Every day in Africa 96 elephants die at the hands of poachers. Now a worldwide campaign is gaining traction as it aims to stop this trade.
Elephants are some of the most caring and compassionate creatures in the world. When their herd members die elephants will stick with them for days mourning the loss. Poachers on the other hand sit in a similar category to the world’s top criminals. Poaching is currently the 4th largest transnational crime.
Up until 1989 poaching of elephants was completely legal. Unfortunately the 1989 ban did not stop poaching. Wars have spilled into elephant territory and Asia’s rising middle class have more money to buy ivory. This led to a decline from 1,200,000 elephants in 1980 to just 420,000 last year. In 2012 alone 35,000 elephants were poached.
Gone though are the days where elephants were hunted to help sustain family’s. Today’s poachers are armed with helicopters, night vision googles and automatic weapons which the poachers use to mow down elephants. While the elephant is still alive an axe is used to hack off their tusks. Hilary Clinton the Former Sectretary of State in the US said, “Wildlife trafficking has serious implications for the security and prosperity of people around the world.”
Ivory is a worldwide trade. The biggest country for ivory trading is China followed by the US. Other countries throughout Europe, Africa and Asia finish off the top 10 countries for ivory trade.
Rangers throughout Africa put their lives on the line to protect elephants. There are also conservationists on the ground working to monitor elepahants, train rangers and deploy ivory sniffing dogs at key check points to find ivory.
Luckily elephants are becoming a conservation priority in several African nations. Numerous African leaders stood up at the 2013 Clinton Global Initiative asking for help with a moratorium on ivory trade.
The people of the world are now being invited to help in this goal. 443, 719 have taken the pledge to support the moratorium and not buy ivory. You can go –here- to make the pledge yourself. You’ll be joining a worldwide movement that includes Bamboo. Bamboo is an elephant from Woodland Park Zoo. Bamboo used a brush in her trunk to sign a large canvas adding her support to the campaign.
96 elephants is being supported by 150 zoos and aquariums around the world. To find out more about this campaign you can visit – http://www.96elephants.org/
Check out the video of Bamboo taking the pledge below.
Photo Credit: Ryan Hawk/ Woodland Park Zoo