Tag Archives: Elephants

All Legal Ivory Trading from Largest Market to End This Year

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Elephant populations everywhere are in grave danger, with species ranging in classification from vulnerable to critically endangered. The biggest causes of their fragility are habitat encroachment and poaching, which claimed 20,000 elephants in 2015, more than were born that year. Interestingly, these two causes may intertwined: in the minds of many locals whose livelihood depends on cultivating the land, habitat encroachment seems to necessitate killing or removing the elephants who live there, which in turn provides the perfect opportunity for poachers to swoop in and take the ivory that is in such high demand around the world. The UN Environment Programme found that over 63% of elephant rangelands will be occupied by humans by 2050.

Though an international ban on the once-legal ivory trade passed successfully throughout the ‘80s, political corruption and an illegal crime ring filled the void: in 2011, poaching caused 75% of elephant deaths worldwide. The ban had a fatal loophole, allowing ivory obtained prior to the ban to be sold, allowing poachers to claim the ivory was much older than it actually was.

Recently, China took great strides in cutting back on this dangerous and swiftly-accelerating industry, creating a plan to ban all trade by the end of 2017. “It’s a game changer and could be the pivotal turning point that brings elephants back from the brink of extinction,” said Elly Pepper at the Natural Resources Defense Council. Conservationists are hopeful that other countries will take note and implement their own measures to counteract this deadly trade, allowing elephant populations to recover before they face critically low numbers.

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Source: Caughill, Patrick. “The Biggest Ivory Market in the World will End All Legal Trading in 2017.” Futurism. 4 January 2017.

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More Elephants Need to be Culled?

Oppah Muchinguri, theZimbabwean Minister of Environment, Water and Climate addresses a press conference in Harare, Zimbabwe, Friday, July, 31, 2015. Zimbabwe intends to seek the extradition of an American dentist who killed a lion that was lured out of a national park and shot with a bow and a gun, and the process has already begun, a Cabinet minister said Friday. "Unfortunately it was too late to apprehend the foreign poacher as he had already absconded to his country of origin," Oppah Muchinguri, Zimbabwe's environment, water and climate minister, told a news conference. "We are appealing to the responsible authorities for his extradition to Zimbabwe so that he be made accountable." (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

The Zimbabwe Water & Climate Minister Ms. Oppah Muchingur says her country has too many elephants and the population needs to be reduced. Minister Muchingur blames the increased poaching of elephants on American policies, as U.S Fish & Wildlife Service  has banned the the import of elephant trophies from Zimbabwe.

After the death of Cecil the lion, America’s three largest airlines also banned the transport of lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, buffalo killed by trophy hunters. 

“The United states has banned sport hunting. An elephant would cost $120,000 in sport hunting but a tourist pays only $10 to view the same elephant,” depriving the country of revenue to fight poaching.”

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Caught: The Killers of Elephants

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Boniface Matthew Mariango,  “SHETANI” / “The DEVIL”

Boniface Matthew Mariango,  “SHETANI” has spent the past years managing at least 15 poaching syndicates throughout Tanzania, Burundi, Zambia, Mozambique and southern Kenya, according to the Elephant Action League. Last Thursday he was arrested in Tanzania.

This arrest is another substantial breakthrough in Tanzania’s anti-poaching and anti-trafficking efforts, with implications also reaching into neighboring countries. Finally, those directly responsible for illegal Ivory trade are getting caught for the heinous crimes by international law enforcement.

Queen of Ivory

 Yang Fenglan, a Chinese national “The Queen of Ivory,”

It is believed that 96 elephants are killed every day, 35,000 a year in Africa by poachers for their valuable ivory. With only 400,000 elephants left in the Africa wild, it is believed that if this rate of mass murder continues, elephants will be extinct by the year 2025. Breakthrough arrests like Bonicafe Mariango and recently Ms. Yang Fenglan, a Chinese national “The Queen of Ivory,” cannot come soon enough.

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Recent commitment to ban elephant ivory by President Barack Hussein Obama and Chinese Present Xi Jinping gives hope for elephants.

