By Susan Canney
There is currently no government presence in the Gourma but the local people are still there and our work continues. Since the elephant death in January (see blog post Note on the poaching incident at Insegueren, Mali) there were two more killings in May, and in all cases our community information networks have discovered the identity of the perpetrators and the people who ordered the killings. They have also discovered the identity of the thief and forced the return of stolen solar panels from one of the Banzena boreholes. The local communities have achieved great things but have requested armed backup so that the individuals responsible for elephant deaths are arrested.
In an encounter with a rebel group, the community leaders prevented the project camels from being taken by explaining that these were necessary for protecting pasture and other natural resources. The rebels thought this was a good idea and left them.
Meanwhile community leaders have resolved to transmit the following messages far and wide, including rebel and military leaders:
- Those who attack the elephants, attack and steal from the people of Mali
- The ivory of the Mali elephants is of poor quality and little commercial value, therefore, their slaughter is a useless crime
- The Mali elephants have a greater value alive: ecologically and for tourism
We have consulted widely to devise a strategy to cope with this eventuality. More....