By Fredrick Nzwili
Richard Leakey was in Nairobi this week with news that ivory poaching, and illegal sales in Asia, may accelerate overall trend downward.
Kenya’s elephants could be wiped out by poaching in 10 years, unless urgent measures are taken to end the crisis, International wildlife conservationists warned here this week.
A demand for ivory and rhino horns in the lucrative Asian black market has attracted cartels to Africa that are presently carrying-out cold blood killings of the animals, the conservationists say. In Kenya, the situation is at its worst now, according to Richard Leakey, an internationally famed paleontologist and founder of WildlifeDirect, a conservation charity.
“There has never been such a level of killing as we are experiencing today. Unless we do something now elephants will be gone from the wild within the next decade,” says Dr. Leakey, speaking at a presentation in the Kenyan capital.
“I believe partnerships with private sectors are critical. We cannot afford any further delay and we have to be tough," Leakey added.
In 1979, when 1.2 million elephants roamed Africa, Kenya had 167,000, according to the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS). Today, Africa has an estimated 300,000 pachyderms, representing about a 75 per cent loss since 1979, figures compiled by WildlifeDirect.
Between January and May of this year, 117 elephants and 21 rhinos have been killed by poachers. More....