Jeremy Hance, Mongabay.com, March 5,2012
“Military called in to stop Cameroon elephant slaughter – but may be too late”
Cameroon’s military has been called in to Bouba Ndjida National Park to take on foreign poachers that have slaughtered hundreds of elephants for their ivory, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). Reports vary, but between 200-480 elephants have been killed in recent weeks in the park by what is widely assumed to be poachers from Sudan.
“We saw this situation coming,” Basile Yapo Monssan, WWF-Cameroon’s Country Director, said. “We have consistently alerted the government on the alarming growing rate of poaching in Cameroon. This is their wake-up call.”
The poachers are heavily armed, including machines guns, and on horseback, meanwhile there are only six wildlife rangers in the massive, remote park. For two months they poachers have terrorized the park, perhaps extinguishing the estimated 400 elephants believed to be in the park.
According to WWF sources, over a hundred soldiers entered Bouba Ndjida National Park last Thursday. There is no word yet on how the operation is progressing
“The poachers must be engaged, arrested and prosecuted to send out a strong message of deterrent to poachers that Cameroon’s territory and Cameroon’s precious wildlife resources are not there to be violated,” said Natasha Kofoworola, Regional Representative of WWF’s Central Africa office.
Bouba Ndjida National Park is home to both the African bush elephant (Loxodonta africana) and the forest elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis), which some researchers argue is a separate species. The African elephant, considered one species by the IUCN Red List, is categorized as Vulnerable. Poaching for ivory and killing for bushmeat remains the number one threat to the wolrd’s biggest terrestrial animal.
Jeremy Hance, Mongabay.com, February 29, 2012
“Elephant death-toll rises to almost 500 in one park in Cameroon”
Wildlife officials have found 458 dead elephants in Cameroon’s embattled Bouba Ndjida National Park, reports the AFP. However officials fear the actual number is even higher around 480. Over the last six weeks a well-organized group of poachers has run free in the park, slaughtering elephants for their ivory tusks which will make their way to markets in Asia.
“It reflects a new trend we are detecting across many [elephant] range states, where well-armed poachers with sophisticated weapons decimate elephant populations, often with impunity,” John Scanlon, the head of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), told the AFP. To date the Cameroon government has done nothing to stop the slaughter.
Céline Sissler-Bienvenu with the International Fund for Animal Welfare describes the poachers as foreigners, likely from Sudan and Chad, where funds from poaching are often used to buy weapons, fueling local conflict. According to her, they ride on horses and wield machine guns.
Bouba Ndjida National Park is home to both the African bush elephant (Loxodonta africana) and the forest elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis), which some researchers argue is a separate species. The African elephant, considered one species by the IUCN Red List, is categorized as Vulnerable. Poaching for ivory and killing for bushmeat remains the number one threat to the word’s biggest terrestrial animal.