Elephant Poaching Drops By 70% In Mozambique

Elephant’s poaching in Mozambique has dropped by at least 70 per cent, the country’s Land and Environment Minister has said.

Minister Ivete Maibasse said the drop was due to the commitment of security forces protecting conservation areas.

“Until 2014, we would register the loss of 1,200 elephants per year,” she said, adding that the numbers reduced to 360 elephants per year between 2015 and 2019.

The minister said that the Niassa Reserve, largest protected area in the country, had not lost an elephant to poaching in the last two years.

In 2015, a government-backed survey showed that poachers killed nearly half of Mozambique’s elephants.

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According to the survey, the elephant’s population reduced from 20,000 to 10,300 – about 48 per cent – due to illegal wildlife trade and lack of governance.

The US-based Wildlife Conservation Society said the animals were killed mainly for their ivory.

It noted that remote northern Mozambique, which includes the Niassa National Reserve, accounted for 95% of elephant deaths.

Elephants population in the area was said to have reduced from an estimated 15,400 to an estimated 6,100.

Elephant tusks are prized in Asia, where they are carved into ivory statuettes and jewellery.

Across Africa, up to 30,000 elephants are estimated to be killed illegally each year to fuel the ivory trade.

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An estimated 470,000 wild elephants remain in Africa, according to a count by the NGO Elephants Without Borders, down from several million a century ago.

On 14 May 2020, police in Mozambique said they had seized 1.3 tonnes of elephant ivory and rhino horn – the result of killing about 200 animals.

An Asian man was arrested on the outskirts of the capital Maputo at a house where the stash was stored.

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