Category Archives: newsletters

WildlifeDirect News – No 18, March 2010

Following severe drought in Kenya late last year that was particularly harsh on Amboseli National Park in southern part of the country, there was an estimated 80% loss in herbivore numbers in this Park. As a result, lions and other predators that rely on this herbivore population for food have been having a rough time.

To feed themselves and their offspring in light of the decline in prey, they have been raiding cattle bomas and killing livestock. Tension has been mounting and retaliatory lion hunting outings are being carried out by the local Maasai people much more often than before the drought.

To try and diffuse the high human-wildlife tension in the area, the Kenya Wildlife Service has started moving zebras and wildebeests from Soysambu Conservancy in Naivasha to the Amboseli National Park in order to restock the prey population and bring about a balance in the ecosystem. This is one of the stories that we have in this month’s issue of WildlifeDirect News.

We also have the good news of the return of Wild Dogs to the Serengeti after a 20-year absence and the sad news of the death of Mountain Gorilla infant Sekanabo from injuries associated with snaring. We also have a list of other important blog posts coming from the conservation frontline in the last month

Kenya Moves Zebras to Amboseli

During the drought that ravaged this land late last year, many herbivores either died or moved away leaving lions and large predators without much prey. This has resulted in more frequent predation on Maasai cattle. The consequent threat of retaliatory killing of predators by the Maasai has been mounting to highly tense levels.

The KWS recons that the move will provide natural prey for large predators, thus reducing attacks on cattle and eventually diffusing the threat of retaliatory killings.

Paula was on site this weekend and took some amazing pictures of Day 20 of the translocation exercise and posted them on Baraza.

Read more about the expected effect of the translocation on the Lion Guardians blog.

Wild Dogs Return to Serengeti After 20 Years

Photographer captures this important moment in history

A classic example of being at the right place at the right time granted Uwe Skrzypczak a rare chance to photograph the first sighting of Wild Dogs in the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania, in 20 years. It seems that Wild Dogs had returned to Serengeti – after two decades.

Uwe Skrzypczak, a friend of WildlifeDirect and a photographer whose work mostly covers Serengeti was having lunch at the Ndutu Lodge when he got word that some 7 wild dogs had been spotted near Lake Masek, some 3 km from the lodge. At first skeptical about the sudden appearance of these highly endangered predators, Uwe rushed to the site immediately after, and took amazing photographs. The low resolution versions of these photos were published on Baraza together with his account of how lucky he was on that day.

Wild Dogs are among the most endangered predators in Africa with only a fraction of their original population still remaining. They have suffered persecution for decades and, with the growing human population, their range has shrunk, and is still shrinking.

The return of the dogs into Serengeti is a good sign that perhaps the northern Tanzania park may have again become friendly to this most efficient of hunters.

Donate on Baraza to enable us keep you updated on what is happening in the conservation frontline.

The Death of Sekanabo

Mountain Gorilla infant despite promising vet intervention

An infant Mountain Gorilla of the Kabirizi group in DRC’s Virunga National Park died in early February from what is thought to have been complications from snaring.Virunga rangers had found the male infant, Sekanabo (Nsekanabo) son of the female Tumaini, snared and had been freed.

He was badly injured, presumably by the snare, and the nylon rope snare was still tied tightly to his ankle. Veterinary intervention was deemed necessary.

Gorilla Doctors thus went to the forest, darted both mother and son and treated the wounds. Part of his mouth and nose were badly ripped and needed two layers of stitches to hold together. Once the infant was treated, he was left with his group which was then monitored closely by trackers.

Sekanabo was showing some improvement the following day but by the end of that day, news got to the Gorilla Doctors that the infant had died. An ‘autopsy’ would follow to determine the cause of death.

You can support Gorilla Doctors’ work by donating on their blog.

News Snapshots

Things you need to know

Stay up to date – check what’s happening in the new WildlifeDirect Breaking News page. It’s new – but we’ll be keeping it updated.

