News From Africa
News From Africa
A survey of Kahuzi-Biega National Park in the Congo DR turned up 181 Grauer’s gorillas (Gorilla gorilla graueri, also known as the eastern lowland gorilla), up from 168 in 2004 and 130 in 2000. The number may actually be higher — the researchers were only able to assess the highland areas of the park due to guerrilla activity. Grauer’s gorilla, which can weigh up to 500 pounds, is one of four recognized gorilla sub-species, which also include mountain gorillas, western lowland gorillas, and Cross River gorillas. Grauer’s gorilla is listed as “Endangered” on the IUCN’s Red List and lives exclusively in the eastern DR Congo.. Its population is estimated around 4,000. Hall et al. (1998) identified 11 populations across its 90,000 km² range and estimated the total population to be approximately 16,900 individuals. The gorillas found in the Kahuzi-Biega National Park lowland area and the Kasese region represented 86% of the subspecies’ total population in 1998. The mountain and lowland populations of Kahuzi-Biega are not in reproductive contact. Newman’s Own Foundation has awarded the Wildlife Conservation Society a $150,000 grant to help eco-guards re-establish control of the lowland sector of Kahuzi-Biega.
Residents of Narok South District claim that zebras and elephants from Maasai Mara GR have destroyed 150 acres of maize plantation. They said Kenya Wildlife Service is doing little to deter wild animals.
Wildlife in the Masai Mara has shrunk by over 70% in the last 30 years and the drop is continuing according to the Journal of Zoology. The number of cattle grazing illegally in the reserve has increased by more than 1,100% per cent.
A poacher died in Tsavo East national park in June after eating meat from an elephant that was killed using poisoned arrows. The poachers roasted and ate some meat and, after a few hours, started experiencing severe abdominal pains; one of them died later.
Deputy Prime Minister Hausiku warned that cross-border rhino poaching could reverse the big success made in rhino protection in southern Africa. "Rhino poaching is a cause for concern for all the range states and it needs all our attention and focus to address it," said Hausiku when he opened a meeting of SADC ministers in Windhoek in May. He said the region was successful in bringing rhino species back from the brink of extinction, but poaching may reverse this success.
The government in partnership with the African Parks is pumping a $10m investment to restore Akagera National Park biodiversity, improve its financial viability and increase tourism receipts. The park management trains rangers in counter defense and offensive, rescue tactics and enemy engagement skills to safeguard Park and its territorial boundaries.
A bitter debate is raging on the proposed upmarket hotels with conference facilities in Kruger National Park at Malelane and Skukuza. Apparently the hotel developments are planned to achieve financial self-sufficiency for SANParks and to partially off-set the cut-backs of subsidies and government grants.
The latest rhino poaching figures are showing a decline in the KNP but an increase in both Private and Provincial reserves with a YTD figure of 182 animals killed in 2011 (as per 21st June). A survey by the Rhino Management Group (RMG) and sponsored by WWF-SA is attempting to assess the number and distribution of white rhino on private land. The 2008 WWF white rhino survey estimated that private owners accounted for about 23% (4,300 animals) of the country’s white rhino population.
The Western Cape Government decided to allow permit bearing farmers to cull 1,800 each jackal and caracal every 6months. CapeNature will be issuing hunting permits to landowners valid for six months. Light hunting and the use of artificial lights are allowed under the new permit, but not hunting predators from a helicopter or using dogs or gin traps. According to CapeNature there had not been a large demand for the permits. To be issued another permit, farmers have to provide details on losses caused by predators, as well as their stomach contents.
