News

Cameroon Military to Hunt Down Elephant Poachers

The carcasses of elephants slaughtered by poachers are seen in Boubou Ndjida National Park, Cameroon, February 2012.
The carcasses of elephants slaughtered by poachers are seen in Boubou Ndjida National Park, Cameroon, February 2012.
Anne Look

Environmental activists in Cameroon say the military is mounting an offensive against poachers in the north, who are believed to have killed half of the country's remaining elephants.

Cameroon's Defense Ministry has declined to discuss ongoing military operations with journalists. But environmental activists say the government has sent more than 100 soldiers to the remote northern reaches of the country to hunt down armed poachers who are believed to have killed as many as 300 elephants since January.

Cameroonian environmental journalist, Jean Vincent Tchienehom, spoke to VOA from Bouba N’Djida National Park in the north.

He said poachers have been able to hunt there with impunity throughout the dry season for years. He said they enlist the help of local villagers, who are happy to take the elephant meat and be rid of the large beasts who trample their crops. He said the poachers are only after the ivory, which they sell at high profit margins to Asian markets, primarily the Chinese. The poachers then use this money, he said, to buy arms for conflicts in the region, particularly in Sudan.

The World Wildlife Fund said the Arabic-speaking poachers are believed to be from Sudan and to have entered the country illegally on horseback via Cameroon's border with Chad.

Conservationists say the lack of enforcement on the border and in the park have left elephants vulnerable to repeated annual attacks.

World Wildlife Fund regional communications manager, Florence Anouboudem, said Cameroon's elephants account for 80 percent of the population that remains in all of Central Africa.  

"The future of conservation is in the north of Cameroon because there you have the highest population of elephants and also the population of the North don't eat bushmeat, so they will never go killing species, killing herds, to eat or to sell."

Elephants are what conservationists call a "keystone" species, as they play a pivotal role in the survival of the ecosystem.

The massive animals, weighing as much as seven tons, clear paths, fell trees and dig water holes that are then used by humans and other animals. Elephant dung is a valuable, nutrient-rich fertilizer and a highly effective means of dispersing seeds.

Still, WWF's Anouboudem said conservation remains low priority for African governments and residents.

"People will not understand why an elephant is so important when we ourselves don't have enough food, don't have enough drugs for our children, don't have all the basic resources," said Anouboudem.

The World Wildlife Fund, as well as other environmental groups and the European Union, have sounded the alarm in recent years over increased poaching in Cameroon's national parks.

Conservationists say Cameroon's government must stop this year's slaughter, secure the border area and bring poachers to justice.



This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Mikie
March 15, 2012 9:55 PM
The usa Canada and othe counires coulkd donate money to CAMEROON MILITARY GIVE TRHEM MORE GUNS BAZOOKAS TO FIGHT POACHERS, EVEN AN APACHE HELICOPTER COPULD KILL THE POACHERS FAST THEY ARE EVIL TO HARM THESE BEAUTIFUL ANIMALS HOW HORRIBLE I FEEL POACHES SHOULD BE SHOT AND KILLKED NO JAIL NO BREAKS THEY HAVE KILLKED RANGERS ONE SOLDIER DEATH TO ALL POACHERS PERIOD,

by: brian nelson
March 06, 2012 7:52 PM
Death to all poachers. The should have a law that all poachers are meet with a death sentence. This will help slow the poaching!

by: Jane
March 05, 2012 12:37 PM
Couldnt we in the west offer assistance?placeing 3microchips deeply in each tusk with a corresponding one inside the body wolud soon show they have been detached from the body via sattalite to the cameroune milatry headquarters ,park officals ,world wildlife headquarters .if you drill deep place it in the tusk and cover it in resin .cameroune are a very peaceful nation the military could be givenn helicopters firearms for defense tracking equipment,as they are rich in wildlife ,maybe NOT cash.

by: Jane
March 05, 2012 11:56 AM
Couldnt we in the west offer assistance?placeing 3microchips deeply in each tusk with a corresponding one inside the body wolud soon show they have been detached from the body via sattalite to the cameroune milatry headquarters ,park officals ,world wildlife headquarters .if you drill deep place it in the tusk and cover it in resin .cameroune are a very peaceful nation the military could be givenn helicopters firearms for defense tracking equipment,as they are rich in wildlife ,maybe NOT cash.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs