News / Africa

US Lawmakers Hear Pleas to Save African Elephants, Rhinos

A rhino killed for its horn lies dead in a South African game reserve … Conservationists say if they build good relationships with communities living in or near game reserves, it could decrease incidents of poaching, as poachers often get information fromA rhino killed for its horn lies dead in a South African game reserve … Conservationists say if they build good relationships with communities living in or near game reserves, it could decrease incidents of poaching, as poachers often get information from
x
A rhino killed for its horn lies dead in a South African game reserve … Conservationists say if they build good relationships with communities living in or near game reserves, it could decrease incidents of poaching, as poachers often get information from
A rhino killed for its horn lies dead in a South African game reserve … Conservationists say if they build good relationships with communities living in or near game reserves, it could decrease incidents of poaching, as poachers often get information from
Michael Bowman
The survival of elephants and rhinoceroses in Africa is being threatened by poaching - a multi-billion dollar illegal industry that helps bankroll militias in conflict zones and places local civilian populations at great risk.  That was the message experts delivered to U.S. lawmakers, along with a plea for urgent action.
 
With every passing year, more carcasses of Africa’s biggest animals are left to rot - a trail of death stretching from Kenya to South Africa.  Taking note is the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which held a hearing on the topic Thursday.  Committee chairman John Kerry:

“How shockingly destructive and historically shameful it would be if we did nothing while a great species was criminally slaughtered into extinction," said Kerry.

Asian demand for ivory and human greed are to blame, according to John Scanlon, who heads the Geneva-based Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, known as CITES.

“There are very high profits to be made," said Scanlon. "With respect to Rhino horn, the latest estimate we have is the black market price has gone up to $65,000 a kilogram.  That is way above the price of gold.”

And concerns extend well beyond the fate of animals, according to Tom Cardamone, an expert on illegal financial flows.

“Organized crime syndicates, militias, and even terrorist elements have taken notice of the profits that can be made in wildlife trafficking, generating an alarming uptick in the scale of the industry, and posing serious national security concerns for the U.S. and our partners," said Cardamone.

Experts urged a redoubling of efforts to protect endangered wildlife, prosecute and imprison poachers, and halt Asian demand for ivory.  Iain Douglas-Hamilton is founder of the conservation group “Save the Elephants”:

“The Chinese highly value their own wild elephants, and they are strictly protected," said  Douglas-Hamilton. "If China would develop a leadership role in Africa, as well as in her own country with respect to elephants, much of the problem could be solved. If the buying [of ivory] stops, the killing can, too.”

And time is running short, according to Senator Kerry.

“If we do not act now, then the time will come too late," he said.

2011 saw record ivory seizures in Africa.  Experts expect even greater seizures this year - evidence of a slaughter that continues unabated.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Urges Restraint in Hong Kong Protests

Protesters angered by Beijing's decision to only approve candidates that it sanctions for Hong Kong's leadership elections in 2017 More

Archive of Forgotten UCLA Speeches Offers Snapshot of History

Recordings of prominent voices in social change, politics, science and literature from 1960s, early 1970s now available on YouTube More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenyai
X
Gabe Joselow
September 29, 2014 6:20 PM
Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Video

Video Reconstruction? What Reconstruction? Life After War in Gaza

It’s been a month since Israel and the Palestinians agreed to a ceasefire to end 52 days of an air and tank war that left 60,000 homes in Gaza damaged or destroyed and 110,000 homeless. Sharon Behn reports that lack of reconstruction is leading to despair.
Video

Video US, Saudi Arabia and UAE Hit Islamic State's Oil Revenue

The United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have bombed oil facilities operated by Islamic State militants in Syria. It was a truly collaborative effort, with the two Arab countries dropping the majority of the bombs. The 12 refineries targeted were estimated to generate as much as $2 million per day for the terrorist group. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb has the story.
Video

Video Russia's Food Sanctions Raise Price Worries, Hopes for Domestic Production

Russia retaliated against Western sanctions imposed for its actions in Ukraine by halting food imports from the West. The temporary import ban on food from Australia, the European Union, Norway and North America has Russian consumers concerned that they could face a sharp increase in food prices. But in an ironic twist, the restrictions aimed at the Kremlin have made Russia's domestic food producers hopeful this can boost their business. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid