Safari company & publisher
Africa Geographic
Wildlife . People . Travel
Shenton Safaris

Rhino horn – trading in fraud

Not unexpectedly, the South African government announced last week their intention to submit an application to CITES in 2016 for permission to trade their rhino horn stockpiles. But rather than seeking a complete legalization of trade, they have decided on what can only be referred to as the most foolish option – a one-off sale […]

Evidence against trophy hunting mounts

Over the past decade I, along with other people, have consistently argued that the economic benefits of trophy hunting have been crudely overstated. And when viewed against the alternative land-use option, that of well-managed photographic ecotourism, the merit of trophy hunting in nationally protected areas holds even less weight, if any at all.  In this […]

Maasai locked out of Loliondo

The Loliondo Game Controlled Area (LGCA), one of Tanzania’s most well-known Maasai community concessions and wildlife destinations is in the spotlight as local stakeholders and outside financial interests clash over its natural resources. These tensions are not new, and given the location of Loliondo and the bounty of wildlife and grazing it carries, such tussles […]

Zambia Hunting Ban Update

On Wednesday the Zambian government held a stakeholders meeting in Lusaka in an attempt to thrash out some of the issues surrounding the crisis within the local trophy hunting industry. Chaired by the Vice-President (VP), Dr Guy Scott, those in attendance included a cross-section of hunters, wildlife managers, eco-tourism consultants, outside observers, government personnel and […]

Fingers Off the Trigger: Zambia Cancels All Trophy Hunting Licences

Towards the end of last week Zambian wildlife authorities suspended the tender process for hunting concessions and cancelled all hunting licences for the foreseeable future. According to sources and local news reports, Minister of Tourism and Arts Sylvia Masebo has based her decision on corruption and malpractices between the hunting companies and various government departments. […]

No Case for Legalizing the Ivory Trade

 Over the past few months there has been significant input into the debate about rhino horn that provides further compelling evidence against trade in this beleaguered wildlife commodity.   To begin with we had the release of two separate reports by international conservation agencies. The first, ‘Making a Killing’, was compiled by the International Fund […]

Botswana Kills Trophy Hunting – Ian Michler reflects

Just under 2 weeks ago, the President of Botswana, Lt. Gen. Ian Khama, gave a speech wherein he announced that by the end of 2013, trophy hunting would no longer be allowed in Botswana. Speaking at a local kgotla in Mababe, a village along the edge of the Okavango Delta, he said that “Next year […]

Ian Michler’s diary: the rhino crisis

The rhino crisis : Legalising horn trade is not a solution Almost 950 rhinos have been killed illegally in South Africa since January 2010. It’s an alarming statistic, and it points to a major crisis. At the World Economic Forum at Davos in January, German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke about Greece and its huge debt […]

You be the judge?

It’s a tricky question, and one that crops up all too often in the wild. Should you, as a human, use your power to save an animal in distress? Instinct and compassion say yes, but Ian Michler suggests that more considered thought is required. An immensely thought-provoking letter from Italian readers Marinella and Federico San […]

Another rhino bust

Late yesterday afternoon, police made another breakthrough in their fight against rhino poaching when they arrested three suspected poachers in Mookgophong (formerly known as Naboomspruit), in Limpopo Province. Acting on information passed to them, the suspects were caught in possession of an R5 rifle making it a strong possibility they are some of the lead […]

Response to canned hunting comments

My last posting on canned hunting was Shame On Us back in late November 2010 when the Supreme Court of Appeal handed down its long-awaited judgment in favour of the South African Predator Breeders Associationation. Since then I’ve been travelling in Botswana and on New Year’s day it was off to Mali for a two […]

Shame on us!

For so many of us involved in the wildlife, conservation and ecotourism industries in South Africa, it’s a very shameful period right now. In addition to dealing with the rhino poaching scourge, the appalling practices of canned hunting and the breeding of predators in captivity have just been given the green light to continue. This […]

Are we water wise?

My diary in November’s issue of Africa Geographic refers to water stress – this includes the increasing demand on the fixed amount of water worldwide, and the deteriorating quality of much of this water. The question I did not address was what we as individuals can do to alleviate this situation. Firstly, there are the […]

How to destroy a marine protected area?

