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Letter in response to the Guardian in regard to article about Trophy Hunting Legislation

By Claudiu PopaCISSP CIPP PMP CISA CRISC. Chairman and Co-Founder, The Knowledge Flow Cyber Safety Foundation

I have submitted a letter to the editor of the Guardian in response to the following article which reports on an open letter signed by a group of "leading Scientists and Conservationists". (see link below) The letter attacks what the writer has termed "poorly conceived hunting legislation":

www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/jan/13/poorly-conceived-trophy-hunting-bill-puts-wildlife-at-risk-uk-government-told-aoe

www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/jan/13/poorly-conceived-trophy-hunting-bill-puts-wildlife-at-risk-uk-government-told

A proposed UK ban on trophy hunting imports risks undermining the conservation of rhinos, elephants and other endangered wildlife, according to a group of leading scientists and conservationists who said African perspectives have been ignored by the government.

On Friday, MPs will vote on a private member’s bill to ban trophy hunting imports while, separately, the government is preparing legislation to ban hunting trophies from thousands of species, including lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and polar bears.

In an open letter seen by the Guardian and signed by more than 100 scientists, conservationists and African community leaders, the group said the ban is poorly conceived and threatens to reverse conservation gains and undermine the livelihoods of rural communities across sub-Saharan African.

It urged the UK government to implement a smart ban that incentivises good practice by prohibiting trophies from “canned” hunting operations, where captive-bred animals are shot at close range, or those that fail to share revenues with local communities.

By allowing trophy hunting to continue within the UK, where hunters can pay thousands of pounds to shoot deer, the group said the government was opening itself up to accusations of hypocrisy by banning imports from countries with impressive conservation records such as Namibia and Botswana, where trophy hunting is used to fund conservation.

“We understand (and many of us share) the public’s instinctive dislike of trophy hunting. However, the reality is that no alternative land use has yet been developed which equally protects the wildlife and habitats found in these vital landscapes while also generating valuable revenues for local communities. Indeed, where trophy hunting has been subjected to bans, wildlife has often suffered, and conflict with communities has increased,” the letter states.

“This is not to claim that trophy hunting is perfect. It is beset with a variety of problems, including but not limited to the inequitable sharing of hunting revenues, inappropriate or poorly observed quotas, corruption and inadequate regulation. But tourism is not a perfect industry either,” it continues.

Signatories include the heads of leading conservation NGOs such as Save the Rhino International, academics from the University of Oxford and African community leaders.

The IUCN, which oversees the red list of endangered species, established that trophy hunting has supported the conservation of several species, including rhinos, African elephants and markhors, the national animal of Pakistan, and a UN report said that trophy hunting is helping to protect millions of acres of wildlife habitat in sub-Saharan Africa. Community leaders have previously criticised British celebrities for calling for a ban on trophy hunting, naming Ricky Gervais, Joanna Lumley and Piers Morgan in July 2020.

Supporters of the trophy hunting import ban argue it will help protect endangered species and end a cruel practice. The prime minister, Boris Johnson, has called trophy hunting a “disgusting trade” and his father, Stanley, has campaigned in favour of the ban.

But Leslé Jansen, CEO of the NGO Resource Africa, who signed the letter, said the legislation will harm conservation and African livelihoods and undermine the rights of rural communities to use their natural resources.

Supporters of the ban say it will help protect endangered species as well as ending a cruel practice. Photograph: Johnny Armstead/Alamy

“We have voiced these concerns many times, and have attempted to engage in the process. Why are Africans’ rights, views and conservation successes continually ignored?” she said.

Dr Rodgers Lubilo, chairman of a community leaders network covering Angola, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, called on the government to reconsider the proposed legislation.

“We have time and again told our international friends that trophy hunting is part of local rural livelihoods, and we will continue to pursue sustainable use of wildlife for generations to come,” he said.

Dr Amy Dickman, a professor of conservation at Oxford University who signed the letter, said: “We shouldn’t base policy on what comedians and celebrities think. We should be basing it on expertise and on local opinion. Those are the two things that count the most.

“Ricky Gervais has 14 million followers on Twitter, whereas the African Community Leaders Network, when they post about this, tend to get zero engagement. The people most affected have the smallest platforms,” she said.

A Defra spokesperson said: “We are bringing forward ambitious legislation to ban the import of hunting trophies from thousands of species.

“This will be one of the toughest bans in the world, and goes beyond our manifesto commitment, meaning we will be leading the way in protecting endangered animals and helping to strengthen and support long-term conservation.”

Find more age of extinction coverage here, and follow biodiversity reporters Phoebe Weston and Patrick Greenfield on Twitter for all the latest news and features

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What a spectacular rejection of common decency it must have taken for this clique of "scientists and conservationists" to sign a letter in favor of cruelty to animals!

The hyperbolic claims of a group of misguided officials and corrupt functionaries even managed to bamboozle "African community leaders", striping their people of dignity and respect in the rich tradition of neo-colonialism and greed.

