Elephant Slaughter: “Blood Ivory” Update 4 6 13

WWF Anti Poaching Campaign

WWF Anti Poaching Campaign


 (Check our post from March 7)

It does not take much searching to find the full story of the most recent mass elephant slaughter on the National Geographic web site — and it is sickening. You will want to weep. Actually, I did. See the  Geo story

Poachers in Chad near the Cameroon border killed 86 or more elephants around March 14-15 — 33 were pregnant females, some were calves. Some aborted their calves when they were shot, leaving them to die — maybe some of the fetuses were shot. It appears the poachers were on horseback, used automatic weapons and spoke Arabic,  according to local officials.

Aborted elephant calf and headless mother. Courtesy Elephant SOS.

Aborted elephant calf and headless mother. Courtesy Elephant SOS. See their web site: soselephants.org

WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?  Ivory has  been a high-value commodity for over a thousand years. Just go to museums, major cathedrals and holy places to see “works of art” and religious items carved from tusks.  Who among us, years ago, stupidly purchased an ivory necklace or trinket,  thinking it was lovely?

It was always easy to disconnect the “product” from the source. Not any more -there’s no excuse.

In Africa, ivory is like diamonds or gold –a valuable resource that can be “extracted” no matter what the cost (including extinction). There is a huge market for it in Asia — primarily China and Japan — and criminal gangs appear to be doing the trafficking.   Raw ivory is smuggled to southeast Asia  and it is finely worked into elaborate and expensive items for wealthy Chinese buyers and people who want so-called religious relics.  A pair of undercover reports on CBS Evening News showed pieces worth tens of thousands of dollars. (See the TV report)

From Nat Geo: ” The [March 14-15] massacre occurred in the closing hours of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) 16th Conference of Parties (COP16) meeting (held in Bangkok March 3-14), where the topic of elephants was high on the agenda.

“The timing was also just weeks after the discovery of 28 elephant carcasses, all stripped of their ivory tusks, in Cameroon’s Nki and Lobeke National Parks and at least 15 carcasses across four separate locations in Central African Republic.”

“All these incidents followed numerous reports of columns of Sudanese poachers crossing Central African Republic and heading toward Cameroon and Chad.”


Get smart – learn more:

New York Times opinion piece by Samantha Strindberg and Fiona Maisels of the Wildlife Conservation Society

TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network –a joint program of WWF and IUCN – the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Take action – speak out/write/donate: 

Elephant SOS

Wildlife Conservation Society