Armed groups threaten Central Africa’s iconic mammals

As recently as three decades ago, thousands of elephants strode majestically across the wildlife conservation areas of Central Africa. Today, their population has been decimated. In places like Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, an estimated 1,100–1,400 individual elephants remain, down from 20,000 in the 1980s.

The reality appears to be even grimmer for the world’s tallest land animals. The flywhisk, usually made from the tail of a giraffe, is a symbol of authority in many African societies. The tail of the Kordofan giraffe in particular is highly prized as a flywhisk, and has placed this species in the crosshairs of poachers and other armed groups. Consequently, only about 40 of the giraffes remain in the Garamba park.

This grim reality has been reflected in a report released last month by the NGO Traffic, which warns of the negative impact of armed groups on wildlife in Central Africa.

photo credit: orangen im meer


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