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Why Kill Elephants?

Jul 17, 2012, 8:41 AM EDT

elephant

Let me begin by prefacing that hunting elephant in Asia and several countries in Africa is illegal due to population status from poaching.

This is obviously a very touchy issue as the elephant is thought of as a wise and intelligent pachyderm who shares in one of the most admired family units.

As the largest land mammal weighing upwards of 24,000 pounds, with an average life expectancy of 50-70 years and no natural predators, the elephant dominates.  But couple this life expectancy, mortality rate and body size with the need to consume around 600 pounds of food per day and you potentially have a devastating result.

Most ecosystems (in both flora and fauna) cannot support this demand. Elephants knock down trees just to eat a few sweet leaves from the tops, and move onto the next food source. Furthermore, there are other animals that need to eat, but as a result of elephant over-population, such animals are starved out. Take a look at Botswana; numbers of sitatunga, sable and kudu are devastatingly down, but there are thousands of elephant in this country.

In countries like Botswana, hunters, and what they’re willing to spend on killing one elephant (upwards of around $50,000), are critical to attempt to keep things in balance. In areas where populations are extremely out of control, the government will implement a culling operation of which provides the precious meat and skins for this protein-deprived continent.

I get tired of hearing that hunters are evil for killing elephants –it is necessary. But hunters are incorrectly compartmentalized with poachers. Most poaching takes place as a result of the Asian black market that will pay exorbitant amounts of money for illegal goods; these poachers and financers of poaching are the evil ruthless killers who care nothing for preserving wildlife.

What do you think about legally hunting elephant?

  1. handgunhunter - Jul 17, 2012 at 10:40 AM

    Elephants, like all game animals, need to be managed in our time. If they are not, then problems will arise due to overpopulation and conflicts with humans. Aside from the benefit of the meat provided in a cull operation, it has little other benefit than reducing the population. Hunting on the other hand, provides an enormous number of jobs and a fair amount of money pumped in to the worldwide economy and it’s a clean renewable resource and a source of the original organic meat. If you think about it, wildlife management through hunting is one of the only natural resources that man has been able to manage successfully with no long-term damage to the environment. Poachers are a different matter and are devastating the wildlife across the globe and yes the Asians are to blame pure and simple.

  2. Alwyn Ladell - Jul 17, 2012 at 11:32 AM

    A very sensible and well-balanced article.

  3. huntinglife - Jul 17, 2012 at 11:36 AM

    I have personally been dreaming of taking an elephant since I first read some of the stories from the great Ivory Hunters. As well Craig Boddington has produced a great DVD set Boddington on Elephant that is an exceptional look at hunting elephant and if this series cannot excite you about hunting elephants then nothing can.

    I agree that hunting for elephant is a wildlife management success story not just for the elephant but also for the literally 100′s of other species that rely upon the same food and water sources in the areas where these species coexistent. The money that comes into these local communities as well as the humanitarian aid that comes with that money is good for the local communities and the meat is always distributed locally regardless of the area where the elephant is taken. In many of these communities the only other meat they get is poached meat from local trappers so hunters provide a valuable service in coming on safari because it shows a clear connection of the positive effects of hunting and the problems in regards to poaching.

    We have a long way to go as hunters finding ways to work together to show the general public the benefits of hunting exotic species. Rest assured in locations like Botswana and other elephant problem areas, hunters are a small percentage of the needed population control for these large species. Botswana and areas of the okavango delta region are seeing devastating effects of over population from the elephant herd and much needs to be done to protect the longevity of the elephant species as well as the other wildlife in these areas.

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