Elephant Poaching Decreases African Species

Elephant poaching started at the end of the 20th century and has permanently damaged the overall population of African elephants across the continent’s 18 countries. ¬†NPR’s article that was published in the late summer of 2016 recounts the shockingly high decline in elephant population between 2007 and 2014 which all account the illegal poaching for ivory. Many African’s get involved in the poaching industry because it is easy money and not terribly difficult to accomplish. Ivory is then sold to illegal traffickers which are then sold on the Chinese market. The entire industry is murderous and heartless because people ruthlessly kill elephants just for their ivory tusks.

The African elephant population declined 140,000 animals between 2007 and 2014 which took about $7 million dollars to conclude. The great Elephant Census, founded by Paul Allen, searched elephants for three years and which collaborated with Elephants without Borders and other government/non governmental organizations. They were able to record the elephant numbers by meticulously flying a small plane and writing down elephants they saw, making sure not to count those that had already been recorded. Only 352,271 elephants existed after the 7 year period, meaning that in 2007 (adding the 140,000) there were 496,271 elephants. When calculated, this is a 25% decrease in the elephant numbers and which continue to decrease today.


This graph from WWF shows a glimpse of the horrid poaching ramifications. If you’re more interested in this subject there is an awesome and captivating documentary on netflix directed by Leonardo Dicaprio called The Ivory Game on the entire ivory poaching market and the ways in which African organizations strive to capture those involved.


3 thoughts on “Elephant Poaching Decreases African Species

  1. I think it is so interesting the methods they use to count the number of elephants. You would think that there would be a more precise way to quantify the number of elephants that isn’t as subject to human error. This just shows one of the barriers this type of research faces and also shows that statistics and numbers are often more of an educated estimation.

  2. I read a similar article about wildlife/animal population statistics, and these numbers are also consistent with the WWF article I read, although it was more about general animal populations and not specific to any one species. That being said, one of the reasons they give for decline in animal populations is wildlife crime/illegal hunting, and this is a clear example of how one species was affected.

  3. When reading your post for class on Monday i could honestly not believe the statistics that you cited. I understand this is a market much like the shark fin market in which different cultures hold the products over the animals themselves to be more worthwhile but it is atrocious. I would be curious to now look into other animals who are being poached to see what their losses are like.

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