Sunday, January 25, 2015
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
.

Solano News

Solano GOP welcomes address from King niece

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A1, 3 Comments | Gallery

 
Nursing students take next step in higher education

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: C1 | Gallery

Friend seeks justice for 1982 Vacaville homicide victim

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1, 10 Comments | Gallery

 
 
Biggest Little Car Show returns for 31st year

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Solano Safety Net Summit set in Fairfield downtown

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3

 
Wine, chocolate pairing comes to downtown Benicia

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Local gas prices dip below $2 a gallon

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Crews respond to residential fire

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Be heart smart all year long

By Gerald Bourne, MD | From Page: C4

 
Kindergarten Readiness Roundup enlightens parents

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Weather for Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B4

 
CHP seeks witnesses to I-80 crash

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Saudi monarchy transition a real economic concern

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: B7

 
City seeks input on downtown plan

By Brian Miller and Karl Dumas | From Page: B7, 2 Comments

Privatized housing tenants to feel BAH pinch

By Tom Philpott | From Page: B10

 
Fairfield police log: Jan. 23, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

Airman with Fairfield tie completes training

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B10

 
Suisun City police log: Jan. 23, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

Suisun City police log: Jan. 22, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
.

US / World

Abe ‘speechless’ after video claims IS hostage dead

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
It’s a hoot hanging out with owls at this Tokyo cafe

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2 | Gallery

Avian flu confirmed in commercial turkey flock in California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Boy, 13, arrested in fatal stabbing near Los Angeles school

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Abortion opponents express renewed hope at SF rally

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
School: Sea otter conceived in wild is 1st born in captivity

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Man searching by plane finds body of missing son off Mexico

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Kia recalling nearly 87,000 Fortes because of fire risk

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Elon Musk’s SpaceX drops lawsuit against Air Force

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
California’s public-worker payroll increased post-recession

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Company seeks rights to names of iconic Grand Canyon lodges

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

GOP presses state bills limiting gay rights before ruling

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
1st attempt to lift fuselage of crashed AirAsia plane fails

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Tens of thousands protest after president resigns in Yemen

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Thousands march against socialist president in Venezuela

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Expert says King Tut mask can be restored after epoxy used

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Obama to cut short India trip to pay call on Saudi Arabia

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Rockets kill 30 in Ukrainian city as rebels launch offensive

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
.

Opinion

 
Plea for return of stolen statue

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Not all police are bad

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 6 Comments

Editorial Cartoon: Jan. 25, 2015

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sound off for Jan. 25, 2015

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

 
.

Living

Today in History: Jan. 25, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Jan. 25, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

The gift of a new beginning

By Dalia Adams | From Page: C3

 
Mennonite group to build houses in tornado-damaged town

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

Yearbooks bring Jewish, Catholic groups together

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

 
Horoscope Jan. 25, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: C4

My dad can’t get over the bad first impression of my boyfriend

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: C4

 
.

Entertainment

Mariel Hemingway working on memoir and young adult novel

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

 
Jonathan Franzen to appear at BookExpo America

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

.

Sports

25 years of trying to get it right

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1, 3 Comments | Gallery

 
Sharapova, Bouchard into quarterfinals at Australian Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

2 Williams sisters, 2 Madisons into 4th round at Aussie Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Hall of Famer Ernie Banks mourned in sports world and beyond

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Thompson’s record 3rd quarter leads Warriors past Kings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Belichick on deflated balls: ‘We try to do everything right’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki’s surgically repaired hip on mend

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Buckeyes celebrate their title at Ohio Stadium

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Carroll, Belichick excelled after failing the first time

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Luck-led Team Carter vs. Romo-lead Team Irvin in Pro Bowl

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

AP Explains: The Pro Bowl, unlike any other All-Star game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Abdullah leads North to 34-13 win over South in Senior Bowl

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

As Brady, Gronk know, pre-Super Bowl injury talk always big

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
AP Interview: Selig says MLB could expand internationally

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Could Super Bowl be Lynch’s finale in Seattle?

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Sherman, Seahawks take the trash-talk lead over Patriots

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Ashley Wagner wins 3rd US title with record-setting scores

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Weber’s 108.5-mph blast gives him hardest shot at NHL skills

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Jimenez, Mediate share lead in Champions Tour opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Grace wins Qatar Masters by 1 stroke

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Matt Kuchar stumbles in, gives away Humana Challenge lead

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
For streaking Atlanta Hawks, it’s all about the balance

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Upstart wins $400,000 Holy Bull at Gulfstream

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Mischief Clem wins California Cup Derby in photo finish

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

World Cup of Hockey tournament set for 2016

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Hometown report: Bowling

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B3

Sports on TV for Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B5

 
This date in sports history for Jan. 25, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

.

Business

Anheuser-Busch to buy craft beer company

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Booking a trip to the ER on your smartphone? It’s a breeze

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

Higher standard deduction, other breaks for older taxpayers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Tiny Cokes: Less guilt means more money for makers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Recalls this week: cleaners, fitness machines

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
First Look: Apple’s HomeKit could help smarten up your home

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

.

Obituaries

Don Johnson

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Thomas Clark

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Sheila Margery (Smith) Luxenberg

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics