What Does Elephant Poaching Have to Do With Infant Mortality?

The World
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

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

Stop Panicking. America Is Now in Very Good Shape to Respond to the Ebola Crisis.

The 2014 Kansas City Royals Show the Value of Building a Mediocre Baseball Team

The GOP Won’t Win Any Black Votes With Its New “Willie Horton” Ad

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Technocracy

Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

One of Putin’s Favorite Oligarchs Wants to Start an Orthodox Christian Fox News

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

Trending News Channel
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 20 2014 8:14 PM You Should Be Optimistic About Ebola Don’t panic. Here are all the signs that the U.S. is containing the disease.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 20 2014 7:23 PM Chipotle’s Magical Burrito Empire Keeps Growing, Might Be Slowing
  Life
Outward
Oct. 20 2014 3:16 PM The Catholic Church Is Changing, and Celibate Gays Are Leading the Way
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don't Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 9:13 PM The Smart, Talented, and Utterly Hilarious Leslie Jones Is SNL’s Newest Cast Member
  Technology
Technocracy
Oct. 20 2014 11:36 PM Forget Oculus Rift This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual-reality experience.
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 20 2014 11:46 AM Is Anybody Watching My Do-Gooding? The difference between being a hero and being an altruist.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.