Wednesday, December 17, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

100,000 elephants killed in Africa, study finds

Africa Elephant Slaughter

In this Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013 file photo, a Maasai boy and his dog stand near the skeleton of an elephant killed by poachers outside of Arusha, Tanzania. A new study released Monday, Aug. 18, 2014, by lead author George Wittemye of Colorado State University, found that the proportion of illegally killed elephants has climbed to about 65 percent of all African elephant deaths, accounting for around 100,000 elephants killed by poachers between 2010 and 2012. (AP Photo/Jason Straziuso, File)

By
August 20, 2014 |

NAIROBI, Kenya — Poachers killed an estimated 100,000 elephants across Africa between 2010 and 2012, a huge spike in the continent’s death rate of the world’s largest mammals because of an increased demand for ivory in China and other Asian nations, a new study published Monday found.

Warnings about massive elephant slaughters have been ringing for years, but Monday’s study is the first to scientifically quantify the number of deaths across the continent by measuring deaths in one closely monitored park in Kenya and using other published data to extrapolate fatality tolls across the continent.

The study — which was carried out by the world’s leading elephant experts — found that the proportion of illegally killed elephants has climbed from 25 percent of all elephant deaths a decade ago to roughly 65 percent of all elephant deaths today, a percentage that, if continued, will lead to the extinction of the species.

China’s rising middle class and the demand for ivory in that country of 1.3 billion people is driving the black market price of ivory up, leading to more impoverished people in Africa “willing to take the criminal risk on and kill elephants. The causation in my mind is clear,” said the study’s lead author, George Wittemyer of Colorado State University.

The peer-review study was published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It was co-authored by experts from Save the Elephants, the Kenya Wildlife Service, an international group called MIKE responsible for monitoring the illegal killings of elephants, and two international universities.

“The current demand for ivory is unsustainable. That is our overarching conclusion. It must come down. Otherwise the elephants will continue to decrease,” said Iain Douglas-Hamilton, founder of Save the Elephants.

Elephant deaths are not happening at the same rate across Africa. The highest death rate is in central Africa, with East Africa — Tanzania and Kenya — not far behind. Botswana is a bright spot, with a population that is holding steady or growing. South Africa’s rhinos are being killed, but poachers have not yet begun attacking elephants.

Some individual elephant death numbers are shocking. The elephant population in Tanzania’s Selous Game Reserve dropped from 40,000 to 13,000 over the last three years.

China is aware of its image problem concerning the ivory trade. The embassy in Kenya this month donated anti-poaching equipment to four wildlife conservancies. Chinese Ambassador Liu Xianfa said at the handover ceremony that China is increasing publicity and education of its people to increase understanding of the illegal ivory trade.

“Wildlife crimes are a cross-border menace,” Liu said, according to a transcript of the ceremony published by Kenya’s Capital FM. “I assure you that more action will follow as will support to fulfil our promise. We firmly believe that, through joint efforts, the drive of combating wildlife crimes will achieve success.”

Counting elephants is extremely difficult. Even Douglas-Hamilton refuses to offer an estimate as to how many live in Africa. An often-cited number is roughly 400,000, but the Save the Elephants founder would argue that no one truly knows.

Counting elephant deaths is just as hard. But a Save the Elephants project in northern Kenya’s Samburu National Reserve has counted elephant births and deaths — including if the death was natural or from poachers — for the last 16 years. Using that data, the authors examined known death numbers in other African regions compared with the rate of natural deaths and were able to determine that the continent’s deaths between 2010-2012 were about 100,000.

“This is the best work available from the best data we have using officials from the top organization, so in my mind this is the best you are going to get at the moment,” said Wittemyer. “Because of the magnitude of the issue and the politics we’ve been very careful. The scrutiny we did internally was at a much greater level than the questions we got in the peer review process.”

Despite the huge death numbers, both Wittemyer and Douglas-Hamilton believe elephants can survive. Wittemyer said more elephants will be killed, but in areas where countries are willing to invest in wildlife security numbers will hold steady, he said.

Elephants survived a huge poaching crisis in the 1970s and 1980s fueled by Japan, Douglas-Hamilton noted.

“I have to be an optimist,” he said. “I’ve been through all of this before in the 70s and 80s. As a collective group we stopped that killing, and in the savannahs there was a reprieve of 20 years. I believe we can do it again.”

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 7 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • PornacAugust 19, 2014 - 7:10 am

    God told man to control the Earth, so we can kill whatever we want!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • mikeAugust 19, 2014 - 9:15 am

    pornac.. is there anything we can cut off of you and sell to the chinese ? would love to see you go extinct.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • PornacAugust 19, 2014 - 1:01 pm

    Would Jesus have said something like that? So rude, but I still love ya!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • mikeAugust 19, 2014 - 1:56 pm

    god loves you too pornac. so why do animals have to be slautered, like your answer about the whales. god man where's YOUR compassion.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • PornacAugust 19, 2014 - 5:06 pm

    God wants us to control and manage all the Earth's creatures. Slaughter and enjoy the chow!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • mikeAugust 19, 2014 - 6:26 pm

    Pornac you write this crap just to get a rise out of people. You can't honestly believe in what your saying as righteous. Good luck

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • PornacAugust 19, 2014 - 9:07 pm

    Righteous? I am Pornac.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Recent Articles

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • .

    Solano News

    Menorah on Main begins celebration of Hanukkah

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A1, 2 Comments | Gallery

     
    Haynes, Travis district part company

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A1, 14 Comments

     
    Free new home heater warms Solano family

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A3, 3 Comments | Gallery

     
    Optimist Club welcomes student essays

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

    Police arrest 5 on DUI allegations

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3, 5 Comments

     
     
    Police arrest 4 for suspected marijuana sales

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5, 4 Comments

     
    Crash blocks part of Air Base Parkway

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    ‘Hobbit’ story ends on big screen

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A7

     
    Council delays decision on anti-smoking ordinance

    By Ian Thompson | From Page: A8

     
    Police arrest man caught driving stolen car

    By Ian Thompson | From Page: A8

     
     
    Fairfield police log: Dec. 14, 2014

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

    Faifield police log: Dec. 12, 2014

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

     
    Suisun City police log: Dec. 14, 2014

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

    Suisun City police log: Dec. 12, 2014

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

     
    .

    US / World

    Quotes from around the world on Pakistan attack

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    A look at the Pakistani Taliban militant group

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

    Taliban assault on Pakistan school leaves 141 dead

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 2 Comments

     
    State retiree health care gap reaches $72 billion

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A9, 4 Comments

    Robin Williams tops 2014 list of Google searches

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

     
    Jeb Bush to ‘actively explore’ run for president

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13, 4 Comments

     
    Ex-Marine wanted in 6 killings commits suicide

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13, 2 Comments

    Gay vets can march in Boston St. Patrick’s parade

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13, 2 Comments

     
    Cosby won’t be charged over molestation claim

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

    End game: No immigration deal, just divisions

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

     
    Aussie leader: System failed to track siege gunman

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

    Islamic State recruits broadly, not just fighters

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

     
    Eight-day Jewish festival of Hanukkah begins

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

    Filipino mayor expresses support for Guam statue

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

     
    Employees arrested for baby theft in Guatemala

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

    Israel arrests members of Jewish extremist group

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

     
    Ireland plans May vote on legalizing gay marriage

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

    Sydney siege victims lauded for courage, kindness

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

     
    Horror over deadly Sydney siege turns to anger

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

    .

    Opinion

     
    LA looks to election shift to boost turnout

    By Dan Walters | From Page: A11

     
    What is Hanukkah’s significance?

    By The Rev. Dan Molyneux | From Page: A11, 10 Comments

    .

    Living

    Community Calendar: Dec. 17, 2014

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A2

     
    Today in History: Dec. 17, 2014

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Horoscopes: Dec. 17, 2014

    By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B6

     
    My teenage daughter seems to be cutting me out of her life

    By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B6

    A chocolatey rich coconut cream pie for Christmas

    By Elizabeth Karmel | From Page: B7

     
    Go Italian this Christmas with lobster manicotti

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

    Dressing up a simple hash for Christmas brunch

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

     
    .

    Entertainment

    Letterman pulls curtain on holiday tradition

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    TVGrid

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A5

    Green Day, Reed, Starr into rock hall

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

     
    Fixes planned for clinic that treated Joan Rivers

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

    .

    Sports

    Chris Borland’s rookie 49ers season likely over

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Some Raiders players want Sparano in 2015

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

    Fairfield grad Bishop signs with 49ers

    By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1, 1 Comment | Gallery

     
    Memphis stops Golden State’s 16-game win streak

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Sprint to end NASCAR sponsorship after 2016 season

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Raiders place LB Sio Moore on IR

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Patriots regain top spot in AP Pro32 rankings

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    Rodriguez girls finally get win over Monte Vista

    By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

     
    Panthers outlast Capitals in longest NHL shootout, 20 rounds

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    AP sources: NFL employees turn over phone, email records

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Bills deliver Lions pizza, wings for hospitality

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    1998 World Cup winner Thierry Henry retires

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    USOC decides to bid for 2024; city still undecided

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    College football playoff participants stack AP All-America team

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

     
    Yankees GM Cashman: A-Rod now a full-time DH

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    .

    Business

    California home prices cool in November on sluggish sales

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

     
    T-Mobile to let customers carry over unused data

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

    Apple wins class-action lawsuit over iPod prices

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

     
    Apple stops sales in Russia, citing unstable ruble

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

    Obama backs bill imposing new sanctions on Russia

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B9, 5 Comments

     
    Sony hackers reference 9/11 in new threats against theaters

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

    Russian ruble sinks sharply despite bank rate hike

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Collie Joseph Blossom

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 2 Comments

     
    Calvin B. Shin

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 3 Comments

    James Nelson

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

     
    .

    Comics

    B.C.

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

     
    Rose is Rose

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

    Baby Blues

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

     
    Beetle Bailey

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

    Wizard of Id

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

     
    Frank and Ernest

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

    Pickles

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

     
    Blondie

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

    Sally Forth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

     
    Garfield

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

    Baldo

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

     
    Get Fuzzy

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

    For Better or Worse

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

     
    Dilbert

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

    Zits

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

     
    Peanuts

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

    Sudoku

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

     
    Crossword

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

    Bridge

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

     
    Word Sleuth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

    Cryptoquote

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6