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Zimbabwe elephants sold for a song
ZIMBABWE is selling sub-adult elephants for US$24 500 each amid indications that the export of the animals is set to continue, with government arguing the elephant population in the country’s national parks far exceeds their holding capacity, especially at the vast Hwange National Park.
Last week, this paper [the Zimbabwe Independent] reported the country is preparing to ship at least 170 baby elephants to China as it has emerged that seven Chinese veterinarian doctors are camped at Hwange National Park conditioning the animals for the rigours of a long-distance flight.
The government says the park is currently holding about 53 000 elephants whereas its holding capacity is between 20 000 and 30 000.
In June, Zimbabwe exported 24 elephants to China sparking an international outcry from animal rights activists and conservationists. The jumbos were taken to Chimelong Safari Park in Guangdong Province of China.
The Zimbabwe Independent has it on good authority that an additional 176 elephants are being prepared for shipment to the Asian country, although the government denies the reports.
Permanent secretary in the ministry of Environment, Water and Climate Prince Mupazviriho however says there is nothing wrong with animal exports. He claims animal rights activists and conservationists are only raising their voices because the elephants were exported to China.
China has a reputation of cruelty to animals as it subjects them to unnatural living conditions such as zoos.
“If they were not going to China, there wouldn’t have been such noise,” said Mupazviriho in an interview.
“Around the same time we exported the elephants to China (June) we exported 10 rhinos to Botswana in exactly the same way, but no one made a fuss about it.”
Mupazviriho defended the ongoing elephant exports saying the country had an excessively large population of jumbos. The elephants, he said, were causing extensive damage to the environment and threatening the existence of other animals, in addition to coming into conflict with humans.
Full story at www.theindependent.co.zw/2015/08/28/zim-elephants-sold-for-a-song/
#Zimbabwe #Africa #China #elephants
Image: Wild-caught young elephants, held in Zimbabwe (c) Global March for Elephants and Rhinos ... See MoreSee Less
11 minutes ago ·
Kenya: Vulture populations wane, poisoned by man
MASAI MARA NATIONAL RESERVE, Kenya — Death feeds life on the Mara.
Each summer, 500,000 wildebeests die along the treacherous migration from the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania to the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. And with death come the scavengers, none more important than the vulture.
But the birds that once feasted on that misfortune, the janitors that clean the grassy plains, are collapsing — part of a broader decline in vulture populations that throws off ecosystems and illustrates how far-reaching the effects of poaching, poisoning and other human interventions can be.
“The overall global picture for vultures is abysmal,” said Darcy Ogada, the assistant director of Africa programs at the Peregrine Fund, an organization dedicated to saving birds of prey. “Does this story echo that of the canary in the coal mine? Sure does.”
In the first major study of the 30-year decline of Pan-African vultures, Dr. Ogada and other scientists found that populations of eight species of vultures had declined an average of 62 percent.
Seven of those species had declined at a rate of 80 percent or more over three generations, according to the study, published this summer in the journal Conservation Letters.
In some parts of Africa, vultures are targeted by poachers who poison carcasses hoping to kill the birds so they will not circle overhead and signal park rangers. A vulture can spot a dead elephant in less than 30 minutes, but it can take a poacher more than an hour to hack off ivory tusks. No vulture, no warning.
Full story at www.nytimes.com/2015/08/27/world/africa/as-vulture-populations-wane-perils-to-ecosystems-circle-o...
#Africa #Kenya #vultures #birds #elephants
Image: White-headed vulture, Kenya, by Francesco Veronesi ... See MoreSee Less
23 hours ago ·
Australia: Humpback whale population growth shows no sign of slowing down, says researcher
Australia's humpback population is the healthiest it has been since whaling ended along the east coast in the 1960s according to a Queensland whale counting group.
Until 1962, humpback whales along the Queensland coast were hunted for use in oil, tennis rackets, medicine and animal feed with numbers dramatically dwindling until a ban was introduced.
The University of Queensland's Cetacean Ecology and Acoustics Laboratory (CEAL) has counted between 25,000 and 26,000 whales this migration season, the highest seen in decades.
CEAL team leader, Associate Professor Michael Noad, said the numbers have shown an incredible comeback compared to numbers in the mid 1960s, when only 200 humpback whales were counted.
Full story at www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-27/humpback-whale-population-shows-no-sign-of-slowing-down/6728660
Image: Humpback whales (c) Mike Day ... See MoreSee Less
23 hours ago ·