How big game hunting is dividing southern Africa

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-41163520

  • 10 September 2017
An elephant kicks up dust outside Kingspool Luxury Safari Camp in the Okanvango Delta on June 18, 2010Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Drifting down the Zambezi in Zimbabwe, I overheard two American men swapping hunting stories.

“First shot got him in the shoulder,” a white man in his late sixties explained to his friend. “Second hit him right in the side of the head!” Pointing at his temple, he passed his phone with a picture. The animal in question was a dead crocodile.

Crocodiles are easy to find on this part of the Zambezi: lying in the sun on the banks of the river, boats can float just a few feet away. And given that they are motionless for most of the time, not hard to shoot, I imagine.

The second American showed his pal a picture of a Cape Buffalo he had killed, and planned to have shoulder mounted. He complained he couldn’t afford the $19,000 (£14,500) Zimbabwe demands for the licence to kill an elephant. His buffalo cost him $8,000 (£6,100).

“Are they saying an elephant is worth more than two buffalo?” he lamented. “I saw hundreds of elephants today. Far too many. You have to see it here to realise. In California they are saying these animals are endangered!”

The first man’s wife then talked of the thrill she gets at the kill, discussing how different calibres of bullet explode the vital organs of African wildlife. I left to look at the hippos watching from the river.

A trophy hunting company welcomes customers in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Image captionA trophy hunting taxidermist welcomes customers in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

But, curiously, I have felt obliged to consider the ethics of big game hunting at home in London in the last few months.

I’m an Arsenal fan, and it recently emerged that my team’s owner, American sports tycoon Stan Kroenke, had launched a TV channel in the UK featuring lion and elephant hunting.

High profile supporters

The corporate values of family brand Arsenal do not sit easily with pay-to-view videos of hunters shooting animals for fun, and after a couple of days of hostile publicity, Kroenke ordered his channel to stop showing the killing of some big game.

But both sides in the hunting debate claim they are the true guardians of animal welfare.

Supporters of African trophy hunting, including some in very high places – two of President Trump’s sons are avid big game hunters – argue that a ban on hunting would harm wildlife and local people.

It would stop much needed revenue reaching some of Africa’s poorest communities, discourage conservation and cut funds for wildlife management that would make it easier for poachers to operate, they say.

Opponents counter that little of the profit from trophy hunting money ends up in the communities where it takes place. They say poachers use legal hunting as cover for their illegal activities, and argue that there are more efficient and humane ways to support the welfare of southern Africa’s animals and people.

I was travelling in Zimbabwe and neighbouring Botswana last month – two countries with opposing policies towards big game hunters. Hunting is still big business in Zimbabwe, as the rich Americans on the Zambezi demonstrate, but since 2014 it has been completely banned in Botswana.

Majestic animals

The difference in approach between Botswana and its neighbours – South Africa, Namibia and Zambia also allow trophy hunting – was brought dramatically home to me in the country’s glorious Chobe National Park.

In the late afternoon, I watched a herd of around 600 Cape Buffalo snake its way down to the Chobe River that marks the boundary with Namibia. It was mesmerising to see these majestic animals following each other, nose to tail, across the water.

Cape Buffalo cross the Chobe River from Botswana into Namibia where hunters are waiting
Image captionCape Buffalo cross the Chobe River from Botswana into Namibia where hunters are waiting

Then my guide pointed out two vehicles on the horizon, across the river. “Hunters,” he explained, simply. Through the binoculars we could see six men with rifles. Apparently oblivious to the risk, the buffalo continued to cross the border towards them. Later, shots would be heard.

In a move interpreted as a direct challenge to the wildlife policies of other southern African nations, Botswana’s President Ian Khama is marching his country towards a new model of African tourism: “low impact/high value”.

Botswana believes that by protecting its animals and minimising humankind’s footprint on the natural world, it can turn the country into an exclusive tourist destination that brings in far more than it loses from the ban on hunting.

Hostile environment

Botswana is home to more than a third of Africa’s dwindling elephant population, and – since the hunting ban – these intelligent animals have increasingly sought refuge there.

The concentration of elephants is a huge draw for tourists but, as predicted by opponents of the ban, it is also a huge temptation for less scrupulous hunters and poachers.

Botswana’s answer is to make the country a hostile environment for those who want to harm the wildlife.

Military bases have been moved to the borders of the national parks. Armed patrols on foot and in the air are ready, if necessary, to kill people coming to kill animals. Some poachers have been shot dead.

The hunting ban doesn’t just apply to rich trophy hunters.

It also limits or outlaws the shooting of game by local people for food or to protect crops and livestock. The Botswana government believes if there is any legal shooting of animals, the big poaching syndicates and illegal hunting operations will use that as cover for their activities.

Farmer Chibeya Longwani shows me his bucket of tabasco chillies
Image captionFarmer Chibeya Longwani shows me his bucket of tabasco chillies

In Mabele village, close to the Namibian border, I watched a man mixing an extraordinary cocktail: crushed tabasco chillies, elephant dung and engine oil. With a flourish he set the contents on fire and stood back to admire his handiwork.

