JOHANNESBURG - Soldiers in Cameroon are losing a battle to save the last elephants in a remote frontier park from marauding horsemen believed to be invading from Sudan, the World Wildlife Fund said Thursday.
“The forces arrived too late to save most of the park’s elephants, and were too few to deter the poachers,’’ said Natasha Kofoworola Quist, director of the fund’s Central Africa program. “WWF is disturbed by reports that the poaching continues unabated in Bouba N’Djida National Park, and that a soldier’s life has been lost.’’
She said at least half of the park’s 400 elephants have been killed.
Wildlife activists blame China’s growing footprint in Africa for an unprecedented surge in poaching elephants for their tusks. Most are believed to be smuggled to China and Thailand to make ivory ornaments.
Ivory sales are banned in most countries since the 1980s under an international treaty to help conserve protect elephants.