EU About to Lift the Ban on Baby Elephants Captured for Zoos and Circuses


This is how elephants are often “trained” after they have been captured in the wild and taken from their families.

Will EU officcials allow baby elephants to be taken from their families and tortured for profit?

According to writer Jane Dalton of The Independent, the European Union may vote in favour of exporting wild baby elephants from Africa to zoos worldwide. This is a act that ElephantRescue.Net condemns as sick and void of all basic responsibility.

If the ban is lifted, baby elephants will be sentinced to a life of unspeakable misery for the remainder of their lives. They may suffer horriblly every day for the next 70 years.

Dalton says, “The creatures, many of whom survive long journeys to captivity, mostly in China, have been filmed being beaten and kicked, and displaying clear signs of stress, according to animal-welfare groups.

“Earlier this week at the world’s biggest wildlife conference, governments including African elephant-range states, backed an end to the practice of capturing the youngsters, mostly in Zimbabwe, to be sold to zoos and circuses.”

Dalton continues, “Before the vote at committee stage, EU representatives spoke out against the proposed ban, telling delegates they would oppose it.

“Representing 28 countries including the UK, the EU vote carries great weight in shaping the rules of the Convention of International Treaties of Engangered Species (CITES), which is the world’s watchdog for wildlife trade.

“Asked by The Independent why it opposes a ban the EU has yet to respond.” There is speculations that the EU is under pressure from the Europe’s zoos that want to continue to import elephants to attract zoo visitors.

Dalton says that according to the wildlife charity Born Free Foundation, between 1990 and 2015, at least 1,774 wild African elephants were reported to have been exported for captive use.

Chief Executive of Born Free, Howard Jones said: “We face a knife-edge decision on the future security of African elephants and the rights of elephant families not to be hunted, or mothers killed while their babies are kidnapped for live trade to captivity in China, Russia and any other country prepared to pay. It can’t be right, it isn’t right, now or ever, and the people of Europe must speak out against this horror and pull their leaders back from the edge.”


Poachers Are Invading Botswana, Last Refuge of African Elephants



An elephant killed by poachers is left to rot in Botswana.

 New data leave little doubt that the illegal ivory trade has reached the country, scientists say.

By Rachel Nuwer

July 1, 2019

In September, conservationists in Botswana discovered 87 dead elephants, their faces hacked off and tusks missing. Poaching, the researchers warned, was on the rise.

The news had international repercussions. Botswana had been one of the last great elephant refuges, largely spared the poaching crisis that has swept through much of Africa over the past decade.

The country is home to some 126,000 savanna elephants, about a third of Africa’s remaining population — plentiful enough that they are increasingly in conflict with villagers in the northern part of the country.

Following the announcement in September, Botswana’s ministry of the environment denied that there was a poaching crisis of any sort, and in May the government lifted a ban on trophy hunting that had been in place for five years, provoking worldwide condemnation.

Even some scientists wondered whether the illegal ivory trade really had found its way to Botswana. Now, the researchers have published data in the journal Current Biology that seems to confirm their initial findings.

Based on aerial surveys and field visits, the authors report that fresh elephant carcasses in Botswana increased by nearly 600 percent from 2014 to 2018.

Samuel Wasser, a conservation biologist at the University of Washington in Seattle who was not involved in the research, said that “there’s no question” about the authors’ findings.

“The work was exceptional in every way,” he said. “There were so many features they carefully and meticulously documented. And they also looked at alternative hypotheses, and none were supported by data.”

Such careful documentation of poaching is sorely needed across Africa, Dr. Wasser added: “This is an example of how to do it right, and hopefully others will learn from it.”

The survey was led by Michael Chase, founder and director of Elephants Without Borders, a nonprofit conservation organization based in Kasane, Botswana.

Squeezed into a fixed-wing Cessna, Dr. Chase and his colleagues crisscrossed 36,300 square miles of habitat, counting and photographing all living and dead elephants they spotted 300 feet below.

They recorded 156 carcasses they believed to be poached, clustered at five hot spots.

One criticism of the earlier report had been that an elephant’s cause of death is impossible to determine from the air. Scott Schlossberg, a data analyst at Elephants Without Borders and co-author of paper, disagreed: “When an elephant’s face has been chopped off, you can often see that from the plane.”

But to assuage such concerns, he and his colleagues used a helicopter to make field visits to 148 carcasses. About half were fresh, the rest at least a year old.

