4.8
September 9, 2012

If you need a good cry. {NSFW}

China & African poachers are killing elephants by the thousands. {How we can help. NSFW}

Elephants have become the new Blood Diamonds.

“China is the epicenter of demand,” said Robert Hormats, a senior U.S. State Department official. “Without the demand from China, this would all but dry up.”

The New York Times has been reporting elephant slaughters all over the world. Excerpt from today’s Sunday Times:

Not long ago it looked as though elephant poaching in Africa was on the downswing, in part because of more rigorous enforcement of a global ban on trade in most elephant ivory imposed in 1989. That moment is gone and with it, elephants in the tens of thousands every year. These astonishing creatures, which seem more intelligent and emotionally aware the more we know about them, are being gunned down by poachers for their ivory tusks at a fast pace — the worst slaughter seen since the 1980s.

…The delicate question, as always, is how to put pressure on China. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is trying to do so. But the State Department has been slow to acknowledge the possible implications of American military aid in Africa, especially in Uganda, Congo and South Sudan. By paying for fuel so Ugandan troops can continue the hunt for Joseph Kony, head of the Lord’s Resistance Army, the United States may well be paying to fuel elephant poaching…

For more:

…Ivory tusks, most of them bound for China, have become the new blood diamonds.

The poachers have already done their worst in Vietnam. Along with developers, loggers, villagers and negligent bureaucrats, they have conspired to reduce the wild elephant population to just a few dozen.

Elephants are under critical threat all across Asia, especially in India and Thailand, but the situation is so exceedingly bleak in Vietnam that wildlife conservation groups have essentially thrown in the towel there.

A minuscule and poorly funded Elephant Conservation Center is located in a national park in Dak Lak Province, in south-central Vietnam, and it has been sheltering a herd of 29 elephants. But two weeks ago, a pair of elephants from that group were found slaughtered in a forest, including the herd’s only remaining male, whose head, trunk and tusks were severed.

Without an adult male, Vietnamese forestry officials said, the herd is no longer “sustainable.” The park’s interim director said elephant poaching has now become “rampant,” with six males from the herd having been killed this year…

More: Unimaginable horror as helicopter-borne poachers massacre 22 elephants before hacking off their tusks and genitals.

Rhinos, too. Warning: graphic and heartbreaking.

Let’s end this on a heartwarming note, or your day, like mine, might have just become a sad one.

And:

What can we do? I don’t know, honestly. Anyone? I know we can donate to the world’s only elephant hospital, for starters. I’m interested in finding a way for elephant and our readers to directly support those helping elephants and fighting poachers, as well, if anyone has ideas or more info. My email is waylon(at)elephantjournal.com

Relephant bonus:

In 2007, orphaned baby elephant Chhouk was found wandering alone in the forests of Mondulkiri Province, Cambodia. Badly emaciated and separated from his mother, this endangered Asian elephant had lost his left front foot due to injuries sustained from a poacher’s snare.

Now his lifestyle has improved with the help of a prosthetic foot. Today, Chhouk is a healthy bull elephant, able to take long walks in the forest, frolic in the pool, and play with his adopted big sister Lucky.

To learn more about Chhouk, Wildlife Alliance, and to make a donation to Chhouk’s care, please visit our website at www.wildlifealliance.org

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