News / Africa

    WWF: Clock Ticking on Hunt for Sudanese Poachers

    Carcasses of elephants slaughtered by poachers in Boubou Ndjida National Park, Cameroon, Feb. 16, 2012.
    Carcasses of elephants slaughtered by poachers in Boubou Ndjida National Park, Cameroon, Feb. 16, 2012.
    The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) says time is running out for Central African nations to track down a group of Sudanese poachers accused of slaughtering hundreds of elephants in just the past two years.
     
    But lack of coordination among countries in the region, the wildlife advocacy group says, is making it difficult to track roughly 300 heavily armed Sudanese poachers who travel on horseback and are believed to be hunting down elephants in the savanna regions of Cameroon, Chad and Central African Republic.
     
    In one attack last month, the poachers allegedly killed 89 elephants in southern Chad. The group is also suspected of slaughtering around 300 elephants in Cameroon in early 2012 — a massacre that brought global attention to the dangers facing the region’s savanna elephants.
     
    It has been three weeks since the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) convened a high-level regional meeting in Yaounde, the capital of Cameroon, to plan a coordinated response.
     
    Cameroon has deployed 600 specialized troops to combat the problem on its soil. At the conference, regional leaders said they would mobilize up to 1,000 soldiers and law enforcement officers for the effort. They also vowed to establish a central command so that forces from different countries could communicate and share intelligence.
     
    But Bas Huijbregts, head of WWF’s campaign against illegal wildlife trade in Central Africa, said the poachers are expected to return to Sudan in just a few weeks as the dry season draws to a close, meaning there is not much time to track them down. He said this week there had been little evident progress on establishing the central command, and doubted the efforts would begin in time.
     
    “I don’t think there’s going to be a joint command at least for this dry season. That is the biggest weakness for the moment," he said. "These countries are basically all blind on the other side of the border, so they do not know when poachers are nearing their borders and they don’t have agreements to be able to pursue poachers from one side of the border to the other.”
     
    The emergency plan approved by the conference last month was expected to cost around $2.3 million.
     
    Honoré Tabuna, the ECCAS official in charge of the effort, says although some progress has been made in getting the central command up and running, recent instability in Central African Republic has delayed signing of a draft decision to establish a regional anti-poaching unit, a decision he expects to be signed Monday.
     
    Huijbregts says that while the issue of the Sudanese poachers has received large-scale attention since only last year, the group has long wreaked havoc across the region.
     
    "These poachers have been active in this region already for a very, very long time and have basically exterminated elephant populations in the north and in the east of Central African Republic," he said. "That is why they are currently now looking for remaining elephant herds in Cameroon and in Chad."
     
    WWF estimates that the number of savanna elephants in Central African Republic has plunged over the last 30 years from 80,000 to just a few hundred.
     
    Huijbregts says specialized training would be necessary to successfully combat the poachers, who he described as very dangerous.
     
    "These hunters are military trained and likely have been doing, from generation to generation, massive elephant poaching on horseback," he said. "Those are the people that know these remote savannah areas really by heart. They know how to make camouflaged camps. They know how to back each other up on horseback. Having close encounters with these poachers is indeed a very dangerous situation given the fact that these poachers, they shoot on sight, and has already resulted in the past in people being wounded and killed on both sides."

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora