Archive for December, 2014

Six confirmed dead after an Antonov 26 crashes in Eastern Congo


(Posted 31st December 2014)

Grapevine rumours, that an Antonov 26, reportedly belonging to Air Sirin, crashed in the Uvira Mountains in Eastern Congo, proved correct when late yesterday confirmation was received from an aviation source in Goma.

The aircraft, with at least 6 onboard, including crew, had taken off from Bujumbura, the capital of Burundi, not long after midnight on the 28th of December. The flight routing was to take the aircraft across the Congo to Pointe Noire in Congo Brazzaville, a distance of 1.200 nautical miles, but the aircraft crashed not long after takeoff into the Uvira Mountains after failing to gain altitude. There has been speculation among the aviation fraternity that the plane’s crew could not see the terrain at night and that the aircraft may not have had modern equipment on board which could have alerted the crew that they were approaching a mountain, allowing to take evasive action.

It could not be established where the flight had originally come from, whether the plane was on a charter for another operator, what cargo it carried and if all six on board were crew or some of them passengers.

Added details sourced show that the aircraft entered service in 1979, MSN 8608 and was at the time of the accident registered as 4L-AFF in the Ukraine. While the aircraft was not registered in the Democratic Republic of Congo has the crash nevertheless again highlighted the bad safety record in parts of Africa, often attributed to the use of aged and poorly maintained aircraft from the former Soviet Union. Repeated calls to ban such aircraft have only been heeded in some African countries while others, like Congo, still allow them to fly in and out of their airspace.

Nairobi’s hotel sector remains vibrant


(Posted 31st December 2014)

The hospitality market in Nairobi remains vibrant, inspite of the challenges the country is facing with lower tourism arrivals. First out of the starting blocks in 2015, probably as early as Easter, will be the new Radisson Blu by Carlson Rezidor but other hotels too, both local and branded, are expected to come on line in 2015.

The owners of the 5 star Sankara Hotel, which opened nearly five years ago in the Westlands area of Nairobi, have also confirmed that they are planning to open a second, very likely 4 star business hotel, in 2017.

Nairobi however is the only market place right now where a significant number of new beds are either in the pipeline already or where more hotels are planned for opening later in the decade.

No significant large new resort or hotel developments are presently underway at the Kenya coast, apart from real estate developments like gated estates or condominiums. Sun Africa Hotels is according to information received nearing the completion of a coast property which is expected to be a small boutique style luxury resort similar in size and style to their Limuru based Sovereign Suites.

On the safari circuit too new properties are far and few between right now, again likely as a result of lower tourist arrivals, at least until a full recovery is underway and investor confidence has been restored.

ICAO’s finally publishes GAP Analysis on UCAA audit


(Posted 31st December 2014)

Four pages of urgent recommendations by ICAO, the International Civil Aviation Organization, dominated by the words ‘Inconsistent’, ‘Inefficient’ and ‘Insufficient’ finally tell the story of just how badly the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority performed in the audit on their operations earlier this year.

It may be recalled that on the 17th of June did the UCAA in a cloak and dagger operation pull all Air Operator Certificates sanctioning flights beyond Uganda’s borders, effectively shutting down flights by Ugandan registered airlines across the national borders, but grotesquely allowed several of the affected airlines to continue domestic operations. This in fact already back then exposed the flaws in the UCAA’s decisions, as their mouthpieces were running up and down, trying to schmooze the local media into believing, that safety concerns where the primary factor behind their action. ‘How can we be unsafe flying across the borders and yet we are considered safe enough to fly within Uganda. This simply does not add up’ said a Kajjansi based operator at the time, instantly shredding the argument the UCAA had put to the public.

The Ugandan media though caught on quickly to the truth and in a series of stinging articles told the public what really went on behind the scenes, tearing apart the UCAA’s feeble attempts to save face.

