‘Africa poach­ing now a war’

Sunday Express - - AFRICA -

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

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