Thursday, with Munir Viranti and Darcy Ogada, of the director of the East Africa Peregrine Fund office, and Richard Reading, consultant and Africa Network for Animal Welfare-USA board member, I visited a location near Nanyuki where several White-backed vultures and one Rurpell’s eagle had been poisoned, probably unintentionally in an attempt by the local people there to retaliate. It seems lions had killed one or two cows so baited meat was distributed throughout the area. The unintended consequence was the poisoning of these birds. Regrettably human-animal conflicts are common throughout Africa as pastoralists compete for grazing location.
Poachers intentionally kill vultures to avoid detection after slaughtering elephants. It is a terrible reality that the vultures of Africa are at risk of endangerment and extinction.
Only 23 days remain in our effort to raise what is becoming an incredible amount of money. So far, in this campaign, $1,000 has been donated to block the construction of the a road across the Serengeti. Thank you, thank you to the people who have donated so far. This adds to the tens of thousands of dollars already given in this battle.
I am asking one last time for your consideration, if you have not donated. Please consider a gift of any amount. The Africa Network for Animal Welfare (ANAW) went out on a limb funding this case. It has spent funds it really should not have, to bring attention to the degradation of migration routes across the Serengeti that affects the Maasia Mara in Kenya.
The Tanzanian Government appealed the case won in East African Court of Justice last year Judgment-Ref.-No.9-of-2010-Final. Winning the case thus far was accomplished in partnership and due to the efforts of Friends of the Serengeti and Serengeti Watch. Their partnership with us has been phenomenal. The appeal should be finalized in another ruling by the court very soon.
If you find it in your priorities to give to ANAW and this effort, the staff and board in Nairobi, as well as the board in Denver Colorado, will be very grateful. You will be helping to recoup funds ANAW has lent to this cause, funds it does not really have to champion this cause.
Again, thank you to those of you who have made a contribution. Everything and anything helps. If you haven’t really thought about it, if you haven’t contributed, please consider this last request and visit the donation site. I will keep you informed and post the ruling of the court decision to uphold or remove the current prohibition on building the road across this World Heritage Site.
Only 30 days left to raise funding supporting the legal effort to block the building of a road across the Serengeti. The Serengeti and Maasai Mara represent a world heritage site under siege. Your contribution is important to the group I am working with, the Africa Network for Animal Welfare (ANAW) in Nairobi. Please lead a hand, a gift of any amount is appreciated. The effort so far has been supported in total by the Serengeti Watch people and their network. It would not be accomplished with out Serengeti Watch. A big thanks to their organization. This last push rests with ANAW and and ANAW’s friends. Can we count on your help? Please go to the link below and make a contribution of any amount.
Check out related stories and reference to the legal battle taking place. The status at this juncture of the “legal battle” is fully on the shoulders of ANAW. Please join the community of conservation monitors and experts.
The Great Zebra & Giraffe Count 2015
Every year the Kenya Wildlife Service conducts wildlife counts inside Nairobi National Park, the headquarters for the David Sheldrick Trust. This year it coincided with World Wildlife Day. The count includes the entire park. Eunice Robai and I were on hand to represent the Africa Network for Animal Welfare (ANAW) and participated one March 2, 2015. Our assignment was to drive to the east most loop of the National Park photographing all the Zebra and Giraffe within viewing range.
The count was unique this year because Image Based Ecological Information System, IBEIS (www.IBEIS.org) implemented a pilot project using photography, GPS technology and innovative software to document baseline data identifying migration patterns, individual animals, adjustments due to drought, grazing competition and implications for species moving through protected and unprotected corridors. The team included Dan Rubenstein of Princeton University, Tanya Berger-Wolf, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chuck Steward, Computer Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Jason Holmberg, of Wild Me (www.wildme.org).
This information is valuable to wildlife managers and has potentially broad application for tacking elephant movement as well. While we were not tracking elephants we were successful in identifying new animals for the data base. The system works by loading pictures and GPS coordinates into the IBEIS software and “tagging” individual animals. The most difficult part of the exercise was finding zebras and giraffes that were standing in a left profile position. This was one of the criteria for taking the image of any animal.
Here is the report identifying any animal new to the database. Also, pictured her are Chuck Steward, David Gies, Dan Rubenstein, and Eunice Robai.
As we end 2013 an important meeting has concluded among Kenya’s leaders committed to curbing wildlife crime, especially poaching. The meeting took place at Amboseli National Park on December 20. John Mbaria, communications expert for the Africa Network for Animal Welfare (ANAW) reports 76 participants attended representing the Judiciary, Kenya Revenue Authority, Kenya Police, Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), Ministry of Environment, Water & Natural Resources, Ford Foundation, Kenya Tourist Board, Mombasa and Coast Tourism Association, Lusaka Task Force, Interpol, Office of Director of Public Prosecution, South African Embassy, U.S. Embassy, Kenyans United Against Poaching and several local and international conservation NGO’s including Lewis & Clark’s College of Law of the U.S. of A.
The meeting was remarkable in that for the second time this year, the first was with Wildlife Direct and KWS officials, Kenya’s leadership is demonstrating a way forward to stop elephant and rhino poaching. The meeting brought renewed focus to the mutual priorities between government, the judiciary and economic interests to respond to well planned criminal activities that go beyond the national borders of Kenya. Poaching finances terrorism. Big rewards are paid to the end producers, the crooks selling illicit ivory and rhino horn. It was reported at this meeting that the street price for rhino horn per kilo has reached $65,000 U.S. about 5.5 million Kenya Shillings, A full grown rhino horn can weigh as much as seven kilos. Yet, the conviction and fines imposed on poachers did not exceed 40,000 Kenya Shillings, about $500 U.S.
The meeting concluded with several pages of agreed upon action steps that will be pursued by the various governmental agencies and conservation groups immediately. It is too early to boast of success but the meeting was a powerful show of the countries resolve to do something to effectively address wildlife crime.