Inside of Nairobi National Park–Reported by The National, there is a nursery very different from any that we are accustomed to in the U.S. Inside it are 15 orphaned baby elephants, each with a common bond between them– they were orphaned at the hands of humans.
Many of the elephants were brought here because their mothers were killed by poachers, leaving the babies because without tusks they have little if any value on the black market. The rest became trapped in man-made objects such as wells or ditches, which eventually led to their caregivers abandoning them.
Within the recent years, the number of baby elephants at the nursery has increased dramatically, this has been linked to an increase in the demand of ivory. As I mentioned before the value of ivory has increased greatly in the weakening economy, some markets reporting that ivory is as good as currency in some African markets. Though the trade in ivory is illegal, last year the convention granted China and Japan permission to buy stockpiles of ivory at auction from four southern African countries.
Officials in Kenya have said that they have noticed an increase in poaching in recent months, mostly in highly populated elephant zones. The increased poaching has been linked to the trade and demand from China, which gives poachers a loophole and a quasi-legal means to move their contraband.
Putting this in perspective, Kenyan Wildlife Services reported that in 2008, 98 elephant carcasses were found with their tusks removed, an increase from only 48 in 2007. As recently as February, Chinese immigrants have been arrested trying to smuggle shipments of Ivory through Nairobi airports.
To help counteract the increase in poaching, the elephant nursery allows local Nairobi children to come and enjoy the elephants during their daily mud baths. By showing the children that the elephants are their friends and educating them, it may slow down poaching of the creatures in future years… At least that is the hope. Link to the Right.