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Kenya Diaries: Day 10 - Removing Poachers' Snares

by: Jill Richardson

Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 23:40:54 PM PST

The tenth day of my trip was my last day with the Africa Network for Animal Welfare on a three-day camping trip to remove poacher's snares. Mostly this day was more of the same - although we found many more snares this time around - but there were LOTS of animal sightings, including a very close up view of a sick hartebeest.

For previous diaries in this series:
Travel and Arrival
Day 1, Part 1: Elephants and Giraffes and Crocs, Oh My! (Part 1)
Day 1, Part 2: Elephants and Giraffes and Crocs, Oh My! (Part 2)
Day 2: Kibera, Nairobi's Enormous Slum
Day 3, Part 1: From Nairobi to Thika
Day 3, Part 2: Helping Women and Farmers Out of Poverty (G-BIACK)
Day 3, Part 3: G-BIACK's Livestock
Day 3, Part 4: Grow Biointensive (G-BIACK)
Day 3, Part 5: Traditional Kenyan Food and a Visit to a Farm
Day 4, Part 1: Del Monte Pineapple
Day 4, Part 2: Robert's Farm (G-BIACK)
Day 4, Part 3: A School for Special Needs Young Adults (G-BIACK)
Day 5: Sustainable Ag and Rural Development Initiative (SARDI)
Day 6: SARDI
Day 7: Nairobi
Day 8, Part 1: Wildlife and Poachers
Day 8, Part 2: The Machakos Market
Day 9: Removing Poachers' Snares

There's More... :: (2 Comments, 1781 words in story)

Kenya Diaries: Day 9 - Removing Poachers' Snares

by: Jill Richardson

Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 07:18:06 AM PST

On the ninth day of my trip, I woke up in my tent on the grounds of an outpost of the Kenya Wildlife Service. I was with the Africa Network for Animal Welfare on a three-day trip to remove poacher's snares. The second day was the most intense of the three.

For previous diaries in this series:
Travel and Arrival
Day 1, Part 1: Elephants and Giraffes and Crocs, Oh My! (Part 1)
Day 1, Part 2: Elephants and Giraffes and Crocs, Oh My! (Part 2)
Day 2: Kibera, Nairobi's Enormous Slum
Day 3, Part 1: From Nairobi to Thika
Day 3, Part 2: Helping Women and Farmers Out of Poverty (G-BIACK)
Day 3, Part 3: G-BIACK's Livestock
Day 3, Part 4: Grow Biointensive (G-BIACK)
Day 3, Part 5: Traditional Kenyan Food and a Visit to a Farm
Day 4, Part 1: Del Monte Pineapple
Day 4, Part 2: Robert's Farm (G-BIACK)
Day 4, Part 3: A School for Special Needs Young Adults (G-BIACK)
Day 5: Sustainable Ag and Rural Development Initiative (SARDI)
Day 6: SARDI
Day 7: Nairobi
Day 8, Part 1: Wildlife and Poachers
Day 8, Part 2: The Machakos Market

There's More... :: (3 Comments, 2003 words in story)

Kenya Diaries: Day 8, Part 1: Wildlife and Poaching

by: Jill Richardson

Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 22:34:18 PM PST

On the eighth day of my trip, I joined the Africa Network for Animal Welfare on a three-day trip to remove poacher's snares. Each day, we saw a ton of wildlife. Here are some photos from the first day.

For previous diaries in this series:
Travel and Arrival
Day 1, Part 1: Elephants and Giraffes and Crocs, Oh My! (Part 1)
Day 1, Part 2: Elephants and Giraffes and Crocs, Oh My! (Part 2)
Day 2: Kibera, Nairobi's Enormous Slum
Day 3, Part 1: From Nairobi to Thika
Day 3, Part 2: Helping Women and Farmers Out of Poverty (G-BIACK)
Day 3, Part 3: G-BIACK's Livestock
Day 3, Part 4: Grow Biointensive (G-BIACK)
Day 3, Part 5: Traditional Kenyan Food and a Visit to a Farm
Day 4, Part 1: Del Monte Pineapple
Day 4, Part 2: Robert's Farm (G-BIACK)
Day 4, Part 3: A School for Special Needs Young Adults (G-BIACK)
Day 5: Sustainable Ag and Rural Development Initiative (SARDI)
Day 6: SARDI
Day 7: Nairobi

There's More... :: (1 Comments, 1204 words in story)

Making Room for Wildlife to Improve Livelihoods

by: NourishingthePlanet

Fri Sep 10, 2010 at 06:15:07 AM PDT

Crossposted from the Worldwatch Institute's Nourishing the Planet.

This is the second part in a two-part interview with Steve Osofsky, Director of Wildlife Health Policy for the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). In this first part of the interview, Osofsky explains Transfrontier Conservation Areas (TFCAs) and how small-scale farmers can benefit from the conservation of wildlife. To read the first part of this interview see: Finding Common Ground to Improve Livelihoods and Conserve Wildlife.

What role do Transfrontier Conservation Areas (TFCAs) play in the relationship between wildlife and food systems?

Ethiopia: Livestock at the GTZ Project in AskumLet me first just explain what TFCA's are. If you look back at the colonial era when many of the southern African colonies or protectorates were looking for economic traction- one of the obvious sources was the export of beef. And we talked about how foot and mouth disease, a virus that is naturally harbored by the African buffalo, is a constraint to exports. The Europeans don't want foot and mouth getting into their animals. It's happened-you may remember in the UK , the multi-billion dollar losses, the farmers committing suicide, when foot and mouth got in. And actually right now there is an outbreak coming to an end in Japan and they are still not sure where that virus  came in from. But it's an economically important disease.

So from that context, going back to the late 1950's and early 1960's you can understand why fences were put up to separate wildlife and livestock. They were creating disease-free areas so that beef could be exported safely to markets like Europe which were providing good prices for many, many years. At that time, tourism was really not a major activity - there was some trophy hunting by the elite but it wasn't an economic driver.

(Continued below)

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 1614 words in story)

Sampler Platter 12.01.09

by: JayinPhiladelphia

Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 05:09:29 AM PST

Here's to December's first cup of coffee.  Is it really almost 2010 already?!

  • Consumer Reports brings us some disturbing news about store-bought chicken. Two-thirds of fresh, whole broilers "harbored salmonella and/or campylobacter".  The amazing thing is that this is actually an improvement over their last survey in 2007.

  • It's time for the 2009 Holiday Ale Festival here in Portland!  The event begins tomorrow and goes on through Sunday, Downtown in Pioneer Courthouse Square.  If you come on the right day I might just pour you one myself!  The O brings us a Q&A with one of the event's organizers.

  • Go Oakland!  A local blogger writes about a new produce market which recently opened on Telegraph in the city's Temescal neighborhood.

  • Staying in Oakland for one more, here's a piece on City Slicker Farms' plans for two small parks in West Oakland.

  • Food stamp purchases at New York City's Greenmarkets have increased 125% over the past year.

  • Now these are some holiday gift ideas I can support!  "The sweetest gifts of all come from your own kitchen"...

  • After massive and high-profile failures in Texas and Indiana, the federal government is warning states not to privatize food stamps.  Now if only they would use their power to do more to dissuade same besides simply writing "strongly worded letters"...

  • Are urban hunting clubs the next step in the local foods movement?

  • A new video shot by Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife officials confirms the existence of a pack of at least 10 gray wolves in Eastern Oregon.
Discuss :: (15 Comments)

Sampler Platter 10.30.09

by: JayinPhiladelphia

Fri Oct 30, 2009 at 11:36:06 AM PDT

  • A new Oregon State University study looks at the obstacles faced by rural Oregonians, many of whom are newly poor, in accessing better food.  Quite a few interesting points in the study re: the social stigma considerations affecting families who are no longer actually middle class, but continue to feel they must put up appearances (reluctance to accept government assistance, new computers and cars over good food, etc...).  The findings obviously apply to many American families these days, not just those in Benton County.

  • Willamette Week takes us for a look around Salt, Fire and Time, our city's first Community Supported Kitchen, here in Southeast Portland.

  • An infamous migrant farmworkers' camp in Washington County, Oregon, now under new ownership, will soon be reformed into a community for impoverished farmers to be able to live off of their own plots via sales of their produce through an on-site farm store.

  • As Jill would say, file this one under "duh": the state of Indiana's "ambitious welfare privatization efforts" are failing, this time regarding massive delays in decisions on food stamp applications by the private vendor contracted to do same.  Gee, you mean private companies whose only concerns are profit aren't better equipped to handle public services than government?  Who'da thunk it!

  • In case you missed it, check out RiaD's diary from yesterday on the new FDA oyster guidelines, which are causing a stir in Louisiana.

  • The New York Times brings us a piece on fresh hop ales, which are still in season for a few more weeks and can be found mostly in the Pacific Northwest and in the Northeast.  I had a Victory (Downington, PA) fresh hop ale when I was back in NJ the other week, but I forgot to take notes on it.  Crap!  Not to worry though, I'm gonna bring back my old Drinking Oregon series for a spin next week sometime, to do a round-up on the Portland-area wet hops I've had here over the past month or so.  Here's another couple of pieces on this year's Hop Harvest.

  • Here's a piece on the algal bloom which is stripping sea birds of their waterproofing, and washing up thousands of them, dead or just barely alive, on Oregon and Washington beaches.
Discuss :: (5 Comments)

Sampler Platter 09.25.09

by: JayinPhiladelphia

Fri Sep 25, 2009 at 13:00:00 PM PDT

  • The State of Oklahoma's lawsuit against the poultry industry for fouling (easy pun passed over, heh) the Illinois River watershed got underway in a Tulsa federal courthouse yesterday.  Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson is suing Tyson, Cargill and nine other companies for violation of numerous state and federal laws.

  • Jim Hightower takes on local-washing and corporate-speak.  "Such 'down-home' companies as Unilever and HSBC"... lol!

  • The Humboldt jumbo squid that have been swarming the San Diego coastline all summer are now beginning to wash up as far north as the central Oregon Coast; a sardine mystery is being investigated on Oregon's North Coast; and US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco publish an Op-Ed on the government's Northwest salmon plan.

  • Here's another piece on the culture clash between the old and the new in New York City street food.

  • The City of San Jose, California has just passed what is called the nation's strictest bag ban. The ordinance will prohibit all retailers except for restaurants and nonprofits from giving out single-use plastic bags, and will only allow them to give out paper bags (which must be at least 40% recycled) for a fee.

  • Sustainable transportation news roundup: a census survey released today ranks Portland as #1 of America's 30 largest cities in terms of bicycle commuting, with 6.4% of Portlanders getting to work via bike, a jump of more than 50% since 2007; Streetsblog NYC makes the case for openness in MTA data to improve riders' transit experience; and the feasability study on reinstatement of Amtrak's old Pioneer Route (Seattle & Portland to Salt Lake City & Denver via Eastern Oregon and Idaho) has just been released.  Why is it that highways and airports are never expected to be self-sustaining, while rail transit always is?  It's long past time that we stopped leaving most of the West to the tyranny of compulsory private automobile travel.

  • The Bend-La Pine School District in Central Oregon is seeking to make its new elementary school one of the greenest public schools in the nation.
Discuss :: (14 Comments)

From New Zealand Hoki to Peruvian Anchovy

by: JayinPhiladelphia

Tue Sep 15, 2009 at 20:00:00 PM PDT

Seems like lately we're taking a world tour via industry greenwashing of certain fisheries as "sustainable".  I posted a piece on the problems with the Marine Stewardship Council's certification of the New Zealand hoki fishery last week, and now British Columbia's The Tyee takes us down to Peru for a look at the pending MSC certification of the anchovy fishery -

Each year 30 million tonnes of small wild-caught fish -- one third of the global declared catch -- are ground up to feed industrially farmed fish, chicken, and pigs. In light of widespread overfishing and malnutrition, is it ethical to turn one out of every three marine fish into powdered pig feed?

We were dismayed when we heard that the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) announced recently that the process has begun which could lead to the certification of Peruvian anchovies -- a fish which contributes to about a third of the world's fishmeal production.

