karl ammann
bushmeat activist, wildlife photographer, author;

why this site karl's CV karl's Career photo credits awards search site
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Cairo Connection Mong Lah Connection Kinshasa Connection Bangui Connection Gombe Connection Bear Bile Farm Other video/podcasts how to order
All Apes Great & Small Cheetah Consuming Nature Die Grossen Menschenaffen Eating Apes East African Wildlife Elephant Reflections Gorillas Great Ape Odyssey Great Apes & Humans Hunters & Hunted Little Bull Masai Mara Orangutan Odyssey
the early days correspondence project reports scientific articles karl's notes photographs dna evidence bili coffee project 2010 bili update
contact us:
email: photo inquiries
email: karl directly
in USA: 301-854-0388

present features:

As CITES annual conf.
nears Karl expounds on
CITES double standards.

Karl's exposition of the
real Ivory price
in China.

Christopher Hasslet's
incredible report on the
illicit online ape trade.

An open letter regarding
developments in Guinea

concerning the illegal
export of great apes.

karl's recent Report on
, its permitting
system, with clear
evidence of its
failure to police
the trade in live animals
of endangered species

karl discusses how
disappearing wildlife,
worldwild, reappears
in Chinese Zoo and
Safari Park facilities

karl interviewed by
Southeast Asia Globe
reveals his trade secrets;
staying out of trouble,
disillusion w/progress
on illicit animal trade

CITES 2011 Guinea
Mission Report

karl comments on
Apparent drop in
rhino horn demand

karl wins another
SAB environmental
media award

Commercial Exploitation
and Cites

karl ammannn

Overwhelmed U.S. port
inspectors unable to keep up
with illegal wildlife trade
Darryl Fears (in Wash Post)

African fraud, local market
exacerbate illegal primate

Global Times

Media Report (in Chinese)
Southern China Weekly

the Conakry Connection
very detailed report on
great ape smuggling in Guinea
provides insight into the
worldwide animal trade.
karl ammann and others

latest (9-14)Conakry
Connection update

karl ammann and others

latest (1-14)Conakry
Connection update

karl ammann and others

Cites and the Shanghai 8
exporting illegal wild apes
claiming them captive bred
karl ammann

Cites and the Taiping4
more on the export
of illegal wild apes
claimed as captive bred
karl ammann

Karl's blogs for
National Geographic
tiger Trade, china's chimp
smuggling, ivory tracking,
rhino poaching and more.

Tiger farming in
SE Asia

karl ammann

more on the China-
Gorilla story

karl ammann

Cites and the illegal
trade in wildlife

karl ammann

emails/letters/issues ignored
bonobos to Armenia

GRASP correspondence on
illegal animal trade

allegations of a coverup at the
CITES secretariat

karl ammann

a fairy tale of ivory:
the ongoing tragedy of
incompetence, slaughter,
and lawlessness.
karl ammann and others

for details see this
transcript with NBouke.
karl ammann and others

the Rhino & the Bling - the
inside mechanics of the
rhino horn trade.
karl ammann

karl's latest elephant
poaching video

Millions spent on ape
conservation and where
are the results?

karl ammann

an interview with Karl
on the state of conservation,
poaching, trafficking
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Where Did All
the Tigers Go?

karl ammann

the detailed report on
The Cairo Connection:
Ape Trafficking

karl ammann

the updated report on
The Cairo Connection:
Ape Trafficking in Egypt

karl ammann

Tiger, Lion bones
and rhino horn

another piece in Swara

karl ammann

Tiger cake & rhino horn
from Swara, a magazine of the
East African Wildlife Society

karl ammann

Into the Asian Underworld
in Africa Geograpic's
Rhino Watch
(page 3)
karl ammann

karl speaks at Foreign
Correspondents' Club of
Thailand - International
Trade in Reptile Skins

rhino versus ape

karl ammann

the rhino horn story
at consumer end
karl ammann

the latest horrors of
Poaching in
karl ammann

addendums to
elephants and elephant
conservation in the DRC

karl ammann

Our reptile skin trade
is now online.

