Did you know there are several hashtags out there where one can create awareness for endangered wildlife species? Here are a couple #Chettahsunday #Rhinofriday and of course there is the #Wilddogwednesday. Do you know some other # hashtags please leave a comment to add them to the list.
On 7 February a 50 year old elephant was killed by poachers in the Kenyan Laikipia Conservancy. The conservancy operates since 1992, and engages landowners and managers of wildlife areas in protecting the region's wildlife. While known to be generally well managed this incident highlights a potential decrease in the region's security. A notion which is underscored by the reported words of the Conservancy director Kuki Gallman “There is a general breakdown of security and proliferation of illegal weapons, both firearms and spears, openly carried by herders...” Moreover this incident comes after various others targeting the local elephant and rhino population. In September 2014, various Kenyan conservation groups alleged that the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) is losing the fight against poachers because of organized crime bosses and politicians which profit from the country's endangered wildlife. Yet, in the long run also preventing the locals and their constituents from profiting from the tourism economy dependent on a healthy wildlife population. Kenya Wildlife Service officials acknowledge that Poachers killed 164 elephants and 54 rhinos last year, these numbers ,however, are very likely lower than the actual number of animals killed.
The African Fish Eagle is an African icon and its striking beauty and haunting cry are symbolic of the many waterways and wild wetlands found in sub-Saharan Africa. With a mostly brown body, and a pure white head, breast, and tail, and large, powerful black wings, the fish eagle is a very distinctive bird. As is typical with birds of prey, the female is larger than the male, usually weighing eight pounds with a wingspan of eight feet. The fish eagle can live for forty years but rarely live beyond twenty in the wild, and their first year of life as with many other young animals is their hardest and most dangerous.
Did you know? A female rhino will protect its young with its horn, from rambunctious male suitors. Preserve and Protect! A&T Photography
Students mark World Wetlands Day with hands-on activities at: The Sanctuary at Roche Caiman
A guest blog by Jedida Oneko
On Monday morning, "The Sanctuary at Roche Caiman" was a hive of activities with nearly fifty students from the International School Seychelles (ISS) working on the site. The students and their teachers were at the sanctuary to mark "World Wetlands Day" which is celebrated every year on the 2nd of February. The theme for this year’s World Wetlands Day was "Wetlands For Our Future" and what better way to celebrate it than with the future generation?
The ISS group of students was made up of fifteen 12-13 year olds form year eight, ten 16-17 year olds from year twelve and twenty juniors from the wildlife clubs. On arrival, the students were given an introduction by Robin Hanson, Nature Seychelles eco-health coordinator on the importance of wetlands vis-à-vis climate change mitigation, wildlife habitat and benefit for human utilization. The very reasons the Convention on Wetlands was signed in 1971 in Ramsar, Iran.
The youngest group of students learned about the impact of solid waste in Seychelles examining pieces of litter tossed within the Sanctuary. The students, with the help of their teachers, separated the litter into items that could be re-used or those that would be properly disposed of. Plastic bottles have already been earmarked for use in an insect control trial at Nature Seychelles’ Heritage (organic) Garden.
Snippets of conversations by these youngsters were entertaining while at the same time profoundly thought-provoking. “Why was this thrown away when it can be made into something else”, asked one student. Certainly, it is unappealing as well as environmentally damaging to have things that can either be re-used or recycled rot away in an environmentally sensitive natural world as a wetland is.
Although Nature Seychelles manages the only urban wetland in the Seychelles it is encouraging to know that members of ISS Wildlife Club will be playing a part in boosting the vitality of at least one of the wetlands in Seychelles. In addition to collecting seeds to plant at the sanctuary, the eager students also collected mangrove seeds to be planted on the wetland by the marine academy.
The older students were tooled up to take part in ecological restoration in the sanctuary. They were all briefed on health and safety issues and all wore heavy duty gloves and boots to be ready for this vital part of conservation. They worked in different groups depending on what tools they were carrying. There were machetes, secateurs, saws, spades, pick axes, bars and shovels working on clearing invasive species like the casuarina tree, habitat pool creation or fish refuge creation.
