Showing 1 to 10 of 30 blog articles.
MojoStreaming Art exhibition - Charlotte Williams - starting Monday October 4th


Charlotte Williams is a

highly respected and increasingly celebrated British fine artist with a

particular interest in wildlife.  She is entirely self-taught and was

drawing her first animal portraits as young as nine years old.

 

Despite being afforded a scholarship to Farnham Art College

in her late teens, she headed instead for South Africa and the ‘bush’, where

she spent several years living and working on a game reserve in the Eastern

Transvaal. Immersed in the raw environment of the veldt, it was here

that Charlotte’s life-long passion for animals and the wild was born, and

where she passed many hundreds of hours wandering, observing and sketching all

that she saw.

On her return to the

UK in the mid-1990s, Charlotte continued to dedicate herself to art,

this time in Brighton. She went on to exhibit her work in numerous shows -

locally, and in London. She has since been in great demand and

the majority of her work today is by commission, both at home and

abroad.  

 

Charlotte’s consuming affection for wildlife

conservation has remained paramount, and her depiction of Cecil The Lion,

who lived primarily in the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe, has become one of

her iconic portraits.   She later auctioned the portrait to

raise funds and awareness of the battle against poaching, and she today

continues to support myriad conservation enterprises and wildlife foundations

across the globe. 

 

Each of Charlotte’s meticulous artworks aims to capture the

soul and spirit of her subjects, from behind the eyes, so that you might know

them and feel them, as if they were living and breathing before you.  Her

appreciation of wild animals, coupled with her unapologetic perfectionism -

enable her to create paintings and drawings that are unique and wholly

authentic. 

 

Though now based in her studio in rural East Sussex since

2010 she has an ever growing global following on social media and has

recently been made a signature member of Artists For Conservation. She is

represented by numerous people, including the prestigious London and Sussex

based gallery Rountree Tryon and has exhibited at, amongst others, Masterpiece

Art and Gallery Different in London

.

90   17 days ago
Mojostreaming is a proud sponsor of this year's 2021 WCFF!

Mojostreaming is a proud sponsor of this year's 2021 WCFF! 

Be sure to watch last year's WCFF finalist and Mojo's favorite Documentary:  Trailer: youtu.be

Wach the film here: 
  https://www.mojostreaming.com/video/635/roam4wild-the-documentary-film

Wildlife Conservation Film Festival (WCFF) is an international film festival based in New York and Los Angeles, that promotes and produces interactive events around independent films that promote sustainability and the conservation of biodiversity. The WCFF has global partnerships in Brazil, China, Kenya, and Scandinavia as of November 2019.

The Wildlife Conservation Film Festival was founded in 2010 by Christopher J. Gervais, FRGS at first as a 2-day event and has now grown to a 10-day festival.[1] It is a juried event with attendees and participants that include international wildlife conservationists, filmmakers, photographers, scientists, and people across the globe that work toward the preservation of global biodiversity. WCFF has a global educational outreach program with secondary and post-secondary institutions in North and South America, Asia, Africa, and Europe as of 2019.

2019 Award Winners

  • Ecosystem/Habitat: "Desert Wetlands-Pulse of the Outback" by Geoff Spanner
  • Education: "I Am Lion" - Tauana Films
  • Endangered Species: "Dammed to Extinction" Peterson Hawley Productions
  • Feature: "Lost Kings of Bioko" by Oliver Goetzl and Ivo Nörenberg[2]
  • Foreign: "Otters and the Exotic Pet Trade" - Four Corners Film Collective and World Animal Protection
  • Humans & Nature - "Humans and Nature" - produced by Ian Mauro and David Suzuki
  • Music & Nature - "The View South: Puma's in Patagonia" produced by Richard Szikler and Manuela Iglesias
  • Newcomer: "Queen of Taru" - Aishwarya Sridhar
  • Ocean’s: "The Secret Lives of Humpbacks" Andrew Stevenson, producer
  • Short: "African Drivrs-Lion Lights Story" Hector Salgado and Diana Soto, producers
  • Wildlife Conservation: "Red Ape: Saving the Orangutan" - Offspring Films Ltd and BBC Natural World
  • Wildlife Crime: "The Hidden Tiger" - Rescue Doc Films


Be sure to visit their website:  wcff.org

Board of Advisors: 

Jane Alexander

Casey Anderson

Gale Brewer

Holly Marie Combs

Fabien Cousteau

Dr. Sylvia Earle

Dr. Birute’ Mary Galdikas

Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE

Dr. David Guggenheim

Dr. Paula Kahumbu, OGW

Ron Magill

Ian Redmond, OBE

Dr. E.O. Wilson

Dr. Patricia C. Wright

David Hamlin


145   1 month ago
It is about time you learned a thing or two about empathy towards wildlife


It is about time you learned a thing or two about empathy towards wildlife. Here are a few books that will help

Original post by Snigdha Sharma
October 03, 2017
 03 Min Read

 

a-zoo-in-my-luggage
a-zoo-in-my-luggage

A Zoo in My Luggage by Gerald Durrell
In 1957, Gerald Durrell and his wife set out to "collect" animals from Bafut in the British Cameroons of West Africa for their zoo, a location for which was yet to be secured. They returned with a menagerie of creatures and the novel is an account of how he shifts the animals around England while scouting for a permanent location. 'Throughout my life,' he writes, 'I have rarely if ever achieved what I wanted by tackling it in a logical fashion.' A Zoo in my Luggage is a hilarious true story of animal relocation written in Durrell's inimitable style that combines charming descriptions with dry humour. His timeless classic, My Family and Other Animals, is a childhood adventure. This novel captures his unwavering love for wildlife and nature as an adult. 

