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Africa, explained
 

Cameroon: 200 elephants killed

Cameroon elephants casualty of Sudan and Central African Republic conflicts.
Ivory trade elephantsEnlarge
On Dec. 22, 2011, officers from Kenya's Revenue Authority and Wildlife Services stand over elephant tusks seized at the main port of Mombasa. The illegal trade in ivory is fueled by demand in Asia and the Middle East where elephant tusks and rhinoceros horns are used to make ornaments and traditional medicines. (Stringer/AFP/Getty Images)

A staggering 200 elephants have been slaughtered by poachers in northern Cameroon since mid-January, activists say.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) blamed "an armed gang of Sudanese poachers" for the killing spree in Bouba Ndjida National Park.

"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," IFAW said in a statement

Speaking on a local radio show Gambo Haman, the regional governor, also blamed foreigners.

"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," he said.

IFAW's Celine Sissle-Bienvenu said the killing of elephants was part of a cycle of poaching and conflict fueled by ivory demand:

"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.”

Many experts blame the surge in poaching across Africa on rising demand from the Far East.

The wildlife trade monitoring group, TRAFFIC, described last year as an "annus horribilis" for elephants, saying the rising number of large ivory seizures indicated poaching was on the rise, again.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/africa/elephants-slaughtered-cameroon