There’s a serious problem with elephant poaching in Tanzania, and it seems to be getting worse by the day. The series of articles below outline some of what’s happening in this beautiful country and just how devastating the Asian demand for ivory is to Tanzania’s natural resources.
We can consider elephants as natural capital, a resource base which may be replenished given enough time for growth. However, it would appear that current rates of destruction from ivory poaching far outstrip elephants’ natural replacement rate, meaning that overall populations in Tanzania will continue to decline.
Have a read through the following articles, all of which were sent to me by my fellow science teacher, Matt Erdosy, while we wee in classes today. The first one describes the armed robbery of a tourist bus in the Ngorogoro Conservation Area (NCA) in northern Tanzania – a bold move on the poachers’ part, showing that they’re not too concerned about police enforcement here.
The second article details the other end of the ivory trade – the retailers in New York and other large cities who pass along ivory to the final consumers. This article in particular discusses the regulatory shortcomings of laws in the consumer countries.
The final few articles delve into some of the internal politics influencing the failure to effectively police ivory and rhino poaching in Tanzania, including a petition to return a government minister to his role combatting poaching.
At the current rate of killing, there may be no more elephants in Tanzania within a decade. That means no elephants on safari anywhere – not in Serengeti, not in Mikumi, or Selous, Ruaha, Katavi, or Tarangire. Nowhere!
January 21, 2014 in Environmental Systems, Grade 9 Science
Tagged biodiversity, conservation, ecology, elephants, ivory, natural capital, natural income, poaching, rhino, rhinoceros, Tanzania
Here are a few more links relating to this topic, which seems to be all over the news lately.
This first item, from the Wildlife Conservation Society and the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the same organization which just declared the Western Black Rhino officially extinct) is a publication called Pachyderm. In it, there are several case studies about both rhinos and elephants, including some information on using micro-chemical evidence to trace the origin of poached ivory. Here’s the link to the complete PDF.
Edge of Existence is a website I recently stumbled across, and I think it has a lot of well-researched information about a lot of issues in wildlife conservation. EDGE stands for “Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered” species – unique creatures threatened by human activities around the world. Their page for elephants, linked here, has some really useful information on elephants’ role in maintaining the savanna ecosystem, conservation initiatives currently in use, links to organizations involved in elephant conservation, and references to more scientific information about Loxodonta africana.
The International.org posted a brief article in June 2012 about the impact of poaching on ecosystems, which is a nice model for the 9th grade poaching project currently underway.
A younger-looking Sir David Attenborough with lemurs from Madagascar. (Screen capture image from www.bbc.co.uk)
And finally, no wildlife conservation unit would be complete without at least one video from Sir David Attenborough (probably my favorite scientist of all time). The short video clip linked here is from Sir David’s earlier work in Madagascar, so he looks a bit different than most of you are used to seeing him. It was originally released in 1961 – 52 years ago!
November 11, 2013 in Environmental Systems, Grade 9 Science
Tagged biology, conservation, david attenborough, ecology, elephants, ESS, human impact on the environment, lemurs, poaching, rhino, rhinos, topic 4, wildlife
Posted in Environmental Systems, Grade 9 Science
Tagged Africa, biodiversity, biology, conservation, ecology, ESS, Grade 9, poaching, rhino, topic 4