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Kenya: The snipers trained to protect rhinos
In Kenya's Borana nature reserve, drastic new measures are being taken to protect vulnerable rhinos from poachers who kill the animals for their horns, writes Chris Haslam.
You never expect Africa to be cold, but up here on Kenya's Laikipia plateau, it's freezing. Thick cloud hides the spires of Mount Kenya and as darkness falls, the temperature plummets.
I'm lying in wet grass with three heavily armed Kenyans. One hundred metres ahead stand three white rhinos. They're oblivious to our presence, and from here, with three shots, my companions could earn themselves a year's salary each.
But they won't. They're part of an SAS-trained private army raised to protect the species from poachers. I ask the sergeant what he would do if he spotted one of his friends or neighbours up to no good.
His reply is unequivocal. "If he comes to kill rhinos he is robbing the entire community. And I will shoot him dead."
There used to be 200,000 of the myopic beasts here in Kenya. That number collapsed to around 200 in the mid-80s, but with the establishment of sanctuaries, the population has recovered to around 600.
Full story at www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-35503077
#Kenya #poaching #rhinos
Image: Anti-poaching force, Kenya, via bbc.co.uk ... See MoreSee Less
1 hour ago ·
UK: How should we deal with whale strandings?
First light will today [Friday] reveal what has become an all too familiar scene, as another giant of the sea washes up on our beaches.
The 40ft sperm whale, which became stranded off Old Hunstanton yesterday morning, failed to swim to safety at high water.
As dusk fell, experts admitted there was nothing they could do to save the creature as the tide fell and the whale died at around 8pm.
A cordon was put in place around the animal as staff from Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary tried to keep it comfortable, by pouring water around its blow hole ...
Jennifer Lonsdale, director of the Environmental Investigation Agency, said: “By the time they’re actually beached, they’ve all that weight resting on their internal organs.
“The body matter will press on the bodily organs and cause catastrophic damage they can’t survive.
“The International Whaling Commission is doing a lot of work on the best way to deal with stranded dolphins, whales and porpoises.
“It’s so dreadful, it’s obviously suffering but how do you euthanase it, it’s really difficult to know what to do.”
Full story at www.edp24.co.uk/news/environment/how_should_we_deal_with_whale_strandings_1_4406607
#UK #Norfolk #whales
Image: The sperm whale washed up at Hunstanton, UK (c) PJBayfield, via edp24.co.uk ... See MoreSee Less
2 days ago ·
Indonesia urges France not to tax palm oil heavily, fears impact on economy
JAKARTA, Indonesia – The Government of Indonesia sent a letter to France decrying new law taxing palm oil, calling the move “discriminatory treatment.”
In a letter dated Tuesday, February 2 addressed to Minister Segolene Royal of France’s Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, Indonesian Minister of Trade Tom Lembong expressed Indonesia’s “great concern” about the French Sentate’s decision to apply taxes on palm oil and palm kernel oil beginning 2017.
“For Indonesia, given the strategic role of the palm oil sector in the economy, the impact of discriminatory treatment in export markets will have a devastating impact on the hard-won economic, social and political stability that we have earned since the early 2000s,” said the letter.
The letter also said the new law would “breach the principles of national treatment and non-discrimination, and lead to disruptions both in Indonesia’s palm oil sector as well as food production and consumption in France and other EU member countries.”
Lembong then urged Royal to “take the necessary steps to make sure that the amendment is not adopted” and encouraged her “to work with Indonesia to address and issue France may have with regards to palm oil.”
On Thursday, January 21, the French Senate adopted an amendment to apply a tax of 300 euros per ton on palm oil starting next year, and 900 euros per ton by 2020, with further increases on an annual basis.
... France’s tax imposition comes in response to combat deforestation, the use of pesticides allegedly common in palm oil plantations, and to health scares associated with saturated fatty acids consumption.
Full story at www.rappler.com/world/regions/asia-pacific/indonesia/bahasa/englishedition/121241-palm-oil-france...
#palmoil #deforestation #Indonesia #France
Image: Palm oil plantations in Riau province, Indonesia (c) EPA ... See MoreSee Less
2 days ago ·