Ivory from a poached elephant sells on the black market for about $21,000. A living elephant, on the other hand, is worth more than $1.6 million in ecotourism opportunities.
Between the government shutdown and the public uproar over the National Zoo Giant Panda Cam going dark (“PANDA! PANDA!” screamed the general public), you might not have noticed a few more elephants in the news.
Two or more dead elephants in one place means one thing: poaching by professional killers. Another tip-off is the lack of a face, as poachers hack off the tusks to be sold for ivory.
It just gets worse and worse. Last year a shocking study revealed that 62 percent of the world’s forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis) had been killed by poachers between 2002 and 2011.
ROCKY MOUNTAIN ARSENAL NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, COLO.–On a clear day outside Denver, dust filled the air surrounding an industrial rock crusher as it pulverized nearly six tons of confiscated elephant ivory.
Vegan, but not edible. [Photo by the author] A surprising amount of art can be made by tools that have been burnt in a fire. Willow or vine charcoals are made from charred willow or vine branches.
Whole elephant tusks. Carved ivory figurines and statues. Ivory knives, jewelry, chopsticks and trinkets. Six tons of this stuff, all of it illegal, sits in a secure warehouse where box after cardboard box rests alongside wooden pallets that overflow their bloody bounty onto the floor.
In a development that has conservationists abuzz, Chinese officials crushed 6.1 tons of confiscated elephant ivory earlier today in a ceremony in Guangzhou.
Within the next 10 years, Africa could lose 100,000 elephantsa fifth of the populationto poachers if the slaughter for their ivory tusks continues at current rates, according to a new analysis.