Wednesday, March 31, 2010

African Gorillas Face Future Extinction

The consumption of a silver-backed gorilla. (Photo: National Geographic)

... shame on us.
African Gorillas Face Future Extinction

Though most of our species in the more developed countries won’t even care about this, I feel compelled to report this tragedy of environmental disaster wrought by our lesser fortunate brethren in Africa specifically between the countries of Congo, Uganda, and Rwanda, all sites of genocides and the abuse of human rights in modern history.

There are multiple factors negatively affecting the population of African gorillas living in the Congo Basin. Of course, humans are one of them. Due to the violent militants and rebels ethnically cleansing their areas, it has forced thousands of refugees towards the wild, mainly the Congo Basin.

Refugee camps are in wild demand of any food especially the meat of an ape. Insurgents and militias further harm gorillas by aggressively encroaching into the wild to extract precious – and illegal – minerals along with much needed lumber cutting down trees and ruining habitats for gorillas.

To top it all off, the epidemic of Ebola, a deadly virus for both humans and apes, especially apes, which became known to the public due to the strange infections of monkeys in the U.S being is accelerating the rate of mortality for these gorillas. This virus that originates from the Ebola River near Congo spreads through things such as spit, or soil rarely through human contact. Consequently, gorillas with their habits and movement patterns fell victim to an Ebola epidemic in the late 1900’s worsening their immune system and killing thousands of these gorillas.

Think environment activists have time? Think again. Within the next decade, the gorillas in the Greater Congo Basin will completely disappear as activities such as mining and poaching continue to rapidly increase as demands for the end-products also increase.

Ninety percent of both infected gorillas and the natural habitats will decrease in the same timeframe of roughly ten to fifteen years according to the United Nations Environment Program, a surprise for those who had thought gorillas in the Congo Basin would lose the same amount of their habitat by the year 2030.

A nightmare for environment activists, the lack of gorillas in the region of Central Africa will have significant impacts on the levels of their community, ecosystem and ultimately the biosphere leading to other environmental casualties as well.

Unlike the cases of whales, tigers, and others being terribly cut down by humans in the animal kingdom, the decreasing population of gorillas in Central Africa (already around the number of seven hundred gorillas, a gloomy statistic when compared to the previous population in the 20th century) is even harder to prevent. You can’t exactly hunt down militants in politically unstable areas in Africa, and you can’t exactly hand out vaccination to a line of gorillas to prevent their deaths in the Ebola outbreaks.

The rangers at these wildlife sites are nearly helpless as well due to the lack of outside support for Interpol’s Environmental Crime Program and such other programs. More than 180 rangers have already been killed by those who illegally garner resources at the expense of the species of gorillas.

There simply is no room for optimism only reality.

It’s a tough job to repopulate a species but even tougher to do so under these harsh conditions.

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Skin Trade

Punishment for the man crippled Mima - The Petition Site

Punishment for the man crippled Mima - The Petition Site

March 26th - Dobromir Donchev from Drianovo, Bulgaria found Mima lying mutilated & crippled near his home. All 4 paws of the 5 yr old female dog were axed.

Donchev took Mima to the vet immediately where she was stabilized, Mima will be most probably put to sleep. Mima's paws were cut in such a barbaric way that it is almost impossible to be replaced.

Mima's owner knows who commited the crime, but there is nothing he can do. There is no zoo police in Bulgaria & no proper punishment for such acts.

Please sign & forward this petition asking the Bulgarian Prime Minister for justice. With a global outcry, this case will help set the long waited changes of Bulgarian Law against Animal abuse.

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Say NO to the Ivory Trade | Bloody Ivory : Elephants CITES 2010

Say NO to the Ivory Trade Bloody Ivory : Elephants CITES 2010

In 1979 there were an estimated 1.3 million African elephants. A decade later, widespread poaching had reduced that figure by half. Just 600,000 African elephants remained.

Africa’s savannahs and forests were no longer sanctuaries for elephants; they had been turned into graveyards.

In 1989, a worldwide ban on ivory trade was approved by CITES. Levels of poaching fell dramatically, and black-market prices of ivory slumped.

CITES had saved the African elephant. Or had it?

Since 1997, there have been sustained attempts by certain countries to overturn the ban. In 1999, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe were allowed an ‘experimental one-off sale’ of 49,437kg of ivory to Japan. Then in 2002, a further one off-sale was approved, which finally took place in 2008 – and resulted in 105,000kg of ivory being shipped to China and Japan.

Today, levels of poaching and illegal trade are spiralling out of control once again. In many areas, rates of poaching are now the worst they have been since 1989. In 2009, over 20,000kg of ivory was seized and countries have started to report localised extinctions of very vulnerable elephant populations.

Despite this, in March 2010, Tanzania and Zambia will be asking to reduce the level of protection their elephants afforded by CITES (by downlisting their elephant populations from Appendix I, which bans commercial trade, to Appendix II, which allows regulated trade subject to certain conditions). They are also seeking approval for a one-off sale of over 110,000kg of ivory.

The Tanzania and Zambia Proposals are in direct contravention of the spirit a nine-year moratorium on ivory trade, agreed by all range States in 2007. The final wording of this moratorium unfortunately has a loophole which is now being exploited by Tanzania and Zambia.

If these proposals are approved, many fear for the future survival of many of Africa’s more fragile elephant populations that simply cannot withstand any more pressure. For Sierra Leone’s elephants, it is already too late – the Government of Sierra Leone announced at the end of 2009 that it feared its last few elephants had been lost to poachers.

The African Elephant Coalition is formed of 23-African elephant range States (the majority of countries with wild African elephants) who are strongly opposing the Tanzanian and Zambian Proposals. They are instead calling on the international community to support a proposal by Ghana, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Mali, Kenya, Liberia and Sierra Leone to close the loophole in the moratorium, and extend it to twenty years. They believe that only resolute action of this kind can increase the security for Africa’s beleaguered elephants.

This website is intended to be a central portal of information about ivory trade, elephant poaching and the impact of CITES decisions on Africa’s elephants.

It provides those without a voice to join in the battle to protect elephants across Africa. They urgently need your support.

Don’t delay – take action today!

Please sign and forward the petition!

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