By Philip Mansbridge
It's hard to imagine that anyone reading this blog isn't already aware that right now elephants are in crisis. For many years, leading global conservationists and charities have been doing all they can to stop the killing of elephants to fuel the illegal ivory trade - some behind the scenes and some in the public eye, but all fighting a common cause.
Over the last few years the issue has escalated beyond any experts' predictions, and the elephant slaughter has increased at a truly unprecedented rate. This dramatic escalation coupled with the press-friendly voices of celebrities such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Yao Ming (one of China's most widely known public figures), Kristin Davis, and more recently high profile politicians such as Barack Obama, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton, has now, thankfully, brought this tragic story back to the front of the public's mind.
So, on World Elephant Day, just how bad is this crisis?
Elephant poaching across Africa has reached an unprecedented high and now looks set to wipe out our beloved elephants from the planet in as little as 20 years. Some reports are now suggesting that up to 40,000 elephants are being killed for their tusks each year in Africa alone. That is almost five per hour, every hour, every day. Can you imagine this - five per hour - think for one minute about how that equates to your day. What will you do in the next 12 minutes? Maybe read this blog, surf the net, clear a couple of emails, make a coffee... bang. Another magnificent elephant hits the ground.
In minutes his tusks will be removed, usually by cutting most of the face off, often by chainsaw. An intelligent, social elephant with complex communication and family structures, that may have walked around its land in peace for the last 60-70 years, now dead and soon to be a trinket. This is not only unsustainable and cruel - it is barbaric. More....