Rafiki, Uganda’s rare silverback mountain gorilla, killed by hunters

RafikiImage copyrightUGANDA WILDLIFE AUTHORITY
Image captionRafiki was thought to be 25 years old when he died

One of Uganda’s best known mountain gorillas, Rafiki, has been killed.

Four men have been arrested, and they face a life sentence or a fine of $5.4m (£4.3m) if found guilty of killing an endangered species.

Investigations showed that Rafiki was killed by a sharp object that penetrated his internal organs.

There are just over 1,000 mountain gorillas in existence and the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) described Rafiki’s death as a “very big blow”.

The silverback, believed to be around 25-years-old when he died in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, was the leader of a group of 17 mountain gorillas.

This group was described as habituated, meaning that its members were used to human contact.

“The death of Rafiki leaves the group unstable and there is the possibility that it could disintegrate,” Bashir Hangi from the UWA told the BBC.

“It has no leadership at this time and it could be taken over by a wild silverback.”

If that happened, the group would not want to come into contact with humans, which ultimately could affect tourism.

Rafiki eating somethingImage copyrightUGANDA WILDLIFE AUTHORITY
Image captionThere are just over 1,000 mountain gorillas left in existence

The mountain gorillas are a popular draw for visitors to the country and the UWA relies on the tourists for revenue.

Rafiki himself was very popular with people who had come to the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mr Hangi said.

He went missing on 1 June and his body was discovered by a search party the following day.

A UWA team tracked a suspect to a nearby village, where he was found with hunting equipment.

He admitted that he, and three others, had been hunting smaller animals in the park and that he killed Rafiki in self-defence when he was attacked, the UWA said in a statement.

The four men are expected to be charged under a wildlife protection law that was passed last year.

Infographic

The mountain gorilla species is restricted to protected areas in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda.

They can be found in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and a network of parks in the Virunga Massif range of mountains which straddle the borders of the three countries.

In 2018, the mountain gorilla was removed from the list of critically endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, after intensive conservation efforts, including anti-poaching patrols, paid off.

The IUCN now classifies the species as endangered.

Hunting jeopardizes forest carbon storage, yet is overlooked in climate mitigation efforts

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-05/lu-hjf050619.php

LUND UNIVERSITY

Many wildlife species play a key role in dispersing the seeds of tropical trees, particularly large-seeded tree species, that on average have a slightly higher wood density than small-seeded trees. The loss of wildlife therefore affects the survival of these tree species – in turn potentially affecting the carbon storage capacity of tropical forests.

Forest fauna are also involved in many other ecological processes, including pollination, germination, plant regeneration and growth, and biogeochemical cycles. Empirical studies across the tropics have shown that defaunation (i.e., the human-induced extinction of wildlife) can have cascading effects on forest structure and dynamics.

The sustainability of hunting is questionable in many locations, and particularly larger species are rapidly depleted when hunting supplies urban markets with meat from wild animals.

The study assessed to which extent the link between defaunation and carbon storage capacity was addressed in contemporary forest governance, focusing on a particular mechanism reffered to as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+).

The results show that although higher-level policy documents acknowledge the importance of biodiversity, and sub-national project plans mention fauna and hunting more explicitely, hunting as a driver of forest degradation is only rarely acknowledged. Moreover, the link between fauna and forest ecosystem function were not mentioned in international or national level documents.

Rather than an oversight, this may represent a deliberate political choice to avoid adding further complexity to REDD+ negotiations and implementation. This may be attributed to a desire to avoid the transaction costs of taking on these additional “add-ons” in a negotiation process that has already been complex and lengthy.

“Although biodiversity has moved from a side issue to an inherent feature over the last decade, we show that the ecological functions of biodiversity are still only mentioned superficially,” says Torsten Krause, Associate Senior Lecturer at the Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies in Sweden.

“At the sub-national level, fauna and hunting were much more likely to be mentioned in project documents, but we still found no explicit mentioning of a link between defaunation and carbon storage capacity”, he adds.

The study demonstrates that defaunation is virtually overlooked in international climate negotiations and forest governance.

“The assumption that forest cover and habitat protection equal effective biodiversity conservation is misleading, and must be challenged,” says Martin Reinhardt Nielsen Associate Professor at the Department of Food and Resource Economics under the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

“The fact that defaunation and particularly the loss of large seed dispersers through unsustainable hunting have lasting repercussions throughout the forest ecosystem, must be acknowledged and considered in forest governance broadly, or we risk losing the forest for the trees”, he concludes.

