Poachers slaughtered 40 elephants in Mozambique’s Niassa National Reserve, in the northernmost province of Niassa, from this January to May, local radio reported on Saturday.
The state Radio Mozambique quoted the reserve’s administrator, Cornelio Miguel, as reporting that this figure represents a reduction in the poaching of elephants population. “We have checked and saw that the rate of the killing of the animals is reducing and we are working hard to reduce more and more, and we are sure that by 2020 we will have stability in the reserve,” said Miguel.
He also said that “this reduction is the results of the increasing of the game’s rangers.” The police are also contributing in the fight against the poachers, but some are blamed for working in collaboration with the animal killers.
This week, the Mozambican government said that the country’s elephant population has fallen by almost half in the last five years due to massive poaching, based on a census which was undertaken in 2014, as part of Mozambique’s commitments as a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
In its report on the census which was delivered at the beginning of the week in Maputo, the Minister of Land, Environment and Rural Development, Celso Correia, said that, in the five years since the previous census, the number of elephants in the country has fallen by 48 percent.
Under a joint initiative between his ministry and the Mozambican police, a special force has been set up to police in the conservation areas.
The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), which collaborated in the census, said the number of elephants in Mozambique has declined from over 20,000 in 2009 to around 10,300 in 2014, due to organized criminal gangs who are decimating Mozambique’s biodiversity and undermining governance in remote borders.
The Niassa National Reserve is the largest conservation area in the Portuguese speaking country. 95 percent of the total loss occurred in northern Mozambique where the elephant population declined from an estimated 15,400 to an estimated 6,100.
In the census, 43 percent of all elephants seen in the Niassa Reserve were carcasses.
The WCS says in its report that in the Quirimbas National Park, in Cabo Delgado, the elephant population is quite small, at just over 600. The Mozambican government is to work with neighboring Tanzania to quench the poaching crime in northern area.
The decline in the western province of Tete, and the Limpopo National Park in the south is less severe.
Nonetheless, over the past five years 20 percent of the animal have gone, leaving 1,600 elephants in Tete and 1,100 in the Limpopo Park and other southern areas.
The one bright spot is that in Sofala province elephant populations are slowly increasing, to 535 in the Gorongosa National Park and 600 in the Marromeu Special Reserve. Enditem