 

Jungle_Book_Rudyard_Kipling_poster
Jungle_Book_Rudyard_Kipling_poster

The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
Who can forget Mowgli? The little boy who was raised by a pack of wolves in the jungles of India.  The book follows his adventures with all kinds of animals—Bagheera the black panther and Baloo the bear who teach him the important laws of the jungle to Sher Khan, the tiger who is Mowgli's mortal enemy. Other stories include Rikki-Tiki-Tavi, the tale of a brave mongoose who saves a family from two vicious cobras and Toomai, a young mahout and his elephant. The book transports you to a world of forests and animals, one riddled with meaning and symbolism in a way that can be enjoyed by both children and adults alike.

 

JimCorbett - First Edition-02
JimCorbett - First Edition-02

Man-Eaters of Kumaon  by Jim Corbett

After much persuasion from his friends and family, Jim Corbett finally penned down this riveting memoir of his encounters with big cats in the Indian Himalayas. First published in 1944 by Oxford University Press, Corbett used stories from his previous book titled Jungle Stories as its basis. The stories follow him as he tracks and kills several man-eating tigers in India, including the terrifying Champawat Tigress, who set a world record by killing 436 people in Nepal and India before being shot by Corbett in 1907.

 

the snow leopard
the snow leopard

The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen

The Snow Leopard is a day-by-day account of the author's journey into the remote Dolpo region of the Nepal Himalayas with his friend, the biologist George Schaller, to study the mating patterns of the Himalayan blue sheep. He also hopes to catch a glimpse of the elusive snow leopard which ultimately becomes a metaphor for his own spiritual quest as the book progresses. "Figures dark beneath their loads pass down the far bank of the river, rendered immortal by the streak of sunset upon their shoulders." His empathy towards the natural makes this book one of the greatest examples of both nature and travel writing.

 

the elephant whisperer
the elephant whisperer

 

The Elephant Whisperer by Lawrence Anthony with Graham Spence
Lawrence Anthony, the wildlife conservationist, took in a herd of wild African elephants at his Thula Thula game reserve. The matriarch and her baby had been shot leaving the herd traumatized and highly dangerous. Anthony realized he might be their last chance of survival.  This book is the incredible story of his struggle to form a bond with these elephants who ultimately accepted Anthony as their matriarch. When he died in 2012, the same herd of elephants made a twelve-hour journey to his home to mourn his death. 

 


151   2 months ago
Lucy the elephant



"Free The Wild" Director and Trustee, Anika Sleem is taking part in a live interview with MojoStreaming's Cathleen Trigg-Jones this Sunday, discussing Lucy the elephant, captive at Edmonton Zoo on Sunday!

About Lucy

Born in 1975, Lucy is an Asian elephant who has lived in the sub-artic conditions of Canada for over 40 years. She has never been with another Asian elephant and her only companion was taken away in 2006. Edmonton Valley Zoo's limited operating times means even the company of humans is few and far between.
She is 1000 lbs overweight and suffers from significant arthritis and foot disease. She has difficulty bearing weight on her back legs and, due to an inappropriate diet, suffers dental issues and painful colic issues which have caused her to collapse - seen lying down, slapping her stomach with her trunk. With no place to swim, no mud in which to wallow or trees to scratch against, Free The Wild aims to work with Edmonton Valley Zoo to find an amicable solution in securing her release. Despite being 45 years old, Lucy has another 15-20 years left of her life.

The interview takes place at Noon, Eastern Standard Time. Please check this time chart to establish the time of the interview in your time zonehttps://24timezones.com/difference/

Here is the link to the interview. Please only click on it at the start of the interview.:
Topic: Lucy the elephant in Edmonton - Anika SleemTime: Jul 25, 2021 12:00 PM America/Toronto Join Zoom Meetinghttps://us02web.zoom.us/j/82582923997?pwd=MUNkOGFkRTNUMlZIT3hJS1h6cGU2Zz09 Meeting ID: 825 8292 3997Passcode: 978444One tap mobile+16699009128,,82582923997#,,,,*978444# US (San Jose)+12532158782,,82582923997#,,,,*978444# US (Tacoma) Dial by your location +1 669 900 9128 US (San Jose) +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma) +1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC) +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago) +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston) +1 646 558 8656 US (New York)Meeting ID: 825 8292 3997Passcode: 978444Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kAidvBUKJ

860   2 months ago
Common waterbuck- Kobus ellipsen ellipsiprymnus

The white ring around the waterbuck’s hindquarters has led to many tales. A favorite is that they were the first animals to use the toilet on Noah’s Ark. The newly-installed toilet seats on the ark were still wet with paint and left a distinctive white ring on their rumps. Despite these bucks being a part of the ‘butt joke’, there are valid reasons for the white markings on their hindquarters. Flashes of color often scare off predators and act as a ‘follow me’ sign, helping other waterbucks flee when in danger.

Waterbuck are sexually dimorphic, meaning males and females have external differences apart from their reproductive organs.

Males can be up to 25% larger than their female counterparts and they carry the defining feature of beautiful, long, ringed horns.

These horns curve backward and then forward and vary in length from 55 cm to 99 cm. The age of the bull determines the length of the horns.

Waterbuck horns will begin to develop at around 8 to 9 months and mark the young buck’s time to separate from the herd. Young males form bachelor groups remain together until they mature and move on to make their own herd. Waterbucks’ diets are rich in protein and other nutrients. This includes coarse grasses that are seldom eaten by other plain animals and long sweet grasses like buffalo grass.

