AWI Quarterly

An Elephantine Question: How Many Elephant Species are There?

Arguably the biggest conservation debate concerning elephants in the last decade has been over the international ban on trade in elephant ivory. But a new debate may be arising over how many African elephant species actually exist.

It is possible for the elephants of Amboseli and the Maasai people to coexist peacefully as they have for centuries. But will elephants live free from the ivory-seeking poachers' bullets? (MERC)

It has long been assumed that there are two elephant species: the Asian elephant (Elephas Maximus) and the African elephant (Loxodonta Africana). However, in a Report in Science magazine (Vol. 293, 24 August 2001) researchers studying DNA sequences from nearly 200 African elephants found genetic distinctions that they argue warrant separation of African elephants into two distinct species: those inhabiting the savannah (Loxodonta africana) and the smaller elephants in Africa's tropical forests (Loxodonta cyclotis). According to the Report, the two African elephant species began to diverge genetically over two and a half million years ago.

Asian elephants and most African countries' elephants (except Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe) are already listed on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), thus prohibiting international commercial trade in their parts and products. Recognizing two distinct African elephant species may have interesting conservation implications and political repercussions under CITES. Taken together, the African elephant population may appear relatively strong. But separated into two distinct genetic populations, there would only be an estimated 400,000 savannah elephants and roughly 150,000 forest elephants.

There is the possibility that some will argue that the forest elephant, taken as its own species, is not yet protected at all. Elephant poachers and ivory traders engage in myriad machinations to engage in their deadly trade. Recent evidence suggests that the relaxation of the worldwide ban on ivory in 1997 was misperceived as sending a message that the ivory trade is soon to be reopened unfettered. In the past few months, ivory seizures have been made across the globe. Reports reveal in September 2001, 20 tusks were impounded in Zurich, Switzerland; in November 2001, 30 tusks were seized at Bangkok's airport; that same month, 230 tusks were confiscated in Egypt; the biggest recent bust came in Tanzania where 1,255 tusks were found in two homes. Ivory traders continue to take advantage of understaffed and underfunded anti-poaching and wildlife law enforcement units.

All elephant species undoubtedly warrant and need complete protection under international conservation Treaties and domestic legislation around the world. Recognizing the forest elephant as a separate, fully protected species may also call greater global attention to the deforestation rampaging Africa by greedy logging companies. Perhaps heightened conservation measures will be taken to protect the forests in which the endangered forest elephant clings to existence.

The great elephant debate just got a little more intriguing; we hope the mighty elephants will get additional protection as a result.

National Gathering Calls for Humane, Sustainable Hog Farming

On January 11, 800 people from across the US and Canada packed the New Bern, North Carolina Riverfront Convention Center to discuss strategies for combating pig factories and promoting humaneness and sustainability in pig farming.

The "Summit for Sustainable Hog Farming" was organized by Nicolette Hahn, Senior Attorney for the Water Keeper Alliance, Rick Dove, Board Member of the Water Keeper Alliance and Gary Grant, Chair of the North Carolina Hog Roundtable. The day-long event included presentations from fishermen, environmentalists, religious and labor leaders, family farmers, scientists, public officials, attorneys, community activists, and animal welfare advocates.

Poignantly, neighbors to industrial pig operations described from personal experience how pig factories fouled their houses and backyards with stench and toxic gases so intense they became ill. In chilling testimonials, they detailed incidents of intimidation, even threats of violence and death, which they received from pig factory owners or operators.

