Wednesday, June 8, 2011

How do we keep the elephant from becoming extinct? Easy! Let people shoot them, eat them and sell the ivory. Get over your squimishness. The elephants NEED you to support this!!

Below is a graphic (HT: Carpe Diem) comparing the elephant population of Kenya and Zimbabwe from 1970 to 2011.  You can see they run counter to each other. Why? It is the result of how each country dealt with the problem of "The Tragedy of the Commons"...Kenya banned hunting of elephants and Zimbabwe gave ownership rights to the elephants to local communities. It may be distasteful to many the way they went about saving the elephant from extinction but they, well, saved the elephant from extinction.  Please read the excerpt below and at least consider the effectiveness of this approach. The elephant population needs you to help them survive!   
Source: Carpe Diem
 The following is from Defining Ideas (HT: Carpe Diem)

In the 1970s, Kenya had about six times as many elephants as Zimbabwe, and today Zimbabwe has three times more elephants than Kenya (see chart). What happened that caused the dramatic reversal in elephant populations in the two African countries?

Terry Anderson and Shawn Regan of the Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) explain in their excellent article "Shoot an Elephant, Save a Community":

"Anti-hunting groups succeeded in getting Kenya to ban all hunting in 1977. Since then, its population of large wild animals has declined between 60 and 70 percent. The country’s elephant population declined from 167,000 in 1973 to just 16,000 in 1989. Poaching took its toll on elephants because of their damage to both cropland and people. Today Kenya wildlife officials boast a doubling of the country’s elephant population to 32,000, but nearly all are in protected national parks where poaching can be controlled.

In sharp contrast to Kenya, consider what has happened in Zimbabwe. In 1989, results-oriented groups such as the World Wildlife Fund helped implement a program known as the Communal Areas Management Program for Indigenous Resources or CAMPFIRE. This approach devolves the rights to benefit from, dispose of, and manage natural resources to the local level, including the right to allow safari hunting. Community leaders with local knowledge about wildlife and its interface with humans help establish sustainable hunting quotas. Hunting then provides jobs for community members, compensation for crop and property damage, revenue to build schools, clinics, and water wells, and meat for villagers.

By granting local people control over wildlife resources, their incentive to protect it has strengthened. As a result, poaching has been contained and human-wildlife conflicts have been reduced. While challenges remain, especially from the current political climate in Zimbabwe, CAMPFIRE has quietly produced results with strikingly little activist rhetoric.

Between 1989 and 2005, Zimbabwe’s total elephant population more than doubled from 37,000 to 85,000, with half living outside of national parks. Today, some put the number as high as 100,000, even after decades of legal, trophy hunting. All of this has occurred with an economy in shambles, regime uncertainty, and mounting socio-political challenges."
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