Rhino Files: 333 rhinos
killed by poachers in
barbaric fashion

karl ammann
bernadette cook

Cites and the diplomatic
approach: these videos
say it does not work

karl ammann

Karl wins another
Genesis award

notes on Orang conservation
in Kalimantan - a sad story

errol pietersen

despite illegally held apes
CITES action minimal

karl ammann

asia geographic on
illegal wildlife trade

dale peterson
karl amman

africa geographic
reports on karl's
smuggling studies

karl ammann

Karl's German site

of interest

karl nominated for
zoological society medal

'Canned hunting': the
lions bred for slaughter

The Guardian

Seven rhinos killed ...
Kenya's bloodiest week

The Guardian

Forestry Education info
chase g

Not on Animal Planet
karl ammann

2010 Bili-Uere Update
karl ammann

more on wildlife
trafficking from Boten -
bears, leopard, tiger cubs

karl ammann

"horrific slaughter of
elephants ... butchered
in the Central African
Republic ... "

from BBC Newsnight

HIV ignored in Natl
Geographic article on
disease transmission

karl ammann

The Protein Gap
A misleading article

karl ammann

Mass Gorilla Execution
Can we learn from it?

karl ammann

Hundreds of Elephants
killed in DRC Park

from radio Okapi

Hunting Report take
on Chimp escape

karl ammann

US Wildlife Agency
provides a bandaid

karl ammann

open letter to CITES
re: wildlife export

karl ammann

important books

elephant reflections
dale peterson
karl ammann

eating apes
dale peterson
karl ammann

consuming nature
anthony rose
karl ammann

Open Letter to Don Causey, Publisher of the Hunting Report

Reading through some of the literature on the conservation benefits of sport/trophy hunting one gets the impression that in Southern Africa a lot of lessons have been learnt. Benefits to the local communities and tax income for the state seem to justify the investment in hunting infrastructure and controls. However a few years ago when I watched the Cook Report on canned hunting in South Africa it become clear that even countries with good governance - by African standards - have problems in controlling some of the excesses of hunting. Interestingly this same documentary showed an undercover investigation having a Spanish hunting outfit offering some potential clients, gorilla hunts in South East Cameroon and ways to export the trophy. That brings us to Central Africa and a region of the continent which, according to many experts and Transparency International, has the biggest problem with corruption and governance on the African continent. Let's now take this issue a step further and look at the Forestry and Wildlife Utilization tax code which the ministers of finance and environment signed on April 20th ,2002. I received a copy of this document from a European Zoo which in turn had been presented it by an animal dealer offering the species on the list available for capture and export. When I tracked down the animal dealer it turned out that he received the document from a CITES official in Kinshasa who was also a relative of the minister. When I presented the document in Kinshasa at the ministry to confirm its authenticity nobody knew about the existence of these new decree, not even the permanent secretary in the ministry. It took phone calls to Yokahama in Japan where the minister was attending an ITTO conference and to the World Bank (which had been involved in the drafting off this new tax code) to confirm that indeed the document was genuine. Despite again asking a lot of knowledgeable players to confirm that indeed this same tax code is in force it was again no absolute confirmation that it is. However nobody I questioned has seen a new 'arrete interministeriel' since the one of 2002. Now after this long introduction here the reason why this, at least to me, is a crucial issue in the context of the hunting debate. It offers all of the totally protected species for capture and hunting. The Mountain Gorilla is U$ 1000 to capture and U$ 500 to hunt, the bonobo and chimpanzee are U$ 150 to catch and U$ 300 to hunt the two species of elephant are U$ 500 to capture and U$ 1000 to hunt the Northern White rhino (the most endangered large mammal in the world) is available for U$ 3000 to capture and U$ 3000 to hunt, the okapi goes for U$ 1200 to capture and U$ 500 to hunt. Interestingly enough the Bongo is not listed at all and seems the only totally protected species. Various parties have tried to figure out the logic, not only when it comes to what are officially classified as totally protected species for hunting and capture but also the dollar amounts involved for hunting and capture (there is additionally an official 'Holding Permit' on the same list. Nobody I know of has succeeded. It should also be mentioned that at the time this laws were signed into force the DRC was suspended from CITES but was readmitted since. During a trip to Kinshasa earlier this year we were confronted by the fact that hunting licenses were issued for various hunting reserves including an area in the Northern Congo where we have been running a conservation project which had been negotiated with the MLC rebel government. (The main reason we traveled to Kinshasa was to point out that in the rebel days there appeared to be a lot more political will coming from the Central Authority and certainly they had a lot more control in the outlaying areas then the present transition government.) We discussed this development with the German advisor to the ministry and were told that the Scientific authority had not been consulted in these allocations and that he personally was very very concerned with the lack of data concerning any numbers for the animals offered for hunting: Some of the best estimates for some of the endemic Congo mega fauna seem to indicate a very drastic decline since during the war years: Eastern Lowland Gorillas down from 17 000 to 5000 Northern White Rhino from 34 to 10 or less Elephants from 90 000 to 14 000 Bonobo in two research sites down by 75% The number of zebra left is less then 20 and the same figure is estimated for the Derby Eland. Clearly this is a country where wildlife poaching is pretty much totally out of control and the first step has to be to get some kind of control back over the National Parks and other protected areas - including hunting reserves. While I do believe that sport/trophy hunting can contribute to the above goal