According to the conservation organization WWF, poachers have recently killed 28 rare forest elephant at the Nki and Lobeke national parks in the southeast Cameroon. WWF says that poachers have already reduced the population of the forest elephant by 62% over the last decade, putting them on track for extinction.
The parks in the southeast Cameroon (along with the Congo and Gabon) have some of the last significant population of the forest elephants. WWF Cameroon representative in the East Region, Zacharie Nzooh, said that “Elephants in these 2 protected areas in the Congo and Basin are facing threats to their existence.”
Nzooh said that between Feb 10 and March 1, 23 elephants’ carcasses were found by WWF deep in the Nki national park. More five elephant have been found in the Lobeke national park without their tusks. He said “automatic weapons such as AK-47s have been used by the poachers, reflecting the violent character of poaching.”
These elephants are smaller than its African savannah cousin and have straighter tusks. Nzooh fears that if authority fails to take urgent measures against the poachers, Cameroon’s forest elephants could disappear in less than a decade. Presently, the estimated number of the elephants is about 2,000.
Ivory is expensive and sold for hundreds of dollars per kilogram on the black market. Most of the buyers are from Asia, especially from China, whence they carve it into jewelry and ornaments.
In the early 2012, some heavily armed poachers massacred about 200 savannah elephants at the Bouba National Park in Cameroon. Cameroon deployed 600 soldiers in December, trying to protect the park and its valuable wildlife.