Great apes predicted to lose 90% of homelands in Africa, study finds

Global heating and habitat destruction may together devastate humanity’s closest relatives

Western lowland gorilla in the Dzanga-Ndoki National Park, Central African Republic. Half of the projected lost territory will be in national parks and other protected areas.

Great apes – humanity’s closest relatives, are predicted to lose a “devastating” 90% of their homelands in Africa in coming decades, according to a study.

All gorillas, chimpanzees and bonobos are already endangered or critically endangered. But a combination of the climate crisis, the destruction of wild areas for minerals, timber and food, and human population growth is on track to decimate their ranges by 2050, the scientists said. Half of the projected lost territory will be in national parks and other protected areas.

Some new areas will become climatically suitable for the apes, but the researchers doubt they will be able to migrate into these regions in time. The estimated range loss is stark, but today’s ranges in central and western Africa are already much smaller than in the past.Advertisementhttps://1bc3bbd0a40b86162e053bd4cebf4011.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

“It’s a perfect storm for many of our closest genetic relatives, many of which are flagship species for conservation efforts within Africa and worldwide,” said Joana Carvalho, a biologist and computer modeller at Liverpool John Moores University in the UK and who led the study. “If we add climate change to the current causes of territory loss, the picture looks devastating.”

The analysis used data from the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s apes database on species populations, threats and conservation action at hundreds of sites over 20 years. It then modelled the combined future impacts of global heating, habitat destruction and human population growth.

There are uncertainties in the data and model results, said Carvalho: “But there is going to be change and not for the best. Even the ranges we see at the moment are much smaller than they have been.”

Most great ape species prefer lowland habitats, but the climate crisis will make some lowlands hotter, drier and much less suitable. Uplands will become more attractive, assuming the apes can get there, but where there is no high ground, the apes will be left with nowhere to go.

The research, published in the journal Diversity and Distributions, was conducted by scientists from almost 50 universities, research institutes and conservation organisations. It analysed two scenarios, one where action is taken to curb the climate risis, habitat loss and human population growth, and one where little is done.

“As climate change forces the different types of vegetation to essentially shift uphill, it means that all animals – not only great apes – that depend on particular habitat types will be forced to move uphill or become locally extinct,” said Fiona Maisels, at the Wildlife Conservation Society and part of the research team. “But when the hills are low, many species will not be able to go higher than the land allows, and huge numbers of animals and plants will simply vanish.”

But the researchers found relatively little difference in the projected range losses, with 85% loss in 2050 in the first scenario and 94% in the second. “What is predicted is really bad,” said Carvalho.’The most intellectual creature to ever walk Earth is destroying its only home’Read more

Some new areas will become suitable for the great apes as the climate changes, but the animals are poor at migrating compared with many species because they reproduce slowly and have low population densities and specific diets. “The timeframe of 30 years [until 2050] is not enough,” Carvalho said.

Nonetheless, some migration could occur and a key action to avert some range losses is ensuring connectivity between the places where apes live, she said, by creating new protected areas. There is good conservation work being done in some places the scientists said with, for example, Gabon’s development of farming, mining and road and rail links being focused on areas that are already degraded, avoiding intact forests.

However, the biggest protection for great apes could come from consumers in rich nations demanding sustainably produced goods. Currently the export of minerals for mobile phones, timber, and palm oil are major drivers of great ape population falls.

“There must be global responsibility for stopping the decline of great apes,” said Hjalmar Kühl, from the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research in Leipzig. “All nations benefiting from these resources have a responsibility to ensure a better future for great apes, their habitats and the people living there.”

Congo volcano leaves death and smoking wreckage, but major city spared

A volcanic eruption in eastern Congo left a smoking trail of destruction half a mile wide on Sunday that buried hundreds of houses and left residents searching for missing loved ones, before halting just short of the city of Goma.

Goma was thrown into panic on Saturday evening as Mount Nyiragongo, one of the world’s most active and dangerous volcanoes, erupted, turning the night sky an eerie red and sending a wall of orange lava downhill towards the lakeside city of about 2 million people.

