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 28 2013: This suggestion makes my teeth hurt - imagine removing teeth from an elephant - they are embedded in the jaw by about half a a meeter and the pulp cavity extends more than a meter ! An elephant with a toothache will be a very dangerous animal
    • Mar 3 2013: carolyn,

      The costs of a dental surgery project are tremendous, and what of the effect
      on the Elephant itself.

      A bullet for the poacher is much less costly to reward a poacher's poacher.
      And a reward for the ex-poacher revealing his employer's name and address.

      Let's put our money where it will cause change we can control.

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