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  1. Ivory vote sparks new fears for elephants - Nov 13, 2002
  2. Elephants in the firing line - Nov 13, 2002
  3. African ivory sales get go-ahead - Nov 13, 2002
  4. Reporting from CITES in Santiago, Chile - Wednesday, November 13, 2002 - Bad day for the Elephants - UPDATED
  5. U.S. supports reopening the sale of African ivory under strict regulation - Nov 11, 2002
  6. Hong Kong-based dealers behind revival of illegal ivory trade - Nov 10, 2002
  7. Elephants blunder back into the line of fire - Nov 8, 2002
  8. Ivory row tops trade agenda - Nov 1, 2002
  9. Ivory trade threatens 'new' elephant species - Oct 31, 2002
  10. Call for ban on trade of ivory - Oct 30, 2002
  11. Ivory Smuggling - Oct 23, 2002
  12. Poachers halve number of Congo elephants  - Oct 22, 2002
  13. Ivory sales threaten African elephants - Oct 11, 2002
  14. Southern Africa bids for ivory sale - Oct 9, 2002
  15. African Blocs Differ On Resuming Ivory Trade - Sep 17, 2002
  16. Tusks of 600 elephants make up record haul of smuggled ivory - Jul 12, 2002
  17. Zim Braces for 'Elephant Battle' - Jul 6, 2002

Older News Stories

  1. 15 More Elephants Killed in Kenya; Toll Hits 25 in April 2002.
  2. Massive Illegal Stockpile Seized in east Africa, Hundreds of Elephants Killed
  3. CITES Elephant Ivory Ban Continued for now
  4. Poaching on the rise in Kenya due to anticipated lift of Ivory Ban
  5. A jumbo-sized dilemma in Zambia
  6. Ivory Trade Re-Launched In Windhoek: Experts Oppose The Trade!
  7. Kenya Tusk Count To Fight Ivory Trade
  8. Opening the Ivory Door
  9. Management Plan Mooted for Kruger Elephants. (2 April, 1998)

15 More Elephants Killed in Kenya; Toll Hits 25 in April
(April 19, 2002) By Jennifer Wanjiru

NAIROBI, Kenya, April 19, 2002 (ENS) - Hit by a fresh wave of poaching, Kenyan authorities have deployed a massive hunt for poachers who this week left 15 elephants dead in the Samburu game reserve. This brings to 25 the number of elephants killed this month in Kenya. ...

In early April, the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) reported the slaughter of 10 elephants in the expansive Tsavo East National Park by what was described as a "well organized gang of ivory poachers." ...

The killings are the worst in Kenya since it stepped up efforts in 1980s to halt poaching. In the past few years Kenya has managed to maintain the level of its elephant population at around 30,000, and a new census is expected later this year.

See Full Article by Jennifer Wanjiru | See another link from KWS's web site on the issue |

Massive Illegal Ivory Stockpile Seized in East Africa, Hundreds of Elephants Killed (January 15, 2002)

CAPE TOWN, South Africa, January 15,  2002 (IFAW) - Alarm bells are once again ringing for the safety of Africa's elephant population, following last week's discovery of an ivory stash of more than 1,000 poached tusks in Dar es Salaam, capital of Tanzania in East Africa.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW – said the find was a rude wake-up call to nations that believed the long-term stability of certain elephant populations was assured.

"The discovery of these 1,255 tusks represents the death of hundreds of elephants – it should serve to shake many nations out of their complacent belief that Africa's elephants will ever be safe from indiscriminate slaughter

See Full Article at IFAW | See another link on this story from Reuters |

CITES Elephant Ivory Ban Continued For Now:
(April 19, 2000)

Letter from Iain Douglas-Hamilton

On behalf of Save the Elephants, I wish to thank everyone who joined us in our campaign to prevent the ivory trade from expanding. Since the 1997 CITES conference, our team has been steadily gathering data and working towards the 11th Conference of the Parties. We've been involved in aerial surveys of all the major elephant populations in Kenya to establish baseline figures and have worked with the Kenya Wildlife Service to prepare a report on the status of Kenya's elephant populations.

Last month Save the Elephants joined 2000 Kenyans who marched through the streets of Nairobi protesting against the possibility of further ivory trade. Community representatives from all over Kenya came to voice their concerns and to demonstrate that Kenyans are deeply committed to conservation.

