28 elephants killed: Conservation groups said that 28 elephants were killed in two Cameroon parks recently.
Poachers killed at least 28 endangered forest elephants in Cameroon over the past several weeks, underscoring Africa’s growing poaching problem that is fueled by demand in Asia, and particularly, in China.
Conservation group World Wildlife Fund (WWF) told Reuters on Wednesday that the elephants were killed in Lobeke in Nki national parks.
Over the past decade, the African forest elephant population has dwindled by 62 percent due to ivory demand in Asia. The species is now on the path toward extinction, the WWF said.
“Elephants in these two protected areas in the Congo Basin are facing a threat to their existence,” Zacharie Nzooh, WWF Cameroon representative in the East Region, was quoted by Reuters as saying.
The WWF said that between Feb. 10 and March 1, 23 dead elephants were found without their tusks in Niki park. Five others were found dead without their tusks in Lobeke park.
“The poachers used automatic weapons, such as AK-47s, reflecting the violent character of elephant poaching,” he said.
Ivory sells for hundreds of dollars per kilogram on the black market. The material is smuggled to Asia, where it is fashioned into jewelry and other items.
Earlier last year, gunmen on horseback from Sudan and Chad slaughtered around 200 elephants in Bouba Ndjida National Park in Cameroon.
But in late 2012, Cameroon deployed around 600 soldiers and helicopters to curb the growing threat of poaching.
Conservation groups said that last year, as many as 25,000 African elephants were killed for their tusks, reported the Los Angeles Times.
“So many consumers just proceed on the assumption that no animal was killed for this product,” referring to ivory items, said Tom Milliken, the head of the elephant and rhinoceros program at Traffic, according to the newspaper.
“The bloody killing fields are continents away from the Chinese consuming market, and there is very little consideration for what is going on there,” he added.
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