As a wildlife photographer, I've had intimate encounters with African elephants and have known all too well the story behind some of the pictures I've taken.
Thirty-five thousand elephants are poached every year for the ivory trade. With less than 415,000 elephants left, if this rate of killing continues, it’s expected that they will disappear from our planet within a generation.
The two largest ivory markets in the world, U.S. and China, have within the last couple of years banned their trades in a bid to save the African elephant from extinction. Hong Kong, the third largest market, is set to do so by 2021; the U.K. have also recently enacted a domestic trade ban. They’re all clear signs of the political will to protect elephants from extinction, and some of these bans are the best moves that the world could have hoped for.
In Australia, however, an unregulated ivory market in Australia continues to thrive, which contributes to the mass poaching in Africa to satisfy the demand for ivory in Asia. Elephants are being lost at a rate of 8% per year due mostly to poaching.
We need to end Australia’s trade- especially as it is contributes to the illegal wildlife trade- and implement a ban on domestic markets urgently, as per the recommendations of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Law Enforcement.
Australia needs to act promptly on implementing a ban of the domestic ivory and horn market so that we can protect the elephant and ensure they will live on- and send a message to the world that we simply cannot let elephants head towards extinction on our watch.