We all need to do more to protect these animals and our Planet…make your voice heard…before there is nothing left….. jboy2244
Terrified face of the trafficked gorilla: Little Shamavu found cowering in poacher’s bag after his family were killed
- Only 790 mountain gorillas remain on the planet
- ‘We are powerless to control the international trade in baby gorillas’
By Oliver Pickup
With fearful eyes and defensive body language, baby gorilla Shamavu does not realise how close he came to being sold by poachers on the black market for £25,000.
The one-and-a-half-year-old animal was rescued by the Congolese Wildlife Authorities rangers earlier this month in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Virunga national park in the latest sting operation designed to halt an upsurge in trafficking.
The illegal trading, which is threatening the existence of the already endangered species, is being stamped out – this was the fourth such incident since April – but there are still many gorillas who are not as fortunate as Shamavu.
Scroll down to see a video of Shamavu’s rescue
Lucky escape: The Congolese Wildlife Authorities rescued little Shamavu earlier this month – but how many other baby gorillas are sold on the black market?
Never before have so many poachers been caught in one year – a figure which highlights the high risks they are willing to take in order to try and secure a pay bonanza
According to the latest figures there are believed to be only 790 mountain gorillas left on the planet – and almost 500 of them are found in the Virunga volcanoes, a conservation area, which is spread across DR Congo, Rwanda and Uganda.
The other 300 or so creatures can be found in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda.
Shamavu, the one-and-a-half-old mountain gorilla, is one of four rescued from the clutches of poachers since April
The tiny gorilla is nursed back to health by the workers at the Congolese Wildlife Authorities centre
Feeding time: Shamavu is given some vital nutrients having been found in a tiny rucksack
‘We are very concerned about a growing market for baby gorillas that is feeding a dangerous trafficking activity in rebel controlled areas of eastern DRC,’ director of Virunga national park, Emmanuel de Merode, told the Guardian.
‘We are powerless to control the international trade in baby gorillas, but our rangers are doing everything they can to stamp it out on the ground.
‘Four baby gorillas seized in less than a year is unusually high … [but] it’s only the tip of the iceberg, as we only manage to catch a small proportion of the offenders because the wildlife service is under-resourced in Congo.’
Dr Jan Ramer, pictured, said of Shamavu: ‘He appears to be quite healthy other than some parasites and dry skin.’
Saved: The one-and-a-half-year-old baby mountain gorilla is one of only 790 in the world
The Congolese Wildlife Authorities have begun to pose undercover in order to catch out poachers – and that is how Shamavu was rescued on October 6, in Kirumba, a town on the western border of the national park.
The rangers, led by Christian Shamavu – whose name was taken and used for the baby gorilla – dressed in normal clothes and successfully negotiated a price for the animal, which was hidden in a small backpack.
When the time was right, they arrested the trio of poachers for possession of a gorilla and Mr Shamavu told the Guardian: ‘It’s very likely that the mother and other gorillas were killed because it’s very difficult to take a baby gorilla from its family.
‘The poachers will never admit to this, though.’
Earlier this year there were three more instances of poachers being caught red handed in DR Congo with baby eastern lowland gorillas, in April and June, and also August, when Rwandan police stopped poachers from smuggling a gorilla over the border.
The poachers mistreat the creatures, who become traumatised through the process.
On of the rangers checks the tiny gorilla’s reactions – and he is in good shape despite being abducted by poachers
After his ordeal, which saw the rangers arrest a trio of poachers on October 6, Shamavu has some well-deserved shut-eye
‘Many of these infants are injured from ropes around their hands, feet or waist, and some are quite ill, which is not surprising as they are generally in close contact with their human captors, extremely stressed, and with very poor nutrition,’ Dr Jan Ramer, a vet with Mountain Gorilla Veterinarian Project (MGVP), partners with Virunga national park, was quoted as saying in the Guardian.
Dr Ramer added of Shamavu: ‘He appears to be quite healthy other than some parasites and dry skin.’
But where is the demand for the endangered animals? Ian Redmond, chairman of the conservation group the Ape Alliance, believes ‘the Middle East is a likely source of demand, wealthy animal collectors and a tradition of giving big gifts to curry favour … and maybe wealthy Russians, but there is little hard evidence.
‘What we do know is that just the rumour that someone is looking to buy a baby ape can be enough for penniless hunters to think: "I could get one of those and sell it for $$$$!" And in eastern DRC, once one is captured it is likely to be smuggled eastwards through either Rwanda or Uganda, the traditional trade routes for all goods in that area.’
Emmanuel de Merode added: ‘Surveillance is the key, at the borders, in the towns, along the roads. The local community are the best surveillance system, if they are on our side.
