Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Monarch Butterflies in Crisis

The Monarch Butterfly needs your help!


Monarchs need your help NOW! This year AGAIN marks the lowest number of over wintering Monarchs in the Mexican mountains in the last 20 years...and we have only known about their over wintering sites for a little more than 20 years!. There are 97% fewer than at their recorded height and 50% less than there were last year. This is a back to back 50% decline in their overwintering numbers. Researchers are worried we may lose a large part of their migration this year if immediate action is not taken and severely threaten all Monarchs if the pattern continues.
This is a crisis situation! In 1991, over 75% of the wintering Monarchs from North America froze to death in Mexico as a result of three days of rain and sub-freezing conditions. Their numbers showed some recovery but now there is a nationwide shortage of milkweed. Freak weather patterns destroy habitat and kill millions of helpless Monarchs. But these natural events are not the only challenges that face the Monarch. Pesticide application and genetically modified crops cover important parts of the Monarch's migratory path and serve as killing fields for any Monarch that pass through these millions of acres of toxins and biological agents that kill them and their young. They are unintended casualties in a war to protect crops. Are our Monarchs worth our efforts to protect? Do we even know the total effects on our environment from the use of these agents? The Monarch habitat must be protected now to ensure their survival, before we see the day when this miracle of nature is only a memory. The Monarchs need your help NOW. Please plant seeds and ensure their survival. A Milkweed in every yard!

What is killing the Monarch Butterflies?

This slide was from my recent presentation “Wildlife Around the World – Wildlife in Peril” where I summarized so many dangers facing today’s wildlife.
The causes for the decline of monarchs can be summarized briefly in below’s slide.  The role of the nicotinoid pesticides in the decline of butterflies has been scientifically established, and its effecting not only the monarchs but also bees and other pollinators in an alarming rate. 

So how does the lowly milkweed help the Monarch Butterflies?

When an adult Monarch is ready to lay her eggs, she only selects milkweed to deposits one egg on each plant.  This insures that the evolving larvae will have enough leaves to feed on and to thrive before the metamorphosis from larvae to a beautiful butterfly.

How can you help?

Plant a milkweed today and change your backyard into a monarch friendly environment.
Plant native plants that attract not only butterflies but also bees and other pollinators, e.g. lavender.

If you can’t find milkweed in your nursery, please ask for an order of milkweed or contact www.livemonarch.com and order your milkweeds online.

In California and the West coast, the following milkweed species will thrive:

Asclepias curassavica

Asclepias-curassavica - This is hands down the favorite egg laying and food plant of Monarchs. This is the only type we offer as pregrown plants. fast growing produces as much as 1,000 seeds per plant to save and share. Use as a backup resource

Asclepias-speciosa - A beautiful plant up to 4' tall with large thick leaves that feed many Monarchs. Will survive winters and a prolific seed producer. The seed we supply are ready to plant no special "stratification" necessary. <14 day="" germination.="" span="">

I wish you many beautiful monarch butterflies in your lovely garden,
And thank you for helping nature!

Til next time,

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Water-Precious Commodity

Here is some food for thought:

Meat Is the Huge Water Waster

How much water it takes to create a cheeseburger. 
By Mike Sage

Poster by Michelle Theis, Angeles Chapter, Sierra Club

The drought hits.  We are advised to save water by obeying the standard water-saving tips:  reduce lawn watering, install low-flow showerheads, take shorter showers, turn the faucet off while brushing teeth or shaving, etc.
But the one thing a person can do that is far more water-saving than all other methods combined -- going vegan (eating a plant-based diet) -- is seldom if ever mentioned by the media as a way to save water.
Meditate on this stunning statement from National Geographic: "On average, a vegan, a person who doesn't eat meat or dairy, indirectly consumes nearly 600 gallons of water per day less than a person who eats the average American diet."
The average indoor water use per person is about 70 gallons per day.  Thus, even if you totally eliminated your indoor water use (never take a shower, never brush your teeth, never flush the toilet, never wash clothes or dishes, etc.) and thereby save 70 gallons per day, that would be only 12% of the amount of water you would save each day by being vegan.
Plant-based foods have a much smaller water footprint than animal products.  Their production requires far fewer gallons of water per pound of food. 
Water required to produce one pound (1 lb.) of:
  • Beef = 2000 gallons of water
  • Pork = 576 gallons of water
  • Chicken = 468 gallons of water
  • Soybeans = 206 gallons of water
  • Wheat = 138 gallons of water
  • Corn = 108 gallons of water
Click here for source

