Friday, August 7, 2009

Elephant poaching in Africa continues to rise

The 21st century is already running but some bad old habits still sadly remain. One of these bad old habits is definitely elephant poaching in Africa that looks to be again rising steadily because of huge demand on black market (usually in China). Many environmentalists believed how the darkest period of elephant killed that happened in 1970s and 1980s (that ended with more than 800,000 killed elephants) is the thing of the past but current reports say how current rise in elephant poaching in the last five years could once again mean tremendous slaughter of these peaceful animals.

If current rates of elephant killing are about to continue in years to come in less than 15 years elephants will disappear from most of sub-Saharan Africa. Why is this negative trend happening once again? Traditional black market for ivory is in China that is currently experiencing huge economic boost. This means that now more Chinese can afford ivory products such as ivory trinkets and ivory carving. Huge demand has sky-rocketed ivory prices, and many poachers see elephants as the excellent sources of profits and nothing more.

Poachers are not only local people but most importantly well organized international poaching gangs as high profits have attracted the interest of many international crime organizations. Laws in Africa are anything but strict, and wildlife protection even weaker which makes poachers a lot easier job. Ivory trade is one of the most important branch of wildlife trade, and some estimates say how tens of billions dollars are made each year from wildlife trade, especially in times like these where demand is constantly growing.

Central Africa is area worst hit with elephant poaching. In these area poachers really have an easy task in hunting down the animals because of frequent civil wars, overall corruption in many countries, and inadequate laws and lack of government control. Situation could yet again become a critical unless something is done to stop the gang of poachers. Couple of months ago for instance Vietnamese custom discovered a shipping container with more than 6 tonnes of tusks, which is number close to 1400 killed elephants.

Something definitely has to be done to stop these killings? But can anything be done against organized criminal in central African countries? I'm afraid that these African countries are anything but capable to fight against organized gangs of poachers. Without the help from international community Africa is sadly very likely to lose large number of elephants in years to come.

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