I read about the slaughter of the 90 odd elephants in Botswana while travelling a couple of weeks ago. The news made me sick to the pit of my stomach. As someone who has constantly been wowed by Botswana’s gold star efforts in conservation this is a real shock. And it goes on to show that conservation is not an easy science. An issue which you think is resolved, can raise its ugly head again with deadly consequences. For decades elephants have been fleeing to Botswana as it was considered a safe haven, with zero tolerance for poachers and enablers. But clearly the wheels have come off this machine. Earlier in the year the #poaching unit was de-armed, and in an ironic move, conservation efforts in the country are no longer well-funded by International donors, as they are viewed as successful, sustainable and capable of continuing without foreign aid. With the conservation force clearly crippled, the effects are now for all to see. This murder has attracted the eyes of the global conservation community and Botswana has been severely criticised, the ball is now in their court to turn things around, and quickly. To show everyone, least of all the elephants themselves, that their home is still safe. Your move, Botswana
On a happier note – this photo was taken at one of my favourite wildlife locations – Elephant Sands in Nata, Botswana. A true haven for all the elephants nearby who come to the waterhole every single day! I photographed the matriarch almost three years ago as she looked me straight in the eye. What a moment
@wildaid @africanwildlifefoundation @onlyafrica
Trading in lion bones is probably the most deplorable kind of exploitation these animals can be subject to. Let me walk you through the life cycle of a captive lion who is bred for the bullet
1. Snatched as cubs from their moms when they are no more than a few days old
2. Forced to be cute around tourists and volunteers duped into thinking playing with lion cubs helps conservation. FYI it doesn’t. Hand rearing makes them familiar to humans, which makes it easier to exploit them
3. Offered up as a prop when ticking off moronic bucket list items such as ‘walking with lions’ and ‘playing with lions’
4. Forced to stay in tiny enclosures with multiple other lions in ‘farms’ often labelled as ‘sanctuaries’
5. Shot and killed by bloodthirsty hunters at a close range when old enough.
6. Trophies exported to adorn the halls of the hunters
7. Bones left as a by product of organised lion slaughter exported to the Far East most commonly China, to make lion bone wine
There are close to 8000 lions living this life in South Africa. Just waiting to be killed. In a truly shocking move their Environment department has recently raised the quota of these exports from 800 to 1500 lions per year. Shame on you South Africa. You should be ashamed of yourself for STILL being silent on the issue of canned hunting and actively encouraging it. It’s gut wrenching that we are living in a world where profits and corruption ‘Trump’ compassion and sustainability
Solution? Put more pressure on the SA government to take action. And until they stop this deplorable practice, boycott travelling to the country. In an era where profits are the only language people understand, hurting their tourism industry and brand is the only way to put pressure on the governments. Yes, there are many innocent people in the tourism sector who will be affected, but is there any other way to bring about policy change?
This week came with some great news for Rhinos. The first ever hybrid Rhino embryo has been successfully created, using a southern white rhino egg and northern white rhino sperm, that has a strong chance of surviving to term. This means that the process can be replicated with pure northern rhino genetics! We were all devastated with #Sudan, the last male northern white #rhino died a few months ago. But due to the work of dedicated conservationists and scientists the world over, the species can now be brought back from #extinction
But we should be vary of celebrating too soon. We do not know how successful this program would be over the long run, how sustainable. On one had we are thrilled, that we are actually bringing back an extinct species to life, but we should not forget that it was our actions; the hunting, poaching and the indiscriminate slaughter for Rhino horn which has put them in this precarious position. Would all our large mammals meet a similar fate? Are elephants and lions next? Would we be late with our actions yet again? The need of the hour is more proactive action across the board, less reactive genetic engineering. More conservation, less regret
@wildaid @africanwildlifefoundation @onlyafrica @nature_africa @rhinoafrica @rhinosaverz @savetherhinointernational
If you think @dswt is only about elephants think again. They help a whole lot of different animals on a regular basis including Kiko pictured above. He was found in 2015, estimated to be just about a week old on the Meru National Park boundary. His mother was nowhere to be found but the area is rife with human-wildlife conflict. His rescue photos show him sitting calmly, sticking his neck out, and looking only a little scared, almost resigned to his fate. This was the first time a baby giraffe came to the elephant nursery .
Fast forward to 2018, Kiko is tall and handsome. And strong too. He is best friends with all the baby elephants near him and tries to give cuddles to his human carers too. Stories such as Kiko’s are heart-warming but rare. For every animal saved, there are thousands still falling victims of human wildlife conflict every single day. We have a long way to go to ensure a successful and sustainable future for our tall legged friends
Photo taken on assignment for @dswt .
@wildaid @dswt @africanwildlifefoundation @giraffe_conservation @dswtfosterparents