Is there room for wildlife as Africa grapples with development?
The reported crash of wildlife populations in the Maasai Mara reserve in Kenya is the most well-publicised example of a crisis that’s unfolding throughout East Africa.
The region's 'Big Five' species and other wildlife are currently facing their most serious crisis in modern times. Significant populations of elephants, lions, rhinoceros and other species are on the decline, threatening not only the regions fragile ecosystems but also economic livelihoods that depend on ecotourism revenue. Elephant populations are particularly vulnerable.
Following the 1989 ban on ivory, the poaching of sub-Saharan African's elephant population was reduced to a mere trickle. However, over the past couple years there has been dramatic increase in poaching activities and a sharp decline in elephant populations.
In May this year, a shipment of 115 pieces of illegal ivory (packed into 13 metal boxes and weighing 1,304 kilograms) was seized at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. The ivory was destined to Lagos, Nigeria purportedly from the Brunei and Papua New Guinea Embassies in Nairobi.