Seventeen heavily armed suspected poachers entered the Dzanga-Ndoki National Park, a World Heritage site, in the Central African Republic (CAR) on Monday, May 6, 2013. WWF-supported researchers working in the area confirmed hearing automatic weapon shots coming from a large clearing known as Dzanga Bai, or “village of elephants,” where between 50 and 200 elephants congregate daily to drink mineral salts present in the sands.
This area has become familiar to American audiences through programs like the CBS News program 60 Minutes story on elephant language, National Geographic specials and features on many other news outlets.
Swift and Urgent Action
WWF has confirmed other instances of elephants being slaughtered in the violence-ridden country, where the new government in place since the military coup is struggling to gain control over the situation.
Given the size of the force witnessed, this most recent incursion into a protected area may result in one of the biggest elephant massacres in recent history.
WWF has been working in the CAR since the 1980s and is urging the government to immediately act on their commitment to mobilize troops to end poaching in the region and to safeguard the area's people and wildlife. We are also calling on the international community to help restore peace and order in the Central African Republic, which recently underwent a chaotic coup.
WWF seeks to ensure a stronger local and global response to stop wildlife crime that is threatening whole populations of elephants, rhinos and tigers.