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#RhinoFriday #Repost from @vetpaw
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No rain in sight…..
Winters are extremely dry in South Africa. So supplement feeding with high protein grass is necessary to feed these guys and keep them healthy until the spring rains arrive. They face so many challenges.

#VETPAW #veterans #rhino #whiterhino #crash #conservation #wildlife #poachers #rhino #counterpoaching #AntiPoaching #LoveYourWildLife #Outdoors #adventuretravel #adventures #WildographyandSafaris

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That is where former U.S. Army officer turned anti poaching enforcer Kinessa Johnson steps in. Recently she joined the ranks of Veterans Empowered to Protect African Wildlife (“VETPAW”) as an anti-poaching advisor. Johnson and her fellow post-9/11 veterans train and support African anti-poaching rangers to prevent the extermination of keystone African wildlife, and the disastrous economic and environmental impact it would have.

This baby elephant was given a prosthetic leg after losing her leg from a land-mine in Thailand. The documentary “The Eyes of Thailand” chronicles two elephants and their caretaker’s journeys to the elephant’s recovery after prosthetic legs were developed to help them walk again.


Photos not owned by Ivory Ella

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The El Triunfo

In part of the Sierra Madre de Chiapas mountain range in Mexico lies the El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve, an amazing 294,493.5 acres of tropical deciduous forest, montane rainforest in the lowlands followed by pine oak forest. Along the highest ridge of the reserve is one of the largest extensions in the country of evergreen cloud forest. These humid environments favor the abundance of arborescent ferns, (Cyathea) some reaching up to 49 feet (15 m) tall. Short rivers flow into the Pacific Ocean on one side and the rivers on the other side of the divide start one branch of the grand Grijalva-Usumacinta River ending in the Gulf of Mexico.

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New Army specialists to hunt African wildlife poachers  and revive tracking skills

The British Army is building a new team of counter poaching specialists to help allies tackle wildlife crime and try to revive tracking skills lost during the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns.

Soldiers from the 20-strong group will fly to Malawi later this month for a pilot deployment working with local wildlife rangers hunting poachers through the bush.

Commanders believe the project also offers an opportunity for the Army to rebuild tracking expertise that had been neglected in recent campaigns.

A ranger inspects a rhino killed by poachers in the Kruger National Park, South Africa Credit: James Oatway/Getty Images

The counter poaching operators (CPOs), who have been chosen from all branches of the Army, have trained to track poachers through bush and forest over long distances for days at a time.

Maj Tony Viney, a qualified jungle warfare instructor leading the unit, said: “If you look back over the years, having trackers right down to section level was a key point.

“Your front men were always ones that could track and find where the enemy are. That got lost in Iraq and Afghanistan, because it was a skill set that wasn’t needed.”

Conservationists warn that Africa is facing a poaching crisis, with the killing of animals for the  ivory trade at its worst level for 30 or 40 years.

A survey of herds in 18 African countries last year estimated 27,000 elephants are being slaughtered annually - around eight per cent of the total population. Rhino numbers are also falling sharply.

British soldiers have provided support to African park rangers in the past, with a recent deployment tackling elephant poachers in Gabon.

Those deployments saw troops pass on basic infantry and intelligence skills.

The new unit, taken from 1st (UK) Division, will eventually take over all anti-poaching missions.

The Malawi deployment will see troops from the new team, part of 102 Logistic Brigade, embed with park rangers for three months in Liwonde National Park. The teams will conduct long-range patrols through the 225 square mile park.

Maj Viney, of The Yorkshire Regiment, said the CPOs would be working with park staff to stop poachers breaching the fence, killing animals and taking the ivory.

But he said the soldiers were hoping to learn a lot from their partners.

Soldiers were selected for the unit during a course at Catterick and then spent weeks training in Kenya. As well as learning tracking, they learnt survival skills such as how to catch, kill and butcher food in the wild, how to find water and make fire.

A Lance corporal from 2 Rifles with National Parks Agency guards on a jungle patrol in Gabon, in Central Africa. Credit: Graeme Main/British Army

Maj Viney, who spent a year in the jungles of Sierra Leone in 2005, said he hoped the Army’s tracking skills could be revived.

He said during the Afghanistan and Iraq campaigns human tracking skills had focussed on trying to spot signs of activity and ‘patterns of life’ rather than finding and following people over long distances.

He said: “Tracking is all about the brain and patience, it’s not necessarily about infantry skills.”

How to Fight Poachers With Drones and Big Data

“Drones Fight Poachers" has an undeniable sexiness to it as a news narrative. Who doesn’t want to read about flying killer robots battling machete-wielding criminals chasing innocent animals on the wild African plains? The instant appeal of a high-tech solution to a pervasive low-tech problem is also why Silicon Valley giant Google has given the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) $5 million for drones to stop poaching. But to actually stop poachers, WWF should focus less on drones and more on math—and some lessons learned in Iraq and Afghanistan.

University of Maryland computer scientist Thomas Snitch is applying a mathematical forecasting model he developed for use by the military in Iraq and Afghanistan to Africa. Snitch is trying to overcome poaching networks’ advantages in money, opportunity, and manpower using his military model to put park rangers in the right places to intercept rhinoceros killers.

Read more. [Image: Edward Echwalu/Reuters]

South Africa’s Black Mambas, comprised mostly of female rangers, is on a mission to protect wildlife from poachers. The anti-poaching unit patrol the Balule Private Game Reserve three weeks at a time, walking almost 13 miles per day. Since 2013, the unit has shut down five poacher camps and reduced snaring (animal baiting and trapping) by 76 percent in the reserve.

“I am not afraid. I know what I am doing and I know why I am doing it,” said Leitah Mkhabela, a Black Mamba ranger. “If you see the poachers you tell them not to try, tell them we are here and it is they who are in danger.”

Read more via TIME: http://ti.me/1Fzr0sK

INDIA, Pobitora : Indian forest guards lookout for rhinocerous from a raised platform at a makeshift camp on the periphery of Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary in Morigaon district some 50kms from Guwahati on November 18, 2014. The sanctuary, with the highest density of one horned rhinocerous in the world, some 95 according to a 2012 rhino census in an area of just 38.8 sq. km., reopened for tourists from November 2 2014, and has already seen the action of poachers who killed one rhino on November 15, inside the sanctuary and took away the horn. AFP PHOTO/Biju Boro

A new forensic and genetic laboratory in Kenya will analyze DNA samples from suspected wildlife contraband to aid the prosecution of poachers. Until now, proof against poachers has hinged on government chemists determining whether a specimen came from a wild or domestic animal. But this evidence hasn’t proven solid enough to hold up in court. The lab will use DNA to link wildlife seized at borders to specific regions, populations, and even individual animals. Noble researchers are trying to protect our planet’s noblest beasts.

Kenya is going to use drones to save endangered animals

Big Brother may have unknowingly given a gift to thousands of endangered species across the globe. Though the move may not be enough to separate the drone from its reputation for spying on people and killing civilians overseas, Kenyan officials are casting the surveillance machine in a more humane light. 

Kenya will be deploying surveillance drones over remote wildlife areas to help track endangered species and, more specifically, their poachers. Quiet overhead drones will give law enforcement a bird’s-eye view of illegal wildlife activity, aiding officers in arresting unlawful hunters. 

The move will help combat an international crime known for its links to gang and terrorist activity. The $19 billion global industry around illegal wildlife products keeps poachers hunting for exotic animal parts, ensuring a high demand and steady work. The drone may soon help stop it. 

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