Poachers Kill 20,000 Elephants Every Year
By D.S. Mitchell
Every Ivory Trinket Represents A Dead Elephant.
Poachers kill 20,000 wild elephants every year. These heartless poachers don’t just shoot the poor animals; instead the desperate creatures are often left injured and dying. Whether by gunshot wounds, poisoning, mutilation or snare traps 50 animals are killed daily. Make no mistake there is a war on elephants. Poachers will kill any elephant with tusks-even a mother nursing her baby.
Into Deadly Ambush
Sadly, often poachers will attack and injure baby elephants because the baby’s pitiful cries will then lure their mothers into a deadly ambush. These poacher’s will stop at nothing to get their hands on the ivory. The poachers use assault rifles and even poison arrows. Unimaginably, they even pour cyanide into elephant watering holes. All this needless suffering so the ivory can be carved into useless trinkets and jewelry to be sold in Asian markets, particularly in China.
Orphans Left To Wander Helpless
Elephants are highly social and deeply emotional creatures. After the poachers kill their mothers, the young orphans are left, to wander helplessly in the bush, until they die, or are rescued by humanitarians. In one recent case a young orphan elephant was found missing part of her trunk and her tail, likely the victim of a lion attack since she had no protection without her mother. In fact, if the slaughter is not stopped soon certain elephant populations risk extinction.
Orphans Cry For Their Mothers
After a baby elephant is orphaned they will often sit, weeping for hours, tears rolling down their cheeks. Some will wake up in the middle of the night, squealing in terror from nightmares. Although physically healthy some will refuse to eat or drink because they have been so traumatized by the loss of their mother they die of what seems to be a broken heart.
Groups Work To Stop The Slaughter
More than 50 elephants are slaughtered every day from poaching, hunting and other clashes with humans. There are groups working to protect elephants but it is a huge undertaking. On the front lines are several international wildlife preservation groups, such as IFAW (International Fund for Wildlife), African Wildlife Foundation and World Wild Life Fund. These groups are using a multi-phase approaches, changing laws and educating the public to end the ivory trade forever.
Building A Neighborhood Watch
Every year multiple game wardens and rangers are murdered by poachers because they tried to stop the killing. One recent project in Africa, known as tenBoma is showing some early success. tenBoma is basically “neighborhood watch.” In Kenya tenBoma is a traditional philosophy that encourages each community to work together to protect the entire region.
A Protective Shield
This same philosophy is being used by activist groups to engage local communities, the people, the police, the scouts and rangers-to share information on suspected poacher movements and other dangerous activity, especially around known elephant migration routes. The goal of such projects is to form a protective shield around wild places where elephants live.
Miles And Miles Away
So many of us, live thousands of miles from the center of this tragedy. The distance between the epicenter of the disaster does not need to stop people from helping end the ivory trade, protect elephants and lovingly raise traumatized orphaned baby elephants. Hopefully, hearing the need and seeing the pain created by poachers will encourage people to give generously and repeatedly to organizations devoted to saving these incredible animals. I’ve listed three highly respected organizations fighting to save the elephants. Please donate if you can.
International Fund For Animal Welfare: www.ifaw.org
World Wildlife Fund: www.worldwildlifefund.org
African Wildlife Foundation: www.awf.org