CapeNature, with input from the South and Western Cape game industry, has recently completed a new mammalian translocation policy, officially titled the ‘Game Translocation and Utilization Policy for the Western Cape Province’. See CapeNature
Limpopo Province is South Africa’s leading hunting area according to research of M. Saayman and P. van der Merwe from the Tourism Focus Area at the North-West University, Potchefstroom. The total economic impact of hunting in the province is R2.6 billion. The hunting industry directly employs 9,778 workers, of which 95% are black and 5% white. For more information, contact van der Merwe or Saayman by e-mail at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
South Africa does not have a CITES quota for cheetah trophies. Wildlife ranching and trophy hunting industries are calling for that to change. The Endangered Wildlife Trust arranged a workshop in 2010 to determine whether current hunting quotas for leopards (150 trophies) and the lack of hunting quotas for cheetah were justified. The ETW supports the retention of the leopard quota but considers it inadvisable to issue a cheetah quota.
Anyone who wishes to comment on the recently published Norms and Standards of Hunting Methods in South Africa, can view the Government Gazette, no 34326, volume 551, published on 27 May 2011.
SANParks received 1 000 DNA kits to ensure effective prosecution of rhino poachers in order to link carcasses found in the veld with confiscated horns. "The ability to obtain a full DNA profile from rhino horn allows us to match recovered horns to specific poaching incidents," said Dr Cindy Harper
South Sudan’s tropical montane forests which are part of the Eastern Afro-montane ecosystem are fast disappearing according to new analysis by PRINS Engineering. At current rates, Mount Dongotomea, located in South Sudan’s most biodiverse ecosystem, could be completely stripped of tree cover by 2020. Read the full article at South Sudan?s tropical forests fast disappearing
In a letter dated 22nd June 2011 to the Directors of the World Heritage Center in Paris, the Tanzanian Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism, HE Ezekiel Maige stated that the proposed tarmac road in northern Tanzania will be constructed in two sections: “The eastern stretch o7 214 km from Mto wa Mbu to Loliondo; the western stretch of 117km from Makutano-Natta-Mugumu. The stretch of 12km from Mugumu to Serengeti NP western border will not be tarmac. The 53 km section traversing Serengeti NP will remain gravel road and continue to be managed by TANAPA mainly for tourism and administrative purposes as it is currently.” The letter continues saying that “this decision has been reached in order to address the increasing socio-economic needs of the rural communities in Northern Tanzania while safeguarding the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of Serengeti NP. The Government of United Republic of Tanzania is also seriously considering the construction of a road from Mugumu to Arusha running south of Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Serengeti National Park.
The International Herald Tribune writes in an Editorial on 27th June however “Unfortunately, the letter announcing thechange in plans is too ambiguous to celebrate, and it leaves the ultimate fate of Serengeti unresolved. Tanzania now proposes to build roads right up to the edge of Serengeti. The letter … announces that the controversial route across the park “will remain gravel road” …. But such a gravel road does not now exist, since much of this section of the park is maintained as wilderness. By conceding its hopes for an asphalt road across Serengeti, Tanzania gets a gravel road by sleight of hand. In fact, it was a plan for a gravel road across the park that caused worldwide protest last year. Serengeti lies directly on a route from Uganda to a Tanzanian port called Tanga, on the Indian Ocean. The pressure to develop this route is intense, thanks largely to mining and other extractive industries in Uganda. Tanzania has a right, of course, to pursue its economic future. A major part of its economic present is revenue from tourism, mostly related to Serengeti. It is time for the Tanzanian government to do the right thing, economically and environmentally, and declare its unequivocal commitment to protect Serengeti’s integrity.
Jeremy Hance wrote “from the Serengeti to the Eastern Arc montane forests”, an article for the Joint ATBC-SCB Africa conference to introduce attendees to some of the recent conservation news from Tanzania. The content comes from a number of different articles published on mongabay.com, which has closely followed events in Tanzania over the past year. Read the full article at Conservation issues in Tanzania
Ivory seizures involving Tanzania between 1989 and 2010 represent one third of all ivory seized globally. Tanzania ranks first among African countries in terms of the total volume y reported by large-scale seizures. Recently, an investigation by a panel of international and local experts implicated senior government officials in the illegal ivory trade and the rise in elephant poaching in Tanzania.