African elephants.African elephants.

Elephants are amazing creatures. They are smart, affectionate, and capable of feeling empathy. They mourn their dead and form close, matriarchal family units.

Despite all of these amazing facets of their lives, some still see elephants purely for the monetary value of their tusks. In a study published by CITES, found that elephants are being poached at alarming rates: They are actually being killed at rates faster than they are being born.

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This is despite the fact that poaching has declined for the fourth year in a row. This means that despite conservation efforts, there will not be an increase in the number of elephants this year. According to the World Wildlife Day website, it is estimated that about 100,000 elephants were slaughtered for their ivory between 2010-2012.

While progress is being made, to end poaching and ivory trafficking, it is clearly not enough. It still occurs in the highest levels in Central and West Africa. According to the study, while poaching in Southern Africa has remained at lower levels, researchers noted an increase in poaching for the first time in Kruger National Park in South Africa.

If you are interested in ways to get involved, visit the World Wildlife Day website.