We are in what scientists call the 6th mass extinction with wildlife disappearing at a rate of 1,000 times the natural extinction rate. It’s known to be the greatest loss of biodiversity since the dinosaurs over 66 million years ago, and this time it’s caused by humans.
Some of the planet’s most iconic species will soon be gone forever unless we do something about it.
- Tigers – studies show there are as few as 3,000 surviving in the wild today
- Elephants – 30% of African savannah elephants were lost in just seven years and continue to be killed at a rate of 1 every 15 minutes
- Rhinos – three sub-species have already gone extinct this decade, and less than 27,000 remain in the wild including just 60 Javan Rhinos
- Lions – at best there are 15,000 lions surviving in the wild and about 8,000 farmed lions that can never be released into the wild
- Mountain Gorillas – just 800 surviving in the wild
What’s driving the loss of these animals at such a violent and alarming rate?
Unprecedented levels of poaching and wildlife trafficking to meet demand for products such as elephant ivory, rhino horn and tiger bones. Trophy hunting of animals such as lions which is seen by some to be a sport. Habitat loss as land is cleared for the generation of products and to accommodate human settlement. At the heart of this loss is the insatiable need to consume and commodify the natural world and its wildlife. Often under the guise of what is commonly called “sustainable use”.
The extinction discussion series
Instead of waiting for others to take action, we want to engage with you as part of our panel discussion series to have open conversation about doing more for wildlife.
Over the coming months, we will share what we’ve experienced and learned about the issues facing wildlife, and importantly, what can be done to turn things around. Addressing the extinction crisis will take something outside of the “business as usual” approach.
Through the series For the Love of Wildlife will host individuals who are impacting the conservation landscape, including behaviour change specialists, government influencers, researchers, rangers, economists, academics, film makers and many more.
Meeting monthly, the series is also a chance for you to connect with like-minded people who are also passionate about wildlife and creating change.
As American Cultural Anthropologist Margaret Mead once said:
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
SESSION ONE – 4 October 2018
Trailing world leaders in saving elephants and rhinos from extinction – Australia’s domestic ivory and rhino horn trade
We were all heart-broken by the death of Sudan earlier this year – the last male Northern White Rhino. His death effectively leaves the species extinct, joining three other rhino species that have already been lost to extinction this decade.
Both elephant and rhino poaching have soared to crisis point and it’s no wonder that most Australians are alarmed to hear we still sell elephant ivory and rhino horn in Australia despite this crisis.
Results from the Great Elephant Census showed we lost 30% of African elephants from 2007 to 2014 – that’s about 144,000 elephants. During the same time rhino poaching in South Africa rose a disturbing 9,000% to more than 1,200 rhinos. There are less than 30,000 surviving in the wild today.
With numbers like these, it’s no surprise Prince William has stated, “a betting man would still bet on extinction.”
In response to their plight governments around the world including the UK are acting by closing their domestic markets for ivory and rhino horn. Yet Australia’s remains legal and unregulated.
For the Love of Wildlife and its collaborative partners Dr Lynn Johnson, Nature Needs More and Fiona Gordon, Gordon Consulting NZ have been investigating Australia’s domestic trade for the past three years and what’s been uncovered is nothing short of alarming. Illegal ivory and rhino horn is entering Australia, antique dealers openly selling items they can’t age, and the systems meant to manage the international trade are fraught with inadequacies. Every day it remains open we provide the opportunity for recently poached items to be sold on our domestic market. This makes us complicit in the poaching crisis.
All of our panellists, Lynn Johnson of Nature Needs More, Donalea Patman and Hayley Vella of For the Love of Wildlife, recently gave evidence through the Parliamentary Inquiry into Australia’s ivory and rhino horn trade. Join them to hear about what’s been uncovered, the implications for Australia and how we as a country can play a role in stopping the demise of two of the planets most iconic species – the elephant and the rhino.