Breaking the Silence on Poaching

Summit photo

Namibia, Tanzania, Togo, and Gabon leaders meet with the US Sec of State to discuss wildlife trafficking.

Washington DC:  African leaders and the US Secretary of State sit in a casual setting, exchanging niceties and discussing the decimation of our world’s wildlife, mainly elephants.

This week is the US African Leaders Summit, bringing together 50 African leaders and President Obama. Topics of discussion during the three-day summit include security, trade and governance.

During the wildlife trafficking discussion, Tanzania’s President, Jakaya Kikwete, seemed frustrated over the lack of unity throughout neighboring countries.

“The elephants are killed in Tanzania,” said Kikwete, “but the consignment [of ivory] came from Kampala, Uganda. And moved through Mombasa,” the main port of Kenya. “So there is definitely need for working together.”


Tusks from Gabon’s forest elephants were tracked through Togo en route to Asian countries.

The President of Togo, Faure Gnassingbe, expressed concern over elephant poaching, which is ironic as there are no elephants there. He stated tusks confiscated in Hong Kong and Malaysia were traced back to Togo.



Gnassingbe said, “This is an embarrassment. We don’t want to be seen as a country that kills elephants it doesn’t have.”

After months of investigating the source of ivory was discovered. He said “Many of those tusks came from…(he then turned apologetically toward his left to Gabon’s President, Ali Bongo Ondimba)….my friend’s country.”

Gnassingbe went on to say that until the US brought this up, Gabon had never mentioned the issue of poaching. In fact, this is the first time many of them have had this discussion in a group setting. This begs the question “Why is there no continental strategy to end poaching?”

When asked what they would like from the US to combat poaching, the overall consensus was equipment. The ranger death toll is escalating, as they are deep in a war in which they are outmanned, outgunned and under trained.

Namibia asked for helicopters, Tanzania requested night vision goggles, Togo wants infrared scanners, and Gabon-military support.

But in addition, Ondimba apprehensively brought up the “elephant in the room”; diplomatic pressure on China, stating-

 “Let’s kill the market. We’ll save the animals, we’ll also save human being.”

gabon forest eles

Gabon forest elephants



Categories: Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

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9 thoughts on “Breaking the Silence on Poaching

  1. I truly hope this isn’t just lip service and political posturing.

  2. Lorella

    I agree. I am in South Africa and the poaching here in our game reserves has escalated to such proportions! And it’s because the poachers are better trained and armed than our game rangers! Who can only do so much…… Let’s hope this is a start. Everybody seems to be so scared of stepping on China’s, Malaysia etc toes! WTF, they are killing our wildlife! They don’t see beyond the immediate gratification of money……. And when there aren’t any animals left, what will they use then for their medicinal, soups etc??? Screw the lot of them….

  3. With you Lorella WTF why should bow down to the Chine’s Let them get there act together

  4. Hopefully it is not just lip service. It is not just the USA that should be helping it should be the EU and the rest of the world. We must stop this abominable trade and save these wonderful animals. There is nothing more pleasing than seeing elephants and rhino in the natural environment.

    • Agreed Rodger. I wish everyone could experience a rhino and/or ele in the bush. There’s nothing like it. Puts it all in perspective.

  5. I’m happy to hear about international discussions on rhino (wildlife) matters. Rhino Girl , could you convince the G20 to have such discussions? I’m just an ol’ugly wildlife vet in Namibia (Africa), trying my best for anti-poaching.

    • Haha! Thank you Frans. I would jump at the opportunity to try to convince the G20. I think you’d have a better shot as a vet in the field. Or perhaps we should do it together 🙂 Thank you for your work in the field!

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