NAIROBI: The number of African elephants killed by poachers in 2012 will most likely be higher than the 25,000 illegally killed the previous year, the head of UN wildlife trade regulator CITES said yesterday.
CITES Secretary General John Scanlon said right across the range of the African elephant, in 2011 25,000 elephants were illegally killed, and based upon an analysis done so far, 2012 looks like the situation deteriorated rather than improved.
The 25,000 killed in 2011 includes 17,000 dead elephants actually recorded by CITES in some 40 percent of the animals’ range, with the remainder an extrapolation.
Iain Douglas-Hamilton, the founder of Save the Elephants, said that while in terms of sheer numbers killed the 1970s and 1980s was worse, the situation today was a ‘very big crisis’ and in ‘other ways it is much worse.’
Today there are fewer elephants and demand for ivory seems to be even higher, Douglas-Hamilton told reporters, on the sidelines of a meeting at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) headquarters in Nairobi.
Africa is now home to an estimated 472,000 elephants, whose survival is threatened by poaching as well as a rising human population that is causing habitat loss.