Friday 24 February 2012

More than 200 elephants slaughtered in Cameroon since January - massacre continues

Elephant massacre continues 
February 2012. Poachers slaughtered at least 200 elephants for their tusks in Cameroon in a continuing killing spree that began in mid-January.
The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) said an armed gang of Sudanese poachers had killed the free roaming elephants in the Bouba Ndjida National Park in northern Cameroon, near the border with Chad.
At least 100 elephant carcasses have been found in the park in the past month and ongoing shooting is making it impossible to conduct a further, detailed assessment of the situation. It is understood that more carcasses are expected to be found in unexplored regions of Bouba Ndjida.
According to reports, many orphaned elephant calves have been spotted abandoned following the shootings and concerns are high the babies may soon die of hunger and thirst. Their deaths will only compound the impact of the poaching spree on the Cameroon's threatened elephant populations.

IFAW's Celine Sissler-Bienvenu said it was common for armed gangs of poachers to cross from Sudan during the dry season to kill elephants for their ivory. But this latest massacre is massive and has no comparison to those of the preceding years.
Ivory smuggled to Asia
"The ivory is smuggled out of West and Central Africa for markets in Asia and Europe, and the money it raises funds arms purchases for use in regional conflicts, particularly ongoing unrest in Sudan and in the Central African Republic," said Sissler-Bienvenu.
The embassies of the United States of America, European Union, United Kingdom and France have sounded alarm bells on the Bouba Ndjida elephant killings and have called on the Cameroon authorities to take urgent action to stop the killing.
Cameroon shares a border with Chad which, in turn is bordered to the east and south by Sudan and the Central African Republic. Armed insurgents seeking elephants frequently cross the porous borders on poaching raids in Cameroon and Chad.
Few elephants left in Chad
Sudanese poachers, who travel south through Chad on their way to Cameroon, are thought to be responsible for the killings. In the past few years Chad's elephant population has dropped from several thousand to just a few hundred, sending the heavily armed poachers further afield. 

Celine Sissler-Bienvenu, IFAW France's Country Representative, said: "These are well-armed, well-organised gangs and nothing seems to be able to stop their reckless pursuit of ivory. They are targeting one of the most vulnerable elephant populations in Africa. The ivory from these slaughtered elephants is flowing out of Africa at an uncontrollable rate."

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