SHEREE BEGA

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

that it’s the same for wildlife. Right now, it looks very self­ish and ar­ro­gant.

“That crim­i­nal car­tels have set their sights on Kruger Park, is wor­ry­ing.

“Kruger has the best de­fences on the con­ti­nent. What’s go­ing on when ele­phant poach­ers can come in and kill 30 ele­phants, that you know about, but it’s prob­a­bly 10 times that?

“When you shoot ele­phants it sends out mes­sages to all the ele­phants, which are now tense and stressed.”

Too lit­tle is known about the com­plex crim­i­nal car­tels fu­elling ele­phant poach­ing, she says.

“My big­gest re­gret is our scat­tered ap­proach (as con­ser­va­tion­ists).

“The crim­i­nals are laugh­ing all the way. They’ve not been caught or pun­ished. Ev­ery now and then, there’s a seizure nabbed but there are many oth­ers in the pipe­line al­ready.”

While she ap­plauds China’s ivory ban, which comes into ef­fect in De­cem­ber, it has taken too long to en­act.

“Chi­nese au­thor­i­ties tell us they don’t un­der­stand why we’re blam­ing them, that our peo­ple are not do­ing enough on the ground (to pro­tect ele­phants)… It’s not their ele­phants so they’re not both­ered.

“I think the Chi­nese premier should have taken his per­sonal ivory and that of his wife’s and thrown it in the crush in Bei­jing. That would have made a per­sonal state­ment that ‘any­one who is us­ing ivory is not our friend’.”

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