IFAW: Another 14 slaughtered elephants discovered in Cameroon

(London – 22 February 2012) – A further 14 dead elephants have been found in a national park in Cameroon, just a week after the grizzly discovery of at least 200 elephants in the same location – slaughtered by poachers for their tusks.

Local contacts informed the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) that shots were heard on Monday (20) in the Bouba Ndjida National Park in northern Cameroon, near the border with Chad and the 14 carcasses were discovered yesterday.

More carcasses are expected to be found in the coming weeks as gunshots continue to be heard. The area is still too dangerous to allow a survey of the massacre or rescue of the roaming orphaned elephant calves and wounded adults.

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.”

Sissler-Bienvenu added: “Elephants killed by poachers experience tremendous fear and suffering before dying. Often professional poachers – some of whom are former or current soldiers – are armed with military weapons such as AK-47s. The AK-47 is designed to kill a person who weighs 70–80kgs. In order to kill an elephant weighing 5,000kgs you have to use a lot of bullets and it can take a very long time for the animals to die.”

In 2008 a legal ‘one-off’ sale of ivory from African stockpiles to China and Japan was allowed. The legal sale of ivory spurred demand and provided cover for ivory trafficking. The result was a spike in ivory seizures in 2009. Seizures of ivory have continued to increase since then with a total of 23 tonnes of ivory seized in 2011 – the highest amount since records began. This is just a small fraction of the total ivory being trafficked around the world.

Robbie Marsland, UK Director of IFAW, said: “The only answer to ending the bloody onslaught against Cameroon’s elephants and those under threat elsewhere in Africa is to kill the demand for ivory. The best way to do that is a clear and total international ban on ivory sales.”

IFAW works in a variety of ways to stop ivory trafficking. The first goal is to protect wild elephants with anti-poaching support for rangers and law enforcement – especially in West and Central African countries where elephants are most vulnerable. IFAW works with customs and enforcement officers to stop the traffickers as ivory leaves Africa and tackles the demand in China with public awareness campaigns to teach people that every piece of ivory comes from a dead elephant.

Elsewhere, IFAW works with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to try to stop any more one-off sales of ivory that serve only to spur demand and cause the deaths of elephants and the rangers who try to protect them.


For more information, pictures or to arrange interviews please contact Clare Sterling in the IFAW UK Press Office on 020 7587 6708, mobile 07917 507717 or email csterling@ifaw.org
Alternatively, contact Celine Sissler-Bienvenu (IFAW France) – mobile: +33 (0) 6175 61074, email csissler@ifaw.org; Christina Pretorius (IFAW Southern Africa) – tel: +27 21 701 8642, mobile: +27 82 330 2558, email: cpretorius@ifaw.org; Adrian Hiel (IFAW EU) – tel: +32 (0)473 86 34 61, email: ahiel@ifaw.org

Notes to Editors – The November 2008 sale of ivory referred to above was for a total of 108 tonnes of ivory from Botswana, South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe. Besides policy work and supporting wildlife rangers and anti-poaching patrols in Kenya’s Tsavo National Parks, Malawi’s Liwonde National Park and elsewhere, IFAW has established a roving anti-poaching assessment and training team.

About IFAW (the International Fund for Animal Welfare)

Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.