Legendary conservationist Jane Goodall is urging the world to stop the illegal ivory trade – or face the complete extinction of Africa’s elephants.
“A massive tragedy is unfolding in some parts of Africa. This is desperately serious, unprecedented,” she told the UK Guardian. “We believe that Tanzania has lost half its elephants in the last three years. Ugandan military planes have been seen over the Democratic Republic of the Congo shooting elephants from the air. Armed militia are now shooting the elephants.”
Growing Chinese demand for ivory has reportedly pushed poaching in Africa to some of the highest levels in decades. Even in a time of increased awareness and unprecedented conservation initiatives, resources to control the growing wave of devastation are meager compared to those forces causing it.
“The world must wake up. Governments need to tighten up. No one anywhere should buy any ivory. Countries must be helped to reinforce controls on poaching,” she said.
While the article contains a number of grim statistics on poaching, this one is particularly awful:
Poaching in some countries is said to be out of control. In southern Sudan the elephant population, estimated at 130,000 in 1986, has crashed to 5,000, said World Conservation Society director Paul Elkan. “Within the next five years, they could completely be gone with the current rates of poaching. Even security forces are involved in trafficking,” he said.
In Tanzania, which holds a large percentage of Africa’s elephant population, an estimated 30 elephants every day are being slaughtered.
Want to help? Check out this great list over on MNN for ways we can all contribute to saving elephants and ensuring their populations are around for future generations to enjoy from afar.
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