The Tyee piece is really worth a read, as it sums up quickly and concisely exactly what the problems are with letting the commercial fishing industry regulate itself, and define what is "sustainable" through the Marine Stewardship Council, a creation of the World Wildlife Fund and Unilever, which just so happens to be one of the world's largest seafood retailers.  The reasoning for Unilever's participation in the creation of the MSC was that...

[Unilever] wanted to source all of their fish from sustainable sources by 2005.

...and since nations are hesitant to get into defining 'sustainable' fisheries, what better way to accomplish that goal than to create an industry certification scheme with a little bit of environmental credibility (teaming up with WWF) to do your bidding?  WalMart, btw, is also currently basking in the MSC's "green showers" for much of the fish that they sell.

At first, MSC was only able to certify small, actual sustainable fisheries using real science.  Of course, that didn't aid in reaching industry's goals (which are unsustainable by definition - there is simply no possible way for corporations whose only concern (by law) is profit, to be able to work with the earth at the expense of a few pennies for shareholders)... so MSC has lately been acting as a Rubber Greenwashing Stamp for Big (Sea)Food.

There's nothing at all "sustainable" about grinding up millions of tons of fish for animal feed, when such fish could of course just be used to feed people in the first place.  Especially in Peru, where the anchovy caught just off their coast could go quite a way towards eradicating hunger and malnutrition amongst the Peruvian people themselves, in a much more efficient manner than turning the fish into pellets or powder for industrial pig and salmon farms thousands of miles away ever could.

Discuss :: (10 Comments)

"Maybe if we run into the wall from this angle..."

by: JayinPhiladelphia

Thu Sep 10, 2009 at 14:56:22 PM PDT

A New York Times story from this morning takes a look at the hoki fishery in New Zealand, and finds that its current certification as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council may not quite be deserved -

The world's insatiable appetite for fish, with its disastrous effects on populations of favorites like red snapper, monkfish and tuna, has driven commercial fleets to deeper waters in search of creatures unlikely to star on the Food Network.

One of the most popular is the hoki, or whiptail, a bug-eyed specimen found far down in the waters around New Zealand and transformed into a major export. McDonald's alone at one time used roughly 15 million pounds of it each year.


The problems, [Peter Trott, the fisheries program manager in Australia for the World Wildlife Fund] said, include population declines, ecosystem damage and the accidental killing of skates and sharks. He added that New Zealand hoki managers let industry "get as much as it can from the resource without alarm bells ringing."

The hoki is used to make the Filet-o-Fish sandwich at McDonald's (there is actually some fish in there, I guess!), as well as being a regular 'guest' on menus at Long John Silver's, Denny's restaurants in New Zealand (Denny's is in New Zealand?  Sorry, mates...), amongst others.  

Another part of the story here is the recertification of the fishery as sustainable in 2007 by the MSC, over the objections of the World Wildlife Fund, one of the council's initial founders -

Without formally acknowledging that hoki are being overfished, New Zealand has slashed the allowable catch in steps, from about 275,000 tons in 2000 and 2001 to about 100,000 tons in 2007 and 2008 - a decline of nearly two-thirds.

Wouldn't such drastic cuts seem to indicate that the fishery was never managed as responsibly as thought in the first place?  It's all about the McMoney, isn't it?  You'd have thought they would have learned their lesson from orange roughy, but I guess not.  Another interesting fact: Yum Brands, the parent corporation of Long John Silver's, included purchase of New Zealand hoki on its corporate responsibility report as an example of their 'sustainability' just last year.  This year, according to the article, the fish is no longer "on the menu".  What a difference a year makes when it comes to industry-defined "sustainability", eh?

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Global Illegal Fishing Treaty Agreed Upon

by: JayinPhiladelphia

Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 20:00:00 PM PDT

91 countries today agreed upon a treaty seeking to crack down on safe ports for illegal fishing -

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, which brokered the talks, said the treaty will make it harder for illicit catches to be brought ashore and sold on the market.

This should reduce the incentive for activities such as fishing without a license, using banned gear, disregarding fishing seasons and making catches that are illegal or undersized. Such behavior can threaten endangered species and damage the legitimate fisheries industry.

