South African big game hunter crushed by elephant

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/05/22/theunis-botha-south-african-big-game-hunter-crushed-elephant/335673001/

CLOSE
17511 18LINKEDIN 287COMMENTMORE

A South African big game hunter was crushed to death by an elephant on a Zimbabwe game reserve, according to South African outlet News 24. 

Theunis Botha, 51, was leading a hunt when his group stumbled upon a breeding group of elephants at a game reserve near Hwange National Park Several on Friday afternoon, Zimparks spokesman Simukai Nyasha told The Telegraph.  The group of elephants charged at the group and the hunters shot at them, News 24 reported.

News 24 reported that Botha was crushed after one of the members of the group shot an elephant after she lifted Botha with her trunk. The elephant collapsed and fell on top of Botha, crushing him.

Theunis had five children and ran Theunis Botha Big Game Safaris. According to the website, Theunis “perfected leopard and lion hunting safaris with hounds in Africa.” He also pioneered European-style “Monteira hunts” in South Africa.

“Monteira hunts” include the use of packs of hounds to herd deer, boar or or other animals towards hunters who then shoot the animals.

According to News 24, Theunis often traveled to the U.S. to build business with wealthy Americans who were interested in a big game hunt in South Africa.

The news outlet reported that Theunis’ wife, Carika, will travel to Zimbabwe to identify her husband’s body on Monday.

11 Elephants Rescued from a mud hole

Asian elephants got stuck in a mud-filled old bomb crater in Cambodia. A collaborative rescue effort saved them all.

Our annual fund-raiser is here! Help EarthSky stay an independent voice.

On March 24, 2017, a collaborative effort between local farmers and conservationists saved 11 Asian elephants that had gotten stuck in a mud hole in the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary in Cambodia.

The hole – a mud-filled old bomb crater that dates to the Vietnam War – had been enlarged by farmers to store water. Its roughly 10-foot (3-meter) walls were too high for the elephants to scale and, as the mud dried, the elephants became further entrenched.

When the farmers discovered the elephants, they notified the Department of Environment, who in turn notified the World Conservation Society (WCS) to mobilize a rescue.

The elephants, before they were freed. Image via Wildlife Conservation Society.

The team helped water and feed the elephants to hold them over while a ramp was constructed for the elephants to escape.

A few hours after the work began, all were free.

The rescue averted what would have been a tragedy, said Tan Setha, WCS Technical Advisor to the protected area. Setha said in a statement:

This herd consisted of three adult females and eight juveniles of various ages, including a male that had almost reached maturity. These elephants represent an important part of the breeding population in Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary, and their loss would have been a major blow for conservation.

Dr Ross Sinclair, WCS Cambodia Country Director, added:

This is a great example of everyone working together in Cambodia to save wildlife. Too often the stories around conservation are about conflict and failure, but this is one about cooperation and success. That the last elephant to be rescued needed everyone to pull together on a rope to drag it to safety is symbolic of how we have to work together for conservation.

Bottom line: Eleven Asian elephants were rescued from a mudhole in Cambodia in March 2017, thanks to a collaboration between local farmers and conservatioinists.

Elephants Get a Reprieve as Price of Ivory Falls

Demand for Ivory Drops, and Elephants Benefit

The price of ivory has dropped by more than half in the past three years. This decline may be good news for elephants that have been targeted for their tusks.

NAIROBI, Kenya — Finally, there’s some good news for elephants.

The price of ivory in China, the world’s biggest market for elephant tusks, has fallen sharply, which may spell a reprieve from the intense poaching of the past decade.

According to a report released on Wednesday by Save the Elephants, a respected wildlife group in Kenya, the price of ivory is less than half of what it was just three years ago, showing that demand is plummeting.

Tougher economic times, a sustained advocacy campaign and China’s apparent commitment to shutting down its domestic ivory trade this year were the drivers of the change, elephant experts said.

“We must give credit to China for having done the right thing,” said Iain Douglas-Hamilton, president and founder of Save the Elephants. “There is still a long way to go to end the excessive killing of elephants for ivory, but there is now greater hope for the species.”

Elephants have been slaughtered by the thousands in recent years in what appeared to be an insatiable quest for ivory. Employing a wide range of tools, including helicopters, military-grade weaponry and poisoned pumpkins, poachers have brought down herd after herd. The poachers have also killed scores of wildlife rangers.

The tusks have been spirited out through a network of African gangs and corrupt government officials. A vast majority of ivory ends up in China, where a rapidly growing middle class has coveted it for bracelets, combs, statuettes and other status symbols. That demand has pushed the price of ivory so high that the tusks from a single elephant could be worth more than $100,000. That, in turn, encouraged many hunters and traders in Africa to ruthlessly pursue more elephants.

This may be a sign of how a sustained global advocacy campaign can actually work. For several years, celebrities, political leaders and passionate wildlife advocates around the world have been urging China to put a stop to its ivory trade. In China, there are officially registered shops selling ivory and a thriving black market doing the same. Last December, China responded, announcing it was shutting down all ivory commerce by the end of 2017. It seems the price of ivory has dropped in anticipation of the ban; many analysts believe it will soon drop further.

Researchers for Save the Elephants said the Chinese ivory business seemed depressed, with vendors pessimistic about their future. Many are replacing ivory jewelry and trinkets with items made from alternative materials, like clamshell. According to the report, China plans to shut ivory factories at the end of this month and close all retail outlets by the end of the year.

But there still seem to be some high rollers out there who want their ivory.

In one store in Nanjing, researchers saw “a 38-layered magic ball,” made from ivory, selling for $248,810.

Poachers kill one of Africa’s last remaining ‘big tusker’ elephants

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/06/poachers-kill-satao-ii-elephant-kenya-tsavo-big-tusker

Satao II, about 50 years old, is believed to have been shot with a poisoned arrow in Tsavo national park, Kenya

 Screengrab of Satao II, a 50 year old elephant who was killed by poachers in Tsavo National park in Kenya. Photo KTN screengrab
Satao II, a 50-year-old elephant who was killed by poachers in Tsavo national park in Kenya. Photograph: KTN screengrab

One of Africa’s oldest and largest elephants has been killed by poachers in Kenya, according to a conservation group that protects a dwindling group of “big tuskers” estimated to be as few as 25.

Richard Moller of the Tsavo Trust said Satao II, about 50 years old, was found dead on Monday and was believed to have been shot with a poisoned arrow. Two poachers believed to be responsible for the killing were apprehended not long after his carcass was spotted in routine aerial reconnaissance of the Tsavo national park.

The Tsavo Trust posted on Facebook: ‘With great sadness, we report the death of Satao, one of Tsavo’s most iconic and well-loved tuskers … No longer will Tsavo and Kenya benefit from his mighty presence.’
Pinterest
The Tsavo Trust posted on Facebook: ‘With great sadness, we report the death of Satao, one of Tsavo’s most iconic and well-loved tuskers … No longer will Tsavo and Kenya benefit from his mighty presence.’ Photograph: Tsavo Trust/Facebook

“Luckily, through the work we do with the Kenyan Wildlife Service, we were able to find the carcass before the poachers could recover the ivory,” said Moller.

The elephant, named after another giant killed in 2014, was beloved by visitors to the park. Moller said about 15 tuskers, named for impressive tusks that nearly scrape the ground, remained in Kenya out of an estimated worldwide population of 25. “They are icons, they are ambassadors for elephants,” he said.

Satao II’s death comes two days after a KWS officer was killed during an anti-poaching incident in the park, the second to die in less than a month at the hands of poachers, according to the wildlife authority.

The number of African elephants has fallen by about 111,000 to 415,000 over the past decade, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The killing shows no sign of abating, with approximately 30,000 elephants slaughtered for their ivory every year, mainly to satisfy demand in the Asian market for products coveted as a traditional medicine or as status symbols.

