A recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences highlights the incredible toll the illegal ivory trade has had on Africa’s elephant populations. This illegal trade, fueled primarily by demand for ivory in China and other countries, continues to threaten elephants throughout Africa. The study notes that on-the-ground conservation efforts have helped stem poaching within the range of those efforts. Working with local communities is critical to the success not only of anti-poaching work, but also larger-scale conservation and development goals. Hopefully these studies, which reinforce actions taken by many governments (see my previous blog posts here and here), will help spur greater interest and action to help protect elephants and other threatened species!