Field Research and Conservation in Africa
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SAVE THE ELEPHANTS
… Africa, after years of progress in protecting its wildlife, is again in crisis mode. In 2011 alone, an estimated twenty-five thousand African elephants were killed for their ivory; this comes to almost seventy a day, or nearly three an hour. Since then, an additional forty-five thousand African elephants—about ten per cent of the total population—have been slaughtered. Long thought to be one species, African elephants probably belong to two. Forest elephants, which are slightly smaller than bush elephants, live only in West and Central Africa. Their numbers have plunged by more than sixty per cent just since 2002, and if this trend continues they could be gone entirely within a decade.
Read the complete article in The New Yorker
By Sue LIoyd Roberts
Record numbers of rhinos are being poached and killed in South Africa for their horn. Many of those horns end up being sold illegally for their supposed medicinal properties—in countries such as Vietnam.
Read the complete article in BBC News
A push to stop poaching and save elephants from extinction
Feb 8th 2014 | NAIROBI | From the print edition
SIX tonnes of elephant tusks and ivory trinkets were destroyed in a tarmac crusher in the factory city of Dongguan in China on January 6th. Most of the 33-tonne stockpile of Hong Kong—home to many of the world’s most avid buyers of ivory—as well as those of several European countries will soon meet the same fate. In the past few years ivory has also been destroyed in the United States, Gabon, Kenya and the Philippines.
Read the complete article in The Economist
Scientists believe the group is one of the last chimp 'mega-cultures', sharing a unique set of customs and behaviour
Read the complete article in The Guardian
In this year’s IUCN Conference of the Parties meeting it was stated that IUCN recognized the threat to cheetahs posed by the illegal pet trade. As explained in previous blogs, our fecal detection dog project will assist in gathering necessary information about the region of origin using genetic markers. Currently it is not known if the confiscated cubs originate in Kenya or if our country is the passing route for cheetahs from other countries.
In the past three months, Cosmas has completed two driving game counts in the Salama study area. Peter Barber returned to Kenya from Canada to visit different areas of Kenya and to assist ACK. Peter has assisted with driving and walking game counts for the last several years. In the May game count Cosmas and Peter saw a serval cat on the Kima ranch – this is the first serval seen during a game count since 2008. We are grateful to Peter for all of his support including game count driving!
Our research has been affiliated with KWS since 2001. Each year we submit study results, achievements and data to KWS to assist with cheetah conservation decisions. In the field we work closely with the Senior Warden, Community Warden, Science Officer and Area Rangers. During project planning we consult with specialists in the topic of our proposed study. Senior research offices read through and approve proposals, and authorize our work. It was our pleasure to host two of the senior officers to our Salama research site in late March. It is the goal of Dr.
Deanna has also been assisting in setting up the laboratory portion of the scat prey hair analysis. We hired Viola Rono as the laboratory technician. Viola had training in Biology and Micro-biology and had previously conducted an internship with the KWS laboratory through the veterinary department. Viola has perfected the mounting methodology for the hair analysis and has developed the guide key that will allow us to determining the prey selection of cheetahs from the 200 scats collected in Salama and Athi Kapiti in 2012.
Chai and Cujo are not the first dogs trained by ACK staff and students. In 2008-2010 we trained my pet dog Ginger. A PhD candidate, Chifuyu Beckett (Hawksby) worked diligently to train Ginger. However, Ginger had a very strong bond to me, and the changes in ownership/training caused stress to both Ginger and to me. Ginger is also easily distracted by squirrels, monkeys and rats… thus her focus on the tack of scat detection would often take a sideline.
It has been a very busy couple of months for Action for Cheetahs in Kenya. We welcomed the return of Deanna Russell to our field team. Deanna will volunteer with us for three months as a dog trainer, learning about methods of detection training. Deana is working with two young dogs. The first is Chai, a rescue dog from the Kenya Society for the Protection of Animals. Chai had a moderate play drive, but because of an immediate bond with Deanna, we decided to try using her and build the play drive.
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