New data shows elephant population is still falling

Despite a decrease in poaching, there are more African elephants being killed than there are births.

Picture: Francis Garrard/Conservation Action Trust.

JOHANNESBURG - Data released on United Nations (UN) World Wildlife Day shows the overall elephant population is still falling despite a recent reduction in levels of poaching for ivory.

The African elephant populations continue to face an immediate threat to their survival, especially in the west and central parts of the continent.

More African elephants are being killed for ivory than are being born, despite poaching levels falling for the fourth successive year.

The new data shows about 60 percent of elephant deaths are at the hands of poachers.

Secretary General of the Convention on the Trade in Endangered Species, John Scanlon, says at least 20,000 elephants were killed for ivory in 2015.

However, there are some encouraging signs, including in parts of East Africa, like Kenya, where the poaching trend has declined.

Yesterday, the Kruger National Park in South Africa said it was devastated by the loss of more than a hundred vultures, two lions and two jackals after they ate the carcass of an elephant which appears to have been laced with poison after poachers killed the animal and removed its tusks.

Late last year, Zimbabwe reported a mass poisoning of its elephant population in the Hwange National Park