WWF / 2016
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 Management 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 actively 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.