I found Arthur Blacks’ recent column “Adopt a Sumatran Elephant” interesting — good for Arthur.
I’d like to add to his comments about the serious demise of elephants world wide. Poachers in Africa are estimated to have killed over 25000 elephants in 2011.
They are killed for their ivory tusks used mostly for religious icons and good luck charms (amulets). Tons of it is smuggled into China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Japan, the Philippines and virtually most of the main countries in the Asia Pacific.
China is by far the largest user of illegal ivory. In one incident in January 2012, in a Central African National Park, poachers on horseback killed over 300 elephants at their watering hole with automatic weapons and rocket launchers.
The bodies of adults and babies left to rot and their tusks removed.
Pre-1980 there were over a million elephants and today about 400,000. This is truly one of the world’s great conservation tragedies of our times.
For more read the October 2012 edition of National Geographic magazine or Google Elephant Poaching on line.