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African Elephants are being slaughtered at an unprecedented rate. An article in the UK Telegraph in 2008 quoted researchers saying they would be extinct by 2020. Newer research shows that their predictions were correct or even conservative.

Samuel Wasser, of the University of Washington, said the elephant death rate from poaching was currently 8 per cent, higher than the 7.4 per cent rate which led to the international ivory trade ban in 1989.
Writing in the journal Conservation Biology, Dr Wasser and fellow researchers warned that without public pressure to ensure a strengthening of anti-poaching measures, most remaining large groups of elephants will be extinct by the end of next decade.
This is being done to procure ivory. Why are we so damned greedy?

NYT: Slaughter of the African Elephants

THERE is nothing a mother elephant will not do for her infant, but even she cannot protect it from bullets. About a year ago, poachers attacked a family of forest elephants in central Africa. The biologist who witnessed the attack told us that wildlife guards were completely outgunned. In the end, an elephant mother, riddled with bullets and trumpeting with pain and fear, was left to use her enormous body to shield her baby. Her sacrifice was for naught; the baby was also killed.

Such is the reality facing African forest elephants today.

This mother and child were just two of the tens of thousands of forest elephants that have been butchered over the past decade. A staggering 62 percent vanished from central Africa between 2002 and 2011, according to a study we have just published with 60 other scientists in the journal PLoS One. It was the largest such study ever conducted in the central African forests, where elephants are being poached out of existence for their ivory.

In China and other countries in the Far East, there has been an astronomical rise in the demand for ivory trinkets that, no matter how exquisitely made, have no essential utility whatsoever.
Here is a link to the World Wildlife Fund page about Elephants and this issue.

WWF

President Obama is meeting with the Chinese President Xi Jinping this weekend, and it would be great if he would talk to President Jinping about the importance of this issue.

I will be posting this email written by an artist on Facebook to his comments website
with the hope that if many people send a similar message they may hear it.

Comments to White House

Dear Mr. President:

I am writing to ask you to address the crisis in elephant and rhino poaching in your upcoming meeting with President Xi Jinping.

China is a major destination for internationally and criminally smuggled ivory and rhino horn; these operations are decimating wildlife, human communities and damaging local economies.

Writing in the journal Conservation Biology, Dr. Samuel Wasser of the University of Washington and fellow researchers warn that without public pressure to ensure a strengthening of anti-poaching measures, most remaining large groups of elephants will be extinct by 2020. The effects of this extinction would be disastrous for the ecosystem, which depends heavily on their presence.

Additionally, organized criminals and terrorist groups are increasingly using poaching to finance their activities.

Please urge President Xi Jinping to crack down on the ivory and rhino horn trade while there is still time to prevent this irreparable loss.

Sincerely,

This BBC video gives more detail of the problem. It's very disturbing.

Kenyan Poachers

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (14+ / 0-)

    "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

    by ranger995 on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 07:07:22 PM PDT

  •  Extinct in Africa, no more elephants there by (8+ / 0-)

    2020, how just depressing this is, we have to kill them all for ivory trinkets.

    •  They are such majestic and intelligent creatures. (8+ / 0-)

      This just sucks.

      "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

      by ranger995 on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 07:25:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  God, help us are you I the only two leggeds that (0+ / 0-)

        care about the sacred Ghniesha.  What does Mother India say.  Is it not a travesty to kill every elephant in Africa, those of you who worship and revere Ghniesha, is there a significance to you  of especial note and what might that be?  Ghaniesha is the only living animal god and the only elephant we got.  This is why we need to deal with cloning, to reproduce a damaged species if needed, this may include ourselves.  I own ivory pieces, two small portaits of head and upper quarter of torso as a pin, women with head ties.  The other is a hunter with arrow quiver, bow and arrow and hunter has an antelope over his shoulder.  He walks with a heavy determined step.  Protein was what made big, strong and smart because our brain got bigger.

