22 June 2005

Elephant management strategies discussed by SADC member countries

Member countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) are discussing ways to establish a common strategy to manage the elephant population in the region in order to monitor their migratory movements, their impact on their habitats, and to minimise the conflict between wild life and human populations.

Raimundo Matusse, of the Conservation Areas department, in the Tourism Ministry, told AIM that staff from Mozambique, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, met in Victoria Falls, in Zimbabwe, between 25 and 27 May, to try and draft a common strategy.

One of the aspects broached during the meeting was the conflict between elephants and people and the socio-economic implications of this. The meeting also decided to conduct a census of the entire elephant population in the various countries.

He said that to try and solve this problem, the participants decided to set up a regional Elephant Coordination Unit charged with the task of raising the necessary funds for common projects within southern Africa in this sector.

The participating states, that have areas where elephants move to and from neighbouring countries, decided to strengthen inspection in those areas, and to fix trophy quotas as a means to ensure a sustainable exploitation of this resource.

Matusse stressed that, despite the conflicts between elephants and humans (because the animals destroy crops), one cannot disregard the elephant's high value for tourism.

Mozambique's own elephant population was devastated during the war of destabilisation, but it has subsequently shown some signs of recovering. The latest estimate is that the country has about 18,000 elephants.

Source: www.allafrica.com


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