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Nature

Ivory Poaching Decimates Elephant Herds in Chad's Zakouma National Park

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The population of elephants in Zakouma National Park has been reduced by almost 2/3 in the last two years due to organized poaching for ivory. Only 1000 savannah elephants are now thought to survive in the park, and an urgent effort to save them has been launched by the Wildlife Conservation Society.

“Zakouma is a last stand for elephants in the Sahel. It’s incredibly heartbreaking to stand before a dead elephant missing only its tusks. How can we stand idly by and watch this population continue to get slaughtered because of simple human greed?” – Dr. Mike Fay, WCS conservationist in Chad

[social_buttons] Ivory poachers use automatic weapons to take down the elephants, especially when herds venture outside of the park during seasonal travels. Park guards have been killed by poachers, and civil unrest in Chad makes enforcing conservation efforts extremely difficult. Zakouma is only 160 miles from Darfur.

The situation in Zakouma is dire, but there is still time to save the park’s remaining elephants provided we can marshal the forces we need to stop poaching. We need to continue to work closely with Zakouma’s dedicated park guards and give them what they need to do their jobs, while our own field staff provide aerial reconnaissance and technical support.” -Dr. Steven E. Sanderson, WCS President

The WCS has established a fund to help finance aerial surveillance of the herds, more guards, and better equipment. Money has already been donated to purchase a used airplane and to recruit a seasoned bush pilot to begin, but much more is needed.

Give a gift of living ivory. Donate to the WCS Help Save the Wildlife efforts.

Learn more about Zakouma National Park Elephants.

Image: Just chaos at Flickr under Creative Commons License.




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