Monday, 10 September 2018

Poaching: Almost 90 Elephants Dead In ‘Biggest Ever’ Slaughter In Africa

Botswana's 2018 Wildlife Aerial Survey has revealed large-scale poaching of the country's elephants with conservationists saying so far, 87 carcasses have been found.

Carcases of nearly 90 elephants were discovered in Botswana according to conservationists. Elephants Without Borders, which is conducting an aerial survey, said the scale of poaching deaths is the largest seen in Africa.

According to a report by the BBC, the slaughter comes right after the country’s poaching unit had been disarmed.

A total of 87 elephants have been found dead so far. Five white rhinos have been poached in three months.

Botswana is home to the world’s largest elephant population, but poachers have been finding their way into the country.
Poaching: Almost 90 Elephants Dead In ‘Biggest Ever’ Slaughter In Africa
“I’m shocked, I’m completely astounded. The scale of elephant poaching is by far the largest I’ve seen or read about anywhere in Africa to date,” said Dr Mike Chase from Elephants Without Borders according to the BBC.

“When I compare this to figures and data from the Great Elephant Census, which I conducted in 2015, we are recording double the number of fresh poached elephants than anywhere else in Africa.”

According to that census, a third of the continent’s elephants had been killed in the last decade.

“People did warn us of an impending poaching problem and we thought we were prepared for it,” said Mr Chase, who pointed to the disarmament of the country’s anti-poaching unit as a cause.

“The poachers are now turning their guns to Botswana. We have the world’s largest elephant population and it’s open season for poachers.

“Clearly we need to be doing more to stop the scale of what we are recording on our survey.”

The BBC reports:

Botswana’s 2018 Wildlife Aerial Survey is only half-way through and conservationists fear the final figure of poached elephants will be a lot higher.

“Fresh carcasses” are those lost within the last three months, but many of those recorded had been killed within the last few weeks.

Conservationists called for action.

“This requires urgent and immediate action by the Botswana government,” said Mr Chase.

“Botswana has always been at the forefront of conservation and it will require political will.

“Our new president must uphold Botswana’s legacy and tackle this problem quickly. Tourism is vitally important for our economy, jobs, as well as our international reputation which is at stake here as being a safe stronghold for elephants.”

The signs, according to the BBC, have been there for a while. Two years ago, the media outlet joined Chase on a mission where elephants were discovered with their tusks removed for the first time.

The latest killings have been found deep into Botswana – close to the protected Okavango Delta wildlife sanctuary, which attracts tourists from around the world.

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