|Killed for tusks, getty|
9/23/16, "Number of elephants being poached in Africa has soared by 400% since start of the year," UK Mirror, Matthew Young
"There are fears that hunting the wild animals, which are killed for their tusks, could now take over from rhino slaying."
"The number of elephants being poached in South Africa has soared by a massive 400% since the start of the year.
And there are fears that hunting the wild animals, which are killed for their tusks, could now take over from rhino slaying - which has seen a fall of 17% over the same period.
In Kruger National Park, one of Africa’s biggest game reserves, heartless poachers usually wait until nightfall and hide in bushes before pouncing on their prey.
Only 15% of the huge park is open to tourists, while the rest is wild - and that is where the hunters take root.
Helicopters work with teams on the ground in a bid to save elephants by halting poachers in their tracks.
Pilot Jaco Mol told Sky News: “The animals don’t have a voice. We’ve got to be their voice.
"We’ve got to preserve the animals for our children and our children’s children.
“We’ve been expecting an increase in elephant poaching as the rhino population decreases and as the value of elephants increases.”
South Africa - along with Namibia and Zimbabwe - is fighting for the right to trade in raw ivory, despite a huge reduction in elephant numbers.
The Great Elephant Census found a shocking decline of 30% across 18 countries between 2007 and 2014 - the equivalent of one elephant dying every 15 minutes.
Mr Jaco said it is set to become “a major problem” at Kruger.
“Luckily we don’t have the same magnitude of an elephant problem or poaching that countries to the north have got,” he said.
But he admitted: “It’s about to start and we have to nip it now, we have to stop it before it becomes a major problem.”
From today (Sat), African countries will meet to discuss ways of saving the elephant.
It comes after Prince William said he feared the African elephant would be wiped out by the time his daughter princess Charlotte, one, reached the age of 25."