Face to enormous face with an African Elephant (Loxodonta africana) in Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya. Increasingly, protected areas offer elephants scant sanctuary against ivory hunters. On January 5, poachers wiped out a 12-member elephant family in Kenya's Tsavo National Park. Less than two weeks later, police in Kenya seized more than two tons of ivory. According to a government source, the confiscated ivory was taken from elephants in Rwanda and Tanzania, and bound for Indonesia. As the brief on ivory trade in the United States (below) and the article on the global ivory trade (page 6) attest, ivory lust is driving an escalating assault on elephants. While some countries, like Kenya, battle the poachers and smugglers, others seek to profit from the slaughter. As nations gather in March in Bangkok for the 16th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (see page 16), the illicit ivory trade—and whether the global community is fully committed to combatting its ruinous effects—will once again be on the agenda.
Photo by Elliott Neep/Minden Pictures