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Elephants Worth More Alive Than Poached [study]
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by Sarah Howell

In a new study conducted by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s iworry campaign, researchers found that elephants are worth 76 times more when they’re alive than dead.

The shocking but perhaps unsurprising news follows the recent reports from the WWF that the world has lost 50 percent of its wildlife in the last 40 years alone.

To determine the elephant’s worth, the study looked at the value of the animals to the local economies. They then compared that worth with the profits poachers received through the illegal ivory trade. The dates they looked at – January through August 2014 – was only a small sample, but during those few months, 17.8 metric tons of ivory from almost 2,000 poached elephants was seized worldwide. The seizures occurred in Kenya, China, Gabon, Vietnam, and other countries that have made little progress to reverse the devastation of elephant poaching.

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s iworry campaign found that the value of a poached elephant was $21,000. They then looked at the funds received through eco-tourists to the local areas where elephants resided and found the draw to be $1.6 million over the course of a single elephant’s lifetime. The benefits could be found for travel companies, local economies, and airlines. With continued poaching of the elephant and other animals, businesses and local economies will soon see the ill effects of a diminishing ecosystem and how thoroughly it can impact everyday economic life.

iWorry campaign director Rob Brandford had this to say about the study:

“The value of elephant tourism is extremely high, with a living elephant worth a shocking 76 times more alive in the savannah than in the market place. Protecting Africa’s elephants makes monetary sense and in the long term elephants are worth more alive roaming the world’s savannah and forests than their tusks are sitting on a mantle. That’s a powerful argument to convince policy makers.”

Source: “Elephants worth more alive, than when they are poached for ivory.” 2014. ENN.com

Image: Wikipedia

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