What Does Elephant Poaching Have to Do With Infant Mortality?

How It Works
Jan. 3 2014 12:20 PM

What Does Elephant Poaching Have to Do With Infant Mortality?

455168149
A bull elephant bathes and drinks water on the northern shores of Lake Edward inside Virunga National Park, on Aug. 9, 2013, in Ishango, Democratic Republic of Congo.

Photo by Brent Stirton/Getty Images for WWF-Canon

A recent report prepared by three NGOs for an anti-poaching summit in Botswana, as reported by Reuters, identifies an interesting correlation between human wellbeing and levels of elephant poaching. Using data from 42 sites throughout Africa monitored by a U.N.-backed program found that “Human infant mortality, which is interpreted as a proxy for poverty, is the single strongest site-level correlate ... with sites suffering from higher levels of poverty experiencing higher levels of elephant poaching."

The report by TRAFFIC, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species suggests that “there may be a greater incentive to facilitate or participate in the illegal killing of elephants in areas where human livelihoods are insecure.” It also suggests that people who live in poaching areas are deriving little benefit from the booming global ivory trade. The areas were the correlation was shown most dramatically were in Guinea, Mozambique, the Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Advertisement

At the national level, the most significant correlation was poor governance as measured by Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index.

Driven largely by demand from Asia, rates of elephant poaching have risen dramatically to about 5 percent of the total population, greater than the animal’s birthrate.

Joshua Keating is a staff writer at Slate focusing on international affairs and writes the World blog. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

A Plentiful, Renewable Resource That America Keeps Overlooking

Animal manure.

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10

Politics

Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Hasbro Is Cracking Down on Scrabble Players Who Turn Its Official Word List Into Popular Apps

The Ludicrous Claims You’ll Hear at This Company’s “Egg Freezing Parties”

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 1 2014 11:48 AM Syria’s “Moderate” Rebels Are Realizing That U.S. Airstrikes Help Bashar al-Assad, Not Them
  Business
Buy a Small Business
Oct. 1 2014 11:43 AM “I Didn’t Want to Build the Next Twitter for Cats” Search funds are the quiet, dependable, risk-averse sibling to the startup. 
  Life
The Vault
Oct. 1 2014 10:49 AM James Meredith, Determined to Enroll at Ole Miss, Declares His Purpose in a 1961 Letter
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 10:54 AM “I Need a Pair of Pants That Won’t Bore Me to Death” Troy Patterson talks about looking sharp, flat-top fades, and being Slate’s Gentleman Scholar.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 10:44 AM Everyone’s Favorite Bob’s Burgers Character Gets a Remix You Can Dance to
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 11:48 AM Watch a Crowd Go Wild When Steve Jobs Moves a Laptop in This 1999 Demonstration of WiFi
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 1 2014 7:30 AM Say Hello to Our Quasi-Moon, 2014 OL339
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.