Ungdomspanelet i Tanzania

Ungdomspanelet samarbeider med ungdom i Tanzania.

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Nearly five tons of elephant ivory and thousands of ivory ornaments are burned to keep out of reach of the illegal ivory trade. Gabon 2007. Photo: animalrescueblog/ Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)
Nearly five tons of elephant ivory and thousands of ivory ornaments are burned to keep out of reach of the illegal ivory trade. Gabon 2007. Photo: animalrescueblog/ Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

By Neema Charles (18)

The illegal wildlife trade is not only a crime against our elephants, rhinos and other wildlife but also against the African states’ prosperity and world heritage. It harms our economies by undermining industries such as tourism, and it weakens ecological systems important for our growth and development. It corrupts and rewards the few, while taking from the many. It puts our rangers at greater risk, and endangers us all by serving as a convenient financing mechanism for terror and rebel groups.

Since 2010, official figures show that on average almost 35,000 elephants a year have been killed; black rhino population has dropped 97.6% since 1960 across the continent. On the other hand,  UN reports suggest that gorillas could disappear from large parts of the Congo Basin by the mid-2020s. The Born Free Foundation estimates that between 30% and 50% of Africa’s lion population has been wiped out over the course of the last two decades. If that trend is not stopped, they will be wiped out in the wild in our generation and children’s lifetime.

To make matters worse, many African countries depend on wildlife to attract tourists. For instance in Tanzania, tourism has been growing at steady rate for the past 7 years, overtaking agriculture which has been the leading contributor to our GDP for most of its history.

The carcass of a young elephant is examined by rangers in Garamba Park in DR COngo 2012. Photo: Nuria Ortega/African Parks Network (Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The carcass of a young elephant is examined by rangers in Garamba National Park in DR Congo 2012. Photo: Nuria Ortega/African Parks Network (Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Many African states are waking up to this reality, moving against poachers and wildlife traffickers. The momentum is there and we are seeing marginal improvements in some areas, but Africa is far from claiming victory unless there is one voice and one message internationally to help our cause. Kenya’s decision to destroy its ivory and rhino horns, and South Africa’s decision not to propose legalising the rhino horn sends a clear message, but these efforts can hardly succeed if China, Vietnam, Thailand and Korea will keep encouraging the market by buying  horns and tusks and U.S.A live by the law of “illegal to import but legal to sell”. Our time is better spent on ending demand, not trying to stimulate it. The illegal wildlife trade must be fought along all parts of the supply chain, from source to destination.

We here in Africa are the primary custodians of our wildlife but this heritage belongs to the entire world.  The world must stand united by devoting necessary resources, manpower and political will.

We need greater commitment from the grassroot level to the  international level, so that governments can go after those involved in this trade and really stem the demand within the market.

 

How can you contribute to stopping poaching of wildlife in Africa? 

1)  BY  SIGNING PETITIONS

 “StopRhinoPoaching” (WWF) 

“StopElephantsPoaching” (Bloody Ivory Campaign)

2) BY RAISING YOUR VOICE FROM SHARING YOUR OPINION/COMMENT IN THE BOX BELOW

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Ungdomspanelet i Tanzania

Ungdomspanelet samarbeider med ungdom i Tanzania.