Elephant Management and Poaching in Other African Countries

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Re: Elephant Management and Poaching in Other African Countries

Post by Lisbeth » Sun Nov 03, 2019 1:02 pm

A journey with purpose: Supporting conservation in Mozambique

Posted on October 23, 2019 by The Blue Sky Society Trust

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Elephants in Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique © Emily Scott

GUEST POST by Emily Scott (Journeys with Purpose crew member), with Blue Sky Society Trust

Africa without wildlife is hard to imagine until you see it. Driving through Mozambique’s Gilé National Reserve, which has been poached to the edge of existence, was the first time I saw how that tragic future could look. I realised how delicately the continent’s wildlife is teetering on the brink.

Travelling as part of the Trust’s Journeys with Purpose (JWP) expedition, our five-woman team hoped to help change that reality. We drove 2,113 km over 17 days in support of Mozambique’s threatened wildlife. We saw for ourselves the important role that tourists can play in bolstering the incredible efforts of committed conservationists in Africa.

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The Journeys with Purpose (JWP) expedition team on a game drive © Emily Scott

Our team raised R60,000 to fund the collaring of a threatened elephant in Gilé, and also distributed 8,000 educational booklets to local schools to get students excited about wildlife conservation. Along our journey, we were privileged to meet with passionate people fighting to protect wildlife in Mozambique, listen to their stories, and learn how to support their essential work.

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The crew for JWP, Elephants Alive, ANAC (Administração Nacional das Áreas de Conservação) and Gilé National Reserve © Carla Geyser

Our expedition began in Gilé National Reserve, where we were invited to go behind the scenes with the elephant collaring team. We joined the fantastic scientists from Elephants Alive, skilled wildlife vets, and an expert helicopter pilot as they battled against challenge after challenge to protect Gilé’s elephants.

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‘Dora’, the crew’s 22-year-old TDi Defender landy, in the miombo forests in Gilé National Reserve © Carla Geyser

Collaring elephants in Gilé is no easy task. Only two roads cross through the thick miombo forest, and the clever elephants living within have learned from decades of civil war and poaching that survival requires hiding from humans.

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Elephant collar © Carla Geyser

But thanks to the tireless efforts of the team, by the end of the week four elephants were successfully collared – including the cow funded by our donations, who we dubbed ‘Ghost’ in honour of her ability to vanish without a trace whenever we attempted to find the herd.

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Thomas Prin and Dr Joao Almeida with collared bull elephant © Carla Geyser

As our team drove away from Gilé, we felt overwhelmed by the long road that the park has ahead of it. But our next stop, Gorongosa National Park, proved to us that success is possible.

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Collared lioness © Tori Bohn

Not long ago, Gorongosa faced the same challenges as Gilé does today. Its wildlife was nearly wiped out by Mozambique’s civil war, and tourists no longer flocked to this once-famous park. But a partnership with the Gregory C. Carr Foundation sparked the ambitious Gorongosa Restoration Project, which envisioned a future in which Gorongosa could be a “human rights park”. The passionate team planned to restore the park to its former glory by improving the lives of the people who live around it.

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Ladies from the Mureia Community © Carla Geyser

The project has since opened schools, set up mobile clinics, supported sustainable farming practices, and provided economic opportunities to these communities. The park now employs 617 locals, supports 375 community health workers and 5,000 small farmers, and runs Girls’ Clubs for 2,000 children. We spent hours talking with Vasco Galante, Gorongosa’s Director of Communications, who fervently believes that the best protection for wildlife is to be surrounded by a community which sees tangible benefits from conservation.

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JWP crew with Vasco Galante © Carla Geyser

And it appears that Galante is right. Gorongosa is now home to over 650 elephants. Last year 30 new lion cubs were born. Painted wolves (African wild dogs), completely absent after the war, have been successfully reintroduced.

We took three game drives with outstanding local guide Tonga Torcida, which proved to us that Gorongosa is thriving. We watched elephants wander through sunlit forests of yellow fever trees, lions lazing around after a dinner of warthog, and massive herds of waterbuck grazing as the sun set over the plains.

