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Officials Alarmed Following Dip in Mozambique Elephant Population

Fri, 20 Jun 2014 03:31:56 +0000

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(MAPUTO, Mozambique) -- Officials from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) are asking for "urgent" international action Thursday following the release of elephant poaching statistics in Mozambique.

Up to 900 elephants died in the country's northern region over a three-year period, according to a WWF-commissioned survey.

“The elephant deaths are probably due to illegal hunting and the losses are likely to be devastating to the population,” said Anabela Rodriguez, Country Director of WWF-Mozambique.

The landscape study from 2013 found that almost half the animals sighted from the air in Quirimbas National Park were carcasses, and other figures released at the end of may showed a total of 442 rhinos were poached in 2014.

Mozambique is a popular area for ivory transit, as well as exports of rhino horn to Asian markets. Activists are calling for action and an "ongoing commitment to combat these illegal activities."

Experts, conservation NGOS, and government officials have been meeting in the nation's capital to address the issue, according to the WWF.

“Well-organised and structured criminal networks facilitated by corruption are luring unemployed youths in the region to engage in criminal activities,” said Dr. Jo Shaw, Manager of the Rhino Programme for WWF-South Africa. “In order to cope with this crisis, we need interventions that involve a variety of stakeholders from government, through to the private sector and civil society to change attitudes towards wildlife.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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