TRACKS AND TEARS

探望非洲瀕危野生動物Kenya’s remaining elephants and rhinos face extinction at the hands of ivory poachers. Can tourist safaris be part of the solution? JOE MINIHANE reports

Discovery - - CONTENTS 目錄 - 9

Kenya’s wildlife is in crisis. Can new safari initiatives help? By JOE MINIHANE

探望非洲瀕危野生動物

肯尼亞的野生動物面臨生死存亡關頭,新的動物觀賞團對牠們是否有幫助?撰文: Joe Minihane

The plains rear up in my window. Six dark shapes appear, moving slowly across the parched grass. ‘ Elephants at nine o’clock,’ says Murtaza from the pilot’s seat, as our 10-seater Cessna banks sharply left. After a night relaxing to the sound of monkeys and tropical birds at One Forty Eight, an artist’s residence turned boutique hotel in Nairobi’s Langata district, I’ve taken to the Kenyan skies with Scenic Air Safaris. This is its maiden endangered species tour and with their help I’m hoping to get up close to some of Africa’s most elusive creatures.

‘ We want to provide experts who can answer questions beyond your average guide’s knowledge,’ explains Scenic’s Simon Penfold, as we touch down on a dusty strip in the Maasai Mara National Reserve.

With a rich diversity of habitats, Kenya is one of the best places in Africa to see animals on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)’s ‘Red List’ of threatened species. Animals like the lion, black rhino and elephant.

The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) estimates that there are just 2,000 lions left in the country, down from 15,000 two decades ago. The picture is bleaker for Kenya’s black rhino, of which there are only an estimated 640 left. Across Africa, elephant populations slid 30 per cent between 2007 and 2014, according to the Great Elephant Census. Kenya’s wildlife is at crisis point.

我乘坐的十座位塞斯納小型飛機急速左,轉時 機師Murtaza說:「 點鐘位置有大象。」Maasai Mara國家保護區的平原驀地展現於窗前,眼前有六個黑色身影,正緩緩踏過乾枯的。草原

我下榻奈羅的比 精品酒店One Forty Eight,這家酒店位於Langata區,前身是藝術家的。寓所在猴子和熱帶雀鳥的叫聲陪伴下歇宿一宵後,我隨著專營非洲空中野生物動 觀賞團的Scenic Air

Safaris旅行社飛到肯尼亞上空。這是旅行社首次舉辦的瀕危野生物動 觀賞團,望我希 藉此機會,近距離接觸一些難得一見的非洲野生動物。

我們的飛機在Maasai Mara國家保護區沙塵滾滾的跑道上降落,旅行社的Simon Penfold向我解釋說:「我們為旅客提供具豐富專業知的識 導遊,可以解答一般導遊不能解答的。疑難 」

肯尼亞擁有豐富而多樣化的棲息地,如欲觀賞列入國際自然保護聯盟( IUCN)紅色名錄的瀕危物,種 例如獅子、黑犀牛和大象等,這裡是非洲其中一個理想。地點

肯尼亞野生物動 保護局( KWS)估計,該國現存的獅子數目由已 20年前的15,000頭,降至現時僅餘的2,000頭。黑犀牛的前景更堪虞,估計目前只剩下640頭。而一項針對大象數目的普查Great

Elephant Census則顯示, 2007年至2014年間,全非存的大象數目下跌了三成,肯尼亞的野生動物正面臨生死存亡的。關頭

旅行團的理念是展示保育人士如何結合本

猖象狂的 牙盜獵者令肯尼亞僅存的大象和犀牛面臨絕種之憂,驅使Joe Minihane深入保護區,探索野生動物園旅遊能否助牠們重獲生機

The idea of the tour is to show how conservationists are marrying local efforts and technology to bring species back from the brink, as well as offering visitors a memorable glimpse of Africa’s wild heart.

The Mara covers 1,510 square kilometres and is perhaps Africa’s best-known nature reserve. It’s encircled by nine private conservancies, where landowners and locals work together to protect the wildlife.

I’m joined on my first game drive by David Mascall. With 35 years’ experience with the KWS, Mascall is one of the country’s leading lion conservationists.

‘People don’t realise that the lion is endangered,’ he says. ‘But the boom in the human population and livestock has hit numbers hard.’

Kenya’s human population today stands at 49.7 million, up from 8.1 million in 1960. UN figures suggest it will reach 81 million by 2050. The growth means more livestock grazing larger areas, leading to a fall in small prey. As lions take cattle instead, farmers often retaliate.

We’ve been on the road for just 10 minutes when a call comes in on the radio. Lions.

Our driver puts his foot down. We pull up by a small acacia tree to find two grown females and five cubs snoozing in the midday sun, unruffled by our presence. The Mara Lion Project estimates there are now

土力量和先進科,技 使動物絕處逢生同,時讓遊客一窺非洲令人難忘的野生生態。

Maasai Mara國家保護區佔地1,510平方公里,是非洲其中一個最知名的自然保護區。這片土地含 了九個私人管理的保護區由, 業主和當地人齊心協力保護區內野的生動物。

我首次駕車進行觀野察 生動物之旅,與我同行的是David Mascall。他在KWS服務35年,經驗豐富,是肯尼亞獅子保育工作的重要人物。

Mascall表示:「人們並不知道獅子正瀕臨絕種。人口和家畜數目急遽飆升,對獅子數造的目成沉重打擊。」 420 lions here. ‘ That’s good, considering the decline nationally,’ says Mascall.

After an afternoon spotting hippos, buffalo and giraffe, we head towards the 14,100-hectare Siana Conservancy. On our way, we catch sight of a female cheetah and her three young as they make their way across the bush. It’s a rare privilege. Cheetah numbers are also dwindling thanks to encroaching livestock.

That evening, Mascall and I go out again. It doesn’t take long to find a pride. Soon we’re at a watering hole, watching a mother and her cubs having a drink. I’m transfixed.

‘ The community is our first defence against poaching,’ says Ian Lemaiyan, standing in the cold dawn on the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy (see box on page 51 for more). We’ve flown an hour north from the Mara to this 25,000-hectare site, run by Lewa, an innovative partnership of local tribes and conservationists that has helped turn this area into a haven for endangered species.

Lemaiyan is a scientist specialising in black rhino. Thanks to tip-offs from locals and Lewa’s community education projects, no rhino has been poached for its horn in Lewa since December 2013.

After Lemaiyan takes us off-road to watch a black rhino cow and her calf feed in a grassy hollow, we head to Lewa’s operations room. Inside an

肯尼亞人口由1960年的810萬增, 至現時的4,970萬聯, 合國估計,到了2050年,當地將至人口 增加 8,100萬。這意味著將會有更多家畜,需要有更大的地方來放牧,令小型獵物的數目減少。當獅子轉而覦覬 家畜時,農夫往往就會施行報少。

我們才上路十分鐘無, 線就來電 傳 發現獅子的知通 。司機忙連 踩煞車掣在, 一棵矮小的相思樹旁停下。我們發現兩頭成年的母獅和五頭小獅在正午的陽光下打盹,對我們的出現視無若。睹根據長期監察獅子體的團 Mara Lion Project估計,約目前 有420頭在獅子 這裡棲身。Mascall說「: 當全國獅子數目正在下降之際,這個情況教人欣喜。」

我花們 了一個下午尋覓河馬、水牛和長頸的鹿 蹤跡後前, 往面積方14,100公頃的Siana Conservancy保護區。,看途中 我們 見一頭雌獵和豹 牠的三小崽頭 豹 正穿越樹叢,這情景絕對難得一遇。由於家畜不斷入侵獵豹的棲息地,牠們數的 量亦因此日少益減 。

當天黃,昏 我和Mascall再度動身。沒多久,我發們就 現獅群,觀察一頭母獅和她的孩子在水坑喝水的情景,教我嘆為觀止。

翌日,我從們 Ma r a向北飛行一小時,抵方面積25,000公頃的Lewa Wildlife Conservancy野生動物保護區(詳見情 51 頁)地。當 部族和保育人士攜手合作,將Lewa建設為瀕危動物的天堂。專門研究黑犀的學牛 科 家Ian Lemaiyan在的與涼爽 清晨我們碰面,:他說 「社群是對抗非法捕獵的第一道防線。」

全賴當地人舉報,加上Lewa的社區教育項目奏效,自2013年12月,至今 Lewa保護區內沒有犀牛被偷獵取角。

Lemaiyan領我們走到路旁,觀察頭一雌黑性 犀牛和她的孩子在一個長滿草的坑洞裡覓食,然後帶我們往前 Lewa的指揮部。這間平平無的屋有奇 小 只 一個房間,裡面設有兩個電視熒幕和一個電腦顯示屏,顯示追蹤犀牛和大象的實時數據。

指揮部配備全天候電腦監控器材及電話,24小時均有職員當值,讓當地的部落 居民(其中不少族人在Lewa保護區工兒作,女入則 讀由保護區資助的學校時)隨 致電舉報任何非法捕獵行為,武裝部隊接獲通知後可於數分鐘內抵達現場。這些措施顯出保護犀牛的迫切性,亦彰顯了Lewa的職員和當地人對保護犀牛重的 視。

Lemaiyan指出:「情況正在好轉。我衷心希我在望 們 這裡所做的工作,能夠進一步增加犀牛的數量」。

我在更北面禁止獵捕的Samburu National Reserve保留區見到同樣積極的信念。經過15分鐘飛行航程後,我們與Saba Douglas- Hamilton會他合, 是保護大象的先驅,成立了大慈拯救 象的 善機構Save the Elephants(STE)。

偷者獵 透過盜象取 牙來賺取暴利的現象方興未艾,但Douglas- Hamilton及他的救援團隊未曾感到氣餒。2012年12月,單是Samburu已有頭象28 大被殺。但此事引來嘩然輿論,19名替象牙走私商人工作的偷獵者最終在群眾壓力下自首。

Douglas- Hamilton談及STE的努力時表示:「我們士氣高永昂, 不言敗。面對惡劣情你勢, 或許會踟躕不安但, 當你決採心取行動時,事情就會有轉機」。

STE掌握的非洲大象資訊無人能及單,在Samburu區就已收集到1,000頭大資象的料。其中47頭大象戴有追蹤項,圈 只要利用Google Earth應用程式, Douglas-Hamilton及她的團隊可在保護區內外隨時追蹤象群,掌握牠們的實時置位 。,然而 想要真正領略大象的龐然氣勢,最還好 是與牠們來個近距離接觸。

Douglas- Hamilton駕車穿越乾涸河的床,停車後指著迎面來四公而 的 頭 象,她逐一介紹牠,們 然後呼喚其中一頭脫隊走向我們大的 象。我屏息看牠走近驅四 車,口中發出呼嚕叫聲,繞著車子走了幾圈後施施然離開。Douglas- Hamilton指「出:牠們是喜愛社交的動物。在同伴遭獵殺,後 無血緣關係的象群也會重新組織成為新的群體。」

拯救大象的工依艱作 然 鉅。IUCN於2016年9月公佈的報顯告 示,非洲大數象的目於過去25年來遽減,但至少Samburu的情況令人感到樂觀。2014年,區內新生大象的數目超過死亡數字,肯尼亞政府更立法

unprepossessing hut are two massive screens hooked up to computers, showing real-time tracking data on rhino and elephants.

There’s a direct line for local tribes, many of whose members work at Lewa and children attend schools funded by the conservancy, to call in to report any poaching – meaning armed response teams can be on the scene in minutes, with staff manning phones and computers 24 hours a day. It shows both the urgency of the task at hand and the seriousness of Lewa’s staff and the local people when it comes to protecting rhinos.

‘ We are seeing positive change,’ says Lemaiyan. ‘Hopefully the work we are doing here can help boost the population further.’

I find the same positivity further north in the Samburu National Reserve. After a short 15-minute flight, we are met by Saba Douglas-Hamilton, whose Save the Elephants (STE) charity is at the forefront of protecting this species.

It would be easy for Douglas-Hamilton to be downhearted. Poaching for ivory remains a serious business. In December 2012, 28 elephants were killed in Samburu alone. In the outcry that followed, community pressure led to 19 poachers, working on behalf of ivory traffickers, turning themselves in.

‘It’s exciting, not overwhelming,’ says Douglas-Hamilton of STE’s efforts. ‘You can be paralysed by how bad things are, but once you get moving, things happen.’

STE has unrivalled information on Africa’s elephant populations. Its researchers know 1,000 individually in Samburu alone. Forty-seven of them are fitted with tracking collars, allowing Douglas-Hamilton and her team to follow herds around the reserve and beyond, utilising Google Earth to home in on any collared animal and check its location in real time. But there’s no better way to understand the true majesty of elephants than to get up close to them.

After driving across a dry riverbed, she pulls up and points out four bulls coming towards us, explaining who each of them is and then calling out to one who peels away from the group and heads towards us. I’m breathless as he steps within feet of the 4x4, letting out a grunt and circling the vehicle before mooching off. ‘ They’re such social animals,’ says Douglas-Hamilton. ‘ They recreate society even when they’re not related, especially after poaching.’

There’s still a huge amount of work to do. The IUCN reported in September 2016 that African elephant numbers had seen their worst decline in 25 years. But in Samburu at least, there are causes for optimism. In 2014 there were more births than deaths, while the Kenyan government has instituted life sentences for poaching.

‘ To me elephants represent the fabric of life; how we look after them reflects on us,’ says Douglas-Hamilton. ‘It all plays into the wider picture of how we look after our planet.’

Her words stay with me as I board Scenic’s Cessna for the last time. It could be easy to feel dispirited. But the power of the conservancies and reserves, allied with local knowledge, points towards a better world for Africa’s endangered species.

Scenic Air Safaris offers a nine- day endangered species safari, including flights on its Cessna Grand Caravan, full board accommodation, game drives and the services of specialist wildlife experts at each destination. scenicairsafaris.com

Cathay Pacific implemented a ban on all ivory and all ivory-related products in November 2016

嚴懲偷獵,最高刑期可判終身監禁。

Douglas-Hamilton表示:「對我來說,大象是生活的一部分,我們如何對待牠們,足以反映我們的本質。推而廣之,亦反映出我們對保育地球的態度。」

當我最後一次登上那架塞斯納小型飛機時,她的話依然在腦海中縈繞。雖然現實有時會令人灰心,但管理及保育機構的齊心協力,再加上他們對當地的豐富知識,將可為非洲的瀕危物種締造更美好的未來。

ScenicAirSafaris提供九天瀕危野生動物觀賞之旅,包括塞斯納Grand Caravan小型飛機航程、住宿連膳食、越野車探索野生動物行程等,各目的地均安排野生動物專家擔任導遊。scenicairsafaris.com

國泰航空於2016年11月起全面禁止運載所有象牙及其相關產品

香港的零售業多姿多采,深得各方讚賞,可是有一點卻不值得恭維:這座城市是全球最大規模的象牙產品市場。

這些產品有部分可能以非法手段取得,也可能早在禁止象牙貿易之前就已經存在。不論如何,香港在處理象牙產品問題上,並未能為全球樹立一個好榜樣──尤其有不少證據顯示,香港與中國內地的非法象牙貿易非常頻繁。

香港當局計劃於2021年全面禁止象牙貿易,而不少壓力團體如世界自然基金會等則希望禁令提前實施,並且制止象牙貿易商申索賠償。世界自然基金會香港分會的傳訊經理譚彩雲表示:「給予賠償只會令市場更具吸引力。」

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