NEARLY 90 ELEPHANTS FOUND DEAD NEAR BOTSWANA SANCTUARY, KILLED BY POACHERS

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The photographs in this September 3 NPR article are horrific, and do not show the orphaned young elephants who were dependent on their mothers for milk.

This headline makes us more grateful to the nearly 300 Africa Hope Fund supporters who joined us at our Safari on the River fundraiser on August 26. Together, we raised money to help Conservation South Luangwa maintain its first-line defense against poachers—detection dogs. We also raised money for Chipembele Wildlife Education and Trust, because our mission at Africa Hope Fund includes educating children to protect their inheritance: the wildlife.

And we see results. Detection dogs are highly effective both as deterrents to poaching and for finding contraband (bush meat, pangolins and especially ivory). Students are now returning to the South Luangwa Valley to work with wildlife after completing their education.

Elephants were safe in Botswana because the previous government under the leadership of President Ian Khama protected them, dedicated military resources to anti-poaching patrols, and handed out severe penalties to any poachers unlucky enough to be arrested. Khama stepped down when his term expired, and was succeeded by President Mokgweetsi Masisi, who reversed Khama’s policy on banning elephant hunting. He also withdrew the country’s anti-poaching protection and poachers slaughtered nearly 90 elephants with no regard for their families and babies. Like Masisi, the U.S. President has lifted a ban on elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia, a ban that was put in place by the former U.S. President. 

Elephants leave countries where they are at a greater risk of being poached. When there is unrest in one country, elephants who know no borders will escape to another place where they find safety. Elephants migrated to Botswana because they were safe. Now they will likely move again.

The Zambian government values its wildlife and works to protect elephants. The wildlife protection unit, ZAWA, works in conjunction with Conservation South Luangwa, one of the nonprofits we help support. Together they make the South Luangwa Valley less hospitable for poachers and give elephants a fighting chance to reproduce and increase their numbers. Elephants in the South Luangwa Valley know they are safer there, but it’s a daily battle to protect them.

There are about 365,000 elephants left on the African Continent. They are perilously close to becoming extinct in the next 10 years without our help. We stand behind the countless heroes who dedicate their lives to protecting wildlife.

Please, your support is more critical than ever. If you missed on Safari on the River, you can always make a donation on our website. A dollar goes a long way in Zambia, where annual salaries are modest compared to American wages.

Africa Hope Fund spends very little money on overhead. We donate our time and expertise, and we rely on volunteers. Any donation you make is well-spent, effective, and helps save wildlife. Help us prevent sights like this in Zambia. Give elephants and other wildlife a chance today, so our grandchildren will know them.

 
Written by Patricia Cole

An Africa Hope Fund board member for 7 years, Pat is a writer and a conservation activist. After traveling to Zambia, she became dedicated to helping Africa Hope Fund provide education to the next generation of Africans and ensure their future by protecting wildlife. Find Patricia on Facebook and Twitter, or on her websites www.writepatwrite.com and www.patmcole.com.

Carol Van Brugen