Saturday, January 21, 2017

10 Infamous Elephant Poachers

Conservationists fear that approximately 96 elephants are killed every single day for their ivory tusks. A single large tusk can sell on the black market for six thousand dollars, ten times the annual salary of a typical worker in the same region. In 2016, The Great Elephant Census reported results of a multi-year effort to count elephants in 18 African countries and the results were very disheartening. The census found that savanna elephant populations declined by thirty percent, almost two hundred thousand elephants between 2007 and 2014. The number one reason for the decline, illegal poaching for the animals’ ivory tusks.
Yang Feng Glan
In 2015, authorities in Africa arrested the “Queen of Ivory” after Tanzania’s National and Transnational Serious Crimes Investigation Unit had followed Yang Feng Glan for over a year. She had been traveling between Beijing, Uganda, and Tanzania, facilitating the illegal tusk trade. She was the key link between African poachers and buyers in China, where ivory can be sold for very expensive prices.
Appearing in court in October 2015, Glan was charged with smuggling ivory, seven hundred and six elephant tusks worth approximately three million dollars between 2000 and 2014. Authorities suspect she could have been engaging in the illegal trade dating all the way back to 1980. Being right in the middle of the illegal operation, investigators are hoping Glan will help them identify other key players in the trade, leading to more arrests and protecting the elephants and rhinos from further poaching.
Jean-Phillippe Nkaga
Determined to be the owner of thirty-seven pounds of ivory that had been seized, Jean-Phillippe Nkaga was arrested in December 2013. Three poachers detained by police months before named Nkaga as the owner of the illegal ivory. Nkaga is known by local police for organizing the mass slaughter of elephants and coordinating the trafficking of the resultant ivory. Nkaga had previously been in jail for possession of drugs and firearms, assault, and even a murder in which there was not enough evidence to jail him for a long time. Nkaga is a very violent person. At the time Nkaga was arrested, the laws against poaching were not strong enough to encourage rehabilitation.
Boniface Matthew Mariango aka The Devil
Considered the most infamous poacher in East Africa, authorities suspect that Boniface Matthew Mariango and his gangs are responsible for thousands of elephant deaths across Africa. He was arrested on October 29th, 2015, in Tanzania, after escaping capture for over a year. The Devil, as he was nicknamed, managed approximately fifteen criminal poaching and ivory smuggling syndicates. Mariango’s capture came soon after a census report showed that the Tanzania elephant population dropped sixty percent between 2009 and 2014.  

Hassan Idriss Gargaf
In the early 1960’s approximately fifty thousand elephants roamed Chad. Fast forward fifty years and elephants are on the brink of extinction with only one thousand of the majestic animals remaining. Hassan Garaf was one of the most infamous poachers responsible for the decline in the area. He commanded a gang of gunman who rampaged across the Sahel over several years, leaving a trail of dead elephants in their path.
In 2007, Garaf led the poachers into Zakouma where they eventually shot and killed two guards and thirteen elephants. During a police sting, the poacher bragged about killing twenty-six elephants in a single day. “He was very proud of his killing”. Gargaf and his gang murdered sixty-three elephants in August 2012 along the Chari River and forty elephants along the Chad-Cameroon border in an attack in which five Cameroonian forestry agents died. Garaf is now believed to be behind bars for all his various crimes however some are skeptical given his three previous escapes.
Pekei Shoke
There was outrage when Qumquat and her two daughters were found slaughtered for their ivory tusks. Qumquat was one of the best known matriarchs in the elephant population around Kenya’s Amboseli National Park. When the rangers discovered the bodies of the three elephants they also found a baby female elephant that was alive and well, Qumquat had a daughter that survived the attack. Shortly thereafter Big Life caught one of the killers, Pekei Shoke, in an operation with the Kenya Wildlife Service. Pekei was found guilty of killing the three elephants and sentenced to one year in prison, and a fine of approximately five-hundred-dollar.

