Should white elephants rely on tourism to rescue them?

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Tourism is big business in Africa, and one of the major draws is the wildlife in the continent’s national parks. By almost any measure, however, the future of wild elephants in Africa is bleak unless major strides can be make against poaching fueled by the demand for ivory. There’s plenty at stake, for the African economy, the continent’s ecological balance, and more …. including the elephants.

Now a new campaign called S.A.F.E, (Safeguarding a Future for Africa’s Elephants) hopes to mobilize the tourism industry to help save the elephants. S.A.F.E., announced earlier this month by The Bodhi Tree Foundation (TBTF), is “an anti-poaching campaign aimed at galvanizing and uniting the tourism industry to elevate awareness of the current elephant poaching crisis.”

More Than 90% of African Elephants Killed in the Past 50 Years

The extent of that crisis is described by the TBTF: “Poaching levels of elephants have continued to escalate, with tens of thousands killed annually in Africa due to the demand for ivory. In 2012, an estimated 35,000 elephants were killed, accounting for ten percent of the population, or about 100 per day. More than 90% of the African Elephant population has been slaughtered in the past 50 years alone.”