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China Bans Elephant Ivory

 

Malaysian customs officers show elephant tusks which were recently seized in Port Klang outside Kuala Lumpur

GOOD News in the fight for Wildlife Conservation!

According to Associate Press and U.S. News & World Report, ‪#‎China‬ has imposed a 1 year ban on ‪#‎elephant‬ ‪#‎ivory‬ imports, takes immediate effect today.

Read article: http://www.usnews.com/…/china-bans-ivory-imports-for-1-year…

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World Elephant Day

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World Elephant Day is an international annual event on August 12, dedicated to the preservation and protection of the world’s elephants. Conceived in 2011 by Canadian filmmakers Patricia Sims and Michael Clark of Canazwest Pictures, and Sivaporn Dardarananda, Secretary-General of the Elephant Reintroduction Foundation in Thailand.

Join the Wildlife Conservation Film Festival (WCFF) in New York on August 12 as we celebrate World Elephant Day during our Cocktails for Conservation Event. We meet at AYZA Wine & Chocolate Bar in the West Village from 6:30-10:30 pm. No cover and drink specials. Meet fellow wildlife conservationists, filmmakers, scientists and people that just care for an evening of good food, great wine & spirits and stimulating conversation.

The WCFF is working to put together a 10 day volunteer mission to the Friends of the Elephant Asian Hospital in Lampang, Thailand. Join us!

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Sunder the elephant is FREE!

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After years of being chained and violently beaten, the fourteen-year-old elephant Sunder is finally safe in his new home at the Bannerghatta Biological Park in Bangalore, India.

For six years, Sunder was chained and abused at the Jyotiba temple in Kolhapur, India. In 2012, the Maharashtra Forest Department and the Project Elephant division of the Ministry of Environment and Forests issued orders to retire Sunder to a sanctuary. Sadly for Sunder, the orders were never carried out, and instead Maharashtra Member of the Legislative Assembly Vinay Kore, who had given the elephant as a “gift” to the temple, sent him to live in an old, dark poultry shed where until recently he has been chained and subjected to numerous beatings.

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An undercover investigation conducted by the animal rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals India (PETA India) had resulted in footage of a mahout (handler) violently beating Sunder with a thick wooden pole. The video revealed a malnourished-looking Sunder, chained by two legs, writhing in pain and struggling to stand as the mahout strikes him repeatedly with the pole.

As a result if the investigation, “the Supreme Court of India passed a judgment in favour of PETA India by ordering the implementation of a 7 April 2014 Bombay High Court order to release the well-known and much-abused young elephant Sunder to an elephant care centre in Bangalore by no later than 15 June,” stated PETA India. “The Supreme Court also ordered that the Secretary, Revenue and Forests Department, Maharashtra State will be responsible for the implementation of its order and must strictly meet the deadline.”

This decision was supported by celebrities Paul McCartney, Pamela Anderson, Celina Jaitly, Gulshan Grover and many others who took to Twitter, met with concerned government officials, and helped in other ways with the campaign for his release.

A few days ago, Sunder was freed and began the journey to his new home. “We are overjoyed to report that the much abused young elephant Sunder was placed on a truck by a team of experts who had travelled to Kolhapur to work with the Maharashtra Forest Department and is now being driven carefully and slowly to his new home as per the order of the Supreme Court of India,” said Peta India.

Despite the court’s decision, and the fact that Sunder was now free to be relocated, the cruel and vicious people who abused Sunder all those years did not let him begin his journey in peace. Even to the last moment, they tried to find ways to hurt the terrified elephant.

“The transition was not easy. This progress was made after a great deal of struggle, including dealing with sabotage by screaming men, near rioting, tires which were punctured with nails by those who wanted to keep Sunder in Kolhapur to endure a life of abuse and a mahout (elephant handler) who shouted the wrong commands in order to agitate Sunder. Even now, a motorcycle gang is following the truck, despite police protection. The police and Maharashtra Forest Department officials as well as the experts who travelled to Kolhapur to assist with Sunder’s move are travelling with Sunder,” said PETA India.

