Tag Archives: rhino

Technologies That May Save Rhinos from Poachers

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The illegal wildlife trade, which brings in an estimated $19 billion annually worldwide, has claimed the lives of almost 6000 African rhinos since 2008, with 1175 of those killed just within South Africa, figures which have accelerated each year as demand for the horns increases steadily. Only about 5000 black rhinos, and just three northern white rhinos, which have been unable to reproduce, remain worldwide.

For poachers, killing rhinos makes good financial sense: a rhino horn in Asia was worth $60-100K per kilogram in 2013. Nevertheless, scientists and conservationists have been fighting back, using technology in creative ways to help save these beautiful creatures from having their horns hacked off and being left for dead.

A mechanical engineer thought up the idea to create robotic rhino babies, which would stay close to real rhino herds and alert authorities when poachers approached. These robo-rhinos, called Rakamera, would replicate real rhino behavior so the herds learn to accept them. The robots would be powered by hydrogen fuel cells, with internal hydraulic and servomotors to make movement possible; plus, they would be fitted with infrared sensors and cameras to track humans coming close to the herd.

Other techniques that have been implemented to stop poachers include implanting mini cameras or micro-chips into the horns, allowing officials to more easily trace and pursue poaching operations. Recently, San Francisco-based biotech startup Pembient came up with a unique and intriguing idea: they were able to create synthetic rhino horns, using a combination of rhino DNA and keratin, the protein the horns, as well as our hair and nails, are made of. These ingredients form a dry powder that is fed into 3D printers and emerges as a horn indistinguishable from the real thing. The company has even partnered with a Chinese brewery to create a beer with this synthetic powder inside, replacing other beers with real horn purported to cure hangovers. However, Pembient has faced criticism from conservation NGOs, who have long been working to reduce demand for the horns in the first place, educating the public about the dire impacts of horn poaching and the lack of evidence for supposed medicinal benefits of consuming the horn. These groups worry that flooding the market with cheap synthetic horns may actually have the unintended effect of increasing the general public’s desire for rhino horns, spurring on more poachers than before.

Until the demand for rhino horns, which are believed to have healing properties, and are now frequently used as a status symbol, decreases, we must continue to track and fight poachers through technologies which will hopefully only expand and improve in years to come.

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Sources: Gallego, Jelor. “The Newest Anti-Poaching Technique? Robotic Rhinos.” Futurism. 5 December 2016.

Ankrom, Darren. “Synthetic Rhino Horn Made with a 3D Printer is the Latest Tool to Fight Poaching.” Vice. 24 June 2015.

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500 White Rhinos Up for Bid at South Africa’s Kruger National Park

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South Africa’s Kruger National Park plans to make 500 white rhinos available for private bidders hoping to protect the animals and their highly-prized horns. The park asked potential investors to “make a written offer to purchase white rhinos in batches of 20 or more”.

Ideally, this measure would remove the animals from the rampant poaching that occurs at the park: over 1000 were poached in South Africa last year alone, more than three times the number in 2010. Rhino horn is used as a traditional medicine and a mark of wealth in growing consumer markets China and Vietnam.

As many as 5,000 of South Africa’s 20,000 rhinos are already owned by private ranchers, marking the expansion of a vast game farming industry that caters to eco-tourism and big-game hunting. Rhinos attract tourists for game viewing and legal trophy hunts, and some ranchers hold out hope that the horn trade will eventually be legalized.

Still, the risks and costs of keeping rhinos safe from poachers, even on private ranchers, may dissuade potential buyers from investing in the rhinos. “You are asking someone to put a large amount of money on the table in a speculative venture,” Pelham Jones, chairman of the Private Rhino Owners Association, told Reuters.

White Rhino5 (1)

This article was first published by The Guardian on 06 Oct 2014.

 

Wildlife Conservation Film Festival
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Christopher J. Gervais, F.R.G.S.
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Christopher@WCFF.org
www.WCFF.org

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Ringleader of Rhino Wildlife Crimes Punished

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Zhifei Li, only thirty years old, the owner of an antique business in China, was sentenced today to 70 months in prison for heading an illegal wildlife smuggling conspiracy in which 30 rhinoceros horns and numerous objects made from rhino horn and elephant ivory worth more than $4.5 million were smuggled from the United States to China.