Are South African National Parks (SANParks) and Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) about to take a decision that may well be the first step in destroying the Tsitsikamma Marine Protected Area (MPA)? There is a belief amongst marine conservationists and scientists that these two departments are seriously considering opening sections of the MPA to fishing. […]

The second big bust

I have been away on safari over the last few weeks and come back to mixed news on the rhino poaching crisis. On the plus side is the huge bust by the police and other agencies of the Groenewalds and their accomplices. It was only going to be a matter of time before the authorities […]

After the rhino summit

Within days of the Lead SA Rhino summit, a joint resolution was released. Amongst various undertakings, the following points were listed as priorities: Agree on a national anti-rhino poaching reporting number to allow the public to blow the whistle on poachers. Coordinate the provision of intelligence from all groups to the National Wildlife Crime Reaction […]

Summit on rhino poaching

As of today, Thursday 19th August, poachers have killed 173 rhino for their horns since the start of 2010 – that is one animal every 32 hours. Taking the average weight of five kilograms per set of horns, that equates to a haul of 865 kilograms. Sources put the current value of horn leaving the […]

Predator breeder and trader arrested

Well done to the South African police – they may very well have made another crucial breakthrough in their fight against the organised crime syndicates targeting the country’s wildlife. On Friday 23rd July, an individual that is extremely well known in the canned hunting and predator-breeding industries of the Free State was arrested. According to […]

More lion statistics

The CITES stats I referred to in a previous blog are a comprehensive set of numbers covering everything from trophies to the export of claws and other body parts for 2008/9. They make for astounding reading and give a clear picture of how extensive breeding, trading and hunting has become in South Africa. Because supplying […]

Helicopters from Hell

The rhino poaching scourge presently underway across South Africa continues: this past week there were two incidents involving helicopters flying without flight plans. One case occurred in the Tugela Private Game Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal, where a female white rhino had her horns taken off with a chainsaw. Miraculously, the rhino survived after being found by […]

The BP horror

Map showing the current impact of BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil disaster. Source: ifitwasmyhome.com There can surely be no one on this planet that is not horrified at the ongoing oil disaster taking place in the Gulf of Mexico. It can only be described as environmental rape of the severest kind. It is now two months […]

Canned lion hunting in Botwana?

I have for a number of years been warning that canned hunting is on its way to Botswana. After taking a thorough look at the latest export and import statistics for lion Panther leo issued by CITES in South Africa, I am now almost certain that these and other associated practices are already taking place, […]

Rhino syndicate hit hard

A victim of poaching, as published in Africa Geographic September 2008. Photo: SAPS By all accounts, rhinoceros poaching in southern Africa has reached alarming levels. During this past weekend alone, four rhinos were poached in South Africa, one being shot from a helicopter registered with false license plates. A total of 220 were killed for […]

Protea stopped

As most of you are now well aware, after widespread and sustained opposition, Protea Hotels, Zambia has withdrawn its application for a 144-bed hotel along the banks of the Zambezi River. I had hoped to have posted a comment within days of the news, but it has taken Protea this long to reply to the […]

Stop Protea Hotels

Ian Michler Protea Hotels, a mass-market operator by any definition of tourism you may choose to use, wants a slice of near-pristine wilderness along the banks of the Zambezi River. Its Zambian subsidiary is proposing a 144-bed hotel and conference centre on a prime site in the Chiawa Game Management Area. The concession is adjacent […]

Eating the oceans

Ian Michler According to a recent IUCN Red Data press release, sturgeons, one of the oldest surviving fish families, are the most critically endangered group of species on the planet. There are 27 species within the Acipenseridae family, and of these 17 are listed as critically endangered and four as possibly extinct. And the primary […]

Ivory traders get tusked

Ring one up for the elephants! The most recent CITES meeting in Doha, Qatar has drawn to a close and amongst the numerous resolutions, there was a significant victory for elephants and those opposed to the ivory trade. The proposals from Tanzania and Zambia to downgrade the conservation status of their elephant populations and to […]