Can religion save Africa's elephants and rhinos?

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Elephant tusks

Elephant tusks (AP photo)

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) – Standing before a pile of charred elephant ivory in Kenya, Christian, Muslim and Hindu religious leaders have grasped hands and prayed that “God’s creatures” will survive.

Poachers are escalating their assault on Africa’s elephants and rhinos, and conservationists warn that the animals cannot survive Asia’s high-dollar demand for ivory tusks and rhino horn powder.

Seeing a dire situation grow worse, the animal conservation group WWF is enlisting religious leaders to take up the cause in the hopes that religion can help save some of the world’s most majestic animals.

Three dozen religious leaders from nine African countries toured Nairobi National Park on Thursday, where they saw rhinos, zebras, buffalo and ostriches all within sight of the skyline of Kenya’s capital city.

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