Elephant Poaching Is a Humanitarian Crisis, Too

Most conservation efforts fail to address poverty as a primary cause of the poaching crisis. Poachers can make more money from one kill than most sub-Saharan Africans earn in an entire year.

Elephants are on the brink of extinction, but conservation efforts focused on reducing elephant poaching are creating new conflicts between the human and non-human populations in sub-Saharan Africa. Over the past 50 years, there has been a 660 percent increase in protected nature and wildlife reserves, yet the populations of major animal groups living within the reserves have still plummeted by 60 percent. In sub-Saharan Africa, wildlife reserves are continually expanding to safeguard the country’s 350,000 remaining elephants, leaving much of the human population marginalized in the name of wildlife conservation. The population in sub-Saharan Africa is growing by 2.5 percent annually, double the growth rates of human populations in Asia and South America.

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