Conservationists say Africa is undergoing an epic elephant slaughter because of a soaring demand for ivory in Asia. After a record year in 2011, 2012 numbers are not
expected to be much better. We hear from Paul Mbugua from the Kenya Wildlife Service and Tom Milliken, director of the Elephant Trade Information System.
Elephant poaching in Africa - Paul Mbugua
Most of the young elephants at this elephant orphanage in Nairobi, kenya lost their parents to poaching. And despite international efforts to stop poaching, the problem seems to be getting worse.
In 2011, as many as 25,000 elephants were killed for their ivory ... and more illegal ivory was seized than in any year since international monitors began keeping records.
The numbers for 2012 aren't in yet.
But many believe they will be just as dismal. Most of the ivory being poached is believed to be headed for China, where ivory is worth more than 2,000 dollars a kilogram and where the rising middle class has the cash for luxuries.
Across Africa, the results are devastating.
In 1980, some estimates suggest 175,000 elephants thundered across the savannas of Kenya; today there are just 40,000. Paul Mbugua is with the Kenya Wildlife Service
. He was in Nairobi.
Elephant poaching in Africa - Tom Milliken
The trade in ivory has been illegal since 1989. But in 2011, a record amount of ivory was seized ... more than 26 tons, an amount equal to the tusks of more than 2,500 elephants.
And Kenya isn't the only country affected. Tom Milliken tracks the global trade in illegal ivory. He's the Director of the Elephant Trade Information System
with the wildlife trade monitoring network, Traffic. Tom Milliken was in Harare Zimbabwe.
This segment was produced by The Current's
Liz Hoath. Other segments from today's show: