Archive for June, 2016

DHL flies Eastern Black female rhino to Tanzania


(Posted 29th June 2016)

DHL, the world’s leading international express delivery provider, has completed another landmark transportation project with the delivery of a female black rhino from its birthplace in the Czech Republic to its natural homeland in Tanzania. Three-year-old female Eliska was moved to a natural park in Tanzania as part of an ongoing conservation project run by the George Adamson Wildlife Preservation Trust, aimed at helping endangered animal populations to grow and prosper in their natural habitat.

The delivery of Eliska to Tanzania continues a proud tradition at DHL Express of supporting international animal conservation efforts‘ said Ken Allen, CEO, DHL Express. ‘We were very excited to have the opportunity to transport this beautiful animal home to Africa and to play our part in these critical efforts to help revive endangered Eastern black rhino populations. Complex projects like this, where failure is simply not an option, also allow us to showcase the power of the DHL global network and the expertise of our certified international specialists‘.

Eliska’s move was overseen by an international DHL team, comprising around 40 specialists in areas ranging from ground transportation and aviation to customs clearance and certification across more than five countries. The 900 kilogram female was transferred from ZOO Dvur Kralove in the Czech Republic, where she was born in 2012, to the main DHL European Hub in Leipzig, Germany. She was then loaded on to a dedicated 28-ton Boeing 757-200 freighter, specially modified for animal transport, and flown more than 6,500 kilometers directly to Kilimanjaro International Airport in Tanzania, from where she was transferred by truck to her new home. Along the way, she was accompanied and monitored by a team of support staff, including Dr. Pete Morkel, one of the world’s leading black rhino veterinarians. Five containers of food and water supplies were also loaded for the journey.

We were delighted that DHL was able to support us with this project, as we were only prepared to entrust Eliska to partners who could absolutely guarantee a safe and seamless move‘ said Tony Fitzjohn OBE, Field Director of The George Adamson Wildlife Preservation Trust and former understudy of George Adamson in the North of Kenya. ‘Having the support of anexperienced team of international transport specialists allowed us to focus without any distraction on the comfort and well-being of Eliska and to ensure that she had the best possible introduction to her new life in Africa‘.

Eastern black rhinos are one of the most endangered mammal groups, with large-scale poaching in the late 20th century leading to a significant decline in black rhino populations in Africa. There are estimated to be only about 800 in the world today. ZOO Dvur Kralove, where Eliska was born, has a strong record of breeding Eastern black rhinos, with 43 calves of the species born to date.

Eliska’s departure is a bitter-sweet moment for ZOO Dvur Kralove. We are sorry to say goodbye to one of our much-loved animals, but at the same time, we are extremely gratified to have played a part in this important conservation project and excited to see how she adapts to her natural habitat‘ said Přemysl Rabas, Statutory Director of ZOO Dvur Kralove. ‘The build-up to her move to Tanzania has involved years of careful preparation, and we are sure that – with DHL – she is in the right hands for the journey‘.

DHL has supported a number of major conservation projects in recent years, including the delivery of three black rhinos from the U.K. to Tanzania in 2012 and the delivery of two rare Sumatran tigers from Australia and the U.S. to London Zoo in the same year as part of a breeding program. A 2013 project to transfer two giant pandas from China to a Belgian sanctuary resulted in the ‘perfect delivery’ in June 2016, when the female gave birth to a panda cub.

Hennie Heymans, CEO, DHL Express Sub Saharan Africa adds, ‘As facilitators of global trade, it’s fantastic that we can use our logistics expertise for such an important conservation project, and we trust that Eliska will flourish in her new home in Africa‘.

Tourist resort on Diani Beach burns to ashes


(Posted 29th June 2016)

Sad news come in from Kenya’s famous Diani beaches where yesterday the Neptune Resort burned down, flames consuming the Makuti covered roofs (Makuti is a roofing material made from palm tree leaves) in a matter of minutes while being spread and driven by strong winds.
The inferno took place in the late afternoon just before sunset and while no cause of the fire is yet established, can it be noted that the efforts of management and staff helped to safely evacuate several dozen guests from the hotel.
They were reportedly rebooked in a nearby resort of similar standards at no added cost.
Sources from Diani say the fire may have started at Neptune Village before the winds blew burning debris on to the neighbouring Neptune Paradise where the roofs almost instantly also caught fire.
Residential properties in the neighbourhood were as a precaution also evacuated until the Ukunda fire brigade later that evening managed to get the blaze under control.
The smoke and reflection of the fire against the sky after nightfall attracted hundreds of locals who from a safe distance watched the fire as if it were a movie night.
No time frame has been given as yet on the possible period of rebuilding but given the time needed to assess the cause of the fire and complete the insurance formalities first, this may take until well in 2017 to complete.
The Neptune properties in Diani are sister resorts to the Neptune Beach Hotel at Mombasa’s Bamburi beach along the north coast.

