Nature & Environment
Elephants under threat as ivory demand soars
By T.K. Randall
April 14, 2012 · 17 comments
Image Credit: Sandra Fenley
Elephant populations in Africa are at risk of extinction due to increased ivory demand in China.
Conservationists have warned that a rise in poaching could see the creatures wiped out in some African countries. Poachers backed by organised criminal gangs are thought to be mostly responsible for fuelling the ivory trade, in several regions elephants are disappearing at a rate of up to 50 a week as wildlife groups battle to save the species from disappearing entirely.
Trade in ivory was made illegal worldwide in 1989 but the ban was lifted in 2008 to allow southern African countries to sell stockpiled ivory to China and Japan. Campaigners say this has also fuelled the demand for illegal ivory.
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