Ebola screening – in Rwanda at least now a two way street


(Posted 22nd October 2014)

Rwanda has with immediate effect introduced new rules for visitors from America and Spain coming to the country. Cognizant of the fact that active Ebola outbreaks are ongoing in both countries must visitors coming from there or having traveled through the two countries, after the first screening at the airport on arrival, report for at least 21 days, or until the end of their visit if concluded earlier, to the authorities by phone between 07.00 hrs and 20.00 hrs.

Besides giving their itinerary details on arrival they must dial 114 and give a personal health update, though it is not known how it can be monitored independently if a person actually does tell the truth or might not conceal a slight fever or headache.

Visitors from the Ebola affected countries in West Africa continue to be denied entry into Rwanda, being Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Senegal, until the outbreaks there – Senegal was yesterday given the all clear by the WHO – are considered over.

This is the first time that visitors from America and Spain are actually treated differently from the standard format of screening which has been going on across Eastern Africa, where ALL arriving passengers must now fill medical questionnaires / forms and then have their temperature checked, to allow for an early detection of anyone arriving seriously ill. In fact, in both Uganda and Kenya were arriving passengers taken into isolation, as was at least one known case a few weeks ago in Kigali, only to be given the all clear when the tests came back negative for Ebola.

The Rwandan decision makes it clear that the way visitors from Africa, especially those who are from Eastern and Southern Africa where there is no Ebola outbreak, are treated in European and American airports, regularly shown on the global news channels, can only be tolerated for so long before some level of equitable response is formulated, as is now the case in Rwanda. Stories that teachers in Britain, who visited Kenya recently, were boycotted by parents who threatened to keep their kids from attending school, can only be described as naked paranoia and are here in Africa regularly perceived as premeditated racism. Well done Rwanda!

Tanzania’s environmental record under renewed scrutiny as RUBADA stands accused of lying


(Posted 22nd October 2014)

Environmentalists concerned over the destructive impact on the core tourism area of the Selous Game Reserve by plans to build a dam and hydroelectric power plant by the Rufiji (River) Basin Development Authority have taken issue with the latest attempts by RUBADA mouthpieces to white- and greenwash the project by peddling untruths, clearly misleading the Tanzanian public similar to other cases where UNESCO World Heritage Sites have in the past come under threat by reckless ‘development plans’.

While RUBADA’s Aloyce Masanja tried to hoodwink the public, claiming that UNESCO had sanctioned plans for the powerplant, did UNESCO categorically deny such approvals were given, with one Paris based source in fact saying that the Selous is now considered a World Heritage Site in Danger, the diplomatic way of telling the world that the Tanzanian government is messing about.

UNESCO last official mention of the project is contained in a published report and extracts from it make for frightening reading as far as the future of the Selous is concerned, not dissimilar to the equally harebrained scheme to build a highway across the Serengeti, attempts to tamper with the Old Stone Town on Unguja / Zanzibar and generally live in a state of ignorance and defiance over a series of projects impacting on already protected areas or areas which require protection like the Lake Natron mud flats but which do not have UNESCO WHS status.

Start quote:

Appreciatesthe State Party’s concurrence with the recommendation of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN to include the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger;

Decidesto inscribe Selous Game Reserve (United Republic of Tanzania) on the List of World Heritage in Danger;

Clarify the status of planning and decision-making of the Stiegler’s Gorge Dam project and ensure a comprehensive understanding of the impacts, risks, costs, benefits, and alternatives as a basis for any decision-making regarding the project both in the form of an in-depth EIA and the comprehensive Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) noted below, taking into account the OUV of the property,

Take advantage of the upcoming updating of the General Management Plan to fully consider the World Heritage status of the property

Reiterates its request to the State Party not to undertake any development activities within Selous Game Reserve and its surrounding areas without prior approval of the World Heritage Committee in accordance with the Operational Guidelines;

Also reiterates its request to the State Party not to engage in any mining activity within the property after exclusion of the Mkuju River Mining site as per Decision 36 COM 8B.43,in line with its established position that mining and oil and gas exploration and exploitation are incompatible with World Heritage status;

Further requeststhe State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2015, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property, including a one-page executive summary and a proposal for the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger, including a timeframe for achieving it, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 39th session in 2015.

End quote

These excerpts belie Masanja’s statement that UNESCO had purportedly approved the project and call into question the truthfulness of any other statements and utterances coming from RUBADA about the project in the past.

Even more disturbing are emerging news, details of which the Tanzanian authorities have been made aware of several months ago already, that the partner in the ill-considered hydro project, Odebrecht of Brazil, which in the face of evidence of corrupt practices continues to be described by RUBADA and other government organs in Tanzania as ‘reputable’, raising doubts over what has to happen to be considered of ill repute in Tanzania. Odebrecht was cited as having paid 23 million US Dollars in bribes to a top official of Petrobras, Brazil’s national oil company and it is now a matter of speculation how they have and will conduct business in Tanzania, given such serious ethical, and criminal breaches of conduct back home.

If you thought it cannot get any worse, and I make reference to the stubborn insistence by our government over the Lake Natron soda ash plant, among other similar environmental assaults like plans to turn the Coelacanth marine park into a port, they still find ways to get deeper into the hole. It is very sad to see how this government last week celebrated our founding father Mwalimu Julius Nyerere while trampling his legacy of conservation and environmental protection into the dust. One does not celebrate Nyerere while dancing on his grave but that is exactly what our government does. They have thrown out all those principles for short lived gains, gains which benefit individuals more than the wananchi. Let Kikwete explain why he caused the application for UNESCO World Heritage Status for the Eastern Arc Mountains to be withdrawn. Today logging and mining companies are seeing this as another Eldorado. Is he not the president who ignored all the warning bells sounded over tens of thousands of elephant slaughtered in Tanzania during his 9 year rule so far. It has never been so bad, ever, in our country. Let him explain what happened to Kagesheki’s list of 300 names who need investigating and prosecuting over the blood ivory trade. Nine years ago he was swept into office like no other president before him but he has turned out to be a big disappointment when it comes to conservation and environmental protection. No one is against our country developing and creating infrastructure, creating wealth for our people, but this government has a track record of poor decisions and then trying to defend the indefensible. No wonder they have decided not to sign on to the EAC’s protocol for environment and management of natural resources. They hope they can escape justice from the East African Community Court of Justice but they will still end up in the dock just like with the Serengeti highway’ let a regular conservation source from Arusha off steam when narrating the latest threats to the Selous Game Reserve.

Sources close to AWF and WWF have already signaled their raised concern levels and that these organizations are considering action, while local and regional conservationists have vowed to renew their de-campaigning of Tanzania as a tourism destination should such concerns not be fully addressed and wrong decisions corrected.

Tough days ahead no doubt for RUBADA to explain how they not only misled the public but area also engaged with a company mired in the deep quagmire of corruption back home in Brazil. Watch this space.

The East Africa Wild Life Society 2012/2013 Biennial Report and the 2014 – 2019 Strategic Plan

And a news update from the East African Wild Life Society, a must read report
containing their latest strategic 5 year plan

Dear Members, Colleagues and Friends:

I’m pleased to share with you two important publications: The EAWLS 2012/2013 Biennial Report and The EAWLS 2014 – 2019 Strategic Plan. The Biennial Report shares achievements from the last two years, setting us up for the next phase of our work and evolution, which is laid out in our new Strategic Plan.

It’s a time of reinvention and change in Kenya, and one for us as well. In the years to come, EAWLS wants to see a Kenya that values its natural heritage and that sustainably and equitably uses its resources for the betterment of the entire nation. This has been our platform for more than 50 years, and now more than ever we see opportunities for such change, and we have an important role to play in making that happen.

I hope you enjoy both publications – first looking back and then charging ahead.

Michael Gachanja,

Executive Director.

The East African Wild Life Society Published Strategic Plan 2014-2019.pdf

The East Africa Wild Life Society Published Biennial Report 2012-2013.pdf

Hospitality Day Celebration @ AKWAABA

For those going to Lagos to attend
West Africa’s most important tourism
trade show, here is a preview of some
of the other value added activities planned
by the organizers for hospitality and
tourism professionals.

Hospitality Day Celebration. Theme: Hotel Innovation: Being One Step Ahead @ AKWAABA. Venue: Eko Hotel & Suites Convention Center Mezzanine, IRIS And Jasmine. Date: October 28th

Hospitality Day Celebration.
Theme: Hotel Innovation: Being One Step Ahead @ AKWAABA.
Venue: Eko Hotel & Suites Convention Center Mezzanine, IRIS And Jasmine.
Date: October 28th

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No 243 Wildlife Trade News 21st October 2014

News from Africa and around the world with
the latest updates on wildlife crimes and
environmental scandals …

No 243 Wildlife Trade News 21st October 2014

in the spotlight today ……………………

Palm oil – the new threat to the Amazon extract: By 2022, palm oil plantations for biofuel will cover 700,000 ha, which would make Brazil the world’s third largest producer, behind Indonesia and Malaysia.http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_round_up/2596122/palm_oil_the_new_threat_to_the_amazon.html NA comment: For those not familiar with the impact palm oil has on wildlife. When the forests are logged the wildlife has nowhere to go and is either captured for the illegal wildlife trade or killed as bushmeat. This is what has happened in Indonesia, Malaysia, and is now happening throughout Equatorial Africa and India.

No 243 Wildlife Trade News 21st October 2014

CITES and confiscated elephant ivory and rhino horn – to destroy or not destroy?








Don’t forget, Malaysia has previously been let off the hook by CITES for trading illegally in gorillas and orangutans. It’s not an accident Malaysia has also become an ivory transit point and/or destination, is it?

Posted by John E. Scanlon of CITES Secretariat


“Those who have the privilege to know have the duty to act.”

Albert Einstein

AWF Testifies on Trafficking of Africa’s Great Apes

As many as 10 adult chimpanzees might be killed to capture one infant for the illegal great ape trade. Photo Credit: Martin Harvey http://www.awf.org/news/awf-testifies-trafficking-africas-great-apes

Barbaric Chinese beggars turn to chopping off a camel’s HOOVES in bid to gain more sympathy from passing public
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2800030/sick-chinese-beggars-turn-chopping-camel-s-hooves-bid-attract-money-public.html#ixzz3GhDfpAw4

3 Chinese fishing vessels in poaching incident escape anew (Philippines) http://www.msn.com/en-ph/news/other/3-chinese-fishing-vessels-in-poaching-incident-escape-anew/ar-BBafs7x

Abused orangutan must be urgently relocated (Malaysia)

INDONESIA: IAR has just taken in a tiny baby orangutan less than six months old and weighing just 2kg.

Jemmi was kept tied in a cardboard box by his owners before he was reported to the Forestry Department (BKSDA). The owner claimed that he had found Jemmi alone in the forest which is highly unlikely because such a young infant would constantly be attached to his mother. Jemmi faces years of rehabilitation at IAR’s Orangutan Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre in Borneo before he can be released back to the forest. https://www.facebook.com/internationalanimalrescue

Indonesian govt won’t allow palm oil companies to protect forests
Read more at http://news.mongabay.com/2014/1020-palm-oil-conservation.html#Tm5te0y9Ae51Trf7.99

Sarawak CM furious over logging in national parks (NA: Hopefully he is sincere. His predecessor became very wealthy from logging, illegal and otherwise.)


Sarawak CM issues no-mercy directive against trespassers in national parks http://news.asiaone.com/news/malaysia/sarawak-cm-issues-no-mercy-directive-against-trespassers-national-parks

Kruger rhino poaching might have been inside job Police say the men involved were wearing Mozambican military and SANparks uniforms. http://ewn.co.za/2014/10/20/Police-investigate-a-case-of-suspected-poachers

Spread your wings: Wildlife officials rescue 78 cranes (Pakistan)

A total of 78 cranes, who are on the endangered species list, were found being smuggled in passenger buses going to Bannu. PHOTO: WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT http://tribune.com.pk/story/778446/spread-your-wings-wildlife-officials-rescue-78-cranes/

Environment: Panel to decide on horn trade (S. Africa) http://www.iol.co.za/business/news/environment-panel-to-decide-on-horn-trade-1.1767334#.VETlJcmwQuc

The scorpion hunters of Pakistan

Hundreds of people are involved in lucrative but unregulated scorpion trade amid fears it will affect the ecosystem. http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2014/10/scorpion-hunters-pakistan-sindh-2014106135152297494.html

Guangdong cracks down on illegal wildlife trade (A PR stunt or something more positive? Either way, look at the numbers.) http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/n/2014/1020/c90882-8797401.html

Majority of raptors poisoned in Scotland killed by illegal pesticide http://news.stv.tv/west-central/296425-birds-including-buzzards-and-kites-poisoned-by-illegal-pesticide/

Wildlife crimes soar in Scotland http://www.scotsman.com/news/environment/wildlife-crimes-soar-in-scotland-1-3578070

Namibia: Three Caught With Wild Animal Skins http://allafrica.com/stories/201410201628.html

Police to Reward Informants in Crackdown to Curb Poaching of Wild Elephant

A wild Asian elephant is killed by ivory poachers in a nature reserve in Xishuangbanna, southwest China’s Yunnan Province. [Photo: weibo.com] http://english.cri.cn/12394/2014/10/20/2361s848637.htm

