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

What an inhuman act? shame on African and Asian government ignorant of these issues. Thank you Céline and IFAW for your great work.

6 years ago


6 years ago

Save them mofo

6 years ago

This is too sad for words. My heart breaks at how cruel and stupid the human race can be. Thank you Celine for all the work that you do.

6 years ago

desgraciados infelices, como el ser humano puede hacer tanto daño! :(

6 years ago


6 years ago

Elephants are one of the most intelligent, sensitive creatures on earth. Good karma will not befall any person that kills any creature in this manner. I am donating money right now.

6 years ago

That is absolutly horrible how can we be so insensitive.

6 years ago

this deeply saddens me when I hear about the senseless killing of these wonderful and
intelligent creatures. I adore elephants and I admire the strong bond they have to each
other. They are so sensitive, so I am sure that just the loss of one of their own must
have a very traumatic effect on them. These ruthless killers should be brought to justice.
I believe, also that there should be more programs to educate and redirect the urge to
destroy these amazing animals. without elephants there would be one less enchantment
of Africa to admire.

6 years ago

It's so sickening, it's brought tears to my eyes for the shame of just being human. This is a reflection on all of us, and it is our duty to protect these ancient and beautiful animals from this awful slaughter.These pouchers have massacred these elephants to order, I am suer of it. Finding this source is important and fighting with these countries to stop the trade and making it illegal is paramount.China has a huge hand in this, unfortunately and many other countries. But it is imperative that people who love animals and themselves, to stand up and do something about this horrendous trade and senseless slaughter of these majestic animals. We have to get to the cause, and it is always the same. Money. People with no other way of getting that kind of money. It's no different to drug running in many ways.
Maybe there should be more effort to help the people who become poachers, ton find another way to make the money they need and educate these people perhaps?

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Azzedine Downes,IFAW President and CEO
President and Chief Executive Officer
Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
Dr. Elsayed Ahmed Mohamed, Regional Director, Middle East and North Africa
Regional Director, Middle East and North Africa
Dr. Joseph Okori
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Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Regional Director, Russia & CIS
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Faye Cuevas, Esq.
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Peter LaFontaine, Campaigns Manager, IFAW Washington, D.C.
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Rikkert Reijnen, Program Director, Wildlife Crime
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Staci McLennan, Director, EU Office
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Tania McCrea-Steele, Project Lead, Global Wildlife Cybercrime
Project Lead, Global Wildlife Cybercrime
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
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