Why do we need to stop worrying about elephantiasis?

  • September 25, 2021

There are about 300,000 African elephants left in the wild.

This means there are a lot of elephants in Africa.

But, despite the millions of elephants killed by humans and poachers, they’re also a major threat to the health of African farmers, livestock and people.

One of the biggest causes of this threat is the trade in ivory and rhino horn. 

The horn is used for traditional Chinese medicine, and for Chinese medicine is used to treat the common cold, but it’s also used for the cutting of wood and making swords and daggers.

The problem with ivory is that it’s very high in toxicity and there’s also the fact that it is highly flammable, which means it can cause fires and even explode.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) estimates that between 90,000 and 100,000 elephants are killed every year in Africa for their horns, but in 2013, they estimate that only 300,00 elephants were killed. 

Since the 1990s, governments have tried to curb ivory trafficking, but many of these measures have failed. 

“It’s a really big problem and one that is really difficult to tackle, and it’s not being tackled properly by the authorities,” said Susanne Schuette, director of the WWF’s Elephant and Elephants Programme.

“People are dying.

People are going to die.” 

Schuette said that while there are ways to curb the trade, it is not enough.

“We’re really trying to work towards a global approach, but this is not an ivory-free world,” she said.

“The trade is still in place, the demand is still there, and we have not had a really concerted effort to get the problem under control.”

According to the WWF, poaching for ivory in Asia alone is responsible for more than 30,000 deaths and has caused an estimated $1 trillion in damage. 

It is estimated that around 80% of the ivory in Africa comes from the Ivory Coast, which has been known for years as a major source of ivory in China and Southeast Asia.

“This is one of the most significant threats to the elephants,” said Schuettes.

“And yet, we’re seeing that this is still happening.” 

It’s estimated that between 60,000 to 100,00 of the remaining African elephants are living in protected areas, but they still need to be protected. 

With the help of a $20 million grant from the WWF and a new ivory trading centre in Tanzania, there are plans to relocate some elephants from the protected areas and reintroduce some of the animals to the wild, but that is still a long way off. 

So far, there has been no sign of the elephants returning to the protected area, or at least not in large numbers. 

In the meantime, Schuett said the WWF would continue to work on getting the trade under control.

“I’m not optimistic that there will be a big increase in ivory numbers,” she told Al Jazeera.

“The situation is dire, but we still have hope that we will have a positive outcome, and that’s just the hope that I have.” 

“What we want is that elephants can continue to be used for their own benefit, and in the future, not to be abused.”

What do you think?

Should we stop the trade of ivory?

Let us know in the comments below.