South Sudan's elephants face extinction: experts

Dec 04, 2012
A picture released by the Wildlife Conservation Society shows a herd of giraffe running through the Bandiglio National park in 2011. Elephant, giraffe and zebra in the world's newest nation South Sudan could soon be extinct due to rampant poaching and trafficking, conservation experts warned Tuesday.

Elephant, giraffe and zebra in the world's newest nation South Sudan could soon be extinct due to rampant poaching and trafficking, conservation experts warned Tuesday.

Ironically, animals in South Sudan's vast wildernesses had been largely protected by almost five decades of civil war, despite poaching by rebels.

The war stifled development and preserved the largest intact savannah in , according to the United States-based (WCS).

But war also left the fledgling nation awash with guns, and in the years since a 2005 peace deal, increasingly organised armed groups are trafficking ivory and killing animals for food.

The , estimated at 130,000 in 1986, has crashed to 5,000 if South Sudan is "lucky", WCS director in South Sudan Paul Elkan told reporters.

"Within the next five years, they could completely be gone with the current rates of poaching," Elkan said, adding that even security forces are "involved in trafficking."

South Sudan's animal migration is one of the largest in Africa, potentially topping in size even the world famous Maasai Mara and Serengeti migrations between Tanzania and Kenya, WCS said.

But the wildlife faces major challenges.

"Other species such as the zebra may already be gone, the rhino is probably already gone, giraffes are on the way out, so commercial bush meat also needs to be brought under control", Elkan added.

But a lack of laws and weak institutions prevent poachers and who are caught from being brought to book.

"We have apprehended so many , caught red handed ... but because of this legal vacuum it is very difficult to prosecute them", said Gabriel Changson Chang, the country's wildlife, conservation and tourism minister.

Explore further: Japan to redesign Antarctic whale hunt after UN court ruling

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

South Africa rhino poaching hits record: WWF

Nov 03, 2011

Rhino poaching in South Africa has hit a new record high, with 341 of the animals lost to poachers so far this year as black-market demand for rhino horn soars, wildlife group WWF said Thursday.

Missing: 2,000 elephants

Dec 11, 2008

Elephants in Zakouma National Park, the last stronghold for the savanna elephants of Central Africa's Sahel region, now hover at about 1,000 animals, down from an estimated 3,000 in 2006. Ivory poachers using automatic weapons ...

African park's mammals make a comeback

Jun 22, 2006

Scientists say they believe several species of large mammals are recovering from a decade of civil war and poaching in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Recommended for you

Plants with dormant seeds give rise to more species

15 hours ago

Seeds that sprout as soon as they're planted may be good news for a garden. But wild plants need to be more careful. In the wild, a plant whose seeds sprouted at the first warm spell or rainy day would risk disaster. More ...

Scientists tether lionfish to Cayman reefs

Apr 18, 2014

Research done by U.S. scientists in the Cayman Islands suggests that native predators can be trained to gobble up invasive lionfish that colonize regional reefs and voraciously prey on juvenile marine creatures.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

(Phys.org) —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...

Male monkey filmed caring for dying mate (w/ Video)

(Phys.org) —The incident was captured by Dr Bruna Bezerra and colleagues in the Atlantic Forest in the Northeast of Brazil.  Dr Bezerra is a Research Associate at the University of Bristol and a Professor ...

Researchers develop new model of cellular movement

(Phys.org) —Cell movement plays an important role in a host of biological functions from embryonic development to repairing wounded tissue. It also enables cancer cells to break free from their sites of ...

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.