Published on the 18th of June, 2020
Ndugu was a majestic bull who called the Kibwezi Forest home. His name means “brother” in Swahili — and the Keepers dubbed him such, as he had become like a big brother to our Umani Springs herd. The friendship was not immediate. At first, he observed the group from a distance, nothing more than a hulking shadow in the dense undergrowth. As he grew more comfortable in their presence, he moved out into the open glades where they enjoyed the salt licks and mud baths. His appearances caused much excitement among our babies, and eventually they mustered up the courage to walk right up to him.
In the course of their daily adventures, our orphans encounter many wild elephants in the Kibwezi Forest. Many friendships have been forged from these interactions, but Ndugu has a special place in our hearts. He was truly a friend to all of us, with his comforting presence and his gentle demeanor. Ndugu never hassled the Keepers or gave them any cause for alarm; it was as if he understood the pivotal role they play in this unusual herd.
Ndugu was not a perennial visitor. As is typical of bulls, who act as the scouts of elephant society, he would remain in the forest for a few months at a time before journeying on. The Keepers and orphans were delighted whenever he made his regular pilgrimage back to Umani Springs, growing more friendly with each passing year. The feeling was clearly mutual: Ndugu would often accompany the herd back to their stockades and see them off for the night. It wasn’t unusual for him to then remain in the vicinity, sometimes even sleeping outside the compound. When four of our orphans started spending nights away from the stockades and out in the forest, Ndugu frequently served as their chaperone. We can’t imagine how reassuring it must have been for the orphans to have their older friend by their sides.
The Umani Springs herd enjoyed Ndugu’s company throughout April and into May, before he disappeared once more. After an absence of three weeks, our Keepers were shocked to find him standing by the mud bath, clearly in distress. Upon closer inspection, they realised he was suffering from a seriously infected injury. They immediately alerted the SWT/KWS Tsavo Mobile Veterinary Unit, and Dr. Poghon was able to walk right up to him to dart him with anaesthetic. It appeared that he had been wounded during a fight with another bull. His right ear bore a hole the diameter of a tusk, along with a deep puncture between his scapula and another injury on his left shoulder. After cleaning and massive doses of antibiotics and anti-inflammatories administered, he managed to get back to his feet, but Dr. Poghon gave him a guarded prognosis given how severe and infected his injuries were.
We continued to keep a close eye on our friend. He remained in the area, limping heavily between the forest and the glade. After dousing his wounds with mud, he would lie on the ground or give himself a gentle mud bath, which seemed to alleviate his pain. Ndugu was there when Luggard and Enkesha graduated to Umani Springs. He watched the proceedings closely, showing visible interest in the new arrivals, but it was clear he was not doing well and we could smell the sepsis setting in. Still, he remained a regal presence, standing like a statue in the mud bath and splashing water on his shoulders. Shukuru, who knows something of overcoming great physical difficulties, was clearly concerned about her friend and ventured up to his side to check on him.
She wasn’t the only one. Frustratingly and tragically, there was nothing more we could do for him at this early stage. M99, which is used to anaesthetise elephants, has a revival drug. While that remains in the bloodstream, anaesthetic can’t be used again for some time, as the revival then becomes ineffective and the elephant will never wake up. A minimum of two weeks must pass before we can even consider a follow-up treatment. As dawn broke the next day, Ndugu was still standing in the mud bath, and shortly thereafter he lay down. Hearts sinking, our team rushed to his side. It appeared he no longer had the strength to rise, so we mobilised vehicles to try to help him back on his feet. That was not to be, for just then, he took his last breath and passed away before their eyes.
Ndugu’s death affected everyone deeply. It is difficult to reconcile why such a magnificent friend should meet such a senseless end. We took him deep into the forest to his final resting place away from where the orphans frequent. It is a peaceful place, situated among the leafy trees that Ndugu loved so much.
We are glad that our orphans did not witness Ndugu’s passing. Many members of our Umani Springs herd lost their mothers before their very eyes, and we fear that seeing their friend’s lifeless form would have evoked traumatic memories. They may never know where his last safari took him or why he never returned, but they can imagine him spirited away, off on a grand adventure. Given how intuitive elephants are, however, it is likely that they realised how much he was suffering and, deep down, understand his fate.