After all the turmoil getting Sunder away from his abusers, he is now peacefully residing at a 49.5-hectare forested area care centre for elephants. As soon as he has settled down and his serious leg wound caused by long-term painfully tight chaining has healed, he will join a herd of thirteen other elephants. The sanctuary is enclosed by fencing, which allows the elephants to roam freely and wade in the ponds and streams that spread out throughout the Bannerghatta Biological Park.

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“Sambo” Forced Out of Retirement

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Two years after she was walked out of the city in the middle of the night to a quiet life of retirement on the outskirts of the capital, Sambo, Phnom Penh’s iconic and much-beloved elephant, might soon be back at work entertaining tourists. Funding for her recently concluded rehabilitation program now gone, her owner is insisting he has little choice but to begin showcasing her once more at Wat Phnom, a decision contested by the elephant rescue organisation that bankrolled her two-year sabbatical.

Sin Sorn, who owns Sambo, says that as the pair are no longer supported by the Elephant Asia Rescue and Survival foundation (EARS), he cannot afford to pay for her food and medical care without the steady income he earned for the more than 20 years that she was a tourist attraction at the temple.

The decades that 54-year-old Sambo spent walking on hard concrete and gravel while giving rides resulted in a painful abscess on a foot, overgrown toenails and a host of other issues, causing her to limp. A veterinarian retained by EARS warned in 2012 that a further deterioration in her “painfully lame” condition could lead Sambo to collapse on the city’s streets, Sorn agreed to move her to a plot of land for rest and medical treatment. That contract expired in March, leaving EARS and Sorn at loggerheads about what happens next.

“I do not have money to support her anymore. I will bring her back to Wat Phnom, but I will not allow people to ride her while she walks like in the past,” Sorn said yesterday at the sandy Phnom Penh Thmey compound where Sambo has lived since February 2012, as the elephant shovelled sugar cane into its mouth behind him. “I spend $15 a day just on Sambo’s food … [In the city], she will just stand in one place and tourists or people can touch her, take photos with her or buy fruits that I will sell to feed her.”

EARS has spent $45,000 over the two-year period paying for Sambo’s medical care and a monthly compensation package for Sorn to help fund an assistant caregiver, food, electricity and water and to cover his loss of earnings.

Sambo’s feet are in a far better condition than before, but EARS founder and CEO Louise Rogerson says sending her back to the city would be the worst possible decision for the elephant’s welfare. “She’s never going to fully recover 100 per cent, but what we’ve done is given her an intensive medical program over the last two years,” she said. “It has been a very slow rehabilitation process, there is absolutely no way she can go back to the city. It would be impossible for her to walk on hot tarmac roads.… It would basically be animal cruelty.”

EARS has offered to fund Sambo’s retirement at the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre in Takeo province or at the Elephant Valley Project in Mondulkiri province instead, but Sorn has rejected these options. He says he would prefer to move her to a piece of land in Kampong Speu province that his son has said he will purchase if donors help with her upkeep and medical costs. EARS has rejected that land as unsuitable for the elephant’s long-term retirement.

“I want to appeal to everyone in Cambodia and overseas and other organisations to help my Sambo. But not EARS. I want those who love elephants to help my elephant directly through me, because I am the owner of the elephant and I am taking care of her every day,” Sorn said.

He declined to explain why he no longer wanted any support from EARS, citing “personal issues” with the organisation. Sorn also brushed off concerns about Sambo’s health and any doubts of his commitment to care for her in the city. “Sambo has lived with me since she was 8 years old and I consider her my daughter. So I want to stay with Sambo until I die.”

Rogerson is clear, however, that Sambo “deserves a better life after 30 years of standing in the city”. “He’s pleading poverty and that he can’t afford to feed her, but that’s not the case. We can continue on an agreement if he wants to consider his elephant first and return her to her natural habitat with other elephants,” she said.

Wildlife protection officials from the forestry administration will visit Sambo this week to evaluate her health and determine whether the elephant can return to the city, Phnom Tamao sanctuary director Rattanak Pich said. The Ministry of Information has also offered its compound on Monivong Boulevard as a possible sleeping place for Sambo if she returns to the city, Minister Khieu Kanharith said.

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Article published in the Phnom Pehn Post
by Kevin Ponniah and Mom Kunthear

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