Help Tanzanian Wildlife please

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Apr 1st, 2005, 03:42 PM
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Help Tanzanian Wildlife please

After reading Liz's report of her recent trip to Tanzania and the horrors of the new hunting camp I contacted an African wildlife authority and also an African tour company director to find out if this was indeed true, and if so, to whom could we write to complain.

I know cut and pasting is not allowed here so I shall retype part of those letters for your information. From the wildlife conservationist: "Sadly the information about the appalling concession given to the Arabs at Loliondo, one of the Serengeti dispersal areas in Tanzania, is true and has been going on for a long time. In fact, everyone is struggling to try and stop the same thing from happening in Mkomazi National Park, which the authorities were trying to grab and offer in exchange for big bucks. The only way of stopping this is public outcry through the International Press and hordes of letters to the Tanzanian High Commission in America, with copies to the President of Tanzania, Benjamin Mkapa. Everyone should begin to boycott Tanzania because of this smutty record, in an attempt to stop this kind of corruption before it spreads and becomes regional. What saddens me is that the Tour Operators in that country are almost as bad for simply keeping mum and not raising their voices, happy to benefit from the tourism bucks as long the the last wildebeest lives! Anything along the lines of the above would put pressure on the Tanzanian authorities and at least expose the horrendous evil".

The safari company director writes "the more people you get to write the more chance there is of this being stopped".

Thus I am including several websites and addresses. Please let us all start writing and let Tanzania know how unhappy and disgusted we are. Also, if you haven't already paid for your Tanzanian trip, how about changing itineraries and going somewhere else. Only when they start feeling it in their pocketbooks will they wake up.

Mr. Abdrew N. Daraja
Tanzanian Embassy
2139 R Street, NW
Washington, D.C 20008
www.tanzanianembassy-us.org/contact.html

President Benjamin David Mkapa
Luthuli Road
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
email: [email protected]

TANAPA Tanzanian National Parks
Lota Melamari - Director General
probably should be mailed to Dar es Salaam

Frankfurt Zoological Society (FSZ)
Alfred-Brehm - Platz 16
D-60315, Frankfurt, Germany
associated with TANAPA

If any of you Fodorites knows anyone in high places in National Geographic, Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, 20/20, Dateline, etc. put a bug in their ears about doing a special TV program on this.

The animals need all the help we can give them. Remember, it isn't just Tanzania. It will effect all surrounding countries also.

Jan
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Apr 1st, 2005, 04:08 PM
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Jan-
Thank you. You always come through for the animals.
You are asking for a big sacrifice, one I am not entirely sure I could give myself if faced with that decision, which I am not.
Tanzania has so much to offer and if one skips this trip, it may be too late the next time around.
The Tanzanian tour operators are absolutely involved in trying to stop this craziness. Their very life line is on the block and they are acutely aware, but their hands are tied. Much as when our President marched into Iraq. What could we do if we disagreed? They too have an irrational President who does things for his own personal gain. I was most confident this story was the truth and I too thought that 20/20, or Dateline might help, but this is a case of we are not involved from the U.S. The country itself has granted these outrageous licenses, how can another country find fault? What about Mugabe? He is killing people and the international community does nothing.
Thank you for taking a much needed interest, as there must be something that can help and I do hope you find it.
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Apr 1st, 2005, 04:18 PM
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This is really disgusting. I think I will for sure be boycotting the United Arab Emirates and will not be going to Dubai anytime soon.

Isn't it enough that the Arab nations, especially Yemen, are largely to blame for the extinction of the rhino in large portions of Africa? Now they have to do something as cruel as this?

I can only imagine the horrific things that go on here, not only to the wildlife but also to the young women (or teenage girls).

Tanzania is big time into hunting, but I have tried to overlook that recently. But, this is just beyond trophy hunting. To set up a compound right in the path of the wildebeest migration is appalling.

Hopefully something can be done about this, but I have my doubts. The ties between Eastern Africa and the Muslim world may just be too strong to break.