With close inspections, the researchers confirmed that recent carcasses were exclusively poached animals; roughly 80 percent of the older carcasses had been poached, as well. Older bulls accounted for all of the remains that the scientists were able to age, indicating that poachers, for now, are targeting individuals with the largest tusks.

The findings revealed a 593 percent increase in the number of freshly killed carcasses, compared to survey results from 2014. Extrapolating the numbers, the researchers estimated that a minimum of 385 elephants had been poached in Botswana between 2017 and 2018.

“Those scientists and colleagues who cast doubt on our initial findings I hope now find that the science and evidence that we describe in our paper is indeed convincing,” Dr. Chase said.

The results of this “state of the art” study speak for themselves, putting to rest any doubt that Botswana has a poaching problem, said Keith Lindsay, a collaborating researcher at the Amboseli Trust for Elephants, a nonprofit research group in Kenya, who was not involved in the study.

“The few people who did speak against Mike’s original results were researchers who have a history working in Botswana and who want to be seen as supporting the government,” Dr. Lindsay said. “My own interpretation is that they wanted to support their future position in Botswana.”

While 400 elephants killed out of a population of 126,000 does not sound like a lot, the study authors warn that the situation could quickly escalate. Small increases in poaching — similar to the rates now being seen in Botswana — have preceded dramatic elephant declines in other places.

“Poaching doesn’t go away on its own,” Dr. Schlossberg said. “Based on scenarios from other countries, it starts small and gets bigger and bigger.”

From 2009 to 2014, Tanzania’s elephant population fell by 60 percent, while Mozambique’s Niassa National Reserve lost 78 percent of its elephants over the same period. The illegal trade in ivory is driven by nearly insatiable demand in China and elsewhere in Asia.

Conservationists have been warning for years that poaching would eventually reach Botswana, said Mary Rice, executive director of the Environmental Investigation Agency, a nonprofit group in London that has worked to combat illegal ivory trade for decades.

“My feeling is that this has been a long time coming and that Botswana is still not taking the information seriously,” she said. “A country won’t be judged by the fact that it has a poaching problem, but it will be judged by how it responds to the problem.”

At the end of June, poachers killed at least three more elephants with poison, the government confirmed. More than 500 endangered vultures that fed off the carcasses also died — the largest mass poisoning of vultures in Africa, Dr. Chase said.

Arrest records and seizure data indicate that poachers behind the recent elephant killings in Botswana mostly originate from Zambia. But while organized criminal networks may be established outside Botswana, Ms. Rice pointed out, poachers cannot operate in isolation.

“Usually there’s local support,” she said.

For rural villagers in Botswana, the temptation may be rising. Unsafe conditions in neighboring countries have caused elephants to gather in the north, increasing conflict and breeding animosity, said Neil Fitt, an independent conservation consultant in Botswana.

Flavia Dies After 43 Years of Solitary Confinement


Separated from her family and held in solitary confinement for 43 years.

Flavia’s life of misery is only one example of why ElephantRescue.Net stands against the $16 billion dollar zoo industry.

The Sun reports that “The female Asian elephant arrived at the zoo in the city of Cordoba in southern Spain when she was three years old, in 1976.

“She was euthanised on March 1 after suffering deteriorating health over the past few years. And reports said the elephant was also suffering from deep depression.

“The Local ES said Flavia was known as the “saddest elephant in the world” as she was separated from her herd when young.

“She was at the heart of numerous campaigns to stop elephants being kept in captivity. Amparo Pernichi, environmental spokeswoman for Corboba, said it was “sad news” for the zoo – particularly those who cared for her. She added: “In the last six months, the physical state of Flavia got worst, but especially in the last two weeks.” Pernichi said when the elephant was struggling to stand up, she was initially given a sedative.

“Once Flavia had fallen asleep, she was given another injection to euthanise her, to end her suffering.

“Animalist Party Against Mistreatment of Animals (PACMA) said they had been working to save Flavia from captivity until her very last moments. Experts from Belgium and France, who saw Flavia in January, said she had lived all of her life in confinement and solitude and was a symbol of the sad life of animals in zoos.”

The Fate of The African Elephant Depends on Botswana


President Masis addresses the United Nations.

As Botswana goes, so goes the African Elephant.

It’s simply a matter of numbers. With a herd numbering approximately 350,000 members, Botswana has more Africa elephants than any other country. That is about half of all African elephants. Therefore, the government’s policy of protecting their elephants will largely determine the fate of this magnificent species.

