2011's Elephant Carnage: Tens of Thousands

Populations on decline across Africa, wildlife groups warn
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 27, 2012 6:43 AM CDT
2011's Elephant Carnage: Tens of Thousands
Sri Lankan workers stand near hundreds of African elephant tusks seized at a customs warehouse earlier this week.   (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

The mass slaughter of elephants and rhinos in Africa by poachers has once again reached crisis levels, warns the world body that tracks endangered species. As many as tens of thousands of elephants were slaughtered by poachers last year alone, and the illegal trade in tusks and horns is "pushing these species toward extinction," the chief of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species told a Senate committee on Thursday, warning that elephants are now in decline in every region of Africa.

"We have slid into an acute crisis with the African elephant that does not appear to be on many people’s radar in the US," the founder of Save the Elephants tells MSNBC. "What’s happening to the elephants is outrageous, and the more so since we have been through these ivory crises before and should have found solutions by now." He urged the US to pressure other nations, especially China and Thailand, to do more to tackle the illegal trade in tusks and horns, saying that if "China would declare a unilateral 10-year moratorium on ivory imports, there would be a future for elephants in Africa." (More elephants stories.)

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