Meticulous research, chilling facts.... an important and much needed book.
-- Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, Founder, The Jane Goodall Institute
If it is understanding you seek, turn these pages.
-- Virginia McKenna, OBE, Founder, The Born Free Foundation
If you care about elephants and rhinos, and the poaching onslaught that threatens their extinction in the wild, this is the book for you.
-- Ian Redmond, OBE, Ambassador, UN Great Apes Survival Program
As recently as ten years ago, out of every ten African elephants that died, four fell at the hands of poachers. The figure today is eight. Over sixty percent of Africa's Forest Elephants have been killed by poachers since the turn of the century. Rhinoceroses are being slaughtered throughout their ranges. The Vietnamese One-horned Rhinoceros and the Western Black rhino have become extinct in the last decade, and the Northern White Rhinoceros, the largest of them all, barely survives in captivity.
This alarming book tells a crime story that takes place thousands of miles away, in countries that few of us may visit. But like the trade in illegal drugs, the traffic in elephant ivory and rhinoceros horn has far-reaching implications not only for these endangered animals, but also for the human victims of a world-wide surge in organized crime, corruption and violence.
Since the worldwide ban on commercial ivory trade was passed in 1989, after a decade that saw half of Africa's elephants slaughtered by poachers, Ronald Orenstein has been at the heart of the fight. Today a new ivory crisis has arisen, fuelled by internal wars in Africa and a growing market in the Far East. Seizures of smuggled ivory have shot up in the past few years. Bands of militia have crossed from one side of Africa to the other, slaughtering elephants with automatic weapons. A market surge in Vietnam and elsewhere has led to a growing criminal onslaught against the world's rhinoceroses. The situation, for both elephants and rhinos, is dire.
Ronald Orenstein is a zoologist, lawyer and wildlife conservationist who has written extensively on a wide range of natural history issues. His most recent book is Turtles, Tortoises and Terrapins. He has worked for many years on elephant and rhinoceros conservation issues, and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Species Survival Network (SSN) and the Elephant Research Foundation (ERF).
Dr. Iain Douglas-Hamilton is one of the world's foremost authorities on the African elephant. He pioneered the first in-depth scientific study of elephant social behavior in Tanzania's Lake Manyara National Park at age 23. He founded Save the Elephants in 1993 and was awarded the illustrious Order of the British Empire (OBE).
Foreword by Iain Douglas-Hamilton, OBE
As Ron Orenstein's book goes to press the killing of elephants in Africa for ivory has intensified to new heights. Elephants are fewer in number than they were in the previous ivory crisis of the 1970s and 1980s. I have never witnessed such a demand for ivory in the 48 years I have studied them. The prices for ivory to the poacher and, in ever increasing increments, to the final buyers in the Far East exceed all previous records. Demand for ivory is driving the illegal killing and exceeds all possible supply. If demand is not reduced the elephants will be largely eradicated.
Already populations have been exterminated in places like Comoe National Park in the Ivory Coast and in the Affole Mountains of Mauritania, both of which had thriving elephant populations when I started the first Pan-African Elephant Survey in 1975. There has been a horrific roll call of incidents in the last few years. Bouba N'Djida in Northern Cameroon was attacked by horsemen from Sudan allied to the notorious Janjaweed, and half the elephants were killed in a few days. Minkebe National Park in Gabon lost 11,000 elephants, Tsavo, Samburu and Mara are under attack in Kenya, and in East Africa nine out of ten populations are in decline. The Central African Forest Elephants have lost 62 percent of their numbers in one decade. All of this and far more is recorded in papers, reports and scientific publications.
The sheer weight of the destruction is overwhelming, but the statistics give no idea of the individual suffering, wounding and bereavement that accompany them. The rhino situation is even worse, with far higher prices for rhino horn and escalating killing in what formerly were the most secure havens. For these species to survive we need champions to tackle the poaching on the ground, to lower the demand, and like Ron to fight in the high corridors of power, at treaties like CITES, for political will and for united international action to counter these disasters.
Ron is one of those Westerners who care deeply for elephants and rhinos that still live somewhere "out there," far away on other continents. Where Ron is exceptional is that he has made it a lifetime mission to secure their future with the skills he has at his command, an eloquent, tireless and legally encyclopedic knowledge. Those who ask the question "What can I do to help?" should read his book and learn of the endeavors of so many highly motivated conservationists. The future of these endangered creatures is often decided by policies forged in the remote assemblies of CITES, far from flesh and blood struggles. Though Ron has experienced the dust of the field he is known as a redoubtable warrior, always on the side of the animals, within the halls of the CITES Conferences of the Parties, where the rules are hammered out that determine how species may survive the relentless international and often criminal trade.
As a bewildered field person arriving at CITES for the first time I first met Ron as a guiding hand on the floor of a debate of CITES CoP 1987, and for many Conferences since. He is an unfailing source of legal advice in the labyrinthine complexities of this huge living, working treaty that has to cater to so many endangered species and conflicting human responses.
As Ron's book goes to press at this crucial time, it will help people understand the history, background and current situation of elephants and rhinos. Ron is helping arouse the world to understand how we can secure a future for these species. Their fate is in human hands. The policies we adopt to save wildlife are generated from our sentiment and our understanding of the facts. We are the ultimate destroyers or guardians of wild creatures' existence. Ron's book tell stories of how we can save them.
Iain Douglas-Hamilton, OBE Samburu, Kenya March 2013
Table of Contents
Acronyms Foreword by Iain Douglas-Hamilton, OBE Introduction
PART ONE: What Happened? CHAPTER 1: The Living Elephants CHAPTER 2: The Living Rhinoceroses CHAPTER 3: Ivory and Luxury CHAPTER 4: Not an Aphrodisiac CHAPTER 5: What Makes Poachers Poach? CHAPTER 6: CITES and the First Ivory Crisis CHAPTER 7: The Ivory Ban CHAPTER 8: Rhinos under Fire
PART TWO: What Went Wrong? CHAPTER 9: Re-Opening the Trade CHAPTER 10: New Markets for Horn CHAPTER 11: Behind the Surge CHAPTER 12: Rhinos and Prostitutes CHAPTER 13: War on Elephants CHAPTER 14: The Last Rhinos CHAPTER 15: Corruption, Theft and Organized Crime
PART THREE: What Can Be Done? CHAPTER 16: Coming to Grips with Poaching CHAPTER 17: Should Trade Be Legalized? CHAPTER 18: Dealing with Demand CHAPTER 19: The Future
POSTSCRIPT: The 2013 CITES Meeting