Poaching Decimating Tanzania’s Elephants
The World Heritage Committee meeting in Doha (Qatar) last month sounded the alarm and put the Selous Game Reserve (United Republic of Tanzania) on the List of World Heritage in Danger because widespread poaching is decimating wildlife populations on the property. The Committee called on the international community, including ivory transit and destination countries, to support Tanzania in the fight against this criminal activity.
Covering 50,000 square kilometers, the Selous Game Reserve is one of the largest protected areas in Africa. The property is renowned for its populations of elephant, black rhinoceros, cheetah, giraffe, hippopotamus and crocodile, amongst many other species. It also has an exceptionally high variety of habitats including Miombo woodlands, open grasslands, riverine forests and swamps, making it a valuable laboratory for on-going ecological and biological processes.
However, rampant poaching has caused a dramatic decline in the wildlife populations, especially elephants and rhino, whose numbers have dropped by almost 90 percent since 1982, when the property was inscribed on the World Heritage List.
The 38th session of the World Heritage Committee ended on June 25, under the Chair of Sheikha Al Mayassa Bint Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani.
In Tanzania and elsewhere in Africa, investments from India and China have created an economic boom. This escalating economic disparity—including the entitlement of foreign investors, myths, cultural factors, and corruption—is driving a devastating trade in illegal wildlife parts, including elephant ivory, rhino horn and others. The demand for endangered species’ parts is rapidly driving them toward extinction.
Both the African elephant and the rhino could be poached into extinction within a decade, if drought and starvation don’t wipe them out first. Lions will go right behind them. The collapse will continue until the land won’t support man or beast. Containing this ecological and humanitarian disaster to Africa will be impossible. The entire world has a stake in saving this delicate ecosystem and others from collapse.
Sacred Seedlings is a global initiative to support forest conservation, reforestation, urban forestry, carbon capture, sustainable agriculture and wildlife conservation. Sustainable land management and land use are critical to the survival of entire ecosystems.
Sacred Seedlings is a U.S.-based program that supports the vision of local stakeholders. We have projects ready across Africa. We seek additional projects elsewhere around the world. We also seek volunteers, sponsors and donors of cash and in-kind support. Write to Gary Chandler for more information firstname.lastname@example.org