One of the arguments advanced at the time was that the ICAO audit had also focused on the airlines, an entirely false representation as ICAO strictly deals with national regulators, not the airlines under their jurisdiction, and the document now received makes not one mention of having audited airlines, though it exposes a wide range of shortcomings within the UCAA spread over four pages covering 12 Focus Areas of heightened concerns.

What is clear is that the UCAA failed the aviation industry in particular in their regulatory capacity. They also failed the country by killing off several airlines which could not or would not sustain the losses inflicted on them by the UCAA’s arbitrary action under a system where one and the same corporate body is prosecutor, jury, judge and executioner with no option of appeal, reminiscent of what one aviator called ‘Amin’s dictatorial legacy’. This element was addressed by ICAO when they asked for a ‘just culture’ to be introduced by legislative changes to prevent such a disaster from ever happening again. (Quote: Uganda should review its aviation legislation to include provisions that guarantee the concept of a ‘just culture’.)

As a result of Air Uganda losing their AOC – the UCAA decided not to grant a temporary AOC while re-certification was ongoing as is ordinarily the practice in aviation) – did airfares promptly rise and are only of late returning to pre 17th June levels after RwandAir and Ethiopian began to fly from Entebbe to Juba and RwandAir was granted fifth freedom rights to fly from Entebbe to Nairobi, the latter route however still to become operational.

There are other areas too however where the UCAA is failing Ugandans and that is in their capacity as airport managers. Ideally would Uganda have incorporated a Uganda Airport Authority, which, as is the case in for instance Tanzania and Kenya, would be subject to regulatory oversight, citations for shortcomings and punitive measures for continued failures to rectify them. In Uganda, managing Entebbe International Airport is done by the same body which also regulates, itself for that matter, something which in plain terms compares to a student writing an exam and then grading his or her own work. Plenty of complaints over many years have produced no change in key areas where passengers are made to suffer.

The often used pre-perimeter fence check point, just outside the UCAA offices, remains unpaved and without shelter, causing passengers in wet conditions to get a good soak, besides muddy shoes and if unlucky splashed with muddy water when a passing car hits a pothole.

When the checks are carried out at the perimeter fence, at least a small area is now under a roof to provide cover for the security staff, but still do people get wet when they have to leave their cars to walk to the scanning machine, but not that the trials and tribulations of passengers end there.

When the parking is full, and it often is these days, departing passengers face multiple obstacles. First is there no shelter and when it rains this is a recipe to get wet to the skin. The narrow exit from the parking towards the terminal is often totally congested at the steel gate which is only half open. This prompts regular shoving, pushing and as witnessed at times heated arguments when passengers whose flight is already checking in, find themselves blocked from leaving the parking area in a hurry by arriving passengers and often people who are NOT traveling but coming in their scores to see off or receive travelers. This bottle neck is a result of failed physical planning for traffic flows of arriving and departing passengers outside the terminal. And when finally on the way, more unsheltered open areas have to be crossed, in rain again a guarantee for getting soaked. There are no escalators or elevators to assist physically challenged passengers, who have to climb the stairs, exposed to the elements, to reach the upper terminal level, have to cross the open road and then often find long queues outside the terminal entrance, again exposed to the elements.

Many tour operators have in the past made it clear that when they get feedback from their clients about their experience in the country, the departure experience in Entebbe, especially when it rains, ranks as worst, impacting on the overall enjoyment of an otherwise often perfect vacation.

It is clear that the regulatory oversight, to address such fundamental shortcomings, has failed, no wonder, as the regulators are also the managers and not likely to engage a turf war in their own offices.

In closing, there is still no rationale why vehicular access should only be permitted to government and diplomatic vehicles, as in every other airport in the region drop off and pick up is done at or near the terminal, be it in Kigali, Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro or Mombasa, except for Entebbe that is.

Today, 31st of December 2014, is the day when Air Uganda will formally close down, the winding up now at a stage where the lawyers will do the remaining paperwork. All of U7’s 230+ staff are gone and many are still looking for jobs while those responsible are, inexplicably, sitting smug in their glass, steel and marble offices in Entebbe, defying calls for their resignation while the government has so far ignored calls for a fundamental overhaul of the UCAA including major changes in staffing.