During the dry season, they supplement their diet by browsing on leaves from shrubs and certain trees, such as the Sweet thorn (Vachellia karroo). At times, you will find them shoulder-deep in water, eating roots and other aquatic plants.

They also enjoy browsing on certain fruits, especially the marula fruit during the ripe season. These antelope typically eat in the mornings and late afternoons and chew cud for the remainder of the day.

These herbivorous animals have remarkably high water requirements. They need to drink often, which is one reason why they remain close to permanent water points at all times. You’ll often find them nestled in reed beds near rivers and dams, or on floodplains.

Common waterbuck are social animals. They live in herds or groups of up to 12. Male antelopes are dominant over a certain territory, and their herd consists of females, young bachelors, and calves.

The herds are constantly changing, as individuals can join or leave at any time, provided there aren’t other males looking to dominate the territory.

When a bachelor threatens the territory of a herd leader, the dominant male will posture aggressively and even start a fight if necessary. These fights can be fatal, as the waterbuck uses its long, strong horns in combat.

Typically, a waterbuck will live up to 18 years in the wild. In general, 12-15 years is a good life for a wild waterbuck.  @GodfreytheGuide #Antelope #https://www.instagram.com/p/CQo-ZP4gIwZ/?utm_medium=copy_link

123   3 months ago
GORILLA BERINGEI BERINGEI.

Sending you lovely greetings from the land of mountain

Gorillas and the Pearl of Africa. Following our interaction last week, I come

here again with some facts about mountain Gorillas, which I have learnt throughout.

Truly I first encountered them, when I was 5 years old,

since then my experience and love for them has been interesting

. Gorillas are ground-dwelling, predominantly herbivorous

great apes that inhabit the tropical forests of central Sub-Saharan Africa. The

Gorilla genus is divided into two species the eastern gorillas and the western

gorillas, and either four or five subspecies. They are the largest remaining

primates (Apes) on earth.

As our main focus is on Mountain gorillas, mountain gorillas

only live in the dense vegetation of Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

National Park and along the dormant volcanic Virunga Mountain range that

stretches across Rwanda's Volcanoes National Park, Uganda's Mgahinga Gorilla

National Park, and Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Amongst

the questions was, what’s

threatening the live of a gorilla and will they be extinct?

One of the main reason’s gorillas are going extinct is

habitat loss, forests where gorillas have lived for many years are being

destroyed for agricultural use, commercial logging and many other activities,

this leaves gorillas in hard conditions as they can hardly live elsewhere

except in their Natural habitats

One

other burning and lovely question was, how strong are mountain Gorillas?

 

Now, I want to make one thing clear. No one really knows how

strong a gorilla is. They haven’t competed in strong man (ape) competitions.

And no one has fought a gorilla against a buffalo, hippo or even a bear

(thankfully). This post is a combination of facts and conjecture.

Another

interesting question was, do gorillas talk?

Just like in humans, gorilla communication can occur through

a variety of methods body postures, facial expressions, vocalizations. Mountain

Gorillas use a variety of behaviors and vocalizations to communicate dominance

Another

one was, what do

Gorillas eat?  

Mountain Gorillas stick to a mainly vegetarian diet, feeding

on stems, bamboo shoots and fruits. Western lowland gorillas, however, also

have an appetite for termites and ants, and break open termite nests to eat the

larvae.

And the

main deal of this article was, where do mountain gorillas sleep?

Mountain Gorillas build nests in which to sleep, both on the

ground and in trees, made of leaves and branches. Counting abandoned nests is

an effective way for scientists to estimate population size. As you will see

the photos bellow.

And of

course, like many conservationists. Another question was who scares the gentle

giants?

mountain gorillas like other primates and humans are scared

of water and some insects like caterpillars and reptiles like Chameleon.

Gorillas like other apes including humans find it hard to swim naturally which

prompts them to desist from expanse water masses (big water bodies) like Lakes

and Rivers.  And part from humans,

gorillas don't really have enemies. The only predator to prey on gorillas is

the leopard. Walter Baumgärtel found the remains of several gorillas after they

had been killed by leopards in the Virunga Volcanoes.

Amongst

other questions was, how can one help to save these gentle Giants?

One of the most effective ways to help mountain gorillas

survive, is to donate money to organizations working on the ground to conserve

the species. Numerous organizations including Over and Above Bwindi (OAB) under

Interior safaris East Africa have

spent decades finding effective methods for protecting mountain gorillas, and

most rely on grants and donations to fund our work through these activities, you

would have surely saved a gorilla.

Trekking or tracking the gorillas.

Creating awareness.

Avoid trekking gorillas when you're ill.

Making direct Donations.

Support the local communities.

Follow rules and regulations.

Engage in other activities.

