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Helicopter-borne poachers kill 22 elephants in Congo

United Kingdom,Environment/Wildlife, Wed, 25 Apr 2012 IANS

London, April 25 (IANS) In a brazen attack carried out by helicopter-borne poachers, a herd of 22 elephants were killed and their tusks and genitals hacked off at a national park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a media report said Wednesday.


The poachers at the Garamba National Park reportedly smuggled the tusks and genitals through South Sudan or Uganda -- part of an ivory trail linking Africa to Asia -- according to the Daily Mail.


"It's been a long time since we've seen something like this," Tshibasu Muamba, head of international cooperation for the Congolese state conservation agency ICCN.


A record number of ivory seizures were made globally in 2011. The trend continues in 2012, experts said.


In Cameroon, as many as 200 elephants, listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as "vulnerable", were slain in January.


In South Africa, nearly two rhinos are being killed every day to meet demand for the animal's horn.


Conservation group Traffic, which monitors global trade in animals and plants, said 2011 was the worst year for ivory seizures.


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