Elephant poaching

The poaching of forest elephants in Chad and Cameroon is a serious threat to the biodiversity of the region (Report, 19 March), but it's the tip of the iceberg. The loss of important seed dispersers, such as the forest elephant and primates that feed on fruit, means rainforest trees will not regenerate and the genetic variation that sustains rainforest will, over time, be lost.

Thomas B. Smith
Professor and Founding Director, Center for Tropical Research, Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, University of California, Los Angeles