In January and February of this year, a band of marauding poachers killed more than 500 elephants in Cameroon's national parks. Now, law enforcement officials have made a series of arrests but the problem is far from solved.
Twelve suspected poachers have been arrested and 14 elephant tusks have been confiscated following a police raid on a clandestine camp. Meanwhile, in the southeast of the country, rangers confiscated six firearms and more than 60 pounds of elephant meat.
The poachers responsible for the rash of deaths earlier this year and thought to be foreigners who entered Cameroon illegally from Chad. "After the international outcry of the Bouba N’Djida massacre," said David Hoyle, Conservation Director for WWF Cameroon, "it is time to put a stop to this senseless commercially motivated slaughter of Africa’s biodiversity."
"Preliminary investigations show this group of poachers has very strong links with a sister group based in Souanke, Congo Brazzaville," Achille Mengamenya, Park Warden of Boumba-Bek in Cameroon, explained. He added, however, that most of their activity occurred within Cameroon's borders.
As many as 12,000 elephants are killed by poachers each year, according to WWF, with most of the cases occurring in Central Africa.