More below the fold...

There's More... :: (1 Comments, 276 words in story)

Sampler Platter 07.18.09

by: JayinPhiladelphia

Sat Jul 18, 2009 at 17:45:04 PM PDT

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

Sampler Platter 07.16.09

by: JayinPhiladelphia

Thu Jul 16, 2009 at 17:22:04 PM PDT

  • Boo!  California's Developmental and Reproductive Toxicant Identification Committee, the board charged under that state's Proposition 65 with identifying and listing substances that can cause birth defects, developmental or reproductive harm, quivered and kneeled down before NAMPA and their other BPA industry chronies, voting 7-0 against listing BPA as a chemical believed to cause reproductive harm.  The difference between the US and the EU's approach to the public health was clearly on display here - the board members "voiced concerns over the growing scientific research", yet ignored their own concerns because human lives have always taken a back seat to corporate profits in America.

  • Beware of stealth Starbucks stores posing as local independent coffee shops, coming soon to a neighborhood near you...

  • A massive, jellyfish-entangling mystery blob has been found floating off the Alaskan Coast.  The US Coast Guard has ruled out any manmade explanations (i.e. - oil spill); although it may be an algae bloom, none of the researchers have ever before seen anything quite like this.

  • A second breeding pair of wolves have now taken up residence in Eastern Washington.

  • A Bush Administration-era bull trout protection plan was just tossed by a judge in Montana, now giving the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service six months to come up with a new plan to protect the endangered fish's habitat.  Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Interior Julie MacDonald was found in December 2008 to have taken "actions that potentially jeopardized the Endangered Species Act decisional process in 13 of the 20" decisions investigated by the Office of the Inspector General, and this (bull trout habitat protection) plan was deemed "too illogical to withstand legal review" by the court.

  • From the Christian Science Monitor, another article on urban beekeeping.

  • Homeless advocacy groups, after reviewing policy and practices in 273 US cities, have released a report this week naming Los Angeles as the American city which most criminalizes homelessness; other cities on the "Top 10 Meanest" list include Orlando, Atlanta, Honolulu, San Francisco and Berkeley, CA.
Discuss :: (13 Comments)

Sampler Platter: 07.03.2009

by: JayinPhiladelphia

Fri Jul 03, 2009 at 16:53:25 PM PDT

  • So how long until Monsanto or Dow seek to patent all goats?  From state highway departments to vineyards to city governments, an increase is being seen nationwide in using goats and sheep to control invasives, maintain lawns and clear fire-prone grasses.  Maybe Matt Damon was onto something when he told Robin Williams, "I wanna be a shepherd."  So do I, man.  So do I...

  • From Indian Country Today, here's a piece on the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation's resource management plan that puts First Foods at the center of their conservation efforts.

    "We're using this to develop curriculum for the tribe's community school and also using it as a framework for developing a diabetes prevention program for the tribe's clinic," [Eric] Quaempts, [director of the CTUIR Department of Natural Resources] said. "The first foods themselves are healthy. The act of going out and acquiring them is healthy."

  • At last count (1990) there were over 200,000 Pacific Walruses.  There is some controversy over last week's estimate, but either way it seems their numbers have diminished significantly.  Maybe to as low as 15,164.  As Brendan Cummings, spokesman for the Center for Biological Diversity, says - "You don't need to know if there are 500 passenger or 1,000 passengers on the Titanic. When it hits an iceberg, they're all endangered ".  The final assessment is due in January.

  • Are wolverines establishing themselves further south than thought?  Researchers have now caught pictures of a second wolverine on Mount Adams in Southwest Washington, from where the last known wolverine populations were wiped out by trapping in the 1800s.

  • A piece from NPR looks at the City of Seattle's decision to stop using soybean-based biofuels for its vehicle fleet.  Also, The Oregonian brings us a piece on how Southern Oregon's Klamath County is adapting for a changing future.

  • The feedlot fight is still on in Eastern Washington, where environmental groups and family farmers are suing to prevent a proposed new 30,000-head cattle feedlot from taking advantage of a state law that would allow the operation to draw unlimited water from wells in one of the driest regions of America.
Discuss :: (1 Comments)

2009 Oregon Legislative Session Ends: Industrial Hemp Passes, and Other News...

by: JayinPhiladelphia

Tue Jun 30, 2009 at 07:00:00 AM PDT

The 2009 session of the 75th Oregon Legislative Assembly came to an end Monday night, and I thought I'd just do a brief wrap-up of food, farming and environmental measures that passed out of the Oregon State Legislature this session.  I'm not intimately familiar with all of these bills, just gathering them here in one place for informational purposes right now.  I'll look deeper at many of them soon.  Inclusion in the wrap-up below does not necessarily equate to an endorsement.

With an efficiency rarely seen in Oregon politics, Democrats took advantage of supermajorities in the House and Senate to push an aggressive agenda, rolling through Republican resistance and facing down Democratic Gov. Ted Kulongoski.

Looking back, the 2009 session, the shortest since 1995, will be remembered largely as a fight against the economic tornado that ripped billions of dollars and thousands of jobs from the state. Despite the hard times, lawmakers approved more than $1 billion in new taxes, vastly expanded health care programs and signed off on some of the most expensive transportation and capital construction plans in state history.

Specifically, lawmakers approved higher taxes on upper-income earners, on corporations, on hospitals and health insurance providers and on gasoline. Combining the tax increases with federal stimulus dollars, lawmakers staved off what might have been crippling cuts to public schools, prisons and programs that help the poor, elderly and disabled.

Some bills I really would have liked to have seen passed - specifically HB 2800, the Oregon Farm to School bill, and HB 2995, which would have created an Oregon Food Policy Council - stalled in Salem (again, in the farm-to-school bill's case) for now.  We may have another chance when the Oregon Legislature convenes for a brief session early in 2010.

Below the fold is a list of what will now be (or in some cases, already has been) sent on to Governor Ted Kulongoski (D) for his signature...

There's More... :: (5 Comments, 583 words in story)

Sampler Platter 06.17.09

by: JayinPhiladelphia

Wed Jun 17, 2009 at 10:53:29 AM PDT

  • At the Ethicurean, Janet takes us on a tour of Missouri's Heartland Harvest Garden, 12 acres of edible landscaping which officials claim is the biggest such garden in the country.

  • A couple of years ago, New Jersey attempted to eliminate its State Department of Agriculture in a shortsighted cost-cutting move.  Terrible idea, and fortunately protests and public opposition ensured that it never happened.  Although New Jersey did eventually lose a great advocate in the process.  Now, California is considering eliminating their Department of Food and Agriculture.  Rose Hayden-Smith believes it's a bad idea.

  • A federal prosecutor in Brazil is seeking to ban fast-food toy promotions in the country.

  • Since taking office in 2006, Governor Jon Corzine's (D-NJ) Hunger Initiative has meant millions of dollars for state food banks, and fresh healthy local produce for New Jersey's poor.  The program requires food banks receiving funds to prioritize local growers and producers.  The governor was at the Food Bank of South Jersey yesterday, continuing to promote partnerships between food banks and local farmers.

  • Despite being sued by two coal companies over municipal ordinances banning coal mining and requiring corporations to disclose their activities to local officials, a tiny Pennsylvania town is refusing to back down.  Its lawyer is predicting this case will eventually make it up to the US Supreme Court in a challenge to corporate "personhood".  In 2006 the town passed an ordinance that reads, in part: "This illegitimate bestowal of civil and political rights upon corporations prevents the administration of laws within Blaine Township and usurps basic human and constitutional rights guaranteed to the people of Blaine Township".  Go Blaine!  (h/t to Anonymous Bosch)

  • Here's another great piece on the growing trend of bringing better food to hospitals.  The article goes on to mention that one hospital cafeteria in Burlington, Vermont, which focuses on local seasonal organic produce, has even become a destination for downtown lunch crowds!

  • As the old saying goes, denial ain't just a river in Egypt.  Hard to deny these days, though, the drastic changes occurring in the Pacific, much sooner than researchers had expected.

Update: Check this out - seed industry structure charts and graphics

Discuss :: (27 Comments)
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