Poaching in Africa and the way forward

By: Aigbe Nosakhare

Poaching, the indiscriminate elimination of wildlife portends great danger for our society and world order. It is worthy to note that poaching has continually reduced the population of wildlife and if steps are not taken to correct this threat, wildlife and conservation is just about dead. Thus it will follow the trend of well-planned environment without a structure.

Stakeholders in this industry should take steps at reducing the loss of wildlife but the errors of the government of Nigeria for example towards wildlife management and conservation is poor and efforts must be made to support it. Take for instance, “sambisa” a hotspot for crime in North Eastern Nigeria should have been converted to a centre for Agro allied research, an irrigational model for farming and game reserve, but the government allowed such treasure to remain fallow and thus became an hotspot for crime.

We should be able to differentiate between poaching and hunting because the former deals with immediate consumption of animals while the latter portends danger to animal population and their existence.

According to the United Nations, “there is a concerted action to end the threats to migratory birds and urging everyone to step outside to the birds chirping to appreciate how important they are to our planet.”1 We have to protect these fragile animals with every resource at our disposal because their innocence would hurt us if we don’t protect them from imminent dangers.

The convention on migratory species (CMS) announced the creation of the intergovernmental task force on illegal killing, trade etc. it comprises of UNEP, UNODC and INTERPOL. Illegal taking and killing of birds threaten not only the survival of bird species but environment, communities and livelihood. Poaching is now not only traditional but has also taken up sophisticated equipment to ply the trade, therefore multi-tasking approach should be set up to stop these trends in our game reserves.

Problems

It’s problems are enormous but a major problem militating against the growth and development of our reserves are corruption, prolonged drought, multi-billion Chinese mining and construction ventures and land-hungry communal cattle farmers leading to an upsurge in wildlife mortality.

Moreover, toward modernisation, we tend to yearn for development but not minding the dangers which they possess. According to John Grobler and Fiona Macleod ” wildlife are now in a crossfire between poaching and conservatism”  2 the greedy attitude of individuals are reducing the population of wildlife on a daily basis. In towing toward modernization, we should be able to differentiate between evil and good and the right mandate to follow which will be suitable to our environment.

Recommendations

Towards a lasting solution in our reserves against poaching, a legislation should be passed by the National Assembly on the dangers of poaching and using every resource at the disposal to save animals. Thus according to Bruce Zagaris,” the use of a statute which enables the court to order defendants to pay their fines to the multinational species conservation funds which supports international efforts to protect critically endangered species around the world.”3 A trusteeship system should be agreed upon whereby developed countries, where transnational crime occurs. Also, a large chunk of funds should be remitted to developing countries, this will make them bring convicts and participate in restitution efforts. The legislation should be encompassing and method of enforcement and trusteeship procedure spelt out which will be beneficial to our own reserve in Nigeria. Whistleblowers should be protected.

We can copy the South Africa example of curbing poaching by procuring and training dogs which are capable of hurting these daredevil criminals. The success of these should be enacted here in West Africa. I would commend the South Africa government for their effort towards curbing poaching in their region.

The seize, share and forfeit templates should be incorporated into our system, whereby seized materials can be returned to its original owners and a wildlife museum can be set up in these various centres instead of destroying these materials. This will provide a source of revenue for these organisations.

Consuming countries should be obliged to return proceeds directly to the source countries or organisations. This will create a sense of belonging.

Developed nations should also render assitance to developing nations in terms of enlightening the rural inhabitants were this reserves are situated and provision of surveillance equipment such as drones, hidden camera, sniffer dogs at global transit parks and new park guards whom are combat ready.

Intermediaries used by members of transnational groups should be incorporated into the society and made to serve as guards for these reserves. In this regard, there is every tendency that they need to be enlightened on the dangers of animal poaching and hunting should be defined according to best practise suitable for  reserve conservation and development.

If Noah was able to protect animals by building an ark against uncertainty, then we should be able to build a wall around this animals and save them from extinction.

Reference

  • Un calls for end to illegal poaching, trade of migratory birds, found on website visited on 31 October 2016:Http:// www.un.org/ sustainable development/blog/2016/05/.
  • John grobler and Fiona Macleod, caught in the cross fire: how cattle and chinese mining interests are killing off namibias black rhinos, found on website visited on 27 August 2016:Http:// www.oxpeckers.org/ 2015/07/.
  • Bruce Zagaris, creating havens for the anti-corrupt tax transparent and financial integrity, found on website visited on 7 October 2016:Http:// www.griffith.edu.au/_data/as set/pdf_file/0003/636250/.

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