###

About the study:

The researchers conducted a desk study searching relevant international decisions on forests by the conferences of the parties to the UNFCCC and recent national REDD+ strategies and program documents. They analysed 49 national REDD+ documents (e.g., national REDD+ strategies, and National Program Documents) in 20 countries, with a focus on Colombia, Ecuador, Nigeria, Tanzania and Indonesia. Finally, the researchers also analysed sub-national REDD+ project documents for verified REDD+ projects in Colombia, Indonesia and Tanzania.

Ban Automatic Weapons so Crazed Lunatics Won’t Kill as Many Innocents per Incident

Did the above title get it right? Isn’t that the ultimate goal that hundreds of thousands of protesters worldwide were hoping for? Wasn’t ‘Bombs, Bows, Poison and Knives would Leave a Lower Body Count’ the sort of message they were hoping to convey?

If not, I’m not sure I get it. I mean, do these good folks think mass killings will stop the day we take machine guns away from the general public? Would that that were true; the problems of school or workplace or Post Office violence would be a quick fix. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no gun-nut, or should I say, ‘shooting sports advocate’. By all means, implement all the gun control measures you think will help.

Unfortunately, the problem goes far deeper than the Sporting Goods section at the local Wal Mart (although that’s a good place to start). As long as people are training their guns on innocent animals, they’ll be potential school shooters. So what’s the answer, ban sport hunting? Perish the thought…

Finally someone’s striking at the root of the problem. In a March 29th article by Kevin Johnson in USA Today https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/03/29/secret-service-mental-illness-stalks-many-suspects-mass-attacks/466251002/?csp=chromepush, entitled, “64% of assailants in mass attacks suffered from symptoms of mental illness, Secret Service report finds” we learn that, “a striking number of suspects linked to violent attacks in schools and other public places last year were stalked by symptoms of mental illness and nearly half were motivated by real or perceived personal grievances, a new Secret Service report has found.” The article goes on, Pakland “school administrators and law enforcement were all warned about Nikolas Cruz’s deteriorating mental state and risk of violence before he allegedly launched the attack that left 17 dead.”

So ban the occasional gun, get the odd kid to a councilor, but as long as we condone unnecessary killing every hunting season, someone’s not going to be safe.

Borneo has lost half its orangutans due to hunting and habitat loss

‘Their forests homes have been lost and degraded, and hunting threatens the existence of this magnificent great ape’

Borneo has lost more than 100,000 orangutans in the space of just 16 years as a result of hunting and habitat loss, according to a new report.

Logging, mining, oil palm, paper, and linked deforestation have been blamed for the the diminishing numbers.

However, researchers also found many orangutans have vanished from more intact, forested regions, suggesting that hunting and other direct conflict between orangutans and humans continues to be a chief threat to the species.

The report published in the Current Biology Journal found more than 100,000 of the island’s orangutans vanished in the period of 1999 to 2015.

“Orangutans are disappearing at an alarming rate,” said Emma Keller, agricultural commodities manager at the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF).

“Their forests homes have been lost and degraded, and hunting threatens the existence of this magnificent great ape.

“Immediate action is needed to reform industries that have pushed orangutans to the brink of extinction. UK consumers can make a difference through only supporting brands and retailers that buy sustainable palm oil.”

Around half of the orangutans living on the island of Borneo, the largest island in Asia, were lost as a result of changes in land cover.

Researchers said the Bornean orangutan’s survival is dependent on forging successful alliances with logging companies and other industries and raising public awareness of the issue.

Looking at predicted future losses of forest cover and the presumption orangutans are ultimately not able to stay alive outside forest areas, the researchers predict that over 45,000 more orangutans will be lost in the space of the next 35 years.

The report comes after an orangutan was shot at least 130 times with an air gun before it died earlier in the month, according to police in Borneo.

Animal-rights group wants Arizona voters to ban hunting of mountain lions, bobcats

http://tucson.com/news/local/animal-rights-group-wants-arizona-voters-to-ban-hunting-of/article_cc140fd3-be4a-5a03-a7c9-c53fc51ff297.html

  • By Howard Fischer Capitol Media Services
  • Updated 
Mountain lions
The hunting of mountain lions and other big cats is largely considered trophy hunting.

George Andrejko / Game And Fish Department

PHOENIX — Saying there’s no reason for “trophy hunting” of mountain lions, the Humane Society of the United States is moving to get Arizona voters to outlaw the practice.

The group’s proposal for the 2018 ballot would make it illegal to pursue, shoot, snare, net or capture any “wild cat.” That specifically means bobcats and mountain lions.

As written, the ban also technically would apply to jaguars, lynx and ocelot. But those already are protected as endangered species.

“People no longer really tolerate trophy hunting,” said Kellye Pinkleton, the Humane Society’s state director. “People are not shooting them, hounding them, trapping them for subsistence.”

