Gabon says half its elephants killed since 2004

Elephants graze at Lope National Park in Gabon on November 28, 1999
Elephants graze at Lope National Park in Gabon on November 28, 1999. More than half of Gabon's elephant population has been killed by poachers since 2004 despite ramped up security measures to try to stop the slaughter.

More than half of Gabon's elephant population has been killed by poachers since 2004 despite ramped up security measures to try to stop the slaughter, wildlife officials said Wednesday.

"More than 11,000 elephants have been killed since 2004," Fiona Maisels of the said in a statement.

Gabon, on the west coast of central Africa, is estimated to host over half of the continent's 40,000 forest elephants but the animals have long been targeted by poachers for their ivory.

Maisels said illegal hunting had slashed Africa's forest by two thirds since 2004.

"Despite our efforts, we continue to lose elephants every day. If we don't reverse the situation rapidly, the future for is compromised," the head of Gabon's national parks agency Lee White said in the same statement.

White said the parks had boosted staff numbers and deployed both soldiers and security guards in their bid to stop the "illegal slaughter."

The illegal is mostly fuelled by demand in Asia and the Middle East, where elephant tusks and rhinoceros horns are used to make ornaments and in traditional medicine.

"As the black market price for ivory rises every year... the country is becoming the target for the worst species of poachers in central Africa," the office of President Ali Bongo Ondimba said.

With rare exceptions, trade in has been outlawed since 1989 after elephant populations in Africa dwindled from millions in the mid-20th century to some 600,000 by the end of the 1980s.

Africa is now home to an estimated 472,000 elephants.

One kilogramme (about two pounds) of ivory is currently estimated to be worth around 1,500 euros on the Asian black market, the presidency said.


Explore further

Gabon burns five tonnes of ivory

(c) 2013 AFP

Citation: Gabon says half its elephants killed since 2004 (2013, February 6) retrieved 15 September 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-02-gabon-elephants.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
0 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Feb 06, 2013
How many elephant *poachers* have they killed?

Feb 06, 2013
What is needed now is a redefinition of geopolitical borders that would include most of Gabon as a protected nature reserve and a restricted area in the larger entity that would be newly created and that would include Equatorial Guinea and the Republic of The Congo. Face it, The Congo is a mess that demands addressing ASAP. What is working right for Gabon and Equatorial Guinea could spill over into a rehabilitated Congo, which has the economic potential to be the richest of all the African states by far, but which is being horribly mismanaged. Discuss.

Feb 06, 2013
Both elephant and rhino populations in Africa are plummeting due to poaching. It would seem that whatever "solutions" they've put into place aren't very effective, as poachers will find whatever other means to obtain ivory.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more