Benjamin and Yuki, Toei, Japan
Photo credit: 2005, Hungry Hyaena
"In 1973 Kenya had an estimated elephant population of 167,000. But by the late 1980s gangs of ivory hunters armed with automatic rifles had reduced the herds to about 16,000. The numbers have since recovered to around 32,000 after a crackdown on poaching, accompanied by a worldwide moratorium on the ivory trade. But the growth in the elephant population has brought the animals into conflict with a growing human population that still depends chiefly on subsistence farming for survival."If, in 1973, 167,000 African elephants (Loxodonta africana) lived in Kenya without upsetting the human population, how is it that a mere 32,000 are so vilified today? During the last decade, as elephant numbers have rebounded, cries of "Foul" have increased. As Vasagar points out in his article, a burgeoning human population (and the associated expansion of settlement) are principally to blame.
-Jeevan Vasagar, "Kenya elephants in jumbo-size move" (Guardian Weekly, Sept. 2-8, 2005)