Log in
Free: The Observer Mobile App - Exclusive Content and Services

Mozambique wildlife park loses zero elephants to poachers

Niassa Reserve, one of Africa's largest wildlife parks, is marking a year without losing a single elephant to poachers.

The last elephant killed by poachers in the Mozambique animal preserve was May 17, 2018. The New-York based Wildlife Conservation Society, which manages the reserve with Mozambique's government and several other partners, credits the achievement to the formation of a rapid response police force that is far better equipped than former game wardens.

The force has access to better weapons, as well as helicopters and a small plane for aerial surveillance. The officers have also been granted the power to arrest poachers or would-be poachers.

Tougher laws have also been put into place, including a maximum sentence of 16 years in prison for anyone caught with a weapon inside Niassa's boundaries. Poaching had drastically reduced the number of elephants in Niassa, from more than 12,000 as recently as 2010 to a little more than 3,600 in 2016.

'Genuine chance for recovery'

The new interventions, with Mozambican President Felipe Nyusi personally authorizing the rapid intervention force, have led partners to hope that Niassa's elephants "stand a genuine chance for recovery,'' the conservation group said.

"It is a major and very important development that poaching has ceased. This represents a major success,'' George Wittemyer, who chairs the scientific board for the Kenya-based organization Save the Elephants, told the AP.

But experts say the rate of annual elephant deaths still exceeds the birth rate. Africa's elephant population has plummeted from several million around 1900 to around 415,000, according to surveys in recent years.

Comments

0 #1 Olum S. 2019-06-19 19:57
Very interesting indeed. This just goes to show how a determined, well-thought out plan, with many stakeholders involved as well as a powerful deterrent (long prison sentences) can lead to a fall in poaching.

The parties involved should also ensure that locals, especially those living around the park are educated about the importance of wildlife conservation, and they should also participate and see the benefits of this. For without their involvement, all this progress would become temporary.

The battle to protect and preserve nature worldwide in general and in Africa in particular, has never been harder.

A fast growing population, poverty, the need for more land to grow food - all these challenges will test African governments and those on the frontline trying to protect our flora and fauna, our natural wonders. So there can be no sleep for anyone.
Report to administrator
+2 #2 Lysol 2019-06-19 21:26
Uganda is listed the 8th top ten Safari destination counties in Africa, well below Kenya and TZ.

The volatile political environment (by the brutal militias on opposition citizens and the dictator who does not want to quit) asides from the many kidnappings on top of the many mysterious death of foreigners in hotels; makes Uganda not an attractive destination for any Western tourist.

Not to mention the many unsolved murders of it's own citizens. Uganda has a very uncertain future for it's citizens.
Report to administrator

Comments are now closed for this entry

betPawa