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RE: Animal News (Except Bigcats) - Apollo - 06-25-2014

Poachers Massacre 68 Elephants in Congo Park

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Park ranges stand next to the remains of elephants that were killed by poachers in the Garamba National Park, situated in the Democratic Republic of Congo. AP Photo

One of Africa's oldest national parks is under attack "from all fronts," its director said Friday after 68 elephants were slaughtered in two months by poachers, some of whom shot them from helicopters.

Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo is under constant assault by renegade Congolese soldiers, gunmen from South Sudan and others. And this is just a slice of the poaching carnage: international wildlife regulators say 20,000 elephants were killed in Africa alone in 2013.

The Johannesburg-based African Parks group, which manages Garamba, said since mid-April, the 5,000-square kilometer (1,900-square mile) park has faced an onslaught from several bands of poachers who have already killed 4 percent of its elephants.

"The situation is extremely serious," Garamba park manger Jean-Marc Froment said in the statement. "The park is under attack on all fronts.

Conservationists say a thriving ivory market in Asia is helping to fuel the worst poaching epidemic of African elephants in decades.

A 2012 census found just 2,000 elephants in Garamba Park, down from 20,000 in the 1960s.

One group of poachers in the park is shooting the elephants from a helicopter and then chopping off their tusks with chain saws, removing the elephants' brains and genitals as well. In some cases the attacks seem indiscriminate, killing baby elephants that do not yet possess the valuable ivory tusks.

African Parks, which runs seven parks in six countries in cooperation with local authorities, said the poachers include renegade elements of the Congolese army, gunmen from South Sudan and members of the Lord's Resistance Army, a militant rebel group whose fugitive leader Joseph Kony is an alleged war criminal.

In one skirmish with poachers, park guards had to protect themselves from hand grenades thrown by Southern Sudanese poachers, some of whom were wearing military uniforms.

Froment singled out in particular elements of the LRA, which is notorious for kidnapping children and using them as soldiers. In 2009, the group attacked the park's headquarters, killing 15 employees and family members.

The group is known to be in the heavily forested areas around Garamba park.

A spokeswoman for African Parks, Cynthia Walley, said the heavy vegetation and the large concentration of elephants in the park have made it a target for poachers.

"It's pretty well documented that Garamba is one of the few remaining places where you get these large herds of elephants," she said. "The supply of elephants in some parts of Africa for poachers has diminished. So in areas where you are protecting elephants you become a target.

She said African Parks, which has run Garamba in cooperation with the Congolese parks authority since 2005, beefed up its forces in anticipation of increased poaching this year but found recent spike to be "unprecedented.

In addition to Congolese and park forces, units from the U.S. military's African Command are supporting the anti-poaching efforts, African Parks said.

In recent years, the U.N. has warned that armed groups in Africa have been turning to ivory poaching to fund their struggles. Many are also using the more sophisticated weapons that flowed out from Libya after the fall of Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.

The Geneva-based Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora said Friday that 20,000 elephants were killed in 2013 in Africa, but overall poaching was on the decline due to better law enforcement.

The spike in attacks on Garamba suggests that poachers may be shifting to different targets. Poaching has been down in Chad, for instance, while it has been on the rise in Central African Republic, which is being wracked by a civil war.



RE: Animal News (Except Bigcats) - Apollo - 06-25-2014

Paradise destroyed

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It is a paradise for our winged friends – the only zone after Nairobi in Kenya, Africa, to attract over 400 species all year round and over 1 lakh migratory birds from all over the world in winter. The Okhla Bird Sanctuary (OBS), 3.5 sq km of which is in Gautam Budh Nagar, 
Uttar Pradesh, is an area of international importance as it hosts 30% of the 1200 to 1300 species recorded in the Indian sub-continent!
Now, human beings are all set to put their needs over that of the fragile ecosystem. Environmentalists dismiss as “eyewash” the UP government’s recommendation to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to change to 100 metres the eco-sensitive zone limit between OBS and building projects in the area from the previous proposal of 1km. The intent seems to be to protect builders and not the sanctuary. “Had there been projects at a distance of 50 metres, the state government would probably have set that as the limit – to properly protect a sanctuary, the limit should at least be 500 metres,” they say, adding that a smaller buffer zone would destroy the bird sanctuary.