 

From the disgraceful distortion of local people's interests to the shameless public pandering for undeserved pity, to lobbying the UK government in favour of commercial interests (read: safari hunters, whose definition of 'conservation' is an offensive aberration designed to confuse the public about the differences between industrial-scale poaching, bushmeat hunting, subsistence hunting, defensive hunting, trophy hunting and regulated hunting), this is all sadly reminiscent of the situation that describes the embarrassing Canadian seal hunt, whose persistence in spite of all rational argument is a testament to the influence of histrionic appeals to authorities.

 

For these 100 signatories to stoop so low as to relinquish all claims to professional integrity and use misdirection by suggesting that the real opponents here are comedians and celebrities instead of human dignity and basic animal rights, is to irreversibly abandon any claim to respectability and credibility. The world's effort to criminalize trophy hunting has been described as "poorly conceived", but a doctrine of sadism could indeed only be concocted by those who have in fact been "poorly conceived". If the supporters of such carnage are indeed endowed with professional qualifications, their calls to stop resisting and just embrace the killing categorically disqualify them from taking part in any exercise requiring critical thinking, let alone patronizing the public on behalf of private interests.

 

This ragtag posse of incentivized individuals claims moral authority, a warrant, a mandate to tell people they are wrong in protecting innocent fauna from psychopaths based solely on non-founded claims and shockingly contrived affirmations. Obnoxious and toxic claims that the first world's "corruption by abundance" and "suburban comforts" act as a distorting lens on the real pleas of animals - like Cecil the Lion, who apparently had it coming - and should be extinguished for sport so that so many others can hope be spared by the insatiable demand fueled by trophy buyers. Lest we forget the silent plea of the impotent foreign millionaire with delusional aspirations of "keeping the yang up" with powdered tusk, leopard claw, tiger bone, rhino horn and liquefied ivory. Such misinformation and conspiratorial thinking leads to countless human crimes against decency, from the very visible rhino and elephant hunts to the silent tragedies of sharks and seahorses, but apathy and the bystander effect play as much of a role as the crime itself. Belittling people with childish and romantic accusations of anthropomorphizing animals is not going to eliminate the common sense reality that trophy hunting is about satisfying the base instincts of sad, broken people who need to kill or amass the proceeds of slaughter. No son of Trump's will ever convincingly make a rational point, least of to claim that by cowardly brandishing the severed tail of a slaughtered elephant he was in fact the courageous savior of a defenseless African village. Trophy hunting and poaching are neither about defense nor subsistence hunting. It's not about anecdotal criminal activity but about legitimizing large scale, recreational killing with the complicity of authorities that turn a blind eye to the suffering of creatures genetically similar to their abusers. Using local farmers and starving populations as negotiating pawns in the argument that an illegal market is unsustainable is bunk because such a market reduces the surface measurably as opposed to opening it up immeasurably. For rational beings to side with criminals by saying that it is best to embrace their practices than to suffer at their hands is pure nonsense, but it has a long tradition in the colonialist mindset.

 

Few things can make me blacklist an animal conservation charity, but the use of fear, uncertainty and doubt to deceive and bully the public into supporting the morally bankrupt, "shoot to conserve" mindset is indeed an affront to the most basic sensibilities of any thinking person. Not that anyone will care, but I had the regretful task of removing two groups from my list of supported organizations (on ClaudiuPopa.ca/personal) which, at the risk of coming across as a feeble attempt at breathless virtue signaling, is simply my personal resignation to the reality that we all need to get involved, contribute and a reminder to consistently do our due diligence.

 

Claudiu Popa

Toronto, Canada

January 2022

511   6 months ago
Chake Conservancy Masai Mara.

Chake rangers ready for the bush patrols.
Who is ready to support them stay in the bush for snare removal, poachers tracking?
We need more tents, sleeping bags and boots.
Due to a big drought in Kenya which has been experienced for the last few months ago, people been going without food due to scarcity of food, vegetables and water. Poachers has moved to the game reserves and in animal dispersal areas to set snare traps for bush meat. We as Chake conservancy has planned a two weeks patrol in the bush to look for poachers and snare removal. We're requesting animal lovers and those interested in supporting the wildlife protection to join us and help such facilitations.
We're checking out if all things are in order. chakeconservancy.org
Checking our supplies.

318   6 months ago
Kobus kob thomasi

The Ugandan kob (Kobus kob thomasi), male,Queen Elizabeth NP, Uganda, 2016.

The Ugandan kob is a subspecies of the kob, a type of antelope. Only the males have horns, which are lyre-shaped, strongly ridged and divergent.

