Illegal killing of elephants associated with low law enforcement capacity

S
stenews
Sun, Jan 15, 2023 10:57 PM

Illegal killing of elephants associated with low law enforcement capacity
Nomonde Zondi, IOL
January 15, 2023

According to a study by UCT and Oxford University illegal killing of
elephants is associated with poor national governance, low law enforcement
capacity and low household wealth and health.

The study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society recently found
that forest elephant populations suffered higher rates of illegal killing
than Savannah elephants.

Dr Tim Kuiper for the Centre of Statistics in Ecology, Environment and
Conservation at the UCT Department of Statistical Sciences, said addressing
wider systemic challenges of human development, corruption, and consumer
demand would help reduce poaching, corroborating broader work highlighting
these more ultimate drivers of the global illegal wildlife trade.

Kuiper explained that they developed a model using 19 years of data on
10,286 illegally killed elephants detected at 64 sites in 30 African
countries (2002-2020). The data was collected, mostly by wildlife rangers,
as part of the global programme for Monitoring the Illegal Killing of
Elephants (MIKE), administered by the Convention on the International Trade
in Endangered Species (CITES).

“Our model linked these data on elephant killings to key socio-economic
data related to the areas around the parks, individual countries, and
global markets,” said Dr Kuiper.

He said the illegal wildlife trade is one of the highest value illicit
trade sectors globally, with thousands of wildlife species, worth billions
of dollars, being poached, trafficked and sold annually.

“This is a major threat to biodiversity and ecosystems, which are the
bedrock of human well-being as the recent multinational UN Biodiversity
Conference made clear,” he said.

Dr Kuiper added and said the study suggests that tackling poaching requires
dealing with the wider systemic challenges of human development,
corruption, and consumer demand, and not just focussing on actions which
would be traditionally defined as ‘wildlife conservation’.

Professor E.J. Milner-Gulland from the University of Oxford said although
causality cannot be claimed, they made some suggestions about what might
lie behind the associations which they found, based on understanding from
previous research studies.

“For example, a key finding was that having controlled for other factors,
higher levels of local human well-being in the areas around a park was
associated with lower poaching. One explanation could be that, in areas of
economic deprivation, local residents may participate in illegal killing to
meet their basic needs or earn extra income, in the absence of viable
alternatives,” said Milner-Gulland.

https://www.iol.co.za/dailynews/news/illegal-killing-of-elephants-associated-with-low-law-enforcement-capacity-fb7e1419-4a1e-47df-946a-77fe0dff287f

Illegal killing of elephants associated with low law enforcement capacity Nomonde Zondi, IOL January 15, 2023 According to a study by UCT and Oxford University illegal killing of elephants is associated with poor national governance, low law enforcement capacity and low household wealth and health. The study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society recently found that forest elephant populations suffered higher rates of illegal killing than Savannah elephants. Dr Tim Kuiper for the Centre of Statistics in Ecology, Environment and Conservation at the UCT Department of Statistical Sciences, said addressing wider systemic challenges of human development, corruption, and consumer demand would help reduce poaching, corroborating broader work highlighting these more ultimate drivers of the global illegal wildlife trade. Kuiper explained that they developed a model using 19 years of data on 10,286 illegally killed elephants detected at 64 sites in 30 African countries (2002-2020). The data was collected, mostly by wildlife rangers, as part of the global programme for Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE), administered by the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). “Our model linked these data on elephant killings to key socio-economic data related to the areas around the parks, individual countries, and global markets,” said Dr Kuiper. He said the illegal wildlife trade is one of the highest value illicit trade sectors globally, with thousands of wildlife species, worth billions of dollars, being poached, trafficked and sold annually. “This is a major threat to biodiversity and ecosystems, which are the bedrock of human well-being as the recent multinational UN Biodiversity Conference made clear,” he said. Dr Kuiper added and said the study suggests that tackling poaching requires dealing with the wider systemic challenges of human development, corruption, and consumer demand, and not just focussing on actions which would be traditionally defined as ‘wildlife conservation’. Professor E.J. Milner-Gulland from the University of Oxford said although causality cannot be claimed, they made some suggestions about what might lie behind the associations which they found, based on understanding from previous research studies. “For example, a key finding was that having controlled for other factors, higher levels of local human well-being in the areas around a park was associated with lower poaching. One explanation could be that, in areas of economic deprivation, local residents may participate in illegal killing to meet their basic needs or earn extra income, in the absence of viable alternatives,” said Milner-Gulland. https://www.iol.co.za/dailynews/news/illegal-killing-of-elephants-associated-with-low-law-enforcement-capacity-fb7e1419-4a1e-47df-946a-77fe0dff287f