Although it has been banned for many years, will the Republic of Botswana once again allow hunting? Will the Botswana Defense Force be allowed to continue their deadly vigilance against poachers?

We are discussing these issues with His Excellency, Mr. David Newman, Botswana’s ambassador to the United States with whom we have a good working friendship.

Botswana May Let Hunters Kill Elephants

Botswana’s new president may introduce culling to decrease their elephant herds.

According to South Africa’s news24, “Botswana launched a review on Wednesday of a 2014 hunting ban imposed to reverse a decline in elephants and other wildlife.

“The prohibition on big game sports hunting was the work of ex-president Ian Khama, a keen conservationist, to shield species decimated by hunting and habitat loss.

“But lawmakers from the ruling Botswana Democratic party have been lobbying to overturn the ban, especially on elephant hunting, saying populations have become unmanageably large in parts – placing the animals on a collision course with humans.

“Khama’s successor, President Mokgweetsi Masisi, launched a month of nationwide consultations on Wednesday that could ring in the end of the ban.

“Consultations with different interest groups, in the tourism hub of Maun, ‘commence this afternoon,’ Rural Development Minister Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi told AFP.

“‘President Masisi is scheduled to meet researchers. Tomorrow he will address a kgotla (traditional gathering).’

“The review comes five months after Khama relinquished power to Masisi, and just days after a wildlife charity said about 90 elephants were slaughtered for their tusks in Botswana in recent months.

“Masisi’s government rejected Elephants Without Borders’ claims of a pachyderm massacre.

“With its unfenced parks and wide open spaces, landlocked Botswana has the largest elephant population in Africa, at over 135 000.”

Botswana Continues to Defend Elephants Against Poachers


President Masisi

Botswana’s new president, Mokgweetsi Masisi, has not changed the nation’s position of defending elephants and all wildlife from poachers.

Although it has been bandied about the media that President Masisi is not tough on poachers, ElephantRescue.Net has learned from the most reliable and trusted sources within the government of Botswana that this is pure rhetoric.

These are the facts.

1. Botswana’s anti-poaching teams were outfitted with arms of war, which they were technically forbidden by law to use. This caused a diplomatic spat with neighboring Namibia. It seems the Botswana Defence Force anti-poaching teams gunned down a considerable number of alleged poachers believed to be Namibian nationals. President Masisi merely sought to address this issue and proceed with lawful practices.

2.The Botswana Defense Force anti-poaching teams have not been disarmed. They are simply not using weapons of war at this time.

3. It was alleged that 87 elephants were killed because the anti-poaching teams were disarmed. The carcasses of the elephants in question, however, died of natural causes or were killed over a period of two years.

These false allegations have been an affront to the famed members of the Botswana Defense Force, one of the most respected armed forces in all of Sub-Sahara Africa. It has caused alarm among wildlife conservationists around the world. And, it has wrongfully questioned the integrity of President Masisi.

One can’t help but wonder if these aspersions are nothing more than political innuendos meant to cast of shadow of doubt about the new president’s leadership. Without further speculation about this, we may rest assured that Botswana’s stance against poachers remains unchanged.


How The New Masisi Administration Affects to Our Rescue Efforts


The new president may have a different approach to protecting the elephant herds of Botswana.

For the last two years, we have fought to save 100 elephants in South Africa from bing shot dead by hunters. We were sanguine about rescuing them because of our superb relationship with the Republic of Botswana. Now that may have all changed.

The former president, His Excellency Serêtsê Khama Ian Khama, was sympathetic to our rescue efforts and helped us establish rapport at the highest levels of the his government. Because of his generous assistance, we were able to arrange for a new range land within Botswana where the elephants would be relocated. The precise latitude and longitude were determined. Logisitcs were being considered and planned. The finest wildlife team members possible were being assembled; these were professionals with decades of experience in the translocation mega fauna.

But with the new administration came new minsters and officials. And so, all of our contacts are gone.

This is significant because of a dynamic called TIA (This Is Africa). Even in Botswana, the finest country in all of Africa, TIA means that everything takes more time and effort than in non-African nations. Moreover, His Excellency, President Masisi may not want another 100 elephants in Botswana where the overpopulation is often problematic.

Thus, after two years of hard work and diplomacy, it appears that we must start again from scratch.