Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Effectivness of Destroying Confiscated Ivory On Stopping Poaching?

An unidentified helicopter has been flying over the airspace of the National Park of Quirimbas in Mozambique’s northern province of Cabo Delgado, allegedly owned by poachers who are investing in new techniques of slaughtering wild animals, local authorities have warned.

The case was reported by the park administrator, Jose Dias, who said this level of investment goes beyond the supervising capacity of local authorities, which are already fragile.

The newly found trend puts the preservation of forest species in danger, the state news agency AIM said on Wednesday.

Dias was quoted as saying poachers use the helicopter to transport ivory after killing elephants, making interventions much more difficult for the forest authorities.

In most of the cases, poachers are better equipped than the park supervisors themselves and it is much worse if compared with community supervisors who are fundamental to control the situation in the park, according to the official.

By new techniques, poachers have killed 52 elephants this year in the Niassa reserve in northern Mozambique, and a total of 124 elephants in two years.

The Namibian government has said it will take tougher measures to fight against rampant poaching, as suspected illegal hunting activities of elephants and rhinos in the Caprivi and Kunene regions have raised concern.

Speaking at the fifth annual MET Field Awards’ ceremony at the Arebbusch Lodge, Deputy Minister of Environment and Tourism (MET) Uahekua Herunga said his ministry and law-enforcement agencies are taking wildlife poaching seriously.

Law-enforcement agencies, including the ministry, have taken wildlife poaching seriously, and will continue to put measures in place to curb this illegal activity, he was quoted by Nampa as saying.

Last week, a local newspaper published a report about a female elephant that was killed with an automatic weapon, 500 metres south of the Angolan border in the Bwabwata National Park in the Caprivi Region.

She was one of nine elephants allegedly killed for their tusks over the past few months in the park.

Despite the success rate in reducing poaching in Namibia, the number of elephants killed for their tusks in other African countries has recently soared.

It has now sparked concern that this poaching has now spilled across the border from South Africa.

Earlier this month, an incident of poaching in the Huab Conservancy was reported when a young rhino calf carcass was spotted during a routine patrol on 25 October by conservancy rangers.

Herunga boasted that Namibia’s strengths in the tourism sector include sustainability, pro-poor community-based tourism programs, and an increase in the number of previously endangered species such as rhinoceros, as well as the country’s protected area network.

Countries in the Eastern and Southern Africa region is planning to harmonize policies in tourism and wildlife management in fresh attempts to fight poaching, local media reported on Wednesday.

Tanzanian Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism Ezekiel Maige said the joint efforts were necessary to curb rising illegal trade in wildlife in the Eastern and Southern Africa region.

"We are now discussing how we can possibly harmonize our wildlife laws so as to add to our collaborative efforts to combat illegal trading of fauna and flora," he was quoted by The Citizen daily as saying.

More coordinated efforts to fight poaching could also increase the support of other countries in the region to the bid of Tanzania and Zambia to sell the ivory stockpiles that were seized from poachers over the years.

Early last year, Tanzania was asking to sell almost 90 tons of ivory that would have generated as much as 20 million U.S. dollars.

However, the UN conservation meeting in Qatar ruled in favor of the proposal by such countries as Kenya that wanted the stockpiles to be destroyed to discourage poaching and related activities.

The minister, who was speaking at the 10th governing council meeting of parties on the Lusaka Agreement over the weekend, also urged member states to honor their financial commitment to the task force to facilitate the war against poaching.

The Lusaka Agreement on protection of wildlife is a multilateral environmental agreement signed in 1994 in the Zambian capital city under the auspices of the UN Environment Program.

The Agreement came into force on Dec. 10, 1996 with the ratification, or formal acceptance, by four signatories.

Currently, there are seven member states to the agreement, which include Congo, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Uganda, Zambia and Tanzania. Ethiopia, South Africa and Swaziland are signatories.

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