Tag Archives: tusk

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/

 

2014250600-38

 

2014250600-39

 

2014250600-42

 

2014250600-43

2014250600-45

 

2014250600-40

 

 

 

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

Kenya’s biggest elephant killed by poachers

By Paula Kahumbu

Satao, the world's biggest elephant, with his family in the Tsavo East National Park in Kenya. Photograph: © Mark Deeble & Victoria Stone 2014

Satao, the world’s biggest elephant, with his family in the Tsavo East National Park in Kenya. Photograph: © Mark Deeble & Victoria Stone 2014

It is 4 am and I have been sitting at my computer for hours. I just can’t sleep after hearing the terrible news that Satao, the world’s biggest elephant, is dead

Satao lived in Tsavo East National park in southeast Kenya and was celebrated as one of the last surviving great tuskers, bearers of genes that produce bull elephants with huge tusks reaching down to the ground. This news follows hard on the heels of the slaughter of another legendary tusker, Mountain Bull, deep inside the forests of Mt. Kenya .

Of all the elephants that have died in Kenya, these deaths are the hardest to bear. The grief in Kenya at the slaughter of our iconic elephants is translating into floods of tears, emotional poems, and outrage on Twitter and Facebook.

I had suspected for days that Satao was dead. The rumours were too many and they came from too many different people for them not to be true. Bad news travels fast in Kenya. Moreover, like everyone who had ever heard of Satao, I was already concerned for his safety.

I first learned about Satao through an emotional and beautifully written blog post by Mark Deeble, who described him as being so intelligent that he knew he needed to protect his enormous tusks by intentionally hiding in bushes so they couldn’t be seen. At the end of the post Mark wrote:

I am appalled at what that means – that the survival skills that the bull has painstakingly learnt over half a century have been rendered useless by the poachers’ use of mass-produced Chinese goods; GPS smart-phones, cheap motorcycles and night vision goggles.

I think the old bull knows that poachers want his tusks, and I hate that he knows.

More than anything, I hate the thought that poachers are now closing in on one of the world’s most iconic elephants.

Then in early March, during the great elephant census, we heard that the poachers had got to him. Mike Chase from Elephants without Borders reported seeing two seeping wounds on Satao’s flank. Veterinarians rushed to the scene and confirmed that these were arrow wounds.

It’s hard to imagine what was going through the minds of the poachers on the day that they approached this mountain of an elephant and shot at him with crude bows and poisoned arrows. It must have been terrifying and yet the sight of his massive gleaming tusks probably left them salivating with greed.

 

For days Satao must have endured excruciating pain from the festering wounds. But he recovered and we all heaved a sigh of relief when it was reported that his wounds were healing on their own. The Facebook post by Save the Elephants about his recovery attracted more 200 “get well soon” comments.

Then in the first week of June Richard Moller, Executive Director of The Tsavo Trust, found a massive elephant carcass in a swamp. “I knew instinctively in my gut that this was Satao, but there was a tiny chance that I was wrong. I had to verify it before we go public,” Richard told me.

The Tsavo Trust runs an inspirational campaign to bring attention to Kenya’s last great tuskers . Their work brings huge joy and celebration every time an elephant with tusks sweeping to the ground is found.

When I heard that Satao may have been killed, I posted a message on Facebook. I said I hoped that the rumours were wrong and that Satao was safe. I had to hastily remove the post after Richard explained: “We don’t want to alarm people if there’s even a 1% chance that Satao is still alive”.

For days Richard and (Kenyan Wildlife Service) KWS rangers visited the carcass. It was certainly a giant tusker, but it was hard to tell if this was Satao, as the face was mutilated face and the tusks gone. They flew over the park and searched for Satao, hoping against all odds that he was still alive.

Then finally, yesterday on 12 June, Richard admitted to me that his first gut feeling had been right:

Today I had to write my official report to KWS and confirm to them that Satao is dead. It was the hardest report that I have ever written, I couldn’t see past a wall of tears.

