By Bella Hamdan
Picture this—You are an elephant living in the grasslands. It is a beautiful, sunny day, but not for long. All of a sudden you hear loud banging noises, gunfire, and the thump, thump, thumping of a stampede. Now men are running right towards you with rifles. The gunfire is getting closer and closer. Elephants are falling down right next to you. One man with one rifle with one bullet aims and fires. You fall to the ground. Your life ends.
Elephants are dying each day because of the ivory trade, where entire elephants are killed simply for their tusks, or ivory. In 2011, the record was broken for the amount of illegal ivory seized worldwide at 38.8 tons. That equals the tusks from more than 4,000 dead elephants. That is just the ivory taken away—imagine the ivory that did not get seized and how many elephants died then.
At least 25,000 elephants were slaughtered in Africa in 2011 alone. Just to cite one specific incident—one day, the guards of the Garamba National Park spotted a Ugandan military helicopter. Park officials, scientists and the Congolese believe that the people in the Ugandan helicopter killed 22 elephants and ended up with more than $1 million worth of ivory. That is just one of the many examples of brutal elephant killings in the world.
Not only elephants are dying, people are dying, fighting, getting arrested and doing illegal activities just for ivory. Hundreds of humans have died from scattered maulings, tramplings and bullets fired by other humans fighting on the animal’s behalf. The outlaws are not the only ones who have poached elephants. Members of some African armies that America supports with millions of taxpayer dollars have poached elephants.
Congolese soldiers are often arrested for poaching elephants. Not only the people who are killing elephants are getting arrested, but the people buying ivory are getting arrested too. Last year more than 150 Chinese citizens were arrested across Africa for smuggling ivory illegally. Obviously the ivory trade is not good for elephants, but it is not good for the people either.
If the poaching of the elephants keeps on going on then someday there will be no more elephants. TRAFFIC investigated nine cities in Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Senegal last year and found more than 8,800 pounds of ivory on display. That represents the ivory of more than 760 elephants. Recent data from the World Conservation Union, reported that they may have fewer than 550 elephants in Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Senegal. In 2006, 3,000 elephants were believed to live in the Zakouma National Park in southeastern Chad. According to the Wildlife Conservation Society, two years later there were only 1,000 elephants left. In 2011 it was found that there were fewer than 500 elephants. More....