Moller said one of Satao II’s tusks weighed 51.5kg and the other 50.5kg. “I am pretty gutted really. This particular elephant was one that was very approachable, one of those easy old boys to find. Many are the others are much more difficult to see,” Moller said. “He has been through lots of droughts and probably other attempts at poaching.”

The Tsavo covers about 16,000 sq miles (42,000 sq km) and is a major challenge for rangers to patrol.

The Tsavo Trust helps monitor the elephants through aerial and ground reconnaissance, and works closely with KWS. Moller praised the “swift action” that led to the arrests.

Disaster in the making

http://www.greanvillepost.com/2017/02/04/welcome-to-sumatra-indonesia-an-environmental-genocide-in-the-making/

<Snip>

Deforestation was essential for the construction of all local industries. But how ruthless is deforestation in Indonesia? How bad is its contribution to global climate change? The simple answer is: it is not just bad; it is dreadful.

The Pan-Asian independent news network, Coconuts TV, reported in 2015: “Deforestation is a major contributor to climate change, adding more carbon pollution to the atmosphere than all the world’s cars, trucks, ships, trains and airplanes combined each year. It’s also pushing many animal species to the brink of extinction, including the Sumatran rhinoceros, Sumatran tiger, Sumatran elephant, and the orangutan due to the destruction of their habitats.”

Indonesia has become the global leader in deforestation, and the reason is the world’s thirst for palm oil. Palm oil is the most widely used vegetable oil on the planet. It can be found in over half of all packaged products at the supermarket, including everything from cooking oil to lipstick.”


As early as in 2007, Greenpeace Philippines snapped at Indonesia’s unwillingness to deal with the disaster: “Indonesia destroys about 51 square kilometers of forests every day, equivalent to 300 football fields every hour — a figure, which should earn the country a place in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s fastest destroyer of forests… These figures demonstrate a lack of political will and power by the Indonesian government to stop runaway deforestation rates. A series of natural disasters in recent years, floods, forest fires, landslides, droughts, massive erosion are all linked to the unprecedented destruction of our forests. Forest fires from concessions and plantations have already made Indonesia the world’s third biggest contributor of greenhouse gases,” Mr. Hapsoro (Greenpeace Southeast Asia Forest campaigner) said.”

Since 2007, not much has changed. The country has already lost well over 70 percent of its intact ancient forests, and commercial logging, forest fires and new clearances for palm oil plantations threaten half of what is left. The greed seems to know no boundaries.

According to ScienceDirect“Between 1970 and the mid-1990s, export-oriented log production and global demand were the primary pressures underlying deforestation. Cultivation of rice and other crops was also found to be associated with a growing population and transmigration policy. Moreover, deregulation of foreign investment in the 1980s appears to have led to the expansion of an export-oriented industry, including commercial crop and log production. Between the mid-1990s and 2015, the imbalance between global demand and production of Indonesian timber and oil palm led to illegal or non-sustainable timber harvest and expansion of permanent agricultural areas…”


The result: Sumatra and Kalimantan islands are now choking on their own pollution, although the agony spreads far into neighboring Malaysia and Singapore. Year after year, millions of people get affected, classes are cancelled, airplanes grounded, and regular activities averted. Hundreds of thousands of people are suffering from acute respiratory infections. Hundreds lose their lives.

Some even call the unbridled ‘export of pollution’ a ‘crime against humanity.’ Emotions are running high, and many citizens of Malaysia and Singapore protest by boycotting Indonesian products.

On several occasions, I witnessed thick smog covering the skyscrapers of the leading Malaysian cities, and of Singapore. In 2015, during the ‘big fires’ of Sumatra, life in Kuala Lumpur almost came to a standstill.

This time, landing in Palembang, the haze had been covering almost the entire runway. “Visibility six kilometers,” the captain of Indonesian flagship carrier, Garuda, informed us, not long before the touchdown. In fact, the visibility appeared to be no more than 200 meters. But in Indonesia, many ‘uncomfortable facts’ are denied outright.