Not to sound like a flake, but I do believe I am out of my element here. My adopted country to watch over is Zambia, and it is for this reason that I have painstakingly promoted it on this board. Hopefully, Jan, you and others can take up this most urgent cause in Tanzania.
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Apr 1st, 2005, 04:52 PM
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How about this one. I was traveled from the North entrance of the selous to the Southern exit on the Rufji-this is the photographic concessions-and came across a camp being built for a hunting party. They had literally trucks of building materials, furnishings including airconditioning, LIVE chickens, mountains of bottled h2o and the list goes on. This party included Tanzanian Indians, Indians as in from India- and the past president of Tanzania.Toured their little endeavor. Bigger than most photographic camps and this was temporary. They were intending on HUNTING in the photographic concession.
Several days later, I went into the hunting concessions to the south of the Rufji. There, with a game ranger sitting next to me, came across 2 parties of Indians. The ranger informed they were poachers with a license. Fake, but issued by a high offical for --the question-- $$$.Nothing he could do. But, I pressed on, which was stupid and nearly got lead poisoning for my efforts. We resolved our differences by high tailing out of there. Scared the hell out of the ranger.
They only took the select parts off the animals and left the rest in the bush. This is but another chapter in the African Experience. It goes on and its part of the corruption in parts of Africa.
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Apr 1st, 2005, 05:07 PM
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Rocco:

I understand your love of Zambia. However, they have had their problems also. Have you read Delia and Mark Owens books?

Luangwablondes - thanks for telling of your experience. It is truly horrible what man does to wildlife that can't speak for themselves. For them to only take parts of the bodies and leave the rest is even more disheartening. At least the scavengers would have benefited, but is all so senseless.

Jan
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Apr 1st, 2005, 05:33 PM
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Jan,

Yes, I have read "Eye Of The Elephant" by Mark & Delia Owens. This very book is mostly responsible for my scheduled 4 night visit to Kutandala in North Luangwa next September. Only through supporting lodges such as Kutandala in North Luangwa (www.kutandala.com) and Lunga River Lodge & Busanga Bush Camp in Kafue National Park (www.experienceafrica.com) does the Zambian wildlife stand a chance.

I do think that poaching has decreased significantly in Zambia, but in order to keep it under control, Zambia does need more tourism, and definitely more people who venture beyond Livingstone, South Luangwa and the Lower Zambezi.

Kafue National Park is the biggest national park in all of Africa, yet it only has a couple major photo safari operators (Africa Experience and Busanga Trails). The Busanga Plains in Kafue National Park is supposed to be an amazing place and one of only a couple places in Zambia to see cheetah (with Sioma Ngwezi, in Western Zambia, being the other place).

It was a tough choice for me to decide between North Luangwa and Kafue National Park, but I did believe that North Luangwa was more in need of my support. Hopefully with my visit and photographs, I can turn on more potential visitors to North Luangwa, and, thus, assist in its preservation and revitalization.

South Luangwa and North Luangwa were once home to about 100,000 elephants, and this as recently as about 25 years ago. In reading the late Norman Carr's "Valley Of The Elephants", the author was actually concerned about the "elephant problem", as there were just too many of them and they were destroying the parks. While writing this, I am sure that he would not have imagined that within 15 years (by 1995) that the elephant population would be diminished tenfold (down to about 10,000) within just a few years due to rampant poaching. This same poaching also led to the extinction of the rhino in Zambia, despite the efforts by Norman Carr and others to save the rhino.

In any event, while Zambia has had widespread problems with poaching, often done by the government scouts that were supposed to be protecting the animals (as well as the actual game wardens), I do think that Zambia is on the right track now. While very limited elephant (trophy) hunting is still allowed in Zambia, hunters are not allowed to take the tusks out of Zambia. I am sure this practice dissuades just about every hunter out there from spending $30,000+ on a permit to hunt elephant, when all they can come away with is a photograph, but no tusks.

It is not my attempt to make Zambia seem holier than Tanzania. I am only stating that I feel a certain attachment to Zambia, no differently than you feel an attachment to East Africa.
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Apr 1st, 2005, 05:47 PM
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Rocco:

Thanks for the reply. I understand where you are coming from.

When I read "Eye of the Elephant" I finally realized how naive I was. I knew that some wildlife rangers/scouts were involved in poaching from what was found in Tsavo Park in Kenya. However it truly blew my mind at how pervasive the complicity was with rangers, politicians, etc. in Luangwa. I don't know if I would have had the staying power the Owens had knowing that you were the target. Have you by any chance heard what they are doing now? Don't see any followup books.

Jan
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Apr 1st, 2005, 06:16 PM
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Jan,

They still have a website up:

www.owens-foundation.org

And from this website, here is good news about how North Luangwa is doing:

http://www.owens-foundation.org/docs/nlcpdesc2b.htm

It was my understanding that the Owens were forced to flee Zambia after the shooting death of a (suspected) poacher, although I don't know any further details.

