June's Guest Author for Wild Survivors
Learn more about Riley by checking out her previous blog post 'The Beehive Fence'!
Climbing for Conservation – what’s not to love about that?
Climbing for Conservation is a Wild Survivors and PAMS foundation fundraising event in 2018. Wild Survivors is an organisation based in Tanzania, a country in East Africa. The founder, Francesca Mahoney, has dedicated her life to creating an organisation to protect and save both the elephant and bee populations in Africa. PAMS is an organisation committed to the preservation of wildlife in Tanzania, but also works to stop illegal poaching. The challenge is a Twin Peak hiking expedition, where participants will take on Mt. Meru and Mt. Kilimanjaro back to back, for a total of a 13-day journey. Climbers can also choose to participate in a single peak challenge, to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, only, for a 6-day journey.
The purpose of this challenge is not only to raise money for Wild Survivors and PAMS, but to also shine a light on the life and legacy of Wayne Lotter, the co-founder of PAMS, and raise awareness for conservation solutions from Wild Survivors and PAMS Foundation.
Wayne Lotter is a fallen hero in the world of elephant conservation. He worked incredibly hard in many forms of elephant conservation in Tanzania, from intelligence-led anti-poaching operations, to community empowerment and unprecedented campaigns. After years of receiving threats to his life for his work saving the elephants and stopping poachers, Wayne lost his life on 16th August 2017, during a targeted ambush.
This challenge works to keep Wayne’s legacy alive through those who love nature and do not fear a challenge. This not only reflects Wayne’s personality, but also the goals of both Wild Survivors and PAMS. As climbers ascend to the tops of some of Africa’s highest mountains, their sponsorship will allow both organizations to grow. For PAMS, the funds raised will lead to intense ranger training, intelligence-led anti-poaching operations, and wildlife education. For Wild Survivors, climbers will be helping to create peace between farmers and migrating elephants, reducing conflict with effective beehive boundary fences.
There are many different ways for climbers to raise money and for friends and families to donate. Each climber is required to raise a minimum of $250.00 USB/ £250.00 GBP and is encouraged to raise as much as they can. They will also receive a fundraising pack which has an optional Just Giving Page, as well as ideas for fundraising and tips on how to engage people in the climbing challenge.
Any amount of donation helps to aid the efforts of Wild Survivors and PAMS. Just £10 can fund a community team’s data collector for the day, who is responsible for monitoring elephant movement and crop-raiding behaviour. £20 contributes to the purchase of a GPS device to assist rangers and data collectors in pinpointing important conflict zones and elephant migration routes. For more information about ways to donate and how your donations contribute to the organisations can be found on the websites below:
You can sign up to join the 2018 expedition, by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org - There are 20 spaces remaining for this year's challenge! Or register for 2019's expedition while places last.
This is the path for Mt. Meru.
Mt. Meru is 4,565 m in elevation. The trek will take climbers 4 days and 3 nights, followed by a rest day before they take on part two of the expedition - Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Mt. Kilimanjaro has a beautiful peak at 5,895 m in elevation. This trek will take climbers 6 days and 5 nights. After each long day of hiking, climbers will stay in pre-arranged campsites on the mountains.
We are really excited to launch this new fundraising challenge in honour of Wayne Lotter, and to boost global efforts in supporting both Wild Survivors and PAMS Foundation. Both organisations work tirelessly to support, protect, and save wildlife and elephant populations in Tanzania, with a combined goal and vision to make Tanzania the beautiful and natural country it should be.
Riley Evans, June's Guest Author for Wild Survivors
Hello! My name is Riley Evans and I just completed my first year at Wake Forest University! I lived in London for 7 years and now am back in the US to attend university. My main study is undecided yet, but I am leaning towards a possible major in business, communications, or literature, with a minor concentration in the Chinese language. My favourite travel memory to date is when my family and I traveled to Cape Three Points, Ghana to visit a school we have been working with for a number of years. It was incredible to see all the past, present, and future students, and how our hard work and fundraising has changed their lives.
Our world is facing a dire problem when it comes to the decline of bee populations, and most of us are neglecting this problem. Bees play a tremendous role in the spread of pollen, which in turn, makes our flowers blossom, our trees bloom, and our grass green. Similarly, elephants have fallen victim to illicit deals between farmers who don’t want their crops ruined, and poachers who want to kill as many elephants as possible. These deals benefit both farmers and poachers, but have detrimental effects on elephant populations across Africa. So, how do we save the bees, save the elephants, and save our planet?
The beehive fence.
The beehive fence, or beehive deterrent was an idea born from Dr. Lucy King, Head of the Human-Elephant Co-Existence Program for Save the Elephants (learn more about her here: https://www.zoo.ox.ac.uk/people/dr-lucy-king). Her DPhil degree thesis examined the relationship between African elephants and African honeybees, and how the honeybees can be used as a deterrent for elephants, keeping them away from farmer’s lands, and out of harm’s way (to an extent).
Wild Survivors has adopted this idea and began planning how to bring this to life in Tanzania because the beehive fences are beneficial to the elephant population, the farmers land, and the bees. It works by creating a natural barrier between farmland and elephant roaming territory. Based on her research, Dr. King was able to determine that the bees were the most effective way of keeping elephants away from farmer’s properties. And the beehives aren’t only keeping the elephants safe from the farmers, but also allows the farmers to become beekeepers. If the farmers learn how to keep bees and have these beehives as protection from the elephants, their crops will flourish and they will be able to collect the honey from the hives.