The Supreme Court in a December 4, 2006, order had directed the MoEF, as a final chance, to ask states for proposals to notify eco-sensitive zones – to which the states had not responded. “The state government first decides to set a limit for the eco-sensitive zone after almost seven years and then it decides to dilute it twice in a span of a few months,” the environmentalists add.

The sanctuary has been in the news due to the delay in handing over of a number of commercial and housing projects for about one lakh residents close by. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) in its October order last year had asked around 50 developers with projects located close to the OBS, to stop construction work as they did not have the requisite environmental clearances from the National Board for Wildlife. In April this year, the NGT had issued an order that forbade Noida Authority from giving completion certificates to projects within a 10-kilometre radius of the OBS, and so possession cannot be handed over in the projects in question.

It was also during this time that the UP government had submitted its  recommendation for a 100-metre eco-sensitive zone (February 25, 2014). Delhi also recommended in March this year that the no-development zone be fixed in the Capital at 100 metres.

In April this year, the Supreme Court issued a judgment that reviewed the limit set aside for mining activities in the Goa Foundation case in 2006 from 10 km to 1 km (Goa Foundation vs Union of India, April 21, 2014).

Interestingly, the UP government first restricted 1 km radius as eco-sensitive zone. The affidavit of the district forest officer, dated August 2013, states that “The district-level committee under the chairmanship of district magistrate, Gautam Budh Nagar recommended that 1 km around the Okhla Bird Sanctuary should be declared as eco-sensitive zone and has identified different activities that fall under protected, regulated and permitted categories”.

In a later order in April 2014, it concluded that “it would be sufficient, if a 100-metre radius is fixed as the eco-sensitive zone.” It is also stated in the April 2014 NGT order that the counsel appearing for the UP government was “unable to explain on what basis 100 metre radius has been arrived at by the UP government. She (the counsel) has stated that such decision has been taken in a scientific manner after consulting various authorities and the tribunal cannot find fault with such decision taken by the state government in its wisdom of taking such decisions before issuing a notification.”

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Their proposals are currently with the MoEF, pending approval, and the ministry has not as yet reached any conclusion in terms of the buffer zone. An officer from the ministry, however, has been quoted as saying that “we have received UP, Haryana and Delhi government’s proposal on the eco-sensitive zone declaration. We are expected to hold a meeting with the expert technical team on this issue probably next week. But we cannot specify the exact date when the eco-sensitive zone will be declared as it takes time. It will be done in compliance of the NGT order.”

Chetan Agarwal, an environment analyst, says, “The order has said that the MoEF has to sit down with the three concerned state governments, and come to a conclusion, and take their concurrence. At the same time, it is a well-known fact that that state governments present a unanimous view from the state - and these views typically give preference to real estate over wildlife. The forest and wildlife departments of the state are not equal players in the decision-making process, and if consulted, are often browbeaten into taking the state line. It is not clear how binding the direction to seek concurrence of the state is. If tomorrow the UP government were to say that the eco-sensitive zone should be 10 m, does it mean that MoEF will have to agree?”

A 100-metre limit is not adequate for the OBS, argues Faiyaz A Khudsar, a wildlife biologist. Inadequate buffer and increased construction work in the area will disturb natural rain and water flow during the monsoon. The buildings would be like concrete barriers. The Kanha National Part has a core zone of about 900 sq km and a buffer zone of about 1000 sq km. Exotic and rare birds still fly to the OBS from all over the world despite rapid urbanisation and industrialisation and discharge of untreated wastewater into the Yamuna, leading to deteriorating water quality in the area. Reduction in the limit of the buffer zone will destroy the sanctuary completely, he adds.