Campaign blunts Vietnamese demand for rhino horn http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn26415-campaign-blunts-vietnamese-demand-for-rhino-horn.html#.VEUa38mwQuc

Nabbed rhino poachers not SANParks employees http://citizen.co.za/260851/rhino-poachers-not-sanparks-employees/

Brazil must target smallholders to curb rising deforestation

While the largest landowners have cut their contribution to deforestation by two-thirds, that of smallholders has increased http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/oct/20/brazil-smallholders-curb-rising-deforestation

‘Big Cat Week’ coming to Nat Geo WILD in November, lineup revealed http://www.theglobaldispatch.com/big-cat-week-coming-to-nat-geo-wild-in-november-lineup-revealed-95468/

Local council set to vote on motion to ban animal circuses from public land (Ireland) http://www.thejournal.ie/kildare-county-council-vote-animal-circuses-ban-1735171-Oct2014/

Nunavut narwhal tusk tracking now a complex game, Inuit wildlife org learns http://www.nunatsiaqonline.ca/stories/article/65674nunavut_narwhal-tagging_now_tricky_inuit_wildlife_org_hears/

Emergency appeal to combat militant elephant poaching in Democratic Republic of the Congo http://whc.unesco.org/en/news/1182

AFP seizes undocumented forest products (Philippines) http://news.pia.gov.ph/index.php?article=461413781080

Ivory smuggling attempt foiled (Saudi Arabia)

Customs officials inspect the elephant tusks that were seized at the King Khalid International Airport (KKIA) in Riyadh on Saturday. (SPA) http://www.arabnews.com/saudi-arabia/news/646696

Sale of exotic animals: Forest officials raid Crawford Market, but find nothing – See more at: http://www.mid-day.com/articles/sale-of-exotic-animals-forest-officials-raid-crawford-market-but-find-nothing/15699190#sthash.MvRJUP6H.dpuf

78 cranes seized, three poachers fined (Pakistan) http://www.dawn.com/news/1139396/78-cranes-seized-three-poachers-fined

Four precious falcons seized(Pakistan)


Unable to protect rhinos, Kruger Park opens auction on endangered specieshttp://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/unable-to-protect-rhinos-kruger-park-opens-auction-on-endangered-species/article21184076/

Russia’s Booming Trade in Illegally Caught Crab Threatens the Species’ Future http://www.takepart.com/article/2014/10/20/russias-booming-trade-illegally-caught-crab-threatens-species-future

Balaghat tiger skin mystery deepens http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/City/Nagpur/Balaghat-tiger-skin-mystery-deepens/articleshow/44892688.cms

U’khand owls face Diwali slaughter http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/Ukhand-owls-face-Diwali-slaughter/articleshow/44891409.cms

More Illegal Elephants to be Trucked Off Phuket, Including New-Born

The baby elephant, born days ago on Phuket, and due to leave tonight

Photo by phuketwan.com http://phuketwan.com/tourism/illegal-elephants-trucked-phuket-including-born-21225/

Tamil Nadu forest officials tighten anti-poaching vigil ahead of Diwali http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Tamil-Nadu-forest-officials-tighten-anti-poaching-vigil-ahead-of-Diwali/articleshow/44895324.cms

Criminals ‘hiding in national park’ (Thailand) http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/general/438758/wanted-criminals-hiding-in-nan-river-national-park-says-park-chief

Indonesia developing mega coal mine five times larger than Singapore Mine located near and within pristine forest, company asserts precautions will be taken to protect surrounding environment, reports David Fogarty. http://www.eco-business.com/news/indonesia-developing-mega-coal-mine-five-times-larger-singapore/

Jail term being introduced in new law on illegal tree felling (Pakistan) http://www.dawn.com/news/1139391/jail-term-being-introduced-in-new-law-on-illegal-tree-felling

AKWAABA – five days and counting


(Posted 21st October 2014)

Organizers of the annual AKWAABA African Travel Market, West Africa’s most important tourism trade show, will no doubt have had a combined breath of relief when Nigeria was yesterday declared Ebola free after the single location outbreak had been contained with vigour and the mandatory waiting period elapsed without any further cases found.

AKWAABA has in recent years began to attract a lot of attention from East African exhibitors and there has been some element of doubt over this year’s attendance, given the recent Ebola scare. With now just days to go can those who were not entirely sure now race to the Nigerian High Commissions and secure a Visa to attend AKWAABA, hopefully the diplomatic bureaucrats taking hours rather than days or weeks to grant the Visa for late comers to the travel market.

