Prince Harry, Nat Geo, Steve Boyes Take Us 'Into The Okavango' A Fragile Ecosystem We Simply MUST Save

Prince+Harry+by+Alexi+Hay+for+Town+&+Country+Okavango+Documentary.jpg

Prince Harry, Nat Geo, Steve Boyes Take Us 'Into The Okavango' A Fragile Ecosystem We Simply MUST Save

Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, discussed his ‘20 year connection’ with Angola and Botswana, posting a heartfelt Instagram message on Thursday. The tribute was created in conjunction with a fundraising event promoting National Geographic’s ‘Into The Okavango’ documentary film.

Harry explained that he is ‘grateful’ to see National Geographic partnering with both the Angolan government and The Halo Trust to promote the sustainable management of the Okavango Delta’s resources.

‘Too Many Elephants’ in Africa? Here’s How Peaceful Coexistence with Human Communities Can Help

elephant-fence-kenya.jpg

‘Too Many Elephants’ in Africa? Here’s How Peaceful Coexistence with Human Communities Can Help

Africa’s elephant population has plummeted from roughly a million in 1970 to around 400,000 today – a decline which is largely blamed on poaching for their ivory tusks. At its peak in 2011, poaching claimed 36,000 elephants a year, or one every 15 minutes.

Many of us are familiar with these statistics thanks to campaigns to end the ivory trade. But with our attention focused on poaching, an arguably greater threat to Africa’s elephants has emerged. In the time that Africa’s elephant population has crashed, its human population has boomed. The number of people living in Africa has doubled since 1982, reaching a billion in 2009, and is expected to double again by 2050.

To feed and house this growing population, natural habitats have been fragmented by roads and railways and entire swathes have been converted to farmland and settlements. As a result, Africa’s elephants have been squeezed into smaller and increasingly isolated pockets of land. It’s very possible that the future for all of Africa’s elephants will resemble what is currently seen in South Africa.

Safari Tourism May Make Elephants More Aggressive – But It’s Still the Best Tool for Conservation

Madikwe, South Africa .jpg

Safari Tourism May Make Elephants More Aggressive – But It’s Still the Best Tool for Conservation

By Isabelle Szott, PhD Candidate in Conservation Biology, Liverpool John Moores University and Nicola F. Koyama, Senior Lecturer in Natural Sciences and Psychology, Liverpool John Moores University. First published on The Conversation.

Going on safari in Africa offers tourists the opportunity to see some of the most spectacular wildlife on Earth – including African elephants (Loxodonta africana). Known for their complex social systemslong memory and high intelligence, this species is also threatened by poaching and shrinking habitats, so further disturbance to their precarious existence could have serious consequences.

Wildlife tourism can help protect these animals and their habitat by generating income for conservation and providing stable work in local economies. Countries such as South Africa and Kenya receive two to five million visitors to protected areas each year, generating receipts of up to USD$90m. But as it becomes more popular worldwide, it’s worth remembering that we often don’t know how tourism affects the animals we observe.

Damien Mander Creates Female 'Akashinga' Anti-Poaching Force In Zimbabwe's Phundundu Wildlife Park

zimbabwe-akashinga-all-women-rangers-in-africa-fighting-poaching.jpg

Damien Mander Creates Female 'Akashinga' Anti-Poaching Force In Zimbabwe's Phundundu Wildlife Park

Faye Cuevas is not alone in recruiting women as wildlife rangers, responsible for patrolling and even shooting if necessary, ivory poachers. In September 2018, the BBC featured former Special Forces sniper, Australian Damien Mander, who says he found his ‘higher calling’ protecting wildlife in Africa. Knowing what key global military experts, including America’s own top military brass believes, Mander specifically focused on creating a female anti-poaching force in Zimbabwe’s Phundundu Wildlife Park nature reserve a 115 square mile former trophy hunting area that is part of a larger ecosystem home to some 11,000 elephants.

Though women rarely serve as rangers in Africa — a reality that Faye Cuevas also confronted in Kenya — Mander believes that putting the well-being of wildlife in their expertly trained hands could usher in a new way of carrying out conservation. In Mander’s vast experience, he believes that women rangers will create conservation practices that are far less violent, while empowering women and improving communities in the process.

“There’s a saying in Africa, ‘If you educate a man, you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman, you educate a nation’,” Mander says. “We’re seeing increasing evidence that empowering women is one of the greatest forces of change in the world today.”

Mander is hitting roadblocks, especially in his vision for 4,500 female rangers protecting wildlife across Africa. You can imagine the havoc he’s creating!


Kenya's US Anti-Poaching Expert Faye Cuevas Announces 'Team Lioness', 8 Young Maasai Women Rangers + Plans For Many More

Faye-Cuevas-Masaai-Women-32419-.jpg

Kenya's US Anti-Poaching Expert Faye Cuevas Announces 'Team Lioness', 8 Young Maasai Women Rangers + Plans For Many More

Team Lioness, a team of eight young Maasai women is one of Kenya’s first all-female ranger units — and the direct result of Faye’s consultations with the Masaii women leaders. Officially announced on March 6, 2019, Team Lioness joins the Olgulului Community Wildlife Rangers (OCWR) who protect wildlife across six bases and one mobile unit in OOGR through IFAW’s tenBoma, an innovative wildlife security initiative. Team Lioness is operating in this precious natural corridor created by Kenya and Tanzania under the majesty of Kilimanjaro.

“In the larger Amboseli region, out of almost 300 wildlife rangers, to my knowledge there was only one woman,” Faye explained, in introducing Team Lioness. “The need was apparent.”

 The women of team Lioness were selected based on their academic achievements and physical strength, as well as their demonstration of trustworthiness, discipline, and integrity. Typically, a Maasai girl leaves school around age 10 and have few opportunities to achieve a higher education.

“It’s very rare that Maasai women achieve a secondary education,” says Cuevas. “But all of team Lioness have the equivalent of a US high school education, and none of them have had a paying job before this. It’s breaking barriers.”

“As the first women joining the OCWR Rangers, each of the team Lioness recruits brings a new perspective and a different experience with wildlife than her male counterparts,” Faye continues. “They are important voices in protecting wildlife and reconnecting communities to the benefits of sharing land with the magnificent big cats and other wildlife that call OOGR home.”

Will Burrard-Lucas + Tsavo Trust + BeetleCam Capture Kenya's Endangered, Magnificent Elephant Queens

will-burrard-lucas-elephant-queen-land-of-giants-book- (5).jpg

Will Burrard-Lucas + Tsavo Trust + BeetleCam Capture Kenya's Endangered, Magnificent Elephant Queens

You are forgiven for thinking that F_MU1 is a woolly mammoth brought to life. Queen of Elephants, the name photographer Will Burrard-Lucas gave to F__MU1, was a rare “big tusker” elephant, one of perhaps only 30 left in Africa. This royal creature enjoyed a peaceful life for more than 60 years in Kenya’s Tsavo National Park.

will-burrard-lucas-elephant-queen-land-of-giants-book- (10).jpg

These images of F_MU1, renamed Elephant Queen on WBL’s website, are among the last images captured of her. Over long periods of horrific, violent poaching in Kenya, Elephant Queen is a survivor, and she died a natural death shortly after Burrard-Lucas made these magnificent image captures for his new book ‘Land Of Giants.’

Burrard-Lucas embarked on the ambitious project in partnership with Tsavo Trust in August 2017, in an effort to promote worldwide support for the elephants of Tsavo.

In his own words, the photographer shares his story of meeting Elephant Queen for the first time:

Burning Chillies and Dung Could Help Stop Elephants Damaging Farmers’ Crops, While We Search For Big Solutions That Work

chili-elephant-dung-briquettes.jpg

Burning Chillies and Dung Could Help Stop Elephants Damaging Farmers’ Crops, While We Search For Big Solutions That Work

By Rocio Pozo, Postdoctoral Research Associate in Environmental Sciences, University of Stirling. First published on The Conversation.

Note from Anne: AOC has shared extensive research about human’s conflict with elephants in Africa. In my experience most Westerners have almost no patience, understanding or empathy around the lives of African farmers living with the elephants. Please watch the embedded video ‘Pathways to Coexistence’ documentary (2015), a SUPERBLY well-done, balanced examination of a conflict between elephants and people, conflict that will only intensify in Africa with population growth and economic expansion.

Humans — specifically African farmers — are not the bag guys in this wrenching drama around saving our precious elephants. A change in the overly-simplistic, American and European Twitter-universe, off-with-their heads attitudes towards trophy hunters (we agree) and farmers (we don’t agree) is long overdue on this complex topic.

New Survey Raises Concerns About Elephant Poaching in Botswana

New Survey Raises Concerns About Elephant Poaching in Botswana

By Ross Harvey, Senior Researcher in Natural Resource Governance (Africa), South African Institute of International Affairs. First published on The Conversation

Botswana has an elephant poaching problem. The numbers far exceed previous years according to a new survey. The survey was conducted between July and October 2018 by conservation group Elephants without Borders, in collaboration with Botswana’s Department of Wildlife and National Parks.

The survey reported a total of 1677 observed carcasses in the survey area of northern Botswana. The surveyors visited carcasses that were of concern – reported as possibly poached – which numbered 104 out of a total of 128 “fresh” carcasses.