Why does production of meat require so much more water than the production of plant foods?  There are several reasons:
  • The water that an animal drinks constitutes only 1% of the water footprint of the meat that will come from that animal.  
  • A farm animal eats plants for most of its life; an enormous amount of water is required to grow all of the food that the animal eats.  for source, click here.
  • Most of the food that animals eat is not used to build body mass; rather, it is used to fuel bodily activity and to maintain bodily functions (heartbeat, breathing, eating, digestion, the functioning of all organs, and the support of chemical reactions that occur in the body).
  • Animal digestion is nutritionally inefficient, resulting in partially-digested food being excreted that still contains nutrients.  Click here for more info.
  • Although much of an animal’s body is inedible (bone, cartilage, teeth, horns, hooves, hair, hide), water-fed plants were required to build and support all of those body parts.
Growing plants to be fed to billions of animals for humans to eat is vastly more wasteful and environmentally destructive than growing plants for people to eat directly.  Plants contain all the protein that humans need and no cholesterol.  Forests are being destroyed to grow crops to be fed to meat animals and to provide pasture for livestock.

Reduce your water footprint, be merciful to animals, improve your health, and fight habitat destruction by shifting your diet from unhealthful meat to delicious grains, nuts, seeds, vegetables, and fruits.  A useful guide for making an easy transition can be found here

Author Bio:  Mike Sage is a Bay Area native, a Mathematics graduate of UC Berkeley, a husband, father, grandfather, and software engineer.  Mike lives with his wife in Santa Clara and is active in his church; he is a Life Member (1983) of Sierra Club, Loma Prieta Chapter.  Mike would welcome your comments, which you may e-mail to him at mksage@gmail.com

Til next time,

Saturday, April 19, 2014

PAWS - Gypsy's Story

Come to PAWS and Meet Gypsy! 

Gypsy at PAWS

Gypsy was born in 1967.

Nicholas (PAWS'Asian Bull Elephant) and his surrogate mother, GYPSY, arrived in Galt on April 2, 2007. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Hawthorn Corporation negotiated a consent agreement which permitted the transfer of the two Asian elephants to PAWS. The two elephants were closely bonded and their devotion to each other was indescribably touching. They shared food, rumbled, chirped and remained in close proximity to each other at all times.

When we accepted the responsibility of caring for Nicholas & Gypsy, we knew that dealing with the relationship between the young male and his older female companion would be challenging. When Nicholas matured and his hormones became an issue, separation would be inevitable.

When it came time to separate the two, on January 13, 2009, we knew it was the end of an era, a time when the young, captive born male no longer needed a surrogate mother. Gypsy had provided security, safety and wisdom to him as long as she could. In the wild, he would be sent out to follow older bulls and learn the ritual that all elephants understand.

Wanda at PAWS

We moved Gypsy down the hill to join the other Asian elephants where she's been given a much deserved rest and retirement after the daunting task of raising a young bull. When Gypsy moved to the Asian barn, she gravitated to Wanda immediately. When she made her first trips out to the habitat, she stayed close to Wanda, and since that time the two have remained almost inseparable.

Several weeks after Gypsy's move we were reviewing 20 year old circus videos, searching for footage of Ruby when she performed in the circus. What we found was astonishing — no footage of Ruby, but we did find Nicholas’ father Tunga, Gypsy, Gypsy’s calf (Brat, now deceased), and Wanda!

Sadly, circus elephants have little solace in their lives except for the comfort of other elephants, and they never forget old friends, even after more than 20 years. Gypsy and Wanda — best friends forever.

