"When CITES first banned the ivory trade in 1989, Africa's elephant population was 609,000 (down from 1.3 million in 1979). Now the most optimistic estimates are around 400,000 elephants. Losing elephants is an ecological disaster. Elephants are not just ornaments or tourist attractions; they disperse seeds, prune the trees and shape the land wherever they live, naturally."

Ian Redmond,

Born Free Wildlife Consultant and elephant expert


"Can we really be returning to the days when it was thought acceptable to wear bits of dead elephant teeth for decoration? I know millions of people all over the world will join me in rejecting this nightmare vision and will want, as I do, to make their voices heard loud and clear. Stop the slaughter, ban the bloody ivory trade."

Virginia McKenna,

Born Free Co-founder and Trustee

Ivory comes from dead elephants

Elephant Protection Fund
Issue: Stop the slaughter - ban the bloody ivory trade
Butchering elephants to sell their ivory tusks is barbaric and horrifying, and has other far-reaching consequences. Elephants play a fundamental role in maintaining biological diversity and shaping a healthy bush environment. Without them ecosystems suffer. And poachers often leave behind traumatised elephant calves, too young to have tusks. These youngsters may have witnessed the terrifying slaughter of their mothers and families. Without specialised care they quickly perish, and rescued survivors may grieve for their lost families for many months, suffering nightmares and needing constant reassurance.

Orphan elephant calves are another devastating impact of the ivory trade Elephants play a fundamental role in shaping their environment

Action - Help Born Free, in partership with the relevant authorities in Africa to address five key issues:

Improving security to prevent an escalation in elephant poaching

Resourcing Customs and intelligence efforts to break the ivory smuggling rings

Delivering benefits to local communities that live alongside wild elephants

Resolving conflict between elephants and humans in certain wildlife 'hotspots'

Putting ivory stockpiles permanently beyond use

Elephant slaughter in Kenya, March 2002: Efforts to lift the ivory trade ban have encouraged poaching.

African elephants are being brutally slaughtered for their ivory tusks. Poachers are already going about their deadly business in anticipation of the ivory trade reopening. Five southern African nations have begun a concerted campaign to persuade CITES to reduce protection for the African elephant by lifting the current ban on the ivory trade.

Elephant poachers have been busy since CITES partially reopened the ivory trade in 1997. Born Free's evidence shows that at least 6,000 elephants have been poached and over 23,000kg of illegal ivory seized since that time, when protection for the African elephant was fatally relaxed. Elephants are under increasing and deadly pressure.
The slaughter is horrifying. Poachers shoot elephants with automatic weapons and hack off their tusks with axes and chainsaws. This is the brutal reality of poaching.

"Elephants are special - intelligent, gentle and highly social. It is unethical and unacceptable to kill them for ivory. There is no time to lose. This November, CITES will meet to decide whether to permit further ivory trade or whether to ban it. Born Free supports the Kenyan and Indian proposal for a full global ivory trade ban. With your help we will attend the CITES conference and give the delegates the information they need to make the right decision. In a world determined to exploit and abuse wildlife, we have a fundamental role. If you care about securing a future for elephants, please help us."

Will Travers,

Born Free Chief Executive


The International Ivory Trade

Courtesy of Born Free