WildlifeDirect News – No. 17, February 2010

We have finally launched our redesigned website and despite a few technical hitches at the beginning, we can proudly say that we are making progress. We switched to the modern look and tech platform because the old system did not allow us to add new services that would enrich your visit to the site. We invite you to visit the site and explore and tell us what you think.

As we were doing the site, conservation challenges and successes did not stop happening to our bloggers. Limbe Wildlife Center for instance recieved 1000 rescued parrots. The ivory question, as it always does, has again entered center stage as the date of the 2010 CITES (CoP15) meeting draws near.

In the list of links that will give you a glimpse into what you may have missed from the site are various good and bad news. We like to serve a good mix of news. But we serve it as it happens.

Read on for what we gathered from the conservation frontline.

WildlifeDirect Completes Web Redesign

WildlifeDirect Homepage

The much anticipated redesign of the WildlifeDirect website has been completed. It is indeed a milestone as we have been working on the redesign for months. This is a completely new website and as is usually the case with changes that involve tinkering with the technological end of things, we had a few hitches. Most of these have now been resolved and our dedicated team of techies are working daily to make the ride as smooth as possible for you.

There are many new features that we believe will be useful to you and to the bloggers. New features such as the WildlifeTrackers, the MyWLD forum, Resources, and Multimedia will enrich your experience in the web once they become fully operational.
We thank you all and especially those of you who gave us feedback soon after launching the site. We hope you will be able to go in and explore the new features, enjoy and give us your input.

For a more detailed explanation of what is in the new site go read this post on Baraza blog

Getting Ready for The Battle for the Elephant

Conservationists prepare to oppose Tanzania/Zambia propoIllegal ivory in Kenyasals.

The 15th Conference of Parties to CITES (CoP15) promises to bring the same fireworks that each of the many previous meetings have brought as the ivory question again takes center stage. The Battle for the Elephant this time will be between the perennial brawler Kenya and its allies on the one hand and the two new rivals Tanzania and Zambia on the other hand.

Zambia and Tanzania have each submitted separate proposals to the CITES Secretariat asking for the down-listing of their elephants from Appendix I to Appendix II of the CITES Red List thus allowing them to trade in their stockpiled ivory. Kenya as usual is against any trade in ivory and has submitted a proposal to extend the moratorium on trade from the 9 years agreed on in CoP14 in 2008 to a longer 20-year no ivory trade period.

Kenya is leading a large group of African Elephant range states including Congo, Ghana, Liberia, Mali and Sierra Leone in their proposals. African states supporting the no-trade proposal are more than these six and have formed the African Elephant Coalition (AEC) that will vote yes to the no-trade proposal and no to the Zambia/Tanzania proposals.

Kenyan conservationists have formed the Kenya Elephant Forum to work together with the AEC to lobby global CITES representatives to vote for no-trade.

The battle lines are drawn – get ready for some bruising

Follow the unfolding story on Baraza and on our new Ban Ivory blogs.

Massive Smuggling of African Grey Parrots

Cameroonian authorities confiscate1000 parrots in Douala

Confiscated parrotsAt Douala Airport on 1 February 2010 some 1000 African Grey Parrots were confiscated on transit to Kuwait and Bahrain with an Ethiopian Airlines way bill. This is the largest consignment of parrots ever nabbed in Cameroon in what officers at the Limbe Wildlife Center perceive to be an escallating illegal trade racket.

The parrots were transferred to Limbe on 2 February for care and rehabilitation before being released back into the forests of Cameroon. This is not the first consignment of confiscated parrots that Limbe has recieved. Recently, in November and December, hundreds of confiscated parrots were brought to Limbe with the December batch consisting of 503 parrots. It’s only on 29 December 2009 that they released the first batch of 45 rehabilitated parrots.

Before they could release the rest, or even clean out the feathers and poop, from the rehab cages, 1000 more arrived. The good people at Limbe are frustrated by the scale of smuggling going on in Cameroon. They are also feeling the strain of taking in the poor birds and they need all the help they can get to feed and care for the new birds.

