leaders in other countries.”

As the demand for ivory has grown in Asia — where the ivory from a tusk can sell for $1,000 a pound — the poaching of African elephants has exploded. Roughly 30,000 African elephants were killed illegally in 2012, according to the World Wildlife Fund, the largest number in 20 years.

There were roughly 1.2 million elephants in Africa in 1980, compared to roughly 420,000 last year. The African forest elephant, which resides in the Congo Basin and is smaller than the renowned savannah African elephant, has been hit particularly hard. This spring, WCS estimated that the population of African forest elephants plummeted 76 percent in the last decade.

“The fact that we’ve lost three quarters of the elephants, it’s alarming and clearly we have to do something about it,” Samper said.

As secretary of state, Clinton showed an interest in the plight of African elephants, hosting a conference on the issue in Washington last year. Clinton declined to comment Tuesday.

John E. Scanlon, Secretary-General.of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), welcomed Clinton’s involvement in the issue.

“The magnitude of the threat requires a commensurate response from enforcement-related bodies and personnel at all levels – national, regional and global,” Scanlon said in a statement. “In particular, we must use our collective efforts to help national enforcement officers deploy the same suite of tools used to combat other types of crime.”

The groups at the meeting — including the African Parks Network, the American Association of Zoos and Aquaria, Conservation International, the Nature Conservancy, TRAFFIC and WWF — agreed to pursue a three-pronged strategy aimed at stopping the killing, trafficking and demand for elephants.

Two weeks ago, President Obama launched a major initiative aimed at curbing wildlife trafficking, creating a Cabinet-level presidential task force charged with devising a national strategy and pledging $10 million in technological and training assistance to African governments so they could better combat poaching.

Link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2013/07/16/hillary-rodham-clintons-new-cause-combatting-elephant-poaching/