Elephants are under attack in African national park


Elephants in African parks are in danger from poachers who want to sell their tusks. (Jennifer Bruce/AP)
June 16

One of Africa’s oldest national parks is under attack, its director said last week, after 68 elephants were killed over the past two months by poachers.

Garamba National Park in Congo is under constant assault by renegade Congolese soldiers, gunmen from South Sudan and others. And this is just a small part of the killings: International wildlife regulators say 20,000 elephants were killed in Africa in 2013.

Park officials said that since mid-April, the 1,900-square-mile Garamba National Park has faced repeated attacks from poachers, who have killed 4 percent of its elephant population.

“The situation is extremely serious,” Garamba’s Jean-Marc Froment said in a statement. “The park is under attack on all fronts.”

U.S. military forces are helping with anti-poaching efforts.

Conservationists say a thriving ivory market in Asia is helping fuel the worst poaching epidemic of African elephants in decades.

A 2012 census found just 2,000 elephants in Garamba Park, down from 20,000 in the 1960s.

Associated Press

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