The world’s largest elephant hunt: The world will spend $15.6 billion to keep the giant beast in check
A team of international conservationists is planning to tackle a threat to the world’s oldest and largest elephant herd, with the US and Canada among the first countries to deploy a $15 billion program.
The plan was announced in an international wildlife conference held in Istanbul, Turkey, and has drawn strong criticism from conservationists who say the plans aim to protect elephants from a threat from poachers, while benefiting only the wealthy.
The elephants are protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which bans trade in ivory, which is illegal in Turkey.
The world’s biggest elephant hunt is now underway in the western province of Assam, where the herd is being targeted by poachers.
The programme will see the poaching and trafficking of the animals from India and Bangladesh to China and Vietnam.
The government says the conservationists are targeting the elephants as they are considered a threat because they have been seen on the streets of China and are believed to be highly sought after by Chinese tourists.
They want to prevent any further poaching, according to the government.
The announcement of the plans comes after a series of high-profile incidents, including the death of a 19-year-old student at an ivory-trading site in Assam last year.
Police say the student had been arrested after he and other tourists entered a trap with a group of elephants.
Authorities say the students had taken the ivory to the Chinese consulate in New Delhi and that the Chinese consul received a call from the Indian government saying they were being taken hostage.
The Indian government denies the allegations and says the ivory seized from the tourists had been delivered to the consul by the traffickers.