The OBS is the hub of migratory birds and is a significant wetland in itself. It has to have a proper buffer zone if its flora and fauna have to be left undisturbed. The over 300 species that exist here, including ducks, pelicans (Russian) and painted storks, use the place as a foraging area. It is a winter destination for migratory birds from both eastern and western Europe. The birds you get to see are jacanas, which are wetland birds, land birds or terrestrial birds such as barbets, hornbills that breed here and owls and owlets which are most susceptible to disturbances. Construction will impact the sensitive species more and eventually affect not just the numbers but the diversity, too. The generalist species such as pigeons, crows, mynas that are adaptable to human presence will eventually decline, points out Dr Monalisa Sen, a scientist working on environmental issues.

“A minimum limit of 500 m should be maintained,” adds Mahendra Pandey, an environment activist.


RE: Animal News (Except Bigcats) - Apollo - 06-27-2014

Beloved African Elephant Killed for Ivory—"Monumental" Loss

Read full story here

RE: Animal News (Except Bigcats) - Apollo - 06-27-2014

Wolves of the wasteland



RE: Animal News (Except Bigcats) - Apollo - 06-27-2014

Jumbo bones seized, ‘seller’ held


RE: Animal News (Except Bigcats) - Apollo - 06-27-2014

 Threatened Species 'Red List' Warns 90 Percent of Lemur Species Face Extinction



RE: Animal News (Except Bigcats) - Vinod - 06-28-2014

Woman killed by croc



RE: Animal News (Except Bigcats) - sanjay - 07-01-2014

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Yesterday our Sky Vets Team, in collaboration with the Kenya Wildlife Service, responded to report of two injured bull elephants, one with a spear head lodged deep in his skull, his friend had a spear wound on the leg with a clear entry and exit hole visible.

On arrival, Dr. Mijele first darted the bull with a spear in his head - he immediately slumped onto his haunches. What was so heartwarming to witness was his injured friend standing vigil over his slumped form. Quickly Dr. Mijele darted the second bull, allowing the team to treat both elephants at the same time.

Dr Mijele began working on the bull with the severe head injury and carefully removed the spear head lodged in his skull. This immediately caused haemorrhaging from both the temple and the trunk, which was alarming yet expected given the extent of his injury. The wound was soon cleaned and plugged and with the spear head removed this bull’s chance of a full recovery is very positive.

His recumbent friend who was laying close by with less severe injuries was then attended to. His wounds were treated by Dr Mijele who cleaned them extensively, before administering antibiotics and packing the wounds with green clay, which is a natural substance to ward off infection.

Both patients were then given the reversal antidote and in no time they rose to their feet and together ambled off across the plains whilst the team looked on, satisfied with a day’s good work and confident in the knowledge that today everyone involved had made a significant difference in saving the lives of these two precious and magnificent creatures.

for full article and more picture: http://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org/updates/updates.asp?ID=682

RE: Animal News (Except Bigcats) - Apollo - 07-02-2014

Global environmental crime amounts to $213 billion: UN report 

Globally, environmental crime amounts to $213 billion, according to an assessment report on environment crime.

The money helps finance criminal, militia and terrorist groups and threatens the security and sustainable development of many nations. The report, titled The Environment Crime Crisis, was released on Tuesday during the first United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA).

The report focuses on the wide scale massacre of wild flora and fauna in Africa by organized crime syndicates and the subsequent trade with China and south-east Asia, the main markets for exotic plant and animal life. One such terrorist group operating in East Africa is estimated to make between $38 and $56 million per year from the illegal trade in charcoal, says the report.

Further in the report, the number of elephants killed in Africa annually is in the range of 20,000 to 25,000 elephants per year out of a population of 420,000 to 650,000; 94% of rhino poaching takes place in Zimbabwe and South Africa, which have the largest remaining populations. Rhino horn poached last year is valued at around $63 million to $192 million.

The report, however, ignores the massive surge in illegal wildlife trade in India since 2009 documented by TRAFFIC-WWF India, the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) and Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB).

