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November of Terror and Silence in Loliondo has Turned into Christmas of Terror and Silence.

The situation is far, far too painful and help is needed from anyone with some influence.

Fear and silence have continued into December. In November Tanzanian soldiers could torture and chase away people, and burn their bomas, in serious violation of interim orders issued by the East Africa Court of Justice, while all leaders in Loliondo stayed silent – and cattle were illegally detained on village land. Beatings continue, and on 21st December 12 bomas (or per other accounts 11 bomas/24 houses) were burned in the Leken area of Kirtalo village.

More… Dec 28, 2018

Protecting Botswana’s elephants isn’t a numbers game.

Recent developments threaten Botswana’s well-established status as a successful conservation country.

More… Dec 06, 2018

Extreme Violence Has Again Erupted in Loliondo, Violating Interim Orders, and Nobody is Speaking Out.

In wide areas around the camp of OBC, that organizes hunting for Sheikh Mohammed of Dubai, people are being attacked and beaten, and chased away together with their cattle. This is not only a crime against human rights and Tanzanian law, but it’s a serious violation of interim orders issued by the East African Court of Justice on 25th September this year.

More… Nov 18, 2018

The Spectacular U-turner Kigwangalla has Commented on Loliondo in a TV Interview

View from the Termite Mound

A blog about threats against Maasai land in Loliondo - Thomson Safaris, that claim 51 km2 of grazing land as their private nature refuge, OBC, that keep lobbying the Tanzanian government to grab 1,500 km2 from the Maasai - and ruthless hypocrisy, lies, intimidation, and violence.

More… Nov 07, 2018

Who would want to kill a lion?

Inside the minds of trophy hunters

From the dentist who felled Cecil the lion to the woman who shot a goat on Islay, keen hunters are happy to fork out small fortunes to kill wildlife. But why do they do it – and what is the true cost of their obsession?

More… Nov 04, 2018

Court grants an interim order restraining the government of Tanzania from evicting residents in the land bordering Serengeti National Park

Press release from the East African Court and comments from The East African and The View from the Termite Mound

East African Court of Justice, Arusha, 25th September, 2018: The First Instance Division has granted an interim order restraining the government of Tanzania and its agents from evicting the residents of Ololosokwan Village Council and 3 other Villages from the disputed land bordering Serengeti National Park.

More… Oct 02, 2018

Silence, Torture, Stupidity, Affidavits, and Soldiers in Loliondo

More from 'A View from the Termite Mound'

The bizarre case of mistaken identity and illegal arrests; Thomson Safaris back to violence (if they ever stopped), using soldiers; Reported arrests of OBC rangers, but details are scarce and confused; Attack by soldiers at orpul in Ololosokwan; The government’s affidavits.... Now Summary of osero and OBC developments of the past decades

More… Sep 27, 2018

Fortress conservation in Kahuzi-Biéga National Park.

Evictions and extrajudicial killing.

The Kahuzi-Biéga National Park in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo was established in 1970 by a Belgian photographer and conservationist Adrien Deschryver. In creating the park, almost 6,000 Batwa indigenous people were violently evicted from the area.

More… Sep 15, 2018

The future of forest conservation.

History is being made in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Local communities have participated in redrawing the borders of a nature reserve. They now seek effective participation in the management of the reserve. If successful, this experience could become a model for future conservation projects.

More… Aug 03, 2018

HE DARES TO CHALLENGE KENYA'S 'BIG CONSERVATION LIE'

Mordecai Ogada’s “people first” mantra rankles fellow conservationists, whom he compares to colonists.

OGADA CALLS HIS FELLOW ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENTISTS “PROSTITUTES,” EXPLAINING THEY WILL FIND A “SIMPLISTIC SOLUTION TO FEED BACK INTO DONORS LOOKING FOR INSTANT GRATIFICATION.”

More… Aug 03, 2018

DRC adopts a strategy that will bolster community forestry, conservation group says.

A new community forestry strategy in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) could help provide Congolese communities with a say in the management of the country’s forests. A group of local and international organizations, government agencies and community groups developed the strategy to strengthen the capacity of provincial authorities and ensure that the country’s community forestry laws do in fact include and benefit communities. The plan calls for an “experimental phase” over the next five years to gradually provide access to areas of the roughly 700,000 square kilometres (more than 270,000 square miles) of available forest through community management permits.

More… Jul 22, 2018

Intimidation Continues in Loliondo While Everyone has been Silenced.

In this blog post:- Violent assault committed by soldiers; The EACJ case; Probe team, team of attorney general’s lawyers, or whatever; Reuters article everywhere; Visit by RC Gambo.

More… Jul 05, 2018

Transborder Protected Areas, Green Infrastructure, and Local Communities:

Perspectives on the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area.

An overview of the issues, opportunities constraints and problems affecting the world's largest multi-country park.

More… Jun 19, 2018

A Decade since Trent Keegan was Murdered and Thomson Safaris Continue Occupying Maasai Land.

View from the Termite Mound A blog about threats against Maasai land in Loliondo - Thomson Safaris, OBC and ruthless hypocrisy.

In this blog post: - Tanzania Breweries Limited; Thomson Safaris take Maasai land as their nature refuge; Lesinko shot at Enashiva Nature Refuge; Trent murdered; 2009 drought; The sign; First international article; The PM’s “report”; Unanswered UN letters; The court cases; Becoming a blogger; The negotiations; Children beaten; Five herders prosecuted for trespass; Killing a website; More journalists in trouble; Olunjai shot; The big intimidation campaign in Loliondo; Charity as a weapon – and recently buying who could not be bought; Current silence.

More… Jun 14, 2018

Intimidation and Illegal Arrests to Derail the Case Filed Against the Tanzanian Government by Four Loliondo Villages

View from the Termite Mound A blog about threats against Maasai land in Loliondo - Thomson Safaris, OBC and ruthless hypocrisy.

In this blog post: “Secret” intimidation and illegal arrest campaign. eNCA piece about Loliondo - husband of interviewed family currently in police custody. The hearing. Another, maybe unrelated, wave of arrests. Kigwangalla’s budget presentation and the timid opposition reaction to Loliondo. Oakland’s response to the Tanzanian government. Manyerere Jackton again. What has happened? (summary that’s very useful for newcomers).

More… Jun 08, 2018

Tanzania’s Maasai face ongoing threats, intimidation, and arrests.

More… Jun 07, 2018

Hunting ban impoverishes communities.

Banning hunting can have negative impacts on the conservation of animals.

More… May 22, 2018

Loliondo Report by the Oakland Institute and Kigwangalla Makes his U-turn Even More Extreme

In this blog post: Report by the Oakland Institute; Kigwangalla becomes like his shamelessly lying predecessors; Livestock detained at Wasso market; Secret meeting for a “friendlier special authority”; OBC’s gift to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism; Summary for newcomers.

More… May 14, 2018

Losing the Serengeti:

The Maasai Land that was to Run Forever

Based on field research, never publicly-seen-before documents, and an in-depth investigation into Tanzania’s land laws. This report is the first to reveal the complicity between Tanzanian government officials and foreign companies as they use conservation laws to dispossess the Maasai, driving them into smaller and smaller areas and creating a stifling map of confinement.

More… May 11, 2018

Fenced out of nature.

Outside Kruger National Park, the people who once lived inside may be the key to the reserve’s future.

Kruger National Park and the communities around its borders represent the global front line in the battle against rhino poaching. South Africa contains the largest remaining rhino populations in the world, and most of the killing is happening in and around Kruger. In these villages, residents are caught in the middle of an escalating fight between poachers and conservationists — one that has grown in intensity and violence as prices skyrocket. Poor and dispossessed, these villages potentially hold the key to solving this crisis in the long run, and yet distrust runs deep.

More… Apr 09, 2018

The Corrupting of Conservation

Rhinos Wanted – Dead or Alive

Major gaps between South African and Namibian legislation that regulates the endangered species trade allowed for the sale of at least 13 white rhino bulls from a South African game park to a Russian big game hunting outfit in Namibia. Nine of these rhinos were found to have died.

More… Mar 06, 2018

Threats of eviction against indigenous Sengwer people continue in Kenya.

In an Urgent Action Alert, Amnesty International is asking people to write to the director of the Kenya Forest Service.

More… Feb 17, 2018

"Too scared to go into the forest.”

Complaint abandoned, but systematic human rights violations continue for indigenous Baka communities in Cameroon.

More… Jan 31, 2018

Kenya Flushes Out 'Criminals' in Forest Dispute After Sengwer Killing.

Security forces are flushing "criminal elements" out of a forest in western Kenya, an official said on Thursday, two days after a man was killed there, leading the European Union to suspend aid.

