At least five elephants were killed last week in southern Chad by poachers who took their tusks, according to the authorities and an NGO which is alarmed Tuesday by a "sudden resumption" of these acts.
There are less than 1,500 pachyderms left in Chad in 2023 compared to several tens of thousands 30 years ago, and the last known killings for their ivory were in 2017, the Chadian NGO SOS Elephants said in a statement.
"At least five elephants were killed last week by poachers" in the area of Beinamar, capital of the Dodjé department, 400 km south of the capital N'Djamena, Adam Ahmat Assane, secretary general of SOS Elephants, assured AFP.
"Elephants have been killed but their number has not yet been communicated to me, our forces are tracking down the poachers who shot them," Hamid Mahamat Hissein Itno, deputy director general of the Administration of forestry, wildlife and Fisheries, confirmed to AFP.
They were killed by "armed horsemen" and the bodies were found "without their tusks", the NGO said in a statement. It is "concerned about the sudden resumption of this serious attack on Chad's wildlife".
This type of poaching "gradually stopped about 10 years ago" after Chadian President Idriss Déby Itno, who was killed two years ago in a battle with rebels, "took very strict measures to protect the last elephants in Chad from 2008," the NGO said.
Most of the 1,500 or so elephants listed by the association live in protected reserves, but they are poached especially as soon as they leave them, explains SOS Elephants, which calls on President Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno, proclaimed head of state by the army on the death of his father on April 20, 2021, to "show the utmost firmness.
Between 2009 and 2011, more than 200 elephants were killed in the provinces of Chari Baguirmi and Mayo Kebbi East", close to Beinamar and bordering Cameroon, said Mr. Ahmat Assane, adding: "We have to be very careful not to kill elephants in the provinces of Beinamar and Mayo Kebbi East. Ahmat Assane, adding: "The last cases took place in 2016 and 2017 in these two provinces, with at least 20" pachyderms killed.