The poaching of African elephants is a crime that plagues the entire world. They are sought after animals for ivory, or better known as their tusks. Even though there is a worldwide ban on ivory and the hunting of elephants, it still sells at a very high price on the underground market and many thrill seekers pay a high price to take an elephant as their trophy.
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The high price that these animals have on their head has led to the low numbers and a response from nations from all over the world. The real question that arises from the ivory trade and demand across the world and also the illegal hunting of these animals is, why do people do this?
The cause of elephant poaching is their ivory tusks and the high market value on them. Poachers are the reason behind the sharp decline of the African Elephant, plain and simple. In the 1970s and 1980s countries could legally trade ivory from elephants that were found deceased, but soon started to exhaust all of their resources by doing so, that created a huge demand across the world for it. Thus created the poachers that would illegally harvest the ivory to keep up with the demand and cash out on a large sum of money for doing so. The poachers started to soon act like terrorist groups by banding together and using larger and more powerful weapons to use, such as the M-16, which also caused the decline of the populations of the elephant. The response to this was worldwide. The country of Kenya, not only banned the killing of elephants and the sale of ivory, but it also implemented a shoot-to-kill policy. Shoot-to-kill policies allow rangers to shoot poachers on-sight. (Hutchens 935) This helped the elephant population, during 1970-1989 the population dropped from 167,000 to less than 17,000. But after the adoption of the shoot to kill policy, it rose again up 26,000, which counted as a success. Other countries though did not support the ban of ivory due to the reason that the used it to fuel the conservation efforts and because many of the citizens saw elephants as a pest because they would destroy crops and the watering source they used. This received protests from pro-ban countries and soon the pro-trade countries fell to pressure they were under due to the drop of demand of ivory (Hutchens 935).
After the ban on ivory in 1989, the elephant population raised tremendously. But soon after, countries figured out that with how the population was growing that it could not be self-sufficient. In the Cardamom Rainforest Landscape, elephants were poached for their tusks and meat because they were considered to be an easy target (Gray 35).
The effect of elephant poaching is a rapid decline in the elephant population and higher market value on the ivory.
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