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Africa Hunting :  Phasa Applauds SAA Decision To Lift Cargo Embargo On Certain Hunting Trophies

on 2015/9/2 21:20:00 (1486 reads)

The Professional Hunters Association of South Africa (PHASA) has welcomed the decision by South African Airways (SAA) to reverse the embargo it had effected on 21 April this year on the transportation of rhino, elephant, lion and tiger trophies on the carrier’s services worldwide.
Adri Kitshoff, chief executive, said that the reversal brought SAA’s directives regarding the transport of legally hunted trophies in line with the South African Government’s policy of “sustainable utilisation” of its natural resources.
Kitshoff expressed PHASA’s appreciation to the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) for their intervention in the matter as well as to SAA for the opportunity to meet with the carrier’s executives and to explain to them the importance of hunting to Africa’s economy and conservation programmes. She said that PHASA’s efforts to overturn the embargo through the direct negotiation with SAA, the DEA and Minister Edna Molewa since April had finally paid off.
Kitshoff said she is hopeful that other airlines and shipping lines that have refused to transport hunting trophies will follow SAA’s lead. “SAA has elected to fight the illicit trade in wildlife products through more stringent control methods instead of placing restrictions on the transport of legally hunted sport trophies. The same remedy is available to the other carriers,” she said.
“There is a clear distinction between illegal wildlife products, such as poached rhino horn or ivory, and legitimate hunting trophies. The export of trophies is strictly regulated by both the country of origin, the country of import and, where applicable, CITES.”
Published in PHASA Press Release

For more information, read the original article at: ... n=52&langu=1#.Veb6LPmqqko

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USA Hunting : Hunters need to be aware of bogus forwarded emails

on 2014/8/25 17:57:01 (2522 reads)

Some time ago, I received an email from a well-meaning, but ill-informed, individual. (I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt.) It was headlined – "Save your lead – Last lead smelting plant closed by Obama and the EPA."
The forwarded email had no date or original author, which is usually the case with this type of propaganda. It went on to detail that Obama was responsible for closing the last lead-smelting plant in the United States, and that this would lead to dire consequences for shooters, and hunters ("back-door gun control") and the entire U.S. economy.
A few quotes from the email: "Obama and the EPA just shut down the last lead smelting plant in the US. They raised the EPA regulations by 10 fold and it would have cost the plant $100 million to comply. You can own all the guns you want, but if you can’t get ammo, you are out of luck."
"All lead for bullets will have to come from overseas!"
"There are numerous alarming reasons why the US government and the military have been buying up all the ammo. Here’s one of them. The military’s obsession with ammo was related to security and supply. They knew this was coming, too, so they bought up all they could get before the plug was pulled."
"This move will also make the cost of low lead aviation fuel UNAFFORDABLE."
"Guns will be plentiful but ammo will be another story. How does $3.75 a round (that’s for one bullet) for a 9mm work for you? Box of 50 would only cost you $187.50."
I was taken aback by this email. How could I have missed this?! While researching my article about the .22 ammo shortage, I had recently spoken with representatives from three ammunition manufacturers and the National Shooting Sports Foundation – there was not a single mention of this "big news."
So, I did a little research. I encourage you to do the same. and several other websites clearly and factually detail the story – with links and references to company news releases, ammo makers, the National Rifle Association and the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Other than the fact that the smelting plant closed – nothing in the forwarded email (that originated in December 2013) proved to be true.
The Doe Run, Missouri, plant closed in December, 2013. As the company had announced the closing in 2010, this is not really "news" anymore. According to a company news release, "Doe Run supplied 8 to 10 percent of the U.S. demand for lead ...." Almost all of it was used for making batteries - not bullets!
According to several ammunition manufacturers and Sierra Bullets, the closing will have no effect on ammo availability or cost because most bullets are made from recycled lead, which is less expensive.
Why not blame Obama – everyone else does! What led to the plant's closure was a lawsuit by a Missouri environmental group, in response to lead dust in homes and elevated levels of the metal in yards and children’s blood. The action actually started when George Bush was president. Maybe the writer thought, What's a little lead in our children's blood if we can have bullets.
It has now been over six months since the plant's closure and jet fuel and ammo prices remain about the same. Why does this email continue to circulate? Take your pick:
A. The sender actually believes it.
B. The sender hates Obama and the EPA and does not care whether it is true or not.
C. It is a calculated effort by someone to discredit Obama and the EPA.
D. It is an effort by ammo makers to cause hoarding – which drives up the price.
The email that I received went on to declare, "There has not been a peep about this in the major news outlets ..."
This statement alone should be an alert to all thinking sportsmen and sportswomen. If no one in our very diverse media picks up the story – there must not be a story.
Digital media is wonderful, but it can provide an inexpensive and anonymous way for lies to be spread. These lies could be about hunting, trapping, wildlife management, fishing, shooting, or in this case, the supply of ammunition.
Please, if you get a forwarded email about anything, take time to check the facts before you send it to all of your friends. Doing otherwise just makes you part of the burgeoning problem and only hurts our outdoor sports.
Read more: ... f-bogus-forwarded-emails/

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Articles : Beloved African Elephant Killed for Ivory—"Monumental" Loss

on 2014/7/3 17:20:00 (2147 reads)