But Kurt Davis, a member of the Arizona Game and Fish Commission, said the number of mountain lions killed each year — about 360 in 2015, the most recent number available — simply keeps the population in check and ensures that prey species, including bighorn sheep and pronghorn antelope, are not decimated.

Davis said he sees the proposed initiative as part of an effort to ban hunting entirely.

Pinkleton responded: “We do not have any blanket opposition to hunting.”

Backers of the ban on hunting big cats have until next July to gather 150,642 valid signatures on petitions to get the issue on the ballot.

The Humane Society and its local affiliate have a track record with voters. In 1994 they succeeded in getting Arizona voters to approve a ban on the use of leg-hold traps on public lands by a margin of close to 3-2.

Pinkleton noted that initiative laws have since been tightened by the Republican-controlled Legislature, with a ban on paying circulators on a per-signature basis and a requirement that petition papers be in “strict compliance” with all election laws.

But she said her organization and other allies should be able to raise the $3 million to $5 million it will take to force a public vote.

If it gets that far, it could be difficult to defeat. Davis said Arizona has a higher percentage of urban residents than any other “inland” state, meaning people less likely to go hunting.

That means the Game and Fish Commission and hunters will need to make their case that the practice should not be outlawed.

Davis said it comes down to science.

He estimated there about about 2,500 mountain lions in Arizona.

Each year the state issues more than 10,000 tags to hunt mountain lions. Davis said the commission’s experience is that, given the difficulty to actually kill one, that keeps the population in the 2,000 to 3,000 range, which he said is ideal.

Pinkleton disagreed. “The science doesn’t back up their claims,” she said.

She said the initiative would still allow killing of mountain lions in cases where they were endangering humans or killing other animals, whether a rancher’s cattle or the bighorn sheep that have been reintroduced into the Pusch Ridge Wilderness Area near Tucson.

The difference, she said, is that only the actual lions causing the problem could be hunted, versus simply telling hunters they can go out and shoot them in the area to cut down on the population.

Davis said such an approach makes little sense.

He said a 1990 initiative banning the killing of mountain lions in California now results in more of the big cats being killed by state officials to protect other species than were taken by hunters.

Pinkleton said there’s a good reason why the Arizona initiative would outlaw only the killing of wild cats.

“These essentially are killed for trophies or for fur,” she said, and for “bragging rights” about killing a lion.

“This is not deer or elk where communities are using the whole animal, whether for the meat or whatever,” she continued. “This is not a subsistence animal.”

Davis takes exception to pushing the initiative as a ban on hunting “trophy” animals.

“The notion of ‘trophy’ is a political notion that they’ve tested and polled,” with no actual legal basis, he said.

If the test of “trophy hunting” is whether hunters actually eat what they kill, that would include the hunting of coyotes, Davis said.

Beyond that, he said the initiative ignores that hunting is “a tool used by our state’s biologists … to manage our state’s wildlife.”

“Thank god … that you have hunters, both men and women sportsmen, that are willing to go out and be part of the management tools to maintain healthy populations of all of our species,” he said.

Bobcats, which Davis said number “in the thousands” in Arizona, are a different situation. They are classified the same as coyotes, raccoons and skunks, which can be hunted at all times without a special permit.

According to the Game and Fish Department, 1,300 bobcats are killed each year, on average.

Part of the debate is likely to involve methods used by some hunters.

“If a pack of dogs chases a mountain lion into a tree, and they are shot, that is not a fair chase,” Pinkleton said.

Davis countered, “That’s one of those issues that you see and hear, and it creates an emotional response.” But he said that doesn’t necessarily make it wrong.

“The traditions of using hounds to pursue lions is something that existed in our country since its foundation,” he said. Anyway, Davis said, only a “small number” of people have the ability to use dogs. “I don’t,” he said.

The numbers from the Game and Fish Department suggest that the use of dogs does make a big difference, however: Out of 324 mountain lions killed in 2015 by hunters, 247 of those were with the use of dogs.

Female hunter is found dead after apparent suicide ‘following online threats from animal rights activists’

  • Melania Capitan, 27, posted photos of her hunting activities on social media
  • The online star reportedly killed herself and left a suicide note to friends
  • This comes after it was reported that the internet star was threatened online 
Melania Capitan, 27, was a well-known blogger and hunter with thousands of online followers

Melania Capitan, 27, was a well-known blogger and hunter with thousands of online followers

A female hunter has been found dead after apparently committing suicide weeks after she was reportedly threatened on social media by animal rights activists.

Melania Capitan, 27, was a well-known blogger and hunter with thousands of online followers.

She rose to fame due to her posts in which she explained hunting tactics as well as showing glimpses into her every day life.

Hunting magazine Jara y Sedal reported Melania, who was from Catalonia and had lived for the last three years in Huesca, had apparently killed herself.

She had also reportedly left a suicide note addressed to her friends.

This comes after it was reported that the internet star was threatened online.

Her posts caused much controversy across the internet, especially with animal rights activists who widely criticised her.

She rose to fame due to her posts in which she explained hunting tactics as well as showing glimpses into her every day life

She rose to fame due to her posts in which she explained hunting tactics as well as showing glimpses into her every day life

Hunting magazine Jara y Sedal reported Melania, who was from Catalonia and had lived for the last three years in Huesca, had apparently killed herself. Pictured: Her rifle on a dead deer

Hunting magazine Jara y Sedal reported Melania, who was from Catalonia and had lived for the last three years in Huesca, had apparently killed herself. Pictured: Her rifle on a dead deer

She had also reportedly left a suicide note addressed to her friends. This comes after it was reported that the internet star was threatened online

She had also reportedly left a suicide note addressed to her friends. This comes after it was reported that the internet star was threatened online

Her posts caused much controversy across the internet, especially with animal rights activists who widely criticised her

Her posts caused much controversy across the internet, especially with animal rights activists who widely criticised her

Even after her death, her Facebook profile was inundated with messages praising the tragic news.

One person wrote: ‘You have done a favour to humanity! Bye Bye.’

Another commented: ‘She is alive, do not worry, what happened is that she left hunting and now is in the casting of the series The Walking Dead.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4718110/Female-hunter-dead-apparent-suicide.html#ixzz4nnLjgjgL
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Two from brief reality TV show admit to hunting violations

SEARCY, Ark. (AP) – An Arkansas man who starred on the short-lived reality TV show “American Stuffers” and his son have pleaded guilty to hunting violations in central Arkansas.
Court records show 40-year-old Daniel Ross of Romance and 19-year-old Hunter Ross of Rose Bud pleaded guilty last Tuesday in White County District Court to misdemeanor charges and each was fined $8,500.
Daniel Ross pleaded guilty to hunting during a closed season, night hunting and transporting illegally taken wildlife. In exchange, more than 40 similar charges being dropped.
Hunter Ross pleaded guilty to hunting during a closed and night hunting while more than 30 similar charges were dismissed.
The pleas were first reported by The Daily Citizen newspaper.
The Animal Planet reality show “American Stuffers” in 2012 was about Daniel Ross’ taxidermy business, which preserved pets that had died.

© 2017 Associated Press

Man accidentally shot in head during possible hunting expedition at Parawa

http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/law-order/man-accidentally-shot-in-head-during-suspected-hunting-expedition-at-parawa/news-story/94420c1d178070990ac40404d078a341

A MAN is fighting for his life after he was accidentally shot during a possible hunting expedition south of Adelaide.

Authorities were called to Springs Rd, Parawa, almost 40km west of Victor Harbor. at 3.45pm on Sunday amid reports a man had received a “serious wound to the head”.

Detectives are investigating how the man came to suffer “life-threatening” gunshot wounds but the man had been at an area of native forest popular with deer hunters.

A man is taken to Victor Harbor hospital after he was shot and injured during a suspected hunting accident on a property near Parawa, south of Adelaide.

Police believe the incident is not suspicious and are treating the shooting as an “accident”. >snip>

Iraq’s Unique Wildlife Pushed to Brink by War, Hunting

Even by the Islamic State’s brutal standards, the mess its fighters made of Kaldo Shoman’s farm had to be seen to be believed.

Over more than two decades, Shoman and his two brothers had labored to turn their land into an ad-hoc animal sanctuary. By planting trees, they hoped to attract migrating birds—and eventually tourists—to this largely barren swath of northwestern Iraq. In an area with scarce water, they carved out an artificial pond—and then watched as wild pigs and the occasional gazelle came calling.

But in one fell swoop, the Islamic State wiped their refuge off the map.

Blasting through the front gate in the summer of 2014, the men penned the Iraqi farmer’s horses into a paddock and used them for target practice, Shoman says. After shooting Shoman’s pet vulture and hogtying his favorite dog to a moving tractor, they carted off his extensive collection of songbirds. (See “Here Are the Ancient Sites ISIS Has Damaged and Destroyed.”)

Keen to deprive would-be attackers of potential cover, the fighters then torched dozens of forested areas, including the Shomans’ roadside plantation. They laced the soil with mile after mile of landmines. When, in late 2015, Iraqi Kurdish troops closed in on their last holdings in northern Nineveh Province, the retreating jihadists deployed one last ecosystem-killing tactic: Dumping oil.