2014 remains in Uganda’s aviation history as the year when the regulators, to evade citation by ICAO, crashed the aviation industry, and did so without remorse. Needless to say, they did not get a Christmas card nor good wishes for a Happy New Year.

No 306 Wildlife Trade News 30th December 2014

The penultimate dose of bad news of 2014

about poaching, wildlife and environmental crimes

in the spotlight today ……………………

PRESS STATEMENT: Ten Years After the Tsunami, Aceh Faces New “Development Disasters” : SUMATRA

No 306 Wildlife Trade News 30th December 2014


for stealing baby elephants from their mothers to incarcerate in zoos.


This has nothing to do with conservation.

Wildlife farmers count losses over US import ban. EXTRACT: ”…. the USFWS said “anecdotal evidence, such as the widely publicised (cyanide) poisoning last year of 300 elephants in Hwange National Park, suggests that Zimbabwe’s elephants are also under siege”.

China’s ivory craze has killed

100,000 elephants in the last 3 yrs alone.

If that doesn’t qualify CHINA for CITES and

USA* sanctions, what will?

*The Pelly Amendment was expanded by P.L. 95-376 (92 Stat. 714), September 18, 1978, to authorize the President to embargo wildlife products (including all fish not previously covered) whenever the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Commerce certifies that nationals of a foreign country are engaging in trade or taking that diminishes the effectiveness of an international program in force with respect to the United States for the conservation of endangered or threatened species.



If those empowered to enforce sanctions, don’t. What does that make them?

Tanzania Needs Pilots For Anti-poaching Helicopters

Tanzania’s Wildlife Sanctuaries Notice Less Elephant Poaching

Tanzania’s second largest city braces for Chinese investments (NA comment: Could there possibly be any connection between these deals mentioned above and this buying spree in Tanzania? Tanzania ivory: China officials ‘went on buying spree’ i.e. To get this volume of investment did the Tanzanian government have to ‘sweeten the deal’ with a few tons of ivory?

CITES: By the way, this Tanzania/China report made news all over the world in countless media, but has never appeared on the CITES web site? Do you think the secretariat is shielding China, kow-towing to those it should instead be recommending for disciplining? Bear in mind how many times a week you see reports mentioning CHINA in a headline in the context of illegal wildlife trading – would you like to try and find China mentioned once on this CITES web news page? Now are you suspicious? Why is the secretariat omitting China from this exposure and shame, when other countries are not receiving the same favoured treatment?

If the secretariat cares to explain the absence of China from its wildlife trade news section, we will print it here.

If you see no such explanation appear here, you can draw your own conclusions, can’t you?

If your country receives mentions on the CITES news page, you may wish to ask the secretariat WHY, when China does not. John.scanlon

Beyond 2015: Can World’s Most Endangered Wildlife Survive?

The Indian Temple That’s "Ground Zero" for Elephant Torture

TheYearThatWas: Distressing environmental issues in Malaysia in 2014

‘I’m not the rhino horn mastermind’: Man sues after ‘false’ report

Tanzanian police arrest 2 caught with illegal ivory

Two rhino poached in Namibia

In pictures: Take a good look – African animals at the edge of existence

Rare baby tortoises found at Paris airport

extract: Customs officials said the tortoises were destined for Laos.

Kenya: Conservationists Mourn the Death of Oldest Rhino at Maasai Mara, Karanja Was 43

Reindeers In China Near Extinction

Nigeria: Reviving Nigeria’s Depleted Wildlife Parks, Zoos

SABAH/MALAYSIA. A year later and the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) has still not so much as arrested, let alone prosecuted a single person. With its close links to the palm oil industry the SWD has for years turned a blind eye to such law-breaking. Thousands of orangutans and a large number of rhinos have been killed, also without any arrests. The SABAH WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT AND ITS MINISTER SHOULD HANG THEIR HEADS IN SHAME.

