The year 2011 was described as a tragic year for elephants and the trend has not abated. It’s however comforting to learn that Interpol is carrying out the largest anti-elephant ivory poaching operation ever mounted. Wildlife agents in 14 different African countries have been raiding outlets and hunting down traders to crack down on the multi-million pound industry. Operation Worthy, as it is being called, is aimed at stifling the increasing demand in illegal elephant ivory, mostly from Asian countries such as China, with several dozen people already arrested and significant amounts of illegal wildlife products recovered. One of the main exit points for elephant ivory is Kenya and the Sky team was taken to see a huge stockpile of confiscated ivory near the capital, Nairobi.
With Chinese buyers now prevalent in many African countries, the criminal syndicates ordering the tusks have a ready market. There is a worry that poaching is already depleting elephant numbers to a dangerous level.
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UCF acknowledges any efforts to combat poaching. Over the years, UCF has supported Uganda Wildlife Authority in anti-poaching; a permanent presence of rangers within and around the protected areas has been achieved through establishment of ranger posts and marine ranger stations, training rangers as coxswains to undertake both marine and land borne patrol operations; supporting veterinary teams to rescue and remove snares from injured animals.
Recently UCF has supported the collection of elephant dung samples from all protected areas within the Albertine rift for DNA mapping. This will aid in tracing the origin of the ivory.
Much still needs to be done to continue this work in Queen Elizabeth and Murchison Falls Protected Areas. To support the efforts of UCF in its work please donate online now