The census will be based on aerial counts of the elephant population, using four light aircraft and a helicopter. These aircraft are expected to fly for about 425 hours during the two month survey. The census is budgeted at around 500,000 US dollars.
Mozambique’s elephants are being target by organized criminal gangs, responding to the thriving demand for ivory in Asian countries such as China and Thailand.
A seminar on Monday, organized by the Attorney-General’s Office, warned that elephant poaching was now on the scale of “a national disaster”. The onslaught by the poachers means that four or five elephants a day are being killed (more than 1,500 a year). Such losses could push the country’s elephant populations towards extinction in as little as 30 years.
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