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One of Kenya's most adored elephants, who had giant tusks and was known as Satao, has been killed for his ivory—a "monumental" loss, experts say.
Poachers shot the bull elephant with a poisoned arrow in Tsavo East National Park, waited for him to die a painful death, and hacked off his face to remove his ivory, according to the Tsavo Trust, an area nonprofit that works with wildlife and local communities.
Satao was particularly appealing to poachers as a tusker, a type of male elephant with a genetic makeup that produces unusually large tusks. His tusks were more than 6.5 feet (2 meters) long.
"Kenya as a country contains probably the last remaining big tuskers in the world," said Paula Kahumbu, a Kenya-based wildlife conservationist with the nonprofit WildlifeDirect. (Read Kahumbu's essay on Satao's death in the Guardian.)
"To lose an animal like Satao is a massive loss to Kenya. He was a major tourist attraction to that part of Tsavo," said Kahumbu, who was a 2011 National Geographic Emerging Explorer.
The elephant was killed May 30, but members of the trust announced his death on June 13, after verifying the carcass's identity. (Related: "Efforts to Curb Ivory Trafficking Spreading, but Killing Continues.")
"It is with enormous regret that we confirm there is no doubt that Satao is dead, killed by an ivory poacher's poisoned arrow to feed the seemingly insatiable demand for ivory in far-off countries," the Tsavo Trust said in a statement.
"A great life lost so that someone far away can have a trinket on their mantelpiece." (Read "Blood Ivory" in National Geographic Magazine)
To read more ... d-animals-africa-science/

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USA Hunting : Wisconsin hunter bags five-bearded turkey

on 2014/5/16 16:30:00 (2535 reads)

Ever shoot a gobbler with a beard measuring 31 1⁄8 inches?

Odds are way better than even that no Wisconsin turkey hunter has ever done that.

However, Ryan Tichenor, of Sparta, did shoot a gobbler with five beards that totaled 31 1⁄8 inches.

That happened April 23 during Wisconsin’s second turkey season in Monroe County and Zone 1. Tichenor was hunting alone that day when he shot the five-bearded bird at 2:30 p.m., but he had been in contact with that gobbler and three others all day long.

“I had four turkeys gobbling all day long – from 7 a.m. on. At about 11 a.m. a tom came in strutting, saw the decoy, and ran away,” Tichenor said. “Later, a jake came in, then a jake with a hen and the five-bearded tom. I watched them for about a half hour. That’s how long it took them to get into range.”

As Tichenor watched the gobbler come into range, and even right after he shot it, he didn’t realize the tom was sporting five beards. That discovery came after he walked up to the bird and noticed a second beard as he tagged the gobbler.

“I had no clue until after I shot it. I saw the second beard, tagged him, walked back to truck with the bird, and then saw four beards. When I separated the feathers and beards, I saw the fifth one,” he said.

The five beards reached a total of 31 1⁄8 inches with the following beard lengths: 10 1⁄4 inches, 6 1⁄8, 6 3⁄8, 4 1⁄2, and 3 7⁄8.

The bird weighed 20 pounds and had 3⁄4-inch spurs – likely a 2-year-old bird.

This is just Tichenor’s fourth year of turkey hunting. A family friend took him out when he was 16, the same age at which he tried hunting deer with a bow and gun.

“It had been 12 years since I had gone (turkey hunting) again because of work and school. I started again a few years ago. This is only the second turkey that I’ve called in and shot,” said Tichenor, who works for Handishop Industries, a nonprofit business development organization.

“I might buy a couple of extra tags for the fourth and fifth seasons,” he said.

So, at first glance, a person might think that 31 1⁄8 inches of beard should set some sort of record, right? Not so.

The National Wild Turkey Federation charts typical and nontypical turkey records by weight, beard length, and spur length. Any turkey with more than one beard is considered a nontypical bird.

The longest total beard length record belongs to a Wisconsin bird that also ranks as NWTF’s No. 1 nontypical record.

Wisconsin’s John E. Fryatt shot an eight-bearded bird in Richland County on April 19, 1989. Total beard length was 70.8750 inches. The bird weighed 22 1⁄4 pounds and had 1 1⁄2-inch spurs. Fryatt’s bird scored 194 total points and still stands as the No. 1 NWTF nontypical bird.

The most beards? That would be nine, and also from a Wisconsin bird. Steven D. Bock shot a nine-bearded Sauk County bird on May 11, 1995 that still ranks No. 2 on the NWTF nontypical list at 193.75 points. Total beard length was 72.6875 inches. That bird weighed 24 pounds; its spurs were 1.25 and 1.1875 inches.

To Read more: ... ter-bags-five-bearded-tom

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USA Hunting : Madison: Remington Arms announces voluntary recall affecting Model 700 and Model Seven rifles

on 2014/4/16 13:10:25 (2818 reads)

Click to see original Image in a new window Remington Arms Company, on Friday announced a voluntary recall of Model 700 and Model Seven rifles with X-Mark Pro (“XMP”) triggers, manufactured from May 1, 2006 to April 9, 2014.

In a press release, Remington said that its senior engineers determined that some Model 700 and Model Seven rifles with XMP triggers could, under certain circumstances, unintentionally discharge. In the interest of safety, Remington said, the products are being recalled.