You can support Limbe’s work by donating in their blog.

News Snapshots

Things you need to know

  • Rhino poached in Kenya
  • Volcano erupts near home of mountain gorillas
  • Head count for Zimbabwe’s Wild Dogs
  • How your donations helped CERCOPAN in 2009
  • What lies ahead for the Maasai
  • Bushmeat in the City – Nairobi’s ‘nyama choma’ risk
  • Two of the ‘Kivu four’ chimps join the main group
  • Five lions moved to Gonarezhou, Zimbabwe
  • Stay up to date – check what’s happening in the new WildlifeDirect Breaking News page. It’s new – but we’ll keep it up to date.

    WildlifeDirect News – No 15, December 2009

    We have good news from WildlifeDirect. We have just been named winners of the Mongabay “Innovation in Conservation Award” for 2009. This is a great honor. We are especially happy as this gives us recognition in more networks thus increasing our reach. Of course we have you – and our bloggers – to thank for keeping our site alive.

    Elsewhere, lions continue to be persecuted and deliberate poisoning continues – the most recent incident happening in Tanzania and executed by Maasai herdsmen from both Kenya and Tanzania. Read more in the newsletter to get the latest from the conservation frontline


    WildlifeDirect Wins Mongabay Award

    Award gives us prominence at for a month

    Mongabay bannerMongabay announced on 1 December 2009 that WildlifeDirect was the winner of the “Innovation in Conservation Award” for 2009. It was a great honor and a boon for WildlifeDirect especially in these lean times.

    This award recognizes organizations using unconventional and highly effective approach to conserving forests and biodiversity, such as WildlifeDirect’s use of blogging and social media tools to raise profiles of field conservationists and raise funds to support their work at the conservation frontline.

    Rhett A. Butler, the founder, while announcing the award at describes WildlifeDirect,

    “WildlifeDirect provides a platform to more than 100 wildlife bloggers in dozens of countries across Africa, Asia, and South America. Through their posts, which often include photos and videos, WildlifeDirect bloggers provide first-hand information from the front lines of conservation, building awareness for their projects and a means for attracting contributions, which are used from everything from paying ranger salaries to buying field supplies.”

    This award also carries a cash reward that WildlifeDirect will use to support it’s operational costs so that we can continue to provide the vital service we provide to our partners and bloggers.

    You can help us support our bloggers by donating at Baraza blog

    Climate Change and Poverty in Africa

    The story of a Nairobi domestic worker Rhoda.

    WLD Newsletter bannerWith the UN Climate Conference (CoP15) going on in Copenhagen, WildlifeDirect sought to find out how climate climate change will affect poverty reduction programs in Africa.

    Paula Kahumbu interviewed Rhoda, a domestic worker in Nairobi Kenya to find out she and her young family are coping with climate change. Rhoda, who lives in the outskirts of Nairobi, has no electricity in her house, uses charcoal and paraffin (Kerosene) to cook her meals and owns no car. What would be her impact on climate change? How has climate change impacted her life?

    You can read and listen to Rhoda’s story on Baraza

    Lion Killed Then Laced With Poison

    Tanzanian and Kenyan Maasai Spear a Lions in Serengeti

    Killed LionA lion has was speared to death by Maasai from both Kenya and Tanzania in a joint retaliatory hunting party (Olkiyioi) inside Tanzania. This happened after the lioness supposedly killed a cow and a donkey.

    Though the local community didn’t want any authorities to find the lion’s carcass, the Lion Guardians were able to use one of their informers in the area to show them where it was. The adult lioness, said to be part of a pride of 5 other sub-adults and 1 large male was found in the place she died. Her ears, tail, paws and canines had been removed – the latter two said to have been taken for sale.

    More worrying still, it seems that around 3 days after the lion’s death, someone returned to the carcass and laced it with a blue granulated poison (of similar description to Furadan). Samples were taken and the carcass burned to ensure that scavenging animals could not be harmed – hyena and other lion tracks had been seen near the site. Thankfully no poisoned animals have yet been found.