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Waterbuck in Gorongosa National Park © Tori Bohn

We left Gorongosa and headed for the coast on a high, feeling optimistic about the success this approach to conservation can achieve. We spent our final days in Mozambique visiting another beautiful park hoping to follow in Gorongosa’s footsteps.

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Camping in Chitengo in Gorongosa National Park © Emily Scott

Bazaruto Archipelago National Park, a string of tiny islands off the coast of Vilankulos, is home to a stunning array of marine life. We spied dolphins, flamingos, tropical fish in every colour of the rainbow, and even elusive dugongs during our day exploring the sea. Unfortunately, as in all of Mozambique’s protected areas, Bazaruto’s wildlife is threatened.

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Fisherman in Bazaruto © Tori Bohn

The park is in its first year of a partnership with African Parks, which plans to overhaul its management in order to protect this unique ecosystem. We met with Pablo Schapira, another committed conservationist who is in charge of Bazaruto’s operations. He hopes to see the park boundaries expanded, locals (particularly women) hired and trained as expert rangers, and communities living on the islands supported in moving toward sustainability.

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The Bazaruto Archipelago © Tori Bohn

On the last day of our expedition, we visited one of those islands to deliver educational booklets to a tiny, open-air school. Just like at every school Blue Sky Society visits, the students were overjoyed to sing, dance, and create art while learning about the animals they can help to protect.

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Children from Eco club at Mureira School doing Elephant Art © Carla Geyser

As we said our goodbyes and wrapped up our expedition, we all hoped that these young students will play a part in saving Mozambique’s threatened wildlife.

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The JWP crew and students from the Magaruque school in Bazaruto © Tori Bohn

Our journey through Mozambique showed us two options for the future: A vast forest empty of both tourists and wildlife, threatened by anyone hoping to profit off its resources; or a glorious park that has fought itself back from the brink through partnership with the community around it.

As tourists, we have an incredible privilege, and by visiting Africa’s parks and conservation projects we help to ensure that their work will continue. We get to choose which future we want to become a reality.


About The Blue Sky Society Trust
The Blue Sky Society Trusts-is an independent NPO working to create a community of like-minded, passionate individuals and connecting them, through education and action, to worthwhile projects that help to preserve and improve life for people, animals, and communities in need.
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Re: Elephant Management and Poaching in Other African Countries

Post by Lisbeth » Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:46 am

Russia gifts guns to Gabon to fight elephant poaching

2019-11-29 14:00 | AFP

Russia's defence ministry has donated weapons to Gabon to help the central African nation battle poachers and protect elephants.

The ministry did not specify how many weapons were provided, saying only that the delivery consisted of "firearms aimed at helping the government in its fight against poaching and the protection of national parks.

"Above all, this is about ensuring the protection of the country's forest elephant population," a defence ministry statement said overnight Thursday-Friday.

Much of Gabon is still covered by forests and home to nearly 60 percent of Africa's forest elephants.

Libreville has recently pursued a more aggressive conservation policy with water and forests minister Lee White saying in September that elephant poaching had been significantly curbed following China's decision to ban trade in ivory in 2017.

Russia has been stepping up its efforts to gain influence in Africa, signing arms deals with a slew of countries and in October hosting dozens of African leaders for a summit in its southern city of Sochi.
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Re: Elephant Management and Poaching in Other African Countries

Post by Lisbeth » Fri Dec 06, 2019 4:40 pm

This image tells a story

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The brutal reality of drought-ravaged southern Africa. This elephant died from anthrax, which is prevalent during times of drought. The attendant scavengers, vultures and marabou storks, have evolved to be immune to infection. Boteti River, Botswana © Dave Southwood
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Re: Elephant Management and Poaching in Other African Countries

Post by Flutterby » Sat Dec 07, 2019 9:06 am

:-(

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Re: Elephant Management and Poaching in Other African Countries

Post by Lisbeth » Tue Mar 03, 2020 5:02 pm

Why poaching has decreased dramatically in Mozambique’s Niassa Reserve

By Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime• 3 March 2020

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During the poaching crisis Mozambique lost almost 10,000 elephants — including this one from the Niassa National Reserve — in just five years.

Mozambique’s far northern Niassa National Reserve, one of the great wilderness areas of Africa, was also until recently an elephant killing field where poachers operated with virtual impunity. Now, the poaching has been dramatically curbed and the ivory trade disrupted. The Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime reports.

From 2009 to 2014, Mozambique lost nearly half its elephants to poaching: the elephant population declined from an estimated 20,000 to 10,300. The majority of this loss occurred in the Niassa National Reserve in northern Mozambique, where the population fell from an estimated 12,000 in 2011 to about 4,440 animals in 2014.

Despite the significantly lower density of elephants in Niassa, the poaching continued into 2017 and early 2018. However, in May 2019, Mozambique’s National Administration of Conservation Areas (ANAC) announced that it had been a year since a poached elephant had last been found in the reserve. Later in 2019, ANAC released the results of the 2018 national elephant census, revealing a stabilisation of the national population, with an estimated 9,122 animals, although losses are still occurring in key populations in the west and south-west.

Niassa Reserve, at 42,300km², slightly larger than Switzerland, is one of Africa’s few remaining remote wilderness areas where large elephant, lion and wild dog populations still roam. This started changing in 2009 when the rampant elephant poaching underway in Tanzania shifted south across the Rovuma River into the northern part of the Niassa Reserve and affected the whole reserve by 2013–2014.

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By 2014, the poaching had also become increasingly professionalised, carried out by specialised gangs using high-calibre hunting rifles.

By late 2014, northern Mozambique, and the port of Pemba in particular, had become a significant hub for ivory trafficking. Ivory was trafficked from Uganda, and possibly further west, overland and by dhow down the coast from Tanzania to northern Mozambique and then to Asia.

By 2016, ivory stockpiles in Mozambique were being raided, and poaching of the Niassa Reserve elephants continued, even though the low density of elephants made them hard to find. Before 2014, most ivory from elephants poached in northern Mozambique was moved into Tanzania and exited the African continent from East Africa; but with the shift of trafficking to Pemba and Nacala in northern Mozambique, ivory stolen from stockpiles and poached in the Niassa Reserve began moving directly from Mozambique.

The first actions that contributed to the later reduction in poaching started in 2017 and 2018.

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A key event was the July 2017 arrest and repatriation to Tanzania of a major ivory trafficker who had been operating in northern Mozambique with impunity since 2013. The arrest and transfer were the result of a three-year investigation involving a multi-agency collaboration between ANAC, the National Criminal Investigation Service of the Police, and the Attorney General’s Office, with NGO and donor support.

In 2014, this trafficker had been operating five poaching gangs in the Niassa Reserve. Just two of the gangs had together supplied him with 825kg that year alone. There is also evidence tying him to the theft of 867 pieces of ivory from a stockpile in northern Mozambique in late 2016. He was well known for maintaining a local network of bribery payments to maintain his anonymity and security – making his arrest and repatriation even more notable.

Following this arrest, and based on information gained from interrogations, a further six ivory traffickers operating on the eastern side of the Niassa Reserve were arrested and convicted in court in the province of Cabo Delgado in northern Mozambique. At the same time, higher-level networks trafficking ivory from the ports of northern Mozambique were being exposed, and in some cases dismantled and individuals arrested.

Recent fieldwork in Pemba, Mozambique, by a Global Initiative team found no indication of ivory being trafficked through that port. Other sources in the area have indicated that the local ivory trade has ceased because the perceived threat of arrest and conviction is high. The same sources suggested that local ivory traders are holding small stockpiles from the past, but are too afraid to move or sell them.

In early 2018, changes were also made on the ground in the Niassa Reserve. Key partners – ANAC, the police, the Wildlife Conservation Society (ANAC’s co-management partner for the reserve), the Niassa Conservation Alliance and other operators – began to implement a coordinated anti-poaching strategy. This included deploying a specialised rapid-response police unit, appointing a senior police liaison officer to coordinate all police forces with reserve scouts, better equipping the scouts, making a light aircraft available year-round, and chartering a helicopter during the 2018 and 2019 wet seasons.

Improvements in communications were also made through investment in a radio network and regular meetings between the partners. In addition, the partnership cleared out illegal mining and fishing camps in the reserve. Finally, a significant proportion of the elephant population was collared and tracked in order to focus protection activities. In the first 12 months that the police rapid-response unit operated in the reserve, they arrested 46 people, of whom 26 were convicted.

A final key component of the reduction in elephant poaching in Niassa Reserve has been high-level political support. In November 2018, Mozambique’s president, Filipe Nyusi, visited the reserve and participated in a widely publicised elephant-collaring operation. He used this opportunity to emphasise the need to restore the rule of law, while also reducing resource conflicts with local people.

It is unlikely that the decline in elephant poaching in the Niassa Reserve is purely the result of effective anti-poaching operations and increased sentencing. Our recent fieldwork ascertained that while ivory from the Niassa Reserve was not for sale, live pangolins are, and local sources confirm that pangolin scales and lion bones originating from the reserve still transit Pemba and can be sourced if wanted.

It is not surprising that anti-poaching operations alone in an area the size of the Niassa Reserve have not stopped illegal wildlife trade across the board. Further, there is evidence that sentence length alone is not a good deterrent, but rather the likelihood of being caught and a sanction occurring have a higher impact on deterrence. This may be exacerbated in Mozambique where prison overcrowding means that prisoners are fairly regularly released early to make space for new offenders.

Therefore, while effective anti-poaching operations and effective sentencing are key components of improving the rule of law in and around protected areas, there may be several other key factors that are critical to reducing organised high-value poaching. In this instance, key specific factors include:

- The 2017 arrest of northern Mozambique’s most notorious ivory trafficker, who was the key link between poaching and stockpile thefts in northern Mozambique and the Pemba ivory traffickers;

- The immediate follow-on arrests of lower-level ivory traffickers;

- Disruption of the corrupt protection of ivory traffickers and poachers, which has, in turn, broken the general perception of impunity;

- The increased perception of the likelihood of arrest and conviction for ivory trafficking resulting from the recent crackdown;

- Reduced demand for ivory from traffickers in Pemba, which had become a major centre for transnational ivory trafficking;

- Cooperation between trusted individuals in key government law enforcement agencies (ANAC, the National Criminal Investigation Service and the Attorney General’s Office), to overcome information leakage from local law-enforcement agencies;

Direct operational support from donors and NGO partners for these cooperating law-enforcement activities;

- The work of international law-enforcement agencies to dismantle the ivory-trafficking networks operating from northern Mozambique; and
- High-level political support.


At the same time, the wider context of the breakdown of the rule of law in northern Mozambique due to ongoing violence, and other ongoing illicit trades in the region, must be borne in mind. The specific successes described here should be attributed to improved rule of law that focused on a specific product – ivory. This has overcome a culture of impunity and created a feeling of vulnerability in the criminal networks dealing with that product. DM

This article appears in the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime’s monthly Eastern and Southern Africa Risk Bulletin. The Global Initiative is a network of more than 500 experts on organised crime drawn from law enforcement, academia, conservation, technology, media, the private sector and development agencies. It publishes research and analysis on emerging criminal threats and works to develop innovative strategies to counter organised crime globally.
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Re: Elephant Management and Poaching in Other African Countries

Post by Richprins » Tue Mar 03, 2020 6:49 pm


It is unlikely that the decline in elephant poaching in the Niassa Reserve is purely the result of effective anti-poaching operations


Yes, most of the slaughter was by the Renamo rebels to pay for weapons? -O-

Strange this is not in the article. :-?
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Re: Elephant Management and Poaching in Other African Countries

Post by Lisbeth » Tue Mar 03, 2020 7:35 pm

It is, as it's a well-known fact :-?
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Re: Elephant Management and Poaching in Other African Countries

Post by Lisbeth » Sun Jun 07, 2020 5:37 pm

Bots engages SA as mystery deaths of elephants deepen

Mpho Tebele | BySouthern Times -- Jun05,2020 --

Gaborone-Botswana through the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism has engaged South African authorities to probe the mysterious death of more than 115 elephants in the Okavango panhandle.

As the mystery surrounding the deaths of elephants in Botswana deepens after initial test results ruled out poisoning and anthrax, authorities sent samples from dead elephants for testing in South Africa.
Reports indicate that the samples were taken on May 28, according to the regional wildlife coordinator Dimmakatso Ntshebe.
Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism Philda Kereng was in Seronga (one of the villages where the mass death of elephants is reported to have occurred) on 29th May 2020 on a fact finding mission regarding the mysterious death of more that 115 elephants.

