Poaching is the biggest threat to wildlife in South Sudan

By: Beek Mabior, Nairobi, Kenya

Tuesday September 15, 2020 (SS24NEWS)

The significance of wildlife to humankind on earth is undeniable. Wildlife are greatest source of revenues to the government and citizenry due to the money that are generated from tourism industry. In many countries across the world. Wildlife are well protected from illegal poaching from poachers that don’t entirely understand the benefits that the countries can get from wildlife. The poachers don’t know that wildlife is a greatest source of revenue for a nation.

In many continents such as America, Europe, Canada and Asia. Wildlife are safeguard from poaching and the governments of those continents have put in place tough penalties against poaching in order to protect the animals from unlawful poaching. Furthermore, South Sudan is a country endowed with millions of wildlife and they’ve existed for centuries.

Despite many decades of endless civil wars. The wildlife of South Sudan has continued to endure the challenging environment of civil conflict and illegal poaching.

Moreover, for many years, the wildlife in South Sudan has faced immense hardships from poachers. Our wildlife has continued to stay in South Sudan without migrating in large numbers to sisterly bordering countries in Africa.

They’ve stayed in South Sudan despite the fact that they’ve been subjected to non-stop poaching and that is very unfortunate indeed. Additionally, the endless humans and animals’ conflicts have engineered huge challenges to our wildlife in South Sudan. Many wildlife are also victims of the civil wars. Many animals have been killed by people during conflict for their survival or accidentally.

Furthermore, there are many motives why poachers killed wildlife. The major reason is to get food and animals’ products such as lucrative elephants’ tusks and rhinos’ horns for sell.

The poaching of wildlife and illegal business in animals’ products are almost causing extinction of some animals across our country. The illegal poaching in South Sudan has caused massive problems for wildlife.

Additionally, South Sudan is rich in wildlife and she has the world second largest animals’ migration in Upper Nile Region. South Sudan has different types of animals such as lion, giraffe, elephant, rhino, zebra, hippopotamus and etc.

moreover, South Sudan has many national parks such as Boma national park, Nimule national park, Southern national park, Badingilo national park, Shambe national park and many more across the country plus game reserves.

In addition to that, according to various reports and assessments done by different wildlife organization such as WCS and South Sudan wildlife Service. They’ve reported huge decrease in elephant and giraffe populations in South Sudan. according to WCS and South Sudan Wildlife Service, they’ve reported “an elephant population of 2,300 in the country prior to the civil war, which began in December 2013, down from an estimated 79,000 in the 1970’s. Elephants face continued and expanded threats.

Giraffe are in very low numbers –down from some 13,000 in the early 1980’s to only hundreds remaining now and at risk of local extinction. Migratory tiang and other antelopes are vulnerable due to annual migration between Badingilo National Park and the Sudd”.

So as you can see from the above report, our wildlife faced deadly threat of extinction from poachers and I’d like to urge our government and international development partners to come up with urgent effective and efficient policy to protect our national heritage from extinction.

Furthermore, the wildlife seems to have no huge benefit to the country at the moment but in the future, they’ll benefit the generations of South Sudan once the poaching and endless civil wars end in the near future entirely. The wildlife will bring much needed revenues to our country just like Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa which earn billions of dollars in revenues annually from tourism sector. They’ve profited from their wildlife massively and we need to take an example from them.

And for instance, wildlife tourism is the leading foreign exchange earner in Kenya and the country generates up to Ksh 75.2 billion yearly. South Africa and Tanzania also generate billions in their national currencies.

South Sudan has an immense potential of tourism and hospitality industries and in the coming future, our country will attract millions of tourists and that’ll lead to massive revenues and richness to tourism and hospitality sectors.

Revenues from tourism industry in the future will be second or even first than that of oil and non-oil revenues in South Sudan.

We cannot perhaps believe that at the moment, but believe me, we’ll surely profit from wildlife in the coming future. The civil wars have prevented our country to benefit from wildlife and the national parks and game reserves are rudimentary, lacking hotels, lodges, visiting tourists and roads. There’re no important tourism’s activities going on in South Sudan at the moment. The national parks and game reserves are not receiving any international and domestic tourists.

Hence, there’re no revenues that are generated from tourism industry. There’re many challenges facing animals and our wildlife heritage is in danger in South Sudan.

moreover, there’re many national parks and game reserves across the country and we need to fully maintain and put sufficient security in those national parks and game reserves in order to protect our wildlife from poachers.

Additionally, on the positive note, there’re many other international organizations such as Britain-based Fauna & Flora international which is assisting some national parks such as Southern park by teaching rangers and community members on how to use GPS, set camera traps and to create sustainable practices in order to safeguard the national park effectively and efficiently from poachers.

Moreover, it is also reported that they’re trying to help our country to develop conservation tourism as an alternative source of revenue.

The United States of America through USAID is helping in wildlife conservation in South Sudan. Also, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) are doing an excellent job despite the huge threat from poaching. Finally, the Ministry of wildlife and South Sudan wildlife service are doing their very best to protect wildlife in South Sudan despite the problem of poaching from poachers.

However, more efforts are needed. Wildlife’s protection needs collective effort and responsibility of all citizenry, government and international development partners.

And we as South Sudan Environmental Advocates (SSEA) are doing what we can to assist in raising awareness, sensitization and protection of our lovely wildlife heritage. We need to safeguard our South Sudan’s natural heritage which is crucial for our country and wildlife.

Wildlife’s revenues can improve livelihoods, employability and lead to sustainable development in South Sudan. let protect our wildlife from illegal poaching and together we’ll certainly benefit from wildlife tourism’s revenues in the coming future in South Sudan. South Sudanese people have no civil war with wildlife and poachers need to know that. So let protect our wildlife for future’s economic profitability and sustainability.

The author is the National Project Coordinator of South Sudan Environmental Advocates (SSEA) and can be reached via his Email: beekmabior2020ssea@gmail.com Web: www.sseasouthsudan.org

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