Remington’s investigation determined that some XMP triggers might have excess bonding agent used in the assembly process, which could cause an unintentional discharge. Therefore, Remington is recalling all affected products to fully inspect and clean the XMP triggers with a specialized process.

Remington has advised customers to immediately cease use of recalled rifles and return them to Remington free of charge. The rifles will be inspected, specialty cleaned, tested, and returned as soon as possible.

The press release urged owners to not attempt to diagnose or repair recalled rifles. Remington established a dedicated website and toll-free hotline to help consumers determine whether their Model 700 or Model Seven rifle(s) are subject to recall:

• Website
• Toll-Free Hotline: 1-800-243-9700 (Prompt #3 then Prompt #1) Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EDT.

The website and hotline provide guidance on returning recalled rifles free of charge.

“Remington takes safety extremely seriously,” said Teddy Novin, director of public affairs and communications. “While we have the utmost confidence in the design of the XMP trigger, we are undertaking this recall in the interest of customer safety, to remove any potential excess bonding agent applied in the assembly process. We have established significant safety and technical resources to determine which rifles are affected and to minimize any risks. Our goal is to have every recalled firearm inspected, specialty cleaned, tested and returned as soon as possible.”

“We’re putting our customers and their safety first by voluntarily recalling all potentially affected rifles,” Novin concluded.
To read more:

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USA Hunting : Cincinati: Female Sumatran rhino dies, none left in US

on 2014/4/7 14:08:49 (2563 reads)

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The death of the Cincinnati Zoo's lone female Sumatran rhino has dealt a blow to a breeding programme aimed at saving one of the world's most critically endangered species.

The rhino, named Suci, was one of only 10 in captivity worldwide and died on Sunday after showing symptoms of a disease that killed her mother, although zoo officials say it will be months before the final results of a necropsy are available.

The zoo's breeding effort to mate Suci with a sibling followed a crisis summit in Singapore where conservationists concluded that as few as 100 of the two-horned, hairy rhino might remain in forests in their native Indonesia and Malaysia.

The species has become endangered through loss of forests and poaching, which are believed by some Asian cultures to have medicinal properties.

"Suci was a symbol of hope for her entire species, one that is quickly losing ground in the wild, and her absence will leave a hole in our hearts", Terri Roth, director of the zoo's Lindner Centre for conservation and research of endangered wildlife, said in a statement on Monday.

Suci was born in 2004 and was one of three Sumatran rhino calves born at the zoo to mother Emi and father Ipuh. Emi died in 2009 and Ipuh in 2013.

Keepers had hoped to mate Suci with her younger brother, Harapan, who is now the only Sumatran rhino in North America. Andalas, the other male born at the zoo, was sent to Sumatra in 2007 to bolster a breeding programme there and has fathered a male calf with a wild-born rhino.

Cincinnati Zoo staff had to wait for Harapan to reach breeding age, but Suci began losing weight several months ago and staff began treating her for hemochromatosis, also known as iron storage disease.

Zoo scientists, keepers and veterinarians had been treating Suci with a therapy used on humans and African black rhino and her behaviour and appetite had improved. But her condition rapidly deteriorated on Sunday, Roth said.

Zoo officials could not comment yet on specifics of their breeding plans for the future, although they say they remain committed to working to save the species.

"We are just trying to get through this right now", zoo spokesperson Tiffany Barnes said.

The zoo has been a pioneer in captive breeding of the species, and Roth said last year that there was a lot of urgency in getting Suci pregnant.

"If we don't act quickly and boldly, the loss of this magnificent animal will be among the great tragedies of our time", Roth said in Monday's statement.

To read more: ... s-non-left-in-US-20140401

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USA Hunting : Legs for wolf-hunt moratorium?

on 2014/3/31 14:51:00 (2768 reads)

St. Paul — A Senate committee last week approved a bill that would temporarily suspend wolf hunting and trapping in the state, though its future is unclear.

The Environment and Natural Resources Committee approved SF 2256, authored by Sen. Foung Hawj, DFL-St. Paul, on an 8-6 vote (it failed on the first vote, 6-6, but was reconsidered after the arrival of two senators who’d been absent for the initial vote).

The committee is the same one that passed a wolf hunting and trapping moratorium last year. That bill didn’t go anywhere, and indications are this year’s version may not, either, though it did pass out of the State and Local Government Committee earlier this week. It now goes to the environment finance committee, where the moratorium stalled last year.

Sen. Matt Schmit, DFL-Red Wing and chair of the Game and Fish Subcommittee, voted in favor of the bill in the environment committee. But he doesn’t believe there’s traction for it in either the Senate or the House.

“As far as I’m concerned, the issue is settled for the year,” he said.

The bill would require the DNR to close the wolf hunting and trapping season “in order to study the outcomes of the wolf hunt on the wolf population and to implement the wolf management plan.” It would require creation of a new task force to review the plan on an annual basis, and have the DNR collect a variety of data, including a study of public sentiment about wolves.

It also would prohibit baiting – which is legal for hunting and trapping wolves – within 10 miles of tribal lands where taking wolves is prohibited.

