Poachers slaughter 30 elephants in DRC

2015-03-23 18:00
Park ranges stand next to the remains of elephants that were killed by poachers in the Garamba National Park, situated in the Democratic Republic of Congo. (African Parks, AP, file)

Park ranges stand next to the remains of elephants that were killed by poachers in the Garamba National Park, situated in the Democratic Republic of Congo. (African Parks, AP, file)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Kinshasa - Ivory-hungry poachers have killed 30 elephants in a Congolese national park in the past two weeks, park authorities said Monday, adding that the culprits were likely Sudanese militia.

News of the Garamba National Park slaughter came as wildlife experts warned at a major summit in Botswana that elephants could become extinct with a few decades if poaching continues.

Sudanese raiders are suspected of killing the endangered pachyderms, conservation director at African Parks Jean Marc Froment said.

"We have a group of north Sudanese coming inside the park, spreading in small groups and during 15 days they killed 30 elephants," said Froment, whose group co-manages Garamba National Park, located in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Garamba is home to 1 700 elephants, according to wildlife surveys, making it a target for armed ivory poachers.

With just 150 rangers patrolling 13 000 square kilometres of grassland and forest, it is difficult to keep the giant mammals safe.

Froment believes Sudanese militia are behind the latest killing spree. They spread into Garamba after finding the elephant population density was thinning in Central African Republic and northern Congo, he said.

"These are very experienced elephant hunters," Froment added.

In 2012, Sudanese poachers killed as many as 300 elephants in 10 weeks in Bouba N'Djida National Park, northern Cameroon.

Some of those poachers wore government uniforms and carried army identity documents.

Poaching onslaught

The Ugandan rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), whose ranks are infamously swelled by abducted children, have also poached in Garamba.

Ugandan troops who are meant to be hunting fugitive LRA chief Joseph Kony down, as well as members of the South Sudanese and Congolese armies, are also believed to be involved in poaching.

Last June, African Parks warned of a "poaching onslaught" in Garamba after 68 elephants were killed in just two months. Ten of them were slaughtered on a single day.

The parks authority singled out the LRA as a main culprit for that slaughter, though at least nine pachyderms were shot dead by a military helicopter.

African elephants could be extinct in the wild "within our lifetime", experts warned on Monday at the Africa Elephant Summit held in Botswana.

Elephant hunting is often organised by international criminal networks to supply the illegal ivory market, mainly in Asia, with some profits thought to fund regional conflicts and militants.

Read more on:    lra  |  drc  |  conservation  |  central africa  |  animals  |  poaching

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.