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Chad Takes Action, and the Elephants Hear It

By Richard G. Ruggiero Chad’s President Idriss Déby set fire to the country’s 1.1-ton ivory stockpile on February 21. This symbolic act reinforced the substantive steps Chad has been taking to save its remaining elephants, now estimated to number about 450 in Zakouma National Park. Elephants in Chad have suffered some of the most severe…

African Parks Partners With Chad to Combat Elephant Poaching

In a week of wildlife conservation announcements coming out of New York, including CGI’s commitment to spend $80 million fighting elephant poaching, and the merge between Rare and The Nature Conservancy, the nonprofit organization African Parks (AP) added its news to the mix: African Parks is partnering with the government of Chad to launch the first national program to combat elephant poaching in central Africa.

New Promises Follow Elephant Slaughter in Chad and Cameroon

In the aftermath of the largest elephant poaching episode thus far in 2013, Central African governments met to coordinate and adopt an emergency plan to combat the killings. But is it too little, too late? WARNING: This post contains graphic images of slain elephants and an aborted calf.

Poachers Capitalize on Chaos in Central Africa

Poachers are capitalizing on the disarray in the Central African Republic (CAR) and appear to be moving freely in a search of elephants. Late last year several columns of Sudanese poachers, up to 200 well-armed men, were spotted traveling across northern CAR toward Chad and Cameroon. Reports last week indicate that these poachers are moving back-and-forth between CAR and Chad.

Elephants in Cameroon and Chad face imminent threat; Sudanese poachers en route from the Central African Republic (CAR)

Gangs of heavily armed elephant poachers have crossed the Central African Republic (CAR) from Sudan and are reported to be close to the southern Chad and northern Cameroon borders. Informers recognized one of the poachers as part of the group responsible for the killing frenzy that left roughly 650 elephants dead in and around northern Cameroon’s Bouba Ndjidah National Park in February 2012.

Elephant Poachers Caught in Chad, Protection Efforts Stepped Up

Following the capture of the poachers, Chadian communities have gathered to support the country’s elephants. The wildlife organization SOS Elephants, traditional leaders, and administrative authorities together have initiated an education campaign to explain why elephants deserve protection and how creation of a safe corridor could help.

Elephant Guards Murdered in Chad

Zakaria Ibrahim, Brahim Khamis, Daoud Aldjouma, Djibrine Adoum Goudja, and Idriss Adoum—all dead, gunned down during dawn prayers. Where? North of Zakouma National Park in Chad, central Africa. When? September 3, 2012. Why? They were assassinated for protecting the last of the elephant herds found in the vast stretches between the Sahara Desert and the Congo forest.

A powerful combination: Radio and SMS promote open dialogue in Chad and Niger

In the age of Twitter, the blogosphere, iPhones and Androids, it is often difficult for people in more developed nations to imagine what it is like to have no voice. Yet for populations not served by broadband Internet and Wi-Fi connections, exclusion from national dialogue and debate continues, leaving many communities and people out of…

Lake Chad to be fully protected as international wetlands

Cameroon is about to recognize its portion of Lake Chad as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention, the Switzerland-based conservation charity WWF said today. WWF, which partnered with the Lake Chad Basin Commission, the Ramsar Convention and the Global Environment Facility on projects in Lake Chad and with the governments on achieving…

UNHCR, Jolie, Curry Mark World Refugee Day

Refugees from Bhutan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo joined United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres, film star Angelina Jolie, and NBC television anchor Ann Curry at National Geographic headquarters today. The event marked the launch of official activities leading up to World Refugee Day this Saturday, June 20. More than 42…

Elephants Making Last Stand in Besieged African Park, Conservationists Find

This photo of buffalo in Zakouma National Park was used to determine that there are exactly 794 animals in the herd. Photo mosaics made by Mike Fay and his team of conservationists allow them to make an accurate assessment of the types and numbers of animals in the sanctuary. Photo courtesy Mike Fay On the…

Survey in African Sanctuary Finds Elephants, at Last

One of the male elephants hanging around the Zakouma base camp   Photo courtesy J. Michael Fay On the second to last day in an aerial survey of Zakouma National Park’s elephant population, conservationist J. Michael Fay finds a large herd and several smaller groups. “What great relief,” Fay writes in this fourth entry of…

Third Day of Elephant Survey Continues to Find Only Carcasses in African Park

Photo courtesy Mike Fay A haven for hundreds of thousands of elephants only a few decades ago, Zakouma National Park in Chad in northern central Africa is now on the frontline of the continent’s ivory wars. Poaching in recent years may have reduced the number of elephants in the reserve to fewer than a thousand. Elephants…

Only Dead Elephants Seen on Second Day of Census in African Wilderness

Photo courtesy J. Michael Fay Conservationist J. Michael Fay continues blogging from Zakouma National Park, Chad, where he and assistants are conducting an aerial survey of the sanctuary’s elephants. Fay, a biologist with the Wildlife Conservation Society and Explorer-in-Residence for National Geographic, is trying to count the Zakouma elephants after recent estimates indicated that fewer…

Updated Elephant Count Begins in Embattled African Sanctuary

A recent elephant carcass that the team discovered from the air on calibration flights before the survey. Photo by Mike Fay J. Michael Fay, a biologist with the Wildlife Conservation Society and Explorer-in-Residence for National Geographic, is back in Chad, Africa, to survey the elephant population in Zakouma National Park. The park is on the…