The world is outraged, rightfully so, by the senseless death of Cecil the Lion, but unfortunately his death is not the only atrocity against endangered animals taking place in Africa. Poaching is also claiming the lives of elephants in alarming numbers.
While news of Cecil’s murder was spreading worldwide, an equally tragic episode was being committed as poachers murdered a mother elephant and her four offspring in Kenya, an article in the Sydney Morning Herald reported. The perpetrators escaped on motorcycles and are currently being sought.
Poaching is a grave danger for elephants, since their tusks can be sold in Asia for up to $1000 per pound. Between 2010 and 2012, more than 100,000 elephants were killed by poachers, a problem that’s led the species to a path of extinction.What makes this situation even worse, the elephants in herds where others are murdered actively mourn the loss, wrapping their trunks around the bodies of those killed.
In Kenya, authorities are actively taking steps to end poaching, deploying 550 new rangers last year. Technological advances such as GPS tracking have given rangers the ability to monitor elephant herds and know when they’re in danger of attack based on their speed and movements.
Other areas of Africa are also being hit by poachers. Two weeks before the Kenyan incident, 30 elephants were killed in Caramba National Park in the Congo.
Although our government is planning to implement stronger restrictions in hopes of reducing the market for ivory in the US, the market share here is fairly low. The greatest demand for ivory is on the Asian market, and regulations to protect elephants are not strictly enforced.
Efforts are underway worldwide to bring more focus to the plight of the elephant. World Elephant Day is scheduled for August 12, 2015 to bring awareness to rescue efforts currently in progress, and educate individuals on steps we can take in our daily lives to help make the world a better place for these wonderful animals.
To learn how you can help, go to worldelephantday.org . To read the Sydney Morning Herald story, go to http://bit.ly/1JTQ2Eb