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elephant in Namibia

endangered elephants in Namibia

In March 2022, a group of endangered elephants from the wild in Namibia landed in the UAE. The sale served to simulate an African safari experience in Emirati zoos. No benefits for the animals and Namibian locals are observed, and international protocols were violated.

Initially captured from their natural habitat in Kamanjab, north-western Namibia in early September 2021, these African elephants — an endangered species — spent six months in quarantine captivity. They were heavily sedated before being loaded into shipping containers, onto a plane, and transferred to their final destinations: the Sharjah Safari Park and Abu Dhabi’s Al-Ain Zoo. That was revealed by an exclusive investigation by The New Arab.

For the fun of Emirati

For Emirati rulers, the tourism-driven African theme of their wildlife parks apparently mattered more than the success of breeding programs. It was made clear to Al-Ain Zoo Director Mark Craig that there were no imports from Africa with a European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA)-accredited breeding program because past ones had not been successful. Arne Lawrenz, the EAZA Ex-situ Programme (EEP) coordinator for elephants, described the “philosophy” of the Emirati zoos as “I got the money, I want to have it. I don’t care if that works.” The outcome was a lucrative deal finalized through middlemen rather than a non-commercial exchange between zoos.

After months of back and forth between The New Arab and EAZA officials, during which TNA shared the information it obtained and questioned the role of the European association’s members in the elephant sale, the EAZA decided to terminate the Al-Ain Zoo’s membership on September 15. John Grobler, a Namibian journalist involved in this investigation, is planning to draw on this exposé to call for sanctions against Namibia at the CITES CoP 19 meeting in November, which is considered the world’s most important annual summit on wildlife trade.

Wildlife trafficking is the world’s fourth most lucrative illicit trade, worth an estimated USD 15 billion annually. Is this a case of illegal elephant trafficking? This exclusive investigation sheds light on the involvement of shadowy intermediaries, the violation of international conventions on endangered species, the mistreatment of elephants, and the lack of long-term benefits for conservation or the African communities affected by their presence.

Namibia claims endangered elephants are sold legally

Namibia has defended its sale of 22 wild endangered elephants to a zoo in the United Arab Emirates as legal and needed to prevent human-wildlife conflict. But conservationists call it a legal loophole and excuse to make money. That was reported by VOA.

The chief of Namibia’s Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism described the sale as a private transaction, between buyer and seller, which could not be influenced by the Namibian government.

Speaking at a press briefing, Teofilus Nghitila said the transaction is lawful and in accordance with CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

Michele Pickover is executive director of an animal welfare group, the EMS Foundation. She told VOA that Namibian authorities are being disingenuous by citing Article Three of the CITES, which deals with the export of endangered species from their natural habitats.

Pickover further said a legal opinion from the foundation’s attorneys said the transaction is illegal and that the main motivating factor for the export of the elephants is not to manage human-wildlife conflict but to make a profit.

 

ifad

ifad sslrp

All over the world, it’s small scale farmers who suffer severely from climate change. Effects can differ locally, but hit the poorest hardest. In South Sudan, IFAD set up a support program, investing almost 20 million US dollar which will affect some 40,000 local households of small-scale food producers.

A new US$19.9 million project will bring much needed help to 38,800 rural households facing the impacts of poverty, food insecurity and climate change. The South Sudan Livelihoods Resilience Project (SSLRP) will empower rural people to boost productivity, food security and nutrition, and resilience. At a time when the COVID-19 crisis and climate change could further push the 85 per cent of South Sudanese who live in rural areas into deeper poverty, SSLRP will target the most vulnerable, food insecure and small-scale producers, engaged in fishing, cropping and livestock production.

In South Sudan, poverty is higher in rural areas, with 80 per cent of the population living below the poverty line and depend on agriculture for their livelihood. Therefore agriculture is key to defeating poverty and hunger. However, South Sudan, a resource-rich country and the youngest nation in Africa, remains the third most fragile in the world.

Conflict and poverty

Its agriculture sector’s potential is not fully exploited to due to a long conflict and prolonged instability, and poverty and food insecurity remain challenges. Irrigation and water harvesting technologies are inadequate, and there are poor post-harvest and value addition facilities. Adverse weather conditions and flooding are also challenges to small-scale production and access to markets.

In SSLRP, 70 per cent of beneficiaries will be youth and 60 per cent will be women, including returnees, women-headed households and persons with disabilities, who will receive particular attention to facilitate their integration into agricultural production and rural economy activities.

In South Sudan, farmers continue to bear the brunt of climate change, and the project will address their need for access to drought tolerant and early maturing seeds, drought tolerant agroforestry fodder species, water conservation and management, afforestation, mangroves rehabilitation and conservation, solar and other renewable energy sources. SSLRP will also rehabilitate and construct water infrastructure, rural roads to give access to markets, and processing and storage facilities. To build and strengthen the capacity of the beneficiaries and the government during the implementation phases, SSLRP will partner with the African Development Bank (AfDB), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the World Bank.