Although we only knew Ndugu for a few years, he made an indelible impact. His life was cut short, but there is no doubt that it was a life well-lived. He was an elephant full of curiosity and empathy, an elephant who opened his heart to our unique Umani Springs herd and gave so much of himself to them.
Rest in peace, beautiful brother. You are and will always be deeply missed, but may your giant spirit watch over the beautiful Kibwezi Forest.
New York Congresswoman Nita Lowey has reintroduced a bill that would prohibit body-gripping traps in the National Wildlife Refuge system.
Lowey, Democratic chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, reintroduced the Refuge From Cruel Trapping Act Friday, that would ban from public land traps where animal endure hours or even days of pain. Lowey says that, each year, thousands of bobcats, otters, foxes, beavers and other wild animals are trapped in this manner across the nation’s refuges. She says more than 50 percent of the 566 refuges allow trapping. Steel-jaw leghold traps; conibear traps: and neck snares would be banned if the measure is enacted. Lowey says it’s time to restore the true meaning of “refuge” to the National Wildlife Refuge system
by: Joel Boyce
recipient: US Fish and Wildlife Service
93,866 SUPPORTERS – 95,000 GOAL
State land commissioner for New Mexico, Stephanie Garcia Richard, wrote an executive order putting an end to New Mexico animal-killing contests. This has saved hundreds or thousands of coyotes from wanton slaughter each year during disgusting contests of piling up dead animals for cash or prizes.
The commissioner calls these events an exercise in animal cruelty, and she’s right. But they are not unique to New Mexico by any means, nor are they limited just to coyotes. Eliminating these kinds of gratuitous killing contests is absolutely a win for conservation and the humane treatment of wild animals, but does not interfere with ordinary, small-scale hunting. It’s an important step which should also be a non-controversial one.
Legislation similar in language and purpose to the executive order of New Mexico’s land commissioner should be applied across the country, starting with all federal lands. It’s well past time for killing contests, of any animal species and in any state, to become extinct.
Sign Petition: No More Animal Killing Contests on Federal Land!
by: Ellen Fishel
recipient: Rick Scott DEP Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
35,827 SUPPORTERS – 40,000 GOAL
It was just published today in the paper that the Trump Administration is looking into developing 6 million acres of Florida wetlands for commercial development. This came about after a huge rollback in environmental regulations, which will cause half of Florida wetlands to lose federal protection.
This will destroy not only the delicate environment of the Everglades, but also the precious water supply that is so desperately needed here.
The Everglades are already in danger because of development 30 years ago!!! Scientists are trying to restore the Everglades! It can never go back to its original state. We seem to always overlook our precious environment, our beautiful planet as $$$ always seem to be at the forefront!!
I am saddened to think our government would even think of destroying such a delicate ecosystem and all the animals and wildlife who live there. What are we leaving for future generations? We already have red tide here in part due to contaminated water that is feeding this bloom. What happens when the Everglades are turned upside down???
I would like to see this stopped and legislation passed that cannot be turned over by ANYONE to save the Wetlands. Please sign the petition to demand that the Trump administration and the Environmental Protection Agency REVERSE this rule change, and to demand that Congress pass laws to protect this precious land, once and for all!
Forty-two years old and one of the last of his kind: now this awe-inspiring elephant is no more, a victim of the park he called home. Demand the removal of dangerous structures that killed one park elephant and endanger many more.
by: Care2 Team
recipient: Government of Botswana, Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism
32,363 SUPPORTERS – 35,000 GOAL
The Southern African nation of Botswana has long been considered one of the last bastions of safety for the imperiled African elephant. Its parks were regarded as top notch, and their anti-poaching armed guards — who had a shoot-on-sight mandate — did a comparatively good job of protecting their nation’s pachyderms.
But recently that has all changed. The country — home to around 130,000 elephants, the most of any nation — has experienced an alarming spate of elephant poachings over the past two months. According to conservationists on the ground, since mid-July, 90 elephant carcasses have been discovered within Botswana. It seems, that after poachers have devastated populations in nearby Zambia and Angola they have trained their sights on Botswana’s.
The increase could be attributed to several issues, but activists suggest that the main reason could have something to do with the fact that the government disarmed their anti-poaching force earlier this year. The force, considered an integral tool for stopping poachers, has been declawed, making Botswana’s elephant population an easy target.
According to Elephants Without Borders, in 2014, a similar census showed that only 14 elephants had been poached in an equitable amount of time. The deaths this year, show a 540% increase over the span of just four years.
Botswana had a system that worked. It protected their elephant population and turned the country into one of the foremost destinations for African safaris. Now, after they have stripped their anti-poaching force of their weapons they need to implement another plan that will once again shield elephants and other wildlife from a poacher’s gun.
Please sign the petition and demand Botswana take immediate action to end the spate of poaching in their country and implement a plan that will turn Botswana into the safe haven it once was.
by: Ed Goncalves
recipient: HE Mokgweetsi Masisi, President of Botswana
44,386 SUPPORTERS – 45,000 GOAL
Botswana is the last safe haven for Africa’s elephants. It’s a refuge for ONE THIRD of the species’ remaining population. This is in large part thanks to a BAN on trophy hunting.
Now, though, the country’s Parliament wants to make trophy hunting LEGAL. Botswana’s President has launched a public consultation.
Make your voice heard by signing this petition – BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!
“We strongly urge His Excellency Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi, the President of the Republic of Botswana, to keep the current ban on the trophy hunting of elephants in place.
Trophy hunting brings a cruel death for the target animal, and does little to benefit local communities or support wildlife conservation.
Elephant populations have fallen dramatically in recent years, including in neighbouring countries where trophy hunting is permitted.
Botswana is now the best hope for the survival of this magnificent creature. Losing the African Elephant would be a conservation disaster for Botswana, Africa and the world.
We very much hope you will demonstrate your, and Botswana’s, continued global leadership in helping preserve the African elephant for future generations by ensuring the trophy hunting ban remains in place.”
by: Laura G.
recipient: Malcolm Dougherty, director of the California Department of Transportation; Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., Los Angeles, CAmore
4,929 SUPPORTERS in Los Angeles
118,453 SUPPORTERS – 120,000 GOAL
Mountain lions that live in Los Angeles are in danger of becoming extinct in 50 years because their isolation leaves them vulnerable to inbreeding, which causes health problems and unusual behavior. Trying to leave their territory is very risky: Since 2002, 17 mountain lions have been killed trying to cross busy freeways in the area.
Last year the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) proposed overseeing the design and construction of a $60 million vegetated bridge across the 101 Freeway in Agoura Hills. It will allow mountain lions and other animals to travel from the Santa Monica Mountains to the Sierra Madre Mountains north of Los Angeles without the risk of being struck and killed by speeding cars.
However, Caltrans said, 80 percent of the cost of the bridge must be covered by corporate and private donations. To help raise those funds, the National Wildlife Federation has joined with other advocacy groups in “one of the most ambitious fundraising campaigns ever held on behalf of local wildlife,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
The groups are optimistic the funds will be raised. Caltrans estimates that the bridge will be completed by 2022. But the longer it takes to build the bridge, the longer the lives of mountain lions and other animals are in danger.
Please sign and share this petition urging Caltrans to build the wildlife bridge as soon as possible.
Joe Asch started this petition to NH Fish & Game Andrew Timmins
For fifteen years a black bear named Mink has lived peacefully in Hanover’s Mink Brook corridor. She has raised many generations of cubs, and neither Mink nor her cubs have ever harmed anyone.
Mink was recently transported upstate by NH Fish & Game (her cubs were taken to Lyme) after eating from Hanover residents’ bird feeders and garbage. However, she now seems to be making her way back to Hanover to find her cubs.
We call on NH Fish & Game and the Town of Hanover to exclude the possibility of killing Mink from the list of options about how to treat her when she returns to town.
