York Pedia | November 2. 2020
Struggling economies across Africa are seeing a rise in poaching as other sources of income fail, threatening wildlife populations. Without money pouring into the region from foreign visitors, conservation efforts are being stripped of their ability to support wildlife. Map Ives, of Rhino Conservation Botswana, spoke to the DailyMail, stating: “Donations are drying up and that means reduced anti-poaching patrols. We’ve lost six rhino shot by poachers since the pandemic.”
James Speyer, representative of Xplore Our Planet, an online content platform for wildlife news and guides, warns this trend isn’t slowing down and that Ives words must be acted upon immediately.
“The best safaris in Africa are all being put at risk by the COVID-19 crisis. With economic activity normally supplied by hordes of travellers drying up, locals are turning to poaching big game like elephants and rhinos to feed their families. The lack of safari activity in these areas, and concerns over elongated times without further funding, also present new opportunities for poachers. With no end in sight for COVID-19 restrictions, we’re going to need to act in other ways to protect endangered animals.”
“Unable to fund protective measures for endangered species, and with a rise in both professional poaching and kills made simply for food by starving locals, conservationists face an uphill battle to stop a decline in animal populations during the pandemic. Past progress in combating poaching has been slow but successful. South Africa saw its rhino numbers rise for the first time in recent years. Now this work could be undone. Carrying AK47s and massacring large game, poachers are becoming an ever-present and dangerous threat to both wildlife and national park rangers. Money is needed to fight back, but none is entering the industry.”
“The only way for wildlife enthusiasts to help stop poaching is to make donations to local charities and anti-poaching organisations. Without tourism financing these measures, it’s up to voluntary gestures to keep these programs moving forward.”
Safari businesses are not expected to bounce back until the end of the Coronavirus outbreak. A recent report by SafariBookings shows that nearly 90% of all safari tour operators have seen a 75% or greater reduction in their bookings. Business owners are quoted as saying “we are receiving more cancellations every day,” “There is no business at all right now,” and “we are still experiencing a 100% loss in business.”