Sunday, January 5, 2014

Study- Africa's Elephant Poaching Linked to High Rates of Infant Mortality and Poverty

African bush elephant

Africa's elephant poaching in recent times has resulted in hundreds of elephants being ruthlessly massacred in the barbaric hands of poachers, due to the ongoing demand of ivory around the world especially in Asia. While one could easily see that elephants have been the ones suffering, the process has even been associated with corruption, poverty, and high rates of infant mortality. This concept has recently been studied by researchers in an attempt to create some strong evidence in hopes to shine some light on the negative results of the illegal ivory trade. The study, which was presented at an African elephant summit in Botswana last month, showed explicit connection for the first time between elephant poaching and child deaths in poverty-stricken areas. The research was finished by several conservation groups such as the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and TRAFFIC. Reuters reported that most of the places with highest rates of infant mortality and poverty are also rife with elephant poaching, but poverty-stricken villagers often do not benefit from the illegal industry. The illegal ivory trade has been described in the report as "similar to other extractive industries in Africa, which have been exploited to meet demand elsewhere with few rewards for local people." The report also measured infant mortality rates by counting the number of child deaths under the age of one per every 10,000 live births. The researchers found that the highest rates of infant mortality in Africa include the city of Bangassou in the Central African Republic, the Niassa Province in Mozambique, and Ziama in Guinea with estimates ranging from 1,240 to 1,400 per 10,000 births and even had extremely high poaching rates.

This article is a clear and explicit representation of why poaching should never ever, under any circumstances, should be taken lightly. In addition to affecting the lives of wild animals, the illegal practice also affects the lives of local people living in poverty and tremendously affected by corruption. This has been seen especially in the case of Africa's elephant poaching, which has been connected to high rates of infant mortality and poverty. That is, the places where elephant poaching has and continues to grow rampant are very much rife with overwhelming levels of infant mortality and poverty rates. To make matters worse, many villages stricken by poverty often do not benefit from poaching. In other words, we may think that one of the reasons poaching occurs in developing countries is so that local people affected by poverty have found a way to survive and support their families through illegal and dishonest means. But instead, they are exploited by the traders to whom they are selling the illicit merchandise of ivory or other body parts of endangered species. This is also why corruption in Africa and other third-world places has and continues to be a major threat for people living in dire poverty, and often fuels the process of poaching. In addition to combating poaching and the illegal wildlife trade, I also feel it is absolutely necessary to put an end to corruption so that people stricken with poverty would be able to survive and support themselves and their families without being exploited in any way.

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