In a meeting on 9 June, policy makers, scientists, research scholars, conservationists, activists, and senior officials from the state forest departments and ministry of environment and forests discussed the steps needed to protect some lesser known species such as pangolins, birds, tortoises and sharks, whose illegal trade in India is little-known. Every year in India, thousands of pangolins, lizards and tortoises are poached, an estimated 700,000 birds are illegally trapped, and about 70,000 tonnes of sharks are caught.

“While the threat posed by illegal wildlife trade to some of India’s most iconic wild animals, such as the tiger and Indian rhinoceros are well publicised, many of India’s less well-known species are also rapidly vanishing because of poaching, yet their fate remains largely under the radar, pangolins are highly threatened because they are subject to a colossal illegal trade internationally, yet their plight is barely publicised in conservation or media circles. Others, like the monitor lizard, mongoose, Star Tortoises, Spiny-tailed Lizards, freshwater and mariner turtles also need immediate attention.” said Shekhar Kumar Niraj, head of TRAFFIC in India.

“Some of the species we used to see as children such as the Bengal Monitor and Pangolin have disappeared from much of their original range,” said Ravi Singh, Secretary General WWF-India.

Little is known about the levels of illegal trade or its impact on species such as Sea Cucumbers, Seahorses and Red Sand Boa.

The report mentions terrorist organization Al Qaeda’s involvement in illegal wildlife trade in India. “Exploitation of wildlife supports a number of non state-armed groups, Al Qaeda-affiliated local Bangladeshi separatists; and other tribal militias in India have been reported to be implicated in illegal wildlife trade (ivory, tiger parts, rhino horns). Al Qaeda and Haqqani networks have been accused of raising funds through timber exploitation and trade.”

According to the report, a multitude of armed groups including tribal separatists, rebels and Islamic terrorists poach within Kaziranga and adjacent areas. Almost two dozen militant organizations are active in the region.

Many reportedly poach tigers, elephants, and rhino in the park to raise organizational operating funds. It is believed that the groups may be linked with crime syndicates in Nepal, Thailand, and China.

The Karbi Peoples’ Liberation Tigers (KPLT) sponsor and organize hunts, arming poachers with AK-47s to kill rhinos to extract their horns and to battle forest guards.

After being apprehended in the act, a member of the Kuki National Liberation Front admitted killing six rhinos. At least 41 rhinos were poached in Kaziranga in 2013, double the number killed the previous year. Most were reportedly killed by AK-47s and .303 rifles used by militant groups.


RE: Animal News (Except Bigcats) - Apollo - 07-02-2014

UN Warns That Growing $213 Billion Poaching Industry Funds Armed Conflicts

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Kenyan Wildlife Rangers stand near the carcass of an elephant, in Tsavo East, Kenya, on June 19, 2014.

The illegal trade of global wildlife and natural resources is worth nearly $213 billion a year and is helping fund armed conflict, according to a new report from the United Nations and Interpol. Achim Steiner, head of the United Nations Environment Program, told 
Reuters that environmental crime is “a financing machine” for militias, extremist groups, and armed conflict.

The trade encompasses an enormous range of illicit activities, from logging (worth a staggering $100 billion annually), fishing, and mining, to trade of rare animals and plants. The 
report estimates that illegal poaching of fauna and flora amount to an annual loss of $7 billion to $23 billion, while illegal mineral mining and trading results in a loss between $12 billion and $48 billion.

According to The Environment Crime Crisis report:

"Throughout Central and Southern Africa, armed groups capitalize on poaching and timber exploitation to fuel a variety of armed movements. The Sudanese Janjaweed and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) poach elephants throughout Central Africa and neighboring countries. Dozens of militia groups kill elephants and hippopotamuses, harvest timber, and produce or tax charcoal, all to finance conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in neighboring countries."

"Likewise in Asia, exploitation of wildlife supports a number of non-state armed groups. Al Qaeda affiliated local Bangladeshi separatists and other tribal militias in India have been reported to be implicated in the illegal trade in ivory, tiger pelts, and rhino horns in Southeast Asia.”

