Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Poaching drives 80 percent decline in elephants in key preserve



More than 25,000 elephants slain over a decade in Gabon park

Date: February 20, 2017
Source: Duke University

Forest elephant populations in one of Central Africa's largest and most important preserves have declined between 78 percent and 81 percent because of poaching, a new Duke University-led study finds.

"Our research suggests that more than 25,000 elephants in Gabon's Minkébé National Park may have been killed for their ivory between 2004 and 2014," said John Poulsen, assistant professor of tropical ecology at Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment.

"With nearly half of Central Africa's estimated 100,000 forest elephants thought to live in Gabon, the loss of 25,000 elephants from this key sanctuary is a considerable setback for the preservation of the species," he said.

While some of the poaching originated from within Gabon, findings from the new study indicate that cross-border poaching by hunters from neighboring nations -- chiefly Cameroon to the north -- largely drove the precipitous decline.

Poulsen and his colleagues published their peer-reviewed findings Feb. 20 in the journal Current Biology.


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