Deaths will occur if the current rate of poaching continues on the continent. Environmental organizations are meeting in Botswana this week.
Africa could lose 20% of its elephants in the next 10 years if the current pace of hunting continues, warns a report published on Monday at the opening of a conference in Gaborone, Botswana dedicated to pachyderm survival.
In a joint statement by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Conservation on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) and the environmental protection organization Traffic, the organizations point out that elephants suffer poaching effects.
"In Central Africa, elephants suffer the full effects of poaching, but with regard to the importance of poaching in all subregions, even the largest populations in southern and eastern Africa face a risk if the trend is not reversed, "they indicated.
"Illegal hunting of species in Africa is very high and could lead to local extinction if the current pace continues. The situation is particularly worrying in Central Africa, where it is estimated that the rate of hunting is twice as high as that. continental average, "said John Scanlon, Cites secretary general.
Out of an estimated 500,000 elephant population in Africa, about 25,000 were killed by hunters in 2011 - a horrible year for elephants, according to environmentalists, and 22,000 in 2012.
The increase in poaching in recent years appears to be mainly due to poverty and governance deficits in elephant countries, as well as growing demand for ivory, especially China and Thailand, the organizations explain.
"Illegal trade in ivory in 2011 reached its highest level in at least 16 years and continued to unacceptable levels in 2012. According to preliminary indicators, illegal trade could reach even higher levels in 2013," they lamented.
The conference in Gaborone will bring together representatives from countries of origin of elephants, transit and ivory consumers by Wednesday, who will try to take 'concrete measures to end illegal trade and preserve entire populations on the African continent', according to conference organizers, IUCN and the government of Botswana.