All sides in South Sudan's civil war have slaughtered wildlife including elephant, giraffe and antelope, conservationists said Thursday, warning that huge efforts will have to be made to protect the surviving animal population.
In a report released on World Wildlife Day, conservationists said gunmen had devastated one of Africa's largest animal migrations, yet another victim of an ongoing civil war marked by atrocities in which tens of thousands of people have been killed.
It said there had been a "sharp rise" in recent months of commercial bushmeat poaching of antelopes, elephant killing, ivory smuggling, logging of trees, charcoal production and gold mining, damaging formerly pristine forests.
Elephants have been slaughtered for their tusks, while giraffe and antelope have been mowed down with machine guns for meat to feed the tens of thousands of soldiers and rebels battling each other since December 2013.
The report was published the same day that the United Nations said that elephants in Africa are "killed faster than they are being born."