The Selous Game Reserve was once home to more than 100,000 elephants. Man’s lust for ivory has diminished that number to fewer than 15,000.
“The Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania is one of the last remaining great wilderness areas in Africa. With its 50,000 square kilometres it is larger than Switzerland and is one of the largest terrestrial protected areas in the world. The entire reserve is free of human habitation, making it one of the last wild places on the planet.
"Unfortunately, today the Selous is under threat. Soaring demand for ivory and rhino horn from South East Asia have led to a steep increase in illegal trafficking of these products. An aerial survey in 2013 showed that the elephant population in the Selous had crashed to a mere 13,000 elephants from more than 100,000 several decades ago, and it is unknown how many black rhino remain in the game reserve but it is likely less than 20 of these once plentiful animals.
"The government of Tanzania has recognised this new crisis. In an effort to engage the support of the international community to address it, the World Heritage Committee, with support from Tanzania, inscribed the Selous Game Reserve on the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2014, calling on all States Parties of the Convention to support Tanzania in its effort. There is not only a need for technical and financial support to address the poaching, all countries need to work together to stamp out the illegal wildlife trafficking. We hope that recent efforts will be able to stem the elephant slaughter in the Selous and rebuild its population and make it again one of the best managed protected areas in East Africa.
"The Selous World Heritage Site is our common heritage. We cannot let the Selous die, it is our common responsibility to save it. Together, we can make it happen.” – Kishore Rao, Director, UNESCO/World Heritage Centre