The Summit's animal welfare discussion featured presentations by Paul Willis and Sue and Kelly Ryan, family farmers who allow the pigs they raise to behave naturally, in accordance with the Animal Welfare Institute's Humane Husbandry Standards for Pigs. A video prepared by the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) in cooperation with the Water Keeper Alliance showed the Ryan family farm and emphasized the value of preserving the culture of humane family farm husbandry that is being decimated by animal factories. Mike McConnell, Chairman of Niman Ranch, urged attendees not only to fight against the growth and pollution of pig factories but also to press their grocers to carry meat from humane, sustainable family farms rather than factories. Niman Ranch is the first marketing company to require that farmers whose hogs they purchase follow AWI's humane husbandry standards. Actress Rosemary Harris, winner of a Tony, an Emmy and a Golden Globe award and an Academy Award nominee, spoke on behalf of animals in a video presentation recorded in Los Angeles where Ms. Harris was filming the movie "Spiderman." Ms. Harris called on consumers to insist on meat from humane, family farms, saying that it is the plight of the sows confined to crates, unable to walk or turn around, that moves her most. A North Carolinian herself, Ms. Harris urged North Carolinians to take the lead in prohibiting animal factory practices, just as Sweden has done in Europe. Marlene Halverson, humane farming consultant to AWI, described the long history of ethical approaches to farming with animals in Sweden and their potential for serving as models for humane, sustainable farming in the US. AWI's Farm Animal Advisor, Diane Halverson, showed how factory production of pigs violates the nature of pigs, and how this leads, inevitably, to environmental and human health catastrophes. The suffering of animals in factories was also addressed in Rick Dove's video presentation which included footage of gross cruelty to pigs in a North Carolina factory, where workers beat and dismembered conscious sows. In Mr. Dove's words, "If we solve all of the environmental problems dealing with industrial hog raising, including stopping pollution, gaining restitution for pollution and solving the neighborhood odor and health problems, but we don't solve the issue of humane treatment of animals, then we haven't solved the problem of hog factories."

A captivating keynote address was given by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. who, in addressing the extreme confinement and physical abuse suffered by pigs in factories, said: "The way that we treat animals—somebody at sometime is going to be punished for that—we as a nation or somebody. Because you can't treat another work of the Creator with the kind of indignity that we are allowing to go on in this state or others without there being some kind of karmic retribution at some point in history. I think all of us understand that, and particularly the family farmers here who understand the notion of stewardship and how an animal should be treated with dignity if we want dignity for ourselves."

The Metropolitan AME Zion Church Choir, Washington, N.C. opened the Interfaith Prayer Service that followed Mr. Kennedy's address. Sister Evelyn Mattern of the North Carolina Council of Churches led the crowd in this prayer by St. Basil the Great (329-379): "O God, enlarge within us the sense of fellowship with all living things, even our brothers and sisters the animals, to whom you have given the earth as their home in common with us. We remember with shame that in the past we have exercised our high dominion with ruthless cruelty so that the voice of the earth, which should have gone up to you in song, has been a groan of pain. May we realize that they live, not for us alone, but for themselves and for you, and that they love the sweetness of life."

Water Keeper Alliance

The Water Keeper Alliance is the umbrella organization for the fifty-eight River, Sound and Bay Keepers located throughout North and Central America and Europe. The Water Keeper Alliance protects and restores waterways—including those ravaged by pollution from animal factories—using a variety of methods, including litigation. To learn more about the Water Keeper Alliance or to view presentations delivered at the Summit, visit the organization's website at

North Carolina Hog Roundtable

The North Carolina Hog Roundtable is a coalition of state-wide, community, and neighborhood organizations, with over 65,000 members collectively, that are working toward reform of corporate pig raising. The Roundtable focuses on pig factories' threats to public health, the environment and property values and has a particular concern for the disproportionate impact of industrial pig operations on poor and minority communities.


Photos:  Pigs on industrial farms are confined to metal crates so small they cannot even turn around. Unnatural conditions in the factory thwart a pig's natural instincts, and stereoptypies, repetitive behaviors such as bar-biting shown at left, are common.