For more information please contact us through the link below .

http://interiorsafarisea.com/contact/

 

113   3 months ago
The Fellowship of the Sentients



Part 1. It's Personal

I shed a tear
At the sight of this pic
Two in fact
The love of my life beside me 
Shared it too
What was the anatomy 
Of this emotive response?
One tear was for the sentient
Reaching out the hand of help
To a fellow
The fellowship of the sentients
The other eye's tear
The shame I feel for these noble beings
From human ignoble acts

Tear one returns
What a beautiful thing
This selfless act, recognisable to humans
This concern enacted, instinctive
We do this too
We see a fellow in some kind of peril
We don't stand back, come forward
Hands outstretched, lending
Pull them back in, rescue as needed
We do it compelled by connection
Ties of empathy bound into a rope
Pull them out of danger
Retrieve them from harm's way
Indeed, not just for other humans
We don't withhold from animals either
When imperilled 
So many videos attest
Humans as #therescuers 
A good fit

Tear two returns
The cloud descends, enshrouds
Obscures, hides the truth
A bad history of harm
Killing and exploitation
Orangutans in their own home
Still relatively minor skirmishes
Compared to the clear-felling for oil
The oil of the Palm, most effective threat
Evicting them from their home forests
And if they then encroach back, conflict
How many helping hands diminished
Turned instead into hands reaching out
For help, for release from a cage
From a chain around the neck
Imprisoned ‘pet’, even if illegal
From this existential crisis
This is the critical juncture
Instead extend our hands to help
Be a part of #therescuers
Just in time to return the favour

Which is the stronger emotion
Which tear will prevail
Which is the tale
We will tell to our descendants 
Which is the favour
To her descendants
In kind returned acts

This story is in first person 
It’s personal
What can one person do
To ensure, even remotely 
The Fellowship of the Sentients
Is spread far and wide
Promulgated

Part 2. A Gesture to Remember - A Capture to Applaud 

A hand
We understand
Extended in concern
A gesture, a reaching out
A triumph
A spirit, a human-like spirit
Extended beyond our own
A tragedy, in original Greek
Indeed brought on ourselves
Perpetrated on another
For their loss and ours
Ultimately, the pice is paid by all
She watched, concerned
Saw the man in deep water, snake-infested
Though that's what we was there for
To clear these hazards
She couldn’t know
She surveyed him as he surveyed
Then, seeming stuck in the mud
She ambled into action
Sat down on the edge
Compelled, as we initially comprehend
Though some might ascribe different intent
Reached out her hand
Across the species divide
Only in our mind
Her extended hand rejected
The gulf still wild
Syrhul (he) explained, comprehensibly
For reasons of protocol
We will never know, but can surmise
Why Anil (she) stretched out her hand
To someone known, seemingly in trouble
Fate that wanted to be recorded, intervened…

A moment 
Come and gone
A memory for one or two
And one not the same
Would have been lost
But for the photographer's art
Sense of importance and timing
Light needed just right, in position
A capture
An instant
An incident 
Of such import
For all time recorded, digitised
A marvel, a wonder
A tear-jerking image, dichotomatic 
One for celebrating 
One for conscience cleansing
A memory etched
A vision stretched
For all time
A lesson, a reminder
Relegate the past 
Time to be kinder
Launch remedial action
While the two tears flow
A conscience pricked
A consciousness elevated 
A distance erased
A gulf bridged
A mind amazed
A sentience shared
A recognition
A fellowship

Photo by @Anil T. Prabhakar
From his 2020 article: ‘The Guard kept searching for snakes and cleaning the river banks, though he seemed to struggle moving his legs on the muddy floor of the river, as far as I could perceive. He kept trying to pull out his legs and move further, and suddenly the female Orangutan who quietly remained a spectator got up and moved closer and extended one of her hands towards the Guard as if she was lending assistance to get out of the mud. This might have lasted three or four minutes. I was really amazed at this unexpected, sweet gesture from the orangutan. I managed to fix my camera and capture this heartwarming, unique moment and could get four frames of the event. Unfortunately the guard declined her kind gesture and managed to move away…’ (later explained as protocol for interactions with Orangutans)


306   3 months ago
Challenges facing some Desert Lion Prides in Namibia. What needs to be done to save them?

REFLECTING ON THE CBNRM (COMMUNITY BASED

NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT) MODEL IN ITS CURRENT FORM- PROTECTED AREAS AND THEIR

POTENTIAL TO IMPROVE THE STATUS QUO.

By Izak Smit, chairperson of DeLHRA

(Desert Lions Human Relations Aid).

21 May 2021

 

This is OP-ED is simply based on the view

of the author based on 32 years of regularly traversing the areas in question

of which the last ten years were spent more intensively focussing on Desert

Lion Human Conflict whilst working with Conservancies and the affected communities.


NAMIBIAN CONSERVATION-BEFORE AND AFTER

INDEPENDENCE 21 MARCH 1990

Before independence, the “Suidwes Afrika

Natuurbewaring” was pretty much run autonomously in a military fashion where

every-one knew their place and a low tolerance for outsiders was maintained.

Discipline was the order of the day and maintenance of infra-structure a high

priority. To the old “Bokkiewagters” (Game Rangers), it was not a job but a

calling and way of living. The top structure ruled with an iron fist and outsiders

were viewed with suspicion and marginalized as the brotherhood stuck together,

much like in the army those years. Appointments were made on the basis of

strict vetting and merit and promotions were hard earned. No one dared to

question or challenge the top “Brass” and the public had “no business

interfering with the work of the Ministry”. NGO’s were unheard of and had no

justification as “Natuurbewaring” had it all “under control”.

In 1990 Namibia gained independence from

the South African Government and this culture was inherited by the new

governing body. The management structure was now changed, and the experienced

and knowledgeable pale males had to clear their desks as cadre deployment

became the order of the day. Few remained as mentors were needed for the

transition as empowerment manifested. Those who remained found themselves in

powerful positions as advisors and mentors as the transition process leaned

heavily on their experience and expertise. Those who were replaced who took the

“Golden Handshake” early retirement/retrenchment packages had to seek new

opportunities where their skills would be relevant and valued. This led to many

of them, people like Jan Joubert, starting up Tourism Safari businesses as

tourism started growing in Namibia while some later formed NGOs.