In voice choked with grief he begged me not to post anything on this blog until KWS had officially broken the news.

 

From a biodiversity perspective, tuskers are rare specimens, the pinnacle of their species. Photograph: © Mark Deeble & Victoria Stone 2014

From a biodiversity perspective, tuskers are rare specimens, the pinnacle of their species. Photograph: © Mark Deeble & Victoria Stone 2014

 

It is not only the rangers in Tsavo or those who knew Satao who are sorrowful, all of Kenya is in a state of deep grief. Satao was not just a Kenyan icon, he was a global treasure. He was of such a phenomenal size that we knew poachers would want him, and no effort was spared to protect him. He had 24/7 protection from KWS and conservation organizations. Even as we mourn Satao’s passing, Kenyan’s are asking: what went wrong?

It may take days for the KWS to provide more details about this terrible news. The country’s authorities are loath to admit the scale of the current crisis.

According to the latest figures published by KWS, 97 elephants have been poached in Kenya so far this year . Nobody in Kenya believes this figure, which suggests that less than one percent of the national elephant population have fallen to poachers’ guns.

The official figures do not tally with the many reports of elephant killings in and around the Masai Mara, Samburu, Loita Hills, Marsabit, Tsavo, Mount Kenya, Aberdares, Shimba Hills and the north eastern coastal forests.

I estimate, from the reports I have seen, that the elephant poaching in Kenya is at least 10 times the official figures, but it is impossible to verify this as the KWS jealously guards the elephant mortality database.

A few brave people within the system describe a systematic cover up of the real figures. To many of us Kenyans, this problem is even more serious than the poaching. Our wildlife services are like the drug addicts who are the most difficult to help, those in denial that there is a problem to be fixed.

Those at the helm who craft the KWS’s communications seem blissfully unaware of the damage caused to Kenya’s reputation by the lack of transparency and accountability around poaching figures.

Kenyans are angry and confused. Elephants do not belong to KWS but to the people of Kenya. Elephants are an important national asset that make a significant contribution to Kenya’s GDP through tourism. It is therefore in the national interest that the correct figures are shared with the public.

It is also confusing for donors. KWS is fighting furiously for funds to strengthen anti-poaching efforts, and massive ivory seizures also continue to snatch headlines, but according to official figures and statements, there is no elephant poaching crisis.

The appalling news of Satao’s death comes at a time when Kenya is preparing to showcase our conservation successes at the UNEP Governing Assembly which starts on 24 June. Instead Kenyan delegates will bear the heavy burden of conveying the news of the passing of this gentle, intelligent and compassionate giant.

I call on Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director, to set the tone for the Governing Assembly by starting with a minute’s silence: so that delegates can reflect on their duty of care towards our fellow beings, and in memory of Satao, Mountain Bull, and all the others who have died before them.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/africa-wild/2014/jun/13/kenyas-biggest-elephant-killed-by-poachers

Death of an Iconic Elephant

A Blow to Conservation – Poachers Kill Iconic Elephant

Picture and story courtesy of Lewa Wildlife Conservancy

Mountain Bull in his prime

Mountain Bull in his prime

The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy is deeply saddened to announce the death of Mountain Bull (MT Bull), the enigmatic elephant whose dedication to using the traditional elephant migration routes in northern Kenya captured the imagination of many and led to numerous conservation initiatives.

Mountain Bull’s carcass was found in Mount Kenya Forest on Thursday, with visible spear wounds and its tusks missing.

No other animal has had greater impact on wildlife conservation in northern Kenya than Mountain Bull. Many credit him as the force behind the construction of the pioneering Lewa/Ngare Ndare Forest/Mount Kenya elephant corridor that links the forest ecosystem of Mount Kenya with the savannah ecosystems of Lewa and Samburu plains further to the north.

This has led to the opening up of the traditional migration route of over 2,000 African elephants that had previously been blocked by human development in Mount Kenya. The ground-breaking establishment of this corridor also led to Kenya’s most recent World Heritage Site inscription when in June of 2013, Lewa and Ngare Ndare Forest were extended to be part of the Mount Kenya World Heritage Site.

