An elephant lies maimed and dead by a pool of its own blood, one of at least 26 of the majestic creatures slaughtered for their ivory in Central African Republic.
Four calves were among the victims of the massacre, which was carried out by 17 members of the 'transitional government forces' armed with Kalashnikov rifles in Dzanga Bai, a World Heritage site known as the 'Village of Elephants'.
After their tusks were ripped from their carcasses, locals began hacking meat from the bones.
Charity workers described the area, at which between 50-200 of the animals gather every day to drink nutrients present in sands, as an 'elephant mortuary'.
'The killing has started,' Jim Leape, WWF's international director general, said in a statement. 'The Central African Republic must act immediately to secure this unique World Heritage site.
'The brutal violence we are witnessing in Dzanga Bai threatens to destroy one of the world's great natural treasures, and to jeopardize the future of the people who live there.'
'The 17 killers have now left the area, but the WWF fear the slaughter could continue. More....