What can we do to crack down on poaching?

1 Answer
Mar 15, 2016

Probably a combination of stronger enforcement and reducing the consumer demand for animal products related to poaching.


Many African countries have been dealing with rhino and elephant poaching for decades. Much of the initial demand for ivory from elephants in the mid-twentieth century came from Europe and North America. It was seen as cool to have ivory art statues, keys for pianos and other miscellaneous trinkets. At this time, African nations did not have a lot of money for enforcing elephant conservation laws, so elephants numbers declined.

Then, environmental groups pushed hard on European and American societies about how elephants were going extinct by these bad consumer demands. So, after while it became unfashionable to have ivory stuff and western governments also put bans on importing ivory - so, the elephant herds started to improve in numbers by the 1990s.

However, in the past 15 - 20 years or so, middle class Chinese and other Asian countries have become more wealthy and are now demanding, you guessed it - ivory stuff to buy! So, the black market poaching of ivory is back on again and herds of elephants are in decline again. African nations are ramping up their efforts to stop poaching with automatic weapons and heavy fire-power. But poachers have even stronger firepower - including helicopters and heavier firepower such that some national parks in Africa are becoming war zones!

The most effective way seems to be to change consumer demands for products from poaching, but then backed it up by strict enforcement and laws prohibiting import of banned products.