Poachers kill 200 elephants in Cameroon already this year

Government officials in Cameroon have announced that poachers have already killed more than 200 elephants in 2012, which is a startling number considering we’re only about six weeks into the year. A growing demand for ivory in Asia is blamed for the massive rise in poaching, which is having devastating effects on the pachyderm population in central Africa.

On Friday, Gambo Haman, the governor of Cameroon’s North region, claimed that poachers from the Sudan and Chad are illegally crossing his country’s borders and hunting the elephants for their tusks. He said that the poachers are well-armed, regularly travel on horseback, and are receiving help from locals, who are often eager to see the elephants killed in order to protect their crops.

In January, the carcasses of 146 elephants were discovered in Cameroon, and so far this month, another 60 have been added to that total. It is feared that the number of animals that are actually being killed is much higher however, as not all of the bodies are discovered, particularly if they are being slain in remote regions of the country.

In response to this rise in these illegal activities, the Cameroon government has created a team of soldiers who are trained to rapidly respond to threats from poachers. That team is too small to effectively cover the entire country however, and they have often found themselves outgunned by the bandits they are pursuing. Haman said that a team of six soldiers from Chad were recently killed when they clashed with poachers in that country. The incident was a sober reminder of the dangers these soldiers face.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) have also commented on the recent rise in poaching in Cameroon. They described the situation as dire, saying that the current level of killings there is unprecedented in scale. In 2007, a census of the population of elephant herds in the country estimated that between 1000 and 5000 remained. If this level of poaching continues, there is a real possibility that there will soon be no elephants left in the entire region.

Watch a hexacopter fly through Cameroon

We’re not really sure where to start with this amazingness of this video. Could it have to do with the fact that William Thielicke built his own multi-rotor helicopter with an integrated camera? Or maybe that he’s able to pilot it through the most complex of obstacles with such delicate balance? Beyond that, did you see these beautiful images captured of Cameroon? Wow.

The above video took third place at the short film festival “Vilsflimmern,” and Mr. Thielicke just updated his blog with the news. Fantastic work.

Gading Take FIVE: Week of September 27 – October 3

Each week, when I pick out posts for Gadling’s Take FIVE, I look for posts that fit together in some way. These week, I’ve noticed a numbers theme.

  • In David’s post on America’s most scenic train route, he noted that the journey between New York City and Montreal takes 11 hours and there are 90 seats left for the period between October 2 and November 11.
  • Abha found out that only 8 people in the Cameroon speak Busuu and that the human voice only travels 200 meters. You can read about this and more in her post on a website that helps you learn new languages.
  • When a man smuggles 200 canaries in 4 cages in 1 suitcase, there is trouble in international travel. Josh pointed out what that might be. Dead birds, 60 of them, for one thing.
  • Anna gave a heads up about 10 travel websites to tune into. Add Gadling, and that’s 11.
  • Jerry is also in the numbers game. He spent 16 hours in China’s Wild West and is writing about it in a feature series.
  • In Mexico there are 5000 condoms, 1 inflatable banana and 1 missing truck. Scott posted about why it would be a good thing if all were found.
  • And I’ve started watching the Amazing Race and posting recaps on that. This is season 13.

If you’re counting, you’ll notice 7 this week instead of 5.

Word for the Travel Wise (09/23/06)

Everyone has a favorite musician they’d take a loan out at the bank to go see in concert if it were the last concert ever being held in some rare exotic place like Easter Island. I have a couple I would go out on a limb and do such for; the first being Björk, second Sade and the third I’ll give to Les Nubians. After seeing the two Cameroonian sisters perform live in Los Angeles I was sold. Listening to a few of their songs now hoping they’ll do a show somehwere nearby soon. I really don’t want to do the loan at the bank thing. Smile.

Today’s word is a French word used in Cameroon:

croire – believe

English and French are both official languages of Cameroon.

French is the third largest Romance language in the world in terms of native speakers according to the Wikipedia and is the official language of 29 countries. There are a number of places to learn French abroad which include Canada and Switzerland in addition to France. Amerispan offers immersion programs in all three of the countries and more info can be found by clicking here. Search other study abroad programs at some of these sites here: Coeur de France, Accord French Language School, and Transitions Abroad to name only a few. Swing over to My Language Exchange where you are sure to find someone willing to exchange their lingo skills for some of your own. Free online sources for learning French include France-Pub, French Assistant, and the BBC Languages.

Past French words:
confiture, difficile, frottis, ma reum (mère), pensées, vélo

Photo of the Day (9/22/06)

We’re going back to localsurfer for yet another Photo of the Day.

This particular photo would be just another average nature shot if it weren’t for that little lizard arm casually tossed over the edge of the bench. And, of course, the smug look on that little fella’s face.

This Red Headed Agama (??) was obviously enjoying a well-earned siesta when localsurfer came across him somewhere in the wilds of Cameroon.