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Corruption fuels poaching in East Africa: report

26 August 2016, 18:24

Nairobi - (Xinhua) -- A new report by the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) have revealed that corruption helped to fuel wildlife poaching in the region.

The report released on Thursday in the EALA headquarters in Tanzania's northern tourist city of Arusha said East Africa was now an epicentre of poaching where endangered animals were killed for their trophies fetching good money in the black markets overseas.

The report said inadequate number of skilled rangers to confront the heavily armed gangsters was also to blame for the escalating carnage of animals, especially the elephants.

The report tabled before the House for debate said corrupt officials, in Tanzania and Kenya in particular, could have been compromised through bribes to allow killing of animals and illegal export of the trophies.

Other factors for increasing cases of poaching include inadequate modern technological facilities and equipment to combat the emerging wildlife insecurity as well as poor enforcement of laws in the protected areas, said the report.

The report followed a survey carried out by EALA members from the Committee on Agriculture, Tourism and Natural Resources who visited the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and Nairobi National Park in Kenya.

Serengeti, whose ecosystem extends to Maasai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya, was found to be most affected by game poaching while Mombasa port is reported to be the major port for ivory to illegal buyers abroad.

"Today the Serengeti ecosystem is only about 40 percent of what it historically was due to human encroachment," said the report.

It added: "Non-authorized people still enter the park to hunt animals, cut down trees as well as graze livestock."

The report said although elephants and rhinoceros were the most vulnerable, other animals now being hunted down by the poachers included buffaloes, giraffes, lions, hippopotamus, crocodiles, antelopes, wildebeests, water bucks, gazelles and ostriches.

- Xinhua

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