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Thirty-five carcasses of the majestic gentle giants were found mutilated in a single attack by poachers at a popular safari destination in Cameroon.
The heart-breaking sight was captured by a photographer last month - 20 years after the global ivory trade was officially banned to protect Africa's herds.
In the aftermath of the slaughter at Bouba N'djida National Park, a terrified young elephant was seen cowering around his mother's corpse – the only living elephant the photographer saw in the park for a whole week.Read story here.
"Put me down, Mila," the keeper, Dr Helen Schofield, was heard saying as she patted the elephant's head.
Mila obeyed by going down on her knees - crushing Dr Schofield.
"The elephant didn't attack the lady. The elephant was in a circus mode. It was following commands," said the zoo visitor, who did not want to be named.
He said the elephant had seemed to him to have acted as if she were performing a circus trick.
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ELEPHANTS are in danger of being hunted to extinction across Africa, with poaching reaching "unprecedented levels" to supply demand from Asia for the animal's ivory tusks, experts have warned. In just 10 weeks, poaching gangs killed a significant number of savannah elephants in a reserve in northern Cameroon and were close to exterminating those in the country's Bouba N'Djida National Park, the officials said, warning that elephants could soon suffer the fate of the black rhinoceros which was declared extinct in the region in 2011.
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The year 2012 started dramatically for elephants in the central African country of Cameroon. According to the UN,
450 carcasses of these animals - a protected species - have been found in the Bouba N'Djida National Park, near Cameroon's northern border with Chad. The slaughter is especially worrisome given that, as of 2007, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) estimated that only 1,000 to 5,000 elephants are still left in Cameroon.
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IT IS a bad time to be an elephant, particularly in Africa. Almost 24 tonnes of illegally harvested ivory were seized by investigators in 2011—the largest haul since records began in 1990 and more than twice the amount in 2010. Traffic, a wildlife watchdog, reckons around 2,500 elephants must have died to produce so much ivory. This year could be worse. More than 200 elephants were killed in a single state of Cameroon in the first six weeks of 2012.
Parading of caparisoned elephants along the prickly hot black-top roads for hours together, even for days together in many cases, in connection with certain ritualistic ceremonies, is a painful sight for animal-lovers in the State during these summer months.
The hapless animals in captivity are put to stand in the scorching sun, denying even food, water and sleep, in the name of religion and tourism promotion. It is also a fact that no scripture or religious text say that temple elephant should be part of temple festivals, says Ms Sandhya, district co-ordinator of the Society for Prevention of Cruelty against Animals (SPCA).
A wildlife rescue foundation in Thailand says it is being harassed by the government for speaking out about alleged official involvement in elephant poaching. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Phetchaburi province, where parks department officers have been raiding the group's compound. Thailand's Department of National Parks last week began taking animals from the Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand.
Thai officials say elephants are killed mainly for their ivory tusks, worth about $1,500 per kilogram, but poachers also take other parts such as genitals and meat to be sold as traditional medicine and exotic food.
The poachers also kill adult elephants that are protecting babies, which are sold for around $7,000 to work in Thailand's lucrative tourist trade.
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Based on his own investigations, Wiek estimates that two to three baby elephants are poached from the wild per week.
A baby elephant can fetch up to 1 million baht at camps in Ayutthaya, Chiang Mai, Hua Hin, Pattaya, Phuket, where they are trained to perform tricks and provide rides for tourists.
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