The DNR opposes the bill for a number of reasons, including the baiting provision. Such a ban would affect more than 10 million acres of land in the state, of which about 9.6 million acres is in non-tribal ownership, said Bob Meier, DNR legislative affairs director.

Representatives from the Minnesota Farmers Union and Minnesota Farm Bureau spoke in opposition to the bill, as did the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association and Minnesota Outdoor Heritage Alliance.

Schmit, in an interview after the hearing, said the state can do better in terms of how it authorizes wolf hunting and trapping. He doesn’t believe the bill is necessarily “the right remedy for the wolf hunt in Minnesota.”

Schmit looks at the bill as a vehicle for continuing the conversation about state wolf management.

“I don’t know if we’ve struck the right balance yet,” he said. “But I don’t think drastic change is necessary.”

Schmit, who is carrying the Game and Fish Bill (SF 2227), said he’s not open to amending the wolf hunting and trapping language on there.

“It’s not appropriate to put it on the Game and Fish Bill,” he said.

Outdoor Heritage Fund

The bill that carries the recommendations of the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council – HF 1926, authored by Rep. Rick Hansen, DFL-South St. Paul – continues sailing through the House.

The bill last week passed the Legacy Committee, and could be on the floor by later this week. The bill retains funding for a controversial project Fond du Lac Band of Chippewa project, but in last week’s hearing, funding for aquatic invasive species was the primary point of contention.

Some groups would like to see more money – and tighter timelines – in the fight against AIS. The bill includes more than $4 million to evaluate AIS-prevention strategies.

Hansen noted that last year, the debate was about whether it was appropriate to spend money from the Outdoor Heritage Fund on AIS.

“We’re no longer debating whether (Outdoor Heritage funds) should be expended on aquatic invasive species,” he said. “We are debating how and who, and probably where. But the why is no longer there.”

To read more: ... for-wolf-hunt-moratorium/

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USA Hunting : Gobbler shells: Wild turkey seasons begin soon across the country

on 2014/3/12 20:28:06 (2600 reads)

Although it doesn’t feel much like it yet, we are drawing ever closer to the spring, and better yet, the turkey seasons that arrive with it. While there isn’t much to do in the way of blind setup or scouting, there is one thing you can do to ensure you have the best chance of filling your tag and that involves your shotgun.

Most hunters will buy a box of expensive turkey shells, pattern them once and call it good. That’s OK, but longbeards are notoriously tough and big, which makes them a prime candidate for being farther away than you think when you pull the trigger. Their inherent toughness, along with the fact that sometimes they are 45 yards away instead of 35, means that without the right shotshell you might watch your season run or fly away after sending a harmless pattern into feathers and dirt.

Over they years I’ve messed around with quite a few different kinds of shells and have developed a system for how I load my 12 gauge each spring with 31/2-inch shells. I load my gun so that my first shot will send a load of lead 6s out of the barrel. The first shot I take at a turkey is going to be my best shot most of the time and I try hard to make sure it’s the only shot I need to take. Should I need a second shell, it will almost always be lead as well, and will be filled with either 4- or 5-shot. This is a just-in-case shell with a bit more oomph should my first shot didn’t do the job.

My third and last shell will be either 4s or 5s, and will consist of the tungsten-alloy shotshells that deliver maximum penetration. Each of these shells will deliver a tight pattern out to 50 yards, which is something I establish long before my season. This might seem like overkill, and not completely unnecessary, but I’ve shot enough birds to know that believing in forgone conclusions can be a mistake.

If you’re looking to maximize your spring time in the woods and find something to do this preseason, consider messing around with some new shotshells. It’s a bit expensive at first, but will seem well worth it when a mature gobblers struts into 40 yards and stares down your decoys this spring.

To read more go to: ... -soon-across-the-country/

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USA Hunting : At South African hunting reserve, US bow hunters lie in wait for antelope and other wildlife

on 2015/9/2 17:20:00 (1458 reads)

