Thursday, 30 January 2014

Ivory Coast pilots novel elephant rescue

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — After being tranquilized and loaded onto trucks with cranes, elephants that have been squeezed out of their traditional habitat in Ivory Coast are being relocated by conservationists in what is reportedly the first such operation attempted in Africa's forests.

Ivory Coast is so enamored of elephants that its national soccer team is nicknamed after them. A tusker is prominently displayed on the national coat of arms. The country is even named after the ivory trade, underscoring how the giant mammals once proliferated in the West African nation.

Ivory Coast has not conducted a recent census to determine how many forest elephants are left in the country, but conservationists estimate there only are a few hundred. In Central Africa, their populations have been devastated by poaching in recent years.

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