Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Charity Appeal: The weapons that bring death to the savannah

The wildest sound on the savannah is not the lion’s roar, but the elephant’s trumpet. When he senses a lurking poacher, the elephant screams, loud and shrill, to alert the herd and scare his enemy.

The poacher, standing only a few feet away takes aim and fires. The elephant screams again, before he collapses in a heap. One bullet will rarely kill an adult elephant, and it takes many minutes before the life drains away.

Military weapons such as AK-47s are increasingly used by poachers. Bullets from these guns weigh too little to penetrate the elephant’s thick skull so an instant death is rare. In the meantime, poachers carve out the elephant’s tusks – never sparing the valuable inches of ivory lodged firmly inside his head. A local poacher will sell a kilogram of ivory for as little as 80,000 Tanzanian shillings or £30.

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