ONTD Political

200 elephants killed in Cameroon 'massacre'

12:53 am - 02/18/2012
Poachers have killed more than 200 elephants in Cameroon in just six weeks, in a "massacre" fuelled by Asian demand for ivory.

A local government official said heavily armed poachers from Chad and Sudan had decimated the elephant population of Bouba Ndjida National Park in Cameroon's far north in a dry season killing spree.

"We are talking about a very serious case of trans-frontier poaching, involving well-armed poachers with modern weapons from Sudan and Chad who are decimating this wildlife species to make quick money from the international ivory trade," said Gambo Haman, governor of Cameroon's north region.

Speaking on local radio, Mr Haman said some of the poachers were on horseback and operated in cahoots with the local population, who were given free elephant meat and were glad to be rid of animals that damage their crops.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) said cross-border poaching was common during the dry season but the scale of the killings so far this year was unprecedented.

"This latest massacre is massive and has no comparison to those of the preceding years," the group said in a statement.

Citing a record number of large scale ivory seizures in 2011, TRAFFIC, a conservation group which tracks trends in wildlife trading, has warned of a surge in elephant poaching in Africa to meet Asian demand for tusks for use in jewellery and ornaments.

Underlining the clout of the poaching force, Mr Haman said a group of 50 had killed six Chadian soldiers who tried to arrest them as they fled with the ivory.

"In January we counted 146 (elephant) carcasses and since the beginning of this month we've had close to 60 already. This may only be a tip of the iceberg as some may have been killed in parts of the park that we cannot access," Mr Haman added.

Cameroon has dispatched a rapid reaction force to the zone but Mr Haman said there were not enough troops to cover the remote park in Cameroon's far north.

IFAW said it was not clear how many elephants remained in Cameroon but a 2007 estimate but the figure a between 1,000 and 5,000.

TRAFFIC has said that the spike in poaching and illegal ivory trade in Africa was a direct consequence of China's investment drive into the continent.

Ugh. If you have the means, you can donate to TRAFFIC here.
apis_cerana 17th-Feb-2012 05:17 pm (UTC)
There is no way to protect endangered species until poverty and corruption can be reigned in. It's unfortunate, and it makes me feel sad and hopeless to think that a lot of iconic animals that are around now might only exist in captivity in the future.
spyral_path 17th-Feb-2012 06:55 pm (UTC)
All that needs to happen in this case is for people to stop buying ivory. Poachers might have to choose between living in poverty or killing an elephant, but the people buying ivory have no excuses. If the market for poached animal parts disapears, poachers will find another way to make a living.

apis_cerana 17th-Feb-2012 08:48 pm (UTC)
If only things were so simple.
hinoema 18th-Feb-2012 04:22 am (UTC)
In this specific case, it is. If no one creates a demand for ivory, no one will see it as profitable to kill elephants to sell it. The responsibility is on the consumer.
apis_cerana 18th-Feb-2012 04:56 am (UTC)
"Getting people to stop buying ivory" is a very daunting and difficult task. It doesn't help that there is a lot of behind-the-scenes governmental corruption that keeps the trade going, either.
hinoema 18th-Feb-2012 05:11 am (UTC)
I'm sure. Dealing with the problem is the hard part. Stronger economies in African countries would help people resist the temptation of illicit fees, as well.
distilledvanity 18th-Feb-2012 07:33 am (UTC)
The demand for ivory will only get worse as it becomes more rare. There is no way to completely stop the demand, all people can do is impose harsher laws and sentences for people who poach and sell ivory and other endangered species. This is another tough thing since as mentioned by apis, the government takes a cut so there is no incentive for them to give a shit. This problem is getting worse and worse, very soon there will not be any animals left. I live in one of the largest human and animal trafficking hubs on the planet (Bangkok) and have been studying this problem since I moved here and it's pretty dire.
yamamanama 17th-Feb-2012 05:18 pm (UTC)
Is ivory not valuable unless the animal suffered? There are an estimated 150,000,000 mammoths buried under the permafrost in Russia.
sammet 17th-Feb-2012 06:10 pm (UTC)
Whaaat? How did I not know that? Anywhere I can read about it?
yamamanama 17th-Feb-2012 07:05 pm (UTC)
I read it on Paul McAuley's blog.
sammet 17th-Feb-2012 06:11 pm (UTC)
This hurts me so much.
stellar_kar 17th-Feb-2012 10:36 pm (UTC)
so sad and recently I went to a gem show where they had a lot of ivory but it wasn't clear how it was obtained and my friend didn't even realize where ivory came from...so I made sure to tell her they kill animals for it.

It's shocking how many people don't know what ivory is
distilledvanity 18th-Feb-2012 07:34 am (UTC)
Gems are not really acquired in humane ways either...
stellar_kar 18th-Feb-2012 09:38 pm (UTC)
Didn't say I was buying gems though... and am well aware thanks
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