In 1989, after a decades-long spate of elephant poaching and failed regulation of the commercial trade in ivory, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) finally made the decision to ban international trade in African elephant ivory.
Dear friends, I am a Mars scientist—not a wildlife activist. But I have been horrified to learn of the recent poaching of Satao, the beloved Kenyan elephant pictured here. He was poached for his ivory. The picture of his mutilated body is beyond words.
The Ancient Greek philosopher, Aristotle, once said that elephants were "the animal which surpasses all others in wit and mind."
What will it take to crush the ivory trade? This is the question governments and conservation groups like AWF are grappling with, as Africa’s elephants—and, unfortunately, many other species—continue to fall prey to the illegal wildlife trafficking industry.
Technological innovation is often born out of two things: necessity and war. Conservation groups like AWF need to know more about rare species like the bonobo to determine how best to protect them. At the same time, there is a war on to defend well-known species—rhinos and elephants, for example—that have come under attack.