Editor’s note: Cyril Christo is a photographer and filmmaker whose documentary, “A Stitch for Time,” was nominated for an Academy Award in 1988. Since 1997, he has worked with his wife, Marie Wilkinson, to investigate and document the relationship between the indigenous human and natural world on five continents. See more of their conservation photography.
(CNN) – At the start of the 1980s there were more than a million elephants in Africa. During that decade, 600,000 were destroyed for ivory products. Today perhaps no more than 400,000 remain across the continent, according to Samuel Wasser of the University of Washington, who is widely recognized as an authority on the subject.
It is a tragedy beyond reckoning and humanity needs to pay attention to the plight of the elephants before it is too late.
In the past few years an epic surge in poaching has resumed the killing, thanks to the penchant for ivory in the Asian market — especially in China, where ivory is now selling for over $1500 a kilo.
Recently, Julius Kipng’etich, the head of the Kenya Wildlife Service,made a plea at the Library of Congress in Washington in an unprecedented appeal for the world to save Kenya’s and Africa’s elephants from the plague of poaching that has in recent years seen the decimation of tens of thousands of them.