The Environmental Crime Crisis

Ivory CITES-MIKE (Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants) 20 and subsequent analysis suggests that 15,000 elephants were illegally killed at the 42 monitored MIKE sites in 2012. The Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS), managed by TRAFFIC 21 shows that the overall weight and number of large-scale ivory seizures (more than 500 kg) in 2013 exceeded any previous year in the ETIS data, with the increase either reflecting increased law enforcement effort or increase in the trade. For the forest elephant, population size has been estimated to decline by ca. 62% between 2002 and 2011. 22 Possible range of killed elephants in Africa is likely in the range of 22–25,000 elephants per year. 23 Population size is estimated at 420,000–650,000 elephants. 24 If we assume that 22–25,000 elephants are killed per year, with 1.8 tusks per elephant and 5.5 kg per tusk (ca. 10 kg per elephant) and a price of 750 USD/kg 25 of raw ivory in Asia the poached African ivory may represent an end-user street value in Asia of an estimated 165–188 million USD, in addition to ivory from Asian sources. Some instances have involved even less. 26


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