From: Laurel Neme, MONGABAY.COM, More from this Affiliate
Published July 27, 2012 08:40 AM

Dozens of elephants massacred in Chad

Poachers killed at least 30 elephants in southwestern Chad during the early hours of Tuesday, July 24. During the night, Stephanie Vergniault, president of the organization SOS Elephants, described on her Facebook page how a group of armed horsemen chased a herd of elephants with war weapons near the SOS Elephants camp in the Chari Baguirmi area. After daybreak, the SOS Elephants team counted 28 carcasses, most with missing tusks. The exact number of carcasses with missing tusks is unclear because the team was afraid to stay and investigate further due to the presence of the poachers hiding on the other side of the Chari River.

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The elephant massacre occurred as 350 participants from all over the world attend the 62nd meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Standing Committee in Geneva, Switzerland, where the illegal killing of elephants and ivory smuggling are at the top of the agenda. On Tuesday, the Standing Committee discussed the close correspondence between rising trends in elephant poaching and large-scale ivory seizures and recommendations to improve the situation. It also considered a new report, titled "Decision-Making Mechanisms and Necessary Conditions for a Future Trade in African Elephant Ivory," that explores the future legalization of international ivory trade and the potential establishment of a Central Ivory Selling Organization (similar to the DeBeers diamond cartel).

Local communities and the SOS Elephants team living permanently at the camp, including SOS Elephants' Secretary General Raphael Djimadibaye, who heard the attack informed the Paramount Chief. The Chief contacted Vergniault, who spoke with local authorities, and in turn immediately sent soldiers to track the poachers.

The day following the attack, the SOS Elephants team found a baby elephant in the area, whose mother had likely been killed in the incident. The SOS Elephants team rescued the orphaned elephant, carrying the three-week-old male, now nicknamed "Toto", to camp and giving him milk formula.

Article continues at ENN affiliate, Mongabay

African Elephant image via Shutterstock

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