Throughout the following days, my eyes became watery and my joints were aching. I kept coughing uncontrollably. When I was asked by the Italian ‘5 Star Movement’ to record my political message (I did it in a local slum), I could hardly speak.

The trouble didn’t just come from the forest fires: everything here seemed to be polluting the environment: the burning of garbage, traffic jams, emissions from unregulated factories, even cigarette smoking in almost all public places.

Along the Musi River, the original forests are gone, replaced by rice fields, palm oil, and rubber plantations.

More: http://www.greanvillepost.com/2017/02/04/welcome-to-sumatra-indonesia-an-environmental-genocide-in-the-making/

first all-female anti-poaching unit risking their lives to protect big cats, rhinos and elephants from men with guns

The REAL lionesses of Africa: Stunning ‘Black Mambas’ are first all-female anti-poaching unit risking their lives to protect big cats, rhinos and elephants from men with guns

  • WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
  • Black Mambas is all female, anti-poaching group working in Balule reserve
  • They free animals from snares and radio in poachers’ locations to rangers
  • Women’s lives are constantly at risk from poachers, animals they protect
  • Poaching in Balule reduced by 75 per cent since Mambas formed in 2013 

They are in fact the Black Mambas, an all female anti-poaching unit risking their own lives to protect the endangered animals being hunted for their horns, fur and meat. 

On their daily patrols around the Balule reserve, near Kruger National Park, they face the very real prospect of being gunned down by poachers or mauled to death by the animals they swore to protect.

Despite the dangers, and against the odds, the Mambas are winning the battle against poaching. Their presence alone has reduced poaching in Balule by 75 per cent and their methods could now be rolled out across the country.

Protectors: The all-female Black Mambas risk their lives to protect the endangered animals being targetted by poachers in the South African bush

Protectors: The all-female Black Mambas risk their lives to protect the endangered animals being targetted by poachers in the South African bush

 Winning: The Mambas (pictured), many of whom are mothers and wives, have reduced poaching in the Balule reserve, near Kruger National Park, by 75 per cent

 Winning: The Mambas (pictured), many of whom are mothers and wives, have reduced poaching in the Balule reserve, near Kruger National Park, by 75 per cent

Endangered: The Mambas' most important job is to protect the rhinos being targetted by poachers for their horns, which sell for more than cocaine on the black market (pictured, Black Mamba helping victims of rhino poaching at the Rhino Revolution Rehabilitation Centre)

Endangered: The Mambas’ most important job is to protect the rhinos being targetted by poachers for their horns, which sell for more than cocaine on the black market (pictured, Black Mamba helping victims of rhino poaching at the Rhino Revolution Rehabilitation Centre)

When Siphiwe Sithole told her parents she wanted to be a Black Mamba, they feared she would be eaten by a lion.

They were right to worry. Since joining in 2014, she has had two very close encounters with the King of the Jungle.

Siphiwe, 31, said: ‘The first time was when I first started working as a Mamba. I ran from it [the lion], which was wrong. You should never run from a lion!

‘I was put on a special course which taught me how to deal with wild animals, should I ever meet them. I then met some lions for a second time and this time I knew how to behave.’

The women’s backgrounds vary, but for some who come from poor families and villages, joining the Mambas is their only chance at a well paying job. Some even become the bread winners in the family.

Day-to-day duties of the 26 strong Mamba team include freeing animals trapped by barb wire snares, and patrolling the 400 square km Balule reserve looking for the slain carcasses of endangered rhinos.

Poachers killed at least 1,215 rhinos in 2014 – up from just 13 in 2007. It was this alarming trend that inspired Siphiwe to take action.  

