13 June 2012, 08:35 BST
Elephants are such majestic animals that it breaks my heart to see them killed for the profit of ivory. Poacher's shoot them, take the valuable parts, and leave them to lay and rot away. The country of Congo needs to do something fast to protect these animals before they become extinct.
It upsets me to think that our children and grandchildren may never have the chance to see these majestic animals in the wild when they are older. So let's stand up and sign every petition out there to help stop these poachers and protect these animals. For the sake of the planet and our future.
At the start of the period, there were 13,000 forest elephants around the Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park in the Republic of Congo. But, as of last year, only 6,300 remain, living in an area the size of Rhode Island.
The only good news in this is that, within the park and in surrounding areas managed under Forest Stewardship Council guidelines, both patrolled by rangers, the elephant population remains stable. This area is "becoming the last stronghold for the entire species," according to the director of WCS's Republic of Congo program.
WCS explains the origins of the poaching:
The illegal ivory trade drives the precipitous decline of forest elephants in the Republic of Congo and across the Congo Basin. Part of a huge wave of international organized crime that links trafficking in humans, wildlife, and drugs and weapons, the illegal ivory trade delivers big payoffs to ivory traffickers at all levels along the chain. Other factors contributing to the slaughter of elephants include access to formerly impenetrable tracts of rainforest through new roads in the region and the proliferation of arms such as AK-47 rifles. It is now recognized that even well-protected areas in Africa are under enormous pressure and must be better protected immediately.
African forest elephants, smaller than the more commonly known savannah elephant, are now considered a separate species. And they are now listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN.
Image Credit: James Hopkirk
Source: Planet Save