NY Antique Dealer Jailed for Rhino Horn & Ivory Products

This is indeed good news, but sadly still a drop in the ocean. A New York antiques dealer was sentenced on 5 December 2013 for conspiracy to smuggle Asian artefacts made from rhino horns and ivory.

The antiques dealer, Qiang Wang, was sentenced to three years and one month with a further three years supervised release by a United States federal court.

This followed his arrest  in February 2013 as a result of “Operation Crash”, an ongoing nationwide effort led by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) and the Justice Department to detect, deter and prosecute those engaged in the illegal killing of rhinoceros and the unlawful trafficking of rhinoceros horns.

Wang worked with two Chinese nationals to source Asian artifacts made from rhino horn and elephant ivory from auction houses and galleries in the United States for the purpose of smuggling these items to China.

Wang sent these items using the U.S. Postal Service and express mail services. He made false customs declarations, and knowingly exported rhino horn and ivory without USFWS approval or valid CITES export permits.

In a statement released by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe:

This slaughter is fueled by illegal trade, including that exposed by Operation Crash.

We will continue to work relentlessly across the United States government and with our international partners to crack down on poaching and wildlife trafficking.

Article Source: Annamiticus

st lucia estuary zululand

iSimangaliso gets clean audit

The 2013 audit for iSimangaliso has been released, and the Auditor-General has given a thumbs up to a clean audit and performance review.

Covering a financial as well as performance review, the audit confirms iSimangaliso has achieved its objectives committed to in its business plan submitted to the Minister of Environmental Affairs and National Parliament.

Inscribed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1999, the iSimangaliso of today is a far cry from its early beginnings in almost every respect.

The majority of land claims have been settled, eco-systems functioning has been largely restored and thousands of hectares of plantations removed, almost all previously existing species including the ‘Big 5’ have been reintroduced, extensive road and tourism facitlities developed and/or refurbished, and over 350 km of big game fencing erected.

This has been underpinned by significant job creation, skills transfer and above average tourism growth.

— iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority

This has been achieved through a careful balance between conservation and development, ensuring the Park’s core universal values of eco systems, biodiversity and natural beauty are honoured.

iSimangaliso has shown us that at a time when conservation budgets are at their lowest, and there are so many other priorities globally, parks can still prevail.

–Dr Ian Player, renowned conservationist

Article Source: iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority

Save The Rhino Fundraiser Dinner

Celebrate Life is hosting an evening of fine dining and live entertainment in order to raise funds to save the African Rhino from poaching.

visit Celebrate Life for more info

Funds will be donated to the Thula Thula Rhino Sanctuary

to help create a refuge in Kwazulu Natal where orphan rhinos from poaching

will be welcomed and cared for.


VENUE : Park Lane Sheraton Hotel, London

DATE : Friday, 27th September 2013

TICKETS : £1,800 per table of ten guest

GUESTS : Total of 250 guests

Protect Africa’s Oldest National Park

Virunga, Africa’s oldest national park needs your help. Today WWF has launched a global campaign to protect Virunga. We need to keep an oil company, Soco International PLC (Soco), out of the park and stop it from exploring for oil.

Add your name

We want to show Soco that the public won’t stand for any threats to the world’s most incredible treasures. You can help us by adding your name to show you draw the line at the exploitation of Virunga National Park.

Virunga, on the eastern edge of the Democratic Republic of Congo, is Africa’s oldest national park and is a World Heritage Site known for its unique biodiversity. It’s home to a greater variety of wildlife than any other park in Africa, including 216 species found in the region which are not found anywhere else on Earth. It is also the only protected area with 3 species of great ape – eastern chimpanzees, eastern lowland gorillas and mountain gorillas.

DRAW THE LINE – Add your name

We’ll use your name to tell business and government to draw the line on oil exploration in Virunga. Some places are just too precious to be exploited.

WWF Oil Exploitation

Wildlife Crime Scorecard

WWF has produced an infographic showing the commitment from countries to stop illegal wildlife trade, focusing on countries from Asia and Africa with the highest levels of illegal trade in elephant ivory, rhino horn and tiger parts.

The scorecard was produced to coincide with the 62nd Standing Committee meeting of CITES, the international endangered species trade convention, and evaluates each country’s progress since the last meeting. It measures progress towards compliance with and enforcement of CITES commitments for the three species groups.

International commercial trade of elephants, rhinos and tigers – and their parts and products – is almost universally prohibited by CITES, however the enforcement of this restriction remains weak. Illegal trade in ivory, rhino horn and tiger parts is of major conservation concern.

South Africa has made “some progress” towards fighting illegal trade of elephant ivory, however is “failing on key aspects of compliance and enforcement” with its rhino.

WWF wildlife scorecard

Goblin Sharks


Image Source: Mission Blue

Mitsukurina owstoni, or Goblin Shark, is the only remaining representative of the Mitsukurinidae family of sharks, that originated at least 125 million years ago, and often referred to as living fossils.The Goblin shark has only been encountered a few times and very little is known about it. What is known is that it is a slow moving deep sea shark that lives at depths of 1200m/4000ft in seas around the world. Goblin sharks have been observed in the western Indian Ocean, western Pacific Ocean and most of the Atlantic.

They are known for their strange specialized “catapulting” jaws, which almost looks like there is something that lives inside of the sharks mouth that explodes outward to catch prey before returning back into the mouth.

