Massacred – 30 Elephants Die for Their Ivory

Yesterday’s news of 30 elephants that were killed for their tusks in Chad over the past week is a grim reminder of the devastating impact that the trade in ivory is having on wild elephants. It is estimated that Chad has lost about 40% of its elephant population since 2006 (down from 4000 to approximately 2500 today).

Yesterday’s news of 30 elephants that were killed for their tusks in Chad over the past week is a grim reminder of the devastating impact that the trade in ivory is having on wild elephants.  It is estimated that Chad has lost about 40% of its elephant population since 2006 (down from 4000 to approximately 2500 today).  I would say that this is pretty alarming and I wonder what is happening in other parts of Central Africa, notably in the Congo Basin.  You see, this is part of the problem – there is very little reliable data out there to give us even a semi-decent estimate of the extent of the poaching problem – and this is true for elephants across a large part of their continental range.  So, like many others I am left to wonder.  But, given reports of poaching and illicit trade that come across my desk regularly, I am led to believe that things are not good for elephants out there.

Attempts have been made in the past to try and determine whether legal ivory sales lead to increased poaching and illicit trade.  The result is that, even for the mathematically adept, it is really difficult to determine such causality with any level of assurance.  The reason why is because of the scanty nature of the data. Even though such monitoring programmes as the one established back in 1997 by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), namely, Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE), have attempted to shed light on this issue, the reality is that, unless the reporting of poaching incidents from the field is comprehensive and accurate, we will continue to look at only a part of the picture.  I would argue that we are looking at a very small part of the picture and that what we know through existing monitoring programmes is a gross underestimate of what is really going on out there.

This brings me to what I believe is the real issue and one that needs to be addressed if we want to stop the slaughter of elephants in the wild – is there a place for ivory in this day and age and is it good enough that 30 elephants in Chad have just been killed to meet demand for ivory, notably in the East?  I pose this question because, as long as markets for ivory exist, elephants will continue to be killed in the wild.  Traditions and cultures evolve over time and I cannot fathom, how in this day and age, the use of ivory in whatever form to “blow your own trumpet”, is still being promoted….  Ivory is nothing more than a status symbol and a bloody one at that.

While debate will continue for a very long time as to whether the legal trade has resulted in increased poaching and illicit trade, for as long as markets for ivory exist that is, the bottom line is that elephants continue to be killed for their ivory.  Whether it’s one elephant in Kenya, two elephants in Sri Lanka, ten elephants in Zambia or 30 elephants in Chad, this is unacceptable.  The killing needs to stop and the only way this will happen is if consumers worldwide take a stand against buying ivory.

In the meantime, IFAW will continue working with government agencies to address poaching problems in crisis areas.  At the moment we are working in the Congo Basin and have just finished supporting anti-poaching training in Odzala-Kokoua National Park in Congo.  We hope to continue “putting out fires” until the bigger policy issues are addressed and ultimately all trade in ivory is banned.

-- JBL

Comments: 9

 
Anonymous
2 years ago

What countries are demanding ivory? China of course. Most of the demand comes from countries who are pretending to have animal rights and those that don't. Asia seems to be the root of all the illegal animal cruelty worldwide. Demand for illegal ivory soars in booming China. Twenty years after a worldwide ban, there's a new black-market trade in elephant tusks from Africa.

 
Anonymous
3 years ago

[...] Keep reading via: Massacred – 30 Elephants Die for Their Ivory — AnimalWire.org. [...]

 
Anonymous
3 years ago

Please donate to SOS Elephants of Chad. They are desperate for help. They need funds for their anti-poaching unit. Otherwise, the elephants of Chad will be gone within 2 years.

 
Anonymous
3 years ago

the link I provided - chinese-embassy.com has conveniently left out North America on its site. Here is another link to North American and Oceania. http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/eng/wjb/zwjg/2490/2496/

 
Anonymous
3 years ago

This is not a "select rich few" that want ivory - it is the rising middle class in China that wants ivory - it has always been a status symbol. Now ivory objects say to those keeping up with the Wongs "I have arrived." Write your Chinese embassy (http://www.chinese-embassy.com/( and let them know YOU know what is going on - the government is turning their backs on the carvers in Canton and letting them create this demand. The carvers could just as well be working in resin and create objects that would fool anyone. Also know that the Chinese syndicates have all of Chad outnumbered with high tech equipIment, they know where the elephants are, threaten the villagers at gun point to not report them, then commit wholesale slaughter of all elephants, those with little tushes and even babies. It is a holocaust for the elephants. You can read of the brave woman in Chad who is trying to confront this on Facbook group SOS Elephants of Chad. BTW her site say 40 have been massacred.

 
Anonymous
3 years ago

The U.S. government will not act against nations like China which is the primary driver of the slaughter of elephants, rhino's, tigers and bears for their phony traditional medicine business because trade in products and our debt trumps not only this slaughter but also China's terrible human rights record. This is what global trade has done for us.

 
Anonymous
3 years ago

Countries which buy ivory should be condemned by all right thinking people. ivory is not an essential life saving requirement that you have to kill and use it.Change your tastes and demands so that illegal hunting can stop. No demand no killing is the reality which can be made possible by these ivory importing nations.

 
Anonymous
3 years ago

I think it must be a very select rich few that want the ivory from elephants! But there must be a large select FEW! Elephants are being murdered in the hundreds and no stop in sight! Somehow we must make people see sense, that we are killing the beautiful creature that share our world, and they have just as much right to live as we do! We must keep fighting and not give up or all will be lost!

 
Anonymous
3 years ago

The cruel killing of elephants fill us with sadness. Elephants are among Africa's iconic species, the king of continent's forests that allure and attract tourists from all over the world. African nations, including Chad, will be poorer if they continue to lose this majestic animal. The world community must come foraward to stop this brutal massacre.

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Experts

Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
Dr. Cynthia Moss, IFAW Elephant Expert
IFAW Elephant Expert
Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
Regional Director, Asia
James Isiche, Regional Director, East Africa
Regional Director, East Africa
Jason Bell, Program Director, Elephants Regional Director, South Africa
Program Director, Elephants, Regional Director, South Africa
Peter Pueschel, Director, International Environmental Agreements
Director, International Environmental Agreements
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Regional Director, South Asia