A decade ago, nearly a million and a half elephants were living in Africa.During the past ten years, the number of elephants has dwindled to about one half. These elephants are still being killed for their tusks, which are worth a lot of money, in spite of an increasing outcry against elephant hunting.Most elephants killed today die in the hand of illegal hunters.
A grass-consuming animal, the elephant eats as much as 300 pounds a day when fully grown. Wandering far and wide in their search for food, elephants can move dozens of miles a day. Failing to find the grasses they like best, they may turn to the trees and eat them.
Today, the remaining grasslands for the elephant are seriously reduced.
Many places along their migration routes have been turned into farms. Some elephants are killed by farmers while feeding on the farms.
What can the people do here in Taiwan about a threatened animal living so far away? First, we should know that there is a law protecting elephants, even here. People cannot buy or smuggle items made from ivory or any part of the elephant's body. Some handicapped persons living on making name chops have been protesting that the law impairs their livelihood, making it impossible for them to earn money. There are, of course, many substitute materials for elephant tusks, water buffalo horns being an important one.
Most countries are now no longer importing ivory. It is hoped that the ban on buying or selling ivory will save the remaining African elephants. Wildlife conservation organizations like the WWF are not facing the problem lying down. Claiming that the ivory-producing countries are unable to protect the elephants there, they are proposing some market-oriented approaches to solving the problem.