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Top African Wildlife Park Celebrates A Full Year Without Elephant Poaching

The hunting of wild animals is becoming a massive issue for many species. Elephant poaching is a particularly relevant problem: as the revenue from sold ivory increases, the elephant population decreases.

When an already endangered animal is hunted and killed for sport, its chances of continued reproduction become slim. The problem even persists in designated wildlife areas in which the animals are supposed to be safe.

However, one African wildlife reserve is celebrating an important milestone.

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The Niassa reserve in Mozambique has officially gone one full year without elephant poaching on reserve property.

A year ago, Niassa was home to only 2,000 elephants — a steadily declining number due to excessive poaching of the creatures.

Now, an estimated 4,000 elephants live on the reserve.

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The Mozambique government has put specific policies in place surrounding poaching in an attempt to save the elephant population in the country from endangerment.

The last recorded death of an elephant killed by a poacher in the Niassa reserve was May 17, 2018.

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According to New York's Wildlife Conservation Society, which helps manage the reserve alongside the Mozambique government, these new initiatives include a new police force and more assertive air patrolling.

"The new rapid intervention police force is an elite unit that is better-armed than the reserve's normal rangers."

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Wildlife Conservation Society country director James Bampton regarded these new policies as "a remarkable achievement."

"Just being caught with a firearm is considered intent to illegal hunting."

"This is giving elephants a fighting chance to continue to survive in this region."

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It is too early to say what the long term effects of these new policing efforts will be, but with the elephant population doubling in size in just one year, things are certainly moving in a positive direction.

The elephant population in the rest of Africa is still in decline.

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The current rate of annual elephant losses still exceeds the birth rate.

From the year 1900 to 2019, the population has gone from several million to less than half a million according to several surveys.

Though this is wonderful news for this particular reserve, more work needs to be done.

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Hopefully the news of such uplifting statistics encourages other reserves in surrounding countries to implement similar policing efforts in order to protect animal populations.

h/t: CBS News