“That is supposed to stop an elephant trampling my crops,” Chibeya Longwani told me, pointing at the ash in the tin.

Compensation

He spread it along the sides of his field, beside plastic chairs, broken electric fans and beer crates, as instructed by the Ministry of Agriculture.

“They said that bees stop elephants too,” Mr Longwani said. “But they don’t have the boxes at the moment.” His frustration was obvious.

As well as advice on deterring elephants, farmers can claim compensation from the government if wild game does damage property. But if they kill the animals, they are likely to get nothing.

Plastic refuse is used to try and deter elephants from farmland
Image captionPlastic refuse is used to try and deter elephants from farmland

To police the new approach, the Department of Wildlife and National Parks has recruited an army of Special Wildlife Scouts, operating in rural villages. Their job, for example, includes ensuring families don’t take more than the five guinea fowl they are allowed each day, and that farmers are honest in their compensation claims.

It is a nationwide exercise in social engineering – trying to change the ancient relationship between the rural population and the wild animals around them. The government believes the long-term rewards justify the rules. Many farmers remain unconvinced.

For those tourists coming to Botswana with cameras rather than guns though, the policies have created an utterly captivating wild landscape teeming with amazing African animals and birds. And “elite travellers” are prepared to pay big money for the privilege of seeing it.

Anti-poaching initiatives

During the high season, a single room in one of the most exclusive lodges on the Okovango Delta can cost more than $5,000 (£3,830) a night, equivalent to the price of a Namibian licence to shoot a single leopard.

Many tourist lodge operators work in partnership with local villages. I encountered one lodge where 10% of the business turnover will soon go to the community nearby. Villagers often have a direct say in development plans.

Cecil the lionImage copyrightPAULA FRENCH
Image captionThere was a huge backlash after the much-loved Zimbabwean lion Cecil was killed in 2015

International tourism is expected to bring in $210m (£160m) to Botswana this year, rising to $370m (£280) by 2021 – more than trophy hunters spend across the whole of southern Africa.

Many in Zimbabwe, by contrast, see hunting as an inextricable part of Africa’s cultural heritage, believing that, if done sustainably and responsibly, it can be a valuable addition to the region’s economy and wildlife management.

The walking guides who take tourists into the bush there aren’t allowed to operate until they have passed a state exam that includes shooting an elephant and a buffalo. I asked one guide how he had felt about doing it. “It depends if you like hunting,” was his enigmatic reply.

The Zimbabwean government argues that 75% of proceeds from trophy hunting goes towards wildlife preservation and anti-poaching initiatives.

Toxic impact

The recent Great Elephant Census project suggests Zimbabwe’s elephant population has fallen 11% in a decade, with poaching and illegal hunting threatening to wipe out whole herds in parts of the country.

The killing of Cecil the lion by an American trophy hunter just outside Zimbabwe’s protected Hwange National Park area in 2015 made headline news around the world.

The furore prompted a number of airlines to ban the transport of “trophies” from Africa, another sign of how toxic hunting has become for international brands.

Three years after introducing its hunting ban, Botswana is so far holding firm, despite huge pressure from other southern African nations.

It is a critical time for the policy. Any stumble, and the hunters are waiting on the horizon.

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Another Win for the Elephants

by Sea Shepherd’s Captain Paul Watson:

Big Game little dick Theunis Botha got himself trampled by an elephant he was about to murder earlier this year.

And this week, there has been another case of justifiable self defense by another elephant who dispatched an Argentinian nimrod named Jose Monzalvez in Namibia.

Mr. Monzalvez was an executive with an oil company whose idea of a neat holiday was to go to Africa to murder an African elephant.

He got more than he bargained for and as a result another big game hunter has been justifiably put down.

I especially love how one of the hunting party with Monzalvez stressed they had valid hunting licenses, as if the elephant had no right to kill a properly licensed hunter.

It’s been a good year for Biting Back, two matadors and two elephant hunters received the appropriate justice from their innocent victims.

African elephant populations have dropped from five million a century ago to around 400,000 today and still the psychopathic headhunters are allowed to ‘legally” continue to murder them.

I’m sure I will get some angry messages asking if I have any sympathy for his family? Don’t bother asking. I don’t. My sympathies lie 100% with the elephants.

Mr. Monzalvez wanted to play the big white hunter and his victim was not in the mood to play the part of the victim.

The media did not report that the elephant was shot so hopefully the elephant got away. I do hope so!

An Argentinian man has been killed in Namibia after he was trampled by an elephant, local media report. The Namibia Press Agency said the hunter, identified as 46-year-old Jose Monzalvez, was killed on Saturday afternoon in a private wildlife area 70…
INDEPENDENT.CO.UK

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/

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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.

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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.’
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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/

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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
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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.”