After a tense week at the CITES conference of the parties, the arguments were steadily getting hotter. Kenya was unfairly accused of having bad management, not being able to cope with poaching, and being indifferent to the fate of rural communities in conflict with elephants. The well oiled Southern African publicity machine swung into action and bought plenty of time on Kenya television to show their films of sustainable yield as the only true form of conservation and to voice their opinions of Kenya's defects.

We were active at the conference in informing participants. We corrected misinterpretation of Kenya elephant statistics put out by the Southern African Forum for Communities by providing accurate figures. We refuted misleading propaganda alleging Kenya's indifference towards local people. Our Samburu research assistant, David Dabalen, spoke on behalf of the Samburu in a press conference. He asserted that in Kenya elephants are valued in ways that are not solely economic and emphasised the cultural significance of elephants for the Samburu people. In the lunch breaks we showed 3 films including: BBC Panorama'a "Ivory Wars", Discovery's "Africa's Elephant Kingdom", and Saba Douglas-Hamilton's Ele Action Initiative film "When Elephants and People Were One". Daily meetings with the Species Survival Network and the Kenyan delegation kept us updated on the latest happenings.

On the morning of the 17th, tensions were high. In the afternoon session Cameroon asked for the floor as spokesman for all the African Range States. We knew that there had been intense discussions between all the African elephant range states and that the EU had been trying to broker a deal, but they had got nowhere as rival parties were holding to their positions rigidly. Then to our astonishment and delight Cameroon announced that Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Kenya were all withdrawing their proposals and that South Africa's elephant populatoin would be downlisted with a zero quota for ivory. The threat of an expansion of the ivory trade and another upsurge in poaching has been averted for another two years at least. Our greatest fear at Save the Elephants was that the trading would be legally permitted and stimulate a parallel illegal trade, without any sort of safeguard in the form of an agreed and active system of monitoring.

Our final arguments were posted on the back of a postcard of an elephant poached in Kenya this year. They were distributed in the pigeonholes of all delegates and made the following points

  • Save the Elephants: Remember before you vote on elephants
  • The ivory ban worked, and corrupt trade collapsed in 1989 lowering incentives to poach. Martin and Stiles' Ivory Market Report shows that prices across Africa are down ten years later.
  • We warned at COP 10 that an experimental trade might trigger a demand for ivory. The Ivory Market Study shows prices rising in some markets.
  • Kenya and India have elephant poaching upsurges in vulnerable populations. This is an early warning signal.
  • In 1997 COP 10 agreed to no trading without monitoring. The monitoring system is not in place.
  • The African Elephant range is now less stable with more loose guns in many countries. Limited financial gains for Southern Africa will be paid for by poorer range states to the North, in expensive security measures, and in human and elephant lives.
  • In the absence of data and on the CITES precautionary principle vote for Kenya and India.

How much these arguments influenced delegates we will never know, but this much is certain. When Southern Africa met with the other African Range States they realized that the majority was probably against them. The EU and America had already declared that they would vote against any ivory trade and shortly after this the compromise was annnounced.

It is a badly needed reprieve, and before debate is resumed on the issue in two years time there is a chance to collect much better data and to know where the elephants stand.

The parties can talk and perhaps the long feud between East African and Southern African states on the subject of ivory trading can move into a more productive phase of diplomacy and understanding each others problems, including the problems of the even more vulnerable Central and West African range states

So thank you for your support. I do believe it made all the difference in spreading valid fears about a legal trade leading to an uncontrolled escalation of illegal ivory trade that without monitoring could have put us unwittingly back to the elephant killing fields of the 1970s and 80s.

