Last year National Geographic reiterated that 30,000 elephants are killed by poachers every year. That’s an elephant every 18 minutes. These are the most up-to-date figures we have on the rate of their decline, though the findings of a comprehensive survey of elephant populations throughout Africa, The Great Elephant Census (GEC), will be made public later this year. (Some countries’ figures have already been released – Tanzania’s elephant population went from an estimated 109,000 in 2009, to 51,000 in 2015). At present, the African elephant population sits approximately at an ever-declining 500,000 — a quarter of what it was a century ago.
With projections like these who could dispute the urgency of the situation and the need for communities and governments, citizens and officials to unite and preserve these creatures. (The GEC findings will undoubtedly help bring the matter to the policy-making fore). And yet, that all depends on who you speak to. For many these numbers are distressing, to others they’re understandable, given ever-expanding human populations. And there’s the rub.