By Rikkert Reijnen
Elephants, rhino’s and other wild animal species were, until recently, relatively safe in the southern region of Africa.
The killing spree which is decimating Africa’s wildlife started in Central and West Africa, from there the poachers moved eastward and now the countries in the south are being targeted.
Some of these countries are harboring the biggest elephant herds and the last remaining rhino populations on the continent. The spread of cross-border poaching and its links to armed groups have quickly reached alarming proportions in the region.
Stand-alone efforts by ministries responsible for the protection of wildlife lack the capacity to resolve this threat from aggressive, well organized, sophisticated and heavily armed poachers and traffickers.
IFAW strongly believes that a coordinated inter-agency response by the region’s governments is critical to effectively deal with the rising tide of wildlife crime.
No government or organization can organize and facilitate such a coordinated response alone.
The governments of Botswana and the United States of America earn all credit to have started the initiative to create a Wildlife Enforcement Network for Southern Africa (WEN-SA). More....