Wednesday, 8 October 2014

AFRICAN ELEPHANTS ARE FACING A GRAVE CRISIS

Introduction :

It is extremely distressing to know what is happening in Africa these days specially since 2012 namely the mindless slaughter on an unprecedented scale of African Forest Elephants and Savannah Elephants from Kenya in East Africa to Gabon in Central Africa and from Gabon in Central Africa to Mozambique in South-East Africa.

Most African Countries seem to be quite indifferent about the plight of Elephants in their respective countries.

Facts regarding the mass slaughter of Elephants :

In countries like Kenya and Tanzania, African Savannah Elephants are slaughtered for their ivory by poachers on foot and from the air. In Tanzania in East Africa, 10,000 Elephants are killed each year for their ivory by organized poacher gangs.

In Gabon, in the Central African Republic, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and in the Republic of the Congo more than 1,000 Elephants are slaughtered every year for their ivory in each of these countries.

Forest Elephants who are found exclusively in the Equatorial Rainforests of Central Africa and West Africa are facing a "Dire Crisis" as a result of widespread poaching over the last 10 years.

Their numbers have declined drastically from 200,000 in 2004 to less than 80,000 today. They are critically endangered  specially in Gabon.

This unethical war on Africa's Elephants is getting from bad to worse with every passing day, week, and month primarily because of the skyrocketing price of Ivory in the International Illegal Market.

1 Kilo of Ivory is worth 1000 U.S. Dollars.

According to Dr. Mike Chase who is from the Botswana based "Elephants without Borders" or E.W.B. "Local Extinction" is a reality for many countries in Africa where poaching of elephants is rampant.

Good News regarding Elephant Herds:

However, there is a "Silver Lining" to every dark cloud even amidst the mass slaughter of Elephants in Africa.

There seems to be only "One Country" in Africa that is concerned about "Elephant Poaching". That Country is Botswana. For many years now, Botswana has been a pioneer in "Wildlife Conservation".

In particular, Botswana is a pioneer in "Elephant Conservation". The number of Elephants in Botswana speak for themselves. There are 130,000 African Elephants today in Botswana.

In this regard, Chobe National Park in Northern Botswana is a "Precious Jewel" as far as Elephant Conservation is concerned. Chobe National Park is truly "Elephant Country" and "Elephant Paradise" in more ways than one.

There are approximately 70,000-80,000 Elephants in Chobe National Park today. Chobe National Park is said to have the highest concentration of Elephants in Africa mainky due to tight restrictions on poaching.

In this connection, it must be said that Botswana is home to the largest remaining population of African Elephants in the world also called "Loxodonta Africana".

This is largely thanks to "Government Backed Conservation and Protection Programs" which means poaching in Botswana is the "Least" as compared to other African Countries.

Apart from Chobe National Park in Northern Botswana, the beautiful "Okavango Delta" plays host to 50,000 Elephants in the dry season. The wetlands of Botswana are a veritable stronghold of "Bush Elephants".

Botswana is an anomaly in Southern Africa. It is a relatively stable, peaceful, and prosperous country nestled between Namibia and the Republic of South Africa.

Botswana has emerged as a "Terrific and Peaceful Haven" for vast herds of Savannah Bush Elephants.

Conclusion :

Let us do our utmost in supporting the Government of Botswana in saving Bush Elephants from Organized Poacher Gangs and from Extinction.

The Snow Leopard: Ghost of the Mongolian Mountains

This is an excellent article from the Mountainous Wilderness of Mongolia.


Snow leopards face the threats of poaching, habitat loss and diminishing prey. In remotest Mongolia, a research team is keeping tabs on this iconic and elusive species. 

The trail bike kicked up a plume of dust as it approached across the high desert steppe of south-west Mongolia. Orjan Johansson dismounted, unclipping the body protectors that made him look like the action hero of a computer game. 'There was a leopard in the valley last night,' he said. 'I put my finger in the pee this morning and it was wet.'

Nobody said anything, we just thought it: if the traps had been built yesterday, we might have got one. We might have joined the tiny number of people alive on this planet who have seen a snow leopard in the wild. This most elusive and mysterious of big cats comes along only slightly more often than a unicorn, and if you are not prepared you can regret it for the rest of your life.

Read the full article here http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/wildlife/8207266/The-snow-leopard-ghost-of-the-mountains.html

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Out of the Shadows





The elusive snow leopard steps into a
risk-filled future.

When a snow leopard stalks prey among the mountain walls, it moves on broad paws with extra fur between the toes, softly, slowly, "like snow slipping off a ledge as it melts," Raghu says.

"You almost have to turn away for a minute to tell the animal is going anywhere. If it knocks a stone loose, it will reach out a foot to stop it from falling and making noise." One might be moving right now, perfectly silent and perfectly tensed, maybe close by. But where? That's always the question. That, and how many are left to see?

Raghunandan Singh Chundawat has watched snow leopards as often as anyone alive. The New Delhi biologist studied them closely for five years in Hemis High Altitude National Park in Ladakh, the largest, loftiest district of northern India, and carried out wildlife surveys in the region over nine additional years.

We're in the 1,300-square-mile park this evening, setting up camp in a deeply cleft canyon near 12,000 feet. It's June, and the blue sheep have new lambs.

We keep one eye on a group crossing a scree slope, the other eye on the cliffs at its top. Leopards are ambush hunters that like to attack from above. While the common leopard of Asia and Africa relies on branches and leaves for concealment, the snow leopard loses itself among steep jumbles of stone. This is exactly the kind of setting one would favor. But I'm not holding my breath. Raghu has sighted only a few dozen in his whole career.

Read the Full Article Here : http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2008/06/snow-leopards/chadwick-text

 

Saving More Than Just Snow Leopards

An Excellent Article on Snow Leopard Conservation. Snow Leopards are endangered throughout their range.



THE cold and rugged mountains of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and China seem an unlikely place to find a flourishing combination of new community institutions and international diplomacy. Few people live there. Those who do are mostly desperately impoverished livestock herders. They have been largely isolated from the rest of humanity on these enormous mountains where the Indian subcontinent once crashed into Asia, buckling the earth’s crust and raising peaks over 20,000 feet.
 
However, despite its isolation — or perhaps because of it — something fascinating has been happening in this cold mountain landscape. Communities are coming together to manage this fragile and unforgiving place, where people scrape a living from sparse alpine pastures. At the same time, neighboring countries are finding ways to cooperate across borders that in recent history have become almost as hostile as the rugged terrain. As odd as it may seem, a big cat is helping to lead the way .

Read The Full Article Here : http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/02/opinion/saving-more-than-just-snow-leopards.html