The students worked eagerly and tirelessly up to when they had to head back to school for their afternoon sessions. They dug and chopped, and cut and waded in the water but always with smiles on their faces.
The students completed a huge task in the time they were at the sanctuary not only saving "Nature Seychelles" many man hours, but also improving the habitat while learning hands-on about the importance of wetlands and conservation in general. The Sanctuary at Roche Caiman has helped in preventing flooding in the recent years as used to be the case on the adjacent main road and entrance into the site after heavy rains. The Sanctuary in Roche Caiman is also home to fish, birds, insects and other species which have colonized the site over the years.
The regular travel books you find in a bookstore are usually full of tips on what to see or where to eat. What is often forgotten is the must human dimension of experiencing a foreign lands - its people and their culture! One of the greatest experiences one can have is to observe and experience how others do the same things we do every day, yet in a different way. This is the angle for Decoding Swahili Culture a must read prior to your next visit to the eastern African Indian Ocean coast. Read before you step of the plane in Zanzibar, Tanzania or take a dhow in Lamu, Kenya. Read the Reviews here.
3 - D Printing changing our world dramatically?
3-D printing technology is making giant strides. Companies are printing pre-fab housing using the technology, titanium hearts are printed for medical research on applicability in surgeries, soon a 3-D printer will routinely furnish the crown's used in dentistry and the fashion industry is already sporting 3-D printed designer shoes. All the indications point to this new manufacturing method becoming increasingly accepted. Wide acceptance is a pre-requisite for all new technologies to establish themselves as mainstream and subsequently changing the existing paradigm. There are many fold applications for the 3-D printing technology, some we are not even imaging yet, others which already lead one to think about the wide ranging effects that will take place. What will be the impact of the availability of reasonably priced 3-D printed housing on local real-estate markets? How will the manufacturing industry develop? Will 3-D printing change the African landscape eradicating slums? These are just some questions the use of this new way of creating "things" brings to mind. It is safe to ponder that once fully utilized this technology will change our "way-of-life" in manifold ways. It will be a game changer world wide! One of the many applications that get me excited is the possibility of using plastic as "food" for the machine. Just imagine the wonderful beaches of our world without the plastic. Truly that would be a step in the right direction. Will companies fight to utilize the plastic debris carpet floating in our oceans. That would be wonderful. Yet, it is likely while there are many positive repercussions one can assume there will be unintended secondary consequences as well. Leave a comment with your thoughts below. To read more about how 3-D printers may use recycled plastics click on the link.
In January the U.S. White House announced the first U.S. -Africa summit meeting on August 5 and 6, 2014. Some 54 ambassadors are invited to the event. According to the U.S. State Departement this summit is to strenghthen business relations between the tow continents. "The daylong forums, to be held in Washington, will intensify efforts to strengthen trade and financial ties between the United States and Africa. It will focus on U.S. private sector engagement in Africa in finance and capital investment, infrastructure, power and energy, agriculture, consumer goods and information communication technology. It will bring together heads of state and business executives from both sides of the Atlantic for conversations about successes and solutions to build greater access for trade and investment in Africa"
Read more: http://iipdigital.usembassy.gov/st/english/article/2014/05/20140521299535.html#ixzz34jtyHqec
The Lamu Port Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor
project aka The Lamu corridor is a transport and infrastructure project in East Africa that passes through Nairobi and much of the Northern Rift. The project will involve the following components:
In a region rife with official corruption a worry regarding the allocation of project funds is transparency and the flow/ use of public monies. Transparency regarding the project and the flow of monies is aided by a variety of online web-sites and blogs. The Valley Institute a local NGO provides a comprehensive listing of active websites by supporters and opponents of the project which can aid in gaining a holistic pictures of the project and its long term impact in the region.
U.S. National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking & Commercial Ban on Trade in Elephant Ivory
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 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
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
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.
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