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Poaching Elephants


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Kenya’s President Mwai Kibaki set ablaze (for photos, click here) an illegal ivory stockpile on July 20, 2011, at the Tsavo National Park.  Three hundred thirty-five tusks and 42,553 pieces of ivory were burned.

Kenya hosted the event, held over two decades after the government, led by director of the Kenya Wildlife Service Richard Leakey, first stunned the world by burning 2000 tusks—thirteen tons of ivory—to drive home the plight of illegally killed elephants.  At that time Kenya’s elephant population was fewer than 20,000 and, with an average of three a day being killed, was rapidly heading toward extinction.

The result of the 1989 huge bonfire was a ban on ivory.  But elephants are again being poached and killed, up to 100 a day across Africa, according to an article in the August issue of Vanity Fair.  Why would anyone want to kill these magnificent and sensitive animals, who grieve when a member of their herd is killed?  Alex Shoumatoff tells us.
Purchase the magazine at your newsstand or read a PDF of the article to find out the stupidity and excessive extravagance contributing to this outrage.

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