Good tiger, rhino, elephant news from Nepal


This video says about itself:

Wildlife encounters on safari in Nepal at the … Bardia National Park. Wild elephants, one-horned rhinoceros, and amazing encounters and charges by the Royal Bengal Tiger.

From Wildlife Extra:

Nepal celebrates zero poaching year

March 2014: Celebrations are running high in Nepal because for the second time in recent years it has achieved a major milestone in conservation, a zero poaching of tigers, rhinos and elephants for the period February 2013-February 2014. (The last time was in 2011).

At a time when tigers and rhinos are being rampantly poached around the world, this success it is a great reward for the country’s work and commitment to combating wildlife crime, and resounds hope for wildlife.

“The success of achieving zero poaching throughout the year is a huge achievement and a result of prioritising a national need to curb wildlife crimes in the country,” says Megh Bahadur Pandey, Director General of Nepal’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation. “A national level commitment is key to encouraging complementing efforts, right down to the grassroots level, in order to address this biggest threat to wildlife not just in Nepal but across the world.”

It is due to strengthened protection and enforcement efforts across the country, led by the government and supported by its conservation partners such as WWF and the National Trust for Nature Conservation. The newly developed Wildlife Crime Control Bureau and the establishment of its 16 district cells together with the Central Investigation Bureau of Nepal Police has also helped create the needed balance between central and local level enforcement to curb wildlife crimes.

“It is a matter of great pride to mark the first World Wildlife Day with the announcement of a year of zero poaching in Nepal,” says Anil Manandhar, Country Representative of WWF Nepal. “We are committed to work with the government, conservation partners and the local communities to redouble efforts to sustain this success.”

“We congratulate Nepal on reducing poaching to zero within its borders,” says Yolanda Kakabadse, President of WWF International. “This achievement serves as a model for WWF’s goal for drastically reducing wildlife crime worldwide – with a combination of brave policy making, determined implementation and robust enforcement.”

To read Sue Watt’s trip report to Bardia National Park in Nepal when she went on the trail of the elusive Bengal tiger please click here.

Helping Nepal to deliver on its conservation targets: here.

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Javan rhinoceros news from Indonesia


This video is called Rare Javan Rhinos Filmed.

By Arlina Arshad today:

Indonesia builds sanctuary to save world’s rarest rhino

On a leaf-covered dirt path overlooking lush paddy fields in western Indonesia, the world’s rarest rhino had left a trail of hoofprints in the soft mud and bite marks on foliage.

For people seeking a glimpse of the Javan rhino—revered in local folklore as Abah Gede, or the Great Father—such small signs are likely to be the closest they get.

There are thought to be only around 50 of the animals left in existence, all living in the wild in Ujung Kulon National Park, an area of stunning natural beauty on the western tip of Indonesia’s main island of Java.

But now conservationists are hoping that the country’s first ever Javan rhino sanctuary, which will open in the park in the coming months, can pull the animal back from the brink of extinction.

The shy creature, whose folds of loose skin give it the appearance of wearing armour plating, once numbered in the thousands and roamed across Southeast Asia.

But, like other rhino species across the world, poaching and human encroachment on its habitat has led to a dramatic population decline, with the International Union for Conservation of Nature saying the animal is “making its last stand”.

The new sanctuary will encompass 5,100 hectares (12,600 acres) of lush rainforest, freshwater streams and mudholes in the park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

It is not due to open until March but park officials say that from hoofprints and bite marks, they believe nine rhinos have already wandered into new areas set aside for them.

“It means our scheme to turn this sanctuary into a comfortable home for them is working,” the park’s habitat manager Rusdianto, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, told AFP.

The rhinos were already living mainly in one corner of the park.

But the new sanctuary has expanded the area suitable for them and relocated farmers who were living there to reduce the chances of animal-human conflict.

An electric fence is also being constructed—the final piece of work that needs to be completed—to mark the boundary and prevent the rhinos from straying out of the sanctuary and humans from coming in.

Park officials, who are government employees, have also been planting suitable food for the rhinos. During a recent visit by AFP, workers were seen clearing palm trees from the area and replacing them with shrubs and small trees.

“We hope this sanctuary will hasten breeding and lead to more births of this treasured rare animal,” park chief Moh Haryono told AFP.

“In a more enclosed space, the male and female rhino will have more opportunities to frolic and mate freely.”

Rhinos around the world are under threat

Yet setting up the sanctuary, which is government-run but fully funded by US-based charity the International Rhino Foundation, has been no easy task.

It was originally due to open in 2011 but was held up due to red tape, a common problem in the sprawling Indonesian archipelago, which has a huge and often inefficient bureaucracy.

Work also stalled for a year due to protests from residents demanding compensation for farmland they had to give up, as well as from local animal activists who felt the use of heavy machinery to build the fence threatened the environment.

However all obstacles now seem to have been overcome and, barring any last-minute hold-ups, the sanctuary should officially open soon.

Nevertheless it is just a small step in an uphill battle to save the Javan rhino. Officials in Ujung Kulon believe there were 51 of the rhinos in 2012, including eight calves, basing their estimate on images captured by hidden cameras.

