In this blog, I’ve mainly featured Asian elephants and African bush elephants, but Africa also is home to the forest elephant. Sadly, their ivory is even more prized, as it is more rare and has a pinkish hue.
It’s hard to do a census as the heavy, dense forests limit researchers. Flights over the forests indicate that at least fifty forest elephants are killed daily for their ivory.
The largest number of forest elephants live in Gabon, which has had good conservation policies. Unfortunately, it has not been enough – commercial logging and poachers have decimated the elephant population. In the Minkebe national park, there are less than 8000 elephants. Less than twenty years ago, there were likely 35,000 or more.
A lot of the poachers are not from Gabon, but rather neighboring Cameroon. The population is plagued by deep poverty, and poaching one elephant can earn more than four years of salary. It’s no wonder, then, that there are no shortage of people willing to risk their lives to kill a forest elephant.
Photo: dsg-photo.com, Wikipedia