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?
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.
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.
Dear Mr. President:This BBC video gives more detail of the problem. It's very disturbing.
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.