By Jinty Jackson
Hunting for ivory on the African continent has tripled, and elephants now are facing their gravest crisis in decades, according to the U.N. Environmental Protection Agency and other conservation groups. One country, Mozambique, is losing more than a thousand elephants to poachers every year - making it one of the nations most affected by Asia's increasing demand for ivory.
In the race to feed the hunger for ivory trinkets and carvings in the East, elephant poachers have found easy hunting grounds in Mozambique.
At last count five years ago, 15,000 elephants roamed the vast Niassa reserve in the northernmost part of the country. But those numbers are dwindling fast.
For hundreds of kilometers, the Rovuma River forms a natural frontier between the park and Tanzania. All the poachers have to do is cross over in canoes to get to the elephants, which they attack with high-caliber weapons.
The Wildlife Conservation Society, an international non-profit, recently partnered with the Mozambican government to manage the reserve. The organization's technical advisor, Carlos Lopes-Pareira, said poachers are able to gun down as many as five elephants at a time. More....