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Africa’s new elite force: women gunning for poachers and fighting for a better life

Abused and disadvantaged mothers and daughters are being honed into a squad of sharpshooters to save wildlife in the Zambezi valley

The black metal of the AR-15 rifle has worn silvery and shiny in parts after years of use. More manageable than an AK-47 in close-quarter combat, the weapon is precise enough to bring down an enemy target at 500 metres. Used for decades by anti-poaching units throughout Africa, today this gun is not carried by a typical swaggering male field ranger; this one is cradled securely and proficiently by Vimbai Kumire. “This job is not meant just for men,” she says, “but for everyone who is fit and strong.”

Kumire is a 32-year-old single mother whose husband ran off with a younger woman while she was pregnant with her second child. She is practising setting up an ambush in the early morning in Zimbabwe’s lower Zambezi Valley, nestling deep into the green undergrowth like a dappled shadow.

Related: All female anti-poaching combat unit - in pictures

This is true empowerment... You are dealing with a highly vulnerable and damaged group of women

Damien Mander, and all his rangers, live on a vegan diet

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Rangers’ lives would be put at risk if Trump reverses elephant trophy ban

More than a thousand rangers have been killed while protecting elephants – and a corrupted legal market, operating for a few wealthy clients, exacerbates that risk

Related: Trump postpones decision on allowing import of elephant parts

The announcement that the Trump administration is considering overturning the US ban on elephant trophy imports from Zambia and Zimbabwe is one that directly threatens the lives of African park rangers who are tasked with protecting elephants and their ecosystems.

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Trump sons’ hunting in focus as US lifts import ban on African elephant trophies

  • Obama administration imposed ban because of conservation concerns
  • Donald Trump Jr and Eric Trump are enthusiastic big game hunters

The Trump administration’s decision to loosen restrictions around the import of elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia has turned attention back to the president’s family’s own connection to the controversial sport.

Donald Trump Jr and Eric Trump are prolific big-game hunters and during the 2016 campaign, images re-emerged of the pair on a 2011 hunting trip posing with animals they had killed on safari, including an elephant, a buffalo and a leopard.

The GOP. Here's Donald Trump Jr. holding the tail of an elephant (party symbol) that he killed. #TrumpSacrifices pic.twitter.com/FIGkcH2F0t

What went so wrong with Trump sons that they could kill this beautiful creature pic.twitter.com/L1gquLQrRz

Related: 'There's no sport in that': trophy hunters and the masters of the universe

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Exclusive: footage shows young elephants being captured in Zimbabwe for Chinese zoos

Rare footage of the capture of wild young elephants in Zimbabwe shows rough treatment of the calves as they are sedated and taken awayThe Guardian has been given exclusive footage which shows the capture of young, wild elephants in Zimbabwe in preparat...

Ten more elephants poisoned by poachers in Zimbabwe

The elephants were killed in the Hwange national park by what has become a common means of poaching

Ten elephants, including a mother and her young calf, have been found poisoned in and around Zimbabwe’s premier game reserve, Hwange national park. Six of the animals died in the south of the park last week; some had their tusks hacked off. The others were found outside the northern sector of the park in state forestry land.

Park rangers responded quickly. A bucket of poison was found near the gruesome scene in the north and three arrests were made over the weekend. One of those arrested was found in possession of ivory.

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Mozambique: 6,000 animals to rewild park is part-funded by trophy hunting

Donation of animals by Zimbabwe wildlife conservancy to stock war-torn park could not have happened without big-spending hunters

Call it Noah’s Ark on lorries. Dozens of trucks rolled over the Zimbabwe savanna carrying elephants, giraffe, African buffalo, zebras, and numerous other large iconic mammals. Driving more than 600km of dusty roadway, the trucks will deliver their wild loads to a new home: Zinave national park in Mozambique. The animals are a donation from Mozambique’s Sango Wildlife Conservancy – a gift that the owner, Wilfried Pabst, says would not be possible without funds from controversial trophy hunting.

“In remote places and countries with a weak tourism industry and a high unemployment rate, it is very difficult – or almost impossible – to run a conservancy like Sango without income from sustainable utilisation,” Pabst said.

Is that what we are calling conservation?

Related: What if we gave universal income to people in biodiversity hotpots?

Related: Cecil's legacy: could the death of one lion start a conservation movement?

Conservation is a great challenge that can only be achieved if we perceive Africa differently

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Zimbabwe elephants and injured wildlife receive second chance

Azzedine Downes Feb 9 2017 Visiting the Zimbabwe Elephant Nursery (ZEN) recently with International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) board ...

Zimbabwe elephants and injured wildlife receive second chance

Azzedine Downes Feb 9 2017 Visiting the Zimbabwe Elephant Nursery (ZEN) recently with International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) board ...

Water relief for 8,000 thirsty elephants neglected by Zimbabwe

Boreholes set up by local conservationists are saving drought-stricken elephants in Hwange national park

As a drought-inducing El Niño settled over southern Africa in 2016, the animals of Hwange national park in Zimbabwe faced desperate water shortages.

During a heatwave in October, conservation worker Prince Sansole spotted an elephant partially submerged in a muddy pool. His movements initially looked no different from the water games routinely played by the giant creatures. Only a closer look revealed that the young bull was in trouble, struggling to get up. His limp trunk kept dropping back into the water, unable to catch a fresh breath.

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Zimbabwe claims sale of elephants to China was to support conservation

Activists denounce ‘clandestine’ move as authorities try to ‘extract value out of our wildlife’ to prop up self-sustaining wildlife agency amid economic turmoil

Zimbabwe’s wildlife agency has sold 35 elephants to China, saying the measure was intended to ease overpopulation and raise funds for conservation, amid criticism from animal welfare activists that such sales are unethical.

This once prosperous country’s economy has fallen apart, and Zimbabwe’s government has said it needs to sell wildlife to support its people and conservation efforts. The government also has sought to sell its ivory stockpile for millions of dollars.

Related: Zimbabwe ships live elephants to wildlife parks in China

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Victory for WildLeaks! Green Mile Safari Accused of Poaching in Tanzania

In 2016 Elephant Action League – through our whistleblower program WildLeaks – received videos showing illegal and cruel trophy hunting in Tanzania committed by the safari company called Green Mile Safari Co. Ltd. Among the shocking violations in the Green Mile videos are hunting with automatic weapons, having children hunt with automatic weapons, gunning down...

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The post Victory for WildLeaks! Green Mile Safari Accused of Poaching in Tanzania appeared first on Elephant Action League.

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Train Plows Into Elephant Herd in India, Killing 5 Animals

The authorities say the train driver was going too fast and ignored villagers who were waving flashlights to urge him to slow down.
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Speeding Train Plows Into Elephants in India, Killing 5 Animals

The authorities say the train driver was going too fast and ignored villagers who were waving flashlights to urge him to slow down.
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Speeding Train Plows Into Elephants in India, Killing 5 Animals

The authorities say the train driver was going too fast and ignored villagers who were waving flashlights to urge him to slow down.
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Kenya:Prominent Ivory Trade Investigator Killed in Nairobi Home

[Deutsche Welle] World-renowned ivory investigator Esmond Bradley Martin has been found dead in his home with a stab wound to the neck. Martin had spent decades tracing the trade of ivory and rhino horns from Africa to Asian markets.
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Kenya:Ivory Trade Investigator Found Dead in Karen, Nairobi

[Nation] A world-renowned ivory investigator has been killed at his home in Karen, Nairobi, police said.
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Top ivory investigator murdered in Kenya

Esmond Bradley Martin, whose groundbreaking investigations helped the fight against elephant poaching, died after being stabbed at home in NairobiA well-known American ivory-trade investigator, who pioneered efforts to combat elephant and rhino poachin...
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Top ivory investigator murdered in Kenya

Esmond Bradley Martin, whose groundbreaking investigations helped the fight against elephant poaching, died after being stabbed at home in NairobiA well-known American ivory-trade investigator, who pioneered efforts to combat elephant and rhino poachin...
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Nigeria:Thailand Seizes Nigeria’s Smuggled Ivory As Rescued Chimpanzees Face Uncertain Future

[Guardian] Ivory worth 15 million baht ($469,800) smuggled from Nigeria has been seized in Thailand, customs officials said.Three elephant tusks and 31 ivory pieces weighing a combined 148 kilograms were seized at Suvarnabhumi International Airport in ...
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South Africa:Policewoman Provides Gifts to Help Grandmother, Baby

[News24Wire] A fluffy grey elephant, pink-frilled clothing, soothing creams and nourishing formula are amongst the gifts from the heart given by an Eastern Cape police captain to an elderly granny taking care of her tiny granddaughter.
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Overwhelming response to UK ivory surrender to protect elephants

Publication Date:  Feb 2 2018 Image:  An ivory surrender to help protect elephants from further slaughter for the i...
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Overwhelming response to UK ivory surrender to protect elephants

Publication Date:  Feb 2 2018 Image:  An ivory surrender to help protect elephants from further slaughter for the i...
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