Haunting new photos reveal secret elephant graveyard discovered in the heart of Africa where illegal ivory trade is booming

Lying in crumpled heaps, severed body parts strewn nearby, this is the terrible toll of the ivory trade on a once-thriving herd of elephants.

Thirty-five carcasses of the majestic gentle giants were found mutilated in a single attack by poachers at a popular safari destination in Cameroon.

The heart-breaking sight was captured by a photographer last month - 20 years after the global ivory trade was officially banned to protect Africa's herds. In the aftermath of the slaughter at Bouba N'djida National Park, a terrified young elephant was seen cowering around his mother's corpse – the only living elephant the photographer saw in the park for a whole week. Local activists say 400 elephants may have been killed in this park alone since the beginning of the year – almost its total population according to the World Wildlife Fund.

This region of the country did contain Africa's largest population of savannah elephants. There are thought to be less than 5,000 elephants left in the whole country. Cameroon is one of a number of African countries whose elephants are at risk of extinction due to a spike in organised gangs of poachers targeting them for their tusks. Hacked apart with most of their faces missing, they took chainsaws to the animals heads to reach the valuable ivory which sells for up to £10,000 for a large tusk – leaving a severed trunk nearby.


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