Africa's iconic elephants are set for extinction unless global demand for ivory is halted, says the Born Free Foundation. File picture: Karel Prinsloo/AP
To mark World Elephant Day, the Born Free Foundation issued a release this week saying that somewhere in the world an elephant is killed every 25 minutes for its tusks.

“A century ago there were an estimated 5million elephants in Africa. Today there are less than half a million.

"Since 2012, it is estimated that 201288 elephants have been poached.

"Now experts have predicted that unless poaching can be effectively addressed, elephants could all but disappear from Africa in the coming decades,” said the statement.

Will Travers, the president of The Born Free Foundation, said: “A world without elephants is simply unimaginable. We cannot let that happen.

“Our extensive experience means we have witnessed the brutal aftermath of poaching and the pressure that the species is under because of the demand for ivory.

"That’s why we have been campaigning for a global ban on the trade in ivory since 1989.

"Steps are finally being taken in the right direction. China closed its domestic ivory market in 2017. The US has taken resolute action, the majority of Africa countries are calling for the trade to end, and the UK plans to end almost all domestic ivory trade by October.

"However, there is still a great deal more to be done. Just two years ago I stood on the edge of Nairobi National Park in Kenya and watched 105 tons of ivory burn.

"Eleven towering pyres of tusks from an estimated 10000 elephants were torched to send a defiant message to the world that, as far as Kenya was concerned, elephants are worth more alive.

“While there is still a demand that poachers and the criminal networks that support them will continue to destroy a symbol of all that is wild and free.

“There is much we still have to do to end the slaughter and secure a safe, long-term future for these iconic animals,” he said.