“Look what they did!” Kaldo Shoman says, pointing at the jet-black trails of diesel that still coat his pond 18 months later. “They are the animals!”

The past few decades have been intensely challenging for many Iraqis, who’ve lived through several conflicts, crippling economic sanctions, and now jihadi terror. But lost amid the understandable focus on the human toll is the impact this chaos has had on the country’s wildlife.

Before its 40 years of near-unbroken hostilities, Iraq teemed with life, including a half-dozen types of cat, an impressive array of falcons, and several hundred species of fish, including the plump river carp that gave rise to Iraq’s national dish: masgouf. So prolific was its snake population that the ancient Sumerians milked the serpents’ venom and used it for medication.

But in recent decades, wildlife sightings are becoming more and more rare, conservationists say. Due to the ongoing conflict, scientific data on species decline are scarce. At least 31 bird species are threatened or at the point of extinction, according to Nature Iraq, a local nonprofit. (Bigger beasts, including Asiatic lions and Caspian tigers, long ago disappeared from the landscape.)

“For thousands of years we had plenty of wildlife, from Zakho [in the north] to Faw [in the south],” says Adel Musa, director of Baghdad Zoo, where some of Iraq’s few remaining big cats now reside. (See National Geographic magazine’s pictures of Baghdad after the storm.)

“But after all this war, all of Iraq’s circumstances, I am sad to say they are gr

WAR ZONE

The Iran-Iraq war shoulders much of the blame for the wildlife decline.

Starting in 1980, two enormous armies battled one another back and forth across the border region for eight years, laying waste to the mountains in the process.

Entire populations of wild goat and wolves were whittled down to almost nothing by shellfire, forest rangers told National Geographic. The number of migrating Persian fallow deer dropped precipitously, in part due to extensive trench networks, and is now regionally extinct in Iraq, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

When former President Saddam Hussein chopped down most of Basra’s 12 million date palms in order to prevent sneak assaults on all-important oil facilities, he transformed this once lush environment into a sterile flatland from which neither it—nor its animal inhabitants—have ever recovered. (Also read about the struggle to save Baghdad Zoo animals in 2003.)

Several years later Hussein turned his fury on southern Iraq’s marshes, the region’s largest wetlands. Intent on flushing out defeated rebels, he ordered the landscape drained, its people dispersed. As the waters dried up, the area’s rich array of otters, pelicans, striped hyenas, and river dolphins vanished, in most instances never to return.

Poachers have also killed off the smooth-coated otter—which is considered vulnerable to extinction—throughout most of its range in Iraq.

“The fish, the birds, the bigger animals: It’s not like before,” says Ismail Khaled Dawoud, a buffalo breeder who moved back to the marshes after they were partially reflooded.

Eric Trump to Keynote Sportsmen’s Alliance 20th Annual “Save Our Heritage” Rally

http://www.ammoland.com/2016/09/eric-trump-keynote-sportsmens-alliance-20th-annual-save-heritage-rally/#axzz4JPcQk7Av

In celebration of the 20th Annual Sportsmen’s Alliance “Save Our Heritage” Rally, Eric Trump, avid hunter and son of Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump, will speak at the event on Sept. 10 in Columbus, Ohio.

The “Save Our Heritage” Rally is a one-day rally of all things outdoors, which raises awareness and funds for the Sportsmen’s Alliance to protect and advance hunting, fishing and trapping nationwide. The event runs from 3-9:30 p.m. at the Villa Milano Banquet & Conference Center in Columbus, Ohio, and features a catered dinner, raffles, auctions and games for great prizes ranging from elk, wolf and deer hunts to African safaris and dozens of firearms.

Seating is strictly limited, and only a handful of tickets for remain available. Tickets cost only $50 and include dinner and drink tickets. No tickets will be sold at the door.

Purchase Tickets or by calling 614-888-4868.

Appearances by political hopefuls is nothing new for the Sportsmen’s Alliance. In recent years, Sen. John McCain, Speaker Paul Ryan, Gov. John Kasich and others have addressed those attending the organization’s events.

Eric Trump, the middle son of Presidential hopeful Donald Trump, has been a lifelong hunter ever since his maternal grandfather introduced him and his older brother, Donald Trump, Jr., to it as children. The Trump brothers were attacked by the international animal-rights movement in 2012 when images of the two from an African safari circulated on social media.

Read more: http://www.ammoland.com/2016/09/eric-trump-keynote-sportsmens-alliance-20th-annual-save-heritage-rally/#ixzz4JPdW7gJ9