The sentence – one of the longest ever imposed in the United States for a wildlife smuggling offense – was announced by Paul J. Fishman, U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey; Sam Hirsch, the Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice; Wifredo A. Ferrer, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Dan Ashe, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

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Li, 30, of Shandong, China, the owner of Overseas Treasure Finding in Shandong, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Esther Salas to a total of 11 counts: one count of conspiracy to smuggle and violate the Lacey Act; seven counts of smuggling; one count of illegal wildlife trafficking in violation of the Lacey Act; and two counts of making false wildlife documents. Judge Salas also imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.

Li was arrested in Florida in January 2013 on federal charges brought under seal in New Jersey and shortly after arriving in the country. Before he was arrested, he purchased two endangered black rhinoceros horns from an undercover USFWS agent in a Miami Beach hotel room for $59,000 while attending an antique show. Li was arrested as part of “Operation Crash” – a nationwide effort led by the USFWS and the Justice Department to investigate and prosecute those involved in the black market trade of rhinoceros horns and other protected species.

In papers filed in Newark federal court, Li admitted that he was the “boss” of three antique dealers in the United States whom he paid to help obtain wildlife items and smuggle them to him via Hong Kong. One of those individuals was Qiang Wang, aka “Jeffrey Wang,” who was sentenced to 37 months in prison on Dec. 5, 2013, in the Southern District of New York. Li played a leadership and organizational role in the smuggling conspiracy by arranging for financing to pay for the wildlife, purchasing and negotiating prices, directing how to smuggle the items out of the United States, and getting the assistance of additional collaborators in Hong Kong to receive the goods and smuggle them to him in mainland China.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Salas ordered Li to serve two years of supervised release and to forfeit $3.5 million in proceeds of his criminal activity as well as several Asian artifacts. Various ivory objects seized by the USFWS as part of the investigation have also been surrendered.

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The result of Mr. Zhifei Li’s greed…

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China Combats Poaching in Africa

The Chinese Premier, Li Keqiang, has pledged $100 million to combat poaching in Africa during a visit to the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa. The fund is a part of a much larger loan package for the continent from China, totaling $10 billion in credit and $2 billion in aid.

The wildlife-rich continent is in the midst of a poaching crisis. Experts estimate that 22,000-35,000 elephants are killed every year by poachers, while last year over 1,000 rhinos were slaughtered in South Africa alone for their horns. Much of the ivory and rhino horn is destined for China or other countries in East Asia. While receiving less media attention, booming bushmeat markets are also taking their toll on Africa’s great apes, monkeys, small mammals, and birds.

Over the last couple decades, China has rapidly increased its presence in Africa through various industrial and development projects, including large-scale fossil fuel projects. Yet, this has also opened up China to criticism that it was consuming Africa’s natural resources for its own ends and negatively impacting the continent’s environment.

In addition to pledging funds, Keqiang, also said China would share high-speed rails technology with the continent.

“We have a dream that all African capitals are connected with high-speed rail, so as to boost pan-African communication and development,” he noted. “China is ready to work with Africa ‘to make this dream come true.'”
Read more at http://news.mongabay.com/2014/0508-hance-china-africa-pledge.html#Bs6sFPmx6xZsBWzM.99

The Chinese Premier, Li Keqiang, has pledged $100 million to combat poaching in Africa during a visit to the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa. The fund is a part of a much larger loan package for the continent from China, totaling $10 billion in credit and $2 billion in aid.

The wildlife-rich continent is in the midst of a poaching crisis. Experts estimate that 22,000-35,000 elephants are killed every year by poachers, while last year over 1,000 rhinos were slaughtered in South Africa alone for their horns. Much of the ivory and rhino horn is destined for China or other countries in East Asia. While receiving less media attention, booming bushmeat markets are also taking their toll on Africa’s great apes, monkeys, small mammals, and birds.

Over the last couple decades, China has rapidly increased its presence in Africa through various industrial and development projects, including large-scale fossil fuel projects. Yet, this has also opened up China to criticism that it was consuming Africa’s natural resources for its own ends and negatively impacting the continent’s environment.

