In a report by Guardian, African leaders have appealed to foreign donors to assist the continent with $1 Billion to help in Elephant conservation.
The report reads:
Amid the urgent and complex global challenge that illegal wildlife trade poses, Nigeria and other African leaders have called on international donors to commit $1 billion over the next 12 years to save continent's remaining elephants.
They made the plea during the Elephant Protection Initiative's (EPI) Consultative Group at the Illegal Wildlife Trafficking Conference, and urged "donors to put elephants beyond the risk of extinction" by helping provide the required investment.
Must African leaders seek funds from foreign donors and loans from international organizations for everything pertaining to the continent? Also, rather than seek cash assistance, one would have expected African leaders to seek assistance in prevention of poaching and in curbing markets in Europe and Asia where the parts of these wild animals are auctioned for huge amounts.
African leaders seek funding for everything from capital development, infrastructure, human development, disaster control to disease outbreak. Has Africa become so poor that she cannot carry out any project on its own?
Worst still is the fact that there are no evidence to implementation of the funding received; take for instance the $1 Billion being requested for in the next 12 months, what happens after the 12 months and what are the measures in place to make sure that the funds are truly spent on conserving these elephants?
Despite the funding received over the years, our wildlife figures in Africa continue to shrink, and sadly so. This is because funds meant for the sector are diverted into other areas.
Just recently, the government of Congo signed an agreement to allow Soco - a British Exploration Company, search for oil on two UNICEF heritage sites that are home to endangered Gorillas; and the African Union has kept sealed lips on the matter. One of the conservation sites in question is Africa's oldest. This shows the commitment of African leaders towards wildlife conservation; they say with their mouths what they do not believe in their hearts.
Africa's elephant population has been devastated by ivory poachers over the past decade. On average, some 55 elephants are killed per day. If this rate continues, elephants could be wiped out within a generation.
We need help in conserving these wildlife and prevent them from extinction, but is $1 Billion what we really need now?
PHOTOGRAPH: MICHAEL NICHOLS, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC