Maintenance. We are currently updating the site. Please check back shortly

Thomson Reuters Foundation

Inform - Connect - Empower

Poachers kill 28 forest elephants in Cameroon - WWF

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Wed, 13 Mar 2013 13:06 GMT
Author: Reuters
Tweet Recommend Google + LinkedIn Email Print
Leave us a comment

YAOUNDE, March 13 (Reuters) - Poachers have killed 28 endangered forest elephants in the Nki and Lobeke national parks in southeast Cameroon in recent weeks, the conservation organisation WWF said on Wednesday.

With demand for ivory rising from Asia, poachers have reduced the population of Africa's forest elephants by 62 percent over the last decade, putting the species on track for extinction, conservationists say.

The parks of southeast Cameroon, along with parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Gabon, have some of the last significant populations of forest elephants.

"Elephants in these two protected areas in the Congo Basin are facing a threat to their existence," said Zacharie Nzooh, WWF Cameroon representative in the East Region.

Nzooh said that between Feb. 10 and March 1, WWF found the carcasses of 23 elephants, stripped of their tusks, deep in the Nki national park. A further five were found without their tusks in the Lobeke national park, further to the east.

"The poachers used automatic weapons, such as AK-47s, reflecting the violent character of elephant poaching," he said, adding that park wardens lacked good weapons.

Smaller than its African savannah cousin, the forest elephant has straighter tusks. If urgent measures are not taken, Cameroon's forest elephants, estimated to number about 2,000, could disappear in less than a decade, Nzooh said.

Ivory sells for hundreds of dollars per kilogram on the black market. Most is smuggled to Asia, especially China, to be carved into jewellery and ornaments.

In early 2012, heavily armed poachers on horseback from Chad and Sudan massacred some 200 savannah elephants in Cameroon's Bouba Ndjida National Park.

In December, Cameroon deployed military helicopters and 600 soldiers equipped with night vision gear to try to protect the park and its wildlife. (Reporting by Tansa Musa; Writing by Daniel Flynn; Editing by Andrew Roche)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of the Thomson Reuters Foundation. For more information see our Acceptable Use Policy.

comments powered by Disqus
Most Popular
LATEST SLIDESHOW

Latest slideshow

See allSee all
FEATURED JOBS
Featured jobs