Monday, September 10, 2012

Government soldiers and rebel insurgents are slaughtering hundreds of elephants

Protecting endangered wildlife is not just about donating to WWF, funding parks, keeping endangered lizards as "pets" and abstaining from buying ivory. It's an arms race and it's fighting a war. In 2012 the poachers have gone on blitz krieg killing more elephants than ever before, operating across borders from helicopters and shooting at park rangers who are forced to retreat. And it's not just lawless insurgents who fund their rebellion in ivory trade, troops trained and equipped by the US to combat those very same insurgents have joined the slaughter.

Take a moment to watch this otherwise beautifully produced video from a brutal slaughter of over 300 elephants in Cameroon.

The New York Times / Elephants Dying in Epic Frenzy as Ivory Fuels Wars and Profits includes a seven minutes video and tells of the same tragic story but this one from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

"They opened up on us with PKMs, AKs, G-3s, and FNs [...] Most poachers are conservative with their ammo, but these guys were shooting like they were in Iraq. All of a sudden, we were outgunned and outnumbered."
 - Paul Onyango, park ranger.
“An element of our army is involved [...] It’s easy money.”
 - Major Jean-Pierrot Mulaku, Congolese military prosecutor.
"The huge populations in West Africa have disappeared, and those in the center and east are going rapidly [...] The question is: Do you want your children to grow up in a world without elephants?"
 - Andrew Dobson, Princeton ecologist.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Amazonian tribal village razed, 80 people massacred by miners

Several places in the Amazon illegal miners and loggers clash with indigenous tribes in conflict over access to and use of land. "Use of" as in clear cutting, strip mining or chemically polluting. This particular report is a tad more gruesome than most of them. Only three hunters who were away when the village was bombed and sniped from a helicopter survived.
"This is another appalling tragedy for the Yanomami – heaping crime upon crime. All Amazonian governments must stop the rampant illegal mining, logging and settlement in indigenous territories. It inevitably leads to massacres of Indian men, women and children. The Venezuelan authorities must now bring the killers to swift justice, and send a signal throughout the region that Indians can no longer be killed with impunity. The mining and logging must be stopped."
 - Stephen Corry, Director of Survival International
"When we heard the first accounts we flew into Parima-B [the closest town] by helicopter with a contingent of military. In Parima we spoke to Yanomami who had walked six days to get to Parima-B to talk to us. In places this remote that is how people communicate."
 - anonymous
"This happened in July but because it takes close to seven days to get there we don't really know what happened. The shaponos – the collective community dwellings – house more than 100 people, so it could be 70 [casualties] or it could be more or less."
 - Livorio Guarulla, Venezuelan governor
"Reports of garimpeiros attacking different communities are becoming more and more frequent, and now we also hear of rivers being poisoned with mercury. We've reported to the authorities but we are so far away that is it all easily forgotten. [...mining activities are on the rise and] have also become more sophisticated. They used to fly in and land in clandestine strips, now they come in helicopters and use huge extracting machinery that is decimating the jungle."
 - Luis Bello, lawyer
Sources: Common Dreams / 'Massacre': Scores of Amazon Indigenous Tribe Members Killed by Miners, The Guardian / Amazon tribe massacre alleged in Venezuela.

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