Jul 17, 2012, 8:41 AM EDT
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?