Cameroon's elephants: A new status for Bouba Njida--National Park or elephant graveyard?

Three elephants poached in Cameroon for their ivory tusks. © Boubandjida Safari Lodge  It’s midnight in Brazzaville where I’ve been living for the past few days, preparing for a workshop the International Fund for Animal Welfare will run in June to train law enforcement officials how to fight against ivory trafficking. The bustling capital of the Republic of the Congo has finally fallen asleep.

I should do the same but I can’t stop staring at the map of northern Cameroon I received a few hours ago. The map is strewn with figures showing the extent of the massacre that took place over the past four weeks in Bouba Njida National Park, on the north-eastern border with Chad.

1, 5, 10, 17, 45... There is no mathematical pattern or logic to the numbers. They represent the tragic count of elephant carcasses – with severed trunks and ripped out tusks – now scattered across the arid soil of what was once Cameroon’s most prized park.

In just one month, 200 out of the park’s nearly 600 elephants have been killed by dozens of Sudanese and Chadian poachers armed with machine guns and operating in gangs on horseback. Nothing seems to be able stop their reckless pursuit of ivory that began in mid-November in the Central African Republic, carried on in Chad in December, and ended in Cameroon in January.

Faced with the unprecedented increase in poaching, IFAW has been financing projects since 2009 to fight against poaching in Central African countries by strengthening the operational capacities of park rangers and conservation authorities. To this end, I will be flying to Bouba Njida and its elephant graveyard in a few days to help set up a regional information and warning system to prevent such a tragedy from ever happening again.

If 200 slaughtered elephants are enough for a wake up call today, how many more elephants will have to pay with their lives before our governments finally put an end to the ivory trade?

--CSB

Take action now by signing the IFAW "Say NO! to ivory Facebook petition at elephantmarch.com

An anonymous mapping of the location of slaughtered elephants in Cameroon.

Celine recently spoke with Australia's SBS Radio about the situation in Cameroon's Bouba Nijda National Park. Click here to listen.

Comments: 54

 
Anonymous
2 years ago

This is just heartbreaking and there is no excuse for this sort of slaughter. Nobody needs ivory to survive. Please fight hard to end this dreadful practice.

 
Anonymous
2 years ago

Sadly its all about money. A long as money controls humans - this (and the majority - if not all suffering) will NEVER end.

If a cure for cancer is ever found, that someone will want to be paid - A LOT to provide the medicine.

 
Anonymous
2 years ago

thank you celine .god's blessings to you and everybody at IFAW

 
Anonymous
2 years ago

thank you Ifaw for doing so much to end the Ivory trade POACHERS POACHING ELEPHANTS IS WRONG !!!!

 
Anonymous
2 years ago

This is very bad attitude. Pls we should stop this act of killing elephant and even other animals. We should conserve for future generation yet unborn.

 
Anonymous
2 years ago

One way would be that more and more people go to Africa and trace the poachers and eliminate them where they can or find other ways to get rid of them.
Border control should be more strict and the areas used as concentration camps for elephants should be declared no fly zones so no aircraft will be allowed to fly there except those used as anti - poaching aircraft.
The political and poacher problems do not get resolved in the case of rich politicians who don´t care and rich poachers who get mad and go ballistic every time they hear about increasing animal populations.
The Chinese are buying up vast areas of land in Africa and so are various Hedge Funds run by graduates from Harward I read about. One helpful solution to this problem would be to boycott sunflower oil products , except in the case of homegrown sunflower oil.

 
Anonymous
2 years ago

horrid

 
Anonymous
2 years ago

This indeed makes me very angry and I would love to stop all of this. I believe it takes people like us who are angry, an emotion which will drive us to make a difference, education of these ignorant people who kill the elephants (they can make money in other ways), educate the youth and children of the world of how wrong this is, and raise money to protect these elephants in other ways for the time being. I believe education is critical though, if these poachers can see alternative ways of making money and feeling compassion for these animals they are so cruely slaughtering, then there might be hope.

 
Anonymous
2 years ago

This recent slaughter of Cameroons Elephants was a VERY covert operation. It was the maste rplan of someone... with power,presence and prestige.
How can 500 innocent elephants just die
, HOW?
The only way is CORRUPTION.
I say the government IS involved!!
Protected poachers, this was a mass killing spree, a very well oiled killing machine.
How can ANYONE NOT hear, see or feel or sense 500 elephants death.

At this rate, Elephants do not have a winning chance or survival.

 
Anonymous
2 years ago

This recent slaughter of Cameroons Elephants was a VERY covert operation. It was the maste rplan of someone... with power,presence and prestige.
How can 500 innocent elephants just die
, HOW?
The only way is CORRUPTION.
I say the government IS involved!!
Protected poachers, this was a mass killing spree, a very well oiled killing machine.
How can ANYONE NOT hear, see or feel or sense 500 elephants death.

At this rate, Elephants do not have a winning chance or survival.

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Experts

Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
Dr. Cynthia Moss, IFAW Elephant Expert
IFAW Elephant Expert
Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
Regional Director, Asia
James Isiche, Regional Director, East Africa
Regional Director, East Africa
Jason Bell, Program Director, Elephants Regional Director, South Africa
Program Director, Elephants, Regional Director, South Africa
Peter Pueschel, Director, International Environmental Agreements
Director, International Environmental Agreements
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Regional Director, South Asia