Kenya Airways continues to fly multiple daily flights to Nigeria where it serves the capital Abuja besides the commercial capital of Lagos and RwandAir too offers daily connections via Kigali, giving plenty of options how to get to Lagos and hard sell East Africa to the lucrative Nigerian market.

Meanwhile did AKWAABA 2014 also get a significant boost when East Africa’s tourism bodies embraced the event at the recent stakeholder workshop hosted by the Kenya Tourism Board at the Sarova Stanley Hotel in Nairobi at the end of the Magical Kenya Travel Expo, where representatives from Nigeria were also present to dispel fears over Ebola and reiterate the invitation by the Nigerian tourism fraternity for East Africa to join.

This has lifted AKWAABA to the level of global tourism must attend events like WTM in London, ITB in Berlin, INDABA in South Africa and JATA in Japan. Now in its eight year, the first AKWAABA was held in 2007, has the travel market also partnered with the Africa Travel Association which is based in New York, to promote travel to and across Africa and finally make headway to increase the pathetic global travel figures to Africa which out of over 1.1 billion travelers last year only saw 56 million come to our own continent.

Similar to the symposium day held prior to the just ended Magical Kenya Travel Expo is AKWAABA also featuring dedicated seminars and workshops for participants, important platforms to learn about the opportunities and how to deal with the challenges the African tourism stakeholders presently face.

All the best for the upcoming AKWAABA 2014 and happy landings and safe travels to all the participants from Eastern Africa attending the event.

The Mother of all Ultra Races – where else but on Reunion island


(Posted 21st October 2014)

In two days, from 23rd to 25th of October, will the annual Ultra Trail World Tour come to a conclusion when the final race of the season will take place on the French Indian Ocean island of Reunion.

Aptly named the ‘Diagonale des Fous’ perhaps best translated as the cross island race for the most daring (if not outright crazy), is the route taking the runners right through the rugged interior of the island, up and down steep canyons, gorges and valleys.

The main race, the 163 kilometre long Diagonale des Fous, this year has some 2.435 registered participants, many of whom traveled to Reunion from around the world to complete the 10 race calendar, while two ‘lesser’ races, and that is by no means meant in a negative way as completing even those is a major physical challenges, have attracted thousands more. The ‘Bourbon Trail’ of 92 kilometres expects to be run by 1.533 participants while the shortest of the races, the ‘Mascarene’ of 67 kilometres has attracted 1.600 runners.

The ten races this year spread across the world and included some of the best known spots around the globe:

  1. Hong Kong 100, China
  2. Trans Gran Canaria, Spain
  3. Tarawera, New Zealand
  4. Marathon des Sables, Morocco
  5. Mount Fuji, Japan
  6. Australia, Australia
  7. Lavaredo, Italy
  8. The Western States, USA
  9. Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc, France, Italy, Switzerland
  10. Diagonal of Fools, Reunion Island, France

Reunion stages dozens of local races every year, giving athletes from the island ample opportunity to train and be fit to master the challenges thrown at them when racing at the other 9 world venues, spanning from February to December every year. The major ones are shown below though the list could be extended massively, with details available from the Ile de la Reunion Tourism office.

Starting in February does the Trail of English – 26 km – 1500 meters of elevation gain kick off the sporting year before in April the Caldeira Trail – 75 km – 6500 meters of elevation gain is run. In May follows the Geranium – 15 km – 1,300 meters of elevation gain, in June the Rainbow – Ciel – 63 km – 3500 meters of elevation gain and in August theCimasalazienne – 55 km – 3800 meters of elevation gain, all major races by any standard.

However it is in October when the world of ultra-runners comes to the island, participating in the main races:

  • Grand Raid – 163 km – 9920 meters of elevation gain
  • Bourbon Trail – 93 km – 5200 meters of elevation gain
  • Mascarene – 67 km -

In November do the Kalla Nescafé – 15 km – 900 meters of elevation gain take place, followed by the Mafate Trail Tour – 65 km – 3000 meters of elevation gain and the December race Transdimitile – 32 km – 1750 meters of elevation gain the concludes the year’s races on Reunion.

This activity is a major tourism segment for the island as visitors from around the world travel to Reunion to either watch, cheer on or in person participate, rightly taking the island to the top of the global adventure sport destinations.

For more information on the Grand Raid.

just click on the above link and for destination information visit www.reunion.fr.


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