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Monday, October 05, 2015

Big Game, Big Money: The trade in African wildlife

The Financial Times reports that "Magude is the first staging post in a global supply chain that ends in east Asia, where rhino horn has long been coveted for its supposed healing powers.

It is one of three Mozambican towns investigators cite as a recruiting ground for poachers behind the intensifying massacre of rhinos. Just 40 miles of straggly bush to the west is South Africa and Kruger National Park. A decade ago it was a haven: poachers killed an average of 14 rhinos a year in South Africa between 1990 and 2007. The number rocketed to 83 in 2008, and 1,215 last year, about five per cent of Africa’s total population."

Prince William, who is president of United for Wildlife, writes today in the Financial Times:

"that conservation is about people, not just animals: the 1,000 park rangers who have been killed by poachers in the past decade; the victims of the militia organisations that use the profits of poaching to fund conflict and massacres; the millions of Africans whose economic security relies on a wildlife tourism industry but whose livelihoods are being destroyed. About 80 per cent of revenue received in Africa from tourists comes from watching wild animals, which are the ones most often threatened by poaching. The criminals who plunder the world’s natural resources are trapping fellow human beings in poverty, denying future generations the right to economic and social development. It is a vicious circle."