Where's the outcry against elephant poaching?

In the 1980s, the world was sickened by the plague of poachers destroying Africa's elephants. At the time, 70,000 elephants were being killed every year, and the anger over these deaths lead directly to 1989's international ban on ivory trade.

That ban was supposed to save the African elephant. But today, elephant populations have dropped from nearly 1 million to just 470,000 -- and more elephants are being slain every year than before the ban was enacted.

In fact, according to a paper coming up in this month's issue of Conservation Biology, about 8% of African elephants are now being poached ever year. That puts the elephant on an unsustainable path, and scientists warn that the elephant could risk extinction by 2020 if things do not change.

So why isn't the world as angry about this as it was in 1989? According to the authors, people just aren't hearing enough about the situation. I guess the media is too busy telling us about Brangelina's babies to care about what's happening in Africa and Asia.

So spread the word. And get angry. Let's see if we can drum up enough interest to finally save the African elephant from greed-inspired extinction.

Previously in Extinction Blog, "Organized Crime Could Drive Elephant to Extinction"; "Hey American, Stop Buying Ivory!"

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Here's the outcry - people just need to get together and support the efforts of groups like Born Free USA and the Born Free Foundation! This is what they are doing:

Poaching of elephants has reached crisis point, particularly in West and Central Africa. As many as 20,000 – 25,000 elephants are estimated to be poached across Africa every year - a startling statistic given that there may be as few as 7,500 elephants remaining throughout the whole of West Africa.

Unfortunately, now that China and Japan have been approved to purchase stockpiled ivory, we fear that the situation can only get worse, with unscrupulous criminals taking advantage of the legal trade to launder illegal ivory into the poorly regulated markets. Urgent funds are needed to protect the remaining elephant populations before it is too late. Some wildlife rangers in Africa are risking their lives every day to protect elephants from armed poachers who brutally slaughter these magnificent animals for their ivory tusks. This bloody ivory trade cannot be allowed to continue.

Can you help? The rangers urgently need better equipment and training. Your support would make a vital contribution to elephant safety, thank you.

Join at www.bornfreeusa.org/membership

Elephant Poaching in Africa facts:

Elephant poaching and the illegal trade in ivory is a multi-million dollar business often run by highly organized criminal networks.
It has been estimated that approximately 20,000 – 25,000 elephants are poached each year for their valuable ivory tusks.
It is usually the most vulnerable elephant populations that are targeted for this poaching – particularly elephant populations in West and Central Africa. For some elephant populations it is already too late – Senegal has just 2 elephants remaining. For other populations, there is still time, but we have reached crisis point in many countries and funds are urgently needed to equip rangers and train enforcement officers.
In 2004, there were thought to be around 4,000 elephants in Zakouma National Park (Tchad), today they number less than 1000. Similarly, Central African Republic is estimated to be losing around 500 elephants a year from poaching. If elephant poaching in West and Central Africa is not brought under control very quickly, there will no longer be any elephants left to conserve. Unfortunately, the decision to approve legal trade with China can only make the situation worse, not better.
Bidding Wars and the Price of Ivory

Now that both Japan and China have been approved to purchase ivory, there are major concerns that a bidding war between the two countries will drive up the price of the ivory, and thereby also greatly increase the price of illegal ivory on the black market. The incentive to poach will only get stronger if the price increases.
A kilo of ivory in Sumatra in 2005 was valued at US$270 a kilo - just three years later, it has been valued at over US$880 per kilo – a 300% increase.

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