After a relatively stable period, the last three years have seen an unprecedented spate in the illegal trafficking of ivory. It has been argued the threat is so severe that unless urgent practical measures are taken, elephant populations, especially in West and Central Africa, will decline to the point of no return.
Wildlife crime has developed into a multi-billion dollar industry and is, by some estimates, the fifth largest international criminal activity after narcotics, counterfeiting, illicit trafficking of humans and oil. As with narcotics, wildlife crime has become increasingly well organized and violent, posing a new level of threat to those responsible for managing and protecting wildlife. Problems are escalating fast, in terms of both the scale of poaching and the audacity with which poachers take high value species like elephants. Mass killings of elephants in individual protected areas have now occurred in several African countries, while crime syndicates operate with seeming impunity across many Asian countries where the demand for ivory is greatest. GANG OF EIGHT report