Building Bridges or Killing Elephants?

China’s ever-increasing presence in African countries can’t be ignored. Since the 90’s, China has been staking its claim in oil, infrastructure and mining projects across the dark continent. What does their business mean to Africans? Is this an economic investment or a global takeover? Either way, what can’t be denied is the environmental sabotage in their wake. (See previous post: Africa’s Asian Invasion)

They have built  controversial damns across the continent (Gabon, Ghana, Zambia, Ethiopia, and Sudan) which have had adverse environmental impact. For example, in Ghana  the  Bui Dam Project  is flooding nearly a quarter of the Bui National Park, destroying habitat for rare hippos, forcibly resettling 2,600 people and affecting thousands more.

bui dam

Bui Dam

They are also responsible  for long-term river and farmland pollution from mining projects in South Africa and Ghana.  One recent project, the China-Africa Sunlight Energy has received permission to mine coal in  Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park.  This is a delicate and crucial wildlife area that mining will likely damage, as well as exposing the wild animals to poaching.

But perhaps the most obvious infraction on mother nature is in the killing of the elephants to smuggle their ivory.

Chinese construction camps in Africa have long been suspected of smuggling ivory. A CNN report reveals that numerous camps in the Republic of Congo and neighbouring countries are suspected of facilitating the large-scale ivory trade.

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Rangers hunting the hunters in the Congo.

Although workers at the camps have at times been caught red-handed, prosecution does not come easy. Actual investigation of the camps is even more difficult, as in once incident  a regional prosecutor blocked an anti-poaching unit from searching a camp – even though ivory pieces were found there.

According to  CNN, when asked about the incident, the prosecutor said the search was halted because the translator for the Chinese was away and they couldn’t conduct a search without explaining to the Chinese why it was happening.

Many of these camps are set up near small villages, which have their own track record of poaching involvement.  Poor villagers, ivory-hungry workers-a potent combination; but add in law enforcement turning a blind eye, it’s a complete disaster.

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Ranger examining elephant trunk after poaching in the Congo.

Categories: Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Building Bridges or Killing Elephants?

  1. Footprints In The Dust is a song that communicates a very powerful message. It speaks of the dark future that awaits our Rhino if we do not take a stand and stop poaching ! This song was written in the hope that it would become an educational tool and reach communities that use Rhino horn as part of their cultures. Stephanie believes that education is one of the many ways that poaching could be combated. Music is an incredibly powerful tool and has the capability of impacting people on earth like no politician ever could. With your help Footprints In The Dust can have an impact ! Spread the word, talk about the song and share the link so that others can participate and have the opportunity to help up save the Rhino.

    Please visit my website for further information and to listen to the song http://www.stephaniepais.com/save-our-rhino.html

    Thanks for your interest.

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