Saturday, August 20, 2011

Trust Fund to Protect African Elephants Launched at U.N-Backed Meeting

An African elephant herd in Tanzania's Mikumi National Park

Recently, a U.N-backed meeting was held in the city of Geneva concerning the plight of endangered species around the world. This meeting was concluded with important decisions to protect these creatures, and even included the launching of a trust fund ensured for the long-term survival of Africa's elephant population. It had been reported that several nations had already contributed to the multi-donor technical trust for the execution of the African Elephant Action Plan. In addition to that, more were encouraged to do so by the meeting's participants who were part of the CITES' Standing Committee. According to CITES' Secretary-General John E. Scanlon, the committee hopes the donors will hear Africa's needs and support the execution of the plan. He also added that the goal is to raise $100 million over the next three years to amend the capacity of law enforcement, and secure the long-term survival of the elephants' populations.

I'm very happy to see that various global conservation experts decided to implement a plan to help the African elephant population in this meeting backed by the U.N. In addition to that, it was interesting to see what other conservation issues were part of the agenda. These included measures to reduce the current levels of poaching of rhinos, tigers and other big cats, illegal trade in mahogany and other timber, the plight of the sturgeon and the caviar trade, and the issue of reptile skins in the leather industry. The committee even looked at recent findings concerning both African and Asian elephants, poaching levels, and the illegal trade in ivory. It also recognized the poaching of rhinos and the illegal trade of their horns as a major challenge requiring cutting-edge approach. One delegation even described the as "almost out of control." I personally think the situation itself is out of control, particularly in South Africa and the surrounding areas where rhino populations had plummeted dramatically over the last few years. I sure hope that, in addition to elephants, this meeting will call for a similar action in helping the current population of rhinos and other endangered species around the world.

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