Based on statistics released by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites), there were at least 20,000 elephants killed world wide by poachers in 2013 for their ivory tusks. The number of elephants killed was slightly down from the 22,000 elephants killed in 2012 and the 25,000 poached in 2011.
At the end of 2013, there were an estimated 500,000 African elephants living in the world. 95 percent of the elephant population has been killed during the last 100 years.
The ivory is collected from elephants in Africa and sold in markets in Asia. According to Cites, there are 8 countries that are heavily involved in either buying, selling or providing illicit ivory. The countries are Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda in Africa, and China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam in Asia.
The three African countries accounted for 80 percent of the major seizures in Africa in 2013.
Security forces stated that many of the gangs involved in wildlife trafficking are now using existing drug trafficking routes to smuggle the ivory.
Source: Damian Carrington, “Fewer elephants killed in 2013, figures show,” Guardian, June 13, 2014.