News / Africa

NGOs Partner to End Elephant Poaching

Kenya Wildlife Service officials carry recovered elephants tusks and illegally held firearms from poachers in this file photo.Kenya Wildlife Service officials carry recovered elephants tusks and illegally held firearms from poachers in this file photo.
x
Kenya Wildlife Service officials carry recovered elephants tusks and illegally held firearms from poachers in this file photo.
Kenya Wildlife Service officials carry recovered elephants tusks and illegally held firearms from poachers in this file photo.
Adam Phillips
The Clinton Global Initiative is working with conservation groups and African governments to step up efforts save one of the planet’s most majestic beasts - the African elephant, which is critically endangered.  In 2012 alone, over 35,000 were killed by poachers for their ivory tusks.
 
The Wildlife Conservation Society's John Calvelli outlined the consortium's three-pronged, $80 million strategy for reporters in New York.
 
 “In brief: to stop the killing,” he said. “Funds will be used to support national governments to scale up anti-poaching enforcement at 50 priority elephant sites including hiring and supporting an additional 3,100 park guards. To stop the trafficking: Anti-trafficking efforts will be increased  by strengthening intelligence networks and penalties for violation and adding training and sniffer dog teams at ten key transit point. Stop the demand. New demand ruction efforts will be implemented at ten consumer markets over the next three years."
 
The challenge of catching poachers in the act of killing elephants is complicated by a lack of proper funding for rangers, who sometimes get more money from bribes to ignore the law than they do from local governments to enforce it. Much of their equipment is broken or outdated. Elizabeth Bennett, also of the Wildlife Conservation Society, says the consortium's funds will increase salaries and pay for new technology, like GPS units for the rangers.    
 
 “When they’re going around they can record what poaching signs they see,” Bennett said. “They record what elephant signs they see, and what signs of any problems they might see, and that all gets fed into a central database to see where the real problems are and therefore where the enforcement effort needs to be.”
 
When many people think of poachers, they imagine a lone villager heading out into the bush looking to make a quick kill for easy money. But Patrick Bergin of the African Wildlife Foundation says going after the little guy has limited results. 
 
“For every one who is apprehended there may be 15 or 20 other people behind him ready to take his place,” said Bergen. “That is not an effective strategy. We need to go higher up the food chain. There are people commissioning this and trading it. These are criminal gangs. This is international crime and this is organized crime.”
 
And fighting that, Bergin says, requires a range of national legislation that may not necessarily be directly related to poaching.
 
 “Immigration charges. Arms charges. Money laundering charges,” he said. “Movement of goods over borders charges. And they can confiscate bank accounts, houses, aircraft. This is where it really becomes punitive. I’m allowing someone to charter a helicopter for me. ‘They seem a little shady but they pay cash. I’m going to let it go.’ ‘No. Your helicopter may not be coming back.”
 
Carter Roberts, president of the World Wildlife Fund says stopping the demand for ivory is also essential.
 
 “And that means making people in places like China and Thailand and even the United States, aware of what it means to buy an ivory product, where it came from and what the consequences are,” Carter said. “We’ve seen people's minds change about diamonds, about fur, and I believe that we can change the way people look at these products too.” 
 
Jane Goodall, the British anthropologist best known for her pioneering field work with chimpanzees, has also spent time with wild elephant herds.  She told the news conference that compassion, not just policy, is also critical to ending the slaughter.    
 
“If you once watch young elephants playing, splashing each other having fun in the water, then you realize that like so many other creatures, they have emotions similar to ours,” said Goodall.  “Then you realize it’s not just that we face extinction of a species. It’s that this is causing unbearable suffering to some very amazing animals with whom we share, or should be sharing, this planet.” 
 
Organizers of the initiative recognize that it will take more than marquee names, conservation groups and money to end the ivory trade. African governments must work with local communities to recognize that it is in their economic and moral interest to protect the world’s largest land mammal living in their midst.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid