Elephant poaching levels remain alarmingly high

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Elephants drinking from a hole dug to allow water seepage. Savuti Camp, near the border with Zambia. UN Photo/E Darroch

More than 20,000 African elephants were killed across the continent in 2013, according to a new report by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora or CITES.

John Scanlon, Secretary-General of CITES, says that with the number of elephants being poached at such a high level, there's concern that it will lead to a further decline in elephant populations across Africa:

"We are seeing for the second year in a row that these sharp upward trends that we've seen over the last five or six years have levelled off. We started to observe this in 2012 and we observe it again in 2013. Namely the upward trends that we saw that became very sharp in 2010 and 2011 in terms of levels of illegal killing have started to level off, but at a level that is far too high. Namely, we still have over 20,000 African elephants killed per year."   (32″)

The report shows an increase in the number of large seizures of ivory in Africa last year, with just three countries – Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda – accounting for 80% of the seizures. Such large-scale seizures point to organized crime being heavily involved.

Mr. Scanlon says that anyone dealing in the ivory trade should be aware that they will be hunted down.

The report will be discussed at a meeting of the CITES Standing Committee due to take place in Geneva from 7th to 11th July.

Nicki Chadwick, United Nations, Geneva

Duration: 1'35"


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