The peacekeeping Top Bar Beehive, designed in Tanzania, for Wild Survivors:
The TopBar hive is not only protected from the rain and intense sun by the tin roof on the top, but also by thatched roofing secured over the hive when they're hung. The goal for the beehive fences are to hang them about shoulder height of an elephant, so when the elephant is trying to move past the “fence” into a farmer’s land, they will bump into the box, disrupting the bees. The sound of the bees buzzing will then scare the elephants away from the box, and away from the farm.
I think this idea is brilliant. My father and I are bee keepers and we have started a project with a school we support in Ghana to bring beehives and beekeeping into the curriculum. This is a great way to not only repopulate and support the bee species, but also give students the ability to make money while they go to school. This is the same for the farmers. Not only are they helping their crops, but the honey they collect from the hives can be used in the home or sold to others.
Here’s an example of Dr. Lucy King’s beehive fence set up in Sagalla, Kenya:
Each hive is suspended as its own unit, and has a thatched roof above it. This is how the bee fence works and can be as big or small as needed. Interestingly, not all the boxes are actual bee hives. Some of them are “dummies” and are just a piece of wood that mimics one side of the hive. These dummies allow a farmer to not have to spend extreme amounts of money on a lot of hives but can purchase some hives and some dummies. As the elephants run into the fence more and more, they will begin to recognise the hives as danger just by the sight of them, so they could see a dummy hive and turn away.
As the 17th meeting of the Conference of Parties at CITES kicks off, we look at the KEY FACTS and what it all means for the critically endangered elephants in Africa.
The fate of all African elephants rests in the hands of over 2,000 party members at the 17th CITES meeting and IT BEGINS TODAY (Saturday 24th September).
But what is CITES?
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna - thankfully shortened to 'CITES', is an international agreement held between governments.
Presently, CITES consists of 183 countries. These are referred to as 'parties'. They meet on average, every three years to discuss what can be done to prevent endangered species from becoming extinct, through the trade in endangered animal parts. This is to ensure that international trade - the buying and selling of animals, does not threaten their survival in the wild.
CITES regulates trade in over 35,000 species! It lists these species in categories, to make recommendations to party governments about how trade should be managed. These categories are known as Appendix I, II, and III.
Appendix I and II are particularly relevant to the survival of African elephants. They're being continuously hunted by poachers for their ivory and it's now reached a tipping point.
Lets explore these categories further.
If a species is listed under Appendix I : it provides the highest level of protection to an animal, prohibiting all international commercial trade.
If listed under Appendix II : there are fewer restrictions meaning trade IS allowed if it doesn't threaten the survival of the species in the wild.
Today, African elephants are split between categories. This may not make a great deal of sense, and we'd agree. It comes down to the LOCATION of where an elephant and her herd may roam. Some African nations will list elephants as Appendix I and some as Appendix II. This, of course, means there is no UNITY between countries. Ultimately this causes complete confusion and provides the illegal ivory trade with a smokescreen with which to trade elephant tusks into Asia, the United States and Europe (the three largest importers).
What does this mean for an elephant? A matriarch and her family could begin their day in Angola protected under Appendix I, but could wander into Namibia, the same day and be classed under Appendix II.
We're urging for ALL African elephants to be moved to Appendix I. This is achievable, but CITES is only as strong as the commitment of its members.
A contentious past...
I's important to learn about two very significant actions from the past that have had s huge and irreversible effect on the population of elephants.
Southern African countries were given permission to sell their stockpiles of ivory to Japan (in 1999) and both Japan and China in 2008 (following approval in 2002).
From 50 tonnes to 105 tonnes a decade later - both purchases by the ivory importers proved catastrophic for elephants.
The ivory trade surged. Criminal gangs and syndicates took advantage of these legal sales (and other legislation permitting pre-ban ivory to be sold) to produce false documentation for the illegal import of tusks. Effectively, the approved stockpile sales provided the perfect path for a new generation of international criminal gangs and ivory kingpins.
Between 2009 and 2015, Tanzania lost over half of its elephant population. Every 15 minutes, another elephant is slaughtered in Africa. They will be extinct in 25 years unless a mammoth commitment by all nations is delivered. During the next two weeks alone, 1,152 elephants will die across Africa, as the convention takes place.
CITES have a unique opportunity to encourage the world to unite and change the future for elephants, before its too late.
YOU CAN MAKE THEIR VOICES HEARD. Have your say... The following MUST be actioned during CITES, if elephants are to survive:
- List ALL elephants under Appendix I : Transferring elephants in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe to Appendix I, ensuring the highest level of protection by prohibiting all international commercial ivory trade.
- Close ALL domestic markets for elephant ivory.
- Prohibit the export of live African elephants.
Sign change.org 's petition and be a part of a global movement to save our gentle giants.
It takes one minute, so why not add to the pressure mounting on CITES to ban ALL domestic ivory trade:
For more information, on the proposals to be raised at #CoP17 visit:
Proposals 14, 15, 16 are specific to the remaining population of African elephants.
The European Union are finally on board, and as the largest voting block, it's a fantastic turn of events. The EU has released a statement to welcome the proposal for all African elephants to be listed under Appendix I. This is an incredibly encouraging announcement!
All eyes and ears will be on Johannesburg for the next 12 days. Elephants are #worthmorealive Please #JoinTheHerd and keep momentum growing. Spread the word - share, post, RT, Vlog, tweet. The time is now! #EveryEleCounts #CoP17
- Francesca Mahoney
(Founder, Wild Survivors)