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CITES Secretary-General Expresses Concern over Elephant Poaching in Cameroon

CITES28 February 2012: John Scanlon, Secretary-General of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), has expressed concern over reports of the poaching of close to 450 elephants in the Bouba Ndjida National Park in northern Cameroon.

In a CITES press release, Scanlon notes that this poaching episode is evidence of a new trend of killing elephants involving more sophisticated weapons. He laments that poached ivory is supporting conflict in neighboring countries, citing information that the ivory from the animals killed in Cameroon is believed to be be exchanged against money, weapons and ammunition. He therefore urges a collaborative and coordinated enforcement response.

Scanlon also highlights that the CITES programme for Monitoring Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE) has detected increasing levels of poaching in 2011 across all 38 range States of the African elephant. He notes that the MIKE programme will report the latest findings in the illegal killing of elephants at the 62nd meeting of the CITES Standing Committee in July 2012, as well as provide an analysis of poaching data at the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to CITES in 2013.

Scanlon emphasizes that the Secretariat is contacting the Ministers for Forests and Wildlife from Cameroon, Chad, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Sudan to offer support in enforcement efforts and transboundary anti-poaching mechanisms. Ben Janse Van Rensburg, CITES Chief Enforcement Support, will be the CITES Secretariat's focal point for major elephant poaching incidents, and will coordinate with the range countries as well as partners in the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC), in order to share intelligence needed to prevent poaching. [CITES Press Release]