Males are slightly larger than females, being 90 to 100 cm (3.0 to 3.3 ft) at the shoulder, with an average weight of 94 kg (207 lb), while females are 82 to 92 cm (2.7 to 3.0 ft) at the shoulder and on average weigh about 63 kg (139 lb). Apart from the throat patch, muzzle, eye-ring and inner ear, which are white, the coat is golden to reddish-brown, the color differentiating it from other kob subspecies. The belly and inside of the legs are white, and the front of the forelegs are black.

It is typically found in open or wooded savanna, within a reasonable distance of water, and it also occurs in grasslands near rivers and lakes.

Ugandan kobs are herbivores and feed largely on grasses and reeds.

The females and young males form loose groups of varying size which range according to food availability, often moving along watercourses and grazing in valley bottoms. Sometimes non-breeding males form their own groups. Ugandan kobs usually have a lek mating system, in which males defend small territories clustered on traditional mating grounds. Females visit these leks only to breed, and males provide no parental care. Each lek is associated with a female herd of about 100 individuals. Females begin to mate at the age of one, but males must normally wait for several more years. A single calf is born in November or December, after a gestation period of about nine months.

Ugandan kob appears on the coat of arms of Uganda. #Godfreytheguide #Uganda #Animals #Antelope.

www.interiorsafarisea.com

126   6 months ago
Slaughter of wolves in Scandinavia

The shameful War against

Wolves in Sweden and Scandinavia

Questionable and

partly biased background information concerning the present wolf slaughter in

Sweden 2022,

by Eva Stjernswärd

Painter

artist

Board member of NGO

Jaktkritikerna (Hunting Critics) and Dris (Animal’s Voice in Society) against

licensed hunting in Sweden.

KA

 The current hunt in 2022 is more cruel than usual as the different

local County Boards are cooperating to eradicate whole wolf families from their

territory and habitat. Norway (A non EU-country where the hunt for 54 wolves

can go on until 31st of May) and Sweden are cooperating with each

other in this grotesque extermination, creating a wolf holocaust. On the

Swedish side nearly 2 000 hunters have registered to kill 27 wolves.

Finland will also started a hunt for 18 wolves on February 1st. So in Scandinavia more than 99

wolves will be slaughtered in the most gruesome ways in 2022. 

Wolves and other predators were almost eradicated because of human

persecution toward the end of the 19th century. In the early part of

the 1900’s, the romanticism of nature as well as people moving in to urban

areas helped to awaken an appreciation of a diverse fauna. Even the hunter’s association

helped to protect certain species. But unfortunately in the late 1930’s the

hunters association was nominated by the state to be responsible for wild life

management and they were granted huge economic resources, which coupled the

state and hunting interests, copied from a model then being utilized in

authoritarian Germany. This model is still valid and renders them a budget of

approximately 5.6 million dollars each year. This has created an institution that

exerts control over wild life as well as being a lobbying force infiltrating

the government and the political agenda for hunting on all levels. This is despite hunters only representing

less than 3 % of the population.   

Why is there trophy hunting in

a developed country like Sweden?

Wolves were completely

protected from 1966 to save the species. But as we can see this has changed in

spite of being under the EU protection laws when Sweden agreed to enter the EU

in 1995. As from 2010 licensed hunting has escalated trophy hunting in Sweden,

as hunters can now kill bears, lynxes and wolves. Foreign hunters are welcomed

too. The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency changed its strategy of wild

life management in favor of hunters after a string of political changes from

the end of the 1990’s. This escalated when hunters decided that predators,

especially wolves, should be viewed as competitors for other game that they

were hunting! This had a negative impact on all wild animals, but for predators

in particular, as they were politicized.

 

Shutterstock
Reindeer farming has developed

very unlike its cultural heritage and is now an industry with export ambitions. Not to mention the

extreme cruelty with which farmers are allowed to handle reindeers (Not as Nature intended – A book by

undercover journalist Rich Hardy). These semi-wild animals are transported to

slaughter houses in masses. Snowmobiles and helicopters are used to round the

animals up under stressful conditions. Although climate change is more of a

threat than predators, enormous financial support from the state keeps this

cruel business alive.

There is huge

financial support to reindeer owners/villages from the state to “accept” the

presence of predators in their land, as well as payment for each of their animals

taken by predators. However, this in no way protects the predators from

ultimately being killed. On the contrary; this has been proven by the increase

in so called protective hunting as well as illegal hunting. For wolves, this is

a lethal problem in additional ways; as the only path to genetic renewal actually

comes from Finland and Russia. No wolves survive if they enter Sweden. The hate

of wolves has become pathological when not even “stately bribes” can save them.

In some regions it’s like a reminder of the witch hunts that took place against

women in the seventeenth century.

 The debate about the

degeneration in Swedish wolves has been unsuccessful in achieving any more

protection for them than other than token numbers.

In 2016 the Supreme

Administrative Court ruled that 300 wolves must be the minimum for conservation

of the species. Instead of this being a minimum - it is used as a maximum of

tolerance by the EPA and the hunters. Biological and scientific proof does not

help. The legal system is basing its judgement on this, which in general leave

the NGO’s appeal with hardly any success in saving individuals. The European

Commission has an open case against Sweden’s wolf hunt but nothing concrete has

been achieved yet.

Sweden’s repetitive

violation of the EU’s Habitats Directive continues and by customizing its own

national loop holes and interpretation of the exception rules for limited

hunting, Sweden is also undermining the aim and purpose of the Convention on

International Trade in Endangered Species, CITES, as export permits for all

trophies is easily granted by the Agricultural Board. On this note, its worth

mentioning that Swedish government refused to take up the ban on import of

trophies from canned lion hunts in 2016/2017, which would have been a low

hanging fruit. Unfortunately it shows that most politicians in all parties are

not at all engaged when it comes to animal protection, and definitely when

hunting is concerned.

Despite the Covid

pandemic the mink industry and industrial farming of pigs and chickens prevails

in horrible conditions in Sweden.

More than 7 000 red

listed predators have been killed in 20 years


K.A.

The Swedish

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Naturvårdsverket,

has even increased the quota for legal trophy hunting. Since the year 2000 more

than 7 000 brown bears, lynxes, wolves and wolverines have been killed

legally in this system.  

 In Sweden today, we

have an estimated 2 800 brown bears, not much over 1 000 lynxes and perhaps

600 wolverines. This is in a country with a low density of people in the areas

where predators naturally have their habitats. But predators have become chess

pieces on the political agenda. This polarization is based on predator conflicts

locally by hunters, livestock owners, reindeer keepers and of course the economic

interest groups behind them.

The system of

monitoring and counting wolves is done by local authorities and hunters. As the

wolf is considered not only to be a threat to livestock but as a competitor in

the hunter’s quest for wild game – it’s easy to conclude that the hunters want

to demonstrate as high a count of predators as possible.

In addition, humans

are diminishing predator’s territory in general, with exploitation of land for

livestock, especially the huge areas in northern Sweden where reindeers are

kept roaming free.

Wolf population

The number of wolves

is always debated and questioned as illegal hunting still counts for 10-20 %. When

the counting of individuals is done (1st October to 1st

March) these wolves as well as the animals killed in accidents or for other

reasons (killed in livestock conflicts for example) after this date, are not

accounted for. This means that wolves killed after 1st March and

until the following autumn, that is several months after, when the hunting decisions

are being made are not included! Some believe that there could therefore be

even less than 300 wolves.

 

K.A.

The “precautionary principle” is not a Swedish forte

When it concerns

bears, wolves and lynxes, the “precautionary principle” is largely ignored.

The official number given

was 395 wolves when the authorities took the decisions to kill 27 to 33 of them

in 2022. Some local counties are even trying to extend the areas to be sure to

kill wolves that are trying to flee. This is what can happen on the border to

Norway (involving administrative boards in Dalarna, Värmland and Jämtland) and

it is repeatedly happening in the county of Gävleborg. Legally it should not be

allowed to change or extend hunting areas that were initially drawn up when the

decisions was made, in November/December. But the local administrative boards

of the mentioned regions above – are hard liners against predators, as are all

the northern regions. We do not know yet what the courts will say.

 What is both cruel and

alarming - is the inbreeding and degeneration in Swedish wolves.

Many male wolves have

only one testicle (cryptorchidism) and autopsies of killed wolves show cruel

proof of hunters sadism – many have old wounds and lead ammunition in their

bodies.

 In Sweden the predators are

killed against the EU directives for protection of species. Labeled

license hunting and/or protective hunting

 Both methods have increased since 2010. The

Swedish Environmental Protection Agency has delegated the decisions to local

government boards in each county that houses predators. The protective hunting

orders are often given over the phone and mostly the animals are permitted to be

killed the same day. The time to challenge the decisions by NGO’s is therefore futile

and purely symbolic. These hunts are fast executions done by helicopter and snowmobile.

On the ground dogs are utilized to track them down if they try to hide in dens.

The heli-hunts might be inspired from American war-fare…and also what is

happening now in the US. Sadly these methods spread like a pandemic due to

globalization and hunters’ international organizations. Historically, Americans

started shooting African game from trains and cars in the era of the white hunters, also the time of the

Swedish baron Blixen (husband of author Karen Blixen) who guided all the rich

and famous on trophy hunting and killing tours in Africa.

So cruelty still takes

its toll in Sweden. Females with young are not spared. For example wolverine

females with cubs are permitted to be killed in their den. Female lynx with

cubs are killed from helicopter and the “ethics order” is to kill the

“children” before the mother…

The licensed hunt for

lynx takes place from 1st of March – which is the mating season of

the shy felines. A real crime! Our Nordic Leopard!

 Legislation against animal

abuse does not include wild animals – only hunting laws are applied.