OLIFANTSVALLEI, South Africa – One American bow and arrow hunter who traveled with his wife to a South African wildlife reserve worked as a state trooper for decades. Another hunter went alone after his closest friend, who was going to join him, died shortly before their date of departure from the United States.
The two retirees, who ended a 10-day hunt in August, operated separately in the dry winter scrub. They waited in concealed positions near watering holes or mineral licks for hours and, in adrenaline-fueled instances, killed wildlife with compound bows. By night, they dined on the meat of elands, impalas, warthogs and other animals in an African safari experience.
"I don't want to shoot animals that are young or that are of producing age. I'm looking for the older, more mature trophy animals," said 59-year-old Steve Schultz, a former law enforcement official from Park Falls, Wisconsin who chafed at negative views of hunters stemming from the July killing of a lion named Cecil that was lured out of a national park in Zimbabwe.
The "trophy" hunting industry in Africa has come under greater scrutiny since an American dentist shot Cecil, who wore a GPS collar and was being monitored by researchers, in an allegedly illegal hunt.
Stewart Dorrington, Schultz's South African host at Melorani Safaris, skipped euphemisms such as "harvesting" while describing where to shoot an animal so it dies quickly.
"You want to get into the chest cavity, that's where the vitals are," Dorrington said while escorting an Associated Press writer and photographer on a dirt-track drive around his 5,000-hectare (12,000-acre) reserve. He acknowledged detractors would find his choice of words "horrendous," but suggested critics should not gloss over the slaughter of farm livestock for food.
"I shot a nice red hartebeest," Jerry Emhoff, a resident of Watervliet, Michigan, said of one day's hunting. "It only ran a short distance and fell."
Emhoff, who used to sell and repair garage doors and gives hunting safety classes to children, meant that the animal's suffering was relatively short.
He turned 62 years old on Aug. 21, a bittersweet occasion because his longtime hunting companion, Larry Janke, died just before their planned trip to South Africa. Emhoff considered canceling the hunt, but Janke's wife and sister urged him to go.
Most of the thousands of foreign hunters who travel annually to South Africa are American, according to a national hunters' association based on the outskirts of Pretoria, the South African capital. Hunting with a bow and arrow was illegal in South Africa until the late 1980s, but its rising popularity in the United States spurred the South African market, according to Dorrington.
In 1986, the landowner turned his family's cattle ranch, a three-hour drive from Johannesburg, into a wildlife area. He hosts about two-dozen bow and arrow hunters a year. The business helps control the wildlife population and client payments contribute to the conservation of the herds, he said.
There are no lions, leopards or elephants there; it is illegal in any case to hunt elephants with a bow in South Africa.
Clients typically stay 10 days and shoot an average of six or seven animals whose parts may be shipped to their homes. European hunters tend to only mount horns while Americans often prefer the whole head as a wall trophy, according to Dorrington. He said Schultz and Emhoff just wanted the horns, a cheaper alternative.
Melorani Safaris clients pay a daily rate for lodging, the help of a professional hunter and other services. In addition, they pay $350 if they shoot a warthog and various prices for antelope species ($2,450 for a kudu and $7,500 for the rare sable). A buffalo goes for $12,500. The reserve also has zebras, giraffes and ostriches.
Clients pay a fee if they wound an animal. About 10 percent of animals are wounded in a hunt — some are tracked and killed while others recover from their injuries, Dorrington said.
Schultz's wife, Sharon, has joined her husband on hunts, reading, photographing wildlife and occasionally pointing out an animal that he might want to shoot. The couple runs a bear-hunting operation in Wisconsin.
Emhoff hunted in Africa with Janke in 2007. He was glad he went again despite initial misgivings after his friend's death.
"I can just hear him," said Emhoff, imagining his friend's voice. "'You've got to go, you've got to go, Jerry.'"

For more information read original article at: ... in-wait-for-antelope-and/

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Africa Hunting : Africa’s elephant haven: Botswana a rare bright spot in dire battle against poachers

on 2014/8/5 9:10:00 (2675 reads)

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CHOBE NATIONAL PARK, Botswana — No sign of an elephant in all of two minutes, a tourist teased a guide at Botswana’s Chobe National Park, home to tens of thousands of elephants. A minute later, their vehicle cleared a knot of shrubs and elephants loomed ahead beside the dusty road.
Such joking wouldn’t be possible in many other parts of Africa, where recent years have yielded dire news about ivory poaching. Poachers killed more than 20,000 elephants in 2013 amid rising demand for their tusks in Asia, particularly China, according to international conservation groups.
Botswana is a rare bright spot with estimates of its elephant population as high as 200,000. The southern African country’s political and economic stability, small human population and other factors make it an elephant haven, though pressure on habitats and conflict with the human population are increasing concerns.
Botswana is a challenging model for other African nations struggling to ward off the illegal wildlife trade, ranked by the United Nations alongside arms, drug and human trafficking because its illicit profits run into billions of dollars worldwide.
In all of Africa, there are about 420,000 to 650,000, according to some estimates.
Elephants roam widely outside conservation areas in landlocked Botswana, which has just 2 million people; in contrast, Kenya, under pressure from poachers, has almost as much territory as Botswana with about 35,000 elephants and 45 million people.
Elephants benefit from Botswana’s ban on commercial trophy hunting on state land that took effect this year to help other wildlife species whose numbers are in decline. Some elephants, who traditionally range across unfenced borders, may also have crossed into and stayed in Botswana as poaching escalated in neighbouring countries, some conservationists say.
While official corruption has hooks in African poaching, Transparency International in 2013 listed Botswana at 30th out of 177 countries and territories, based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be. It led all other African countries and was ahead of nations including Portugal, South Korea and Costa Rica in the survey by the Berlin-based watchdog group.
“Peace and conservation success go hand in hand,” said Rudi van Aarde, a South African conservationist at the University of Pretoria who studies regional elephant populations. “Warfare and unrest and improper governance go hand in hand with conservation failures.”
Botswana says its elephant population is growing at 5 per cent a year. Officials have introduced fencing to keep elephants away from villages, and the use of chili peppers is among schemes designed to protect crops from these “intelligent creatures,” said Cyril Taolo, deputy director of the country’s department of wildlife and national parks.
“Elephants being elephants, they quickly find their way around some of these things,” he said.
In December, Botswana President Ian Khama, speaking at an international meeting on elephant conservation in Gaborone, the capital, said that his government had deployed “all our security forces” to help guard against poachers.
But some suspects infiltrate across borders. In June, a Zambian poacher was killed in a gunfight with rangers in Chobe park in northern Botswana, which is close to Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Angola.
About 50 elephants have been poached annually in recent years in Botswana, according to Taolo.
Poaching statistics are far higher elsewhere in Africa. Poachers, some shooting from helicopters, killed about 70 elephants over a two-month period in Garamba National Park in Congo, in Central Africa, the park director said in June. Late last year, authorities in neighbouring Zimbabwe reported that more than 100 elephants were killed by cyanide poisoning in the western Hwange game reserve.
The carnage has drawn comparisons to an elephant slaughter in the 1970s and 1980s that only eased with an international ban on the ivory trade in 1989. Insurgent groups and organized crime syndicates are prominent in today’s killings, officials and analysts say.
“We’re going through that again, in a lot of ways,” George Wittemyer, an American expert who has studied elephants in Kenya, said in reference to the poaching surge decades ago. Wittemyer, an assistant professor at Colorado State University’s department of fish, wildlife, and conservation biology, said Kenya had made progress in combatting poachers, but acknowledged: “We’re definitely not anywhere near out of the woods yet.”
In Botswana’s Chobe park, elephants lumber and forage by the dozens close to the river, where they have stripped away much of the foliage. On a recent morning, an elephant swam to reeds in the river, its trunk aloft as its bulky body dipped through the water in a surprisingly fluid motion. Outside the park, a herd of elephants leisurely crossed a road near a town, seemingly unperturbed by passing cars.
Elephants Without Borders, a Botswana-based group, is leading what it describes as the biggest continent-wide, aerial census of elephants since the 1970s with funding from Microsoft co-founder and billionaire Paul Allen. The goal is to use the data to better marshal conservation efforts across Africa, said Mike Chase, the group’s director.
Elephants have “situational awareness” about risky areas, Chase said. He cited reports that many elephants entered Botswana during the Angolan civil war and some returned to Angola only when the war ended in 2002.
Taolo, the wildlife official, said Botswana recognizes that elephants are a global heritage and need international support: “Protecting those elephants comes at a real cost.”
The Associated Press
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on 2014/5/21 19:09:57 (2679 reads)