Coexisting in Kenya The Human-Elephant Conflict

By Meitamei Ole Dapash

The Amboseli Maasai-elephant Dialogue is convened under a tree by the roadside to tap the inputs of passersby, who may not be residents of that location. The forum has no chairperson, master of ceremonies, or any form of authority figurehead. (MERC)

We, the Maasai have never failed in our moral duty as guardians of wildlife. However, those with myopic understanding of our way of life and its interconnectedness with nature have consistently failed both the people and wildlife of Amboseli. -Lengete Ole Manti, Amboseli resident The Maasai people name their clans after animals such as lions, elephants, or rhinos to demonstrate the importance of wildlife prosperity in Kenya and Tanzania to the Maasai culture. Each clan advocates for the protection of its particular species, which becomes the clan's totem and symbol of prestige. Wildlife conservation in Maasailand owes its success to the Maasai traditions that prohibit the killing of wildlife or destruction of forests or any part of the natural ecosystem for commercial or any other form of consumptive use. This is why, even today, wildlife thrives in Maasailand, unlike many other areas where animals have been eliminated either for food or to create land for commercial agriculture.

Kenya's prolonged droughts in 1999 and 2000, the worst in 25 years, led to widespread competition for water throughout East Africa. Many rivers, swamps, and dams dried up, and the few water sources that survived the droughts immediately became hot spots for human-wildlife conflict. This natural catastrophe caused starvation among wildlife, livestock, and even people in some parts of Kenya.

Amboseli National Park was the most affected protected area in the country. "Empusel"

Well dug by hand by the Maasai. Maintaining water wells outside Amboseli National Park in Kenya would reduce human competition with elephants for water inside the park. (MERC)

 (Amboseli) is a Maasai word for "dry land" and is located on the northern foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro, the world's tallest freestanding mountain. Amboseli was established mainly to protect Kenya's elephants and preserve their migratory routes. Amboseli is dotted with oases (created by the melting snow of Mt. Kilimanjaro) and perennial swamp grass species. These permanent sources of water and green vegetation attracted more wildlife and Maasai livestock into the park during the recent drought period than any other time in the history of Amboseli. Consequently, human-elephant conflicts erupted leading to the spearing of eight elephants-six of whom died from their wounds, while an orphaned baby was reported to have died of starvation. Reports from Maasai indicate that within the same timeframe, two Maasai (including a mother of a three week old infant) and at least 42 livestock had been attacked and killed by elephants.

The Maasai Environmental Resource Coalition (MERC), with support from the Animal Welfare Institute, set out to create a dialogue to discuss human-elephant conflict and related conservation issues in Amboseli and find long-term solutions to the conflicts. On June 30, 2001 the first meeting took place under a huge acacia tree at Meshenani area in the Olgului/Ololarrashie group ranch, the largest, most important communal land that almost engulfs the Amboseli National Park. More than 60 people, representing twelve villages within the vicinity of Amboseli National Park, attended the meeting.

Moving testimonies were heard about the peaceful coexistence of Maasai and wildlife in the delicate balance of the ecosystems within which they live. Participants expressed serious concerns over growing threats to the survival of Maasai people, elephants, and their shared habitat in Amboseli and across Maasailand. "These threats," they said, "come from commercial agricultural expansion; sidelining of the Maasai from mainstream nature conservation; insensitive tourism practices; and continued loss of Maasai traditional lands to other modern economic enterprises. The ongoing destruction of forests, commercial hunting, and loss of wildlife migratory routes and breeding grounds must be stopped now if the future of wildlife in Kenya and Tanzania is to be guaranteed. Moreover, as we lose land and culture, elephants and other wildlife lose habitat."

Intensifying competition for limited water resources was the single most important factor responsible for human-wildlife conflicts in Amboseli. According to the participants, approximately 80% of the permanent sources of water are located in the center of the park. Additionally, women and children have to endure a 10-15 kilometer daily trudge across the dry, open Amboseli basin into the middle of the park to fetch water for domestic use. This increased human presence in the park, coupled with human-elephant-livestock convergence at the watering points, creates tremendous tension resulting in occasional deadly conflicts.

Maasai communities often are forced to take the law into their own hands by killing rogue elephants when they believe that no help is coming from the park's office. An act of this nature often escalates friction between wildlife authorities and the communities. According to one elder, "elephants hardly ever attacked people unless provoked, thirsty or instinctively reacting to an experience of past attack." Although men would sometimes successfully scare away elephants from watering points, elephants in most cases prevail by maintaining their ground and forcing people and livestock to go thirsty. Many participants pointed out that water scarcity outside the park for communities and continued habitat loss to encroaching agricultural communities were some of the serious problems undermining Maasai's centuries' old peaceful coexistence with elephants.

