86 Elephants Killed In Chad

Eighty-six African elephants were killed in Chad last week. The report was confirmed Monday by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). Thirty-three of the victims were pregnant females.

IFAW has been told that the communities, which are near the border with Cameroon, have been complaining to government officials for two years about conflicts with the elephants. The herds were accused of damaging crops. The authorities did not respond, which presumably may have encouraged the locals to feel that they were justified in the killing.

The tusks were hacked off and undoubtedly sold. A recent New York Times report said that ivory is now selling for $1,000 a pound in Beijing to Chinese collectors. As a result, the population of African elephants has been decimated over the last 75 years, plummeting from five million to a mere 500,000 today.

To help end the ivory trade, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra of Thailand had opened the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species conference (CITES) earlier this month by pledging to end trading in ivory in that country, which the World Wildlife Fund said was previously the world’s largest unregulated market for that product.

But most of the news for the vanishing elephants is bad. Twenty-eight elephants were recently reported killed in Cameroon. Tara Dodrill for The Inquisitr reported that the African forest elephants may face extinction — possibly as soon as the next decade.

The World Wildlife Fund told Reuters that the killers of the 86 elephant herd were Arabic-speaking men on horseback, which suggests that they belong to the same heavily armed, professional foreign team of poachers responsible for a horrific attack that left hundreds of elephants dead in Cameroon last year — half the population of the park where the slaughter occurred.

The total numbers of African elephants being killed is mind-numbing — an estimated 11,000 in 2010, 25,000 in 2011, and as many as 30,000 in 2012.

The 86 elephants killed last week in Chad are part of an ongoing tragedy.

[African elephant photo courtesy Schuyler Shepherd and Wikipedia Commons]