Commemorating World Elephant Day, Tanzania made it a silent event yesterday amid political tension and escalated killing of these biggest African terrestrial mammals. The event took a very low profile, as at the time this African country is being accused of all over the world for elephant poaching and poor management of wildlife, the only heritage attracting over a million tourists per year.
The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) office in Tanzania, also known as the World Wildlife Fund in the US and Canada, said Wednesday that poaching, habitat loss, and other cruelty are alarming in this country. Tanzania, being a treasure trove of elephants in Africa, has recently revealed its catastrophe.
The elephant census conducted in the main elephant ecosystem for seven months consecutively from May to November 2014 indicates a significant decline of the current elephant population in Tanzania by 60 percent against the previous survey conducted in 2009, just over a five-year span.
“The increase in elephant poaching is highly linked to an increase of ivory prices and illegal market in the Far East and Southeast Asia,” said Dr. Amani Ngusaru, WWF Tanzania Country Director on marking World Elephant Day.
“Elephant poaching has increased dramatically in recent years, threatening the three pillars of life on Earth – sustainable development, peace, and human rights,” Dr. Ngusaru said.
Due to poaching and killing of elephants between 1970 and 1980, their population in Tanzania had declined to 55,000 but then the international ban of the sale of ivory and other elephant products together with highly-effective, anti-poaching operations in Tanzania resulted in the elephant population recovering from 55,000 in 1989 to an estimated 130,000 in 2005 and 110,000 in 2009, said the WWF office in Tanzania.
“In commemoration of Elephant Day, WWF Tanzania calls the nation to wake up and deal effectively with this ‘shame.’ Elephant poaching and trafficking should now be dealt [with] as a ‘serious crime’ that needs special national attention,” the WWF office said.
In its message to the government of Tanzania, the WWF Country office in Dar es Salaam said it is important for the government of Tanzania to consider increasing the capacity of local communities to pursue sustainable and alternative livelihoods as well as enhancing local communities’ rights and capacity to manage and benefit from wildlife, which enables them to live in more equitable socio-economic conditions.
World Elephant Day was created to bring the world together to help elephants. It’s a day to honor elephants, to spread awareness about the critical threats they are facing, and to support positive solutions that will help ensure their survival.
Elephant Day encourages individuals and organizations worldwide to embrace this day, and its mission is to create events, campaigns, and outreach most pertinent to elephant conservation initiatives.