Selous Game Reserve – UNESCO World Heritage Site and Tanzania’s largest protected area – was home to one of the greatest concentrations of African elephants on the continent, but rampant ivory poaching has seen the population reduced by 90 per cent in fewer than 40 years. If this trend continues, elephants could vanish from Selous by early 2022, and the disappearance of key species changes the ecosystem altogether.
Urgent measures are required to protect the remaining animals and return the population to a stable and sustainable size. The implementation of Wildlife Managment Areas (WMA), where wildlife and local people cohabit, or the training of local people to Village Game Scouts (VGI), which enable communities in the WMAs to activly participate in conservation and utilization for sustainable development, are some of the key measures on a local level. In addition, the situation requires political initiatives, especially in relation to concessions for oil and gas exploration or mining, as well as anti-poaching measures.
„ … This we know – the Earth does not belong to man – man belongs to the Earth. This we know. All things are connected like the blood which unites one family. All things are connected.
Whatever befalls the Earth – befalls the sons of the Earth. Man did not weave the web of life – he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself. …
That destiny is a mystery to us, for we do not understand when the buffalo are slaughtered, the wild horses tamed, the secret corners of the forest heavy with scent of many men, and the view of the ripe hills blotted by talking wires. Where is the thicket? Gone. Where is the Eagle? Gone. The end of living and the beginning of survival.“
Chief Seattle’s Speech / Ted Perry Version