How This Tanzanian Musician Made Ivory a National Campaign Issue

GR: Individual activists are important spark plugs for nature conservation and wildlife protection. Here’s a great example.

Shubert Mwarabu promotes the grassroots campaign to save Tanzania’s elephants at a festival in Iringa, in the southern highlands. PHOTOGRAPH BY MOHAMED MVUMBAGU, FEMINA HIP

“Until Shubert Mwarabu saw a photograph of an elephant with its face hacked and bloodied, poaching was an abstraction. He didn’t know anything about ivory trafficking, or even what ivory was used for. That was in 2011, and the Tanzanian musician was 25.

“The photo had a powerful impact on him, and from then on, he says, he threw himself into the fight to save Tanzania’s elephants.Mwarabu, who previously had organized clubs in primary schools for advocating against child abuse, now started school conservation clubs. He composed songs about protecting elephants. His first, called “Let’s Talk About Poaching,” or “Tupige Vita Ujangili” in KiSwahili, was played on Tanzania’s national radio station.

“His efforts have been noticed in Tanzania and beyond. The California-based nonprofit Generation Awakening, which works to support young environmental activists, appointed him their first country ambassador.

“In October 2013, Mwarabu launched a one-man campaign, naming it Me Against Poaching, to show that change can come from a single person.

“Now he’s leading the first organized citizen campaign to lobby the Tanzanian government to halt the ivory trafficking that has made this East African country ground zero in the slaughter of Africa’s elephants. Okoa Tembo wa Tanzania, “Save Tanzania’s Elephants,” succeeded in making conservation an election issue in the hotly contested presidential race, Mwarabu says.” –Maraya Cornell (How This Tanzanian Musician Made Ivory a National Campaign Issue)

WATCH on the original post: A video aired in 2013 shows investigative journalist Aidan Hartley attempting to gain access to a maximum-security warehouse in Tanzania that holds perhaps the world’s largest cache of raw ivory. Maintaining this stockpile is expensive. Moreover it can’t legally be sold. So why not follow Kenya’s example and burn it!

Armed herders invade Kenya’s most important wildlife conservancy

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Eastern Escarpment of the Great Rift Valley, Northern Kenya (Photo by the Luxury Safari Company)

GR: Combine global warming-forced drought with politics and you get indigenous people destroying nature so that they can live a richer life than their neighbors.

Drought in Samburu, to the north of Laikipia, has led to herders ranging further afield than normal. Photograph: Stephen Morrison/EPA

“Thousands of heavily-armed herders are invading conservancies, private properties and smallholdings in Laikipia, one of Kenya’s most important wildlife areas, as they search for pasture for their cattle.

“Over the past couple of weeks, about 10,000 nomadic herders, armed with automatic rifles and driving 135,000 cattle, have left a trail of destruction and chaos in the county, just three hours drive from Nairobi. The herders have indiscriminately killed wildlife – from elephants, giraffes, zebras and lions to family dogs. Residents have been injured, some seriously. At least one person has been killed, according to reports.

“This is just the latest but most serious clash between the herders and the residents of Laikipia, after a series of incursions dating back at least a few years. This time private game lodges, ranches and smallholdings owned by farmers are being targeted systematically. David Mwaweu, who owns a small farm, said that armed herdsmen passed his way as they marched towards private land where they have since been “stealing grass for their cows”.

“The wildlife deaths appear to be a tragic byproduct of the violence. At least six elephants have been killed in the last two weeks, and graphic photos of a decapitated zebra and a skinned buffalo, among many others, have been posted on Twitter and Facebook.“

An elephant carcase found at a Laikipia waterhole. The elephant had been shot. Photograph: Laikipia Farmers’ Association

“The elephants are being shot for several reasons,” said Max Graham, CEO of Space For Giants, a conservation organisation headquartered in Laikipia. “First, the herders are coming into conflict with elephants at water points, and shooting at them to scare them away. Second, some of these herders now in Laikipia, but not indigenous to the area, are traditionally hunters: to kill an elephant is a rite of passage in their culture.” –Adam Cruise, Armed herders invade Kenya’s most important wildlife conservancy | Environment | The Guardian

Lost Animals–Garry Rogers Goodreads Comment

Lost Animals: Extinction and the Photographic RecordLost Animals: Extinction and the Photographic Record by Errol Fuller

Garry Rogers rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was hard to read. As you pass from one tragedy to the next, you gather sadness like a rolling ball gathers snow. More than a simple chronicle, there is deep concern here. I recommend it.

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China’s rosewood craving cuts deep into Madagascar rainforests

“Prized timber is being felled illegally at increasing rate despite Cites ban and environmental outcryAnother day draws to its end in Antanandavehely, a peaceful village on the eastern slopes of the Masoala peninsula, the largest nature conservation…” (Source: www.theguardian.com).

GR:  Prosperous people in all countries are contributing to plant and animal extinctions.  International businesses, legal and illegal, are responsible for the marketing and delivery that produce profits for the wealthy minority. In all countries, the poor majority cuts the trees, picks the grapes, catches the fish, punches the cows, and loads the trucks.