Thursday, June 13, 2019

Kill the elephants



Nderiki and her husband had been married 65 years before he was killed by an elephant in 2014. Like nearly everyone else in this cluster of villages, it has been years since her fields weren’t trampled and eaten up by what she calls “the giants.”
She used to grow more than 100 bags of sorghum in a season. Last harvest, she salvaged three.
Growing resentment toward the animals among farmers here and around Botswana is upending the country’s politics and prompting the reversal of policies that turned tourism into Botswana’s second-biggest earner after diamonds.
The furor has also spilled into a larger debate over race in a country where white foreigners and the descendants of colonialists control much of the conservation and tourism sectors while many who live outside the national parks eke out a living on government subsidies....
The country’s president, Mokgweetsi Masisi... said that in his view, the numbers of elephants are now “far more than Botswana’s fragile environment, already stressed by drought and other effects of climate change, can safely accommodate,” leading to a “sharp increase” in conflict between humans and elephants. He believes a limited, permit-based return to hunting can solve the crisis.....

headsup AnnAltnouse.

I was going to make the headline "kill the F....." but this is a G rated blog.

You see, all those "national geographic" etc. specials in Africa love wild animals and lament the "loss of habitat.  (translation: Those dang locals keep plating crops to feed their kids) and poachers (translation: Those dang locals kill animals to make a living),

Ah but wait a bit: You will start seeing elephants dying of starvation after the eat everything in the area, When food disappears either from overgrazing or the periodic droughts in that part of Africa, they then travel to people's farms and eat the food of the locals, and/or they starve to death.

NYTimes article from 1992:

Zimbabwe kills starving elephants for food.


Faced with the worst drought in southern Africa this century, the wildlife authorities at a national park here are proceeding with what they call the grim but essential step of killing thousands of elephants and impalas so other animals as well as starving people can survive.
While animal kills are common here and elsewhere as a form of habitat management -- wildlife officials prefer the term "culling" -- rarely if ever has a drought forced the authorities to act on such a scale and with such human urgency as in the program under way at the Gonarezhou National Park.
In the coming weeks, the park authorities plan to shoot 2,000 elephants and give the meat to farmers and their families. In addition, an operation to kill 5,000 impalas and distribute the meat from them has begun. Also under way is the large-scale relocation of rhinoceroses, hippopotamuses and other exotic animals that are in danger of dying from hunger. Unlike other African nations, Zimbabwe does not have a major elephant-poaching problem, so the authorities have long resorted to such kills to control the growth of its large elephant population.

nor is this the first time this happened:


Mr. Wright of the World Wildlife Fund said a situation comparable to the one here developed in Kenya in the early 1970's. The wildlife authorities decided then not to kill elephants during a drought in Tsavo National Park, even though they were deemed too numerous and many people living in the area of the park were in need of food. In the end, thousands of elephants died of thirst and hunger, and that in turned stirred resentment among the peasants living nearby, Mr. Wright said. When the good weather came, the elephant population in Tsavo never recovered because the angry peasants cooperated in poaching.

Periodic famines due to drought are not unknown in that area:

This article notes that it appeared to be rainer in the 19th than in the 20th century, although droughts did occur.

Article on the "great famine" of the 1870s.


The Great Drought actually was several droughts, Singh found, beginning with a failure of India's 1875 monsoon season. East Asia's drought started in the spring of 1876, followed by droughts in parts of South Africa, northern Africa and northeastern Brazil. There were also droughts in western Africa, Southeast Asia and Australia. The length and severity of the droughts prompted the Global Famine, aided in no small part by one of the strongest known El Niños, the irregular but recurring periods of warm water in the tropical Pacific Ocean. That triggered the warmest known temperatures in the North Atlantic Ocean and the strongest known Indian Ocean dipole -- an extreme temperature difference between warm waters in the west and cool waters in the east. These in turn triggered one of the worst droughts across Brazil and Australia. Because the drought was induced by natural variations in sea-surface temperatures, says Singh, a similar global-scale event could happen again. Moreover, rising greenhouse gas concentrations and global warming are projected to intensify El Niño events, in which case "such widespread droughts could become even more severe."
The socio-political factors that led to the famine no long exist, she notes. Still, she writes, "such extreme events would still lead to severe shocks to the global food system with local food insecurity in vulnerable countries potentially amplified by today's highly connected global food network."

and then there was the drought 4200 years ago. 

article on the desertification of Africa.

article about Chinese project to fight desertification in Namibia.

