Invading Sudanese horsemen have slaughtered half of the elephants in one of Cameroon’s reserves.
More than 200 elephants have been slaughtered by poachers in three months. Troops arrived too late to stop the massacre, and one soldier has been killed. In the last week, twenty more elephants were killed.
In the 1980s, there were an estimated 3,000 elephants in the Bouba N’Djida park. Now there are less than 400 remaining alive. 150 soldiers have confiscated 49 tusks, representing 25 dead elephants.
“The forces arrived too late to save most of the park’s elephants, and were too few to deter the poachers,” Natasha Kofoworola Quist, director of the World Wildlife Fund’s Central Africa program told AP.
In neighboring Chad in the 1970s, there were more than 400,000 elephants and now there are less than 8,000. The elephant population in the Central African Republic has been decimated. Even Kenya has seen an 80% decline in its elephant population over the last four decades.
The geopolitical problems in the Sudan and Chad makes it easy for the insurgents to cross into Cameroon and poach wildlife to finance their battles.
Wildlife activists blame China’s growing footprint in Africa for an unprecedented surge in poaching elephants for their tusks. Most are believed to be smuggled to China and Thailand to make ivory ornaments.
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.
The rains begin next month and hopefully that should at least slow down this systematic slaughter.
Picture by @Doug88888