and objective I consider the opening of hunting and the offering of any quotas as irresponsible until such time as either the scientific authority or an independent third party has done some census work to establish what populations exist and to what extend sustainable hunting can be considered a conservation tool. In addition to these sentiments expressed by various experts in Kinshasa we had actually done some census work in the Bili Uere area where we also have a primate research project. This we were told had been allocated to a company called. Congo Safari and Expedition which were expecting to start hunting this dry season. Supposedly they had visited a small corner of their concession for a few days and seen some bongo tracks and that was the basis for declaring Bili Uere as the most suitable hunting area in the Congo. We had a problem with this analysis and asked to see the corresponding agreement in question to establish what income the state would derive from this arrangement and how the local communities would benefit and what would be done in terms of anti poaching activity (elephant poaching and has been for years totally out of control. The Bili Uere area was the one with the highest elephant population density of the DRC and based on our estimates there are now a few hundred left). We were given a quick look at the agreement in question which showed that none of the 2002 surface allocation tax of U$ 15 was mentioned, neither was the daily entry fee of U$ 35 for all members of a hunting party. There were some nice but very vague terms regarding improving the local infrastructure and helping with education and help facilities. No specific terms and conditions which could be considered legally binding. We then saw in Isiro another such agreement which was signed with another company in 2003 and was very similar to the one we had seen in Kinshasa and also included duty free privileges on all imports including alcohol. I then did receive a phone call from a Mr. George Angelides who is meant to be the owner of the company in question. I pointed out that the agreement we had seen in my opinion encouraged poor governance and corruption and it could not possibly be in the interest of the DRC to hand out millions of hectares of hunting concession. Mr. Angelides confirmed that he had a 5 year tax holiday agreed on by the minister. (the negotiating and handing out of hunting concessions is supposedly the responsibility of ICCN the parastatel which manages all the protected areas). The latest news release is that Congo Safari and Expeditions has secured some 3.1 million hectares of the Bili Uere concession without any kind of financial commitment. (3.1 million hectare at an allocation fee of US 15 per hectare would come to some U$ 45 million). We are being told that the presence of a hunting party would stabilize things in terms of elephant poaching. We have attempted this for the last three years and have invested over U$ 500 000 to buy the coffee production of the region which most likely amounted to about half the economic product. In the MLC days we were provided with a platoon of soldiers which on two occasion confronted poaching gangs confiscating elephant meat, AKs and Kalashnikovs, plus some porters ended up with bullet wounds. As far as the intelligence as to who where how and why, concerning the still ongoing elephant poaching, this is all in place and if there was a government authority willing to act on it then all it would need is some political will. The area allocated to Congo Safari and Expeditions is also the very area where in the last few years a huge influx of cattle people from Tchad has taken place. Whenever we overfly the area we see ten thousands of cows being grazed in what is a Wildlife Reserve and said Hunting area. Again this fact has been reported to Kinshasa without any real reaction. As such some hunting parties coming in for a few months and taking a few of the more desirable species can clearly not be the answer to stabilize this area. This needs a large scale concerted effort with adequate resources and a commitment to be on the ground 12 months a year. We doubt that even if this was the long term intention of Congo Safaris and Expeditions that this would be possible since the main partner in this venture seems to be the local chief which is at present a member of parliament in Kinshasa. The missionaries which used to live in Asa in the past report of tons and tons of elephant meat and ivory coming out on the this very road leading through Asa. We have documented the same and there is still elephant meat and ivory arriving on pretty much a weekly basis in Zemio which is the other side of the border. Being somewhat familiar with the Azande culture it is not possible that this level of trade could be going on without the traditional chief being party to it. This is where things stand today. The hunting community which seems keen to see Congo opened up for their sport do not seem to believe in the basic level of transparency and accountability which should go with operating in this part of Africa. Several requests to be officially given a copy of the agreement in question have gone unanswered. I do not believe that this is the approach to opening up hunting in the DRC. I believe it is not in the interest of the hunting community nor conservation. Statements like ....................... contained in some of the hunting status bulletins circulated would appear to qualify for an investigation under the ........ which appear to be applicable to some of the owners of Congo Safari and Expeditions and might just be applicable to any US and European hunting party signing up to any of the packages this week on offer at stand.... at the Reno convention of the Safari Club International. In terms of potential conservation benefits arising from sport/trophy hunting the DRC laws seem to lag far behind the requirements of countries with a much longer sport hunting tradition; E.G. Poor quality governance is clearly the biggest problem to conservation in most of Central Africa - as well as many other domains. If there is to be any hope that things will change in future western donor and investor community clearly has to lead with examples. To me the above achieves the opposite....

Best regards
Karl Ammann
Nanyuki, Kenya

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