Terrific - and valuable - article Julian. Eveytime I read of animal slaughter (for that's what elephant poaching is) I am reminded of JBS Haldane's eloquence (and this is only from memory), "When the last individual of a race of living beings breathes its last, then another heaven and another earth must pass before such a one can be again."
As you point out, counts are always imprecise, but the conventional wisdom when I was in Uganda in 1971 at the start of the Idi Amin regime, there were estimated to be 98,000 elephants. By the time he was overthrown, the estimate was 2,000! And when we were crossing from Tanzania into Kenya through the Aberdares, an old mzee brought his two grandchildren on a two day walk to see the lions we were transporting, because he thought his grandchildren might otherwise "never see a lion!" How infinitely tragic. While crimes-against-humanity draw appropriate international opprobrium, crimes against the planet should be in a like category!
Best regards to you!