Gypsy was born in 1967 and after many years performing in circuses, she now enjoys the freedom to roam with her friend Gyspy on the large acreage of the PAWS sanctuary where they both will live out her live in peace.


You can come and meet Gyspy, Wanda and all the 11 African and Asian elephants at PAWS during an unforgettable day at PAWS.  Learn about the plight of captive elephants and see for yourself how PAWS has created a true sanctuary for these animals.

Please see all details here.

Til next time, 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Elephant Sanctuary-Hohenwald-Tennessee

If Shirley Could Talk...

If Shirley could talk, what a story would she tell?  Would she remember her family in Sumatra?  Would she tell of hardship and about the fire on a ship that she escaped from?  Would she carry anger at the humans that ripped her from her family, that made her perform most of her life that deprived her of the company of other elephants?  Shirley has had a whirlwind of a life.  From being caught in the wilds of Sumatra to ending at her forever home here at TES, her life has been a true inspiration of perseverance.

Shirley, now ~66 years of age, now lives in Hohenwald, Tennessee, at a The Elephant Sanctuary (TES) with large acreage of land where she has green grass under her feet and a warm barn to sleep in at night.  Several years ago she was reunited with Jenny, another performing elephant after 22 years apart.  Shirley and Jenny were together at a circus when Jenny was just a calf and Shirley in her 20ties, her surrogate mother for a short time.  When they were reunited in Hohenwald, the remarkable reunion was documented – you can see the video here – and now they inseparable while they live out their life at the sanctuary.

Below is the biography of Shirley with all its twist and turns.  But only recently, her remarkable rescue from a burning ship in Nova Scotia surfaced with the pictures taken in 1963 - more than 50 year ago.  A truly remarkable story of her life of perseverance at the hand of humans.

As I contemplate how we humans treat these highly intelligent and sensitive elephants in captivity under often the most unnatural conditions, we need to ask ourselves what rights do we have to impose such a life?  With excellent documentaries – films – videos available, with increased travel to the lands and forests that elephants call their home, it is time to stop keeping elephants and large wildlife species captive and abuse them just for the entertainment of our human species.

I invite you to read the below biography of Shirley and to watch the remarkable video of Shirley’s and Jenny’s reunion here.

Jenny, at TES



Born: 1948
Birthplace: Sumatra
Birth status: wild born

• Captured from the wild: 1953
• Life before the Sanctuary: performed for twenty-four years with the Carson and Barnes Circus, then lived at the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo for another twenty-two years
• Reason for coming to the Sanctuary: crippled and living alone
• Shirley moved to the Elephant Sanctuary July 6, 1999

Height: Nearly 9 feet
Favorite Food: Apples

Shirley is our oldest elephant, wild caught in Sumatra over fifty years ago.
Her back right leg was broken thirty years ago when she was attacked by a fellow circus elephant. She is missing a large section of her right ear as result of a fire which not only injured her ear but also left several scars on her back, side and feet.

Hohenwald, Tennessee (June 9, 1999) - Shirley, a rare Asian elephant who has spent most of her life entertaining audiences all over the world, will retire July 6 to the Elephant Sanctuary, the nationally renowned, natural-habitat pachyderm refuge located in Hohenwald, TN.

"We're overjoyed that after such a storied career Shirley will be joining our other elephants," said Carol Buckley, founder and executive director of The Elephant Sanctuary. "Yet, making way for her arrival will be both emotionally and financially demanding."

"The transport and care of an elephant like Shirley doesn't come cheap" she adds. "We'll need the help of our supporters and volunteers, as well as new sources, to provide a seamless transition to this new chapter of Shirley's life."

Shirley was fifty-one when she was retired to The Elephant Sanctuary. She has quite a colorful past. At age five, she was captured from the wilds of Asia and was purchased by the Kelly–Miller Circus. In 1958, while the circus was traveling through Cuba, Fidel Castro seized power. Shirley and the entire circus were held captive by Castro's forces for several weeks before being set free. Unfortunately that was not the end of Shirley's saga. A few years later, her circus ship was docked in Nova Scotia, when a fire broke out in the engine room. This incident caused the ship to sink, killing two animals. Luckily, Shirley was rescued without harm.

