African elephants could be extinct in – 15 years

With approximately 38,000 African elephants being killed each year for their tusks Samuel Wasser of the Scientific American Journal calculates that the current elephant population of 600,000 will be gone within 15 years.

At the rate that the elephants are being killed by poachers for their ivory the remaining animals can’t give birth to new offspring fast enough to offset this massacre. In 2006 there was 11 metric tons of illegal ivory seized from ships headed to Taiwan and Japan.

“This alarming level of illegal hunting could drive the African elephant to extinction across much of Africa in just 15 years,” said Robbie Marsland, director of IFAW UK.

He added: “Most people will be shocked to hear that, 20 years on from a ban on international ivory trade, elephants in Africa are still threatened by commercial poaching. The ivory trade must be banned once again, and comprehensively, if we want to prevent the extinction of elephants.

“Sadly, the truth is that ivory trade anywhere is a threat to elephants everywhere.”

Source: The Telegraph Online

The Zakouma National Park in Chad had 3,885 elephants in 2005 but by 2009 that number had been decimated to a total of 617. As well 11 park rangers were killed by the poachers in the same period of time.

image credit: Elaine via flickr