Today the U.S. administration took unprecedented action to combat wildlife crimes.   The WHITE HOUSE press office released the official U.S. National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking and also provided a fact sheet on a new ban on the ivory trade.  See the text of the Fact Sheet below and you can also download a full copy of the strategy on our Conservation News Page.


FACT SHEET: National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking & Commercial Ban on Trade in Elephant Ivory

Today the United States announced a National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking.  The Strategy will strengthen U.S. leadership on addressing the serious and urgent conservation and global security threat posed by illegal trade in wildlife.
In addition to the strategy, we are also announcing a ban on commercial trade of elephant ivory, which will enhance our efforts to protect iconic species like elephants and rhinos by prohibiting the import, export, or resale within the United States of elephant ivory except in a very limited number of circumstances. Taken together, these actions will help ensure that the United States is not contributing to poaching of elephants and illegal trade in elephant ivory.

THE STRATEGY

The National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking establishes guiding principles for U.S. efforts to stem illegal trade in
wildlife.  It sets three strategic priorities: strengthening domestic and global enforcement; reducing demand for illegally traded wildlife at home and abroad; and strengthening partnerships with international partners, local communities, NGOs, private industry, and others to combat illegal wildlife poaching and trade.

THE IVORY BAN

Today we are also we are also announcing a ban on the commercial trade of elephant ivory, which will enhance our ability to
protect elephants by prohibiting commercial imports, exports and domestic of ivory, with a very limited number of exceptions.  This ban is the best way to help ensure that U.S. markets do not contribute to the further decline of African elephants in the wild.

To begin implementing these new controls, federal Departments and Agencies will immediately undertake administrative actions
to:

         Prohibit:
Commercial Import of African Elephant Ivory: All commercial imports of African elephant ivory, including antiques, will be prohibited.
Prohibit Commercial Export of Elephant Ivory:  All commercial exports will be prohibited, except for bona fide antiques, certain noncommercial items, and in exceptional circumstances permitted under the Endangered Species Act.

        Significantly Restrict Domestic Resale of Elephant Ivory: 

We will finalize a proposed rule that will reaffirm and clarify that sales across state lines are prohibited, except for bona fide antiques, and will prohibit sales within a state unless the seller can demonstrate an item was lawfully imported prior to 1990 for African elephants and 1975 for Asian elephants, or under an
exemption document.

          Clarify the Definition of “Antique”: 

To qualify as an antique, an item must be more than 100 years old and meet other requirements under the 
 
            Endangered Species Act: 
The onus will now fall on the importer, exporter, or seller to demonstrate that an item meets these criteria.
Restore Endangered Species Act Protection for African Elephants:  We will revoke a previous Fish and Wildlife Service special rule that had relaxed Endangered Species Act restrictions on African elephant ivory trade.

           Support:
Limited Sport-hunting of African Elephants:  We will limit the number of African elephant sport-hunted trophies that an individual can import to two per hunter per year.

The United States will continue to lead global efforts to protect the world’s iconic animals and preserve our planet’s natural beauty for future generations.  Combating wildlife trafficking will require the shared understanding, commitment, and efforts of the world’s governments, intergovernmental organizations, NGOs, corporations, civil society, and individuals.   At this week’s London Conference on the Illegal Wildlife Trade, we hope other countries will join us in taking ambitious action to combat wildlife
trafficking.  In the coming months, we will take further steps to implement the National Strategy, and will work with the Congress to
strengthen existing laws and adopt new ones to enhance our ability to address this global challenge.

Follow this link for a full text of the National Strategy to Combat Wildlife Trafficking

 
 
The ancient Swahili town of Lamu, in Kenya along the Indian Ocean coast of east African is getting ready to commemorate the birth of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) with its annual Maulidi festival.  The festival is celebrated via processions, recitations, readings, dancing and music.  In 2012 Abdallah Barghash took the video below in the plaza in front of Lamu's Old Fort.  Lamu has a special atmosphere during Maulidi and a visit is worthwhile.  
 
 
More and more press reports surface regarding how the targeted poaching of wildlife provides funding for violent conflicts. Thus in addition to the ecological damages, which will affect human's in the long run, the killing of wildlife, is also a medium for the immediate killing of more animals and humans. 
 
Press reports highlight the urgency of the issue from a socio-economic and security stand-point. Anti-poaching efforts, therefore, too
have become militarized yet this may be a short term fix to a problem that can only be fought by holistic, long term approaches which address the full magnitude of underlying socio-economic and security dynamics.

