Shocking recording of elephant slaughter

November 21, 2013

The Wildlife Conservation Society released a powerful video today that features shocking audio of an elephant being shot and killed by ivory poachers in Central Africa. The video is part of WCS's 96 Elephants campaign – named for the number of elephants gunned down by poachers every day.

The low-frequency recording, taken in Gabon in Central Africa, was made by scientists from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Elephant Listening Project studying low frequency communication of elephants using remote devices left in the field then retrieved and analyzed months later. Gabon's National Parks Agency (ANPN) is a partner on the project.

The 60-second video opens on a black screen with text that fades up: This is the sound of an elephant fleeing an armed poacher as it is shot repeatedly in the forests of Central Africa. As the audio begins, a running counter appears: How long can you listen? The black backdrop slowly fades to the image of a fallen elephant. Text fades up while the counter keeps running: 35,000 elephants were killed in Africa in 2012. That's 96 elephants killed everyday. You can make it stop.

WCS's 96 Elephants campaign amplifies and supports the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) commitment to save Africa's announced in September. The WCS campaign focuses on: securing effective U.S. moratorium laws; bolstering elephant protection with additional funding; and educating the public about the link between ivory consumption and the elephant poaching crisis.

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Throughout Africa, elephant numbers have plummeted by 76 percent since 1980 due largely to the demand of with an estimated 35,000 slaughtered by poachers in 2012 alone.

Explore further: Gabon says half its elephants killed since 2004

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