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2011 was 'worst year ever' for elephants with record ivory seizures

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posted on Dec, 29 2011 @ 11:00 AM
This is sad on so many levels. If you have kids, hopefully they'll be able to at least see elephants in the zoo since there won't be any in the wild.

Just another reason how humanity's greed is harmful and murderous.

It's been a disastrous year for elephants, perhaps the worst since ivory sales were banned in 1989 to save the world's largest land animals from extinction, the wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC said Thursday.

A record number of large seizures of elephant tusks represents at least 2,500 dead animals and shows that organized crime — in particular Asian syndicates — is increasingly involved in the illegal ivory trade and the poaching that feeds it, the group said.

Some of the seized tusks came from old stockpiles, the elephants having been killed years ago. It's not clear how many elephants were recently killed in Africa for their tusks, but experts are alarmed.

"As most large-scale ivory seizures fail to result in any arrests, I fear the criminals are winning," Milliken told The Associated Press.

Most cases involve ivory being smuggled from Africa into Asia, where growing wealth has fed the desire for ivory ornaments and for rhino horn that is used in traditional medicine, though scientists have proved it has no medicinal value.

"The escalation in ivory trade and elephant and rhino killing is being driven by the Asian syndicates that are now firmly enmeshed within African societies," Milliken said in a telephone interview from his base in Zimbabwe. "There are more Asians than ever before in the history of the continent, and this is one of the repercussions."

50 killed per month

All statistics are not yet in, and no one can say how much ivory is getting through undetected, but "what is clear is the dramatic increase in the number of large-scale seizures, over 800 kilograms (1,760 pounds) in weight, that have taken place in 2011," TRAFFIC said in a statement.

In the most recent, and worst, case Malaysian authorities seized hundreds of African elephant tusks on Dec. 21 worth $1.3 million that were being shipped to Cambodia. The ivory was hidden in containers of handicrafts from Kenya's Mombasa port. Most large seizures have originated from Kenyan or Tanzanian ports, TRAFFIC said.

Fifty elephants a month are being killed, their tusks hacked off, in Tanzania's Selous Game Reserve, according to the Washington-based Environmental Investigation Agency.

Now, for the worst part:

With shipments so large, criminals have taken to shipping them by sea instead of by air, falsifying documents with help of corrupt officials, monitors said.

Milliken said some of the seized ivory has been identified as coming from government-owned stockpiles — made up of confiscated tusks and those of dead elephants — in another sign of corruption.

In conclusion:

Africa's elephant population was estimated at between 5 million and 10 million before the big white hunters came to the continent with European colonization. Massive poaching for the ivory trade in the 1980s halved the remaining number of African elephants to about 600,000. Following the 1989 ban on ivory trade and concerted international efforts to protect the animals, elephant herds in east and southern Africa were thriving before the new threat arrived from Asia.

A report from Kenya's Amboseli national park highlighted the dangers. There had been almost no poaching in the park, which lies in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro, for 30 years until a Chinese company was awarded the contract to build a highway nearby two years ago. Amboseli has lost at least four of its "big tuskers" since then.

It really makes you question humanity and their thirst for wealth and precious materials. Is nothing sacred anymore?
edit on 29-12-2011 by Afterthought because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 29 2011 @ 11:34 AM
If money gets scarce enough around here, people might start getting their ivory at zoos.

posted on Dec, 29 2011 @ 11:39 AM
As the world economy continues to sink, we'll be seeing more sad stories like this. Poachers will become bolder, resources to stop poaching will dry up.

posted on Dec, 29 2011 @ 11:42 AM
2012 may very well be even worse for elephants! Ha, look at me making a GOP political joke!

posted on Dec, 29 2011 @ 11:47 AM
reply to post by Destinyone

The thing that bothers me most about ivory poaching is that it serves no value other than bragging rights.

Here are the things that are made from ivory:

Commercial uses of ivory include the manufacture of piano and organ keys, billiard balls, handles, and minor objects of decorative value.

You can't make medicine out of it. It isn't strong enough to be made into a tool. Maybe one could carve it into a "glass eye" so someone could use it, but seriously. I just don't understand the attraction of being able to tell a guest that your piano keys/billiard balls are made from the tusks of a murdered elephant. It's just dispicable.

edit on 29-12-2011 by Afterthought because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 30 2011 @ 01:05 PM
Seems that elephants are the only ones suffering from the greed of poachers and the like.

I saw it fitting to add this article to the thread.
"Rhino poaching hits record as horns worth more than gold"

A record number of rhinos were poached this year in South Africa, home to the greatest number of the animals, as rising demand in Asia for their horns led to increased killings of the threatened species.

At least 443 rhinos have been killed in South Africa in 2011, up from 333 last year, according to National Geographic News Watch.

The street value of rhinoceros horns has soared to about $65,000 a kilogram (2.2 pounds), making it more expensive than gold, platinum and in many cases coc aine, as a belief — with no basis in science — has taken hold in recent years in parts of Asia that ingesting it can cure or prevent cancer.

The glaring difference here is that rhino horns are believed to cure and prevent cancer while elephant tusks are simply treasured.

So, in conclusion, poachers are getting worse and both elephants and rhinos were slaughtered in record numbers in 2011.

The rich who can afford ivory and horns need to stop buying them. Find something else to collect and value besides the parts of beautiful animals who you're helping to wipe off the face of the Earth because of your greed and selfish desires. Shame on all of you!

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