The ivory trade is the single largest threat to the African elephant.
Thirty percent of the African elephant population has been wiped out by poaching in less than a decade. Currently, there are only around 415,000 elephants left. The poaching crisis is primarily responsible for the 8 percent loss in the population each year, and the trajectory paints a grim picture for the survival of this iconic species. The ivory trade has been widely reported and policy changes have taken place to quash both supply and demand. Whether these interventions will make a significant impact to save the African elephant remains to be seen. At this current trajectory, however, the largest land mammal on Earth may disappear within our lifetimes.
With less than 415,000 African elephants left in the wild and a poaching rate of eight percent per year, the chances of their survival beyond the next generation remain critically low.
As the poaching continues, it’s expected that the extinction of the African Elephant will occur within the next generation.
Ivory is largely used for jewellery, religious figurines, utensils and trinkets. The main driver of demand is from China.
China has pledged to ban the ivory trade by the end of 2017, and last month began to close 67 factories and retailers. The rest of the ivory facilities will be shut down by the end of the year.
Ninety percent of the ivory trade in China is illegal. Banning the legal trade creates a possibility for the growth of the illegal trade in order to meet the continuing demand for ivory.
An endangered status for the African Elephant was rejected by CITES in 2016. Species classifications will not be reviewed again until 2019.
As featured on Huffington Post.