Iain Douglas-Hamilton

Helpful Links:


Elephants 'in dire straits,' activist says
(September 21, 1999)

Reports of increased poaching from Daphne Sheldrick and the Kenya Wildlife Service send shivers down the spines of elephant lovers. In July, the KWS recovered 350 kilograms of ivory, which is its biggest seizure in 10 years. It is becoming evident that the United Nations decision to allow the first legal sale of ivory sin 10 years by Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana has lead to increased poaching. These moves by CITES has lead elephants in the potential direction of a grim future with the increasing wholesale slaughter of elephants in the hopes of an ease in the trade restrictions or easier ways to smuggle out the ivory under the guise of the "legal umbrella". Daphne Sheldrick, is in the process of raising funds in Toronto, Canada with Care for the Wild to help Tsavo East National Park in Kenya fight the poachers and build/upgrade park headquarters.

| Source No Longer Available |


A jumbo-sized dilemma in Zambia
(September 8, 1999)

Once again the ever recurring friction between expanding human settlements and elephants becomes a front page story. As the population in parts of Africa continue to expand at very high rates (compared to the North America), and less and less land is available for these people, the buffer zones between parks and human settlements are quickly depleted to the point in which people are squatting or living either very close or inside wildlife parks. The friction arises when a group of elephants within a few hours eat the person's crops; eating the food or produce they rely upon to survive. There is no easy answer to this problem, but one thing is for sure is that as long as the population continues to grow the way it is going, there will be no habitat left for the elephant to meaningfully survive within the next century. If the recent increase in poaching due to the possibility of the trade ban on ivory being relaxed and the "one time sales" of ivory from three African countries to Japan doesn't disrupt or finish off the herds, then in the end habitat loss with most likely do it. A bleak picture for elephants that must be confronted if the intelligent largest living land mammal which roams the earth is going to survive beyond being caged within zoos, circuses and very small parcels of land. Lets hope for the sake of both the elephant and people, that this does not happen.

| Source no longer available |

Ivory Trade Re-Launched In Windhoek: Experts Oppose The Trade!
(April 12, 1999)

The first "legal" auction of ivory took place in Zimbabwe today in the first of three planned auctions with no real limit in sight. Given the track record that CITES has in limiting the decline of endangered species, this is a dark day for the elephant. If corruption did not exist in these African countries, real proof that the money will not just make a few people rich, and that it will not raise the amount of poaching Africa wide, we might be in support of the sale. However, with the above four criteria being met as unlikely as the world ending on Jan 01, 2000, we feel this is a dark day for the elephant who has struggled with surviving this decade at the hands of human greed. Additionally, just finishing reading the stories of the Owens in Zambia, further opens our eyes to the real threat this opening of the trade has on both innocent elephant lives Africa wide as well as innocent human lives trying to protect the animals that reside in their own countries. For CITES to stand on high and proclaim that all can be controlled is a joke given their past record. The only true reason that the ivory trade died was the drop in the price making it no longer the white gold. However, this is looking like it is no more. If you have friends in Japan who are open minded, please do your best to persuade them that the ivory they use for their personal seals is a stamp of blood, murder and suffering at the hands of many people involved in the ivory being taken from the elephant. As suffering and attachment  is the root of all our problems, let me emphasize that these sales will only cause more bloodshed and within some war torn African countries, sure death for these gentle animals. The elephant has more to fear than ever from our presence.

The following is taken in part from an article produced by Katy Payne, Iain Douglas-Hamilton, Cynthia Moss and Joyce Poole. It really gets to the heart of the problems with this ivory sale, and shows the gravity of its future effects: (the full article is Copyright © 1999 Mail and Guardian)

"Our concern is for elephants everywhere. There are places where the availability of a lucrative ivory market may increase the incentive for poaching. There are also places where it may increase the incentive for culling, a costly operation, the extent of which is determined by the priorities of national governments. The decisions that have just reached fruition - to trade in stockpiled ivory and to assess the impact of the trade on elephant populations - are momentous and the link between them is essential. The Cites committee was not authorized to approve trade in ivory in the absence of a method whereby the impact of the trade on elephant populations would be assessed. We believe such a method is still lacking. Each of us has attempted to count elephants by various methods and can attest that a reliable, sensitive census is extremely difficult even in the best of circumstances. To assemble a comprehensive programme that would not only be sensitive to minor changes in elephant populations in varied environments but that also would relate such changes to their underlying causes strikes us as nearly impossible - at best it would require knowledge about dimensions that are not covered in Mike's design. Without a good monitoring programme, however, the impact of trade in ivory on living elephants will not be scientifically evaluated. So we must be more careful in the future. The next meeting of Cites is scheduled for April 2000 in Nairobi. If further requests for ivory sales are proposed, the following points must then be made:

  • A satisfactory draft for a global elephant population-ivory trade monitoring system was not produced, nor was any system in place, before the 1999 sales were authorized.
  • As a result, sufficient information will not be available in 2000 to justify further ivory sales.
  • Scientific credibility must be a prerequisite for any system designed to monitor elephant populations. Such credibility is evidenced in the form of peer review, which was largely lacking in the case of Mike at the time of its acceptance by Cites.
  • In the absence of an adequate means for assessing the relationship between trade in ivory and the health of all elephant populations that may potentially be affected by that trade, further sales must not be authorized."

