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Gabon: The Last Eden | National Geographic


00:00:11poachers supplying the lucrative ivory

00:00:13trade use these same trails to track

00:00:16down their quarry

00:00:21and when they do the outcome can be



00:00:32but not every human use of the elephant

00:00:35trails is destructive indigenous peoples

00:00:39have traveled these ball ways for at

00:00:41least 9,000 years and in 1999 wildlife

00:00:47conservation society researcher Mike Fay

00:00:50embarked on a 2,000 mile trek across

00:00:53Central Africa his chief purpose to draw

00:00:58attention to the threats facing the

00:01:00region’s wildlife his primary means of

00:01:04travel the elephant trails

00:01:09he called his journey the mega transect

00:01:15halfway through Mike stumbled onto a

00:01:18poaching camp and found himself staring

00:01:21at a gruesome scene this wasn’t

00:01:26subsistence hunting the meat was headed

00:01:29for local logging and mining camps what

00:01:34Mike saw on the mega transect would turn

00:01:37out to have far-reaching and unexpected

00:01:39consequences together with WCS ecologist

00:01:44Lee white Mike presented President Omar

00:01:47Bongo ondimba with a plan to create 13

00:01:51national parks the president said yes

00:01:57for me when Bongo said he was going to

00:02:00do it it wasn’t even like a dream come

00:02:03true it was like winning the 256 million

00:02:06dollar lottery setting up the parks was

00:02:09a promising start but only a start

00:02:12Gabonese conservationists joined forces

00:02:15with the Wildlife Conservation Society

00:02:17or WCS and created Park management teams

00:02:22like operation Luang go one of the first

00:02:26problems they faced was pervasive animal

00:02:29poaching it remains a serious problem


00:02:33all across Central Africa elephants are

00:02:36hunted and killed for their ivory

00:02:39while local poachers profit very little

00:02:42from what they kill the tusks of a

00:02:44single large bull can bring thousands of

00:02:47dollars on the Asian open market

00:02:52so anti-poaching forces face an uphill


00:02:59after discovering an elephant massacre

00:03:02nears Akuma National Park and southern

00:03:04Chad Mike Fay is determined to learn


00:03:08he knows that especially in war-torn

00:03:11nations like Chad national parks alone

00:03:14can’t stem the tide of widespread