Story and photos about the ship fire in Nova Scotia.  -- Pl scroll below!

In 1975, at age twenty-eight, while performing for the Lewis Brothers Circus, Shirley was attacked by another elephant. Her right hind leg was seriously broken. It was not set and healed poorly, causing everyday life to be somewhat difficult. Regardless of her injury Shirley was forced to perform in the circus for nearly two more years before being sold to the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo in Monroe, LA.

Usually female elephants live in-groups, but for safety concerns related to her injury, Shirley was kept apart and lived alone at the zoo for twenty-two years. According to the Sanctuary Founding Director Carol Buckley, the Zoo was generous to Shirley by providing her with a loving environment, but the time came when the Zoo felt Shirley could lead a healthier life in a natural habitat. That is when the Zoo contacted The Elephant Sanctuary.

"We knew we could trust The Elephant Sanctuary to offer Shirley the kind of life she deserves," explained The Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo Director, Jake Yelverton. "It was in Shirley's best interest to retire her to a place that was more suitable."

"It goes to show after everything Shirley has been through, what survivors these animals really are," said Buckley.

Shirley moved to the Sanctuary July 6, 1999 joining Tarra, Jenny and Barbara, the three residents.

September 9, 2003
This dear note was sent by a three year old after he met Shirley on our site.
Dear Shirley:
I will give you ice cream on a plate.
I will give you one motorcycle. ONLY ONE!
I will kiss you on your ear.

Love Cyrus

Shirley at TES

[ Ref: http://www.elephants.com/aboutSanctuary.php]

Story and photos about the ship fire in Nova Scotia.

Story and photos about the ship fire in Nova Scotia.

Shirley — A Place in History
Shirley was one of dozens of circus animals rescued from a vessel destroyed by fire in Yarmouth harbour.
We are grateful to Bob Brooks/Yarmouth County Museum Archives, 
Nova Scotia, Canada for these photographs.

Shirley, on the left, shares a bucket of water

Residents never forgot elephants

One of three pachyderms that are part of Yarmouth folklore has been located: Shirley, last survivor
September 19, 2001 - Richard Foot, National Post

HALIFAX - For thirty-eight years the people of Yarmouth, N.S., have been talking about elephants—pecifically three Asian elephants who came to town on board a circus ship in 1963, and were rescued from the vessel when it was destroyed by fire in Yarmouth harbour.

The animals were marched from the ship through groups of gawking fishermen and awestruck onlookers. Firemen rescued tigers, llamas and leopards, too, but it's the fate of the elephants that has long intrigued the locals.  After the fire, dozens of the exotic animals were loaded on to trucks and driven back toward Florida, home of the Kelly and Miller Bros. Circus.  En-route, the trailer carrying the elephants crashed, and news reached Yarmouth that the pachyderms who survived the fire had perished on the highway.

"That's the last we heard," says Laura Bradley, archivist at the Yarmouth County Museum, who says the tale of the three elephants has remained a popular part of Yarmouth folklore.

Today, however, the tale has changed. Ms. Bradley has learned that one of the beasts from the 1963 fire is alive at an elephant refuge in the deep, verdant woods of western Tennessee.  Her name is Shirley—she is an old and haggard creature—but her existence and whereabouts have electrified the staff at the Yarmouth museum.

"I was surprised and thrilled to know she had survived," says Ms. Bradley. "I had written those elephants off when I read they'd been in a road accident. I felt it was the end of their story. But now the story lives on." 

Shirley (on the left) on board the ship

Yarmouth historians and staff at The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Ten., are eager to swap notes. The museum has archival photographs of Shirley's dramatic rescue from the circus ship; the sanctuary has the remaining details of Shirley's extraordinary life.  Says Carol Buckley, director of the sanctuary: "The museum has a booklet on the fire and photographs -- I'm very anxious to get any of that, it's part of Shirley's history."