Fifteen were killed, including nine in a traffic accident as residents fled, four who tried to escape Munzenze prison in Goma and two who were burned to death, government spokesman Patrick Muyaya said in a statement.

That figure will likely rise considerably. A Reuters reporter saw two people killed by the initial eruption in a village north of Goma, and witnesses spoke of dead and missing relatives.

Haunted by memories of an eruption in 2002 that killed 250 people and left 120,000 homeless, residents fled on foot with their belongings, some towards the nearby border with Rwanda.

The International Federation of Red Cross said that between 3,000 and 5,000 fled into Rwanda on Saturday, many of them peasants and farmers with livestock. Some began returning on Sunday.

The eruption was caused when fractures opened in the volcano’s side, causing lava flows in various directions.

As the sun rose on Sunday a smouldering black gash about half a mile wide could be seen on the outskirts of Goma, where the lava had cooled to rubble.

At some points it was three storeys high, engulfing even large buildings and sending smoke into the grey morning sky.

Residents in the Buhene district sorted through the mangled white remains of tin roofs or lifted rocks – tiny individual efforts in what will likely be a months-long campaign to restore the zone.

Elsewhere, groups of people posed for photos on the steaming lava.

In all, seventeen villages were hit, Muyaya said, and three health centres, a primary school and a water pipeline were destroyed.

Lava crossed a main road running north from Goma, severing a key aid and supply route, and the city’s principle supply of electricity, delivered along a line run by the Congolese Water and Electricity Distribution Company, was cut.

A government delegation has been dispatched to Goma to help in the response, he said.

“I CURSE THIS DAY”

Some said they had lost family members.

Ernestine Kabuo, 68, said she had tried to carry her sick husband from their house as the lava approached, but he was too unwell to leave.

“I said to myself, I can’t go alone, we’ve been married for the best and for the worst,” said Kabuo, walking in a daze and crying, surrounded by buildings swallowed by lava.

“I went back to at least try to get him out but couldn’t. I ran away and he got burned inside. I don’t know what to do. I curse this day.”

The flow towards Goma stopped a few hundred metres from the city limits. The nearby airport was untouched. A separate lava flow that headed east over unpopulated terrain towards Rwanda also appeared to have stopped.

“Local authorities who have been monitoring the eruption overnight report that the lava flow has lost intensity,” Muyaya said.

Still, authorities warned that the danger was not over and that seismic activity in the area could cause further lava flows.

Before the eruption, experts were worried that the volcanic activity observed in the past five years at Nyiragongo mirrored that in the years preceding eruptions in 1977 and 2002.

Volcanologists at the OVG, which monitors Nyiragongo, have struggled to make basic checks on a regular basis since the World Bank cut funding amid embezzlement allegations.

From October 2020 to April, the observatory could not carry out comprehensive seismic checks on the volcano because analysts lacked an internet connection, OVG’s scientific director Celestin Kasereka Mahinda told local Radio Okapi on Sunday.

Internet was restored in April thanks to funding from a U.S. partner, he said, but by that stage too much time had been lost.

“As soon as the internet was restored, we had started recording the warning signals, but since we did not have previous data, we thought it was the start of volcanic activity. Hence this surprise.”

Six elephants killed in one day by poachers in Ethiopia

The deaths in Mago National Park are unprecedented, say officials

Poachers have killed at least six elephants in a single day in Ethiopia, wildlife officials said on Tuesday, the largest such slaughter in memory in the east African nation.

The elephants died last week, when they ventured out of the Mago National Park in the far south of Ethiopia to drink water, Ganabul Bulmi, the park’s chief warden, told reporters.

“The poachers then removed all the tusks from the elephants. It was a mass killing. We haven’t seen anything like this before,” he said.

Two other elephants might have been killed the same day, and an investigation continues. 

“It also has proved difficult to apprehend the perpetrators because the locals who live in the area are armed and were not willing to engage officials,” Ganabul said.

According to wildlife officials, Ethiopia had more than 10,000 elephants in the 1970s but poaching and habitat degradation have reduced the number to about 2,500 to 3,000 in recent years.

Daniel Pawlos, director for trafficking and control at the Wildlife Conservation Authority, a government entity, said it was not thought that there was organised poaching in Ethiopia.

“Last year we documented up to 10 elephant killings,” he said. “But whenever there’s demand, that triggers illegal poaching. What makes the latest poaching [incident] different is the high number of elephants killed within a day.”

Officials suspect that most elephant tusks and finished products are slipped out of the country to China and south-east Asian countries. In 2015, Ethiopian officials burned 6.1 tonnes of illegal elephant tusks, ivory trinkets, carvings and various forms of jewellery to discourage poaching and the ivory trade.

 A haul of elephant tusks and ivory items was burned in 2015 to deter poachers in Ethiopia, but success has been limited.

Across Africa, the Covid-19 pandemic has provided opportunities for poachers, with security forces diverted to other tasks. Combined with the absence of visitors, this has left many reserves vulnerable. 

The elephant population in Ethiopia has been threatened for some time due to “heightened and unavoidable human-elephant conflict”, Greta Iori, Ethiopia technical adviser for the Wildlife Conservation Society, told the Guardian last year.

A population of about 500 at the Babile Elephant Sanctuary, one of the country’s most important elephant ranges, could be decimated “in a blink of an eye” through poaching, with park staff struggling to secure the sanctuary, she said.

Nationwide, conservation efforts have been stymied in recent years by civil unrest and the political transition following the appointment of Abiy Ahmed as prime minister in 2018.

Around 400,000 elephants are estimated to live across Africa, but are under pressure everywhere. Government responses to the problem have varied.

In Botswana, where about 130,000 elephants live, hunting licences are being sold again after a five-year ban was lifted in 2019. 

Botswanan officials say hunting is necessary to ease conflict between animals and humans, especially farmers, whose crops and infrastructure have been destroyed by elephants roaming outside their feeding zones.

Environmentalists are divided on the best means to manage the conflict, with some fearing licensed hunting could fuel demand and thus encourage even more illegal poaching.

Drought has also been a problem. In September and October more than 200 elephants died due to a lack of water at Zimbabwe’s main conservation zones in Mana Pools and Hwange National Park. 

Western Australia to ban puppy farms and sale of puppies from pet shops

Puppy farms will be outlawed and buying puppies from pet shops banned under laws to be introduced to the Western Australian parliament.

The premier, Mark McGowan, has committed to ending over-breeding and the operations of illegal breeders.

“Dogs are an important part of many families in Western Australia,” McGowan said.

“We want to make sure they are looked after and treated well throughout their lives.

“The new laws will mean dogs can be traced throughout their lives through a central registration system, allowing authorities to identify dodgy or illegal breeders and shut down their operations.

“We will also be providing assistance to pet shops to help them transition to dog and puppy adoption centres, meaning they can re-home displaced and abandoned dogs.”

Maylands MLA and the puppy farming working group’s chair, Lisa Baker, said the legislation would make the state’s dogs and puppies safer, reduce the opportunity for illegal puppy farming and encourage better welfare for all dogs.

“It supports good breeding practices and responsible pet ownership,” she said.

“Western Australians will be able to trust that the dogs and puppies they are bringing into their homes have not come from illegal puppy farms and, if necessary, can be traced back to the person who bred them.”

The RSPCA said the new laws were the biggest single improvement to animal welfare in WA for 20 years.

“It is now up to every dog lover in WA to let their local member of parliament know that these reforms are important to ensure the legislation is passed quickly,” it said.

“The sooner the legislation comes into law, the sooner it will help prevent some of the suffering and cruelty to dogs.”

Gadhimai Festival, World’s Largest Animal Sacrifice Ritual, to Take Place Soon!

The Gadhimai Festival is the world’s largest animal sacrifice ritual. Thousands of buffaloes, goats, and chickens are slaughtered to please the Hindu goddess of power, Gadhimai. A few years ago, it was falsely reported that the animal sacrifices at the festival are banned. Devout Hindus can be asked not to sacrifice animals, but they cannot be banned from doing so, said Ram Chandra Shah, the temple chairman.

