Shocking figures on elephant conservation have just been released by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). The Minkebe National Park in Gabon has lost as many as 11,100 elephants to the ivory trade in the last 9 years.
Rampant Elephant Poaching in Gabon
Gabon is home to more than half of Africa’s elephants, and elephant poaching in this region was believed to be less than in other regions of Africa, where 31000 elephants are estimated to have been lost due to poaching. However, there has been increased human activity seen in this National Park, with there being around 5000 miners, poachers and arms and drugs dealers on its premises. Authorities believe that 50-100 elephants could be killed everyday.
Increasing Demand for Ivory
According to a previous report by the CNN, there is an increased demand for ivory which can be attributed to economic growth in Asia, where ivory is valued for ceremonial and cultural purposes. The price of ivory has reached $1000 per pound. The statistics released highlight the extent of the threat these pose to conservation.
These statistics are dramatic enough to have evoked reactions from the Gabonese government. The president has vowed to introduce further legislation to dissuade poachers, including longer prison terms. He also called for an integrated effort to meet this problem. He was echoed by the president and CEO of WCS. “This sad news from Gabon confirms that without a global commitment, great elephant populations will soon become a thing of the past,” said WCS President and CEO Cristián Samper. “We believe that elephants can still be saved – but only if nations greatly increase their efforts to stop poaching while eliminating the illegal ivory trade through better enforcement and reduced demand.”
The surveys were conducted by WCS, WWF and Gabon’s National Parks Agency. This report was sourced from a press release by WCF, which you can read here.