The world’s largest land mammal, African elephants have long stood as symbols of wildlife’s majesty. However, habitat loss, conflict with humans, poaching and the illegal wildlife trade now threaten the species’ survival. African elephants numbered 1.2 million in 1980, but in the past 36 years, their population has decreased by 65 percent. Poachers, usually seeking elephants’ valuable ivory tusks, kill about 96 elephants every day – totaling between 30,000 and 38,000 every year. Elephants are one of several species threatened by the illegal wildlife trade, alongside rhinos, tigers and slow loris. This trade, like other illegal trade in wildlife and wildlife parts, is controlled by dangerous international criminal networks, and has been linked to terrorism and the trafficking of drugs, arms and people.
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