TED Conversations

Paula Kahumbu

CEO, WildlifeDirect

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How do we save African elephants from extinction?

African elephants are being slaughtered for their ivory as a surprising consequences of the rise of Asian economies. Symbolic of wealth and prestige, ivory was once only affordable for a few. Now with hundreds of millions of newly rich people in Asia, demand has outstripped supply and elephants are being killed at a rate that will drive them to extinction in less than 15 years.

African governments are unable to stop the poaching - the price of ivory is driving impunity, corruption and is now under control of criminal cartels.

How do we stop this? What will it take to reverse this trend? Do we need to change cultures? Appealing for compassion in China, Thailand, Philippines? Is it about law enforcement?

We need some bright ideas from TEDsters who love African animals and who know how to cause change in Asia


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  • Feb 27 2013: Prevention of any kind begins with identifying something as a priority. Perhaps with all the other health concerns in Africa the plight of the Elephants will not receive the attention it deserves. The National Wildlife Foundation surely (though in the U.S.) have a vehicle in the matter. I would imagine that National Geographics has in interest in preserving the life of the African Elephant as well. It is a sad event and one my heart bleeds for.

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