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WRITTEN AND EDITED BY DAVID LAVIGNE

WITH CONTRIBUTIONS FROM KELVIN ALIE, JASON BELL, GAY BRADSHAW & STEVE NJUMBI

ELEPHANTS & IVORY


Animal Welfare, 290 Summer Street, Yarmouth Port, MA, 02675, U.S.A. © 2013 International Fund for Animal Welfare Inc. All rights reserved www.ifaw.org Available in PDF form from www.ifaw.org Available in hard copy from info@ifaw.org Elephants & Ivory/Written and Edited by Dr David M. Lavigne, Science Advisor, International Fund for Animal Welfare. Includes bibliographic references. ISBN 978-1-939464-02-6 1. Elephant conservation. 2. Biology. 3. Threats. 4. Actions. Designed by Flame Design, Cape Town, South Africa The paper used in this book is 100% postconsumer recycled, Environmental Choice Certified, processed chlorine free. Cover Image © IFAW-ATE/V. Fishlock/ Amboseli National Park, Kenya

© IFAW/N. Greenwood/Mangochi District, Malawi

Published by the International Fund for


ELEPHANTS & IVORY WRITTEN AND EDITED BY DAVID LAVIGNE WITH CONTRIBUTIONS FROM KELVIN ALIE, JASON BELL, GAY BRADSHAW & STEVE NJUMBI


© IFAW/D. Willetts/Tsavo National Park, Kenya

TABLE OF C SUMMARY 1 | INTRODUCTION 2 | WHO ARE THE ELEPHANTS? 3 | DISTRIBUTION, NUMBERS, AND CONSERVATION STATUS

7 17 23 29

African elephants

30

Distribution

33

African forest elephants

33

African savanna elephants

33

Numbers of African elephants

33

Conservation status

33

Asian elephants

34

Distribution

34

Numbers

34

Conservation status

34

4 | CURRENT THREATS

37

Expansion of human settlements and development

40

Legal and illegal markets and increasing demand for ivory

40

Additional human threats

42

Implications

43

5 | ISSUES IN ELEPHANT CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT

45

The disconnect between science, policy and management

47

There are “too many elephants”

49

The question of culling

52

Economics, conservation, and the real world

52

Elephant conservation, development, and poverty alleviation

53

CITES & the international ivory trade

54

6 | THE NATURE OF ELEPHANTS AND THEIR ECOLOGY : AN INTERDISCIPLINARY PERSPECTIVE

59

Evolutionary biology – Humans are animals too

61


CONTENTS Ecology

62

Animal psychology

63

Conservation biology

63

Bioeconomics

66

Physics

66

Social Sciences

67

Philosophy

67

Where to from here?

67

7 | A KNOWLEDGE-BASED APPROACH TO ELEPHANT CONSERVATION

69

Putting myths to rest

71

Everything really is interrelated and interconnected

71

A knowledge-based conservation ethic

72

Implications for animal welfare

72

All animals are not created equal

73

If we really want to protect and preserve elephants

73

Dealing with uncertainty

75

Last words

75

8 | ACTIONS FOR INDIVIDUALS AND ORGANIZATIONS

77

9 | CHANGING THE FACE OF ELEPHANT CONSERVATION : A ROLE FOR INTERGOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS

81

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

84

CONTRIBUTORS

84

APPENDICES 1 | Current understanding of elephant taxonomy

85

2 | Numbers of African elephants and range, by country and region

86

3 | Purported numbers of Asian elephants by country

88

ENDNOTES

90


Š IFAW/D. Willetts/Tsavo National Park, Kenya


SUMMARY Modern elephants are the last surviving members

members of the international conservation

of a once diverse and widely distributed group

community fail to acknowledge current science

of mammals known as proboscideans. Only

and continue to include all African elephants in

some three species remain, and they are either

a single species is a serious oversight that may

threatened or endangered.

well jeopardize the continued existence of certain

Our objectives, in preparing this booklet, were to sort through the copious and often conflicting and confusing information available on modern

unique elephant populations in parts of Africa.

RANGE

elephants, present the facts as they are currently known, and discuss some of the issues that

Once thought to range over the entire African

continue to hinder elephant conservation today.

continent, African elephants currently exist in 37

We then examined what a new, knowledge-based

countries: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso,

approach to elephant conservation might look

Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo,

like. We end with some suggestions as to what

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC),

individuals, non-governmental organizations

Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia,

and the international conservation community

Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya,

might do if they really want to reverse current

Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger,

trends and improve prospects for elephants. For

Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia,

convenience, the summary largely follows the

South Africa, The Republic of South Sudan,

organization of the booklet.

Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and

WHO ARE THE ELEPHANTS?

Swaziland (where they have been reintroduced). Historically, Asian elephants ranged from West Asia, along the Iranian coast, to the Indian

The modern scientific evidence indicates that

subcontinent, Southeast Asia, including Sumatra,

there are at least two and possibly three distinct

Java, and Borneo, and up into Central China.

species of African elephants, and a single species

Today, they continue to survive in 13 countries

of Asian elephant, the latter represented by four

across parts of Asia. Range states include:

distinct subspecies. That some influential

Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India,

7


© IFAW/D. Willetts/Tsavo National Park, Kenya

Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma),

particularly in China, Thailand, and Vietnam;

Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam. Their

poaching, especially in Central Africa but

current fragmented distribution covers only a

elsewhere as well; and illegal trade, to feed

fraction of their known historical range.

existing and anticipated market demands.

NUMBERS

Inadequate legislation, enforcement and compliance; poor governance, and social and political unrest in some range states.

The total number of African elephants was

The lack of political will by governments, and

estimated in 2007 at between 472,269

the international conservation community

(“definitely” known) and 698,671 (including

to promote and adopt knowledge-based

“probable, possible, and speculative” estimates)

approaches to elephant conservation.

animals. The number surviving in 2012 is unknown. The total number of Asian elephants was estimated in 2004 at between 38,535-52,566 animals. An additional 15,535-16,300 Asian

ISSUES IN ELEPHANT CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT

elephants were also said to be held in captivity worldwide. Current figures are unavailable.

CONSERVATION STATUS

There is considerable controversy about what needs to be done to mitigate the threats to elephants in order to protect and conserve the remaining wild elephant populations. Part of

African elephants are classified in the IUCN Red

the problem, which is not unique to elephant

List of Threatened Species as Vulnerable and listed

conservation, is that discussions tend to focus on

on Appendix I of the Convention on International

abstractions of reality, and on myths and fables,

Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), except for

promoted by various participants, each advancing

populations living in Botswana, Namibia, South

their own values, objectives and agendas. Issues

Africa and Zimbabwe, which have been downlisted

discussed here include:

to Appendix II. Asian elephants are classified in the IUCN Red List as Endangered and listed on Appendix I of CITES.

THREATS

• THE DISCONNECT BETWEEN SCIENCE, POLICY AND MANAGEMENT There is a disconnect between what we know about

The major threats to the continued existence of

elephants and their ecology, the development of

elephants include:

public policy, and the implementation of appropriate management actions.

• •

The increasing human population, not only

Even when scientific information is actually used

in range states, but regionally and globally.

to inform elephant conservation decisions, it is done

Habitat degradation, fragmentation and

so in a highly selective and arbitrary fashion. Much

loss due to human activities, including –

discussion focuses on incomplete and imprecise

especially in Africa – those associated with

data on population numbers and trends, ignoring

global warming.

that elephants exist not only as populations but as

The existence of national and international

unique individuals and as components of complex

markets for elephant products, particularly

communities and ecosystems. Important research

ivory.

from other sciences and other learned fields is

Increasing demand for elephant ivory,

essentially ignored.


Elephant conservation would look remarkably

habitat suggests that HEC might also be reduced

different today if all our accumulated knowledge

if human settlements and agricultural activities

were used to inform policy and management

were not built in the middle of traditional elephant

decisions.

corridors. Science has much to contribute to the resolution of perceived conflicts between humans

• THERE ARE “TOO MANY ELEPHANTS”

and elephants, if only we would use it.

• THE QUESTION OF CULLING Although frequently presented as being “scientific”, claims that there are too many elephants in one

In situations where humans decide that there are

location or another reflect human value judgments.

more elephants in the local environment than

Science can never tell us how many animals

individual people or society at large desire or

there should be because no such number exists.

are willing to tolerate, we typically hear calls for

Regardless, when people decide that there are

culling programs to reduce the number of animals

too many animals, they naturally call for culls to

in the local environment. This issue is sufficiently

reduce the number. Science cannot answer the

widespread that it deserves further comment.

question whether to cull or not to cull. Scientists

Culling programs involve either the killing

can, however, develop protocols for the scientific

of individual animals (lethal culling) or their

assessment of culling proposals but, to date, no

translocation to other places (non-lethal culling).

such protocol has been developed specifically

Irrespective of the species involved, culling

for the evaluation of proposals to cull elephants.

programs are almost universally initiated without

Instead, where there are more elephants locally

specific conservation goals; without adequate

than people are willing to tolerate, the situation

scientific assessment; and without any serious

is characterized either as “the elephant problem”

consideration of any alternatives to culling that

– where elephants are perceived to be having

might actually achieve the presumed objectives,

adverse effects on the environment or biodiversity

both for the target animals and other ecosystem

– or under the rubric of “Human elephant conflict”

components, including human society. Almost

(HEC) – where elephants are having adverse effects

invariably, culling programs are initiated without

on human activities, e.g. eating crops, damaging

adequate monitoring schemes that would be

property, or killing people.

required to evaluate the results of a cull. For these

Improving the situation for both elephants and

and other reasons, culling programs rarely if ever

people is admittedly a complex undertaking but

resolve the underlying problems and may, in fact,

there are signs of progress. In southern Africa, for

make things worse in the longer term.

example, high densities of elephants can arise when

Culling is one issue that science can actually

elephants are fenced in national parks and provided

help to clarify. At a 1981 meeting that examined

with artificial watering holes. Remove the fences

the problem of locally abundant mammalian

and watering holes, and natural density-dependent

populations, the beginnings of a protocol for the

population regulation can occur, thereby reducing

scientific assessment of culling proposals began

local abundance. Another example comes from

to emerge. Now, more than 30 years later, wildlife

Kenya. Over the last ten years, private landowners

culls the world over are still being implemented

have dedicated 1 million hectares of their land to

without adequate scientific assessment and

wildlife conservancies, most of which are critical

monitoring. This example alone reveals the

elephant corridors and/or dispersal areas.

hypocrisy of governments and agencies that claim

In addition to reducing elephant densities locally, an understanding of the elephants’ critical

to base their conservation decisions – including decisions to cull – on the “best available science”.

9


• ECONOMICS, CONSERVATION, AND THE REAL WORLD

• CITES & THE INTERNATIONAL IVORY TRADE

It is a curious fact of life that conservation,

Renewed concerns about the status of elephant

including elephant conservation, has come to be

populations in parts of Africa and Asia have re-

dominated by an economic approach that has

energized the debate over whether international

proven to be ineffective at solving environmental

trade bans, implemented under CITES, have the

problems. The failure can be explained because

desired effect. That debate is largely another

the underlying economic principles that have

distraction, however, because it ignores the ultimate

been driving conservation in recent decades are

problem: the very existence of any legal markets for

founded on a number of myths that simply do not

elephant ivory, whether international or national.

reflect reality. Any conservation paradigm that places

If one of the goals of conservation today is to protect elephants from the threats posed by legal

economy above the environment and treats

and illegal hunting (poaching) for the marketplace,

ecosystem components, including elephants,

and to promote the recovery of depleted

as interchangeable commodities in an

populations, then the only possible solution is to

economic system is clearly not representative

remove elephant ivory not only from international

of the real world in which we, and elephants,

trade, but entirely from the global marketplace.

live. Experience and reason tell us that the

If ivory had no commercial value, there would

environment, i.e. the biosphere, is paramount. To

be little incentive for anyone to kill elephants

pretend otherwise is anthropocentric hubris and

for their tusks and one of the major threats to

folly. Without a functioning environment, society

their survival would eventually disappear. In the

and the economy, not to mention elephant

absence of effective legislation banning all trade

populations, collapse.

and sale of elephant ivory, coupled with effective enforcement and compliance, the poaching of

• ELEPHANT CONSERVATION, DEVELOPMENT, AND POVERTY ALLEVIATION

elephants for their ivory will assuredly continue. Failure to close all commercial markets to elephant products virtually guarantees that the poaching of elephants and the illegal trade in

These days, when the conservation of biodiversity

ivory will continue. And, no doubt, the tangential

is discussed within the conservation community,

and unproductive debate over the pros and cons

it is usually paired with something else, whether

of international trade bans will continue unabated,

it be development, jobs, livelihoods or poverty

further jeopardizing the status of elephant

alleviation. This phenomenon is simply an

populations in many parts of Africa and Asia.

extension of the economic paradigm that has come to dominate modern conservation. Yet, these forced “marriages” have done little to halt the loss of biodiversity, create jobs, improve livelihoods or

THE NATURE OF ELEPHANTS: AN INTERDISCIPLINARY PERSPECTIVE

alleviate poverty. The time has come to get conservation back

Elephant conservation today is based on an

on track. The protection and preservation of

arbitrary selection of the available information

wild plants and animals, and the ecosystems

on the interrelationships between elephants and

they inhabit, must once again be the foremost

their environments. The biased selection of the

consideration of conservationists and the

information we use to inform our decisions is a

conservation community.

reflection of historical and, still prevailing, human


attitudes, values, objectives and experience, and

emotion, self-awareness, and consciousness.

in no way represents the accumulated wisdom of

Indeed, individual Asian elephants are among a

science and other ways of knowing.

very few animals known to recognize their own

A brief consideration of what is broadly known

reflections in a mirror. The mirror test, where an

from a variety of disciplines about the nature

individual recognizes him/herself in the reflection,

of animals – in particular, elephants – and their

is used by scientists to indicate self-awareness,

relationships with humans and the biosphere paints

a trait that puts elephants into an exclusive club,

a very different picture of elephants than the one

whose membership is currently limited to humans,

that has dominated our discussions thus far.

chimpanzees, bonobos, and dolphins. When

Evolutionary biology tells us that all living

stressed, individual elephants (again like humans

organisms – humans and elephants included –

and some other primates) may exhibit symptoms

share a common ancestry. Humans are animals;

of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Recent

we are part of nature not separate from it and

biochemical evidence indicates that the effects

certainly not above it.

of stress can be detected in surviving elephants

Ecologists have long recognized that the living world is organized along a continuum from genes to cells to organs, and from individual organisms

long after the event and transmitted across generations culturally and neurobiologically. Conservation biology tells us that some of the

to populations, species and communities. Similarly,

biological characteristics of elephants – including

the biosphere can be viewed as a hierarchy of

their large size, the possession of ivory tusks

nested systems, from genetic systems at one

coveted by humans, and ranges that extend across

end of the spectrum to ecosystems at the other.

international boundaries – make them particularly

While conservation has traditionally concerned

vulnerable to the activities of humans.

itself with the welfare of populations, species

The history of conservation reminds us that we

and ecosystems, there is no scientific basis

are incapable of managing individual species and

for ignoring the welfare of individual animals.

the ecosystems they inhabit. The only things we

Ecological knowledge also refutes the underlying

might be able to manage are human activities and

assumptions of the dominant economic paradigm

our impacts on the biosphere, and we haven’t yet

in conservation today.

demonstrated that we can do that very well either.

Animal behaviour, ethology, psychology and

History has also taught us that, in the face of

the neurosciences tell us even more about the

uncertainty – and much remains uncertain about

nature of elephants as individuals, populations,

elephants and their ecology – we should always

and communities. Groups of elephants, like many

err on the side of caution. Yet, as fundamental

mammals, exhibit a distinct social structure.

as the Precautionary Approach is to successful

Elephants live in matriarchal societies dominated

conservation, the concept is vulnerable to abuse.

and led by adult females. And elephants, like

For those who argue that “wildlife must pay

some other higher mammals, are said to have an

its own way in order to be conserved”, economic

identifiable “culture”, where “culture” is defined

analyses indicate that placing monetary value on

as a process involving the social transmission of

a species does not guarantee its survival and may

new behaviours, both among contemporaries and

actually promote its demise. Further, many people

between generations.

value the Earth and its inhabitants in a variety of

Individual elephants, like a number of other

ways beyond the purely economic. At some point,

mammal species including humans, other

values other than money may actually determine

primates, and cetaceans, have large, highly

quality of human life and happiness. Experience

developed brains and share common brain

and reason also tell us that economic activities,

structures and processes that govern cognition,

including job creation, poverty alleviation,

11


sustainable development and “sustainable use”,

the argument that the economy (or commerce)

among other distractions, are human activities

desperately “needs…a new way of seeing itself”.

that occur within the environment. Without a

An Earth-centred conservation ethic would

functioning environment, both society and the

also remove the artificial separation of individual

economy collapse.

animals and populations and put animal welfare

The recognition of the continuum that exists between humans and other animals, including elephants, in terms of a common evolutionary

where it naturally belongs – squarely in the middle of the conservation agenda. While the best available science reminds us

legacy, shared genes, anatomy, physiology,

that all animals, including humans, are related, it

intelligence and social behaviour, has led to the

also tells us that some animals – such as elephants

argument that “there should be some continuum in

– are sufficiently different from others to warrant

moral standards”, a view that seems logical but one

special consideration. Elephants, because of

that has yet to gain general acceptance. Regardless,

their biology, are more likely to go extinct as

it is now widely accepted that living organisms and

a result of human activities than many other

the nonliving components of the biosphere have

species. That elephants possess large brains, are

values other than economic value. In particular,

both sentient and sapient, exhibit complex social

individual organisms and populations have intrinsic

organization, and possess an identifiable culture,

value, i.e. value beyond their utility to humans.

all raise important ethical questions about our

A KNOWLEDGE-BASED APPROACH TO ELEPHANT CONSERVATION

relationships and interactions with elephants. It is becoming abundantly clear that if science and knowledge, generally, underpinned our conservation policies, our approach to elephant protection and conservation would be radically

It has been said that “…there is no other basis for

different from that currently being advocated and

sound political decisions than the best available

practiced today.

scientific evidence”. If we take that statement to

At a minimum, we would recognize the need

be true, it has much to say about conservation

to protect critical habitats for elephants where

generally, and elephant conservation in particular.

they continue to survive. We would also provide

It says, for example, that we must reject the

them with movement corridors to allow natural

myths and fables that dominate many discussions

processes to better regulate their numbers, and

in modern conservation because they do not

implement a transnational approach to elephant

reflect current knowledge and understanding. It

conservation, such as that now being advanced in

also tells us that everything is interrelated and

parts of southern Africa.

interconnected. And it suggests that we need to

In order to combat the continued killing of

develop a new Earth-centred conservation ethic,

elephants by poachers, society would unilaterally

and an approach to conservation management

close all markets for elephant products, and

that is consistent with “the best available

ban all international trade in elephant products.

scientific evidence”.

While such a suggestion may seem extreme,

An Earth-centred conservation ethic would

closing markets and imposing trade bans are

reflect evolutionary and ecological relationships;

commonplace when dealing with other species,

it would recognize that Planet Earth is finite and

especially marine mammals. So, why not extend

cannot support continuous growth, either of the

the idea to elephants and, for that matter, other

human population or its economy. The former

threatened species in commercial trade?

realization speaks to the urgent need for better family planning on a global scale; the latter supports

The international community would also support and enhance the efforts of some national


13 © IFAW/J Hrusa


© IFAW/M. Booth/Mangochi District, Malawi

governments and international agencies to

number of dead elephants involved or when they

gain the upper hand on poachers and, more

actually died or were killed. And, while the demand

importantly, on the international wildlife crime

for ivory appears to be increasing at an alarming

syndicates that drive poaching and illegal

rate, the extent of the current demand and its

international trade today. To do that would require

potential for growth remains unknown and, likely,

much tougher legislation, both nationally and

unknowable.

internationally, with severe penalties imposed

In addition to the scientific uncertainty

on anyone and everyone found in violation of

associated with the available data, elephants,

the law. It would also require a crackdown on the

particularly in Africa, have to contend with the

corrupt governments, government officials, and

uncertainties associated with civil unrest and

foreign nationals who currently help to facilitate

military conflicts. They also have to contend with

such illegal activities. It would require enhanced

the new environmental uncertainties associated

enforcement, both in range states where elephants

with global warming.

are killed and in the international community where illegal trade continues to flourish. Just about everything associated with elephants is uncertain, not just their future. We are still debating how many species currently survive. We really don’t know much about their current distribution in large parts of their presumed range. We don’t know how many

If ever there were a compelling case for implementing a precautionary approach to protect and conserve a unique and threatened group of animals, it would surely include elephants.

ACTIONS FOR INDIVIDUALS AND NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS

elephants remain alive today – the most recent data are at least five years old and, even back

Elephants are in serious trouble and many people,

then, only about half of their presumed range in

scientists included, are wondering just how long

Africa was actually surveyed. We know that many

they will survive if we don’t soon do something

elephants are poached each year but we don’t

different to protect them from the activities of

know how many. We also know that elephant

humans. Clearly, we need to do more to reduce

tusks and carved ivory are frequently seized in

the threats to elephant populations. Individuals

illegal international trade, but we don’t have any

and organizations must insist that the responsible

idea what these artifacts represent, including the

authorities base future conservation actions on


© IFAW/M. Booth/Mangochi District, Malawi

what is actually known about elephants and their

parts of Africa, and promoting some recovery

ecology, rather than on the many myths that

from their current precarious state will require

dominate elephant conservation today. They could

major changes to how we approach elephant

support national governments in providing enhanced

conservation in the years to come. It will require

protection of elephant habitat. Individuals and

a more realistic, knowledge-based appraisal of

organizations could also help by putting pressure

current circumstances, and the public and political

on governments and international conventions to

will to deal with the obvious problems that

remove all elephant ivory from the marketplace

confront us.

and to ban all international trade – both legal and

As with any major societal change, changing

illegal – because the commercial exploitation of

the face of elephant conservation will require

animals like elephants almost invariably leads to

leadership. Ideally, that leadership would come

their depletion. Consumers can refuse to purchase

from national governments, intergovernmental

elephant ivory products. National governments and

organizations and international conservation

the international community must be encouraged

conventions. These could include, especially, IUCN

to enhance laws to protect elephants from illegal

– the World Conservation Union, CITES, and the

activities and provide increased enforcement to

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

reduce poaching and illegal trade. The international

Asking massive bureaucracies and

conservation community must also take the lead in

governments to make sweeping changes in how

developing and delivering public education programs

they approach elephant conservation may seem

aimed at reducing demand for elephant ivory,

naïve, almost futile. But, if we really want to

especially in parts of Asia.

conserve elephants and offer them the protection

CHANGING THE FACE OF ELEPHANT CONSERVATION: A ROLE FOR INTERGOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS AND CONVENTIONS

they so clearly need and deserve, we have to try new approaches. The alternative, doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results, is – to put it bluntly – the very definition of insanity. Ultimately, it is only through moral judgment and political choice that we will take the steps

Reversing the current declines of elephant

necessary to safeguard the future of elephants.

populations and their habitats, especially in

The question that remains is: will we?

15


1 INTRODU

Š IFAW/N. Greenwood/Liwonde National Park, Malawi


UCTION


Š IFAW/J He/Xishuangbanna, China


Modern elephants are the only surviving members of the ancient mammalian order Proboscidea. Proboscideans originated in the Cenozoic Era, some 60 million years ago.1 Once a diverse group of large herbivores, with at least 175 species and subspecies belonging to 42 genera and ten families described in the fossil record,2 they spread to all parts of the planet, except for Australia, New Zealand and Antarctica.3 Today, only three recognized species remain. They are restricted to parts of Africa and Asia and represent the largest of all living terrestrial mammals. The remaining wild elephants are under ever increasing threat, largely because of human activities. These activities, which have dramatically reduced the distribution and numbers of elephants throughout past centuries, include: habitat fragmentation, deterioration, and loss; the poaching of animals (mainly for their tusks) to feed a seemingly insatiable demand for ivory in the marketplace; confinement in nature reserves and on private property; and the removal of animals from the wild to populate zoos and circuses, and to provide beasts of burden and animals for use in traditional cultural ceremonies.4 Without significant changes in human behaviour, it seems unlikely that this once successful group of mammals will survive much longer.5 At this stage in the 21st Century, poaching and illegal commercial trade represent the most visible threats to elephants in the wild. But that narrow view overlooks an overarching threat: the continued existence of legal commercial markets for elephant ivory at both national and international scales. It is the very existence of such markets that provides the incentive for poaching and illegal trade. As Frederick Vreeland quietly observed almost a century ago, 6

“

As long as there are dealers in game you will find men who will kill it in spite of

�

anything you may do to the contrary.

19


While poaching and illegal trade undeniably represent serious threats to elephants, habitat fragmentation, deterioration and loss continue to impact elephants virtually everywhere. These threats are not so immediately obvious – there are no dead bodies or piles of seized ivory to photograph. Yet elephants, like all species, cannot survive without viable habitats. IFAW – the International Fund for Animal Welfare – believes wild animals belong in the wild. IFAW is opposed to the commercial exploitation of wildlife, based on the historical and scientific evidence that such activities invariably cause a variety of animal welfare and conservation problems. Such problems include the unnecessary and avoidable suffering of individual animals, and the depletion of wild populations. We also understand that as their habitats disappear, so too do the elephants. And so, we sponsor research aimed at understanding elephant ecology, and work to protect viable habitats where elephants can continue to live and thrive. Our aim, in producing this little book, is to provide some relevant facts about elephants as they are known today, including their taxonomy, distribution, population trends and conservation status, and the current threats to their continued existence in the wild. We discuss some of the issues that continue to hinder elephant conservation today and then examine what a new, knowledge-based approach to elephant conservation might look like. We end with some suggestions as to what needs to be done to protect and conserve elephants if we really want to give the largest remaining land animal reasonable prospects for survival.


21 Š IFAW/D. Willetts/Tsavo West National Park, Kenya


2 WHO AR

ELEPHAN

Š IFAW/M. Booth/Amboseli National Park, Kenya


RE THE NTS?


Š IFAW/F. Onyango/Tsavo East National Park, Kenya


Distinguishing one independent population from another [is] one of the most basic requirements

for successful conservation and management, especially of exploited species.

7

Scientists have estimated that there are

that there are at least three and, possibly, more

some five to more than 50 million species of

species of living elephants,9 CITES and IUCN – the

organisms on the planet. The wide range of

World Conservation Union (the keeper of the

uncertainty is usually explained away by the

Red List of Threatened Species),10 among others,

existence of untold numbers of viruses, bacteria,

continue to recognize the existence of only two.

nematodes, insects, and other organisms that

Moreover, they rationalize their intransigence,

remain to be discovered, described, classified

claiming that “more extensive research is required

and named, especially in tropical forests and

to support the proposed re-classification”.11

in the world’s oceans. Such uncertainty takes

Ignoring the opinions of the wider scientific

on new meaning, however, when we look at the

community (such as the one cited in opening

elephants. Even though they are the largest

quotation above), they curiously argue that

surviving land mammals, conservationists have

“Premature allocation into more than one species

yet to agree even on how many species remain!

may leave hybrids in an uncertain conservation

Before we can begin to identify independent

status”. The obvious answer to that argument

populations and implement appropriate

is that failure to recognize a genetically distinct

conservation measures for each, we must be able

species may actually leave an entire species in an

to distinguish individual species.

uncertain conservation status.

8

In 1978, when Asian elephants were first listed

A recent genetics study12 confirms that the

on Appendix I of the Convention on International

African elephants belong to at least two distinct

Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), two species

species – the African savanna (or bush) elephant

were recognized: the African elephant, Loxodonta

(L. africana) and the African forest elephant

africana, and the Asian elephant, Elephas maximus.

(L. cyclotis). The evidence now indicates that

The situation remained unchanged when African

these two species are “as or more divergent” as

elephants were added to Appendix I in 1989.

mammoths and Asian elephants, having separated

Although our scientific understanding of

some 2.6-5.6 million years ago. Major differences

elephant taxonomy has advanced considerably

between African savanna and African forest

over the past 30 years, the conservation

elephants, and Asian elephants are summarized in

community has failed to keep up. While state-of-

Table 1.13

the-art molecular genetics techniques reveal

25


ELEPHANT SPECIES TRAIT

AFRICAN SAVANNA

AFRICAN FOREST

ASIAN

DNA

Genetically distinct

Genetically distinct

Genetically distinct

HEIGHT

Males 3.3 metres Females 2.7 metres

Males 3.3 metres Females 2.7 metres

2.5-3.0 metres

WEIGHT

Males 6 tonnes Females 3 tonnes

Males 6 tonnes Females 3 tonnes

Males 5.4 tonnes Females 2.7 tonnes

TUSKS

Occur in both males and females, curve upwards.

Occur in both males and females, but smaller, thinner, and straighter than those in African savanna elephants.

Tusks occur only in some adult males. Some females and a small percentage of males have rudimentary tusks called tuches.

EARS

Large, shaped like map of Africa, reach up over neck.

Smaller than in the African savanna elephant; do not reach up over neck.

Small, shaped like map of India, do not reach up over neck.

HEAD SHAPE

Rounded head, dome shaped.

Rounded head, dome shaped.

Twin domed head with dent in the middle

TRUNK

Trunk is more heavily ringed and not as hard as that of Asian elephants; tip of trunk has two finger-like projections that are used to pick up and manipulate objects.

Has only one “finger�, holds objects against underside of trunk to manipulate them.

TOENAILS

4 nails on front feet; 3 on back.

5 nails on front feet; 4 (rarely 5) on back.

TABLE 1

5 nails on front feet; 4 on back.

| Major differences between African savanna and African forest elephants, and Asian elephants.

Failure to accept the best available science

really concerned about the conservation of

on the number of elephant species represents a

elephants in both Africa and Asia. CITES, IUCN,

serious conservation threat, especially for the

and the global conservation community should

imperiled African forest elephant, about which

move quickly to recognize the differences between

very little is known.

African savanna elephants and African forest

The latest taxonomic information for living

elephants, and to adjust their approaches for

elephants is summarized in Appendix 1. Further

protecting those populations that are currently

research is still needed since there have been

known to be threatened or endangered, largely

suggestions that an additional species of

as a consequence of human activities. Can we, for

elephant may exist in West Africa. There is also

example, continue to permit legal international

considerable on-going debate about whether there

trade in elephant ivory when we know that

are three or four genetically distinct subspecies of

poaching compromises elephant populations

Asian elephants.

throughout much of their range and especially in

14

15

Sorting out genetically distinct elephant species and populations is essential if we are

central and West Africa, where the little known and threatened forest elephants live?


AFRICAN SAVANNA ELEPHANT © IFAW/D. Willetts/Tsavo East National Park, Kenya

FOREST ELEPHANT © IFAW/MDDEFE/Odzala-Kokoua, Republic of the Congo

ASIAN ELEPHANT © IFAW/C. Dafan/Nuo Zhadu, Pu’er, Yunnan province, China

27


3 D  ISTRIBU

NUMBER CONSERV STATUS

© IFAW/N. Grosse-Woodley/Tsavo West National Park, Kenya


UTION, RS, AND VATION


The public likes the spurious certainty of numbers. 16

If describing the numbers of species of elephants today is difficult, then describing their distribution in space and time, and estimating their numbers and population trends, are arguably even more problematic.

AFRICAN ELEPHANTS As noted in the previous chapter, most of the conservation literature on African elephants treats them as if they all belong to a single species. As a result, most of the current information on distribution, numbers and conservation status does not provide separate information for African savanna elephants and African forest elephants. In the account below, the term “African elephants” refers to the two (and, possibly, three) species combined. Where information does exist for individual species, they are identified by their distinct common names.


31 Š IFAW/J Hrusa/Kruger National Park, South Africa


MED

ITER

MOROCCO

RAN E

AN

ALGERIA

SEA

LIBYA

EGYPT

SAHARA DESERT DS RE EA

MAURITANIA MALI NIGER

ERITREA

CHAD

SENEGAL

SUDAN

GUINEABISSAU GUINEA GAMBIA SIERRA LEONE CôTE D’IVOIRE ( IVORY COAST )

WEST AFRICA

ETHIOPIA

NIGERIA

BURKINA FASO

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

BENIN GHANA TOGO LIBERIA

CAMEROON

EQUATORIAL GUINEA GABON

CONGO

SOUTH SUDAN

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO

SOMALIA

UGANDA

RWANDA BURUNDI

KENYA

CENTRAL AFRICA

TANZANIA

EASTERN AFRICA

MALAWI

ATLANTIC OCEAN

ANGOLA ZAMBIA

ZIMBABWE

MADAGASCAR

NAMIBIA BOTSWANA

MOZAMBIQUE

SWAZILAND

SOUTHERN AFRICA INDIAN OCEAN

SOUTH AFRICA


DISTRIBUTION

the African Elephant Status Report 2007.21 At that time, the total number of elephants “definitely”

Early in recorded human history, African elephants

known was estimated as 472,269. Adding in

are said to have ranged throughout the entire

probable, possible, and speculative estimates

African continent, from the Mediterranean Sea

raised this total to 698,671 (see Appendix 2 for a

to South Africa, including the Sahara. Later, their

summary of numbers by region and country). In

distribution became limited to the sub-Saharan

reflecting on the significance of these numbers,

region. Today, their range has been further

it is sobering to realize that they are based on

reduced to parts of West, central, eastern and

surveys covering only 51 per cent of presumed

southern Africa (Figure 1).

elephant range. Clearly, no one really knows how

17

African elephants currently exist in 37 countries

many elephants remain in Africa today. All we can

(Figure 1): Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso,

really say is that – based on current knowledge –

Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo,

the number may be somewhere between 470,000

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC),

and 700,000. The range of uncertainty associated

Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia,

with such estimates does not appear to have

Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya,

been quantified and the number of animals that

Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger,

continue to survive in the 49% of elephant range

Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia,

that has not been surveyed is anyone’s guess.

South Africa, The Republic of South Sudan,

Given the uncertainty about the precise

Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and

distribution of individual African elephant species,

Swaziland (where they have been reintroduced).

and the uncertainty associated with current

African elephants have been declared regionally

estimates of elephant numbers, it is premature to

extinct in Burundi, Gambia, and Mauritania.

attempt individual estimates for African forest and

18

savanna elephants.

AFRICAN FOREST ELEPHANTS CONSERVATION STATUS African forest elephants inhabit the rainforests of Central Africa – the Congo basin (Cameroon,

Where the conservation status of African

Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of

elephants has been designated by international

Congo, Republic of Congo, Gabon and Equatorial

organizations and conventions, little attempt has

Guinea) – and West Africa, although it has been

been made to distinguish between species. African

suggested that another distinct elephant species

elephants are listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red

may reside in West Africa.

List of Threatened Species. All African elephants

19

were included in Appendix I of the Convention on

AFRICAN SAVANNA ELEPHANTS

International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in 1989.22 Today, they remain on Appendix I, with

African savanna elephants are said to live

the exception of those populations that live in

throughout the sub-Saharan regions of eastern,

Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe,

and southern Africa.20

which are now listed on Appendix II.23

NUMBERS OF AFRICAN ELEPHANTS

stands apart from IUCN and CITES in that it

The Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) recognizes the existence of both the African The most recent estimates of African elephant

savanna elephant and the African forest elephant.

numbers were compiled by IUCN and published in

It includes both species on its Appendix II.24

FIGURE 1 | Compiled from various sources; distribution (in red) from IUCN.18

33


IRAN

INDIA

SRI LANKA

ASIAN ELEPHANTS Asian elephants are described as belonging

Malaysia, Myanmar, Burma, Nepal, Sri Lanka,

to a single species, with four distinct and

Thailand, and Vietnam. Their current fragmented

geographically isolated subspecies (Appendix 1).

distribution covers only a fraction of their known

The Indian (sometimes called Asian) subspecies

historical range (Figure 2).

lives on the Asian continent. The other three subspecies are confined to Sri Lanka, Sumatra,

NUMBERS

and Borneo, respectively. 25

It is impossible to estimate the current numbers

DISTRIBUTION

of Asian elephants. Blake and Hedges reviewed the published “estimates” for total wild Asian

Going back some 6000 years, Asian elephants

elephants from 1978-2003.27 They noted that the

are said to have ranged from West Asia (including

frequently cited estimate of about 30,000-50,000,

modern day Syria and Iraq), along the Iranian

is really nothing more than an educated guess.

coast and into the Indian subcontinent, Southeast

That “estimate” has not changed much in 25

Asia, including Sumatra, Java, and Borneo, and up

years, despite the major losses of elephant habitat

into central China, at least as far as the Yangtze

that have occurred over that time.

River, an area of over 9 million km . Asian 2 26

The IUCN Red List acknowledges Blake and

elephants are now extinct in West Asia, Java, and

Hedges’ assessment but continues to quote a

most of China.

41,410–52,345 estimate provided by Sukumar

Asian elephants continue to survive in 13

in 2003.28 The most recent assessment appears

countries. Range states include: Bangladesh,

to come from IUCN’s Asian Elephant Specialist

Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos,

Group in 2004. It revises a few numbers in the


BHUTAN NEPAL CHINA BANGLADESH MYANMAR ( BURMA )

LAOS

VIETNAM

BAY OF BENGAL THAILAND

CAMBODIA

SOUTH CHINA SEA MALAYSIA

BRUNEI SINGAPORE

INDONESIA

earlier estimate but once again provides a similar total of 38,535-52,566 Asian elephants. Some 15,535-16,300 Asian elephants are also said to be held in captivity worldwide.29 A breakdown of the purported number of Asian elephants by country is given in Appendix 3.

CONSERVATION STATUS The Asian elephant is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. They have been included in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) since 1978.

FIGURE 2 | Compiled from various sources; distribution (in red) from IUCN. 27

35


4 CURREN

© IFAW/R. Sobol/Moscow, Russia


NT THREATS

30


Š IFAW/A. Ndoumbe/Bouba Ndjida National Park, Cameroon


The major threats to species diversity, both

result of reducing the numbers of animals in

historically and today, are habitat degradation,

an area; the longer term implications are more

fragmentation and loss, and hunting. The latter

complicated and depend on a variety of factors.

may include hunting for food or hunting for the

Regardless, the discovery and documentation of

marketplace (including both live and dead animals,

dead elephants, e.g. victims of poaching, or ivory

their parts and derivatives), 31 killing for “sport”

seized in international trade, have an immediate

(e.g. trophy hunting), and the killing of animals

and powerful visual and visceral impact, and –

perceived as pests (i.e. problem animal control) or

superficially, at least – appear easier to quantify.

competitors (i.e. culling). 32

As a consequence, poaching and illegal trade seem

In the case of elephants, habitat loss and hunting have both been involved in their precipitous decline in both distribution and

to receive more attention than habitat issues in many discussions of elephant conservation today. In this chapter, we attempt to place habitat

numbers throughout much of Africa and Asia.

loss and the hunting of elephants into clearer

While both factors remain operative today, it is

perspective, beginning with the ultimate threat,

habitat degradation, fragmentation and loss,

which surely must be the ever increasing and

driven by continued human population growth,

unsustainable34 human population and its various

that are now considered to be the major threats

interactions with surviving elephant populations

to elephants everywhere. Habitat degradation,

(Figure 3).

fragmentation and loss reduce the distribution and

Asian elephants live in some of the most

numbers of animals relatively slowly and insipidly

densely populated parts of the world. In contrast,

over time. Over the long term, however, no species

African elephants live on a continent that for

(including elephants and, for that matter, humans)

centuries was less densely populated than Asia.

can survive without viable habitats.

