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  • jonathonwithano
    Uganda: Poachers kill elephants in gruesome massacre at national park By HENRY WASSWA Associated Press Writer KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — A gang of ivory
    Message 1 of 2 , Apr 4, 2003
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      Uganda: Poachers kill elephants in 'gruesome massacre' at national park
      By HENRY WASSWA
      Associated Press Writer
      KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — A gang of ivory poachers killed six adult
      elephants and one calf in a "gruesome massacre" in Queen Elizabeth
      National Park, the government said Friday.
      A wildlife conservation group said the poaching incident was the
      inevitable outcome of a recent U.N. decision allowing some African
      countries to sell their stockpiles of elephant ivory.
      After killing the elephants March 25, the poachers used acid to remove
      their tusks, said Uganda Wildlife Authority spokeswoman Barbara Musoke.
      "This was the most gruesome massacre of elephants we have ever seen,"
      Musoke said. "The bullets must have been fired from modern guns, not
      those from the local poachers. The acid helped them to pull the tusks
      right from the skulls instead of cutting them half way using cutters."
      It was the first reported case of ivory poaching in Uganda in more than
      three years, she said.
      Wildlife experts have warned that a U.N. decision allowing three
      southern African nations to sell more than 60 tons of stockpiled
      elephant ivory would increase poaching throughout the continent.
      The U.N. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species voted
      in November to allow Botswana, Namibia and South Africa to sell
      stockpiles of elephant tusks worth $5 million.
      The stockpiles came from animals culled by the nations to keep the
      population under control and from animals dying of natural causes.
      The nations argue that funds derived from those sales can be reinvested
      in wildlife conservation.
      The International Fund for Animal Welfare said Friday that any ivory
      trade "creates a market for illegally obtained ivory and thus
      facilitates poaching."
      "An incident such as this in Uganda epitomizes the difficulties
      wildlife law enforcement authorities such as UWA are confronted with in
      their endeavors to protect elephants," said Jason Bell, the fund's
      regional director for southern Africa.
      The 765-square-mile Queen Elizabeth National Park, on Uganda's border
      with eastern Congo, is home to about 1,000 elephants, more than the
      elephant population in Uganda's 10 other parks combined, Musoke said.
      Thousands of elephants in the park were slaughtered during the 1970s by
      Idi Amin's soldiers and the 1980s by rebel armies.
      The herds were recovering when fighting resumed in eastern Congo in
      1996.
      Meanwhile, game wardens in neighboring Kenya said Friday they
      apprehended a poacher involved in killing two giraffes earlier this
      week.
      The giraffes were killed Tuesday by poachers from adjacent Tanzania who
      wanted to sell the meat, said Mabruk Mzee, an assistant warden at the
      Kenya Wildlife Service.
      The Kenyan service reports a marked increase in the poaching of large
      animals like giraffe, buffalo, zebra, eland and gazelle for sale to
      local butcher shops.
      Uganda and Kenya have outlawed big-game hunting, while Tanzania allows
      restricted hunting for a hefty fee.
    • Bob Utne
      No easy answers to the poaching issues. Picture yourself as a poacher who may have a family at home that is struggling to survive and has no opportunity to
      Message 2 of 2 , Apr 4, 2003
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        No easy answers to the poaching issues.

        Picture yourself as a poacher who may have a family at home that is
        struggling to survive and has no opportunity to earn a living other
        than poaching. Would you allow your family to starve by laying down
        your rifle due to anti-poaching laws? Also, if elephants are
        destroying your crops, should you allow them to go unfettered?

        Then, how do you curb demand? Bush meat is highly prized in many
        Libreville restaurants and openly available at the markets.

        I, now, see it somewhat like Dr. Albert Schweitzer and Dr. Carl
        Jung. Schweitzer believed in the sanctity of all life. He made a
        fetish of not taking one life even if it was one ant on the road. He
        would stop to allow the ant to pass. Jung was more selective in that
        he believed that warm-blooded species deserved the sanctity of life
        while cold-blooded species were little more than vegetables.

        Certainly, elephants, chimps, gorillas and many other African
        species should be protected from extinction. Chimps, in fact, have
        about 98% of our same DNA and elephants are one of the most social
        and caring species of all.

        During my trip last year to Gabon, I viewed gorillas, elephants,
        monkeys and other fauna. The gorillas were especially fearful of man
        and for good reason. To them, when they see man, they normally lose
        one of their family by a bullet to the brain or heart.

        A few recommendations:

        1. Set aside huge mega-tracts of land that would be for animals
        only. No humans allowed other than those without weapons. Any human
        found in that area with a weapon could be shot on sight by tract
        rangers.

        2. Anyone (including the "fashionable" restaurants) selling
        prohibited bush meat such as gorilla, chimps and elephants would
        face a long jail sentence. Same with ivory.

        3. Jobs need to be created to provide employment alternatives for
        the poachers. Many could be guides for ecotourists. International
        aid projects for the others.
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