More African elephants being killed than born

  • 16/03/2016

Warning: This report contains images some viewers may find distressing.

More African elephants are now being killed by humans than are being born.

But it's not only for the ivory -- in some places they're seen as a pest, in competition with the poor for land and food.

For those whose job it is to protect and preserve, there's nothing so ugly as two elephants silent and still, horribly disfigured in death.

Poachers have been spotted as they return to the bodies; perhaps to salvage meat.

The hunters are now the hunted. But the quarry has vanished into the bush.

The small island of wildlife is a poacher's paradise -- with a long porous border, hemmed in on all sides by people fighting their own desperate battle for survival.

And for villagers, elephants bring only trouble

James Sitola told ITV News when there are elephants in his field, it's stomach-melting -- they destroy all the crops.

Most of the poaching isn't for ivory, but for animals to eat. In six months, rangers have seized a staggering 10,000 snares, some like a crude noose.

They're deadly and indiscriminate; one trap still holds the remnants of an elephant's foot.

One young male still bears the scars from a snare, and one in six elephants carry injuries from a human encounter.

When elephants escape the park; rangers use flares to try to herd them back. A robust new fence is being built, both to keep animals in and people out.

Saving the elephant is as much about tacking poverty as it is about fighting poachers. It's hard to say which the tougher task is.

ITV News