Poachers decimate Tanzania’s elephant herds. In 2009-2011 the country was the leading exporter of illegal ivory in the world. Yet Tanzania just requested to sell its ivory stock.
The slaughter of elephants and the seizure of illegal ivory have soared to their highest levels in decades. A voracious market in Asia and chaotic wildlife protection in much of Africa have put elephant herds at risk throughout the African continent, particularly in Central and East Africa.
A key battleground is Tanzania, one of the world’s last great repositories of elephants. Perhaps 70,000 to 80,000 elephants roam this nation’s immense sanctuaries, amounting to perhaps a quarter of all African elephants.
From 2009 to 2011, the country was the leading exporter of illegal ivory in the world. Thirty-seven percent of all elephant tusks seized by law enforcement came from Tanzania, with neighboring Kenya a close second.
Conservationists say Tanzania has for years been one of Africa’s worst elephant slaughterhouses. They blame authorities who are unable or unwilling to control poaching and trafficking. The government acknowledges there is a problem and says reforms are under way.