Article Source: Mission-blue.org

Forests KZN

Our Ancient Forests

This months article by Glynne Howels is a thorough introduction to forests, and how they have adapted life around them since the beginning of time.

Today, forests occupy approximately one-third of Earth’s land area, account for over two-thirds of the leaf area of land plants, and contain about 70% of carbon present in living things. They have been held in reverence in folklore and worshipped in ancient religions.

Forests KZNThreatened

However, forests are becoming major casualties of civilization as human populations have increased over the past several thousand years, bringing deforestation, pollution, and industrial usage problems to this important biome.

Forests in South Africa consist of many small, fragmented and widely distributed patches. They persist in a relatively dry landscape. Fires driven by hot, dry winds during the dry season determined this fragmented location pattern of the forests. Human use and clearing of forests have aggravated this fragmentation.

Largest Forest in KZN

In KwaZulu-Natal the Dukuduku forest is the largest (3 500 ha) but is seriously threatened by uncontrolled settlement of people.

This accentuates the importance of natural forests in South Africa, covering about 0.1 per cent of the country.

Areas of forest in KwaZulu-Natal grow mostly on south facing slopes in higher rainfall areas and along the humid coastal areas.

Forests KZNForest Types

Different types of forest can be identified by their species composition which depends mostly on the altitude, latitude and substrate (soil and rock types) in which they grow. South facing slopes are favourable for the development of forest as they are more shaded, and therefore cooler and retain more moisture than the northern slopes.

The extra moisture on the south slopes is not only favoured by forest trees, but also helps to prevent or subdue wildfires. The coastal regions are conducive to forest formation because of high rainfall and humidity which are favoured by forest trees and also help to prevent or subdue fires.

Forests are collections of trees and woody plantsand are divided vertically and horizontally. The canopy, midlevel and forest floor describe layers and the ecotone and climax forest delineate its spread on the ground.

Animal Adaptation

Forest conditions require a special set of adaptations for animals to successfully survive and flourish there. The ability to climb or fly will allow escape from predators and easy access to choice food.

Many types of primate live in forests and a number of rodents have evolved the ability to glide from tree to tree using flaps of skin between their limbs. The ability to blend into the shady and leafy habitat makes camouflage an important adaptation.

Striped tigers and spotted leopards and antelope are examples of this. Tree frogs and butterflies, some of them very brightly coloured, are more examples of the ability to blend into the background.

Larger birds of prey such as Crowned Eagles, owls and goshawks who hunt amongst forest trees, have wing shapes that enable them to manoeuvre between trees and also remain silent as they fly.

In tropical forests, being active at night or nocturnal, avoids the high temperatures of the day and the competition from diurnal animals. Good hearing, thick skin, and good eye sight all aid forest dwellers succeed in this environment.

Feet for climbing and gripping forest branches; Tails for balancing or as a third hand; large or long bills for dealing with fruit and hard nuts or seeds.

Forests KZNLeaves

The leaves of forest trees have adapted to cope with exceptionally high rainfall. Many tropical rainforest leaves have a drip tip. It is thought that these drip tips enable rain drops to run off quickly. Plants need to shed water to avoid growth of fungus and bacteria in the warm, wet tropical rainforest.

Many large trees have massive ridges near the base that can rise 30 feet high before blending into the trunk. Buttress roots provide extra stability, especially since roots of tropical rainforest trees are not typically as deep as those of trees in temperate zones. Forest plants have shallow roots to help capture nutrients from the top level of soil.

Prop and stilt roots help give support and are characteristic of tropical palms growing in shallow, wet soils. Although the tree grows fairly slowly, these above-ground roots can grow 28 inches a month.

Epiphytes are plants that live on the surface of other plants, especially the trunk and branches. They grow on trees to take advantage of the sunlight in the canopy. Most are orchids, bromeliads, ferns, and Philodendron relatives. Tiny plants called epiphylls, mostly mosses, liverworts and lichens, live on the surface of leaves.

Tropical Deltas

On tropical deltas and along ocean edges and river estuaries, trees have adapted to living in wet, marshy conditions. These trees, called mangroves, have wide-spreading stilt roots that support the trees in the tidal mud and trap nutritious organic matter.

Flowers on the forest floor are designed to lure animal pollinators since there is relatively no wind on the forest floor to aid in pollination. In deciduous forests, plants on the forest floor flower in early spring before the trees have grown new leaves so they get adequate sunlight.

Article and Images: G Howells KZN Wildlife

Seize Your Power With WWF

We believe our future can, and should, be powered by nature.

The energy systems in place across the planet within the next four years will define the world’s climate change path for generations.

Renewable EnergyAll countries have a right to develop, yet we need to invest money now in clean and renewable energy – to limit dangerous climate change, to reduce the risk to human health from fossil fuels, to fast-track access to energy, and to safeguard our collective future.

We call on financial institutions and governments worldwide to act immediately to invest more in sustainable energy powered by wind, water and the sun. They must phase out investments in coal, oil and gas and enable a just transition from the dirty and unsustainable energy of today.

The world needs investment in nature, and there are good reasons to do so now more than ever. We stand for a future in which people live in harmony with nature. Investing in fossil fuels threatens the natural world and the stability of communities and society. Investing in renewable energy will support a clean, sustainable future for all.

There must be no financial reward for environmental and human harm.

We choose to invest in solutions rather than problems:

Join Us. Seize your power.

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