According to The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), poachers slaughtered 300-400 elephants for their tusks in Cameroon since 2012, up to 200 in a single park. Here is just one of the dead. EPA via dailymail.co.uk

By Daily Mail Reporter
16 March 2012

These heartbreaking photos show the extent of an elephant slaughter in the troubled nation of Cameroon.

At least half the elephant population in Bouba N'Djida reserve have been slaughtered because the west African nation sent too few security forces to tackle poachers, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) said on Thursday.   

In what was described as one of the worst poaching massacres in decades, and at least 200 elephants have been killed for their tusks since January by poachers on horseback from Chad and Sudan.

'WWF is disturbed by reports that the poaching continues unabated,' Natasha Kofoworola Quist, WWF's representative in the region, said in a statement.   

About 20 fresh elephant carcasses were discovered last week, a spokesperson for the organisation said from Cameroon.

The government of the Central African state has sent special forces to track the poachers and end the killing spree in the north of the country, but the WWF said this may be too little, too late.   

'The forces arrived too late to save most of the park's elephants and were too few to deter the poachers,' Quist said. She said the organisation regretted that a soldier was killed during a clash with the poachers. 

WWF said at least half the population of Bouba N'Djida's elephants have been killed.   

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) said cross-border poaching was common during the dry season but the scale of the killings this year was unprecedented.    

'They move 1,000 kilometers (more than 600 miles) on horseback to get to northern Cameroon because they have already wiped out the elephants of Chad and Central African Republic,' said Richard Carroll, vice president of the U.S. chapter of WWF.

According to IFAW, poachers slaughtered as many as 400 elephants for their tusks in Cameroon since the killing spree began. […]

Growing demand for ivory in China is 'the leading driver behind the illegal trade in ivory today,' said Tom Milliken, an elephant and rhino expert for the wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC.

China has a legal ivory market that is supposed to be highly controlled but tons and tons of illegal ivory has made its way there in recent years, said the Zimbabwe-based Milliken, who spoke in a conference call with several World Wildlife Fund officers.

Hundreds of elephants slaughtered at African wildlife park as horseback-riding poachers kill HALF the population


Paris, France, 12 March 2012 (IFAW) – With up to 400 elephants already butchered for their ivory, soldiers were in a deadly battle with poachers last week to prevent further killing in Cameroon’s Bouba Ndjida National Park.

A team from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW – www.ifaw.org) reported heavy fire between the two sides last Monday as poachers targeted a herd of elephants.

At least 63 gunshots were heard during the clash that killed 10 elephants. One poacher and one soldier were killed, and two soldiers of Cameroon’s BIR (Rapid Intervention Battalion) were injured.

“The fight against poaching is a war and like any other war there will be casualties,” says Céline Sissler Bienvenu, Director of IFAW France and in charge of projects in Francophone Africa.

Field reports said that the elephants killed were mostly young with small tusks, and that the poachers had fled without having time to remove them – later five horses, bags with ammunition and small tusks, as well as eight pairs of tusk were seized.

IFAW visited the park last week to assess an unprecedented killing spree that has taken the lives of hundreds of elephants since mid-January.

Sissler Bienvenu said it seemed that Cameroon’s soldiers were no match for the heavily armed poachers who have been active in Bouba Ndjida National Park in remote northern Cameroon, along the Chad border.

“These poachers are working in gangs. We found shells indicating they are armed with military-issue automatic or semi-automatic weapons. They have been riding through Bouba Ndjida on horseback since early January and are perfectly familiar with the terrain. Villagers who have come into contact with the poachers were told of their plans to collect as much ivory as they can until the end of March,” she said.

Sissler Bienvenu said the poachers seemed undeterred by the presence of the Cameroon military which appeared inexperienced with bush warfare and lacked an intervention strategy.

“The authorities I met from Cameroon during this mission are fully aware of the crisis, but do not seem to realize the magnitude of the tragedy because the elephant poaching problem in Bouba Ndjida raises another sensitive issue: that of national security and the porous border shared by Cameroon and Chad,” she said.

IFAW’s visit to Bouba Ndjida documented the extreme violence with which the elephants had been slaughtered. In some cases it appeared the elephants were chased before being gunned down. Their trunks were then severed and their tusks removed with a machete.

Veterinarian Sharon Redrobe, who travelled with the team, said it appeared the elephants were probably still alive when their tusks were hacked out.

“These elephants would have suffocated and experienced a long, agonising death,” she said.

In addition, IFAW found that the killing was indiscriminate – nearly all the elephants in a herd were slaughtered, regardless of sex or age. The IFAW team saw the bodies of several very young animals aged a few months to several years that either would not have had tusks or would have had very small ones if at all. Some bodies showed markings of senseless cruelty.

“In some groups, the state of decomposition was different suggesting that poachers waited until surviving elephants came back to ‘mourn’ their dead before shooting them as well,” said Sissler Bienvenu.

Finally, the poachers took a trophy from each dead elephant’s ear. This practice, unknown in Cameroon, is however common in Sudan, where fragments of elephant ears are worn on necklaces. It reinforces the likelihood that that these heavily armed horseback poachers are from Sudan, though Chadian nationals may also have taken part.

Sissler Bienvenu said it was time that Cameroon, Chad and the Central African Republic cooperated to preserve their elephant herds and to develop a coherent strategy to fight poaching.

“This tragedy could have been averted if authorities had listened to the alarm bells earlier this year, especially since what is happening today in Bouba Ndjida is an exact repeat of what happened in Chad’s Zakouma National Park between 2005 and 2009. The skill and determination of these gangs of poachers is no longer in question,” she said.

“At the same time, the only way to stop these bloody attacks perpetrated against elephants in Cameroon and Africa as a whole is to eliminate the demand for ivory at the international level. To do this, a complete and unambiguous international ban on the sale of ivory is the only and best solution,” she said.

In 2008, an exceptional legal sale of 108 tons of ivory stocks from Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, and Zimbabwe to China and Japan was allowed. This sale boosted demand and provided an ideal cover for illicit ivory sales. In 2009, this resulted in a dramatic increase in seizures which culminated last year with a record-setting 23 tons of seized ivory. Unfortunately, this only represents a small portion of all the ivory sold illegally around the world. […]

Too late – military intervention fails to halt elephant slaughter in Cameroon (GRAPHIC IMAGE)

1 comments :

  1. nina said...

    "... a complete and unambiguous international ban on the sale of ivory is the only and best solution,” she said. ..."

    This isn't going to happen. Its been tried and utterly fails. They're going to have to take an "old west" approach on the ground level, deal with poachers like horse thieves. The Elephant herds will have to be owned, which they are as Cameroonian national assets. Geographic lines of defense, as in private ranches, will have to be demarcated and sternly reinforced. Cross the line and shoot on sight, or hang from the nearest tree, legally. The remaining roaming herds, like wild horses still running free in SW US, should receive similar protections.  

 

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