Monday, October 19, 2009

Why is elephant poaching such a big problem in Africa?

Illegal hunting and killing of elephants is still sad reality in Africa despite the international ban on ivory trade. Ivory is extremely valuable at black market, and is valued at around $12,5 billions. These high profits attract poachers that ruthlessly kill elephants, and in 2006 alone more than 11 metric tonnes of illegal ivory were seized from ships destined for Taiwan and Japan.

Current estimates are extremely worrying for African elephants. Based on the annual number of illegal task seizures scientists predict that 38,000 elephants is killed each year because of tasks, and if this trend continues in about 5 years time African elephants will go extinct since today there are only around 600,000 elephants still remaining in Africa.

As long as ivory trade is bringing high profits to poachers they won't stop hunting and killing elephants, and these killings have taken such a proportion that Africa could soon lose all of its elephants. Can you imagine Africa without the elephants? How ruthless and greedy can person be to be able to pull the trigger and kill these magnificent, peace-loving animals?

Current efforts are definitely not enough to stop elephant poaching in Africa, and I strongly believe that animal poaching in Africa will continue as long as African people remain poor and hungry as they are today. The fact that Africa is the poorest continent is the most important factor that contributes to animal poaching because African people look at it as the source of significant income which widely opens the door to international poaching gangs.

Developed countries are entirely to blame for this problem because they do not do anything to stop poverty and hunger and Africa, which indirectly makes poaching in Africa lot easier. Without the help of rich countries African wildlife will be in great jeopardy and many animals will perish from the face of the planet, especially since poaching is these days well-organized business, with international poaching gangs pulling the strings.

Total ivory trade ban that some see as solution is only partial solution that will not stop poaching because it will not solve the problem of hunger and poverty across the black continent. African continent needs better life standard, more money, more food, more jobs, and more educated people to fight these big ecological problems.

And animal poaching is definitely one of the biggest, if not the biggest ecological problem in Africa. The seriousness of current situation is best described if we look at the data from Chad’s Zakouma National Park that had 3,885 elephants in 2005 but by 2009 the number has dropped to just 617, with dozens of rangers killed by poachers there over the same period. As you can see elephant poaching is really out of control in Africa, and needs to be stopped immediately.

This video will give you a sad insight of what poachers are ready to do just to get their hands on precious ivory.


  1. i don't understand why tusks and horns aren't cut off before poachers think about getting the ivory for themselves.
    gradually tranquilizing elephants and rhinos across africa and then removing their ivory has to be better than leaving it on the animals to attract poachers?
    yes its a little risky drugging the animals but that is better than having animal after animal being killed.

  2. Unfortunately, a lot of poachers don't care if tusks are on the elephant or not, if they say the outline of an elephant on the horizon, they still tend to shoot at it just 'in case' it has tusks. Also, tusks are an elephants incisors, and they are needed to complete a number of tasks such as foraging and asserting male dominance. While an elephant can survive without them, it does make their daily lives more difficult. In Kruger in South Africa, the majority of the elephants do not have tusks due to evolution (the elephants without tusks are less likely to be killed and they pass their genes on to their offspring). However, it is deterimental as these elephants have a higher mortality rate amongst other African animals such as lions becuase they are lacking a major defense mechanism (the tusks).