Elephants may be extinct by 2020August 1st, 2008 - 12:51 pm ICT by ANI
Washington, August 1 (ANI): A new research paper has warned that elephants face the thereat of extinction by 2020 because of a high fatality rate due to poaching.
African elephants are being slaughtered for their ivory at a pace unseen since an international ban on the ivory trade took effect in 1989.
But the public outcry that resulted in that ban is absent today, and a University of Washington (UW) conservation biologist has contended that it is because the public seems to be unaware of the giant mammals plight.
The elephant death rate from poaching throughout Africa is about 8 percent a year based on recent studies, which is actually higher than the 7.4 percent annual death rate that led to the international ivory trade ban nearly 20 years ago, said Samuel Wasser, a UW biology professor, lead author of the research paper.
But the poaching death rate in the late 1980s was based on a population that numbered more than 1 million. Today, the total African elephant population is less than 470,000.
If the trend continues, there wont be any elephants except in fenced areas with a lot of enforcement to protect them, said Wasser.
According to Wasser, elephants are on a course that could mean most remaining large groups will be extinct by 2020 unless renewed public pressure brings about heightened enforcement.
Wassers laboratory has developed DNA tools that can determine which elephant population ivory came from. That is important because often poachers attack elephants in one country but ship the contraband ivory from an adjacent nation to throw off law enforcement.
Evidence gathered from recent major ivory seizures shows conclusively that the ivory is not coming from a broad geographic area but rather that hunters are targeting specific herds.
With such information, authorities can beef up enforcement efforts and focus them in specific areas where poaching is known to occur as a means of preventing elephants from being killed, said Wasser.
But that will only happen if there is sufficient public pressure to marshal funding for a much larger international effort to halt the poaching, he added.
The situation is worse than ever before and the public is unaware, said Wasser.
Its very serious because elephants are an incredibly important species. They keep habitats open so other species that depend on such ecosystems can use them. Without elephants, there will be major habitat changes, with negative effects on the many species that depend on the lost habitat, he added.
Researchers determine that the only way to curb the trade is to focus enforcement in areas where the ivory comes from in the first place, before it enters the complex, global crime trade network. (ANI)
- 'Ivory poaching will make African elephants extinct by 2020' - Aug 01, 2008
- Boosting ivory trade monitoring important before allowing one-off sales - Mar 12, 2010
- Indian-American jeweller pleads guilty to illegal ivory sales? - Jul 13, 2012
- Britain to campaign for saving rhinos - Aug 15, 2011
- Jairam Ramesh launches 'Haathi Mere Saathi' campaign - May 24, 2011
- World Bank's Bangladesh wildlife project - Feb 13, 2012
- East Asia drives trade in wildlife parts, says report - Jul 28, 2011
- 12 elephants dead in Indonesia, probe launched - Jun 21, 2012
- Interpol seizes two tonnes of elephant ivory - Jun 20, 2012
- One species becomes extinct every fortnight in England - Oct 05, 2010
- Poachers kill 200 elephants in Cameroon - Feb 18, 2012
- Forensic tool developed to track ivory traders - Aug 07, 2012
- Mammal populations dip by up to 59pc in Africa's national parks - Jul 13, 2010
- Is Earth already on the brink of 6th mass extinction? - Mar 03, 2011
- Moving species could save them, says expert - Mar 18, 2011
Tags: african elephant, african elephants, biology professor, conservation biologist, death rate, dna tools, elephant population, enforcement efforts, extinction, fatality rate, giant mammals, herds, international ban, international ivory trade, ivory trade ban, large groups, poachers, public outcry, research paper, seizures