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Elephants in Central Africa have been hit hard by the recent poaching surge. An estimated 4,000 to 12,000 elephants are killed each year for their tusks, which are smuggled illegally to Asia for carvings. Last year was the worst year on record for large ivory seizures according to WWF's wildlife trade monitoring arm TRAFFIC. Most elephant deaths are occurring in Central African forests where there are too few rangers to protect elephants and the other animals sharing their habitats, such as buffalo, hippos, gorillas and chimpanzees.

The director of WWF's Global Species Programme, Dr Carlos Drews, is making his first visit to the Dzanga Sangha to see for himself its amazing diversity of animals, as well to assess the threats being posed to elephants. Along the way Carlos will be hearing first hand from the rangers, trackers and indigenous people who WWF is partnering for conservation.  

Dzanga-Sangha billboard 
© Chloé Cipolletta


Dzanga Sangha

Keeping endangered species safe from poachers is a difficult task, but some places Central African are having success. The Dzanga Sangha protected area in southeastern Central African Republic is one such standout. WWF works in Dzanga Sangha training rangers, supporting sustainable livelihoods, and helping habituate gorillas for ecotourism.

Invest on a gorilla's paradise!

In some cases the common name and scientific name are same. For example, Gorilla's scientfic name ... 
© WWF / Martin Harvey

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Carlos Drews

A native of Colombia, Carlos has a Ph.D. in Zoology from Cambridge University and has carried out research into wildlife behavioural ecology in Africa and Latin America.

Before joining WWF in 2003, he was on the academic staff at the International Institute for Wildlife Conservation and Management, based at the National University of Costa Rica. He headed up WWF´s marine work in Latin America until 2009, including the conservation of marine turtles, whales and dolphins, fisheries, and marine habitats.

His recent publications address the link between biodiversity and society, including attitudes and practices toward nature in Central America, the economics of marine turtle consumption and conservation, a concept and methodology for species conservation with a livelihoods focus and, more recently, adaptation to climate change. He currently leads WWF´s efforts to save elephants, rhinos, great apes, pandas, polar bears, tigers, sea turtles and cetaceans from extinction. An avid runner, Carlos lives in Switzerland, drinks lots of tea, and is fond of Asian cuisine.

Carlos Drews 
© WWF / Carlos Drews

Dr. Carlos Drews, Director, Global Species Programme, WWF International