‘Africa poaching now a war’
THE fight against poaching must be treated as a war, Africa’s leading anti-poaching coalition said on Thursday, as it called for the illicit wildlife trade to be monitored like global conflicts.
Enact, an EU-funded anti-poaching analytical taskforce that includes Interpol, called for the expansion of a media tracking system to track poaching i ncidents similar to established conflict monitoring methods.
“We’re following the model put out by conflict data programmes which have basically used media monitor- ing” on incidents of conflict, said Ciara Aucoin, a researcher at South Africa’s Institute for Security Studies.
“From that research we’ve been able to get a more nuanced understanding of conflicts around Africa,” she said while presenting the findings of Enact’s new study entitled “Guns, poison and horns”.
Those methods can be applied to anti-poaching efforts to spot trends and help law enforcement tackle the trade, she said.
Enact unveiled the report at a summit of top anti-poaching experts in Pretoria just 24 hours ahead of international rhino day which highlights the toll of the global horn trade. ‘As intense as any war’ Rhino horns are highly prized in Asia where they have been known to fetch up to $60 000 per kilo — more than gold or cocaine - with most of the demand coming from China and Vietnam, where it is coveted as a traditional medicine and aphrodisiac.
But expert researchers say the current black market rate in Vietnam is around $24 000 a kilo. Africa’s rhinos could be extinct within 20 years at the rate they are being poached, according to Wildlife Direct, a non-profit conservation organisation. — AFP