The International Fund for Animal Welfare estimates that up to 50,000 elephants were killed around the world in 2012. The elephants were killed by poachers in order to supply ivory to worldwide markets.
The global trade in ivory has been illegal since a worldwide ban went into effect in 1990.
As of 2013, there is an estimated 500,000 African elephants and 50,000 Asian elephants remaining in the wild.
Source: Derek Baldwin, “Special report: Interpol acts to stem ivory trade,” Gulf News, May 22, 2013.