Swedish hunting laws

are based on the use of animals as objects - owned by the hunter and/or

landowner. State land/forests are also leased for hunting and its big business,

as well as for all the agricultural farmers who lease the right to hunt on

their land. Wild life has no respite. Not even in a National Park or nature

reserve, where EPA permits hunting. The sea is also a hunting ground and EPA is

extending hunting every year on all species of seals, even the very threatened

red listed species in the northern Baltic Sea.

 Preventive killing so called skyddsjakt, technically an “own initiative”,

self-assessed killing action

Legislation allows for

killing predators in situ, as a prevention method to stop an attack. This of

course is used without control from authorities and it can’t be excluded that

dogs often provoke bears for example, while hunting other game.  And the most common argument from hunters is

that dogs are killed by wolves and that they cannot hunt elk as freely as they

want with loose dogs.

Needless to say, loose

dogs in wolves’ habitats should be prohibited – a NO GO.

Since 2010 this legislation

has been used with an alarming increase as the “excuse” to kill bear, wolves

and lynx. Very few cases lead to investigation and are annulled due to lack of

proof. The issue of animal abuse when killing a female bear for example (and

then discovering two cubs hiding in trees) or parental wolves leaving pups is

never punished or even discussed.

 The collateral damage

and the frequent wounding by hunters or dogs is never punished.

  Cruel hunting with dogs

Pack hound hunting has

developed in Sweden and is becoming animal abuse for both dogs and wild animals

that is not addressed at all. Swedish hunters have also introduced new type of

aggressive hunting dogs, which are trained on predators. The Swedish

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), mainly responsible for wild life and

hunting issues, has extended the rights to hunt with loose dogs – 3 dogs are

allowed to chase 1 wolf, it doesn’t matter whether a puppy or adult. The non-ethical

hunting methods also include old medieval ways of hunting with beaters and circling

the environment with “scary wires with moving textiles”, set up to enclose the

fleeing wolves and force them towards the hunters.

 

Shutterstock

Training of hunting dogs in

the wild on predators in their habitat

The worst is that EPA

has introduced even more vile techniques – namely that all hunters can train

their dogs one month before the official hunting starts! Even in areas of

Sweden where the licensed hunt will not be granted.

This means training on

wild bears (with their cubs) in their habitats begins from July-August (hunt

starts 21st August), on wolves in December (hunt starts 2nd

January) and lynx in February (hunt starts 1st March). It is also

permitted to train dogs on captured wild animals in special training centers.

This sadistic practice is not addressed by the EPA, even though many protests

are heard from NGO’s. Simultaneously hunting with dogs terrorizes other

wildlife, like hunting for boar that is permitted nearly all year round as well

as nighttime.

Sweden’s hunting lobby

is firming its grip on all wildlife and the legal system for hunting is rigged.

To spin the wheel of death the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency has

liberated hunting even more on all animals, including migrating birds like

cranes and swans with a renewed decree from 2021 to 2026! Be sure to watch the interview at https://www.mojostreaming.com/video/677/crisis-facing-wolves-in-scandinavia-a-panel-discussion   


KA

867   6 months ago
INDIVIDUAL INVOLVEMENT EPISODE3


In this 3rd episode which is the last of my intended sharing is that I have total confidence and belief that we  the young generation have  the best chance as we have to change the way our people and the rest of the continent talks about and perceives conservation. We the now generation, are the best chance we have to ensure Africa and all its inhabitants animals,human or otherwise have a future. Can you imagine, the  impact Kwame Nkuruma, Patrice Lumumba , Nelson Mandela and other renowned young Pan African leaders would have generated, if they had WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram? They were also young when they started their struggle for independence . Today’s young people is perhaps facing an even bigger challenge than the past generation were but we also have more power.

If there is one thing that I hope that the COVID-19 pandemic can teach us all, it is that the health of humans is one and the same as the health of nature and wildlife. When this pandemic is finally over, we cannot surely afford to return to “normal” and continue ignoring the destruction we have been causing in the name of development. And this is entirely up to the African youth, mojo live-streaming and the rest of the world to keep us all on the right path.

129   7 months ago
GORILLA TRACKING UGANDA VS RWANDA

So you want to go mountain gorilla trekking ! It’s an awesome idea! We’ve been, and we can tell you that it’s definitely, absolutely, positively worth it. It's one of Our favorite things to do in Uganda . Standing just a few feet from these gentle giants in their forest habitat and seeing them munch on fruits and plants, play with or groom one another, and idly look at the curious bipeds looking at them – these are magical moments that stay with you for a lifetime. But to get to be in that special place, you first must decide where to go to see them. Do you want to go gorilla trekking in Rwanda? Or do you want to go gorilla trekking in Uganda? Well, answering that question is what this blog post is all about.

Gorilla-baby-eating-leafe-on-gorilla-trekking-in-uganda-1024x683.jpg


An adorable infant gorilla snacking on a shoot

Trekkers visit habituated mountain gorillas

The mountain gorillas that visitors trek to see are those that have become habituated to the presence of humans. The process of habituating them to humans takes about 2 (two) to 5 (five) years. But even though they become used to the presence of humans, there are still strict rules in place to ensure we interfere as little as possible with their habitat and way of life.