Please don’t kill Mink!
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Updates
Elehost Web Design Inc. WWW.ELEHOST.COM (877) ELE- HOST
After months of hard work, we are delighted to announce the completion of the Meru Rhino Sanctuary extension and upgrade. The project, which we undertook in partnership with the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), was funded entirely through donations from supporters and offers Kenya’s rhinos a brighter future in a larger and more viable Sanctuary within the beautiful Meru National Park.
Meru National Park Meru Rhino Sanctuary
Meru Rhino Sanctuary Meru Rhino Sanctuary Fenceline
To celebrate the completion of the upgrade, on 5th of April, the DSWT and KWS held a handover ceremony attended by Robert Carr-Hartley from the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, the Principle Secretary of Tourism Dr. Margaret Mwakima, and KWS Mr. Julius Kimani along with senior management from Meru National Park. During the ceremony, the DSWT also donated to KWS Meru National Park a fully customized land cruiser, to be used to further boost security within the Park.
Handover of donated landcruiser
The Meru Rhino Sanctuary is an important stronghold for Kenya’s rhino population and one that at the request of KWS DSWT has been able to extend and upgrade to better accommodate the rhinos that call it home, and hopefully see the existing population increase substantially in the future. Through the support of DSWT donors, we have been able to expand the Sanctuary from 48km² to 83.5km², providing more space for the growing resident rhino population that live within the sanctuary’s protected boundaries, which according to a KWS report in 2017, stood at 61 white rhinos and 28 black rhinos.
As part of the upgrade, we have also built two security bases which house KWS Security rangers and DSWT funded fence maintenance teams. This brand new perimeter electric fence line has been redesigned to be unobstrusive and has been extended a further 25.6 km, we have also incorporated 20 strategically located wildlife corridors with a design that allows the free movement of elephants and other wildlife in and out of the Sanctuary, with the exception of rhinos. These simple but effective corridors consist of thick, short posts spaced across a gap in the fence and prevent rhinos from moving beyond the Sanctuary since they are unable to climb over, or squeeze between, the posts.
Part of the Fenceline
The DSWT has a long and rich history of rhino conservation in Kenya and was involved in establishing the country’s first fenced special rhino sanctuaries in both Lake Nakuru National Park and later in Tsavo West National Park in conjunction with the Eden Wildlife Trust and African Wildlife Foundation. Moreover, in the early 1960s, our Founder Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldrick pioneered the milk formula and the husbandry necessary to hand rear orphaned black rhino calves and, over the years, Daphne and DSWT have hand-raised 16 orphaned black rhinos and rehabilitated them successfully in Solio Ranch, Tsavo East National Park and Nairobi National Park.
As we strive to help KWS protect these iconic creatures from the threat of poaching, fuelled by the demand for rhino horn, The DSWT will continue to support KWS in Meru National Park with a second phase being the redoing of the boundary fence lines for Meru National Park, rebuilding them into a 14 strand unshortable barrier electical fence along with the ongoing operations of DSWT/KWS Veterinary and De-snaring Teams based there, and these two teams have already been active in this area now for six years.
In particular, since its launch in 2013, the DSWT/KWS Meru Mobile Veterinary Unit, headed by KWS Veterinary Officer Dr Bernard Rono, has directly supported Meru’s rhino population attending to 165 rhino related veterinary incidents in the greater Meru ecosystem, comprising of ear notching excercises to ensure that individuals are easy to identify and to treat wounds brought about due to fighting and wounds made from the filarial fly, and a further 529 cases of other wildlife species in total have been treated by this Unit. Additionally, since its inception in 2014, the DSWT/ KWS Meru De-Snaring Unit (comprising of graduates from KWS Field Training School in Manyani) has confiscated 5,236 illegally lain snares and significantly contributed to deterring illegal activities due to regular patrols along the vulnerable boundaries of the National Park.