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Precision Air returns to the Comoros


(Posted 29th June 2016)

Tanzania’s only publicly quoted airline, Precision Air, will resume its operations to HAHAYA – Comoros effective from 16th of August 2016. The information came to light yesterday through a reliably source in Tanzania’s commercial capital Dar es Salaam.

Precision Air suspended its flights to HAHAYA in 2014 while undergoing a strategy review which also involved route rationalization.

Precision Air’s Commercial Director Mr. Robert Owusu, was quoted that after stabilization in the fleet size, Precision Air feels that it is the right time to resume flights to HAHAYA.

We understand there is a demand for transport between Dar es Salaam – Hahaya. As any commercially oriented entity, we went back to our drawing table and worked on a plan that would allow us to service the route efficiently with our now stable fleet‘.

Mr Owusu further explained that, Precision Air flights between DAR ES SALAAM and HAHAYA will strengthen the excellent trade relations while also encouraging tourist visits to the Comoros islands. Precision Air will operate three flights per week, every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

There is high movement of traders between Dar es Salaam and Hahaya. We are certain our flight will be a perfect product for them as we offer reliability and convenience to their business. Our tickets normally include one free piece up to 23 kg of checked in luggage which is a convenient offer for traders who are travelling with their goods‘ he then added in closing.

Precision Air’s flights are also expected to facilitate movement of tourists and sectoral experts from America, Europe and Arab countries. This will be the second regional destination for Precision Air after Nairobi. Domestically Precision Air flies to 1o destinations,from its main hub i.e. to Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Mwanza, Bukoba, Musoma, Tabora, Kigoma, Mtwara, Zanzibar (Unguja)and most recently introduced Pemba, the second largest island of the Zanzibar archipelago.

UN Conference in Nairobi takes a look at wildlife conservation challenges


(Posted 29th June 2016)

A five day United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) Conference started on June 27th, 2016 at the UNEP headquarters in Nairobi with a focus on the contribution of space-based technologies in wildlife management and biodiversity conservation.

In a key-note address to the delegates attending the conference, entitled ‘ Wildlife Management and Biodiversity: The Issues‘ , Kenya Wildlife Service Director General Mr. Kitili Mbathi observed that Kenya has tremendous biodiversity wealth found in forests, woodlands, grasslands, wetlands and deserts that requires cutting-edge technology to conserve.

Kenya has undertaken many initiatives in an effort to conserve and protect its biodiversity. These include the formation of Kenya’s National Environment Secretariat (NES) in 1971. NES had the mandate of coordinating and catalyzing environmental conservation and management in Kenya.

With regard to forest cover, Mbathi observed that Kenya’s new constitution aims to achieve and maintain a tree cover of at least 10% of Kenya’s land mass. In its development blueprint of 2007-2030, Kenya aims to be a nation living in a clean, secure and sustainable environment by 2030.

KWS, has been using space-based technologies in its work to some degree. At the security level over 1,000 rangers have been trained in the use of Global Positioning Systems. These rangers are able to record important wildlife related incidents that they come across during their normal patrols. The incidents they come across may for instance be a poached elephant, illegal harvesting of a rare plant species, human wildlife conflict, logging or banditry.

In the Tsavo, which is Kenya’s key conservation area, KWS in collaboration with International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is using a collaborative geospatial monitoring platform to get collected data and analyse it to help with identification of poaching associated indicators. Patterns in poaching related activities are being studied to enable KWS to intercept poachers prior to their slaughter of wildlife.

With stakeholders such as Zoological Society of London and Google, KWS has also at a small scale started to fight illegal trade in endangered wildlife through real-time surveillance of remote landscapes using camera traps and instantaneous satellite data transmission.

In addition, and in collaboration with Stimson and Linkoping University of Sweden, it is using a smart phone based command control and communications (C3) platform to combat poaching.

In the Mount Kenya Ecosystem, KWS in partnership with Rhino Ark and Environmental Systems Research Institute Eastern Africa (ESRIEA) is beginning to use a near-real-time Ranger Patrol System using GPS and ArcGIS software.

KWS has also been exploring the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) although there still remain some issues to sort out with Kenya’s Department of Defence.

