Our dear friend and colleague Wayne Lotter was the bravest, most passionate and dedicated person we have ever known. You will be missed by many, Wayne.
From The Guardian
By Sophie Tremblay
Thursday 17 August 2017 17.56 BST
Leading elephant conservationist shot dead in Tanzania
The head of an animal conservation NGO who had received numerous death threats has been shot and killed by an unknown gunman in Tanzania.
Wayne Lotter, 51, was shot on Wednesday evening in the Masaki district of the city of Dar es Salaam. The wildlife conservationist was being driven from the airport to his hotel when his taxi was stopped by another vehicle. Two men, one armed with a gun opened his car door and shot him.
Lotter was a director and co-founder of the PAMS Foundation, an NGO that provides conservation and anti-poaching support to communities and governments in Africa. Since starting the organisation in Tanzania in 2009, he had received numerous death threats relating to his work.
Police in Tanzania have launched an investigation into his death.
The PAMS Foundation funded and supported Tanzania’s elite anti-poaching National and Transnational Serious Crimes Investigation Unit (NTSCIU) which was responsible for arrests of major ivory traffickers including Yang Feng Glan, the so-called “Queen of Ivory” and several other notorious elephant poachers. Since 2012, the unit has arrested more than 2,000 poachers and ivory traffickers and has a conviction rate of 80%. The NTSCIU was recently featured in the Netflix documentary The Ivory Game. In a previous interview, Lotter said he believed its work had helped to reduce poaching rates in Tanzania by at least 50%.
The latest elephant census data suggests that elephant populations fell by 30% in Africa between 2007 and 2014. Tanzania experienced one of the biggest declines in elephant numbers, where the census documented a 60% decrease in the population.
Lotter rarely took credit for PAMS’ success in helping reduce poaching rates in Tanzania, and was always quick to credit the work of the communities and agencies he worked with.
Lotter was a big figure in the international conservation community, having served on the boards of several conservation groups and was the Vice President of the International Ranger Federation. The news of his death has sent the community into mourning. “Wayne was one of Africa’s leading and most committed conservationists. He had over two decades worth of experience in wildlife management and conservation, and can be credited as the driving force behind ending the unscrupulous slaughter of Tanzania’s elephants,” said Azzedine Downes, CEO of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).
“Wayne devoted his life to Africa’s wildlife. From working as a ranger in his native South Africa as a young man to leading the charge against poaching in Tanzania, Wayne cared deeply about the people and animals that populate this world,” read a statement released by the PAMS Foundation team. “Wayne’s charm, brilliance and eccentric sense of humour gave him the unique ability to make those around him constantly laugh and smile. He died bravely fighting for the cause he was most passionate about.
“Wayne leaves behind his wife Inge, daughters Cara Jayne and Tamsin, and parents Vera and Charles Lotter. We all grieve with his family, colleagues and friends. His legacy will continue in our work.”
A new scientific paper was published this week in the journal Fire Ecology urging the use of mixed-severity wildfire to restore natural fire regimes and wildlife habitat in western US forests. Wild Nature Institute's Monica Bond co-authored the paper along with a prestigious group of fire scientists.
Mixed-severity fires (including high-severity patches) promote ecosystem integrity, like in this photo of burned forests in the McNally Fire, Sequoia National Forest, California.
A New Message For Smokey describes how high severity fires create important wildlife habitat in western forests of the US, and explains the need to protect burned forests from harmful logging.
Tarangire's famous white giraffe, named "Omo" by local safari guides, was seen again by Wild Nature Institute scientists during the latest round of scientific surveys. She is now over 2 years old and looking great. She is always surrounded by her large social group and appears to be doing well. Our science, education, and advocacy for giraffes is working to ensure a future for Omo and all her relatives in Tanzania.
In the study, wildlife scientists used machine learning and connectivity algorithms to delineate a previously undefined migratory corridor in order to save this vanishing natural phenomenon. Dr. Derek Lee, principal scientist at the Wild Nature Institute and senior author of the study said, “From a practical standpoint, we need better tools to understand how animals get from one place to another. Our work shows how data from multiple sources and the latest analytical techniques can be integrated to identify, connect, and protect an ecologically and economically important migratory corridor.”
