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Elephants in grave danger, new report says

19 August 2014, 11:48

Nairobi - A new research conducted in Kenya has revealed that the proportion of illegally killed elephants has grown with an estimated 100 000 elephants having been killed in Africa for their ivory between 2010 and 2012.

The study, which Save the Elephants conducted in association with the Kenya Wildlife Service states that an average of 33 630 elephants per annum are calculated to have been lost over those three years, with preliminary data indicating unsustainable levels continued in 2013.

“The number of elephants remaining in Africa is uncertain, but these losses are driving declines in the world's wild African elephants on the order of 2-3% a year,” states Save the Elephant report.

The most thoroughly studied site was Samburu in northern Kenya where every birth and death over the past 16 years has been recorded, in a long-term monitoring project that lead author George Wittemyer of Colorado State University co-founded with Save the Elephants, in association with the Kenya Wildlife Service.

"Witnessing the killing of known elephants, some that we have followed since they were born, has been terrible," said Wittemyer.

 "Our data has become the most sensitive barometer of change during this poaching epidemic. We needed to quantify the scale of killing and figure out how to derive rigorous interpretation of poaching rates."

The report states that over the last decade, the proportion of illegally killed elephants has climbed from 25 percent to between 60 and 70 percent.

While the timing and magnitude of declines differed by region in Africa, with central Africa experiencing the worst levels, all regions of Africa are facing unsustainable levels of ivory poaching with the killing peak in 2011 equating to over 40 000 elephant deaths. 

- CAJ News

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