THE ERA OF NGO’s-

GARTH OWEN SMITH-HIS BOOK “AN ARID EDEN”

AND MARGIE JACOBSON’S BOOK “LIFE IS LIKE A KUDU HORN”

As things developed and the new Ministry of

Environment and Tourism settled in and went through its settling/growing pains,

over the years capacity and resources seemed to have become increasingly

challenged and the ministry’s mandate became more and more impossible to

execute without outside/outsourced assistance. Enters the era of the NGO’s.

Some of the ex-Nature Conservation staff availed themselves and, in time, many

NGO’s were formed. The IRDNC, Integrated Rural Development and Nature

Conservation formed by Garth Owen Smith was one of many. These then joined the

umbrella body NACSO, Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations.

Funding and grants from organisations like WWF floated the financial boats of

these NGO’s and MOU’s with the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) were

signed and collaborations forged. To this day this structure pretty much rules

the roost.

In the beginning Garth Owen Smith’s

organisation was also faced some stonewalling from the MET as can be seen in

his book “An Arid Eden”. In time, after some lengthy and laborious

persuasion,  the MET endorsed his

proposed CBNRM (Community Based Natural Resource Management) model and the

first Conservancies were registered in the early 1990’s. The NGO’s that were

“in the fold and toeing the line” now had the political clout needed to operate

and relationships with the newly formed Conservancies were forged. Although

there was some collaboration, each NGO operates independently, has its own

mission and vision, agenda and interests. Many livelihoods are dependent on the

funding these NGOs receive and a number of ex Nature Conservation employees

from the old dispensation found a home here and their knowledge and experience

stood to benefit their organisations.

These NGOs now became the advisors and

consultants of many of the Conservancies and functions like Game counts and

others that the Conservancies’ inexperienced managements needed help with were

often outsourced from/guided by said NGOs.

The books written by the late Garth Owen

Smith, “An Arid Eden”, and his partner Margie Jacobsohn, “Life is like a Kudu

Horn”,  gives good perspective of the

history of the IRDNC and how it was established.

While the title of Garth’s book, an Arid

Eden, was appropriate until about 2013/14 it no longer holds true in the face

of the decimation of the wildlife in the conservancies over the last about

seven years. Someone bitterly commented that the title of the book,  “Life is like a Kudu Horn”, is actually more appropriate

now since a Kudu Horn is configured like a screw and the game population in the

conservancies are “pretty screwed” right now.

THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MEFT AND

NGO’s-EX BOKKIEWAGTERS AND LIVELIHOODS-DAISY CHAIN AND INTERDEPENDENCE

As many of the NGOs are dependent on

authorisations and permits of some kind from the MET, toeing the line as

dictated by the MET had become a pre-requisite. With-holding a researcher’s

permit or an NGOs work permits needed to operate can mean the end of the line

for that entity. Unsurprisingly therefor, bonding became essential. This

resulted in an “exclusive club” and you could decide whether you are in or out

by pledging subservience to the rules or not. This, in return, ensured

“protection of your turf” and kept annoying newcomers/outsiders out. The

previous Permanent Secretary mastered the art of directing this orchestra

through bullying tactics and strategies. It worked well! In one instance a

newcomer was accepted after arranging study grants for 2-3 MET employees

through his organisation first, a fair exchange? Mutually beneficial deals

involving funding and revenue streams sweetened the arrangement or “Daisy chain”

and in some instances a researcher would team up with a select few NGOs who have

big Tourism interests, a win-win situation of note, although in contrast with

some clear permit provisos!

 

 

NGO’s AND THEIR AGENDAS AND

INTERESTS-SPONSORSHIPS

This situation therefor leaves us with a

regulating body dependent on a group of supporting NGOs for the purpose of

executing the ministry’s mandate that are being run like businesses and funded

by corporate donors and sponsors in need of maximum exposure and recognition

for “fulfilling social responsibilities”. Some of the NGOs are also supported

by the private sector and more particularly, tourism operators in a mutually

beneficial arrangement which included commercial film making and the rare high

valued privilege to see collared Lions.

Hang on you say, this sounds like mud

slinging and the usual handbag in-fighting amongst conservationists in

competition. No, it is not, it needs mentioning to give perspective on why the

current status quo needs a make-over as the CBNRM model evolved negatively

being driven by self- serving outside influences.

THE OUTDATED CBNRM MANAGEMENT MODEL-NEED

FOR MAKEOVER-SHORTCOMINGS AND MAKE UP- TRIPLICATION OF WILDLIFE-BLURRING OF

LINES-HAVING CAKE AND EATING IT-LEGISLATION AND PROTECTION

When a car starts to smoke, cough, wheeze

and generally starts performing poorly, one is forced to check for the problem.

Is it the gearbox, differential, engine or electrics maybe? If it is all of the

above, you change the whole damn thing.

The CBNRM mode has been going since the

early 1990s which makes it about 26 years old. Things evolve and influences

like climate change changes the variables and essence of such a model over time

and it, inevitably at some stage, needs reviewing. Desertification, both as a

result of overgrazing and climate change has progressed to a point where so-called

traditional farming, nomadic pastoralism and even subsistence farming may no

longer be sustainable or even possible. Traditional farming, in the modern

context has reached proportions in places emulating modern commercial farming

which has no place in an unsuitable, sensitive, arid environment.

