“What has spurred the increase in poaching?
The increase appears to be driven by an upsurge in demand for ivory, principally from China’s newly affluent middle class, who are probably unaware that every time they buy ivory they are contributing to elephant death. Sometimes elephants are also killed for raiding local crops.
What is the government doing to combat poaching, and what more can be done?
The Kenya Wildlife Service is doing all they can, but with demand for ivory surging, they are being run off their feet. There need to be more funds for anti-poaching activities on the ground by the local communities, the Northern Rangeland Trust, and the Kenya Wildlife Service. Sentences for poachers who are convicted should be more severe to act as a deterrent.
What are some common misconceptions about elephant poaching?
It is a misconception to suppose that the ivory poachers are poor farmers who are forced to poach because of their poverty. The truth is that ivory poaching and trading is increasingly carried out by organized criminal syndicates, and the poachers at the ground level are usually bandits, well-armed with automatic rifles, who are robbing people when they are not killing elephants and other wildlife.
Can poaching ever be totally eliminated?
It cannot be eliminated, but it can be controlled. In the years following the 1989 ivory trade ban the population of elephants increased in Kenya—from around 14,000 in 1985 to more than 23,000 in 2006—even though there was still some poaching occurring. Now, we need to make the world wake up and take action to stop this renewed onslaught against the elephants. Ultimately, demand for ivory needs to be reduced, and the most important country where this needs to happen is China.”
:( Simba 1, go catch those motha-fuckin’ poachers!