Conflict is also exacerbated by the Maasai's dissatisfaction about the current level of wildlife-derived benefits being extended to the local communities. Currently, Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) distributes approximately US$10,000 among the seven group ranches adjoining Amboseli National Park. The forum heard that the amount was not only meager; it was erratically given, in spite of the fact that Amboseli generates more tourists' dollars for KWS than any other park in the country. Moreover, lodges in Amboseli employ more than 1,500 people of which Amboseli residents constitute fewer than 100 people, put in the most undignified, poorly paid positions. Amboseli residents feel cheated and are increasingly becoming resentful of tourism and conservation programs alike.

The dialogue revealed that there is also pressure from wildlife consumptive use proponents to persuade and manipulate Maasai into urging the government to allow commercial hunting for trophies, particularly in communal lands, as a way of enhancing wildlife-derived benefits. Because of the problems mentioned earlier on, and the feeling that the colonial government stole Amboseli to create a wildlife preserve without consultations, the Maasai are very vulnerable to these ideas.

KWS already has expressed unequivocal interest in working with MERC and Amboseli communities to address human-elephant conflicts and a number of specific actions resulted from this valuable dialog. MERC will encourage KWS to include local communities' participation in the development and implementation of conservation programs in their localities. KWS will review the existing revenue-sharing policy with the view of increasing the community's share, while job training and placement opportunities in the tourism industry will be extended to the local communities. The Maasai have proposed the establishment of a code of conduct and ethics for the tourism industry to safeguard environmental integrity and the culture of the Maasai people. Finally, MERC is proposing the establishment of a problem animal control unit in Amboseli to respond to reports of animal attacks. This unit will be responsible for rapid response in situations where people or livestock have been attacked by elephants, lions, or buffaloes. It will also discourage people from taking action on their own to address the problem.

MERC continues to promote and sustain the peaceful coexistence necessary for the safety of both human and elephant populations in Amboseli. We need to keep focused on: handling local communities' complaints and liaising with the wildlife authorities for quick resolution; initiating water projects outside the park to minimize human-elephant contacts inside the park; and initiating community-based ecotourism programs in the Amboseli area. With the active involvement of MERC and the Maasai people, wildlife in Maasailand will be protected for generations to come.

For more information or to help the work of the Maasai Environmental Resource Coalition, contact Meitamei Ole Dapash at 2020 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Suite 136, Washington, DC 20006, (202) 785-8787,

Marine Mammals

Navy Admits to Killing Whales,
but LFAS Steams Ahead

Two studies released in mid-December provide twin smoking guns linking the killing of whales to the use of active sonar devices by the US Navy. The first was a belated admission jointly issued by the Navy and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). The agencies admit that the most plausible source of the "acoustic or impulse trauma" that caused a mass stranding of whales and dolphins in the Bahamas on March 15-16 of 2001 was the Navy testing of mid-range frequency sonar used to find submarines.

The second study was funded by the Office of Navy Research and published by Hauser, Howard and Ridgeway in the Journal of Theoretical Biology. It explores the formation of bubbles by sound waves in the supersaturated blood of deep-diving mammals. Three elements of the study are critical in our battle to stop the deployment of Low Frequency Active Sonar (LFAS):

          1) Once a sound source causes the formation of bubbles in the blood (a phenomenon in human divers called the bends) they can continue to grow on their own.

          2) Bubbles can start growing at relatively low levels of sound (under 150 decibels-ten million times less than the source level of LFAS).

          3) The mechanism that causes the bubbles to grow is independent of the frequency of the sound (giving the lie to the Navy argument that even though the Bahamas stranding was most likely caused by the mid-frequency sound they generated, that the low frequency LFAS is totally different and benign).

