Gabonese National Parks Agency, WWF and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS): Poachers kill over 11,000 elephants in Gabon
LIBREVILLE, GABON (February 5th, 2013): Shocking figures have been released showing the drastic decline in Gabon’s elephant population as a result of poaching. An estimated 11,100 elephants have been killed since 2004 in the Minkebe National Park alone. It is probable that the majority of these losses occurred over the last 5years
According to a study released today by the Gabonese National Parks Agency, WWF and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), poachers have killed an estimated 11,100 elephants – between 44 to 77 per cent of the population –in parts of Minkébé’s National Park and its surroundings in northern Gabon since 2004, when it held Africa’s largest forest elephant population.
According to Guian Zokoe, in charge of the Dzanga-Sangha protected areas for the Central African Ministry for Forestry at Bayanga, in the South-West side of the country, poachers killed at least 17 elephants these past days in Ngotto forest in the South of the country. There are reports not confirmed by villagers that about sixty other elephants were killed in the northern part of the country, near the town of Yaloké, known as Zokoe, with other killings reported throughout the country.
“The situation is out of control. We are witnessing the systematic slaughter of the world’s largest land mammal,” said Bas Huijbregts, head of the Central African strand of WWF’s global campaign against illegal wildlife trade.
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Note to editors:
Twenty years ago, a wave of ivory poaching swept across Africa, killing half of the continent’s elephants before the international community responded, banning the international trade in ivory. Today, wildlife crime is on the increase across Africa and once again elephant survival is in the balance. In some countries, a deadly war is being waged on a daily basis by wildlife and national parks staff who face armed gangs who are willing to kill to obtain ivory and rhino horn. Prices for illegally traded ivory and rhino horn have risen exponentially. Today crime syndicates involved in arms, drugs and human trafficking are also dealing in ivory and rhino horn.