Kerumpoti Leyian
In late 2013, scouts on an anti-poaching patrol in southern Kenya came across a dead elephant with its tusks missing. The scouts, tracker dogs, and the Kenya Wildlife Service rangers managed to track down Kerumpoti, arrest him, and confiscate the two elephant tusks in his possession. After posting bail, Leyian did not show up for his scheduled court appearance and disappeared. Kenya Wildlife Service re-arrested him almost one year later. In a twist of fate, Leyian was one of the first poachers to be charged under the new anti-poaching laws and was sentenced to seven years in prison without bail. This is a welcomed change to conservations when compared to the 1-year and five-hundred-dollar sentence given to Pekei Shoke.

Ben Simasiku
In 2012 Ben Simasiku, along with twelve other poachers, was captured with seventeen pieces of cut, raw ivory weighing two hundred fifty-three pounds. After skipping bail, Simasiku fled Botswana and went to Zambia. He was eventually arrested in Zambia by the ZAWA (Zambia Wildlife Authority) in 2014, with information obtained through Interpol’s “Operation Infra Terra”. He is one of the first people to ever be arrested with Interpol’s newly created most-wanted list of environmental crime fugitives.

Symphorien Sangha
One of Central Africa’s most infamous poachers, Symphorien Sangha specialized in killing elephants for their tusks. Sangha has been linked to a group of Sudanese poachers, who in 2010, crossed the Central African Republic and massacred twenty-five elephants before being stopped. Sangha managed to escape capture in this incident but not forever. He was also accused of shooting at Eco guards, seriously hurting one in 2010. He was finally arrested in Cameroon in 2012, ending his rampage against elephants and their protectors. After a year-long trial, Sangha was sentenced to three years in jail.

Baushe Bello
In Nigeria’s Yankari Game Reserve roamed one of the country’s most notorious poachers, Baushe Bello. No one knows how many elephants Bello has been responsible for killing but authorities know it is a significant amount. Bello became infamous for his penchant at firing at park rangers on sight. Sadly, in 2012, he shot and killed Hussaini Adamu Pau and almost killed several other rangers. He had evaded capture by constantly altering his location until October 2016. Together with the police and the Wildlife Conservation society, the Yankari rangers got their revenge and captured Bello, forcing him to answer for his crimes.
John Kaimoi Sumokwo
John Sumokwo has admitted to killing 70 elephants. Sumokwo usually hunted alone and at night. When he found an elephant he would sneak up on it and spear it through the heart, then cut off the animal’s ivory tusks with an axe.  He was sent to prison in 2011 and served a 2-year prison sentence for what he did, where self-admittedly, he was treated like the worst of worst criminals. He told authorities his motive was his family’s survival, his home land had experienced extreme famine and drought. In an “Exclusive Interview With An Elephant Poacher” Stephen Messenger quoted John Kaimoi as saying “But even when I interacted with people, I felt guilty. I had done something horrible. There was something bad inside me, but I resumed because I had no means. That’s the only thing I could do.”


Thursday, December 29, 2016

Listverse, Shutterstock, and More

In my first blog post, My Experience with Listverse So Far, I had just submitted my 2nd list and was waiting for a response. Well…. unfortunately, it didn’t take long to hear back from Listverse, my 2nd list, 10 Paranormal Anomalies at the Skinwalker Ranch, was rejected. Not only was it rejected, but it only took them 24 hours to review it. I’m fairly certain it was rejected due to length since it was right around 2,000 words and rejected so fast. I do have some confusion regarding this. I have seen at least three different word length requirements for Listverse:

1)      Between 1,000 and 1,500 words
2)      No more than 2,000 words
3)      Most recently, not less than 1,800 words

So which is it??? When Listverse rejects your list they e-mail you a cookie cutter template without any specifics (you can see examples in the rejected lists I posted) so it is impossible to know what the cause for rejection is. I figured since my list was rejected so quickly, my first list took a week, it was due to the length. There was a silver lining however.

After I posted my rejected list on my blog, one of the top researchers on the subject, George Knapp, retweeted my blog post and even posted a link to my blog on his website! People flocked to my blog, which was very exciting. I was very appreciative that he did that but it also made me realize that although Listverse didn’t think my list was good enough for their site, many people really enjoyed reading it. This fired up my motivation.
On Monday, December 26th I submitted my 3rd list. At this point it has been about 3 days so that is a better sign than last time. When I submitted my list I noticed it said your list should not exceed 2,000 words. In light of the quick rejection on my 2nd list, I kept this one fairly short, 1,300 words. Now I just went to the Listverse submission page and noticed the requirements changed! It says lists “should not be less than 1,800 words”. I sense a rejection e-mail coming.

Once you submit a list they notify you that they have received your list and that they will respond within two weeks to let you know if they accept your list for payment or not. I needed something else to pass the time while I waited for the answer, that is when I stumbled on Shutterstock.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Becoming A Blogger

I have always had an interest in blogging. I really enjoy writing, researching, and sharing my thoughts. In the past I have “built” a few websites and blogs but they never held my interest long enough to gather any kind of following. I used services such as Wordpress and Weebly to design very nice looking pages but then always ran into a significant roadblock. Getting traffic to your “nice looking” blog is very difficult! I never realized (or put enough faith in all the bloggers before me) on just how hard it is to get eyes on your content. So as time went by I would lose interest. I can list a number of reasons I would lose interest in addition to being frustrated by lack of traffic to my blog.

Here are a few:

Wasn’t emotionally invested in the subject
Discounted myself, since I wasn’t an “expert” why would anyone care what I say
Never fully committed to seeing project through
Didn’t understand demand for fresh content
Knew little about SEO (Search Engine Optimization)


Saturday, December 10, 2016

10 Paranormal Anomalies at the Skinwalker Ranch

Of all the strange and mysterious places on the Planet Earth, it might be a small ranch in northern Utah that is the strangest of them all. It is called the Skinwalker Ranch. Although relatively unknown, this ranch has arguably more documented paranormal activity than anywhere else in the world, including its famous neighbor, Area 51. From cattle mutilations to giant killer birds, Skinwalker Ranch has a little bit of everything for paranormal enthusiasts.

Navajo Skinwalker Legend
Dating back to the early 1950’s, the Skinwalker Ranch has been a hotbed for unidentified flying objects. A local science teacher, Junior Hicks, saw a large object in the sky during broad daylight unlike anything he had ever seen before. It wasn’t a figment of his imagination either, his whole elementary class also saw the UFO. Forever hooked on what he saw, Hicks ended up tracking over 400 separate paranormal events in the area of the Skinwalker Ranch over the course of 5 decades.

In 1978 area residents reported seeing an awesome dome shape UFO with very intense lights as reported by Deseret News. The UFO emitted a silent purring noise and onlookers recall feeling very frightened as if someone was watching them from the UFO yet they were unable to look away.

In 1994, Terry and Gwen Sherman purchased the Skinwalker Ranch to start a cattle ranch business. Much to their dismay, the UFO sightings from the previous decades were corroborated with their own sightings of multiple different types of UFO’s. Their family saw pyramid shaped UFO’s, box shaped UFO’s, a 40-foot-long UFO, and a huge ship the size of multiple football fields.

Invincible Wolves
A wolf, three times the size of a normal wolf, that can’t be killed by bullets sounds like something out of a Hollywood screenplay. In this case however, it was the real-life experience of the family who purchased the Skinwalker Ranch in 1994. On the first day of their new life on the Skinwalker Ranch they had an unwelcomed visitor, a huge wolf that seemed to be as domesticated as a golden retriever. As the family discussed keeping the wolf as a pet, even petting it a few times, the wolf snapped. Next thing the family knew the wolf was attempting to rip a calf through the metal bars of its pen. The father began to shoot the wolf with his .357 magnum revolver at very close range. He could see the bullets hitting the wolf however the wolf didn’t even flinch. After 3 shots from a magnum handgun the wolf let the calf go but didn’t retreat. Starting to get scared, the father grabbed his hunting rifle and shot the wolf, again with no tragic effect and the wolf simply turned around and walked away. More of these huge wolves would continue to be seen on the ranch during the Sherman’s time living there.

Mysterious Voices
Generally, when we hear a voice we look around behind us, to the right or left, looking for the person speaking to us. Normally you don’t have to look above you to seek out the source of the voices talking about you. In this case, there was no body to assign the voices to, anywhere. These mysterious voices were very clear although the language being spoke was indiscernible. People who have heard these mysterious voices at the Skinwalker Ranch could feel eyes watching them from above (approx. 20 feet).  

One researcher explained it “They [eyes] were like smoldering coals, burning hot with their hatred from behind a dimensional curtain.” He couldn’t explain how he arrived at that conclusion without even seeing anything. He knew they were discussing him, asking questions like “Why is he here?” and “Who is he?”, even though he couldn’t understand their language. Perhaps they were putting thoughts in his head? Most would believe this was a figment of the researcher’s imagination however multiple people, at different times, had the same exact experience. 

My Experience With Listverse So Far

I just sent in my second list of ten to Listverse. Hopefully I have a little better luck this time. I have to admit; I was disappointed after my first list was rejected. Not really because I didn’t my list published and make $100, it was because of Listverse’s response. First of all, I had no clue they were receiving 150 lists a day while only publishing 3!? Okay so my list wasn’t in the top 2% of lists, I was at least hoping for a few notes on what I did wrong or need to improve. Instead it is your standard cookie cutter response. Their website said, submit your list and “Either way you win—your list will be read by us and reviewed, and if it’s amazing it will appear on the front page of Listverse to be read by millions of people a month!” I took this to mean I would get a smidgeon of feedback but I understand that would be very labor intensive for the Company.

I am not here to complain about Listverse at all, I really like their website and plan to keep submitting lists, at least until I get one approved! However, I felt my first list was unique, I spent a lot of time researching it and there isn’t another list like it (to my knowledge), and I didn’t want to waste the content by just letting it sit on my laptop so I came up with this blog,

I am a little worried about my 2nd list submission. It was close to 2,000 words, which they say to only go to 1,500 on their website, but the topic was very interesting (at least in my opinion) and I’ve seen Listverse publish longer lists. Perhaps a little longer list with more details will stand out and get noticed when the odds are so stacked against it. We’ll see…… might have a new post here soon. Last time it took exactly one week for a response.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

10 People Who Survived a Fall Off the Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate bridge is one of the most famous and beautiful bridges in the world. It is inarguably the most well-known structure in the world famous city of San Francisco. Sitting roughly 250 feet over the San Francisco Bay, with towers extending 700 feet into the sky, the Golden Gate Bridge is a sight to behold.
With all the great things that can be said about the Golden Gate Bridge it also comes with a terrifying dark side that isn’t as well known. On average, every two weeks someone jumps off the Golden Gate Bridge in an attempt to commit suicide. More than 1,400 people have jumped to their deaths since the bridge opened in 1937. Only 33 people have survived the fall.

Paul Theodore Hudner
On June 25th, 1986 Paul Hudner jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge, falling an estimated 220 feet into the San Francisco Bay. A fishing boat crew was nearby and able to rescue him. Miraculously Mr. Hudner survived the fall without breaking any bones however he did suffer some internal injuries in the fall, which was calculated to have been at 80 mph. Sadly, in a strange turn of events, 33 years earlier, Hudner’ s grandfather had committed suicide by jumping off the bridge.

Todd Sherratt
On, December 20th, 1979 Todd Sherratt jumped off the bridge. Only 17 years old at the time, Todd fell approximately 210-feet into the San Francisco Bay. Todd Sherratt was only the 12th person to have survived the fall. Even more shocking, he was first person to ever swim safely to shore after jumping. The next day he was described as “sore all over” but recovering nicely with his family at his bedside. Todd was “fine, alert, cooperative and in good spirits”. The only injuries he suffered in the fall appeared to be badly bruised buttocks and minor fractures of three vertebrae.

Evan C. "Slim" Lambert
The overwhelming majority of people who have fallen off the Golden Gate Bridge have been suicide attempts. In the case of Slim Lambert, it was a horrible accident. On Feb. 17, 1937, as construction on the Golden Gate Bridge was nearing completion, Mr. Lambert was working as the crew chief on a staging area under the bridge. The platform broke loose from its moorings, and 12 men plunged 250 feet into San Francisco Bay. Ten men did not survive the fall.

 Slim, 26 years old at the time, was able to survive both the fall and the flying debris from the platform. He was finally rescued by a passing fishing boat but not before his co-worker he had tried to save passed away in his arms.