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

  • Neolithic rock art uncovered by Egyptologists

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Newly discovered art found pecked into rock during the 4th millennium BC may be a link between the Neolithic period and ancient Egyptian culture, opening up a new window into that period of history. Source
  • Mexican authorities find crocodiles killed for their blood

    Tech & Science CTV News
    MEXICO CITY -- Mexican authorities have rescued 14 crocodiles and found 20 others dead in a squatters' settlement where people were apparently "milking" the crocs for their blood. The office for environmental protection said Thursday that some local residents in Chiapas wanted the blood because they believed it could cure cancer, diabetes, AIDS and other diseases. Source
  • How a blind man plays mainstream video games and the future of accessibility in games

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Nintendo's Switch console came out earlier this month and now the party game 1-2 Switch is gaining a lot of attention for being accessible to blind and visually impaired gamers. "Being able to play that with my friends and not have a disability hinder my playthrough, it was amazing," said Steve Saylor, a blind gamer from Toronto. Source
  • If you're a hungry black hole, try snacking on a star

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Black holes could be seen as the bouncers of the solar system. They hang out and use their brute strength — their mass and energy — to keep all the stars and planets in their galaxy in line. Source
  • Make way, beaver and gray jay: New contest seeks 'Canada's greatest animal'

    Tech & Science CTV News
    Will it be the prowling grey wolf with its haunting moonlight howl? Or maybe the great grey owl with its piercing know-it-all stare? What about the graceful whooping crane with its impressive wingspan? These distinctly Canadian animals, dubbed the “Eh! Team” by the Calgary Zoo, are all in the running to become “Canada’s Greatest Animal” in a new online contest. Source
  • Google unveils Android O with developer preview

    Tech & Science CTV News
    Google has unveiled Android O, the latest iteration of the firm's mobile operating system, with a preview version released for developers. The developers' OS showcases several major changes in store, ahead of the system's official presentation at the Google I/O conference in May. Source
  • Let there be light: German scientists test 'artificial sun'

    Tech & Science CTV News
    BERLIN -- Scientists in Germany flipped the switch Thursday on what's being described as "the world's largest artificial sun" and which they hope will help shed light on new ways of making climate-friendly fuel. The giant honeycomb-like setup of 149 spotlights -- officially known as "Synlight" -- in Juelich, about 30 kilometres west of Cologne, uses xenon short-arc lamps normally found in cinemas to simulate natural sunlight that's often in short supply in Germany at this time of year. Source
  • California races nature, clock to make key dam repairs

    Tech & Science CTV News
    SAN FRANCISCO -- California is not just fighting nature as it attempts to repair the damaged main spillway at the nation's tallest dam, pounded last month by surging storm waters. It's also racing the clock. Source
  • Indonesia survey shows massive coral death from cruise ship

    Tech & Science CTV News
    JAKARTA, Indonesia - Indonesia says nearly 19,000 square metres of coral reef was damaged by a foreign cruise ship that ran aground in the pristine waters of Raja Ampat in West Papua province earlier this month. Source
  • Ground-breaking bat cave discovery gives Alberta researchers baseline in fight against deadly disease

    Tech & Science CBC News
    The recent discovery of a large cave or hibernacula in northern Alberta where hundreds of bats have found hibernating is giving researchers a baseline measurement in the fight against the deadly white-nose syndrome. "Up until now, within the bulk of Alberta, the large hibernacula we have found are in the Rocky Mountains, so it's nice to find that this is the third-largest known hibernacula in the province," Dave Critchley of the Wildlife Conservation Society's Bat Caver program told The…