For starters, only one group of eight people is allowed to visit each gorilla troop per day, and then only for one hour. Other rules, as discussed in 20 things to worth knowing about mountain Gorilla Trekking include not making loud noises or sudden movements while in their presence. 

IMG_1311.jpeg

Where can I go gorilla trekking?

All of the world's mountain gorillas live in the Virunga Mountains of Central and East Africa. The two main countries for gorilla trekking are Rwanda and Uganda. In Rwanda you can trek to see mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park. In Uganda, you can visit mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga National Park. The gorilla population in Mgahinga isn’t as large and steady as that of Bwindi, making the latter the better and more popular option. 

The decision to go gorilla trekking in Rwanda or Uganda usually rests on factors like cost and accessibility. You also want to consider what else you’ll do on your trip to the country, as the cost and effort of a gorilla trek means you’ll likely only be seeing gorillas on one day. We discuss all these matters in just a moment, but first, let’s answer a very important question .

The mountain gorillas of Rwanda

Rwanda is a small and mountainous East African country with a population of around 14 million people. It’s sometimes called the pays des mille collines, which is French for ‘land of a thousand hills’. The main language in the country is Kinyarwanda, spoken by most citizens. English, French and Swahili are also official languages. 

Rwanda is a phoenix of the twenty-first century, having risen out of the ashes of its tragic 1994 genocide to become one of Africa’s great success stories. It’s capital city of Kigali is well-known for its beauty and cleanliness. In fact, did you know that’s illegal to buy, use or sell plastic bags in Rwanda?  

Volcanoes National Park

Tourism has played a major role in helping Rwanda to rebuild itself, and mountain gorillas are at the heart of its tourism trade. As mentioned, Rwanda’s mountain gorillas live in Volcanoes National Park. There are about 56 mountain gorilla troops in the park.  

As Rwanda is a small country, getting to Volcanoes National Park is a relatively easy affair. Visitors simply fly into Kigali International Airport and then it’s a short drive of about two and a half hours northwest to arrive at the doorstep of Volcanoes National Park. Even though the drive is short, it’s always advisable to travel with a reputable tour operator who knows the region and roads well. The proximity of Volcanoes National Park to an international airport is a major draw for Rwanda’s mountain gorilla tourism industry.

Baby-gorilla-in-uganda-hanging-on-his-mothers-back-on-gorilla-trekking-1024x623.jpg

Gorillas are social animals who live in troops their whole lives

The mountain gorillas of Uganda

Uganda is a landlocked country consisting of massive plains, volcanoes, snow-capped mountains, thick forests, savannah, immense lakes, diverse wildlife and more. The population of about 45 million is extremely diverse, and speak more than 50 languages. Ugandans are known for their warmth and friendliness. It’s also important to note that Uganda is considered to be the best English speaking country in the whole of Africa, which is very helpful for tourists.


Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Most of Uganda’s mountain gorillas live in Bwindi Impenetrable National park. Bwindi is an alpine forest that sits between 1,160 m meters and 2,607 meters above the sea level. As the name suggests, the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park encompasses a thickly forested area. Given the density of vegetation, it can be pretty dark in the forest. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and rightly so. 

If you look at the map of Uganda below, you can see that Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is in the extreme southwest corner of Uganda. This places it decently far from the capital city of Kampala and Entebbe International Airport, both of which are in south central Uganda. Moreover, the roads connecting the two aren’t smooth, open highway. So the drive takes about nine hours. It’s advisable that you travel with someone who knows the region rather than road tripping on your own. 

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Map showing tourist attractions in Uganda

While you can take a short flight from Entebbe to Bwindi, driving is a cheaper option, especially as part of a tour group. Some who want to go to Bwindi for gorilla trekking actually choose to fly into Kigali, Rwanda’s capital city, and drive north across the border, as this is a shorter drive that lasts about four hours. 

It takes longer to reach Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable National Park than it does to reach Rwanda's Volcanoes National Park.

Get your free Uganda guide!

Everything you need to know about Uganda . 

Trekking prices in Rwanda and Uganda

The first major difference is the price of the gorilla trekking permits in Uganda and Rwanda. Rwanda chose to implement a low tourist policy with high impact, so they charge $1,500 for a gorilla trekking permit. Uganda on the other hand chose to set its permit price at $700 for a gorilla trekking permit. This makes trekking to see the Mountain gorillas in Uganda much cheaper. There are many more luxury lodge options in Rwanda than Uganda, but there are a range of mid-range and luxury accommodations in Uganda too.

