Large numbers of elephants are slain for their ivory tusks everyday, and the numbers are on the sharp increase.
Making big money for poachers and enticing collectors, the illegal ivory trade renders devastating effects. Places that have been listed as major contributors of illegal ivory sales include Thailand, Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Malaysia, the Philippines, China, and Vietnam. Although there are many other countries that also share this problem, central Africa has been regarded as the region with the largest number of illegal activity. One kilo of ivory can sell for at least $3,000 U.S. from these zones.
Countries and local governments are combining with conservation and wildlife organizations to form action plans to combat the widespread problem. Strategic efforts to halt the illegal ivory trade are being put in place, specifically targeting these areas. With a goal date of July, 2014 to show progress, wildlife crime situations will then be reevaluated to implement further effective actions.
The Wildlife Conservation Society, World Wildlife Fund and the African Wildlife Foundation are just a few groups that are taking part in the effort. Also, many African governments such as Kenya, South Sudan, Botswana and Ivory Coast officials are working to fight the crimes in their regions.
It is hard to monitor poached ivory so accurate numbers as to how many elephants are killed may be approximations, but many report the numbers to be as high as 100 per day. This doesn’t even take into account illegal poaching of rhinoceros tusks, either.
Though wildlife organizations are working in the field to try to combat this situation, the problems go way beyond what they can do to stop it. The extent of the slaughter of elephants for their ivory is so widespread that it filters to other areas than just the immediate trade service. It also endangers the economic, cultural, political, environmental and communal security of the regions where this practice occurs. This highly organized form of crime also often includes dangerous armed militias.
One way to help stop the spread of ivory poaching is by not purchasing any products that are suspect of containing ivory or are made from it. Some popular pieces are jewelry, figurines and interior decorations. Though this may seem like a small step, it has actually helped in the past.
Some types of piano keys made during the 19th century were formed with elephant ivory. When the consumer market caught on to how the keys were actually made, they successfully demanded that manufacturers find an alternate material. Though only one example, this had a huge effect on the ivory business at the time.
Spreading awareness about the perils of the illegal ivory trade can institute more efforts to stop it.
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