News of Shirley reached Yarmouth through the Internet when a museum volunteer received a message from someone who had stumbled across the Web site of The Elephant Sanctuary.
The sanctuary claimed it had an old elephant that once survived a ship fire in Nova Scotia.
"I went to the Web site," says Ms. Bradley, "and when I read Shirley's story, I sobbed."
The elephant's biography, pieced together by the sanctuary from a succession of zoo and circus owners, says Shirley was taken from the wild as a calf and sold to the Kelly-Miller circus. For the next 25 years she trained and travelled across North America, often in wretched conditions, entertaining crowds under the big top. She was in Havana in 1958 when Fidel Castro seized power.

In June, 1963, the circus loaded Shirley and a menagerie of other animals on a cramped and ramshackle steamship, the Fleurus, for a summer tour up the East Coast of Canada. After three harrowing weeks at sea, the Fleurus reached Yarmouth, first stop on the tour.

The ship sinks

Bob Brooks, a celebrated Canadian photographer who started his career in Yarmouth, recorded the visit with photographs and a diary that remain in the care of Ms. Bradley.  "He went on board when the ship arrived," she says. "It was listing badly to starboard, there were rotting chickens being fed to the carnivores, the place was full of flies and dung. The elephants were chained and struggling to stand straight on the tilting ship. Bob said they looked poorly."

The next day a parade of animals -- elephants, bears, llamas, zebras, lions, and cheetahs -- performed for the curious in a nearby field. After the show they were caged back up on the Fleurus, where a fire broke out in the engine room. There was a desperate effort by firefighters to release the live cargo from the ship, while local hunters stood guard with rifles in case an unruly animal bolted into the town.
"The sight of elephants, zebras and the leopard being walked along the wharf, with the chaos of the fire in the background, is something that Yarmouthians have never forgotten," says Ms. Bradley.
Brooks' photographs of the event made a two-page spread in the Toronto Star's weekend magazine.
The circus tour was abandoned and the stranded animals were eventually trucked back to the United States.  Although the elephant trailer did crash in a traffic accident, at least one of the elephants obviously survived.

Ms. Buckley says Shirley toiled in circuses until 1977, when another elephant attacked her and broke her hind leg.  Now a cripple, she was transferred to a Louisiana zoo, where she lived the next 22 years alone in a small, solitary compound, allowed not a breath of contact with her fellow kind.

In 1999, the zookeepers sent her to The Elephant Sanctuary, a private, 300-hectare haven established especially for sick or unwanted, female elephants.  When Shirley arrived there, she was 52, on the brink of old-age. Today she wanders freely and keeps the company of six other cow elephants, including Jenny, a younger animal Shirley first met in a circus barn.

Last year National Geographic featured Shirley in The Urban Elephant, a TV documentary on captive pachyderms.  Ms. Buckley says producers may want to do a follow-up program, after learning about the rich new details of the Yarmouth fire.

As for Ms. Bradley, she says she now has a complete and happy ending to add to the strange story of the circus ship that caught fire in Yarmouth harbor.  "Shirley is a symbol of hope," she says. "Every time I see an animal in a circus, I think maybe they, too, will have a happy ending and find their sanctuary."

The Fleurus was the last circus ship ever to reach Yarmouth. In 1997, the town became the first in Nova Scotia to ban all circuses, traveling by land or sea, with exotic animals in tow. Although at least four circuses still tour Canada each year with elephant acts, twenty-five other municipalities across the country—in British Columbia, Quebec and Newfoundland—no longer welcome them to town.

[Ref:  Bob Brooks/Yarmouth County Museum Archives]

 What a remarkable story!  

