News from Around Africa
The illegal ivory trade has doubled over the last 12 to 18 months, according to a WWF/TRAFFIC report. Over 1.5 tons of worked ivory products, representing the tusks of at least 300 African elephants, were observed during the June 2005 survey. To support elephant conservation, CITES Parties adopted an action plan to shut down Africa's unregulated ivory markets at the 13th CoP in October 2004. However, of the 37 countries that still harbor wild populations of African Elephants, Angola is the only one that remains a non-Party to CITES and is, in fact, the only nation in sub-Saharan Africa to remain outside of the Convention.
Richard Root (68), a professor at the University of Washington Medical School who moved to Botswana to help alleviate a shortage of doctors there, was killed when a crocodile dragged him from a canoe, whilst on a wildlife tour of the Limpopo River in remote north-eastern Botswana Root taught at Penn in the early 1970s before moving on to Yale and then, in 1982, to Seattle. He was in a lead canoe with the tour guides when the crocodile rose out of the water and grabbed him. He was not seen again. The tour guides were wary of hippos, but there had been no reports of crocodile attacks in the area.
Conservation biologist Cheryl-Samantha Owen has conducted research into the sustainability of elephant trophy hunting in Botswana. The results suggest that the current level of trophy hunting of mature bulls is sustainable and unlikely to threaten future availability of trophy sized tusk. She also writes "that in terms of numbers, the population could support double the current hunting pressure, although within two decades the supply of larger trophy animals would dry up. However, given that on average only 68% of the hunting quota is used, it is highly unlikely that an increased quota will ever be fully utilized". African Indaba has information about the 2005 elephant hunting results of one of the largest outfitters in Botswana. This company hunted 59 elephant bulls during the 2005 season and the average tusk weight was 63 pounds.
A senior expert in Ethiopia's Wildlife Conservation Department stated that the Ethiopian red fox may be wiped out unless it is protected from domestic animals bringing rabies into national parks. He said there are fewer than 500 red or simien foxes left, most of them found in Bale Mountains National Park and over the past two months five out of a population of 200 red foxes had died in the park, suspected of being infected with rabies from dogs accompanying livestock to the area.
Over a period of 18 months, between 2001 and 2002, lions killed 70 people in Cabo Delgado province. Most of these were people out at night protecting their crops from elephant. Crocs are responsible for most deaths. Many croc deaths are not reported, simply because of the logistics involved for many people in getting to a government office. A rough estimate would be around 300 people a year nationwide. In 2004 thirty people were taken in the Mutarara district on the north bank of the Zambezi. Probably a similar number were killed on the south bank.
There were a number of elephant shot on problem animal control with tusk weights of over 40 lbs a side and a couple over 70 lbs a side. This could be interpreted that the illegal hunting that has taken place has not been so heavy that it has depressed the average tusk weight.
A study by the University of Namibia found that sections of the Etosha National Park fence along the northern border are deteriorating; those sections bordering the Omusati Region were in the worst condition. Lion, hyena, elephant and jackal wandering out with lion the major problem animals in the Oshana Region, while hyenas and jackals cause problems in Oshikoto.
An analysis of Human Wildlife Conflict (HWC) in the country has found that between 2001 and 2004, there was a marked increase in incidents of conflict between humans and wildlife. Now MET will look into measures that will mitigate the impact. The Caprivi region records an annual loss of about N$5.6 million to GDP. Caprivi, according to Dr Flip Stander, by far outweighs all the other regions regarding conflict frequency. A draft National Policy on Human-Wildlife Conflict Management Policy will look into the economic impact of HWC on communities, identify an appropriate level of decision making for managing the problem, prevent conflict and minimize the damage and also develop stakeholder skills to manage HWC efficiently and effectively.
By the time this African Indaba reaches your computer, the Namibian authorities should have finalized the auction of the big game concessions; for more than two years the global hunting community waited for this. It is said that hunting is about to commence as early as August 2006 and you can look forward for some very interesting packages.
A report commissioned by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and published during a scientific seminar on avian influenza in Nairobi in April says that intensive poultry operations along migratory wild bird routes are incompatible with protecting the health of ecosystems that birds depend upon. They also increase the risks of transfer of pathogens between migrating birds and domestic fowl. The report focuses on the environmental factors underpinning the re-emergence of old diseases and which are likely to be triggering the rise of new ones like highly virulent avian influenza or H5N1. The report concludes that current "heroic efforts" focusing on "isolation, quarantine, culls and medications" are likely to be quick fixes offering limited short term benefits and recommends that governments, the United Nations and public health experts back environmental measures like massive restoration of wetlands in order to counter the spread of H5N1. Restoring tens of thousands of lost and degraded wetlands could go a long way towards reducing the threat of avian flu pandemics by dispersing wild birds away from domestic ones.
Kenya Wildlife Conservation and Management Network co-coordinator, Wilson Mwang'ombe, said the management of the Tsavo East and West National Parks by local authorities would enable the locals to benefit from wildlife resources. The proposal was made at a Mombasa hotel during a workshop sponsored by ActionAid, which focused on inequality in Kenya. The State should withdraw the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) from managing the two parks, and give the local councils the authority to run them. He recalled that during the Kanu regime the locals were promised that they would get 25% of the park revenue and later President Mwai Kibaki promised that 10% would go to the local authorities, but nothing happened so far.
Benkoe Lions, a company based in Coligny/South Africa, claims in an advertisement in African Sporting Gazette that it is "rated as one of the largest lion breeding projects in South Africa" and invites readers to a so-called "Conservation Protected Hunt" (whatever they mean with this expression remains obscure). A quick check at their website reveals that Benkoe is obviously a canned shooting operation offering a photo catalogue of lions at prices according to sex, mane and age. Certainly it is not hunting what they offer - and it is not conservation what they practise. Might have something to do with making money, though!
The Department of Environmental Affairs & Tourism (DEAT) will publish the draft hunting regulations on May 2nd for public comment. Interested parties should check the DEAT website on or after this date and submit comment.
A Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) Scorecard Task Team has been established for the hunting industry of South Africa. On this team are PHASA President Stewart Dorrington, Gary van den Berg, Executive Committee Member of Wildlife Ranching South Africa (WRSA), Lorraine Kretzschmar from the Taxidermists Association of South Africa (TASA), Constant Hoogkamer from the Nature Conservation Department in the North West Province and Dr Pieter Botha from the national Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT).
Wayne Dietrechsen has been caught in possession of an irregularly issued PH license with the number 472. The license has been confiscated by National Parks investigators and Dietrechsen has been informed he may not hunt lion, elephant, hippo or buffalo. The case was further complicated with Jacob Mudenda writing to the Hunting Report in January saying "on 21st December 2005 I, in my capacity as the National Chairman of the Safari Operators Association of Zimbabwe - which is an amalgamation of Zimbabwe Indigenous Safari Operators (ZISOA) and Zimbabwe Association Of Tour & Safari Operators (ZATSO), personally went to the National Parks and Wildlife Authority Headquarters in Harare to confirm if [sic] Mr Dietrechsen was issued with a Professional Hunter's License. That was confirmed. His Professional Hunter's license is Number 472. I have also personally examined the said license and am satisfied that it is a full license without any restrictions at all."
At a meeting between National Parks and the Safari Industry on 2nd of March the withdrawal of Dietrechsen's fraudulently obtained license has been confirmed and Mudenda was asked to explain his actions. (The Zimbabwean PH master list can be obtained from firstname.lastname@example.org.)