Gourma Elephants Face Extinction
“Desertification and Climate Change: The case of the Niger loop and the issue of wildlife in Mali; the case of the Gourma elephant” were at the heart of a conference-debate in the House of Elders, organized last Friday as part of the activities of the fortnight of the environment. The meeting was chaired by Ousmane Kone, Minister of Environment, in the presence of several personalities, and speakers Alain Gerbe and Nomba Ganame, both environmental experts.
According to Mr. Alain Gerbe, who spoke on the topic “Desertification and Climate Change: The Case of the Niger loop,” desertification, climate change, and annual and interannual variations constantly threaten the future of the elephants of Gourma, the population of which in 2011 was estimated to be between 350 and 500. Also, he deplored the fact that Mali has neither a specific plan for the management of elephants nor a development plan for their preservation.
The speaker then spoke about the Niger River that stretches 1,700 kilometers across our territory. He says it is reduced more and more, and there are parts that one can cross on foot. “To find a solution, multiply projects, develop programming and mobilize the necessary financial resources,” suggested Mr. Sheaf.
Exploring the second theme, Mr. Nomba Ganame drew attention to the need to find a rapid solution to protect Gourma elephants that exist among us and Burkina Faso. Mr. Ganame deplored the increase in poaching suffered by the population of Gourma elephants with local complicity. “During the 2014–2015 year, 100 elephants were killed for their ivory and 12 were forced to abandon their babies because of stress,” he explains.
The speaker will invite others to take action to combat desertification and environmental degradation. For his part, Mr Ousmane Kone, Minister of the Environment drew attention to the need to fight against the silting up of the Niger River and protect the elephants of Gourma. “In the Niger loop, studies are underway to identify the amount of sand to remove and where to do it without running the risk of completely losing it,” said the Minister Koné.
Speaking of Gourma elephants, the Minister Koné say that poaching has pushed not only elephants to change paths, but also to be violent, sometimes causing the death of men. “Of these elephants commuting between Mali and Burkina and often traveling 32,000 km, we signed an agreement to work together for their protection,” the minister said. In conclusion, the Minister of Environment invited the participants to take advantage of the fortnight of the environment to discover and select other topics to be discussed during the year.