Africa oldest Game Reserve is in danger of losing its protected species. According to a report and research done for WWF by global development advisers Dalberg, the reserve had lost 90% of its elephants over the last four decades and if the trend continues, they “could vanish from Selous by early 2022”. According to the report, Selous boasted of 110,000 elephants 40 years ago but as of now, it has just about 15, 000 left.
The nature conservation group reacted and laid the blame on “industrial scale poaching” said to be driven by the demand for ivory by Asian countries, particularly China that fuels poachers desire to kill animals for their parts.
Tanzania’s new president has pledged to tackle the corruption that gives way for the illegal ivory trade to continue.
The reserve was famous for its untouched ecosystems and abundance of black rhinos, cheetahs, giraffes, hippos and crocodiles as well as elephants that may soon go extinct from the site.
The reserve was placed on a list of “World Heritage Sites in Danger” two years ago when statistics showed that on average, six elephants were being killed for their ivory each day.
“The elephant population in Selous is now near a historic low, and urgent measures are required to protect the remaining animals and return the population to a stable and sustainable size,” Part of the report read.
It also warned that industrial activities in the reserve, including oil and gas exploration, and mineral extraction, threatened the delicate environment and the wildlife, thereby putting at risk the reserve’s “ability to support local communities, which could lead to increased elephant poaching”.
Fred Kumah, of the WWF, said action needed to be taken both in Tanzania and in Asia.