Fortunately, there are activists and animal rights groups urging Hindus to offer different sacrifices that don’t involve taking a life. Motilal Kushwaha, general secretary of the Gadhimai Mela Organizing Committee (GMMOC) is urging people to make donations to the temple instead of sacrificing animals. They’re also encouraging people to offer Gadhimai sweets or papaya fruit instead. Kalawati Paswan, a former assistant minister who is leading the campaign against the slaughter said: “I personally counted 99 buffaloes that have already been brought for sacrifice. There could be many more out there. Most of them are really young. This madness should stop.”

Humane Society International (HSI) teams in India and Nepal are preparing to head to the festival in hopes of saving animals from the slaughter. HSI told One Green Planet: “The bloodbath takes place in the Bara district of Nepal every five years, and historically hundreds of thousands of buffalo, goats, pigeons and other animals have been killed. The upcoming Gadhimai will see the mass ritual slaughter take place on December 3rd and 4th.”

In 2014, the Supreme Court of India passed an order to prevent illegal animal transports. Therefore, many animals being brought across the border will be confiscated by officials and HSI will be there to save the animals. Nepal’s Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of Communication & Information Technology, and the Supreme Court of Nepal have all given orders or appeals against animal sacrifice.

Tanuja Basnet, director of Humane Society International/Nepal says: “The Gadhimai festival is an unholy bloodbath that is not part of Hinduism and has no place whatsoever in any religion. Here in Nepal, animal welfare groups, temple priests and religious groups are opposing the killing and promoting compassion to animals instead, urging all faiths to support alternative offerings at festivals instead of blood sacrifice. Together we must strive to make a kinder world for all animals in Nepal.”

To help prevent this mass slaughter, you can raise awareness and sign this petition by Animal Equality.

Rare black rhino dies on flight from UK to Africa, where he was due to be released into wild

Black rhinos are critically endangered because of poaching and loss of habitat 

A rare black rhino has died while on a 5,000-mile flight from Kent to Africa, where he was due to be released in the wild.

Zambezi, a 17-year-old male, was born and raised in animal reserves controlled by the Aspinall Foundation but was on his way to Tanzania as part of ongoing conservation efforts to boost the critically endangered population when he died.

Zambezi was under the care of the Aspinall Foundation, which owns nature reserves in the UK. He was also accompanied by a team from the Grumeti Fund Reserve where he was set to be released, African keepers and a veterinarian experienced in the movement of large animals. 

“We do not yet know what caused his death,” said Damian Aspinall, the chairman of the foundation, who said he was “shocked and devastated by the loss”.

He announced an inquiry into Zambezi’s death “to see if there are lessons to be learned”. 

The foundation defended its decision to transfer the animal from its Port Lympne Reserve in Kent, saying the practice of relocating black rhinos born in captivity to Africa is safe and increasingly common.

“The Aspinall Foundation has previously successfully returned eight black rhinos to their native homelands,” Mr Aspinall said. “In other worldwide organisations, 19 black rhinos have been successfully relocated.”

Black rhinos are listed as “critically endangered” by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

Their population declined dramatically in the 20th century at the hands of European hunters and settlers.

According to the WWF, black rhinos came close to extinction after their numbers dropped by 98 per cent between 1960 and 1995.

Their numbers have rebounded to between 5,000 and 5,500 but they are still threatened by loss of habitat and poaching – rhino horns are sold at exorbitant prices in China and Vietnam, where they are used for traditional remedies.

Black rhinos are smaller than their white counterparts and can be distinguished by their pointed – rather than square – lip.

The Aspinall Foundation had announced its decision to move Zambezi on 26 June and chronicled his journey on Facebook.

After the animal’s death, Mr Aspinall said that the foundation will continue to seek to return endangered species to protected areas in the wild. 

