Elephant Conservation Update From Botswana Includes Pending Prince Harry Transfer Of Elephants To Zambia

Botswana Adventure 12-14-2018.jpeg

PORTER escapes to Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge, an adventurous tented hideaway in Botswana’s Savute Channel, part of Chobe National Park and boasting the highest concentration of elephants in Africa.

Belmond Savute prides itself on a “happy marriage of style and substance; for the eco-conscious traveler”, offering “the tents’ sustainable design features (that) include the removal of all concrete, the use of eco-friendly composite bamboo decking in the principal areas, and a 95% solar-grid system for power.” 

In March 2019 camera lovers can enjoy a photographic adventure with Belmond as home base, led by famed photographer and Global Leica Akademie Ambassador Marc Stickler. A marine and wildlife biologist, based in Salzburg, Austria Marc Stickler’s past research has focused on Lemon Sharks in the Bahamas and Mountain Gorillas in Uganda. He lived in the Okavango Delta whilst conducting his thesis on the social behaviour of Chacma Baboons. Conservation and sustainability are key themes of his work.

Elephant Deaths in Botswana

Since September 2018, controversy has swirled in Botswana around the story that 87 elephants were reported to be “killed by poachers’ in Botswana. The high-impact story originated with “Elephants Without Borders,” an NGO in the USA and Botswana surveying the elephant population.

Under the new government of Mokgweetsi Masisi, Botswana’s parliament is exploring its ban on trophy hunting, citing the large size of Botswana’s elephant population and the growing issue of human-elephant conflic (HEC) in the country.

Politicians have quoted the Botswana elephant population to be as large as 237,000. However the African Elephant Status Report (AESR) estimates Botswana’s elephant population to be 131,626 individuals migrating across an area of 228,073 square kilometres. The vast majority of these elephants occur in the northern region that includes Chobe, Moremi, and the Okavango Delta.

One of the reasons why there is disagreement over Botswana’s elephant population size is the fact that these animals form part of one large freely migrating population of an estimated 216,000 individuals. These animals regularly cross borders between Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe, moving within an area of 440,000 square kilometres called the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA).

There is no disagreement that African elephants are being decimated. How to proceed with protecting elephants and other wildlife, while also protecting farmers rights is complex and easily misunderstood by westerners vitally concerned about protecting elephants. Frankly, we rarely focus any attention on the African people co-living with elephants. This negligence on our part irks many African national leaders, as well as local populations.

This article posted on South Africa’s IOL website, and issued by the African News Agency is a new survey of the entire complex issue. We are digesting and verifying exactly what it says about the mindset of Botswana’s current government regarding its elephant population. The article appears to be positive, but we do not want to mislead readers. .

My biggest takeaway from the read is that there has perhaps been a breakthrough on the topic of alive elephants being an African eco-tourism resource and not only Botswana’s problem. To that end, this brand new article about Prince Harry caught my eye.

The next question is if the elephants will be relatively safe, although I’m sure Prince Harry is laser-focused on that challenge, along with Zambia’s president Edgar Lungu.

Prince Harry Will Facilitate Elephant Move From Botswana to Zambia

 Prince Harry offers transfer of Botswana elephants to Zambia president Edgar Lungu.

Prince Harry offers transfer of Botswana elephants to Zambia president Edgar Lungu.

In late November, Prince Harry traveled to Zambia, offering the country support with boosting the nation’s dwindling elephant population. As president of animal conservation charity African Parks, Harry met with Zambian President Edgar Lungu and his ministers, offering to bring elephants from neighboring Botswana.

“Prince Harry told the president during closed-door talks that African Parks will help move between 500 and 1,000 elephants from Botswana into Zambia’s Kafue National Park,” Lungu’s spokesman Amos Chanda said.

“He said this should help boost Zambia’s tourism and create jobs, especially for the youth.”

African Parks manages national parks on behalf of governments to help protect animals targeted by poachers, including elephants and rhino. In a sobering October 2018 article, the New York Times reports that it will cost $1.2 billion to $2.4 billion each year to renew Africa’s parks and protect the wildlife.

