Elephant numbers decreasing, study says
Published: Monday, March 11, 2013
Updated: Monday, April 22, 2013 21:04
Increasing rates of poaching have caused the population of African forest elephants to decrease by 62 percent over the last 10 years, according to a study released March 4 by researchers at the Wildlife Conservation Society.
The study found that packs of the animals that used to roam together in the thousands have been reduced to small pockets of a few hundred. In Minkébé National Park in Gabon, at least half of its elephant population, nearly 11,000 animals, has been killed over the past 8 years, the national government said
The amount of poachers, who hunt the beasts from horseback, have increased in West and Central Africa due to a lack of consistent governance in the surrounding areas, an increase in demand for ivory from the elephants’ tusks and unprotected roads that allow easy escapes for the hunters.
According to the study, Chinese government officials announced they would try to improve internal ivory trade to lower the demand for new supply. The U.S. State Department has joined forces with INTERPOL and the World Customs Association to battle the overseas trade of ivory, but researchers in the study believe the only way to truly curb the act is funding for defense efforts in the countries involved.