The past few years have seen an “enormous increase” in environmental crime, and the revenue generated eclipses that of humanitarian aid to developing nations, which is worth around $135 billion. And while there have been some successes, including a curbing of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon, Reuters’ reports that two reasons for the surge in environmental crime include rising income in China and other Asian nations (precipitating increased demand for status symbols like rhino horn) and the illicit charcoal trade.

The illegal charcoal trade poses a greater risk to local environments and economies than poaching and it’s 
a significant source of income for Somali extremist group al-Shabaab. Both al-Shabaab and militias in the Democratic Republic of Congo illegally tax shipments of charcoal, estimated to be worth around $289 million a year, reportsBloomberg.

The UN suggested that countries strengthen law enforcement, protect animals in conservation programs, and make more of an effort to coordinate their response and crackdown on environmental crimes. But with as many as 25,000 elephants getting killed every year for their tusks, and the $192 million illegal rhino horn trade, they better hurry up.


RE: Animal News (Except Bigcats) - Apollo - 07-02-2014

Africa’s vultures in jeopardy after mass poisoning

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Read the full article from the link below

RE: Animal News (Except Bigcats) - tigerluver - 07-02-2014

97% decrease in just 30 years?! These populations should be accepted as all but gone and get whatever you can into captive breeding programs to be frank.

RE: Animal News (Except Bigcats) - Pckts - 07-02-2014

The vultures death's are causing a epidemic. The mass amounts of uneaten carcasses pile up at the ends of streams and are poisoning the fresh water with  dangerous bacteria. They can't afford to privately breed them, they need to make harsher laws and penalities. That goes for all animals, they need to alocate way more money to the guards to properly train them and give them better tools for hunting and capturering poachers. 

RE: Animal News (Except Bigcats) - Apollo - 07-10-2014

New life, new hope for Manas National Park

Western Assam's Manas National Park which also covers a part of Bhutan has excited conservationists. A study conducted last month by a team from Manas, Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Arya Vidyapeeth College, Gauhati University and biodiversity conservation NGO Aaranyak revealed a thriving hitherto undocumented amphibian and reptile population. 

According to park officials, preliminary survey results indicated the presence of at least 55 herpeto-fauna species comprising 20 amphibian and 35 reptile species in the trans-boundary landscape. 

Officials said the Green Tree Frog, Bubble Nest Frog, Twin Spotted Tree Frog, Blue Fan-Throated Lizard, Water Monitor Lizard, King Cobra and Pope's Pit Viper are some of the species indicating the thriving biodiversity of the trans-boundary landscape. They added that most of the herpeto-fauna species found are new records for Bhutan. 

"Some of the species discovered are of immense scientific interest. In the Indian part of Manas, the new species found show Indian, Indo-Malayan and Indo-Chinese elements. Habitat patches in Lotajhar and Doimari inside Manas National Park were found to be particularly rich in forest species while grassland-wetland areas such as Kuribeel in the Bansbari Range were identified as the park's critical turtle habitat," a senior park official said. 

WII director V B Mathur said the findings of the survey will help strengthen the case for declaring trans-boundary Manas a World Heritage Site. WII herpetologist Abhijit Das who led the team said the survey indicated the herpeto-fauna biodiversity of the Manas landscape. Das said there is a need to conduct long-term and periodic surveys to have a better understanding of species richness and ecology. 

The Indian portion of Manas, a Unesco World Heritage Site, forms a contiguous biodiversity landscape with Royal Manas National Park in Bhutan. With Unesco's World Heritage Committee focusing on trans-boundary conservation training of frontline staff in both the Indian and Bhutan sections of the park has assumed primacy. The Indo-Bhutan Manas landscape is one the world's single-largest protected landscapes and it lies at the juncture of two biodiversity hotspots - the Himalayan and Indo-Burmese. 


RE: Animal News (Except Bigcats) - Apollo - 07-10-2014

 New Data Sends Wake-Up Call on Caribbean Reefs

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