Every year as many as 50,000 elephants are killed in Africa for the illegal ivory trade. If this trend continues, African elephants could be extinct within a decade.
An increasing demand for ivory in emerging markets like China — where ivory is considered a sign of wealth — has led to the killing of more elephants than ever before.
The trading of poached ivory is a very lucrative crime that effectively carries little risk of prosecution for poachers. The ivory trade is the world’s largest transnational organized crime, involving complex networks of suppliers, smugglers, corrupt officials and buyers that are very difficult for law enforcement agencies to unravel.
But now science is providing a novel approach to attack ivory poaching at the source.