By Philip Thon Aleu
March 15, 2009 (BOR TOWN) — Four men have been arrested for illegally gunning down 10 wild animals in Jonglei park, officials said.
- Four poachers arrested in Joglei state with wildlife officials on Saturday 14 Mar (Photo Ph Thon)
Wildlife commanding officer Abraham Rech paraded the suspects with animals’ remains before reporters on Saturday in Bor Town, accusing them of accelerating extinction of reedbuck, buffalo and toupee Tiang. They denied any wrongdoing.
The men, whose leader was identified as Deng, were remanded to Bor prison awaiting trail at civil court. Deng claimed that his group found the animals dead in the forest “possibly killed by Murle.” The poaching took place at Bor Park in mar and Jalle Payams. Ten dead animals including seven tiang antelopes and three reedbucks were assembly for public view as the suspects appealed for mercy from the tough-speaking wildlife officials.
Massive wildlife populations survived Sudan’s civil war and indeed many species thrived. By one estimate based on aerial surveys conducted in 2007, there are 1.3 million white-eared kob, tiang antelope and Mongalla gazelle in Southern Sudan, plus 8,000 elephants. After viewing the populations, one US conservationist then remarked "This could represent the biggest migration of large mammals on earth."
But according to Isaac Seme Solomon, a researcher on wildlife conservation, poaching has increased after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. This, he said, has decreased the number of reedbucks from approximately 70,000 to 16,000.
Solomon recommended in a report seen by the Sudan Tribune that “the level of awareness, conservation education, and environmental education is very low and therefore, there is need to conduct workshops with the communities living inside and the park.”
He said that within some areas of the study including Gemeza and Mongalla in Central Equatoria, Baidit and Jalle in Jonglei State, “bush meat is a highly lucrative business.”
Jonglei State hosts Southern Sudan’s largest National Park, Boma. Boma wildlife training centre has been set up to address poaching to reduce extinction of rare animals only found in Jonglei State.