More… Jan 20, 2018

EU suspends Sh3.6 billion water project over Sengwer rights abuses.

The EU has suspended its Sh3.6 billion water towers initiative with Kenya following violent Sengwer community evictions, ambassador Stefano Dejak has said.

More… Jan 18, 2018

A call to action by Rain Forest UK.

Call to action for a “zero tolerance” policy concerning human rights abuses in conservation programmes.

This is an important campaign for justice but we ask whether all the potential parties to the injustices claimed are represented here. For example the letter fails to mention the French company Rougier or the French Government which ought to be concerned about the behaviour of an important French company whose interests the eco-guards were protecting.

More… Dec 09, 2017

Eco-guards accused of torture and extrajudicial killing in the Republic of Congo.

On 10 November 2017, a man died after being beaten and abused by eco-guards in the Republic of Congo. The 32-year old man, Freddy Ndadé, was arrested with two other men for alleged poaching. They were arrested in the Central African Republic, near the border with the Republic of Congo.

More… Dec 08, 2017

Tanzania has scrapped Otterlo Business Corporation’s hunting tourism concession in Loliondo

Tanzania has ended a 25-year-old hunting tourism deal with a United Arab Emirates company called Otterlo Business Corporation. The deal, set up in 1992, was reported to be in exchange for millions of dollars to Tanzania’s armed forces.

More… Nov 21, 2017

Tanzania ends hunting deal with Dubai royal family

*Natural Resources Minister says the Dubai-owned company will never be awarded another hunting licence, and suspended director of wildlife Alexander Songorwa for allegedly creating a syndicate of government officials in the ministry who have been compromised. *More than 2,796 animals and birds were killed in the 2007 and 2009 hunting seasons lasting four months each, with fears among the local people and conservationists that the animals could include endangered species. *The hunting sector contributes 90 per cent of the money used by the Tanzania Wildlife Authority.

More… Nov 15, 2017

Guest Post by Survival International:

“If the indigenous people haven’t given their consent, then WWF has no business being there”

For decades, alarm bells have been ringing over the human rights abuses that WWF is contributing to in the Congo Basin. In its attempt to defend itself (14 October), WWF shows that it is still deaf to these concerns, and prepared to mislead the public.

More… Nov 03, 2017

Wildlife Conservation Society partners with loggers in the Republic of Congo.

Indigenous Bayaka dispossessed

More… Oct 30, 2017

Kenya: Conservation and Indigenous peoples’ rights – not a zero sum game.

The preamble of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples sets out that “…respect for indigenous knowledge, cultures and traditional practices contributes to sustainable and equitable development and proper management of the environment”. Despite this emphatic international human rights standard, and the global leadership and commitment demonstrated by Indigenous Peoples throughout the world, some Indigenous communities in some parts of world continue to have their rights denied in the name of conservation.

More… Oct 25, 2017

WWF responds to Survival International’s criticisms:

“Protecting our planet is as much about respecting the rights of the people that depend on it as it is about protecting wildlife”

Recently, Survival International published a report titled, “How will we Survive?” It documents in detail the impact on indigenous communities of the national parks, logging concessions and trophy hunting zones that have been imposed on vast areas of land in the Congo Basin. The report is critical of the roles of the World Wildlife Fund and the Wildlife Conservation Society have played in conservation in the Congo.

More… Oct 13, 2017

“Pygmy” man pleads with Bronx Zoo organization after son is killed for conservation.

A Batwa “Pygmy” man has issued a desperate plea to the organization which runs New York’s Bronx zoo, after his 17-year-old son was shot dead by a park guard.

More… Oct 12, 2017

How will we survive?

Survival International accuses WWF and WCS of supporting violence against indigenous people in the Congo Basin

National parks, logging concessions and trophy hunting zones have been imposed on vast areas of land in the Congo Basin. A new report by Survival International documents how the World Wildlife Fund and the Wildlife Conservation Society have played a key role in this carve up of indigenous peoples’ lands.

More… Oct 12, 2017

A young Batwa boy has been killed in a national park while trying to access traditional medicine.

On Saturday 26 August, the boy and his father were shot at by eco-guards. The father was badly wounded but escaped but his son was killed.

More… Sep 15, 2017

WWF Violating Indigenous Rights – Complaint Abandoned

Stephen Corry of SI explains how the process unwound.

Survival International has today abandoned trying to get a resolution to our formal complaint that the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is violating international standards about corporate responsibility, and is reverting to using public pressure to try and stop the abuses.

More… Sep 05, 2017

Illegal Arson Attack in Loliondo.

Rangers Say that They Have Started an Operation to Evict the Maasai from the 1,500 km2 Osero

More… Aug 14, 2017

Squatters battle Kenya's ex-president and charities over wildlife park

"Here are people with no alternative places to live, people who are born there... They have nowhere else to go"

More… Jul 22, 2017

Book review: The Big Conservation Lie.

“Hero worship in conservation is as old as wildlife conservation itself. The subjects of this worship are invariably white men and women who are lionized for taking to a life of selfless service of the wilderness and its residents.”

More… Jul 13, 2017

Revealed: Bronx Zoo organization funds serious human rights abuses.

Vast swathes of the Bayaka's ancestral homelands in the Republic of Congo have been taken over without their consent by loggers and big conservation NGOs.

More… Jun 29, 2017

Legal victory for Kenya hunter-gatherers

Hunter-gatherers in Kenya have won an eight-year court battle against the government's plan to evict them from their ancestral land in the Mau Forest.

More… May 28, 2017

WWF and the Loggers.

A brief history of greenwashing in the Congo basin. A Survival Int. report.

"None of WWF’s partners that feature here has received or even sought the consent of the tribal peoples whose forests it is destroying. WWF should not enter any relationship with a company that fails to obey the law or respect tribal rights, something that it recognized when it drew up its policy on human rights. Yet WWF has violated this policy time and again."

More… May 14, 2017

Conservation violence:

More evictions of the Sengwer in the Embobut Forest, Kenya.

On 2 April 2017, Kenya Forest Service guards violently attacked Elias Kimaiyo, a Sengwer community leader. The Forest Guards were burning houses belonging to the Sengwer. Kimaiyo was taking photographs.

More… Apr 08, 2017

As drought sweeps Kenya, herders invade farms and old wounds are reopened.

Threatened by famine, pastoralists have turned to violence.

More… Mar 22, 2017

View from the Termite Mound.

Susanna Nordlund's blog about threats against Maasai land in Loliondo - Thomson Safaris, OBC and ruthless hypocrisy.

Minister Maghembe Declares War on the Maasai of Loliondo - The dry season became catastrophic. There were more meetings by the RC’s committee. Herders were shot by Senapa rangers. The Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism made a declaration that the land had to be taken - flanked by OBC’s journalists. The councillors protested the minister’s declaration. The situation is terrifying.

More… Jan 30, 2017

Leaked WWF report on the Baka in Cameroon.

“Many cases of abuse and human rights violations are reported by the communities”

Earlier this week, Survival International announced that it has received a leaked copy of a 2015 WWF report into the impact of its conservation activities in Cameroon on the Baka indigenous peoples. WWF had previously denied the existence of the report.

More… Jan 26, 2017

Human rights abuses complaint against WWF to be investigated by OECD.

In unprecedented move, OECD will look into allegations that world’s largest conservation organisation facilitated abuse of Baka people of Cameroon.

More… Jan 05, 2017

Vicious Media Campaign for the Renewal of the 1,500 km2 Land Grab Threat in Loliondo.

Vicious media campaign and aborted visit by the PM.

More… Dec 12, 2016

Indigenous Sengwer leaders request suspension of EU-funded programme in Kenya

In June 2016, the European Union and the Kenyan Government announced a new EU-funded programme: the Water Towers Protection and Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Programme. The project aims to preserve ecosystem services in Mount Elgon and the Cherangany Hills.

More… Nov 24, 2016

Billionaire's elephant-hunting safaris implicated in "Pygmy” abuses

Survival International has learned that an elephant-hunting safari operation jointly owned by a French billionaire has been implicated in human rights abuses against local Baka “Pygmies” and their neighbors, including illegal evictions and torture.

More… Nov 20, 2016

Human rights abuses and livelihood impacts.

Ivindo National Park, Gabon.

More… Nov 17, 2016

Sengwer Women’s Experiences of Evictions.

And their involvement in the struggle for Sengwer land rights.

More… Oct 19, 2016

Dead donkeys, pastoralists and poisoned lions.

Conservation in Namibia.

More… Oct 15, 2016

A total ban on ivory would be disastrous for elephants. Better to legalise it.

Illegal wildlife trade - From First thoughts By Simon Jenkins in The Guardian

Simon Jenkins proposes that "Allowing African farmers to profit from ivory in a carefully controlled market would give them an incentive to conserve wildlife." We ask: Is this either reasonable or realizable?