We are still awaiting a decision by NMFS on whether it is going to ignore all evidence and grant a "small take authorization" to the Navy to kill dolphins, whales, and other marine species by deploying LFAS, with a source level of 240 decibels, in over eighty percent of the world's oceans.

-------------------- Capture/Recapture Study Kills Dolphins

After two months at sea, a National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) research cruise that had been opposed by its own scientists returned to port in San Diego. A NMFS vessel accompanied a contracted Mexican tuna boat to intentionally harass the dwindling populations of spinner and spotted dolphins to see if the creatures are indeed stressed by being chased and netted repeatedly by boats pursuing tuna. Fifteen hundred dolphins were caught in 27 sets of the net. Some were then subjected to having transmitters bloodily bolted through their dorsal fins.

The idea was to capture dolphins repeatedly and to take blood with each capture in order to see if the stress hormones known to be present in blood would increase with each capture. But only five dolphins were caught more than once. By the time the nets were hung to dry, two dolphins were killed outright and one calf was missing and presumed dead.

As an article explained in the Fall 2001 AWI Quarterly, AWI had presented a benign alternative to this expensive, highly invasive and useless study with the help of Dr. Al Myrick, the leading NMFS expert on stress in dolphins for more than ten years. The senior NMFS scientists that we met with agreed that the planned capture/recapture study was unnecessarily invasive and would yield little new information. But they were forced to carry out the study at the insistence of Congressmen Gilchrest (R-MD) and Cunningham (R-CA) and the efforts of Ocean Conservancy's Nina Young.

The study was mandated as part of the International Dolphin Conservation Act of 1997 (dubbed the "Dolphin Death Act") that attempted to drop the trade embargo on dolphin-caught tuna. More than seven million dolphins have died in the tuna fishery in the Eastern Tropical Pacific. Evidence enough, one would think, that the technique causes stress.

--------------- Mexican Tuna Super-Seiner
Busted with 10.5 Tons of Cocaine

The drug-tainted Mexican tuna industry, which has killed tens of thousands of dolphins in defiance of US and European bans on dolphin-deadly tuna, was embarrassed once again last December when the US Coast Guard captured a giant Mexican super-seiner that was smuggling 10.5 tons of cocaine in the eastern Pacific.

The 180-foot Macel was boarded off the southwest coast of Mexico on December 21, 2001 after being under surveillance for several weeks by US Navy and Coast Guard ships patrolling the region for gangsters running cocaine and heroin from Colombia to Mexico, which is the major way-station for narcotics on the way to the US and Europe.

A total of 10.5 tons of pure cocaine, with a street value of $500 million, was found hidden in special compartments under tons of yellow fin tuna. The cocaine, ship, and 19-man crew were turned over to the Mexican Navy.

Colombian and Mexican drug cartels bought up most of the Latin American tuna fleets in the 1980's and early 1990's to smuggle their contraband and to launder billions of narco-dollars. (For the detailed report, "Dolphins Die for Tuna/Cocaine Connection," see the Spring 1999 AWI Quarterly.)

The Mexican government has failed to seize the major tuna fleets and canneries that are owned by the murderous Tijuana Cartel in partnership with powerful politicians. Even Colombia's infamous Cali Cartel is a partner in major Mexican tuna companies. And the US government has steadfastly refused to acknowledge that Mexico's tuna industry is a front for drug trafficking. Instead, the Departments of State and Commerce have been actively assisting the Mexican government and tuna industry to overturn the US dolphin-safe standard for imported tuna.

Lions on the Brink?

"Raffi" was rescued (and photographed) by the Born Free Foundation from a cage atop a bar in the Canary Islands. He now lives happily on 5 acres at the Shamwari Private Game reserve in South Africa.

If you want to be in the killing club then you've got to kill a lion. Safari Club International, an organization dedicated to promoting the killing of wild animals for sport, has the lion listed on a number of its hunting awards. The lion is one of the "Dangerous Game of Africa," the "African 29," the "Cats of the World," and the grand slam "Africa Big Five" (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and buffalo). Safari Club International's magazine is replete with stories about lion hunts in which hunters hang bait from tree limbs in what one author called "the perfect setup" for an easy ambush and kill. Another author rates the lion as the most dangerous of the Africa Big Five and "perhaps the most difficult of all Africa's great prizes." He contends, "Most parks in Africa hold good numbers of lions, so there need be no concern over the species' survival."

