Monday, 8 September 2014

Tusks from at least 94 dead elephants seized in Cameroon

Posted by: Kevin Heath / 5 days ago

Officials at Yaounde-Nsimalen International Airport yesterday seized 200 tusks after locals provided the officials with a tip-off about the shipment. No arrests have yet been made and police are currently investigating the case. The supervising officer explained that it seems the tusks originated from the Southern part of Cameroon and possibly the border region with Gabon.

The number of tusks suggested that at least 94 forest elephants had been killed.

Cameroon has seen large-scale killings of its elephants before but with sentences for poachers being relatively light - maximum of three years in prison – there is little disincentive for poachers to stop operating.

While tusks of any elephant is valuable on the Asian markets it is ivory from forest elephants that is highly sought after because of its gentle pink hue and better carving features.

The current scale of losses of the forest elephants can be hard to believe – the latest figures indicate that 65% of the forest elephant population has been killed over the last 12 year and under 100,000 now remain from 300,000 just over a decade ago.

At current poaching rates a forest elephant in Africa is being killed every 20 minutes. Unless action is taken to reduce demand for the ivory and more pro-active action is taken to reduce the poaching it is expected that the forest elephant of Central and East Africa will be extinct in the wild in just over 10 years.

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