Thursday, 23 October 2014

United Nations launches an emergency fund to fight elephant poachers in the Garamba National Park

The United Nations Rapid Response Facility has launched an emergency appeal to raise funds to fight elephant poachers in the Garamba National Park in the DR Congo.

Despite increased action by Garamba National Park rangers (run by African Parks), between April and July this year 78 elephants were killed. This represents 4% of the parks elephant population.

The main perpetrators are armed groups, of which most important is the Lord’s Resistance Army. There are also incursions from groups in South Sudan  and others within the DRC such as the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR),and also possible  illegal military involvement from Uganda

The Rapid Response Facility, a collaboration between the United Nations and Flora and Fauna International, has launched an emergency appeal to help boost anti-poaching patrols in the park. The appeal will add to the funds already given to the ICCN (Congolese Nature Conservation Institute) and African Parks Network.

While parts of DR Congo are beginning to return to normal following large-scale civil war and military unrest the Garamba National Park is in eastern DR Congo which is still effectively a war zone. A number of rebel groups, predominately from Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi have failed to disarm or leave the country.

There are fears that poaching could increase dramatically over the next few months as rebels try to maximise their income from exploiting the Garamba National Park and its surroundings before the UN deadline to disarm expires. The major rebel groups have been given till January to disarm or leave the country.

After January the United Nations have threatened to launch major military operations in partnership with the DR Congo military against the rebels.

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