25,000 elephants killed per year for their ivory
Elephants have existed on this planet for millions of years and only two species remain—the African and the Asian elephant. Now, the world’s largest terrestrial animals are being threatened due to international demand for their tusks.
African elephants are currently found in 37 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Once reaching 1.3 million African elephants in 1979, there are only an estimated 500,000 - 700,000 left in the world, as a result of the ivory trade.
Asian elephants are found primarily in large parts of India, Sri Lanka, Indochina peninsula, and parts of Indonesia. There are fewer than 50,000 Asian elephants left in the world.
Elephants are killed for their ivory, which is used for crafts, such as carvings, ornaments, combs, jewelry, and chopsticks. Diminishing elephant populations, public outrage and fear for the survival of elephants led to an international ivory trade ban in 1989. However, due to the combination of various loopholes and black market trading, the ivory trade is still thriving and threatening our elephant population. In 2011, CITES reported at least 25,000 African elephants were killed.
In 2012, poaching and illegal ivory seizures reached record highs since the international ban in 1989.
What is WildAid doing?:
Via our public service announcements and short form documentary pieces, WildAid is working to educate consumers and reduce the demand for ivory products worldwide. Our message reaches one billion people a week in China alone.
In Corbett National Park, home to approximately 1500 Asian elephants, we are working to secure migratory corridors and to mitigate the encroachment of human development on these corridors. We are also working to clear brush and debris from mining, which can severly restrict safe passage during monsoon season and other extreme weather. We are working closely with government officials to restrict boulder mining, which increases the flow in the rivers, making it increasingly difficult for elephants to cross. WildAid also works with the locals and fringe villages to reduce human-wildlife conflict.
WildAid is also in production on a feature documentary on the elephant and rhino poaching crisis through the eyes of China's biggest star, Yao Ming. Yao traveled to Kenya and South Africa to come face-to-face with these threatened species, to meet the people who are risking their lives protecting these animals, and the people who have spent their lives studying them. You can follow his journey to Africa, with photos and stories, on Yao Ming's Blog.