Four rangers were killed by elephant poachers while following the collar of a poached elephant through the Garamba National Park.
Four rangers, part of a 10-man team designed to curb the illegal harvest of elephants in the Congo's Garamba National Park, were killed last week when elephant poachers engaged them in a gun battle.
According to African Parks, the team was tracking the collar of a poached elephant when the poachers opened fire and scattered the rangers. The park's helicopter returned to the scene to recover the team but came under heavy fire.
They were able to return two men to base while four others had to endure a two-day walk from the scene of the shooting to safety. The bodies of the other four individuals were later recovered by a reinforced patrol. The elephant poachers were not apprehended.
"Our sincere condolences go to the families of the four men who tragically lost their loved ones while they were bravely eliminating the scourge of elephant poaching from Garamba National Park," said Peter Fearnhead, CEO African Parks.
Eight people have lost their lives in Garamba in 2015, according to Fearnhead.
Poaching has long been a problem in Garamba, one of the oldest African national parks and situated in the Orientale Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It was home to the last known population of wild northern white rhinos.
In recent years, poachers have used helicopters to illegally gun down elephants and other game animals.