PROTECTORS OF THE FOREST

PARK RANGERS FIGHT TO SAVE THE LAST WILD HERDS OF FOREST ELEPHANTS

 

In 2015, during a month-long production trip to the Central African Republic for the documentary film, Rue Des Elephants, I took time to make still photographs of park rangers undergoing intensive, military-style training to combat illegal poaching.

The poaching of forest elephants for their prized ivory is the primary reason for the species rapid slide toward extinction.  Researchers estimate between thirty and forty thousand elephants are killed every year.  Between 2002 and 2011, the population of forest elephants declined by sixty-two percent.  The precipitating reason for the decline is that forest elephants are one of the slowest reproducing mammals on Earth.  Even if all poaching ceased immediately, researchers calculate that it would take 90 years for forest elephant populations to return to pre-2002 levels.

 

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