Til next time,

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Nepal: Full year without Poaching

Good News for Animals in Nepal: A Full Year Without Poaching

A few years ago during my travel to Thailand, Nepal and Bhutan, I visited the Chitwan National Park in Southern Nepal.  I was fortunate to have 2 encounters with wild rhinos, and learned about the country's efforts to halt poaching in the National Parks and remaining wild lands.  I am very happy to read the below report published by Focusing on Wildlife and National Geographic.  It is a huge achievement that no rhinos, tigers or elephants were killed during the last year. Moreover, in the 2011 census, the country reported a ~20% increase in the rhino population from 425 in 2008 to 534 animals, and an increase of tigers from 121 to 198 (2009 to 2013).  But danger still lurks in this small mountain country between China in the north and India in the south since border control is difficult and organized crime focusing on wildlife trade could hone in on the increased numbers of rhinos and tigers.
However, for a small mountain country like Nepal the zero poaching is a huge achievement and needs to be celebrated!
Please read the full story below: 
On World Wildlife Day, March 3, Nepal celebrated 365 days with zero poaching. No rhinos, tigers, or elephants were killed. It’s the second year of such success in Nepal. In 2011 the country also had none, and in 2012 it lost just one rhino to poaching.

A greater one-horned rhino drinks from a river bordering Chitwan National Park, about 44 miles (70 kilometers) southwest of Kathmandu, Nepal – PHOTOGRAPH BY GEMUNU AMARASINGHE, AP 

This achievement is particularly notable in the face of increased poaching elsewhere. Since February 28, according to press reports, Kenya lost three rhinos to poachers in the span of one week in heavily guarded Lake Nakuru National Park, and one more in Maasai Mara Game Reserve.
On February 28 in South Africa, the epicenter of the rhino poaching crisis, tourists in Kruger National Park found a blinded and mutilated rhino wandering alive. That horror prompted a social media storm and generated intense interest from the Belgian ambassador to South Africa and senior members of the European Parliament. (The personal secretary and aide to Belgium’s deputy prime minister was one of the tourists.) In South Africa last year, 1004 rhinos were poached; so far this year, 146 have been poached.
Against this backdrop, Nepal’s record stands out.
According to John Scanlon, secretary-general of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), Nepal’s success is the result of “strong and committed leadership, excellent national collaboration among enforcement entities and with parks agencies, very effective engagement with local communities, and targeted intelligence-led enforcement actions leading to arrests of key players at the top of the criminal chain.”
More than 700 criminals were arrested for wildlife-related crimes this past year, including many “kingpins.”
“Efforts on the ground have been intensified, with rangers and the Nepal[ese] army patrolling protected areas with support from community-based antipoaching units outside the parks,” notes Shubash Lohani, deputy director of the Eastern Himalaya Ecoregion Program at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
“In addition, active enforcement by the crime investigation bureau of Nepal’s police has been crucial to breaking down the presence of illegal wildlife trafficking networks.”
A joint operation in October 2013 by the Nepalese army and the special police led to the dismantling of a rhino poaching network and the arrest of Kathmandu-based kingpin Buddhi Bahadur Praja. Praja allegedly ran a cross-border smuggling enterprise from Nepal to Tibet and killed 12 rhinos over six years.
Also in December 2013, at Nepal’s request INTERPOL issued a Red Notice for another notorious rhino poacher, Rajkumar Praja, a 30-year-old Nepali wanted for killing 15 rhinos in Chitwan National Park. Praja was sentenced in absentia to 15 years in prison.

A photo of game rangers carrying a confiscated tiger skin drying on a rack – PHOTOGRAPH BY MAGGIE STEBER, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC
Zero Tolerance for Wildlife Crime
“There is very much a zero-tolerance attitude to wildlife crime, whereby justice is often swift and harsh,” notes John Sellar, an anti-smuggling, fraud, and organized crime consultant and former CITES enforcement chief.
“Nepal’s forest law empowers district forest officers and chief wildlife wardens to deal with offenders and impose prison sentences of up to 14 or 15 years,” according to Sellar.
“Whilst this scenario might seem at odds with other judicial systems,” Sellar says, “probably its greatest advantage is that it means that any poacher who is caught can expect to be dealt with much quicker than in other countries suffering high levels of poaching, where court systems regularly have lengthy backlogs and where, currently, insufficient deterrence is present.”
Thanks to Nepal’s efforts, its current estimated population of tigers in national parks increased from 121 in 2009 to 198 in 2013, a promising uptick for a species that’s in desperate trouble globally.
A 2011 census of Nepal’s greater one-horned rhinos showed an estimated population of 534, up 20 percent from 425 in 2008, with more than 500 of them in Chitwan National Park.
The Nepalese army patrols the national parks to ensure their protection. But poaching increased during the Maoist insurgency from 1996 to 2006, when soldiers were redeployed and the number of army monitoring posts in and around the park fell from 30 to 7.
As a result, Chitwan’s rhino population reportedly fell from 612 rhinos in 2000 to some 380 in 2006, when a peace accord was signed.
Today, according to BBC reports, at least a thousand Nepalese soldiers patrol Chitwan from more than 40 posts.

