Both male and female elephants in Africa have increasingly been massacred for their ivory tusks states a 14 year study just revealed by the nonprofit organization Save the Elephants. In Wednesday's news release, 1,000 elephants closely monitored in Sambaru, Northern Kenya noted significant decreases in their population due to the demand for ivory in China.
In the year 2000, there were 38 male elephants, but by 2011 their population had dwindled to only five. The older female elephant population decreased by one-half. Older elephants with larger tusks were killed in higher numbers. As the animals frequently roam out of the protected reserves, poachers wait for them. Bull elephants who have larger tusks are the first choice of poachers, and the lack of males is a major contributor to the waning elephant population.
“This represents the destruction of elephant memory banks, and when these are destroyed the survival of those remaining is lowered,” said Dr Iain Douglas-Hamilton, founder of Save the Elephants.
Eleven elephants were recently slaughtered for their tusks in the Tsavo East National Park.
Two weeks ago Kenyan officials in Mombasa seized a $1,000,000 worth of ivory.
The complete study was originally published in PLOS ONE.
Elephants are intelligent animals who show empathy for their dying and dead herd members. Their deep family ties include raising the young calf by all of the females. Having exceptional memories help the matriarchal leader guide the rest of the herd to food and water. With the loss of habitat because of increasing construction and human expansion, the ability of elephants to exist has become increasingly difficult.
Although this threat of possible elephant extinction seems serious, Dr. Hamilton stated the situation can be reversed if the drive for ivory is stopped.
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