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Widespread elephant slaughter discovered in Chad

Fay led a survey team also commissioned by the Chadian government and CURESS in 2005 that counted 3,885 elephants in Zakouma Park. A year later they could find only 3,020. It was not known whether the drop reflected a loss of elephants or the possibility that a large herd was missed in the second count. The latest survey, partly funded by National Geographic, was commissioned to assess the level of poaching during the wet season, when the elephants wander outside park limits to forage and are vulnerable to attack.

Elephants in the park have enjoyed strong protection from the Chadian government and the EU, but the large percentage that leaves the park during the wet season has not been as well protected. All hunting of elephants in Chad is illegal, and the sale of ivory has been banned since 1989, though black-market trade is increasing. Zakouma is only about 150 miles west of the conflict area of Darfur and is in the path of recent rebel activity in Chad, thus security is low and borders are porous in this isolated region.

Fay took information of the massacres to Chadian and EU officials, who are enacting an emergency plan with contributions from the African Parks Foundation and others, which will increase aerial surveys and extend patrols outside the park through the wet season that ends in late September. They hope to raise funds and awareness to control poaching in coming years with aerial patrols as well as to significantly increase ground security and information gathering.


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Source:Wildlife Conservation Society


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