African Wildlife Reserve Reveals Zero Elephants Have Been Killed By Poachers In A Year
One of Africa's largest wildlife reserves is celebrating today after it was revealed it's been over a year since an elephant has been killed by poachers on their land.
According to the Wildlife Conservation Society, the last elephant killed on the Niassa Reserve, which is based in a remote area of Northern Mozambique, was on 17th May, 2018.
Wildlife experts have branded the news as an extraordinary development in an area that's larger than Switzerland, where thousands of elephants have been slaughtered in recent years.
The reserve believes the decline in the animal's deaths by poachers is down to the introduction of a rapid intervention police force as well as a more assertive patrolling by land and air.
Despite the positive reports, experts have said it could take years for the African wildlife reserve's elephant population to rebuild to its former levels even if poaching is kept under control.
Speaking to CNN, Joe Walston, Senior VP of Global Conservation Programs at New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society said of the increased surveillance.
He said: "Any one of those things alone isn't going to be successful, which is why it has taken so long to be able to get us to a point where we've been able to get poaching under control.
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"Once it was got under control, the elephants rebounded quite quickly. So, we're expecting, hopefully, a fairly rapid return."
According to an aerial survey in 2016, aggressive poaching in recent years had cut the number of the reserve's elephants from 12,000 to just over 3,600.
The new patrolling has helped reduced the number killed with the introduction of Niassa's anti-poaching strategies from 2015 to 2017
Joe explained that the rapid-intervention police force is better armed than the reserve's normal rangers and is empowered to arrest suspected poachers.
The conservation group said that the ability to make arrests is important to prevent poachers from coming to the reserve.
What an incredible feat to reach in two years - and long may it continue for the reserve!
Featured Image Credit: PA Images