Datacraft Co Ltd via Getty Images
India has a moral obligation to save this global treasure. But sadly, elephants are being captured illegally from the wild for the illicit ivory trade, and exploited commercially. Elephants are a keystone species, which means the survival of other species in the forest ecosystem depends on the elephants
There is an overwhelming urgency to save elephants, the world's largest land mammal, from extinction. Quite simply, there are less of them around than when the world community agreed to create Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
Seventy per cent of illegal ivory ends up in China -- the world's largest ivory consumer, as the insatiable demand for the "white gold" is surging with the growing middle class populous. The root cause of this insane craving for ivory is ignorance. According to the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), more than 70 per cent of Chinese don't realize that elephants are being killed for their ivory.
Over the past three decades, relentless poaching of wildlife has already wiped out several species of rhinos, and elephants, even as the surviving species are being pushed to the brink of extinction. However wildlife crime has come into scrutiny only in the past decade, and despite the emergence of stringent international laws, criminals are getting away scot-free.