African elephant poaching falls dramatically as ivory demand slows

Africa is home to some of the world’s most iconic animals, but the crisis of illegal poaching has left numerous species vulnerable and even on the brink of extinction. Among these animals are elephants, that die in the number of tens of thousands each year for their ivory tusks.

The good news is that researchers now estimate that the number of hunted elephants has plummeted since illegal hunting was at its peak in 2011. Just eight years ago, hunters took out more than 10 percent of the African elephant population – some 40,000. Now poaching kills less than four percent of the pachyderms, according to a new report. A drop in ivory demand, thanks to the substance’s ban in the last couple of years, has been cited as one of the primary reasons behind the decrease in elephant poaching.

The researchers have also said that, while ivory demand is the biggest target, well-executed, community-based efforts that combine wildlife conservation with material benefits to community members may be a win-win that both improve elephant conservation and reduces poverty.

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