Thursday, June 4, 2009

Elephant poaching in Africa

Animal poaching is still sad reality in many African countries. Among animals mostly affected by poaching are certainly elephants despite the fact that trade in ivory was banned almost 20 years ago (1990) after poaching decimated elephant populations in much of African countries. But elephant poaching problem still exists with latest incident happening in north Kenya.

Poachers have killed 20 elephants across north Kenya in just two weeks time, all because of precious ivory. The way poachers kill those poor animals was brutal because elephants were first shot and then stripped of their tusks. Some believe that this latest poaching activity is the result of increased demand for ivory in South America and Asia.

Elephant poaching has long history in Africa. The worst years were between 1979 and 1989 when extremely high demand for ivory caused tremendous decline in elephant population. During this bloody period elephant population was cut to half with somewhere around 1,3 million elephants in 1979, and by 1989 this number fell down to less than 700,000. In this period poachers used to kill whole elephant families leaving dead elephant bodies across many African countries.

This was alarming sign responsible for Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)that banned ivory trade back in 1990. Though this Convention helped in stabilizing number of current elephant population, elephant massacres are sadly still happening in Africa. Of course, all this because of ivory.

Well organized gangs of poachers exist in many African countries. These gangs of poachers have created very strong black market driven by high profits. As long as ivory remains so valuable it will be difficult to stop these elephant massacres from happening because to many people money is much more important than lives of these beautiful animals.

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