The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) recently successfully released a pack of 15 Wild Dogs that had been illegally captured in Limpopo.
A farmer in the area had captured the free roaming dogs and held them in a boma on his farm. Because he was temporarily holding a group of seven female dogs on behalf of the EWT, he called Kelly Marnewick, the Manager of the EWT’s Carnivore Conservation Programme (EWT-CCP), and informed her that he had caught the canines. Ms Marnewick advised him that the best course of action for the dogs was to release the animals back into the wild immediately but the farmer was not satisfied with this option as he claimed the animals posed a danger to local game and livestock. He wanted the animals relocated elsewhere for release. It has not however, been established that these dogs were in fact causing any degree of conflict with local farmers and were in fact a threat to any livestock at all. Relocation of Wild Dogs is also not that simple and is not a viable course of action for four reasons.
• First, the population of Wild Dogs in the Waterberg is so small that removal of an entire group may push the population to extinction.
• Second, there are no protected areas in South Africa that have space for the dogs. There are currently eight reserves that house reintroduced Wild Dogs and these are all currently at capacity.
• Third, a larger pack of 15 dogs is more resilient than a pack of eight dogs. The reason is that if eight dogs in a pack of 15 are killed the pack can continue to breed and survive but if the pack is reduced to just eight members and even four of that eight die, the pack is likely to die out as breeding is no longer viable.
• And fourth, research has demonstrated that the relocation of animals does not resolve human-wildlife conflict. The only way to deal with conflict is by supporting landowners and helping them to implement non-lethal predator control such as the introduction of livestock guarding dogs.
It was also evident that the farmer wanted to breed with the dogs and undertake research that is not necessarily indicated for the future well-being of this Endangered species.
Ms Marnewick then spent the following weeks post this removal of the dogs from the wild working with the Limpopo Economic Development, Environment & Tourism (LEDET) to get the relevant permissions to collar and release the dogs back into their natural habitat, and arranged the veterinary assistance to support LEDET in the release. Despite the farmer not being in possession of any permits to have caught or kept these animals on his property, he refused to allow the EWT to remove the dogs from his camp. The EWT once more referred the matter to the LEDET and involved the Centre for Environmental Rights who encouraged all parties to ensure compliance with the relevant legislation that was drafted in order to protect the animals and act in the best interests of conservation. The dogs were finally seized by LEDET. A satellite collar was fitted to one of the dogs and genetic samples and identification photographs were taken from each dog. The entire pack was transported to an undisclosed venue in Limpopo province where they were released and their movements will be monitored via the satellite collar.
Said Ms Marnewick: "African Wild Dogs are protected in terms of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act (Act 10 of 2004) and the Threatened or Protected Species Regulations of 2007 (ToPS). They are categorised as an Endangered Species (EN) – Indigenous species facing a high risk of extinction in the wild in the near future, although they are not critically endangered. The activities of capturing, transporting, hunting or killing ToPS listed species require a permit from the relevant conservation authority, and where no permits have been issued for such activities, it is deemed a crime."
Limpopo is one of the last remaining provinces in South Africa that still has free roaming Wild Dogs. This means that they were not reintroduced and did not escape from any fenced reserves, but rather they occur naturally outside of fenced reserves. Genetic testing conducted on the Waterberg Wild Dogs has demonstrated that they are genetically distinct from the Wild Dogs in the Kruger National Park and in other smaller reserves in South Africa. This makes this group of dogs critically important in a species that is on the verge of extinction. Because Wild Dogs occupy such vast ranges (each pack can range over more than 2,000 km2) it is extremely difficult to determine the population dynamics of Wild Dogs in the Waterberg. However, recent estimates put their numbers at between 3 to 4 packs of Wild Dogs left in the area with some smaller groups of dispersing animals.
"There are just 450 Wild Dogs left in South Africa and it is crucial that those remaining in the wild remain free roaming and protected. The pack that was captured and finally released constitutes more than 3% of the total remaining national population of this species. Conflict between carnivores and farmers over the killing of game is a reality in Limpopo but many farmers have chosen to implement conflict mitigation measures in partnership with the EWT such as the use of Livestock Guarding Dogs in the interests of being part of the movement to conserve this species and ensure its survival for future generations. The EWT works closely with a large number of farmers in the region and most have indicated no problems with the free roaming dogs at all. Most were in fact happy to see them released again," concluded Ms Marnewick.
If you know or hear about any activity that will bring harm to Wild Dogs, have any photographs or sighting details or require information about Wild Dogs and conflict mitigation measures that benefit farmers and carnivores please contact Derek on
The release operation was funded through the EWT’s Bosman Wild Dog Emergency Response Fund. We are also grateful to Dr Peter Caldwell and his team from Old Chapel Vet Clinic for their assistance and to Lampbert van der Westhuizen of West Dunes Aviation for being on standby with his chopper. Thanks too to the Centre for Environmental Rights for working to ensure that these dogs were released.
The EWT’s Wild Dog work in Limpopo is supported by Investec Properties, Jaguar-Land Rover South Africa, Land Rover Centurion, Vaughan de la Harpe, GCCL2 - Richard Bosman, Painted Wolf Wines, South African National Parks Honourary Rangers and IQ Business.
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African Fishing : Two Durban Fishermen injured by Marlin during competition

