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Multiplication of Poaching in Northern Mali: 70 Elephants Killed Since 2012


Translated from French.

Elephant ivory jewelry on shelves around the world feed terrorism in Africa. Our country is not immune to the phenomenon because, since 2012, armed groups have attacked the elephants in the Gourma. From that date to today, sixty elephants were slaughtered for their ivory.

Environmental protection organizations urge the new Minister of the Environment to bring this problem to the government to allow the management of this dossier.

Since 2012 there were more than 70 elephants killed in northern Mali. The situation worsened markedly this year. Thus, according to the environmental organizations, since the beginning of the year, 57 elephants were killed in the area of Gourma, Timbuktu region, representing 20 percent of the total population of elephants that live in the desert area of our country. These poaching incidents are not really new, but they are clearly increasing in recent months. Terrorist groups operating in the north of Mali are singled out. They drift into the ivory trade to obtain weapons, as evidenced by the number of attacks against the elephants, said the UN and NGOs in our country.

At the continental level, the ivory traffic feeds multiple rebellions and armed groups in Africa such as the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Central Africa, the Janjaweed in Sudan, Boko Haram in Nigeria, and Shebab in Somalia. More than 100, 000 elephants have been killed since 2012 to supply the sad trade. The site that relays the census data, reports that the elephant population fell by 60 percent between 2009 and 2015, from 109,000 to

According to a report in early July by the police cooperation organization Interpol and the United Nations Environment Programme, African ivory sold in Asia represents a market value of over $150 million per year, or over 75 billion CFA francs. The UN says that traffic looks more and more like drugs. The UN organization says that the annual income from ivory by terrorist groups of sub-Saharan Africa varies between 2 and 7 billion CFA. Faced with the increase in this traffic, the organizations claim that if nothing is done the symbol of Africa could disappear in twenty years.

The environmentalists, however, recognize the efforts of the government of Mali in the protection of these species by strengthening the presence of water and forestry agents in the field.

An agent of water and forests that we reached by telephone yesterday acknowledged the increase of poaching in the area. Our interlocutor who wished to remain anonymous argues that due to insecurity and a lack of means, agents do not facilitate their work in the field. Hence the appeal of NGOs to the new environment minister, sanitation and sustainable development, to take the problem head on.

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