Cameroon Army to Take on Machine-Gun-Toting Elephant Poachers

The welcome committee for Cameroon's Bouba Ndjida National Park, a former safari tourism destination, would not look out of place on a battlefield. Faced with the threat of horse-mounted Sudanese elephant poachers armed with machine guns, the central African nation has deployed military helicopters and 600 soldiers to try to protect the park and its animals, Reuters reported. Its decision to call in the army follows a bloody incursion into the park last winter during which poachers from Sudan killed some 300 elephants, or 80 percent of the park's elephant population, within a few weeks. Armed only with World War One-era rifles, the park's eco-guards were defenseless in the face of the Sudanese "jandjaweed" poachers who had traveled thousands of miles on horseback to seize the tusks. The raid left hundreds of elephant corpses in its wake. Cameroon says it is determined to make sure such a scene is never repeated.

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