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© Ann Thompson

Read More About the Issue by Following the "READ MORE" Link


 
 
Do you have a great story?  A special expertise?  A passion for a Cause?  If you do and if it pertains to Africa, feel free to contact ann@intoafricablog.com to submit for review.  We will publish a guest blog entry for you.  Go ahead try it. 
Looking forward to your entry!
 
 
Alina is a young Swiss woman who just finished her secondary studies. Part of her requirements to graduate was a monograph with original research.  Alina took a critical look at the topic "aid and development."   In no time, Alina arranged to do, what she always wanted, a chance to prove herself working on a project.  Anidan a orphanage in Kenya, desperately needed help in setting up a library.  The library was needed to deepen the resident children´s love for learning and reading books.  Her research and experiences provided the basis for her thesis which she has now completed.  Alina's thesis and work provides inspiration and a how to in setting up a library project.  You can download her thesis, which is written in German below.  Well done Alina!  For more information on the Anidan orphanage in Kenya  see the YouTube video below.
Alina Maturarbeit
File Size: 3171 kb
File Type: pdf
Download File

 
 
Walfame is a Kenya group of 15 youngsters gaining fame as hip hop stars in Kenya. The group has  won the MTV heart Journalism Award in Copenhagen 2010 with this music video, filmed and edited by Cultural Video Foundation. With Kibera being the largest urban slum in Nairobi the group's message for recycling as a way to lower pollution and “make a town a green town, is likely based in part on personal experience.  And it is a message and song that will never go out of style. My congratulations to the artists.
 
 
Picture© Ann Thompson
Baboon's have well developed cheek pouches which serve as "snack food reservoir."  The cheeks are usually stuffed with seeds and other foods to be eaten whenever hunger strikes.

White rhinos are the second largest mammal on earth (the elephant is the largest) White rhinos are grazers (grass eaters) while black rhinos are browsers (bush eater i.e. wood twigs, shrubs, leaves.) 

The name white rhino is said to have generated by mistakes. Early settlers coming from Europe called the animal  "weitmaul" meaning wide mouth.  This was later translated into white.  

Large Matabele ants are the main predators of termites.  The ants will form raiding parties in order to organize multi-pronged attacks on  huge termite mounts.

Zebra stallions have a harem.  Among the males is a strict hierarchy, but young males will abduct fillies from other herds to form their own harem.

Hyenas live in a matriarchal society (female rule) Young spotted hyenas attain their spots after a few months.  In twin females, on usually kills the other twin.  Contrary to popular believes hyenas are excellent pack hunters and not just scavengers.
 

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© ACT
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© ACT
 
 
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The Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS) is the world’s largest database of elephant product seizures.  Based on ETIS information the Public Library on Science (PLOS - a nonprofit publisher with the mission to accelerate progress in science by leading a transformation in research communication) made available a statistical research paper which outlines several key findings.



1.) China and Thailand are currently believed to be the principal end-use markets for ivory.
2.)  Viet Nam and the Philippines, are markets, but are assessed to be transit points for onward trade to China and Thailand.
3.)  In Central Africa, Cameroon plays a major role in ivory trade as an important entry/trading post and exit port (Douala).
4.)  The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon and Congo all function as major sources of elephant ivory and face massive pressure from poaching  and consequently play a major role in large raw ivory shipments.
5.) In East Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya contribute over  three-quarters of East Africa’s transactions of large raw ivory.
6.) Tanzania and Kenya now function as the key exit points for ivory leaving Africa ,and Uganda is a regional trading post for ivory originating in Central Africa.
 


 
 
Before they pass away is a photography project by Jimmy Nelson. Nelson traveled around the world to photograph tribes at the brink of vanishing.  The photo results are absolutely stunning, while the trailer is a bit overbearing. 

 
 
Annually Transparency International publishes a by country  Corruption Index.
The 2013 Index highlights again that many of the 54 African nations evince high corruption rates. Yet by 2015, the high growth, stable,  African economies are said to reach Middle Income levels and provide excellent opportunities for entrepreneurs.   Africa is one of the youngest region of the world.  This youth bulge will impact the future.  Thus, Africa has great potential, a potential hindered by corruption and a young population ready to conquer either via business or via upheaval, if forces beyond their perceived control hamper positive development.  Thus, corruption is also likely to play a role in the Africa of the coming decades. 
Excellent Quote of the Day: Africa: Make Corruption a Crime Against Humanity - U.S. Lawyer

"Some financial crimes should be made crimes against humanity." "There are cases where corruption, rottenness and  theft of public funds do become a crime against humanity."
Jack Blum at the Financial Transparency Coalition's conference in Tanzania.