African elephants are dying at the hands of poachers in numbers not seen since the ivory wars of the 1980's. The Wildlife Conservation Society estimates that as many as 30,000 elephants were slaughtered for their ivory during 2012. An estimated 25,000 elephants were slaughtered during 2011. The underlying cause is escalating demand for ivory in China, Thailand and elsewhere in Southeast Asia stimulated by increasing affluence, facilitated by an expanding commercial presence in elephant range countries, underwritten by the growing involvement of international criminal organizations, and abetted by wide spread corruption in both source and destination countries. The price of raw ivory in China is now more than $1,300 a pound.