By Nicky Campbell
The BBC Radio 5 Live presenter imagines what he will have to say to his grandchildren if we do not act now.
Wildlife crime is funding terrorism, endangering communities, and quickly and surely destroying all that we should protect and cherish.
If the slaughter and exploitation doesn't stop, this is what I'll be saying to my grandchildren...
Long ago elephants roamed the forests and savannahs of Africa. This beautiful animal, nature's masterpiece, was one of the most intelligent beings to share the planet with Mankind.
They evolved to thrive in the continent where humanity was born. They lived in herds whose wise and protective matriarch would lead them to food, water and safety.
They showed the deepest instincts of mutual devotion, tenderness and loyalty. Humans have those instincts. Just occasionally we showed them too.
The elephant called Africa home for hundreds of thousands of years. We effectively finished them off in 30.
Yes, a few still cling to existence in sad remnants, guarded night and day in heavily-protected reserves and ever-diminishing pockets of militarised conservation.
Yes, a dwindling number can still be seen in zoos.
In some of those, these tactile and socially complex animals stand forlorn, in miserable solitary confinement, staring blankly and no doubt thinking about those wondrous horizons which now only their extraordinary memories can reach.
And now, in our guilt, we mourn a species that mourned its own. They never forgot each other. To witness a wild elephant tenderly reaching out to caress the bones of a lost loved one or stroke and lay brush over a dead friend was at once inspiring, heartbreaking and humbling.
That was the poetry of simple love and those gestures of sad remembrance had as much meaning as any sacred text.
Many who have studied elephants have wondered whether with their deep understanding of mortality, they might have actually had an understanding of their own demise.
Why did people kill all those African elephants? These sublime beings had their faces hacked off so people could make trinkets from their tusks .
They were mutilated and desecrated in their hundreds of thousands.
When the tide of slaughter reached its most relentless and industrial frenzy, herds were seen trying to form barriers of bodies against the AK-47s. They tried not just to protect their babies but also the biggest tuskers.
There's the Asian elephant too, of course, and the female has no tusks. All the better for the entertainment industry.
We enjoyed a bit of Thai elephant tourism for which the "beast" had at an early age been beaten into terrified submission, for the ugly laughter and hollow pleasure of grinning tourists.
They call this breaking-in process "crushing" and I advise you not to look into it if you want a good night's sleep.
Often we speculate about intelligent life elsewhere in the galaxy when it's right here in front of our noses.
If there's such a thing as a soul, elephants surely have one. We lost ours. The carnage was pitiless and unfathomably insane. When we needed sense, there was none.