Mountain Bull’s death is a great loss to the conservation fraternity. He taught us much about elephant and animal behaviour, migration routes and patterns, and to a large extent, left many inspired by his bravery and resilience.

Rest in peace Mountain Bull.

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/

Conservation leader from Kenya wins 2014 Whitley Award

Green Oscar” awarded for conservation of Kenya’s elephants   

 London, UK: 8 May 2014 – HRH The Princess Royal will today present a Whitley Award, a prestigious international nature conservation prize, to Paula Kahumbu at a special ceremony at the Royal Geographical Society in honour of her work to inspire Kenyans to put an end to the country’s  elephant poaching crisis.

JAF_9881

 

Dr Paula Kahumbu is one of eight exceptional individuals to have been awarded a share of prize funding worth £280,000 by the Whitley Fund for Nature, winning a Whitley Award donated by The LJC Fund in memory of Anthea and Lindsey Turner. Paula, aged 47, is Executive Director of WildlifeDirect which launched “Hands Off Our Elephants” in 2013, a campaign to tackle poaching, and the trafficking of ivory, and with the ultimate ambition of closing down the international ivory trade.

Kenya is famous for its marathon runners and its wildlife, yet its elephant populations are running out of time in the fight for survival. Elephants make a major contribution to Kenya’s economy through tourism, accounting for 12% of Kenya’s GDP and employing over 300,000 people. Yet when CITES endorsed the sale of ivory to China in 2009, this triggered a massive wave of elephant poaching across Africa, where almost 100 elephants are now killed every day.

Paula Kahumbu is one of Kenya’s most influential and passionate voices for elephant conservation and she is stepping up her Country’s fight against poaching.  More ivory is trafficked through Kenya than any other country and the Hands Off Our Elephants campaign, with the support of its patron, Kenya’s first lady, Margaret Kenyatta , is informing and mobilising Kenyans to take action to beat this iniquitous trade. Key to Paula’s approach is engaging directly with government authorities and prosecutors to adopt new legislation that ensures those found guilty of poaching and other wildlife crimes are brought to justice and receive much stricter sentences.

Sir David Attenborough, a Trustee of the Whitley Fund for Nature, said: “Whitley Award winners are successful because they don’t just watch and measure – they act!  They are the conservation experts – not us – they know what to do and, more importantly, how to get it done.”

Other winners in the 2014 Whitley Awards are:

Shivani Bhalla Warrior Watch: Creating coexistence between people and lions in northern Kenya, Whitley Award donated by The Garden House School Parents’ Association

  • Tess Gatan-Balbas – Taking local action to save the world’s rarest crocodile in the Philippines, Whitley Award donated by WWF-UK
  • Monica Gonzalez – Community conservation of the long-wattled umbrellabird and its disappearing habitat in Ecuador, Whitley Award donated by Sarah Chenevix-Trench
  • Melvin Gumal – Protecting Borneo’s iconic great apes: Conservation of orang-utans in Sarawak, Malaysia, Whitley Award for Conservation in Ape Habitats, donated by the Arcus Foundation
  • Fitry Pakiding – Uniting coastal communities to secure the last stronghold of Pacific leatherback turtles in the Bird’s Head Seascape, West Papua, Indonesia, Whitley Award donated by The Shears Foundation
  • Stoycho Stoychev – The Imperial Eagle as a flagship for conserving the wild grasslands of south-eastern Bulgaria, Whitley Award donated by Fondation Segré
  • Luis Torres Building a national movement to protect Cuba’s amazing plant life, Whitley Award donated by The William Brake Charitable Trust in memory of William Brake

HRH The Princess Royal also presented a special prize donated by The Friends and The Scottish Friends of The Whitley fund for Nature, the Whitley Gold Award worth £50,000, to Jean Wiener, a past Award winner who has achieved particularly outstanding results in conserving Haiti’s coastal ecosystems and securing its first ever Marine Protected Areas.  Joining the Judging Panel to assist in selection, the Gold winner also acts as mentor to Whitley Award winners receiving their Awards in the same year.  

