Elephants massacred for ivory in Central African Republic

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Dozens of have been slaughtered in the Dzanga Bai World Heritage Site in the just days after conservationists warned about an impending threat from the movement of 17 heavily armed poachers. The massacre occurred at a site renowned as “village of elephants”, where tourists and scientists have for decades observed wild elephants congregating at a large clearing to feed on minerals.

According to WWF, at least 26 carcasses have been found in and around the Bai, as the clearing is known. Witnesses say it is now an “elephant mortuary”.

The slaughtered was predicted earlier in the week by groups, which were largely powerless to do anything about it after their staff had to flee the area in April due to security risks. The poachers presented themselves as part of the country’s transitional government forces, which took power after the president was overthrown in March.

Conservationists now fear that more elephants could be killed if the area is not secured.

“The killing has started,” said Jim Leape, WWF International Director General in a statement. “The Central African Republic must act immediately to secure this unique World Heritage site.”

Elephants in Dzanga Bai: forest elephant displaying rounded ears and straight trunk in an intimidating gesture towards another elephant in Dzanga Bai, a forest clearing in Dzanga Sangha Protected Area, CAR. Photo by: © Carlos Drew/WWF.

The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), which also works in the area, says that hundreds of elephants may have already been killed.

The elephants were killed for their ivory, which is experiencing a surge in demand due to rising consumption in China, Thailand, and Vietnam. The carnage has reached eye-popping numbers, with more than 30,000 elephants being killed in Africa a year for the trade.

WWF used the incident to call for immediate action on the demand side of the .

“The unfolding tragedy in Dzanga Bai must also spur the governments of China and Thailand to act on their commitments to shut down the ivory markets in their countries that are fueling this illicit trade,” said Jim Leape.

WCS President and CEO Cristián Samper added that the Central African Republic’s acting head of state, Michel Djotodia, needed to step up and show leadership on the issue.

“The elephants here face a sure death as criminals obtain ivory, which fuels even more violence in CAR,” Samper said. “On my recent visit to Dzanga Bai, I stood in awestruck silence as I watched hundreds of elephants gathering in this incredible area.”

“CAR’s acting head of state, Michel Djotodia, can help play a leadership role to protect this precious wildlife for the global community in this World Heritage Site.”

The population of forest elephants in have declined by 62 per cent over the past decade mostly due to poaching for their ivory.

This article was written for and re-posted on Focusing on Wildlife.


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Cherise van der Vyver

Very sad

Ian Enright

Absolutly disgusting, peolpe like snoop dog who want to parade around in a dead leopard skin are to blame for this and this must stop before it is to late for this majestic species

Morkel Erasmus

This is the most “uncool” story I’ve heard this month…an iconic site will forever be marred by this…

Gert-Jan Vink
Gert-Jan Vink

So very sad that this happens

Morkel Erasmus

This is the most "uncool" story I've heard this month…an iconic site will forever be marred by this…

Anna Zuidema

Ik las het….. Wat ongelofelijk triest. =(

Ingrid Vekemans

Elephants have been slaughtered again – please let it stop!

My Clicks Story

In Africa, I feel population of poachers is higher than the elephants population. Either the poachers should be shot on sight or African Gov should be migrating the elephants to India. Here we love animals, specially wild life and more protective against poachers. POACHERS SHOULD BE KILLED ON SPOT! if one or two incidents like this is witnessed in Africa than the rest of the poachers should be nervous enough to think about poaching again.

Christian Boix Hinzen