Poachers in Africa killed more than 10,000 elephants in 2011 according to a recent report detailing the grim situation for elephant’s and rhino’s in the country.
Prices have skyrocketed for elephant tusks and rhino horns as buyers in Asia attempt to make ivory ornaments out of the elephant tusks and traditional medicine from rhino horns.
According to John Scanlon, secretary-general of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in testimony given to the U.S Senate Foreign Relations Committee the illegal poaching of rhinos and elephants are “pushing these species toward extinction. Scanlon was speaking to the panel after 359 elephant tusks were smuggled into Kenya and then seized in 2011.
Scanlon added that with just 25,000 rhinos estimated left in the wild there is a good possibility that they will become extinct “during the lifetime of our children.”
In 2011 poachers killed 448 rhinos in South Africa alone, that number is a dramatic increase from 13 Rhonos killed in 2007.
Scanlon also told the committee that a report to be released later in the year will show that Africa’s elephants are experiencing “levels of illegal killing exceeding what can be sustained in all four African sub-regions in 2011, with elephant populations now in net decline.”
From 1979 through 2007 the elephant population in Africa shrunk from 1.3 million to 450,000.
To curb the killing of elephants and rhinos the United States is pushing China and Thailand to crack down on the trade. The US would specifically like to see China place a 10-year moratorium on ivory imports so the elephant population can become revitalized.