Today, however, some African range states

Illegal killing (poaching) of elephants for ivory

are exhibiting the highest growth rates of any

and other products has also been a major cause

human populations. 35 Furthermore, much of the

of population declines, and remains a significant

developed world continues to look to Africa as a

and growing threat in some areas, particularly in

means of sustaining and growing its ecological

Central Africa, but elsewhere as well. In contrast

footprint in order to support and grow their

to habitat issues, killing individuals or groups of

already unsustainable life styles. 36 This reality has

elephants has the immediate and highly visible

implications for elephants too.

33

39


EXPANSION OF HUMAN SETTLEMENTS AND DEVELOPMENT (INCLUDING FORESTRY AND AGRICULTURE)

developing middle class now seeks the luxuries and status symbols (including elephant ivory) denied to them historically. Thus, increasing demand for ivory products is driven not only by a

An increasing human population continually

growing human population, but by the increasing

requires an expansion of development activities,

number of people who want, and can now afford,

including the construction of roads and highways;

to purchase such items. The true extent of this

the clearing of forests for settlements, for

threat, now and into the future, is unknown. The

unsustainable agriculture to feed the expanding

potential demand, however, is enormous and may

human population, both at home and abroad; and

very well exceed current world supply. If every

for other alternative uses, e.g. logging, and the

elephant living today were killed, it is unlikely

development of rubber plantations in China.

that there would be sufficient ivory to meet the

37

Such activities not only destroy elephant habitats,

demands of consumers and, increasingly, those

they have a direct effect on elephant distribution.

interested in investing in “white gold”.41

They may also bring humans and elephants into

At the other end of the spectrum, extreme

increasing conflict for space and food, leading

poverty in many places where elephants live

to the further exclusion of elephants from their

fuels naïve and spurious arguments (even in

traditional habitats.

the mainstream conservation community) that

Living in proximity also results in the deaths

elephant conservation – particularly in Africa –

of individuals, both human and elephant. Humans

must be compromised to alleviate poverty. Such

are killed by traumatized elephants and elephants

arguments simply serve to divert attention and

are killed as perceived pests that endanger human

resources from elephant conservation, effectively

health and safety in what is now called “Human

increasing the threats to elephant populations

Elephant Conflict” (HEC).38 In the process, elephant

while doing little to alleviate poverty.

numbers are reduced locally and their habitat is

The existence of legal national and

further fragmented and lost, contributing to the

international markets for ivory products places a

long-term shrinkage of their viable range and a

price on the head of dead elephants. Increasing

continuing decline in their numbers.

demand, particularly in China, Thailand and Vietnam, supports and fuels the growth of these

LEGAL AND ILLEGAL MARKETS, AND INCREASING DEMAND FOR IVORY

markets and, since ivory is in limited supply, increasing demand also drives up its price in the marketplace.42 This, in turn, provides both an

An increasing human population would be

incentive for poaching and a cover for the illegal

expected to result in increasing demand for

trade in ivory and ivory products.

elephant products, including ivory and meat

Not surprisingly, we’re currently witnessing a

from dead animals, and that is happening too.

catastrophic increase in poaching, especially in

The demand for live elephants also remains an

economically deprived parts of Central Africa,43

issue – to provide animals for domestication in

where there are insufficient funds for adequate law

Sri Lanka, 39 for the circus trade in China, and

enforcement (including anti-poaching patrols) and

for the tourist trade in Thailand.

where elephants (particularly, forest elephants) are

40

The latter two

examples have involved the illegal trade in live

already seriously threatened by habitat degradation,

animals from Myanmar.

fragmentation and loss.44 Poaching of African

The problem of an increasing human

elephants has been escalating since the early 2000s,

population is exacerbated by social and economic

with 2011 said to be the worst year for ivory seizures

circumstances. In China, for example, a rapidly

since CITES’ short-lived decision in 1989 to ban the


© IFAW/J Hrusa

INCREASING HUMAN POPULATION

Expansion of human settlements, developments, agriculture

Increase in greenhouse gases

Contributes to climate change and global warming Increased interactions between humans and elephants, leading to the exclusion of elephants from traditional habitats and the deaths of individuals

Changes in vegetation, availability of water and, in some locations, increased frequency and intensity of droughts

Increasing demand for elephant products including ivory & meat

Continuing demand for elephants as beasts of burden (Asia), and as sources of entertainment (zoos, circuses, and safari hunting, including trophy hunting)

Existence of markets for ivory products

Legal international trade

Poaching

Degredation, fragmentation and loss of elephant habitat

Illegal trade

OUTCOMES FOR ELEPHANTS • • • • •

Reduced habitat for elephants; Detrimental effects on individual elephants, their societies and culture; Decreasing elephant populations; Increased endangerment to elephant populations; Increasing animal welfare issues, including avoidable pain, sufferiing and trauma.

FIGURE 3 | Threats to elephants. Based on many sources, including http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/details/12392/0 http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/7140/0

41


© IFAW/J Hrusa

international ivory trade. In 2011, more than 23 tons

of any commercial markets (whether regulated

of ivory were reportedly seized. By all appearances,

or unregulated, domestic or international)

the situation continues to worsen in 2012.

underlies all poaching today.48 Rather it concludes

45

46

IFAW’s Céline Sissler-Bienvenu describes some

that poverty49 and poor governance in African

of what she’s learned recently about poaching in

range states, and demand in China are the most

western Central Africa:

important influences on elephant poaching today. In addition to removing individual animals from

“

Poaching is often conducted by

the population, poaching also causes avoidable

organized professional gangs operating

pain, suffering and trauma in individual elephants,

with military-like precision. Their goal is

i.e. serious animal welfare issues. For groups of

to “harvest” as much ivory as they can,

elephants, it results in long term trauma for the

as quickly as possible. In order to do

survivors,50 the erosion of elephant societies and

that, they kill all the elephants in a herd,

culture, and a further reduction in their numbers

using modern military weapons, the most

that cannot be sustained.

common being Kalashnikov AK-47 assault rifles. If any elephants escape, some

ADDITIONAL HUMAN THREATS

poachers will stay in the vicinity and wait for the survivors to return to mourn their

The increasing human population also results in an

dead. Then they kill them as well. Such

increase in waste products that further degrade

poachers are often foreigners who are

elephant habitat. Known generally as pollutants,

not afraid to cross national borders. They

these wastes include the greenhouse gases that

not only represent a serious threat to

are currently contributing to climate change,

elephants; they may also pose a threat to

particularly global warming. It is anticipated that

national security.

global warming will have a more profound effect on

The CITES’ Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS) has identified “major unregulated domestic

Africa than on Asia, and by extension, on African elephants more than on their Asian cousins.51 Generally, and this is particularly true in the

ivory markets in both Africa and Asia” as “key

case of Africa, global warming is already causing

underlying factors” driving illegal trade.47 It fails,

changes in vegetation patterns and, hence,

however, to acknowledge that the very existence

changes in food availability for elephants. It also


© IFAW/L Hua/China

appears to be affecting the availability of water.

Combined, these factors will likely be sufficient to

Parts of Africa have recently been experiencing

eradicate elephants from parts of their remaining

unprecedented droughts, causing unimaginable grief

range (particularly, Central Africa) if effective

and suffering for human populations in affected

protection measures are not implemented quickly.

areas, e.g. the Horn of Africa, as well as for wildlife

Without mitigation, habitat degradation,

populations, including elephants. Severe droughts

fragmentation and loss throughout the remaining

can dramatically affect elephant calf survival.52 If

range of all three surviving elephant species will

the frequency and intensity of droughts in Africa

eventually doom those animals who manage to

continue to increase, they will contribute further to

escape from poachers. Elephants are ill equipped

the deterioration and loss of traditional elephant

to survive the onslaught they currently face.56

habitat and, almost certainly, to a further reduction

Such a desperate situation requires an immediate

in their viable range. Such consequences will once

response, both from range states and from the

again cause suffering and death for elephants,

international conservation community. The latter,

other wildlife and humans, contribute to the further

in particular, has been far too slow to react to the

breakdown of elephant societies and culture, and

on-going crisis in a meaningful way. As American

result in even fewer elephants surviving in the wild.

wildlife biologist and environmentalist, Aldo Leopold remarked over 60 years ago:57

IMPLICATIONS

“

Despite nearly a century of propaganda,

The immediate threats associated with the existence of unregulated domestic or national markets,53 as

conservation still proceeds at a snail’s pace. Progress consists largely of

well as international markets for elephant products

letterhead pieties and convention oratory.

– especially ivory – are generally overlooked in

On the back forty we still slip two steps

conservation discussions today. Nonetheless, it is

backward for each forward stride.

54

the very existence of those markets that makes ivory widely available throughout much of the world.

Leopold’s words are certainly applicable to

Coupled with the increased demand mentioned

elephant conservation today. We discuss some

earlier, the lessons of history tell us that it is the

of the important issues that continue to hinder

existence of such markets (whether legal or illegal)

attempts to protect and conserve elephants in

that fuels increased poaching and illegal trade.

the next chapter.

55

43


5 ISSUES IN

CONSERV AND MAN

© IFAW/T. Samson/Mangochi District, Malawi


N ELEPHANT VATION NAGEMENT


Š IFAW/T. Samson/Mangochi District, Malawi


“

Personal opinion, hearsay, anecdotes and individual interpretations of research findings all

too often dominate heated debates on elephant management

.58

While there is general agreement that elephants

the science-policy gap,63 it is widespread, both

represent species of urgent concern to the

in conservation generally,64 and in elephant

conservation community, there is considerable

conservation in particular.65

controversy about what needs to be done if we

Virtually everyone involved in conservation

wish to mitigate the threats and protect and

claims that their positions are supported by

conserve the remaining animals.

the “best available science”. Such claims are

Such controversy is widespread in conservation

made by those who advocate for the commercial

today and we are beginning to understand why.59

consumptive use of wildlife and the natural world,

A major reason is that debates about controversial

and by those who advocate for their protection.66

issues in wildlife conservation generally bear little

They are made by politicians of virtually every

resemblance to the facts as they are known.

stripe, and by governments all around the

60

More

often than not, discussions focus on distracting

world. They are heard at meetings and inscribed

abstractions of reality, and on myths or fables,61

in documents of international conventions,

promoted by various participants as they attempt

including the Convention on International Trade

to advance their personal and institutional values,

in Endangered Species (CITES), the Convention

opinions, objectives and agendas. It doesn’t

on Biodiversity (CBD), and the International

matter what the issue is, the facts are typically

Convention for the Regulation of Whaling. Dr

misrepresented or ignored by most of those

Gro Harlem Brundtland, formerly the chair of

involved. The climate change debate is a classic

the World Commission on Environment and

example. Elephant conservation is no different.62

Development, went so far as to say,

In this chapter, we discuss a number of issues that hinder progress in elephant conservation today.

THE DISCONNECT BETWEEN SCIENCE, POLICY, AND MANAGEMENT

…there is no other basis for sound political decisions than the best

available scientific evidence.67

While Brundtland’s statement might seem In modern conservation, there is an ever-

to represent both the conventional wisdom and

increasing disconnect between science, policy,

common sense, there is little evidence that science

and management. Sometimes referred to as

has very much to do with the development of public

47


Š IFAW/D. Willetts/Tsavo National Park, Kenya

policy in conservation. Again, this observation

exist not only as populations but as unique

applies to elephants, and the decisions made

individuals and as components within complex

by managers about how to mitigate human

communities and ecosystems. Important research

interactions with them, their habitats, and the

from other sciences, including modern taxonomy

environment.

and systematics, ethology, animal psychology and

68

A recent study found that most

managers responsible for elephants in protected

neurobiology, as well as from other learned fields,

areas in South Africa based their decisions, for

such as history and ethics, is essentially ignored.

example, on “experience-based information� rather than on scientific principles or evidence.69 Even when scientific information is actually

Elephant conservation would look remarkably different today if policy and management decisions were informed and guided by knowledge from

used to inform conservation decisions, it is done

all learned fields of study. But, before we discuss

so in a highly selective and arbitrary fashion. In

that issue, let us outline a few aspects of elephant

the case of elephants, much discussion focuses

conservation that are based on selective use of

on incomplete and imprecise data on population

available information and on prevailing myths that

numbers and trends, ignoring that elephants

bear little resemblance to the reality on the ground.


THERE ARE “TOO MANY ELEPHANTS”

many animals there should be in one place at one time because no such number exists. We all know

In conservation today, we frequently hear that

people for whom a single mouse in the kitchen

there are too many animals, whether they be

pantry represents a local “overabundance” of

cormorants, deer or wolves in North America,

mice. One mouse in the house is one mouse too

kangaroos in Australia, seals in Canada and

many!

Scotland, whales in the world’s oceans or, indeed,

When people, including scientists, talk about

elephants. This phenomenon, which ironically

overabundance, they are actually referring to the

often involves threatened or endangered species71

maximum number of individuals of a species that

is frequently discussed, even by people calling

they are willing to tolerate in one place at one

themselves scientists, as “overpopulation”,

time, what academics sometimes call “cultural

“overabundance”, even “hyperabundance”.

carrying capacity”. Cultural carrying capacity

70

72

From the outset, let’s be clear. The idea of overabundance is not a scientific concept. It is a value judgment. Science can never tell us how

depends entirely on human attitudes towards a species, not on biological principles. Where there are more elephants locally than

49


society is willing to tolerate, the situation is

region, independent of national borders.79 Such

usually characterized as “the elephant problem”

actions allow elephants to roam more naturally,

or discussed under the rubric of “Human elephant

thereby reducing local densities, and permitting

conflict” (HEC).

natural processes to limit their numbers80 and,

The “elephant problem” originally referred to the situation in southern and eastern Africa where locally high densities of elephants were blamed

hence, their real or perceived impacts on the environment and biodiversity. In eastern Africa, where land tenure of

for destroying vegetation, and having detrimental

elephant range is in the hands of private

impacts on other species, in conservation areas

ownership – small or large scale individual

like national parks and protected areas. High

owners, or communal ownership (referred to

elephant densities are principally caused by

as group ranches or cooperative associations)

human activities, including the construction

– the solution lies in encouraging land-owners

of fences,74 the provisioning of artificial water

to accept co-existence by developing means to

sources, the fragmentation of elephant habitats,

mitigate adverse impacts on human security and

and conflicts with people over land use (a process

livelihoods.

73

sometimes described as “movement restriction”).75

In Kenya, private land-owners have over the

All such activities restrict elephant movements

past ten years dedicated one million hectares of

and counter natural mechanisms that would

their land to wildlife conservancies, most of which

otherwise limit elephant population growth.

are critical elephant corridors and/or dispersal

In recent years, the discussion of too many

areas. This is an approach that Kenyan authorities

elephants has been expanded to include human-

are encouraging with land-owners having

elephant conflicts in both Africa and Asia. These

recognized the success of Asian countries which –

conflicts include damage to crops and gardens

despite high human population densities – have a

and, on occasion, result in the deaths of both

policy of maintaining elephant corridors that link

humans and elephants.

critical habitat areas.

76

In order to mitigate the consequences of locally

In addition to reducing elephant densities

high densities of elephants, we have choices.

locally, an understanding of the elephants’ critical

We can treat the symptoms – high elephant

habitat also suggests, more broadly, that HEC would

densities – through lethal culling or translocation

be reduced, for example, if human settlements

programs, or the use of birth control, none of

were not built in the middle of traditional elephant

which offer a satisfactory and long-lasting solution

corridors, and if agricultural activities were

to the problems. Alternatively, we can choose

restricted in critical elephant habitats.

77

to understand better the causes of locally high

Improving the situation for both elephants

elephant densities and take appropriate steps to

and people is a complex undertaking. While

find more permanent solutions.

acknowledging the social, political and economic

78

Improving the situation for both elephants and

realities, it is clear that science has much to

people is admittedly a complex undertaking but

contribute to the discussion, if only we would

there are signs of progress. In southern Africa,

incorporate evidence-based scientific advice into

there is growing evidence that the “elephant

policy and management decisions, rather than

problem” can be mitigated by removing fences and

clinging to failed approaches (e.g. culling) and

artificial watering holes, and allowing elephants

experience81 to guide our actions.82

access to movement corridors throughout a


51 Š IFAW/D. Willetts/Tsavo National Park, Kenya


© IFAW/D. Willetts/Tsavo West National Park, Kenya

THE QUESTION OF CULLING

ECONOMICS, CONSERVATION, AND THE REAL WORLD

In situations where humans decide that there are more elephants in the local environment

Over the past 30 years or more, economics

than individual people or society-at-large desire

– or more precisely, a branch of economic

or are willing to tolerate, we typically hear calls

theory known as “neoclassical economics”85

for culling programs to reduce the number of

– has become the dominant paradigm in the

animals. This issue is sufficiently widespread that

field of environmental conservation.86 We see

it deserves further comment.

its influence, particularly, in discussions of

Culling programs involve either the killing

Sustainable Development and the “sustainable

of individual animals (lethal culling) or their

use” of animals. In the latter case, the principles

translocation to other places (non-lethal culling).

of neoclassical economics provide the foundation

Irrespective of the species involved, culling

for the so-called “use-it-or-lose-it” philosophy

programs are almost universally initiated without

of the self-described – but misnamed –“wise

specific conservation goals; without adequate

use” movement that argues that animals like

scientific assessment; and without any serious

elephants must “pay their own way” in order to

consideration of any alternatives to culling that

be conserved. The naïve argument that legalized

might actually achieve the presumed objectives,

trade will reduce poaching and promote the

both for the target animals and other ecosystem

conservation of elephants (not to mention rhinos

components, including human society. Almost

and other endangered species) reflects the flawed

invariably, culling programs are initiated without

principles of neoclassical economics and a denial

adequate monitoring schemes that would be

of the lessons of history.87

required to evaluate the results of a cull. For

One major issue with the economic approach

these and other reasons, culling programs rarely

to conservation is that it has been ineffective

if ever resolve the underlying problems and may,

at solving environmental problems.88 This

in fact, make things worse in the longer term.

should not be surprising, given that neoclassical

Not surprisingly, they remain highly controversial

economics is founded on a number of myths that

undertakings, both within the conservation

simply do not reflect reality. These myths include

community and society-at-large.

the erroneous assumption that market solutions

Culling is one issue that science can actually

provide the key to environmental and species

help to clarify. At a 1981 meeting that examined

conservation, that ever increasing economic

the problem of locally abundant mammalian

growth is possible in a finite world and that

populations, the beginnings of a protocol for the

environmental commodities (including species)

scientific assessment of culling proposals began

are interchangeable, 89 having no other value than

to emerge.83 A decade later, the United Nations

their exchange value in the marketplace.

Environment Programme’s Marine Mammals Action

Within the neoclassical economics’ paradigm,

Plan actually developed an elaborate protocol

the environment and individual species, including

for the scientific assessment of proposals to cull

elephants, are viewed as part of the economic

marine mammals. Now, more than 30 years after

system90 or, as some have said, as a “subsidiary of

that 1981 meeting, wildlife culls the world over are

the economy”.91 The current preoccupation with

still being implemented without adequate scientific

evaluating “ecosystem services” is just the latest

assessment. This example alone reveals the

attempt to treat the environment and everything

hypocrisy of governments and agencies that claim

in it as if money was the common currency of the

to base their conservation decisions – including

biosphere. The fact remains that many ecosystem

decisions to cull – on the “best available science”.

components (including the untold millions of

84


species that remain undescribed by science)

Meanwhile, on the ground,

have no economic value whereas others are

undoubtedly “priceless”.92

Unsustainable global economic

Any conservation paradigm that places

growth is breaching ecological limits,

economy above the environment or, putatively,

increasing social inequality and resultant

even on the same level (as with sustainable

instability, and intensifying the eventual

development), and treats ecosystem components

magnitude of climate change

(everything from fish stocks to elephants) as interchangeable commodities in the economic

.98

If humans really want to protect and conserve

system (the principle of substitutability) has

the environment, and individual threatened

clearly lost touch with the real world in which

species such as elephants, we need to change our

we live. Experience and reason tell us that the

approach to conservation. In short, we need a new

environment, i.e. the biosphere, is paramount. To

conservation paradigm, one that puts the biosphere

pretend otherwise is anthropocentric hubris and

and its component species first and foremost.99

93

folly. Without a functioning environment, both society and the economy collapse.

To gain some perspective on present-day global priorities, consider the following brief summary of current issues and follow the money:

ELEPHANT CONSERVATION, DEVELOPMENT, AND POVERTY ALLEVIATION

We are currently in a conservation crisis. Extinction rates are some 100-1,000 times pre-human levels. Species losses

These days, when the conservation of biodiversity

are projected to increase sharply in the

is discussed within the conservation community,

future. Scientists say we’re in the midst

it is usually paired with something else, whether

of the sixth mass extinction. The world

it be development, jobs, livelihoods, or poverty

community spends 8-12 billion dollars per

alleviation or eradication. This phenomenon is

year addressing biodiversity loss.100

the culmination of a 30-year battle within the

It is currently estimated that 1.372 billion

conservation community that has done little to

people are living in poverty (defined as

halt the loss of biodiversity, create jobs, improve

living on $1.25 per day or less). The world

livelihoods or alleviate poverty.

community spends $126 billion dollars per

94

Sustainable development, for example, has now been around for more than 30 years. It has

year on poverty alleviation.101 •

In 2008, we had a global economic crisis.

long been criticized for its obvious deficiencies.

Financial institutions collapsed. The

Even more tellingly, it has failed to achieve its

International Monetary Fund warned

objectives,

that the world financial system was on

95

including poverty alleviation.

96

What is truly remarkable is that despite its

the ”brink of systemic meltdown”. That

failures, it remains the continuing focus of

year, the U.S. government injected 770

international conferences and congresses,

billion dollars into the US economy. Other

including the much heralded UN Conference

countries soon followed suit. In April 2009,

on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in Rio

the G20 countries committed to inject 1

de Janeiro, Brazil, in June 2012. Nor have such

trillion dollars into the global economy “to

failures prevented neoclassical economics – the

curb the financial crisis”.

foundation upon which sustainable development is based – from remaining the dominant paradigm in conservation today.

97

From these figures alone, it would seem that conservationists have enough to do advocating for

53


© IFAW/N. Greenwood/Mangochi District, Malawi

conservation, first and foremost, without diluting

sustainable development, job creation, livelihoods

their efforts by getting involved in other issues,

and poverty alleviation has become a huge

about which they have no particular knowledge

distraction for global conservation. It has done

or expertise. And besides, there is no shortage of

little to conserve and better protect ecosystems or

advocates for economic development and poverty

their component parts. And it has largely failed to

alleviation.

create more jobs or alleviate poverty, especially in

102

This point was made over 20 years ago, at the opening session of the 18th assembly of IUCN – The

the “developing” world.104 The time has come to get conservation back

World Conservation Union103 in Perth, Australia. It

on track. The protection and preservation of

was there that His Royal Highness, Prince Phillip –

wild plants and animals, and the ecosystems

at the time President of the World Wide Fund for

they inhabit, must once again be the foremost

Nature (WWF) – remarked that:

consideration of conservationists everywhere.

the issue of preventing the steady

decline in biological diversity is quite big

CITES & THE INTERNATIONAL IVORY TRADE105

and complicated enough without getting involved in matters beyond the professional

Renewed concerns about the status of elephant

knowledge and expertise of the conservation

populations in parts of Africa and Asia have re-

movement.

energized the debate over whether international

trade bans, implemented under CITES, have the

He went on to say:

desired effect.106 That debate is largely another distraction, however, because it ignores the

The need for someone to stand up

and champion nature, and speak for the

ultimate problem: the very existence of any legal markets for elephant ivory, whether international

Earth with wisdom and insight is urgent.

or national.

If that “need” was urgent in 1990, it is even

elephants from the threats posed by commercial

more so today. Conflating conservation with

If the goal of conservation today is to protect exploitation and illegal hunting (poaching) for


© FAW/Mangochi District, Malawi

ivory, and to promote the recovery of depleted

Appendix II of CITES, and associated requests for

populations, then the only possible solution is to

further “one-off” sales, were considered at the

remove elephant ivory not only from international

2010 CITES Conference of the Parties (CoP15)

trade, but entirely from the global marketplace.107

in Doha, Qatar. While these proposals failed to

If ivory had no commercial value, there would

receive the necessary two-thirds majority to be

be little incentive for anyone to kill elephants

adopted, the two proposals were nonetheless

for their tusks and one of the major threats to

supported by a majority of Parties casting votes.

their survival would eventually disappear. In the

More downlisting proposals and further requests

absence of effective legislation banning all trade

for additional “one-off” sales are anticipated at

and sale of elephant ivory, coupled with effective

the next CITES meeting in 2013.

enforcement and compliance, the poaching of

Meanwhile, as we have already seen, the

elephants for their ivory will assuredly continue.

poaching of African elephants throughout parts of

It is now more than 20 years since African

their range is on the rise and once again depleted

elephants108 joined Asian elephants on Appendix I of CITES, effectively banning (on paper, at least)

elephant populations are in further decline.111 The conclusion offered by some proponents

the international trade in all elephant products,

of the ivory trade is that the current situation

including ivory. Since then, however, there have

provides further evidence that trade bans do not

been a number of deceptively named “one-off”

protect elephants. Such conclusions ring hollow

sales of African elephant ivory from populations

because elephant ivory never has been removed

subsequently downlisted to Appendix II, the first

from the marketplace. There is actually no basis

of which occurred in 1999.

for even testing the hypothesis that a total ban

109

Following the most

recent round of auctions of stockpiled ivory in

on trade and sale of ivory would virtually end

2008, there is now a restricted 9-year moratorium

the poaching of elephants. Perhaps the only real

on international ivory sales.110

surprise is that the original CITES ban in 1989

The moratorium has not, however, dampened enthusiasm in some quarters for further legal

appeared to reduce poaching, at least for a while.112 Why is poaching and illicit ivory trading

ivory sales. Two proposals to downlist additional

apparently on the increase again?113 One

African elephant populations from Appendix I to

suggestion arises from the fact that the current

55


Š IFAW/E. Wamba/Tsavo East and West Parks, Kenya


moratorium on the ivory trade is time-limited.

that CITES continues to work on ways to facilitate

There is, therefore, the expectation that additional

trade in threatened and endangered species,

elephant populations will be downlisted in the

rather than returning to its original mandate of

not-too-distant future. This expectation maintains

protecting species from the threats posed by

the prospect of renewed markets and international

international trade.118

trade in the future. These factors, plus the

Those who promote any continued trade in

continued existence of legal domestic markets for

elephant ivory are denying the long established

elephant ivory, provide the necessary incentives

lesson of history119 that:

for commodity speculators syndicates

115

114

and organized crime

to continue poaching, even if some

Species that people use as

of the ivory must be stockpiled for a while in

commodities are inherently at risk of

anticipation of a future payoff.

population reduction or elimination

Another possibility is that those involved in the illegal ivory trade understand their need to

.120

Failure to close all commercial markets to

demonstrate that putative trade bans do not work.

elephant products virtually guarantees that the

This possibility provides an additional incentive

poaching of elephants and the illegal trade in ivory

to ensure that poaching continues, or even

will continue. Such a step goes far beyond the

escalates as it now appears to be doing, despite

remit of CITES, which is only concerned with legal

the existence of the current CITES moratorium on

international trade. It would require the political

international ivory sales.

will and cooperation of all nations where markets

Of course, there remain other economic

for ivory – both legal and illegal – continue to exist.

reasons for over-exploiting large, valuable, but

Nonetheless, the tangential and unproductive

slowly reproducing organisms like elephants, as

debate over the pros and cons of international

well as great whales and old growth forests. It

trade bans within CITES will undoubtedly continue,

actually makes more economic sense to deplete

further jeopardizing the status of elephant

such “resources” as quickly as possible and

populations in many parts of Africa and Asia.

to invest the profits elsewhere than it does to “harvest” (a conservation euphemism) them in a biologically sustainable manner.116 Money in investment portfolios has the potential to grow much faster than animals in the wild. Viewed in this light, there is no economic incentive for ivory traders to conserve stocks in the wild. And there will always be sufficient local inhabitants willing to risk life and limb to put food on the table by selling poached elephant tusks to unscrupulous middlemen. One of CITES’ current preoccupations involves the development of a “Decision-making Mechanism”.117 It doesn’t take any reading between the lines to realize that the “decision” in question does not involve the key question of whether or not to allow more ivory to enter into international trade. Rather, it involves a discussion of when and how to permit more ivory to enter trade. It is clear

57


6 THE NAT

ELEPHAN THEIR EC

AN INTERDI PERSPECTIV


ISCIPLINARY VE

121

© IFAW/E. Wamba/Amboseli National Park, Kenya

TURE OF NTS AND COLOGY:


Š IFAW/J He/Xishuangbanna, China


Earlier, we noted that elephant conservation currently is based on an incomplete and

elephants included – share a common ancestry.122 We are all interrelated. Humans are animals.

arbitrary selection of the available information

We are a part of nature, not separate from it, and

on the interrelationships between animals and

certainly not above it. This conclusion is readily

their environments. The biased selection of

apparent from studies of ontogeny,123 comparative

the information that has been used to inform

anatomy, physiology and biochemistry, molecular

decisions in conservation management is a

genetics, and trans-species psychology.124

reflection of historical and, still prevailing, human

It is the very understanding of the continuity

attitudes, values, objectives and experience, and

among animals that motivates the widespread

in no way represents the accumulated wisdom of

convention of using so called “animal models”

science and other ways of knowing.

in such fields as the medical sciences and

Here, we briefly summarize what is broadly

psychology, among others. Nonhuman animals

known from a variety of disciplines about the

are used in lieu of humans when developing

nature of animals – in particular, elephants – and

and practicing new surgical techniques, or

their relationships with humans and the biosphere.

when studying disease processes afflicting the

This summary paints a very different picture

human body and mind. Likewise, pharmaceutical

of elephants than the one that has dominated

companies test their products on nonhuman

our discussions in the previous chapters. It

animals – our kin – before they risk them on

illustrates the discrepancy between the totality

humans – our species.

of our current knowledge and what is actually

Nonhuman animals are used instead of humans

used to shape elephant conservation policies and

in experimentation and research not only because

management actions.

they are physiologically and psychologically like us, but also because they are arbitrarily classified

EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY – HUMANS ARE ANIMALS TOO

as being different from humans taxonomically. In many parts of the world, it is not considered unethical or illegal to do things to them that are

Beginning with Darwin’s On the Origin of Species,

forbidden on humans. This profound contradiction

first published in 1859, and a later, more detailed

between what is known and accepted scientifically

treatise, The Expression of the Emotions in Man

and what is practiced ethically glaringly

and Animals, published in 1872, we have come to

underscores the selective use of science in our

understand that all living organisms – humans and

dealings with other animals.125

61


BIOTIC COMPONENTS

Genes — Cells

Organs — Organisms — Populations — Communities

Matter

ABIOTIC COMPONENTS

BIOSYSTEMS

Energy

Genetic — Cell — Organ — Organismic — Population — Ecosystems Systems Systems Systems Systems Systems

FIGURE 4 | L  evels of biological organization. Ecology largely focuses on the right-hand side of the figure, from organisms to ecosystems.132

ECOLOGY Ecologists have long recognized that the living

Elephant numbers are regulated by the availability

world is organized along a continuum from

of suitable habitat, including food and water, and

genes to cells to organs, and from organisms to

the presence of other elephants. When we confine

populations (and species) and communities (Figure

elephants with fences, thereby limiting traditional

4, top line). Similarly, the biosphere as a whole

movement and dispersal patterns, and provide

can be viewed as a hierarchy of nested systems,

them with artificial water sources, the normal

from genetic systems and cellular systems at one

mechanisms that regulate populations129 break

end of the spectrum, to population systems and

down, and elephant numbers sometimes reach

ecosystems at the other (Figure 4, bottom line).126

inordinately high densities.130 Elephants only reach

Each level in the hierarchy has its own set of identifying characteristics and, as one proceeds to

such high densities with human intervention. At the ecosystem level of biological

the next level, new properties emerge that were

organization, elephants are viewed as keystone

not evident at the lower level. Individual animals,

species.131 Change the size of an elephant

the units of natural selection, experience birth, are

population and you change the nature of an

identified according to sex, grow older with time,

ecosystem. A reduction in the size of an elephant

and experience differential reproductive success

population through culling or poaching results in a

and death. Sentient individuals, including humans

cascade of events that ultimately leads to changes

and elephants, experience pain and suffering.

in biodiversity throughout the entire ecosystem.

Populations, on the other hand, have birth rates,

Ecological knowledge also refutes the

sex ratios, age structures, population growth rates

underlying assumptions of the dominant economic

(which may be positive or negative) and death

paradigm in conservation today. It is not possible,

rates. Stressed populations experience social and

for example, to have infinite growth on a finite

cultural collapse.

planet. The economist’s idea of “substitutability” is

127

Field ecologists know that individual elephant

also nonsensical when applied to natural systems

populations intersect with other elephant

and biodiversity, because you cannot substitute

populations, forming extended groups that

one species for another. Extinction really is

ecologists term “metapopulations”.

forever. Ecology tells us that the environment is

128

Ecological

data indicate that elephants, like most nonhuman

not a subsidiary of the economy, but the other

animals and pre-contact indigenous humans, are

way round.133 Money, in fact, is not the common

unaware of human-defined national boundaries.

currency of biological systems.134


ANIMAL PSYCHOLOGY

ently more or less susceptible to the activities of humans. Elephants are one group of animals that,

Animal behaviour, ethology, psychology and

because of their large size and related biology,

the neurosciences tell us even more about the

including their habitat requirements, and their

nature of elephants as individuals, populations,

highly evolved tusks, which humans covet, are

and communities. Groups of elephants, like many

particularly threatened by human activities.

mammals, exhibit a distinct social structure.

In 1970, David Ehrenfeld used data from

Elephants live in matriarchal societies dominated

what was then called the IUCN Red Data Book

and led by adult females. And elephants, like

to analyze qualitatively those characteristics

primates and some cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and

of animal species that can lower their survival

porpoises), are said to have an identifiable “culture”,

potential.142 He then used his analysis to compile

where “culture” is defined as a process involving the

a list of characteristics that might describe the

social transmittance of new behaviours, both among

“hypothetical most endangered species”. His

peers and between generations.135

analysis pointed out that not all species are at

Further, “social brained”

136

elephants, like

equal risk of extinction, either because of their

humans, primates, and cetaceans, are among the

inherited biological traits, or because of their

so-called “higher” mammals. Individuals have large,

interactions with humans. Ehrenfeld described the

highly developed brains and share common brain

hypothetical most endangered species as follows:143

structures and processes that govern cognition, emotion, self-awareness, and consciousness.137

It turns out to be a large predator with

Asian elephants are among the very few

a narrow habitat tolerance, long gestation

animals known to recognize their own reflections

period, and few young per litter. It is hunted

in a mirror. The mirror test, where an individual

for a natural product and/or for sport, but is

clearly recognizes her/himself in the reflection,

not subject to efficient game management.

is used by scientists to indicate self-awareness,

It has a restricted distribution, but travels

a trait that puts elephants into an exclusive club,

across international boundaries. It is intolerant

whose membership is currently limited to humans,

of man, reproduces in aggregates, and has

chimpanzees, bonobos, and dolphins.

nonadaptive behavioral idiosyncracies.

138

When severely stressed, elephants (like humans, other primates, wolves, orcas (killer whales), parrots,

He was quick to admit that there is “probably

and others) exhibit symptoms of Post Traumatic

no such animal” but he did point out that his

Stress Disorder (PTSD) when exposed to violence

description, with one or two exceptions, came

(such as witnessing culling events or poaching,

very close to describing the polar bear (Ursus

when family and other community members have

maritimus), the iconic endangered species most

been violently killed), and to severe or chronic

associated these days with global warming. He

deprivation.139 PTSD transmits across generations,

might well, however, have considered elephants.

socially, neurobiologically and biochemically,

They too share many characteristics of Ehrenfeld’s

140

and

accounts for the epidemic proportion of elephant psychological and social breakdown gripping both Asia and Africa.

141

hypothetical most endangered species (Table 2). Our concern for the threatened and endangered status of elephants today is not simply – as some would claim – because they

CONSERVATION BIOLOGY

are iconic species or “charismatic megafauna”. Rather it is because we recognize that many of

We sometimes forget that the biological charac-

their biological traits have left them particularly

teristics of individual species make them inher-

vulnerable to reduced survival in the presence

63


of an increasing, and increasingly exploitative,

and our impacts on the biosphere,145 and we’re not

human population.

doing a very good job of that.

The history of conservation also reminds us that

History also reminds us we have learned

we are incapable of managing individual species,

through trial and error that, in the face of

the ecosystems in which they live, or the biosphere,

uncertainty (including both scientific and

as much as we – and the “we” includes many

environmental uncertainty), we should always

scientists, conservation managers, and politicians

err on the side of caution. As fundamental as the

– might like to think we can.

Precautionary Approach (or the Precautionary

144

The only things we

might be capable of managing are human activities

ENDANGERED

Principle) is to successful conservation, the concept

ELEPHANTS

Individuals of large size

YES, elephants are the largest surviving terrestrial mammal.

Predator

NO, but they are sometimes considered as pests because they eat vegetation, including crops, and on occasion kill humans. Such activities are often perceived in the same light as predators who kill animals of interest to humans – animals that humans like to hunt, and domestic animals owned by humans – and, on occasion, also threaten human health and safety.

Narrow habitat tolerance (especially for vanishing habitats)

YES, African elephants depend on savannahs or forests, both of which are vanishing today.

Hunted for market or hunted for sport…

YES. Poaching is rampant in parts of Africa and trophy hunters still go to Africa to kill elephants for “sport”.

Where there is no effective game management

YES, management authorities are unable to control poaching or illegal trade, or prevent the construction of human settlements in preferred elephant habitats.

Has a restricted distribution

NO, not in the sense intended by Ehrenfeld.

Lives largely in international waters or migrates across international boundaries

YES, elephants move across international boundaries throughout Africa and parts of Asia.

Intolerant of the presence of man

YES, in the same sense that Ehrenfeld used grizzly bears as an example.

Species reproduction in one or two vast aggregates

NO, but elephants do congregate on smaller scales, socially, for mating, and raising young.

Long gestation period

YES, elephants have the longest gestation time among terrestrial mammals, ca 22 months.

One or two young per litter, and

YES, one.

Maternal care

YES, elephants have an extended period of nursing and maternal care lasting several years.

Has behavioral idiosyncrasies that are nonadaptive today

YES, e.g. elephants eat crops, damage gardens, and these days, may occupy spaces desired by humans.

TABLE 2 | A comparison of the hypothetical most endangered species and elephants.


65 Š IFAW/M. Booth/Kaziranga National Park, Assam, India


© IFAW/J Hrusa/Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa

has proven vulnerable to abuse,146 even though it is

wake of dwindling supplies, the price of ivory

included in a number of international agreements,

continues to rise. Add in the currency exchange

including Agenda 21 from the 1992 Earth Summit in

benefits of buying ivory in US dollars and selling

Rio. It remains, however, of paramount importance

it in increasingly more valuable Chinese Yuan,

when attempting to protect and conserve

makes the investment even more appealing.149

threatened species such as elephants, where

If hoarding ivory as an investment and a hedge

uncertainty, as we have seen, is pervasive.

against inflation becomes commonplace, it will simply put more pressure on elephants and on

BIOECONOMICS

those who attempt to limit poaching and illegal international trade.

Those who argue that wildlife must pay its own

PHYSICS

way in order to be conserved are neglecting the economic analyses that indicate attaching a dollar value to a species does not guarantee its

Physics tells us that there are laws of nature,

survival and may actually promote its demise.

including importantly, the second law of

In fact, as noted earlier, for some large mammals

thermodynamics,150 and that there is no such thing

with relatively slow growth rates, it may be

as a “free lunch”.151

147

economically more profitable to kill every animal

There are even economists today who admit

as quickly as possible and invest the profits in

that the core economic model of the last 100

growth industries, rather than wait for the species

years “violates a number of basic physical

to recover to the point where they could sustain

laws” and is “inconsistent with a large body of

biologically an annual catch.

empirical evidence about actual human behavior”.