Diversification of income is much needed and no traditional, albeit

destructive, livestock farming can hold the environment hostage to its needs

any longer. All of us on this planet are going to have to adapt or, yes, die! A

sixth mass extinction is not just a rumour, the tangible evidence is there for

all to see!

The CBNRM model caters for “sustainable

use”, which includes both consumptive and non- consumptive exploitation of

resources. Currently the lines are blurred and haphazard “zoning” which is

supposed to distinguish between farming, hunting, general, wildlife and tourism

areas, is just a thought which vanishes with the first signs of a drought when

it all becomes available as “emergency grazing” areas. This of course impacts

heavily on the availability of the very scarce nutrition the Wildlife had

become dependent upon as they adapted over centuries to survive in this hostile

environment.

In many instances we have witnessed semi-nomadic

Himba pastoralists and local farmers simply ignoring the Conservancy rules and MEFT

directives by driving large numbers of cattle into ephemeral rivers and areas

“zoned” for Wildlife and Tourism. Even worse, Reed beds would be set alight in

order to induce new growth for the starving cattle with no regard to the

destruction of the environment and ecology. The Huaruseb, Hoanib and Huabrivers

in particular became linear farms in these times to the detriment of and

causing major disturbance to the Wildlife. Since the moratorium on hunting and

utilisation had been announced after it had been discovered that the Game

populations were becoming precariously low, bushmeat poaching increased which

took its toll on the few remaining animals tasked with repopulating the

conservancies in future. Allowance was made for Game to be hunted for purposes

of catering for traditional leadership meetings and in many instances the

animals could not even be found. Some Farmers openly defied the MEFT and Law

enforcement agencies during the drought and the environment paid the price as the

result. The outcome was quite predictable and is now manifesting in starving

predators and ecological systems imploding.

The question that now arises is whether

having your Cake and eating it is possible in this context? The very

environment that attracts Tourism is under siege by Agriculture, the latter

which is clearly failing and not sustainable. In the end it will be either or……

. Either the Environment will have to be protected or it will logically be

overrun and turned into the wasteland it is already fast becoming. The Ministry

of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MEFT) is regularly on record stating that

the CBNRM model is so successful and serves as a role model to the rest of the

World. It claims that Wildlife had “triplicated” in numbers and that the

current lack of game in the conservancies had been solely caused by the nasty

drought…. . While it is true that game in Namibia has vastly increased over the

years, this can mostly be attributed to the commercial farm owners on freehold

land diversifying in order to survive financially and to optimize their return

on investment. This had been instrumental in building a big Hunting Industry

which contributes handsomely to the GDP. The difference being that the owners

of the game manage it like a business and carefully manage and invest in their

own stock for long term gains. The conservancies, however, being on state land,

are not managed in the same way at all and no real ownership and accountability

exists in this model. Windows of opportunity for corruption, maladministration

and mismanagement are abundant and exploited. This is sadly reflected in the statistics

regarding the high failure rate on financial audits of conservancies in Namibia

(over 84% failed?) and the current, sorry state of affairs regarding the

depleted natural resources.

All of this could not have been intentional

and a large portion of this failure could be attributed to the fact that the

management committees are simply in most cases not equipped to run these

“Parks”. Office bearers in responsible positions in many instances do not have

the knowledge, experience, acumen and training to execute their portfolios. I

do not fix my own plumbing as I would flood the house and possibly the town,

therefore I outsource a Plumber for that purpose. I also do not perform Heart

surgery as I am not qualified to do so. The same holds true here and it is

expected of these people to perform such tasks up to the same standards as a

highly qualified National Parks management structure would deliver? Oh, hang

on, there are many NGOs advising and assisting said Conservancies…. ? Now

therein lies the problem. Different agendas, interests, missions and visions

and in many cases the exact same lack of knowledge, training, experience etc.

and so forth exists within these NGOs. No, badmouthing them is not the purpose,

merely stating the facts here. A lot of confusion and the evident failure of

the current status quo being reflected in the affairs of the conservancies and

state of the environment bears witness to this. Also, after 26 years, if

properly empowered, surely the conservancies would have been able to function

effectively and independently by now?

 Let

us face the brutal truth, without insulting any party, the CBNRM model needs a

make-over of note and the drawing board beckons while time runs out!

In our humble opinion, the example of

Africa Parks, set in Africa over the past years as a turnaround specialist is

very relevant. In order to optimize Wildlife and Tourism areas these have to be

identified and clear boundaries defined to begin with. It should then be

gazetted as such, whether as concession area or proclaimed protected area,

either way it must emerge with a status properly protected by legislation and

through law enforcement. Farming, general and hunting areas (the latter clearly

not bordering the protected areas) should be clearly zoned with clear

distinction from the protected areas. This would have the advantage that vast

areas with huge potential like the breath-taking area between the Ugabriver and

the Southern Veterinary fence boundary along the Bergsig/Springbokwasser gate

road including the whole Huab valley can then enjoy the same protection as the

Palmwag concession area and even be integrated with the latter. This will mean

that instead of being a free for all area exploited and damaged by all

currently, it can be developed by concession holders and investors and run like

a park by custodians charged with managing Human Wildlife Conflict, security

and anti-poaching and maintenance while optimizing revenue, creating job

opportunities, skills-development and welfare for the Conservancy communities.

The aim should be proper mentorship and development with clear goal posts

ultimately enabling absolute empowerment over a period. Palmwag concession has

proven its success with Gondwana lodge and the Hoanibriver Wilderness Lodge

contributing substantially to the conservancy coffers. The wheel in this

instance, does not need to be re-invented but merely copied and pasted by

including more protected areas.