Illegal wood driver arrested after killing ranger during chase. VIETNAM

Birds fall prey to poachers, forest department to issue alert. INDIA

The Truth About Chimps

Traffic Southeast Asia It may be the holiday season for many but Vietnamese authorities have been busy with these seizures: Just before Christmas, police in central Viet Nam seized a 120-kg frozen tiger carcass in a "suspicious" truck heading north on National Route 1A in Nghe An Province and a few days ago Environmental Police in Hanoi arrested two men for illicitly trading rhino horns and the tusks, claws, and horns of other wild animal species.

Greenpeace Indonesia Investigation: How new coal mines are polluting Indonesia’s water & forests

Who killed tiger: wrestler or forest men? INDIA

Leopard-meat eater held in Aldur, officials seize skin. INDIA

Bird carcasses found in raid. INDIA

Illegal Logger Shot, Injured by Thai Border Soldier

My favorite – the orangutan Peter Pratje has a special bond with orangutans. For the last 12 years, he’s been releasing the apes into the wild.

Sea Shepherd Retrieves 25 Kilometres of Illegal Gillnet from the Southern Ocean

A school for orangutans: learning to survive in the wild Orangutans living in captivity are going to school in the jungle in order learn the skills needed to survive as an ape in Indonesia’s primeval forests.

When They Brought These Wolves Into The Park, They Had No Idea This Would Happen (NA comment: Recommended viewing – only 5 minutes needed and you most likely will be amazed and impressed. All good news.)

8 October, 2013 In 1995, wolves were re-introduced into the Yellowstone National Park, after being wolf-free for 70 years. What naturalists and biologist never imagined, was that the most remarkable thing would take place. Mother Nature knows what she’s doing if we just leave her alone.

Monkey exports – disturbingly on the increase

Orca S※O※S

New Year’s fireworks restricted to just 5 minutes in Kampala


(Posted 30th December 2014)

Information is emerging through local media channels that fans of New Year fireworks will have all but five minutes, come midnight of the 31st of December, to enjoy, admire and photograph Kampala’s fireworks before the fun will be over, courtesy of an apparent directive by the Uganda Police.

Citing security concerns, that criminal elements might use the cover of the fireworks to commit offenses, will the midnight fun be limited to just five minutes, surely to the great disappointment once again of locals and visitors alike.

Traditionally do the main fireworks in Kampala come from the roof top of the Sheraton and Serena hotels, though other hotels have in recent years joined the throng and also added their own, albeit on a smaller scale.

Many Kampaleans that night assemble at vantage points on the higher hills from where they can see over the city, with the Cassia Lodge on Buziga Hill one of the best viewing points to see the grand spectacle unfold in the skies over Uganda’s capital city.

Compared to the fireworks which will be on display across the main television channels, starting from Sydney’s Harbour Bridge over Hongkong to Dubai and eventually reaching such cities as Berlin, Paris and London before moving across the Atlantic to New York – all places where the displays last for at least 15 minutes and at times even longer – will Kampala enjoy the lightspiel in the skies for just a few minutes to ring in the New Year.

Those therefore, who fancy the Full Monty, can still make arrangements to fly to Dubai on the daily Emirates’ or flydubai services, later today or on New Year’s Eve and enjoy the midnight mega fireworks, said to be again the biggest in the world, to the fullest.

From the Burj al Arab to the Burj Khalifa and on to the Atlantis on The Palm and beyond will spectacular displays of fireworks light up the night skies over a city where this year nearly 12 million overnight visitors came to experience superlatives like nowhere else, the New Year’s fireworks included.

For those who remain in Kampala, enjoy the night out, the five minutes fireworks and the night long hospitality of our hotels and the lake side resorts until the wee hours or the crack of dawn.

No 305 Wildlife Trade News 29th December 2014

The daily dose of bad news from around

the world about poaching, wildlife and

environmental crimes

in the spotlight today ……………………

Every child born from now on is at risk of never seeing an elephant or a rhino in the wild. Richard Branson

No 305 Wildlife Trade News 29th December 2014



from this in Africa …..

to this in China…… with help from electric shocks, isolation, beatings, etc etc.


