East Africa

Tanzania slaughters over 11,000 elephants a year for the bloody trade in tusks

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Tanzania slaughters over 11,000 elephants a year for the bloody trade in tusks and its President turns a blind eye, so will the Prince really shake hands with him?

  • On Thursday, a summit on how to save endangered species begins
  • Is being hosted by the Government at the behest of the Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge at London’s Lancaster House
  • 50 heads of state and ministers will attempt to agree a global response
  • Illegal trade in wildlife parts is worth £6bn a year and funds terrorist groups

By Martin Fletcher

In the gilded grandeur of London’s Lancaster House this week, the President of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete, will be greeted with smiles and handshakes by the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge, David Cameron and William Hague.

Yet this diplomatic nicety, at the start of a summit on how to save the world’s most endangered species, will be a moment of supreme irony. For Mr Kikwete’s regime has presided over a slaughter of elephants that is unprecedented in his country’s history. Even worse, conservationists insist that many within the Tanzanian government’s ranks have been willing and active accomplices in that slaughter.

At Thursday’s summit, the most ambitious yet, 50 heads of state and ministers will attempt to  agree a global response to an illegal trade in wildlife parts that is worth £6 billion a year and funds terrorist groups.

Prince Charles and Camilla with Tanzania's President Jakaya Kikwete and First Lady Salma Kikwete at the State House in Dar es Salaam November 7, 2011

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