Mike Coffman, Service Well Done, Thank You

Mike Coffman lost his bid for re-election to the congressional district where I live.  He was “my congressman”.  I have heard Mike speak on many occasions and appreciate his efforts for finding solutions to health care and veteran services.  This work isn’t easy.

I also appreciate his setting himself apart from the national leadership.  Distance from Donald Trump, in Colorado anyway, was a required strategic move.  Regrettable, even this tactic didn’t work to save the election for Mike Coffman.  It was indeed a referendum against President Trump.  Capture MCoffman 2018

Mike Coffman deserve a big “thank you” from the constituents in Colorado.  You sought to create middle ground.  Unfortunately, there was none.  It is disheartening that the Republican Party pulled financial support from your campaign in the last lap of the campaign.  It made it more difficult to win.  Perhaps they saw the handwriting on the wall.  It is now obvious Coloradoans don’t like the direction Trump is taking the country.

I wish Mike Coffman could have avoided the negative sentiment that has spilled over into his political career.  He deserves better.  So for one, thank you for your service.

Congressional District 6 was lost not because Mike Coffman failed to serve but because the Republican Party has failed to do its job.  We can only hope for better from the Democrats.  For now, it feels like our politics is broken, dark and leaderless.  The country deserves better.

Congratulations to Jason Crow.  We are all in this together.

 

Another Species on the way to Extinction ?

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Maryanne Kagai ANAW’s veterinarian posts the following to the organization’s bulletin board:

It is with great sadness that Ol Pejeta Conservancy and the Dvůr Králové Zoo announce that Sudan, the world’s last male northern white rhino, age 45, died at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya on March 19th, 2018 (yesterday). Sudan was being treated for age-related complications that led to degenerative changes in muscles and bones combined with extensive skin wounds. His condition worsened significantly in the last 24 hours; he was unable to stand up and was suffering a great deal. The veterinary team from the Dvůr Králové Zoo, Ol Pejeta and Kenya Wildlife Service made the decision to euthanize him.

Sudan will be remembered for his unusually memorable life. In the 1970s, he escaped extinction of his kind in the wild when he was moved to Dvůr Králové Zoo. Throughout his existence, he significantly contributed to survival of his species as he sired two females. Additionally, his genetic material was collected yesterday and provides a hope for future attempts at reproduction of northern white rhinos through advanced cellular technologies. During his final years, Sudan came back to Africa and stole the heart of many with his dignity and strength.

“We on Ol Pejeta are all saddened by Sudan’s death. He was a great ambassador for his species and will be remembered for the work he did to raise awareness globally of the plight facing not only rhinos, but also the many thousands of other species facing extinction as a result of unsustainable human activity. One day, his demise will hopefully be seen as a seminal moment for conservationists world wide,” said Richard Vigne, Ol Pejeta’s CEO.

Unfortunately, Sudan’s death leaves just two female northern white rhinos on the planet; his daughter Najin and her daughter Fatu, who remain at Ol Pejeta. The only hope for the preservation of this subspecies now lies in developing in vitro fertilisation (IVF) techniques using eggs from the two remaining females, stored northern white rhino semen from males and surrogate southern white rhino females.

Tragic Loss

 

Esmond's

Last week Esmond’s Martin was killed in his home in Nairobi Kenya.  The incident is being called a robbery turned violent.  I met Esmond and interviewed him at his home in 2015.  His death is tragic news.  He was a great contributor to efforts saving elephants in East Africa and the world over.

Besides a conservationist, Edmonds was a pen and ink artist.  I remember his exhibit showcased at the Denver Art Museum a few years back.  It is a small world.  A kind and gentle man was Edmonds.  I’m sorry for his loss and the extended family’s sorrow.  Condolences to his wife. He was married to a sister of a Denver philanthropist.  Sad to lose him to the dust of Nairobi.

Credit for this photo and the full article goes to Planet Experts.

Trump’s World View

As many of you might know, I have a deep respect and admiration for the animal welfare work taking place in Africa.  I am privileged to know and work in Nairobi and all through Kenya with Josphat Ngonyo and the board and staff of the Africa Network for Animal Welfare.  The comments of President Trump are disheartening and grossly troubling for me personally.

It brings me to write this.

I am appalled at president Trump’s characterization of African nations as “shithole countries”. Over the last eleven years, I have worked with Kenyan’s traveling to Kenya three times annually, over 25 trips in total. I know people there working diligently to feed their families, raise their children, striving for a better life. I know people who daily use a trench latrine.