Richard Branson: Rhino poaching can be crushed like it was in 1993

Anti-Rhino Poaching Unit lays complaint after game Rangers arrested

Could this landmark animal rights ruling spell the end of zoos?


The Englishman returning wildlife to Cambodia’s Angkor Wat temple complex

Ivory outlets in Chatuchak market inspected. THAILAND

Chinese Miners colluding with Kratie authorities: NGO. Cambodia

Japan Arrests Chinese Fishermen Amid Report of Sea Hotline Talks

Mumbai: Trio arrested for killing leopard

Police bust racket selling sand boa snakes. INDIA

Why does Taib fear our little voice of truth? SARAWAK/MALAYSIA

‘Wildlife conservation a challenge in India’: Over 1.7m hectares of forest land has been diverted

Nip deforestation in the bud to curb floods, NGOs say. MALAYSIA
Read more:

Be prepared for worse flooding if deforestation continues. MALAYSIA – See more at:

Bail for rangers charged with killing poacher. SOUTH AFRICA

‘Political interests should not be served at the cost of forest, wildlife’. INDIA

The true true size of Africa

The Economist

In Botswana, farmers battle roaming wild animals for their livelihood

Giving captive bears in Sabah a better future. SABAH/MALAYSIA

Scientists warn that superb parrots still vulnerable. AUSTRALIA

The Dolphin Project

Conservationists call for ‘critically endangered’ status for Oman’s humpback whales

Forget NGOs, forest officials to bell big cats. INDIA

Mumbai: Rare forest owlet in danger from tribals

Will ASEAN be a conduit for transnational organised crime?

Zoo animals keep warm with blankets, heaters. INDIA

Wings clipped: Chennai turns into hub for illegal bird trade. INDIA


Government to raise pay scale of forest staff. INDIA

Illegal trade in leopard hide rampant. NEPAL

Reserve forest turned into dumping ground in Haridwar. INDIA

Illegal encroachers of Rajaji thrash activist. INDIA

Legal Personhood for Apes

The Buddhist Business of Poaching Animals for Good Karma

Thousands of environmentalists demonstrate in İstanbul

Friday 3 October 2014. Young Australian volunteers unwittingly paying to prop up ‘cruel’ canned hunting industry: South African conservationist

Image: Caged lions, allegedly used for canned hunting purposes. (Ian Michler)

Keen to kayak the upper Nile? Join the Nile River Festival 2015


(Posted 29th December 2014)

The 2015 Nile River Festival in Jinja, aka East Africa’s Adventure Capital, is taking place between the 22nd and 25th of January. This is a sporting festival dedicated to kayaking the upper Nile Valley, which in recent years has prominence as an ideal training ground for kayakers from Europe and North America during their winter season.

The Nile is the world’s longest river which forms in Jinja, runs through much of Uganda and South Sudan and is then joined in Khartoum by the Blue Nile from Ethiopia (which carries more than twice as much water by the way compared to the White Nile) before then making its way across the Sudanese desert into Egypt and to the Mediterranean Sea at Alexandria.

Four major events are planned for the 2015 edition of what is fast becoming one of East Africa’s foremost adventure festivals. On day one will registration begin at 14.30 hrs and all participants have to be listed and paid up before they can enter any of the evens. From 17.30 hrs onwards will the ‘Big Air Ramp’ take place before making way for the opening night party.

On day two is a 40 kilometre race from below the Bujagali Dam planned, starting at 11.30 hrs, followed by more party time at the Nile River Explorer camp site.

For the third day it is the Nile Special Freestyle Competition which will no doubt keep spectators thrilled all day before, you guessed it, there will be another party from dusk to dawn.

The final day’s event is the Hendri Coetzee Memorial Itanda Falls Extreme Race before the formal prize giving ceremony and the closing night party.

For added information click on and to indicate participation go on the Facebook event page via

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