Military called in to stop Cameroon elephant slaughter - but may be too late

Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com
March 05, 2012



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 the African bush elephant (Loxodonta africana), although forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis), which some researchers argue is a separate species, is found in southern Cameroon. 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.













Related articles

Elephant death-toll rises to almost 500 in one park in Cameroon (warning: graphic photo)

(02/29/2012) 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.


Elephant massacre in Cameroon (warning: graphic photo)

(02/17/2012) More than 200 elephants have been slaughtered for their tusks in less than a month in Cameroon, reports the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). The group blames Sudanese poachers for cross-border raids from Chad into Bouba Ndjida National Park in northern Cameroon.


Elephant poachers kill unarmed wildlife ranger in Kenya

(01/16/2012) Abdullahi Mohammed, an wildlife ranger, was killed in the line of duty in Kenya this weekend by elephant poachers. A ranger with the conservation organization Wildlife Works, Mohammed was shot by poachers in Wildlife Works Kasigau Corridor project, a REDD program (Reduced Emissions From Deforestation and Degradation).


Forest elephant populations cut in half in protected area

(11/14/2011) Warfare and poaching have decimated forest elephant populations across their range with even elephants in remote protected areas cut down finds a new study in PLoS ONE. Surveying forest elephant populations in the Okapi Faunal Reserve in the Democratic Republic of Congo, researchers have found that the population has fallen by half—from 6,439 to 3,288—over the past decade in the park.







CITATION:
Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com (March 05, 2012).

Military called in to stop Cameroon elephant slaughter - but may be too late.

http://news.mongabay.com/2012/0305-hance_cameroon_military.html