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Sangeeta

Beyond the Red List: Rising From the Ashes in the Ouadi-Rimé Ouadi-Achim Game Reserve, Tchad

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Sangeeta

@TonyQ thank you for popping by & glad you enjoyed it! :)

 

@Botswanadreams Agree with you 100%. Ahmed is incredible and his knowledge of the desert is unbelievable. Because of how short we were on time, and because we wanted to include OROA, Ahmed found us a short-cut across the Mourdi Depression (from Fada to Ounianga)! Whoever finds short cuts across deserts, for goodness sake, in a landscape with no markers (to us) - but he did. He also reads sand so well - where it is soft and not-drive-able etc.

Ahmed is well, and he will be our leader on the Tibesti trip whenever we manage to get there. I am not sure about his wife - no one mentioned anything to us, so I did not know that she had been unwell. I will ask and let you know by PM.

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Game Warden

@Sangeeta I have a nice bottle of red wine set aside for this, which I will open later tonight, let breathe, and then enjoy, with a bowl of biltong and this trip report...

 

Matt.

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ForWildlife

@Sangeeta Thanks for enquiring!

Oryx slam? Arabian oryx too?

 

Have there been any reports of cheetahs and/or wild dogs in OROA? On the current wikipedia page OROA still has a blop for wild dogs (while Niokolo Koba has not, but they have been reported there <3 years ago). Also for cheetah the wikipedia page indicates OROA is still part of their current range. I can only imagine what densities they might occur. I think for cheetahs they estimate <1 per 1,000 km2 in Algeria. It might not be much different in OROA, and a pack of wild dogs might need way more area at current prey densities too.

(oh, and I know, wikipedia is not the best source, but it was the quickest right now).

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Atravelynn

We can use a little rising from the ashes, coupled with the cuteness of those young Docras Gazelles.  How very intrepid of you!!

 

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Zarek Cockar

@Kitsafari and @Sangeeta I can do a quick little Zakouma report, but I'm afraid I was so caught up in the moment while we were there that I didn't even think to write a journal, and this self-isolation is turning my brain to mush.  

Also be aware that I relied on my cell phone for photographs so that I could focus on guiding and not getting sucked into a camera lens.  I didn't take many photos, and the ones I did take are pretty woeful.  I'll see what I can do.  

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Safaridude

@Sangeeta @ForWildlife

 

Well, technically, Sangeeta did complete the African oryx slam...

 

Sangeeta, how dare you do that without me!!!  :angry:

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Sangeeta
Posted (edited)

@ForWildlife, you are right, I had not included the Arabian in my slam, so this was an African slam only :D . But next trip to India will definitely see me stop at Sir Bani Yas, though I wonder if that counts, because I'm not sure if those are considered wild Arabian oryx?

I'll ask SCF your question about dogs and cheetah too, but do take a look at the Land Use report I linked through to above - both look very unlikely, unless there's a vagrant here or there. 

 

@Safaridude - if you had not gone gallivanting to remote places without me, I wouldn't have gone bumping over rutted tracks without you! :lol: What's sauce for the goose... 

 

Thanks for stopping in @Game Warden - This is a short one so I think there will be wine left over in that bottle for @inyathi's Vietnam ^_^

 

And finally, thank you Lynn, for reading along @Atravelynn - yes, Dave did well with those Dorcas babies.

Edited by Sangeeta

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Safaridude
Posted (edited)

From Sahara and Sudan by Gustav Nachtigal (German explorer)... the excerpts are about the herds of addax he saw somewhere north of Lake Chad in 1871...

 

"... antelopes were to be seen grazing peacefully wherever the eye turned; they had so seldom been pursued by man there that they did not permit even the closest approach of humans to disturb their ordinary activities..."

 

"... the number of these animals was almost unbelievable.  They were to be seen in every direction, singly, or in small groups, or in herds of hundreds..."

Edited by Safaridude

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Sangeeta
Posted (edited)

That’s too bad, it really is, @Safaridude

 

From ‘unbelievable numbers’ of naive addax down to a ‘nervous huddle of 3’ is just sad, sad, sad ☹️

Edited by Sangeeta

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Hads
Posted (edited)

Thanks @Sangeeta for a very interesting report.

 

It saddens me what the chinese petroleum industry there may be doing :( 

"the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), so (at the risk of sounding like a bigot) why am I not at all surprised to hear that 200 animals have been reduced to 3?  I can’t think of a bigger scourge to wildlife than the Chinese appetite for anything that moves."

Edited by Hads

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gatoratlarge

WOWOWOW!  Thanks Sangeeta---I had been away for a week or so of checking in and look what I missed!  This is definitely on my list!  Such a list of nearly extinct animals seen in one place...just incredible!  Thank you so much for sharing---I can't wait to see Ennedi too!

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Sangeeta

Thank you @Hads for stopping by. Looking at the fantastic work being done by SCF here, I hope we can counter the Chinese presence in Niger. Fingers crossed.
 

I sometimes wonder how it will be in the post-Covid world? Will African governments now realize what havoc & damage illegal wildlife trade & consumption can cause them, or has cost them already? Will the rest of the world learn that by not actively working in some capacity, big or small, to end this trade and trafficking, we are being simply stupid?
 

@gatoratlarge thank you, and yup, it’s exactly your kind of place & I missed your company here! I have all the pictures I need for the Ennedi report, just need to work up the stamina for the writing! :) 

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SafariChick

I also have not been on Safaritalk as much in the past couple weeks so just catching up with this report too @Sangeeta - how splendid! Thanks for sharing. I especially loved photos of the scimitar-horned oryx (thank you to Dave). And those baby ostriches in the cooler - that's too adorable!

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Hads

Thanks @Sangeeta - hopefully the entire world especially Africa and China/Asia realize the devastating effect this whole illegal wildlife trade and consumption can do - let's pray the penny will drop with the them.

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Antee

I really need to go to Chad!

 

Thanx alot! 

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orangestan

"I can’t think of a bigger scourge to wildlife than the Chinese appetite for anything that moves."

 

As a Chinese, I don't agree with your personal judgement. Of course, if you hate China, you do keep it, you express your statement here publicly, then I can state my opinion against your attitude.

 

You blamed the Chinese Petroleum Company, where is the evidence that the Chinese company killed the animals directly or indirectly? The key is the Chad Gov opened the oil industry in this area other than Chinese company won this project. How about american companies like Exxon, Chevron running their international projects? should Chinese company be blamed only because it's Chinese?

 

Many people here have visited China once or more, they are verify if there exists "Chinese appetite for anything that moves".

 

By the way, here all the people are wildlife lovers. When we visit Africa, we not only see the amazing wildlife but also the local extreme poverty compared to other areas in the world. So, I support them to develop the economy and improve living quality. Of course, it's important to protect the local environment in the same time. But to be realistic, the lack of ability and high cost will make it very difficult to achieve high level environment protection. Hence, it's a balance.

 

You hate the oil industry and CHinese company there. No problem.

I think Chad people deserve better life if the oil industry benefits the whole society then it's a good decision made by Gov.

 

 

 

 

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Sangeeta

Hi @orangestan - thank you for expressing your thoughts on the subject. It was not my intent to paint all individual Chinese wildlife lovers as people who eat "anything that moves", but I too have visited Africa many, many times, and I can tell you, there is a direct link between the arrival of Chinese companies (whether logging, mining, construction, whatever) in Africa, and a loss of wildlife in those areas - often, with the full complicity of the local African authorities and government. Unfortunately, there is no escaping this linkage.

I also think that many Chinese people eat wildlife (from the pictures we have seen of the Wuhan wet market, people eat bats, pangolins, wolf cubs, and other endangered animals) - maybe not as a regular part of their diet, but these animals are available for consumption. To that, add on the requirements of Chinese traditional medicine and the use of rhino horn, tiger and lion bone wine, bear bile and much else - and yes, unfortunately, it feels like there is an insatiable appetite for wildlife consumption in your country. The problem is not limited to China, of course, and Vietnam is another such example. But with the Chinese population being what it is, and people becoming increasingly more affluent and able to afford such things, the demand also keeps rising. Please correct me if I am wrong.

 

Regarding the addax, this park was actually in Niger, not Chad. I have no direct proof that the Chinese ate the remaining addax, and our friend @inyathi tells me that it was the local army that may have been responsible for their killing. Perhaps so. But having seen what has happened in so many other African countries, I find it quite suspicious that these addax numbers declined after the Chinese oil company came on the scene. But I admit, I don't have any proof of this, just logical deduction.

 

I don't hate any nationality per se. And nor am I opposed to the development of a country's natural resource to the benefit of their population. What I hate is the habit that people have of eating endangered species and driving them to the brink of extinction.