on 2014/4/29 14:50:00 (2644 reads)

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Two South African anglers were seriously injured when a hooked marlin launched itself at their boat and smashed through its windscreen, officials said today.

It has emerged, on reflection of this incident, based on doctors findings of the injuries sustained, and based on the two injured men’s accounts of the incident, that the Marlin that jumped into the boat had impaled both men as it crashed over the boat.

It was at first suggested, when NSRI arrived on the scene, that the Marlins bill had impaled both men but this was later discounted by the skipper and his fellow crewman who were trying to make sense of what had actually happened in the incident which lasted only seconds before the Marlin disappeared back into the water over the back of the boat.

But on reflection of the incident by all 4 crewman and based on the extent and nature of the injuries it has been confirmed that severe injuries sustained to both fishermen were caused by the Marlin’s bill which impaled both men as it crashed through and over the boat.

The two injured fishermen are recovering in hospital.

See original media release below:

Clifford Ireland, NSRI Durban station commander, said: “At 11h45, Saturday, 26th April, NSRI Durban crew and Netcare 911 ambulance services, while on stand-by at the NSRI Durban sea rescue base for the Durban Ski-boat Festival, were activated following a request for urgent medical assistance from the 5.5 meter ski-boat MDUDUZE, for two crewmen seriously injured when a Marlin that was being fished using a line and rod jumped into the boat and over the back of the boat during the fishing competition, causing injuries to two of the crewmen, 2.5 nautical miles off-shore of Umdloti which is 12.5 nautical miles from the Port of Durban. There were 4 men on the boat at the time.

“The two men injured are a 35 year old crewman and a 33 year old crewman. Both are from Kloof, Durban. NSRI have not been given permission to release their names.

“According to skipper Marc Gieseler, of Durban, his 35 year old crewman was steering the boat at the time while Marc wrestled to reel in an approximately 140kg Marlin on his rod and line. On reeling the Marlin towards the boat the Marlin had launched out of the water in front of the boat and crashed over the front of the boat and then through the windscreen and the fin of the Marlin clipped the 35 year old man on the left side, chest and back torso, causing him to fall over backwards onto the 33 year old crewman who was then pushed backwards and on falling over backwards he had landed with his back on a fishing rod holder. The incident caused severe injuries to both crewman.

“The 35 year old crewman has a laceration to his back, de-gloving of his rib cage and laceration to his stomach, and the 33 year old crewman has a laceration and puncture wound to his shoulder and back.

“Our NSRI Durban volunteer sea rescue duty crew launched our sea rescue craft EIKOS RESCUER II and MEGAN II, accompanied by a Netcare 911 paramedic and responded. “On arrival on-scene both men were found to be in serious conditions.

“The boat was also found to have sustained extensive damage. “Both patients were transferred onto the sea rescue craft MEGAN II and both were medically treated by the Netcare 911 paramedic, assisted by our NSRI medics, and rushed to our sea rescue station where they were both transferred into a waiting Netcare 911 ambulance and transported to hospital in serious but stable conditions.

“Both crew members are in stable but serious condition in the Intensive Care Unit in hospital and are being cared for by hospital staff. Both men are expected to fully recover.

