Daily Archives: September 1, 2016

Paul G. Allen’s Great Elephant Census Reveals Dramatic Population Decline in African Savanna Elephants

Announced today at the IUCN World Conservation Congress, results of census will inform major conservation policy decisions worldwide to ensure African elephants’ survival

HONOLULU, Sept. 1, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Inc. today announced the alarming results of the Great Elephant Census (GEC), the first-ever pan-African survey of savanna elephants.  Revealed today at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress, the GEC shows a decline of 30 percent in African savanna elephant populations in 15 of the 18 countries surveyed.[1]

The Elephants Without Borders team flew GEC surveys in their home country of Botswana, which is also home to Africa’s largest elephant population with an estimated 130,451 elephants according to the Census. Dr. Mike Chase, founder of EWB, was the principal investigator of the Great Elephant Census. (Photo credit: Great Elephant Census).

Photo – http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160829/402412

“This was an extraordinary collaboration across borders, cultures and jurisdictions. We completed a successful survey of massive scale, and what we learned is deeply disturbing,” said philanthropist and Vulcan founder Paul Allen. “Armed with this knowledge of dramatically declining elephant populations, we share a collective responsibility to take action and we must all work to ensure the preservation of this iconic species.”

Over a two-year period, using standardized data collection and validation methods, the GEC accurately determined the number and distribution of the great majority of African savanna elephants and provides a baseline for future surveys and trend analyses.

Final results show:

  • Savanna elephant populations declined by 30 percent (equal to 144,000 elephants) between 2007 and 2014.[2]
  • The current rate of decline is 8 percent per year, primarily due to poaching. The rate of decline accelerated from 2007 to 2014.
  • 352,271 elephants were counted in the 18 countries This figure represents at least 93 percent of savanna elephants in these countries.
  • Eighty-four percent of the population surveyed was sighted in legally protected areas while 16 percent were in unprotected areas. However, high numbers of elephant carcasses were discovered in many protected areas, indicating that elephants are struggling both inside and outside parks.

“If we can’t save the African elephant, what is the hope of conserving the rest of Africa’s wildlife?” said Mike Chase, GEC principal investigator and founder of Elephants Without Borders. “I am hopeful that, with the right tools, research, conservation efforts and political will, we can help conserve elephants for decades to come.”

Beyond a significant amount of his personal time and effort, Paul Allen spent more than $7 million to fund and manage the project, create the technology, and make the census results available online.

“This project required a herculean effort on the part of many partners since its launch in December 2013, with 81 airplanes and 286 crew members flying roughly 463,000 kilometers to complete the survey,” said Vulcan Wildlife Conservation Director James Deutsch. “We want to recognize the collaboration and critical contributions of wildlife department staff in the 18 countries surveyed along with our lead NGO, Elephants Without Borders; the 90 scientists, our technical advisory group and other NGO partners, without which this undertaking would not have been possible.”

At least two-thirds of the continental savanna elephant population figures reported in IUCN’s 2016 African Elephant Status Report (AESR) come from the GEC results. The report will be published in advance of the 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (CoP17) in Johannesburg, South Africa. This updated AESR will be used to shape major policy decisions about the future of elephants.

Deeply troubled by what the GEC revealed, Mr. Allen has made elephant conservation a top priority and is working with individuals, organizations and governments from around the world to ensure that future generations will be able to see elephants with their eyes and not just read about them in books.

New initiatives include the launch of a forest elephant census in regions where poaching is thought to have devastated herds and adequate population data is critically needed. Vulcan has also developed a visual data platform that provides real-time intelligence for protected management areas. The new system has been deployed as a pilot program in Kenya.

Finally, to generate a broader understanding of the critical plight of African elephants, Paul Allen’s Vulcan Productions is releasing two films this year – “The Ivory Game,” an undercover feature-documentary, set to expose the dark world of ivory trafficking; and “Naledi: A Baby Elephant’s Tale,” the true story of a baby elephant born into an elephant rehabilitation program in Botswana and is orphaned at the age of one month.

For more information on the GEC results, please see:

Those interested in further updates can follow along on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and Paper.li.

[1] In total, 18 countries were surveyed but comparable data is only available for 15 countries.
[2] For the large populations sampled by the GEC in 15 of 18 countries flown and for which a comparable previous count was available.

Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP Announces Opening of Mozambique Office

Leading Sub-Sahara African Corporate Immigration Expert Owen Davies Leads Office

HOUSTON, Aug. 31, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP (BAL) announced today it has officially opened its Maputo, Mozambique Office. BAL had previously announced that Owen Davies had been hired as Managing Director, Africa. Davies is widely recognized as a Sub-Sahara African corporate immigration expert and a leading international corporate immigration lawyer.

