1 Tahrcountry Musings: Poachers Using Satellite Pictures to Localize Groups of Elephants in Chad

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Poachers Using Satellite Pictures to Localize Groups of Elephants in Chad

The story of Chad elephants is a very sad chapter in the conservation annals. From a population of around 20,000 in the 1980s, it has been reduced to a little more than 3,000. This means a decline of 85 percent in less than three decades.
Amidst poverty, hunger, violence, and hundreds of thousands of refugees in Chad the elephants do not stand a chance.  80 percent of the population in Chad lives below the poverty line. Poaching is rampant. In the month of April alone 105 elephants were killed by poachers. If the trend continues, not a single elephant will be left in Chad in three years time.
Poachers are equipped with the latest in technological devices like GPS and satellite phones. Now they have started using satellite pictures to localize groups of Elephants. The poachers are increasingly becoming a menace. Last month poachers killed two Chadian soldiers in a single weekend.
Conservationists believe the ivory does not stay in Africa, but ends up in far-away China, Japan and Thailand. The ETIS (Elephant Trade Information System)   analysis identifies Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Thailand as the three countries most heavily implicated in the global illicit ivory trade. Cameroon, Gabon and Mozambique Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Vietnam were also identified as important nodes in the illicit ivory trade. Here is a shocker. U.S. is still one of the world's largest consumers of ivory.
The conservationists firmly believe that local action alone cannot stop the decimation of elephants In Chad. International cooperation is urgently needed.

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