Target: Bireme Hamid Abderahim, Chief Justice of Chad
Goal: Prosecute poachers who killed two elephants in Zakouma National Park.
A recent poaching attack has left two female elephants dead, one calf dead and one calf presumed dead in Chad’s Zakouma National Park. The park’s elephants have had a traumatic past of destructive poaching, which drastically lowered their population. This makes any elephant loss in the area especially critical. The poachers have yet to be found and tried.
A pilot on a routine surveillance flight over the park called in the park rangers after seeing a herd of 30 elephants in defensive positions with two men on their horses nearby. By the time the rangers arrived, the men were gone, having killed two female elephants and removing the tusks from one of them. Two calves were nearby, one moving off before it could be rescued. It was too young to survive on its own and is presumed dead. The other calf, who was only about a month old, was taken back to the park headquarters where he died of trauma.
The Zakouma National Park has suffered thousands of poaching-related elephant losses during the past decade. The population there has only recently stabilized, at around 450 elephants, after four years of almost no births. This was due to herd stress brought on by the attacks. Ivory from elephant tusks is a lucrative business but the Chadian government started strictly enforcing anti-poaching laws in the recent years.
African Parks have reached out to surrounding villages for help in finding the poachers and they believe small local gangs are the likely culprits. Urge the Chadian government to prosecute the poachers, once found, to the fullest extent, so that they can not murder any more of Zakouma’s precious elephants.
Dear Bireme Hamid Abderahim,
The Zakouma National Park hadn’t lost a single elephant to poaching since 2012, until the recent and tragic assault. This attack killed four, including an elephant mother and her calves. Poaching has been devastating to Zakouma’s elephant population, lowering it from 4,000 to about 400 in less than a decade. African Parks are now after the perpetrators, and once they’re found it is in the hands of the justice system to ensure this tragedy doesn’t happen again.
Zakouma is a strictly enforced park, with constant anti-poaching patrol that has been able to stop the elephant killings the past few years. Now that this atrocity has occurred, poachers may be enticed to restart their illegal activity in the region, unless the Chadian justice system shows them the punishment that will follow. The punishment of these poachers will set the example for what happens if you kill elephants in Chad.
Elephants are social creatures who spend their lives in tight-knit family groups. They are self-aware and display emotions. They can not continue to be seen as expendable profit makers for the ivory trade. Although there is still the overarching goal of eradicating the demand for ivory, there must be other forms of justice in the interim. I urge you to please take this case very seriously and prosecute the poachers with the full extent of the law.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Brian Snelson