Friday, 16 October 2015


Part  1 :

Introduction : 

Forest Elephants are found exclusively in Central Africa.

Gabon is situated in Central Africa.

The situation is very "grave" for forest elephants and their safety in many National Parks in Gabon but specially in Minkebe National Park and in Wonga Wongue Presidential Reserve.

Gabon's Minkebe National Park has lost numerous Forest Elephants consistently to "Ivory Poaching" since 2004. It is distressing to know that 11,000 Forest Elephants or more were slaughtered for their ivory in the last 10 years.

Recent Surveys of areas within the park revealed that two-thirds of its Forest Elephants have vanished since 2004.

It is estimated that 50-100 Forest Elephants are being slaughtered daily by Poachers for ivory in Minkebe.

Gabon's National Park Agency reported an uptick of poaching in Gabon in recent years including the 2011 slaughter of 27 Forest Elephants in Wonga Wongue Presidential Reserve.

This mass slaughter of Forest Elephants in Gabon deserves to be condemned in the strongest possible terms.

Facts on Forest Elephants in Gabon :

Gabon contains over half of Africa's Forest Elephants with a population of more than 40,000.

Wild Forest Elephants can be seen strolling in patches of long golden grass between islands of forest at Wonga Wongue Presidential Reserve.

It is virtually impossible to observe these Forest Elephants at close quarters because poachers have made all the elephants wary of humans.

Knee- Deep in green wax leaved bushes, one can see dozens of Forest Elephants with the open blue sea and long white waves breaking behind them.

A Bull with spread out tusks, Females with calves picking fruit from the waxy plants and several half-grown youngsters playing in the sea can be seen at Wonga Wongue Reserve.

These Forest Elephants are certainly smaller than their Savannah Relatives with rounded smaller ears blown out by the wind.

Gabon's Forest Elephants are sadly hunted to the nth degree for Ivory and for Meat.

Part 2 :

Forest Elephants can still be found in large numbers at 5 National Parks in Gabon.

However, they are at the mercy of poachers.

1. Ivindo National Park :

Ivindo protects Langoue Bai and spectacular Kongou and Mingouli Falls on the Ivindo River.

Langoue Bai, the hidden clearing discovered by eminent wildlife conservationist and ecologist -- Mike Fay has concentrations of Forest Elephants that one can only dream of. It is a gathering place for hundreds of Forest Elephants that likely had never encountered humans.

A rare clearing in a sea of forest the mile long Langoue Bai was carved out by Forest Elephants digging in the mud.

The pristine Equatorial Rain Forest surrounding Langoue Bai in the upper Ivindo River harbors big tusked Forest Elephants like never seen before.

Early Observations by Conservationists at Langoue Bai indicate that Forest Elephants drawn to the "Forest Clearing" for succulent vegetation, water, and salt make some sort of seasonal migration away.

They disappear when the rains end.

Where have they gone ?? Our guess according to conservationists is that they come here during the dry season to the marshy, provident, flatlands of the Upper Djidji River.

It might be the last unprobed hideout of "Gabon's Biggest Tuskers".

2. Pongara National Park :

Gabon's most popular beach retreat features hotels, lodges, plus herds of forest elephants in plenty. They can be found in large numbers amidst forest clearings that encompass Pongara National Park.

3.  Moukalaba - DouDou National Park :

Savanna descends from the DouDou Mountains to papyrus marshes Mon the Nyanga River, an oasis for Elephants in the dry season.

4. Mwagne National Park :

This is the site of the biggest bai or water hole clearing in Gabon. Mwagne supports bongos, otters, and a large population of forest elephants.

5. Minkebe National Park :

    Engulfed by one of the biggest wilderness areas in Central Africa, Minkebe is renowned for its large granite domes known as "Inselbergs".

Minkebe  was home to an estimated 20,000 Forest Elephants in 2004, but now only about 6,000 remain or less. Two thirds of Minkebe's Forest Elephants have been wiped out by rampant poaching.

The Minkebe Forest Block encompassing more than 12,500 square miles of North- Eastern Gabon represents one of the great zones of wilderness remaining in Central Africa.

Much of it and its Forest Elephants stand threatened by "Bush Meat Extraction" and Elephant Poaching for ivory.

Conclusion :

Only God can save Minkebe's Forest Elephants and their habitat as well as other Forest Elephants throughout the length and breadth of Gabon from wave after wave of rampant poaching.

The need of the hour is "Concerted Military Action" by the Gabonese Government against organized poacher gangs, so as to save the last remaining herds of Forest Elephants.

Before I end, I would like to say this that "Perched on the edge of the Congo River Basin, Gabon's Forests support some of the greatest numbers of species on the African Continent.

Awash with Life, Gabon has pledged to become a leading steward of "Biological Diversity".

It is our God given duty to help protect Gabon's Wildlife specially its Magnificent Forest Elephants.

"Let Them Never Ever Go Extinct".

Credits and References :

1. Gabon- Ground Zero for Forest Elephants.

2.  National Geographic Magazine September 2003.
     Saving Africa's Eden by David Quammen
     Pages 50 - 68 Vol 204,  N0- 3

3.  National Geographic Magazine November 1980.
     Africa's Elephants - Can they survive ??
     By Oria Douglas- Hamilton Pages 568-596
     Vol 158,  N0-- 5

4.  We are condemning Forest Elephants by ignoring the evidence


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