2020, the year of nightmare for African wildlife

  On July 12, in the Virunga National Park in Congo (DRC), managers found a three-year-old baby gorilla trapped in a lasso. It’s called Theodore, and it’s a little mischief loved by tourists in the park. His parents looked desperate because they couldn’t rescue him from the lasso. The management had to anaesthetize its mother and drive away its father. Only then did Theodore rescued and healed him.
  Since the outbreak of the new crown epidemic, poachers have shot everywhere in the forest. The director of Virunga National Park Emmanuel de Merode said: “The epidemic has led to a lack of funds and gorillas have become poachers. Victims under the gun.” The African tourism industry, which focuses on viewing wild animals, collapsed, with losses amounting to tens of billions of euros, most of which were spent on protecting wild animals. The millions of Africans who made a living on it became nothing. Hunger leaves them no choice but to hunt wild animals. Since the quarantine order was issued in mid-March, Uganda’s wildlife protection department alone has found thousands of traps in ten national parks in the country. In some areas, there are even tens of thousands of traps.
  In Zambia, the same concerns exist. A representative of the Zambezi Lower Reservoir Association, a non-governmental organization, said: “Here, tourism plays a vital role in providing employment opportunities for local people and increasing income. We are worried that poaching will become more serious. , Has been fighting hard with poaching.” The same alarm bell is ringing in Kenya. The non-governmental organization Riva Wildlife Sanctuary Association issued a warning: “The local people are in urgent need of daily necessities. We predict that in the future, poaching will intensify.” Each year, the Maasai in Kenya can get 10 million US dollars for them. Compensation for not grazing livestock locally. Now this compensation has been reduced by half, and many families are in trouble. However, if the grazing is resumed, the efforts to protect the lions and elephants that have been maintained until now will be in vain.
  | The temptation of money |
  The Ugandan Wildlife Conservation Department found that from February to July 2020, poaching has doubled compared to the same period last year. On June 1, in Bwindi National Park, the well-known silverback gorilla Rafizi was killed and a gun was inserted into its stomach. The criminal was quickly arrested in a nearby village. He argued that when he was hunting some small animals, he encountered the attack of this gorilla head-on, and took proper defense. His lie was quickly exposed, because everyone knew that Rafizi was very docile.
  Illegal hunting for ivory, rhino horn and pangolin scales is also showing signs of aggravation in some countries with very weak supervision. In June, the Uganda Wildlife Conservation Department reported that they had found the bodies of seven giraffes. Lions have also been spotted because their fat is believed to have so-called medical benefits. The lioness Juma, who usually lives on the shore of Lake Edward, was hunted for this, and its fat was put in a jar by poachers. The poacher was eventually arrested and sentenced to two years in prison.
  After South Africa announced an epidemic isolation order on March 27, poachers flocked to public and private wildlife sanctuaries. At Dinoken Wildlife Park near Pretoria, poaching has increased by 30%. An anti-poaching officer at the park said: “Our task in the first two weeks is very urgent, because poachers think they can do whatever they want during this period. Few of them go hunting because of hunger, more In order to sell prey to the local wild animal meat market, these meats are very popular with immigrants from Zimbabwe, Malawi and Nigeria. “The actual situation is far more than that. In Botswana and South Africa, the illegal hunting of rhinos has doubled. To curb this phenomenon, the Botswana authorities had to decide to saw off the horns of the last few rhinos in the Okavango Delta. But the news is not all pessimistic. The quarantine order also hindered the delivery of ivory to the ordering country and delayed the wildlife trade in some countries.
  Nigeria’s quarantine order announced on March 30 suspended the operations of the anti-poaching patrol. At the same time, activities such as monitoring forests, tracking illegal transactions, and preventing farmers and herdsmen from trampling on protected areas have also ceased. Poachers took this opportunity to start their illegal activities. In cities, the consumption demand for wild animal meat is decreasing. In Lagos, illegal merchants are still coveting pangolin scales, but they have reduced their purchases due to the current uncertain situation. However, the sale of live pangolins continues, but the price is halved. Poachers store their prey and want to sell them at high prices after the epidemic quarantine order ends.
  | Response|
  Despite funding difficulties, some local tourism agencies are still assisting forest managers to solve the survival problems of local residents in order to avoid more serious poaching. Several Ugandan tourism agencies used anti-poaching patrols to distribute backpacks containing 40 kilograms of food to local residents in difficulties. In southern African countries such as Botswana, the Wilderness Tourism Company, which manages more than 50 luxury forest hotels, distributes food packages to villagers and dispatches company employees to patrol the wildlife park to prevent poaching.
  International non-governmental organizations also play an important role in Africa. They incorporated some wildlife parks into the management scope and provided financial support for anti-poaching patrols. For example, in Amboseli National Park, Kenya, there is an ecological protection organization “Lioness Team” composed entirely of women. Because it still receives support from the International Fund for the Protection of Animals, it can barely maintain the supervision of the wild park.
  Experts unanimously agree that the primary problem facing Africa, where tourism is the main source of income, is the financial crisis. Although Theodore the orangutan escaped the lasso of the poachers, what happened next? People cannot help worrying about the fate of African wildlife after the new crown epidemic.