Horrific footage of seal clubbing in Namibia – Video (The Guardian)

  • A colony of Cape Fur Seals at Cape Cross on th...
    A colony of Cape Fur Seals at Cape Cross on the Skeleton Coast, Namibia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Marine life

Horrific footage of seal clubbing in Namibia – video

This film, shot in 2011 but only just released by Earthrace Conservation, shows sealers clubbing Cape fur seals to death in a nature reserve. The seals are killed in an annual cull which the Namibian government says is needed to protect fish eaten by the seals, but campaigners say is carried out to sell fur and fat

  • Source: Earthrace Conservation
  • Length: 1min 18sec
  • theguardian.com
  • Thursday 4 July 2013

Watch & Read:  http://www.theguardian.com/environment/video/2013/jul/04/horrific-seal-clubbing-namibia-video

Dallas Safari Club Wants to Save Black Rhinos, So it´s Decided to Kill one

Logo of "Save the Rhino Trust", a Na...
Logo of “Save the Rhino Trust”, a Namibian conservation body (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dallas Safari Club Wants to Save Black Rhinos, So it’s  Decided to Kill One

Dallas Safari Club Wants to Save Black Rhinos, So it’s Decided to Kill One

There’s no disputing that black rhinos are in serious trouble. Despite  conservation efforts, sophisticated poaching operations continue to threaten  their numbers in Africa, which have dwindled to little more than 5,000.

The Dallas Safari Club (DSC) has come up with what it believes is a solution  to help save the species. In the name of conservation, DSC announced that,  during its January 2014 convention, it plans to auction off a special  permit that will give the winner a chance to kill one of Namibia’s 1,800  black rhinos. The DSC has obtained permission from both the Namibian government  and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the permit.

“The whole model of wildlife conservation, of sustainable-use conservation,  is that any resource, if it has a value, it will stay there, it will continue to  flourish,” DSC Executive Director Ben Carter told the Dallas Observer.

Carter expects the permit will go for $750,000 and that killing one black  rhino can be justified by donating the money it raises to the Conservation Trust  Fund for Namibia’s Black Rhino.

Unfortunately, giving a species economic value is exactly what got rhinos  into the predicament they’re in, in the first place. Rhino horns have a high  value on the black market, particularly in Southeast Asia, as ornaments and  medicine, even though science has proven they have no actual medicinal benefit.  According to Save the Rhino, poaching of black rhinos for their horns  has caused a 96 percent decline in their numbers from 65,000 individuals in 1970  to just 2,300 in 1993. Their numbers have risen slightly since then, but they’re  still critically endangered.

When asked why the group won’t do a photo safari instead, Carter said it’s  because people don’t pay for that.

While trophy hunting brings in one large sum at once, the total is small  compared to the revenue ecotourists and wildlife enthusiasts continuously  generate. Namibia does promote ecotourism, and tourists who take  advantage leave what they find for others to enjoy, instead of permanently  removing what would otherwise be an attraction that can be seen over and over  again and benefit local communities year-round.

Some areas are taking advantage of the benefits of ecotourism over hunting.  Zambia recently announced plans to ban the hunting of big cats because the  government concluded that they are worth more alive than dead. Zambia and  Botswana will be focusing on ecotourism instead of hunting, which is good news  for big cats and bad news for trophy hunters.

The fact that the FWS will allow someone to bring home a trophy also flies in  the face of true conservation efforts. The agency already came under fire earlier this year for allowing a  hunter to import a trophy from a black rhino for the first time in 33 years,  which raised concerns from conservationists about the precedent it would  set.

The move also raised concerns that people would stop supporting conservation  funds with donations if anyone who shows up with enough money and a gun can kill  a species they’ve been fighting to protect.

If you oppose trophy hunting under the guise of conservation, take action by  signing the Care2 petition. Tell the FWS that killing  rhinos to save rhinos is a ridiculous and unnecessary practice.

Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/dallas-safari-club-wants-to-save-black-rhinos-so-its-decided-to-kill-one.html#ixzz2iqL69K4P

Eating Poison Is the Black Rhinos´Secret to Desert Survival


Eating Poison Is the Black Rhinos’ Secret to Desert Survival

In the dry season, certain animals have turned to the deadly milk bush for sustenance.

August 19, 2013

Black rhinos are one African desert animal that has developed the superpower to consume poison. (Photo: Courtesy of Wilderness Safaris)

The desert has never been an easy place to make a living. There’s not usually much rain, and the vegetation is sparse and runty. Yet, when I was traveling not long ago in the arid landscape of Namibia, on the southwest coast of Africa, there was wildlife everywhere.

The animals seemed to have adapted to the desert in ways that flouted their very nature. One day, for instance, I watched as a giraffe spread out its front legs and canted its long neck down, not up, to browse on a stunted little thing known, unpromisingly, as the smelly shepherd’s tree.

Later, we stopped at one of the big clumps of milk bush that dot the landscape like haystacks in a Monet painting. The milk bush is actually a succulent, Euphorbia damarana, and it’s found only in this region.

Makumbi Swenyeho, a wildlife guide at Desert Rhino Camp, where I was staying, snapped open one of the pipe-like stems, which promptly bled a white latex liquid. It’s poisonous, he said, and effective enough that Bushmen hunters use it on the tips of their arrows. Contact with the skin can cause severe burning. According to local lore, 11 miners who had been brought into the area to work died just from eating food cooked over a fire built with milk bush branches.

Milk bush, a poisonous succulent, found only around the southwest coast of Africa. (Photo: Courtesy of Richard Conniff)

But against all odds, black rhinos have adapted to make it one of their staple foods out here in the desert. They also like the haystack shape of the milk bush so much that they sometimes climb aboard and fall asleep. Locals refer to the flattened remains as a “rhino mattress.”

Gemsbok, big antelopes with a pair of three-foot-long unicorn horns on their foreheads, fled from us up the hillsides, looking like fanciful creatures out of a medieval bestiary. “They can go five or six days without water,” said Swenyeho. That’s remarkable not just because the daytime temperature in the Kunene region where I was visiting can rise to 122 degrees Fahrenheit, but also because a gemsbok can weigh up to about 500 pounds.

Gemsbok grazing in Namibia. (Photo: Dana Allen/Courtesy of Wilderness Safaris)

Now a new study in PLOS One reveals how the gemsbok do it. Like other antelope, they are primarily grazers, and get much of their water from grass. But the authors, from the University of Namibia and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Berlin, wondered what happens in droughts and dry seasons, when the grasses wither away.

The authors note that deserts are likely to spread as a result of climate change, leading to a loss of plant production, and perhaps also to species extinction.

“We therefore asked how antelope species respond to changes in food availability in semi-desert ecosystems,” the authors write. To find out they took tissue samples from gemsbok that had been killed by hunters, and profiled the isotopes left in the flesh by the foods the gemsbok had eaten.

The result: Gemsbok, like black rhinos, turn to the milk bush for sustenance in the dry season. Those pipe-like branches and the milky white liquid make up as much as 40 percent of their diet. No one knows how either species has adapted to handle the potent toxins in the milk bush. But the new study implies that, as the climate changes, other species hoping to avoid extinction may just have to figure out how to eat poison, too.