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NEWS WRAP: Tenth black rhino dies after translocation + elephant calf rescued from muddy pit

In this week’s news wrap a tenth black rhino has died in Kenya after a botched translocation; a young elephant in Zimbabwe has been rescued after becoming stuck in the mud; Virunga National Park has welcomed the good news that two new mountain gorillas have been born in the park; a field ranger has been shot and killed in the Kruger National Park in a poaching incident; an alleged poacher in the Kruger was arrested shortly after being trampled by elephants; the De Beers Group has begun to transport 200 elephants from South Africa to Mozambique; and Hong Kong customs have seized 7,100 kg of suspected pangolin scales.

Update on rhino translocation fiasco: Tenth black rhino dies, remaining survivor attacked by lions (full story: AG News Desk)
Black rhino in holding box

A female black rhino stands in a box before being transported © REUTERS/Baz Ratner

A tenth endangered black rhino has reportedly died after a botched translocation from one Kenyan reserve to another. We previously reported the death of eight rhinos, and later added a ninth death to this post. The eleventh rhino is in critical condition and could also die after being attacked by lions.

The rhinos were being translocated from Nairobi and Nakuru National Parks to the newly-created sanctuary in the southeast of the country to offer a more secure location for the endangered species. Preliminary investigations showed that salt poisoning from the water may have been cause of death.

“According to the inquiry team, the cause of all the deaths was due to multiple stress syndrome intensified by salt poisoning and complicated by the following conditions: dehydration, starvation, proliferation of opportunistic bacteria in upper respiratory tract, gastric ulcers and gastritis,” Balala said.

Balala said that six of the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officials involved in the deadly operation had been suspended due to negligence. (Continue to full story here)

Video: Young Zim elephant rescued after becoming stuck in the mud (full story: AG News Desk)
Elephant stuck in a mud pit with bulldozer, Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe

© Kariba Animal Welfare Trust

A young elephant has been rescued from a muddy pit in Zimbabwe after rescuers used a bulldozer to help with the rescue operation. The elephant was discovered in the pit near the resort town of Kariba, and is thought to have been stuck there for approximately 24 hours.

According to reports, the elephant’s herd stood anxiously nearby while staff members from Kariba Animal Welfare Trust (KAWFT), ZimParks, Lake Harvest, and other volunteers got to work on helping to free the young animal.

A bulldozer was brought in to carefully and skilfully level the steep sides of the pit to allow the elephant to walk out. However, it was weak and caked in thick mud, and lay motionless in the mud even though a way out of the pit had been created.

The rescue team realised that the elephant was probably in dire need to water having been stuck there for so long, so they got a bucket of fresh water to tempt it out. With great relief the elephant, clearly motivated by the sound of the splashing water, was able to get out of the mud and make a dash for freedom. The pit was then filled to avoid any future danger to animals. (Continue to full story here)

Virunga welcomes two new baby mountain gorillas (full story: AG News Desk)
Mountain gorilla with newborn baby in Virunga National Park, DR Congo

Anangana, from the Humba gorilla group, with her baby © Virunga National Park

Virunga National Park has welcomed the good news that two new mountain gorillas have been born in the park, bringing a total of nine new gorilla births this year. According to a statement on Virunga National Park’s website, the births came from two different gorilla groups.

The 19-year-old Kayenga from the Bageni group gave birth to a boy. This is her third child and the group now has 30 members. In the Humba group, 8-year-old Anangana gave birth to her first baby – a girl. The Humba group now has 11 members.

Virunga National Park in the DR Congo is famous for its endangered mountain gorillas, and over the last decade they have played an important role in increasing the overall population which now stands at an estimated 1,004 individuals after results were revealed in the latest population survey of mountain gorillas. (Continue to full story here)

Field ranger shot and killed by poachers in Kruger (full story: AG News Desk)
Black and white photo of a white rhino in the wild

A field ranger has been shot and killed in the Kruger National Park in a poaching incident, according to South African National Parks (SANParks) in a statement released yesterday, 19 July 2018.

According to reports, the field ranger and his colleagues made contact with a poaching group that they had been tracking, supported by the K9 unit. It appears as they approached the group, shots were exchanged, seriously injuring him in the upper body. A doctor was flown in to stabilise him but unfortunately he succumbed to his injuries en route to the hospital.

SANParks confirmed the death of the ranger, but could not disclose the ranger’s identity as the family has not been notified of the death yet. (Continue to full story here)

Alleged poacher trampled by elephants in Kruger (full story: AG News Desk)
Elephant herd in Kruger National Park, South Africa

An alleged poacher in the Kruger National Park was arrested shortly after being trampled by elephants on Sunday, according to the Lowevelder. A SANParks’ media specialist, Ike Phaahla, confirmed that the man was part of a poaching group.

“He was arrested by the SAPS after he was injured while running away from elephants,” Phaahla said.

The incident happened on the S21 in the park near Skukuza, the park’s biggest rest camp.

The news comes just days after a field ranger was shot and killed in the Kruger in a poaching incident. According to reports, the field ranger and his colleagues made contact with a poaching group that they had been tracking, supported by the K9 unit. It appears as they approached the group, shots were exchanged, seriously injuring him in the upper body. A doctor was flown in to stabilise him but unfortunately he succumbed to his injuries en route to the hospital. (Continue to full story here)

200 Elephants to be moved from South Africa to Mozambique (full story: AG News Desk)
Aerial view of elephant herd in Venetia Limpopo Nature Reserve

An elephant herd from above in Venetia Limpopo Nature Reserve. Image source: De Beers Group

De Beers Group has begun to transport 200 elephants across 1,500km from its Venetia Limpopo Nature Reserve (VLNR) in South Africa to Mozambique. The operation, one of the largest elephant translocations ever recorded in South Africa, is part of a major conservation initiative to protect the welfare of wildlife in South Africa and help restore Mozambique’s elephant population.

For the first phase of the project, approximately 60 elephants will be transported in July and August from the VLNR to Zinave National Park in southern Mozambique. The remaining elephants will be moved to conservation areas that hold sufficient elephant carrying capacity within Mozambique from next year.

De Beers Group is partnering with Peace Parks Foundation, a leading not-for-profit organisation focused on the preservation of large functional cross-border ecosystems, to carry out the initiative. Through formal agreements with Mozambique’s National Administration for Conservation Areas, Peace Parks Foundation co-manages Zinave National Park, which is an integral component of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area. (Continue to full story here)

 Hong Kong customs seizes 7,100 kg suspected pangolin scales (full story: South China Morning Post)

The 7,100kg haul – the second-biggest seizure of its kind in a decade – had an estimated market value of HK$3.55 million (US$450,000), according to the Customs and Excise Department. It was seized on Friday when officers opened the 40-foot container for inspection at the Tsing Yi customs cargo examination compound.

Its manifest claimed it contained more than 880 bags of plastic raw materials.

“A total of 284 bags carrying suspected pangolin scales were found in the container,” a law enforcement source said.

He said the consignment was destined for Guangdong province. He said it was possible the scales would be used in Chinese medicine. The department said no one had been arrested and the investigation was still under way. (Continue to full story here)



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