In response to the updated African elephant number announced by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on the decline of African elephants, WWF issued the following statement from Ginette Hemley, senior vice president of wildlife conservation and head of delegation to the 17th Conference of Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES):
“This new number should sound a deafening alarm. The plight of Africa’s elephants continues to worsen, and illegal ivory trade is to blame.
“Although many countries have stepped up efforts against poaching and ivory trafficking, it’s clear more needs to be done, including in eastern and central Africa where declines are particularly severe. Larger quantities of illegal ivory are leaving African than ever before. The transnational crime syndicates driving the slaughter must be dismantled, and consumer demand for ivory cannot persist if we hope to secure a safe future for elephants.
“Countries participating in this week’s CITES wildlife trade meeting have a critical role to play in the fight to save elephants. Those countries most implicated in ivory trafficking must work vigorously toward ending the illegal trade, apprehending and prosecuting the criminals responsible for it, and shutting down key domestic ivory markets. If these governments fail to act, the global community should hold them accountable.”
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