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Thirty percent African elephants wiped out in 7 years between 2007 and 2014

The scientific report of the GEC findings, published in the open access journal PeerJ revealed that the current rate of species decline is eight percent per year, primarily due to poaching

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A family of African elephants. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
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New York, September 1, 2016: Elephant populations in Africans declined by as much as 30 percent between 2007 and 2014, the Result of a pan-African survey of savanna elephants have shown.

The findings of the three-year Great Elephant Census managed by Elephants Without Borders (EWB) confirms substantial declines in elephant numbers over just the last decade.

“The Results of the GEC show the necessity of action to end the African elephants’ downward trajectory by preventing poaching and protecting habitat,” said Michael Chase, EWB Director and the Principle Investigator on the project.

The ambitious project to count all of Africa’s savannah elephants from the air has completed 18 country surveys with two countries still to be completed, organisers said.

South Sudan and the Central African Republic are anticipated to be flown by the end of 2016 depending on safety conditions and data reliability.

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For savannah elephant populations in 15 GEC countries for which repeat counts were available, populations declined by 30 percent, or 144,000 animals, between 2007 and 2014, the investigators said.

The Pan-African survey showed the estimated savannah elephant population to be 352,271 within the 18 countries surveyed to-date, representing at least 93 percent of savannah elephants in these countries.

The researchers reported that 84 percent of the population surveyed was sighted in legally protected areas compared to 16 percent in unprotected areas.

However, large numbers of carcasses were observed in many protected areas indicating that elephants are struggling both within and outside of parks.

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The scientific report of the GEC findings, published in the open access journal PeerJ revealed that the current rate of species decline is eight percent per year, primarily due to poaching.

The team used the most accurate, up-to-date counting and statistical methods to analyse data, accurately determining the number and distribution of the great majority of African savanna elephants and this now provides a baseline on a continental scale for future surveys and trend analyses, that wildlife ecologists will be able to use to coordinate conservation efforts.

Overall, 90 scientists, six non-governmental organization partners, and two advisory partners collaborated in the work. (IANS)

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  • Kabir Chaudhary

    The African elephants are a rare species. Their hunting and poaching should be made illegal with strict punishments across the whole of Africa.

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Thousands of Africans Fatally Affected Due To Fake Drugs

In Ivory Coast, many cannot afford to shop in pharmacies.

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Drugs, Africa
A street vendor sells illegal and false drugs in a street of Adjame in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. VOA

When Moustapha Dieng came down with stomach pains one day last month he did the sensible thing and went to a doctor in his hometown of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso’s capital, Africa.

The doctor prescribed a malaria treatment but the medicine cost too much for Dieng, a 30-year-old tailor, so he went to an unlicensed street vendor for pills on the cheap.

“It was too expensive at the pharmacy. I was forced to buy street drugs as they are less expensive,” he said. Within days he was hospitalized — sickened by the very drugs that were supposed to cure him.

Africa
Able Ekissi, an inspector at the health ministry, told Reuters the seized goods. Pixabay

Tens of thousands of people in Africa die each year because of fake and counterfeit medication, an E.U.-funded report released on Tuesday said. The drugs are mainly made in China but also in India, Paraguay, Pakistan and the United Kingdom.

Almost half the fake and low-quality medicines reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) between 2013 and 2017 were found to be in sub-Saharan Africa, said the report, also backed by Interpol and the Institute for Security Studies.

“Counterfeiters prey on poorer countries more than their richer counterparts, with up to 30 times greater penetration of fakes in the supply chain,” said the report.

Substandard or fake anti-malarials cause the deaths of between 64,000 and 158,000 people per year in sub-Saharan Africa, the report said.

Africa
Opiates have some of the most cases of addiction due to their accessibility and intense ‘high’ – mostly beginning from something as simple as painkillers.

The counterfeit drug market is worth around $200 billion worldwide annually, WHO says, making it the most lucrative trade of illegally copied goods. Its impact has been devastating.

Nigeria said more than 80 children were killed in 2009 by a teething syrup tainted with a chemical normally used in engine coolant and blamed for causing kidney failure.

For Dieng, the cost can be measured in more than simple suffering. The night in hospital cost him more than double what he would have paid had he bought the drugs the doctor ordered.

“After taking those drugs, the provenance of which we don’t know, he came back with new symptoms … All this had aggravated his condition,” said nurse Jules Raesse, who treated Dieng when he stayed at the clinic last month.

Fake drugs also threaten a thriving pharmaceutical sector in several African countries.

Africa
Misuse of antibiotic drugs have lead to the threat of antimicrobial resistance, Pixabay

That has helped prompt Ivory Coast – where fake drugs were also sold openly – to crack down on the trade, estimated at $30 billion by Reuters last year.

Ivorian authorities said last month they had seized almost 400 tonnes of fake medicine over the past two years.

Able Ekissi, an inspector at the health ministry, told Reuters the seized goods, had they been sold to consumers, would have represented a loss to the legitimate pharmaceutical industry of more than $170 million.

“They are reputed to be cheaper, but at best they are ineffective and at worst toxic,” Abderrahmane Chakibi, Managing Director of French pharmaceutical firm Sanofi’s sub-Saharan Africa branch.

Also Read: Trump Presents Proposal To Lower the Price of Specific Drugs

But in Ivory Coast, many cannot afford to shop in pharmacies, which often only stock expensive drugs imported from France, rather than cheaper generics from places like India.

“When you have no means you are forced to go out onto the street,” said Barakissa Cherik, a pharmacist in Ivory Coast’s lagoon-side commercial capital Abidjan. (VOA)