    Read more about this incident on the Lion Guardian’s blog.

    WildlifeDirect News – No 13, October 2009

    Every now and then, someone who’s made great contribution to their kind finally departs from the land of the living. It does not matter whether that someone is human or not, those who were close to them grieve their passing – even when their time had come.

    Such is the case of Titus, the gorilla silverback who came to world attention through the Hollywood film about Dian Fossey’s life among the gorillas in Rwanda, ‘Gorillas in the Mist’. Titus is credited, by those who knew him, or knew of him, as a great, calm and caring gorilla king.

    Titus has departed to be with his ancestors, and his friends, both human and non-human, bemoan the loss to the species. He did his species good, that is why we dedicate this newsletter to the wonderful father and leader.

    Rest in Peace, Titus.

    Titus Takes Final Bow

    ‘Gorillas in the Mist’ star dies in Rwanda

    On Wednesday, 14 October, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund announced with great sadness that 35 year old Titus, the oldest known gorilla silverback in Rwanda and the star in the film ‘Gorillas in the Mist’ had died that morning.

    Born in 1974, Titus had been the ‘king’ of his group for many years despite having gone through a tumultuous childhood plagued with death of parents and siblings in the hand of poachers. Despite his ‘underdeveloped and spindly’ appearance as described by Dian Fossey in the film ‘Gorillas in the Mist, he overcome the challenges of his childhood to become a ‘an unusually even-tempered and skillful leader’ as observed by the Fossey Fund.

    Observers, according to the Fossey Fund report, believe that constant contests for leadership from newly returned son Umushikirano – nicknamed ‘Rano’ –  may have hastened the death of the elderly legend.

    Titus played a great role as the icon of his species. His immortalization in the 1988 Hollywood film on Dian Fosseys life, ‘Gorillas in the Mist’ and the 2008 documentary of his life ‘The Gorilla King’ aired on BBC served to raise awareness about the 700 or so mountain gorillas that still cling to the Virunga Massif on the joint border of Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

    YoG Ambassador Ian Redmond, who knew Titus since infancy, said: “The death of any individual who plays such an important role in his community is a sad occasion.”

    Read more and support Titus species at the Gorilla Protection Blog

    The Last Days of ‘King Titus’

    Gorilla Doctor Jan Ramer recalls the dusk of the gentle king.

    Newly installed gorilla doctor, Dr Jan Ramer received a call informing her that Titus burial siteIhumure, Titus little son, was in bad health and she should go give her a checkup. Little did she know that those were the last days of both father and son.

    When Jan found the two in the Rwanda side of the Virunga forest after a long and physically challenging trek, she found Ihumure looking really bad. Titus was also looking tired but healthier. Jan remembers Titus looking her in the eye – a humbling experience – and describes this brief moment thus:
    At one point Titus looked me in the eye, and it took my breath away. His clear, brown, kind eyes were looking into mine. I was meeting a living legend and I felt very privileged.”

    Like a father and son spending their last moments in life together, Titus stuck very close to Ihumure. Titus was tired. He had had severe altercations with other silverbacks (his now silverback son Umushikirano – or Rano) in the last two weeks and he had an injured wrist probably from these confrontations. For all we know, Rano, who was not far away from where Titus and Ihumure were, may have been waiting for Titus to take the final bow from his illustrious life.

    Two days later, Titus was near death, he had not moved from his nighttime rest and was barely alert. Titus was dying. After various discussions between Jan, others at Mountain Gorilla Vet Project (MGVP), including Magdalena (Magda), Jean-Felix and Veronica, Jan found out that this is how silverback gorillas fade away. Shinda took the same path.
    “We determined that there was little we could do for Titus.   We prepared for the necropsy. The mood was heavy at MGVP headquarters.”

    Titus was looking better the next day and was eating a little. Two days later the trackers relayed the bad news. Titus was dead.

    As would be expected, Rano was now the king of the group. Ihumure was devastated. Titus was his only aly. He stayed by Titus body most of that day. Rano tried to move the group away from Titus but they kept circling around his dead body. Jan says;
    <“There are no words to truly express the feelings of loss that were palpable in this gorilla conservation community for the past several days.

    Titus was buried near Dian Fossey up at the original Karisoke Research Station site. Ihumure died the night after Titus was buried. In Jan’s words,

    His little body was brought to MGVP headquarters for a necropsy, and this time we found the cause of death.  He had severe trauma to the kidney and an intussusception of the bowel (one piece telescoped into another). We could not have saved him.

    Titus was old and has contributed a lot to his species, but Ihumure was too young to die. RIP Titus. RIP Ihumure.

    You can help Titus group and other mountain gorillas by supporting the work of the Gorilla Doctors. Go to their blog and donate now.

    Dr Lucy Spelman: From Gorillas to Otters

    One ‘Gorilla Doctor’ who may also be mourning the death of Titus is Dr Lucy Spelman. She spent many hours with the mountain gorillas in the Virungas and although she just left recently and is now taking care of otters in Guyana, she has fond memories of these patients and these ones that she worked with in the Virungas.

    Dr Spelman had good success blogging at WildlifeDirect. In her website, she says;
    “My first blog, “Gorilla Doctors,” ran from October 2007 through July 2009.  I loved writing about my patients-and reading everyone’s comments.  Even better, the blog did what it was intended to do.  It raised thousands of dollars for the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project.  Though most of the donations were small, they added up.”

    It wont surprise you therefore, to learn that Dr Lucy Spelman is back at WildlifeDirect, this time blogging about otters in her new blog, Saving Otters – big and small. She hopes that the otter blog can achieve as much success as the gorilla blog, if not more.

    Go see what Dr Spelman has in store for you in her blog.

    News Snapshots

    Things you need to know

    WildlifeDirect News – No 12, September 2009

    Focus on Lions

    Kenya’s lions are being killed at a rate of 100 lions a year. From a once recorded population of more than 30,000 lions, the country now has a meager 2,100 lions.

    The population decline of lions has been attributed to climate change, loss of habitat and human-lion conflict. At play in the human-lion conflict is widespread poisoning. The most commonly used poison is carbofurans the leading brand of carbofuran (sometimes even the only brand) being used is Furadan. That is why WildlifeDirect has been at the forefront of the campaign to have this lethal pesticide banned totally in Kenya since 2007.

    This year, WildlifeDirect partnered with the Born Free Foundation in a campaign to rescue the remaining lions of Kenya from extinction. This campaign is using 50 life-sized lion statues decorated in various ways to raise awareness about the plight of lions and to raise funds to support lion conservation projects.

    WildlifeDirect was allocated one lion and in line with our desire to see an end to lion-poisoning, we used this lion to communicate this message and to raise funds to support the lion conservation projects that blog at

    You can donate online to help us help Lion Guardians and others. You can also donate to Baraza to help us keep the campaign going.

    Dr Richard Leakey Launches ‘Androcles Lion’

    Lion statue to is centerpiece for call to ban carbofurans

    WLD Newsletter bannerOn Wednesday, 3 September 2009, renowned Kenyan conservationist and chairman of WildlifeDirect Dr Richard Leakey inaugurated the ‘Androcles Lion’ at Yaya Center, Nairobi. This life-sized male lion coloured pink is the centerpiece for a campaign to urge the Kenyan government to ban carbofurans which are associated with the death by poisoning of at lease 75 lions in the past 4 years.

    The Androcles Lion, named after the lion that saved the Roman slave Androcles from being being mauled by other lions, was made through a partnership between the Born Free Foundation and Wild in Art, a UK art charity. WildlifeDirect is among the 50 or so organizations, most of them businesses who have adopted a lion (or two) each to support the call to save Kenya’s remaining 2,100 lions from imminent national extinction in a campaign dubbed the Pride of Kenya.