“BAL is the leading immigration firm for the energy industry and Mozambique is one of the top countries in Africa for energy exploration,” said managing partner Jeremy Fudge. “Mozambique is a progressive African country with a democratic government that has been focused on providing services back to its population. With substantial infrastructure enhancements, and energy resources that provide revenue to its economy, Mozambique is well-situated to become a focal point for international business and economic growth and stability. Now, with our new BAL office, we are positioned to help energy firms and other businesses partner with this great country in pursuing economic opportunities.”

“I am delighted to be leading BAL’s office in Africa,” Davies said. “I believe that BAL’s globally unified structure is critical to successfully partnering with clients in Africa, where the immigration norm requires multi-country document and process support.”

With nearly twenty years of experience, Davies brings considerable expertise to BAL’s African practice. Consistently ranked as an African immigration expert by the highest bands of legal directories, he is a leading solicitor and advisor to multi-national companies, governments and international trade blocs on global immigration issues, including crisis management and immigration program and policy development.

Emily King, BAL Managing Director, Europe, who had previously supervised the firm’s strategy in Africa, stated: “Placing our BAL team within Africa offers an enhanced opportunity to be of service to our clients, and promotes a higher level of ground level focus on compliance. We recognize that Africa is a continent that poses unique challenges that are best addressed by experts on-site who can accomplish and manage work that is compliant and honed to each country’s unique needs.”

About Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP
Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP was established in 1980 as a corporate immigration law firm. The firm provides comprehensive immigration services from offices in Austin, Boston, Dallas, Geneva, Houston, London, Maputo, McLean, Melbourne, Rio de Janeiro, San Francisco, São Paulo, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney and Washington, DC. The firm and its leaders are highly ranked in every major legal publication, including Best Lawyers, Chambers Global, Chambers USA, Martindale Hubbell, The Legal 500, and Who’s Who Legal. Non-U.S. offices are operated by affiliated entities in those countries. See website for details. www.balglobal.com

South Africa: Dudu Myeni’s Rumoured Re-Appointment a Massive Political Defeat for Pravin Gordhan

The rumour that Cabinet have decided to retain Dudu Myeni not only as a member of the SAA board but also as the Chair of the board would be a massive political defeat for Finance Minister Gordhan.

It would be negative for the South African economy and the forthcoming ratings assessments where international agencies are looking closely at how the SOE’s are managed. This will make a sovereign downgrade even more likely.

It is also deeply suspicious that the post cabinet briefing has been postponed given the crisis surrounding SAA.

Myeni and her board have simply ignored Minister Gordhan and all warnings. They have, in our opinion, recklessly continued to run SAA into the ground and to the brink of liquidation.

Her re-appointment would be bad for SAA, bad for our economy and bad for Pravin Gordhan.

Source: Democratic Alliance.

South Africa: IDC Must Account to Parliament for Financial Losses

I have asked the Chair of the Portfolio Committee on Economic Development, Mmathulare Coleman, to summon the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) before Parliament so that it can account for its financial losses and present a turnaround plan.

It emerged this week that the IDC’s profits fell by 87% from R1.65 billion in 2014/15 to R223 million in 2015/16.

Steel producer Scaw Metals, which is 74%-owned by the IDC, posted a loss of R1.1 billion, while the agrochemicals group Foskor, which is 59%-owned by the corporation, lost R568 million.

The time has come for the entity to rid itself of Scaw and Foskor. They are albatrosses around the IDC’s neck. Several parties have already expressed interest in purchasing Scaw, following the IDC’s call for expressions of interest in October last year. Almost a year on, the IDC needs to report back on progress towards a sale.

Furthermore, the IDC must account for its exposure to Africa’s biggest private fixed-income money manager, Futuregrowth Asset Management. This comes in the wake of Futuregrowth’s announcement yesterday that it would hold back loans to the IDC.

Futuregrowth has shelved plans to lend more than R1.8 billion to the IDC and other state-owned enterprises including Eskom, Transnet, the South African National Roads Agency, the Land Bank and the Development Bank of South Africa.

The fund manager will only resume offering loans and rolling over debt once it has been assured that proper oversight and governance mechanisms are in place at these public entities.

The IDC needs to keep its nose clean on this score.

Already, question marks hang over the corporation’s decision to restructure a R250 million loan to the President’s pals, the Guptas. By all accounts, the IDC sacrificed commercial considerations on the altar of political expediency when it coughed up R250 million for the Gupta-owned Oakbay Resources to buy Shiva Uranium. It then added fuel to the fire by renegotiating repayment on terms wholly favourable to the Guptas.

The IDC should account to Parliament for its financials without delay. We cannot afford to have it go the way of South Africa’s other public enterprises, which are money-guzzling sinkholes.

Source: Democratic Alliance.