At the scientific front, KWS with some of its partners that include Save the Elephant (STE), World wildlife Fund for Nature, Kenyan office (WWF-K), African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), University of Twente (Netherlands) and Leiden University (Netherlands) is using satellite-linked GPS collars to track various wildlife species such as elephants, lions, wildebeest, cheetah and wild dog.

KWS with support from University of Twente, Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC) has set up the GEONETCAST Toolkits at Tsavo East Research Station and KWS Headquarters to facilitate easy import of various satellite and environmental data/products, for example, rainfall, Temperature, Normalized Difference Vegetation Index; Land Cover, Enhanced Vegetation Index among others, that are disseminated via GEONETCast, into a common GIS environment.

These products can be easily used with wildlife movement data to model and identify suitable habitats for wildlife. Further, under the European Union funded Monitoring of Environment and Security in Africa (MESA) Programme, KWS in partnership with Inter-Governmental Authority on Development’s (IGAD) Climate and Prediction Application Centre (ICPAC) has started to undertake land cover mapping inside Kenya’s wildlife protected areas and also in their surroundings.

And Africa’s Transport Innovation Award 2016 goes to …


(Posted 29th June 2016)

The Transport Africa Awards set out to identify and reward leaders in transportation who demonstrate an unparalleled ability to succeed, offer a competitive advantage and set standards of excellence in the sector.

The Transport Innovator Award specifically recognizes companies providing an innovative product, service or initiative that offers a competitive advantage, satisfies transport demands across Africa and has equal capacity to realize commercial gains.

It’s an honour to win the Transport Innovation Award for the second consecutive year. This recognition highlights Fastjet’s vision and efforts to make air travel accessible and affordable to more people on the African continent‘ said Jai Gilbert, Head of Marketing at Fastjet.

Fastjet, according to details availed by the award organizers, was rewarded for its approach to making air travel affordable, reliable and safe across its pan-African network, which includes domestic routes in Tanzania and Zimbabwe, and international routes from Tanzania and Zimbabwe to South Africa, Zambia, Uganda and Kenya.

Since Fastjet’s launch in November 2012, the airline has celebrated the major milestone of flying over two million passengers across the African continent. It has also flown over 23,500 flights, with many passengers expected to be first time flyers who – because of prohibitively high fares – could previously not afford to travel by air.

Supporting this statement is recent research undertaken by the airline, showing that up to 40% of passengers on all routes were first time flyers able to afford air travel for the first time, thanks to Fastjet’s low fares.

The airline offers domestic flights from as little as US$20 and international flights for as little as US$50, both excluding airport and government taxes except in South Africa where consumer legislation requires airlines to show all inclusive prices of fare and tax elements.

The Transport Innovator Award 2016 adds to Fastjet’s growing collection of accolades, as regularly reported here, with the airline winning Africa’s Leading Low-Cost Airline in 2016, the Transport Innovator Award at the 8th Transport Africa Awards in 2015, as well as being named the cheapest low-cost carrier in Africa by flight comparison site in 2014.

First Airbus A350 XWB comes to Africa


(Posted 29th June 2016)

Ethiopian Airlines yesterday took delivery of Africa’s first Airbus A350XWB, being launch customer for the continent.
The aircraft will be deployed on the routes between Addis Ababa and Lagos and Addis Ababa and Dubai, clearly aimed to impress the Nigerian market to travel with them, now that Emirates has reportedly cut their services down to one frequency a day.
The aircraft, named Simien Mountains, was handed over to the top management of Ethiopian Airlines in Toulouse where the aircraft was assembled and tested before delivery.
ET has ordered an initial 14 of these state of the art wide body aircraft and expects delivery of another 13 after today, though there is speculation that the airline may up the order as it remains Africa’s leading airline in terms of fleet, African and other international destinations.
The new aircraft is registered as ET-ATQ, MSN 40 while a sistership, due to join her in a few weeks, will be known as ET-ATR with MSN 43. There have been fears that the various challenges Airbus is encountering right now with its supply chain could have impacted on the delivery of this aircraft type to airlines around the world but is would appear that Airbus is pulling out all stops to ensure that new customer Ethiopian Airlines is not let down.

The new aircraft has 343 seats in two classes, offering a 3x3x3 configuration in Economy Class while Business class with 30 seats has a 2x2x2 cabin layout.
This however is in stark contrast for instance with the A350’s operated by Qatar Airways which offer a 1x2x1 layout in their premium cabin.
Additional destinations of the new aircraft will be announced in due course when more of these planes have been delivered.

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