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 Much of their equipment is broken or outdated.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

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid