An African wildlife reserve, one of the largest on the continent, has surprisingly recorded a full year without a single elephant death at the hands of poachers.
Elephant poaching has been a huge problem for African wildlife from time immemorial but the park managed to remain unaffected for an entire 12 months, according to a report from ABC News.
The area, located in a remote region of Northern Mozambique called Niassa, is said to be larger than all of Switzerland and thousands of animals have been slaughtered there in recent years. However, the introduction of a rapid intervention police force, increased patrols, and an air response system have all gone a long way in curbing the poaching issue that has plagued the reserve for years.
Despite going a year without having an elephant killed, it will take years for the elephant population to be rebuilt. Aggressive poaching is said to have cut the number of elephants in the area from 12,000 to just over 3,600 in 2016. Anti-poaching strategies managed to reduce the number of killings between 2015 and 2017 but not that significantly as elephants continued being poached at a rate way too high for comfort.
The newest measures, though, appear to have been very effective and partners now harbor serious hope over the Niassa elephant population, which they reckon "stand a genuine chance for recovery".
James Bampton, country director with the Wildlife Conservation Society, claimed to have discovered that the reserve had undergone a year without poaching deaths while perusing data.
"It's a remarkable achievement," he declared, revealing that the last such elephant death took occurred on May 17, 2018.
"It is a major and very important development that poaching has ceased. This represents a major success," George Wittemyer, chairman of the scientific board for Kenya's Save the Elephants organization, also said.
Bampton did admit that the poach-free year is also due to the low number of remaining elephants. A year ago, an estimated 2,000 elephants were left in Niassa but he's revealed that an unpublished October survey notes that about 4,000 elephants are now in the reserve.