THE PLIGHT OF THE ELEPHANT
Researches have estimated that more than 20 million elephants roamed across Africa around the 1800’s. This population has dropped substantially and, according to the most comprehensive population assessment ever completed on elephants, The Great Elephant Census, the elephant population dropped by 30% from 2007 to 2014, a loss of 144,000 elephants with only an estimated 420,000 remaining in the wild. This decline in elephant populations is due directly to habitat loss, poaching, and hunting.
There are many studies that determine the effects of hunting on conservation efforts, and the majority state that overall, conservation efforts are not currently benefitting from legal hunting in Africa. If a country lacks the political will to strengthen and implement its conservation laws, or lacks resources to conduct population assessments, prevent poaching, or protect habitat, then trophy hunting will only make the situation worse. In addition, many of these governments are corrupt and these corrupt individuals benefit from the killing of endangered species. Finally, legal trophy hunting of endangered species also sets a precedent that hunting endangered species is ok, which research indicates it is, in fact, detrimental to populations.
When it comes to conservation, I am pro-hunting in America as hunters are some of the best conservationists. However, this is not the same in Africa or for hunting endangered species. Research and analysis has shown that hunting is detrimental to conservation throughout Africa as the corruption is too widespread and the proper management does not exist. Since we can’t forbid Americans from buying licenses, Obama’s ban on import of trophies of endangered species is the only way that our government could impact Americans hunting in Africa. This will help slow the decline of the elephant population, as well as other endangered species, by reducing the desire for trophy hunters to hunt in Africa.
Paul Allen’s Great Elephant Census (completed over 10 years with results analyzed in Aug 2016) is the first ever pan‐African survey of savanna elephants, confirms massive population declines.
Final results show:
- Savanna elephant populations declined by 30 percent (equal to 144,000 elephants) between 2007 and 2014.
- The current rate of decline is 8 percent per year, primarily due to poaching. The rate of decline accelerated from 2007 to 2014.
- In the 18 countries surveyed, 352,271 elephants were counted. This figure represents at least 93 percent of savanna elephants in these countries.
- Eighty‐four percent of the population surveyed was sighted in legally protected areas while 16 percent was in unprotected areas.
However, high numbers of elephant carcasses were discovered in many protected areas, indicating that elephants are struggling both inside and outside parks.
For more information, please refer to:http://www.greatelephantcensus.com/final-report/