Accessibility of gorilla parks in Rwanda and Uganda

Given the relatively close proximity of Volcanoes National Park to Kigali Airport, Rwanda is the better country for visitors who only have time for a brief stopover to go gorilla trekking, and nothing else. This is more likely to be the case for those in transit to somewhere else, or travelling in from a nearby country.

For most foreign travellers, however, the time and expense put into getting to East Africa means they want to do more activities while in the region, like go on safari or climb Kilimanjaro. For such travellers, Uganda is the better option as it has more to offer. But more on that in a moment. 

Trek conditions in Uganda and Rwanda

Trekking routes in Rwanda are considered a bit more open and not as steep and slippery compared to Bwindi In Uganda. That said, Volcanoes National Park is at a much higher altitude than Bwindi and this can also make the trek more challenging.

Uganda has more habituated mountain gorilla troops

Note too that while it’s easier to reach Rwanda’s mountain gorillas, Uganda has more habituated mountain gorillas and so admits more trekkers per day. About 80 people a day are allowed to visit Uganda’s gorillas. In Rwanda, the number of daily visitors is about 56. This makes obtaining a gorilla trekking permit in Uganda a little easier than obtaining one in Rwanda, especially if you aren't booking very far in advance. Read about our http://interiorsafarisea.com/experiences/ 

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Trekkers get close enough to look into the eyes of the mountain gorillas

“I just came back from an amazing 14-days trip to Uganda with Follow Alice, and I strongly recommend them. This was my second experience with Follow Alice, and just like the first trip, everything was flawless.


Gorilla habituation permits in Uganda

Something on offer only in Uganda is the gorilla habituation permit. This permit allows the visitor to spend fourhours with a mountain gorilla troop in the south of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The habituation permits costs $1,500, which is the same price as the one-hour gorilla trekking permit in Rwanda. 

The habituation permit was introduced only recently in response to visitors’ desire to spend more time with the mountain gorillas. Only two gorilla troops have been set aside for these habituation experiences. This means about eight habituation permits are issued per day, so you have to book well in advance if you want one. 

Visitors who do the four-hour gorilla trek get to take part in habituation activities, like making calls, collecting specimens, and even sometimes naming the individual gorillas. It’s a truly special, once-in-a-lifetime adventure.


Gorilla trekking with Interior Safaris East Africa. 

For all the reasons discussed above, we at Interior Safaris East Africa recommend gorilla trekking in Uganda rather than Rwanda. Check out our suggested http://interiorsafarisea.com/package/10-days-uganda-gorilla-wildlife-safari/  

which of course includes gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. You can also read through the reviews to see what our past clients thought of the experience. Please note this is a flexible itinerary – we're happy to lengthen or shorten it. We can also switch things up to suit your preferences and needs. We also find that some clients like to bundle a Tanzania safari or Kilimanjaro climb with their gorilla trekking adventure while they're in the region.

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"Godfrey exudes positivity, confidence, and really was the reason we fell for this colourful, emerging location. He made us feel safe and has a passion for animals. And he loves his country and has interesting insights on its current affairs.”

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Godfrey is our passionate, energetic and knowledgeable local guide

Ready to take the plunge?

If you're ready to explore Uganda Rwanda Tanzania and go gorilla trekking, or you just have some questions you'd like answered, press that pink button below and let's start chatting! http://interiorsafarisea.com/contact/ 

212   7 months ago
INDIVIDUAL INVOLVEMENT EPISODE 2.


In the second episode of this campaign am saying that Africans can only truly understand this, if they are exposed to content underlining the importance of biodiversity and conservation frequently.


It is no secret that television programmes, newspaper articles and social media determine what we talk about in our homes, workplaces and local eateries. We are what we watch and read.

This is why it is high time  both mojo live streaming and the media, traditional and social-steps up to their role of setting the agenda and turns its focus to what really matters, the environment. The people who have the ability to reach millions of Africans on a daily basis and shape the narratives in the African households also wield the power to ensure that wildlife thrives in modern Africa.

I know that this content exists, but we need to see more of it. If Africans begin to see more content on nature and wildlife, the conversation will definitely begin to change. Especially if other Africans, who are equally invested in the wellbeing and the development of the continent, tell them conservation is important.

Today, young Africans, who stand to lose the most as a result of nature’s destruction, dominate the media both social and traditional on the continent. We are members of the most educated generation Africa has ever had. We travelled more than our  parents ever did and the internet has opened the world to us in ways that previous generations could not even dream of. We  are innovative, technologically savvy, and even braver than the generations that liberated us from colonialism. 

To be continued next week…..

245   7 months ago
INDIVIDUAL INVOLVEMENT

On my today’s thoughts i will talking  about Africa in relation to conservation. Well In Africa, the conservation story has long been told from an external perspective, the perspective of science, and the West. The African people , cultures, heritage, knowledge and aspirations have only been a small part of the conversation, an afterthought. Together with mojo live streaming, We need to change this, and reclaim our  role in the fight to save the planet and the future of Animals and humans.

Africa’s human population is expected to double by 2050.

