Ivory, Elephants and Conservation
In spite of the ban on the international trade in ivory, one of Africa’s most beautiful creatures, the African elephant, is still being poached to the point of extinction. Tens of thousands of elephants are being killed every year for their ivory tusks.
An insatiable lust for ivory products in the Asian market makes the illegal ivory trade very profitable and has led to the slaughter of tens of thousands of African elephants.
The ban on the international Ivory trade was introduced in 1989 by CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) after years of unprecedented poaching. In the 1980s, an estimated 100,000 elephants were being killed per year and up to 80% of herds were lost in some regions.
The ban allowed some populations to recover, especially where elephants were adequately protected. But there has been an upsurge in poaching and illegal ivory trafficking in recent years, leading to a huge decline in forest elephant numbers and savannah elephant populations.
In 2016, The International Union for Conservation of Nature released the African Elephant Status Report 2016. The report finds that, between 2006 and 2015, Africa’s elephant population has declined by 100,000 elephants, marking the worst decline in 25 years.
As of 2019, the world is losing more elephants than the population can reproduce, threatening the future of African elephants across the world. Male elephants with big tusks are the main targets for poachers and their numbers have been diminished to less than half of the females.
Female elephants have tusks and are also killed, which has a terrible effect on the stability of elephant societies, leaving an increasing number of orphaned baby elephants.
If the elephant population continues to decline on this scale, future generations will be robbed of the chance to gaze as these majestic creatures in their natural habitats.