“Given the growing demands on grazing lands in these migratory landscapes, there is an important need to accurately document core habitat used by migratory wildlife, and then provide this information to the policy makers who decide how land will be managed,” said Dr. Tom Morrison, of the University of Glasgow and co-author of the study. “Conserving migratory habitat for wildebeest will have the added benefits of protecting connectivity of rangelands used by Masai pastoralists and their livestock, and will benefit other wildlife species in this ecosystem, as they all use these habitats to move and graze.”
Wild Nature Institute was honored to host a ‘Ranger Appreciation Day’ on Monday for the courageous, hard-working village game scouts from Burunge Wildlife Management Area.
Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) are village-run community conservation areas that use proceeds from tourism to fund land-use planning and natural resource protection to conserve important wildlife habitat. The Burunge WMA forms a wildlife corridor and habitat reserve between Tarangire and Lake Manyara national parks.
Village game scouts from Burunge are equipped and trained by our partners at PAMS Foundation. PAMS also plans and funds the patrols, prepares for and supports court cases, compiles reports, and maintains the database. Tourism provides additional funding for the WMA. The scouts patrol the WMA day and night removing traps and snares set by poachers, and apprehend poachers through evidence-gathering. In just the past few months, their efforts have led to the arrest of three giraffe poachers in the area.
Wild Nature Institute hosted a barbeque to thank them for their critical work, which contributes to the sustainability of wildlife populations in the Burunge WMA. We are grateful to PAMS and the village game scouts. We're sure the giraffes thank them, too!
Extra special thanks to Ameir Dahal of PAMS Foundation for organizing this event.
How do you reverse a population decline and save an endangered species? This is the central question in conservation biology and it is the core of my scientific work. In my most recent study, I looked at a giraffe population in the Tarangire Ecosystem in Tanzania to figure out exactly why there were fewer giraffes there now than in the past, and what people can do about it.
Many thanks to Doug, Shaye, and Alex for being wonderful ambassadors for giraffes, owls, and the Wild Nature Institute at the Wildlife Conservation Network's Spring Wildlife Expo in San Rafael, California on Saturday. The table helped raise awareness about threats to wild nature and raised funds to support our work.
We think you'll all agree that it would be pretty difficult to resist buying something from this little cutie pie!
We were honored that our organization was represented and we could share our t-shirts, children's books, hats, and mugs with supporters of wildlife in California. Thanks so much again Doug, Shaye, and Alex for your hard work, and thanks to everyone who made a purchase to help conserve giraffes!
An illustration from Juma the Giraffe was accepted into the 2017 Communication Arts Illustration Annual and won an award of excellence. Communication Arts is a professional journal for designers, art directors, design firms, corporate design departments, agencies, illustrators, photographers, and others involved in visual communications. For over 58 years, CA showcases the current best in design, advertising, photography, illustration, and typography.
Of the 3,995 entries to the 58th Illustration Annual, only 178 were accepted, representing the work of 159 artists, making the Illustration Annual the most exclusive major illustration competition in the world. Big congratulations to Kayla Harren, the extremely talented illustrator of Juma the Giraffe! See more of her images at www.kaylaharren.com.
In response to recent scientific consensus on giraffes’ vulnerability to extinction, five wildlife protection groups today petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect Earth’s tallest land animal under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.
The legal petition, filed by the Center for Biological Diversity, Humane Society International, The Humane Society of the United States, International Fund for Animal Welfare, and Natural Resources Defense Council, seeks “endangered” status for the species.
Giraffes are facing threats from habitat loss, bushmeat hunting, and the international trade in bone carvings and trophies. Africa’s giraffe population has plunged almost 40 percent in the past 30 years and now stands at just over 97,000 individuals. Based upon our work and the work of all the giraffe scientists in the world, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature recently uplisted the Red List giraffe status from ‘least concern’ to ‘vulnerable to extinction’, and this Endangered Species Act listing will establish legal protections to control the market for giraffe parts in the USA.
The Endangered Species Act is one of the world’s strongest and most effective environmental protection laws and has been instrumental in protecting wild natural habitat for rare species and averting extinctions. As a professional conservation biologist, I believe we must make use of every possible tool in our efforts to preserve the ecosystems that support all life on Earth. The Endangered Species Act is one important tool that will regulate the trade in giraffe parts and bring attention to the giraffe’s precarious situation.
Science News and Updates From the Field from Wild Nature Institute.
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