‘A lot more could be done with respect to international trade, especially in the market countries where there is demand for baby gorillas. There, it’s a question of enacting legislation and enforcing.
‘As far as I know, very little has been done that’s effective with respect to baby gorilla trafficking.’
Countries with the highest death penalty rates
As the ninth World Day against the Death Penalty raises the awareness of the inhumanity of the law and calls for an end to capital punishment – we take a look at the five countries that carried out the most executions last year.
The latest statistics from Amnesty International show that of the 58 countries which retain the death penalty, 23 of them carried out at least 527 executions (excluding China) in 2010 and at least 67 imposed death sentences. Last year only one country, Gabon, scrapped the death penalty, becoming the 139th country to ban it.
Officially the country with the highest population, China has remained the top executioner of the world since records began with an estimated 2000 executions carried out last year – more than the rest of the world put together, a recent report by Amnesty reveals. However, the real number of death sentences and executions are skewed as all aspects of capital punishment remain a state secret.
Scarily, even non-violent white-collar crimes such as embezzlement and fraud may also warrant an execution in China. A recent judicial review removed issuing false tax invoices, robbing ancient ruins, and smuggling rare animals from the list of crimes punishable by death.
Two cases of wrongful conviction got widespread coverage in China in 2005. A butcher who was executed for murder in 1989 turned out to be innocent when his alleged victim was found alive; while a man was freed after 11 years in jail when his wife, whom he was accused of killing, was also found alive. The main methods of execution are death by firing squad and the lethal injection.
Although execution figures significantly fell from 714 in 2009, 252 executions took place in the Middle Eastern country last year. This included five women and one juvenile with 14 people executed. Despite the lower figures, Amnesty International said that 300 of the executions were not publicly acknowledged.
In Iran, crimes don’t have to be violent to warrant an execution. Homosexuality, blasphemy and adultery also warrant punishments by death. For example, Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani – a Christian pastor living in Tehran – has been making the headlines because the Muslim-born man faces execution for failing to denounce his Christian faith before the Iranian supreme court.
The methods used by Iran have ranged from beheading, electrocution, hanging, lethal injection and various kinds of shooting by firing squad. Videos of stoning have previously been smuggled out of Iran where a person’s movements are restricted and an organised group throws stones at them until they are dead. Women are known to have been stoned for offences like adultery.
3. North Korea
Public capital punishment is common in North Korea. According to official Amnesty International statistics, 60 people were executed in 2010. The typical method of execution is by firing squad. Although the numbers have recently been declining as North Korea faces international criticism over its record on human rights, in an extreme case in 2007, a pensioner was shot by firing squad in front of 170,000 people at a football stadium. Six people were crushed to death and thirty-four others injured in a stampede as they left the stadium. Treason against the fatherland and treason against the people under Korean law are also punishable by death.
An Amnesty media release highlighted the people executed for crimes that were “not commonly considered criminal, or after unfair procedures”. It said: “A 75 year-old North Korean factory manager was shot by firing squad in October for failing to declare his family background, investing his own money in the factory, appointing his children as its managers and making international phone calls.”
In Yemen, 57 people were executed in 2010, with shooting the main method of execution. Unlike the conventional methods of shooting by firing squad in other countries, Yemen publicly kills the offender by laying them on the ground while a single executioner shoots them through the heart with an automatic rifle. The country came under fire after juveniles have been placed on death row including one in 2010. In the past, the Middle Eastern country has been known to impose the death penalty on mentally ill people.
A well-known liberal democracy, the USA put 47 people to death last year and handed out at least 110 death sentences. However, this number represents only about a third of the number handed down in the mid-1990s. The country is the only one on our top five list that reserves punishment by death for murder.
In March 2011, Illinois became the 16th US state to abolish the death penalty. The death penalty is a highly contentious issue in the United States and the policy came under fire last month when Troy Davis, of Georgia, received the lethal injection for killing an off-duty police officer in 1989. Anti-death penalty campaigners claim there is little evidence to support the execution.
The electric chair and the lethal injection are the most widely practiced methods of execution with one death by firing squad in Utah. Texas is, by far, the leader in executions, with 17 carried out in 2010. If Texas were its own country, it would have been tied for eighth in the world with Syria.
Countries that still retain the death penalty for ordinary crimes
Asia-Pacific Executions in 2010
Palestinian Authority 5
Democratic Republic of Congo
Equatorial Guinea 4
Saudi Arabia 27
United Arab Emirates
The Americas and the Caribbean
Antigua and Barbuda
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Trinidad and Tobago
They won’t be eating curry in a hurry! Participants in ‘world’s hottest chilli-eating contest’ left writhing on the floor as two are hospitalised.
