Half of Republic of Congo’s Forest Elephants Killed in Past Five Years


Written by Matt McDermott

From 2006-2011 over half of the forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis) in Central Africa have been killed by poachers, Wildlife Conservation Society reports.

At the start of the period, there were 13,000 forest elephants around the Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park in the Republic of Congo, but as of last year only 6,300 remain, living in an area the size of Rhode Island.

The only good news in this is that within the park and in surrounding areas managed under Forest Stewardship Council guidelines, both patrolled by rangers, is that the elephant population remains stable. This area is “becoming the last stronghold for the entire species,” according to the director of WCS’s Republic of Congo program.

WCS explains the origins of the poaching:

The illegal ivory trade drives the precipitous decline of forest elephants in the Republic of Congo and across the Congo Basin. Part of a huge wave of international organized crime that links trafficking in humans, wildlife, and drugs and weapons, the illegal ivory trade delivers big payoffs to ivory traffickers at all levels along the chain. Other factors contributing to the slaughter of elephants include access to formerly impenetrable tracts of rainforest through new roads in the region and the proliferation of arms such as AK-47 rifles. It is now recognized that even well-protected areas in Africa are under enormous pressure and must be better protected immediately.

African forest elephants, smaller than the more commonly known savannah elephant, are now considered a separate species.

African forest elephants are listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN.

This post was originally published on Treehugger.


Related Stories:

Zoos Make Hard Choices to Protect Endangered Species

Elephant Who Killed Keeper Was Also a Victim

Thai Government Said to Slaughter Elephants to Steal Their Babies


Photo from James Hopkirk via flickr


Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra6 years ago

Thank you TreeHugger, for Sharing this!

Ruth B.
Ruth Bell6 years ago

Alex B I couldn't agree with you more.. What a good idea!!!

Waheeda Smith
Waheeda S7 years ago

Such a tragedy! :(

Sheri D.
Sheri D7 years ago

It's such a shame.

Carrie Anne Brown

sad news but thanks for sharing

Dawn F.
Dawn F7 years ago

Wasn't it Einstein who said something to the effect of---
A person is insane if they keep repeating the same behavior and expect different results... Well you get the jist... WE HAVE NOT LEARNED FROM ANY MISTAKES THE PREVIOUS GENERATIONS MADE. We think we can abuse & use to our benefit & pleasure without it impacting others.

rene davis
irene davis7 years ago

this is so aweful why can't these organisation whom work for the protection of elephant just turn to hiring armed soliders to protect these vunerable creatures. Cause whatever their doing isn't working!

Alex B.
Alex B.7 years ago

I wish poaching could be classified a killing offense...

Alex B.
Alex B.7 years ago

I wish poaching could be classified a killing offense...

Deborah F.
Deborah F7 years ago

When will they ever learn?