    Each of the 50 lions has an independent theme. The ‘Androcles Lion’ in its part carries the theme ‘ban carbofurans’ joining a WildlifeDirect campaign that started in 2007, to end poisoning of Kenya’s lions using carbofurans.

    WildlifeDirect issued a press release that is reproduced at the Baraza blog which further gives the content of this campaign. Pictures of ‘Androcles Lion’ and other lion statues – located in different public areas in Nairobi – can be seen in the Pride of Kenya blog.

    Africa Alive Raise $4,700 for Lion Guardians

    Lion Guardians expanding operations to new area.

    Eselenkei guardiansIt was great news when the Lion Guardians received $4,731 from Africa Alive, an animal park in Suffolk, UK. This is not the first time that the Africa Alive has raised money to help in the conservation of the lions by the Lion Guardians project.

    According to the Lion Guardians, this donation will help them begin their plan to expand into the neighbouring Olgulului Ranch. This will be the third ranch that the Lion Guardians will be expanding their project into after successfully starting operating in their second ranch, Eselenkei.

    In these days of dwindling lion populations, it is a welcome breath of fresh air to see concerned people help communities that have resolved to save this ‘king of the jungle’ from imminent extinction.

    You can also make your donation to help save the lions of Amboseli area, Kenya, by visiting the Lion Guardians blog

    Paula Kahumbu Named 2009 PopTech Fellow

    WildlifeDirect CEO selected for her work at WildlifeDirect

    Ian Redmond in RwandaOn 9 September 2009, Paula was announced – via a press release – to have been selected as one of the 16 fellows of the PopTech 2009 Social Innovation Fellows program.

    Paula and the other 15 fellows were selected from a field of more than 200 applicants from 30 countries. This is reflects recognition for the innovative and uniqueness of, the biggest wildlife blogging platform in the world.

    WildlifeDirect pioneered the idea of blogging to raise funds for wildlife conservation and currently hosts more than 100 blogs written by conservationists working in remote and often dangerous places in Africa, Asia and South America.

    Each year, PopTech selects 10-20 high potential change agents from around the world who are working on highly disruptive innovations in areas like healthcare, energy, development, climate, education, and civic engagement, among many others.

    This is the second time PopTech is being held and the PopTech faculty will take the fellows through a five-day ‘boot camp’ before presenting their ideas to an audience of 700 attending and thousands through live online streaming during the PopTech 2009: America Re-imagined in October 21-24, 2009 at Camden, Maine, USA.

    We are glad that the good work of WildlifeDirect will be spread through this forum. Support our work by donating on Baraza

    News Snapshots

    Things you need to know

    WildlifeDirect News – No 2, August 2008

    The global cheetah population stands at about 12,000 individuals and every effort to conserve them is always welcome. In this issue of WildlifeDirect News, we highlight the first ever structured cheetah re-introduction attempt in Namibia. We also inform you of the exciting new book edited by Dr Lucy Spelman, give you a brief profile of the author’s work at MGVP, and serve you a snapshot of recent news from our blogs. Read on and enjoy this sumptuous serving of news.

    Cheetahs Transfered into the Wild in Namibia

    This is the first structured re-introduction of cheetahs

    On Sunday 20 July 2008, history was made when five habituated cheetahs were re-introduced into the NamibRand Nature Reserve in southwest Namibia after 30 years of their absence from the reserve. This is the first time a structured re-introduction of cheetahs into the Reserve is being attempted.

    A film crew consisting of a team from Gecko Productions is filming the re-introduction for the UK-based Channel 5 TV and the documentary will be out soon.

    Follow the developments of this exciting project on the Cheetah Conservation Fund Blog and leave your comments, ask questions and let them know what you think.

    Blogs in Focus: MGVP

    Welcome to “Blogs in Focus”
    Each month we will highlight critical issues covered on the Wildlife Direct website. This section will provide an opportunity to briefly “meet” the blog authors and, in some cases, discover how they became so invested in wildlife and environmental conservation efforts.

    Gorillas, Our Critically Endangered Relatives

    A two-month old baby gorilla clings to his mother. It is unclear if he knows that she has just been assassinated.

    Fast forward one year latter.
    Ndakasi and Ndeze chase each other, stopping every now and again to eat wild celery. These adorable infants seem happy with their temporary human caretakers at the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project (MGVP). It is difficult to imagine the trauma they have experienced in their short lives and that only a few months ago their survival seemed impossible. To learn more about them click here.

    Several blogs on WildlifeDirect address critical efforts to save the Great Apes. One follows the work of the MGVP, which specializes in “a one-health team-oriented approach to gorilla medicine.” In addition to rescuing and caring for confiscated and orphaned primates, they monitor the health of known mountain gorillas in Rwanda, Uganda, and the DRC. The organization’s field work is led by Dr. Lucy Spelman who is the Regional Vet Manager as well as Blogger-in-Chief for “Gorilla Doctors.” Based in Rwanda, Dr. Lucy takes readers on truly memorable journeys of her most remarkable team, and their even more remarkable patients.

    You can follow the exploits of the MGVP team here.  – Reporting by Christine Cichetti

    Book Review: The Rhino With Glued-on Shoes

    An eel walks into a bar…Debugging a bug…Health care for dragons…

    Although these may sound like lead-ins for some silly animal jokes, they are actually just some of the topics described in Lucy Spelman, DVM, and Ted Mashima’s, DVM new book, ‘The Rhino with the Glue-On Shoes.’  ‘Rhino,’ captures the stories of 29 wildlife vets and their remarkable, and sometimes strange patients.

    Read Christine Cichetti‘s review of this exciting new book hereBuy the book and support conservation.

    News Snapshot

    Things you need to know…

    • Gorilla Murders first anniversary: 22 July 2008 marked the first year of the Gorilla Murders at the Virungas. Read the commemorative post here.
    • US’s Environmental Protection Agency has banned traces of carbofuran in food thus potentially stopping agricultural use of the pesticide. Read about this and our efforts to get the pesticide banned in Kenya here.
    • The Born Free Foundation have launched a campaign to rehabilitate a caged Ethiopian lion named Dolo. Read more here and donate
    • The Lion Guardians are running a campaign aimed at securing sponsorship for each of the nine Masai morans. Read more and ask them questions here and sponsor a lion guardian.

    How You Can Help

    Global warming, starving refugees, and saving wildlife from extinction can be very daunting tasks. It is difficult to see how you, as an individual, can make a difference. But sometimes it is the smallest gestures that make all the difference. At WildlifeDirect, each contribution, however small, has an impact: your $10 could feed a hungry orphaned bonobo infant at Lola Ya Bonobo, or provide rations to a ranger deep in the Congo jungle for Gorilla Protection. Even when you don’t give money, just interacting with the bloggers is reassuring. When they know that there is a community out there that cares, they wake up each morning with resolve to make a difference. And they do.

    Now that you want to help, here are just some of the ways YOU can make a difference, starting today:

    • Read the blogs and interact with the bloggers
    • Donate through the individual blogs
    • Be a Virtual Volunteer (helping with blogs, the newsletter, doing translations, etc)
    • Bring attention to important issues by contacting your legislators and community leaders
    • When internet shopping, sign up at and register under WildlifeDirect to help generate donations through purchases
    • Tell everyone you know about WildlifeDirect and the great work they do!

    We thank Christine Cichetti for her support in producing this newsletter. To know more about the projects featured here, go to their respective blogs. To support our work go to ourhome page and donate using the Support Wildlife Directbutton on top left of the page or visit the Baraza blog.

    WilidlifeDirect News: Issue 1, July 2008

    The Gorilla Murders documentary that aired on the National Geographic Channel on 1 July 2008, and is also the subject of an investigative article in the National Geographic magazine, has captured attention the world over. This issue of our monthly newsletter has also focused on primates in danger. Read on to discover the challenges on the ground and how your donations are making a difference.

    Gorilla Murders Documentary On Nat Geo Prime

    Tragedy is also main feature on the July 2008 National Geographic magazineRugendo Masacre
    The news of the brutal execution of five Mountain Gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) on 22 July 2007 – first reported on the mountain gorilla blog – shocked readers worldwide. When ICCN Ranger Paulin Ngobobo, who blogs at Gorilla Conservation Blog, narrated the events that led to the discovery – in the southern sector of the Virunga National Park – of the slain gorillas on that overcast morning in July, his sadness literally sprung out of the text. It was a sad day indeed.

    Almost a year later, the National Geographic Channel has aired an investigative documentary into this grisly and outrageous murder. The video was broadcast all over the US on 1 July 2008 at 10:00pm EST. The Gorilla Murders documentary goes further than just speaking of the sad death of the 5 gorillas: it uncovers an elaborately corrupt charcoal racket, a pointless war in eastern DRC that has repeatedly wounded conservation efforts, and the selfless sacrifice that enables the ICCN rangers to protect – where possible – the remaining mountain gorillas (of which only 700 or so still thrive in the wild).

    Writer Mark Jenkins, who co-narrates The Gorilla Murders documentary, has also written the feature article – Who Murdered the Virunga Gorillas? – in this month’s issue of the National Geographic journal with photographs by Brent Stirton. The online version of this articles is 12 pages long.

    Our Chairman, Dr Richard Leakey, after reading the print version on the National Geographic journal said:

    I am delighted that National Geographic has given such prominence to this species. The fate of the mountain gorilla ranks as one of the most important conservation challenges of the current time.

    Meanwhile, the three baby gorillas orphaned after this masacre, Ndeze, Mapendo and Ndakasi are doing well under the care of gorilla doctors at the MGVP.

    Follow the story of the Virungas southern sector rangers here and see a clip that the rangers have uploaded here to showcase Diddy’s contribution to the National Geographic documentary. Follow the progress of the orphans at the MGVP Blog.

    Tshiaberimu Gorillas Dying from Disease

    Survival of the population of 19 gorillas hangs in the balance.Mt Gorilla

    With the death of two adult female gorillas between February and May 2008, conservationists are worried that the Shigella bacteria could severely cripple the viability of the fragile gorilla population on Mount Tshiaberimu. A recent report on the Tshiabiremu blog indicates that only three breeding female adults remain in this annex of the Virunga National Park.

    This tragedy obviously places the local gorilla population in a very precarious position. The fact that the disease is still rife in the area – and blood has been reported in the dung of these three females – is a cause for further worry.

    Shigellosis – as the disease caused by the Shigella bacteria is called – is normally not necessarily fatal but when contracted by a primate already heavily weakened by intestinal worms, as was the case of Molo, the second gorilla to die from the disease this year, it can lead to death.

    Now the Mount Tshiaberimu Conservation Project seeks help in raising funds to eradicate the disease among the gorillas and to prevent further deaths within the population that currently numbers 19 in total. They have indicated here what they need to boost their efforts to save the last remaining breeding females and – by extension – the entire population of the Tshiaberimu gorillas.

    J.A.C.K Puts Your Donations to Good Use

    Baby chimps now safe thanks to the new gate.Chimps at J.A.C.K

    Franck and Roxane’s chimpanzee rescue project, J.A.C.K, whose mission is to end illegal trade in chimpanzees, recently upgraded their Refugee Center. They constructed a new entrance gate to regulate human traffic especially to the quarantine area.

    The quarantine area is very close to the entrance and – before the installation of the gate – anyone could have wandered in and get close to the quarantined primates. This puts both the humans and the baby chimps in danger should either be carrying a cross-specific infectious disease.

    Get the details of the works and pictures of progress here and visit J.A.C.K regularly to stay up to date with the happenings at the Refugee Center.