By Sara Bibel
CBS SUNDAY MORNING WITH CHARLES OSGOOD goes inside Kenya’s efforts to stop elephant poaching to harvest ivory, most of which is sent to China, in a report to be broadcast March 9, 2014 (9:00 AM ET) on the CBS Television Network.
Some 25,000 elephants are being killed by poachers each year in Africa, reports M. Sanjayan, a CBS News contributor and Executive Vice President and Senior Scientist at Conservation International.
“It’s the worst that it’s been in the last 30 years,” says Ian Craig, who leads conservation efforts for the Northern Rangelands Trust. “It’s a steady deterioration and it’s getting worse.”
Craig tells Sanjayan criminal syndicates with sophisticated weapons and equipment are the main culprits behind the illegal trade. Despite laws banning the harvesting and sale of ivory it is a powerful symbol in China and the Far East where it’s used to make artwork and religious items. A poacher can earn $2,000 for one elephant.
“Clearly China is driving this – it’s coming from the Far East,” Craig says. “Ninety percent of the ivory being picked up in the Nairobi Airport, or Kenya’s part of entry and exit, is Chinese nationals.”
Kenya spends tens of millions a year on its anti-poaching efforts, Sanjayan reports.
“The supply here is finite,” Craig tells Sanjayan. “This isn’t gold. This isn’t diamonds. This is more precious because it’s been grown by an animal and we’re killing that animal to supply that demand.”
CBS SUNDAY MORNING is broadcast Sundays (9:00-10:30 AM, ET) on the CBS Television Network. Rand Morrison is the executive producer.