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Uh oh – more African elephants being killed than are born!

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Illegal elephant tusks are often crushed by steamrollers when confiscated from illegal poachersAfrica’s elephants have just crossed into a pretty scary area. Researchers recently that found more African elephants are being killed than are born. They warn that at this rate, the animals could be wiped out in 100 years.

African elephants are killed for their tusks. Called “poaching”, the elephants are killed, their tusks removed, and their bodies left behind. The tusks, which are made of ivory, are sold by the poachers for thousands of dollars. Researchers say about 7% of the elephant population was killed between 2010 and 2013. On the other hand, births only increase the elephant population by 5% each year. At this rate, there won’t be any elephants left on the planet by the year 2100.

What can you do about this? The trade in ivory is driven by “demand” and as long as people are willing to pay a lot of money for ivory, the poachers will keep killing elephants in order to get rich. If nobody buys ivory, the “demand” drops, and the poachers have no incentive to kill the elephants for their tusks. Right now, demand for ivory is highest in Asia but ivory is used in jewelry and sold all over the world. So, what can you do to save the elephants? Stop buying anything that is made of ivory and tell any poachers that you meet that their mothers are ugly.

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