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 Much of their equipment is broken or outdated.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

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

Ali Regained Title in Historic Fight 40 Years Ago

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license 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.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid