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$80 million anti-poaching initiative unveiled

An $80 million effort to clamp down on Africa’s rampant elephant poaching was unveiled today in New York.

A collection of 16 NGOs and African nations including Uganda and Kenya along with the Clinton Global Initiative will use the money to increase law enforcement at 50 sites. They hope this will mean that elephant population decline is halted at half of these sites.

Work to detect and prosecute smugglers will also be increased, and the governments involved have committed to call for an international trade ban on imports, exports and sales of all commercial ivory products.

Elephant poaching in Africa has surged in recent years, driven mainly by demand in Asia. Earlier this year the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora meeting agreed to clamp down on illegal trading, but widespread killing of the animals appears to have continued. Zimbabwe recently reported more than 80 had been killed with cyanide in one of its national parks.


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    Fernanda de Vasconcellos Pegas said:

    The injection of $80 million dollars to help reduce elephant poaching in Africa (Nature 501, Nature News Blog; 2013) brings to surface another chapter in the battle to halt wildlife loss in this region. While the initiative has potential to crack down poaching at the source, it will unlikely put a dent on the growing demand for ivory, especially in China and Taiwan. Such change in demand may occur if involved governments are able to shift domestic legislation pertaining to ivory sales. As it stands, the demand for these products is supported by Chinese law, which poses a serious legal hurdle for elephant conservation efforts.

    Fernanda de Vasconcellos Pegas, Tourism, Sport, Services Research Centre – Griffith University – Australia

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