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 can we do?? We need a police enforcemant there....

6 years ago

This is SOOO sickening !! What is wrong with these people! Where do I sign ???

6 years ago

Should there any law to put all killers into jail or life sentence ?
How to help the precious elephants ?
God, please tell us how ?

6 years ago

There by the very grace of God you go Celine, its a daunting task, good luck my thoughts are with you as they are with all conservationists and their efforts to stem the ruthless and senseless tide of poaching.

Charlie Paxton

6 years ago

Stop this barbaric on this lovley creaters

6 years ago

Signing petitions is not going to be enough, corruption needs rooting out all along the trade route, from poachers to middle men to buyers. Following money trail and weapons trail is the strongest chance to end this horror. NOW

6 years ago

I read the story that CNN did today and found your report. I am beyond disgusted and outraged!!! These barbaric low lifes must be stopped by any and all means.
I am donating to this cause and encourage others to do so too.
Thank you for the work you do and stay safe.
Elizabeth Galea
Honolulu, Hawaii

6 years ago

For all they live their lives freely, to dream of tomorrow, to share moments of joy, to mourn their losses, to grow old with their families, and to die in peace...For all they ask.

Erika Yost
6 years ago

I have been feeling sick and so ANGRY about this. Other than signing the petition, what else can I do??

6 years ago

This is beyond heartbreaking -- there is no word for it. I signed the petition and will ask everyone I know to do the same -- what else can we do???

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