In reality, the future looks bleak for the African lion (Panthera Leo) of west and central Africa, based on the results of a workshop held in Cameroon in June 2001. The recently published proceedings from the meeting highlight the pressures placed on these fragmented lion populations and the need to protect them immediately. One participant at the meeting noted that the population estimates of between 1,500 and 2,000 lions "in the entire West African region was considered as a shock."

The "information exchange" on "Status and Needs for Conservation of Lions in West and Central Africa" reveals that in west and central Africa, lions in countries such as Senegal, Mali, Benin, Sierra Leone, and Cameroon are threatened by poachers, loss of habitat (especially for conversion of land to agriculture and forest cutting for timber), slaughter for the use of their parts in traditional medicines, and trophy hunting.

Roughly 30,000 lions remain in the wild.  Individual populations are small isolated, and decreasing.

The situation seems dire in some parts of southern Africa as well. Researchers Chris and Tilde Stewart in Zambia claim that in the northeastern part of the country, "numbers are critically low and they probably have no future here." Little population data apparently exists for the rest of the country. In Botswana, the Director of Wildlife placed an immediate ban on all hunting of lions in February 2001, as a precautionary measure to prevent further decline of lions there. The temporary ban was praised by conservationists but assailed by trophy hunters.

Will Travers of the Born Free Foundation has stressed the need to respond to the findings of the Cameroon workshop as a matter of urgency. "This latest lion news must serve as a wake up call to all conservationists. Unless we take concerted action to reduce poaching, prevent further habitat loss, stop trade in lion parts and eliminate trophy hunting this serious situation will soon become a crisis."



Nine Charged with Illegal Trade in Exotic Cats:
Tigers, Leopards, and Other Big Cats Appear to Have Been Killed for Trophies

Following a lengthy investigation by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, a series of indictments have been issued against individuals in Michigan, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri for trafficking in protected tigers and leopards. A couple of the individuals involved are licensed as exhibitors under the Animal Welfare Act. Apparently, those charged were buying and killing tigers, leopards, snow leopards, lions, mountain lions, cougars, mixed breed cats, and black bears with the intention of introducing their meat and skins into the lucrative animal parts trade.

At this point only one individual has been sentenced. Woody Thompson, Jr., owner of the Willow Lake Sportsman's Club in Three Rivers, Michigan, pled guilty to brokering the interstate sale of three tiger skins. He was sentenced to six months of home detention, two years probation, a $2,000 fine, and he was ordered to pay $28,000 to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation's "Save the Tiger Fund."

More indictments are expected soon.

Whistlestop Tour Unites Soldiers in the Fight Against Animal Factories

Community buildings across the Midwest filled with farmers and concerned citizens in early December when Friends of Rural America and Illinois Stewardship Alliance organized a whistlestop tour through Iowa and Illinois for Waterkeeper Alliance Senior Attorney Nicolette Hahn and Southeast Representative Rick Dove. AWI's Farm Animal Advisor, Diane Halverson, organized a Minnesota whistlestop for Waterkeeper Alliance Founder and President Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. speaks about the cruelty and environmental dangers of factory farming at St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota. (Doug McCrae/Faribault Daily News)

The tour galvanized various groups to fight corporate hog factories and led to massive press attention, including the Omaha World Herald and Des Moines Register. The St. Paul Pioneer Press proclaimed "Factory farms face threat of legal action;" while in Northfield, Minnesota, the Northfield News' headline read: "Kennedy: 'Day of reckoning coming.'" In Red Wing, Minnesota, the Red Wing Republican Eagle proclaimed "Kennedy warns audience of factory farms." The goal of the tour was to warn people living in regions burdened by animal factories about their dangers, identify citizens in need of legal support in their fight against factories, and provide details of Waterkeeper's legal actions against Smithfield Foods, Inc., the world's largest hog raiser and processor.

