Authority Calls for Campaign Against Trafficking of Wildlife Products

Trans-boundary crimes of trafficking wildlife products demands concerted action among nations, according to the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority (EWCA).

The authority highlighted on the need for close cooperation among the nation and its neighbors and other countries to combat illegal trade and trafficking of wildlife products.

In an exclusive interview with ENA, Daniel Pawlos Director, Wildlife Trafficking Control Directorate with the authority said issues of illicit trade and wildlife trafficking are Trans-boundary.

“There is high trafficking on movement of ivory from the source areas and countries to the consumer countries,” Daniel indicated.

He advised local stakeholders to work in partnership with other countries in a bid to control illicit trade and trafficking of wildlife products.

Despite having full knowledge regarding regulations, some poachers tamper with the law to illegally amass money, Daniel said, also mentioning lack of awareness among some groups which leads to increased poaching.

People also involve in poaching of wildlife due to traditional reasons including for wearing skins of leopard, lion and others for entertainment and to be considered courageous among the community.

Daniel said a strategic plan has been put in place to educate people on conserving wildlife alongside strengthening law enforcement activities to apprehend perpetrators.

“We should cooperate with Kenya, South Sudan, Sudan even with Djibouti and Somalia. Without cooperation with our neighbors and other countries, it is very hard to control illegal trafficking of wildlife products,” the director indicated.

Local communities are the primary stakeholders in protecting wildlife resources close to their areas of residence, he said.

“Without the engagement of the local community, the nation’s effort is meaningless, therefore, in order to be effectively accomplishing our objective we should involve actively the local people who are living with the resources in efforts of protecting resources,” he added.

Sense of ownership among locals comes with benefits they are getting from the resources including by attracting tourists, according to Daniel.

He indicated that: “the local community is considered as key component in addressing the issues of illicit trade and trafficking in wildlife products.”

Elephants, cheetah, and leopard are among those subjected to poaching which threatens the survival of the species and affects the ecosystem since wildlife in general is important for a healthy environment.

Alongside illicit trade and trafficking activities, habitat degradation and illegal agricultural expansion also affects wildlife.

Reports by various international organizations also indicated that poaching is among the factors that affects the nation’s peace and security.

According to Kumara Wakjira, Director for National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries with the authority, five potential trans- boundary points have been identified to prevent illegal activities on wildlife.

“The authority already drafted a document that would help us combat illicit trade and trafficking on wildlife products,” Kumara said.

Kafta Sheraro National Park, Alatash National Park, Gambela National Park and Boma National Park were among the national parks covered in the mission.

Trans-boundary points which are hotspots for wildlife trafficking include Moyale, Metema , Umrah and Kumuruk.

The authority has already indentified the areas and it has been working to strengthen integration with all concerned bodies like customer officers, policemen and armed forces, according to Kumara.

It has prioritized efforts of enhancing protection and developing protected areas, encouraging research activities to help in decision making process, he added.

Source: Ethiopian News Agency