  •  Faux ivory is available and looks pretty good (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ranger995, Gooserock, JesseCW, Kevskos

    actually, my brother has a pair of Old Armys with faux ivory grips and they look just like semi old ivory.......even have a nice feel to them.

    seems the Chinese could use a different medium for their carving, exquisite as that carving may be.....

    Vaya con Dios Don Alejo
    I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.
    Emiliano Zapata

    by buddabelly on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 07:58:09 PM PDT

    •  I agree. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      buddabelly, JesseCW, Kevskos

      Thanks for commenting.

      "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

      by ranger995 on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 07:58:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Polyester Resin With 2 Slightly Different Tints (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ranger995, buddabelly, JesseCW, lineatus

      briefly stirred together, is used on my friend's bagpipe imitation ivory decorative rings. A bit more yellow than ivory but maybe it was formulated to match the color of generations old ivory.

      The appearance is the same; in the case of woodwind mountings, the ability to protect the ends of pieces of instrument against splits due to aging is the same or better. Ivory gradually shrinks with time compressing the wood, the resin I think is more stable. If you mount real ivory on top of metal cylinders or pipes, eventually the ivory will shatter from the stress of shrinking against an immovable core.

      There was an amazingly authentic looking imitation ivory I saw I think from Germany, it had a light cross-hatch pattern to it. I can't find it now searching.

      If I'm not mistaken, mastodon/mammoth ivory is still legal to harvest and sell. Those animals are fully extinct. So maybe once the elephants are gone we can open up the markets. Yay.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 08:24:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Just think, if they succeed in cloning a mammoth (0+ / 0-)

        from the blood recently found with that last frozen mammoth carcass, there will be a whole new species we can kill for their tusks.....pounds head on desk a couple times.....

        Vaya con Dios Don Alejo
        I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.
        Emiliano Zapata

        by buddabelly on Fri Jun 07, 2013 at 12:10:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  There's also fossil walrus ivory. It costs (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kevskos, buddabelly

      a shitload of money, but if you just "have" to have the real thing...

      My Grandad had a coal tattoo across half his back and walked with a cane for 30 years BOWP.

      by JesseCW on Fri Jun 07, 2013 at 01:36:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Is this all that can be done? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ranger995, JesseCW, Kevskos, lineatus

    petitioning one world leader to beg another?

    News like this, I wind up thinking that the rest of the planet would be better off without humans.

    Some DKos series & groups worth your while: Black Kos, Native American Netroots, KosAbility, Monday Night Cancer Club. If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

    by peregrine kate on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 08:44:52 PM PDT

    •  You can also donate to organizations like the (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kevskos, peregrine kate

      WWF.

      I remember George Carlin saying that the planet would shake us off like fleas some day.

      "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

      by ranger995 on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 08:46:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I wish I had a better answer for you, but as (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JesseCW, Kevskos, peregrine kate

      long as capitalism rules the day. Poor African poachers will kill elephants to get money.

      The demand has to be cut off. It can't be a lucrative business.

      Things are feeling pretty desperate these days.

      "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

      by ranger995 on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 08:53:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  A good steady paycheck as a park ranger, (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Kevskos, ranger995, peregrine kate

        decent vehicles with drones for spotting, up to date body armor and modern weapons you're really trained to use....

        Sounds a lot better than poaching to me.

        It has to be a multi-prong approach.  The demand will not disappear.  That said, of course reducing it should be one of the top goals.

        My Grandad had a coal tattoo across half his back and walked with a cane for 30 years BOWP.

        by JesseCW on Fri Jun 07, 2013 at 01:39:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, I seem to recall that several years ago (0+ / 0-)

          a successful intervention along these lines did help: the local people were enlisted, with paying jobs, to protect the elephants, and that that strategy made a difference. So now you're saying that the poachers have won the weapons war, and can outshoot the wardens?
          That seems like a basic approach, what you list. But clearly the processing and shipping of the tusks involves many people too.
          I don't know. It makes me sick at heart to read of this, and to feel so powerless in the face of it. Extinction! Of elephants! I don't have the words.

