Tanzania is losing its elephants An African elephant grazes in Tarangire National Park on the outskirts of Arusha, northern Tanzania (AP photos)
Tanzania is losing its elephants
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The sharp decline of the elephant population in the African country of Tanzania, most likely due to poaching, is catastrophic, according to a wildlife conservation group.

The Tanzanian government has just estimated that 65,721 elephants died in the country in the last five years. The report showed the number of Tanzanian elephants plummeting from an estimated 109,051 in 2009 to 43,330 in 2014.

Steve Broad, the executive director of wildlife conservation group TRAFFIC, said it is incredible that poaching on such an industrial scale had not been identified and addressed.

The statistics back concerns by TRAFFIC in a 2013 report that the Tanzanian ports of Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar have become main exit points for vast amounts of ivory, the group said in a statement.

According to the conservation group, at least 45 tons of ivory have flowed from Tanzania to international markets in Asia since 2009.

It said a breakdown across the country showed some smaller elephant populations had increased, notably that in the famed Serengeti region, which rose from 3,068 to 6,087 animals. However, beyond the most heavily visited tourist locations, elephant numbers were significantly down.

Of particular concern is the Ruaha-Rungwa ecosystem, where only 8,272 elephants remained in 2014, compared to 34,664 in 2009, according to government figures, the statement said.

"Tanzania has been hemorrhaging ivory with Ruaha-Rungwa the apparent epicenter. And nobody seems to have raised the alarm," Broad said, and he urged the government to take action to bring the situation under control.

The Tanzanian government says it has added an additional 1,000 rangers to protect wildlife, but Broad said "there is a real risk that it could be a case of too little too late for some elephant populations."

In February, China imposed a one-year ban on ivory imports that took immediate effect amid criticism that its citizens' huge appetite for ivory has fueled poaching that threatens the existence of African elephants.

Critical thinking challenge: Why is it likely that populations have grown in the heavily visited tourist locations?

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COMMENTS (21)
  • BenB10
    6/08/2015 - 04:06 p.m.

    Once again a wonderful species is getting poached, killed, and endangered. This time because of human carelessness, and cruelty. This is the population of elephants in Tanzania. To help 1,000 rangers were sent to protect. Hopefully we don't have to explain what an elephant is to are grandchildren, we can save the elephants.

  • JM2001april
    6/09/2015 - 08:41 a.m.

    The population of elephants have most likely grown in heavily visited tourist areas is due to the fact that some poachers don't want to get caught illegally killing animals where they could be seen by many other people.

  • Tdoles430
    6/09/2015 - 09:08 a.m.

    Elephants have been endangered for a while. People hunt them for their tusks and for their skin.Sooner or later if new ways keep starting to wipe them out they could eventually become extinct and will become just like the dinosaurs MOSTLY FORGOTTEN

  • StefanyP
    6/09/2015 - 11:26 a.m.

    Is horrible see that the elephants died day to day. We need to protect these animals because if we don't protect them after they will extinct. The elephants are animals interesting, they lives in a group protecting themselves. We need to say DO NOT KILL MORE ANIMALS.

  • madisontart72
    6/09/2015 - 01:13 p.m.

    I am an absolute elephant lover, and I think it is sad to think, that one day there would be no elephants left to love. 100 elephants were poached each day last year. I believe that this needs to stop before it's too late.

  • jadie0122
    6/09/2015 - 10:03 p.m.

    I think that it is nice that the population has grown so much, it means there are less people poaching. A large majority of this I think is because there are so many tourists that the poached are scared to get caught. As they should be. I hope that they continue to grow and thrive, and don't become extinct. It makes me upsset that they are hunted because of there tusks, its not like humans hunt other humans for there hair.

  • lm2000food
    6/10/2015 - 01:12 p.m.

    Because the animals like the company that the tourist bring to the locations. also the workers put the animals in places where the most people are.

  • NickB-2
    6/10/2015 - 07:18 p.m.

    This article is about the Tanzanian elephant population. Over the past five years, it has depleted by more than 65,000 elephants, bringing it down to about 40%. The elephants are being poached for their ivory. This is terrible and hopefully it will be stopped soon.

  • Julian10
    6/11/2015 - 12:20 p.m.

    The elephants are declining do to poaching in the country of Tanzanian. 65 thousand elephants have died in the past five years. In 2009 there were over 109 thousand and in 2014 there 43 thousand. The poachers are using Ivory in vast amounts. 42 tons of ivory have passed through Tanzanian.

  • Kobe89
    6/11/2015 - 12:55 p.m.

    Every time I go to the zoo I love to see the elephants. Elephants are one of my favor it animals and it makes me sad to hear that people are hunting them and now they are almost extinct. The hunters aren't even after the elephants but their tusk. Such a waste of a beautiful and harmless animal. I looked up if anyone is trying to help these animals and their is a group of people named save the elephants. These people are stopping hunters and raising money for protect to all elephants. Their goal is when you hear the name elephant they won't be an extinct animal.

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