They hope the true figure may be in the 70s and will have a new estimate once data for 2013 has been collated.

The case of the Javan rhinoceros highlights the plight of rhinos across the world, with other species also deemed to be under threat and some subspecies already believed to have died out.

Poaching in particular represents a severe threat, with rhino horns used in traditional Asian medicine fetching ever higher prices on the black market despite a lack of scientific evidence showing horn has any medicinal value.

In Indonesia, fewer than 100 of the critically endangered Sumatran rhinos remain; in 2011 the IUCN declared a rhino subspecies in western Africa extinct; and the group has said the Central African northern white rhino is “possibly extinct”.

Asia has stepped up efforts to save the region’s dwindling rhino populations, with representatives from several countries in October attending a conference on the issue on the western Indonesian island of Sumatra.

Countries represented, including Indonesia, Nepal and India, pledged to take steps to grow their rhino populations by three percent annually.

For the Javan rhino, its population already decimated, the threat is no longer poaching but food scarcity, illness and the risk of natural disasters in an archipelago where earthquakes and landslides are common, according to WWF Indonesia.

Despite the myriad threats, wildlife officials are hopeful the new sanctuary is a step in the right direction.

They have also been heartened by strong support from the local community.

Any effort to save the Great Father is applauded in an area where centuries-old beliefs persist and intertwine with the vast majority’s Muslim faith.

“We must do all we can to prevent the Javan rhino from becoming extinct,” Suhaya, a 67-year-old farmer who goes by one name, told AFP.

“Locals here believe that Abah Gede must not vanish from the face of the Earth, or disaster will befall us.”

Explore further: Asian rhino conference hailed as major step forward.

See also here.

Good African black rhino news


This video is called Saving the Black Rhino.

From Fauna & Flora International:

East Africa’s largest black rhino population hits 100

Posted on: 28.11.13 (Last edited) 28th November 2013

The birth of Ol Pejeta Conservancy’s 100th black rhino offers new hope for a species on the brink.

On a continent where rhino populations have been plagued for decades by illegal wildlife trade, and where poaching is just as much a threat today as it was three decades ago, the birth of a new black rhino shows there is still hope for this Critically Endangered species.

October saw the arrival of Ol Pejeta Conservancy’s 100th black rhino, making the Kenyan sanctuary’s black rhino population the most important in East Africa for conservation.

The conservancy, located in Kenya’s Laikipia County, has steadily built up its black rhino population from 20 individuals in the 1990s to the 100 it protects today. Its internationally-recognised rhino conservation programme has received key financial and technical support from Fauna & Flora International (FFI) since 2006.

The new birth has led to Ol Pejeta’s black rhinos being designated as the first Key I population in East Africa – a rating given by the IUCN’s African Rhino Specialist Group to identify populations of continental importance and help guide donor funds towards the most effective conservation efforts.

FFI’s Africa Programme Director, Dr Rob Brett, said, “As the largest population of eastern black rhino and one of the seven largest black rhino populations in Africa, Ol Pejeta’s Key I population is now in the top ranking in terms of continental importance.”

Illegal poaching – a persistent beast in our midst

Black rhino populations in Africa have been decimated from approximately 100,000 to just 2,500 individuals as a result of poaching in the 1970s and 1980s. Kenya alone saw its black rhino numbers fall below 400 in the 1980s – less than 0.02% of the original population.

With rhino horn worth more than their weight in gold and the threat of poaching rising, even animals in the most secure sanctuaries aren’t exempt from this threat. So how can we ensure that this species survives extinction?

According to Dr Brett, the strategy is all in the numbers.

“Boosting population growth through good management is the best strategy to buffer the effects of illegal poaching,” he explains. “If you don’t allow populations to grow as fast as they can, you’re left with fewer rhinos than if you failed to protect them from poaching in the first place.”

Conservation game-changers

Kenyan conservancies like Ol Pejeta have helped change the game of black rhino conservation by setting up fenced, guarded sanctuaries that both protect and boost remaining populations. Today, Kenya is home to roughly 80% of Africa’s 800+ eastern black rhinos.

As Kenya’s Rhino Coordinator with the Kenya Wildlife Service in the early 1990s, Dr Brett was responsible for the original stocking of the Ol Pejeta rhino sanctuary with 20 black rhinos translocated from Nairobi National Park and Solio Ranch.

“It’s fantastic to see how the consistently high standards of protection and biological management maintained at Ol Pejeta Conservancy over two decades have resulted in this milestone for black rhinos in East Africa,” said Dr Brett. “We’re demonstrating that you can increase black rhino numbers against a background of serious threats.”

The new calf was first sighted on 1 October with its 12-year-old mother, Njeri, and is yet to be sexed or named. It’s the Conservancy’s 9th rhino birth this year.

Are we out of the woods?

Ol Pejeta’s eastern black rhinos belong to one of only three remaining subspecies of black rhino in Africa. A fourth subspecies, the western black rhino, was declared extinct by the IUCN in 2011.

