Rooting out corruption is necessary to halt the illegal wildlife trade

From the top to the bottom, there are members of the force that are fighting to stop the wildlife trade, which are perpetuating it and indeed financially growing rich on the back of it.

Police, prosecutors, airlines and even diplomats are involved in the smuggling of rhino horn in south east asia. The sanctity of the diplomatic bag is incredibly important, however, when it is being used as a way to smuggle animal parts out of the country things need to change.

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Zimbabwe is in the process of moving hundreds of elephants and two prides of lions from hwange National Park due to drought drying up their water pools, as well as shipping dozens to zoos in china

Drought hit animals too, and in this instance a Drought in Zimbabwe has hit hwange national park so hard that the animals have started to die in large numbers.

While the number of tourists that come to Zimbabwe have fallen dramatically since Mugabe started doing his more destructive policies, these fall in tourists has started to reverse again. Furthermore, with the economy gradually on its way to recovery people can afford to buy food and thus the pressure on wild areas from poaching has decreased significantly.

The translocation is not insignificant, plans to move 600 elephant 2 prides of lions a pack of wild dogs, 50 buffalo 40 giraffe and 2000 Impala. 

In other parts of Africa water is pumped into these areas to refill the watering holes. It is unclear whether this was impossible in this case or merely prohibitively expensive- though the cost of moving this many animals will be significant and does not solve the water problem permanently so so a longer-term solution must be found.

Zimbabwe is calling for the relaxation of rules about utilising animals (in ways other than photographic tourism) , and while this would be capable of giving the Zimbabwean government the money needed to protect these animals given the way they have behaved in recent years the international community cannot be sure that the Zimbabwean government will will behave responsibly towards their are flora and fauna.

It is certainly true that looking after animals like elephants that can hurt humans ( in recent years as much as 200 people  have died in human animal conflict) is not cheap, however before the disastrous policies of Mugabe the animals of Zimbabwe bought in a large amount of money for it’s people. Returning to this situation can allow the animals to thrive alongside a higher income for people of the country.

Zimbabwe moving 30 young elephants to China, more to follow

Zimbabwe is also under pressure for sending roughly 30 young elephants to China deal in a did with a country. Supposedly this has to be done for the health of the animals as hwang national park where they come from is suffering from a horrific drought that has killed many elephants. However undercover camera work has already shown these young elephants in concrete and metal enclosures having their will broken, flowers to be more easy to control the circuses and zoos in China. Unfortunately it appears that despite Mugabe having left power in Zimbabwe the current government of Zimbabwe still looks on the wildlife as simply a commodity to be traded away and not say something to be preserved for the future. Tourists should look very carefully before being prepared to spend money on safari in Zimbabwe. In total 90 elephants have been moved to China and Dubai in return for 2.7 million dollars.

Antique dealers have failed in an attempt to overturn a total ban on ivory trading, antique or not

The British government introduced a law which banned the sale of Ivory whether new or antique, as you can imagine this this is not liked by antique dealers as it makes it very hard if not impossible to sell any item that has ivory in it.

Often expensive old pianos had ivory keys
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Botswana lifted its ban on hunting elephants last month – this argument is more contentious even amongst conservationists than you would think

Botswana house around 135,000 of the 350,000 remaining elephants in Africa. In the past they have made a small but significant amount of money from these elephants by hunting, but a few years ago the president of Botswana stated that if they stopped hunting elephants and concentrated on photographic safaris they could make more money from their wildlife.

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News from the Hunting world


Lion trophies will not be banned from the UK

The British Conservative Party have gone back on a pledge to ban the import of lion trophies taken from hunting. In 2015 and 2017 the British government released statements stating that unless they saw a significant change in the hunting industry that this ban would come into place. According to widespread analysis there has been no change whatsoever, with a significant for the fall in numbers in that time. It should be noted that Zac Goldsmith, a prominent Conservative MP, has made a petition that 150 conservative MPs have signed that calls for this ban to go into effect.

Few British people hunt lions compared to certain other countries in the world and only an average of around six bodies are imported each year. However, the message it would send to the rest of the world would be highly important and would be seen as continuing the British line of supporting conservation worldwide.

The British government did state that this is constantly under review and lion bodies are only given the right to be brought back to the UK if they came from particular parts of the world. While I dislike the concept of hunting wild lions there are a few places, as I have argued in previous articles, where this is the only method to bring in enough money to continue to support the areas conservation. One such area is the Selous.


Cecil the Lion’s death bizarrely increased the number of British Hunters

Cecil the lion was killed a few years ago in a canned hunt (A lion raised in captivity, often allowed to be petted by tourists when young, released into a relatively small area, and usually killed within a few months) in South Africa. This hunting is totally unsportsmanlike and therefore does not seem to fit into the general ‘good sport’ rules of hunting. Lions are bred in captivity are often used financially to pose with tourists when they are young. When old enough they are released into a relatively small area, often without the skills to hunt for themselves, and are generally short by sportsman within a short period of time.

Despite the majority of the British population thinking that Cecil the Lion’s death was disgusting (as he was tempted out of a national park by meat being left out and then shot as soon as he walked across a line that he did not know existed) it would appear that this is not how it went across in hunting circles as it has had a significant impact with far more people going to take part in these sorts of unsportsmanlike hunts. While the number of lions hunted by Brits is significantly lower than the number hunted by Americans, we fall in 12th place in terms of the numbers of lion carcasses imported annually. This is not an area that I wish the UK to rate highly in the world.


Trump administration has reversed a ban on importing elephant body parts from hunts

Donald Trump has stated in the past that the hunting lobby was disgusting and it should be banned from bringing back trophies. Not long after Ryan Zinke, the interior secretary, reversed this position announcing that each one would be reviewed individually.

This is in response to a suit filed by the safari club and the NRA against the blanket ban. It should be noted that none of these people are unbiased observers. Trump’s two sons are avid hunters as is Ryan Zinke.

Both elephants and lions have in the last few decade lost much habitat, and in the case of lions gone through irregular poaching epidemics. They have gone from being relatively numerous: in the case of lions 400,000 in 1950 down to under 20,000 and elephants 3 to 5 million down to around 415,000. This kind of dramatic collapse of numbers show they are highly threatened and given the continual poaching and loss of habitat this threat is only likely to get worse.

Rhino hunter in the Kruger National Park appears to have been killed by elephant and then eaten by lions

As is well known globally, the Kruger National Park in South Africa has had a very serious problem with rhino poaching over the last decade or so. A significant proportion of the remaining wild white rhinos live with in the Kruger so it is not a surprise that this is where much of the white rhino poaching has gone on.

At the same time, there has been a significant issue of man-eating lions within the Kruger National Park.

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