By: John Ingham
Elephants have thrived for 50 million years in the forests and grasslands of Africa.
But these iconic creatures could be lost in little more than a decade due to a poaching bloodbath, an expert claims.
Conservationist Dr Dame Daphne Sheldrick revealed an elephant is being killed every 15 minutes in Africa to supply an insatiable and unsustain-able demand for ivory.
From her charity’s base in Nairobi National Park, she said: “Today is World Elephant Day but in 12 years’ time there may not be any elephants left in Africa to celebrate.
“A world without elephants is hard to comprehend, but it is a real possibility. Against a submachine gun or poacher armed with a spear, they stand little chance.”
About 36,000 elephants in Africa were slaughtered last year despite a ban on ivory.
They fall victim to highly organised and well-armed gangs. In Kenya, 162 elephants out of a population of 35,000 were killed by poachers between January and July.
Ivory is in soaring demand in the Far East for trinkets.
Dame Daphne, 79, said that in just two raids last month Kenyan authorities seized 4.5 tons of ivory.
In Hong Kong at the same time, Customs obtained more than 1,100 tusks.
Dame Daphne, who heads the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust named after her late husband, said captured contra-band is thought to equate to just 10 per cent of actual smuggling. She picks up the pieces of this grisly trade by helping orphaned elephants. More....