Land use guidance and assistance to

subsistence farmers enabling diversification to ensure food security while

downscaling livestock farming to provide sustenance instead of being managed as

a “traditional currency” will be of paramount importance. Considering what the

Israelis harvest from their equally arid Desert there is no shortage of options

that should be investigated and developed. Education and training will be key. Continuing

on the same destructive path currently followed in the name of “traditional

livestock farming” will be short lived considering the progressive

desertification and change and is not negotiable really.

THE DROUGHT AND POOR MANAGEMENT-RESULTS

IN PROTECTED AREAS VERSUS CONSERVANCIES

Good rains on and off had been experienced

between 2007 and 2012 and it was a “time of abundance” during which the

predators, a good barometer of the health of an ecosystem, and their prey

species had multiplied to a point considered as being well balanced. Game

counts, for such an arid environment with below 150 mm of rain falls per year,

were impressive. This was, however, clearly the end of a “boom cycle” and a dry

cycle was to be expected as per the normal and natural ebb and flow trending of

“seven fat and seven lean years” as a well-known, historical phenomena.

The quotas released for the “sustainable” utilisation

of the game were unprecedented and overly generous but according to those

responsible for the game counts, justifiable. People like the well- known

environmentalist Christiaan Bakkes  and

myself frowned upon this and we made our disgust  publicly known at the time. We encountered Zebras

that were clearly wounded and left to die in the “Red line” veterinarian fence near

Palmwag during one cull of 70 Hartmann Mountain Zebra and Christiaan Bakkes’

article in the Namibian newspaper, titled “End of the Game” described the waste

and massacre on the Giribes Plains amongst other similar cases of

indiscriminate plundering (as per his book “Plunderwoestyn”). This earned him an

end to his long career in the Tourism industry in Namibia due to the

traditional leaders and Chiefs’ wrath incurred.

Not very long after this, filling hunting

quotas started to become problematic as the number of animals available simply

did not match the numbers on the permits anymore. Hunters started to abandon

concessions due to non-viability and the question arose, “where are the

animals?”. A Moratorium on Shoot and Sell and own use was hurriedly imposed as

late as 2017 and after confronting those NGOs responsible for the game counts, we

were “confidentially” told that the scientific formula used for the estimation

of the game numbers had been found to have been flawed and hence optimistically

biased.

With no means of putting the Toothpaste

back into the tube, the damage had been done and we witnessed the resultant

sharp escalation of Human Lion Conflict in these areas from 2014/15 onwards. As

a consequence, this had a big impact on Lion mortalities through poisoning and

shooting by retaliating farmers. In one single incident a Lioness pregnant with

four fully developed and ready to be born, cubs was shot and killed.

When comparing the variance in Predator/Prey

ratios in protected areas, i.e. Palmwag concession, Etosha Park etc. versus the

same in the conservancies, the contrast is shocking. The conclusion can only be

that management, or the lack of it, should be held responsible since the

protected areas had gone through the exact same ordeal caused by the drought.

It has become apparent that, when “sustainable utilisation” quotas were

calculated no, or inadequate provision had been made for Predator requirements,

loss of game to poaching and disease/natural causes and that no contingency/allowance

had been made for core herds needed to repopulate the areas once the wet/boom

cycle begins. The results were clearly starving predators and Human Lion

Conflict escalating to an all-time high. Whenever Humans upset the equilibrium

in nature, Newton’s Law comes into play…..

THE TURNAROUND AND SOLUTION-MANAGEMENT,

BENEFITS-AFRICAN PARKS-REVERSING HABITAT SHRINKAGE-% OF LAND UNDER

“CONSERVATION”-SUCCESS CLAIMS  BY MEFT

While it is good and well for the MEFT (Ministry

of Environment, Forestry and Tourism) to boast that about 43% of land in

Namibia is under conservation, the question arises as to how the land outside

of protected areas in this category is being managed and why the disastrous results

and outcome. Having huge areas under conservation devoid of Wildlife due to

poor or inadequate, inefficient management may look good statistically but in

real terms defeats the object. It is common knowledge that the habitat of Lions

in Africa has shrunk by about 80% over that last decades and the same holds

true for the Kunene region, formerly known as Damara and Kaokoland. Where Lions

used to roam from the Ugabriver in the South right up to the Marienfluss in the

North, barring few Lions, most now only occur in the protected Palmwag

concession area. Recently the whole Huabriver Lion population had to be

translocated to a sanctuary due to starvation and more will follow. It would

make more sense to identify areas in Conservancies ideal for Wildlife and

Tourism and convert those to “Park-like concessions” with the appropriate

legislative and statutory protection surely?

A Perfect example of such successful

turnaround endeavours is that of African Parks. So far, they have taken over

management of about nineteen Parks in Africa in countries where conservation

had failed in totality. Their successes in Liuwa Plains and other parks speak

for itself. Not only do they manage the parks but the positive effects of their

Human Wildlife Conflict management, anti-poaching, skills development, job

creation, community welfare and upliftment etc. has made a huge, positive

impact on the lives of those living in close proximity to the parks as well as

conservation. By employing experts and applying sound principles, management

plans and strategies their story is one of success. It simply cannot be

expected that the same results could be obtained by incapable, inexperienced

locals advised by a a mix of, own interest driven NGOs on a hit and miss basis.

