Conservationist Wayne Lotter, a powerful force taking on the Tanzanian ivory trafficking cartels, was killed last night in a shooting near Dar es Salaam.
Through a combination of dogged determination and his self-effacing nature he created a powerful partnership with the National and Transnational Serious Crime Investigations Unit (NTSCIU) that had achieved real success against the crime networks.
With the support of Wayne's organisation @pams_foundation
in Tanzania https://pamsfoundation.org/ the NTSCIU arrested 1,398 poachers and ivory traffickers, 78% of whom were convicted for their crimes. This has been the first significant win against a wave of poaching that slashed Tanzania's elephant population by 60% between 2007 and 2016.
Our deepest condolences to Wayne's family and his team.
In honour of the four rangers and a porter killed by an unidentified group of armed men in the Okapi Wildlife Reserve in the DRC last week, we are reminded of how many others have lost their lives or been injured in the line of duty. Being a park ranger is arguably one of the most dangerous jobs on the planet and today, on #WorldRangerDay
, we would like to pay tribute to those courageous men and women who protect our parks, our landscapes and our endangered species, particularly those who have lost their lives in the line of duty. Without your commitment and dedication, much of our natural heritage would be lost.
📷 Frank af Petersens.
The deaths of four rangers killed by Mai Mai rebels in the Okapi Wildlife Reserve in the DRC last week further highlight the dangers law enforcement officers face on the frontline every day protecting wildlife in Africa. The bodies of the rangers from the state park authority and one porter were found by Okapi Conservation Project (OCP), which are supported by ECF partner, Wildlife Conservation Global. The OCP embarked on a rescue mission after the rangers and several journalists were ambushed while on their back from a visit to the Bapela gold mining site. Three journalists were found safe. The notorious Mai Mai rebels, who have been active in the Congo since the 1997 civil war, are led by a notorious elephant poacher called Morgan. Our thoughts are with the families of the deceased.
📷 Frank af Petersens
A ton of confiscated elephant ivory including tusks, trinkets, statues and jewellery will be crushed in the middle of New York’s Central Park next month. The August 3 event has been organised by the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) in partnership with ECF partner, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and ECF donor, Tiffany & Co. The public event will send "a clear message that the state will not tolerate wildlife crime that threatens to wipe out Africa’s elephants” said the DEC. The department conducted a similar ivory-crushing event in 2015 in Times Square.
ECF partner, the Zoological Society of London is stepping up its efforts to protect elephants and stop wildlife crime in the West African nation of Benin by installing a network of 80 cameras in the country’s Pendjari National Park. The cameras will help identify and characterise seasonal movements of elephants and gather vital intelligence on poachers. Test camera images (pictured) have confirmed a regular presence of elephants in Bondjagou Forest - a small patch of dense forest that is strategic to the future of the park. Photos: ©Vincent Lapeyre, ZSL & Save The Elephants
Vietnamese authorities have seized nearly three tonnes of ivory hidden among boxes of fruit, believed to be the ‘largest ever seizure’ for the Vietnamese province of Thanh Hoa. According to a report in the South China Morning Post, 2.7 tonnes of tusks were found inside cartons on the back of a truck on its way to Hanoi. The latest haul spotlights the country’s key role in the global wildlife smuggling trade.
An ivory smuggler has returned from the dead and been re-arrested thanks to the vigilance of staff from ECF grantee Natural Resource Conservation Network. Ugandan Tadeo Kyewalyanga was arrested after a seizure of ivory in Juba, South Sudan, and released on bail. When the time came for him to face charges, the court was told that he had been killed in the renewed civil war in South Sudan, and the case was dropped. In June 2016 he magically reappeared in Uganda to guarantee bail for a suspect caught with 1.3 tons of ivory. His house was searched and incriminating documents found, so he is back in police custody, but in a different country and very much alive.
A fallen criminal! Gabon's infamous ivory trafficker Oumarou Faroukou aka King Faroukou, was last week arrested in Makokou while in the middle of a deal trying to market off two ivory tusks weighing 20kgs. Known for his bold moves against the justice system, such as the time he trafficked 100kg of ivory bearing the mark of the Makokou court after paying off the judge and clerk, Faroukou has eluded the law many times. Earlier this year he was arrested on ivory trafficking suspicion but his case was dismissed. As Gabon awaits a ruling on this recent arrest, many are hopeful that he will finally face the full wrath of the law. Check out our facebook page fo the full story
China appears to be making good on its promise to end the domestic ivory trade by the end of 2017 with the recent arrest of an ivory smuggler in Beijing. The smuggler, a former cook with a Chinese-led project in Africa, was sentenced to four years behind bars last week for smuggling ivory worth 36,000 yuan ($5,295) into China. He was also fined 40,000 yuan by Beijing Municipal Intermediate People's Court. The smuggler surnamed Liu attempted to bring 16 carved ivory items, weighing a total of 8.8 kilograms, through Beijing Capital International Airport. According to Chinese officials, the number of smuggling cases has been in decline since China announced its ban.
A three-year investigation in which Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) undercover operatives embedded themselves into a Chinese-led criminal network, has found that a little-known town in Southern China has become a major hub for ivory smuggling. The EIA says 10-20 ivory trafficking groups have been operating out of Shuidong in Guandong province near Hong Kong. Investigators posed as buyers to win the trust of the smuggling group and tracked one of its shipments from Mozambique. The investigation was partly funded by the @elephantcrisisfund.
Visit our facebook page for the full story.
The ECF-funded Lower Zambezi Dog Unit recently underwent an intensive 10-day refresher training course under expert trainer Jason Crafter from Invictus K9. The unit spent time in camp on theory lessons, detection and tracking training, as well as spending time on operation at the Chirundu border post where they also met up with the Wildlife Crime Prevention's dog unit that operates at the Lusaka International Airport. Training canine colleagues who tirelessly sniff out wildlife crimes is already having a positive impact on the African poaching wars
Encouraging news from one of our partners, the Tsavo Trust, which reported that the number of poached elephant carcasses found last month had reduced significantly. Alongside this positive update, the trust also revealed that in collaboration with the @kenyawildlifeservice
, they arrested eight ivory dealers, recovered 12 tusks and managed to infiltrate 5 poacher hide out camps. 📷 Richard Moller
Exciting news from The Lower Zambezi!
Conservation Lower Zambezi welcomed the first group of students this year from their education program to their camp last month. 26 students and 2 teachers spent 3 days at CLZ base camp where they partook in various lessons and activities. Involving young brilliant minds in the importance of conservation is a sure way to ensure a sustainable future for elephants.