Four years ago, there were 15 known black rhinos left in Tanzania -- "ground zero of the poaching crisis" -- and today there 167 of them; elephant populations (which dropped 60% between 2009-2014) are rebounding too, up to over 60,000 from a low of 43,330.
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A suspected rhino poacher in South Africa's Kruger National Park was killed by an elephant and then eaten by lions.
After the elephant attack, police said, "his accomplices claimed to have carried his body to the road so that passersby could find it in the morning. They then vanished from the Park."
"Indications found at the scene suggested that a pride of lions had devoured the remains leaving only a human skull and a pair of pants," the statement said.
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Three individuals who joined the illegal hunt were arrested Wednesday by the South African Police Service, and officers continue to investigate what happened.
The suspects appeared in Komatipoort Magistrate Court on Friday to face charges of possessing firearms and ammunition without a license, conspiracy to poach and trespassing.
Of special concern is the black rhino, which is considered critically endangered after its population tumbled from about 65,000 to 1970 to 2,400 in 1995, according to Kruger National Park. Conservation efforts have boosted their numbers, and the world's remaining 5,000 or so black rhinos live predominantly in South Africa, Namibia, Kenya and Zimbabwe.
Archie Lee Williams, Jr. (41) of Brunswick County, North Carolina, has been charged with 73 felony counts of taking 216 Venus Flytrap plants. He could face 450 years in prison and is being held on a $750,000 bond.
From Port City Daily:
The tiny carnivorous plant is listed as a “vulnerable” species on the state’s protected plants list. Environmentalists and officers tasked with protecting the plant from poachers cited difficulty in the past with identifying whether the plants were grown or poached.
According to the Wildlife Resources Commission (WRC), Williams was caught on camera. He was later apprehended with over 200 plants and digging tools. Williams admitted to a WRC officer that he habitually poaches Venus Flytraps from multiple locations around the area.
Interestingly, while it is illegal to take Venus Flytraps from public land, developers can destroy the plants with impunity.
Image of Venus Flytrap: Kuttelvaserova Stuchelova/Shutterstock Read the rest
Cannon Harrison, 24, was on dating app Bumble when he connected with a woman in his area who quickly bragged to him that she had just shot a "bigo buck," a large deer, in the darkness. She even sent Harrison a photo posed with her prey and admitted that she had been "spotlighting," taking advantage of the real deer-in-the-headlights behavior to get an easier shot. The woman didn't know it at the time, but Harrison is a warden with Oklahoma’s Department of Wildlife Conservation. And not only is spotlighting against the law but the season for hunting deer with rifles is over. From the Washington Post:
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“Honestly, the first thing I thought was that it was someone who was messing with me because they knew who I was,” he told The Washington Post. “It seemed too good to be true.”
Armed only with the woman’s first name, a photo and a rough sense of her location, Harrison searched through social media until he had figured out her identity. The next morning, game wardens showed up at her home...
The woman ultimately pleaded guilty to hunting deer out of season and possessing game that was taken illegally, Harrison said...
(She received a fine of) $2,400, according to the Tulsa World — a total that also includes the fines incurred by a man who had been out hunting with her and took home the buck’s head afterward. Because the woman has agreed to pay her share of the fines, she will not face jail time, Harrison said.
Succulents are key to stabilizing the fragile coastal ecosystems of California; they're also extremely popular in China and South Korea, thanks to a fad that's sweeping Asia.
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Lions ate at least two rhinoceros poachers trespassing on a game preserve in Kenton-on-Sea, South Africa. Along with the poachers' remains, rangers found a high-powered rifle and axe.
"They strayed into a pride of lions - it's a big pride so they didn't have too much time," Sibuya reserve owner Nick Fox was quoted as saying. "We're not sure how many there were - there's not much left of them."
More in this press release from the Sibuya Game Reserve.
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Reporter Amos Chapple went on an expedition with Russians engaging in the illegal but lucrative "ethical ivory" trade: pulling long-buried mammoth tusks from the permafrost, often by illegally gouging out entire hillsides. Read the rest
Kids in the Twin Cities asked their families what they could do to express their feelings about local lion-killing dentist Walter Palmer. Star-Tribune's Glen Stubbe got some great shots during protests at Palmer's office. Read the rest