Waterkeeper Alliance has filed multiple legal actions against Smithfield under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), the federal Clean Water Act, the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (the federal solid and hazardous waste law), and North Carolina state law. RICO is a powerful tool to rein in outlaw industries. One of the themes of the RICO complaint is that Smithfield's operation is funded by its illegal pollution-based profits. In violating environmental laws, which is an intended part of its business strategy, it is unlawfully shifting the cost of handling its pollution to the American public.

The tour culminated with Mr. Kennedy's stirring speech to an overflow crowd, including a dozen state legislators, attorneys from Minnesota's Office of Attorney General, family farmers, public interest activists, and interested citizens from seven states, at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota on December 7. Preceding the meeting, AWI organized a press conference that included Waterkeeper Alliance, AWI and environmental, public health, and family farm activists, and a reception for Minnesota citizens who suffer from living in the shadow of animal factory pollution, stench and cruelty and who have organized to fight industrial farming.

Following are excerpts from Mr. Kennedy's presentation:

"Instead of raising hogs on farms they shoehorn thousands of animals into a building where they live in unspeakable misery in tiny confinement crates. They live without straw bedding, without rooting opportunities, without sunshine, without the social interactions that are critical to the happiness of these animals.

"What polluters do is make themselves rich by making other people poor. They raise standards of living for themselves by lowering quality of life for everybody else. And they do that by escaping the discipline of the free market, by forcing the public to pay part of their costs of production.

"I want to make one last point and it's probably the most important point, but I think it takes a higher level of understanding: the most important issue that we're dealing with here is not the environmental democracy issue but the issue of how we treat these some level, we begin treating these sentient beings with such unspeakable cruelty that it has to come back and hurt us and it's going to destroy our humanity.

"I'm going to close with a proverb from the Lakota people, appropriated to some extent by the environmental movement, where they said 'We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.'

If we don't return to them something roughly equivalent to what we received, they have a right to ask us some very difficult questions....Thank you for joining us in this fistfight. As long as we don't give up, we can never lose."

Not Just GRASPing at Straws

Arguing that "every local extinction is a loss to humanity, a loss to the local community and a hole torn in the ecology of the planet," the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has undertaken an ambitious new venture to save great apes across the globe: the Great Apes Survival Project (GRASP).

Across Africa and Asia, great apes (gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos, and orangutans) survive in 23 countries. But that survival is under constant assault as a result of war, deforestation, mining, capture of live animals for sale, conversion of forestlands for agriculture, and poaching for bushmeat. The billion-dollar-a-year international commerce in bushmeat has particularly dire implications for these primates. Their meat is not only sold locally and in city centers but is illegally exported for sale in western cities. Recently, a Nigerian couple was arrested for selling bushmeat illegally in London.

The GRASP team will establish survival plans in each great ape range country in an effort to equip wildlife law enforcement officers appropriately, preserve great ape habitat, and educate local people who live with this wildlife about the benefits of ecotourism focusing on great apes.

Dr. Eve Abe, formerly with the Uganda Wildlife Authority and now a co-director of GRASP's technical operations, noted, "Wildlife tourism is one of the mainstays of Uganda's economy and mountain gorillas are certainly the biggest draw, closely followed by chimpanzees. Uganda has pioneered the sharing of revenues from great ape tourism with local communities, and thousands of families now benefit directly from the presence of their gorilla and chimpanzee neighbors."

As UNEP's Executive Director, Klaus Topfer, said, "The clock is standing at one minute to midnight for the Great Apes." But with the technical and financial resources that come through the collaborative Great Apes Survival Project, the clock may be stopped just long enough to save them.

Ebola Strikes in Gabon

In the West African nations of Gabon and the Republic of Congo, at least 34 people have died in a recent outbreak of the Ebola virus. Gabon's border with the Republic of the Congo has been sealed off and similar restrictions are being placed on provinces within the country. While the death toll rises from this disease, which is estimated to kill 90 percent of its victims, rumors swirl about whether the infection is being spread by the consumption of meat from infected primates.

