Elephant Poaching Rises in Africa

by: Katie Grimmer

September 5, 2012

Africa elephant poaching ivory poachers tusks
Tyler Hicks/NYT

The hunt for ivory has led to elephant massacres on record-breaking scales across Africa. Joseph Kony with his Lord’s Resistance Army, and their rivals, the Ugandan military, are all possible players in the brutal killings of these animals, according to an article in the New York Times.

Throughout January, over 300 elephants were killed in Bouba Ndjida National Park in Cameroon. In April, 22 elephants were found clumped together with their tusks hacked off in Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The young were in the middle of the group with their small tusks still intact.

These poachers are believed to gather the elephants using helicopters coming from the Ugandan military, as well as the South Sudanese military.

Africa elephant poaching ivory poachers tusks

The American government has given South Sudan nonlethal monetary military assistance the past several years. The Garamba rangers said “they had opened fire on four South Sudanese soldiers who had poached six elephant tusks,” according to the Times. The US has also given assistance to the Ugandan military, who has been spotted flying low and unauthorized over the park and are suspected of poaching the elephants by the rangers.

A report by TRAFFIC, the Wildlife Trade Monitoring Network, revealed that 2011 held the highest levels of poaching in a decade and recorded ivory seizures were at their highest level since 1989. And it could be even higher this year.

More from the Times:

Africa is in the midst of an epic elephant slaughter. Conservation groups say poachers are wiping out tens of thousands of elephants a year, more than at any time in the previous two decades, with the underground ivory trade becoming increasingly militarized.

For those who want to take action, the nonprofit organization Save the Elephants has been striving to “secure a future for elephants and sustain the beauty and ecological integrity of the places they live” by accepting donations to support their projects since 1993.

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