amboseli elephant family

African Elephants

KEEPERS OF THE DUST

KEEPERS OF

THE DUST

The insatiable demand for ivory has fueled a poaching crisis hurtling African elephants towards extinction.

Poachers slaughter elephants with automatic weapons, spears, darts, and wire snares. The ivory tusks are gauged from their skull often while the elephant is still alive.

blood ivory

BLOOD IVORY

blood ivory elephant

Valued more than gold, ivory generates ten billion dollars annually.

Asia, Europe, and the USA are bankrolling the elephants to extinction funded by greed, corruption, and an insatiable obsession with ivory.

In 1976, the African elephant became a protected species on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), designed to control and limit trade. CITES is implemented and enforced through the Endangered Species Act.

During the 80’s “Ivory Wars”, 700,000 elephants were slaughtered throughout Africa. By 2008, rapid economic growth in countries such as China created a new class of ivory consumers.

A network of African gangs, international criminals, and corrupt government officials are profiting from the ivory trade, creating regional instability and strife.

africa elephant Tim amboseli

THUNDERING ICONS OF AFRICA

Elephants are the earth’s gardeners sustaining Africa’s diverse habitats. Elephants are responsible for seed dispersal, pushing down trees, seal water holes so water holds longer during the dry season, and recycling nutrients that are locked in wood for other wildlife.

Wild elephants are keystone species and crucial to the existence of other species. These colossal megafauna create and maintain their own ecosystems.

Celebrated for their intelligent social structure, and much like humans, elephants express love, joy, anger, grief, and compassion. The matriarchal society make them a wonder to behold in their wild habitat.

From their trunk with 40,000 dextrous muscles to their oversized ears that flap away heat, elephant’s ivory tusks are designed to defend, and ultimately the cause of their ruin.

HABITAT LOSS

The exploding growth of the human population and extension of agriculture and infrastructural development into rangelands and forests means that elephant habitat is continuing to dissipate. Elephants are increasingly being crowded out of their habitats with small patches of disconnected land.

HUMAN-ELEPHANT CONFLICT

Farms are being established where elephants roam and become a target for crop-raiding by hungry elephants. A year’s crop can be wiped out in a single night, creating understandable animosity. When elephants and humans interact, there is conflict from crop-raiding, injuries, and elephants are killed by farmers for habitat degradation.

POACHING AND WILDLIFE TRAFFICKING

Elephants are killed every year for their tusks to fuel the illegal ivory trade. Ivory dealers employ and arm poachers, who slaughtered entire herds of elephants.

TROPHY HUNTING

An industry that blurs the lines between killing and conservation. Hunting has been carried out in absolute excess with little regard to the species’ endangerment. Trophy hunting of the African elephant is permitted in many African countries. Affluent individuals, primarily of American and European origin, spend up to US$30,000 to slaughter an elephant.

Solutions.

  • Ban the sale of all ivory.
  • Complete ban on all commercial and domestic trade in ivory internationally.
  • Mandatory destruction of all ivory stockpiles, confiscated ivory, and “legal ivory”.
  • Investment in border force training and increase port (sea and air) security.
  • Strengthen and implement laws associated with wildlife crime.
  • Educate consumers in order to stem the demand for ivory. A survey in China found that almost 70% of the public thought ivory did not come from dead elephants but that it fell out naturally, like teeth.

96 elephants killed

Elephant ivory, dubbed as “white gold”, is used to make decorative items, carvings, jewelry, piano keys, and trinkets. The allure of “white gold” is a way to project an image of wealth and social status.

Pledge to be Ivory Free

Sign petitions against the ivory trade

Make donations to help fund elephant protection

Spread the word to family and friends

Tell your governors to ban the ivory trade

wildaid be ivory free
elephant photography

TUSK FACTS

are pregnant for 22 months
can only see red and green
eat 18 hours a day
weight up to 13,000 lbs
live up to 70 years
breed around 14 years old
are born blind
communicate by touching
have 40,000 muscles in their trunk
trumpeting can be heard six miles away
can hear with their feet