News / Africa

More Than 20,000 Elephants Poached In Africa Last Year

Journalists take pictures of the confiscated African ivory which will be destroyed as Hong Kong cracks down on an illegal wildlife trade that is devastating Africa's elephant population, Hong Kong, May 15, 2014.
Journalists take pictures of the confiscated African ivory which will be destroyed as Hong Kong cracks down on an illegal wildlife trade that is devastating Africa's elephant population, Hong Kong, May 15, 2014.
Lisa Schlein
A major wildlife conservation group reports more than 20,000 African elephants were poached across the African continent last year.  CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, warns that poaching contributes to the continuing decline in elephant populations.  

According to CITES, 2013 was the third year in a row more than 20,000 elephants have been killed across the African continent.  It says the sharp upward trend in illegal elephant killing observed since the mid-2000s peaked in 2011 and is leveling off.

But, CITES Secretary-General, John Scanlon, says poaching levels remain alarmingly high.  He says Africa’s elephants continue to face an immediate threat to their survival from high levels of poaching for their ivory.  

“We are still seeing the elephant populations in decline, which means that the levels of illegal killing are exceeding the natural birthrates.  But, overall, the population of the African elephant is in decline.  However…the upward trends we saw that became very sharp in 2010 and 2011 in terms of the levels of illegal killing have started to level off.  But, at a level that is far too high; namely we still have over 20,000 African elephants killed per year." said Scanlon.

The CITES report shows an increase in the number of large seizures of ivory made in 2013.  For the first time, the conservation group says more smuggled ivory was seized in Africa than in Asia, where the market for the illegal product is huge.

It says three African countries - Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda - account for 80 percent of those seizures.  Scanlon says the large scale of the ivory seizures indicate transnational organized crime and rebel militia are involved in the illicit ivory trade.  He says this demands a stronger, more concerted response from the international community.

“This is a serious crime.  It needs to be treated as a serious crime and we need to deploy the same sorts of techniques that are used to combat other serious crimes, such as illicit trade in narcotics or human trafficking or illicit trade in arms," he said. "At one point of time, a seizure was seen as a success under CITES.  What we are saying is a seizure is not a success.  It is important.  It is a critical part of the process.  You have to go beyond the seizure.  And you have to go beyond the seizure to find actually who is at the end of that, who wanted that in the first place?  Who ordered that?  How do you catch them? "

CITES monitors 51 sites across Africa to keep tabs on illegal killing of elephants.  It finds the greatest increase in poaching was in Dzanga Sangha in Central African Republic.  On the other hand, it says poaching levels decreased substantially in parks in Chad, Zimbabwe and Uganda.

You May Like

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Don from: Kenya
June 15, 2014 11:27 AM
China last reported 6 tons of confiscated ivory in January 2014. Instead of destroying the ivory, the Chinese Government should purchase the ivory and recompense the African wildlife conservation groups to support indigenous employment. Artisanal Ivory is a specialist Chinese classical industry and should be preserved using humane methods of production and supply. Continental Africans who use elephants, rhinos, primates and other bushmeat as a food source should be financially supported by China to manage co-operative 'farmed elephant and game meat products'. Just like the Africans, the Chinese are also adventurous food consumers.

by: Stephen
June 13, 2014 2:48 PM
This is a serious crime. It needs to be treated as such...........
Really Mr John Scanlon, dictators in African have been responsible for the deaths of thousands of people, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, CAR, Nigeria, to mention just a few. It appears elephants are more important that people, something you need to be aware of when talking about Africa.
In Response

by: Suebee from: Minneapolis, MN - USA
June 13, 2014 6:09 PM
Seriously Stephen - it is a horrific crime. Just because this article focuses on the thousands upon thousands of elephants being killed for ivory does not mean that anyone cares less about the people who have been murdered. Can't we care about more than one issue at a time??? Elephants are important as well as people. And they are on the verge of extinction due to the lust for money gained by killing these beautiful animals for their ivory..some people are brutes who care nothing for human life or lives of innocent animals. Please rethink your attitude and realize that it's okay for us to be upset over this terrible crime. I care about the people too, as I'm sure almost everyone does. It's important to bring all of the sad and horrible issues out in the open.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More