Some members of the DSWT funded Meru De-snaring team DSWT/KWS Meru Desnaring Team
DSWT KWS Mobile Veterinary Unit
Given the suitability of habitat for rhinos in Meru National Park, the Meru Rhino Sanctuary offers them a secure sanctuary and a place for sustainable growth, and it is our hope that in the coming years, it will house one of the largest rhino populations in Kenya. Our sincere thanks to everyone who donated towards this vital initiative to protect and preserve Kenya’s black rhino population, and special thanks goes to our conservation partner the Kenya Wildlife Service.
Threatened rare Reddish Egrets and many other wading and migratory birds are at risk to human recreational disturbance. A Sailing Club wants to access the water through and nearby their habitat which is an Aquatic Preserve and outstanding Florida Waterway.
Biggest Airlift in History Returns 33 Circus Lions to Africa
By Anna Starostinetskaya | April 29, 2016
“Operation Spirit of Freedom” to take 33 lions from 10 circuses in Peru and Colombia back to their native land in Africa.
Animal Defenders International (ADI) will orchestrate the biggest airlift in history today by transporting 33 lions from 10 Peruvian and Colombian circuses to Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary in South Africa. Thanks to the the efforts of ADI—an animal rescue organization founded by husband-and-wife team Tim Phillips and Jan Creamer—several countries, including Peru and Colombia, have imposed bans on the use of wild animals in circuses. The organization—which has rehabilitated and relocated more than 100 former circus animals under Operation Spirit of Freedom—is chartering a Boeing 747 for the airlift to transport 24 ex-circus lions from Peru and nine from Colombia with an ADI veterinary team to the South African sanctuary. Once on the ground, the lions will be rehabilitated in the 5,000-hectare sanctuary that is already home to eight rescued lions and tigers, has a no-breeding policy, and is not open to the public. Creamer said, “When we visited Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary, we knew this is a dream come true for ADI and, more importantly, the lions.” Sanctuary founder Savannah Heuser expressed her gratitude for being involved in such a groundbreaking operation. “I cannot start to comprehend the endless days [of] suffering that these animals had to endure,” Heuser said. “They have a lot of lost time to make up for. They will live out the rest of their lives in a natural habitat, the closest they can ever come to freedom.”
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Obama Administration Prematurely Abandoning Recovery, Despite Ample Room for
Wolves in Southern Rockies, West Coast, Northeast
SAN FRANCISCO— A first-of-its-kind analysis by the Center for Biological Diversity identifies 359,000 square miles of additional habitat for gray wolves in 19 of the lower 48 states that could significantly boost the nation’s 40-year wolf recovery efforts. The study indicates the gray wolf population could be doubled to around 10,000 by expanding recovery into areas researchers have identified as excellent habitat in the Northeast, West Coast and southern Rocky Mountains, as well as the Grand Canyon, an area where a radio-collared wolf was photographed in recent weeks.
The report comes as the Obama administration moves to strip Endangered Species Act protection from gray wolves by the end of…
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As a part of celebrating World Wildlife Week I will be sharing information about the importance of saving our Natural History, hopefully trying to create awareness among the growing nature lovers. Lets start with why we need to save the Tiger.
The tiger is at the top of the food chain. Therefore, the healthy presence of tigers indicates healthy forests. The presence of tigers in a forest has dual benefits, firstly, it keeps the ungulate (hoofed animals like deer and wild boar) population in check and also keeps humans at bay as most people are scared of venturing into a tiger or lion forest. This mostly applies to poor villagers and not poachers and hunting tribes. If there is no apex predator, herbivores wreak havoc and humans enter the forest for farming, logging, and poaching of smaller animals with less fear. The existence of tigers is vital for the survival…
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reblogged from Audublog Help us avoid a disaster for birds in the Klamath.
Help us avoid a disaster for birds in the Klamath
Lack of water in the Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge has resulted in dangerous overcrowding at nearby Tule Lake, where thousands of vulnerable birds have already died from disease. What makes this situation even worse is the fact that it is totally avoidable. Our reports tell us that there is water available for the refuges — we just have to put pressure on the Bureau of Reclamation to release it. That’s where you come in. Take a moment to send an email right now to the Secretary of the Interior demanding help for migratory birds. With enough voices, we can make this happen. Send your email today.