Welcome to our Blog!
Welcome to our Blog pages! Here you’ll find our thoughts, opinions and occasional angry outbursts on the subjects that matter to us. So if you’re concerned about wildlife and any of the issues Care for the Wild deals with, please stay tuned!
From London to Nairobi – next week will see the single largest demonstration of awareness for the plight of elephants, highlighting the increasing risk to the survival of this majestic species. Organised by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Care for the Wild’s longest running partner, the International March for Elephants as part of their iworry campaign will be held in 15 cities of the world on Friday 4th October.
“Another ten minutes.” says tiger hunter Dale Singh, as he accompanies our Care for the Wild informer network team in India. We are inside the Biligiriranga Swamy Temple wildlife sanctuary and Dale is leading us to his tiger traps. We must remove them before they are activated by a tiger or leopard. Unfortunately, this also means we are quite literally, walking into the tiger’s den.
Setting off for the long drive to West Somerset, the car full of fresh vegetables from the allotment and some general supplies on a beautiful sunny August morning, I wondered what this day would bring – all intelligence said that the Government’s non-scientific badger cull would begin tonight in West Somerset and I was heading for Camp Badger.
Considering the percentage or two difference in our DNA, there is literally so much of ourselves in these beautiful primates. We, however, are the main cause of their decline in the wild, and we also seem to be working our way to similarly endanger the rest of our great ape cousins – a fact that I don’t feel like celebrating.
The world-leading sanctuary, and our longest running partner, where our beautiful adoption elephants are cared for recently received a visit from a very special guest. The new first lady of Kenya, Margaret Kenyatta showed her personal interest in the crisis of ivory poaching for elephants on her visit to meet some of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s orphans.
Right now we have around 35,000 wild African lions on the planet, at first glance this figure doesn’t sound so bad when you compare to their cousins the tiger – already down to 3,200 in the wild. However, if you look closer, this 35,000 number is split across 70 regions with 5 strongholds housing 56% of all lions whereas the other 44% consists of ever increasingly isolated populations. We are witnessing a downward trend in the wild, but with the absence of legal restrictions, both nationally and internationally, we are seeing the rise of hugely lucrative lion-based trades.
Right now there are people who care for wildlife and our environmental balance so much that they risk their lives to protect it. World Ranger Day celebrates, quite rightly, the front line defence against poaching of elephant, rhino, tiger and countless other species.
Here you know from the start that the killer is no ordinary suspect – it’s a whale, an Orca, and one of the performing stars of SeaWorld aquarium in Florida. From here, we relive the events leading up to the death, and it’s an engrossing, heart-wrenching ride which somehow leaves one feeling slightly grubbier as a human being, somewhat guilty, and completely in awe of the whales.
Last year while 25,000 elephants were slaughtered in Africa for their Ivory, over in China 70% of ivory carving buyers said they did not know elephants were killed for their tusks. With Care for the Wild and other international NGO backing, filmmaker Steve. O. Taylor of the Green Heart Films trilogy is working with a rising Chinese photographer, Laurel Chor to go undercover to expose the myths.
In both of these cases the killing of two protected species, in conflict with farming, has been argued as necessary to protect livelihoods. However, we question – how ‘last resort’ are these reactions, have preventative measures fully been explored and does this really make the case for slowly eliminating our few remaining British predators?
On the border of one no-go zone, currently under heavy KWS armed patrol to deal with a particularly prolific criminal group, the team discovered something very interesting – the herdsmen need to take cattle to wild grazing pastures in this sensitised region. They are not a target to poachers so do not face personal risk but in those pastures they are losing cattle to snares. By training and working with these herdsmen the teams recruited effective and invested community volunteers to de-snare a total of 62 snares in one month in an area that otherwise would be out of bounds.
On a week when ABTA launched their ‘global standards’ for animal welfare, aimed at protecting animals in tourism and something that we at Care for the Wild were involved in drafting, something else more sinister was also announced. It turns out that after a two year voluntary ban, Iceland has resumed commercial whaling – against international opinion and against the mandates of the International Whaling Commission, which Iceland doesn’t recognise.
Recently, in an interview with the Sunday Times, Defra Secretary Owen Paterson said that he would like to cull 100,000 badgers over a 25 year period. On the other hand, Mr Paterson states that: ‘we’d love to vaccinate but vaccination of cattle is at least 10 years away’. These two statements contradict each other so clearly – why 25 years if vaccines are only 10 years away?
The President should join forces with the British Prime Minister David Cameron and go to the G8 Summit in Northern Ireland in June calling on G8 members to pledge a small fraction of their aid budgets to fund the African Elephant Action plan and turn the tide against the ivory poachers
Whilst Max may have lost his sight he has an exceptional sense of smell – something his keepers know only too well. On the discovery of his escape at daybreak, the team cleverly used his dung as a familiar scent to guide him back home to his stockade where he was treated to a bottle of milk and some delicious bananas.
So on that note, it’s great to see some well-known people putting their best foot forward to help the cause! Organised by Asgar Pathan, Director of Care for the Wild Kenya, the Walk for Wildlife takes place in June, and features a gruelling 650km trek from Arusha in Tanzania and ending in the Marai Mara park.
This month the Tanzanian government officially announced a new conservation area – good news surely? However the earmarked area is home to the Maasai nomadic pastoralists – a community of people who have already squeezed into smaller and smaller areas in the name of conservation, in this case in the form of fee-paying tourists for trophy hunts.
The team, many of whom were first time marathon runners, wore black and white running vests proclaiming ‘Cure Not Kill’. The message was obviously noticed – as I found out myself! Waiting at the finishing line, I draped one of our Cure Not Kill tee-shirts over the barrier near the finishing line. After a while, a man in an official looking tracksuit and headphones came running towards me: “Take that down, it’s a political message!”
How do you solve a problem like a ‘killer’ tiger? Normally, there would be no chance of that tiger being allowed to roam free – death or captivity would be the inevitable ending. But some amazing work going on in India may have found an alternative.
CITES is over for another three years. More species have been protected, others have been unprotected, and a few are no longer with us. How did CITES 2013 rate? Read our Report Card and our blogs on all the big issues.
If you’re looking for our press releases from CITES please click here.
The tigers were way too placid – as a visitor I was in no place to say whether they were drugged or not, and personally I’m unsure if they were – I just think they were completely emotionally broken.
You’re on a walking holiday in the Lake District, enjoying the wildlife and the greenery and walking through a field with cows and bulls grazing. Then a man appears with daggers, swords and a cloak and starts stabbing the bull. What would you do? One thing I’m pretty certain of is that no one would go closer, sit down, watch the suffering, and then dig out £20 of your hard earned cash and give it to the man causing the pain and suffering.
Chinese Year of Marine Tourism? Would now be a good time to mention the 73 million sharks killed annually for shark fin soup for the Chinese market, or the 150 million sea horses killed per year for Traditional Chinese Medicine???
The problem of bovine TB is one such clash, and a heartbreaking one for farmers. But surely, like with the elephants and tigers, we can find a solution that doesn’t involve wiping out everything in our path.