There has been such a significant increase in the number of elephants and rhinos in Africa being poached for their tusks. There was a recent picture from the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Garamba National park that sparked worldwide concern. It showed a herd of about 22 elephants caucuses that had been brutally killed with their tusks hacked off. Forensic evidence showed that they had each been killed by a single bullet to the back of the head from an helicopter. The gruesome scene was evidence of how much the racket involved in the poaching of elephants and the trade in illegal ivory has gotten sophisticated. It also shows that the different armies in the region have gotten involved in the illegal trade with some suggesting that both government soldiers and rebels including the notorious LRA leader Joseph have gotten involved in this lucrative but illicit trade in ivory.
The story coming out of South Africa is not any different either. Traders in illegal ivory have become sophisticated and very daring given the high returns from the ivory. The cost of a pound of ivory is 1,300 US Dollars making it such a lucrative venture for illegal traders. China is the number one country in the demand for ivory with those involved sometimes bluntly referring to it as “bloody teeth”.
According to the www.nytimes.com, information from Born Free Foundation there has been total of 32,000 elephants killed in the last one year. That is from 2012 people have slaughtered more elephants than they have in several decades. This can partly be blamed on the partial lift on the trade of ivory. It is believed that the demand and reluctance by the Chinese government has led to such a massacre of elephants with some believing that entire populations of elephants in some Countries in Africa will be wiped off very soon.
Recently there was a huge seizure of elephant tusks weighing over 1,478 Kilograms in Kenya that had been shipped from Uganda. According to the Kenya Authorities the ivory was packed with sun-dried fish in order to disguise the smell. Mr. Udoto Paul, the spokesperson of the Kenya Wildlife Services – KWS said that the smelly fish was meant to overpower the smell of the ivory.
The high level of wildlife trafficking in Africa has raised concern among the International community with President Barack Obama during his recently concluded tour of Africa committing over 10 million US Dollars to the fight against animal trafficking.
The ivory included over 69 bundles consisting of about 770 ivory pieces which had both polished and raw tusks were in a container according to the Kenya Wildlife Services.
According to records from the seized container the ivory was headed to Malaysia and had entered Kenya from Uganda on the 12th of June 2013.
Mombasa has been a hub of trade for East African countries and in January this year there was another seizure of about two tons of ivory valued at about 1 million US Dollars which was destined for Indonesia.
Fueled by high demands from Asia the trade in ivory is estimated to be between 7billion and 10 billion US dollars annually.
It time the different governments in Africa including China, Malaysia and the other Asian countries where most of the ivory is destined acted before we see the extinction of these majestic creatures. It would be a shame to see elephants in books like their cousins the mammoths.
Africa has seen much of its natural heritage wiped out. There are many species that have been wiped out from the continent and it is a shame that superstition and the trade in ornaments is seeing the population of one of the largest animals on the continent being decimated.
In East Africa however, there have been some success stories such as the increase the number of mountain gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda. The population of these gentle giants was on a drastic decline till the different governments and international conservation agencies stepped and came up with measures to protect these creatures.Google+