Nigeria combats elephant poaching by destroying seized tusks

Animal News : Nigeria combats elephant poaching by destroying seized tusks

Nigeria on Tuesday publicly destroyed a huge amount of elephant tusks, worth about $11.2 million, in an attempt to protect its dwindling elephant population from poaching.

Mark Ofua from the Wild Africa Fund explained that Nigeria’s environment agency, NESREA, collected these tusks over the years. “We want to make a public show of destroying them to mark an era when Nigeria says no to illegal wildlife trade, no to destruction of our biodiversity, no to destruction of our wildlife.”

“We want to let people know these tusks belong to elephants. They are most beautiful on the elephants, and we should leave them on the elephants. Every tusk that you see today represents an animal that has been killed,” he added.

Elephant population from 1500 to 400

Nigeria’s elephant population has dropped drastically in the last 30 years. From about 1,500 elephants, now there are less than 400. This is because of poaching for ivory, loss of their living spaces, and conflicts with people.

Despite a global ban on the ivory trade since 1989 by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), thousands of elephants are still killed each year for their tusks.

Nigeria, a main route for illegal wildlife parts to Asia, has stepped up efforts to combat this. “I can assure you that any perpetrator in illegal wildlife trade in tusks, both those that go out to do the killings, those that do the buying and those that do the trading, when are caught, will be fully dealt with according to law,” Oufra said.

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