More… Sep 23, 2016

Militarised Conservation Threatens DRC’s Indigenous People

This article is the second in a two-part series on the challenges faced by the Democratic Republic of Congo's indigenous Bambuti people around Virunga National Park in North Kivu.

Virunga National Park is considered a sensitive zone for the government because of potential oil exploration, mining and rebel groups.

More… Sep 17, 2016

The Bakas, National Forests, and the Conservation Conundrum.

Dispute between WWF and Survival International highlights how some conservation efforts continue to displace Indigenous peoples.

Complaints about deforestation and human rights abuses in an African nation are so common that, sadly, they hardly make headlines anymore. But when the complaints are leveled at one of the biggest environmental groups in the world – that’s unusual enough to draw attention.

More… Sep 09, 2016

Clashing over conservation: saving Congo’s forest and its Pygmies.

In the DRC, the indigenous Mbuti people rejected a nature reserve that banned them from their ancestral lands. Now, working with conservationists, they are exploring ways to protect the Itombwe forest together.

More… Aug 31, 2016

Kenya's Ogiek people forced from homes amid 'colonial approach to conservation'

Indigenous hunter-gatherers are being violently evicted from what they claim are their ancestral lands as unrest takes hold over land rights in Kenya’s forests

More… Aug 18, 2016

Botswana: Helicopter crashes after shooting at Bushmen

Bushmen have been criminalized for feeding their families under Botswana’s hunting ban.

A group of Bushmen who were hunting antelope to feed their families have been shot at from a police helicopter – which later crashed injuring six officers – while it was enforcing Botswana’s hunting ban. Nine Bushmen were arrested and subsequently stripped naked and beaten while in custody.

More… Aug 14, 2016

Locked out of their forests, Kenya's Sengwer people fight back

The hunter gatherers have played cat-and-mouse with authorities since British colonists evicted them in the late 19th century

More… May 20, 2016

US and EU conservation funds failing to protect trees or people, claims report

Up to $500m spent by donors on protecting rainforest in the Congo basin has failed to prevent destructive developments, says the Rainforest Foundation

Up to $500m (£346m) spent by the US, EU and other donors to protect the world’s second largest swath of rainforest has failed – for the trees, the animals and the people who live among them – a major study has found.

More… Apr 22, 2016

The legacy of Cecil the Lion

The mixed emotions surrounding sport hunting may be failing to take into account the views of local communities whose livelihoods may be affected by a proposed EU ban on trophies.

British MEP Neena Gill has tabled a Written Declaration in the European Parliament calling for a ban on trophy hunting imports into the European Union.

More… Apr 20, 2016

Tanzanian land rights victory earns Masaai leader Goldman prize

Edward Loure wins leading environmental award after helping communities in Tanzanian Rift Valley secure legal title to ancestral land

Edward Loure helped to pioneer a new model for conservation and development in Tanzania that gives land titles to indigenous communities rather than individuals.

More… Apr 19, 2016

Deadly borders ... 30 Namibians killed through Botswana's shoot-to-kill policy

ON A chilly night near Ihaha camp in the Chobe National Park, corporal Joel Mathe of the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) sets out on an anti-poaching patrol with his team.

More… Mar 09, 2016

Is carbon funding hurting forest peoples?

Evidence from Madagascar

The Paris Agreement of December 2015 encourages countries “…to take action to implement and support, including through results-based payments…activities relating to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation” (Article 5) as a key policy instrument for climate change mitigation. The Agreement also acknowledges the need to respect human rights in all climate actions.

More… Mar 01, 2016

Survival International Accuses WWF of Involvement in Violence and Abuse

Survival International has launched a formal complaint about the activities of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in Cameroon. This is the first time a conservation organization has been the subject of a complaint to the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), using a procedure more normally invoked against multinational corporations.

More… Feb 10, 2016

Appeal to H.E. The President of Tanzania

With a change of Government in Dar Es Salaam the ICCA is once again pressing for the land rights of the people of Uvinje to be respected

Saadani was initially a game reserve created in the 1960s, partly at the behest of local residents concerned over seeing outsiders come in and indiscriminately kill wildlife. Saadani village contributed land for the reserve. However, when the game reserve became a national park records of the boundaries became scarce. Recent research seems to have done a thorough job of confirming the claims by local residents that the Tanzania National Parks Authority has arbitrarily redrawn park boundaries to snap up additional village land. Now they are ready to evict residents of Uvinje Sub-village.

More… Jan 19, 2016

Karkamoru is Threatened Again

The DC has visited Karkamoru in Kirtalo together with journalists. Media has spread misinformation.

More… Jan 13, 2016

OBC - Hunters from Dubai and the Threat against 1,500 km2 of Maasai Land in Loliondo

A year end review of the history of the conflict between conservation, hunting and the Maasai of Loliondo

OBC have been hunting in Loliondo since 1993. There were extrajudicial evictions in 2009 from the sought-after 1,500 km2 next to Serengeti National Park. People eventually moved back. In 2011 a draft district land use plan – funded by OBC – proposed turning the 1,500 km2 into a protected area. This was strongly rejected by the district council. In 2013 Minister Kagasheki made statements threatening to take the 1,500 km2. The threat was revoked by the PM, who said the land belonged to the Maasai that should continue their lives as before. This promise has not been put in writing. After 2013 there haven’t been any open official statements from the Tanzanian government announcing any interest in grabbing land in Loliondo. There have however been alleged threats in closed meetings, and a media campaign against the Maasai of Loliondo. A written declaration from the government is needed, and so is continued vigilance.

More… Dec 31, 2015

Elephant Engagements and Indigenous Peoples

Borders, Boundaries, and Barriers in Southern Africa

Elephants figure prominently in indigenous peoples’ stories, myths, and memory. Most people in southern Africa do not want to see elephants destroyed; rather, they would prefer to see effective practices and policies put in place that reduce human-elephant conflict.

More… Dec 19, 2015

Maasai fight eviction from Tanzanian community land by US-based ecotourism company

Pastoralist land in Tanzania is under threat because of commercial agriculture and conservation. In some places 'philanthropic' ecotourism companies also add to the problem. This article focuses on a case in Loliondo.

More… Nov 30, 2015

Respect basic human rights in Masoala, Madagascar!

An important petition designed to call attention to and stop the continuing encroachment of the Masoala National Park onto community lands.

More… Nov 08, 2015

Land Grabbers join forces

Grabbers of Pastoralist Land Join Forces and Loliondo is Misused in the Election Campaign.

View from the Termite Mound - An Update.A partnership between AWF and Thomson Safaris has been loudly announced. Sheikh Mohammed visited and this was used in a dishonest way in the election campaign.

More… Oct 16, 2015

A Hunting Ban Saps a Village’s Livelihood

This village was one of many supported by USAID's Natural Resources Management Project and by its successor projects. An enormous investment in building sustainable relationships between communities and wildlife has been dramatically undone by legislation that favours the rich and further marginalizes Botswana’s rural poor.

More… Sep 13, 2015

Harsh treatment for indigenous Botswanans ousted from Kalahari wildlife reserve

In 1997, the government of Botswana began evicting indigenous San and Bakgalagadi people from their homelands in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. Since then, local and international advocacy groups have been fighting to enable the groups to return. Domestic activists face harsh consequences from the state, including arrest, beating, and alleged torture, while foreign activists on their behalf face arrest, visa restriction, and expulsion from the country.

More… Aug 24, 2015

Basarwa said to be starving due to hunting ban

While the larger debate continues over trophy hunting and the recent illegal poaching of an emblematic lion in Zimbabwe for inclusion in a "canned" hunt takes up headline news space the voices of those that have lived by hunting since time immemorial are rarely consulted or heard especially in Botswana.

More… Aug 02, 2015

Hunting in Africa: to ban or not to ban is the question

Hunting has long been a highly controversial activity, whether as a sport (leisure or recreational), for commercial purposes or if done for cultural reasons. African countries that legalise hunting activities experience scrutiny around their conservation efforts, and how much money they make from it.

More… Jul 30, 2015

Zimbabwe: Human-Wildlife Conflicts Deepen

Jeffrey Gogo Climate Story

Twenty seven people were killed by wild animals across Zimbabwe during the first quarter of 2015, as human-wildlife conflicts run deeper. Fifteen sustained injuries at varying degrees. At least 12 of the endangered African elephant, 5 lions and 14 hippos were killed in retaliatory defence, according to figures obtained from the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority of Zimbabwe.

More… Jul 20, 2015

Zimbabweans near protected areas feel good about wildlife. Tourists? Not so much.