Responsibility: Every morning at 5am, the Mambas (pictured) begin their 12 mile long patrol of the Balule reserve to look for poachers and help the animals trapped in their snaresResponsibility: Every morning at 5am, the Mambas (pictured) begin their 12 mile long patrol of the Balule reserve to look for poachers and help the animals trapped in their snares

Patrol: On their daily treks in Balule reserve, they risk being gunned down by poachers or mauled by the animals they swore to protect

Opportunity: For many women from poor families and villages, joining the Black Mambas is their only chance at getting a well paying job

Opportunity: For many women from poor families and villages, joining the Black Mambas is their only chance at getting a well paying job

Opportunity: For many women from poor families and villages, joining the Black Mambas is their only chance at getting a well paying job

Unarmed: The Mambas, swathed in green military fatigues, look more like soldiers than they do conservationists but they do not carry guns

Unarmed: The Mambas, swathed in green military fatigues, look more like soldiers than they do conservationists but they do not carry guns

Progress: After joining the Mambas, some women even become the bread winners in their family and have to support their husbands 

Harrowing: Their patrols in the Balule reserve, near Kruger National Park, deter poachers who hunt rhinos (pictured) for their horns, which sell for more than cocaine on the black market

Harrowing: Their patrols in the Balule reserve, near Kruger National Park, deter poachers who hunt rhinos (pictured) for their horns, which sell for more than cocaine on the black market

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3458085/The-REAL-lionesses-Africa-Stunning-Black-Mambas-female-anti-poaching-unit-risking-lives-protect-big-cats-rhinos-elephants-men-guns.html#ixzz41UrC6uON
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Animal rights activists upset over trophy hunting show planned in Toronto

N.C. poultry worker arrested after video shows him stomping, throwing chickens
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/12/09/mercy-for-animals-north-carolina-chicken-processing-abuse/77049796/
“A graphic undercover video depicting a poultry worker stomping
chickens, breaking their necks and throwing them against a wall has
prompted authorities in North Carolina to file criminal charges
against the worker, the latest in an ongoing battle over animal rights
playing out in U.S. factory farms and slaughterhouses.
“The video was uploaded to YouTube on Wednesday by the animal rights
group Mercy For Animals, which said the worker was arrested on animal
abuse charges on Tuesday.”

Tiger Trainer Defends Animal Shows at Santa’s Enchanted Forest
http://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/tiger-trainer-defends-animal-shows-at-santas-enchanted-forest-8092029
“Last month, sign-waving demonstrators massed in front of Tropical
Park to try to dissuade customers from buying tickets to Christmas
mainstay Santa’s Enchanted Forest. Their complaint: The live tigers
and other animals used in shows at the theme park are mistreated.”

Animal rights activists upset over trophy hunting show planned in Toronto
http://toronto.ctvnews.ca/animal-rights-activists-upset-over-trophy-hunting-show-planned-in-toronto-1.2693611
“TORONTO — Tensions between animal rights activists and big-game
hunters are set to boil over thanks to a trophy hunting conference
scheduled for Toronto next month.
“Several animal rights groups are planning to protest the African
Hunting Events show at a suburban Holiday Inn in mid-January.
“Camille Labchuk, a lawyer with Animal Justice, has started an online
petition demanding the hotel cancel the event, saying it is cruel to
hunt lions and elephants.”

Petition: Stop using baby elephants in bars and hotels and beaches in Thailand

Stop using baby elephants in bars and hotels and beaches in Thailand

6,824

7,000

we’ve got 6,824 supporters, help us get to 7,000

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/778/831/285/stop-using-baby-elephants-in-bars-and-hotels-and-beaches-in-thailand/?taf_id=13597515&cid=fb_na

Asian elephants are an endangered species. Experts believe there are now less than 2000 wild elephants living in Thailand. The population is declining at a rapid rate due to loss of habitat.

Illegal capture and trade for use in the tourism industry is also a big problem.

This industry thrives because foreign visitors all want to ride elephants, or watch them do tricks, paying good money for the privilege.

But the fact is that wild elephants need to be tamed before they can be ridden. Except the taming process in Southeast Asia is not the same as with a wild horse. It’s much more brutal, and is accomplished when the elephants are very young.
Wild elephants won’t let humans ride on top of them. So in order to tame a wild elephant, it is tortured as a baby to completely break its spirit. The process is called Phajaan, or “the crush”.

