Elephants are currently being slaughtered in huge numbers in the Central African Republic (CAR), according to field reports that the WWF and WCS have received in recent days.
Because of the ongoing and high-levels of violence and disruption in the region, the exact numbers are as of now not clear. The initial reports that have been received so far make it clear it may be on a truly massive scale. “WWF has confirmed information that forest elephants are being poached near the Dzanga-Sangha protected areas, a World Heritage Site. Elephant meat is reportedly being openly sold in local markets and available in nearby villages. The security situation is preventing park staff from searching the dense forest for elephant carcasses.”
“The two organizations, WWF and WCS that have worked in CAR since the 1980s, are calling on the Central African Republic and its neighbors to immediately increase security in the region to protect the area’s people and elephants. Governments are meeting next week at an extraordinary meeting to discuss ways to stop the poaching that has plagued the region. Up to 30,000 elephants are killed in Africa each year for their ivory tusks, which are in demand in Asia.”
Elephants aren’t the only animals facing the enormous pressures of large-scale poaching and habitat loss, much of the remaining megafauna animals of the world are facing possible extinction in the near future. The majority of these animals have already lost the majority diversity and the associated subspecies, which has very likely already put many of them on the path to inevitable extinction. In particular, the black rhino is facing a very similar situation to that of the elephant.
Jim Leape, WWF Director General said: “The elephant poaching crisis — driven by insatiable ivory demand — is so severe that no area is safe, not even the World Heritage Site Dzanga-Sangha where both WWF and WCS have now worked for the conservation of elephants for decades. Heroic rangers are standing firm in the face of immense danger, but they alone cannot safeguard the special species and places the world treasures. When meeting next week, Central African governments must urgently join forces against this criminal activity that is also threatening the stability and economic development of their countries. I encourage them in the strongest terms to take a stand against wildlife crime and together declare that poaching and illicit trafficking will not be tolerated.”
Cristian Samper, WCS President and CEO said: “Together, WCS and WWF, are calling on the Central African Republic government to immediately increase security in the region to protect these elephants from poachers and is asking other regional governments to provide assistance to stop the killing. Our staffs have been forced to evacuate in the chaos. I recently visited CAR and saw first-hand that without a full-time conservation presence in the region, these elephants are in jeopardy from poachers. WCS and our partners will continue to work tirelessly to protect elephants across their range.”