That would be approximately 2.5 billion people, meaning more than a quarter of the world’s people will be in Africa. And almost 70 percent of Africans will be under the age of 40. This will undoubtedly add to the momentum of the continent’s development.


But on the other hand, nature is already being destroyed at unprecedented rates in Africa in the name of development. The way we produce and consume food and energy, coupled with the blatant disregard for the environment entrenched in our economic system, have already brought the natural world of the continent to a breaking point. A rapid increase in population is likely to speed up this destruction.

However, together with mojo live streaming, it is still possible to build a future in which the continent’s biodiversity is protected, under which its people are fed, industries are running, and its economies are sustainable and prosperous.


To achieve this, we need to make conservation a primary concern for all Africans and the rest of the world And perhaps more importantly,

we (AFRICANS) need to realise that we are not the only Africans. For me it would be arrogant for us to think that other species sharing this continent with us should pay the price for our development. 

Mountain Gorillas,Giraffes, for example, are only found in Africa, and therefore, they are as African as we are. They have a right to exist as much as we do. And their survival is tied to our survival.

To be continued in my next episode…… 

304   7 months ago
WHAT CAN WE DO NOW?

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic is a direct consequence of

our broken relationship with nature. Scientists have long been warning us that

humanity’s destruction of nature, left unchecked, will result in the spread of

deadly diseases, droughts, famines and other disasters. For decades, amid the

hustle and bustle of our daily lives, these warnings fell on deaf ears. But we

no longer have the luxury to ignore the deep interconnection between human

health and nature. The continuous loss of habitats and biodiversity is threatening

the existence of all living beings, including us.

This is where conservation comes into play. Conservation is

the strongest weapon we have to protect the planet we call home. But while

conservation is crucial for our survival, its importance is not being

communicated to masses in an efficient way, especially where it matters the

most in the world. interiorsafarisea.com



288   7 months ago
Challenges to Shell’s seismic blasting on South Africa’s Wild Coast

From the Centre for Environmental Rights, South Africa: Challenges to Shell’s seismic blasting on South Africa’s Wild Coast

6 DECEMBER 2021

Background

In early 2013 Impact Africa applied for an Exploration Right for petroleum resources in terms of section 79 of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act, 2002 (MPRDA). The Application was accompanied by an Environmental Management Programme (EMPr) which was submitted for approval in terms of (the then) section 39 of the MPRDA. After submission of the EMPr, the Petroleum Agency of South Africa (PASA) accepted the application on 1 March 2013, and required a Public Participation Process to be conducted.

PASA and the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy issued Impact Africa with the Exploration Right on 20 May 2014. This right was renewed in 2017 and for the second time in 2020, effective for a period of two years from August 2021.

Royal Dutch Shell PLC and its subsidiaries, as Operator of the Exploration Right, intend to commence with 3D seismic surveys for the exploration of petroleum resources in certain licence blocks off the Wild Coast region of South Africa.

According to the EMPr, the seismic survey involves extremely loud (220 decibels) underwater explosions or discharges at intervals of 10 to 20 seconds which are to continue 24 hours per day for four to five months. The EMPr provides that a vessel will tow an airgun array with up to 12 or more lines of hydrophones spaced 5 to 10 meters apart and between 3 and 25 meters below the water surface. The array can be upwards of 12,000 meters long and 1,200 meters wide.

Many prominent South African marine scientists have called on the government to halt the survey due to concerns about harmful impacts on South Africa’s marine ecosystems and coastal communities.

Two urgent applications were brought challenging the seismic surveys on behalf of interested and affected parties including local associations, environmental justice organisations and residents of the Wild Coast region.

Note that the Centre for Environmental Rights does not represent any of the parties in these matters.

Urgent interdict application brought by Border Deep Sea Angling Association, Kei Mouth Ski Boat Club, Natural Justice and GreenPeace Environmental Organisation in the High Court of South Africa (Eastern Cape Division, Grahamstown) and represented by Cullinan & Associates Inc and Ricky Stone:

Letters:

Pleadings:

Confirmatory Affidavits:

Heads of Argument

Judgment

  • Judgment of the High Court of South Africa (Eastern Cape Division, Grahamstown) (3 December 2021)
  • Outcome: Acting Judge Govindjee, for the court, dismissed the application, with costs. The court held that the applicants had failed to establish one of the requirements for an interdict – a well grounded apprehension of irreparable harm. The court found that the evidence used by the Applicants to establish this ground was speculative and that the mitigation measures proposed by Shell mean that the seismic survey activities must remain ‘low-risk.’

Urgent interdict application brought by Sustaining the Wild Coast NPC, Mashona Dlamini, Dwesa-Cwebe Communal Property Association and four Others in the High Court of South Africa (Eastern Cape Division, Grahamstown) represented by the Legal Resources Centre and Richard Spoor Inc.

Pleadings:

200   7 months ago