Elisha Thompson from the group DONET, in Dodoma, received training and equipment in early 2009. He went on to investigate street children and their fight for survival at the bottom of the social chain amid drug and sexual abuse.. The result was a moving film called ‘Dream’. EIA connected Elisha Thompson with Haki Elimu and he was subsequently funded by the organisation to produce two TV spots urging the Government to inject TZS 60 billion into improving education and build 22,000 new homes for teachers. These were shown on TV daily, helping to build public support.Elisha received funds from EIA to document forest destruction by charcoal manufacturers, and has produced several TV spots campaigning on maternal health.Several of his films screened at the Uninhibited Muse Festival in the USA, and he is now mentoring new project participants in field investigations.
PINGOS Forum, in Arusha, received training and equipment from EIA in early 2009 and went on to produce a film highlighteing the government eviction of Maasai tribesmen to protect the operations of an influential Emirati hunting company, the OBC. The film features testimony of the associated brutalities and the burning of homes, revealing how the government is failing its people in favour of lucrative deals.A screeing at the Swedish Embassy prompted the Ambassador to launch a fact-finding mission into the evictions. The film was also shared among delegates at the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, in Gambia, garnering international support. Maasai communities have in turn been empowered to demonstrate and give testimony in court.In addition, PINGOS received a small grant from EIA to investigate and document the impacts of raw effluence from an oil distillery on local communities. Following a media campaign, the company was pressured to construct a treatment plant. PINGOs is now helping to open a legal case against the distillery.
Maajabu conducted a field investigation in an area in Loliondo, which the central government wanted to gazette as a National Forest Reserve. The government planned to expel Maasai communities in the area, accusing them of illegally logging and destroying the forest. Maajabu’s investigation showed outsiders were responsible for the destruction.In April 2010, Maajabu showed their film ‘Our Beloved Forests’ to the Tanzanian Director of Forests,. He agreed to accompany Maajabu to Loliondo and subsequently declared the area a ‘Village Forest Reserve’ to be managed by the Maasai communities.
TGNP, a gender-based organisation, used visuals and the media to lobby for a female Speaker in Parliament. In 2011, for the first time ever, the ruling party nominated a woman as Parliamentary Speaker.
The project has also led to the creation of a strong national network. Individuals trained by EIA have begun working cooperatively; for example, in response to the proposed construction of the Serengeti Highway, NGOs have come together to produce a campaign film calling for an alternative route less disruptive to wildlife migration. The government recently announced it would support this option instead of the original route.
BREAKING: IWC calls for urgent action to save the critically endangered vaquita
PORTOROŽ: The International Whaling Commission (IWC) today joined the chorus of international voices calling for urgent action to save the Mexican vaquita porpoise from extinction.
The Resolution on the Critically Endangered Vaquita, proposed by the USA and European Union, was adopted by consensus at the IWC’s 66th meeting in Slovenia.
It expresses deep concern over the vaquita and states that “only a permanent, complete and effective gillnet ban in all fisheries operating in the Upper Gulf of California will prevent the imminent extinction of the vaquita.”
The IWC urged Mexico to eliminate any exemptions to the ban which might facilitate illegal trade in totoaba and called on all countries to strengthen enforcement efforts against the illegal totoaba trade, in particular those where totoaba products are consumed or in transit, including the USA and China.
Clare Perry, EIA Oceans Campaign Leader, said: “This is an important call to arms from the IWC, the world’s foremost authority on whales, dolphins and porpoises.
“We have very little time to save this species from vanishing on our watch – this Resolution, following on from recent decisions and resolutions of CITES and the IUCN, should force all countries to leave no stone unturned in their efforts to prevent extinction.
“With fewer than 60 vaquita left alive on the planet, the species doesn’t have the time for us to dither and compromise.”
Indonesia: Authorities foil attempt to smuggle pangolins to China
Security authorities in West Kalimantan have confiscated 40 scaly anteaters [pangolins], locally known as trenggiling, from a suspect who attempted to smuggle them to China.
The Pontianak Environment and Forestry Agency’s security and law enforcement office revealed that the anteaters, weighing between 2-9.5 kilograms each, or around 200 kilograms in total, had been skinned. They were packed into plastic bags and stored at a cooler facility.
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During the raid on Wednesday, authorities also confiscated one living scaly anteater weighing around 1kg and a mouse deer that had been skinned.
The office’s head, David Muhammad, said the smuggling attempt was committed by a wildlife trade syndicate. David said the syndicate was significant because it could collect animals from areas across West Kalimantan and sell them to customers in China either via Jakarta or Sarawak, Malaysia.
UNESCO urges Bangladesh to cancel or relocate Sundarbans coal plant
Bangladesh is planning its biggest power plant yet — a 1320 megawatt coal-fired power plant, slated to be built very close to the Sundarbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest and a World Heritage Site.
But conservation groups, environmentalists and activists have strongly condemned the project. They argue that building a coal power plant just 14 kilometers (~8.7 miles) away from the Sundarbans could damage its fragile ecosystem, threatening not just its wildlife but also the livelihoods of the thousands of people who depend on the massive mangrove forest.
Now, a UNESCO report has confirmed these concerns. A mission to the power plant site found that the project will severely damage the Sundarbans and should be “cancelled and relocated to a more suitable location.”
“I believe that the Sundarbans does not just belong to Bangladesh, it belongs to the world. So UNESCO is correct and has rightly pointed out the issues about the proposed Rampal power plant and the Sundarbans.” Abdullah Harun Chowdhury, a professor of environmental science at Bangladesh’s Khulna University, told Mongabay. “If the Rampal power company doesn’t follow the UNESCO report’s recommendations, then Sundarbans will get gradually destroyed.”