Work by organisations such as Ol Pejeta Conservancy, the Kenya Wildlife Service and FFI has helped to define a new narrative for black rhinos – one in which population growth overcomes losses from poaching. The key now will be ensuring that this trend continues to boost the species’ chances for survival.

Black rhinos are crucial components of East African savannah and woodland ecosystems, and hold enormous value for tourism industries like Kenya’s.

Although numbers have increased since the 1980s, there are still only around 5,500 black rhinos in the world. Ultimately, it is conservancies like Ol Pejeta – together with the conservationists, communities, tourists and donors who support them – that stand between this Critically Endangered species and extinction.

Written by Kristi Foster

Good African wildlife news


This video says about itself:

An elephant gives birth during our trip to Amboseli National Park in Kenya and in the half hour we are allowed to observe tries to coax the newborn to his feet.

From Wildlife Extra:

Amboseli is on the road to recovery

Census shows wildlife is making a strong recovery on Kenya-Tanzania border

October 2013: Numbers of elephants and other large mammals in Amboseli National Park on the Kenya-Tanzania border are recovering from the devestating drought that occurred here between 2008 and 2010, results from the first census since the disaster shows.

Kenya Wildlife Service and Tanzania wildlife authorities conduct both a wet and a dry aerial census every three years in the Amboseli West Kilimanjaro and Magadi Natron cross border landscape. This year’s counts showed that numbers have increased by 12 percent during the dry season, from 1,065 in 2010 to 1,193 in 2013; while during the wet season there was an increase of 35 percent, from 1,420 in 2010 to 1,930 in 2013.

The census aims to establish wildlife population, trends and distribution, and enhance knowledge on the relation between wildlife, habitat and human impacts. The information gathered from the census will be used to improve wildlife security and human-wildlife conflicts, and advise communities on developing community conservancies and ecotourism projects in key areas.

The census was a collaboration between the two countries and their agencies; the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI), Wildlife Division of Tanzania (WD) Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA).

KWS Director William Kiprono, said: “Amboseli is one of our success stories and we owe it to the local community, which has warded off possible poachers.”

October 2013. Efforts to conserve Kenya’s dwindling population of rhinos have been significantly boosted by WWF Kenya which handed over 1000 microchips and five scanners to the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS): here.

Sumatran rhino in Indonesian Borneo, video


This video says about itself:

Sighting of Critically Endangered Sumatran Rhino

4 Oct 2013

WWF Indonesia captured footage of the critically endangered Sumatran rhino. The footage — the first known visual evidence of the Sumatran rhino in Kalimantan — shows a rhino foraging for food and even captured a rhino indulging in a mud bath.

From Wildlife Extra:

Sumatran rhino confirmed in Kalimantan for the first time – Video

Indonesian Borneo rhinos confirmed for the first time for decades

October 2013. Using video camera traps, a joint research team that included members from WWF-Indonesia and the district authorities of Kutai Barat, East Kalimantan, have captured video of the Sumatran rhino in East Kalimantan. The footage of the rhinos, the rare Dicerorhinus sumatrensis, is the fruit of three months of research that collected footage from 16 video camera traps. The team is delighted to have secured the first known visual evidence of the Sumatran rhino in Kalimantan.

“This physical evidence is very important, as it forms the basis to develop and implement more comprehensive conservation efforts for the Indonesian rhinoceros,” said Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan upon unveiling the video at the opening of the Asian Rhino Range States Ministerial Meeting in Lampung, Sumatra. “This finding represents the hard work of many parties, and will hopefully contribute to achieving Indonesia’s target of three percent per year rhino population growth.” He emphasized that all parties need to immediately begin working together to develop a scientific estimate of all the remaining Sumatran rhino populations in Kalimantan, and to implement measures to conserve the species, particularly by strengthening the protection and security of the rhinos and their habitats.

Historical records

There were historical records of rhino in Kalimantan, but there have been few, if any sightings for at leat 50 years, though there have been occasional reports of footprints being seen, and a couple of reports of rhino being poached.

Wallowing video – Possibly several rhinos

The remarkable evidence from the camera traps includes footage of a rhino wallowing in the mud to keep its body temperature cool and a rhino walking in search of food. The rhino footage, captured on June 23, June 30 and August 3, is believed to show different rhinos although confirmation of this will require further study.

Nazir Foead, Conservation Director of WWF-Indonesia, said, “To ensure the protection of the species, a joint monitoring team from the Kutai Barat administration, Rhino Protection Unit, and WWF have been conducting regular patrols around the area. WWF calls on all parties, in Indonesia and around the world, to immediately join the effort to conserve the Indonesian rhinoceros”.

Commenting on the findings, the district head of West Kutai, Ismael Thomas SH. M. Si., noted “The local administration is fully supporting these conservation activities in West Kutai. We are drafting further laws to protect endangered animals — including these rhinos.”

The Asian Rhino Range States Ministerial Meeting is taking place in Lampung 2-3 October 2013, with participation of goverment representation from Bhutan, Indonesia, India, Malaysia, and Nepal.