Monday, March 22, 2010


STE Field Diary entry by Lucy King - Huge Success at CITES

Lucy King at Doha, Qatar
March 22, 2010

"HUGE SUCCESS AT CITES!!! We are delighted to email you from the conference center in Doha to spread the news that both the Zambian and Tanzania elephant proposals to downlist their elephants from Appendix I to Appendix II and to sell their ivory have been DEFEATED at CITES CoP15 with important support from many countries from around the world. The tension in the room was incredible and there was some seriously upset delegates who were not allowed to talk etc etc but in the end the vote has gone our way and we are all elated. I was literally shaking from head to foot after the Tanzania vote, the high significance of the vote was not lost on anyone and I almost felt physically sick that we were about to see the opening of the ivory trade once and for all. The Kenya delegation has worked so hard and for many, many months to get this result and they should all be applauded for their efforts. The Kenya amended proposition to try to change the CoP14 wording of the agreement to stop any more proposals being submitted to down list was, however, rejected. This is a small disappointment as it means we could well be back here in 3 years with another down-listing proposal to battle but for now, it is a something that we are able to live with knowing that the ivory trade has not been opened again. We hope that the African Range States will follow the spirit of the agreement and remain with the 9 year proposed moratorium but I'm afraid that may be too much to hope for. Special credit must go to Iain, Joyce Poole and Sam Wasser who gave a very well attended presentation yesterday lunchtime to 350 delegates explaining the data problems behind the proposals, the consequence of poaching on elephant society and the DNA proof that Zambia and Tanzania were heavily implicated in multiple ivory seizures from around the world. This talk from such well respected scientists was an eye opener to many delegates who had not yet made up their mind on the vote. This should be seen as a major achievement by Save the Elephants to contribute science and years of data to the discussion within the largest international forum that there is for the trade and conservation of the African Elephant. Well done to all members of STE who have contributed to the data that Iain was able to present so clearly to the world. Best wishes from Qatar, Lucy"

Article at the following link:
Melissa Groo
Save the Elephants News Service Researcher
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Sunday, March 21, 2010

A leopard in my footsteps


Last Saturday morning (13/3/2010), I set out with Tuli to check my three remote cameras just beyond the southern boundary of the Garden Route National Park. Not 300 meters from the third camera, I found tracks of a leopard heading northwards. After doing the usual data collecting, measurement of spoor, GPS coordinates, estimation of time of spoor (approximately 12 hours old), I continued also northwards for a while. I lost the tracks eventually when the leopard entered the edge of the forests. I returned the way I had come, and after an hour and a half, I was on the last section on the route to my cabin. Image my surprise when I suddenly saw fresh tracks of another leopard over my boot marks where Tuli and I had been walking three hours before! In fact though, this is about the fourth time in the last three years that I have had fresh leopard tracks superimposed over my tracks in that area. See the photos here of the fresh leopard tracks and of Tuli beside them. The leopard tracks in the photograph are just above her head in the background. Though Tuli is still young, she certainly is aware and alert whenever we come across fresh signs of these big cats. Usually I have her on her lead, but when not, she stays very close by. (Hope those of you who have watched the youtube interview on the home page enjoyed seeing Tuli's screen debut! Here is the link for those of you who have not watched the interview yet - )

Launch of The Secret Elephants Forest Experience


The public response to The Secret Elephants Forest Experience has been excellent. Rozanne Savory who is handling bookings and enquiries, has been inundated with calls. I hosted the first two forest experiences recently and was moved by the participants response to this introduction to the Knysna elephants extraordinary world. It is a very holistic experience, not restricted to the elephants though, but to everything around us, the birds, amphibians, invertebrates, the myriad of mushrooms (see the photograph of the The Red Stinkhorn mushroom), special endemic species such as the Knysna dwarf chameleon, and of course, the wonderful trees.

The forest experience is undertaken at a fairly leisurely pace through the central Knysna forests, and to maintain that it is a personal and unique experience. I will keep the numbers of participants to only eight at one time. Of the elephants themselves, we marvelled at our discovery of age old elephant pathways. But this experience is certainly not about seeking the physical presence of the elephants, but is far deeper, a spiritual connection to the Knysna elephants of the present day, and those of the past. Walking the pathways is almost a pilgrimage experience, spiritually celebrating the world's most southerly elephants.

For bookings and details about The Secret Elephants Forest Experience, please contact Rozanne at (South Africa code) Tel: 044 386 0100, Cell: 083 408 9114 or email