Elephant tragedy in Chad puts a fine point on the need for cooperation

I was completely shocked to hear that 86 elephants were killed close to the Chad border with Cameroon and their ivory hacked out. It is the worst killing spree of elephants since early 2012 when poachers from Chad and Sudan killed as many as many as 650 elephants in a matter of weeks in Cameroon’s Bouba Ndjida National Park.

Elephants in Central Africa continue to be under siege from unscrupulous poachers. The killing of these families of elephants, including pregnant cows, is evidence of the callous brutality demanded to feed the appetite of the ivory trade.

Information received by the International Fund for Animal Welfare indicates that local communities close to Fianga city, in south-west Chad, where the elephants were killed have been asking their government for help in resolving local elephant conflict issues for at least two years.

No support has yet been provided, which may be why the elephant massacre was not reported for some days – the killing of the elephants by poachers may have been seen as offering some sort of relief to local farmers who are unable to protect their crops and livelihoods randomly being damaged by  elephant herds simply looking for food.

Cross border cooperation and intelligence-led enforcement are the only way we can bring these ivory traffickers to justice.

Wildlife trafficking at large is too big a problem for any one country to tackle and these communities are not equipped to combat poachers.

In specific, we need support for elephant protection from range-state governments and vision and cooperation between non-governmental organizations around the world.

All parties involved need to share their law enforcement resources, including intelligence, or the seemingly heartless demand created by the international ivory trade will continue to destroy the lives of innocent animals. Our collective ability to work together will define our success in ending the killing of elephants for their ivory.

--CSB

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Experts

Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
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