20,000 African elephants poached in 2013

The famed giant African elephants are dying.

An increasing number of elephants are being slaughtered in several African nations like the Central African Republic. Sadly, local populations in these nations continue to be on the verge of extinction.

UN-backed wildlife regulator Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in a report on Friday estimated that over 20,000 elephants were poached for tusks in 2013 alone in several African countries.

CITES, however, hailed the African countries for coming down heavily on ivory smuggling.

CITES confirmed that a kilo of African elephant tusk fetches thousands of dollars in Asian countries.

Poaching by rebel militia and organised crime syndicates seeking to fund rebellions across Africa is increasing. Poachers are eager to profit as demand in Asia, especially in China, for ivory has fuelled an illicit trade worth billions of dollars.

Industrial poaching

Chinese use ivory in traditional medicines and decorations, CITES report said.

Speaking to reporters Friday, CITES chief John Scanlon said the world confronting a state of large scale industrial poaching and smuggling of ivory.

The Geneva-based CITES regulates the global trade in over 35,000 species of animals and plants.

Facing extinction

CITES report claimed African elephants may face extinction if poaching continues at the current rate.

CITES, however, said efforts of better policing are bearing fruit with African countries like Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania seizing large consignments of ivory.

The regulatory body further informed China has been destroying seized ivory in public.

According to CITES report in 2013 a shipment of over 500kg ivory was seized.

CITES also said the large-scale seizures of ivory indicates the involvement of trans-national organised crime in the illicit trade.

Demand high

Wildlife conservationists opine that increasing number of ivory seizures means there is improvement in law enforcement. However, it is also an indication that demand for ivory continues to be high, they said.

Conservationists feel that poaching is increasing even where elephant populations are being monitored.

According to CITES estimates on poaching, which were dependent on information from over 50 locations across African continent, accounted for at least 40 percent of the elephant population on the continent.

Key factors

CITES has identified three key factors for the high poaching levels. CITES said demand for illegal ivory in consuming nations, week governance and poverty were the three key factors that are indicative if high elephant poaching in African countries.

Satao butchered

Satao, which was one of Africa’s largest elephants, was shot with poisoned arrows by poachers in Kenya, wildlife officials revealed Saturday.

Satao, famed for his tusks, was aged 45. Wildlife officials confirmed that Satao was hurt in May this year in Kenya’s Tsavo national park.

Satao’s death is indicative of a surge of the giant elephants being killed for their ivory by poachers.

Tsavo national park’s trust officials said poachers hacked off the elephant’s face and stole his tusks. Officials had identified Satao’s body from his ears and other indications. Satao’s carcass was found in May.

Officials said Satao had lived in a wilderness covering at least 1,000 square kilometres of Tsavo national park of Kenya.


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