Last year 2 forest elephant bulls, presumably brothers, migrated the long way from Guinea to Liberia to Ivory Coast. Now the bulls are on the move again and have decided to migrate back to Liberia. Much to the astonishment of the local population, as there is no natural elephant population in this area.
Dr. Tina Vogt from ELRECO, our partner in Liberia, reports that the mother of the two bulls was probably killed by poachers in Guinea in 2016. Since then, the two seem to feel more comfortable and safe near human settlements than in their natural habitat, the remaining rainforests of this area. Unfortunately, this unusual situation makes them extremely vulnerable and an easy target for poachers. Their tragic fate is well known to the forest authorities in Guinea and the two hikers are therefore under continuous surveillance.
To further ensure the protection of the two orphans, avert human/elephant conflicts and prevent dangerous situations in Liberia, ELRECO worked with partner organizations and the Forest Protection Agency to develop an emergency plan. The team organized rangers to accompany them on their dangerous journey. It remains exciting and hardly predictable what the two wanderlusting companions will do next. With the population reacting with extreme excitement as news of their presence spreads, it is a challenge for the rangers to keep people away from the two bulls. Although the two elephants are accustomed to people, are unusually calm about the noise and display very friendly behavior, being close to the local population is risky because people underestimate the seriousness of the situation.
But all the enormous efforts have been worth it, because the wanderlusting pair of brothers, who have now covered around 900 km, are still safe and sound on the road. Their sad fate and dangerous migration now help to draw attention to the plight and threat to their species.
ELRECO was founded in 2017 and is working diligently to develop and rapidly implement measures to protect Liberia's rare forest elephants. "It is very important to do everything possible to highlight the plight of these animals, which have become rare, to protect them and secure their future," says Dr. Tina Vogt.
More about the work of ELRECO:
Project in Liberia – ELRECO
Photocredit of all images: ELRECO
More information about forest elephants:
Forest elephants - climate artists threatened with extinction