In Zimbabwe, people living near protected areas are quite happy about wildlife but not so much about tourists who visit these sites, according to a new paper published in Tropical Conservation Science, mongabay.com's open access journal.

More… Jul 12, 2015

Conservation and Conflict: People, State Policies, and Protected Areas In Southern Africa

A paper presented by Robert K. Hitchcock at the conference in Seville, Spain on Warfare, Environment, Social Inequality and Peace Studies. May 29th 2015.

This paper by Robert K. Hitchcock, Maria Sapignoli and Wayne A. Babchuk (1) explores questions of the ethics of wildlife conservation, (2) examines human rights, animal rights, and community based conflict management approaches, and (3) assesses who has the power to determine policies and practices related to land and natural resources.

More… Jun 07, 2015

The Ecotourism Industry Is Saving Tanzania’s Animals and Threatening Its Indigenous People

Before he was shot, on July 9, 2014, Olunjai Timan slaughtered a cow and his wife made stew. Not wanting to miss the fresh meal, the wiry Maasai herder sent two of his sons to graze the family's cattle on their own. But before Timan could finish eating, the boys came racing back. They had mistakenly wandered onto the adjacent property, a 12,000-acre tract operated by the Boston-based ecotourism outfitter Thomson Safaris.

More… May 12, 2015

Betrayal and Abuse Continue in Loliondo

Update from Susanna's blog The View from the Termite Mound. "The people whose houses were burned 10th-14th February did not, according to reports I've got, get any help."

Nothing was done about the human rights abuse of February - The RC came - Kidupo kept getting worse - A surveying team came and left - Channel 10 attacked again - Then Kenyans and those “helping Kenyans” were attacked.

More… Apr 14, 2015

Olosho

A film facilitated by Insightshare and made by six people from five villages in Loliondo

Olosho is a powerful new video exploring the ongoing land-rights struggle by the Maasai community in Loliondo, from the perspective of those on the frontline. It was created by six members of the Tanzanian Maasai community who have been battling for over twenty years to protect their territory from foreign companies and their own government.

More… Feb 26, 2015

More on the Bomas Razed by Serengeti National Park Rangers and Loliondo Administrative Police

A large number of bomas in areas of Arash and Loosoito/Maaloni have been burned by TANAPA and thousands of people left without food or shelter. Exact details have been very difficult to come by.

Could those that are in Loliondo please go to the affected areas with food and help to rebuild the houses? The rain that would be a blessing is now falling on people without shelter.

More… Feb 18, 2015

Wardens raze 114 bomas, thousands stranded

Serengeti rangers burn Maasai villages in Ngorongoro district

More than three thousand residents of Arash, Loosoito and Maaaloni villages in Ngorongoro District have been left homeless after the Serengeti National Park security rangers burned 114 Maasai bomas leaving them without necessary supplies.

More… Feb 16, 2015

Uvinje villages still at risk of eviction.

2nd Appeal to the Government of Tanzania by the ICCA consortium to prevent the eviction of Uvinje’s villagers.

This new ICCA appeal comes because Uvinje villagers have not only not received a response from the Tanzanian government but have also learned that TANAPA is now trying to finish a compensation exercise in order to be legally entitled to begin forcible evictions. The list of people to be compensated has been called into question as it apparently is made up almost entirely of people who do not live in Uvinje and contains none of those who do, as the latter have persistently refused to accept compensation.

More… Feb 10, 2015

Dangerous Divisions and Insane Incitement

Updates in the Fight against Loliondo Land Threats

The Jamhuri continues inciting against the people of Loliondo – and is joined by other media outlets. There have been “investor-friendly” meetings and meetings denouncing this. Minister Nyalandu made pointless visits. Some hearings and then postponement in the case against Thomson Safaris. Activists are being threatened. The MP continues showing off his uselessness. Maybe a change for the better is on the way?

More… Feb 05, 2015

The Old Way and the New Way:

Interactions and Connections among San, Lions, and Elephants in the Kalahari

Professor Hitchcock discusses what we've failed to learn and respect and what we've too often replaced it with - "In March, 2012, Roy Sesana, a G//ana healer and a member of the organization First People of the Kalahari, came across a herd of elephants in his garden near Molapo in the Central Kalahari. Employing the principles of the Old Way, he talked to them and told them to leave, which they did. He did not employ New Way techniques to handle human elephant conflict such as problem animal control, having the elephants captured and relocated to another place. Instead, he simply talked to them."

More… Dec 14, 2014

#HuntersNotPoachers: Bushman appeals to Prince William ahead of USA visit

Ahead of the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to the United States this week, a Botswana Bushman leader has appealed to Prince William for help in recognizing that tribal peoples who hunt for food are not poachers.

The couple are scheduled to visit New York and Washington D.C., where Prince William will launch his “United for Wildlife” initiative in the United States – a consortium of conservation organizations such as Conservation International and the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) aiming to tackle the illegal wildlife trade.

More… Dec 02, 2014

Tanzania refute claims to evict 40,000 Maasai from their land in Ngorongoro

According to a Press Release issued by the APO The Government of Tanzania has never had any plan to evict the Maasai people from their ancestral land

More… Nov 29, 2014

Loliondo - Setting the record straight

The Nyalandu-Style Loliondo Land Grab Attempt Almost Becomes World News.

The renewed 1,500km2 grab attempt finally was reported about by the press, but in a distorted way. One Tanzanian newspaper is inciting the public against the people of Loliondo. The same paper published a letter by the councillor for Oloipiri supporting Thomson Safaris and OBC. Minister Nyalandu denies everything and talks about other things. The delegation from Loliondo failed to meet the Prime Minister.

More… Nov 23, 2014

Tanzania accused of backtracking over sale of Maasai’s ancestral land

Maasai told to leave historic homeland by end of the year so it can become a hunting reserve for the Dubai royal family

More… Nov 17, 2014

Conservation Projects That Harm Communities:

Threats against community rights continue to rise in and around the Boumba Bek - Nki Conservation Area of Southeast Cameroon

The transfrontier TRIDOM area has been targeted for conservation for the past 20 years. Its cornerstones comprise Minkebe National Park in Gabon, Odzala Park in the Republic of Congo, the Dja Reserve and Boumba Bek-Nki Parks. The area is also home to many rural communities, including thousands of indigenous Baka whose livelihoods and culture have relied upon forest hunting and gathering across the region for many years.

More… Nov 03, 2014

Cameroon: WWF complicit in tribal people’s abuse

Watch Baka recount the abuse they suffer at the hands of anti-poaching squads

Survival International, the global movement for tribal peoples’ rights, has uncovered serious abuses of Baka “Pygmies” in southeast Cameroon, at the hands of anti-poaching squads supported and funded by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). The Baka are being illegally forced from their ancestral homelands in the name of “conservation” because much of their land has been turned into “protected areas” – including safari-hunting zones. Rather than target the powerful individuals behind organized poaching, wildlife officers and soldiers pursue Baka who hunt only to feed their families.

More… Oct 10, 2014

ICCA Alert: Consortium appeals to the Tanzanian authorities

"No eviction of Uvinje villagers. Respect communities sensitive to conservation."

This Consortium alert involves Uvinje, a small, coastal sub-village of Saadani Village, north of Dar es Salaam, in Tanzania. The residents of Uvinje face forced eviction from their land and homes because the Tanzania National Park Authority (TANAPA) has redrawn its boundary lines and unilaterally gazetted Uvinje’s present and ancestral lands to extend the coverage of Saadani National Park.

More… Aug 27, 2014

A Model for Community-Based tourism Through Violence and Dispossession

An update from Susanna Nordlund's blog - More About Thomson Safaris’ “Enashiva” in Loliondo - In memory of Moringe ole Parkipuny, sadly missed for one year now.

There have been some meetings. In a meeting with the District Commissioner an agreement was made that cows and herders will no longer be harassed on the occupied land, but will graze freely. What happened when Olunjai Timan was shot because of Thomson Safaris’ occupation of Maasai land. And a reminder of what the “philanthropic” land grabber has been doing during these years.

More… Jul 24, 2014

Herder Shot Because of the “Philanthropic” Thomson Safaris – and Other Loliondo Land Threat News

Olonjai Timan was shot by a policeman working for Thomson Safaris. I’m having problems getting updates about the cases against herders accused by Thomson, but am waiting to hear a sentence today (11th July). I’m also having problems getting updates about OBC.

More… Jul 12, 2014

A good month for the Bushmen - Some of them at least.

Threats to the eviction of the Bushmen of Ranyane to make way for the establishment of the C.I. sponsored wildlife corridor have been removed for the time being by court order and the Bushmen of the Okavango have received both UNESCO and Government support to maintain their cultural links to the area as recognised indigenous inhabitants of the Delta.

