Project for prevention of poaching African elephants

Background
African continent, during the earlier days, had little human impact to the nature as it was once called an unexplored continent. Therefore, it is still rich in a wide diversity of wildlife populations and within a vast area. African elephant had lived in the large area of sub-Saharan Africa in the past. Unfortunately, their habitat got degraded drastically, but relatively large, interconnected landscapes are still available for elephants in Central Africa and a part of savanna in South and East Africa, and around half a million of African Elephants are living throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

However, elephants are continuously threatened by serious poaching, adding to continuous threats to their habitats by people's settlement and cultivation. On August 2006, around 100 bodies of elephants were found in Zakouma National Park in Chad, a country of Central Africa and it symbolizes how serious the threat is. It was an awful sight that the heads of these bodies were cut out and crushed to cut their ivories easily from the base. In this park, several hundreds of elephants seemed to be poached and killed only for one year. In 1996, 400 bodies of Forest Elephants, sub-species of African elephant, were found in an area adjoining the tropical forest in Republic of Congo.
poached elephant
poached elephant

Kenya is considered as one of the main habitats for African elephants and consists of around 30 thousands of elephants. Kenyan government opposes ivory trading and keeps a policy which bans sports hunting of the wildlife. It also works actively works on patrolling for prevention of poaching in reserves and national parks and, in controlling illegal trading of ivory and other wildlife products. However,Kenya, suffers from elephant poaching for illegal ivory trading. On February 2009, it was reported that 5 elephants were killed for their ivories in six weeks in Tsavo East Nation Park, the largest National Park in Kenya. Such situation happens even in the national park where the patrol is conducted.

There are several difficulties to conduct the poaching patrol effectively in the broad areas such as Savanna in Africa (e.g. the area of Tsavo East Nation Park is almost one third of the total land area of Japan.) For example, only walking patrol and car patrol are not enough, and using Cessna is also essential. Controlling the base of ivory trading for consuming countries, within an illegal ivory market that is rampant in Africa, is also an important issue for the elephants' habitats.

The Contents
The project supports the following on-site activities.

・ An activity needed for an effective patrol for poaching prevention in the habitats
・ An activity needed for controlling the ivory trading, a main aim of the poaching, in Africa.

In 2009, even in Kenya where the elephant population is more than 20 thousands, the elephant poaching is in the worst situation since the ivory trading was banned 20 years ago by CITES. What one can do on site is to strengthen the poaching patrol and the control. In the main national parks in Kenya, elephants are living in a broad savanna. The Cessna is essential for effective patrol in the savanna. However, a budget for patrolling fuel is cut with the continuing economic depression. Hence, on the Christmas eve in 2009, JTEF donated the fuel cost for flying Cessna to the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), an organization maintaining the national parks.

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