“Overall, we have been hugely successful,” he said. “It is my firm belief that these animals do not belong in captivity, our long-term goal is to see all zoos phased out or, if they’re not, to see them truly doing conservation work.” 

Stop Mocking Vegans

They’re right about ethics and the environment. If you won’t join them, at least respect their effort to build a sustainable future.

Animal rights activists demonstrate during the Official Animal Rights March in Berlin this month.CreditCreditSIPA, via Associated Press

When Popeyes’ new fried chicken sandwich went viral for its deliciousness last week, I did not pause, not even for a second, to consider the vast toll of suffering and environmental destruction inherent in its rise. I am guessing you didn’t either; indeed, I can already feel your eyes rolling deep into your head at the mere suggestion that there’s anything to feel guilty about regarding the sold-out sandwich. So before we go on, let me warn you: The rest of this column is going to give your eye-rolling muscles a very good workout.

You want to shake me: Shut up, killjoy! Haven’t I heard how unspeakably delicious the sandwich is? As The New Yorker proclaimed, “The Popeyes Chicken Sandwich Is Here to Save America.” So why spoil this one last true thing by mentioning the squalid, overcrowded, constantly-lit, 40-day life span of the typical factory-farmed, fast-food chicken?

Or, for that matter, the irony of the sandwich going viral at the same time as heartbreaking pictures of the Amazon rainforest on fire. Many of us, myself included, engage in painless, performative environmentalism. We’ll give up plastic straws and tweet passionately that someone should do something about the Amazon, yet few of us make space in our worldview to acknowledge the carcass in the room: the irrefutable evidence that our addiction to meat is killing the planet right before our eyes. After all, it takes only a few minutes of investigation to learn that there is one overwhelming reason the Amazon is burning — to clear ground for cattle ranching and for the cultivation of soy, the vast majority of which goes not into tofu but into animal feed, including for fast-food chicken.

As I say, I did not consider any of this, because I don’t regularly come into contact with a lot of preachy vegans. Indeed, preachy vegans are something of a myth. There’s an old joke — “How do you know you’re talking to a vegan? Don’t worry, they’ll tell you” — that is as untrue as it is revealing about the teller. Although vegans can marshal stronger evidence to support their claims than adherents of many other belief systems — whether of other diets or major religions — they get little respect, and their ideas rarely receive mass media acknowledgment other than mockery.

I am not a vegan. I am barely, failingly, a vegetarian/pescatarian — I make an effort to avoid meat, but for reasons of convenience and shameless hedonism still end up eating it several times a month, especially fish. My purpose here is not to change how you eat, dress or think about the ethics of consuming something like the Popeyes’ sandwich. Instead, as a fellow omnivore and a person concerned about the planet’s future, I want to ask you to do something much more simple: to alter how you think about vegans.

I want to urge you to give vegans a chance — to love and to celebrate them instead of ridiculing them. We need more vegan voices, because on the big issues — the criminal cruelty of industrial farming; the sentience and emotional depth of food animalsthe environmental toll of meat and the unsustainability of its global rise — vegans are irrefutably on the right side of history. They are the vanguard. Climate scholars say that if we are ever to survive a warming planet, people will have to consume far fewer animals than we do now. We will all have to become a little more vegan — and if we are to succeed in that, we will have to start by saluting vegans, not mocking them.

We are nowhere close to that now. In the media, in pop culture and even in progressive, enlightened polite society it is still widely acceptable to make fun of vegans. The stereotype of the smug, self-satisfied, annoying vegan has taken deep cultural root. One survey found that vegans are viewed more negatively than atheists and immigrants, and are only slightly more tolerated than drug addicts.

It’s true that America’s food industry has recently begun investing heavily in animal-free milks and meats; supermarkets are brimming with bounties of meat alternatives, Burger King is selling an Impossible Whopper, and KFC just announced fake fried chicken wings and nuggets. This is all great news for the planet, yet no one thanks vegans for creating a market for these alternatives. Not even the meat-alternative start-ups themselves, which call themselves “plant-based” and strictly avoid the V-word, perhaps because food industry surveys find that “vegan” is the least appealing label that can be applied to food — worse than “diet” and “sugar-free.”

