Little is more pleasing to me than going to a zoo, and topping that list is the appreciation of the elephants, big and small. Now we are discovering that the African elephant population shrunk some 30 percent from 2007 to 2014!
Unfortunately, because of poaching, elephant numbers are being decimated by some four to eight percent a year. “This makes no sense on any level… moral, economic or political,” said Ibrahim Thiaw, the deputy executive director for the United Nations Environment Program.
Interestingly the figures are the work of a $7 million project financed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. In 2010, he committed to giving away half of his wealth, estimated at $8 billion.
During the survey, some 290,000 miles were sampled in checking the elephant population across Africa. A total of 352 Savanna elephants were seen, which accounts for 93 percent of all remaining in the 18 countries surveyed.
Poaching is easily the biggest problem for this decline. As one part of a solution, the United States government recently announced a virtual total ban of the commercial trade of African elephant ivory.
“But even if poaching is stopped now, it will take decades for elephant populations to recover,” said David Banks, the Nature Conservancy’s African program director.
One suggestion: a proven poacher should have no recourse but the death penalty. Harsh, simple, direct, but probably highly successful.