Kereng was given an update by a team consisting of Wildlife Officers, Veterinary Doctors, Village Leadership, Botswana Defence Force and Botswana Police.

The deaths were first reported on the 11th of May 2020, and carcasses were found intact ruling out the possibility of poaching. Upon further investigations, it was established that anthrax and human poisoning are not the cause of death. The Minister was also taken to sites where carcasses were found. Investigation into the deaths are still ongoing.

“These elephants’ deaths are a cause for concern. We have always as a country relied on tourism as a source of revenue, and these animals are one of the tourist attraction species in the country,” she said.

Authorities in the country, which has the largest population of elephants in the world, continue to search for a reason for the deaths. Botswana has the world’s largest elephant population, at more than 130,000.

I would say 90% of the new cases we have found are old carcasses we previously did not locate,” said Ntshebe. He said more animals could die, as some look sickly.

“We are still experiencing elephants dying in the Okavango Panhandle. We also see elephants that show that they are sick and are on the verge of dying,” he said.

Villagers have been warned against consuming meat from the dead animals.

Ntshebe said the public has thus far heeded the call.

The Department of Wildlife has begun removing tusks from the carcasses.

Ntshebe also said, “We have started removing the tusks in the dead elephants, and we have started burning the carcasses. We started with those (carcasses), which are close to the villages, and those that are lying in the water. The idea is to burn as many carcasses as possible. However, we have a challenge since some of the carcasses are in areas which are difficult to reach.”

Principal Veterinary Officer at Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP), Dr Wave Kashweeka said results for samples that the investigating team had taken for post-mortem first round, came out negative for anthrax.

He said they had now beefed-up the team by bringing on board doctors from the department of veterinary services to work together on investigations.

Kashweeka observed that in their investigations, all dead elephants they took samples of, had a common symptom of flabby hearts.

He said they took samples from an anaesthetised elephant to compare with those from animals that were found dead.

He was quoted as saying that the latest samples were taken on May 23 and were to be taken to some laboratories in Pretoria or Victoria Falls for further tests.

Kashweeka further noted that an observation was also made where some of the elephants in the area were found to have difficulties in walking or dragging their feet.

He also said the investigating team engaged the community by conducting interviews for indigenous knowledge information.
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Re: Elephant Management and Poaching in Other African Countries

Post by Richprins » Sun Jun 07, 2020 5:58 pm

:-? :-? :-?
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Re: Elephant Management and Poaching in Other African Countries

Post by Klipspringer » Tue Jun 30, 2020 7:39 pm

https://africageographic.com/stories/bo ... es-to-400/?


Botswana elephant graveyard: mystery death toll rises to 400
Posted on June 30, 2020 by Team Africa Geographic in the NEWS DESK post series.


It’s no secret that elephants have been dying in northern Botswana during the last few months and that samples taken from carcasses by government officials have yet to shed light on the cause of death.

Rather than add to the speculation already out there about the cause/s of death and why the sample results are not yet available, we contacted various trusted sources to compile this list of known details/observations

THIS IS WHAT WE KNOW:

The first reported elephant deaths were in early May 2020;
The death toll has now risen to approximately 400 elephants of both sexes and all ages;
Most carcasses are in the NG11 area, near the village of Seronga on the northern fringes of the Okavango Delta. Read this account of the impacts of elephants on people living in the area: Life with Elephants;
30% of deaths occurred in the last two weeks and 70% about one month or more ago;
Tusks have not been removed from the dead elephants and carcasses show no sign of having been chopped to extract the ivory;
Some elephants died in an upright position, suggesting a sudden death;
70% of the carcasses were seen near waterholes/pans;
There have been no reports of similar deaths in Namibia – a short distance north of NG11;
Live elephants near water sources were observed to be lethargic and disoriented, and some appeared to have little control over their legs. One was seen wandering in circles;
A dead horse was seen in one waterhole/pan;
No other species carcasses have been seen in the area, and vultures feasting on the elephant carcasses appear unaffected.

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