Fighting for Elephants

Forest elephant emerging from a river, Gabon. Photo by Mike Nichols

So, after reporting about the recent paper documenting the dramatic decline of Forest elephants (Loxodonta africana cyclotis) in central Africa, and the horrific mass killing in Chad of 89 elephants, apparently there has been some agreement that something needs to be done.  

The Central African Program Office of the World Wide Fund (WWF) have announced that “central African states plan to mobilize 1,000 soldiers who will launch joint military operations to save their remaining elephants which are threatened by poachers in the region”. 

Apparently they’re going to set out to hunt down 300 Sudanese poachers responsible not just for the 89 elephants killed in Chad, but also of 300 killed in Bouba N’Djida national park in Cameroon in 2012, and 30 in the Central African Republic at the beginning of this year. Though how they’ve managed to attribute all these slaughters to the same group is still a little beyond me, I still welcome the fact that some action is actually taking place. How effective 1,000 soldiers will be in stemming this is to be seen with time. 

Park ranger with skull of poached elephant, DCR. Photo by Francesca Tosarelli

Whilst this is happening in the north of the central African block, there are reports from the Democratic Republic of Congo that the militia group responsible for terrorizing the Okapi Wildlife Reserve and surrounding villages, whilst also participating in canabalism, are also supported by certain members of the security forces and army, who in return for ivory and gold, are giving the militia guns and protection from prosecution. And so the fight continues…

Anyway, its not all doom and gloom out there at the moment, and I think that its beneficial to look at some of the good things that occasionally and rarely make their way out into the public sphere, so this news from the WWF definitely warrants a mention and is gladly (if some what sceptically) welcomed with arms wide open. Again, if you fancy checking out more Forest elephanty stuff, give the guys at the Elephant Listening Project a gander.

Over and out.    


About zoologyknowledge

Shortlisted for the Wellcome Trust Science Writing Prize 2013. Graduate Biologist with an interest in sharing science news and stories. Special interest in rainforest ecology.

Posted on April 10, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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