More… Jun 26, 2014

The View from the Termite Mound - Another Delayed Update About the Land Grabbers of Loliondo – or who is a Kenyan?

This blog post is unnecessarily delayed for the usual reasons, but I’ve got some information that I can share.

There’s talk about a security and intelligence camp in Loliondo. An NGO staff member was “accused” of being “Kenyan”. In April the Boston Globe published a biased article about Thomson Safaris’ land grab. It’s being looked into how the District Council could get out of the court case. And Thomson Safaris again physically and judicially attack the people whose land they have taken.

More… Jun 16, 2014

Uvinje Village & Saadani National Park, Tanzania

Saadani was initially a game reserve created in the 1960s, partly at the behest of local residents concerned over seeing outsiders come in and indiscriminately kill wildlife. Saadani village contributed land for the reserve. However, when the game reserve became a national park records of the boundaries became scarce. Recent research seems to have done a thorough job of confirming the claims by local residents that the Tanzania National Parks Authority has arbitrarily redrawn park boundaries to snap up additional village land. Now they are ready to evict residents of Uvinje Sub-village.

More… Jun 11, 2014

Tanapa Rangers Commit Arson in Arash

and Other News about Loliondo Land Threats - Latest update from 'The Termite Mound.'

The case against Ngodidio Roitiken was dismissed - The Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism issued threats against pastoralists - Tanapa rangers burned down bomas in Arash and no action was taken against this - There’s a dangerous lack of unity - Seasonal OBC worker travel to Loliondo in the middle of the rainy season - FZS are hard at work making top recruitments to carry out their plans for Loliondo - Thomson Safaris continue occupying Maasai land and the court case against them is ongoing - The American organisation EarthRights lends a hand to the struggle.

More… Apr 18, 2014

Botswana’s hunting ban.

Bushmen starve, trophy hunters carry on.

Botswana’s President Khama has banned all hunting nationwide, even for Bushmen who hunt to feed their families – but an exception is being made for trophy hunters paying up to $8,000 to hunt giraffes and zebras.

More… Apr 01, 2014

Forced Relocation of Sengwer People proves urgency of canceling REDD

Public Letter from the NO-REDD In Africa Network

We, the No REDD in Africa Network (NRAN) together with the undersigned organizations and individuals, strongly condemn the massive evictions and forced relocation of the Sengwer Indigenous People, one of the few remaining hunter-gatherers of the world, from their ancestral home in Kenya’s Cherangany Hills. The Kenyan government calls the Sengwer People ‘squatters,’ despite the fact that they and their ancestors have lived in the Cherangany Hills since time immemorial; and that Article (63d) of the Kenyan constitution (2010) grants them inalienable rights to their ancestral lands.

More… Mar 05, 2014

Kenya defies its own courts.

Torching homes and forcefully evicting the Sengwer from their ancestral lands, threatening their cultural survival.

The Kenyan government has sent Kenya Forest Service (KFS) guards, with police support, to Embobut Forest in the Cherangany Hills to forcibly and illegally evict thousands of Sengwer indigenous people from their ancestral forest lands and burn their homes and belongings to the ground.

More… Jan 23, 2014

Urgent appeal against the forced eviction of Sengwer/Cherangany communities in Kenya

"We are deeply concerned by the imminent forced evictions that threaten the forest life and forest homes of the 6,000-7,000 indigenous people and other communities in Embobut Forest in the Cherangany Hills (Elgeyo Marakwet County, Kenya)."

For many years the Government has been trying to move the indigenous inhabitants of Embobut off their land by burning their homes. They have done this in the name of a fortress conservation approach which seeks to remove local people from their lands. As IUCN and all pre-eminent conservation organisations now acknowledge, such an approach only ever makes the environmental situation worse, and adds a human rights disaster to the environmental crisis.

More… Dec 24, 2013

Video - The customary bylaws of the Ogiek of Mount Elgon

Chepkitale Ogiek community document their customary bylaws for the first time in order to ensure the continued conservation of their ancestral lands and natural resources

“The Ogiek have lived in their ancestral lands, Chepkitale, governed and bound by their traditions being the unwritten law. This is what is captured in this document in the simplest language possible. This is a product of the community, by the community. It has been written with all input coming from the community and agreed on and endorsed by the community. It brings a governance structure relevant to the community today as it has been for centuries.”

More… Dec 04, 2013

Good News, Strange News, Worrying Developments.

Idiotic Comments and Inexplicable Silences about Loliondo Land Threats - A new blog post from Susanna Nordlund.

After some months of silence central government reappeared and disappeared in Loliondo. Then the Prime Minister appeared and declared that the 1.500km2 belong to the Maasai and their coming generations thereby reversing the threats and lies by the Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism. Long term FZS head comes out in support of the Government and OBC. The court case against Thomson Safaris is ongoing, there’s still unity, but sinister old manager is back. This dry season turned bad and grazing in Serengeti NP was needed. Cows and people were arrested with strange charge sheets.

More… Nov 28, 2013

Tanzania: PM Ends Loliondo Long-Running Land Conflict

PRIME Minister Mizengo Pinda has ordered to put on hold plans to carve off 1,500 square kilometres from the former Loliondo Game Controlled Area, in a bid to solve the long-existing land conflict in the area.

More… Sep 25, 2013

In memory of Moringe Parkipuny by Susanna Nordlund

Another Loliondo Visit - A Kind of Safari Report

In July 2013 I managed to return to Loliondo and meet some people affected by Thomson Safaris’ occupation of 12,617 acres of Maasai land. This report is maybe too personal, but not of the kind written in another time. It focuses on the land threats (and me seeking information about them) and not my inadequacies as a tourist, weird and wonderful people and animals I've met, or efforts to wash my hair without running water. The report may contain some whining and ranting.

More… Aug 30, 2013

Conservation evangelism will not save elephants from everlasting poaching

* Although most KWS rangers are honest people who risk their lives protecting wild animals, the evangelists rarely acknowledge them. * More and more cash being donated to save Africa’s remaining populations of wildlife. Yet much of the cash is devoted to wildlife research projects. * Rather than work with KWS in dealing with well-heeled, gun-toting gangs of poachers, evangelists are walking all over the place “sensitizing” Kenyans.

More… Aug 25, 2013

Botswana bars Bushmen’s lawyer as landmark case starts

Justice and human rights under significant stress as Bushmen lose their right to choose their own counsel.

The effective banning of Gordon Bennett from Botswana is an insult to that country's legal and democratic tradition. It also suggests that the fears surrounding the purported lack of respect for human rights and obsession with security of Ian Khama, President of Botswana and board member of Conservation International, may be bearing a bitter fruit.

More… Jul 26, 2013

'A story from Tanzania on being too busy…' by Nicholas Winer

An invited editorial for the IUCN CEESP quarterly newsletter

This article was written with the express intent of inviting and, if possible, stimulating debate amongst conservationists as to the nature of the silence over the new, so called, wildlife corridor on the border of the Serengeti. This corridor does not appear on the list of actual or potential wildlife corridors of Tanzania. It's major beneficiary will be the Otterlo Business Corporation and the losers, again, the local communities.

More… Jul 11, 2013

Conservation, Culture, and Land Use Conflicts in the Central Kalahari, Botswana

At the present time, there are approximately 550 people in the Central Kalahari, and some 3,500 people in the three resettlement sites outside of the reserve.

The Central Kalahari Game Reserve in Botswana has seen conflicts between local people (San and Bakgalagadi) and the state over land and resource rights. Botswana government policy has emphasized biodiversity conservation, high-end tourism, and mining, whereas the indigenous peoples of the reserve favor a multiple use strategy involving foraging and agropastoralism.

More… Jun 20, 2013

The Hai//om bushmen of Namibia, Etosha and resettlement

Hunter-Gatherers, Herders, Agropastorialists, And Farm Workers: Hai//Om And Ju/’Hoansi San And Their Neighbors In Namibia In The 20th And 21st Centuries

A paper prepared by Robert Hitchcock for the session entitled “Hunter-Gatherers and their Neighbours,” Kazonubu Ikeya, chair, at the Tenth Conference on Hunting and Gathering Societies (CHAGS 10), University of Liverpool, Liverpool, United Kingdom, 25-28 June, 2013

More… Jun 20, 2013

Samburu video testimonial 1. Nakuru Lemiruni sends a message to AWF

Nakuru talks to Jo Woodman about her eviction from her home to make way for conservation. Video editing by Zoe Young.

The Samburu of Kisargei, in Kenya’s Laikipia district, were brutally evicted from the lands they call home after it was sold to the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF). AWF – with funds from The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and a private donor – says it bought the land on the understanding that no-one lived there. When the Samburu protested and took the matter to the courts the land was hurriedly ‘gifted’ to the government. Nakuru Lemiruni's six children were all born in Kisargei and she says she 'cannot think of any other land as home'. She wanted to send a message to AWF. This is it.

