But in the past few years the African elephant has been targeted like never before. There is now urgent action needed.
In some areas, elephant populations have plummeted by a staggering 80 per cent in six years.
Some believe that if the slaughter continues at its current rate elephants could be wiped off the face of the earth within 10 years.
Whole herds are gunned down from helicopters by armed militia. Ivory trinkets are sold to fund terrorist activities, or they are kept under lock and key in the hope that the scarcer the beasts become, the more expensive the trinkets will get.
Earlier this month, David Cameron gave his backing to the excellent campaign run by the Independent newspaper.
The Chinese government are particularly under pressure because demand for ivory in China has fuelled much of the poaching.
Environment secretary, Owen Paterson told the Independent: Mr Paterson, who is leading government efforts to tackle the ivory trade, added that both supply and demand needed to be addressed.
He said: “We are losing a rhino every 11 hours and we are losing an elephant every 15 minutes – because ivory is worth $2,000 a kilo.
“There is absolutely no doubt about it – the value is enormous. For ivory alone the value of crime is around £10bn. So there is huge interest in solving this problem.
“And it would be a huge indictment if we don’t. We are organising a summit in February and we’ve got people coming from right across the world. And thanks to our meetings this week, the Chinese have also agreed to attend.”
Please please donate to the campaign, which you can do by visiting the Independent’s website below, which also carries a series of fascinating, and upsetting articles and films, most of which I opted not to watch.