Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

How to save the elephants of Central Africa

3 May 2013

Categories: Homepage News, Elephants Campaign News, Wildlife Trade News

© Mike Dooley

Within the last week a group of some of Central Africa’s most prominent conservation partners met in Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of Congo, to address the ivory crisis decimating Central Africa’s elephant populations.

Born Free law enforcement partner PALF (Projet d'appui à l'Application de la Loi sur la Faune Sauvage) was represented alongside IUCN, WWF, WCS, Africa Parks Network and others. 

It is estimated that up to 62% of Africa’s forest elephants have been killed by poachers within the last decade and the decline over this period is believed to be as high as 80% in some countries like Gabon.  In recent months, there has been increasing recognition that, driven by demand for ivory in the Far East, a number of armed rebel groups are deriving income from the sale of ivory. Elephant poaching has become a trans-boundary issue which can only be addressed through enhanced governmental commitment and coordination, as explained by Naftali Honig of PALF:

"The illegal wildlife trade has grown to alarmingly high levels, mostly due to demand in China and other Asian nations. Efforts in Africa therefore need to be concerted and must have the support of the highest level of government. The threat to Africa's natural heritage now spans the domains of natural resource-based ministries, the judiciary as well as police, customs and other forces of national security.

For these reasons, our call to the governments of Africa to stand united to fight these unprecedented levels of poaching is critically important.”

Some of the key recommendations called for by the Brazzaville partners included the need for the establishment of National Coordination Units in each Central African country, to catalyse action amongst relevant government agencies and between countries. Additional suggested measures included the need for all governments to stand against corruption, institute increased penalties for wildlife crime, improve protected area management and initiate dialogue with consumer countries in the Far East.

If you are a regular follower of Born Free news, you will realize that the time for words has long passed and it is only concerted action and a change in behaviour amongst ivory consumer countries that can bring the bloody and brutal demise of the African elephant to a halt. 

Born Free believes that resources must be committed to ensuring implementation of the African Elephant Action Plan, a plan adopted by all 38 African Elephant Range States.  See for more details.

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