More… May 21, 2013

A personal perspective on the events in Loliondo from Susanna Nordlund's blog

'Delayed Updates about the Attackers on Land Rights in Loliondo – Thomson Safaris, OBC and, the Government of Tanzania'

Thomson Safaris step up their propaganda while continuing the occupation of Maasai grazing land at their self-styled 'Enashiva Nature Reserve' – and their land grab PR person since 2007 appears as a graduate student in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy. The Government through Tanzania National Parks Authorities and later the Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism renews and intensifies the threat of grabbing a 1,500sq km “wildlife corridor”. And on 26th March 2013 the Government declares total war on the people of Loliondo.

More… May 19, 2013

Lekiji: a Village in a Wildlife Corridor

Conservation and Corruption - A deadly combination in Lekiji, Laikipia.

Lekiji village of central Kenya exists in a wildlife corridor between two private ranches. Lekiji village was established in the early 1960's for the workers on a white man's farm when the farmer left after Kenya's independence. The village existed peacefully until 1996 when the first court judgement to evict the village came, but the 1050 villagers have managed to stay. Eviction attempts have resulted in two villagers deaths. A ruling as of March 28th gives the villagers 45 days to leave the land.

More… Mar 30, 2013

The Tanzanian Government Insists on Grabbing Maasai Land in Loliondo

The latest update on the Maasai's fight to retain their land rights in Ngorongoro District. As well as reports of subsequent developments - updates: 26th, 27th, 30th March, 4th, 8th,14th,15th, 18th April.

The Tanzanian government, through the Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Khamis Kagasheki, is moving forward with a plan of taking 1,500 square kilometres which are essential dry season grazing land for the Maasai of Loliondo in Ngorongoro District.

More… Mar 24, 2013

"The White Men Bought the Forests"

Conservation and Contestation in Guinea-Bissau, Western Africa

Both fortress and community-based approaches to conservation have shown poor (sometimes negative) results in terms of environmental protection and poverty reduction. Either approach can also trigger grassroots resistance. This article is centered on an allegedly 'community-based' conservation and development project (and its successive follow-ups) intended to create a national park in Guinea-Bissau. It discusses how external agents have constructed the need for intervention, and explores the negative consequences of the practical solutions adopted for a non-existing problem, as well as the on-going shifting and multiple responses of local people. The article aims to demonstrate that supposedly community-based approaches can be as authoritarian and ineffective as fortress conservation, and that resistance generated by them can be fruitless in terms of collective empowerment and welfare, while also being harmful for the environment. The only genuine winner is the aid industry.

More… Jan 10, 2013

SUBSISTENCE HUNTING AND SOCIAL JUSTICE ISSUES IN BOTSWANA

"is the hunting ban .. a strategy aimed at reducing access to land and wildlife resources for rural people, many of them extremely poor, and allowing wealthier individuals to get access to those lands and resources?"

This article by Professor Robert Hitchcock provides an in-depth review of some of the key issues that are important in understanding the difficulties faced by the Bushmen in reasserting their rights not just to land but to their use of it.

More… Dec 24, 2012

Bushmen beaten, suffocated and buried alive for killing an antelope

Kebonyeng Kepese has been arrested and beaten for hunting to feed his family.

Paramilitary police have severely beaten two Bushmen, burying one in a shallow grave, after accusing them of hunting without permits in Botswana’s Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR).

More… Dec 17, 2012

“Authenticity,” Identity, and Humanity: The Hai//om San and the State of Namibia

A summary of issues regarding the conservation influenced resettlement of the Hai//om from Etosha National Park. Contributed by Robert Hitchcock and the Kalahari Peoples Fund.

"It would be useful if the Namibian government followed international declarations and protocols on the rights of indigenous peoples to land and to free, prior, and informed consent regarding resettlement policies and programs. It would also be beneficial if both the government of Namibia and the Hai//om Traditional Authority employed an approach to decision-making based more on consultation and consensus building, and less on top-down directives. This is in the spirit of democratic governance and will help ensure that the goals of building a strong, peaceful and successful society will succeed."

More… Dec 11, 2012

Grabbing Land for Conservation in Loliondo, Tanzania.

A short explanation of what the Avaaz petition against land grabbing hunters in Serengeti really was about, and a reminder that there are other land threats in Loliondo.

An article with a brief overview of the land grabbing in Loliondo should have been published in August when Avaaz launched a campaign called “Stop the Serengeti Sell-Off”, but better late than never …

More… Dec 02, 2012

Three sides of Kilombero evictions drive: Rare species, cattle burden, foreign investments

“you will not get your right here on earth; rather you can only get it on the sun.”

Mathias Ligelele said that in the past, when he was growing up, all the residents had norms and customs. They used to keep their environment from degradation, but with the coming of livestock keepers and other external tribes into their lands, they crushed the tradition ways of life, thus causing massive degradation.

More… Nov 11, 2012

Indigenous Ogiek Seek Profits From Forests

Currently 100 saw millers are licensed to log 50,000 hectares of mature exotic and indigenous trees in the Mau forest reserve - the largest in Kenya stretching across 400,000 hectares.

The Ogiek community was forcefully evicted from the forest in 2009 after a government order to stop the massive deforestation occurring here. The government promised to find alternative land for the evictees. But in 2011 Minister for Lands James Orengo admitted that mistakes were made in the eviction process.

More… Nov 03, 2012

Samburu Testimonial Series No 4 - Noosunya and Ntaramatwa

Noosunya and Ntaramatwa both lost their houses and belongings and were now moving from place to place.

The Samburu of Kisargei, in Kenya’s Laikipia district, were brutally evicted from the lands they call home after the land was sold to the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF). AWF – with funds from The Nature Conservancy (TNC) – says it bought the land on the understanding that no-one lived there. When the Samburu protested and took the matter to the courts the land was hurriedly ‘gifted’ to the government. This is the third in a series of text and video based testimonials produced by Jo Woodman of Survival International, Zoe Young - freelance film maker and Nicholas Winer of Just Conservation.

More… Oct 18, 2012

Samburu Testimonial Series No 3 - The Elders.

Leisan Lesengei, Morri Lereete and Tiyon Lekoluaa are Elders of their community reflecting on the terrible sense of injustice created by these evictiions.

The Samburu of Kisargei, in Kenya’s Laikipia district, were brutally evicted from the lands they call home after the land was sold to the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF). AWF – with funds from The Nature Conservancy (TNC) – says it bought the land on the understanding that no-one lived there. When the Samburu protested and took the matter to the courts the land was hurriedly ‘gifted’ to the government. This is the third in a series of text and video based testimonials produced by Jo Woodman of Survival International, Zoe Young - freelance film maker and Nicholas Winer of Just Conservation.

More… Oct 11, 2012

Samburu Testimonial Series No 2 - Esther Lekuchula

Esther's house was burned down in the first eviction and she has a message for AWF

The Samburu of Kisargei, in Kenya’s Laikipia district, were brutally evicted from the lands they call home after the land was sold to the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF). AWF – with funds from The Nature Conservancy (TNC) – says it bought the land on the understanding that no-one lived there. When the Samburu protested and took the matter to the courts the land was hurriedly ‘gifted’ to the government. This is the second in a series of text and video based testimonials produced by Jo Woodman of Survival International, Zoe Young - freelance film maker and Nicholas Winer of Just Conservation.

More… Oct 04, 2012

Samburu Testimonial Series No 1 - A personal message to the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF)

Nakuru Lemiruni's six children were all born in Kisargei and says she 'cannot think of any other land as home'. She wanted to send a message to AWF. This is it.

The Samburu of Kisargei, in Kenya’s Laikipia district, were brutally evicted from the lands they call home after the land was sold to the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF). AWF – with funds from The Nature Conservancy (TNC) – says it bought the land on the understanding that no-one lived there. When the Samburu protested and took the matter to the courts the land was hurriedly ‘gifted’ to the government. This is the first in a series of text and video based testimonials produced by Jo Woodman of Survival International, Zoe Young - freelance film maker and Nicholas Winer of Just Conservation.

More… Sep 27, 2012

Tanzania’s Land Rights Violations

Tanzania’s Troubling Trend of Land Rights Violations And Evictions.

This article highlights the plight of the Maasai in Tanzania who are experiencing land rights violations and evictions. The author is a frequent visitor to Tanzania and has first-hand knowledge of the situation there.

More… Sep 17, 2012

Tanzania denies plan to evict Maasai for UAE royal hunting ground

Government says 750,000 signatories to online petition are 'misled', as campaigners attack 'policy from another century'

Representatives of the Maasai appealed to Avaaz for help in opposing any deal. The petition is addressed to Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete, but the government insists that there are no plans to force the Maasai out.