          Some DKos series & groups worth your while: Black Kos, Native American Netroots, KosAbility, Monday Night Cancer Club. If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

          by peregrine kate on Fri Jun 07, 2013 at 04:17:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No. I'm saying that for very little money (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            peregrine kate

            (relatively) the US and other wealthy nations could get together and help them win the weapons war.

            My Grandad had a coal tattoo across half his back and walked with a cane for 30 years BOWP.

            by JesseCW on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 11:57:01 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I get it now, I think. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JesseCW

              Well, apparently we don't have much time to reverse this. I will do my best to raise awareness and contribute what I can.

              Some DKos series & groups worth your while: Black Kos, Native American Netroots, KosAbility, Monday Night Cancer Club. If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

              by peregrine kate on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 04:45:46 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Overpopulation in Southern Africa (0+ / 0-)

    Actually the issue in South Africa and Botswana is elephant overpopulation in the game reserves. All the trees get knocked down in such areas and the whole landscape gets despoiled.

    http://www.academia.edu/...

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

  •  How about if we take the funds and arms (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kevskos, lineatus, ranger995

    going to assholes like M23 and start equipping and training park rangers?

    This is what surveillance drones need to be used for too, so that when the rangers catch them they can do so in force.

    There is no chance unless we can move hard on both the demand and supply side.  There are millions of Kenyans who value their Elephants not only as a majestic part of their world but also for the much needed tourist revenue they draw in.

    That said, we can also fund education programs that are put together and run by Kenyans.

    I doubt recruitment would be a problem.

    This is what worked in Uganda.  It's not like the Mountain Gorillas are doing great or anywhere near out of the woods but 20 years ago many predicted they would be gone by now.

    My Grandad had a coal tattoo across half his back and walked with a cane for 30 years BOWP.

    by JesseCW on Fri Jun 07, 2013 at 01:34:59 AM PDT

  •  This is an important story (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lineatus

    but the structure of your diary is a bit confusing.  Your first paragraph mentions a 2008 newspaper article and then newer research immediately followed by quotes.  It's not at all clear which source those quotes refer to and I ended up doing a search of Prof. Wasser to figure that out.  Which distracted me from the main point of your diary which was the new work published in PLOS One.

    Here's a link to the PLOS One paper

    http://www.plosone.org/...

    I'm not trying to be picky - I'm really interested in conservation issues and I would suggest leading with your main point first in the future (e..g in this case the NYT piece) rather than five year old quotes with no link.

    "To see both sides of a quarrel, is to judge without hate or alarm" - Richard Thompson

    by matching mole on Fri Jun 07, 2013 at 05:36:17 AM PDT

  •  It's a militia problem (0+ / 0-)

    Africa's Elephants Threatened

    In a report to the UN Security Council last month, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said elephant poaching was a growing security concern, particularly in Cameroon, the Central African Republic (CAR), Chad and Gabon.

    The UN suspects Joseph Kony may be funding his Lord's Resistance Army through the sale of ivory

    He said the illegal trade in ivory may be an important source of funding for armed groups including the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) of fugitive warlord Joseph Koney

    Cameroon: NGOs Advocate Reinforced Laws on Illegal Poaching
    A recent study has indicated that 62 per cent of forest elephants in the Central African Sub-Region have been massacred by poachers using sophisticated weapons since 2002.

    In Cameroon, thousands of forest elephants are said to be slaughtered in South-East Cameroon as well as the 2012 attack at the Bouba Ndjida National Park where scores of elephants were massacre by poachers from Sudan. The persistence of such mass massacre of the protected elephant species has paved the way for extinction. Reason why the European Union, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Wildlife Trade Monitoring Network (TRAFFIC) and International Union for the Conservation of Nature (UICN) unanimously said during a press conference in Yaounde on May 30, that the protection of Cameroon elephants from extinction will yield fruits if the Head of State, President Paul Biya is at the helm.

    •  Sorry, I saw this comment after the period where (0+ / 0-)

      I could tip it. I would have. Thanks for the information.

      "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

      by ranger995 on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 05:21:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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