The shockingly low game counts leading to the current disastrous ecological

imbalances in the conservancies bears witness to this. The rather desperate,

urgent last-minute efforts by the MEFT to outsource the services of a consultant/advisor

unfortunately casts doubt on their grip on the situation and gives the

impression that they may be at the end of their tether…

CONCLUSION-

The reality is that it is very late in the

day and if Namibia is serious about continuing on the path towards successful

conservation of its natural heritage, no amount of political correctness will

realise this.

We need to accept that things are wrong,

learn from past mistakes and take some concrete action, even if unpopular in

some circles. One cannot simply put a Band aid on a bullet wound. The solutions

are there and need to be expeditiously implemented. For this, Political Will is

required first and foremost. Own interests/livelihoods, egos and needs will

have to take a back seat. Much like the climate change phenomena where some

drastic changes are needed to bring down CO2 emissions which involve sacrifices

and a paradigm shift, conservation has also arrived at a clear crossroad.

In hindsight, the words of Chris Bakkes may

have proven to be prophetic, this could indeed be the “End of the Game” unless

acted upon with urgency….. .

 It

would be sad to see the CBNRM model,  Garth-Owen Smith’s lifelong dream, disappear

in the Desert dust…. 

1180   3 months ago
Five Shooter



Five
Like fingers 
Each one different 
Distinct in purpose 
To hold, close your hand
Which one would you choose to lose
One less important than the other?
Big Five
Like fingers
All different, come together
Hold on for dear life
Which one would we choose to lose
One less important than the other?
Old Five
Like fingers
Hold a gun, one for a trigger
Squeeze off a round
One comes down
Which one did they choose to waste
One more prized than the other?
New Five
New hand dealt
Fingers come together
To hold a camera
One finger for a different trigger
To shoot yes, only to capture
No need to choose, shoot them all
Five shooter
All prized equally
Shoot as many times as you like
No harm will be done to any one
Finally a hand, a steady hand
Five fingers to capture the big five
Without making them captive
Only their powerful images
Capturing the brilliant truth 
The sentience of their existence
Their majesty in the wild
Their right to live and roam
In their home
Untouched plains and jungles
Mountains and ice flows
That’s the prize, the trophy shot
The New Big Five
Alive

Five Fingers - full hand
Point them out
One by one...follow the series

Lion - Index: Big cat royalty, Leo points the way...

Elephant - Middle: Tallest Pachyderm, largest animal who walks, centre hold...

Tiger - Third: Largest Panthera, star with stripes, lock-in ...

Polar Bear - Little: (Not that little!) Ursus of the sea, mighty white clamp...

Gorilla - Thumb: Misty mountain Primate, opposable grasp

Lion will lead the way...next

Feature photo from www.newbig5.com
Visit the site for some wonderful photos and thoughts.

A. E. Lovell
ae4e.me/blog





224   3 months ago
The Tribe Endangered No. 5 The Life of Brian

Not that Brian
The one who lived next door
And was mistaken for, the Messiah 
Our Brian is a Pongo
Similar to humans in many ways
Who had the misfortune
Of living next to human food production 
He was orphaned, forsaken
Lets switch to his story
‘The Brian of Life’
Little Man of the too little forest
Clinging to his kind's name
Swinging as he is wont to do
Tarzan-like from tree to tree
Living in the treetops, born free
But as with all these stories
Sagas of the Tribe Endangered
Something has gone wrong
Or he wouldn’t be invited 
To join this exclusive Tribe
Instinctively non-extinctive
But heading and helped along that way
By his catastrophe creating cousin
The Man Who Felled The Earth
Not just one, the species
The hungry collective
Insatiable appetites for sweet oily ‘food’
The treat in the palm of their hand
Oiled by the Palm grown on the land
Brian’s only home - homeland 
Brian’s trees must be cleared away
For neat and orderly rows of production
Nothing can be grown in the chaos
Of the jungle, just oversized weeds
Choking the productive fields and hills
In the big scheme of human snacking
In one fell swoop Brian fell afoul
His home was felled with one hand
Taking his mother with it, down
But another hand, the helping kind
Lifted him out to safety and sanctuary
His life was saved but complicated
What’s a guy got to do
To catch a break!
It started well, a kind female adopted him
And in the love and company of his kind
He grew, and so did the Manhood of his Forest
In no time he would be searching for a mate
Kind Rosa raised him for some two years
From three to five years old
Showed him the jungle ropes
So to speak
But after she became a mother
Left to roam, leaving Brian alone
So he struck out on his own
And struck out when confronted 
By the dominant male of the territory 
Stood his tree bravely, didn’t back down
Narrowly avoiding being banged up by Bangkal
But his carers thought it prudent
To take their Orang student of forest life
To a different patch of forest
Strike two!
This time Brian maybe didn’t follow jungle lore
Might have stood up like before
But took a savage beating 
You don’t call the local big guy Yokel
It’s Yoko, appellation ’Sir’
Battered, injured and bleeding
He was brought back in needing
Time out for treatment and healing
And processing his harsh lessons
Don’t venture into a dominant male’s range
Too cocky and haughty
Don’t fracas with him
Don’t even look sideways at his mates
Don’t talk back, but fallback
Find your own range
And therein lies his dilemma 
Still critically endangered
Young Man of the Trees
As the trees are chainsawed down
Range options diminishing
Homeland dwindling 
Life can be so harsh
For Brian of Life

Thanks to the kind hands
And watchful eyes
Of the Orangutan Foundation
His still has a sanctuary
A small patch to patrol
To live the life of Brian
Help the helping hands
To hold him dear
And keep him here

A. E. Lovell 

ae4e.me/blog

258   3 months ago