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Will Africa’s Elephants be Extinct in 10 Years?

Will Africa’s Elephants be Extinct in 10 Years?

Africa’s majestic elephants are in serious trouble.  Like any other species on the planet, the animal is being severely impacted by a changing climate and a growing human population, but it is also being slaughtered to the brink of extinction.

Prized for their ivory, which on today’s market can sell for over $1,500 a kilo, African elephants are particularly susceptible to poachers.  The growing demand for ivory-based products in Asia, particularly in developing China, is fueling the new rage in illegal trade in Kenya and Kenyan officials are at a loss for what to do.  As a recent CNN report stated: “If this level of killing continues, if elephants continue to be slaughtered for trinkets and statuettes, in ten years time, most of Africa’s elephants will be gone…”

The numbers are staggering.  Samuel Wasser, a recognized authority on the disappearance of elephants, has warned that no more than 400,000 African elephants remain in the wild today.  As a point of comparison, there were over one million at the beginning of the 1980s.  We’re clearly at a major moral crossroads: hundreds of species are lost daily and those that remain are struggling for habitat and resources.  The elephant, one of the planet’s most socially intelligent creatures with a long human history, is now among those creatures being thoughtlessly eradicated, but in this case, for decorative artwork.

Unfortunately, this issue remains predominately buried in the media with little international attention. Local communities, governments and animal welfare groups, however, are working diligently to bring this important topic to the spotlight in an effort to raise awareness and ultimately save the African elephant from extinction, mainly citing the important place elephants hold in the larger web of African wildlife, as well as noting their larger global significance.

So what can you do?  First and foremost, should you ever witness ivory being sold, immediately document and report it. You can also contact your elected officials to express your concern in hopes the U.S. may continue to push for increased international trade regulations under CITES.  In the end, however, this problem comes down to global accountability and market demand; as long as ivory is prized, there will be illegal poachers on the supply side.  What we really should be asking is: is it worth it?  I think we all know the answer to that question.

Related Stories:

1.3 Tons of Illegal Ivory Seized at Nairobi Airport

Elephants Being Massacred in Cameroon

Are Elephants Being Eaten in Thailand?

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Photo Credit: Thomas Breuer

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192 comments

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10:32PM PST on Feb 19, 2013

Unless stronger, severe measures are taken now to save what is left of elephants and other large mammals, they will soon be extinct. There are reports that anti-poaching patrols will have to shoot to kill the poachers. Ofcourse, the real message must be sent to those behind the poaching--those who have the money to offer for the abduction and/or slaughter of these poor animals.
Remember, Diane Fossey was murdered for her absolute stand to protect Gorillas. Those who killed her were hired by some very powerful people. They got away with it.
There will be no peace or justice for non-humans on this planet, until humans are gone, I'm afraid.

4:27AM PST on Feb 16, 2013

I am convinced that international action to stop the ivory trade, the main cause of the monstrous depredations to which they are subjected African elephants should be even stronger. Must face the possibility of heavy fines on those who are part of the trade chain, besides gamble to boycott the purchase of any product from it. You understand how these governments and their obsecuencias. It's how you end up trading. If no buyer, seller no. We as activists to raise awareness on global society ivory object may look beautiful, but is bathed in blood. And that when purchased, becomes an accomplice of which has caused the death of the elephant. The real problem that prevents it end in us as part of that chain of extermination.

6:16PM PST on Feb 14, 2013

sad

5:59PM PST on Feb 13, 2013

What a sad thought.

2:27PM PST on Feb 13, 2013

If man doesn't look within his soul and know to preserve all wildlife, yes most definitely gone from face of the Earth and then will the human race be proud we caused an extinction of a species or more is that what we are about? GOD help us all if we don't change our ways of thinking and not try and save the innocent wildlife, the air and Mother Earth

4:12PM PST on Nov 9, 2012

Most likely, except the ones in zoos : (

Earth Cry


Mother Nature Needs Us

4:00PM PDT on Oct 23, 2012

Protect and Save The Elephants

12:20PM PDT on Oct 1, 2012

precious life's that are not valued, millions of dollars would not bring them back from extinction

11:27AM PDT on Sep 21, 2012

my son loves elephants. we live 15 minutes from the zoo and he loves to watch them. we got him a stuffed elephant from the gift store and he sleeps with it every night. it is so sad to think that in his lifetime the last elephant may die

3:32PM PDT on Aug 28, 2012

What a shame.

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