In Cameroon, no season should be elephant poaching season
As many of us prepare for the holidays surrounded by friends and loved ones, news reports of heavily armed poachers in Central Africa brings my mind back to Cameroon and the devastation of elephant families I witnessed last year.
The dry season this time of year which makes passage through remote areas possible and relentless poachers take full advantage, slaughtering unprotected elephant families, sometimes in the hundreds simply for the ivory from their tusks.
It was a horrible thing to witness, but thanks to the media coverage generated last year, the Cameroon government took action to stop the killing.
The countries working to protect these elephants are facing lack of means, and the poachers are well-armed mercenaries working with international criminal syndicates.
Still, I am heartened by reports from my local contacts that thanks to media coverage, the International Fund for Animal Welfare and other non-profit organizations working in the region and the international community, governments may be better prepared this year to protect elephants from this senseless and cruel fate.
Cameroon just set an operation called ‘Peace at Boubanjida’ by deploying 600 soldiers in the park which lost hundreds of its elephants early this year. In Chad, soldiers are trying to secure the borders with Cameroon on the West, with CAR on the East.
I am also heartened that IFAW is helping local governments and enforcement agencies with equipment and training so we can contribute to put a stop to this cruel enterprise.
My colleagues and I will continue to monitor the situation throughout this high poaching season, offering assistance wherever possible.
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