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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

1/3/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Disrespect for animal life trickles down to human life, it appears

There had long been thought a connection - and now researchers have confirmed it. African villages where elephant poaching is common are found to have corresponding problems with infant mortality. The soaring demand for illicit ivory in Asia, with high prices offered for tusks, have definitely not benefited the villages in which this practice takes place.

Used for carvings and valued for its color and texture, illicit ivory has been rising sharply in newly affluent Asian countries, such as China.

Used for carvings and valued for its color and texture, illicit ivory has been rising sharply in newly affluent Asian countries, such as China.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

1/3/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in Africa

Keywords: Elephant paoching, infant mortality, study, poverty, ivory trade


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Villages with heavy poaching activity have been found to be plagued by high rates of child deaths, and corruption. All too painfully, it's apparent that poor villagers do not benefit from the illicit ivory trade.

These findings were found in a report prepared for an African elephant summit in Botswana, which tracks the global trade in wildlife products. Among the groups represented were the International Union for Conservation of Nature and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

Boasting a long and blood-stained history, the ivory trade is similar to other extractive industries in Africa, which have been exploited to meet demand elsewhere with few rewards for local people.

Used for carvings and valued for its color and texture, illicit ivory has been rising sharply in newly affluent Asian countries, such as China.

Elephant poaching has risen dramatically. In 2012, an estimated 15,000 elephants were illegally killed at 42 sites in Africa monitored by MIKE, i.e. the U.N.-backed program for Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants. Elephant poaching levels in Africa in 2010 have exceeded five percent of the total population, a tipping point because killings are now outpacing the animals' birth rate.

In a related development, the killing of rhinos for their horns, which is used in traditional medicine in Vietnam and China has also grown exponentially, notably in South Africa, home to the vast majority of the animals.

According to South African government statistics, as of December 19, a record 946 rhinos had been poached in the country in 2013, compared to 668 in all of 2012.

This criminal activity has taken its toll on the human population. "Human infant mortality, which is interpreted as a proxy for poverty, is the single strongest site-level correlate ... with sites suffering from higher levels of poverty experiencing higher levels of elephant poaching," the report said.

The relationship between poverty and poaching has long been assumed because wildlife is a source of food or money for impoverished rural dwellers.

But links between measurements of poverty and living standards, such as infant mortality, and the illicit killing of elephants, have not been made before with the kind of clarity that researchers have found in the data over the past two years.



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