WCS Congo

Forest Elephant

Forest elephants play an important role in the maintenance of forest dynamics. They are often described as the 'engineers' of the forest, and they physically transform the forest as they move through it, contributing to the ecological functioning of the forest. They create light gaps by knocking down trees, they keep the undergrowth clear by trampling vegetation and speed decomposition by shattering rotting logs. They disperse seeds and fertilize the soil with their dung, compact it with their feet, and cultivate it with their tusks. By digging for essential minerals changes stream flow, creating wet forest clearings, known locally as "bais".

Since 2008 poaching for ivory has strongly affected elephant populations throughout Africa. The dimension of the massacres in the last 5 years are unrivalled and shocking, with Northern Congo having possibly lost up to 70% of its forest elephants through poaching in the past 3 years. Tchad, CAR, Cameroon and DRC fare no better and even elephants roaming the large historically famous protected areas in Eastern and Southern Africa such as Niassa, Serengeti, Tsavo, the Selous aren't spared.

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WCS Congo Program
B.P. 14537 Brazzaville, Republic of Congo
+(242) 05 722 7411

Key Staff

Hilde Vanleeuwe
Project Director
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