HIJAU is GREEN … news & views


Somali wildlife face daily threats

Posted in SOMALIA by Faezah Ismail on April 2, 2010
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Destroyed buildings in Mogadishu, Somalia

A Somali boy passes destroyed buildings as he carries a swordfish on his head from the Indian Ocean to sell in the Hamarweyne market, Mogadishu, Somalia, Friday, March 26, 2010. (AP Photo/Mohamed Sheikh Nor)

Dozens of Somali wildlife  continue to face daily threats from hunters.

Many were shot and exported illegally for almost two decades.  Survivors have escaped to neighbouring countries.

The National Association of  Somali Science and Environmental Journalist (NASSEJ) attributes the situation to a lack of central government since the collapse of President Siad Barre’s regime in 1991.

It wants to inspire Somalians to save animal life in both urban and rural areas and to enable ground reporting of animal needs and environmental protection.

“We condemn the infliction of suffering upon our fellow creatures and the curtailment of their behavioural and other needs save where it is necessary for their own benefit,” says NASSEJ secretary-general Daud Abdi Daud.

Somalia has experienced dramatic environmental shifts following two decades of insecurity and chaos in the country.

The protracted crisis has led to an unsustainable use of the country’s resources.

Internally displaced Somalis wait in line to receive cooked meals distributed by a local Somali non-governmental organization (NGO) in partnership with the World Food Program (WFP) in a camp on the outskirt of Mogadishu on March 21, 2010. Hardline Islamists banned WFP operations in Somalia last month, but still some NGOs run feeding centers in some parts of the capital. AFP PHOTO/MUSTAFA ABDI

Corrupt businessmen, warlords and other violent radical groups, with the help of external spoilers, have contributed to deforestation and depletion of  Somalia’s wildlife resources.

“We do not accept that a difference in species alone (any more than a difference in race) can justify motiveless exploitation or oppression in the name of science,  sport, for use as food and commercial profit, among others. We believe in the evolutionary and moral affinity of all animals and declare our belief that all attentive creatures have rights to life, liberty and natural enjoyment,” says Daud.

Indiscriminate resource exploitation and tree  cutting have led to deforestation and desertification and, as a result, made Somalia more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

Somalia is also affected by foreign poachers in helicopters that hunt and steal wildlife on the outskirts of villages in coastal areas. The flying poachers target regions such as Nugal, Karkar and Mudug. Rural Somalia is mostly unprotected.

It is the same with its marine resources. Its unprotected 3333-km coastline has attracted foreign vessels, which not only loot marine resources but also flush their wastes into the territorial waters without being accountable for that.

Environmental organisations ECOTERRA SOMALIA and the Somali Ecological Society have tried to create awareness about environmental concerns and mobilised environmental programmes in all governmental sectors as well as civil society. In 1986, ECOTERRA Intl. established the Wildlife Rescue, Research and Monitoring Centre.

These efforts have led to the so-called “Somalia proposal” in 1989 and a decision by the state parties to CITES to impose for the first time a worldwide ban on the trade of elephant ivory.

Activist and Goldman Environmental Prize Award winner Fatima Jibrell later created local initiatives in her home area Buran that organised local communities to protect rural and coastal habitats.

NASSEJ is  working to raise standards in animal rights and protection and calls on Somali people to start a new era of peace.

Contact: National Association of Somali Science and Environmental Journalists (NASSEJ), Tahliil Warsame Building, Second Floor, Room 105, KM4 Area, Hodan District, Mogadishu, Somalia.

Email: newsletter@nassej.org

Website

A Somali woman holds her malnourished child in a hospital in Mogadishu March 25, 2010. Aid agencies describe the lawless nation as the world's worst humanitarian crisis after fighting killed at least 21,000 people and forced more than 1.5 million from their homes since early 2007. It has the world's highest malnutrition levels. REUTERS/Ismail Taxta (SOMALIA - Tags: SOCIETY)

Pictures courtesy of New Straits Times’ Photo Library.

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