Click to go to the story


Africa Tusk count to fight Ivory Trade
(Jan. 24, 1999)

A major survey is underway in Kenya to help establish the total number of elephants in Tsavo national park. Straddling the border with Tanzania, Tsavo´s elephant count is taking place at a crucial time for elephants and traders in ivory.

Next month a meeting of CITES , the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species, will review a decision made in 1997 which allowed three southern African countries to legally sell ivory.

Kenya hopes to use the data from its survey to fight any further relaxation of the rules which permit Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia to sell a limited amount of ivory to Japan.

BBC's Story On The Elephant Count
BBC´s Real Video
Report on the Story

A clause placed in the CITES decision says that ivory sales will be stopped if any country can show that the "new" limited trade is adversely affecting its own elephant population. The survey has been quite costly and complicated for Kenya; dozens of volunteers were involved counting elephant numbers as accurately as possible from the air.

But Kenya Wildlife Service believes this work is essential. It believes that the limited legal ivory trade established is encouraging illegal poaching in Tsavo National Park.

Park worker Daniel Woodley commented that over the past 18 months they have noted an increase in poaching - from losing less than 50 a year up to about 100 a year.

These murders are attributed to an anticipation of the ban being lifted rather than supplying the limited illegal trade that is already going on.

Cites HistoryBetween 1988 and 1997 there has be a somewhat successful a world-wide ban on the ivory trade to try to protect an elephant population which had suffered drastically at the hands of poachers. In Tsavo elephant numbers had reduced from 45,000 in the 1960s to about 2,000.

Kenyan wildlife experts expect the elephant survey will find that there are between 8,000 and 10,000 are now roaming the Tsavo plains.

Click to go to the source of the article at BBC News


Opening the Ivory Door: An Exercise in Democracy Pits Conservation Against Animal
(July-August 1998)

The following is an article that describes information about the Communal Areas Management Program for Indigenous Resources (CAMPFIRE). This organization was launched in 1989 in response to massive poaching by locals that arose when they were denied hunting rights under past British rule. Of CAMPFIRE revenues collected, almost two-thirds come from elephant hunts. This saddens us elephant lovers, despite the fact that the program is involved in allocating some of the money to attempt to develop parts of Zimbawabe in a "sustainable" way. CAMPFIRE only generates approximately $2.5 million each year, but is further subsidized by US Agency for International Development (USAID) to the tune of around 28.1 Million dollars. It does not take much to realize the implications of this seeing as across a number of different polls trophy hunting is opposed by the American people by about 84%. In passing lets hope the killing and suffering of these fellow animals--subsidised by the USA--is actually going to the general population and not just lining a few people's pockets as has been the case in the past.

Click to go to Source at Currents: The Environmental Magazine


Management Plan Mooted for Kruger Elephants.
(2 April, 1998)

This article contains some good and bad information for elephants. The good is they will be "safe" in certain areas. The bad is the following. I wonder if these "safe" zones will be where the elephants will move towards for protection as they have been found to do in the past. This might further stress the "safe" area and reinforce the commonly held belief that all elephants do is destroy and the cry to "cull" more of them. Time will tell...

Excerpt from Article: "The new elephant policy sees South Africa's premier game reserve and the part of the country which is home to the single largest number of elephants in southern Africa, being divided into four main regions. "Two areas will be designated low impact elephant zones with two high impact zones. There will be two botanical zones to protect special plants, for example, baobabs. In the high impact zones elephant numbers will be allowed to increase unchecked while numbers will be kept down in low impact zones," he said. "We will be driven by thresholds of potential concern, monitoring changes and impacts on plant life, until change gets to a defined point where some element is endangered. Elephants will then be reduced in the area either by lethal or non-lethal means," he said.

Sorry: the source is no longer available.


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