For those of us who believe in marketplace efficiencies and capitalism, Trump’s elitist actions and now expressions of racism and hatred toward Africa and Haiti are more than frustrating. It makes me sick. Our president is a disgusting man. He demonstrates extreme views that should not be spoken outside the confines of his trophy-golf-course-properties. He should not be in a position to represent the United States of America. It is shameful.

Many Americans volunteer around the world as part of our Judeo-Christian ethic and/or simple humanitarianism to bring about peace and share prosperity. Trump disrespects America’s goodwill toward men. He disrespects people. He is not a president that should be enabled. He is intoxicated with power, his past sins only amplified as president of the United States.

This is a democracy. What can be done now? In my opinion, failure to unleash  immediate action toward this scourge on our goodwill is un-American and negligent. We cannot wait until 2020 to remove this mean-spirited president from office. He is sadly unbalanced, uncaring, lacks compassion and understanding for others. We have an obligation to fix this. He is dangerous. His real estate deal making paradigm is not a template for formulating foreign policy. He is unwilling to learn.

I write to my Congresspeople.  I encourage us all to do the same until there can be an uprising, a clamor of voices to register the frustration of the masses sufficient to move Republican leadership to action.

Two Kenyan Conservationist React to President Trump’s Decisions

Jim Nyama, Executive Director of Ivory Belongs to Elephants and Kahindi Lekalhaile, Director of Public Affairs at the Africa Network for Animal Welfare discuss President Trumps recent action reversing the 2014 ban on transporting ivory from Zimbabwe and Zambia and his subsequent retraction putting the decision on hold for further study.

This lengthy interview reveals a candid discussion of the ethic for human-animal co-existence in Kenya as defined by local values.  Local values are in conflict with elitist, powerful foreign pro-hunting influence.  Lekalhaile and Nyama provide an African perspective to the post-colonial pressures existing throughout the continent.

  • China’s commitment to end ivory consumption transfers pressure to the United States
  • The United Kingdom is second to the United States in consumption of ivory
  • 70% of wildlife lives outside national parks
  • Communities should not be characterized as poor.  Communities live with Kenya’s wildlife every day
  • To protect and conserve wildlife living outside national parks, as well as inside national parks, the conservation discussion must include Kenyan communities
  • Tourism represents 12% of Kenya’s GNP
  • In African countries where hunting is allowed white hunters are poachers not conservationist in the eyes of locals
  • 70% of hunting revenues go back to the country of origin not to the local people who live with wildlife
  • In Kenya, revenue from Kenya Wildlife Service does trickle down to local communities
  • New revenue to help fund conservation in the host country is largely a myth

 

Trump Removes Ivory Ban

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Tsavo National Park, Kenya, 2012 D.Gies

Trump removes the Ivory Ban for U.S. Citizens hunting in Zimbabwe and Zambia.

It is disturbing that our country is often characterized as largely self-serving, materialistic and elitist.  We have become small yet we shrink more. There is something very mischievous in our president removing the 2014 Obama ban on transporting ivory back into the United States.  Reading the news today there is speculation this executive order is a solution for sons to bring their big game trophies home.  His pronouncement is retroactive to 2014 forward. Larger editorials and repeated comments from readers of the Washington Post, New York Post and Snoops and a host of others observe that this reversal is really about undoing absolutely everything Obama ordered during his administration.

Countries in East Africa like Tanzania allow elephant hunting.  Kenya does not.  It is a mixed bag in Africa but the continent is moving in the direction of saving wildlife for camera safaris, future generations and sharing the experience of simply living in awe of life, its manifestation of creation against the swashbuckling avarice of powerful oligarchies.

Kenya experienced a trying election last month.  Zimbabwe’s government, one of the countries Americans can now import elephant parts from is in turmoil.  There was a time when these countries looked to the United States for inspiration.  For some, the United States still provides inspiration but it seems an exclusive arrangement benefiting world elites revealed in an honest display of winner-take-all in the personality of a sexist chest-pounding president standing over the carcass of animals, change, dignity, world citizenship, and capitalistic fairness.

The reality of today’s leadership is revealed in blunt honesty about its self-serving nature.  It appears we have met the enemy and it is us, in the words of Walt Kelly.  But I think we are better than this, kinder to all people including a demonstration of the care for all living creatures.  Time will tell.  I hope so. Should citizens march on Washington D.C. again?