Eight Central African countries have announced they will send a thousand soldiers after poachers responsible for killing 89 elephants in Chad earlier this month. The mobilization of soldiers and law enforcement officers is a sign that Central African countries are beginning to take elephant poaching more seriously.
Growing demand for ivory from elephant’s tusks in East Asia has caused poaching to rise. Elephant populations in Central Africa have been the hardest hit; a recent study in PLoS ONE estimated that 60 percent of the world’s forest elephants (found in the Congo rainforest) have been killed by poachers in the last ten years alone. In all, experts estimate that some 25,000 elephants were killed in 2011 for their tusks.
“Now, it is up to demand countries—[like] China and Thailand—to show that they have as much courage and determination as these Central African countries,” Bas Huijbregts, head of WWF’s Central African campaign against the illegal wildlife trade, said.