China's ivory stockpile destruction was significant because it is the world's largest ivory marketplace. Ivory carving and sales are legal in China and this has provided a cover for the trade there. An estimated 30,000 African elephants were illegally killed last year for their tusks; at this rate, the remaining 400,000 African elephants will be wiped out in two decades.
The amount of money now washing around Asia and the seemingly unquenchable demand there for ivory, particularly in countries such as Vietnam and China, has caused the price charged on the black market to soar. Indeed in many places ivory is now worth more per ounce than gold. The result has been an almost unprecedented slaughter on the savannahs. Some 100 elephants are being killed per day in Africa, and at present rates of poaching the surviving population in the wild risks being decimated within a decade. Chad had 15,000 elephants. Now it is 400.
The only thing that should really surprise us about the recent report that dolphins use names for each other is that we're surprised at all. Ever since Descartes, it seems drilled into us that what separates us humans from the animal world is, well, nearly everything that matters. Yet over time we've also learned that animals can have emotions, beliefs and extraordinary capability to learn and communicate.
Joseph Kony personally gave orders to units of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo to slaughter elephants and bring him their tusks, according to eyewitness accounts and satellite evidence compiled by the Enough Project and the Satellite Sentinel Project.