More… Aug 16, 2012

The Negotiations – Another Update on Thomson Safaris’ Land Grab in Loliondo

From Susana Nordlund's blog - View from the Termite Mound

"It’s been reported that people thanked God for being able to see the beginning of the end and that they would get their land back. Some also talked about the owners of Thomson Safaris being misled by their employees about the situation on the ground since they have never talked with the community face to face, but any “innocence” on the part of the owners seems very unlikely after so many years and after reports by various people, and it seems especially unlikely to someone who has followed their ruthless hypocrisy online. Some people attending the meeting asked MRG to help them against the harassment by Thomson."

More… Jul 25, 2012

Help the Ogiek to regain their ancestral lands at Chepkitale, Mount Elgon in Kenya - Request for Donations

The Ogiek of Mount Elgon, Kenya, are on the verge of reaching a legal agreement that will have their ancestral lands returned to them. However, they urgently need financial help (around £5,000) in order to make these last steps possible.

This is an extraordinary opportunity for them to regain their land and continue their sustainable livelihoods, an extraordinary opportunity for them to gain legal recognition so that they are no longer threatened with eviction. This cash is needed to support them in what we hope will be the final push to ensure their right to their land is legally recognised.

More… Jun 21, 2012

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and its land claimants

A pre- and post-land claim conservation and development history

Abstract. Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is located in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa and neighbouring Botswana. The local communities on the South African side, the Khomani San (Bushmen) and Mier living adjacent to the park have land rights inside and outside the park. The path from a history of land dispossession to being land owners has created conservation challenges manifested through heightened inter- and intra-community conflicts. The contestations for land and tourism development opportunities in and outside the park have drawn in powerful institutions such as the governments, South African National Parks, private safari companies, local interest groups and NGOs against relatively powerless local communities. This has consequently attracted national and international interest since it may result in further marginalization of the communities who lack the power to negotiate resource access. Moreover, the social and political system of the San is romanticized while little is reported about the Mier, who are an integral part of the park management system. To make these issues more accessible to a growing audience of interested parties and to better understand present conservation and development challenges and opportunities, this paper synthesizes information on the pre- and post-land restitution history of the park and the adjacent communities.

More… Apr 06, 2012

Ethiopia: Government Suspends Allocations, Accelerates Domestic Preparation of Land.

The Ministry reported that it receives at least 400 monthly requests for information on investments in the area.

The Ministry of Agriculture denies human rights violations in the clearing of lands that amount to 42 percent of the region, claiming that the relocation of Indigenous peoples who formerly occupied to land was ‘voluntary.’

More… Mar 25, 2012

Leaked map reveals Ethiopia’s mass evictions plan

Leaked to Survival International, the map shows where Ethiopia intends to resettle tribes whose land and communities stand in the way of their ‘development’ plans.

"This leaked map reveals what the Ethiopian government has wanted to conceal – its intention to resettle indigenous tribes in the Lower Omo Valley. Taken together with the widespread reports of violent evictions and intimidation, it clearly shows Ethiopia’s end goal – and its refusal to respect the rights of anybody who stands in its way."

More… Mar 23, 2012

Kenya Continues To Drag Its Feet In Recognising Indigenous Peoples’ Ownership Of Wildlife Park

Two years on from the African Commission’s ruling the Endorois are still waiting for justice to be brought home

"Although the Commission recognised, for the first time in the continent, indigenous peoples’ rights over traditionally occupied land and their right to be involved in, and benefit from, any development affecting their land, the Endorois still have no land title, .."

More… Mar 03, 2012

Video - Ethiopia: A battle for land and water

Part of the Food for 9 Billion series, a NewsHour partnership with the Center for Investigative Reporting

"Many of the relocated communities could face endemic hunger as early as next year, according to Human Rights Watch. Most are still waiting for farms or seed. More than 12 million Ethiopians are currently in need of food assistance. The future for groups like the Anuak grows increasingly uncertain as the global land rush continues not just in Ethiopia, but in dozens of countries......"

More… Feb 28, 2012

Video - 'Baka - A cry from the rainforest.'

A video posted by Sophie Pritchard. Links inside.

"This programme shows how their lives have changed over 25 years, mining of cobalt, logging and a nature reserve has completely changed their forest and their lives."

More… Feb 17, 2012

Revisiting Loliondo - a Safari Report

More from Susanna's blog 'View from the Termite Mound'.

"I don’t know what to do except to ask those reading this blog but please do not travel with operators like Thomson Safaris that participate in the Tanzanian government's war against pastoralists."

More… Jan 26, 2012

Villagization, Land Grabbing and Conservation in Gambella, Ethiopia – An open question

Given the scale of the relocation of people from traditional land holdings and the enormous areas of high biodiversity forest and park under direct and imminent threat, are conservation organizations complicit through silence?

This is the accusation Human Rights Watch challenges the major donors with, but to what extent are NGOs and donors complicit?

More… Jan 24, 2012

Video - 'Uganda's first Participatory Three-Dimensional Modelling Project.'

Organised in 2011 in Kisoro by the Batwa, former hunter-gatherers who were evicted from two national parks 20 years ago

More… Jan 11, 2012

Kenya's Samburu people 'violently evicted' after US charities buy land

Around 2,000 Samburu families have stayed squatting on edge of disputed territory, says NGO Survival International.

Kenya has a history of land-grabbing by senior government officials, particularly during Daniel arap Moi's time in power. Land disputes are common as legal documents of ownership are often missing or have been forged.

More… Dec 15, 2011

African Commission: FPIC is essential for protected status on indigenous lands

African Commission condemns the recent decision of the World Heritage Committee to inscribe Lake Bogoria in Kenya on the World Heritage List.

This earlier decision and the recent resolution both emphasize that the principle of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) must be adhered to in the lands and territories of indigenous peoples.

More… Dec 07, 2011

Evictions in Tanzania

There have been evictions starting on 12 November at Makao Wildlife Management Area in Meatu District south of Serengeti NP and near Maswa Game Reserve and Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

The alleged “invaders” are blamed for severely degrading the land because of overgrazing, farming and other human induced activities as well as failing to comply with the WMAs requirements to live far from the protected areas.

More… Dec 01, 2011

Conservation and the Violation of the Rights of the Samburu

Three perspectives on the Controversy.

1) Kenya: the curse of the wildlife conservation industry to the Samburu Community. 2) Governments of Kenya sized their Land and now their Animals, and destroy their homes to give room for creation of Monster called Laikipia National Park. 3) Samburu Evicted for “Conservation” in Kenya

More… Nov 27, 2011

WWF fears backlash on Rufiji Delta mangrove forest initiative

"WWF has never advocated the eviction of communities from the delta. The recent evictions were carried out by government agencies,”

“At the centre of our critique of the REDD-readiness programme is the framing of the environmental problem in project documents in which the Warufiji are depicted by foresters, environmentalists, and donors as poor stewards of the mangrove forests,....”

More… Nov 18, 2011

Video - 'The Endorois Case - Litigating the Right to Development'

This clip was edited by Zoe Young from two earlier films, and screened at the United Nations OHCHR Social Forum, marking 25 Years of the Right to Development.

In the 1970s, the Endorois people of Kenya's Rift Valley were forced from their land to make way for the Lake Bogoria National Reserve. In 2010, they won their case before the African Commission on Peoples' and Human Rights, creating a major legal precedent for the Right to Development and recognising indigenous people's rights over traditional lands and resources.

More… Nov 11, 2011

Kenya: Rights Groups Threaten to Sue KWS Over Samburu Perennial Land Disputes

The emerging struggle for the Laikipia East farm purportedly purchased by conservation NGOs

"KWS purchase of the land was illegal because the Samburu have acquired rights to this land under the Kenyan Constitution and international law by residing on the land continuously for over 90 years."

More… Nov 07, 2011

Landless Batwa Long for Return to Forests

They live destitute lives as squatters on other people's land and their hopes for government help remain just a pipedream.

The ethnic group had for centuries lived in the jungles of Bwindi and Mgahinga with wildlife as hunters and fruit gatherers until 1991 when the government evicted them from their ancestral dwelling to pave way for the wild life conservation.

More… Nov 01, 2011

Rift in Paradise

A desperate competition for land and resources—and between people and wildlife—has erupted here with unspeakable violence.

"The average family of six has little more than half an acre here,......And of course those children will have children. Where will they grow crops? That small piece of land has been overworked and is no longer fertile. I'm afraid another war could be around the corner."

More… Oct 19, 2011

A very different kind of Walt Disney production

"The survival of the forests and the communities who depend on them in the DRC cannot be allowed to become hostage to the sale of carbon credits under the logic of REDD."