“The sea rescue craft EIKOS RESCUER II escorted the damaged casualty boat to the Port of Durban. “The skipper has confirmed that the Marlin went over the back of the boat and then disappeared back into the sea. “The sea rescue operation took just over an hour.”

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USA Hunting : Virginia: Last Shipment of Elk from Kentucky to Virginia Furthers Reintroduction Efforts

on 2014/4/16 12:59:17 (2695 reads)

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Last week, a group of 45 elk arrived in Virginia’s Buchanan County. The pack was the last transit of the animals from nearby Kentucky as part of Virginia’s Elk Management and Restoration Plan, which has a short-term goal of raising the state’s elk population to 400 individuals.
“Always when we get this close to getting them, we get excited,” Leon Boyd, a volunteer with the local chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF), told the Bristol Herald Courier. “Now that the weather has been better, folks want to get out and look for shed antlers, and we have noticed that counties want to bring kids from the school system over to see them. It’s always exciting to see other counties getting involved.”
The restoration program, which is funded by the RMEF, initially called for 75 elk to be relocated from Kentucky when it was launched in 2012. This latest group of elk to reach Virginia is by far the largest transported across state lines in the last three years, and will be joining a herd of about 30 animals already living in the state. Wildlife biologists are now keeping a careful eye on the elk, who have mostly stuck to the several thousand acres of of private and public land in Buchanan County allotted for their use.
This is not the first time that the state has tried to reintroduce elk. Virginia wildlife officials imported elk to 11 counties back in in 1916 in an attempt to restore a native population, but those releases failed. By 1926, only two small herds remained and managed to eek out an existence until the 1970s. By that time, disease and extreme isolation drove the elk once again out of the state.
Virginia used to be home to a vast number of elk, but habitat loss and unregulated hunting caused the species to become extirpated in the late 1800s. Drawing inspiration from successful restorations in Kentucky and other states, biologists are hopeful that this attempt will have lasting results.
The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries is considering bringing in elk to other counties as well. Wildlife officials say they are aiming for a sustainable population large enough to facilitate hunting within four years of the last release. Proceeds from the sale of hunting permits will go back into conservation efforts for the elk.
“What we’re going to do now is manage them,” Boyd said. “One way to do that is make elk meadows, where we actively plant forage that’s attractive to them and then they’ll tend to stay in that area [...] Our management of elk will be more focused on habitat.”
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USA Hunting : Minnesota: Bois Forte opts against 2014 moose hunting; no decision from DNR yet

on 2014/3/31 15:50:00 (2777 reads)

Despite aerial surveys that produced a moose-population estimate in the northeastern part of the state that was similar to 2012, it remains unclear whether the animals will be hunted this fall.

Last year, neither the state nor the three Indian bands in the northeast held seasons, decisions that came after aerial surveys resulted in an estimated moose population of 2,760 animals.

While the population estimate rose to 4,350 this year, officials don’t believe that reflects an increasing moose population. More likely, they say, was the population was undercounted last year.

But at this point, the DNR isn’t ready to say a season won’t be held.

DNR Wildlife Section Chief Paul Telander said the agency has met with the bands at the biological level, but consultations at the government level are ongoing.

“We won’t be making any decisions until the consultation with the bands is complete,” Telander said.

One of the three bands – the Bois Forte band – announced last week it wouldn’t hold a moose hunt this fall. However, it’s not clear if that applies only to the band’s reservation, or to the 1854 Treaty area as a whole.

Bois Forte officials didn’t return calls for comment earlier this week.

According to an Associated Press story, the Bois Forte Tribal Council decided not to hold a season after consulting with tribal elders. In that report, Tribal Chairman Kevin Leecy said the tribe wants to be careful until the causes of the long-term decline in the moose population are better understood.

Officials with both the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa say their bands haven’t made decisions yet on whether to hunt moose this fall.

In 2012, state hunters killed 46 moose, while tribal hunters from all three bands killed 36. State hunters killed 53 moose in 2011, while tribal hunters killed 31.

Jeff Lightfoot, DNR regional wildlife manager in Grand Rapids, said officials would like to see multiple years of an increasing moose population estimate.

“When we closed the season last year, it was to be conservative and do what we saw as the right thing with this declining population,” he said. “None of that has really changed.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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USA Hunting : North Carolina: Hunter bags 500-pound wild hog

on 2014/3/17 16:15:03 (2774 reads)

Click to see original Image in a new windowA North Carolina hunter says he'll feed his family for a year after he bagged a 500-pound wild hog in the woods of eastern North Carolina.
Jett Webb shot the 8-foot-long animal near the Indian Woods on land leased by the White Oak Ranch Hunting Club, reported.
"It was very surreal," Webb told the station. "It was a shock. It was very humbling to say the least, when you walk up on a beast that big and you say, 'Oh my gosh. I had no idea that there could be something that big running around the woods of Eastern North Carolina.'"
The animal had been seen on trail cameras years but baffled hunters.
"The Mohawk down the back,” Webb describes, “the tusks really lean, the muscular big front end. This is far from a domesticated docile pig that we're used to."
Webb said he’s going to use the hog to provide food for his family.
"We’re not going to waste anything,” Webb said
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