Elephants on Verge of Extinction
Illegal hunting could kill off African population in 15 years
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 19, 2009 1:44 PM CDT
A herd of elephants walk backdropped by Mt. Kilimanjaro in Amboseli game park in Kenya in this May 21, 2006 file photo.   (AP Photo/Karel Prinsloo, file)
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(Newser) – Within 15 years, African elephants could be extinct as a consequence of rampant ivory poaching, conservation experts say. Africa's elephant population numbers just 600,000, and that number appears to be dwindling by about 38,000 a year. That’s faster than the birth rate. One animal welfare group is urging countries to crack down on the ivory trade to slow the die-off.

“Most people will be shocked to hear that, 20 years on from a ban on international ivory trade, elephants in Africa are still threatened by commercial poaching,” the director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare tells the Telegraph. “The ivory trade must be banned once again, and comprehensively, if we want to prevent the extinction of elephants. Sadly, the truth is that ivory trade anywhere is a threat to elephants everywhere.”