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Africa Fights Back Against Wildlife Poachers, But Drought Is Devastating

“Poaching of big game is going down in most countries,” says Didi Wamukoya, senior manager of Wildlife Law Enforcement at African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), noting that poaching in Kenya and Tanzania of large iconic species for the international wildlife trade is now very rare. Elephant population numbers in those two countries are now increasing. It is a particularly dramatic turnaround for Tanzania, which lost some 60 percent of its elephants within a decade. Wamukoya, who heads AWF’s capacity training of law enforcement agencies to prosecute cases of wildlife trafficking, warns that criminals adapt. While elephants are faring better – also in part because major markets such as China have banned domestic trade in ivory — gang trafficking to Asia are switching to other species, such as lions for their body parts, pangolins, and abalone. Pangolins, which have been identified as a potential source of coronaviruses, are the most trafficked wild mammals in the world.