Wildlife crime, a scourge that includes killing of endangered species for business purposes, has taken a dangerous and alarming turn in Africa in the past decade.
Amazing touristic destinations such as Kenya lost at least 360 elephants in 2012 due to wildlife crime, an increase from the 289 elephants killed in 2011, accotding to Kenya Wildlife Service.
Experts and concerned organisations believe this brutal and cruel method has been robbing the continent of precious natural resources, and at the same time posing a major threat to its stability and economies.
It is in his spirit that the African Development Bank (AfDB) and WWF late last week launched a joint global call for action, urging a strong commitment from governments and other institutions to fight this rampant crime that shows no sign of abating.
“Wildlife crime is a serious crime, and it is not just the rhinos and elephants that are in danger, there are grave implications also for national security, the rule of law and the wellbeing of communities across Africa,” WWF International Director General Jim Leape said in Marrakech, Morocco.
“Action is needed now at the highest levels if we are to bring this crisis under control,” he added.
“Illicit wildlife trafficking is a wrong that we must relentlessly resist because our people, our natural resources and our very economic development are at risk,” AfDB President. Donald Kaberuka said.
“I call on leaders across Africa and beyond to invest in our region’s future by doing all they can to strengthen law enforcement and criminal justice for these crimes.”
Wildlife crime also featured in a United Nations Security Council gathering last week in New York, where UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon released a report on illicit wildlife trafficking being a serious crime needing urgent attention.
A document called ‘The Marrakech Declaration’ was issued during the global action launch, in which the out-of-control nature of illicit wildlife trafficking is highlighted.
The declaration urges countries and their citizens to act urgently to fight illicit wildlife trafficking in Africa and across the globe.
Download the declaration here: http://www.apo-mail.org/The_Marrakech_Declaration.pdf
Photo: An elephant savaged by poachers stands idle and dead in Kenya. Credit: Africa Confidential.