YAOUNDE, Cameroon — The slaughter of elephants in Cameroon has reached “disturbing proportions,” a wildlife official told dpa on Monday after poachers killed 20 endangered forest elephants in Cameroon in the past week.
The elephants were killed between Dec. 14 and 19 in the forests of southeast Cameroon, said Nicolas Tamaffo Nguel, an official at the Forestry and Wildlife department in east Cameroon.
“Some of the poachers have been arrested, and arms and ammunition seized from them,” he told dpa. Some 79 elephants were killed in the area in all of last year, Nguel said.
The region has seen a rise in poaching in recent years, with weapons belonging to rebels from areas like Central African Republic often falling into the hands of poachers.
Cameroon’s government sent its military to protect national parks in the north after nearly 2,000 elephants were lost to poachers between 2012 and 2013.
Conflict in the Central African Republic, Chad and Sudan has also caused a rise in poaching in the area, with rebels and militants often blamed for killing the animals for their ivory, which is sold on the black market.