A dead monkey awaits the cooking pot in Gabon. (AP/Wide World Photos)

Authorities in Gabon have urged local villagers to abstain from eating bushmeat, but it is unclear whether this sage advice will be heeded. According to a recent Reuters report, a traditional Christmas meal in Gabon could include monkeys, chimpanzees, gazelles, or wild boar. Other mammals in Gabon that have been identified by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) as being in the commercial bushmeat trade include the mandrill, Moustached monkey, Black colobus, and Grey-cheeked mangabey.

The CITES Bushmeat Working Group meeting in Cameroon in January 2001 revealed that some 68 species were threatened in Gabon by poaching for the bushmeat trade. However, the infrastructure to combat this poaching does not exist: staff is inadequately trained and the ability to monitor protected areas is lacking. Enforcement of Gabon's ban on bushmeat hunting is poor, and villagers apparently continue to consume the flesh of these wild animals, despite the potentially grave risks.

The Ebola virus (Ebola hemorrhagic fever) is named after a river in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and can be spread through contact with an infected animal such as primates in Africa. According to the Centers for Disease Control, within a few days, patients may suffer flu-like symptoms. Within a week of infection, chest pain, shock, bleeding, blindness, and death may result.

2002-The International Year of Ecotourism

W e should all be lucky enough to experience the exhilaration of driving across the Maasai Mara land in Kenya and seeing a cheetah on the hunt; the surprise of seeing minke whales surface around a boat on a brisk afternoon whale-watching adventure off the coast of Maine; the haunting sounds of the morning calls of endangered lemurs in Madagascar (the indri) from high in the rainforest's treetops; the awesome magnitude of Victoria Falls, dividing Zimbabwe and Zambia, and whitewater rafting down the Zambezi river; or watching vibrantly colored toucans eating bananas from a nearby tree while drinking your morning coffee in Costa Rica.

"Ecotourism"-adventurous travels based on the splendors of the natural world, including wildlife and wild places-is a vital part of the conservation of the environment and the animal species living within it. It is also a fundamental mechanism to assist local communities in their economic development by bringing in foreign visitors, and foreign dollars, to these indigenous peoples. This is why it is so important that the United Nations (UN) declared 2002 the "International Year of Ecotourism."

The UN Resolution making the declaration notes "that travel and tourism provide a source of income for many people," and "that travel and tourism contribute to the conservation, protection and restoration of the Earth's ecosystem." After agriculture, tourism is the biggest benefactor to the development of Kenya's economy. Wildlife-viewing safaris bring about one million visitors to the country annually. Whale-watching alone is thought to bring in a total of more than one billion dollars to the economies of 80 countries across the globe.

A toucan eats a morning breakfast of bananas at La Laguna del Lagarto Lodge in northern Costa Rica near the Nicaraguan border. (Ben Dykes/Born Free Foundation)

But ecotourism must be responsible tourism. On Cat Ba Island in Vietnam, for instance, the near extinct Cat Ba, or golden-headed langur, clings to life (this primate was featured on the cover of the Fall 2001 AWI Quarterly). More than 70,000 tourists visit the island each year and while tourism supports the local economy, it also leads to difficulties in waste disposal, which fouls the natural environment, as well as increased pressures to build intrusive roads and bridges to accommodate the visitors. As well, Tilo Nadler of the Endangered Primate Rescue Center in Vietnam reports, "The tourist demand for wild-animal meat increases the hunting pressure inside the national park; the collection of geckoes, snakes, frogs...." Some restaurants in town offer wild animal meat from macaques, civets, birds, and other animals.

Tour operators must tread lightly on the lands used by wildlife and international visitors. It's important to be respectful when watching wildlife and not interfere in their natural way of life. Heed the motto: "Take only photographs; leave only footprints."

Perhaps 2002 is the year for you to visit Kenya's elephants, Costa Rica's black howler monkeys, or any of the other amazing wild animals and places around the globe.

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