Nearly 35,000 elephants die each year at the hands of ivory traffickers, according to the International Fund for Animal Welfare. East Africa currently experiences the highest level of ivory poaching: in 2015, Tanzania announced it had lost 60 percent of its elephants over the previous five years, while neighboring Mozambique lost nearly 50 percent. In some parts of Africa, militias and terrorist groups fund themselves partially through the illegal poaching and sale of elephant ivory. If ivory poaching continues, it is projected to eliminate approximately 20 percent of the African elephant population within the decade.
Another tragic elements of this trade is that many baby elephants are left orphaned and unable to survive: all elephants under two years of age will die if they are left alone. Those who are older may survive but are forever traumatized by the loss of their parents.
While there are great organizations dedicated to helping these baby elephants, such as the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, a more comprehensive solution may be to permanently end ivory trafficking.