Under instruction from Chinese technicians, Nakanyala dug grooves into the ground and filled them with grass, skillfully using a spade to build a stretch of grass pane sand fence, a proven method to alleviate shifting sands and conserve water. "Nearly a quarter of Namibia is covered by sand. It's a matter of primary importance to learn effective techniques against desertification so that we can solve food problems," said Nakanyala. The training program has been held in Gansu for almost 30 years, with nearly 1,000 technical workers and government officials from 87 countries trained, including those in Africa. The government-sponsored training courses combine in-class learning and field practice, focusing on theories and techniques of desertification control as well as ecological restoration....China has reversed the expansion of its deserts. An average of 4,400 square kilometers of desertified land has been restored each year since 2000, according to statistics. "China is at the forefront of sand prevention and control," Liu said. "It is urgent to share our methods with other parts of the world."

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

iMusic from Zimbabwe

this is Library of Congress, but there are lots of Youtube videos of music from Zimbabwe. ........

Monday, March 25, 2019

Troubles all over

The floods in Zimbabwe and Mozambique have affected many.

Mozambique also reports out break of cholera and malaria.

There is a drought in Kenya that could cause starvation there.

Ebola has spread to a new city in the DRC.

Sigh. No links, sorry.

But these are natural disasters.

the USNIblog refers to a new website about political violence/protests in all parts of Africa.

ACLED data website.

here is an example of their data:




Monday, February 18, 2019

Mine collapse: 8 rescued

Al J has the story. 8 rescued, 24 dead, and many other missing.


it was a closed mine where men were working on their own.


Monday, January 28, 2019

Too many Africans: Now Bill Gate's money is pushing the meme

Interview with a Nigerian Human Rights activist about how the west wants to depopulate Africa, now with oodles of money via Bill Gates, whose wife has decided there are too many Africans around.

LINK

My grandfather had seven children, and they were poor — but not due to the size of their family. During the colonial era, he had no education or training. He couldn’t speak English and get into the proper employment pool. My parents have six children, almost the same as my grandfather. Yet my father got an education and rose out of poverty. The difference from father to son was education.
Our values are to protect human life and family. Faith is also very important. We cannot do without it, because we know that we are not God. There is always someone higher than us and in control of things. If you have that, then everything else is added on to it.
Mobilizing in Africa
Over the past six years, has the Gates Foundation responded to your concerns or shifted in their policies?Ekeocha: No, the Gates Foundation and similar groups have not responded. But they do know about our projects. They have branches in Nigeria and Ghana. Through the grapevine, we hear that they lament and complain about the work we do. Perhaps it’s undermining some of their work. But they have not responded to me directly and have never tried to reach out.
We have traveled to ten African countries to raise awareness. Definitely there is always room for more. We wish that mainstream media would cover these things, but they don’t. Thank goodness, we have social media where we are putting out information. Working with many African Bishops, I find sometimes they did not get specifics quick enough or have a full picture of what’s going on. Culture of Life Africa gets information to people who should know.
Before I started this group, we were moving in the dark. I have seen a lot of difference and change in that we have managed to get the word out. Now when the Gates go to Africa and throw a few million dollars in for this or that project, several leaders like me have more than critical thoughts about it. We have evidence and confidence to speak out.
Positive changes have happened since the Trump administration. President Trump reinstated the Mexico City Policy, which was amazing. Yet other countries have responded negatively. The Canadian government has given even more to sexual and reproductive rights which includes abortion. The British government funds one of the biggest abortion organizations in the world, Marie Stopes International. Australia has funded that group as well.

actually nothing new here.

When I worked in Zimbabwe 35 years ago, every village had a "pill lady" to give out birth control pills (which by the way increased malnutrition because the pill lowers the amount of breast milk).

but there was no clean water in the villages so kids continued to die of diarrhea.

But I must confess: We did give DepoProvera to our lactating moms to increase breast milk. So was this birth control (since breast feeding does stop ovulation, and in traditional Africa where we worked, vaginal intercourse was taboo during the period of breast feeding). So maybe we were guilty too.

But our idea was to space babies, consistant with African culture, not to stop babies from being born.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Fuel problems in Zimbabwe

BBC article:

the price of petro has gone up: and it is hurting people


The reason for the hike, the government said, was to avert fuel shortages that have created national angst. The hike means petrol prices rose from $1.24 (£0.97) a litre to $3.31 , with diesel up from $1.36 a litre to $3.11. Zimbabweans were not pleased by these changes, hundreds of them went to the streets of the capital, Harare and the southern city of Bulawayo, to protest against the new prices.

and it has to do with the problem of the Zim currancy:

The sudden increase is symptomatic of price distortions Zimbabweans have to deal with on a daily basis. The price of fuel is fixed by the authorities. Unlike other businesses, fuel stations have to sell petrol at the same price in US dollars and the surrogate currency - bond notes - introduced more than two years ago to address a cash crisis. Thriving black market The government maintains that bond notes, which is only traded in Zimbabwe, is pegged to the US dollar. But the reality of the ground is different. There is a thriving black market where three bond notes fetch one US dollar....

The principal is "bad money drives out good", in other words, one currency will become more desired than the other. In the case of Zimbabwe and the US dollar, the desired currency disappeared as many withdrew their US dollar cash from the bank, and kept the notes under their mattresses. Most banks ran out of it, worsening a biting cash crisis.

Sigh.

And what worried me more it that my friend hasn't written/emailed me for three months: And hasn't picked up the money that I sent her via western union for three months either. Is she sick? Is there a problem in the bank?

Sigh.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Albino pride

AlJ has an interesting article about Albino beauty contests in East Africa.


Organized by the Albinism Society of Kenya with partners in Uganda and Tanzania, the contest aims to demystify the condition of people living with albinism and affirm their inherent dignity while challenging myths, misconceptions and negative beliefs around the disorder. The main event was a culmination of auditions held in several countries and a 10-day boot camp where the 30 final participants trained to improve their modeling skills. The contest was aimed at facilitating positive interaction between people with albinism and the society.

Wikipedia article.  describes how they are persecuted and discriminated against in Central Africa. including the recent newspaer reports on the use of body parts of Albinos for ritual healing etc. by shamans.  BBC article.

witchdoctors "diagnose" witchcraft and advise treatment, but one aspect is that some of these people go bad and use human body parts in rituals (hence I use the word Shaman, because murder of anyone means you are a witch, casting a spell, not a witchdoctor).

I ran across a lecture where they said there are 100 thousand Albinos in centra Africa, and many flee to colonies because of prejudice.



When I worked in Liberia, there would be scattered reports about children, usually streetkids, going missing, and one 12 year old escaped and got the police to arrest the guy who was killing street kids for body parts. You put the body parts under the store you are building so that the spirits will give you success.

(even in the west, we frequently put holy medals or memorabelia in the foundations of houses etc. as a blessing, and many places use animal sacrifice for the same reason, e.g. in Santeria etc.).

but I worked in Africa before the HIV epidemic hit, and my friends tell me a lot of men sought witchcraft to cure their disease

(HIV epidemic wiped out much of the middle class in some African countries).

but with the HIV epidemic, a lot of shamans use criminal means to cure the disease, from rape of virgins to killing albinos for medicine.



the BBC article notes that most albinos die before the age of 40, and the photos of the AlJ site suggest why: Skin cancer.

Skin cancer is rarely fatal, but albinos might have dozens of large untreated lesions on their bodies.

Sigh.

When I worked in Zimbabe we had several in our area. One lady had a baby, a beautiful perfect black baby. I was surprised that she found a husband, and asked who would marry her, and was told: Her husband was a blind man.

Apparantly , he lost his sight in a mining accident and had a pension.

They seemed quite happy.


related article: Albino village in Indonesia.

 
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