Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee Pledges to Help Stop Poaching
The Killing has Escalated in the Amboseli Ecosystem, Kenya
Hohenwald, Tennessee (March 3, 2009)
There is an immediate and serious crisis with poaching and ivory trade in the Amboseli region of Kenya. Cynthia Moss, founder of Amboseli Elephant Research Project (AERP) in Kenya, the longest running study of wild elephants in the world, writes from Amboseli about this very disturbing news. Moss states: “Elephants are being wounded and killed by spears, poison arrows and bullets at an alarming rate. For the first time in many years, tusks are being removed by unknown persons.” Ms. Moss’ study of the Amboseli’s wild elephants surpasses any in history. This important research as well as the lives of the Amboseli elephants is in dire jeopardy as result of the recent killings.
Cynthia writes that the situation has become critical over the past year and more particularly over the past four months. Through the AERP investigations, they have discovered that the ivory is being sold at 3000/- shillings ($38) per kilo. Most of the ivory is reported to be smuggled across the border into Tanzania. Moss states: “Unless this killing and the trade are stopped now, the famous Amboseli elephants will be decimated. The elephants in Amboseli have large tusks, some well over 50 kilos each. Such tusks could bring 180,000/- Kshs or $2300 to the poacher, a huge amount of money in East Africa.”
The staff of The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee is alarmed by the recent development in Amboseli. In a show of solidarity, the Elephant Sanctuary has pledged funding for one year to support the teams of Amboseli Masai research scouts and anti-poaching scouts whose job it is to detect and prevent poaching activity. “Having scouts on the ground has proven beneficial in curtailing poaching in the past. The greater the surveillance of the impacted area, the greater the chances will be to stop the poachers and save the elephants,” says Carol Buckley, Sanctuary President and Co-Founder.
As a research project, the role of AERP in these efforts to stem the slaughter is to provide Kenya Wildlife Service with all the information they can on mortalities of elephants. Funding is urgently needed to provide support for the Amboseli research scouts, anti-poaching scouts on the ground as well as monies for aerial support. Moss states: “Decisive action has to be taken now to stop this killing and trade before it becomes a big business that will spread throughout Kenya, rapidly exterminating elephants, not only in Amboseli, but also in the rest of the country.” Click here to donate.
Operating on 2,700 acres in Hohenwald, Tennessee, The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee has been developed specifically to provide a place for traumatized elephants to recover from the debilitating experience of captivity. The nonprofit organization, accredited by The Association of Sanctuaries and licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, is designed specifically for old, sick or needy elephants that have been retired from zoos and circuses. To find out more about the plight of captive elephants, and to monitor the progress of the residents of The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee please visit our website at www.elephants.com.
The Amboseli Elephant Research Project aims to ensure the long-term conservation and welfare of Africa's elephants in the context of human needs and pressures through scientific research, training, community outreach, public awareness and advocacy. The elephants of Amboseli in Kenya are the most celebrated wild elephants in the world. Since 1972, close observation by Cynthia Moss and her research team has led to intimate knowledge of these intelligent and complex animals. ATE, the Amboseli Trust for Elephants, is a not-for-profit trust registered in Kenya and the USA (501(c)3). ATE's operational focus is in Amboseli National Park and the surrounding ecosystem; its influence reaches out to elephant conservation, management and policy-setting worldwide.