Edward Whitley, Founder of The Whitley Fund for Nature, says: “We recognise that wildlife and habitat conservation in developing countries cannot be successful without the involvement of people at the grassroots level.  Every year, I am delighted to meet the winners of the Whitley Awards.  Although they each face remarkable and different challenges in their home countries, these individuals are passionate about the natural world and remain determined to involve local communities in making a long-term difference.  The Whitley Awards honour these conservation leaders for their outstanding achievements and celebrate their efforts to secure a better future for both people and wildlife alike.”

 

Visit www.whitleyaward.org to find out more.

 

– ENDS –

 

Media contacts:

For further information or to arrange interviews contact Firebird PR: Jane Bevan or Susannah Penn at Firebird PR on +00 44 01235 835297 / +00 44 07977 459547 or via email to [email protected]

 Press materials available:

  • Copyright-cleared photographs of Paula Kahumbu, her project and the awards ceremony will be available to download online via Picasa from 22.00 BST on Thursday 8 May: https://picasaweb.google.com/105548002819098368093
  • Video footage of the awards ceremony and an individual film featuring Paula Kahumbu will be available upon arrangement with Firebird PR: contact Jane Bevan or Susannah Penn at Firebird PR on +00 44 01235 835297 / +00 44 07977 459547 or via email to [email protected]

 

Notes to Editors:

  • The Whitley Fund for Nature (WFN) is a UK registered charity that champions outstanding grassroots leaders in nature conservation across the developing world.
  • The Whitley Awards are prestigious international prizes presented to individuals in recognition of their achievements in nature conservation.  Each Award Winner receives a prize worth £35,000 to be spent over one year.  The charity’s patron, HRH The Princess Royal, presents the Awards each year at a special ceremony in London.
  • WFN operates a rigorous application process involving expert panel representation from international NGOs including WWF-UK and Fauna and Flora International.  This year, WFN received nearly 200 applications which passed through four stages of assessment, reviewed at every step by the expert screeners and panellists who kindly offer their expertise voluntarily.
  • ·         The Whitley Awards are open to individuals working on wildlife conservation issues in developing countries.  Further eligibility criteria are available from Firebird PR.
  • Whitley Award winners join an international network of Whitley Alumni eligible to apply for Continuation Funding.  These follow-on grants are awarded competitively to winners seeking to scale up their effective conservation results on the ground.  Each grant is worth up to £70,000 for projects of between one to two years in length.
  • The Whitley Gold Award recognises an outstanding past recipient of a Whitley Award who has gone on to make a significant contribution to conservation.  Joining the Judging Panel to assist in selection, the Gold winner also acts as mentor to Whitley Award winners receiving their Awards in the same year.
  • WFN is generously supported by: Arcus Foundation; The William Brake Charitable Trust; Byford Trust; The Evolution Education Trust; Garden House School Parents’ Association; HSBC Holdings Plc; The LJC Fund; Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin; The Rufford Foundation; Sarah Chenevix-Trench; The Schroder Foundation; Fondation Segré; The Shears Foundation; The Whitley Animal Protection Trust; WWF-UK; The Friends and The Scottish Friends of the Whitley Fund for Nature; and many individual donors.
  • The Whitley Awards have been presented annually since 1994.  Since then, the Whitley Fund for Nature has given over £10 million to conservation and recognised more than 160 conservation leaders in over 70 countries.
  • During their trip to London to accept their award, winners have the opportunity to meet the judges, WFN trustees, including Sir David Attenborough and HRH The Princess Royal. In addition they are able to network with the other finalists, attend receptions with leading conservation organisations and academics, meet Whitley Fund for Nature donors and participate in professional development training.  Meeting the media is also a significant event since publicity both in the UK and their home countries helps raise the profile of their work.