5% elephants ‘missing’ from Africa’s protected areas -  WWF comment

Press release and study: http://www.up.ac.za/en/news/post_2459034-africas-protected-areas-have-only-a-quarter-of-the-elephants-they-should

A new study from the Conservation Ecology Research Unit (CERU) at the University of Pretoria provides an estimate of the number of elephants that should be present in

Gentle Giants of the Serengeti

Gentle Giants of the Serengeti

Image by Alex Berger

 including Selous GameReserve and Tsavo East and West National Parks.

Based on recent counts, three-quarters of the elephants or around 730 000 animals, are missing from these protected areas. One third of protected areas contain fewer than 5% of the elephants they should. The most common cause of this is pervasive poaching. However, for the first time, we know which areas should be prioritised for the conservation of elephants.

Heather Sohl, WWF-UK’s chief advisor on wildlife, comments:

“An African elephant is killed every 25 minutes, fuelled by the global demand for ivory. Even the animals living in areas which should be protected are still suffering at the hands of poachers.  

“We must see a united approach worldwide to tackle the poaching, trafficking, corruption and demand. There has been encouraging global progress made in recent months but to turn the tide we need urgent action at a larger scale. With London hosting the Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference in 2018, whoever forms the next UK Government must prioritise a ban in the legal UK ivory trade to show the global leadership necessary to help make this conference truly successful.”

This comes after a new WWF -report published this week (18 April) found almost half of World Heritage Sites designated for their importance to nature are threatened by the illegal wildlife trade which is the fourth largest international trade crime worth an estimated £15 billion.  Natural World Heritage sites are home to 40% of all African elephants and WWF calls for greater protection of natural World Heritage sites.  

In recent months, there has been monumental progress worldwide to reduce ivory demand and stem elephant poaching:

  • China, home to the world’s largest legal and illegal ivory markets announced they will ban domestic trade by the end of 2017.
  • The US has introduced a near-total ban.
  • Hong Kong has committed to closing its domestic market.
  • France strengthens regulations on its legal trade
  • Singapore’s announce intention to ban ivory trade


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