Elephants in the vast Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) face a precarious future following reports that armed gangs of poachers are wreaking havoc in the game reserve, threatening both the animals and rangers.
According to reports, last year, about 114 elephants were killed in the Garamba National Park, located in the north-eastern part of the DRC.
Garamba park is also home to giraffe, hippopotamus and rhinoceros, amongst other animal species.
The park is one of the most insecure game reserves owing to regional conflicts. Situated in one of the world’s most politically volatile areas, the park is home to a team of dedicated rangers, who risk their lives everyday to protect the increasingly threatened animals.
Alhadji Somba Ghislain, Garamba’s assistant park manager said, “We are fighting groups which are real threats, they are militaries. It is a real war”.
The park rangers say, the conflict in South Sudan is the source of the greatest threat and add to that, remnants of the notorious Ugandan rebel group Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), who also poach the elephants for ivory.
The elephants are also endangered by armed Janjaweed horsemen from Sudan, villagers, a host of other rebel groups in the central African region and renegade soldiers, phys reports.
Elephant poaching in parts of Africa remain a huge problem, with figures estimating that more than 33,000 elephants are poached each year across the world. In the DRC alone, in the last few years, thousands of elephants have seen decimated for their tusks, which indicate the precarious state of affairs.