In the late 1970s, Ian Douglas-Hamilton, a great renowned Kenyan elephant conservationist, counted the number of elephants in Africa. He found that there were about 1.3million. He recounted again in the 90s and found that elephants had halved in number to 600k.
Where are we at now? 400k.
The Great Elephant Census, which is currently being assessed as we speak, so far reconfirms the same bleak trajectory. While results so far show that elephants are slightly growing in number in South Africa and Zambia, and flatlining in Botswana- which could have something to do with the EU & other states thinking that these increases in numbers justify once-off sales in ivory- let’s look at the larger picture.
Tanzania: half of their elephants gone in 6 years
Mozambique: half, in 3 years
Total population of forest elephants, more than half gone in about decade
So, returning to the global numbers:
1970s: 1.3 mil
In less than a month's time, politicians, wildlife experts and conservation groups from 182 member countries will assemble at the major CITES conference to determine which species will be classified as endangered. If the African elephant is classified as endangered in all countries, they will be afforded the highest protection across the board and the ivory trade will be outlawed worldwide. Currently the EU, WWF and a number of African states are voting to enable the trade in some states which will trigger both an increase in the supply and demand in ivory. The next conference that can make such decisions on classifications will not be held until another 3 years. We’ve lost 100,000 elephants in a 3 years timespan before. There are 400,000 African elephants left. It is anticipated that they will be wiped off the face of this earth within 25 years. There just isn’t any time to lose.