In addition to pledging funds, Keqiang, also said China would share high-speed rails technology with the continent.

“We have a dream that all African capitals are connected with high-speed rail, so as to boost pan-African communication and development,” he noted. “China is ready to work with Africa ‘to make this dream come true.'”
Read more at http://news.mongabay.com/2014/0508-hance-china-africa-pledge.html#Bs6sFPmx6xZsBWzM.99

The Chinese Premier, Li Keqiang, has pledged $100 million to combat poaching in Africa during a visit to the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa. The fund is a part of a much larger loan package for the continent from China, totaling $10 billion in credit and $2 billion in aid.
Read more at http://news.mongabay.com/2014/0508-hance-china-africa-pledge.html#Bs6sFPmx6xZsBWzM.99

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Chinese Premier Keqiang pledges to combat wildlife poaching in Africa

The Chine Premier, Li Keqiang, has pledged $100 million dollars to combat wildlife poaching in Africa. The pledge was made during his visit to the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa. The money s part of a $10 billion dollar loan and $2 billion in foreign aid for the African continent from China.

China has increased its presence in Africa through development and industrious projects that include large-scale fossil fuel extraction and plants. The projects have led to criticism of China for consuming Africa’s natural resources for its own ends and impacting the African continent’s environment in a detrimental manner.

Over the last couple decades, China has rapidly increased its presence in Africa through various industrial and development projects, including large-scale fossil fuel projects. Yet, this has also opened up China to criticism that it was consuming Africa’s natural resources for its own ends and negatively impacting the continent’s environment.

Premier Keqiang stated that in addition to money, China would share high speed rail technology with African nations. ” We have a dream that all African capitals are connected with high-speed rail, so as to boost Pan African communication and development. China is ready to work with Africa to make this dream come true.”

This article was first reported by Jeremy Vance of Mongabay.com

ivory

If China is sincere and genuine on combating wildlife crime and poaching, then Premier Keqiang must first end the import and sale of elephant ivory and rhino horn in his own country, This will show the world that China means what is says. China has the opportunity to become a hero and take the stage as the world leader in the preservation of global biodiversity.

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also said China would share high-speed rails technology with the continent.

Read more at http://news.mongabay.com/2014/0508-hance-china-africa-pledge.html#jCEOYfreGIapCQfS.99

 

In addition to pledging funds, Keqiang, also said China would share high-speed rails technology with the continent.

“We have a dream that all African capitals are connected with high-speed rail, so as to boost pan-African communication and development,” he noted. “China is ready to work with Africa ‘to make this dream come true
Read more at http://news.mongabay.com/2014/0508-hance-china-africa-pledge.html#jCEOYfreGIapCQfS.99

In addition to pledging funds, Keqiang, also said China would share high-speed rails technology with the continent.

“We have a dream that all African capitals are connected with high-speed rail, so as to boost pan-African communication and development,” he noted. “China is ready to work with Africa ‘to make this dream come true
Read more at http://news.mongabay.com/2014/0508-hance-china-africa-pledge.html#jCEOYfreGIapCQfS.99

Over the last couple decades, China has rapidly increased its presence in Africa through various industrial and development projects, including large-scale fossil fuel projects. Yet, this has also opened up China to criticism that it was consuming Africa’s natural resources for its own ends and negatively impacting the continent’s environment.

Read more at http://news.mongabay.com/2014/0508-hance-china-africa-pledge.html#Bs6sFPmx6xZsBWzM.99

Over the last couple decades, China has rapidly increased its presence in Africa through various industrial and development projects, including large-scale fossil fuel projects. Yet, this has also opened up China to criticism that it was consuming Africa’s natural resources for its own ends and negatively impacting the continent’s environment.

