One of Africa's largest wildlife reserves marks a year without an elephant found killed by poachers that experts call extraordinary development in an area larger than Switzerland where thousands of animals were slaughtered in the last years.
The apparent turn of the Nijas stockpile in a remote area of northern Mozambique comes after the deployment of a police force for quick intervention and more robust patrolling and airborne response, according to a New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society that runs the Reserve with the Government of Mozambique and several other partners
The monitoring of the huge reserve with aerial observations and pedestrian patrols remains incomplete and relies on sampling. And despite the signs of progress, the population of the Niasha strata may take many years to recover to its previous levels, even if poaching is kept under control.
Aggressive poaching over the years has reduced the number of elephants in Nisa from about 1
New interventions, with Mozambican President Felipe Newissi personally authorizing rapid intervention forces, have made partners hope that Nisa elephants are "a real chance to recover," the conservation group said.
"This is a remarkable achievement," said James Bampton, director of the state at the Wildlife Conservation Society, told Associated Press. He said he had discovered the year without poaching death while he was spending money.
The last time an elephant in the reserve in Niasa was recorded killed by a poacher is May 17, 2018, he said.
Political Will Is Key The cause of success, Bampton said, with the President of Mozambique, who wants to see how poaching is reduced.
Bampton admits that the low number of other elephants is also a factor in the decline in poaching. A year ago, he estimated that less than 2,000 elephants remain in Nisa, although he says now that the preliminary analysis of data from a survey conducted in October and still unpublished shows that about 4,000 elephants are in the reserve.
"This is a great and very important development that poaching has stopped, this is a great success," George Witmayer, who leads the research. Save The Elephants's Kenyan-based Cabinet Speaks to AP
The new Rapid Intervention Police is an elite unit that is better armed than the normal rangers of the Reserve and has a "reputable reputation for being quite tough," Bampton said, adding that no "bad incidents" have been reported in Niassa.
Members of the forces are authorized to arrest suspects of poachers, gather a case within 72 hours and pass it on to local prose. "Bampton said. "Just being caught with a firearm is considered an intention to hunt illegally," with a maximum sentence of 16 years.
Wildlife experts have seen profits elsewhere in Africa against elephant poaching. Seoul's Reserve in Tanzania, widely recognized as a "zero zero" for poaching, and associated with the Niasa Reserve from a wildlife corridor, has also seen a decline in the killings.
African elephant poaching has fallen to levels prior to 2008 peak in 2011, according to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species
However, experts say that the rate of annual elephant losses still exceeds birth rates and attacks above the populated areas reduce the range of animals. According to surveys, African elephant populations have fallen from around a few million around 1900 to at least 415,000
. Co-operation and "enormous efforts" among Niassa partners are crucial, but data show that problems remain with other emblem species, such as lions, said Rob Harris, a local manager of Fauna & Flora International, who supports one of the operators in the Reserve. "So the combination of national support and on-the-spot efforts should be maintained to improve the situation for all wildlife."
The author of the Associated Press Christopher Torcia contributed.
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