African forest elephants could become extinct within the next decade. And the savannah elephant population shrunk by 30 percent between 2007 and 2014. In all, more than 100,000 African elephants were killed from 2010 through 2012.
These devastating losses are primarily due to poachers, who slaughter these majestic animals for their ivory tusks. Trophy hunters make the situation worse by shooting them for bragging rights.
Fortunately, the global community is beginning to realize the severity of this problem. With strong support from NRDC, the United States enacted ivory bans on the federal level and in states with the largest ivory markets. China—the world’s top ivory consumer—has closed its ivory market, and the United Kingdom is well on its way. Now we are assisting governments in not only implementing bans but also ensuring that these bans work.
We’re also fighting for elephants in the courts. With partners, we sued the Trump administration for creating a pro-hunting international council—deceitfully named the International Wildlife Conservation Council. And when antiques traders and collectors tried to overturn ivory and rhino horn bans in New York and California, NRDC stepped in to help defend the laws.
NRDC also raises awareness by participating in events like ivory crushes, which signal a U.S. commitment to ending the poaching crisis, and helps fight to maintain elephant protections under international treaties like the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.
Ivory belongs on elephants—and we’ll continue to fight to protect these magnificent creatures from extinction.