- Title: African elephant population tumbles due to poaching
- Date: 27th September 2016
- Summary: NAIROBI, KENYA (FILE) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF IVORY BURNING
- Embargoed: 12th October 2016 15:53
- Keywords: wildlife elephants CITES report population delcine ivory poaching
- Location: VARIOUS LOCATIONS IN MALAWI, KENYA, SOUTH AFRICA AND BOTSWANA
- City: VARIOUS LOCATIONS IN MALAWI, KENYA, SOUTH AFRICA AND BOTSWANA
- Country: South Africa
- Topics: Environment
- Reuters ID: LVA00551CFIO7
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Africa's elephant population fell around 20 percent between 2006 and 2015 because of a surge in ivory poaching, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) said in a new report.
The Switzerland-based organisation, which drew on a range of estimates and census data, said it now had a fairly accurate count of 415,000 elephants in Africa in the areas where extensive surveys could be taken, down from over 500,000 in 2006.
"African elephant is faced with very very huge poaching, most of the population, in overall the population of the African elephant is declining. The new report said that in 10 years, 100,000 approximately of elephant was lost and so I think that the most pressing issue is poaching and the main driver of poaching is the trade in ivory," said Lament Sebogo of the World Wide Fund for Nature.
The IUCN is regarded as the most authoritative source on wild fauna populations and the report's release at a U.N. conference on the global wildlife trade will lend a sense of urgency as some countries seek to keep the global ivory trade shut while others want to reopen it.
"Over the last seven years, there's been total disagreement between African elephant range states on whether ivory trade should resume or not. And so yesterday which was a very positive outcome, we saw that this decision-making mechanism for a process in trading ivory has been rejected and there will be no further discussion on that regulatory framework, which is really positive," said Jason Bell of the International Fund for Animal Welfare.
Elephant losses in some countries have been staggering. Tanzania, which relies heavily on wildlife tourism, saw a 60 percent decline in its elephant population.
The decline in elephant numbers has also led to a drastic decision by the Malawian government to relocate its 500-strong elephant population to the Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve in central Malawi as a way of safeguarding the species.
Elephant poaching has risen to meet red-hot demand among fast-growing consumer markets in Asian economies such as China's, where ivory is a coveted commodity used in carving and ornamental accessories.
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