148

The uncertain and volatile global economy

Such economists “call for a new framework for

since 2008 raises other concerns specifically

economic theory and policy that is consistent with

related to elephants. It now appears that some

observed human behavior…and directly confronts

individuals see ivory – sometimes termed “white

the cumulative negative effects of the human

gold” – as a sound financial investment. As

economy on the Earth’s life support systems”.152

demand for ivory continues to increase in the


SOCIAL SCIENCES

elephants, in terms of their common evolutionary legacy, shared genes, anatomy, physiology,

Sociologists, anthropologists, and philosophers,

intelligence and social psychology, has led to the

among others, tell us that humans value the

argument that “there should be some continuum in

Earth and its inhabitants in a variety of ways

moral standards�,157 a view that seems logical but

beyond the purely economic153 and that, at some

one that has yet to become generally accepted.

point, values other than money may actually

Philosophy and ethics also reinforce the view

determine human quality of life and happiness.

mentioned earlier that living organisms and the

At least one country, Bhutan, has actually

nonliving components of the biosphere have

abandoned the flawed and misleading metric of

values other than economic value. It is generally

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or Gross National

accepted, for example, that individual organisms

Product, and replaced it with something it calls

and populations have intrinsic value, i.e. value

Gross National Happiness.

beyond their utility to humans.158

154

155

While we’re back on the topic of economics, experience and reason tell us that economic

WHERE TO FROM HERE?

activities, including job creation, poverty alleviation, and sustainable development,

This concludes our cursory survey of some

among other distractions, are human activities

important things that a variety of disciplines

that occur within the environment.156 Without a

teach us about the nature of elephants and the

functioning environment, both society and the

natural world. We use this information in the next

economy collapse.

chapter to explore how a consideration of all our knowledge and understanding would dramatically

PHILOSOPHY

change our approach to the conservation of elephants now, and in the future.

The recognition of the continuum that exists between humans and other animals, including

67


7 A  KNOWL

BASED AP TO ELEPH CONSERV


our Planet’s wildlife is a moral

obligation we all share

LEDGEPPROACH HANT VATION 160

.159

© IFAW/J Hrusa/Addo National Park, South Africa

…the conservation of


Š IFAW/T. Samson/Majete Wildlife Reserve, Malawi


Keeping in mind that most of the information

it or above it. We also have to accept that it is

in the previous chapter can be found between

both naïve and arrogant to think we can manage

the covers of high school and undergraduate

nature, because – as history demonstrates – we

university textbooks, let’s now return to

simply can’t.

Brundtland’s statement that “…there is no other

We would also reject the myth that the

basis for sound political decisions than the best

environment and the animals that live within

available scientific evidence”.161 If we take that

it, including the elephants, are subsidiaries of

statement to be true, it has much to say about

the economy. Rather the economy, society and

conservation generally, and elephant conservation

elephants exist within the environment. Without a

in particular. It says, for example, that we must

functioning environment, neither the economy, nor

reject the myths

society, nor elephants survive. Further, we must

162

and fables that dominate

many discussions in modern conservation simply

accept that infinite growth (even if we now call it

because they do not reflect current knowledge and

“The Green Economy” and, in the oceans, “Blue

understanding.

Growth”) is simply not possible in a finite world.

163

It also tells us that everything is

interrelated and interconnected. And it suggests

We would also have to accept that conservation

that we need to develop a conservation ethic and

isn’t just about animal populations and

an approach to conservation management that

ecosystems. There is clearly no scientific basis for

is consistent with “the best available scientific

excluding individual animals from the equation.

evidence”.

Elephants are not mere commodities that must

PUTTING MYTHS TO REST

pay their way in order to merit conservation. They are sentient beings with intrinsic value that should be protected and conserved because they

First, we need to reject the myth that conservation

are priceless, because extinction is forever, and

is currently based on the best available science

because it is the right – the ethical – thing to do.

and replace it with a new conservation paradigm that actually is. To remain true to current knowledge and understanding requires us to abandon the

EVERYTHING REALLY IS INTERRELATED AND INTERCONNECTED

anthropocentrism that dominates modern conservation for a world view that recognizes

Perhaps the most important take-home message

that humans are a part of nature and not beyond

from the previous chapter is that all living

71


organisms are interrelated and everything is

society, and elephants, all exist within the global

connected to everything else. That message

environment – the biosphere. We would accept

is not only important as it pertains to ecology

that the environment is not a subsidiary of the

and economics, but it has ethical implications

economy as some economists would have it,

regarding human interactions with other animals,

but rather the reverse.169 Without a functioning

including elephants and their environments. And it

environment, the economy, human society, and

has implications for conservation management, as

elephants cease to exist.

John Muir observed over a century ago.

164

An Earth-centred conservation ethic reflects the evolutionary and ecological relationships

When we try to pick out anything

noted in the previous chapter. It recognizes that

by itself, we find it hitched to everything

Planet Earth is finite; it cannot support continuous

else in the Universe.

growth, either of the human population170 or

its economy. The latter realization supports

Armed with this rather old and elementary information, let’s now turn to a simple question: given our current knowledge from a variety of

the argument that the economy (or commerce) desperately “needs…a new way of seeing itself”.171 Among the options currently on the table, the

disciplines, what would a knowledge-based approach

idea of moving towards a steady-state economy172

to elephant conservation actually look like? Let’s

seems entirely consistent with living on a finite

begin with an appropriate, knowledge-based

planet. Within such a steady-state economy, the

conservation ethic and see where that might lead.

idea of replacing the current exploitative industrial

A KNOWLEDGE-BASED CONSERVATION ETHIC

economy with a “restorative ecological economy” also seems eminently reasonable, given the deteriorating state of the global environment.173 An Earth-centred ethic would value – and not

Aldo Leopold began to answer the question more

just in monetary terms – both the parts and the

than 60 years ago. In his classic essay, Land

whole of the planet, including individual animals,

Ethic, published posthumously in 1949, he argued

populations, species, and ecosystems, all of which

that humans must adopt a more ecological and

would be recognized as intrinsic ends174 in and of

ecocentric

themselves, and not simply as instrumental means

165

approach to our dealings with the

rest of nature. What he seems to have meant

to other ends.175

is that we must abandon our anthropocentric worldview, where humans are the centre of the

IMPLICATIONS FOR ANIMAL WELFARE

universe and nature exists, and is to be used, solely for our benefit. Instead, we must recognize

The adoption of an Earth-centred conservation

and accept the scientific evidence that we – both

ethic would, among other things, remove the

as individuals and as a species – really are an

artificial separation of individual animals and

integral part of the biosphere – merely one “cog in

populations – which are simply collections of

the wheel” of life.

individuals belonging to the same species – and

166

Based on what we know today, we can go

put animal welfare where it naturally belongs

farther than perhaps even Leopold dared to

– squarely in the middle of the conservation

venture and argue for a knowledge-based, Earth-

agenda. There is simply no rational justification

centred conservation model,

for ignoring the welfare of individual animals,

167

with all human

activities operating within and constrained by

as is conventionally done in much of modern

the global environment.168 In other words, we

conservation. Individual animals are as worthy

would acknowledge that the economy, human

of protection as populations and ecosystems.


And, when we evaluate the welfare of individual

“The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness”.

animals, this must be done, not from the

The declaration declared (in part),

traditional, anthropocentric perspective, but “from the perspective of the individual animal”.176

…the weight of evidence indicates

that humans are not unique in possessing

ALL ANIMALS ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL

the neurological substrates that generate consciousness. Non-human animals, including all mammals and birds, and many other

While the best available science reminds us that

creatures, including octopuses, also possess

all animals, including humans, are related, it also

these neurological substrates

reminds us that some animals are sufficiently different from others to warrant special

.178

Similar technical arguments have been used to

consideration. For example, as noted earlier, some

suggest that elephants in particular are deserving

animals, because of their biology, are more likely

of special treatment.179 As writer Douglas Chadwick

than others to go extinct as a result of human

put it – and this would apply to all the animals

activities. Included among such animals are

mentioned above and, others as well – “If a

elephants. Furthermore, the genetic relationships

continuum exists between us and such beings in

among higher mammals, their large brains, their

terms of anatomy, physiology, social behaviour and

sentience and sapience, and possession of an

intelligence [to which we can now add ‘neurological

identifiable culture, all raise important ethical

substrates’], it follows that there should be some

questions about human interactions, particularly

continuum of moral standards.” At a minimum, such

with some of our relatives, including elephants.

moral standards would most certainly not tolerate

177

Years ago, the philosopher, Peter Singer,

the killing of elephants simply to obtain two tusks to

went so far as to suggest that human rights be

exchange for money.180 Nor, for that matter, would we

extended to our nearest relatives, the great apes

confine elephants in zoos.

– chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas and orangutans. That humans and chimpanzees, for example, share some 98 per cent of their DNA should at least provide pause for reflection. It would also seem to

IF WE REALLY WANT TO PROTECT AND PRESERVE ELEPHANTS

be consistent with the available scientific evidence that, in 2010, the European Union decided that it

It is becoming abundantly clear that if science

could not longer justify scientific experimentation

and knowledge, generally, were to underpin our

on the great apes and proceeded to ban it.

conservation policies – as Brundtland suggested

Similar findings have led a number of scientists

it “must” – our approach to elephant protection

and academics to advocate for a declaration

and conservation would be radically different from

of rights for cetaceans (whales, dolphins and

that currently being advocated and practiced by

porpoises). Their proposal was presented

the international conservation community today.

and discussed at a meeting of the American

At a minimum, we would recognize the need

Association for the Advancement of Science

to protect critical habitats for elephants where

(AAAS) held in Vancouver, Canada, in 2012.

they continue to survive. In southern Africa, the

Later in 2012, a diverse group of

removal of fences and watering points in national

neuroscientists attending the Francis Crick

parks and protected areas, and the development

Memorial Conference on “Consciousness in

of a transnational, metapopulation approach to

Human and non-Human Animals” at Churchill

elephant conservation appears to be both feasible

College, Cambridge, proclaimed and signed

and promising. 181

73


© IFAW/D. Willetts/Tsavo East National Park, Kenya

In Kenya, where there has been a dramatic

1972. The European Union banned the trade in

decrease in elephant habitat over the past

whitecoated harp seal (Pagophilus groenlandicus)

Century, the Kenya Wildlife Service’s 2012

pups and bluebacked hooded seal (Cystophora

strategy aims to increase current elephant

cristata) pups in 1983; they made that ban

range by at least 30% by 2020. The strategy

indefinite in 1989. The International Whaling

involves identifying and prioritizing areas for

Commission has had a moratorium on commercial

extending elephant distribution and obtaining

whaling since 1986/87. In 2010, the EU banned

landowners support and participation in the

trade in all seal products and, a year later, Russia,

identified areas. Fences will remain necessary to

Belarus and Kazakhstan banned trade in harp seal

separate elephants from human activities such

products. Given these precedents, and considering

as intensive agriculture, and to deter further

current circumstances, an ivory-trade ban doesn’t

human encroachment – including poaching – into

seem all that radical. Yet, ironically, not one of

elephant habitats, including the highland forest

the above jurisdictions has imposed a permanent

regions of Mt Kenya, and the Aberdares and Mau

ban on the elephant ivory trade. Which begs the

Forest areas. Nonetheless, Kenyan authorities

question: Why?

and conservationists also recognize the need

Of course, even if ivory markets were banned

for connectivity to allow ecological processes

everywhere tomorrow, poaching and illegal trade

to regulate elephant population densities.

would undoubtedly continue, at least in the short

Accordingly, they have designed corridors between

term. Once markets have become established they

Aberdares and Mt Kenya, and one end of Mt Kenya

are extremely difficult to close down,183 but that

that adjoins conservancies may be left unfenced

should not deter efforts to reduce poaching levels

to facilitate elephant movements. It remains for

as quickly as possible.

conservation biologists to investigate the long-

The international community must support and

term viability of such “fenced metapopulations”,

enhance the efforts of some national governments,

connected by narrow corridors, in a manner

the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Interpol,184

similar to the ongoing research in southern Africa.

among others, to gain an upper hand on poachers

In order to combat the continued killing of

and, more importantly, on the international wildlife

elephants by poachers, society would unilaterally

crime syndicates that drive poaching and illegal

close all markets for elephant products, and ban

international trade today. To do that will require

all international trade in elephant products.

much tougher legislation, both nationally and

182

When such suggestions are made in elephant

internationally, with severe penalties imposed on

conservation circles, they are often met

anyone and everyone found in violation of the law.

with skepticism or downright rejection. Yet,

It will also require a crack down on the corrupt

closing markets and imposing trade bans are

governments, government officials, and foreign

commonplace when dealing with a number of

nationals who currently help to facilitate illegal

other species. The U.S. government, for example,

activities. It will require enhanced enforcement,

banned trade in marine mammal products in

both in range states where elephants are killed and


in the international community where illegal trade

during culling operations, or of natural causes.

continues to flourish.

In no case can we be sure when the elephants

And last, but certainly not least, the global conservation community would have to embark on massive public education programs to reduce the burgeoning demand for ivory.

DEALING WITH UNCERTAINTY

actually died. This year? Last year? Or sometime in the more distant past. It appears that the demand for elephant ivory, especially in China, has risen and continues to rise since that country and Japan received 108 tonnes of ivory through the most recent “one-off” sale authorized by CITES in 2008. But the extent of

Just about everything associated with elephants is

the current demand and its potential for growth

uncertain, not just their future. As we have noted,

remains unknown and, likely, unknowable.

we are uncertain about how many species currently

In addition to the scientific uncertainty

survive. We really don’t know much about their

associated with the available data, elephants,

current distribution in large parts of their presumed

particularly in Africa, have to contend with the

range. We don’t know how many elephants remain

uncertainties associated with civil unrest and

alive today – the most recent data are at least five

military conflicts. They also have to contend with

years old and, even back then, only about half

the new environmental uncertainties associated

of their presumed range in Africa was actually

with global warming.

surveyed. We know that many elephants are

If ever there were a compelling case for

poached each year but we don’t know how many.

implementing a precautionary approach to protect

After ten years of monitoring (2002-2011), MIKE

and conserve a unique and threatened group of

can only account for fewer than 9000 poached

animals, it would surely include elephants.

elephants in all of Africa.

185

Of course, MIKE only

monitors sites that account for about 16 per cent of

LAST WORDS

elephant range in Africa, and its data are uncertain because they are often collected by governments

By now, it should be abundantly clear that it is

and their employees, and not by independent

only through moral judgment and political choice

observers or scientists.

that we can take the steps necessary to safeguard

186

Similarly, we know that elephant tusks and

the future,188 and that includes the future of the

carved ivory are frequently seized in illegal

environment, the economy, and human society.

international trade, but we don’t have any idea

Likewise, it is only through moral judgment

what these artifacts represent, including the

and political choice that we can take the steps

number of dead elephants involved. The artifacts

necessary to safeguard the future of elephants.

could come from poached animals or from animals that died of natural causes. If they originated illegally from various ivory stockpiles,187 they could represent poached animals, animals that died

75


8 A  CTIONS

INDIVIDU ORGANIZ


S FOR UALS AND ZATIONS Š IFAW/D. Willetts/Tsavo East National Park, Kenya


Š IFAW/C.Cullen/Amboseli National Park, Kenya


The desperate and worsening plight of many elephant populations requires immediate and drastic actions to protect threatened populations from further depletion.189 Following is a list of measures that concerned individuals and conservation organizations might consider promoting IF they really want to protect the remaining elephant populations from further depletion, both in individual countries, and across their remaining fragmented range. 1. Encourage all nations worldwide to ban legal, national and international trade in both live and dead elephants, their parts and derivatives (including ivory). 2. Encourage all nations to ban the practice of capturing wild elephants for domestication and/or captivity. 3. Work to close all legal and illegal domestic ivory markets wherever they currently exist, through legislation, and enhanced enforcement to encourage compliance. 4. Advocate in favour of banning all sales of ivory and elephant products, including antiques and pre-ban items, in retail outlets and on the Internet. 5. Encourage all elephant range states to destroy any and all government stockpiles of elephant ivory to put them forever beyond reach of the marketplace. 6. Encourage governments and intergovernmental organizations to compensate and otherwise reward elephant range states that destroy their ivory stockpiles and put them beyond reach of the marketplace. 7. Encourage and support enhanced enforcement of laws banning trade in elephant ivory, with substantial penalties for those found to be engaged in poaching and illegal trade. 8. Encourage all nations to make it a serious criminal offense to offer elephant products for sale. 9. Develop and implement political campaigns to encourage legislators globally to remove elephant products from the marketplace and from international trade. 10. Support the development of public education programs to reduce consumer demand for ivory and other elephant products. 11. Support the creation of alternative employment opportunities for those disenfranchised by the closure of markets in elephant products. 12. Lobby national governments, and the EU, to support and promote the above actions. 13. Create awareness of the direct and indirect impacts of increased human populations, manifested in demands for more land conversion for human settlements, agriculture, abstraction of water, etc., which in the immediate term fragment, degrade and reduce critical wildlife habitats, and in the longer term diminish the Earth’s finite resources. 14. Support the development and protection of elephant habitat and corridors, providing adequate support for any individuals and communities disrupted or relocated in the process. 15. Support enhanced conservation action and involvement in halting the insularization of protected areas; only support development objectives outside protected areas that are compatible with conservation goals. 16. Encourage international funding agencies to support education programs, enhanced enforcement, habitat protection, and scientific research designed to promote the continued existence of elephants in the wild.

79


9 C  HANGIN

FACE OF CONSERV

A ROLE FOR INTERGOVE ORGANIZAT


R ERNMENTAL TIONS

© IFAW/S. Barbaruah

NG THE ELEPHANT VATION:


© IFAW/Amboseli National Park, Kenya

Any proposal to reinvent our approach to

CITES could return to its original mandate of

conservation and, in the present context, our

protecting vulnerable species from the threats

approach to the conservation of a single group of

posed by international trade, rather than working

animals such as elephants, requires leadership.

to facilitate legal international trade in elephant

Individual people and non-governmental

ivory.191 Any discussions and decisions about

organizations can only do so much. If the

the ivory trade must properly consider the links

traditional conservation community chooses to

between legal and illegal trade and assess the

reinvent itself, then members of IUCN – the World

feasibility of a new approach that treats elephants

Conservation Union, both its NGO and government

as biological entities rather than political entities

members, as well as its Specialist Groups; CITES

defined by artificial national boundaries.192 It

and the individual Parties to CITES; and the United

would stop any further discussions of downlisting

Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), among

proposals for elephants, and any additional

others, all have opportunities to play an important

“one-off” sales of elephant ivory, and ban the

role in shaping a new, truly knowledge-based

international ivory trade immediately. Asian

approach to conservation – including elephant

elephants and those African elephant populations

conservation – for the 21 Century.

currently on Appendix I have such protection,

190

st

IUCN, backed by its Asian Elephant Specialist

at least on paper. International trade in ivory

Group and its African Elephant Specialist

from elephant populations listed on Appendix II

Group could begin – following the lead already

must also be banned because of the “look-alike”

established by the Convention on Migratory

problem, and because any legal trade provides

Species (CMS) – by recognizing that there are at

cover for poaching and illegal trade in ivory from

least two distinct species of elephant in Africa.

Appendix I populations. There is simply no way for

Once that step has been taken, they could

customs officials and merchants to identify ivory

then take the lead in developing appropriate

in trade as coming from any particular population

conservation action plans to increase protection

or species, or to separate, unequivocally, legally

for these species, individually and collectively.

traded ivory from illegal ivory.


