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Lockdowns Might Reverse Africa’s Anti-poaching Gains

The Covid-19 epidemic could lead to a surge in wildlife poaching as the tourism industry that has long sustained conservation programmes across Africa collapses, conservationists have warned. Restrictions on international travel have already fuelled a jump in illegal hunting for bush meat as a catastrophic fall in revenue forces government wildlife agencies and NGOs to scale back anti-poaching operations. Fears are growing that organised crime syndicates involved in the ivory and rhino horn smuggling could also take advantage of the chaos. “Within the space of two weeks in March it has just shut down,” said Tim Davenport, director of species conservation for Africa at the Wildlife Conservation Society. “There is nothing. There are no tourists at all, no revenue coming into national parks or wildlife authorities.”