The African Elephant is being Eradicated

It is the systematic and calculated industrial slaughter of a species by organised criminals for profit.


Ivory Seizures:


It Was Stopped Before

In 1989, President Daniel Arap Moi of Kenya set fire to 12 tonnes of ivory in protest and the world community banned the international trade in ivory. In the West, consumer demand collapsed; in Japan ivory simply began to go out of fashion.

The killing stopped. 600,000 were left standing.

Elephant populations stabilised and in the absence of an ivory market – in places, began to recover.

The Situation Today

In the past 25 years, the world has changed. New aspirational consumer markets have emerged. New political and trading relationships have developed between Africa and the East.

Between 2010 and 2012 more than 100,000 elephants have been killed, wanted only for their tusks, with proceeds often funding organized crime and terrorist groups.

Vanishing Elephants

The killing of African elephants for their ivory is devastating a species that’s already losing ground to a growing human population. The National Geographic have published three important maps making clear the extent of the loss so far:

1. Range – showing a dramatic decline between 1979 and 2007 (last major count).

2. Poaching – showing elephant deaths from illegal killing across Africa in 2011.

3. Smuggling – showing destinations of trafficked ivory between 1989 and 2011.


Root Causes

The liquidation of elephants for their ivory can be stopped when we take concrete action to address the drivers of the illegal market:

  • High ivory prices on the black market make the illegal trade highly profitable.
  • Consumer ivory markets exist where trade is legal, where ivory is actively marketed as an aspirational product, and where a high proportion of consumers are not aware of the source or negative impacts of the ivory trade.
  • Criminal Organisations pay the corruptible to poach, traffick and turn a blind eye to criminal activity.
  • Governance and weak law enforcement, scarce resource allocation in range states mean that the risks are comparatively low for organised criminals.

The Elephant Protection Initiative (EPI) is an African-led initiative to build international consensus to close all ivory markets – the existence of which is driving the Crisis today.

The question is, are we happy to suppose that our grandchildren may never be able to see an elephant except in a picture book?

- Sir David Attenborough

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