Elephant advocate: Ivory sale an ongoing threat

Dame Daphne Sheldrick's elephant orphanage
Elephants at Dame Daphne Sheldrick's elephant orphanage in Kenya. The elephant orphanage was featured in two "60 Minutes" Bob Simon reports.

(CBS News) Dame Daphne Sheldrick is on a mission to save elephants.

CBS News correspondent Bob Simon and "60 Minutes" introduced the world to her and her remarkable elephant nursery in 2006 and again in 2009.

"60 Minutes": "The Elephant Orphanage"
"60 Minutes": "Poachers Leaving Elephant Orphans"

Since then, Africa's elephants have become even more threatened. There are about half a million left, compared to 1.3 million 30 years ago. That means Sheldrick's orphanage outside Nairobi, Kenya is still a busy place. She tells her story in the new memoir, "Love, Life and Elephants: An African Love Story."

(Watch the latest "60 Minutes" report featuring Sheldrick in the video below.)

Elephants are so threatened now, Sheldrick said Monday on "CBS This Morning," because the demand is high for ivory in the Far East, and particularly, China.

"A lot of the Chinese are more opulent than they were before and it's a status symbol in China to earn an ivory seal," Sheldrick said. "It comes from the largest and strongest land mammal. There's a symbolic attachment."

"As long as there's a trade in ivory and a demand, there will be elephants being killed for their tusks," Sheldrick said. "Obviously, ivory has to banned totally."

Sheldrick said humans can learn a lot from elephants. "Elephants are very human animals. In fact, they're better than us in many, many ways," Sheldrick said. "They can teach humans a lot about being gentle and caring and nurturing and they're highly intelligent. (They're) emotionally identical to us. ... You see in the orphaned elephants all the same traits as in your own children."

For more with Dame Daphne Sheldrick on the dangers to the elephant population, watch the video in the player above.