Tag Archives: ivory

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Tanzania’s Poaching Out of Control

There’s a serious problem with elephant poaching in Tanzania, and it seems to be getting worse by the day. The series of articles below outline some of what’s happening in this beautiful country and just how devastating the Asian demand for ivory is to Tanzania’s natural resources.

Confiscated ivory. Screen capture from photogtraphy4life.com.

Confiscated ivory. Image source: Screen capture from photogtraphy4life.org.

We can consider elephants as natural capital, a resource base which may be replenished given enough time for growth. However, it would appear that current rates of destruction from ivory poaching far outstrip elephants’ natural replacement rate, meaning that overall populations in Tanzania will continue to decline.

Have a read through the following articles, all of which were sent to me by my fellow science teacher, Matt Erdosy, while we wee in classes today. The first one describes the armed robbery of a tourist bus in the Ngorogoro Conservation Area (NCA) in northern Tanzania – a bold move on the poachers’ part, showing that they’re not too concerned about police enforcement here.

The second article details the other end of the ivory trade – the retailers in New York and other large cities who pass along ivory to the final consumers. This article in particular discusses the regulatory shortcomings of laws in the consumer countries.

The final few articles delve into some of the internal politics influencing the failure to effectively police ivory and rhino poaching in Tanzania, including a petition to return a government minister to his role combatting poaching.

At the current rate of killing, there may be no more elephants in Tanzania within a decade. That means no elephants on safari anywhere – not in Serengeti, not in Mikumi, or Selous, Ruaha, Katavi, or Tarangire. Nowhere!

Ivory, Poaching, and the Drug Trade in Tanzania

Thanks to Matt Erdosy for passing this along to me, and to Neil and Liz Baker of the Tanzania Bird Atlas for their contribution. Below please find a short version of a recent report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, which details the extent of ivory poaching in Tanzania and other east African nations. The numbers are just staggering:

  • Over the last 10 years a third of Tanzania’s elephants have been slaughtered.
  • 20 elephants were killed in the 2nd quarter of 2013 in Tanzania’s protected Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
  • One prominent Tanzanian Game Reserve and a National Park have lost 42% of their respective elephant populations over the last 10 years, amounting to a staggering count of 31,348 carcasses.
  • 10,000 elephants are killed annually (that’s 27 elephants a day, or just over one every hour!).

The rest of the report is pretty fascinating as well. It details migrant smuggling in the Horn of Africa region, heroin trafficking from Asia into Africa, and piracy from Somalia. Click on this link to read the full document, Transnational Organized Crime in East Africa: A Threat Assessment.