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inyathi
Posted (edited)

@Sangeeta

 

The big problem with China I would suggest is just that the population is so huge, that even if it is only a tiny percentage of people who are eating wildlife sold illegally in wet markets or wherever, that’s still a very large number of people, but clearly it’s not the majority of Chinese people. Part of the issue certainly in Vietnam and I presume therefore also in China is that wildlife is eaten by the very wealthy, who buy exotic meat to show off their wealth and success, in the same way that possessing rhino horn shows of your wealth and status, if these kind of people know what the consequences of their actions are for wildlife, then they don’t care. However, I don’t doubt that there is a small but growing number of people who do care, and that the number will hopefully grow, as people are better educated. I don’t know about China, but certainly in Vietnam the younger generation are far better educated than ever before. On my recent visit to Vietnam, at one of the places we stayed, when I said to our young Vietnamese bird guide, that I was going to photograph the wildlife and then indicated the stuffed civet on the restaurant counter, he apologised to me for what his country has done its wildlife, I didn’t know what to say, it was hardly his fault, I just hope that his generation will change things for the better.

 

I should perhaps add having mentioned wet markets and having just watched a video on the subject, not all such markets sell wildlife even legally and there are wet markets in many parts of the world not just in China. 

 

I’m sure that most Chinese who visit Africa as tourists and who go on safari to see the wildlife are good people and would not get involved in buying illegal wildlife products and so on, a few may do, but then I think the same would likely apply to some tourists from other countries also, I wish I could say the same about the Chinese workers out in Africa, but I can’t, although I wouldn’t want to claim that they are all guilty, there have been far too many reports from different parts of Africa, to deny that there is a big problem with China’s involvement in Africa.

 

 

@orangestan I really sympathise with your view and wish that it were different, not criticising anyone here, but I wish that people would be careful about making sweeping generalisations about a whole country or people and that those of us  who care about wildlife, wouldn’t make xenophobic comments about China or Vietnam or anywhere, in response to say rhino poaching, elephant poaching or whatever.  It may make the people expressing these views feel better, because these issues make them angry, but it doesn’t really help address the problem at all. I understand your desire to defend the reputation of Chinese people, but if you want to change peoples’ attitudes to China and Chinese people, then I’m afraid, you will face an uphill struggle, when there are plenty of articles like the following on the web.

 

Fourteen Chinese nationals arrested for poaching ivory in Gabon   

 

Quote

 

Fourteen Chinese nationals have been arrested for poaching at a wild life reserve in Makokou, capital of Ougooué-Ivindo province, northeast of Gabon.

The men were arrested by agents of the National Agency for National Parks following a tip-off from a security official, as they ate roasted elephant trunk for breakfast.

After searching their home, officials also found pieces of ivory, elephant meat, antelope horns and pangolin scales, species fully protected by law in the country.

 

 

The Rape and Pillage of Africa’s Wildlife

 

Quote

According to Born Free USA “Chinese illicit ivory traffickers in particular have been arrested across nearly every single African range state, and operate at nearly every point along the ivory supply chain.”

 

But with regard to the illegal wildlife trade generally, the real issue is criminals and unfortunately there are too many of those of all nationalities. 

 

Having said all that, I don’t really want to turn this report into a debate about China and Vietnam and go further off topic.

 

With regard to the Addax in Termit and Tin Toumma in Niger, I have to confirm what I said, that it was Nigerien soldiers sent into the reserve, to protect the Chinese oil workers, who killed the addax for their meat, that’s not to say that the Chinese were 100% blameless in that they did nothing at all to try and stop it. But it wasn’t Chinese people who killed the animals and I presume that the soldiers just ate the animals themselves or maybe sold the meat, I've no reason to believe that the Chinese workers ate any of the addax, but I can't say that they definitely didn't, they may have bought meat from the soldiers, I simply don't know either way. I think one issue in relation to this story, is that if it were a US or European oil company operating in the reserve, then they would quite likely have tried to do something to stop it, for fear that if news got out, their would be an outcry and they would face protests back home. Whereas a Chinese company can just come in, take the oil out and not bother about the survival of the addax, they don’t have to worry about negative publicity.

 

I should also say that the destruction of large wildlife across the Saharan region, that occurred mostly during the 20th century, but that is still a issue now, is not something that can be blamed on the Chinese, and much as I dislike oil companies generally, regardless of where they are from (except when I'm driving my car of course :rolleyes:), I think that the buck (no pun intended) for the loss of the addax, should stop with the Nigerien government, their soldiers, who they sent to the reserve, committed the crime, they ultimately are to blame for not doing anything about it. 

 

 

 

Quote

 

However, since CNPC oil operations began in 2010, the addax population has crashed, he told Mongabay. “It’s not the drilling, but poaching by Niger’s military units protecting the CNPC camps that has brought the addax to the verge of extinction.”

so%CC%81lo-web_1.jpg

Armed conflict across the Sahara and Sahel region is devastating the region’s wildlife. Photo: University of Granada.

 

The poaching appears to be for meat. Bloodied military clothing has been found buried with addax remains. “I’ve run into these military patrols. No one is going to stop them out in the desert,” Newby said.

 

Government and military officials have done little about this despite pleas from conservationists. The Chinese could stop it but they are uninterested in even talking about it, Newby said. “They don’t seem to care what’s happening.”

 

 

Africa’s largest reserve may lose half its area to oil development

Edited by inyathi

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Sangeeta
Posted (edited)

Thanks, @inyathi for your measured comments, as always.

 

@orangestan - my intention was not to hurt, so I apologize if my statement made you feel like I was attacking all Chinese people. But I must confess, every time I come back from Africa, I increasingly despair about what is in store for African wildlife. There is so much opportunity for wildlife-related crime, and too often (much too often) some connection with the Chinese presence on the continent. As @inyathi says, it may be just a very small percentage of the people who are involved in these activities, but 1% of 1 million is very different in terms of actual numbers compared to 1% of 1 billion. As a wildlife lover yourself, I hope you can help with this crisis in your country. At any rate, I hope you remain on the forum and continue to participate, and share your perspective with us.

 

Rob, there are wet markets in New York city, I read somewhere recently. So yes, these things are ubiquitous. I was not talking about the virus when I made that reference - just wanted to show that wild animals are indeed consumed in China. Smaller mammals like bats quite commonly.

Edited by Sangeeta

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orangestan

@inyathi @Sangeeta

 

Thanks for your friendly replies. Here Safaritalk is full of wildlife lovers and protectors like you, who I sincerely respect and should learn from.

 

Given that China has about one fifth of the world's whole population, it's probable that everything could happen here. So please allow me to say some of my thoughts:

 

Why and how are some wildlife consumed by Chinese? I summarize 3 main reasons:

  1. an out-of-date thinking in many Chinese's mind that Wild animals could provide extra nutrition to people's health
    • This thinking is changing in the new generations' mind by better education and social publicity
  2. some people want to try something new to eat and show-off of the rich people
    • You said it may get worse when people gets richer and affordable. I may not agree. Because the Gov enforces strict laws and people could easily report this kind of behavior (eating or selling protected species) by just @ local police by a photo in our own "Twitter". Actually Chinese Gov is much more aware of the negative publicity internally than people think, more effective when you make it public by social media. So if it's illegal and risky to show off in this way, people turns around to another way to show off.
  3. Chinese medicine, using rhino horns, pangolin scales, etc.
    • This is an huge industry, I would compare it to US gun market. GOV has forbidden the use of rhino horn, pangolin scales, ivory, and tiger bones long before, but the black market still works. GOV found large amount of illegal smuggling yearly. This takes more time to change because it's hard to change this kind of "medical philosophy" which lasts for hundreds of years.

Coronavirus-related: Wet markets in China have been put on the table during this catastrophic pandemic. Actually it's normally a market selling meat, seafood,  other "wet" food, etc. What we should concern is the potential illegal wildlife market hidden in wet markets. You can refer some info via: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/04/china-wet-markets-covid19-coronavirus-explained/

By the way, Bat is really not a food in China, it's very very very rare. The photo and video spread widely on the Internet (a Chinese woman eating bat) was a travel programme filmed in Palau or Indonesia where bat is a local dish. The Media delivered the photo / video but not a fact.

 

The bad reputation of China on wildlife is somehow not only based on the bad things Chinese have done, but also the propaganda of the media has shaped the misleading stereotype about China(this may be a personal judgement), which is not fair at all. I think some medias become too much political and prejudicial against China instead of delivering the facts and truth fairly.

Personally, I am realistic. We respect the facts and admit them, then we know the direction to correct the bad behaviors and solve the problems.

 

In summary, in terms of wildlife protection, China is still far behind the western society, lack of experience and has a long way to go. I think the key point is to implant the wildlife protection thought in the mind of new generations through the education and social publicity. Less need of wildlife meat and products in the source, less killing of the wildlife. 

 

Sorry for wasting much of your time. Have a nice weekend :)

 

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SafariChick

@orangestan you are not wasting our time at all. I for one appreciate hearing the honest point of view of someone who lives in China. Thank you.

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Hads

Hi @orangestan and welcome to Safaritalk.

Thanks very much for your valued feedback.

It is indeed a massive mindset/cultural change to get humans to change there ways of centuries before, but as you mentioned the new generations in your country have a better education and hopefully they can use social networks etc to help educate others, especially the wealthy who feel the desire to show off their fortunes.

Please keep involved and enjoy Safaritalk :) 

 

The black market is probably the biggest challenge, as dealing with criminals of all nationalities is almost impossible to stop, especially as most are well funded.

We all  need to work together globally to enjoy our precious wildlife across all continents for generations to come.

 

@Sangeeta and @inyathi thanks very much for your detailed views.

A wonderful trip report as well thankyou.

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