© IFAW/S. Barbaruah/Kaziranga National Park, Assam, India

In their individual capacities, the Parties to

of the environment and all its constituent parts,

CITES – especially jurisdictions such as China, the

including elephants, first and foremost on its

European Union, Japan, and the United States,

agenda. It could also stop promoting the false

could take the lead and set the example by closing

promises of sustainable development, and the

down national markets in elephant ivory, and

“sustainable use” of wildlife, which these days

tightening up national laws and enforcement to

has become a euphemism for the commercial use

cut down on illegal trade.

of wildlife.195

Given the rise in the illegal killing of elephants

One can see similar and complementary

and illicit trade in elephant ivory, governments

opportunities for other intergovernmental

could use their influence to provide the necessary

organizations and international conventions

support and technical capacity to work with

including, especially, the Convention on

source, transit and end-user countries to combat

Biodiversity.196

elephant poaching and illegal trade.

193

Unregulated

Of course, many in the mainstream

and uncontrolled domestic ivory markets should

conservation community, especially those who

be dismantled wherever they exist.

put economics first, and skeptics masquerading

Governments must commit to and enact

as “realists” or “pragmatists”, will reject

legislative and enforcement reforms to curtail

such suggestions as unrealistic, idealistic and

internal ivory markets. Wildlife crime needs to

naïve. Nonetheless, the problem remains that

be treated with the same seriousness and level

conservation today is not achieving its objectives

of attention that we give to other transnational

and hasn’t for a very long time.197

organized crime, such as the drug and weapons

If we really want to conserve elephants and

trade, and human trafficking, given the critical

offer them the protection they so clearly need

links to national security and governance issues in

and deserve, we have to try new approaches. The

many countries.

alternative, doing the same things over and over

194

UNEP, for its part, could play a leadership role in putting knowledge-based conservation

again and expecting different results, is – to put it bluntly – the very definition of insanity.198

83


Š IFAW/D. Willetts/Amboseli National Park, Kenya

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

CONTRIBUTORS

The idea for this little book came from IFAW

Kelvin Alie MSc, MA

colleagues working on elephants and the ivory

D irector, Wildlife Crime & Consumer

trade. They contributed to the original outline,

Awareness Programme

most of which still survives as the Table of

International Fund for Animal Welfare

Contents.

Washington D.C., U.S.A.

A number of colleagues reviewed and provided comments on earlier drafts, either of

kalie@ifaw.org www.ifaw.org

individual chapters, or the entire manuscript. They include: Kelvin Alie, Jason Bell, Gay

Jason Bell BSc

Bradshaw and Steve Njumbi, all of whom also

Regional Director, Southern Africa

made individual contributions to one or more

Director, Elephant Programme

chapters. Other reviewers of one or more

International Fund for Animal Welfare

chapters include: Jan Hannah, Grace Gabriel,

Cape Town, South Africa

Barry Kent Mackay, Vassili Papastavrou, CĂŠline

jbell@ifaw.org

Sissler-Bienvenu and Sue Wallace. Vivek

www.ifaw.org

Menon provided a useful suggestion that was incorporated into the text. Kati Radziszewska located and downloaded

Gay Bradshaw PhD, PhD Executive Director

a number of the source documents in a

Kerulos Center

timely fashion. Sue Wallace prepared Figure

Jacksonville OR, U.S.A.

3 and proof-read various drafts of the entire

www.kerulos.org

manuscript. Opinions expressed in this document are

David Lavigne PhD, Dr philos

those of the contributors and may not reflect

Science Advisor

precisely the current institutional positions

International Fund for Animal Welfare

of IFAW or, necessarily, the views of individual

Guelph, Ontario, Canada

reviewers. Any remaining factual errors are the

dlavigne@ifaw.org

responsibility of the editor. Steve Njumbi BSc, MPhil Head of Programmes, East Africa International Fund for Animal Welfare Nairobi, Kenya snjumbi@ifaw.org


APPENDIX 1 | CURRENT UNDERSTANDING OF ELEPHANT TAXONOMY 1 Class Mammalia Order Proboscidea Family Elephantidae Tribe Elephantini Genus Elephas Species maximus (Asian Elephant) Subspecies indictus (Indian Elephant, Asian Mainland) maximus (Sri Lankan Elephant) sumatranus (Sumatran Elephant) borneensis (Borneo Elephant) Tribe Loxodontini Genus Loxodonta Species a fricana (African Savanna Elephant) cyclotis (African Forest Elephant)

1.

 ohland, N. et. al. 2010; Shoshani, J. and P. Tassy. 2005. Advances in proboscidean taxonomy & classification, anatomy & physiology, R and ecology & behavior. Quaternary International 126-28:5-20; also see http://www.suite101.com/content/borneo-pygmy-elephanta242889#ixzz1OcnSEMjd. For additional discussion, see http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/details/7140/0.

85


APPENDIX 2 | N  UMBERS O RANGE BY C ELEPHANT NUMBERS DEFINITE

PROBABLE

POSSIBLE

SPECULATIVE

TOTAL

RANGE

% OF

% OF

AREA, KM2

CONTINENTAL RANGE

RANGE ASSESSED

WEST AFRICA Benin

1,223

0

0

0

1,223

13,673

0.39

51

Burkina Faso

4,154

320

520

0

4 994

19,872

0.57

72

Cote d’Ivoire

188

152

119

506

965

33,985

0.97

72

Ghana

789

387

241

12

1,429

23,301

0.66

42

Guinea

135

79

79

57

350

1,524

0.04

78

Guinea Bissau

0

0

7

13

20

1,346

0.04

100

Liberia

0

0

0

1,676

1,676

15,977

0.46

80

Mali

357

0

141

156

654

31,878

0.91

100

Niger

85

0

17

0

102

2,683

0.08

100

Nigeria

348

0

105

375

828

22,968

0.65

37

Senegal

1

0

0

9

10

1,090

0.03

100

Sierra Leone

0

0

80

135

215

1,804

0.05

59

Togo

4

0

61

0

65

5,444

0.16

69

Subtotal

7,487

735

1,129

2,939

12,290

175,545

5.00

66

Cameroon

179

726

4,965

9,517

15,387

118,571

3.55

45

CAR

109

1,689

1,036

500

3,334

73,453

2.20

95

Chad

3,885

0

2,000

550

6,435

149,443

4.48

26

Congo

402

16,947

4,024

729

22,102

135,918

4.07

23

DRC

2,447

CENTRAL AFRICA

7,955

8,855

4,457

23,714

263,700

7.91

40

Equatorial Guinea 0

0

700

630

1,330

15,008

0.45

13

Gabon

1,523

23,457

27,911

17,746

70,637

218,985

6.56

94

Subtotal

10,383

48,936

43,098

34,129

136,546

975,079

29.00

52

1. Because of the statistical manipulations used to compile this table, the sub-totals and totals do not necessarily match the simple sum of entries within any given category. Source: Blanc, J.J., R.F.W. Barnes, G.C. Craig, H.T. Dublin, C.R. Thouless, I. Douglas-Hamilton, and J.A. Hart. 2007. African Elephant Status Report 2007: An Update from the African Elephant Database.  Available at http://www.african-elephant.org/aed/aesr2007.html. These numbers were reprinted in 2011 in Status of elephant populations, levels of illegal killing and the trade in ivory: A Report to the Standing Committee of CITES. SC61 Doc. 44.2 (Rev. 1) Annex 1, p. 7. Available at http://www.cites.org/eng/com/sc/61/E61-44-02-A1.pdf.


OF AFRICAN ELEPHANTS AND 1 COUNTRY AND REGION ELEPHANT NUMBERS DEFINITE

PROBABLE

POSSIBLE

SPECULATIVE

TOTAL

RANGE

% OF

% OF

AREA, KM2

CONTINENTAL RANGE

RANGE ASSESSED

EASTERN AFRICA Eritrea

96

0

8

0

104

5,293

0.16

100

Ethiopia

634

0

920

206

1,760

38,365

1.15

68

Kenya

23,353

1,316

4,946

2,021

31,636

107,113

3.21

82

Rwanda

34

0

37

46

117

1,014

0.03

100

Somalia

0

0

0

70

70

4,526

0.14

68

South Sudan

20

0

280

0

300

318,239

9.54

0

Tanzania

108,816

27,937

29,350

900

167,003

390,336

11.70

66

Uganda

2,337

1,985

1,937

300

6,559

15,148

0.45

74

Subtotal

137,485

29,043

35,124

3,543

205,195

880,063

26.00

45

SOUTHERN AFRICA Angola

818

801

851

80

2,550

406,946

12.20

5

Botswana

133,829

20,829

20,629

0

175,287

100,265

3.01

99

Malawi

185

323

632

1,587

2,727

7,538

0.23

89

Mozambique

14,079

2,396

2,633

6,980

26,088

334,786

10.04

77

Namibia

12,531

3,276

3,296

0

19,103

146,921

4.40

55

South Africa

17,847

0

638

22

18,507

30,455

0.91

100

Swaziland

31

0

0

0

31

50

0.00

100

Zambia

16,562

5,948

5,908

813

29,231

201,247

6.03

61

Zimbabwe

84,416

7,033

7,367

291

99,107

76,931

2.31

99

Subtotal

297,718

23,186

24,734

9,753

355,391

1,305,140

39.00

53

TOTAL

472,269

82,704

84,334

100,748

698,671

6,671,623

100

51

87


APPENDIX 3 | THE PURPORTED NUMBERS OF ASIAN ELEPHANTS BY COUNTRY The figures in the second column can be traced to Sukumar (2003) and are the ones used in the IUCN Red List1. The figures in columns 3 & 4 are from Eleaid2. All of the data in this table appear to be at least 7 years old and virtually all the sources cited warn about their veracity. For a critical review of the numbers country by country see Blake & Hedges (2004, Table 2).

COUNTRY

SUKUMAR (2003)

ELEAID

CAPTIVES

Bangladesh

150-250

196-227

c. 100

Bhutan

250–500

250-500

few

Cambodia

250-400

400-600

>500

China

200-250

200-250

few

India

26,390–30,770

23,900-32,900

c. 3,500

Indonesia

2,400–3,400

1,180-1,557

c. 350

Lao PDR (Laos)

500-1,000

781-1,202

1,100-1,350

Malaysia

2,100–3,100

2,351-3,066

few

Myanmar

4,000-5,000

4,000-5,300

>5,000

Nepal

100-125

100-170

c. 170

Sri Lanka

2,500-4,000

2,100-3,000

200-250

Thailand

2,500–3,200

3,000-3,700

3,500-4,000

Vietnam

70-150

76-94

c. 165

TOTAL

1.

2. 3.

1

41,410-52,345

38,535-52,566

14,535-15,3003

 rom Sukumar, R. 2003. The Living Elephants: Evolutionary Ecology, Behavior, and Conservation. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK. F Reprinted in both Blake, S. and S. Hedges. 2004. Sinking the flagship: the case of forest elephants in Asia and Africa. Conservation Biology 18:1192-1202; and in the IUCN Red List currently (i.e. 2011). These figures are also reprinted in Status of elephant populations, levels of illegal killing and the trade in ivory: A Report to the Standing Committee of CITES. SC61 Doc. 44.2 (Rev. 1) Annex 1, p. 7. Available at http://www.cites.org/eng/com/sc/61/E61-44-02-A1.pdf. Note: In the latter document the number given for Cambodia is 250-600, rather than 250-400. See http://www.eleaid.com/index.php?page=asianelephantdistribution. Eleaid indicates that these figures come from the IUCN/SSC Asian Elephant Specialist Group in 2004, and notes that “the veracity of these figures is questionable.” An additional 1,000 Asian elephants are found in zoos in non-range states around the world. See http://www.eleaid.com/index.php?page= asianelephantdistribution.


89 Š IFAW/R. Marsland/Samburu National Reserve, Kenya


ENDNOTES  heerbrant, E. 2009. Paleocene emergence of elephant G relatives and the rapid radiation of African ungulates. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106:1070710721. Available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0900251106 2. Shoshani, J. and P. Tassy. 2005. Advances in proboscidean taxonomy & classification, anatomy & physiology, and ecology & behavior. Quaternary International 126-128: 5-20. http:// dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2004.04.011. New taxa are being added continuously as more fossils are unearthed, described and analysed. The Paleobiology Database currently lists some 210 species of proboscideans; see http://paleodb.org/cgi-bin/ bridge.pl. 3. Macdonald, D. [ed.]. 2001. The New Encyclopedia of Mammals. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK. 4. See for e.g. Haviland, C. 2012. Sanctuary or ceremony for Sri Lanks’s elephants? BBC News, South Asia. 13 June. Available at www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-17981322. 5. More than 30 years ago, it was suggested that we are likely witnessing the dying days of this once successful, diverse, and widely distributed mammalian order. See Vaughan, T.A. 1978. Mammalogy. Saunders College, Philadelphia. p. 232. The plight of modern elephants has only worsened since then. 6. Vreeland, F.K. 1916. Prohibition of the sale of game. Conservation of Fish, Birds and Game. Committee of Fisheries, Game, and Fur-bearing Animals. Commission of Conservation Canada. Proceedings of a meeting of the Committee, November 1 and 2, 1915. The Methodist Book and Publishing House, Toronto. 7. Working Party on Marine Mammals. 1978. Mammals in the seas. Vol. 1. Report of the FAO Advisory Committee on Marine Resources Research. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome. 8. The most recent estimate of ~8.7 million species is provided by Mora, C., D.P. Tittensor, S. Adl, A.G.B. Simpson, and B. Worm. 2011. How many species are there on Earth and in the Ocean? PLoS Biol. 9(8): e1001127.http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal. pbio.1001127. 9. Eggert, L.S., C.A. Rasner and D.S. Woodruff. 2002. The evolution and phylogeny of the African elephant inferred from mitochondrial DNA sequence and nuclear microsatellite markers. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/ rspb.2002.2070; Niskanen, L. 2004. Report: Sixth meeting of the African Elephant Specialist Group. Pachyderm 36:136-139; Roca, A.L., N. Georgiadis, J. Pecon-Slattery, and S. O’Brien. 2001. Genetic evidence for two species of elephants in Africa. Science 293:1473-1477; Macdonald, D. [ed.]. 2001. The New Encyclopedia of Mammals. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK. 10. http://www.iucnredlist.org/ 11. See http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/details/12392/0 12. Rohland, N., D. Reich, S. Mallick, M. Meyer, R.E. Green, N.J. Georgiadis, A.L. Roca, and M. Hofreiter. 2010. Geonomic DNA sequences from mastodon and woolly mammoth reveal deep speciation of forest and savannah elephants. PLoS Biology 8(12) 1-10. y. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.1000564 Also see Ishida, Y., Y. Demeke, P.J. van Coeverden de Groot, N.J. Georgiadis, K.E.A. Leggett, V.E. Fox, and A.L. Roca. 2011. Distinguishing forest and savanna African elephants using short nuclear DNA sequences. Journal of Heredity. http:// dx.doi.org/10.1093/jhered/esr073. 13. compiled from various sources; body size measurements from Macdonald, D. (ed.). 2001. The New Enclyclopaedia of Mammals. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK. 1.

14. E  ggert, L.S., C.A. Rasner and D.S. Woodruff. 2002. Also see IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, African elephant

15. 16.

17. 18. 19.

20.

21. 22.

23.

24.

Available at http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/ details/12392/0. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, Asian elephant. Available at http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/details/7140/0. This quotation comes from a draft manuscript written by the late Dr. David Sergeant in the mid-1970s. The key word for me was “spurious”. Unfortunately when the paper was published, the sentence had been edited to read, “The public likes the certainty of numbers,” which tends to obscure, I think, Sergeant’s original, intended meaning. The published reference is Sergeant, D.E. 1976. History and present status of populations of harp and hooded seals. BioIogical Conservation 10:95-118. http://maps.iucnredlist.org/map.html?id=12392. Updated from http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/ details/12392/0. Eggert, L.S., C.A. Rasner and D.S. Woodruff 2002; also see IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, African elephant. Available at http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/details/12392/0. Blanc, J.J., R.F.W. Barnes, G.C. Craig, H.T. Dublin, C.R. Thouless, I. Douglas-Hamilton, and J.A. Hart. 2007. African Elephant Status Report 2007: An Update from the African Elephant Database. Available at http://www.african-elephant.org/aed/ aesr2007.html. These numbers were reprinted in 2011 in Status of elephant populations, levels of illegal killing and the trade in ivory: A Report to the Standing Committee of CITES. SC61 Doc. 44.2 (Rev. 1) Annex 1, p. 7. Available at http://www.cites.org/eng/ com/sc/61/E61-44-02-A1.pdf. Ibid. Appendix I of CITES lists species that are the most endangered among CITES-listed animals and plants. They are threatened with extinction. CITES prohibits international trade in specimens of these species except when the purpose of the import is not commercial, e.g. for scientific research. In these exceptional cases, trade may take place provided it is authorized by the granting of both an import and an export permit (or re-export certificate). Article VII of CITES provides for a number of exemptions to this general prohibition. See http://www.cites.org/eng/app/index.php. A ppendix II of CITES lists species that are not necessarily now threatened with extinction but may become so unless trade is closely controlled. It includes so-called “lookalike species”, i.e. species of which the specimens in trade look like those of species listed for conservation reasons. International trade in specimens of Appendix-II species may be authorized by the granting of an export permit or re-export certificate. No import permit is necessary for these species under CITES. An import permit may be required, however, in some countries that have taken stricter measures than CITES requires. Permits or certificates should only be granted if the relevant authorities are satisfied that certain conditions have been met, including, first and foremost, that trade will not be detrimental to the survival of the species in the wild. See http://www.cites.org/eng/app/ index.php. Appendix II of CMS includes migratory species that have an unfavourable conservation status or would benefit significantly from international co-operation organised by tailored agreements. See http://www.cms.int/documents/appendix/ cms_app1_2.htm.


25. F  ernando P, Vidya TNC, Payne J, Stuewe M, Davison G, et al. 2003. DNA analysis Indicates that Asian elephants Are native to Borneo and are therefore a high priority for conservation. PLoS Biol 1(1): e6. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal. pbio.0000006. 26. See http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/details/7140/0. 27. Blake, S. and S. Hedges. 2004. Sinking the flagship: the case of forest elephants in Asia and Africa. Conservation Biology 18:1192-1202. 28. Sukumar, R. 2003. The Living Elephants: Evolutionary Ecology, Behavior, and Conservation. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK. 29. Most captive animals occur within range states of the Asian elephant. Some 1,000 Asian elephants that are said to be found in zoos in non-range states around the world. See http://www. eleaid.com/index.php?page=asianelephantdistribution. 30. Much of the information included in this section comes from the following sources: For African elephants, see http:// www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/details/12392/0; for the Asian elephant, see http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/ details/7140/0. A recent summary, which includes much of the same material, may be found in Anon. 2011. Status of elephant populations, levels of illegal killing and the trade in ivory: A report to the Standing Committee of CITES. CITES SC 61, Doc. 44.2 (Rev. 1) Annex 1; and in Anon. 2012. Elephant conservation, illegal killing and ivory trade. CITES SC62 Doc 46.1, Where other sources have been used, they are identified individually. 31. G eist, V. 1988. How markets in wildlife meat and parts, and the sale of hunting privileges, jeopardize wildlife conservation. Conservation Biology, 2:1-12; Geist, V. 1989. Legal trafficking and paid hunting threaten conservation. Transactions of the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference, 54:172-178; Geist, V. 1994. Wildlife conservation as wealth. Nature, 368:491-492; Lavigne, D.M., C.J. Callaghan, and R.J. Smith. 1996. Sustainable utilization: The lessons of history. pp. 250-261. In V.J. Taylor and N. Dunstone (eds.). The Exploitation of Mammal Populations. Chapman & Hall, London. 32. Groombridge, B. (ed.). 1992. Global Biodiversity: Status of the Earth’s Living Resources. Chapman & Hall, London. 33. Discussed in Anon. 2010; also see Douglas-Hamilton, I. 2012. Ivory and insecurity: the global implications of poaching in Africa. Written testimony before United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. 24 May, Washington, DC. 34. Fowler, C.W. and L. Hobbs. 2003. Is humanity sustainable? Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences 270: 2579-2583; Rees, W.E. 2009. Are Humans Unsustainable by Nature? Trudeau Lecture. Memorial University of Newfoundland, 28 January. Available at http:// www.populationmedia.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/ William-Rees-Are-Humans-Unsustainable-by-Nature.doc. 35. Anon. 2011. Africa’s impressive growth. Africa is now one of the world’s fastest-growing regions. The Economist, 6 January 2011. Available at http://www.economist.com/blogs/ dailychart/2011/01/daily_chart/print. 36. For recent information on ecological footprints, see http://www. footprintnetwork.org/en/index.php/GFN/page/our_team/. 37. The situation in China is reviewed in Lin, L., L. Feng, W. Pan, X. Gou, J. Zhao, A. Luo, and L. Zhang. 2008. Acta Theriologica 53(4): 365-374. 38. For a recent review of the African situation, see PinterWollman, N. 2012. Human-elephant conflict in Africa: the legal and political viability of translocations, wildlife corridors, and transfrontier parks for large mammal conservation. Journal of International Wildlife Law & Policy 15:152-166.

