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11,000 elephants slaughtered in national park
Date:2/6/2013

were being killed daily as a result of increases in demand for ivory from the Far East and resulting price hike.

Since the survey results were announced, Gabon has stepped up its anti-poaching efforts seizing 20 tusks in the nation's capitol of Libreville and arresting poachers who had illegally entered the country from neighboring Cameroon. Gabon's National Park staff recently engaged in a firefight with armed poachers in Minkebe National Park after arresting two individuals carrying six tusks.

Gabon President Ali Bongo Ondimba announced that Gabon will pass new legislation to further dissuade commercial ivory poachers even more by increasing prison terms to a minimum of three years for ivory poachers and 15 years for poaching and ivory trafficking involving organized crime. Speaking in a cabinet meeting, the president urgently called for a strong, coordinated, and decisive response to this national emergency from all of the security and wildlife management services.

Lee White, head of the ANPN said: "Over the last three years we have deployed 400 additional parks staff, 120 soldiers and 30 gendarmes in our fight to stop illegal killing of elephants for the black market ivory trade. Despite our efforts we continue to lose elephants every day. If we do not turn the situation around quickly the future of the elephant in Africa is doomed. These new results illustrate starkly just how dramatic the situation has become. Our actions over the coming decade will determine whether these iconic species survive."

Richard Ruggiero, Chief of the Branch of the Near East, South Asia and Africa, Division of International Conservation, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, said: "We are working closely with the Gabonese authorities, who are showing true leadership, but this is a global problem and will require a global solution."

Mike Fay, the WCS explorer who played a key role in convincing the late Gabonese President Omar Bongo Ondimba to
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Contact: Stephen Sautner
ssautnr@wcs.org
718-220-3682
Wildlife Conservation Society
Source:Eurekalert

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