Related AOC articles on Elephant Conservation.

Kaywin Feldman Becomes Director Of National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC

 Kaywin Feldman. Courtesy of the National Gallery of Art.

Kaywin Feldman. Courtesy of the National Gallery of Art.

The National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, has named Kaywin Feldman as its new director, replacing Earl “Rusty” Powell III, who has led the National Gallery since 1992 Feldman will be the fifth director—and the first ever female director—at the 77-year-old American institution with annual visitors of more than 5.2 million visitors . Feldman, who has been director of the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) since 2008, will take up the new position in March 2019.

artnet News writes: “Under her leadership, attendance at Mia has nearly doubled, from around 450,000 in 2009 to more than 700,000 in 2018 to date. She has also expanded the museum’s digital presence—something the NGA has been conspicuously slow to invest in—and championed equity and social justice in the museum’s program. Earlier this year, the museum announced the launch of its Center for Empathy and the Visual Arts, a think tank dedicated to exploring how museums can build a more just society.

She is also not afraid of experimentation. Last year, for example, the Mia unveiled an unorthodox overhaul of six of its 17 period rooms designed to highlight the power structures behind them. (The fact that one of the room’s previous inhabitants was a slave owner was made explicit, as were his ties to the local Native American community.)

As Feldman moves to lead a DC organization mired in partisan politics, her principled, diplomacy skills will be tested fully by Congress and line staff.

In an essay for Apollo magazine published earlier this year, she wrote:

Art museums are intensely political organizations—political with a small ‘p’. Art is political because it is an expression of lived human experience; identity, love, sex, religion, death, home, happiness, and trauma have always been subjects for artists. A concerned trustee at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, where I am the director, recently asked me if we would ever be the focus of protest. I assured him that we would, and urged him to walk around the galleries if he wanted to find offense. We have it all on our walls: imperialism, colonialism, war, oppression, discrimination, slavery, misogyny, rape, and more.

Feldman addressed the current political landscape, saying:

I am anxious to protect beliefs that are core to Mia and that frequently seem threatened today, including:

• Gender equality
• Diversity, inclusion, equity, and access
• Social justice
• Global understanding
• Scientific research
• Liberal education for all
• Open democracy and freedom of speech
• Essentialness of the arts

'Schindler's List' Rereleased On 25th Anniversary As Anti-Semitism Roars In America

 Courtesy of Photofest; Franco Origlia/WireImage 'Schindler’s List' (1993); Inset: Steven Spielberg

Courtesy of Photofest; Franco Origlia/WireImage 'Schindler’s List' (1993); Inset: Steven Spielberg

The epic movie ‘Schindler’s List’ is being released into theaters to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Oscar-winning film that debuted Dec. 15, 1993. ‘Schindler’s List’ — which won seven Oscars, including for best picture, director, adapted screenplay and original score — will be rereleased in a limited engagement on Friday.

Director Steven Spielberg sat down for an interview with ‘NBC Nightly News’ anchor Lester Holt that will air Wednesday, Dec. 12th.

"I think this is maybe the most important time to rerelease this film," said Spielberg, according to a transcript of the interview released ahead of its broadcast. The motion picture about Nazi Germany and the Holocaust may be more important now due to the global rise in hate crimes, hate speech and propaganda — including in America.

"When collective hate organizes and gets industrialized, then genocide follows," the Oscar-winning filmmaker tells 'NBC Nightly News' host Lester Holt in the Dec. 12 interview.

Holt and Spielberg discuss the August 2017 Charlottesville, Virginia murder of 32-year-old Heather Heyer, as she protested a white supremacist rally. President Donald Trump — who has been accused of racism in the past, writes The Hollywood Reporter — inflamed outrage by saying there were "very fine people on both sides" of the tragic Charlottesville event. 

Hate crimes increased by 17 percent last year compared to 2016, according to a new FBI report. Notably, of the 1,679 religious bias crimes reported in 2017, 58.1 percent were anti-Jewish, while 18.6 percent were anti-Muslim.

"I think it's just that — you know, hate has become less of — hate's less parenthetical today, it's more a headline," said Spielberg.