"It is simply unacceptable for local communities.......to be forced to endure even more suffering, in order to allow a U.S. corporation to continue polluting the atmosphere while boosting its image as a protector of the forests through a relatively minor investment."

More… Oct 05, 2011

The hunting of bushmeat

Neo-colonial conservation or wise custodianship?

"It is a historical fact that biodiversity is declining not because of subsistence hunting, but from the destruction of ecosystems by extractive industries and industrial agricultural, so called 'development'"

More… Aug 20, 2011

Racism and Conservation

Towards a better understanding human-wildlife conflict: Re-visiting common assumptions. A contribution for discussion from Clare Gupta

This article stands as a critique of the neo-colonial attitudes of many conservation scientists, but it also serves as a call for members of the conservation community to recognize that those who care about conservation need to pay as close attention to the intricacies of social life as to the complexities of wildlife ecology in places where humans and wildlife co-exist.

More… Aug 15, 2011

New threats to both conservation and indigenous groups in Southwest Ethiopia.

From Gambella Zone to South Omo Zone, Indian, Italian, Malaysian, Saudi and Korean companies are clearing land and pushing aside indigenous farmers and pastoralists

The Omo National Park will lose more than 80,000 hectares of land and the Mago National Park 33,000 hectares to the plantations. The Lower Omo Valley was declared an UNESCO World Heritage site in 1980.

More… Aug 02, 2011

Could land reform succeed where conservation has failed?

By depriving communities of recognition that they are the lawful owners of forested and rangeland resources, the law removes their greatest incentive to use these assets in sustainable ways

Successfully conserving forests requires a remedy that is both much more straightforward and far more radical.

More… Jul 24, 2011

The Corridor - Loliondo

Maasai pastoralists in Loliondo are under the threat of having a massive 1,500-km2 piece of dry season grazing land taken away from them by the Tanzanian government.

The Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism admitted that there had been “excesses” during a hunt by the Brigadier (Deputy Minister for Defence) and the Minister for Defence of UAE, Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum (Ruler of Dubai, Prime Minister and Vice President of UAE), shortly before taking possession of the hunting block.

More… Jul 21, 2011

Video - 'Conservation's Dirty Secrets'. Part 1.

Conservation is crucial. And we need to get it right. The purpose of our film is not to make you throw up your hands and stop supporting conservation - far from it

“This investigative look at big conservation reveals and explores contradictions related to corporate green washing, human rights abuses, and connections between them."

More… Jun 24, 2011

Video - 'Conservation's Dirty Secrets'. Part 2.

We're in a golden age of discovery but a dark age of destruction.

Conservation work is undeniably complex, riddled with contradictions and competition but it fundamentally it is underpinned by our own relationships to nature. We're the cause and we can be the effect.

More… Jun 24, 2011

Uganda: Wildlife Authority Evicts 2,200 From Elgon

2,201 people in Manafwa District have been rendered landless after Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) evicted them from Mt. Elgon National Park

The eviction comes barely a month after the UPDF, Police and the district leadership resolved to co-operate with UWA to ensure that all encroachers living in Sono, Buwabwala, Bumbo and Mukoto areas vacate the park to ensure safety of their lives and conservation of the national park.

More… Jun 08, 2011

Ethiopian Government Slashes Karuturi Global Land Concession by Two-Thirds

Karuturi Chief Executive Officer Sai Ramakrishna Karuturi said reports claiming the government reduced the concession “are completely baseless".

"The amendment, which reduced the concession by two-thirds to 100,000 hectares (247,105 acres), was made in consultation with Bangalore-based Karuturi six months ago, Esayas Kebede, head of the Agriculture Ministry’s land investment support directorate, said.."

More… May 17, 2011

Nothing to show for tourism billions

Communities around the world-famous Masai Mara Game Reserve still wallow in poverty.

"We are still waiting for the day when we will reap benefits from tourism. The situation is bad and it calls for urgent intervention,..."

More… May 02, 2011

Kenya’s High Hills honey gatherers need urgent help

The Ogiek of Mount Elgon and the Sengwer of the Chepkitale hills

"Relief assistance through the Kenya Red Cross .... prevented from reaching the Ogiek. Since then, the roads to Chepkitale have been blocked by KFS officers..."

More… Apr 18, 2011

Zimbabwe: Illegal Settlers Blamed for Poaching At Conservancies

"When the powers that be speak in tongues it is difficult for us to implement."

The high price paid by both people and the environment for the political upheavals in Zimbabwe

More… Apr 07, 2011

Video - 'People have spoken: voices from Loliondo.'

Resolving Loliondo Land Use Conflict

See the March 13th post "The long running conflict of Loliondo in Tanzania" for more background.

More… Mar 15, 2011

The long running conflict of Loliondo in Tanzania

Resolving the Land Use Conflict in Loliondo

"..burned homesteads, reported human rights abuses, 50,000 cattle displaced and considerable economic loss to local communities...What it will take to bring peace to the area is still up for debate."

More… Mar 13, 2011

South Sudan's choice: resource curse or wild wonder?

In 2007, following two decades of brutal civil war, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) surveyed South Sudan

"But wealth could come from more than tourism and should be measured as more than GDP. Protecting watersheds and forests will greatly benefit the people of South Sudan,..."

More… Feb 11, 2011

Basarwa of the CKGR have a case

"Every one of us must exercise an independent and critical mind when addressing the issue of forced relocation of Basarwa. We should not allow government to indoctrinate us and turn us into conformists."

Two opinion pieces from the Botswana nwspaper Mmegi

More… Feb 05, 2011

Victory for Kalahari Bushmen as court grants right to water (and more from Wikileaks)

In a momentous decision, Botswana’s Court of Appeal today quashed a ruling that denied the Kalahari Bushmen access to water on their ancestral lands.

Botswana government guilty of ‘degrading treatment’ - Case described as ‘a harrowing story of human suffering and despair’ - The Botswana Gazette. Thursday 27th January 2011.

More… Jan 27, 2011

NGOs and WMAs in Tanzania

"Let us challenge the Elspeth Huxleys of today. Let us insist that here there is no such thing as a ‘no man’s land’ or ‘no woman’s land.’ Let us reclaim our land rights."

Fatal Wildlife Attraction. Posted by Jim Igoe for discussion.

More… Jan 25, 2011

Uganda: Securing Indigenous Peoples’ Rights In Conservation: A Review Of South West Uganda

"Mainstream conservation still marginalises and ignores indigenous peoples,..."

United Organisation for Batwa Development in Uganda and Forest Peoples Programme. Media Briefing, Uganda. 11th January 2011.

More… Jan 12, 2011

Whither Botswana ?

Bushmen less insulting than Basarwa - Corry

"The government seems to be reluctant to accept the reality that the Bushmen of the CKGR challenged and defeated it in court over its controversial policy to relocate them."

More… Dec 01, 2010

Congo Leaves Locals Out of Conservation Plans

"Today, I'm ashamed to have signed the documents creating this park, because I didn't know that we would die of hunger in the middle of the forest."

"The law strips forest-dwelling people of all usage rights within the core conservation zones..."

More… Nov 22, 2010

Video - Archbishop Desmond Tutu speaks out in support of the Bushmen

"The Botswana Government has always been for us a showcase democracy"

“The Botswana Government has always been for us a showcase democracy in the way that it cares for its people. I appeal to them, and the world, to find new ways to help solve these issues in a manner that respects the lovely, spiritual culture of the San Bushmen and that truly cares for all of the people of Africa, especially its oldest inhabitants.”

More… Nov 22, 2010

For Some Bushmen, a Homeland Worth the Fight

“The government says we are bad for the animals, but I was born here and the animals were born here, and we have lived together very well,”

By BARRY BEARAK, November 4, 2010. The New York Times. Central Kalahari Game Rserve, Botswana.

More… Nov 08, 2010

Ndumo – An avoidable failure

Many thanks to Angela Impey of the School of Oriental and African Studies in London for providing this background to the Ndumo conflict.

Ndumo – “An avoidable failure .............. has put both people and conservation on a collision course."

More… Oct 31, 2010

Ndumo: a debate that just won’t go away.

A selection of South African media articles.

"The threat to Ndumo grabbed both local and international attention when the local community cut 11km of game fence on the eastern and southern boundaries and invaded the park."

More… Oct 28, 2010

Bushmen launch appeal over right to water. Survival International. 1st September 2010.

Appeal against Justice Walia's refusal to allow the Bushmen’s application for permission to use a well on their lands.

"The Bushmen launched legal proceedings in a bid to gain access to the well, which the government sealed and capped during the 2002 evictions. Even though the Bushmen have said they will raise the funds required to operate the well, the government claims that they need permission to do so and has refused to give it."

More… Sep 28, 2010