Poaching of African Elephants
I have a hard time conceiving of how someone could ever get one of these amazing animals in their sights, ... and then go thru with the act of pulling the trigger. Or do anything else to harm them for that matter. Poaching has long been a problem in Uganda's Murchison Falls National Park. As recently as the early 1970s, 20,000+ elephants are thought to have roamed the area. By the mid-1990s, the number had dropped to less than 300. Among other methods, poachers set snare traps along banks of the Nile to catch animals as they come down to feed or drink. The snares often encircle elephants' trunks. The harder the elephant pulls, the tighter the wire binds, cutting off circulation and, eventually, the trunk. After a quick search back through our images, I couldn't find a single photo of an elephant that hadn't lost part of its trunk to a snare. The river is now patrolled within Murchison Falls by the Uganda Wildlife Authority, which trains ranger teams to make arrests and collect hard evidence to ensure convictions. Since the 1990s, elephant populations within the park have gained ground, having risen to nearly 1,500 individuals in the intervening years.