News / Africa

Wildlife Foundation: Tens of Thousands of Elephants Killed Every Year

The African Wildlife Foundation co-sponsored a pre-World Elephant Day event in Karen, Kenya August 9, 2014. Photo credit to Immanuel Muasya/Benuels Photography
The African Wildlife Foundation co-sponsored a pre-World Elephant Day event in Karen, Kenya August 9, 2014. Photo credit to Immanuel Muasya/Benuels Photography

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua

August 12 is World Elephant Day. It’s estimated there are 500,000 elephants remaining in Africa. That’s down from 1.2-million in the 1980s, as poaching continues to take its toll.

Listen to De Capua report on World Elephant Day
Listen to De Capua report on World Elephant Dayi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

African Wildlife Foundation’s Beatrice Karanja says World Elephant Day is an attempt to save an iconic animal.

“What we hope to accomplish is to raise awareness to the plight of the elephants in Africa and the rate at which we’re losing them, which is quite phenomenal. Africa lost 35,000 elephants last year. And it is predicted that if we continue on the trajectory that we are on now we will see no elephants in the wild by 2025.”

Speaking from Nairobi, Karanja said raising awareness about the plight of elephants begins at home.

“Even here in Kenya when you talk to [the] general public they are not aware of the rate at which we are losing them and the rate at which they could be extinct. So, we are appealing to Kenyan brothers and sisters and our African brothers and sisters to take more of a cognizant role in calling for drastic changes in policy and legislation that can assure that we don’t lose our iconic species,” she said.

Poaching is fueled by the demand for ivory, primarily in Asia. It’s used in traditional medicine and as a status symbol.
“Poaching has become almost militarized in that the poachers are using high caliber weapons, sophisticated tools for tracking, whether it’s GPS or night vision goggles, etc. So it’s a challenge when you’ve got a ranger who doesn’t have that same equipment to fight against the poachers. We need more boots on the ground and we need stronger legislative policies and laws,” she said.

Karanja added that the elephant awareness campaign also needs the will and commitment of African governments.

Anti-poaching efforts do work. For example, foot and aerial patrols have reduced poaching by 50-percent in the Lower Zambezi National Park in Zambia. About 2,200 elephants live in the park. Also, thanks to anti-poaching efforts, the elephant population is reported on the rise in southern Kenya’s Amboseli ecosystem.

President Obama recently issued an executive order to launch a $10-million anti-poaching initiative. A task force will allocate the money to African countries and help develop a U.S. strategy against wildlife trafficking.

Recently two U.S. states – New York and New Jersey – passed laws banning the sale and purchase of ivory products.

On August 9th at Brookhouse School in Karen, Kenya, a celebration was held in honor of the African elephant. Karanja says it’s important to get children involved in efforts to save the animal.

“We do want to speak to them because we will be handing the baton of guardianship of the wild lands and of the wildlife to them. So it is important that they get involved early enough and they understand what the issues are,” she said.

While August 12th is World Elephant Day, conservationists also are raising awareness about the rhino. In South Africa, home to most of Africa’s Rhinos, more than 1,000 were killed last year.

In related news, South Africa plans to evacuate hundreds of rhinos from Kruger National Park to safer locations.  The rhinos have been targets of poachers even within the park's boundaries. Officials say as many as 500 rhinos could be re-located to other parks and communal areas. Neighboring countries may also serve as safe havens.

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

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