African Elephants Could Be Extinct ‘Within a Decade’
African elephants could be extinct in the wild within the next decade, a major conservation conference in Botswana has been told.
The Africa Elephant Summit, attended by delegates from around 20 countries including China – which is accused of fuelling the poaching trade – heard new figures from the International Union for Conservation of Nature that showed the African elephant population fell from 550,000 to 470,000 between 2006 and 2013.
The decline has been even more pronounced in East Africa, where numbers have fallen from 150,000 to 100,000 during the same period. Last year the Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania was added to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites under threat, highlighting the scale of the problem in the region. The elephant and rhino population has fallen by nearly 90 per cent since the reserve was first listed in 1982. As many as 25,000 elephants were killed in Tanzania’s Selous ecosystem (66 percent of the reserve’s population) between 2009 and 2013, according to conservation groups.
“This species could be extinct in our lifetime, within one or two decades, if the current trend continues,” said Dune Ives, senior researcher at Vulcan, a philanthropic organisation run by US billionaire Paul Allen.