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201327Apr17:14

Ele­phant Cri­sis in the Cen­tral African Republic

Infor­ma­tion
pub­lished 27 April 2013 | mod­i­fied 05 April 2014
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Elephant CAR poachedWorld Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Wildlife Con­ser­va­tion Soci­ety (WCS) have received alarm­ing reports from their field oper­a­tions that ele­phants are being slaugh­tered in the violence-​ridden Cen­tral African Repub­lic (CAR), where new pow­ers in place strug­gle to gain con­trol over the sit­u­a­tion. The con­ser­va­tion organ­i­sa­tions are issu­ing today a joint call for imme­di­ate action.

Due to the vio­lence and chaos in the area, the exact num­ber of ele­phants slaugh­tered is not known, how­ever ini­tial reports indi­cate it may be exten­sive. 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 organ­i­sa­tions, WWF and WCS that have worked in CAR since the 1980s, are call­ing on the Cen­tral African Repub­lic and its neigh­bours 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.

The fol­low­ing state­ments have been issued by WWF and WCS:

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.

WWF has worked in Dzanga-​Sangha for 30 years and sup­ports pro­tected area man­age­ment, gorilla research, law enforce­ment and tourism devel­op­ment. WCS has been in the area for than 20 years, in charge of mon­i­tor­ing and research of the ele­phants of Dzanga Bai, a for­est clear­ing con­tain­ing a mineral-​rich water­ing hole. In addi­tion, WCS works imme­di­ately across the bor­der in the Repub­lic of Congo to pro­tect the same pop­u­la­tion of ele­phants there where the gov­ern­ment is work­ing to ensure their addi­tional secu­rity on that side of the border.

Elephant threat infographic
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(Source: WWF Global news, 25.04.2013)

UN Biodiversity decade

Goal: 7000 tigers in the wild

Tiger range countries map

Tiger map” (CC BY 2.5) by Sander­son et al., 2006.

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