Posts Tagged ‘corruption in Tanzania’

Can DNA technology help put a stop to elephant poaching?

June 20, 2015
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Tanzania calls for int'l ban on ivory, rhino trade
Police display elephant ivory seized during illegal shipments and sale

Scientists have discovered a new DNA technology that could help crack down on the illegal trade that is destroying the African elephant population.

By Beatrice Gitau
Christian Science Monitor

Scientists are now better able to pinpoint elephant poaching hotspots in Africa, thanks to a pioneering study.

By matching the DNA fingerprints of seized elephant ivory to DNA profiles from the dung of elephants living throughout the continent, scientist were able to establish the origin of illegal ivory to just two areas in Africa.

The data, published in Science, shows that tusks of forest elephants were most likely to come from the central African Tridom region that covers the Central African Republic, Gabon, and the Republic of Congo. Tusks from savannah elephants focused on the border area between Tanzania and Mozambique.

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Scientists hope that knowing the primary areas where elephants are poached could help fight ivory trafficking at its source, by increasing law enforcement.

“When you’re losing a tenth of the population a year, you have to do something more urgent – nail down where the major killing is happening and stop it at the source,” Samuel Wasser, co-author of the report from the University of Washington, said in a statement.

According to the University of Washington’s Center for Conservation Biology, as many as 50,000elephants could be killed for their ivory every year, with only approximately 400,000 elephants remaining. Conservationists warn African elephants could be virtually extinct in the next decade. The trade in ivory was outlawed in 1989, but poaching continues and remains a challenge to African governments and conservationists.

Identifying the origins of seized ivory helps reveal where to focus law enforcement as well as tactics used by ivory poachers and traders.

“Hopefully our results will force the primary source countries to accept more responsibility for their part in this illegal trade, encourage the international community to work closely with these countries to contain the poaching, and these actions will choke the criminal networks that enable this transnational organized crime to operate,” Wasser told the University of Washington.

Speaking to Agence France-Presse, Interpol adviser Bill Clark said that the study will help Interpol to understand the structure and the dynamics of the transnational organized crime syndicates behind it. “It’s part of a puzzle. Looking, finding, identifying the origin of the ivory is helping us piece together that puzzle.” Mr. Clark said.

This new study was developed out of research from Alfred Roca in 2012. Roca, an assistant professor from the University of Illinois, discovered that forensic tools can be used to catch poachers.

Robust conservation efforts to fight wildlife poaching have been implemented in some African countries and awareness created to reduce ivory demands. On Friday, the US government destroyed more than one ton of illegal ivory before crowds in New York’s Times Square, in a move to show its commitment on the crackdown of the illegal trade.

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Chinese tourists have posted photographs of themselves online showing off their catch, including endangered reefer sharks and red coral. Photo: Guangzhou Daily

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In this April 13, 2013 photo released by the Philippine Coast Guard, an officer of the Philippine Coast Guard holds a frozen pangolin or scaly anteater on board a Chinese vessel that ran into the Tubbataha coral reef, a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site, in the southwestern Philippines. Authorities discovered more than 10,000 kilograms (22,000 pounds) of meat from the protected species inside the Chinese vessel F/N Min Long Yu. (AP Photo/ Philippine Coast Guard)

74869856-officials-and-residents-watch-four-of-seven-endangered

Endangered green turtles crawl toward Honda Bay in the Philippines, after being tagged and released into the wild.  Photo by Romeo Gacad/AFP/Getty Images

Dead sea turtles confiscated from Chinese poachers by the Philippine National Police. Photo by PNP-SBU-PIA

 

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Tanzania urges China, Vietnam to curb ivory demand to save elephants; Rhino horn demand to save rhinos

June 19, 2015

Reuters

A Tanzanian government minister described elephant poaching on Thursday as a national disaster, and urged China to curb its appetite for ivory.

The east African nation’s elephant population shrank from around 110,000 in 2009 to a little over 43,000 in 2014, a fall of 60 percent, according to a census released this month, with conservation groups blaming industrial-scale poaching.

“We call upon the international community led by China to end its appetite for ivory,” Lazaro Nyalandu, Tanzania’s natural resources and tourism minister, told journalists at the launch of an anti-poaching awareness campaign.

Mister for Natural Resources and Tourism Hon. Lazaro Nyalandu (second right) presenting a souvenior photo of the Wildbeest Migration in the Serengeti National Park to the Saudi-Arabian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for Economics and Cultural Affairs, Dr Yousef Al-Sadoon.

Demand for ivory from fast-growing Asian economies such as China and Vietnam, where it is turned into jewels and ornaments, has led to a spike in poaching across Africa.

China, the world’s biggest consumer of elephant tusks, announced in February a one-year ban on the import of African ivory carvings, but conservationists say corruption is fuelling poaching in Tanzania.

“Illegal ivory trade in and through Tanzania continues unabated despite repeated warnings and irrefutable evidence of the scale,” Mary Rice, executive director of the London-based Environmental Investigation Agency, told Reuters.

“Chronic corruption in Tanzania throughout the trade chain, and particularly in the exit points and ports, is a key driver of the trade.”

Nyalandu said Tanzania’s rangers were overwhelmed by the scale of the poaching, though he also said there were suggestions that migration could account for falling numbers at some national parks.

“We have ordered a new elephant census to be carried out in August to validate the results of this latest survey,” he said.

Nyalandu said poaching at safari parks was threatening the tourism industry, Tanzania’s biggest foreign exchange earner.

(Reporting by Fumbuka Ng’wanakilala; editing by Mark Trevelyan)

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Tanzania calls for int’l ban on ivory, rhino trade
Tanzania calls for int'l ban on ivory, rhino trade
Tanzania is estimated to have only 123 rhinos from more than 10,000 in the 1970s

World Bulletin/News Desk

Tanzania is calling for an international ban on trading in ivory products in hopes of protecting its endangered species – including rhinos and elephants – from poachers.

“Without putting an end to international trade in these products, the war against poaching will be futile,” Natural Resources and Tourism Minister Lazaro Nyalandu told Anadolu Agency in the northern city of Arusha, which is surrounded by some of Africa’s most celebrated nature preserves.

“About 10,000 elephants are killed every year by poachers in Tanzania, which currently has less than 70,000 jumbos [large elephants],” he said.

“Presently, Tanzania is estimated to have only 123 rhinos remaining from more than 10,000 in the 1970s,” Nyalandu lamented.

Tanzania was a key range state for the animals by 1980, boasting 3,795 rhinos – accounting for nearly a quarter of Africa’s black rhinos at the time, the numbers of which fell drastically from 65,000 in 1970.

By 1995, Tanzania had as few as 32 rhinos remaining, due largely to poaching activity.

Nyalandu estimates that, in Africa, nearly 35,000 elephants – one every 15 minutes – and more than 1,000 rhinos – one every nine hours – are killed by poachers each year.

“This is alarming,” he said. “Tanzania and other African countries must put international pressure on leading markets for the rhino horns and elephant tusks to stop buying the trophies.”

According to the minister, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Japan and the Koreas represent the leading markets for ivory and rhino horns.

“Though not scientifically proven, rhino horns are in high demand – mainly in the Asian market – as a sex stimulant, unlike ivory which is used to make… other items,” Wilbad Chambulo, chairman of the Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO), said.

“We must discourage and stop this,” he added.

War on poaching

Minister Nyalandu insists that, without an immediate halt of the selling and purchase of elephant tusks and rhino horns, Africa will continue to see the wanton killing of the endangered animals.

TATO Executive Officer Sirili Akko agrees, saying that a 1989 international ban on ivory trading isn’t enough.

“In order to address the crisis, there should be no trade – legal or illegal – on items made from the two trophies,” he told AA.

Nyalandu asserted that his government would leave no stone unturned in its fight against poaching.

“We will use all state organs to unmask those responsible for the carnage of our national heritage,” he told AA.

“The establishment of a semi-autonomous Tanzania wildlife authority… is one of our strategies,” he said.

Nyalandu went on to note that Tanzania planned to collaborate with Mozambique as well as member-states of the East African Community (EAC), a regional trade bloc, to combat the trend.

TATO head Chambulo, for his part, urged the government to award individuals who had made sacrifices – sometimes paying with their own lives – to protect Tanzania’s wildlife heritage.

“The government should not only act firmly against greedy people who are behind the wildlife carnage… it’s time we also awarded those who voluntarily participate in conservation,” he told AA.

http://www.worldbulletin.net/world/146364/tanzania-calls-for-intl-ban-on-ivory-rhino-trade

Related:

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.
.

 (Contains links to several related articles)

Chinese tourists have posted photographs of themselves online showing off their catch, including endangered reefer sharks and red coral. Photo: Guangzhou Daily

Related:

.
.
.

 
In this April 13, 2013 photo released by the Philippine Coast Guard, an officer of the Philippine Coast Guard holds a frozen pangolin or scaly anteater on board a Chinese vessel that ran into the Tubbataha coral reef, a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site, in the southwestern Philippines. Authorities discovered more than 10,000 kilograms (22,000 pounds) of meat from the protected species inside the Chinese vessel F/N Min Long Yu. (AP Photo/ Philippine Coast Guard)

74869856-officials-and-residents-watch-four-of-seven-endangered

Endangered green turtles crawl toward Honda Bay in the Philippines, after being tagged and released into the wild.  Photo by Romeo Gacad/AFP/Getty Images

Dead sea turtles confiscated from Chinese poachers by the Philippine National Police. Photo by PNP-SBU-PIA