Quirks & Quarks

Elephants Slaughtered for their Tusks

Elephant poaching for ivory has reached a critical level and the mighty pachyderms seem on the road to extinction....
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Elephant poaching for ivory has reached a critical level and the mighty pachyderms seem on the road to extinction.

This large male named Satao was poached only a few months ago.  

Elephants have been poached for their tusks for hundreds of years.  In the 1970's and 80's, the demand for ivory became so great the elephant population was in serious decline. But a global public awareness campaign, together with an international ban on ivory products, seemed to work and the elephant population recovered slowly over the next few decades.  

Now, a new study by Dr. George Wittemeyer, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology at Colorado State University, has found that the problem is back and the black market is thriving.  In the years 2010 to 2012, an estimated 100,000 elephants were poached to supply the growing demand for ivory, mostly in China and Thailand.  And he fears that they could soon disappear entirely if the slaughter continues.

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