Global approach to tackle elephant and rhino poaching
Dutch Minister for Agriculture Sharon Dijksma will make agreements with other countries to tackle elephant and rhino poaching. Large numbers of these animals are killed every year for the trade in ivory and rhino horn. The Minister was invited to the London Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade, where together with 49 countries and 11 UN organisations, the Netherlands will sign a global statement for a moratorium on the ivory trade. The Dutch government will make funding and knowledge available to seriously tackle poaching and to safeguard global biodiversity.
“Elephant and rhino poaching is a major global problem,” the Minister said. “As ivory and horns are traded for large sums of money, these iconic animals are hunted while they should be left in peace. It is vital this conference is held and attended by many countries and influential organisations. That way we can tackle the ivory trade once and for all, and ensure we continue our commitment to preserving biodiversity.”
Because of the important logistical position of the Port of Rotterdam and Schiphol Airport, the Netherlands is an important link in the chain approach to poaching. As the ivory trade often operates via ports, a knowledge exchange programme will be set up with other logistical hubs such as Mombasa in Kenya to install container scanners and to train local customs officers to work with sniffer dogs.
Park management and detection
The Netherlands also invests in park management. These funds are used to train rangers in countries with large elephant populations such as Botswana and Rwanda, and to equip them with modern communications technology such as night vision binoculars, satellite phones and GPS-systems to detect poachers. The Netherlands works together with organisations such as African Parks and the African Elephant Foundation in training the local population by giving them a role in managing parks and learning to co-exist with wild animals such as elephants and rhinos. The Netherlands Forensic Institute NFI is also involved and assists in tracking and tracing poachers, traders and exporters by training public prosecutors and by further embedding forensic investigation techniques in African countries.
Poverty lies at the root of the ivory trade. Knowledge provided by the Dutch agricultural sector is vital to combat this by teaching small farmers in Africa to efficiently increase their production and generate a stable income.