Atlanta consumers flocked to a local KFC for a one day test to sample Beyond Fried Chicken, KFC’s new plant-based chicken.CreditJohn Amis/Associated Press


“There are many things that have gotten better in the five years that I’ve been vegan, like the availability of options or the quality of vegan cheese — but the attitude that omnivores have about vegans doesn’t feel like it’s changed that much, if at all,” Summer Anne Burton, the editor of a new vegan-focused magazine called Tenderly, told me. “Even people who are really radical and progressive in lots of areas of their lives still seem really suspicious, frustrated and annoyed by the idea of someone being vegan.”

The annoyance manifests in all kinds of ways. Ms. Burton will post an inoffensive vegan recipe and someone will invariably reply, “That would be better with bacon!” Vegans are constantly tarred with the suggestion that they are unfun — they’re asked whether oral sex is vegan, or accused of ruining weddings and birthday dinners with their outlandish preferences. “Being vegan or talking about your reasons for being vegan is taken to mean you are judgmental and smug — ‘You must be fun at parties!’ is probably the thing that I hear most often,” Ms. Burton said.

The tragedy here is that the mockery intimidates vegans. Rather than being out and proud about their beliefs, vegans find themselves biting their tongues. “A lot of us overcorrect,” Ms. Burton said. “You make a sacrifice because of your beliefs, and when people ask you about it, you’re afraid to sound judgmental or smug, so you brush it off.”

There are many theories for why vegans have it so rough, but the one I lean on is guilt and cognitive dissonance. Many omnivores understand the toll that meat wreaks on the planet, and we can’t help but feel the tension between loving animals in the abstract while eating them with abandon on the plate. All of this creates feelings of defensiveness, so when a vegan comes along, their very presence seems like an affront. To an omnivore, every vegan looks like a preachy vegan.

Well, that’s the point! As a culture, we are far too comfortable with consuming animals. The idea that meat is cost-free is exactly what led us into this trap; delicious as it may be, we should feel embarrassed and uncomfortable that people are going gaga for a mass-manufactured fried chicken sandwich.

For the good of the planet, put down the sandwich. But if you won’t do that, at least refrain from putting down the people who are trying to light a path to a livable future. The vegans are right. The vegans were always right. The least you can do is shower them with respect and our gratitude, because they deserve it.

Labour plans to phase out animal testing as part of manifesto promise

Party also pledges, if in government, to ban trophy hunters from selling their spoils in the UK.

Jeremy Corbyn with the shadow environment secretary, Sue Hayman, right, who says the UK needs ‘to focus minds and resources on alternatives to animal testing’. Photograph: Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

Labour would gradually phase out animal testing and ban trophy hunters from selling their spoils in the UK as part of the party’s animal welfare manifesto.

After consultations with the public, the party would also carry out a review into the use of whips on race horses by jockeys, forbid electric pulse fishing and prohibit the sale and use of snares and glue traps, which are used to catch animals.

Labour would pledge, if in government, to review the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 with a long-term commitment to phase out animal testing completely.

The British Horseracing Authority has strict rules on the use of whipping, with jockeys limited to a maximum of seven times in a flat race or eight times in a jump race and the horse must be “in contention or clearly winning at the time” the force was applied. Jockeys disobeying such rules face suspension.

The shadow environment secretary, Sue Hayman, confirmed that, under a future Labour government, the party would look to review whether the use of whips in horse racing should be further restricted.

It was one of the top priorities raised in a consultation with members, animal rights groups and the public, said the party.

Hayman said Labour wanted to “bring Britain’s animal welfare policy into the 21st century” and protect animals both in the UK and around the world, amid heightened speculation over an early election.

Labour commits to total ban on keeping monkeys as pets

Hayman said: “After consulting with the public and groups involved with research, it’s clear that we need to focus minds and resources on alternatives to animal testing by declaring our intention to phase it out.

“It is not only harmful to the animals, but very often ineffective as a means to develop medical treatments for humans.

“Labour urges the government to categorically rule out the prospect of duplicate animal testing [in the event of a no-deal Brexit] and to commit to the long-term phase out of the use of animal testing in collaboration with researchers, medical professionals and animal welfare experts.”

In 2018, 3.52m experimental procedures involving living animals were carried out across the UK including more than 100,000 cases where animals suffered severely and about 90,000 where the animal died, according to Home Office figures.

More than 90% of animal tests fail to lead to treatments for humans, Labour said. The majority used mice, but fish and rats are also often used.

Other measures Labour would propose include ensuring the maximum sentence could be handed out if a defendant was found guilty of animal cruelty against a wild animal, and working internationally to stop the return of commercial whaling.

More than 6,000 responses were received in response to the consultation, with the use of whips in horse racing one of the top priorities raised by members, animal rights groups and the public.

The party said the manifesto would also reiterate Labour’s commitment to strengthening the Hunting Act 2004, ending the badger cull, giving tenants the right to keep pets, enshrining animal sentience in law and ending the live export of animals for slaughter. Last week it committed to a total ban on monkeys being kept in cages.

Atlanta KFC sells out of vegan fried chicken in five hours

Today, crowds of customers waited for more than an hour at a Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) location in Atlanta, GA to sample vegan Beyond Fried Chicken. KFC painted its Cobb Parkway location in Smyrna bright green and erected a Beyond Fried Chicken billboard to promote its vegan chicken options—which drew crowds that wrapped around two city blocks and bumper-to-bumper cars that looped twice around the drive-thru. The limited-time promotion featured vegan nuggets and wings made with specially formulated chicken by vegan brand Beyond Meat. KFC sold out of the vegan options in five hours with customers buying the equivalent of what KFC sells of its popcorn chicken in one week. “The lines are out the door, and the verdict is that the vegan fried chicken is worth the hype,” nonprofit The Humane League posted on Instagram. Observing the excitement, Instagrammer Trahvae Freraire said, “The people are here in droves. I said droves!” Those who made it inside the store posted glowing reviews of Beyond Fried Chicken, including nutritionist Whitney Miner who said, “These taste more like fried chicken than any of the other options that I’ve tried so I really hope that they make these available nationwide and very soon.” KFC will consider a national rollout of the vegan option based on the feedback it receives from customers today. 

Chemical pollution: Cause of ‘bloody’ Nsukwao River

Effluent pipe of Common Effluent Treatmant Plant at Damanganga river in Vapi,Gujarat,India

It has now been established that, the ‘bloody’ Nsukwao River in the Eastern region was caused by a chemical pollution.

A factory sited upstream the River is said to have been responsible for the contamination.

According to the Eastern Regional Police Public Relations Officer, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), Ebenezer Tetteh, “the colour of the stream was not blood as it was being alleged but rather a chemical that was washed down by a tie-dye manufacturer upstream.”

The officer who spoke to the Daily Graphic said this was established when the police rushed to the scene after receiving the news last Saturday morning.

Investigations

Mr Tetteh said even though the police has since launched investigations into the matter, it was yet to pick-up anyone for questioning.

“We have not picked anyone yet as there was no one at the warehouse when we visited,” ASP Tetteh stated.

abc74345ffd9dd5598f3bd26223c63fb--fiber-art-ghana

Background

Residents in and around Nsukwao, a suburb of Koforidua in the Eastern region, were thrown into a state of shock when on Saturday, October 7, 2017, they woke up to see the Nsukwao River turned into ‘blood’.

The initial conclusion many residents drew was that, the gods were angry with the people in that part of Koforidua hence the change in colour of the river.

Their fear and disbelief was further heightened when some renowned men of God visited the scene to pray, albeit to exorcise the river of any curse that might have precipitated the situation.

However, their fears soon gave way to relief when the ‘bloody’ colour of the water started fading.

The Nsukwao River is one of the streams in that community used for multiple purposes including farming.

