Nature 476, 282-283 (18 August 2011). doi:10.1038/476282c
Kenya’s premier Samburu elephant population is the focus of a distressing surge in ivory poaching, coincident with an increase in illegal trading of ivory. This ivory is mainly destined for China (see go.nature.com/czac3x). Effective protection of elephants depends partly on more conservation investment, but mainly on stemming the demand for ivory and eliminating black-market trade — actions that mandate leadership from and cooperation with China. The Samburu elephants are one of the world’s best-studied populations. Intensive monitoring has revealed that more have been poached in the past 2.5 years than in the previous 11 years. The highest poaching rates ever were recorded in the first 5 months of this year.