Cameroon – Highest Elephant Slaughter
Despite recent attempts by soldiers in Cameroon to stop the mass slaughter of elephants, poachers are continuing to kill the animals in record numbers, the World Wildlife Fund said Thursday.
Tons of tusks are being moved on camels and horses from Africa mostly to buyers willing to pay high prices in China and Thailand, said Tom Milliken, the director of the wildlife trade monitoring network Traffic.
“Elephants represent an opportunity to gain money, and because there are ready buyers in most capital cities, the word is out there,” Milliken said. “[There has been] an increased poaching assault like we haven’t seen in two decades.”
Poachers who recently killed at least 100 elephants in Cameroon’s Bouba N’Djida National Park are reportedly from Chad and Sudan, the WWF said.
Unlike decades past when poachers across the continent ran down elephants using spears, the attackers are now highly organized and armed with sophisticated weapons. Many have used grenade launchers and high-powered rifles, allowing them to kill with greater ease and outgun police and military trying to stop them, said Richard Carroll, the WWF’s Africa Program director. He has spent decades building an expertise in the Central African Republic.
He says he first fell in love with the region in the 1980s as a Peace Corps volunteer. Carroll said poachers obtained more automatic weapons during that era, when conflicts in Chad and Sudan began flaring. Many people involved with the ivory trade are forced to participate, oppressed over the years by warring sects, extreme poverty and fear of retribution if they don’t do as they’re told, he said.
There are several market-driven reasons for the increase in illegal ivory trade lately, experts with the WWF and Traffic said.
China has a legal ivory market that its government has said is highly controlled. Milliken, however, said China’s system isn’t strong enough.
Read rest of this article at: African elephant slaughter highest in more than two decades, experts say