It involves ripping baby elephants away from their mothers and confining them in a very small space, like a cage or hole in the ground where they’re unable to move.

The baby elephants are then beaten into submission with clubs, pierced with sharp bull-hooks, and simultaneously starved and deprived of sleep for many days.

Did you know that riding elephants can actually cause serious long-term harm too? Their spines are not made to support the weight of humans. I know it’s hard to believe given their size, but Zebras are the same way.

A savage end for the elephants killed by men who were supposed to protect them: Slaughtered beasts’ remains lie scattered after rangers poisoned them in pay dispute

 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3295044/A-tragic-savage-end-elephants-killed-men-supposed-protecting-Slaughtered-beasts-remains-lie-scattered-rangers-poisoned-pay-dispute.html#ixzz3q6RhD4BV

  • WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
  • Elephants were slayed using cyanide in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe
  • Poachers made off with three ivory tusks after the killings, officials said
  • Deaths bring total number of elephants poisoned in October alone to 62  

Lying slaughtered on the ground with their heads barbarically hacked off, these elephants are believed to have been killed by the very men who were meant to be protecting them.

They are among 62 elephants who have been killed in Zimbabwe in the last month alone, not by poachers, but poisoned by disgruntled rangers.

Staff at Hwange National Park have reportedly not received their already low wages and it is feared that the elephant killings in the park may be a form of ‘protest’ against management.

Horrific pictures which emerged today show their remains scattered across the dusty ground after they were mutilated for their tusks. Some are too graphic to show in full.

Elephants lie slaughtered on the ground after reportedly being poisoned and mutilated by disgruntled rangers at Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe in a reported pay dispute

The most recent attack, which took place earlier this week, saw 22 elephants, including babies, poisoned using cyanide hidden in salt stones and oranges. 

Rangers working in the park are notoriously badly paid for a job where they are at constant risk, fighting off heavily armed poachers.

According to an inside source, rangers have only just received their pay due last month and management have failed to pay for fuel for the pumps for the park’s watering holes, The Telegraph reported.

‘I am afraid there are serious management problems within parks,’ an unnamed source from Zimbabwe’s National Parks and Wildlife Authority told The Telegraph.

‘Some of the rangers are very dissatisfied with their remuneration and say that they are not getting some allowances they believe they should get.

‘So many of us believe that some of the poaching at the moment is organised and executed by some rangers in parks, and we don’t know how this will be sorted out.’ 

Monday’s discovery of 22 elephant carcasses were made in the in park’s Sinamatella area alongside 35 tusks, said Caroline Washaya-Moyo, spokeswoman for the parks and wildlife management authority. 

Barbaric: Staff at Hwange National Park have reportedly not received their already low wages and it is feared that the elephant killings in the park may be a form of 'protest' against management

Barbaric: Staff at Hwange National Park have reportedly not received their already low wages and it is feared that the elephant killings in the park may be a form of ‘protest’ against management

The poachers, who apparently killed the elephants with cyanide, escaped with three ivory tusks.

The grim finding – made by park rangers Monday morning – brings the number of elephants poisoned by poachers in the southern Africa country in October alone to a staggering 62.

‘We recovered 22 elephant carcasses in the Sinamatela area and so far we have also recovered 35 tusks,’ Washaya-Moyo told AFP. ‘Initial investigations indicate that there was cyanide poisoning.’

She added: ‘We continue to lobby for deterrent penalties for people found with poisonous substances such as cyanide. We can’t continue to lose wildlife at such a rate.’

Rangers are now investigating how many of the elephants – who resided at the same park as Cecil the lion, who was shot dead by dentist Walter Palmer in July –  had fully developed tusks.

Speaking to the Associated Press, Washaya-Moyo said: ‘We are now trying to check how many elephants had fully developed tusks because babies are among those killed.

‘The rate at which we are losing animals to cyanide is alarming. 

‘Many other species are also dying from the cyanide used by poachers to target elephants. 

‘We are appealing to people in communities close to national parks to cooperate with authorities.’