I have spent time in Africa with these magnificent animals and it is beyond me how and why people kill the magnificent creatures of our world, in the end we will only have each other to kill.
African elephants are split into two distinct species: the African bush elephant, the most prevalent species, and the smaller African forest elephant. The bush elephant is the world’s largest living species of land animal. In both African elephant species the males and females have tusks; these are modified incisors that can grow to weigh dozens of kilograms and are used for a variety of essential purposes in an elephant’s daily life. These tusks are a significant source of ivory which is used in ivory ornaments and jewelry, however mammoth tusks (page 21) are also being excavated and their ivory traded legally.
In 1989 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) listed African elephants under Appendix I, which restricts international trade of their parts. However demand for ivory has continued to stimulate illegal trafficking and poaching of elephants. In 1997 and 2008 there were CITES-approved, one-off sales of government-held ivory stockpiles held by southern African governments. Read more about the one-off ivory sales in Buyers of Elephant Ivory ►
From 2003-2014, with the exception of 2005, CITES reports have shown that estimated levels of illegal elephant killings in Central Africa have been occurring at unsustainable levels relative to natural population growth. This means that elephants in this region are dying faster than they are able to reproduce. The same report indicates West Africa is also thought to be suffering from unsustainable levels of elephant poaching from 2007-2009 and 2011-2014. As a means of mitigating localized population losses a number of programs have arisen to protect elephants, reduce human-elephant conflict where elephants regularly come into contact with farms, and stop poaching. For decades there have also been elephant relocation programs, also known as translocation projects, which move elephants from areas of high-population or over-population to habitats that can sustain and benefit from their reintroduction. African bush elephant populations were estimated by the Great Elephant Census, which concluded in August 2016, at roughly 350,000 and in a separate census of African forest elephants an estimated 18,000-36,500 individuals in select protected parks.