They won’t be eating curry in a hurry! Participants in ‘world’s hottest chilli-eating contest’ left writhing on the floor as two are hospitalised
By Graham Smith
A curry house is under fire after its ‘world’s hottest chilli’ competition landed two people in hospital.
Competitors who had entered Edinburgh restaurant Kismot’s curry-eating challenge started writhing on the floor in agony, vomiting and fainting.
One customer, Curie Kim – whose first name is pronounced ‘curry’ – was so unwell after sampling the ‘Kismot Killer’ dish that she had to be taken by ambulance to hospital twice in a few hours suffering from stomach pains, vomiting and acid indigestion.
Hot stuff: Competitors take part in Edinburgh restaurant Kismot’s curry-eating challenge on Saturday. Some people started writhing on the floor in agony, vomited and fainted
Knock-out dish: Student Curie Kim starts to feel unwell. She was taken to hospital twice in five hours after entering the event
Participants had to be over the age of 18 and were required to sign a legal disclaimer prior to taking part in the competition.
Even though two members of the British Red Cross were on hand, they could not cope with the nature of the injuries sustained.
The restaurant’s website describes the competition as ‘not a contest to see who can eat the most, but a test of endurance against a top secret nuclear strength recipe using some of the world’s hottest chillies.
Today, the Scottish Ambulance Service said it wanted the restaurant to review the way the event was managed.
Paramedics attended the restaurant on Saturday – the busiest day of the week for the ambulance service – at a cost of several hundred pounds.
Curry house owner Abdul Ali admitted that he would have to ‘tone down’ the contest in future.
Half of the 20 people who took part in the challenge dropped out after witnessing the first ten diners vomiting, collapsing, sweating and panting.
In previous years, the Kismot Killer dish has caused diners to suffer nose bleeds and one elderly man had to be taken to hospital.
The Kismot restaurant’s website describes the competition as ‘a test of endurance against a top secret nuclear strength recipe using some of the world’s hottest chillies’
Prize: Manager Abdul Ali poses with the Kurry King or Queen crown and trophy
Miss Kim, 21, a Korean exchange student at Edinburgh University, came second in the competition, but admitted the accolade ‘came with a price’.
She said: ‘I’ve always enjoyed spicy foods and thought this was for a good cause. But it came with a price, I had to be taken to the hospital twice.
‘I first went to hospital at around 4pm and the second time was at 9pm.
‘It got really bad. I have never endured such pain in my life.’
Mr Ali said he felt the competition had gone well, but that he had overestimated how much heat the competitors could take.
Beverly Jones, from Newington, was crowned curry queen after she managed to finish nine spoonfuls of the chilli-filled dish.
Mike Lavin, from Polwarth, came fifth, but he, too, had to be taken to hospital.
The competition raised hundreds of pounds for the Children’s Hospice Association Scotland charity, Mr Ali said.
But local councillor Gordon Mackenzie branded the event a ‘shambles’.
He said: ‘The owners owe a debt to the ambulance service, and I hope they’ll find some way of making it up to them.’
A spokesman for the Scottish Ambulance Service said: ‘We would urge the organisers to review the way in which this event is managed in future in order to avoid another situation where emergency ambulances are required to treat their customers.’
Remains of Royal Family fanatic unearthed near palace
The bones of a Royal Family fanatic were unearthed on a hidden island with views of Buckingham Palace, it has been revealed.
An inquest heard how the remains of American citizen Robert James Moore were discovered in March this year by a tree surgeon working in St James Park.
The 69-year-old, who had a history of mental health problems, sent hundreds of bizarre packages to the Queen – including pornographic images and 600-page letters.
According to coroner Dr Fiona Wilcox, the spot in St James Park offered “an excellent, unimpeded view of the palace”.
The court was told how the only way to get onto the island in St James Park was by boat or swimming.
Pathologists believe the bones could have lain undiscovered for as long as three years after the troubled pensioner’s death.
There was no evidence of any trauma or injury in a post-mortem examination, but the age of the remains meant no cause of death was recorded.
The man, who was found with his passport on his skeletal remains with a bottle of vodka nearby attached to a piece of string, is thought to have arrived in the UK in 2007.
“He had a fixation with the Queen and the Royal Family, which takes us back to the place where he was discovered,” Detective Sergeant Mike West, from Marylebone Police Station, told Westminster Crown Court last Wednesday.
“You have actually stated that there would not be a better place to remain undiscovered with view of the Queen’s primary residence than the West Island.”
In the US, Moore landed himself in trouble with the police – with drink-driving and alcohol-related offences.
Detective Sergeant West added: “There was a green bottle attached to a belt attached to a safety pin attached to string.
“This was a new one to me, but after inquiries with our Homeless Persons Unit I was informed that street drinkers will do this so that if someone tries to remove the alcohol from them while they are asleep it will wake them up and they can fend off the person.”