If you want to help stop the disappearance of these magnificent creatures visit African Elephants – WCS.org The Wildlife Conservation Society is an organization using conservation science and policy interventions to help save the world’s few remaining forest elephants.
In a supposedly safe national park, poachers have slaughtered 80 percent of these elusive animals in just ten years.
Contrary to popular belief, Africa isn’t home to just one species of elephant—but two. The savannah or bush elephant is the familiar one that tourists see on safaris, and that turns up in nature documentaries. The forest elephant is smaller, darker, straighter of tusk, and rounder of ear. Its ivory, which is extra hard and has a pinkish tint, is also particularly prized…
In 2013, following a quick pilot study, scientists estimated that between 50 and 100 elephants were being killed daily…Depressingly, those conclusions were worse than the team had expected. They estimated that in 2004, there were between 32,800 and 35,400 elephants in Minkebe. But in 2014, there were just 6,500 to 7,400 left. In just one decade, poachers had killed around 25,000 forest elephants—between 78 and 82 percent of the park’s population.
“The biggest threat to forest elephants is commercial logging,” says Andrea Turkalo from the Wildlife Conservation Society. “It attracts people in search of work which puts even more pressure on the wildlife.” Logging also means roads, and roads provide access to hunters…And ultimately, as long as people are buying ivory, poaching will continue. Ivory prices at nearby trading posts have increased ten-fold since 2005, and the ivory from a single elephant is worth four years’ salary in Cameroon…
“Although elephants can and do move away from poaching, at some point there is nowhere left to go.” -Fiona Maisels, Wildlife Conservation Society
Photo: Nathan Williamson for Gabon National Parks