It is very easy to support the Owens Foundation, simply by going through there website whenever you wish to buy a book from www.barnesandnoble.com

By going through the link on their website, 5% of the sale goes to the Owens Foundation. Perhaps I am being childish, but I do wish that the Owens Foundation would send me an acknowledgment (if not a thank you) for each order I place with Barnes and Noble through their website. At least that way I would know that they are getting the money.

I guess the Owens are still involved from a distance with North Luangwa, but are seemingly more personally involved now with saving the Grizzlies of British Columbia from extinction due to hunting.

I cannot recommend "Eye Of The Elephant" enough to those who have not yet read it. Honestly, it was only after reading this book that I began to actually CARE about the wildlife of Africa and see the wildlife as living and breathing creations rather than just a photo opportunity. North Luangwa, despite being only 1/3 of my Zambian itinerary, is responsible for 1/2 the cost, but I do not mind as I know it is for a good cause. If only one other person goes to North Luangwa as a result of my visit and subsequent trip/photo report, then I will have considered it worthwhile.
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Apr 1st, 2005, 06:50 PM
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As they say,power corrupts. the real story of the Owen's is buried. Jeff Goldberg with the New Yorker went out a few years ago to uncover the real story and was undermined by the those who felt there was nothing to gain in it for the park, tourism, and the local population. Its a part of the past that is best forgotton.
The idea was correct but the delivery was a disaster.
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Apr 1st, 2005, 06:57 PM
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luangwa,

I wish you would expand on that a bit more, as I am very interested in knowing more.

I have spoken to some who did not think too highly of the Owens. Seems like they rubbed a few people the wrong way, and not just the poachers and government officials.
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Apr 1st, 2005, 10:47 PM
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you should realize that often the very people you are in contact with on your holiday could possibly be an ex-poacher. The reason they were poaching initially could be basic as for food or even someone paying a small amount for tusks. The anti-poaching units in the luangwa parks, as elsewhere are frequently made up of ex-poachers. They make the best antipoaching rangers. Most just want to make a living and feed their family. These are the people in the background that protect the wildlife year round,go on patrols for up to a couple weeks at a time with everything they need on their back. Consider during the rainy season, mossies and being wet constantly. They go out even when parks is hasn't paid them for months. I bet they love to do a reality show and exchange jobs.
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Apr 2nd, 2005, 02:42 AM
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Rocco- The Owens are divorced. He is on the Grizzlie project without her. I think I heard she resides in the U.S. now. I may be wrong on that last part, but not the first part. Liz
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Apr 2nd, 2005, 04:52 AM
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Thanks, Jan for the addresses. An Africa agent I contacted also indicated the hunting situation had been going on for years.
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Apr 2nd, 2005, 05:47 AM
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It is hard to believe that large companies like National Geographic and Discovery Communications do not already know what is going on in the countries of Africa. Many of their documentaries are on places in Africa and with all their people in the field over there, I'm sure they are acutely aware of the situation.

What escapes me is why they have not tried to intervene and let the public know what is really happening.

If it wasn't for Liz, I wouldn't have been aware of this unless I would have happened upon it or someone else would have brought it to my attention.

For example, Ted Botha who wrote the article on Loliondo and submitted it to many magazines for publication was totally dismissed. Why?

If these so-called publications and companies are really interested in getting the word out and wanting public out cry on these deplorable situations, why isn't the general public made aware of them?

Is it because, unfortunately, when you have corrupt governments and lots of money, people choose to turn a blind eye to these type of situations?

The ones that end up suffering are the ones without voices...the animals and the young girls whose fates are determined by despicable, immoral people with deep pockets. These people could be using their money to do so much good yet they use it for their own sick pleasure and to destroy what is good in the world.

I will never understand any of it!
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Apr 2nd, 2005, 06:36 AM
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Thanks Jan for DOING SOMETHING.

I repeat the link to the best information about this concession to Loliondi granted to the United Arab Emirates hunting company, Ortello Business Company (OBC) - owned by the UAE’s deputy minister of defence, Brigadier Mohamed Abdul Rahim Al Ali - in 1993 by former president Mwinyi.

http://www.maasaierc.org/

There’s a report made by the Maasai Environmental Resource Coalition (MERC) that explores the shocking mistreatment of the Maasai communities and wildlife in Loliondi by the OBC. There’s also an article by journalist Ted Botha who tried to alert the world but found that no editors wanted his story.

