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?


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

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

6 years ago

I feel sad that this is happening to them. Very much so.....suffering is not just a human condition.

6 years ago

I am disgusted about all the elephants that have been killed.Where were the anti-poaching parties? I thought the elephants were supposed to be protected.There must be a way to stop the poachers,maybe do the same as some wildlife reserves do for the rhino,they cut the horn off.If the tusks are removed from the elephant,nothing to kill them for.

6 years ago

Why can't we put some kind of toxin on the tusks and horns of rhinos so when
poachers touch it, they either die or get so sick word will get out to other poachers?
Why can't we do something that works?

6 years ago

With so much money in the hands of only a few, why can't one of these people step up and make it possible for the elephants to safely live as they have done so for thousands of years.
It hurts so much to see these images, oh my Lord keep them safe!

6 years ago

Please keep up the good work. This make me sick and so incredible sad. I love all animals but Elephants especially have my heart!

Thank you for your dedication!!
Laura Carstenson

6 years ago

Elephants are coool!

6 years ago

I hated looking at the killed elephants i feel so

6 years ago

I am doing a topic about elephants:):):)

6 years ago

Some body have to donate in Africa a dron airplane without pilot, those machines have the tecnologies to supervise the ground also in night, they are used to watch the border of many countries against illigals immigrants, but for the last elephants is will wasted.....

6 years ago

A month ago I read a quote from Donald Trump saying that his new grandchild would have the finest crib "of ivory and gold". I was at the gym and did not take home the magazine. Did anyone else read this? This is why all these animals are dying. Someone buys it.

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