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Daily Nation : February 26th 2014
DAILY NATION Wednesday February 26, 2014 coverstory most poached wild animals 50% LIONS The population of lions in Africa has declined by between 30 per cent and 50 per cent in the past 20 years. The animals have been displaced from 83 per cent of their historical range in Africa. Lions are already extinct in seven African countries. In Kenya, the population of lions is in the 2000s, but they are being killed at the rate of about 100 a year. Why they are hunted? Skin, habitat and sport Many Western tourists who come to hunt in Africa kill lions for sport. Meanwhile, poachers kill them for their skin. But the main reason for the declining number of lions today is conflict with human beings. Human beings have encroached on the lion’s habitat, so the animals sometimes attack livestock, and farmers kill them to protect their livestock. Disease Disease outbreaks have led to the death of many animals. There is also the risk of transfer of diseases from domestic animals to those in the wild, or even from humans to wild game. Loss of Habitat There are two main issues here: fragmentation of forest lands due to human activity and expanding human settlement. 3 2500 Why they are hunted? For its meat and skin. The zebra is killed for its meat, which some believe has medicinal properties, and for its skin, which is used to make a variety of things, including lampstands, handbags and accessories. 97.6% THE BLACK RHINO Their population has fallen by 97.6 per cent since 1960. In 1970, there were 65,000 black rhinos in Africa. Today, there are about 5,055. The number of white rhinos had fallen to the 50s worldwide in the 1990s due to poaching, but conservation efforts have seen this rise to 20,405. The Sumatran and Javan rhinos number fewer than 100 each worldwide. Sh5.5m Why is it hunted? Its Horn The street market price for rhino horn rose from $4,700 (Sh399,500) per kilogramme in 1993 to about $65,000 (5,525,000) in 2012. Rhino horn is believed to have medicinal value, and that it can treat cancer, fever, hangover, and male impotence.. With increased demand in China over the past year, it is possible that the price is even higher. . GREVY’S ZEBRA Today, fewer than 2,500 remain. The number of Grevy’s Zebra in the continent has declined by 50 per cent in the past two decades. In the 1970s, 15,000 Grevy’s Zebra roamed the African grasslands. When they existed in sizeable numbers, the zebras could be found in Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, and Kenya, but they have been so heavily poached that the few remaining are found only in northern Kenya and southern Ethiopia. WAR AND UNREST During war or civil conflicts, rebels, poachers and opportunistic traders take advantage of the confusion to engage in the wildlife trophy trade. There is also the threat of war being fought in the wild, where landmines and bombs targeting humans explode, killing animals; the displaced/refugees also set up camp in the bush and prey on animals for food. Human beings need land for farming and settlement. Sometimes they encroach on what has been traditionally animal territory, leading to conflict. Points to note IllegalTrade The hotspots for the illegal trade Certain parts of the world that are notorious for trade in wildlife trophies. They are the source and market areas for these products. They include East and West Africa, Southern Africa, SouthEast Asia, the eastern borders of the European Union, Mexico, parts of the Caribbean, parts of Indonesia, parts of New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. How poaching is done it has emerged that poaching is conducted by organised groups and well run syndicates. The are well armed and serious about their trade. The few cases where arrests have been made indicate that they have access to high-power/high-calibre technology that can track and kill easily, and in large numbers. They use AK-47s, grenade launchers, night vision goggles and lowflying helicopters. The people behind poaching Reports indicate that terrorists in the continent use proceeds from poaching to fund their activities. There are also suspicions that wildlife protection officers, like game rangers, are involved in the illegal wildlife products trade. African leaders, especially those in war-torn countries, have also been accused of complicity. What can be done? Wildlife protection Having trained officers with appropriate equipment to fight poaching. Enact ing anti-poaching laws and enforcing them. Land conservation Forests and other wildlife habitats should be protected from human interference. Public education Raising awareness through campaigns that focus on the illegal trade in wildlife and the dwindling animal numbers . Provision of alternative livelihoods Communities that rely on wildlife for food should be helped to get alternative food.
February 25th 2014
February 27th 2014