CJ advocates creation of special courts on environment

Chief-Justice-Sophia-Akuffo-delivering-her-acceptance-speech

The Chief Justice is advocating the establishment of special Courts that would focus on the prosecution of environmental-related cases.

Justice Sophia A. B. Akuffo expressed worry about the rapid destruction of the environment due to illegal logging, mining and other uncontrolled human activities which were rapidly depleting forest resources.

She made the call when she addressed the opening session of the five days Annual General Conference of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA), held in Sunyani.

It was on the theme “Saving the Future Generation from the Scourge of Corruption and Environmental Degradation – The Role of the Legal Profession”.

The establishments of these Courts, Justice Akuffo said, would speed up the prosecution processes and augment the government’s bid to control illegal mining activities in the country.

She emphasised that both the Bar and Bench had a collective role to play in the fight against the destruction of the environment and it was required of them to play such respective roles diligently.

But, she cautioned that they should not allow the privileges granted them to create mistrust and breed public disaffection.

Justice Akuffo urged the GBA to observe optimal compliance with the ethics of the legal profession in the course of their constitutional duties.

“It is unfortunate to reflect at the rapidly increasing pace of indiscipline in the legal profession,” she said.

Justice Akuffo admitted the justice delivery system was bedeviled with systematic and human challenges, but was quick to add such challenges should not be a yardstick to corrupt the Bar and the Bench.

She emphasised that citizens deserved legal systems easily accessible, cost and time-effective in the administration of justice.

Also speaking at the event, the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Gloria Akuffo, expressed deep regret about the increasing perception of corruption in the legal profession.

“Corruption is an indictment on our profession,'” she said and called on the GBA to act swiftly in addressing the menace which had become the bane of national development.

Describing corruption as the most organised form of crime in the country, Mrs Akuffo said the fight against the menace required a collective approach by all stakeholders.

She said it was against this background that the government was pursuing the 10-year Anti-Corruption Campaign and asked the GBA to support the course.

The A-G underscored the importance for the GBA to strengthen its internal security control mechanisms to reduce the opportunities for corruption.

She called on the media, civil society organisations, law enforcement and security agencies to also support the fight against the practice.

 

Government to employ youth to reclaim galamsey lands

four-dead-at-kwabeng-3-620x330

The Minister for Defence, Dominic Nitiwul, has indicated that the current Akufo-Addo administration will soon employ some youth to reclaim lands degraded by illegal miners, also known as ‘galamseyers.’

He said that they would also undertake afforestation to reclaim the lands that would be used for farming.

The Minister said the exercise will soon be rolled out by the Ministries of Lands and Natural Resources and Environment, Science, Technology and Innovations to help give employment to the youth in the affected areas.

He said the exercise would ensure that the work of Operation Vanguard would not be in vain.

“All those illegal miners thinking that the exercise would be a nine-day wonder must revise their notes because the government is very determined to uproot illegal mining from the society despite the political ramifications, Mr Nitiwul said.

The Minister made the observations when he and the Minister for Interior visited Ankaako in the Amansie Central District of the Ashanti region, one of the major galamsey sites in the region to assess the extent of damage by ‘galamseyers’ to the environment.

The Defence Minister said the government took the bold decision to fight the ‘galamsey’ menace, which has destroyed all major river bodies, adding “very soon drinking water will be one of the most expensive commodities in the country.

He disclosed that the government wants to ensure continuous supply of drinking water for the populace since the polluted water bodies are sources of drinking water for Ghanaians.

“We need to save and preserve the environment for our children and children’s children, otherwise their future would be bleak.” According to the Defence Minister, ‘galamsey’ is not permitted in most African countries, including Cote d’Ivoire, Togo and Burkina Faso, because they know the havoc it could cause to the environment.

He said the government would also engage all those illegal miners, train them and put them in groups so that they would undertake mining in a regulated way which would be less destructive to the environment.

“I want to send this message to all illegal mining still determined to carry out their nefarious activities that the Operation Vanguard will continue to arrest them,” he said, adding that they would not abandon the fight against illegal mining in the country to help preserve the environment.