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 Much of their equipment is broken or outdated.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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact 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.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs