Critically endangered forest elephants found in war-torn South Sudan

JUBA, South Sudan -- A critically endangered elephant species has been photographed by researchers for the first time in South Sudan, significantly expanding the known range of the animal.

See Full Article

But even in these remote central African forests, it faces threats from illegal logging and from war.

Smaller than savannah elephants, the forest elephants roam tropical forests and were photographed by cameras tied to trees in Western Equatoria state, a lush area near Congo and the Central African Republic.

"This is by far the most northerly herd of forest elephants that anyone has seen in Africa," Adrian Garside, co-leader of the study by Fauna & Flora International, told Associated Press.

Forest elephant populations declined by 60 per cent between 2002 and 2011, while losing 30 per cent of their range in West and Central Africa, according to a 2013 study published in scientific journal PLOS ONE.

The forest elephant has straighter tusks than its cousins and more rounded ears and head.

The remotely activated cameras, set up over 3,000 square miles (7,770 sq. kilometres) of the state, also captured images of African golden cat, red river hog, giant pangolin, and water chevrotain, which is like a small deer, all previously unrecorded in South Sudan, the group said.

Over six months, the cameras captured more than 20,000 wildlife images. Chimpanzee, leopard, hyena, and bongo antelope were also spotted.

"We are proving that there are expanses of habitat that is sort of pristine and unexplored, which is a very hopeful sign," Garside said.

In other countries, forest elephants are under intense poaching pressure, said said DeeAnn Reeder, co-leader of the new study and a biology professor at Pennsylvania's Bucknell University.

She said the greater threat in Western Equatoria is habitat loss.

"There's illegal logging happening in Western Equatoria now, and it's pretty much unchecked," Reeder said.

South Sudan's war has led to more poaching of elephants for meat and ivory. Over 50 per cent of elephants in South Sudan fitted with radio tracking collars before the war have been poached since fighting broke out two years ago, Paul Elkan of the Wildlife Conservation Society told AP.

Western Equatoria was mostly peaceful during the conflict but skirmishes broke out there between rebels and army this week.



Advertisements

Latest Tech & Science News

  • World's only particle accelerator for art revs up in Paris

    Tech & Science CTV News
    The world's only particle accelerator dedicated to art was switched on at the Louvre in Paris Thursday to help experts analyze ancient and precious works. The 37-metre (88-foot) AGLAE accelerator housed underneath the huge Paris museum will be now be used for the first time to routinely study and help authenticate paintings and other items made from organic materials. Source
  • Terry Fox 'precision oncology' program offers hope for children who are out of cancer treatment options

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Seeing children suffering with cancer when he was being treated himself broke Terry Fox's heart and inspired his Marathon of Hope. Now, those efforts have fuelled a unique initiative to give kids and young adults across the country a chance to live when there are few, if any, treatment options left. Source
  • Trudeau 'very concerned' about U.S. plans to roll back net neutrality

    Tech & Science CTV News
    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’ll “continue to defend” net neutrality as the U.S. Federal Communications Commission set out its plans to scrap the rules around open internet access. “I am very concerned about the attacks on net neutrality,” Trudeau told reporters on Wednesday. Source
  • YouTube steps up enforcement of content aimed at children

    Tech & Science CBC News
    YouTube stepped up enforcement of its guidelines for videos aimed at children, the company said Wednesday, responding to criticism that it has failed to protect children from adult content. The streaming video service, which is a unit of Alphabet Inc. Source
  • What happens once 'net neutrality' rules bite the dust?

    Tech & Science CTV News
    NEW YORK -- The Federal Communications Commission formally released a draft of its plan to kill net-neutrality rules , which equalized access to the internet and prevented broadband providers from favouring their own apps and services. Source
  • 3,000-year-old fortress found under Turkey's Lake Van

    Tech & Science CTV News
    It’s not quite Atlantis, but it could be Aquaman’s summer getaway. Archeologists in Turkey have discovered an ancient fortress half-buried at the bottom of the country’s largest lake, where the alkaline waters have kept the structure well-preserved for approximately 3,000 years. Source
  • 'Our bodies get weak': Coping with Delhi's toxic smog

    Tech & Science CTV News
    NEW DELHI -- India’s capital has been choking under a thick layer of smog this month, the worst the air quality has been all year in a city that’s among the most polluted in the world. Source
  • From the recycling bin to the Vatican: Canadian CEO takes plastic plan to church

    Tech & Science CTV News
    The CEO of a Canadian plastic-for-currency enterprise met with a top Catholic official in Vatican City on Wednesday, where he pitched the Catholic Church on methods for reducing plastic waste in the ocean while helping the world’s poor. Source
  • Hackers only needed a phone number to track this MP's cellphone

    Tech & Science CBC News
    NDP MP Matthew Dubé looks at a map showing that hackers tracked his movements through his cellphone for days. One marker shows Dubé near Parliament Hill. Another marks the place he lives when he's working in Ottawa. Source
  • High-energy 'ghost particles' can be stopped on way through Earth

    Tech & Science CBC News
    High-energy subatomic particles nicknamed "ghost particles" for their ability to pass through just about anything can be stopped, scientists have confirmed. That doesn't require kryptonite or any other special substance — scientists have observed some high-energy neutrinos being blocked and absorbed by the Earth itself as they zip through the planet from the atmosphere or from deep space, reports the international "IceCube" research collaboration in a new paper published today in the journal…