In Africa, Conservationists Turn to Advanced Technologies in the War Against Poaching
On Jan. 15, 2012, the Kenya Revenue Authority intercepted a 20-foot container holding more than two tons of ivory. Officials estimated that the contraband teeth, worth around $1.15 million, came from a shocking 250 elephants.
Unfortunately, this was no isolated incident; it was just another of the illegal harvests of African elephants and rhinos that have been on a dramatic rise despite a ban on the ivory trade that dates back to 1989. The increase, officials say, is the result of heightened demand in some markets.
“The price of ivory and rhino horn continues to rise by the day, leading to increased poaching of elephants and rhinos,” said William Kiprono, director of the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), during a January press conference.
A KWS report released earlier this month found that Kenyan authorities knew of 384 elephants and 29 rhinos killed by poachers in 2012 compared to 289 elephants and 25 rhinos killed in 2011. Across Africa, reports suggest that more than 1,000 elephants and 1,000 rhinos were killed last year alone.