Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

11,000 elephants slaughtered in national park once home to Africa’s largest forest elephant population

Date:
February 6, 2013
Source:
Wildlife Conservation Society
Summary:
The Wildlife Conservation Society has just announced that a national park, once home to Africa’s largest forest elephant population, has lost a staggering 11,100 individuals due to poaching for the ivory trade. The shocking figures come from Gabon's Minkebe Park, where recent surveys of areas within the park revealed that two thirds of its elephants have vanished since 2004. The majority of these losses have probably taken place in the last five years.

Researchers have just announced that a national park, once home to Africa’s largest forest elephant population, has lost a staggering 11,100 individuals due to poaching for the ivory trade.
Credit: © bluetrue / Fotolia

The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) announced February 6 that a national park, once home to Africa's largest forest elephant population, has lost a staggering 11,100 individuals due to poaching for the ivory trade.

The shocking figures come from Gabon's Minkebe Park, where recent surveys of areas within the park revealed that two thirds of its elephants have vanished since 2004. The majority of these losses have probably taken place in the last five years.

Gabon contains over half of Africa's forest elephants, with a population estimated at over 40,000.

The surveys were conducted by WCS, WWF, and Gabon's National Parks Agency -- Agence Nationale des parcs Nationaux (ANPN). The survey was funded by ANPN, the CITES MIKE (Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants) Program, and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

"This sad news from Gabon confirms that without a global commitment, great elephant populations will soon become a thing of the past," said WCS President and CEO Cristiαn Samper. "We believe that elephants can still be saved -- but only if nations greatly increase their efforts to stop poaching while eliminating the illegal ivory trade through better enforcement and reduced demand."

Until recently, Gabon's elephant herds were believed to be less impacted by poaching than in other parts of Africa, where according to the Born Free Foundation, an estimated 31,800 individuals were lost to poaching last year. However, Gabon's National Park Agency reported an uptick of poaching in recent years, including the 2011 slaughter of 27 elephants in a protected area just outside of the capitol.

In June 2011, a significant increase in human activity in the Minkebe National Park and its buffer zone was detected. A small camp of 300 artisanal gold miners had expanded to over 5,000 miners, poachers, and arms and drugs dealers. Park authorities estimated that 50-100 elephants were being killed daily as a result of increases in demand for ivory from the Far East and resulting price hike.

Since the survey results were announced, Gabon has stepped up its anti-poaching efforts seizing 20 tusks in the nation's capitol of Libreville and arresting poachers who had illegally entered the country from neighboring Cameroon. Gabon's National Park staff recently engaged in a firefight with armed poachers in Minkebe National Park after arresting two individuals carrying six tusks.

Gabon President Ali Bongo Ondimba announced that Gabon will pass new legislation to further dissuade commercial ivory poachers even more by increasing prison terms to a minimum of three years for ivory poachers and 15 years for poaching and ivory trafficking involving organized crime. Speaking in a cabinet meeting, the president urgently called for a strong, coordinated, and decisive response to this national emergency from all of the security and wildlife management services.

Lee White, head of the ANPN said: "Over the last three years we have deployed 400 additional parks staff, 120 soldiers and 30 gendarmes in our fight to stop illegal killing of elephants for the black market ivory trade. Despite our efforts we continue to lose elephants every day. If we do not turn the situation around quickly the future of the elephant in Africa is doomed. These new results illustrate starkly just how dramatic the situation has become. Our actions over the coming decade will determine whether these iconic species survive."

Richard Ruggiero, Chief of the Branch of the Near East, South Asia and Africa, Division of International Conservation, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, said: "We are working closely with the Gabonese authorities, who are showing true leadership, but this is a global problem and will require a global solution."

Mike Fay, the WCS explorer who played a key role in convincing the late Gabonese President Omar Bongo Ondimba to create a network of 13 national parks in 2002, said: "Conservation efforts in the Minkebe region have failed to react to the growing pressure of ivory poaching with tragic results. We need rethink how we do business and to act decisively if we are to save the elephant."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wildlife Conservation Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Wildlife Conservation Society. "11,000 elephants slaughtered in national park once home to Africa’s largest forest elephant population." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 February 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130206141539.htm>.
Wildlife Conservation Society. (2013, February 6). 11,000 elephants slaughtered in national park once home to Africa’s largest forest elephant population. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130206141539.htm
Wildlife Conservation Society. "11,000 elephants slaughtered in national park once home to Africa’s largest forest elephant population." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130206141539.htm (accessed April 25, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Friday, April 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Companies Ramp Up Wellness to Lower Health Costs

Companies Ramp Up Wellness to Lower Health Costs

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) — That little voice telling you to exercise, get in shape and get healthy is probably coming from your boss. More companies are beefing up wellness programs to try and cut down their health care costs. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Will New FCC Rules Trigger Death Of Net Neutrality?

Will New FCC Rules Trigger Death Of Net Neutrality?

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2014) — The Federal Communications Commission will reportedly propose new rules for Net neutrality that could undermine the principles of a free and open Web. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Wants To Ban Sales Of E-Cigarettes To Minors

FDA Wants To Ban Sales Of E-Cigarettes To Minors

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2014) — The Food and Drug Administration wants to crack down on the use of e-cigarettes, banning the sale of the product to minors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Obama Plays Soccer With Japanese Robot

Raw: Obama Plays Soccer With Japanese Robot

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) — President Obama briefly played soccer with a robot during his visit to Japan on Thursday. The President has been emphasizing technology along with security concerns during his visit. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins