Let’s face it…it’s hard to resist elephants. Those adorable trunks, the wrinkly skin and their majestic tusks combine to make them one of the most striking animals on Earth.
But herein lies the problem. Demand for what these grey giants can give us – the ivory to which their very survival depends – is as high as the trail of devastation left behind by poachers eager to cash in. Rapidly Africa’s elephant population is being whittled down with one-tenth of the population lost each year to poaching.
Though over the last decade many attempts have been made to put a stop to the killing of elephants for commercial and illegal ivory trade, they’ve been largely unsuccessful. However in the last month, communities and countries around the world have begun making significant headway in their fight to end the slaughter.
To help you keep up to date, we have put together a short list of what’s been going on around this issue in the last month:
1. Elephant DNA may help crackdown on illegal ivory trade in Africa, scientists say.
Scientists have discovered that DNA from elephant dung can now be matched to DNA extracted from ivory to track down poachers who send illegal shipments of tusks and trinkets across boarders. Experts hope the methods will lead to a crackdown on wildlife crime in two main hotspots in Africa where the vast majority of the animal killings take place.
2. 300 arrested in global wildlife raids
A series of raids conducted across Asia, Africa and Europe have resulted in more than 300 arrests and over 600 seizures of wildlife contraband. Law enforcement agencies from 62 countries took part in the operation codenamed “Cobra III” along with international organisations such as Interpol and Europol.
This year’s operation was the “most successful so far” seizing over 12 tons of elephant ivory from Thailand, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Singapore, Mozambique and Uganda.
3. African ‘blood ivory’ destroyed in New York to signal crackdown on illegal trade
The US government destroyed more than one ton of ‘blood ivory’ before crowds in New York’s Time Square as a symbolic act designed to signal a dramatic crackdown on the illegal trade. Curtailing the illegal ivory trade has been an urgent issue in the US for which the issue is as much about national security as it is about wildlife conservation. Wildlife trafficking earns an estimated $19bn annual for terrorists groups such as Boko Haram, the Lord’s Resistance Army and al-Shabaab.
The extinction of the African elephant is well under way. It is time to take action and make a difference by helping stop wildlife trade around the globe. Search for a cause on everydayhero that is working to stop the illegal trade of ivory.