39. A  gence France Presse. 2011. Sri Lanka’s first elephant survey enrages wildlife groups. The Himalayan, 2011-08-11. 40. Anon. 2011. Status of elephant populations, levels of illegal killing and the trade in ivory: A report to the Standing Committee of CITES. CITES SC 61, Doc. 44.2 (Rev. 1) Annex 1. 41. See, for example, Gabriel, G.G., N. Hua, and J. Wang. 2012. Making a killing: A 2011 Survey of Ivory Markets in China. International Fund for Animal Welfare. Beijing, China. Also see Menon, V. 2002. Tusker: The Story of the Asian Elephant. Penguin Books India, New Delhi. 42. See, for example, Gabriel et al. 2012. 43. Anon. 2011. Status of elephant populations, levels of illegal killing and the trade in ivory: A report to the Standing Committee of CITES. CITES SC 61, Doc. 44.2 (Rev. 1) Annex 1. 44. Blake, S., and S. Hedges. 2004. Sinking the flagship: the case of forest elephants in Asia and Africa. Conservation Biology 18(5):1191-1202. 45. Russo C.M. 2012. Monitoring a grim rise in the illegal ivory trade. Interview. Environment 360, Yale Univeristy, New Haven, CT. Available at http://e360.yale.edu/feature/traffics_elephant_ expert_tom_milliken_on_rise_in_africa_ivory_trade/2486/; also see Anon. 2011. Status of elephant populations, levels of illegal killing and the trade in ivory: A report to the Standing Committee of CITES. CITES SC 61, Doc. 44.2 (Rev. 1) Annex 1; CITES. 2011. CITES to explore new financial sources to tackle the decline in wildlife. Press Release, CITES. Geneva, Switzerland, 16 August. 46. In March 2012, to cite but one example, more than 400 elephants were killed for their ivory in Cameroon’s Bouba Ndjida National Park. See IFAW. 2012. Too late – military intervention fails to halt elephant slaughter in Cameroon. Media Release. 12 March. 3 pp. 47. Anon. 2011, p. 16; also see Milliken, T, R.W. Burn, and L Sangalakula. 2009. The elephant trade information system (ETIS) and the illicit trade in ivory. TRAFFIC East/Southern Africa. 14 October. CITES CoP15 Doc. 44.1 Annex. 48. See Lavigne, D.M. 2010.CITES alone cannot solve the elephant crisis. Gajah – the Journal of the IUCN/SSC Asian Elephant Specialist Group, 32:74-79. 49. Wittemyer has shown, for example, that local economic downturns in parts of Kenya can result in increased woundings and mortality in adult elephants. For additional information, see Wittemyer, G. 2011. Effects of economic downturns on mortality of wild African elephants. Conservation Biology http://dx.doi. org/10.1111/j.1523-1739.2011.01713.x. 50. B radshaw, G.A. 2004. Not by bread alone: symbolic loss, trauma, and recovery in elephant communities. Society and Animals 12(2):143-158; Gobush, K.S., B.M. Mutayoba, and S.K. Wasser. 2008. Long-term impacts of poaching on relatedness, stress physiology, and reproductive output of adult female African elephants. Conservation Biology 22(6):1590-1599; Bradshaw, G.A. 2009. Elephants on the Edge: What Animals Teach Us about Humanity. Yale University Press, New Haven, CT. 51. See, for example, http://www.grida.no/publications/other/ ipcc_sr/?src=/climate/ipcc/regional/006.htm. 52. Foley, C., N. Pettorelli, and L. Foley. 2008. Severe drought and calf survival in elephants. Biology Letters 4: 541-544. 53. Anon. 2011. 54. Lavigne 2010. 55. For discussion of this point, see Geist 1988; Lavigne et al. 1996; Lavigne, D.M. 2006. Wildlife conservation and the pursuit of ecological sustainability: A brief introduction. pp. 1-18. In D.M. Lavigne (ed.). Gaining Ground: In Pursuit of Ecological Sustainability. International Fund for Animal Welfare, Guelph,

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77. 78. 79. 80.

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83. 84.

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87.

this complex issue, see Parker, G.E., F.V. Osborn, R.E Hoare, and L.S. Niskanen. (eds). 2007. Human-Elephant Conflict Mitigation: A training course for community-based approaches in Africa. Participants Manual. Elephant Pepper Development Trust, Livingston, Zambia and IUCN/SSC AfESG, Nairobi, Kenya. Available at http://www.african-elephant.org/hec/ hectools.html. For an interesting discussion of another aspect of HEC, see Barua, M. 2010. Whose Issue? Representations of human elephant conflict in Indian and international media. Science Communication 32(1):55-75. http://dx.doi. org/10.1177/1075547009353177. van Aarde et al. 2006; Young and van Aarde 2011. Van Aarde and Jackson 2007. Ibid. Young, K.D. and van Aarde, R.J. 2010. Density as an explanatory variable of movements and calf survival in savanna elephants across southern Africa. Journal of Animal Ecology 79(3):662– 673. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2656.2010.01667.x. Also see Loarie, S.R., R.J. van Aarde and Stuart L. Pimm. 2009. Fences and artificial water affect African Savannah elephant movement patterns. Biological Conservation 142(12):30863098. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2009.08.008. Young, K.D. and R.J. van Aarde 2011. IFAW has, for example, worked in partnership with the Conservation Ecology Research Unit (CERU), University of Pretoria for more than a decade to further the understanding of elephant dynamics in southern Africa. One of the goals is to inform science-based and ethically responsible decision making where policy and management are concerned. Ibid. South Africa has developed and published “National Norms and Standards for the Management of Elephants in South Africa”. Available at http://www.environment.gov.za/sites/default/files/ gazetted_notices/nemba_elephantsinsa_g30833gon251.pdf. While this document describes the circumstances under which culling can occur and the methods that may be used, it has yet to produce an actual protocol for the scientific evaluation of proposals to cull elephants. Briefly, neoclassical economics posits that a “free-market” is the best way to allocate scarce resources and promote their conservation. It assumes, among other things (and quite erroneously) that there are no biophysical limits to the growth of market systems, that resources are either inexhaustible or can be replaced by other resources (substitutability). Costs to the environment, including pollution and resource depletion are treated as “externalities” and are not acknowledged within the economic system (see, for e.g. Nadeau, R. 2008. The economist has no clothes: Unscientific assumptions in economic theory are undermining efforts to solve environmental problems. Scientific American, 25 March. Available at http://www. scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=the-economist-has-noclothes). The only value of interest to neoclassical economics is money (see for example, Beder, S. 2011. Environmental Economics and Ecological Economics: The contribution of interdisciplinarity to understand, influence and effectiveness. Environmental Conservation 38(2):140-150). A tree, for example, has no value until it is cut down. An elephant has no value until it is killed and its ivory is sold. See Lavigne, D.M. 2011. Environmental conservation needs a new, interdisciplinary paradigm: Comments arising from Beder (2011). Invited Paper. 6th International Conference on Environmental Future. Topic 17 ID progress in environmental economics. 18-22 July 2011. Newcastle University, Newcastle, UK. [copy available upon request from dlavigne@ifaw.org]. For further discussion, see Lavigne, D.M., C.J. Callaghan


and R.J. Smith. 1996. Sustainable utilization: the lessons of history. pp 250-265. In V. J. Taylor and N. Dunstone (eds.). The Exploitation of Mammal Populations. Chapman & Hall, London. Also see Lavigne et al. 2006. 88. Beder 2011. 89. In the case of species, interchanging one species for another (the economic principle of substitutability) is of course possible. We do it all the time in fisheries as we “fish down the trophic web”. The loss of an individual species, therefore, is of no lasting consequence to the economic system. It is a problem, however, for those concerned with the maintenance of biodiversity because, as they say, “Extinction is forever”. 90. Ibid. 91. Lavigne 2011; also see Daly, H. 1977. Steady-State Economics. Island Press, Washington, D.C. 92. Lavigne 2011; also see Beder 2011. 93. e.g. see Dowie, M. 1995. Losing Ground. American environmentalism at the close of the twentieth century. The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA; Lavigne, D.M. 2002. Ecological footprints, doublespeak, and the evolution of the Machiavellian mind. pp. 63-91. In W. Chesworth, M.R. Moss, and V.G. Thomas [eds]. Sustainable Development: Mandate or Mantra? The Kenneth Hammond Lectures on Environment, Energy and Resources. 2001 Series. Faculty of Environmental Sciences, University of Guelph, Guelph, Canada; Lavigne et al. 2006; Gowdy, J., C. Hall, K. Klitgaard, and L. Kralls. 2010. What every conservation biologist should know about economic theory. Conservation Biology 24: 1440-1447. 94. Leakey, R. and R. Lewin. 1996. The Sixth Extinction: Patterns of Life and the Future of Humankind. Anchor Books, New York; Eldredge, N. 2001. The Sixth Extinction. American Institute of Biological Sciences. Available at http://www.actionbioscience. org/newfrontiers/eldredge2.html; Ward, P. 2004. The father of all mass extinctions. Conservation In Practice 5(3): 12-19. Also see Oates, J.F. Conservation, development and poverty alleviation: Time for a change in attitudes. pp. 277-284. In D.M. Lavigne (ed.). Gaining Ground: In Pursuit of Ecological Sustainability. International Fund for Animal Welfare, Guelph, Canada, and University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland. 95. Lavigne 2002; also see Lavigne et al. 2006. 96. Pearce, F. 2011. Conservation & Poverty. Conservation 12(1):3239. 97. Beder 2011 98. Anon. 2011. Towards a green and resilient economy for the Caribbean. Available at http://www.greeneconomycoalition.org/ sites/greeneconomycoalition.org/files/GEC_Caribbean_0_0.pdf. 99. Lavigne et al. 2006. 100. D. Roe, D. Thomas, J. Smith, M. Walpole, and J. Elliott. 2011. Biodiversity and poverty: ten frequently asked questions – ten policy implications. IIED. gatekeeper 150: July 2011. Available at http://pubs.iied.org/pdfs/14612IIED.pdf? 101. Ibid. 102. Of course, the ideal situation is where conservation goals and other societal objectives can be achieved simultaneously. One example, which in some places may be beneficial to both non-human animals and people, is where commercial consumptive use can be replaced by ecologically sustainable ecotourism. There are also situations where carefully planned human developments can actually facilitate and protect conservation processes and help mitigate human impacts on other species and ecological processes. In Burkina Faso, for example, IFAW partners with a French NGO, Des éléphants & des hommes [Elephants & Humans], on an educational project entitled “My elephant neighbour”, Working with teachers, the project especially targets 10-year old pupils and their parents

who live closest to elephant populations. Through increased education, the goal is to promote the harmonious co-existence of elephants and people now and in the future, for the benefit of both the local communities and the elephants who live nearby. Another example, this time from Malawi, involved the mitigation of a human-elephant conflict in 2009. In that instance, some 60 elephants, some already injured and all under threat of death, were moved by IFAW in partnership with the Malawi government to a wildlife reserve. Once settled in their new home, the elephants were free of further persecution, and the affected communities no longer had to fear for their lives and livelihoods. IFAW is now involved in discussions with the Microloan Foundation Malawi and the Malawi government’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW), seeking creative ways to alleviate poverty in communities surrounding Liwonde National Park, while reducing ecologically unsustainable exploitation within the park, including the illegal hunting of elephants and rhinos. In Kenya, IFAW is working in collaboration with a number of partners, including the Maasai community, to promote ecologically sustainable land use policies that benefit both wildlife and people in the greater Amboseli ecosystem. 103. Lavigne, D.M. 1991. Slipping into the marketplace. BBC Wildlife February 1991 pp 128-129. 104. Lavigne 2011. 105. Much of this section is repeated from Lavigne, D.M. 2010b. CITES alone cannot solve the elephant crisis. Gajah – The Journal of the IUCN/SSC Asian Elephant Specialist Group, 32:74-79. 106. e.g. Anon. 2008. Call of the Wild. Is the prohibition of trade saving wildlife, or endangering it? The Economist print edition. 6 March 2008; Lemieux, A.M. and R.V. Clarke. 2009. The International ban on ivory sales and its effects on elephant poaching in Africa. British Journal of Criminology 49:451-471; Lovett, J.C. 2009. Elephants and the conservation dilemma. African Journal of Ecology 47:129-130; Styles, D. 2008. Africa: The ivory trade need not endanger the elephant. allAfrica. com. 31 August 2008. Available at http://allafrica.com/ stories/200809010552.html ; also see Milliken et al. 2009. 107. This is actually one of three options suggested by Styles (2008). 108. At the time, two species of elephants were recognized and listed, the African elephant, Loxodonta africanus, and the Asian elephant, Elephas maximus. Now twenty years later, at least three and, possibly, more species, are recognized (Eggert et al 2002, Niskanen 2004, Roca et al. 2001). The existence of newly recognized elephant species – all of which would seemingly qualify as “look-alike species” under CITES, has conservation implications that have yet to be formally acknowledged by CITES. In the current text, the generic term “elephants” applies equally to all recognized species. 109. M illiken, T, R.W. Burn, and L. Sangalakula. 2009. The Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS) and the illicit trade in ivory. Traffic East/Southern Africa. CITES CoP15 Doc. 44.1 Annex. 40 pp. 110. The moratorium applies only to the four countries whose elephant populations are listed in Appendix II and who were allowed to sell their ivory in 2008: Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. See Wasser, S., J. Poole, P. Lee, K. Lindsay, A. Dobson, J. Hart, I. Douglas-Hamilton, G. Wittemyer, P. Granli, B. Morgan, J. Gunn, S. Albers, R. Beyers, P. Chiyo, H. Croze, R. Estes, K. Gobush, P. Joram, A. Kikoti, J. Kingdom, L. King, D. Macdonald, C. Moss, B. Mutayoba, S. Njumbi, P. Omondi, and K. Nowak. 2010. Elephants, Ivory, and Trade. Science 327:1331-1332.

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111. S  tyles, D. 2009. CITES-approved ivory sales and elephant poaching. Pachyderm 45:150-153; Wasser, S.K., C. Mailand, R. Booth, B. Mutayoba, E. Kisamo, B. Clark, and M. Stephens. 2007. Using DNA to track the origin of the largest ivory seizure since the 1989 trade ban. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) 104(10):4228-4233. http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/ pnas.0609714104; Wasser, S.K., W.J. Clark, O. Drori, E.S. Kisamo, C. Mailand, B. Mutayoba, and M. Stephens. 2008. Combating the illegal trade in African elephant ivory with DNA forensics. Conservation Biology 22:1065-1071; Wasser, S.K., B. Clark and C. Laurie. 2009. Forensic tools battle ivory poachers. Scientific American. 6 July. pp. 69-74; Wasser et al. 2010; also see Milliken et al. 2009. 112. e.g. Douglas-Hamilton, I. 2009. The current elephant poaching trend. Pachyderm 45:154-157. 113. Milliken et al. 2009. 114. see Wasser et al. 2009 115. Wasser et al. 2008; Milliken et al. 2009. 116. Clark, C.W. 1973. The economics of overexploitation. Science 181:630-634; Clark, C.W. 1973b. Profit maximization and the extinction of animal species. Journal of Political Economy 81: 950-961; Clark, C.W. 1989. Clear-cut economies. Should we harvest everything now? The Sciences 29:16-19; Caughley, G. 1993. Elephants and economics. Conservation Biology 7:943945. 117. Martin, R.B., D.H.M. Cumming, G.C Craig, D. St.C. Gibson, and D.A. Peake. 2012. Decision-making mechanisms and necessary conditions for a future trade in African elephant ivory. Consultancy for the CITES Secretariat (CITES Notification No. 2011/046). Draft Report, 31 March 2012. For a critique of this paper, see The Amboseli Trust for Elephants. 2012. Comments on the Draft Report “Decision-making mechanisms and necessary conditions for a future trade in elephant ivory. Consultancy document for the CITES Secretariat (no 2011/046), The Amboseli Trust for Elephants, Nairobi, Kenya. Available at http://www.elephanttrust.org. 118. Lavigne et al. 2006; Reference to Lavigne et al. 2006; and The Amboseli Trust for Elephants. 2012. 119. Geist, V. 1988; How markets in wildlife meat and parts, and the sale of hunting privileges, jeopardizes wildlife conservation. Conservation Biology 2:1-12; Lavigne et al. 1996; Lavigne et al. 2006. 120. Norse. E.A. 1993. Global Marine Biological Diversity. Island Press, Washington, D.C. p. 81. 121. This section is based largely on unpublished collaborative work by David Lavigne and Gay Bradshaw. Parts also come from Lavigne, D.M. 2011. Environmental conservation needs a new, interdisciplinary paradigm: Comments arising from Beder (2011). Invited Paper. 6th International Conference on Environmental Future. Topic 17 ID progress in environmental economics. 18-22 July 2011. Newcastle University, Newcastle, UK. [copy available upon request from dlavigne@ifaw.org] 122. Darwin, C. 1859. On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, 1st. edition. John Murray, London; Darwin, C. 1872. The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals. 1st edition, John Murray, London. 123. Gould, S.J. 1977. Ontogeny and Phylogeny.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. Cambridge, MA. 124. Northoff G.P. 2008. The trans-species concept of self and the subcortical midline system. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 7(12): 259–264. 125. Bradshaw, G.A. and B. L. Finlay. 2005. Natural symmetry. Nature 435: 149; Bradshaw, G.A., and R M. Sapolsky. 2006. Mirror, mirror. American Scientist, 94(6), 487-489. Available at http://www.americanscientist.org/issues/pub/mirror-mirror-1

126. Also see Allen, T. and V. Ahl. 1996. Hierarchy theory : a vision, vocabulary, and epistemology.  Columbia University Press, New York, NY; O’Neill, R.V.O. 1986. A Hierarchical Concept of Ecosystems. Princeton University Press. Princeton, NJ. 127. Bradshaw, G. Elephants on the Edge. What Animals Teach us about Humanity. Yale University Press, New Haven, CT. 128. van Aarde, R.J. and T.P. Jackson. 2007. Megaparks for metapopulations: Addressing the causes of locally high elephant numbers in southern Africa. Biological Conservation 134(3):289-297. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2006.08.027. 129. Biologists call these “population regulating mechanisms”. Such mechanisms may be density dependent or density independent. 130. Young, K.D. and R.J. van Aarde. 2010. Density as an explanatory variable of movements and calf survival in savanna elephants across southern Africa. Journal of Animal Ecology. 79(3):662– 673. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2656.2010.01667.x. Also see Loarie, S.R., R.J. van Aarde and S.L. Pimm. 2009. Fences and artificial water affect African Savannah elephant movement patterns. Biological Conservation. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j. biocon.2006.08.027. 131. A “keystone species” is generally defined as one that plays a critical role in maintaining the structure of an ecological community and whose impact on the community is greater than would be expected based on its relative abundance or total biomass. 132. This figure is redrawn from Odum, E.P. 1971. Fundamentals of Ecology, Third Edition. W.B. Saunders Company, Philadelphia, PA. p. 5, Figure 1-2. 133. Daly, H. 1977. Steady-State Economics. Island Press, Washington, D.C. 134. Odum 1971. 135. See De Waal, F. 2001. The Ape and the Sushi Master: Cultural Reflections by a Primatologist. Basic Books, New York, NY. 136. sensu Dunbar, R.I.M. 1998.The social brain hypothesis. Evolutionary Anthropology 6(5):178-190. 137. Bradshaw, G.A., and R. M. Sapolsky. 2006. Mirror, mirror. American Scientist, 94(6), 487-489. http://www. americanscientist.org/issues/pub/mirror-mirror-1 138. Gallup, G.G. 1970. Chimpanzees: Self-recognition. Science 167:86-87. Also see Bradshaw 2009; Bradshaw, G.A. and A.N. Schore. 2007. How elephants are opening doors: developmental neuroethology, attachment, and social context. Ethology, 113: 426–436. 139. Bradshaw, G.A. 2009. Elephants on the edge: What animals teach us about humanity. Yale University Press, New Haven, CT. 140. Gobush, K.S., B.M. Matayoba, and S.K. Wasser. 2008. LongTerm Impacts of Poaching on Relatedness, Stress Physiology, and Reproductive Output of Adult Female African Elephants. Conservation Biology 22(6):1590-1599. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ j.1523-1739.2008.01035.x. 141. Bradshaw 2009. 142. Ehrenfeld, D. 1970. Biological Conservation. Holt, Rinehart and Winston, New York. 143. Ibid. p.130. 144. Holt, S.J. 1978. Opening Plenary Meeting. Mammals in the Seas. Report of the FAO Advisory Committee on Marine Resources Research. Working Party on Marine Mammals. FAO Fisheries Series, No. 5, Vol. 1: 262-264; de la Mare, W.K. 2006. What is wrong with our approaches to fisheries and wildlife management – An engineering perspective. pp. 309-320. In D.M. Lavigne (ed.). Gaining Ground: In Pursuit of Ecological Sustainability. International Fund for Animal Welfare, Guelph, Canada, and University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland. 145. Holt 1978. 146. Lavigne et al. 1999.


