Luanda — ANGOLA has pledged to combat the illegal trade in wildlife, which is part of wider global environmental crime, costing up to $258 billion per year.
The country which on Sunday officially hosted World Environment Day (WED), the world's biggest day for positive environmental action, which is attempting to overcome issues related to the WED theme of ending the illegal trade.
Angola lost many of its elephants during a long civil war, which ran on-and-off from 1975 to 2002.
It is unclear how many elephants remain, but those that do are facing pressure from poachers. The nation is also a transit country for ivory, with carved goods coming over the border from the Democratic Republic of Congo for re-sale, largely to Asian nations.
Angola is introducing tougher penalties for poaching, shutting down its domestic illegal markets, and looking to provide alternative livelihoods for those at the bottom of the illegal wildlife trade chain.
They are also training former combatants to become wildlife rangers and have opened new tourism lodges in the southeastern Cuando-Cubango province.
As a further signal of its intent, Angola has joined twelve other nations as a signatory to the Elephant Protection Initiative, which focuses on protecting African elephants through measures such as closing domestic markets.