People, Environment

Ivory Poaching, Elephant Decline Continues

Ivory Poaching, Elephant Decline ContinuesIvory Poaching, Elephant Decline Continues

The number of elephants being killed for their ivory has stabilized but overall species numbers have continued to decline.

Data produced by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) for 2015 shows that poachers are still killing more elephants than are born every year.

The report also highlighted a rising trend in poaching in South Africa’s Kruger National Park, considered one of the safest havens, BBC reported.

The latest data indicate that the rise in the numbers of elephant deaths, witnessed since 2006, peaked in 2011.

Since then the numbers have stabilized but the level remains “unacceptably high overall”.

In 2015, the program recorded the deaths of 14,606. The researchers estimate that half of these were illegally killed putting the population well above the sustainability threshold, where deaths outweigh births.

But there was positive news from Eastern Africa where elephant numbers have outpaced poachers for the fourth year in a row.

“There are some encouraging signs, including in certain parts of Eastern Africa, such as in Kenya, where the overall poaching trends have declined, showing us all what is possible through a sustained and collective effort with strong political support,” said John Scanlon, CITES secretary-general

The mixed picture for the iconic species continued in Southern Africa. The overall levels of poaching remained below the sustainability threshold, but an upward trend in killing was seen in Kruger National Park for the first time.

CITES have demanded that the 19 countries most heavily involved in the killing of elephants or the consumption of ivory produce national ivory action plans to show how they plan to tackle the issue.

In January the trade body said that China, Kenya, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, all countries of primary concern, have “substantially achieved” the goals outlined in their plans.

Several other countries including Angola, Cambodia and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic were told to improve their efforts and report to the CITES governing body, the Conference of the Parties, taking place in South Africa in September this year.