Africa's elephant, rhino poaching worth $380m

JOHANNESBURG - The proceeds of elephant and rhino poaching in Africa are currently equivalent to as much as $380 million, the United Nations Congress on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora said.

Poaching of elephants for ivory, which is reducing the population of the animals faster than they can reproduce, is worth $165 million to $188 million a year in Asia while the rhino-horn trade last year was valued at between $63 million and $192 million, Cites figures show, the UN said in a statement on Tuesday, which has been designated as Wildlife Day.

Wildlife crime has grown into one of the largest transnational organized criminal activities, according to the UN.

Over the three years through 2012 as many as 100,000 elephants were poached while 1,215 rhinos were illegally killed in South Africa last year, according to Cites.

“Illegal wildlife trade undermines the rule of law and threatens national security,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon in the statement. “It degrades ecosystems and is a major obstacle to the efforts of rural communities and indigenous peoples.”

The illegal activity affects the survival of a wide array of animals, with many dying during capture and captivity.

A minimum of 220 chimpanzees, 106 orangutans, 33 bonobos, and 15 gorillas have been lost from the wild over the last 14 months as trafficking spreads, according to estimates by the Great Apes Survival Partnership.

The majority of the remaining 80 Spix’s macaws, portrayed as the characters Blu and Jewel in the children’s animation film “Rio” are kept by foreign bird keepers, according to the UN. Pangolins, known as “scaly anteaters” because of their overlapping scales, are among the world’s most trafficked mammals, with over one million taken from the wild in the past decade, the UN said.

The United Nations Development Programme is focusing on “law enforcement, regulations, and engaging the private sector and strengthening collaboration between governments within and across” Africa and Asia, it said.

Comments (2)

Lets put our voice together for endangour species

Jackson Edson Mahimbo - 13 March 2015

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