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Report: Mozambique Loses Nearly 10,000 Elephants to Poachers

FILE - Elephants wander around in the bush after being released into newly-named Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park in Gaza Mozambique, October 4, 2001.

Conservationists say the elephant population in Mozambique has shrunk nearly 50 percent in the past five years because of poaching, even as it grows elsewhere.

The U.S.-based Wildlife Conservation Society reported this week that the number of elephants in Mozambique totals only about 10,300 today, compared to more than 20,000 five years ago. It blames ivory poachers for the slaughter of the African elephants, mainly to meet the ivory demand in China.

The conservation society says it does its elephant surveys with aerial photographs.

Meanwhile, it says the number of elephants in Uganda has increased dramatically over the past few decades because of anti-poaching protections. The society says Uganda had only 700 to 800 elephants left in the 1980s, but more than 5,000 living in wildlife reserves now.

Elephant populations are tracked by a project begun by Microsoft founder Paul G. Allen called the Great Elephant Census. It is operated by a group called Elephants Without Borders.