Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Are You Ready to Say Goodbye to the Elephants?

by Nomad

According to some experts, the African elephant could be extinct in the wild within a few decades. The International Union for the Conservation ofNature reported that the African elephant population had dropped from 550,000 in 2006 to 470,000 in 2013.
The worst decline of the elephant numbers was in East Africa where the count went from 150,000 to about 100,000.

Elias Magosi of Botswana’s Environment Ministry says that the current rate of the slaughter is unsustainable. The population of African elephant is in danger and unless something is done now, the species may not recover. The problem goes beyond a few poachers. 
Elephant hunting is often organized by international criminal networks to supply the illegal ivory market, mainly in Asia, with some profits thought to fund regional conflicts and armed groups.

In July, President Obama announced sweeping new measures that will hopefully stem the ivory trade.
When implemented, the rules would result in a near total ban on the ivory trade in the U.S. The U.S. is the world’s second largest market for ivory product sales. China is the world’s largest consumer of ivory.

Two months after that announcement, US-China reached an agreement to enact “nearly complete bans” on the import and export of ivory. 

It has been called "the most significant step yet" in efforts to shut down the ivory trade.
Stanford University ecologist Caitlin O’Connell-Rodwell observes 
“What is special about elephants is just how similar they are to us—socially and developmentally Elephants offer a way of looking into the mirror, for better or worse. If we value human rights, we should also value animals that have the same level of sophistication that we do. We should keep those beings with us here on earth.”
The questions we should now be asking ourselves are:
Is it too late to stop this extinction? Are we really ready to say goodbye to the African elephant? And how can we explain to the future generations why we let them go? What possible excuse could we use?

(All photos on this page by Laurent Baheux.)

Update: According to a UK Guardian piece this week:
Rangers in Zimbabwe’s Hwange national park have discovered the carcasses of 26 elephants at two locations, dead of cyanide poisoning along with 14 other elephants which were found last week.
Since that time, another 22 elephants have been found poisoned, bringing the total to 78 elephants that have been poisoned in the country this month alone.