Read more at http://news.mongabay.com/2014/0508-hance-china-africa-pledge.html#Bs6sFPmx6xZsBWzM.99

Keqiang, has pledged $100 million to combat poaching in Africa during a visit to the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa. The fund is a part of a much larger loan package for the continent from China, totaling $10 billion in credit and $2 billion in aid.
Read more at http://news.mongabay.com/2014/0508-hance-china-africa-pledge.html#Bs6sFPmx6xZsBWzM.99

Chinese say NO to Ivory

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Influential Chinese business leaders say no to ivory

More than 30 business leaders in China have taken a public stand against the ivory trade by signing a pledge to never purchase, possess, or give ivory as a gift. The group includes Charles Chao, CEO of Sina Corp., China’s largest Internet portal, Liu Chuanzhi, Chair of Lenovo, and 10 individuals from the Forbes 2013 China Rich List including Jack Ma, founder of the Alibaba Group. “As China grows up, Chinese companies should do the same and take on more social responsibility,” said WildAid China Chair, Huang Nubo who spearheaded the campaign. “This is why we are joining efforts to protect our planet’s wildlife. We hope this ethic becomes engrained in us and is passed down to future generations.”

The Chinese government crushed more than six tonnes of its ivory stockpile earlier this year and is considering ending legal ivory sales, which have been shown to enable laundering of poached ivory.

Ivory Pledge

IN RECENT YEARS, POACHING AS A RESULT OF THE TRADE IN ILLEGAL IVORY IS POSING ENORMOUS THREATS TO THE SURVIVAL OF ELEPHANTS. I’M AWARE OF THE FOLLOWING:

1. Each year around 25,000 African elephants are killed for their ivory

2. The population of elephants has declined 62% in the last 10 years

3. Rampant elephant poaching is having negative impacts on the economy, tourism, and national security of many African nations

4. Terrorist groups in Africa are being supported in part through the illegal ivory trade

5. According to official reports and statistics, China is the largest importer of illegal ivory, and Chinese nationals are increasingly involved in the illegal ivory trade

6. Illegal ivory trade is damaging China’s international reputation.

Because of this, I pledge the following:

1. I will not purchase, possess, or give ivory as a gift

2. I will encourage friends, family, and employees to not purchase ivory products

Signatories

Cao Guowei (Charles Chao) – CEO, Sina CorpDeng Feng – CEO and Chairman, Beiji Guangfeng Investment Fund Ding Liguo – Founder, Liguo Corp. Feng Lun – Chairman, Vantone Holdings Huang Nubo – Chairman, Zhongkun GroupJiang Xipei – Chairman, Yuandong HoldingsLi Dongsheng – Chairman, TCL Group Li Shufu – Chairman, Geely Group Li Zhenfu – China Regional President, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Liu Chuanzhi – Chairman, Lenovo Liu Donghua – Founder, Zhenghedao Group Liu Jiren – Chairman, Dongruan Group Liu Jun – Deputy Chairman, Guangxi People’s Congress CommitteeMa Yun (Jack Ma) – Founder, Alibaba Group Niu Gensheng – Founder, Lao Niu Foundation Shen Guojun – CEO and Chairman, Yintai Holdings Corp. Tang Yue – Founding Partner, Blue Mountain China Capital Wang Chaoyong – Founder and President, Xinzhongli International Holdings Wang Junhao – Deputy Chairman, Junyao Group Wang Lifen – Founder, Beijing Youshimi Internet Technology Co. Ltd.Wang Wenjing – CEO and Chairman, Yongyou Software Corp.Wang Zhongjun – Chairman, Huaiyi Brothers Media Corp. Wu Jianmin – Deputy Director, China External Affairs Committee Wu Yajun – Chairman, Longhu Group Xia Hua – Chairman, Yiwen Enterprise Group Xie Mian – Art and culture criticXu Shaochun – Founder, Jindie Software GroupXu Zhihong – Scholar, China Academy of ScienceYang Shaopeng – Chairman, Haifeng International Shipping Corp.Yu Minhong – Founder, New Oriental GroupYuan Yue – Chaiman, Lingdian Consulting Zhang Weiying – Renowned Economist Zhang Xingsheng ( Jim Zhang) – Managing Directory, The Nature Conservancy Greater China Region Zhou Qiren – Dean, Peking University National Development AcademyZhou Qifeng – Renowned Chemist Zhu Xinli – Chairman, Beijing Huiyuan Beverage Company

Both my self and the Wildlife Conservation Film Festival is grateful to the individuals above that have taken the necessary steps to preserve biodiversity on our planet and save elephant and rhino from extinction.

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