The link to the article “Commercial hunting blocks should be audited”, written by Pigmi Maori the 21 March this year, doesn’t work, but I found it here:

http://www.bloodybusiness.com/news/t...be_audited.htm

Here are some articles by Kenyan journalist John Mbaria

“Game “Carnage” in Tanzania Alarms Kenya” from 4/2/2002:
http://www.nationaudio.com/News/East...egional15.html

”Kenya to Petition EAC Over Hunting” from 18/2/2002:
http://www.nationaudio.com/News/East...Regional6.html

“Do People Around Loliondo Gain from Hunting?” from 8/4/2002:
http://www.nationaudio.com/News/East...Opinion19.html

“No Hunting Without Ujamaa Consent – Study” from 2/12/2002:
http://www.nationaudio.com/News/East...021220022.html

“Loliondo Hunting: Kenya Urged to Take Dar to ICJ” from 8/12/2003:
http://www.nationaudio.com/News/East...081220030.html





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Apr 2nd, 2005, 08:18 AM
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Divewop,

>>>It is hard to believe that large companies like National Geographic and Discovery Communications do not already know what is going on in the countries of Africa. Many of their documentaries are on places in Africa and with all their people in the field over there, I'm sure they are acutely aware of the situation.

What escapes me is why they have not tried to intervene and let the public know what is really happening. <<<

National Geographic is well aware of what is going on. Just last year I made them aware that their sponsored trips to Botswana were being run through a company that also has (or had) a hunting company. Yet, upon hearing this National Geographic did nothing more than ask Classic Africa to take down mention of National Geographic's name on their website.

National Geographic honestly displayed the attitude that they were more bothered by having to deal with an angry subscriber (me) than they were bothered with doing business with an operator who sold both photographic and hunting safaris (under Classic Hunting Safari, a website which was quickly dismantled once I outed Classic Africa's hunting operation on this board).

It is unfortunate that an organization like National Geographic, that prides itself with its assocation and protection of wildlife would not take a stand.
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Apr 2nd, 2005, 08:46 AM
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Tourism is important, but alas not all that important to the government. Hunting income far exceeds that of tourism. They are not about to bite the hand that feeds them. And it is tourism that that gives them so much grief. So when they raise parks fees again,we complain, hunting animals, we complain, corruption in the government, ect. Good luck changing things. Africa wins again.
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Apr 2nd, 2005, 09:14 AM
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luangwa,

I understand your cynicism, but it does not always have to be a case of "Africa Wins." (A term for the unfamiliar, in which, I believe from reading Alexandra Fuller's books, basically means that no matter what, well intentioned individuals cannot change the outcome of things in Africa).

Have a look at this website:

http://www.kasanka.com/

This area, while small, is under the private management of the Kasanka Trust, founded by David Lloyd, a British expatriate.

Well, here is the rest of the story:

http://www.zambiatourism.com/travel/...ks/kasanka.htm

Besides this wonderful project, you have other positive steps being taken by other individuals. Here is a luxury lodge named Mutemwa, in Western Zambia that opens up an entirely new part of the country to tourists.

www.mutemwa.com

It is a beautiful lodge owned by a former South African professional rugby player. This lodge also runs mobile camping safaris into Liuwa Plains and Sioma Ngwezi national parks, as well as fishing safaris, and a very interesting cultural tour covering what is known as the Ku-Omboka Ceremony, where guests participate (from a distance) in the annual Lozi tribe's movement from the wetlands back onto dry land.

http://www.mutemwa.com/package_Kuomboka.htm

Perhaps I am too optimistic, or naive, but I do believe that Africa stands a chance, providing that there are enough of us out here who care and are willing to make great sacrifices in order to visit and to then spread the word to others who may in turn visit and further spread the word.
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Apr 2nd, 2005, 09:15 AM
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luangwablondes-
Africa doesn't win...far from it. The only ones who are winning now are the corrupt government officials and the greedy Arabs involved in all this.

It may not be tomorrow, or next month, or next year, but Africa will lose...and lose big!

The eco-system and wildlife of Africa are not indispensable. There is not an unlimited supply of either.

Once both are destroyed and/or wiped off the face of the earth, who will win then? No one...including the Arabs and the government officials.

And unfortunately all of us will have to pay the price.
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Apr 2nd, 2005, 01:32 PM
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Nyamera - thank you for all the pertinent websites. I will read them tonight after dinner.

Rocco - thanks for sharing what you have learned over the years. Though we may not all agree with one another, we do learn from your research.

Luangwablondes - As Divewop has so aptly said, Africa doesn't win! Though it may seem senseless to complain, at least people know the world is watching.

Divewop - AMEN!! You said it perfectly. Thank you.

Jan
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