Showing posts with label Poaching. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Poaching. Show all posts

Video: Climbing Mountains to Save Snow Leopards in Kyrgyzstan

The snow leopard is one of the most endangered animals on the planet, with less than 4000 believed to still exist in the wild. But as you'll see in this video, efforts are being made to protect these amazing big cats which roam the Himalaya and other high mountains of Central Asia. In this clip, we travel along with conservationists in Kyrgyzstan and witness first-hand their efforts to save these beautiful animals from poachers. You'll also get a rare glimpse of the leopards themselves thanks to camera traps strategically placed in the mountains.

Video: Nat Geo Tells Us Why it is so Hard to Catch Poachers

As the world's population of elephants and rhinos wanes dramatically, many countries across the globe have stepped up their efforts to combat poaching in Africa and elsewhere. This is a battle that has been raging for sometime however, and yet we continue to hear how poaching is having a dramatic impact on the number of these creatures that roam the wild. Why is it so hard to stop these illegal activities? In this video from National Geographic Live, Naftali Honig – founder of the EAGLE Network – tells us why it is so hard to bring these people to justice.

Video: Meet the World's First All-Female Anti-Poaching Team

The Balule Nature Reserve in South Africa a team of women called the Black Mambas has been training for the past three years to combat illegal poaching in the region. They are the first all-female squad to take on such a mission, with their main goal being to protect the wild elephants that roam the area. In this video, brought to us by National Geographic, we join the Mambas as they go out on patrol, searching for the hunters who are looking to kill the animals in the preserve where they work. The short film is an inspiring look at this team of dedicated and tough women who are looking to make a difference with Africa's wildlife. It is really an interesting story.

Video: The Last Rhinos - Would Legalizing the Sale of Their Horns Save Them?

Here's an intriguing video to say the least. It follows the efforts of John Hume, a man living in South Africa who happens to own five percent of the world's rhino population. Hume sued the government in South Africa to legalize the sale of rhino horns, arguing that if you sold them on the open market, it would bring the number of rhinos killed by illegal poachers down dramatically. It seems that when removed safely and properly, the horns will grow back, and the animal won't be killed. Could this be the answer to saving Earth's engendered rhino species?

National Geographic - The Last Rhinos from Brian Dawson on Vimeo.

Comprehensive Elephant Census in Africa Brings Sobering News

As someone who has a deep, personal love for Africa and the amazing wildlife that lives there, this story was particularly sad to read. Yesterday, the results of a comprehensive census of the African elephant population were released, and the were sobering to say the least.

The study was conducted by an organization called the Great Elephant Census, which is backed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Alan's Vulcan organization. Using a method of arial data collection and surveillance, researchers have come to the stunning conclusion that there are now only 352,271 elephants left on the African continent. That population is spread out over 18 countries and is estimated to be down 30% in just 7 years. That's the equivalent of 144,000 elephants lost between 2007 and 2014.

According to the findings, the current elephant population loss is about 8% per year, with roughly 100 animals killed each and every day. Most of that is due to illegal poaching as the demand for ivory remains high in certain parts of the world, including Asia and even the United States. Measures have been taken recently to stem the sale of Ivory across the globe, but a thriving black market remains.

The 352,000 elephants counted in the census are believed to be at least 93% of the population that still exists in the 18 countries surveyed. That number could be higher, but it is difficult to track them completely precisely. Of those counted as part of this research study, 84% lived on protected lands, with the remaining population spotted outside preserves and national parks where they don't receive any kind of protection at all. That said, many carcasses were found inside those protected regions as poachers ignore laws and cross boundaries to seek their prey.

As you can imagine, with such a massive drop in numbers over the past decade, the possible extinction of the wild elephants in Africa is a real possibility within our lifetimes. Having seen these magnificent creatures up close and personal both on foot and from a vehicle, I can't imagine them not being a part of the wild landscape on that continent. But, if poaching continues at its current rate, they may be completely gone in as little as 20 years. When you consider that at one point, there were more than 20 million elephants in Africa, you begin to get some perspective about just how decimated the population is there.

Sad news for conservationists for sure. Lets hope we can turn this trend around in the near future.

Nat Geo Follows the Trail of the Illegal Ivory Trade

Last week I posted a video that gave us an inside look at the efforts of poachers in Africa to get their hands on elephant tusks which are then sold on the black market. This trade has risen to such heights in recent years, that it now threatens the wild elephant population, which could go extinct in our lifetimes. Now, National Geographic has followed that video up with an interactive online article that takes us through how the ivory trade works, and how the value of those tusks increases as it makes its way through the supply chain.

To tell this story, Nat Geo created fake elephant tusks that contain GPS trackers and sensors that are capable of registering no only their location, but surrounding conditions as well. They then planted those fake tusks with poachers, and followed their progress across Africa starting in the Central African Republic, a country that has seen its elephant population intensely targeted.

The tusks then traveled along a known smuggling route that also happens to follow a region where the Lord's Resistance Army – led by Joseph Kony – operates almost with impunity. At one point, the GPS-enabled tusks are transferred into South Sudan, before entering Kafia Kingi, a disputed region that is currently controlled by Sudan. At this point, they have traveled 483 km (300 miles) to be a part of the poacher's inventory.


But the journey is far from over. After spending three weeks in Kafia Kingi, the tusks go back on the move heading north before reaching Ed Daein in Sudan. At this point, they have traveled more than 900 km (560 miles), and are currently either sitting in a building or are buried under ground. Researchers are waiting for the GPS signal to go active again so they can discover the next stage of the journey toward buyers most likely in Asia.

The article then goes on to explain how the price of poached ivory rises as it passes through the supply chain, starting out at a value as low as $66/pound and rising to as much as $4630/pound as it makes its way out to the Asian markets.

This eye-opening report does a good job of showing the flow of ivory through Africa, and then out to the rest of the world. It is a sobering look at what has become a major problem that could ultimately lead to the demise of wild elephants in Africa. Poaching accounts for the death of more than 30,000 of those creatures in a given year, and it is a practice that simply has to end. How we get to the point where it doesn't happen any longer is the real challenge, but it involves shutting down the demand for ivory in places across the world, including the U.S. and China.

As someone who has seen elephants in the wild throughout Africa, it is unfathomable that they are killed in such high numbers just to claim their tusks. Hopefully we can reverse this trend in the years ahead, and we'll see the end of poaching in our lifetime, rather than the extinction of these animals.

Video: Why Elephants May Go Extinct in Our Lifetime

I have another video today from Nat Geo, but this time it isn't quite so fun. It is a short clip about the dangers that elephants now face as a species with the continued poaching of the animals for their ivory. According to this video, an average of 100 elephants are killed each day by poachers. Their tusks are then turned into good that are sold in Asia and the U.S. where ivory is still seen as an acceptable thing to own or give as a gift. At this rate, these amazing animals could be wiped out in our lifetimes, never to be seen again. That would be a tragedy of epic proportions.

Warning: there are a couple of graphic shots in this video. They may be hard for some people to see, but this is a topic that is near and dear to me, and I wanted to share this none the less.