Africa Has Lost a Third of Its Elephants in Just 7 Years

Earlier this week, the hacked-up bodies of at least 26 elephants were discovered in Botswana’s heavily protected Chobe National Park, the largest and most brutal poaching event the park has ever experienced.

This shocking slaughter is just the latest incident in the poaching crisis that has devastated the populations of both African elephant species. New data published Wednesday reveal that poachers killed off 30 percent of Africa’s savanna elephants between 2007 and 2014—about 144,000 animals—and that their numbers now continue to fall at an additional 8 percent per year.

Meanwhile, a second study found that the second pachyderm species, African forest elephants—which lost 62 percent of their population between 2002 and 2011—will require at least a century to recover because they breed significantly slower than thought. Scientists estimate that fewer than 100,000 forest elephants remain.

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