The United Nations-linked conservation agency warns that criminal bands and rebel militias are killing the animals to cash in on the thousands of dollars per kilo the ivory fetches.
CITES says this is the third consecutive year that more than 20,000 elephants were illegally killed in Africa, leaving only about 500,000 left on the continent.
Meanwhile, one of the world’s largest and best-known elephants was killed and mutilated for its ivory in Kenya’s Tsavo East National Park.
“Satao” was a favorite among visitors and rangers alike before poachers hacked off his face and took his long, massive tusks.
Photo: The Tsavo Trust