Good news indeed!
The rhino population, an animal considered endangered, has increased in Tanzania following a crackdown on poaching by gangs, as reported by the authorities. And as major ivory hunters have been hunted down, the elephant population too has gone up.
Yet, there is skepticism from several corners, who believe that the increase hasn’t been as thrilling as highlighted, especially because these wildlife take their reproduction very slowly.
A website document on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) had placed Tanzania as the ‘Ground Zero’ of poaching, for, as recent as 2015, they simply had a rhino population of just 133.
A shadow of doubt is still there, for the President’s office maintained that there were 15 rhinos in 2015, and the number is 167 now.
Mhe. Rais Magufuli azindua Hifadhi ya Taifa ya Burigi-Chato. pic.twitter.com/CMt0AVRd54
— Gerson Msigwa (@MsigwaGerson) July 9, 2019
Whom to believe?
As it goes, the attempt to maintain synchronicity between the reports made by Cites and the Tanzanian government failed, for the latter wasn’t available for comment. Cites is majorly important in maintaining a balance between their trade and their survival.
Interestingly, President John Magufuli had spoken up about the wildlife crisis in Tanzania in 2015, when he swore an oath in office. And steps had been taken imminently, for, within months, around 4 Chinese poachers were arrested and imprisoned for 20 years. This year saw the arrest of the ‘Ivory Queen’, another Chinese businesswoman responsible for the trafficking of around 350 elephant tusks to China.
The official statement states that the commendable work of the task force has led to a good increase in the elephant population – from 43,300 in 2014 to more than 60,000 currently. This is in stark contrast to the plummeting decrease that they faced when the number went from 110,000 in 2009, to 43000 in 2014.
Most conservation groups have blamed the decrease on poaching, especially in the game reserve of Selous and the Mikumi National Park. Ruaha, another such park, has received notoriety after 4000 elephants were killed by poachers, 4 years back.
Head of a charity for conservation, Wayne Lotter, was killed by a gunman in 2017, after receiving death threats. Born Free Foundation’s head of policy Mark Jones attested the increase in elephant and rhino population on other factors since reproduction in such animals was very slow.
He lauded the government for its efforts but was still hesitant to believe in it entirely. He advised all to wait for independent, unbiased verification, that would dispel all doubts. It is a sad trajectory, that the number of elephants in Africa, which was 10 million in 1929, has been reduced to 415,000 in 2019.
Vietnam and China are the major exporters of ivory and tusks from African countries, for they use it as jewelry. With several supernatural connotations attached to it, most of the customers believe that the horns and the tusks would grow back.
China has lastly put a crackdown on ivory trading last year itself, which has led to low ivory prices. Yet other countries like Japan, Hong Kong, the EU, etc still allow it.
The IUCN has listed the black rhino as one of the critically endangered species after repeated and extensive poaching had led it to the brink of extinction.
Although science hasn’t backed up any Asian claims of the horns or tusks having medicinal belief, the common people are too ignorant to believe in science itself.
This rise in rhino population as well as elephant population ought to encourage us all to put further efforts in saving our wildlife. This earth belongs to them as much as it belongs to us.
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