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100,000 elephants killed in Africa, study finds

14 Comments
By JASON STRAZIUSO

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China controversial again! I would have never guessed.

This is sad for the elephants, one of my favorite animals. Gorilla's killed for the hands, Rhinoceros's for the horn. Just terrible, what a waste of life for these animals. People are mean!

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Chinese people bringing about the extinction of these great animals as well as the Javan Rhino.

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WTF happened to the ivory ban?! This is a travesty.

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From the article it appears this 100,000 number is a made up number extrapolated up from some numbers in one park in northern Kenya, to the entire continent. I doubt the validity of that. It's a good way to bring attention to an issue though, it caught my eye.

The thing with this demand is, it's fantasy to imagine it can be exterminated. It's more pragmatic to try to monetize the demand and provide ivory where it's in demand and provide incomes to where it's supplied from. The way you get conservation is by making people richer. Keeping people poor doesn't incentivise them to conserve their elephants, they are incentivised by potential income from black markets instead to poach. And then you've got out of control utilization of these resources, which is what the real problem is.

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A beautiful photo with Killimanjaro in the background. The other two...disturbing.

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Elephants are beautiful and important creatures to us because they are part of our world and teach us a lot about loving and respect among themselves in groups. They are important, intelligent mammals. They share the same life span as us. They show qualities we admire in ourselves. They have compassion. And in times of difficulty, danger or stress, they stick together. They even have an impact on the environment they live in, like creating waterholes in a drought that other animals can use too. So, for all these reasons, they deserve our respect therefore never buy or sell ivory because elephants are really threatened by the ivory trade.

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There was a phrase in the article that made me very angry: "China is aware of its image problem regarding the ivory trade." Well, if that statement is accurate, I suggest China is focused on the wrong problem. Don't try to sugarcoat one's serious environmental and biological crime. Stop worrying about image and start focusing on fixing the essence of the problem: the demand within China to kill elephants for no reason other than some silly antiquated demand for exotic luxury. Here's a controversial statement, but I think it's accurate: any FUNCTIONAL atttribute served by ivory can be easily replaced by such substances as plastic. So since there is NO functional requirement for ivory, the only reason for demand for it must be related to pathetic human desire for luxury, riches, exotica, rare substances, etc. Avarice, materialism, and luxurism is not going to serve the planet or any living creatures on it. (And yes, I understand that it is locals who are killing the elephants; but I think this complements my point rather than weaken it).

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Avarice, materialism, and luxurism is not going to serve the planet or any living creatures on it.

"Serve the planet"?

As for the living creatures, the people living there have their lives to live.

Utilising those living creatures in a sustainable manner could provide a steady source of income for people in Africa, aiding their development. The richer they get the better they will be able to manage their resources. So what if this comes about from "materialism", "luxurism"? It'd be a good outcome for all the "living creatures" - consumers, producers and indeed the elephant populations as a whole.

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That's really sad. The death penalty should be handed down to any of these poachers they catch.

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fxgai: your comment unfortunately indicates that you are part of the problem and not part of the solution, and that you didn't understand my comment. It's true that people have their life to live, but how can you use that as an excuse for mass-killing of another species for nothing more than money? Human beings do not NEED ivory. Ivory does not serve an essential purpose. It is an unnecessary luxury -- or at least a luxury that is not needed to maintain life or improve standard of living.

You mention "utilising those creatures in a sustainable manner" and I can agree with that. IF it is actually sustainable. Killing an animal for one part if its body and leaving its almost intact carcass to rot is NOT sustainable, and is not being a good steward of the planet. If the killer uses much or all of the animal, that's a different story. Eating the meat, or using the bones for something.

Contrary to your statement, this is NOT a good outcome for elephant populations as a whole, so your comment makes no sense. It is also important to remember that ivory is a restricted substance under international law, so the "steady source of income" you mention is actually a criminal offense. And besides, I've not seen many societies in which getting richer resulted in better management of resources. Quite the opposite actually.

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Nightshade,

It has to be said that the prohibitionist approach has been proven by decades of history to be a failure. Certain dealing in ivory is criminal, but how has creating a black market for ivory helped the people of Africa or the elephants?

Money is just a medium of exchange. The people of Africa who are incentivised by the failed system to kill elephants and sell ivory to China are hardly rich folks driving around in Ferraris.

Ivory isn't a necessity, but besides water, what is? What matters is sustainability, and only that.

Environmental protection invariably improves as people get richer. When people are poor they can't afford the luxury of looking after their environment. Allow the Africans to enrich themselves and they will be better equipped to look after their animals and protect them from illegal activity. But now they are kept poorer than would be the case otherwise, and have less resources to be able to keep out wrongdoers, with a failed system having created a big black market that provides plenty of incentives for them.

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fxgai, I think I can understand the point you are trying to make. And you are right that people in Africa should be able to enrich themselves, and shouldn't have to turn to a black market to do so. But if you are going to use the word "sustainability" you need to be careful. As I said above, shooting an elephant, hacking off its tusks and leaving the corpse to rot in the sun is not an efficient use of the animal. By sustainability do you mean that there should be a quota on the number of elephants than can be killed, mutilated and left to rot? Or do you mean something else? If there wasn't a market in China/Asia for this unnecessary substance, there would be no poachers who waste these poor creatures for a single part of their body. African poverty will not be solved by the ivory trade. Let's move on.

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How about a law making it okay to kill any poachers without repercussions?

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As I said above, shooting an elephant, hacking off its tusks and leaving the corpse to rot in the sun is not an efficient use of the animal. By sustainability do you mean that there should be a quota on the number of elephants than can be killed, mutilated and left to rot?

Yes, quotas, however they see fit to manage their resources for now and the future. Also look, it's the black market that makes it attractive to kill the beast and take it's tusks, leaving the carcas to rot. If there were a more normal process to follow why wouldn't the meat be eaten too? Apparently people eat elephants in Africa, but the tusk poachers no doubt have little time to worry themselves with this, they need to take the ivory and move before they get shot dead by rangers. But legitimate operators would have no reason not to make good use of the carcass as well.

If there wasn't a market in China/Asia for this unnecessary substance, there would be no poachers

Yes, but as we know there is a market.

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