PHOTOGRAPH BY GEMUNU AMARASINGHE, AP A Nepalese wildlife ranger riding an elephant holds an antenna as he tries to trace a rhino with a radio collar in Chitwan National Park.
Cooperative Approach
At the national level, Nepal’s Department of Forests, the country’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC) anti poaching staff, and the Nepalese army all share information and work together to fight wildlife poaching and trafficking. At the local level, communities provide the DNPWC with information, which allows officials to target poachers and dealers.
“There has been collaboration across the board in Nepal to stop poaching by putting more rangers on the ground in a cohesive, sophisticated way, actively enforcing anti-trafficking laws to break down illegal wildlife trade networks, educating local communities, and building a shared ethic of conservation across Nepali society,” says WWF’s Lohani.
For years Nepal has ensured local communities benefit financially from the parks and ecotourism. Those benefits come not only from employment, but also from sharing revenue, such as entrance fees and license fees for tour and lodge companies, with local people.
“The government actually gives 50 cents of every tourist dollar to local communities, which makes them hold more value for rhinos alive than dead,” Lohani notes.
Further, Nepalese nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), such as the National Trust for Nature Conservation, and international NGOs, such as WWF, have a long history of fruitful interaction with local communities. The result is citizens with a strong sense of ownership and commitment to wildlife protection.
Dedicated leadership at high levels has also been important. Nepal’s prime minister chairs the national wildlife crime control bureau. The country hosts the South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network (SAWEN) secretariat, and the director-general of DNPWC serves as SAWEN’s chief enforcement coordinator.
In addition, Nepal was a major force in the early days of the Global Tiger Initiative, which assists the 13 tiger range states in carrying out their conservation strategies through planning, coordination, and communication.

PHOTOGRAPH BY GEMUNU AMARASINGHE, AP Tourists prepare to ride an elephant during a wildlife safari in Chitwan National Park.
Danger Lurks
Nepal’s location—between China to its north and India to its south, east, and west—places it at great risk for trafficking. The country’s rough terrain makes border control difficult, and Kathmandu Valley is believed to be a major transit point for the illicit wildlife trade.
“Unfortunately, the harsh reality is that Nepal’s growing tiger and rhino populations will inevitably continue to be targets,” Sellar warns. “Personally, my concern would be that we see the South Africa scenario replicated—i.e., heavily armed and determined foreign gangs entering Nepal’s national parks in search of horns, skins, and ivory.”
But Nepal is aware of the dangers. Already, it has sought to employ the Wildlife and Forest Crime Analytic Toolkit and collaborate with the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC) to strengthen its approach to wildlife crime.
As Klairoong Poonpon, former chair of INTERPOL’s Wildlife Crime Working Group and senior technical officer of Thailand’s Department of National Parks, summarizes, “Nepal’s remarkable achievement at zero poaching for a second year gives lessons for other countries and hope for the future of our wildlife.”
This article was written by Laurel Neme for National Geographic.

[Ref:  http://focusingonwildlife.com]

Til next time,

For all Friends of Wildlife and Elephants, this Photo Tour is for you!
Did you know that we have an Elephant Sanctuary PAWS here in California?

Join me for an unforgettable day with the elephants at PAWS - 
read more about my 2012 visit at PAWS and the then 7 elephants at the sanctuary here.

A few spaces available for the October 2014 Photo Tour.

To read the full details, click here.
To register, pl email me at mraeder33@gmail.com.