Arusha - Elephant census figures released by Tanzania show a "catastrophic decline" of around 60 percent over the last five years, leading wildlife trade monitoring group TRAFFIC said Tuesday.
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"The government's figures show Tanzania lost tens of thousands of elephants over the past decade," said Steven Broad, TRAFFIC's Executive Director.
"It is incredible that poaching on such an industrial scale has not been identified and addressed before now."
Census figures released by Tanzania's ministry for natural resources on Monday showed a decline from 109,051 in 2009 to 43,330 in 2014, according to the group.
TRAFFIC said the numbers reflected an "elephant disaster" in Tanzania, and a "catastrophic decline" in a country that has in recent years become a key source of illegal ivory.