147. C lark, C.W. 1973. The economics of overexploitation. Science 181:630-634; Clark, C.W. 1973b. Profit maximization and the extinction of animal species. Journal of Political Economy 81: 950-961; Clark, C.W. 1989. Clear-cut economies. Should we harvest everything now? The Sciences 29:16-19; Caughley, G. 1993. Elephants and economics. Conservation Biology 7:943-945. 148. see Lavigne, D.M. 2002. Ecological footprints, doublespeak, and the evolution of the Machiavellian mind. pp. 63-91. In W. Chesworth, M.R. Moss, and V.G. Thomas [eds]. Sustainable Development: Mandate or Mantra? The Kenneth Hammond Lectures on Environment, Energy and Resources. 2001 Series. Faculty of Environmental Sciences, University of Guelph, Guelph, Canada; Lavigne, D.M., R. Kidman Cox, V. Menon, and M. Wamithi. 2006. Reinventing wildlife conservation for the 21st century. pp. 379-406. In D.M. Lavigne (ed.). Gaining Ground: In Pursuit of Ecological Sustainability. International Fund for Animal Welfare, Guelph, Canada, and University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland. Also see Ehrenfeld, D. 1988. Why put a value on biodiversity? pp 212-216. In E.O. Wilson (ed.).Biodiversity. National Academy Press, Washington DC. 149. Gabriel, G.G., N. Hua, and J. Wang. 2012. Black Ivory on a Gray Market Brief Survey of Ivory Markets in China. International Fund for Animal Welfare, Beijing, China. 150. To quote Rees, W. 2006. Why conventional economic logic won’t protect biodiversity. pp. 207-226. In D.M. Lavigne (ed.). Gaining Ground: In Pursuit of Ecological Sustainability. International Fund for Animal Welfare, Guelph, Canada, and University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland, p. 210: “In its simplest form, the second law states that any spontaneous change in an isolated system (one that can exchange neither energy nor matter with its environment) produces an increase in entropy. In simpler terms, this means that when a change occurs in an isolated complex system it becomes less structured, more disordered, and there is less potential for further activity”. In short, isolated systems always tend toward a state of maximum entropy, a state in which nothing further can happen. 151. Brooks, R.J. 2006. The free lunch: Myths that direct conservation policy and the natural laws that constrain it. pp. 243-261, In D.M. Lavigne (ed.). Gaining Ground: In Pursuit of Ecological Sustainability. International Fund for Animal Welfare, Guelph, Canada, and University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland. 152. Gowdy, J., C. Hall, K. Klitgaard, and L. Kralls. 2010. What every conservation biologist should know about economic theory. Conservation Biology 24: 1440-1447. 153. e.g. Rawlston, H. III. 1988. Environmental Ethics: Duties to and Values in the Natural World. Temple University Press, Philadelphia; Kellert, S.R. 1996. The Value of Life: Biological Diversity and Human Society. Island Press, Covelo, California. Also see Beder, S. 2011. Environmental Economics and Ecological Economics: The contribution of interdisciplinarity to undertanding, influence and effectiveness. Environmental Conservation 38(2):140-150. 154. Layard, R. 2003. Happiness: Has social science a clue? Lionel Robbins Memorial Lectures 2002/3. Available at http://cep.lse. ac.uk/events/lectures/layard/RL030303.pdf; Steele, G.R. 2006. Richard Layard’s Happiness: Worn philosophy, weak psychology, wrong method and just plain bad economics! The Political Quarterly, 77:485-492. Available at http://www.lancs.ac.uk/ staff/ecagrs/Politcal%20Quarterly%20Layard%20Happiness. pdf; Stevenson, B. and J. Wolfers 2008. Economic growth and subjective well-being: Reassessing the Easterlin Paradox. Brookings Papers on Economic Activity. Spring 2008: 1-102. Available at http://bpp.wharton.upenn.edu/jwolfers/Papers/ EasterlinParadox.pdf.

155. Mydans, S. 2009. Thimphu Journal. Recalculating Happiness in a Himalayan Kingdom. The New York Times, 6 May. Available at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/07/world/asia/07bhutan. html?ref=world. 156. Rees 2006; Lavigne et al. 2006. 157. Chadwick, D.H. 1994. The Fate of the Elephant. Sierra Club Books, San Francisco, CA. 158. For the purposes of the present discussion, we define “intrinsic value” simply as “the inherent worth of something independent of its value to anyone or anything else”. See Sterling, E. and M. Laverty. 2004. Intrinsic Value. Available at http://cnx.rice. edu/content/m12160/latest/. Also see Lavigne et al. 2006, particularly p. 403, endnote 98. Also see Beder 2011, p. 8. 159. Hormats, R. 2012. The illegal wildlife trade: A survey of greed, tragedy, and ignorance. The Blog. Huff Post Green Canada. 18 May 2012. Robert Hormats is Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment in the U.S. government. 160. This chapter draws on previous writings in Lavigne, D.M., R. Kidman Cox, V. Menon, and M. Wamithi. 2006. Reinventing wildlife conservation for the 21st century. pp. 379-406. In D.M. Lavigne (ed.). Gaining Ground: In Pursuit of Ecological Sustainability. International Fund for Animal Welfare, Guelph, Canada, and University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland; Lavigne, D.M. 2011. Environmental conservation needs a new, interdisciplinary paradigm: Comments arising from Beder (2011). Invited Paper. 6th International Conference on Environmental Future. Topic 17 ID progress in environmental economics. 18-22 July 2011. Newcastle University, Newcastle, UK. Available upon request from dlavigne@ifaw.org; and unpublished collaborative work by David Lavigne and Gay Bradshaw. 161. Brundtland, G. 1997. The scientific underpinning of policy. Science 227(5324):457. 162. The word myth has at least two meanings: 1) a dominant world view and 2) an idea that is incorrect and not supported by the available information (see Lavigne 2011). 163. For further discussion of this point as it relates to elephant conservation, see van Aarde, R.J. 2010. Elephants: Facts and Fables. International Fund for Animal Welfare, Cape Town, South Africa and University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa. 164. Muir, J. 1911. My First Summer in the Sierra. Houghton Mifflin, Boston. Reprinted by Sierra Club Books, 1988, p. 110. 165. Leopold, A. 1949. A Sand County Almanac, and Sketches here and there. Oxford University Press, Inc., New York. 166. Ibid. 167. In the technical literature, an Earth-centred conservation ethic is referred to as a Geocentric Conservation Ethic. For further discussion, see Lavigne, D.M., R. Kidman Cox, V. Menon, and M. Wamithi. 2006. Reinventing wildlife conservation for the 21st century. pp. 379-406. In D.M. Lavigne (ed.). Gaining Ground: In Pursuit of Ecological Sustainability. International Fund for Animal Welfare, Guelph, Canada, and University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland. 168. Rees, W. 2006. Why conventional economic logic won’t protect biodiversity. pp. 207-226. In D.M. Lavigne (ed.). Gaining Ground: In Pursuit of Ecological Sustainability. International Fund for Animal Welfare, Guelph, Canada, and University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland; Rees, W.E. 2010. What’s blocking sustainability? Human nature, cognition and denial. Sustainability: Science, Practice, & Policy 6(2):13-25. Available at http://sspp.proquest.com/static_content/vol6iss2/1001-012. rees.pdf 169. Daly, H. 1977. Steady-State Economics. Island Press, Washington, D.C.

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170. A refreshing Opinion piece in New Vision: Uganda’s Leading Daily (Vol. 27, No. 138, 11 July 2012), commenting on a recent conflict between a chimpanzee and a child (but it could just as easily have been commenting on the plight of elephants), put it this way: “…what is taking place is unsustainable. The solution therefore lies in proper land use planning, family planning, immigration control, conservation education and strong incentives for people to engage in conservation” [emphasis added]. 171. Hawken, P. 2010. The Ecology of Commerce: A Declaration of Sustainability. Revised Edition. Harper Business, New York. 172. Czech, B. 2006. The steady-state revolution as a prerequisite for wildlife conservation and ecological sustainability. pp. 335-344. In D.M. Lavigne (ed.). Gaining Ground: In Pursuit of Ecological Sustainability. International Fund for Animal Welfare, Guelph, Canada, and University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland; Rees, W.E. 2010. What’s blocking sustainability? Human nature, cognition and denial. Sustainability: Science, Practice, & Policy 6(2):13-25. Available at http://sspp.proquest.com/static_ content/vol6iss2/1001-012.rees.pdf 173. Hawken 2010. 174. A number of jurisdictions and international conventions have recognized that wildlife has intrinsic value. Recognition of the intrinsic value of animals (or wildlife) is included, for example, in the Preamble to the European Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (the Bern Convention, 1979); and in Wildlife Minister’s Council of Canada. 1990. A Wildlife Policy for Canada. Minister of Environment, Canadian Wildlife Service, Ottawa. The Netherland’s 1992 Animal Health and Welfare Act recognizes that animals were not created just for the benefit of humans and that they have intrinsic value; intrinsic value is also recognized in the Preamble of the Convention on Biodiversity (1992), and in the Earth Charter (2000) although, in the latter, the actual words do not appear. Principle 1.1a reads, “Recognize that all beings are interdependent and every form of life has value regardless of its worth to human beings” (available at http://www.earthcharterinaction.org/invent/images/uploads/ echarter_english.pdf). Evidence that the idea has penetrated the mainstream scientific literature may be found in May, R.M. 2001. Foreward. pp xii-xvi. In J.D. Reynolds, G.M. Mace, K.H. Redford, and J.G. Robinson (eds.). Conservation of Exploited Species. Conservation Biology 6. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. In this foreword, May (now Lord May) acknowledges the idea that all life forms have “inherent rights”. It must be added, however, that the recognition of “intrinsic value” or “inherent rights” generally appears to have had little impact to date on the way humans have conducted their affairs. To this point, however, the acknowledgement of intrinsic value has not progressed much beyond Leopold’s “convention rhetoric” and “letterhead pieties”. While recognition of intrinsic value is a step in the right direction, it will only become meaningful if it becomes appropriately entrenched in legislation, which is enforced to ensure compliance. 175. Lynn, W.S. 1998. Contested moralities: Animals and moral value in the Dear/Symanski debate. Ethics, Place and Environment 1(2): 223-242.; Lavigne et al. 2006. 176. Following the example of the European Food Safety Authority. See EFSA. 2007. Scientific Opinion of the Panel on Animal Health and Welfare, on a request from the Commission on the Animal Welfare aspects of the killing and skinning of seals. The EFSA Journal 610:1-122. 177. Kumar, A. Menon. 2006. Ivory tower sustainability: An examination of the ivory trade. pp 129-139. In D.M. Lavigne (ed.). Gaining Ground: In Pursuit of Ecological Sustainability.

International Fund for Animal Welfare, Guelph, Canada, and the University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland. 178. The declaration is available at http://fcmconference.org/ img/CambridgeDeclarationOnConsciousness.pdf. For further discussion, see http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/animalemotions/201208/scientists-finally-conclude-nonhumananimals-are-conscious-beings. 179. Varner, G. 2008. Personhood, memory and elephant management. pp. 41-68. In C. Wemmer and C. Christen (eds.). Elephants and Ethics: The Morality of Coexistence. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD. Also see Kumar, A. and V. Menon. 2006. Ivory tower sustainability: An examination of the ivory trade. pp. 129-139. In D.M. Lavigne (ed.). Gaining Ground: In Pursuit of Ecological Sustainability. International Fund for Animal Welfare, Guelph, Canada, and University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland. 180. Kumar and Menon 2006. 181. e.g. van Aarde, R.J. and T.P. Jackson. 2007. Megaparks for metapopulations: Addressing the causes of locally high elephant numbers in southern Africa. Biological Conservation 134(3):289-297. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2006.08.027. 182. And this includes curtailing Internet trade in elephant products; see for e.g. http://www.ifaw.org/united-states/resource-centre/ killing-keystrokes. 183. Geist, V. 1988. How markets in wildlife meat and parts, and the sale of hunting privileges, jeopardizes conservation. Conservation Biology 2(1): 1-12. 184. See Johnson, S. 2012. Interpol demands crackdown on ‘serious and organised’ eco crime: Ivory poaching and illegal logging needs tougher enforcement and intelligence input, says Interpol director. The Guardian, 29 March. Available at http://www. guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/jun/27/gabon-burn-ivory. 185. See http://www.cites.org/eng/com/SC/62/E62-46-01.pdf. 186. Shoumatoff, A. 2011. Agony and Ivory. Vanity Fair, August. 187. Those interested in promoting the illegal trade and sale of ivory are no longer content with poaching elephants where they continue to survive in the wild. Recently, there has been a number of incidents where ivory stockpiles have “gone missing”, presumably stolen. In June 2012, over three tons of ivory were discovered “missing” from the Zambia Wildlife Authority’s “strongroom”, and two government employees were arrested in what is believed to be an “inside job”. A month earlier, 26 ivory tusks were reportedly stolen from a Department of Wildlife warehouse in Kasane, Botswana. In February 2012, over a ton of ivory was stolen in Mozambique (for a summary, see http://annamiticus.com/2012/06/27/ zambia-3-tons-ivory-stolen-2-game-scouts-arrested). Such stolen stockpiles are inevitably destined to enter illegal international trade and end up in ivory markets, particularly in Asia. As long ago as 1989, Kenya went so far as to burn its ivory stockpiles in an effort to persuade the world to halt the ivory trade (see www.nytimes.com/1989/07/19/world/ kenya-in-gesture-burns-ivory-tusks.html?page). Three years later, Zambia followed suit. In 2011, Kenya again burnt almost 5 tonnes of ivory, some 335 tusks and over 40,000 ivory carvings, originating in Malawi and Tanzania and confiscated in Singapore, in an attempt to send a message to poachers and illegal traders in elephant ivory (see http://www.bbc.co.uk/ news/world-africa-14217147). This time, however, Kenya did not destroy its own government stockpiles. In 2012, Gabon followed suit, burning nearly 5,000 kg of elephant tusks and ivory carvings (see http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/ extinction-countdown/2012/06/27/ivory-burn-gabon-sendsmessage-elephant-poachers/; also see http://www.guardian. co.uk/environment/2012/jun27/gabon-burn-ivory/print). In


July 2012, it was reported that Zambia may once again burn its ivory stockpiles (see http://www.davidshepherd.org/newsevents/news/zambia-may-burn-ivory-stockpiles/). The existence of ivory stockpiles is just one more factor that continues to feed markets for ivory. If we are really serious about curtailing poaching to protect elephants, then we need to convince all range states to destroy all their stockpiles, and close all markets. Putting stockpiles forever beyond reach of the marketplace (regardless of their source) is just one more step on the road to ending the trading and selling of ivory, now and in the future. 188. Commoner, B. 1963. Science and Survival. The Viking Press, New York; Brooks, R.J. 2006. The free lunch: Myths that direct conservation policy and the natural laws that constrain it. pp. 243-261. In D.M. Lavigne (ed.). Gaining Ground: In Pursuit of Ecological Sustainability. International Fund for Animal Welfare, Guelph, Canada, and University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland. 189. As U.S. Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment, Robert Hormats, recently wrote: “Neither governments nor individual citizens can afford to stand idle while poachers and wildlife traffickers hunt elephants…collective outrage at these horrendous crimes is needed to spur action.” (See Hormats, R. 2012. The illegal wildlife trade: A survey of greed, tragedy, and ignorance. The Blog. Huff Post Green Canada. 18 May 2012.) Of course, curtailing poaching and illegal trade is only part of the solution. In the longer term, preservation of elephant habitat may be even more vital. 190. For a discussion, see Lavigne, D.M., R. Kidman Cox, V. Menon, and M. Wamithi. 2006. Reinventing wildlife conservation for the 21st Century. pp. 379-425. In D.M. Lavigne (ed.). Gaining Ground: In Pursuit of Ecological Sustainability. International Fund for Animal Welfare, Guelph, Canada, and University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland. Also see Lavigne, D.M. 2004. Reinventing wildlife conservation for the 21st Century: A role for CITES. International Fund for Animal Welfare. Hyannis, MA. Available upon request from dlavigne@ifaw.org. 191. For a recent discussion, see Thorson, E. and C. Wold. 2010. Back to basics: An analysis of the object and purpose of CITES and a

blueprint for implementation. International Environmental Law Project. Lewis & Clark Law School. Portland OR. Available at http://www.lclark.edu/live/files/4620. 192. See van Aarde and Ferriera. 2009. Elephant populations and CITES trade resolutions. Environmnetal Conservation 36(1): 8-10. 193. See for e.g. Douglas-Hamilton, I. 2012. Ivory and insecurity: the global implications of poaching in Africa. Written testimony before United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. 24 May, Washington, DC. 194. Cardamone, T. 2012. Ivory and insecurity: the global implications of poaching in Africa. Written testimony before United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. 24 May, Washington, DC. 195. See Lavigne et al. 2006; also see Lavigne, D.M. 2011. Environmental conservation needs a new, interdisciplinary paradigm: Comments arising from Beder (2011). Invited Paper. 6th International Conference on Environmental Future. Topic 17 ID progress in environemental economics. 18-22 July 2011 Newcastle University, Newcastle, UK. [copy available upon request from dlavigne@ifaw.org]. 196. For some interesting discussion on CBD, see Faizi, S. 2004. CBD: The unmaking of a treaty. Biodiversity 5(3):43-44. Available at http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1488 8386.2004.9712739. Also see Faizi, S. 2012. Rescue CBD from legal limbo. ECO 41(2). Available at http://www.cbdalliance.org/ storage/sbstta-wgri/ecos/ECO%202%20WGRI%202012.pdf. 197. e.g. Lavigne et al. 2006; Beder, S. 2011. Environmental Economics and Ecological Economics: The contribution of interdisciplinarity to undertanding, influence and effectiveness. Environmental Conservation 38(2):140-150. 198. The actual quote is: “Insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results.” It is correctly attributed to: Narcotics Anonymous, 1981. World Service Conference of Narcotics Anonymous. Literature Sub-Committee. Basic Text Approval Form. November 1981. p 11. Available at http:// amonymifoundation.org/uploads/NA_Approval_Form_Scan.pdf.


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