In the last 100 years, through hunting culling and poaching, humans have wiped out 96% of these two majestic species, leaving less than 20,000 rhino and perhaps 300,000 elephants left in Africa, with only negligible wild populations in Asia. In 2014 and 2015, many countries reported declines of >50% of their elephant populations. There is hope but we must act now.

Humans Affected by Poaching

Poaching devastates human lives on three fronts:  1. Millions of Africans' livelihoods depend on safaris and ecotourism - from hospitality at safari lodges to selling trinkets to tourists at the airport, 2. An anti-poaching ranger is murdered by a poacher every three days, and 3. Approximately 40% of funding for international terrorists rings comes from the ivory and rhino horn trade.

Ecosystems Affected by Poaching

Although our most immediate goal appears to be to prevent rhinos and elephants from being hunted to extinction, the true greater task is to ensure that they remain in healthy populations in every ecosystem where they formerly lived. Large keystone species such as rhino and elephant are crucial for ecosystem health, which in the end affects the wellbeing of rural humans, as well as those whose livelihoods depend on ecotourism.

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News & Worthy Links

*** Kathryn Bigelow's short film, Last Days, on how ivory trade fuels international terrorism ***

*** Jon Stewart of The Daily Show illuminating the absurdity of the poaching crisis and who is behind it: Tusky Business ***

*** US House of Representatives, Committee on Foreign Affairs Hearing Feb 2014, "INTERNATIONAL WILDLIFE TRAFFICKING THREATS TO CONSERVATION AND NATIONAL SECURITY"